Wednesday, 12 August 2009


That's what I am, people, I'm busy! Nicely, enjoyably busy though. Ok, well the cleaning and hoovering I was doing first thing this morning (parents staying for a few days, arrival imminent!) was not at the top of the list but the rest...

I thought I'd block my crochet granny squares, part of the never-ending granny blanket saga. I'm putting 7 squares per horizontal row so each time I've completed 7, I am blocking them and crocheting them into the blanket, that way I won't be left with all the sewing up at the end (other than the vertical rows) and quite honestly, it starts to resemble something vaguely blankety. That's the plan anyway. Of course, Vorey had a better plan.

So I thought I'd make flanelette sleepy owls instead. Maybe not.

I'm not sure what is up with the furry friends at the moment, they're very attention seeking and these two make a beeline for the den. Yes, they're here now. Are you getting fed up with pictures of kittys in the den? Sorry, but I love my kittys and I love my den! (Josie-Mary, yes, Charlie-Boy is gigantic, hence his nickname is "lion"!)

I thought I'd clear off to the kitchen as I picked up my candle making supplies yesterday so I was raring to go. So it was out with all the carefully collected, pretty teacups, much faffing, much ooohing and aaahing as I remembered each one anew. After a spot of internet research, I find it's best to warm the container to 30 degrees before pouring the wax. So glad to have found another use for my warming drawer (a business expense?)!

This is my prettiest, favouritest cup (it has a saucer but that was packed away at the time of the "spur of the moment" photo, sorry about that). It is by Paragon and has a very old-looking backstamp, stating "By appointment to The Queen and HM Queen Mary". I think that makes it pretty old? I love this one and parted with more cash than I normally would for a teacup (even a teacup and saucer duo!) This one will be staying put with me. As the wax burns, more of the pretty pattern inside the teacup will become visible until the grand ta-dah moment!

Going pretty well. Rose fragrance this time.

I made the first batch yesterday. I decided I also rather liked this teacup. It has a few little nicks to the top edge but I otherwise thought the pattern very pretty and refined. So, this one is burning for quality control purposes!

Ding dong! Is that the doorbell I hear, interrupting my candle making? Ah, but it is a package from that kind Mr Amazon!

Golly, how ridiculously cute is this, the very aptly named "Super-Cute Crochet" by Nicki Trench. Can't wait to get it open and look inside...

Oooh, it does not disappoint. Whether or not I'm adept enough to make any of these, I could drool over the photos for ages, they're beautifully styled. Well done Nicki Trench, this is a truly fabby book indeed.

The book is arranged into chapters by little families.

Exotic animals...

Oooh, so cute!

Down on the Farm...

I am in love with pickle the puppy. I can even have fun deciding on the fabric for his neckerchief!

Oh, but I love these too. That crochet hook is going to be busy (hopefully).

Each little creature comes with their own life story. Awww...

Onto the new "Sew Sunny Homestyle" book. I have a few of Tone Finnegar's other books. They are undeniably seriously gorgeous eye candy but I have found a few times that as these books are translated from Finnish, something does tend to get lost along the way. I attempted to make some slippers and they were soooo small (and the book didn't say they were for an elf) and I made a bag, the instructions for which had the air in the den rather proverbially blue. Rather like the Japanese book though, now I have done a fair share of sewing, I can usually muddle my way through and the pictures are certainly inspirational.

The book has two main themes, "In the Countryside" and "By the Sea". Each chapter revolves around decorating a different area; the bathroom, a seaside cottage, the kitchen, the sewing room and so on. Before each set of projects, there are a couple of stunning pictures of very inspirational interiors.

Garden Companions...

The Summer Party...

Sweet Dreams...

Some things, I can't really see myself making. A cow with wings? The angels/dolls are not personally my thing either. But ah, I have been wanting to make a round, gathered cushion for a while. Now I won't need to work out all the details for myself.

I can also see these little wall pockets coming in handy...

The Sewing Room (bird house sewing kit)...

I'll add them to the "den library" and let you know how I get on when I attempt to make something...

(Golly looks a bit drunk up there!)

Finally, gosh, I virtually forgot this bit. Might I show you my first dahlia flower, on one of the two plants I bought from the delicious garden of Sarah Raven at Perch Hill. Every bit as nice as I thought it would be. The other plant I only managed to plant up yesterday so that one still needs to flower (no pressure, plant no. 2!)

Cheerio for now...


  1. Looks like you are having a busy time, I love your cup candles and that round cushion is gorgeous I'm sure you will be making one, I'll wait with anticipation. Funnily enough I having been looking at patterns today for crocheted animals.Enjoy your visit.

  2. Hi Hen,

    I love seeing pictures of your kitties in the den - it makes me dream about my much wanted craft room and kittens!

    Poor Chris, he works very hard and we so want to buy a place and make it ours but it is just having to wait another 6 months or so!

    You are very clever making those pretty candles :-) I would very much like to give it a go, but I wouldn't know where to start!

    I am sure you are more than capable of the crochet animals... I have that book and have made the cute cat so far. To be honest it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be!

    I have also ordered the Sunny Homestyle book but am still waiting on my copy... Very exciting to have a sneaky peek at the inside of yours!

    Rose XXX

  3. How cheeky the cats are!
    Love em!

    those books are fab1
    Love the wall pockets!
    How cute they are!xxx

  4. I was a bit dissappointed with my Sew Sunny book, there were far too many versions of that wretched angel doll!
    Beautifully styled though x

  5. I think Vorey and Charlie-boy want to learn to crochet!!!!
    They certainly look very interested, lol!!!
    The candles look very pretty, what a great idea.
    Love the crochet animals, they all look so cute, I'd have trouble deciding which to crochet first!!, although my crochet skills certainly wouldn't enable me to make those yet, I'm still mastering granny squares!!!
    What a lovely colour your dahlia is, such a soft pink, bet you're pleased with it!!
    Have a lovely time with your visitors.
    Linda O xx

  6. I think you have a lot of the same books as me! I recognize those spines. I am glad that you find some of the Tone Finnanger books unclear - I also found some of the instructions slightly mystifying, but put it down to a pedestrian tone of mind! I will be warned about the slippers, too.

    Pomona x

  7. Poor Hen,how busy,I don't envy you! Lots of activities..what about some baking?!
    If had some precious cups like yours I would be very jealous...

  8. Hi Hen,
    thanks for the book reviews. I nearly bought the Sew Suny Homestyle one from Amazon but now looking at your post don't think it's my thing, The other is perfect though, will be on to Mr Amazon straight away.
    I dream of having a den like yours, no wonder the kitty's like to go in there!

  9. Hi Hen, what a busy first few weeks of the summer holidays you’ve had. Your crotchet blanket is coming along beautifully. Did you crotchet the little pen holders next to the blanket? They are very sweet. The tea cup candles are gorgeous and a very clever idea. Speaking of tea don’t forget to put your feet up with a cuppa and peruse your lovely new books – all work and no play…..

  10. Hello Hen
    Firstly, I love the cat photos, keep them coming! We have 2 cats also, and they are always wanting to get in on the act whether it is sewing, laptop, clearing out drawers, etc.
    I've got the Sew Sunny Homestyle book too, and like you, some of the other Tone Finnanger books. I love this new one, albeit with the broken English. But I think it is probably the most beautiful, visually, of her books so far.
    Happy days to you
    Denise x

  11. Oh, everythings's looking good! I can't wait to see if you manage those little crochet animals, as they are truly too cute! Have fun...

  12. Everything looks lovely hen...I enjoyed watching the tea cup candles being made on kirties prog...(i think your look nicer!) I am having real probs uloading pictures any advice?

  13. Golly Hen, how industrious you have been - RESPECT!
    Must comment on the crochet blanket, I am lusting after it! really lovely colours. I bought a few teacup candles from a local craft fair and I gave them all as presies to girlfriends but I think yours are probably even nicer as they are infused with rose.
    cant wait to see your crochet kitties and doggins!
    Love Sarah x

  14. I've got that crochet book! It is wonderful isn't it.

    I love your craft room/den. I look forward to the day when I can have one as well.

    So much easier than having to clear up everytime you get something out to start working on.

  15. Wow! I love that cup and with a saucer too! I the HM Queen the back stamp is referring to is the late Quen Mother.
    I love the cushions is there a pattern?

  16. My only query about those candles is - how do you get the melted way out afterwards to use it as a teacup again? Is there some clever trick?! xxx

  17. You can never have enough photo's of your kittys in the den. Charlie-boy is my favourite... I love him!!
    haha I remember your slippers ...still make me chuckle! My crochet slippers were the same.
    No more book reviews please, I can't buy any more books :(
    Looking forward to coming to London tomorrow for CK shopping, picnic then the zoo!!! Hope it stays dry :) x

  18. I've seen the sewing book on quite a few blogs now and I think I would love a good read and to admire the picture but I'm always too scared to sew anything complicated!

    I absolutely love the colours you're using in your crocheted blanket, it must be lovely to have one you've made yourself.

    Mel xxx

  19. Congrats on the dahlia,it's gorgeous, and so perfect, but guard it with your life, those bloomin snails like their beauty too! Hen you're like a whirlwind, all the things you do, despite cuddly cats doing their best to stop you in your tracks.The tea cup candles are real little beauties, and beautiful when they're lit, must be magical in the evenings.
    Your crochet blanket is scruptious.
    Gosh your energy is exhausting, and so impressive!!!
    Love Vanessa xxx (do you mind if i knit)

  20. Thank you so much Hen for letting us have a peek in your new books. I too have been meaning to make a circular cushion cover. I feel very inspired, we'll have to compare notes :)

  21. I have been umming and aahing about the Tone Finnager book for quite some time. After seeing it, I may well buy it for myself.

  22. I like the round gathered cushion, it looks very cosy and well worth making.

  23. Hi Hen,

    I have a candle lesson at MAKE lounge next month so I will have the perfect excuse to buy lots of pretty teacups very soon!!!

    I love the Tone books too, I have a couple but haven't been brave enough to make anything from them yet!

    Victoria xx

  24. I think now I wil order that book from tone finnanger; I was hesitating as I have one and many projects seemed to be similar but that one looks great again!
    PS funny how often you can see sleepy cats sleeping on quilting-blogs... cheers from ultra-rainy ireland eliane

  25. Thanks for sharing your slipper story from the Tone book. The exact same thing happened to me last winter. They were just TI-NY! Cute, but far too small for me, even though I used the adult pattern.

    ps - I am now following you!


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