Monday, 26 May 2014

Crochet jumper

I've been growing increasingly envious of friends who are able to knit beautiful jumpers and cardigans for themselves. I can knit but my skills have so far only extended to scarfs and hats, I definitely favour crochet and find the patterns easier to follow. The trouble is that stylish and practical crochet patterns can be difficult to find; I guess crochet just lends itself better to holey shawls. However, the  Maple Falls Sweater by Joanne of Not So Granny was perfect for a first time attempt at jumper making. The pattern was produced as part of the Crochet Project and the original comes in beautiful autumn colours. I love the maple leaf design but I just don't do brown. 

I'm really into navy at the moment so decided to go for a blue version of the jumper, with navy for the main colour. After a quick trip to The Sheep Shop I was stocked up on yarn ready to go. I ended up with woolcott which is a mix of lambswool and cotton, perfect for spring!
Miss Chaela Boo - Crochet jumper woolcott yarn
I didn't manage to take many 'in progress' photos but here is a cheeky close up of the maple leaf stitches.
Miss Chaela Boo - Crochet jumper
After three attempts and one whole month I finished the jumper. I'm so pleased with it. In the light blue and white the maple leaves look more like snow flakes so I think this jumper could be a good all year rounder.
Miss Chaela Boo - Crochet jumper
I've already got my second pattern lined up so I'll be reporting back on that if I can ever make a decision on the yarn to use.

Have you got a favourite crochet (or knitting) pattern? Or are you working on something at the moment. Let me know in the comments and share your links. 

Finally, as it's Monday, why not stop by Handmade Monday and check out all the other lovely handmade blogs. 

Monday, 31 March 2014

Drawing with Sketchbook Pro

I've been using my Android tablet for blogging for just over a year now and use it a lot for photo editing. Just recently though I've started to get drawing. 

Last year I visited the David Hockney exhibition at the Royal Academy and was blown away by the iPad drawings. I downloaded various drawing apps but didn't quite get on with any of them. That was until I discovered Sketchbook Pro and learnt how to use it properly. I started with the free version and worked through a tutorial to draw this little alien. 
Miss Chaela Boo - drawing with Sketchbook Pro
I discovered that the secret of digital drawing was in using layers. It seems obvious now that by using layers you can add shading and detail without affecting the work you have already done. 

Now I'm spending much of my spare/crafting time drawing and even bought myself a beautiful Wacom Bamboo stylus in light blue.

Here's a little look at how I've been getting on:
Miss Chaela Boo - drawing with Sketchbook Pro - Little brown mouse
Little brown mouse
Miss Chaela Boo - Drawing with Sketchbook Pro - Kitties
Miss Chaela Boo - Drawing with Sketchbook Pro - Nemo
Miss Chaela Boo - Drawing with Sketchbook Pro - Mother's day mice
Mother's day mice
I have the lovely Alice of knitnrun4sanity to thank for this last drawing after she asked me to make her a mother's day card. It is also thanks to her that I have finally got around to printing my own cards (something I have been pondering for some months). It's still early days but it's a step in an exciting direction.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Round ripple baby blanket

Miss Chaela Boo: Round ripple baby blanket
At last I can show you the crochet baby blanket I made for our new niece after we finally made the trip last weekend to meet the latest addition to the family. Ellena arrived in January but due to The Mike's surgery we had to wait a few weeks before we could go for a visit. 
Miss Chaela Boo: Round ripple baby blanket
I first saw the pattern for this blanket over at meet.make.laugh and followed the link to the original pattern on ravelry. It's a pretty easy pattern which is mostly worked in trebles (note that the pattern is written in US terms) so it works up really quickly. I enjoyed every minute I spent making it and even took a break before the final row because I didn't want it to be over. I can't wait to get started on a huge one for my bed just as soon as I decide on colours. 
Miss Chaela Boo: Round ripple baby blanket
I used the beautifully soft Sirdar Snuggly yarn to make the blanket. I was surprised that this yarn is 55% nylon and 45% acrylic as it is so soft and not at all squeaky when working with it. It's also machine washable so it's perfect for small children and comes in good range of colours.
Miss Chaela Boo: Round ripple baby blanket
Originally I started with less traditional colours which included the purple and dark pink combined with turquoise as I wanted to avoid making it overly pink and girly. In the end I decided on a compromise and the finished blanket is a little more traditional in colour but bright enough to make it a little different. 

And here is the lady of the moment modelling the finished blanket.
Miss Chaela Boo: Round ripple baby blanket
Have you finished a special project recently? Don't forget to leave me your link in the comments so I can come and have a peek!

Friday, 31 January 2014

Hello 2014

Is it to late to say happy new year lovely readers? I couldn't let the whole of January go by without a quick catch up.

The last couple of months have been somewhat manic and blogging has been way way down my to-do list with time spent supporting The Mike through some hefty surgery and subsequent recovery. It was such a relief to finally bring him home, although it was tough going at first he's improving everyday and I can start to think about crafting and blogging again. Yay!
Miss Chaela Boo: Happy 2014
The lovely Nemo looked after me brilliantly during the two weeks that Mike was in hospital and we enjoyed lots of evenings watching Christmas films and snuggling under blankets.

I did manage to finish one special project during the hours spent at the hospital; a blanket for our new niece Ellena Rose. I can't show you a picture just yet because it hasn't been handed over but hopefully we'll be able to pay her a real visit very soon (we've already met via Skype!). I'll be sure to report back with an update and a link to the gorgeous pattern asap.

It can be tricky to get the blogging mojo back after a bit of break but normal service will resume shortly.

Happy 2014 everyone!!!

Monday, 30 December 2013

love parkrun

It's been two whole weeks since I attended my 100th parkrun (keeping up with my blog hasn't been a priority lately) but I couldn't miss sharing my love of parkrun. parkrun is a free, weekly, 5km timed run and with 236 events (and rising) in the UK (344 globally) there might just be one near you.

One hundred parkruns is a milestone that many obsessive parkrunner's aspire to as it means entry in to the 100 club and receipt of the black 100 club t-shirt and jacket.
Miss Chaela Boo: love parkrun
I attended my first parkrun in April 2011 and joined the 50 club in August 2012. My red 50 club t-shirt is my favourite piece of running kit. I had my sights on achieving my 100th run by the end of this year and I did it! Just!

parkrun is great way to get into (or back into) running and keeps me ticking over, with no races to prepare for the past few months I have become a very lazy runner but I haven't stopped parkrunning. For me, it is the ONLY way to start the weekend (or even the New Year as some parkrun locations put on extra evens for Christmas and new Year). The friendly atmosphere, sense of community and post-run high is terribly addictive and a hot chocolate in the cafe afterwards is a social occasion not to be missed.

As well as running, parkrun is great way to get into volunteering. All events are run by volunteers with just a handful of employed staff at head office getting results and news out to runners each week. My first time volunteering at parkrun was little nervy and I felt a bit silly standing on a corner clapping as the runners went by, with the occasional and slightly sheepish 'well done'. parkrun has turned me into a shouting maniac and I now love yelling at runners as they go by.
Miss Chaela Boo: love parkrun
 When I arrived for my 100th run on Saturday I was met by my Cambridge parkrun buddies and presented with a pink sash. Katie had also put in a word with Jen who was run directing that day so I got a shout out at the start of the run. Katie, Neil, Mark and Stef ran all the way with me and we had a good chat and giggle all the way around. I don't think I've ever had so much fun while running. Thanks to everyone who made the morning so special, it was a real treat.
Miss Chaela Boo: love parkrun
Lots of people are nervous about attending their first parkrun and with over 300 runners attending at Cambridge each week I know it can seem daunting but for me parkrun is the safest place in world to run. I have made some fabulous friends through parkrun and I love the sense of community. parkrun is not a race, all runners are equal and all achievements are celebrated; whether is the the first time you finish the run without walking or your 100th run.

Thanks to Mark for documenting the occasion, all photo's in this post are his. Mark is a Blipper and wrote a piece for his Blip which you can find here.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Book Review: Kirstie's Christmas Crafts by Kirstie Allsopp

Miss Chaela Boo - Book Review: Kirstie's Christmas Crafts
Kirstie's Christmas Crafts is a must have if you love to go all out for the festive season. It's stuffed with ideas for handmade gifts, decorating your home and even what to eat on the big day. 

The book is broken down into the following handy sections:
  • Deck the Halls - covers the tree and decorations for a festive home. The needle felted robin is adorable, I especially like the use real feathers as he looks really smart with such a flamboyant tail. When I eventually get around to making this little guy, I'll probably go for adding a ribbon as he looks a little like he's been impaled on a stick.
Miss Chaela Boo - Book Review: Kirstie's Christmas Crafts
  • Seasons Greetings - includes ideas for cards and tags as well as tips for wrapping; the tutorial for wrapping circular presents will come in very handy. 
  • The Christmas Table - lovely ideas for table settings and a handy checklist of everything you need for the table (I do love lists!). I also love the idea of the dining chair decorations made from bunches of fresh herbs. Mmm fragrant!
Miss Chaela Boo - Book Review: Kirstie's Christmas Crafts
  • Perfect Presents - lovely ideas for handmade Christmas gifts including bath creamers and a very smart upcycled coat for a dogalog. 
  • Edible Gifts - Limoncello!! Say no more. 
Miss Chaela Boo - Book Review: Kirstie's Christmas Crafts
  • Food and Drink - I wasn't expecting to find a food and drink section in a craft book and while the recipes do look scrummy they are entirely non-vegan apart from one of the cocktails. 
  • Children's Christmas Crafts - crafty fun stuff for the everyone. The glitter baubles are amazing!
Miss Chaela Boo - Book Review: Kirstie's Christmas Crafts
Overall there is a good mix of simple and straightforward craft ideas, like the classic golden pasta Christmas card, as well as more advanced techniques for experienced crafters such as making your own marbled wrapping papers. The book is a great guide to Christmas crafting and especially useful if you are hosting Christmas for the first time.  It's also a the kind of book that any craft lover would like to receive at Christmas; perfect for settling down with after a massive Christmas dinner.

I have a copy of Kirstie's book to give away to one lucky lucky reader. Use the handy widget below to submit your entries!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

***This is not a sponsored post. All images in this post are taken from the book Kirstie's Christmas Crafts***

Thursday, 28 November 2013

From Cambridge With Love

Miss Chaela Boo - From Cambridge With Love
Just a quick hello to let you all know that this Saturday I have a stall at the From Cambridge With Love craft fair where I'll be selling my growing range of hand-painted greeting cards. 

As well as the stall I'll also be running stencilling workshops which I am very excited (and a teeny bit nervous) about. Entry to the fair is £1 but the workshops are FREE. My workshops will take place at 12:00, 2:00 and 3:00 and you can book your place by emailing Participants will get to make two stencilled Christmas cards from a choice of designs.

Check out the From Cambridge With Love facebook page for details of other workshops and demonstrations.

If you are out and about in Cambridge on Saturday do stop by and say hello. 

From Cambridge With Love
Saturday 30 November
10:30am - 4:30pm
Cambridge Guildhall
Entry £1

Look forward to seeing you there!