Wednesday 6 July 2016

Almost There and New Books

We are Almost There. It feels like the end of term, and the end of the school year, and, for Little Miss, the end of primary school, is tantalizingly close now. We've still got a Summer Fayre, an Awards Evening, a School Play, a Leavers Picnic, a Leavers Disco, and a Leavers-Actually-Leaving-Thing to get through before we can breathe a collective sigh of relief at having survived another school year.

Meanwhile we are also Almost There with the house decorating. The painter was here for over 4 weeks - groan - but finally - hurrah - finished today. We didn't have anything structural or particularly messy done - thank goodness - how do people live through kitchens being ripped out and extentions built, knocking through etc ?? We only had cosmetic stuff done and it was stressful enough for me. As nothing major was done and we are only Almost There I'm afraid my photos aren't very exciting yet.

In all 9 rooms were painted - kitchen, front room, downstairs loo, playroom, our bedroom, our en-suite, main bathroom, Little Tomboy's bedroom and the under-the-stairs-cupboard-come-cloakroom. Does that count as a room ? Well, I have to say that once emptied and cleaned out and re-painted it looked amazing, I wanted to shove a mattress in there and lock myself in with a lamp and a book. And maybe a cup of tea. Each of the rooms was painted ceiling to floor, skirting boards, doors, door frames, and radiators. Lots of little jobs got done - new loo seat fitted, shelves put up, and - rather expensively - we now have lovely new chrome door handles - our old ones were very tarnished brass, very fiddly and fancy with twiddly little ends on which and I was forever catching my arm as I rushed past. They drew blood lots of times, I have little to scars to show for it - yikes.

We even had our front door painted and some nice new numbers affixed. The reason we are only "Almost There" and not actually "There There" is that we still have loads of general cleaning to do, furniture to be put back, and Stuff to find homes for. Stuff. So much Stuff. Where does it all come from ??? I'm sure we don't need it all. Hoping to have a bit of a purge over the weekend.

Meanwhile, rather unusually, I have broken out the knitting needles - I've seen so many people doing the Hitchhiker Scarf - most recently Meredith ( and I really fancied doing one myself. For the first time I purchased a pattern on ravelry, rather than using only free ones. And I must say it was worth it, I'm really enjoying it.

I'm a slow knitter, and I can't be doing with the counting etc that knitting seems to entail more than crochet, but I have to say that this is a great pattern, really simple and easy to follow, but produces a piece that is interesting in its structure. 

I'm doing it in this Sirdar yarn, I bought it ages ago because I just liked it - well, why not ?! The effect it produces is really quite intriguing, and I love the colours.

My crocheted star blanket is growing nicely too ....

I really need to crack on with it, I'd like to give it my friend before we go on our summer hols.

On a whim (I was looking for something else which I can't even recall now) I made a couple of eBay purchases this week - crochet books - yet another crochet-related addiction. I do like a good crochet book - as much for flicking through, as for making things from. Each of these were about £3, bargain-tastic.

"crochet love" has the tag-line "27 Sweet and Simple Zakka-Inspired Projects". Ever heard of "Zakka" ? No, neither had I. According to the blurb inside "Zakka is a Japanese term for a design sensibility that is cute yet sophisticated, playful yet profound, contemporary yet nostalgic". Glad we cleared that up !!

I don't know about profound but the designs certainly are cute and playful, here are some pictures from the book ....

"i love crochet" has some great really simple projects, some with a nice little twist .... like this little beaded pencil-case,I'm love the envelope-style closure, and the beads make it so pretty ...

... And there's a section on edgings and how to use them .... for example on this denim skirt ....

There are also some really fun pages .... very silly :)

Ooooh yes and I nearly forgot, I bought this one - full-price from Amazon - on the recommendation of a friend, and oh boy it is a beauty.

I reeeeeeally want to make everything in it Right Now. just look at these gorgeous gorgeous projects ....

Just totally swoonsome and gorgeous. Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous. Did I mention they are all gorgeous ? Another book that's a joy to just sit and flick through with a nice cup of tea. Which is exactly what I'm going to do now :)

Til next time,


  1. Congratulations on your house being almost done! I wish I could say as much. As for stuff, I swear it reproduces at night when no one is looking!
    I share your love of crafting books. I can spend hours just paging through them and dreaming!

  2. All that paint looks great, and the scarf too. did you see Winwick Mums post at the sirdar mill, was bit mind blowing!!!

  3. So glad you have your house almost done. Your hitchhiker scarf is coming along wonderfully and so is your crochet blanket. I haven't done the hitchhiker, but I have done one similar to it several times as gifts and always enjoy it. I just purchased my first pattern on ravelry too, I usually just use the free ones. So many of those projects in your photos look like they would be fun to do. I like the jar covers and the pencil case especially. And I think my grandchildren would like the tic-tac-toe board. Thank you for the inspiration!
    Blessings, Betsy

  4. I love the look of your books and all your yarny work. It looks beautiful. Your house must be wonderful. I would love to do some painting but I hate that job so much. Maybe I should hire husband would never go for it but I'd love it. Good luck with the end of the school year stuff.

  5. Enjoy your "new" house, renovations are always a pain, large or small. I'm going very slowly through the knocking down walls kind at the moment and the only thing keeping me going is the idea of how it will look when finished. LoVe love love your yarn choice for your scarf, it looks great!
    Anna xx

  6. Glad you are now able to get the house straight again. We have just had a de-clutter and I did a couple of car boot sales, it was amazing how much we sold. One mans rubbish is another mans treasure. Love the look of the shawl book, I am a lover of crochet books too.

  7. gosh so many end of term things. enjoy them all x the decorating sounds wonderful, it will look so lovely when you've got everything sorted x and as for the crochet, gorgeous. love those shawls. and the pebbles. I had a bit of an obsession with crochet pebbles a few summers ago. I may have to reinstate it......

  8. Great selection of books - love the 'things to do with a crochet hook'! I too just love to flick through books to get ideas, not necessarily to slavish follow the patterns. I have heard of Zakka but applied to sewn items, which always look very simple but stylish. Oo, your house makeover sounds fantastic - and I'd love to replace our old tarnished brass handles with nice chrome ones too, they look so clean. Enjoy all the school activities!
    Caz xx

  9. We have not had our house painted in 15 years and we need to do it so badly, but the mess! I am not looking forward to that. Thank you for the shout out, I am loving your Hitchhiker, great yarn choice. Good luck with all the end of the school year activities.

  10. Glad the decorating and your other projects are going well. Love the different things you have on the go!

  11. Congratulations on surviviving the decorator. I really don't like having workmen in the house so decorating one room takes the best part of three weekends. I do like the yarny projects you have shared. You choose really pretty colours and interesting designs. Maybe I should invest in a crochet book for inspiration. Hope all the leaver special events go well. Our local paper had photos of all the year six classes today which made me reflect on how quickly time passes. My son has just graduated but I remember his first day at secondary school as if it was yesterday.

  12. Being snagged by doorknobs is hopefully now an event of your past! Your reading cubbyhole sounded like a brilliant idea to me :) I hope your freshly spruced up environment will cheer you on to a fine finish of your school term. Your current stitching projects are lovely. I too, enjoy looking through stitching books and have just had a tidying session with mine...there are so many neat projects I want to tackle! xxxxxx

  13. I've always wanted a Hitchhiker. Such a fun pattern and it looks great in that colorway

  14. The hitchhiker scarf looks great, it is a lovely pattern and easy to do too, I've made a couple and want to do some more for presents for Christmas. Your books look interesting and I love the one on shawls, they all look gorgeous.

  15. Hello Jill,

    I bet you are relieved now that the decorating is done! Having a cosy corner in the under the stairs cupboard sounds tempting indeed... ;)

    Love your hitchhiker, it's looking great! And your crochet blanket, too!

    Well done for finding these books, great inspiration! I also bought that shawl book recently and already got the yarn from artesano to make that shawl which is shown directly under your book cover. The yarn is stunning! :) if you sign up with artesano, you often get special reductions (which makes the yarn even cheaper! It is definitely very good quality!)

    Have a nice weekend,
    Ingrid xx

  16. Your house must look amazing! Having the whole house decorated at once is such a good idea, no scruffy bits! Your books look very inspiring, though I did shiver slightly at the thought of a granny-square belt! I lives through fashions like that in my childhood and don't think I could revisit them! X

  17. Glad your house is almost done and you survived it. I really hate it when the house has to be painted. Talking about stuff, my husband is an electrical and mechanical stuff hoarder. He just won't get rid of them and I feel we don't need all of them. Your knitting and crochet works are coming out well. These Japanese books are really a treat for the eyes.

  18. Glad your house is almost done and you survived it. I really hate it when the house has to be painted. Talking about stuff, my husband is an electrical and mechanical stuff hoarder. He just won't get rid of them and I feel we don't need all of them. Your knitting and crochet works are coming out well. These Japanese books are really a treat for the eyes.

  19. You have reminded me, I really need to get some paint and start decorating a few rooms myself. We've recently had our bathroom refitted and now the rest of the house is looking tired in comparison. That last book looks wonderful, I'm off to Amazon to take a look. Thank you for the recommendation :)

  20. Good luck with the final push, with hitting the end of term and the house! The pics look lovely :) And I've got crochet book envy, especially the last one I've been thinking about getting that for a while and am now super tempted :) xx

  21. Glad to read that the house is almost done! The finished painted must feel like a milestone!

    The crochet book looks great! I might have a look out for it the next time I am in a book store!

    Take care
    Crochet Between Worlds

  22. Sorry I'm so late catching up Sweetie! What a wonderful feeling to be getting such wonderful projects finished around your home! And hope all of school things finished up well too!

    Btw - Annie sent her letter a while ago. Hope you folks received it. ;)

    Love seeing your knitting or crochet projects - and sure looks like you have wonderful new projects to dream over.

    Blessings dear Jill!! Xoxo

  23. Hello there Jill. Thanks for the lovely comment you left over on my blog post .... I am so sorry to read about your Dad, can imagine what a sad time it was for you. Its great to read your decorating is coming to an end for you ... I can SO relate to that. Your knitting & your crochet are - as always - just beautiful. I especially love that scarf you are working on. Hope things are ticking along nicely for you Jill. Cheerio for now, Julie from Threadbear x x x x

  24. So many lovely woolly projects to choose from! I Hope you get some time in the holidays to start some :-) Oh, the end of term, I can sympathise with you as my middle child has just finished year 6 too. Utterly bonkers. Good luck with the last big push of the decorations xx


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