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You can also see me on Instagram (as @sdcrafter) where I often post my craft pictures

Cards & Crochet

So, Ms SDCrafts, what have you for us today?

I have cards...

Permit me first to apologise for the following images. Sometimes being unwell affects every area of life, including, it seems, my photography. 

Nevertheless, this is a set of cards for men in which I experimented with ink backgrounds.

Seasoned crafters (that's not the same as 'old') will recognise these stamped images that have crossed over from wooden blocks to clear stamps. They are still listed at Art Stamps at Personal Impressions and have helped me out many-a-time.

For this project, I wanted to take a sheet of white silk card and make my own piece of artwork. It took shaving brushes and Ranger Tim Holtz Distressed Ink Pads to get me there. For the stamped images, I used toning Tsukineko Memento Ink Pads.
Despite the poor images, I hope you can see how much love and fun went into these cards. I am now convinced there's no cardmaking like inky, painty or sticky art!

This is possibly my most-used male-themed stamp. I have it as both large wooden block and much smaller clear stamp (used here). However, I am mindful that not all men drink and that, for some, bad memories lie at the bottom of a glass. So I make sure I know my target well.

I have crochet...

My followers on Instagram (private account - just ask) know that I have a new yarn lover. I can't tell you what joy there is in achieving a long-held ambition to crochet. I am chronicling my journey as #2015yearofcrochet so please join in.

Following on from the collar here, and the Kindle cover there, I'm now an official granny. Not in the familial/birthright sense, just the going around in hooky squares way.

I used a textured baby wool (Woolcraft Sweet Dream DK) for the white rounds and a fab self-striping yarn (James Brett Baby Marble DK) for the coloured rounds that look planned but are entirely random.

Flushed with the success of this post-operative recuperation project, I am now setting myself up for the next bout of boredom-busting yarn hooking.

For Christmas, son #2 gave me this book. It is gorgeous and includes many how-to, tips, facts and designs from contemporary crochet designers, such as Tracey Todhunter at Granny Cool.

There's a magic cupboard in my craft room (according to Mr SDC) where an ever-increasing yarn stash is growing. Every ball, even the liddle-iddy-bits, is destined for a planned project.

Like many online crafters, I am enjoying crochet in the same way I loved knitting before the superhighway connected us all. Before we took photos of everything we made. Before we could go to yarn stores online.

Remember when you 'laid balls of yarn by' at your local shop? I'd be up and down there as the child benefit came in, fuelling an addiction that clothed my sons and kept me sane.

To your right, see the planning stage for the cushion covers that will be made using the book.

All these yarns came from, an outlet I can recommend with no payback. However, for you there are great discounts to be found. Plus, your yarn will be placed in these scrummy chiffon bags. Little touches that mean alot...

I'll tell you about my selections and the patterns used once the project is well underway - it all comes together neatly, in the end.

Collaring Crochet

My Second Crochet Ta-Da Moment! 

This clever "Chunky Neck Wrap" sits inside the collar of your coat. It is cosy and very warm because it is made from pure wool (Rowan Big Wool, in Pantomime shade, from Love Knitting).
made using a pattern from
by Alison McNicol

I slightly adapted the finish of the item by folding a section over and then I secured it with a row of stitching using the same wool (like top stitching in sewing). By adding a hidden press stud (popper) with a decorative button - as suggested by Alison in her pattern - the wrap becomes a complete garment.

Other Crochet Plans

I am about to have surgery twice, about six weeks apart. So crochet will be my recovery pastime of choice. I've amassed a credible amount of gorgeous yarn to make new cushion covers for the lounge. We have a rather green room - seating and curtains AND rugs) so injecting some bright shades will make a difference. That they will be handmade covers will make even more impact - as long as they don't look shabby. My main challenge - apart from hooking, following a pattern and getting to the end - will be sewing in the ends without creating unnecessary bulk - any tips?

The book, Crochet (DorlingKindersley), I'll be using is so inviting, I'm reading it whenever I can!

Wrapping Up my Reader

No, I have not invented a virtual rag week whereby my readers are bundled off to a far-flung location...I have simply crocheted a cover for my e-reader

My First Crochet Ta-Da Moment

I have already Instagrammed this item so you may have seen it but I also want to record my crochet journey here.

In line with my pledge to learn crochet in 2015, I've been following Alison McNicol's excellent tuition book: How To Crochet: A Complete Guide for Absolute Beginners.

I'm not too fazed by the stitches as such, but holding my hook in the right-hand while controlling the yarn tension with my left...that IS indeed a challenge, not helped by Multiple Sclerosis. I have found my own way of doing things and, so far, so good.

My First Proper Project

My Kindle Paperwhite has needed a cover since my husband upgraded it for my Christmas present (he now has my "old" one so we are both digitally connected at bedtime).
made using a pattern from
by Alison McNicol

Using a luxury wool has given this the tactile appeal I didn't want to lose by covering my Kindle. I know I take the cover off when using it, but it is also nice to have a touchy-feely relationship when it is off-duty.

The wool is from the LanaGrossa McWool Pencil range. With browns, beiges and greens in a self-stripe, it was an ideal choice, bought from online shop, Love Knitting.

Behind...and Ahead

Yes, you read that right; I am behind with my papercraft blogging but beautifully ahead with my #2015yearofcrochet (as shared on Instagram).

Let's Round Off the Cardmaking News

At the beginning of January, I promised to show you a fifth Christmas card. It is small but was made and given to my husband with a huge heart - both his and mine.

 I can claim no design credit as this was a Little Claire Club Project using their Little Snowman stamp release.
It was fun to make but can you spot my deliberate mistake (not)? Yes, I should have stamped the snowman row up the other way on the tag that was to be inserted in the right-hand flap. As it was, the tag went in upside down giving the poor snowmen a headache.

There were secret messages written on each tag and, NO, I am not going to tell you what they were. However, the sentiment on the reverse of the card comes from the stamp set that I shall use again next Christmas by designing my own cards.

Being 60

I have one birthday card to reveal, made at the start of the year in which many of my contemporaries share a significant birthday. Oh to be sixteen again!

Using another Little Claire stamp set (Good Times), I created a man's card for a good friend. The technique of stamping the bottles twice and then covering the middle over, with the pocket watch, gives the impression of one long line of bottles. Of course, no one would get through that many at once...


I've always been a knitter - here's my latest make, for a baby due soon to a colleague in my husband's office. I have knitted many such ponchos over the years, starting with my own teaching colleagues' babies, then my own, followed by nieces. nephews and then friends' grandchildren, not yet my own... The pattern produces a garment that sees a child through at least its first year. It is so handy that, if I could bottle the usefulness, I'd make parenthood amazingly easy...

UPDATE: Baby Annabel Lucy arrive on March 17th, safely and happily to parents who could not wait to meet her.

And Now It's Crochet

Tomorrow, I'll show you what I've made so far...

Back Into 2015

Here we all are, eight days into 2015. How was it for you? Christmas, New Year, Winter Festivities, Holidays, the whole fandango that has now flown by, only to resurface in 357 days, less shopping days which makes it about a week free of worrying about gifts, glee and gluttony.

Back to Craft

I digress, for I am a craft blogger who last posted on 5th September, last year. I have my reasons for being more offline than on, not least the fact I've been making cards for family & friends, knitting, starting my #2015YearofCrochet and generally being a human being. I am facing up to two major surgeries in a month or so's time. So forgive me, please, for my lack of  blog focus.

Anyway, without further ado, here are the cards I've made recently. I won't be writing about them except to say they mark the pinnacle of my #2014YearofStamping. I am proud of my achievements even if they are not as high end as many craft bloggers are able to produce day in, day out. I salute you, dear crafty pals!

Unless stated otherwise, I've used Little Claire Designs stamps.

Special Birthdays

I am now in my nth decade in which n = three score. It follows that I have friends with whom I share this achievement. One was a boyfriend and the other is my former husband. Yes, I still make cards for them. It's called Being Civilised.

I love this owl stamp.

My second son celebrated his birthday, way back in mid-November.

One of my husband's grandsons was eighteen on the penultimate day of the year.

main stamped image by Art Stamps

And it was Christmas

I made just five cards. I was in and out of hospital and could only challenge myself to make the cards that really, really mattered. I do not feel proud of not making one for everyone but that is how it was. Must do better in 357 days, less a period of cardmaking concentration, which makes it about two weeks Crimbo craft free weeks.

spot the difference (it's in the words)

1, 2, 3, 4 ... where is Christmas 2014 card #5? 

It is in the next post, that's where. Oh yes it is ... mm, even the pantomime season will soon be over, leaving ... and that's too much Christmas maths for one day.