September – A Month of Change!

Call the Midwife Blanket

September has been a huge month of change for us all here at Dottycraft! It’s certainly been busy. It’s been fun, and different, and exciting and a bit scary – but we’ve almost got through it!

Starting School

Little G has started in reception. This is perhaps the biggest change of all! She’s been so excited all Summer about going to “big school” and the day finally came! So with her new uniform on, shiny new shoes and a smile on her face, she trotted in to school for the first time! She was nervous of course, but had a great time and so far (nearly 4 weeks in) she is doing amazingly well! She’s been tired, and apprehensive, and we’ve had the odd complaint of tummy ache – but she has always overcome it, shown resilience and gone in without a tear and then told us the fun she has had.

It’s such a massive change – even though she spent a whole year full time at preschool, school itself is a very different ball game! So many children, so many new routines, a different environment, less adult supervision and just generally alot to take in at once. But I’m so proud of how she is doing, and I love to hear her stories at the end of the day.

We are still perfecting the art of a new morning routine, but so far we have managed to get out of the door and at the school gates on time.

A New Job

In amongst all of the fun of starting school, I also started a new job at the beginning of September! Going back full-time after nearly 5 years! It’s also taking a bit of getting used to, and I am missing being able to be so hands-on with Little G whilst she is transitioning to school. But it will be worth it for us as a family, and we will all cope. So far, I’m enjoying it, and it is a lot less stressful than my previous job. So although I am doing more hours, I am generally feeling more rested and more present when I am at home.

Of course both these things have meant I haven’t had much time to blog! But hopefully as we start to get into a new little routine, I’ll be able to post more. I’ve got some post ideas written down, so I just need to find the time and the motivation to sit and write them. I’d also like to start an instagram, but we’ll see… right now I don’t want to commit to too many things at once.

 

Crafting Update

When I can get a spare few minutes, I have been working on some little bits and pieces. Mainly crochet blankets. I absolutely love making them, even though I haven’t really got any ideas in mind of who they will be for. But I enjoy the often very repetitive patterns (which means I don’t have to focus on counting stitches quite so much). I also love watching them grow, and experimenting with colours.

Call The Midwife Blanket

Call the Midwife Blanket

I made this one a little while ago actually, but thought I would share it as I just love how it looks. It does take a bit more focus due to the nature of the pattern, but it is easy to follow, and once I got into my groove with this one I thoroughly enjoyed it. I also love how it works up with variegated yarns… and I’ve got some more stashed away to make some in different colourways. There are hardly any ends to sew in too, which is an added bonus!

For those that might not know, this is inspired by a blanket which is featured in the TV series “Call the Midwife”.

I used Knitcraft Baby Yarn for this blanket, and a 4mm hook. The pattern can be found over at Little Monkey’s Crochet.

 

Granny Square Blanket

GrannySquareΒ GrannySquare2

I started this one over the Summer, and after putting it down for a little bit, managed to finish it off a couple of weeks ago. I love the colours in this one, it reminds me of Neapolitan Ice Cream! I did have a bit of a blip in one corner though, so had to think of a way to cover it up. So I decided to crochet some heart motifs to sew on, and I think it works quite well. I’ve never really added motifs to blankets before – I quite like the effect though. It also works great to cover up any mistakes!

This one is made with Bonus DK and a 4mm hook – and is just a simple granny square continued until I reached the size I wanted.

 

Autumn Cosy Stripe

Wool Haul CosyStripe

My dad recently gave me some money to spend on myself. So of course, I spent some of it on yarn. I’ve been wanting to make another cosy stripe blanket for a while, and decided to try an Autumn colour scheme. I usually go for pastel or bright colours, so this is a little bit out of my comfort zone….

But I’m loving how it’s working up so far – this is one of my absolute favourite blanket patterns. The Cosy Stripe is such a simple pattern, yet so effective and can look so amazingly different in different colours. It’s totally worth having a good look around the brilliant patterns over at Attic24 – you will not be disappointed! πŸ™‚

I also used Lolly’s Lil Wool Shack for the first time – their wool is brilliant and such good value! For the autumn cosy stripe I am using the Armoni aran rolls range.

I’m working on this blanket whenever I can at the moment. Hopefully I’ll finish it up by the time the weather really changes! Although I don’t think that is too far away…

 

It really has been a busy September! But mostly in good ways! And I’m pleased to have been able to crack on with a bit of crafting in between all the busy-ness the last few weeks has brought. Now that the nights are drawing in, I’m sure I’ll get more cosy crafting time.

Love,

Sarah x

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A Week of Sunshine

Well, it has been a pretty busy week of sunshine for me! Lots going on, and a few changes in store. It has also been a beautiful sunny week – the perfect example of a Great British summer. I have had a chance to enjoy that in the garden with my favourite people!

Enjoying the Summer

 

Pink Sweet Williams

I’ve been waiting for these flowers to bloom in the garden for a while now; the gorgeous sunshine has finally encouraged them to blossom and I love the vibrant pink colours. They make the mornings look brighter and the evenings prettier.

I’ve made a real effort over the last week to keep my “proper” camera within easy reach. As I’m using a really old phone at the moment (due to a washing machine disaster at Christmas with my main phone) I know that my little old iPhone 4 isn’t really up to taking the best photos. I’ve got some super photos of my girl enjoying time in the garden in her paddling pool, as well as some garden photos, and even a blue sky photo, complete with aeroplanes… So in the midst of Winter, I can look back and remember the glorious weather we’ve had recently.

Blue Skies and Aeroplane

 

Crafts and Hobbies

I’ve also been able to do a little bit on my cross stitch project. The awesome Woodland Sampler from The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery has been sat on my stitching frame for far too long. On Monday, after an important appointment (more on that in a later post), I decided to sit in the garden and do a bit more on the sampler. I love TFPS projects; they are cute, colourful and really easy to follow. Mr and Little DottyCraft bought this pattern for my birthday. Once it is finished, I plan to have it framed for Georgie’s bedroom.

Garden Stitching

The fabric I’m using is from Chromatic Alchemy, and the colour is called Nimbus. I adore using hand dyed fabrics for my cross stitch projects. There are so many fantastic artisans creating the most amazing colours – it is a bit of an addiction in itself just collecting the pretty fabrics! Chromatic Alchemy is one of my favourites, and I highly recommend checking out the website if you want to ogle some beautiful fabrics.

Reading

You might also have noticed the book in the photograph too. I’m really trying to make an effort to read more, especially because our new shiny library opened last Summer and it is within easy walking distance, so I really have no excuse! I do find it hard to choose and stick with a book sometimes though… Am I hooked in the first chapter? I am not a huge fan of chick-lit books either, and the plot has to keep me really focused.

At the moment, I’m really enjoying historical fiction, and my current book is The Italian Wife by Kate Furnivall. I’m about a third through and I’m enjoying it a lot. I try to make sure to have it in my backpack for trips on the bus to and from work, as for me, that is the best time for me to fit reading a chapter or two in.

 

How I’ve Been Getting Organised

One of the reasons I decided to start a blog was because I needed to “switch off” from work and from the office. But in attempting to do that, I knew I would need to do something to really organise and focus my working days. This is so that I don’t feel guilty about not checking in with work related stuff on my days off.

I’ve been a fan of bullet journaling for a while, and made a start on my very first bullet journal earlier this year. Of course, with work, life, and my need to try and make it all pretty and perfect, I lost my way with it for a bit. But after seeing a post on a Facebook Group recently about how someone used their bullet journal for work, I decided it would be a great chance to get back into it, and use the bullet journal system for a very specific purpose.

I used it last week and am going to set up this week later on, and I plan to put a separate blog post up about how I’m using my bullet journal for work. So keep an eye out for that very soon πŸ™‚

I’ve also taken the plunge with my blog this weekend, and gone self-hosted. It’s still very new as I only went “live” this morning. I really want to share with you my experience and what I have done and learned in my self-hosting journey so far. Once I am a bit more familiar with things, and can put it into something meaningful, I will do a separate post.

Phew, I think that’s about it for now! Thanks for reading.

Sarah x

 

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5 of my favourite crochet gift ideas for teachers

 

 

Yesterday was Georgie’s last settling in session at reception, before she starts her “big school” journey in September. In just one month’s time, her preschool days will be over and another chapter will begin for us all. She has had the most amazing year at preschool, and has come on in leaps and bounds. The staff are absolutely fantastic, and it’s safe to say I will miss them myself when its time to move on. I started on a little quest to find some cute and easy to stitch up gift ideas, so that over the coming weeks I can make some little leaving gifts for the ladies who have given Georgie such a brilliant start, and built her confidence in so many areas. So, I thought I’d share my favourite five crochet gifts for teachers with you!

Kawaii Apple Keychain

I absolutely love Spin a YarnΒ  crochet’s cute amigurumi patterns, and this little apple keychain is so adorable! I also love how it is worked in flat rows, and in the awesome ragdoll style of some of the other patterns! It is quite a small pattern though, and does require stuffing and safety eyes – but is just so cute! πŸ™‚

Coffee Cup Cosies

These are a great bet for teachers, who always have a good mug – and with the number of reusable coffee cups going up, you can be sure a cup cosy will always make a great gift! There are plenty of crochet patterns for these cosies online, and a considerable number of free patterns. This one is one of my favourites – and I love the idea of using felties to stick on and make them even more adorable! You could also use pretty buttons or ribbons, if you can’t get hold of felties easily. I particularly love Sewrella’s pattern for these though, as it’s free and simple, and you can also print off the free cardboard insert to make it look really professional.

Crochet Flower Bookmark

These look so pretty and the pattern appears to be fairly simple – and fast to work up. Bookmarks make great teacher gifts – what teacher doesn’t have a book somewhere? I love these so much, I think I might even make one for myself! πŸ™‚ They are also a great way to try out cotton yarn – I’ve got a bit lying around so will give these a go.

Simple Crochet Coaster

When I was first learning to crochet, a coaster was one of the first designs I tried – it’s small, not too complicated and finishes up easily. These would make great teacher gifts, and are perfect if you are just beginning with crochet too! I also think these look absolutely fab in variegated yarns. Oh, and if you struggle to follow a written pattern, this video tutorial is the one I used to learn from so I can highly recommend!

Crochet Jar Jacket

I just love how colourful these are, and with an empty jam jar and some flowers you have a great teacher gift! Your little one could even pick the flowers to go in it πŸ™‚ OK, so there are a lot of colour changes and probably plenty of ends to sew in, but they look so bright and cheerful in the rainbow colours! Or, to avoid colour changes, you could try using a yarn cake or variegated yarn. And they can be used for allsorts of different teacher related things – if I was a teacher I’d love one of these on my desk!

I hope you find some of these ideas useful! I’m definitely going to try some of these – I just need to decide which one(s)! They would also make cute Christmas gifts for teachers or work colleagues too (not forgetting family and friends of course!)

Disclaimer: The items and links referred to in my post, are patterns that I have found and think are great! I have not received anything from the designers to promote these items.

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