About Me

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United Kingdom
Hi there & welcome to Annie's Place. A place inspired by and named after my late Grandmother Annie. Somewhere I can be creative, and share my love for all things handmade. I like nothing better than sitting with hook & yarn, crafting something home spun & completely unique, or rustling up some yummy baked goodies. I live in a town with a beautiful embankment, situated on the River Great Ouse. You may know me as CosyKitty on Ravelry. Why not stop a while.....?!!

Tuesday 27 November 2012

The little things....

Isn't it funny how sometimes the smallest things can make you deliriously happy? Take for instance, the lovely MemeRose blogged recently about the new book 'granny chic' being available in the UK at 'The Works' for the  princely sum of £5.99, so at the earliest available opportunity I hotfooted it down to my local branch for my very own copy.  Whilst there I spied a few other little bargains too, which pleased me no end. I ended up with £60 worth of books for less than £20!!  I really do love a bargain, which is no secret to my friends and family. After all, times are tough and we could all do with saving a few pennies here & there, right? So you can imagine my glee when MemeRose kindly gave the heads up on where to buy this lovely new book for a steal.

Now, I think it only fair to offer up my 'steal of the week', so all you lovely people can take advantage if you so desire?!! 

So here it is......... 

The WI's Vintage Teatime. It only cost £2.99. Yes, you read that right, £2.99. It's worth that just for the gorgeous cover, if you ask me! Inside you'll find lots of lovely recipes from savoury teatime treats to biscuits & bakes , in addition to yummy pictures to salivate over. Why not grab yourself a copy?!! 

You can tell I'm easily pleased can't you? :)

It's the simple pleasures that give me the greatest satisfaction.  

Like playing with piles of colourful crochet........

Like the smell of freshly baked muffins, 
straight from the oven.....

Like collecting a stack of pretty cupcake cases.....

Like drinking tea from your favourite mug.....

What 'little things' make you happy????  x x x x

Thursday 22 November 2012

Puffs and Clusters

Afternoon everyone! Halfway through the week again already, and edging ever nearer to Christmas.  I haven't even started shopping yet, I expect it'll be a mad dash last minute, as usual.  Anyway, I hope you've all had a good week so far? I've had fun experimenting with new stitches this week.  Trying to push myself to attempt more difficult patterns.  Let's just say it's been an eventful learning experience.  You can't beat a good ole fashioned traditional granny square, super quick to work, and easy too, but I thought it about time I moved out of my comfort zone.  So, armed with a small selection of my lovely new cotton, I got to work.

Most of my work up until now has consisted of simple treble crochet stitches, working in rows or in the round.  I've absolutely loved working my Granny Stripe by the wonderful Lucy at Attic24.  I love the simplicity of it's pattern.  I've spent many evenings  recently cosied up, hooking back and forth, back and forth.  Row upon row of colourful treble crochet.  A really great project for the colder months.  Any excuse to climb under it, I'm there :) 

However, I think it's time to start exploring the array of other crochet stitches that are available.  Half trebles, double trebles, clusters, shells, bobbles, popcorns & puffs. So many lovely combinations to try. Do you want a sneaky peek at what I've been working on?

Some of you may recognise this as the Sunburst Granny Square by Priscilla Hewitt. I followed a link via Ravelry to the free pattern, and decided to just follow the first 4 rounds, translated to UK terms. 

I found it a little difficult at first, especially the puff stitches, but I think that's due to the fact that I was using a small 3.5mm hook and quite a fine yarn.  After a few attempts though, I think I got the hang of it.

I've added a more detailed view so you can better see the stitch definition. 

Stitch Detail
There was no planning involved, I just picked colours from a similar palette for each block, and slip stitched them together. I think it could be the start of a new patchwork project , hmmm let's see?! 

Back soon x x x

Monday 19 November 2012

Nature's palette

It was back in the autumn of 2010 that I picked up a hook and began crocheting for the first time, and I have to say I've never looked back. I knew I wanted a creative outlet, and crochet seemed like the ideal craft. Whilst out walking amongst the trees with my father yesterday, drinking in the wonderful colours of the season, it reminded me of that first foray into the crafting world two autumns ago, and the fledgling steps I took to begin on my crocheting journey. 

I remember thinking 'where do I start?'. All I knew was I needed a hook and some yarn, but what size hook? and what sort of yarn? I didn't have the first clue! So I trotted off to John Lewis in search of the essential items.  I knew as soon as I walked into the haberdashery department, and was greeted with a wall of yarn in every colour of the rainbow, that this was the place for me!  I got so excited browsing the neatly packed little cubbyholes, but the choice was overwhelming! 

Should I go for acrylic, cotton, wool, what? In the end I plumped for some Debbie Bliss Cotton DK in autumnal shades, befitting for the time of year, and a 4mm hook. I'd ordered a couple of books from Amazon, both by Jan Eaton 200 crochet blocks for blankets, throws and afghans, and The encyclopedia of crochet techniques, which had already arrived, and I'd spent many evenings watching YouTube tutorials for tips.  Little did I realise though at the time, but I was watching US tutorials which meant I was learning stitches in US terms and not UK.  Not a huge deal if you're a seasoned crocheter, but for a beginner it was a big boo boo to make. I'm sure there are a few people out there nodding their heads as they read this?

Still, I persevered and took baby steps.  Each day practising chain stitches, and initially working 'in the round' into a foundation ring using treble crochet.  Oh my, was it hard work? Hard work is an understatement! I really got frustrated those first few weeks, and although helpful, the books were of little use to me as a complete novice.  They may as well have been written in another language, I just didn't understand.  

I'm glad I didn't give up on that first project though, as I have a rather lovely cushion to show for all the hard work. Every stitch painstakingly worked, counting as I went.  Little colourful circles, all framed in cream.

It's far from perfect, and definitely has a homespun look to it. But all the little imperfections are a reminder of just how far I've come in those two years. It really does get easier, and in no time at all you're working stitches without thinking anymore, and patterns you once thought were far too difficult to attempt become easier to interpret.

I definitely think the time of year can subliminally dictate the colours we choose for our projects.  I'm sure many of you are reaching for the reds and greens now that we're heading into the festive season?! I always keep a stash of seasonal crafty bits & bobs handy, as well as the obligatory gift bags to package up those wonderful hand-crafted goodies.

So for anyone reading this that thinks it's too hard a task to try crocheting, STOP! Go pick up some cheap yarn, whatever takes your fancy, and a hook and have a go! x x x

Thursday 15 November 2012

Diffused light

Mjonas Tealight Holders

I want to start this post by thanking each and every person who has taken a few moments out of their day to visit me here at Annie's Place. Your presence here is appreciated, and it pleases me no end to know you have enjoyed my first few posts! x x 

I spoke briefly in my previous post about my love of Autumn, and how I feel right at home during those months when the days are shorter, and there's an opportunity to hunker down, take shelter and settle in your own space.  I love home, I love the simple things.  As a crafter though, it's not the ideal time of year as you really do need plenty of natural light in order to create effectively.  I'm sure all you yarn crafters will agree, it's difficult crocheting or choosing colours for your projects when light is limited. So I try and cram in as much hooky time when the light's good, and if I do work in the evening I sit right under my standing lamp.

The rest of the time however, I generally prefer candle-light.  The sun normally sets at around 4pm here in the east of England, so out come the tealight holders, and on go the string lights.  It's another one of those simple things that can instantly change the atmosphere of a room.  Whether it's white light or coloured light, no matter, it creates an ambience that is warm and relaxed.  One of my favourite online retailers for lights is Blaze On, I've bought romantic roses for myself and rainbow lanterns for both my sister and my mum, and because they're LED, they last years and are safe to use.  I really would like some colourful ambient balls next, maybe Santa will oblige ;)
Romantic Rose LED Lights
These lights are so versatile, you can wrap them around your bed frame, drape them across a fire place (see pic in side bar), hang them vertically down a bookcase or along a window ledge. Whatever you decide it's sure to create the right mood.  

As far as tealight holders go, I think the Mjonas tealight holders from Ikea are great.  I managed to pick up a few when they were discounted to £1.99 each.  I do love a bargain :)  I decided to take just 3 home with me, pink, green & blue.  The diffused light they produce is wonderful....
Mjonas Tealight Holders

Tuesday 13 November 2012

Gift wrap obsession

What a grey day it's turned out to be, after starting out so promisingly!  There was blue sky & sunshine until a few hours ago, but now it's dark.  Ah well, no better excuse to close the curtains, shut out the world and snuggle up cosy and warm inside. I have to say I LOVE the autumn months, a chance to hibernate, a chance to enjoy plenty of hearty home cooked meals and stodgy puddings, without worrying about the calories, the trees shedding their leaves and changing to every hue of red & gold. Being able to wear lots of layers, (to hide the aforementioned calories), and get reacquainted with your favourite scarf or hat.  Or in my case, one of many!

So, I have a little confession to make.  I think I'm getting slightly obsessed with pretty gift wrap.  I don't think I need to seek professional help just yet, but it's definitely something that could develop if I'm not careful :) No seriously, there's so many talented designers out there, creating the most fantastic artwork for manufacturers of wrapping paper, it's really hard for me to resist buying a sheet each and every time I pop into town.  One of my favourite's has to be Paper Salad, their collections are fab, Fab, FAB! I've taken a few photographs of the gift wrap I've purchased to show you the fantastic detail in their designs. 
Paper Salad by Glick

Paper Salad by Glick

Paper Salad by Glick

Paper Salad by Glick

I bought my first few sheets from my local Art Centre,  but I'm pleased to see Clintons are now stocking selected paper and gift bags too! They deserve a wider audience.  Who wouldn't be tempted?  

I've also purchased some of Deva Designs paper.  Again, as I was browsing at the art centre, the temptation proved too great.  I just had to take a sheet. Just look at the lovely detail, giving the illusion of appliqued fabric.  
Deva Designs

Deva Designs
Last but not least I want to mention Soul UK, who are another design/publisher of wonderful, greeting cards, wrap and stationary.  

I love the fact that for less than a couple of pounds you can buy something that has been so thoughtfully created, and can be utilised in so many different ways.  Especially if you're a crafty type! It's far too lovely to just wrap presents with, if you ask me.  I'd happily frame some of it, and hang it on my wall, or use it to decoupage. The possibilities are endless.........

For now at least, I think I'll just keep collecting!

Friday 9 November 2012

Yarn, glorious yarn

Way back in January I started a Granny Square blanket, in an effort to use up some scraps of yarn that were sitting idle at the bottom of my basket.  It started off in a similar vein to the 'Blanket Statement' by Lucy O'Regan, and for those that know me on Ravelry and Flickr, I did post up a couple of pics at the time.  One of which you can see below:

Well, it wasn't too long before I ran out  of the gorgeous cotton I was using, and couldn't justify the expense of purchasing more, so into hibernation it went.  I had some lovely feedback about it, some saying 'you must get more yarn', to which I had to reply 'when funds will allow'.  Time has flown by and other projects have taken precedence, but finally I decided to save up all my pennies and buy some more. If you're anything like me, the mere thought of buying yummy new yarn sends you into a frenzy.  The anticipation of the postie arriving at the door, holding what looks like a boring brown box, only you know that beyond that brown cardboard and packing tape lies a kaleidoscope of colourful goodies, just waiting to be made into something wonderful.  

Today was that day, look....!

Isn't it a wonderful sight? All packaged nice & neatly in plastic resealable bags. I couldn't wait to to get my hands on them!! So there was nothing else for it, I tipped them straight onto my bed in a big pile, for a good ole rummage. 

48 balls in total, from white to black, and everything in between. A proper pick me up. I'm sure you all agree that colour does something to the psyche? I get such a high from working with yarn, especially brights. They just give me a boost, especially these Autumn days, when light is at a premium. Shall we take a closer look?

I have so many ideas for this yarn, I can't wait to get started! It may not wait till tomorrow at this rate.......x

Thursday 8 November 2012

Kirstie's Vintage Home

Well here it is, my very first blog post.  Please bear with me whilst I navigate this new world.  I am super excited about the return of Kirstie Allsopp to our screens tonight, in her 3rd offering for Channel4, a 'Vintage Home'.  I'm sure it will be the usual feast for the eyes, and will leave me with a 'to do' list as long as my arm. Her previous 'Handmade Britain' and 'Homemade Home' series really got my creative juices flowing.  It's sure to be an hour well spent, being immersed in all things vintage, collecting ideas & inspiration, so I think I'll make a date with the sofa and a nice cuppa at 8 o'clock.......who's joining me?
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