Knitting for beginners lesson one: a stocking and moss stitch tea cosy

Fancy learning a new skill in 2015? Or in the mood to pick up a new craft? Look no further… today I am more than a little bit excited to be sharing with you the start of a five part series – in collaboration with LoveKnitting – knitting for beginners

Dreamed up last year, we want to help knitters who are perhaps just starting out and have picked up the basic stitches, but aren’t sure where to go next. It can be an easy trap for a beginner to fall into, but over the next five weeks I’ll be sharing a selection of tutorials to help develop your knitting skills, teach you new ones and boost your knitting confidence.


Knitting for beginners - stocking stitch & moss stitch tea cosey - This Little Space of Mine


I’ve been knitting for over three years now and I understand how tricky it can be to know where to turn next, once you’ve learnt the basics. I got stuck doing knit and purl for ages, but there are so many other stitches and techniques out there that, with a little time, you can master and will help you create some ace projects.

So first up, we have a tea cosy. Spruce up your afternoon tea with this super chunky tea cosy; it’s the perfect pattern for those who have mastered the basics. I love the fact that it’s made using 8mm knitting needles and Rowan Big Wool – you’ll be able to see it grow and finish it in no time (I made mine in just an evening).



Knitting for beginners - stocking stitch & moss stitch tea cosey - This Little Space of Mine



What you’ll learn from lesson one of knitting for beginners:
  • Using chunky yarn
  • Using ‘big’ (8mm) knitting needles
  • Moving on from knit and purl stitches
  • Working with stocking and moss stitch
You’ll need:

Head on over to LoveKnitting now for my full tutorial – including a step by step guide and lots of photos!



Knitting for beginners - stocking stitch & moss stitch tea cosey - This Little Space of Mine



Happy knitting! Don’t forget to come back next week for the second knitting for beginners tutorial – designed to teach you how to change colours and shape your knitting! If you need any help or have any questions drop me a comment below or email me – let me know how you’re getting on.

If you’re new to my blog today – welcome! It’s lovely to have you here! Pop over to my about page to find out more about me and my blog, say hello via Twitter or give me a follow on Bloglovin’ and never miss a post.


Knitting for beginners - stocking stitch & moss stitch tea cosey - This Little Space of Mine


Happy knitting!


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What Christmas means to me – Kate from Beak Up Crafts

The 23rd December and my final Christmas traditions post – I hope you’ve enjoyed this series, do pop over to read mine, Katie’s, Michelle’s and Lisa’s post if you fancy boosting your festive mood.

Today’s post is from Kate at Beak Up Crafts. In the following chat Kate talks about her first Christmas as a married couple, remembering the real reason for Christmas and how much she loves Love Actually. Thanks Kate!


What’s your favourite Christmas tradition?

That’s a tough one are there are so many lovely things surrounding Christmas. I love the whole thing, from shopping for presents, wrapping them up and putting them under the tree, decking the house out in glitter and sparkle and spending time with friends and family. We never tend to get a real tree but I love going to get new decorations as well as making
a few. My husband’s Christmas day always starts with him eating a chocolate orange in bed while we open our presents – I think that’s a great way to start the day!


What Christmas means to me - This Little Space of Mine


Do you have any special memories of Christmas as a child that have stayed with you into adulthood?

I went to a Church of England school and I think it’s nice to remember the real reason behind Christmas. I always used to love the carol services in church and making Christingles. It was always such a lovely time growing up and I used to be so excited to wake up on Christmas day and find my stocking filled with gifts at the end of my bed. I wish it still had that special kind of magic now but it definitely changes as you get older to a time where you appreciate what you have rather than getting so excited about a particular toy.

Do you plan to make gifts for loved ones at Christmas? Or, how do you go about buying gifts?

This year I did my first ever Christmas craft fair where I sold crochet hats and iPad cases among other things and I spent so long making things for that I didn’t have that much time to make things for loved ones. That sounds awful doesn’t it, but in a way I think they were kind of relieved not to be given any of them as they were cluttering up the house for months! Instead I bought gifts from the very same fair as I’m a big believer of supporting small creative businesses and buying handmade products. They always seem to have so much more thought to them and have more attention to detail which I love.


What Christmas means to me - This Little Space of Mine


What is Christmas 2014 looking like for you? Any exciting plans?

This Christmas is the first Wayne and I are going to spend together as a married couple which I’m really looking forward to. On Christmas Eve we are going to Rudding Park hotel, where we got married, for a lovely meal followed by carols in the chapel and I can’t wait! On Christmas Day we will open our presents first thing then head over to Wayne’s mum and dad’s for a relaxing day and a big buffet.

What’s a typical Christmas dinner setting like for you? Do you go all out traditional with turkey and Christmas pud, or add in your own family favourites?

Christmas dinner is definitely very traditional with all of the trimmings, although I am a big fan of a turkey and ham combo with lots of stuffing. Christmas pudding seems to be very much a like or loathe it kind of dessert but I can’t get enough of it, covered in lots of hot and creamy custard. Crackers and terrible paper hats which always rip as soon as I put them on are a must as is a Christmas jumper. This year I’m going to be wearing a bright red one with a friendly penguin.

And finally, what’s your all-time favourite Christmas movie?

This is a tough one as I am a big fan of Christmas films but I have to say Love Actually. It’s such a feelgood film and (spoiler alert) the bit where Colin Firth’s character proposes always makes me cry even though I know it’s coming! I tend to watch this film while I’m wrapping presents (which is a bit of a tradition for me) so I have to make sure I step away from the wrapping paper and ribbon when that scene is coming up to avoid any tear-stained gifts! I’m such a loser!


Thanks Kate – it’s been lovely to have you here.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas! I hope you all enjoy Thursday.


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Five thoughts Sunday – 21st December

Christmas shopping done, presents wrapped, tree up – ah Christmas time! No matter how much we prepare, it’s always so busy. I’m working right up until Christmas Eve and have a whole heap of things I must get done!


Five thoughts Sunday - This Little Space of Mine


What are you up to today? We’re off to have Christmas day with my Dad and his girlfriend – love a little early celebration with the family. Yesterday we were in Winchester with friends; great to explore the market and have lunch with good friends.

So, five thoughts Sunday – plus a few extra links – here goes…

  1. Ali, Stu and I have just finished series five of Buffy the Vampire Slayer; my favourite TV show as a teenager, I’ve got to share with you this then and now stash of photos from TV shows way back when. Any other Buffy fans out there? It’s still so good!
  2. I’ve got a real craving for cinnamon rolls at the moment and this recipe from Cellardoor magazine looks scrummy.
  3. Did you watch Strictly Come Dancing this year? So happy to see Caroline Flack win last night; this was my favourite of her routines.
  4. In the last few months of this year I’ve really got back into reading; it’s such an enjoyable thing to do after a long hard day at work. If you fancy some new reads for next year The Guardian’s 10 best books of 2014 might interest you.
  5. This guinea pig road made me smile a lot this week.

As it’s Christmas day next week I thought I’d share with you four quick festive DIYs I’ve seen on my travels in blog land. You might be in camp “How would I have time to craft, I’m working up until Christmas eve?” (like me) or in team “Ahhh the Christmas break, I have all the time in the world!” (like 2013 me), so if you’re in the latter team… light a Christmas candle, rock those PJ bottoms, chuck on a Christmas film and keep yourself busy with one (or all!) of the following –

Next week I have my final Christmas memories post to share with you and then I’ll take a few days out to enjoy the festive period. I’ll be planning lots of new content and practicing my photography over the next couple of weeks, so watch this space!

This week I shared two last-minute Christmas craft DIYs – a snowflake pom pom display and a no-sew Christmas wreath, and I pulled together my first shopping post.

What are you up to today? Last minute Christmas shopping or chilling out and enjoying the season?

Leanne x

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Photo credit: DTTSP

DIY – the no-sew Christmas wreath

If I can get away with crafting an easy project, I’m all for it. I don’t have heaps of time but I want to be creative, so this no-sew Christmas wreath was right up my street.

Featured on The Homemakery blog last year and made by my blogger pal Claire from Claireabellemakes, I like the fact it can be made in under an hour, lets you play with Christmas fabrics and gives you something to hang proudly in the home.


No sew Christmas wreath - This Little Space of Mine



No sew Christmas wreath - This Little Space of Mine



No sew Christmas wreath - This Little Space of Mine


For this make I used three fat quarters, with fabric bought from The Knitting and Stitching Show back in October. I’m sad to say I can’t remember the stall name, but The Homemakery have a great selection of festive fabrics. The polystyrene wreath and pins were from HobbyCraft.

So pleased with how it looks! The only annoying thing about this project is having to press the edges – but that’s only because it means ironing each piece and I’m impatient.


No sew Christmas wreath - This Little Space of Mine


Not long until Christmas now! If you are looking for a quick craft in the run up to next week, I think you’ll like this. For the full tutorial please visit The Homemakery’s blog.


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What Christmas means to me – Lisa from Mathilde Heart Maneche

My third ‘What Christmas means to me’ post comes from Lisa from Mathilde Heart Maneche. I met Lisa at Blogtacular in May 2014 and I’m delighted to have her here today sharing her Christmas memories, including her eclectic tree, pistachio fudge (err, yum!) and roller skates!

Lisa runs positive living lifestyle blog Mathilde Heart Maneche – pop over today for a read.

A big thank you to Lisa! If you’d like to have a read on other Christmas memories you can read mineKatie’s here, or Michelle’s at the links underlined. The last one arrives next Tuesday and I hope you’ll join me then.


What’s your favourite Christmas tradition?

Choosing a new decoration for the tree. I’ve done this from a young age, and now it’s one of my favourite traditions in the run up to the big day. Last year we picked up a wooden winter scene decoration from the Manchester Christmas Markets but this year we went crazy and bought a glitter bird for the top of our tree from Fortnum and Mason in London. I love that one year it might be a second-hand gem and the next a luxurious treat – our tree is eclectic!


What Christmas means to me - This Little Space of Mine


Do you have any special memories of Christmas as a child that have stayed with you into adulthood?

I have so many fond, fond memories of Christmas. I had 2 sisters and a brother to celebrate it with so it was always full of laughter, music and a few tantrums. But my special memories were always of Christmas Day morning. I was always the first to wake up (youngest) and I have lovely memories of walking into the lounge and seeing the room transformed overnight – absolute magic. It was my job to sort gifts into piles, then I’d pour myself a drink and sit quietly watching cartoons until everyone came downstairs. It was lovely watching lights pop on from the neighbours houses throughout the street. I did this until I was about 18 years old!

Do you plan to make gifts for loved ones at Christmas? Or, how do you go about buying gifts?

This changes from year to year dependent on time. This year, we’ve had a lot of changes going on; new house, new jobs and a few family woes which means I’m happy to sit back a little this year and buy gifts. I tend to buy from independent makers and from the high street (my mum and dad want a Game of Thrones DVD again this year!). Handmade wise, I’m making Christmas cards and will make some batches of Pistachio Fudge (another Christmas tradition) to take to house parties.


What Christmas means to me - This Little Space of Mine


What is Christmas 2014 looking like for you? Any exciting plans?

I’m hoping for peace and quiet. We have a lot to reflect on this year.  We’ll be spending Christmas morning at home, just the two of us, then heading to my sister’s for a late Christmas lunch and further festivities. The rest of Christmas will be spent reading, walking, watching films and hopefully rolling around on roller skates (no.1 on my Christmas wishlist!).

What’s a typical Christmas dinner setting like for you? Do you go all out traditional with turkey and Christmas pud, or add in your own family favourites?

We’ve only hosted Christmas once at home and it was very traditional; turkey, roast potatoes, veg and trimmings. This year, we’re with family again so my only dinner setting will be the Christmas morning breakfast – Bucks Fizz and Eggs Benedict! Mmm.


What Christmas means to me - This Little Space of Mine


And finally, what’s your all-time favourite Christmas movie?

Oh my. This is difficult. I love Bill Murray in Scrooged or films that have a Christmassy feel like Sleepless In Seattle. But, It’s A Wonderful Life gets me everytime. We play it every Christmas Eve at the cinema I work in, and I even have a huge framed poster of it in the living room. The film sums up Christmas (and life) for me perfectly and James Stewart is a dream…hot dog!


Thanks Lisa! Do pop over to Lisa’s blog if you fancy a mooch around – she has some super positive posts to cheer you up.

Join me next Tuesday as I share with you my final blogger Christmas stories. Don’t forget to share your festive memories and traditions below.


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DIY – snowflake pom pom window display


Pom pom snowflake garland - This Little Space of Mine


Today I’m kicking off a bumper crafting week, with two festive tutorials coming your way this week. Thursday sees the use of fabric, but today focuses on pom poms – and who doesn’t love pom poms? Make them while you watch TV, wait for dinner to cook, laze around the house, take the train to work etc. The options are endless! So, let’s make a snowflake pom pom garland to display in your house this December.

You’ll need:
  • 100g ball of white yarn – pom poms guzzle more yarn then you’ll realise!
  • Clover pom pom makers (I used three variations – so you’ll need the small and large pack)
  • Scissors
  • Yarn needle
  • Drawing pins
  • A tape measure
How to make a snowflake pom pom display:
  1.  First you’re going to need to measure the height of your window frame – top to bottom. Mine measured 95cm and I added a further 5cm to be on the safe side. Cut as many lines as you’d like to hang – I opted for four.
  2. Create a loop at the beginning of each line – this is what will wrap around the drawing pin or hooks you use to hang up your display.
  3. Now make one pom pom and see how it lines up. This is the best way of deciding how many you need. With a 4-5cm gap between each pom pom I calculated that I’d need 36 pom poms in total – 9 per row. I then proceeded to make 12 of each size.
  4. Once they’re all made, thread one of the long pieces yarn onto your yarn needle and sew on 9 of your pom poms. To keep it interesting, mix up the ordering. Repeat this for as many lines you have.
  5. Now you’re ready to hang them up! Put in place as many drawing pins/hooks as you have lines into the top of the window frame and then wrap the loop you created earlier around each pin/hook.
  6. At this point you may opt to move some pom poms up or down; these will easily slide along the piece of yarn.



Pom pom snowflake garland - This Little Space of Mine



And voila! One easy Christmas decoration ready to show off in your home. Surprisingly my housemates loved it (I never know with some of my ideas!), and I’m looking forward to the kids along our road spotting the display. I was really pleased with how it turned out and I know you’re going to love it too.

With just over a week to go to Christmas, sit back with a Christmas film and make some pom poms – the perfect TV craft.

Finally, I’ve mentioned before that I’m learning more about photography and I’ve got to say this is probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever taken snaps of. There was glaring light, reflections etc. all making it difficult. I think I managed to make a good job of it, but crickey it was tough! Any tips of how I might approach this next time would be ace.



Pom pom snowflake garland - This Little Space of Mine



 


Snowflake pom pom window display


See you back here on Thursday for my second festive craft!


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Let’s go shopping – Comfort at home


Let's go shopping - Comfort at home - This Little Space of Mine


From top left: Book | Bubble bath | Slipper boots | Yankee candle | Dressing gown | Socks | Hot water bottle | Blanket

My first shopping collection post – eek! What do you think? A lot harder to put together than I thought, but I loved browsing online and finding pieces that I really like. This is in no way a sponsored post, I just thought it’d be a fun thing to share.

Ah winter, probably my favourite time of year. I always think I like summer, but really I just love snuggling up at home in comfy clothes, with a good book/TV show, a blanket and candles lit. Lovely stuff.

I’ve always been a huge fan of Yankee Candles and the fresh rose petals sounds lovely – team that up with some luxurious Molton Brown bubble bath and I reckon you’re on to a winner. If you’re looking for the best PJ’s and dressing gowns in town, for me it’s always been about M&S. Amy Poehler’s book is already on my Christmas list, as are the slipper boots and you can never have enough socks – what do you reckon?


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Five thoughts Sunday – 14th December

How are you? I’m in the middle of a long weekend with a day off tomorrow to enjoy, before the final stint at work for the year. Today we’re off to our annual Christmas lunch with friends; as traditions go, I love this one because it’s very rare that we all get together.


Five thoughts Sunday - This Little Space of Mine


This week I had a tough third Pilates class, had a spa break with my best friends, popped up to Nottingham again and finished series one of House of Cards – it’s really stepped up a notch!

So, five thoughts Sunday – here we go…

  1. I am loving Blogtacular’s first ebook – which “tells you everything you won’t read in your camera’s manual about leaving auto behind”. I’m planning to practice my photography on my day off tomorrow so I’m sure this is going to be useful.
  2. For puzzle fans out there, how much fun does this look? Probably quite annoying but I quite fancy the challenge!
  3. I find this group of women so inspiring and so brave. Coincidentally my friends and I were talking this week about balancing happiness with salary and how it can be done.
  4. Fans of Serial may want to have a watch of this video, talking about the Whitmans (who featured in episode nine). A desperately sad story.
  5. I know I’m a little behind, and haven’t been watching X Factor much this series (I’m a Strictly fan), but how much did Fleur East kick ass last weekend? She looked like a professional! Surely she’s this year’s winner?

Next week I have four posts to share with you; more than usual, but I really enjoyed putting them together. I have my third blogger pal sharing her Christmas memories, two Christmas craft projects for you (very easy and very quick!) and I’ll be sharing with you my first shopping themed post – made up of items I love.

Blogged this week: my first impulsive commentary post – about the backlash Zoe Sugg has faced recently. There was also my top tips for starting a new blog and our love for Fudge Kitchen.

What are you up to today?

Leanne x

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Photo credit: DTTSP

5 things I have learnt from starting a blog

…or, 5 things I learned from closing my first blog and starting all over again!


5 things I learnt from starting a new blog - This Little Space of Mine


Starting a new blog can be an impulsive decision or something you spend hours and hours planning. I tend to swing on the planning side of things, but regards of how you approach it I wanted to offer five tips for starting a blog – while they’re fresh in my mind.

I’ve been blogging since I started working in online marketing five years ago, ran Knit Me A Cake for two years up until September 2014 and launched This Little Space of Mine in November 2014, but I’m still learning. Blogging is a constantly evolving process so whether you’re a new or pro blogger I hope you’ll find something useful here.

  1. It doesn’t matter how much planning you do, there will always be a last minute rush when you launch

    I had two months to plan, plan, plan and yet when it came to launching This Little Space of Mine there was still a lot to do – some things I could have prepared, others I couldn’t. For example, updating your social media profiles with the link to your blog, setting up a Bloglovin’ profile, scheduling tweets. Do as much as you can before launch.

  2. It’s a continuous process, so be on the lookout for things you’re unhappy with

    Now is the best time to fix those things that niggle you. When I launched this blog for some reason comments were off; thankfully a reader let me know via Twitter, but I was so annoyed that happened. I was also unhappy with how images were being pinned, so I fixed that. Be on the lookout at every step of the way, but don’t obsess.

  3. Give yourself the time you need aka don’t rush sending out a newsletter!

    The key thing I regret from launching my blog was rushing the newsletter. I’d created a ‘coming soon’ data capture form, shared it and gained a few people who wanted to be the first to know about it. So what did I do? Put together the newsletter just as I published the first post. The design didn’t match the blog, I definitely should’ve included more links to the site and it looked very plain and unloved. Not the biggest disaster in the world, but looking back it wasn’t cool. So take your time to get the key elements right.

  4. Traffic doesn’t come immediately

    I launched my blog, thought yay I’m happy with it and checked Google Analytics. There was nothing, well, maybe one or two visits (most likely from me or my friends). There’s no such thing as an overnight success in blogging, so don’t obsess about the metrics and instead focus on making your blog something you’re proud of.

  5. You’ll get nowhere if you don’t talk to people

    Blogging is a community and there’s no way you’re going to succeed (in my opinion) if you don’t talk to fellow bloggers, tell them if you like a post, comment on posts, follow them on Twitter etc. The more you talk, the more inspired you’ll be and the more likely you are to be able to build a long standing audience. I count myself very lucky that some readers from my previous blog have transferred over to This Little Space of Mine – it was never a given.

Do you have any tips you’d offer for starting a new blog? We all approach blogging differently, but one thing I love is how much the blogging community shares with each other (hence tip number 5).

If you’re looking for more blog inspiration, I’ve set up a marketing tips Pinterest board that has lots of useful advice. I’d also recommend joining in with Blogtacular’s weekly chat on Twitter – every Wednesday at 9pm, just follow the #blogtacular hashtag. If you’d like to chat more about blogging or marketing in general drop me an email – I’d love to hear from you.


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What Christmas means to me – Michelle from MyCreative

Today’s ‘What Christmas means to me’ chat comes from Michelle at MyCreative. Michelle is a very talented photographer and I often find inspiration and photography tips over on her blog. Michelle’s festive chat includes getting creative with presents, Christmas in South Africa and her typical Christmas dinner…

Thank you Michelle! If you’d like to have a read on other Christmas memories you can read mine here and Katie’s here.


What’s your favourite Christmas tradition?

We don’t really have one (shocker). I just like the whole feel of Christmas and spending time with family. Tim and I have pondered having a tradition of buying a Christmas jumper each year but that might get a bit out of hand. I mean how many Christmas jumpers do you need?

Do you have any special memories of Christmas as a child that have stayed with you into adulthood?

I think just spending time with family. My uncles playing music on their guitars (they now have a band in their 50s!). Food coma. All those sort of things.



What Christmas means to me - This Little Space of Mine



Do you plan to make gifts for loved ones at Christmas? Or, how do you go about buying gifts?

We often set a budget of £10 to buy gifts. It means that you have to get a bit creative and often end up making something. I am not sure if we are going to stick to that again this year though. I am a bit behind on Christmas planning.

What is Christmas 2014 looking like for you? Any exciting plans?

This year we are heading back to South Africa as we haven’t spent Christmas with my (now) husband’s family since we have been together (over 10 years). We’ll also be celebrating with my family and friends around the time as well as being a bit touristy in our home town. So a very busy holiday season for us.



What Christmas means to me - This Little Space of Mine



What’s a typical Christmas dinner setting like for you? Do you go all out traditional with turkey and Christmas pud, or add in your own family favourites?

We are both vegetarian so there is normally a nut roast and all the roasted veg trimmings. My mom makes a bread and butter pudding with panettone which is always a favourite. I’m planning on taking a panettone or two in the bag to South Africa so we will still be able to make one this year.


What Christmas means to me - This Little Space of Mine


And finally, what’s your all-time favourite Christmas movie?

Love Actually? That counts as a Christmas movie right? We didn’t generally watch movies around this time as kids (because it was summer in South Africa), but that’s been watched regularly since it came out.


Thanks Michelle! Do pop over to Michelle’s blog for how she captures her creative life.

Join me next Wednesday as I share with you some more blogger Christmas stories. Don’t forget to share your festive memories and traditions below.


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