Easter Activities- Easter Egg Hunt

April 3, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The school term has ended for Easter I imagine that most parents and grandparents will be trying to think of activities that will keep their children happy and entertained during the Easter break.

For me Easter is a great time to get creative because there are so many things to make- Easter bonnets, handmade Easter baskets and decorated eggs. But my favourite Easter activity has always been a classic Easter Egg Hunt. I have fond memories of hunting for eggs as a child and it’s something which I’ve done with my own children and grandchildren during Easter time.

Easter Egg Hunt

Hold your own Easter Egg Hunt

What’s brilliant about an Easter Egg Hunts is that it can be as simple or difficult as you like, the entire family can get involved and it’s an activity which will be a guaranteed hit with children of all ages.

This year’s Easter hunt has been made extra easy to prepare as Cadbury’s have created an Easter Egg Trail Pack which is downloadable from Cadbury’s Easter Trail website. The pack includes bunny footprints which are prefect for leading younger children to hidden eggs, a selection of Easter themed clues which are good to use if you’ve got older children to entertain plus quizzes and jokes.

I’ve organised many Easter Egg Hunt in the past and would most certainly recommend using Cadbury’s Pack because it so convenient and really well put together. All you need to do is download and print out the pack then get onto the important task of hiding lots of chocolaty eggs around your house or garden.

Easter Egg Hunt for grandchildren

Invite friends and family around to the Easter Egg Hunt

Top Tip: I always use a selection of small, medium and finally a large prize egg in Easter Egg Hunts but note that most supermarkets currently have special offers on Easter treats so shop around.

Alternatively you could make your own Easter Hunt creatives – get children to colour in pictures of Easter Eggs, Bunnies and Chicks and think up some clues which could help lead them to the hidden eggs. This would be a nice way to pass an afternoon before the Easter festivities!

And don’t be put off by the prospect of miserable weather. Remember that Easter Egg Hunts can be held inside your house or in the garden so the wintery conditions shouldn’t spoil the fun!

Patchwork blankets for Battersea Dogs and Cats Home

March 22, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , ,

As I’m sure many of my regular readers will be aware I adore dogs and I’m also a huge fan of knitting. So when I read about a new appeal to get knitters knitting for homeless dogs at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home I couldn’t resist sharing it.

Battersea are looking for volunteers to make hand knitted blankets for pups who are living in foster care and to make it even easier Battersea’s Dogs and Cats Home has called upon the expert help of Lauren O’Farrell aka ‘Deadly Knit Shade’. A professional knitter and the founder of Whodunnknit, who has come up with a simple but beautiful patchwork pattern that anyone could knit (perfect for beginners).

Marcel the dog and his Purly Paw Print Patchwork Blanket

Marcel the dog and his Purly Paw Print Patchwork Blanket

The Purly Paw Print Patchwork Blanket is simple to follow with only knitting and purling required but what makes the blanket extra special is the paw print design integrated into each square. Battersea aren’t fussed about the colour of yarn which you use so I’m planning on something bright and playful to hopefully lift a dog’s spirit.

Once the blankets are complete Battersea Dogs and Cats Home will be putting them into doggie bags which also contain food, bedding and toys for pups that are going into foster care before they find a permanent home.

Battersea hope that the blankets will become a comfort to the dogs, many of whom have had difficult lives, and much like our special toys or quilts which we all possessed as children the blankets will become something that the dogs can cuddle and find comfort in wherever they maybe.

The Purly Paw Print Patchwork Blanket

The Purly Paw Print Patchwork Blanket photo by Lauren O'Farrell

I feel really inspired to start knitting especially because these blankets are going to such a worthy cause. Rescue dogs can generally feel very isolated so I’m sure that something as simple as a warm and comforting blanket will make them much happier and hopefully help them find a loving home.

Download The Purly Paw Print Patchwork Blanket pattern from www.battersea.org .

Creative Knitting- Yarnstorming

March 13, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

For years crafting has been seen as a hobby for ladies of a certain age but it would seem that knitting is finally becoming trendy. So much so that creative knitting groups are getting together across the country and their work is popping up in the most peculiar places.

Earlier this month residents of Saltburn, in North Yorkshire, woke up to find a 50 yard long Olympic themed scarf fixed to their local pier. It can only be described as an utterly spectacular scarf featuring hand-knitted woolly figures of athletes who will be taking part in the London 2012 Olympics– swimmers, runners, gymnasts and weightlifters.

Saltburn Olympic knitted scarf

Olympic Scarf in North Yorkshire

What makes the scarf so magnificent is that its creator(s) remain completely anonymous. Nobody knows who painstakingly knitted the masterpiece or why. And this notion of mysterious crafty work isn’t unique to the Olympic scarf knitter in North Yorkshire.

As “yarnstorming” aka knitting something and secretly leaving it for passers-by to enjoy is becoming more and more popular. An exclusive knitting group in London called “Knit the City” have been yarnstorming since 2006 and have created some of the most creative knitting I’ve ever seen.

Knitted olympic athletes

Knitted athletes - Olympics 2012

Knit the City’s work includes everything from telephone box cosies, hand-knitted characters and randomly placed knitted graffiti which has appeared across London landmarks such as Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden and London Bridge. Their work also made an impromptu appearance in Tate Britain during a 2011 exhibition for those lucky enough to catch a glimpse.

Knit the city telephone box

Knit the City- Telephone Box cosy in Parliament Square

I’ve spent years knitting and have created everything from baby clothes, tea cosies, scarfs and even teddy bears, many of which I’ve passed on to the charity Teddies for Tragedies. But I’ve never seen such a creative and fun approach to knitting. Yarnstorming adds a great sense of excitement which I’ve not seen before and it’s definitely giving knitting, and crafting in general, a new lease of life.

So I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for more yarnstorming in the future and fingers crossed we’ll find out who these secret knitters really are. I’m so intrigued to find out how they produce pieces in such secrecy.

Winter Warmers – The best ways to stay warm this winter!

January 31, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , ,

After a period of mild weather I’m sure that many of you will have noticed the sudden drop in temperature this week. As its still January it’s important to remember that it is in fact still winter so we should be prepared for cold spells. This week it’s predicted to be particularly chilly and the Met Office has issued a serve cold weather warming which runs right until Friday morning.

As the Met Office set out precautions it’s important to do the same, insuring maximum personal safety and wellbeing. I know that for many older and elderly people getting out of the house can be difficult in the winter so call on the help of friends and family to bring around essentials.

drinking tea

Whilst at home ensure you’re as warm as possible by layering clothing, I find that wearing thinly layers garments  such as a vest with one or two thin t-shirts on top and then a cardigan is much more effective than one large jumper, the thin layers trap in body heat keeping you warmer for longer. I’d suggest the same for night ware too.  Change an hour or so before you’re planning to get into bed this way you’ll already be snug and warm. 

So how else can you beat the cold? Alongside drinking plenty of warm drinks and ensuring that windows and doors are closed a tip taken from last night’s SuperScrimpers: Waste Not Want Not was to put your heating on constant but turn the thermostat down. This way warm heat will always be circulating the house but won’t build a huge bill. If you feel a chill during the evening pop the fire on for an hour or so. Easy!

draught_excluders

Get creative- make draught excluders

For anyone who is crafty like me why not make a draught excluder (there are plenty on the high street if you’d prefer to buy one). The beauty about making your own is they are easy and quick to make, plus it give you something fun to do for an afternoon, and you can choose any design which you like. I’d suggest following this ‘How to…’ guide from The Guardian.

Despite all of these wonderful ways to stay warm my favourite thing to do during the winter months is to eat fabulous comfort foods all which are hearty and full of goodness.  Winter warmers like soups, stews, homemade pies and one pot casseroles are all perfect to make for winter as they can be made in advance and frozen for convenience.

My favourite winter pick me up is good old fashioned Shepherd’s pie, which may sound a little old hat but it’s a fantastic winter recipe. Not only is it easy to prepare, filling and full of healthy veggies it’s also incredibly cheap. I like a sprinkle of cheese on top and a good helping of gravy!

 

Kirstie’s Homemade Christmas

December 12, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , ,

I’ve previously blogged about Kirstie Allsopp’s craft show ‘Kirstie’s Handmade Britain’ as it’s a TV programme which I truly enjoy watching. Incorporating a variety of different crafts techniques Kirstie brilliant showcases how rewarding crafts making can be.

A real triumph with creative viewers it came as no surprise that Kirstie created a Christmas special- ‘Kirstie’s Homemade Christmas’– a three part series which indulges in lots of different creations, all wonderfully Christmassy and homemade.

Unsurprisingly I’ve really enjoyed watching the Christmas craft extravaganza. It’s the perfect reminder that creating a little time to make something special for Christmas can be so rewarding. I find that we often get so caught up in the mayhem of Christmas we forget the good old days of making mince pies and getting the kids to create a decoration for the Christmas tree.

Kirsties homemade Christmas

In the series, Kirstie aka the Queen of Crafts, worked on a relentless list of crafts which are very impressive. Tackling everything from decorating Christmas Cakes, creating your own lino cut greeting cards, easy to make and kid friendly salt dough decorations, unforgettable homemade snow globes, a feast of edible Christmas goodies and a few things which are a little more extravagant cue giant candles, leather bound books and glass blown baubles.

However, as I deem Kirstie’s attempts as glorious others haven’t been so generous. Critics have sighted Kirstie’s Christmas crafts as ‘virtually impossible’. A recent article in The Guardian titled ‘Kirstie’s homemade Christmas: do not try this at home?’ dismisses the festive crafts because it’s so close to Christmas.

Second to that Sally Bercow the wife of the Commons Speaker took to twitter last week to voice her disapproval of Kirstie’s crafts. Tweeting: ‘Who’s got that much time on their hands’.

Garland

Of course time is most certainly of the essence at this time of year but I think that’s a poor excuse to be so negative. I’d prefer to think of the crafts as inspiration. If I don’t get time to make them before Christmas I’d use the idea at another time.

After all it’s not the end of the world if you don’t get time to make a lino cut Christmas card. Instead show off your skills later in the year but creating one for a friend’s birthday or made a bundle and use them as party invitations. Your options are endless as these crafts are so transferable.

So if like me you’re a big craft fan Kirstie Allsopp has create a range of books to accompany her handmade crafty series including Kirstie’s Homemade Britain and Craft– available online now.

Watch Kirstie’s Homemade Britain on Channel 4 OD now – click for link.

Knitted Olympic Stars by Carol Meldrum

November 23, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , ,

I was just checking out The Guardian Online and came across an adorable feature, which is perfect for any craft lovers who are particularly looking forward to the Olympics.

Renowned quirky knitter Carol Meldrum has created a series of knitted icons, which illustrates Olympics stars throughout the years.

Mark Spitz Knitted

Seb Coe and Steve Ovett

In here ‘Knitlympics’ collection, Carol has created knitted dolls of Seb Coe and Steve Ovett, high jumper Richard Fosbury, sprinters Florence Griffith-Joyner and Usain Bolt, swimmer Mark Spitz and 70’s gymnast Ogla Korbut to name a few.

The Olympic collection now sits alongside Carol’s portfolio of celebrity dolls after she has previously recreated celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, The Queen and The Beatles.

Carol Meldrum’s creations are great fun to look at and wonderful inspiration if you’re an avid knitter!

Olga Korbut knitted

Usain Bolt Knitted

Annette’s Websites of the Week 31st October- 4th November 2011

November 4, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

 Annette's websites of the week

www.lovepork.co.ukThe website hosting National Sausage Week is a dedicated online community for foodies who enjoy great quality pork produce.

In the midst of Sausage Week the site is heavily focused around great British bangers featuring an endless variety of recipes, which display the diversity that sausages have in cooking. Like most, I instantly think of creating bangers and mash, sausage sandwiches or toad in the hole.

However, Love Pork has come up with some really exciting recipes from an Asian inspired sausage salad to sausage Paella creating a whole new take on sausages.

Further to its great recipe collection Love Pork genuinely knows lots about pork and how to make it a wonderful ingredient, which is delicious to eat and a healthy option. Featuring video tutorials, the site uses experts to tell you all about they’re take on pork, what they use it for and even how to make sausages from scratch.

prime cut

Learn more about pork and how best to cook it!

Most impressively ‘The Prime Cuts’, an interactive display featured on the site illustrates each cut of pork and which part of the pig it comes from. Detailing the best ways to cook and prepare specific cuts with videos. This is particularly insightful, especially if you’re looking to explore different (maybe more affordable) cuts of meat.

For more information on National Sausage Week including Noddy Holder’s sausage tour of Britain visit www.lovepork.co.uk

 

Kirstie’s Handmade Britain- Yesterday I wrote about Kirstie Allsopp’s new TV show ‘Kirstie’s Handmade Britain’ which explores the world of craft making- an instant favourite of mine.

kirstie_allsoppAired on Channel 4 the show also has its own dedicated webpage on Channel 4’s website where visitors can revisit episodes and watch on demand. Further the webpage features all crafts, techniques and methods which Kirstie uses in the programme.

As a craft lover I’ve really enjoyed looking through the site as most impressively its features video tutorials and step by step guides on each craft. Perfect if you’ve seen something on the show which you’d quite like to have a go at, at home.

Additionally including recipes from Kirstie’s baking episode which is always a sure hit with me. The site also lists craft exhibitions, fairs and country shows here in the UK where people can enter their work into shows, and has a great selection of craft courses to inspire crafty people like myself to go and learn something new!

Overall a really great site to get lots of inspiration from, at least until the next episode!

Country Life- Recently Country Life, the publication which encompasses rural live, has joined the campaign to save Sealyham Terriers from excitation.

COuntry LifeAs an animal lover I feel strongly about ensuring that Sealyhams remain a breed which can bring pleasure and joy to families and this is why I’m happy that Country Life has chosen to celebrate Sealyhams with a front cover story and feature both in print and online.

Although I do read the magazine I hadn’t visited Country Life’s online counterpart until this week. I have to say that it’s a lovely site featuring all of the things which you’d expect- luxurious country properties which are exquisite, property news, country news, gardening tips, books reviews, fine arts, culture and delicious wholesome recipes.

A great alternative to the magazine- I’ll be returning for an easy read every so often.

Kirstie’s Handmade Britain – Craft show

November 3, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , ,

As an avid patchwork quilter I was delighted to see that TV presenter and craft lover Kirstie Allsopp has a new television series on Channel 4.

‘Kirstie’s Handmade Britain’ explores the world of crafts from sewing, quilting, flowers arranging, paper crafts and even willow weaving. The series watches Kirstie immerge herself into a whole host of new and exciting craft techniques before entering fiercely competitive craft shows and fairs.

In each episode Kirstie faces new craft challenges ranging from making show worthy scones to prize winning needlework. Cleverly avoiding the classic ‘here’s the one we made earlier’ cliché the episodes document Kirstie’s creation from start to finish, capturing the ups and downs which Kirstie encounters along the way.

In the latest episode, which saw Kirstie create a cushion from scratch, premier quilter Jo Colwill was on hand to give Kirstie a few hints and tips in the right direction, which I definitely made note of.

cushion

Kirstie is undeniably passionate about crafting and incredibly creative. She won the Great Yorkshire Show’s winning cushion and the ultimate triumph of ‘Best in Show’ for her Yorkshire inspired creation. Utilising needlework techniques such as machine embroidery, quilting, patchwork and applique Kirstie showed that there is room for lots of techniques- offering inspiration to learn something new.

The show wonderfully demonstrates the many ways which we can become more creative. Whilst still highlighting the great amount of time and effort which goes into making a quality piece of craftwork- a pleasure to watch, one which I would definitely recommend.

Watch the series on Channel 4 OD here.

School holiday activities with Grandchildren- Staying at home

July 15, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Staying at home during school holidays can sometimes be greeted with grumbles from children who want to get out and about. However, a day at home can be as much fun, and is generally a much more affordable way to keep children entertained.

So today I’m sharing my top tips on what to do when you decide on having a day at home with your grandchildren. I try to keep these activities for raining days or when going out and about seems a little grim.  Hope you enjoy!

Staying at home:

Cooking & baking-

A traditional holiday treat for me was baking delicious cakes. Lucky for us it’s still guaranteed to be enjoyed by all children. I like to bake cupcakes and let the children decorate theirs with quirky decorations. It’s a really exciting way to spend an afternoon, sat waiting for the oven to ping decorating to begin!

Once you’ve baked enough cakes why not try making your own pizzas. This is really, really great fun especially for children who are a little older. Make your own dough or if easier buy pizza bases from a supermarket. Get creative by adding a mixture of all your favourite toppings!

school holiday activities staying at home

Crafts-

Holding a craft day is good fun with grandchildren and for me extremely worthwhile. I enjoy patchwork quilting and give my quilts to family and friends as special gifts. So teaching my grandchildren all about patchwork quilting is really rewarding as a grandparent, as we can spend time doing something enjoyable together.

There are lots of different crafts, something which everyone will enjoy- do some research on the internet for inspiration if you like. I think it’s a good idea to keep a crafts box in the house for any unexpected visits so I stock up on creative bits and bobs when possible.

summer holidays crafts and blogging

Scrapbook/Photo blog

Making a scrapbook is a great way to document school holidays. Add photos, entry tickets, posters and leaflets from anywhere you have visited during the break. Decorate with glitter, paints, chalks and anything else from your craft box. Scrapbooks are great fun to make and even better to look back on in a few years’ time.

Alternatively, you could create a school holiday blog to document your fun days out, baking, crafts making etc… Get the children to write a little piece about their favourite part of the day/week and add photos and links accordingly.  This might be a little ambiguous for smaller children but having a digital copy is a good option if you want to share it with other family member and friends.

Knitting for Kindness

January 18, 2011 at 10:20 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , ,

When I came into the Bath-Knight office this week and someone mentioned a new passion for craft making I just knew I had to write a blog. In actual fact, Lyndsay who works in our Marketing department is attempting to learn a new craft ever month this year.

What a wonderful challenge I thought to myself before I proceeded to ask what crafts she would be hurling herself into. When she said that January would bring knitting I was pleased and after realising that she was a complete novice I was overjoyed.

Today I came into work armed with my trusty knitting needles ready to show her the ropes and realised how sociable and charitable crafts can be.

I love to knit and it is something which I enjoying doing with my Mother. It is a simple craft that can end in garments such as scarfs, cardigans, cushions, quilts, blankets. But the most wonderful things that I have ever created by knitting are teddy bears. Yes, teddy bears, a small hand crafted teddy bear which is made with lots of love.

My Mother and I stumbled upon a fantastic charity, Teddies for Tragedies, an organisation which sends knitted teddy bears to disadvantaged children all over the world. The teddy bears are a small gift that can become a special, meaningful possession for children who have sometimes lost everything. 

To contribute you simply knit a teddy bear, so far my Mother and I have knitted 8 bears following the patterns available on the Teddies for Tragedies website. From there Teddies for Tragedies has a handful of charities which they work with to ensure that the cuddle toys go to children who need them.

The idea of cheering children up with such gifts came after the odd cuddly toy was packed into a medical emergency aid box, when medical staff handed out the toys along with essential medical care to countries in great need the teddy bears brought a great sense of joy and most importantly allowed children to smile!

Closer to home a local charity called Ray of Hope takes in hand crafted knit wear, anything from baby clothes, shawls, soft toys and other crafted items like cards. However, all have to have a baby theme ready for the babies which are being taken care of on the Maternity and Neonatal wards at the Leighton Hospital in Crewe.

Many of the babies here are premature so small sizes are appreciated, the charity prides itself  on having such a brilliant sense of community and are always looking for new knitters to contribute.

I can’t stress how easy it is to get involved. It is a great feeling to spend time knitting something which is not only adorable but going to a grateful home, whether that is here in a local maternity unit or thousands of miles away where a knitted bear is one of a child’s very few or sadly even their only toy.

With some luck and lots of practice Lyndsay will be posting her first knitted teddy to a very welcoming home! If you would like to be involved follow the links.

Teddies for Tragedies:http://bit.ly/kIhZJ

Ray of  Hope:http://bbc.in/dGIadC

Ray of  Hope Patterns:http://bbc.in/eavduY

Blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.