Monday, 20 August 2012

A Slow and Steady Summer

The good weather has been a long time coming and I am so ready for it.  We all are, I know.  It has been lovely to throw open the windows and encourage a light, fragrant breeze to blow through the house.  Drink wine so cold that condensation forms on the glass.  To lay in bed at night listening to farm machinery in the nearby fields.

We are taking it easy this summer, spending a great deal of time thinking, talking and planning.  Discussing what's really important to us.  Taking stock of our lives and working out what actually makes us happy.  August is always quiet for us and this year, more than any other, we have welcomed that period of slowing down.

There has been plenty of opportunity to sit in a comfortable chair to stitch or crochet in the evenings.

I have been inspired (as usual!) by Vanessa and have started to crochet a new blanket.

A gorgeous new set of bamboo crochet hooks from Lisa Pocklington at
This one's for the bedroom.  I am making the 'Something Pretty' square, the pattern for which has been published on the ever-so-lush Millie Makes blog.  I wasn't aware of Millie Makes until Vanessa pointed us in that direction and I'm so glad she did.  So much gorgeousness in one place.

I started this blanket the very day that Vanessa posted about it.  I'd had a little stash of Rowan 'Pure Life' organic cotton sitting in a basket for a while and planned to use it for a tea cosy that Cuckoo shared on her blog last year.  Just hadn't got round to it yet.  But - as soon as I saw this puffy floral square I fell in love and immediately knew that the chalky pink and cool cream organic cotton would be perfect for such a pretty pattern.   Happily (or maybe not) the yarn has been discontinued now and I was able to top up my stash for half the usual price.  Happy me!

Stash of squares by my bedside.  Slowly growing! 
Each square seems to take an age to complete but the finished result is worth it.  I am using the pink and green cotton to make the flowers and edging the whole thing in cream.  The colours will look beautiful on our bed, if I have the patience to make the blanket big enough.  If not, I will use it as a lap blanket for one of the armchairs in my craft room.
I've created a craft space in the top room at home.  I'll show you properly sometime but I love it! 
Few of us are faithful/committed/disciplined enough to stick with one project at the time and I am simultaneously working on a large-ish piece of cross stitch that will be framed and hung on the wall in our living room.  It's the first time I've used even weave fabric and I'm delighted with how it is coming along, even if I do have to squint at my work more than usual!

My crafty adventures do not end there!  Andrew bought me a jam-making kit (at my request) for Christmas and I mentioned, in passing, to the post lady (random, I know, but she's a friend now) that I still hadn't used it.  She promptly descended on me early one evening (it was planned!) with two punnets of apricots and a bag of sugar.  This apricot jam was the result:

How much do you think I enjoyed prettying up the jars?  Yep, loads.
It is delicious - I'm thrilled!.  Andrew moaned that he doesn't like apricot jam but then he tasted this.  He has eaten it every morning (of his own accord!) on toast for breakfast and claims he loves it.  Score!

*happy dance* 

Spurred on by my success, I made strawberry jam last week.  Another winner *high five*.  I've well and truly caught the bug - can't wait to make chutneys and pickles.

Tonight, the husband's football team is playing so I'm going to sit and do some more of my cross stitch.  Have a lovely week everyone and thanks for popping by.

Hello to my new followers and thank you for clicking the 'join this blog' button.  I'm getting ever closer to 300 followers which is fab as I am planning a giveaway which includes a beautiful Pip Studio jug!





  1. What a cheery post, I loved reading it :)

    I have to admit, chutney making is one of my favourite things. So deeply satisfying. I made plenty last year and gave them as Xmas gifts.

    I adore th cross stitch, is it difficult? I am complete sewing dunce, but I'd love to have a go.

    Loveaudrey xxx

  2. Gorgeous work on the go, I love the look of that blanket I am just about to start a new crochet blanket project but I really fancy your's now! I love your craft room it's stunning can't wait to see more.
    Our house has also had a bit of thinking time and making plans, doesn't it feel good ;0) xx

  3. I always look forward to reading your blog Nicki, it's so cheery! Really love your squares and the colours you are using, will look fab when it's done.

    Gemma xxx

  4. Hello Nicki
    Your crochet squares are so pretty I love the colours.
    I love jam making too, very satisfying
    Thea x

  5. Cor girl, check you out, you are really getting your craft on :) Who hasn't fallen in love with that blanket on Vanessa's blog? I seriously need to learn how to crochet because I NEED some of that in my life. The cross stitch is coming along nicely, it will look fab once it's finished x x x x

  6. I think the blanket is going to be well and truly dreamy, can't wait to see it come together.

    I love making jam, so far I have made some strawberry and some plum. I was going to make apricot when I saw them in the shop the other day, but I know I'll be making some blackberry jam once they have rippened and there is only so much jam we can eat. I have also made some chutney which is so good with cheese.

  7. Hello lovely! Your blanket is looking so beautiful. I'd love to make that blanket too but I just know that I haven't got the staying power required to make it up. Loving your craft room! Xx

  8. I love it when your post pops up on my dashboard.All your pictures are so pleasing on the eye.
    Happy crocheting and warm Summer days!

  9. Your craft room looks like an oasis of lovely, Nikki! What a nice way to escape everything and get down with your crafty self ;-)

    Jam-making!! I'm a fellow fan - I experimented a little last year and although I don't have it down pat by any means I do enjoy it. Totally agree on the chutneys - I'm looking forward to making some for cheeseboards this winter. Yum!

    Jem xXx

  10. We had such a busy July and we were hoping to have a nice quiet August but it hasn't turned out that way. Dammit!

    I love floral cross stitch patterns. They're so pretty.


  11. Hello lovely lady!
    Ooooh your craft room is so pretty and cosy, can't wait to see more x
    you have been a busy bee....i LOVE everything (as usual!) but your rose cross stitch has me drooling
    have a lovely week
    love jooles x

  12. hi, I'm still loving that rose cross stitch! My book hasn't arrived yet - sniff - but then again it's time to finish off one of the UFO's (thanks agin for the book tip) I have to say with head hung in shame, that I use the bread maker for jam - whack it all in and hit start - idiot proof - which for me is just the job as boiling pans filled with sticky stuff is indeed a recipe for disaster..
    Lovely post, I now have serious craft room envy!
    BH x

  13. You busy lady!

    I've finally started to finish my current crochet blanket having ignored it for weeks. Want to get it done as there are 2 special ones that need making for next Spring!

    Hoping to get jam making again soon - tis starting to be blackberry time - never leave home without a tub or 2 this time of year!

  14. I'm so envious of your craft room! I want it, haha. I also saw Vanessa's blanket and fell in love but have too much on my plate at the moment xxx

  15. Your craft space is to die for, I love it!
    I make jams and preserves too. My next one is going to be a caramelised red onion chutney to put aside for Christmas gifts.

    I love your blog, and often suffer with blog envy =)

    Leah (Oxfordshire)

  16. Hi Niki,lush post,Love the beautiful,puffy granny, ooh so lovely,going to check Millie makes too as havent been there yet,Love Vanessa s blog and started a heart star blanket inspired by her on Saturday.Wow Your crafting space is soooo dreamy....
    Happy week ahead love Juliexoxo

  17. I too look forward to your posts. I now have crochet envy (been meaning to learn for years to no avail), and SERIOUS craft room envy. We've extended twice in the past six years, but all the extra space is nabbed by the other four members of our household. They all very kindly said that I could go into the new rooms to clean though...X

  18. I fell heavily in love with those little squares, and I think I now have 4 blanket colour schemes that I would love to try! I didn't once get bored or think about giving up and having a cushion or lap blanket instead. I think as you start to lay them out you realise just how great they would look as a big project rather than a little one. Yours is going to look fab whatever you decide to turn it into......but it will look the best on your bed! ha ha!

    I have been desperate to make chutneys and pickles. i saw the most amazing piccalilli recipe that I want to make and it just so happens my mum popped bu yesterday with more preserve jars! So, after I put my hook down I might get some made.

    Gorgeous pics my lovely, loving the embroidery too.

    Have a super Tuesday! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  19. Im just envious of it all!!
    I just dont seem able to sit still long enough to do anything, no sewing, crochet...nada. Looking forward to seeing the blanket grow, you can craft away for the both of us {tee-hee}

  20. I love your embroidery cottons in that container. Your cross stitch is going be be gorgeous, I used to do cross stitch but my eyes don't cope well these days. Ooooooh that blanket is BEAUTIFUL, I love the colors that Vanessa used, and I think yours is going to look gorgeous too with the colors you have chosen.
    xx Sandi

  21. I used to be a regular college student and now I go all over the country and stay at really nice hotels Best hotel dar es salaam

  22. I do so love reading your blog Nicki. Loving the crochet you are working on, such a gorgeous pattern and beautiful colours!
    Victoria xx

  23. I wish I had some time off to craft!

  24. Ooooooooooooooo Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh Ooooooooo

    They are they noises I was making as I read this post. It was lovely to see the familiar IG pics with a bit of a narrative.

    Vanessa has no clue how inspiring she is does she? She always seems genuinely surprised at how a generation of blankets get started every time she posts her latest. Truly lovely girl.

    Right I'm going back to bed with a cuppa. After weeks and weeks of very little time alone (even visits to the toilet are interupted) I have a day all to myself. The bigguns are at Granny's and The Kid has gone to nursery. I'm going to try to finish my knitted squares blanket (tiny- deffo a lap blanket) and then set a zip in that booby frock.

    Have a fab day my friend.


  25. Lovely post, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it! xx

  26. Lovely post. As an old woman now I find it so refreshing and delightful that someone as young and attractive as you are can turn out such wonderful crafts in so many spheres. Well done. Oh and I love apricot jam!

  27. Why. Have I only just discovered your blog? Your. Craft room is lush when can I come for a hooky cuppa?

  28. Why. Have I only just discovered your blog? Your. Craft room is lush when can I come for a hooky cuppa?

  29. Hi!! I completely adore your craft room - it just looks sooo pretty!! I love the crochet squares too - they will make something beautiful when finished! I've just started learning basic granny squares so am still learning but would oh so love to be able to make something like that!! Well done, J9 x

  30. I NEVER have just one project on th ego. I always have to have five or six - I never know if that's a good or a bad thing!! I can be a bit flitty but it does mean that I don't get bored!!

    I LOVE your little crochet squares - they are going to look beautiful! That made me laugh about leaving it as a lap blanket!!


  31. Gorgeous craft space! It looks so cosy! Can I ask where you got your wire baskets from that you have your wool in? I'm after some! :-)

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