Saturday, 31 October 2015

Happy Halloween

Oh dear. I haven't been a very good blogger this year being offline more than ever. I should really try harder to come online and update my blog more frequently. Sorry about that if you are the one to be waiting for a new After Hours blog note.
So....It's time for a catch-up. As it's Halloween today and I've been in that nostalgic autumnal mood for candles, pumpkins, spices and all, I thought I'd show you what I've been working on for the past few days: a Halloween project from the Prairie Schooler called Trick or Treat:

It's been taking me long hours to work the cross stitches on this very fine linen but I'm loving all the fine details cross stitch and blackwork create as I'm slowly ploughing through the project. This is how the stitching progressed:
I started with a little witch girl going trick-or-treating...

Then I gave her 2 companions, a black kitty and an owl :)

It is getting more and more interesting as more characters are popping up on the canvas :) Finally I've stitched the spooky haunted house on a hill. It took me two days to stitch it but at last all the details are in and it does look grand as it is a significant part of the project. 

I'm really enjoying this project. One of the things I love about The Prairie Schooler designs is that many of them require only a few colours to stitch and yet they achieve such great detail and originality. There's a little designing genius behind these designs, don't you think?

More work progress soon! Tonight I'm going to work a bit on the background :)

Today I'm celebrating Halloween with a glass of cold cider on ice and some spooky treats. Hope you have had a good one! :)
HAPPY HALLOWEEN and thanks for visiting and leaving a word behind x x

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Christmas in July

Did you know that LEON Day (Noel spelt backwards) falls on 25th July - and marks the halfway point to Christmas? For some crafters it's time to start thinking about what hand-made stuff they want to make / sell for Christmas. So I decided to do some pre-Christmas planning and reviewing. As a multi-crafter I usually have a few projects on the go and mid-summer is the right time for me to think and plan what I would like to create for Christmas. Lots of projects like cross stitch or knitting stretch over time and require some planning and systematic work so I will have to keep up a good crafting to complete them by December.
This year my Christmas crafting will mean finishing some old projects and trying a couple of new ones. Perhaps you remember me knitting all 55 Scandinavian Christmas balls by Arne and Carlos. Well, this year I would like to knit some more and they are going to make an Advent calendar. There are 24 balls to knit. I'm going to embellish them with some ribbons, little bells and hand-stitched cross stitch tags with numbers so they look like a calendar. I've already knitted two advent calendar balls that need stuffing. 22 to go :)

Next on the agenda is this beautiful festive sampler I started last year. There's still much stitching to go ahead and I'm looking forward to finishing it. It's going to look splendid with all that sparkly silver thread. Stitching it on a dark background slows it a bit though but it's worth in the end.

And finally the 3rd project to finish off is "Nordic Holiday" from The Prairie Schooler. 4 tiles stitched,  another 5 to go :) I'm really loving these primitive folk motifs The Prairie Schooler treats us to every year. 

So much for the UFO's (reads: UnFinished Objects). Now onto the shopping bit :) As a part of preparation of Christmas crafting, I've treated myself to some new cross stitch patterns I spotted online. Looks like JBW Designs released some new Scandi-style patterns. I'm hoping to lay my hand on them too!

Oh, and of course I still have the two sets of cross stitch cards from the previous year to make. That's my Christmas cards 2015 sorted :)

And here are my new Prairie Schooler charts I've bought this month. They came all the way from the USA. I've fancied these charts for a while and I'm dying to start them. The Reindeer Roundup and the Sleepy Christmas Village will have to wait for their turn though...

... because I'm so in love with this pattern - Evergreen. This is the newest release from The Prairie Schooler. I loved it this instant and I rushed to the shops to get my own copy. I also managed to buy a nice piece of sage-coloured linen in preparation for the project. Really looking forward to starting this one! Excited! :D

Evergreen is a beautiful collection of 9 festive tiles, each different, yet all coordinated in style and colours. You also get two extra tiles to stitch separately as add-ons. The genius of The Prairie Schooler designs is that details are achieved just by simple cross stitches, minimal backstitch and with only few colours of stranded cotton. Perfect for me! :) Roll on Christmas!

If you also like to think about Christmas in the middle of a hot summer, do tell me about. I'd love to hear about you future festive plans and preparations. 
Cheerio x


Sunday, 31 May 2015

Folky Eggs

Hello  my dear blogger friends. Hope you all are doing ok :) Been busying myself recently with some knitting and crocheting. Wanted something folky for the house decor so I knitted these:

Five knitted eggs with floral a motif :) I used the knitting pattern from Arne & Carlos book Easter Knits.

Originally it meant to be only 3 of the eggs -a red, orange and a yellow one. But they are highly addictive and I ended up knitting a pink and a blue one too!

I used Norwegian yarn to make them: Heilo and Falk of Dalegarn. These yarns are always a pleasure to knit with as they are 100% natural wool and they are good for smooth knitting and ironing.

I'm very pleased with how they turned out. Particularly I love their whiteness and freshness. Lots of Scandinavian artefacts features bright colours, white being most of them. 

Good weather and sunshine put me in a playful mood with a camera :)

Eventually I attached the crochet chains to the eggs and now they are decorating my seasonal tree :)

In the meantime I'm having a go at my first fair isle knitting on flat needles. It feels so different to DPNs I'm so used to. I'm knitting a cosy for one of my gadgets.

It is slowly coming on! :)

Have a good and creative week. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a trace behind. Always pleasure to hear from you. Love x 

Monday, 27 April 2015


Tools of trade. We, crafters can't go without them and if they are somehow special to us, it makes the whole thing - crafting - even more pleasurable. Personally, I'm a real sucker for good quality craft tools. I'd rather have a few quality ones than a bunch of cheap and unreliable ones. It's not a secret that card makers have their own favourite papers, punches and stamps, crocheters have their own favourite crochet hooks and finally knitters have their own favourite yarn brands and knitting needles. I'm no different in this respect. Caspians from  - is a luxurious collection of knitting needles and crochet hooks I've been wishing for months. Finally an Amazon packet carrying two types of Caspian knitting needles made its way to my door :) I'm on cloud nine! 

Naturally when buying them I couldn't decide which set I wanted more. I'm using DPNs (double pointed needles) more at the moment but I've always wanted to have a go at circulars too. So I gave myself a real treat and bought both :) 

They are beautiful and I'm so excited to use them. They arrived nicely packaged in the clear pouches with the American and European sizing on it. 

A nice surprise was also the fact that Knitpicks give you six dpns in each size set rather than 5 like most producers do. Just in case if you lose or accidentally break one ... somehow but it is rather unlikely to happen. These laminated birch needles are so durable and with a a bit of TLC they will last you a long time.

The circulars look really intriguing with all these extras included. Everything is nicely colour coordinated. I will have to learn how to assemble and disassemble them. The shiny metalic elements give the Caspians a nice luxurious finish. 

This Caspian wood is so nicely polished, warm and pleasant to the touch. The yarn doesn't slip off it easily yet it slides along nicely as you knit.  Oh and the colours! Gorgeous aquatic hues, just as I love!
This is how Knit Picks describe their product :)

Oceanic waves of sea green, teal and marine ripple across Caspian - the newest addition to the Knit Picks Options family! Boasting the same strong and smooth layers of laminated birch that you know and love, Caspian shows off a sea-inspired colorway along with a distinctive emerald cord to complement its oceanic hues.

* * *

 The burnished surface of Caspian delivers just the right amount of grip to easily manage slippery yarns while warming quickly in your hands for hours of comfortable knitting.

In a nutshell - poetry! :)

So below here is my little private premier league of the knitting needles :) KnitPro Symfonie and KnitPro Karbonz and now the Knit Picks Caspians too :) I just love the knitting / crocheting experience with these quality products. KnitPros are very similar to KnitPicks, I'd say, a kind of European equivalent of Knit Picks in America. Their range is great so do check their websites for some lovely knitting tools.

I couldn't wait and switched to my new needles straight away :D Now the pink bunny is being knitted with Caspians. Doesn't he look a bit creepy with his head open like this? ;)

Alongside I'm also knitting a beige bunny. Sometimes I need a rest from sweet pink colours :) It's coming on slowly :)

For this spring season I'd also like to knit some new spring eggs and balls :) Patterns printed out and ready. These are always joy to make. I'm hooked on knitting these balls and thanks to who? Arne and Carlos from Norway.

And here is my latest bargain shopping from The Works :) I love all sorts of craft bibles and this quilting one is a particularly tempting one. I'm not ready for taking up quilting yet but it's my dream to be able to quilt and patchwork in the future and of course a good reference book will always come in handy. As for the second book - Mollie Makes series of books I just love to have :)

Have a good week folks :)
Greetings x x x


Sunday, 5 April 2015

Happy Easter

Celebrate this Easter with a heart filled with love and peace. 
Have a blessed and wonderful Easter!

As for me, I'm celebrating this joyous time in a folky style ;)

These wooden horses and the cart were brought to the UK from the Ethnic Museum of Countryside in Lublin. They keep reminding me of my country, Poland :) I thought they would make a nice folky display for my knitted eggs.

Hope you all have a great spring break. The weather here in North Wales is just perfect - sunshine, warmth, daffs and blossom. Gorgeous!

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Mishmash :)

Hello. A few things to blog about today. When the latest issue of Cross Stitch Card Shop came through with the post last month, there was a letter attached for its subscribers. Basically the publishers dropped a bombshell announcing that they are stopping publishing this magazine due to marketing difficulties. I'm gutted. I really am. I liked it. Entirely devoted to cross stitched cards and with a variety of motifs to choose from. One of its kind on the market and now taken away while other similar mags still sell alongside. I will miss this mag definitely.

However the magazine itself doesn't mention a word about closing off. What's more, there is even a preview of the next issue. I do hope I'll find it in my mailbox 'cause I really love those cute cards with pink and orange owls :) The attached letter says The World of Cross Stitching will be taking over the ideas and it will be sent out to those subscribers whose subscription of Cross Stitch Card Shop hasn't finished yet. 

While Cross Stitch Card Shop is soon disappearing from the Brititsh magazine market, a new magazine has turned up on the shelves - Total Crochet Amigurumi. This is a nice mag full of crochet projects in form of amigurumis. I managed to get hold of the two first issues. I especially love the crocheted bunnies and teddies featured on the cover. The overall style of the magazine differs a lot from the British ones and one can easily guess it is not a product from the UK. It must be American, Candian or perhaps Australian, not sure.

The nice thing about this magazine is the fact it doesn't feature any advertisements (yay!) as opposed to the British craft mags that are excessively padded with paid adverts and wasted pages, which really gets on my nerves sometimes. It contains written crochet instructions followed up by numerous photos which makes it easier to work through the projects. I hope it lasts on the market and we will draw many interesting ideas from it.

My dear boyfriend-o has recently treated me to some Easter craft goodies :) Bless him. Here is what I brought from Hobby Craft - some cute wooden block stamps and springy ribbons. 

I particularly love the ribbons. They are cute and I could adorn my knitted bunnies with them :)

Apart from the stamps and ribbons, a few balls of DMC Natura cotton made it into my shopping basket. The juicy green and the slate grey balls came from eBay though. 

I'm especially craving for something fresh and this juicy grassy green is particularly attracting my eye.

In the meantime I'm knitting a pink bunny :) Currently I'm working on its arms and head :) It's coming on! Bit by bit. I'm thinking of giving it to a little girl who adores everything sweet and pink :)

And here is what has happened recently to my cross stitch project - a disaster. I'm gutted as these were supposed to be the cards finished for February and now this major setback with the threads has cropped up. After washing the stitches in lukewarm water and drying them out on a towel, the red Anchor thread discoloured and left the pink stains. I am really mistrustful of this brand now. My fault, I should have pre-washed the Anchor cotton first. For comparison, I've never been let down by the DMC reds. 

There is no other way than to stitch the background over with a white thread and hope for an improvement. So it's DMC this time. No more Anchor for me please.

Well, I went even a bit further and experimented with a colour catcher. Nope. It didn't really help and it even altered the remaining colours. Will have to stitch this motif again. 

Well that my experimenting with washing the cross stitch done. I always wash my stitches no matter how small they are. Whether it is a motif stitched for a card or a large sampler. I just like to know it is fresh and clean. I just couldn't bear a thought is was stitched, touched many times and just left grubby. 
So, what do you do for your stitches? :) 

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Minty, the rabbit

I've been into knitting lots recently. Now that Easter is approaching I thought I could knit some bunnies. Perhaps you remember my first knitted rabbit. The pattern taken from Arne & Carlos book Easter Knits. Eggs, bunnies and chicks with a fabulous twist. Time I had a go at another Easter bunny :) Actually I started knitting this minty green rabbit months ago, I just couldn't finish it for a long time until one day I told myself: That's it! No more UFOs! No more leaving the unfinished stuff behind.
So here he is! Minty, the rabbit :) Finished and ready to be adopted by a soft toys loving kid :)

All I had to do is to help him out of his rabbity "deafness" and knit him a pair of ears as well as his jumper :)

I'm pleased. I think he came out quite well. The stitches are smooth, the yarn knitted well, the colour looks fresh.

Doesn't he look happy, this little soft fella? :) I'm also happy with this tiny cute stripey jumper :)

Minty has quickly found his companions - the rapping bear from Muller Rice and Monkey from PG Tips :) If you watch the British adverts you must surely know these advertising characters. 

They have even had their photos taken at a photographer's :D

Cool, huh? :)
Have a happy crafty weekend x x x