Making a granny square crochet blanket using scrap yarn

Hello! I thought I’d drop in today with some pics and notes on a recent project I finished – a granny square crochet blanket. The idea was to stash bust as much as possible, and to give Freds a nice blanket he could cuddle up on, have in his vet basket and take to the cattery when we go away in August.

I pretty much made it up as I went along, there was no real order to it or decision on how big I’d make it; my main aim was very much to stash bust. Here are a few in progress pics…

I opted to slip stitch into squares for the final round of each granny, meaning I didn’t have a big pile of squares to sew up at the end. My big mistake was not weaving in my ends as I went, so I’d definitely recommend doing that! Just look at the mess I had to tidy up, all when I thought I was really close to finishing it.

It’s also worth noting that the yarns I used were quite different, some sometimes a square would come up smaller/bigger than the others. I thought I might need to block it at the end but, to be honest, it’s a blanket for Freds and I kind of like that some squares aren’t quite the same.

Some quick notes for you too:

  • I made 100 squares in total – the blanket took on a 10×10 form
  • I used a 4.5mm crochet hook
  • The finished size of the blanket was: 105x100cm

When it came to the border, it took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do but in the end I went for two rows of trebles followed by a double crochet stitch for the edging. I’m not too hot on my crochet terminology still, so do correct me if I’m wrong. This project was a great learning curve for a newbie-crocheter, so as well as stash busting I felt like I learnt a lot.

And here’s the finished blanket…

Making a granny square crochet blanket using scrap yarn - all about stash busting! Post from This Little Space of Mine

Making a granny square crochet blanket using scrap yarn - all about stash busting! Post from This Little Space of Mine

Making a granny square crochet blanket using scrap yarn - all about stash busting! Post from This Little Space of Mine

Isn’t it pretty? I loved working with all the different colours, making it up as I went and literally just picking colours as I went – I really didn’t overthink it and matched up colours as I went along. I know some people would also work in rows, but for the majority of this make I worked from the centre out.

And my stash of yarn? Very much busted, but still a whole lot of yarn to use! I’m thinking of making a few more of these and donating them to a cat charity; Freds loves his blanket and cuddles up on it next to me when I’m working at home.

Have you worked on any fun crochet projects recently? Love to see some pics!

Leanne x

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A chat with Gem from Borders Bakeshop

Today comes a very special ‘A chat with’ post; I love them all but when you get to share the and talk about a business an old friend is building it feels super exciting. Today I’m talking to Gem, owner of Borders Bakeshop. I met Gem in 2006 when I moved into halls for my final year of Uni; Gem was my next door neighbour and I have fond memories of bonding over baking, sweet treats and of course uni stresses! Since uni Gem and her husband have lived and travelled through various countries, but since having their daughter, Ella, they’ve settled in Scotland (though I’m sure Gem would love to be in Vancouver again!). We’ve always kept in touch and today I’m super excited to be spreading the word about her growing baking business.

Borders Bakeshop is a gourmet baked goods postal service that Gem runs through Instagram and Facebook. Every Monday morning Gem announces the weeks flavour, and come 7pm the order book opens with tasty treats delivered later that week. Boxes typically include brownie, marshmallows, fudge or truffles and I can confirm her bakes are incredible! I’ve tried many of Gem’s amazing bakes over the years (she introduced me to the wonders of Oreo truffles!) and sampled Borders Bakeshops peanut butter and s’mores boxes – boy oh boy is Gem good with her flavour combinations. The boxes received are always so professionally put together and she goes that extra mile to ensure the best possible bakes.

So let’s sit back, put our feet up and have a chat with Gem…

(P.s. there’s an extra special giveaway for readers below!)

A chat with Gem from Borders Bakeshop about baking, family life and running her own business. Interviewed on This Little Space of Mine

Hey Gem, it’s so great to have you here. Let’s kick things off with a little introduction to who you are…

I’m Gem, an almost 30 year old wife to a cookie loving forester and mummy to a Gruffalo loving toddler. We’ve spent the last 10 years living in England, Turks and Caicos, Canada and Wales, finally settling here in the historic market town of Kelso in the Scottish Borders. I love to bake (obviously) and along with that I also love to eat, and pretty much base all my days out and holidays around where the best doughnuts, ice cream, milkshakes and cupcakes can be found! Travelling is my number one favourite thing to do, I also love music and photography and hiking and getting outdoors, and I’m never happier then when I’m in the mountains…or with a jar of Nutella in my hands!

For readers who haven’t heard of Borders Bakeshop could you tell us a little bit about it?

Borders Bakeshop is a gourmet baked goods postal service, I bake up tasty treats in my kitchen here in the Scottish Borders and then I post them out straight to your letterboxes! Each treat box is like a little selection box of baked goods – it changes week to week but there is usually always a blondie or a brownie, marshmallows, fudge or truffles and cookie sticks or rocky roads. There are 8 pieces in each box, and a new flavour each week. The week just gone was a Biscoff themed box, and other flavours that have featured in the past have been Ferrero Rocher & Nutella, Peanut Butter & Oreo, Rolo & Salted Caramel, Red Velvet and S’mores.

A chat with Gem from Borders Bakeshop about baking, family life and running her own business. Interviewed on This Little Space of Mine

For me, one of the best gifts you can give is something tasty

I take orders every Monday. The new flavour gets announced at 7am on my Instagram and Facebook account, if you are a returning customer you can secure a box at that time, but if you are a new customer you can place an order at 7pm on a Monday night. I make 16 boxes each week, and so it is first come first served with the orders. I have two posting days – on a Wednesday and a Thursday, and each box is posted out 1st class with Royal Mail.

And how did the concept for Borders Bakeshop come about?

I have always loved baking, and for the past 10 years I have often lived far away from family and friends in many different places – sometimes abroad, and so finding companies who delivered edible gifts was always a bonus. For me, one of the best gifts you can give is something tasty… and if I’m not nearby to bake for my loved ones then I wanted them to still get something delicious to spoil them on their birthday or when a new baby was born etc.

My little girl Ella was born in 2014, and after making the choice to be a stay at home mom I knew I needed to do something to start bringing in a little bit of income too. Baking seemed like the obvious choice! I am a trained behavioural therapist and have always worked with autistic children, but after a move to the Scottish Borders with my husband’s job last summer there were no work opportunities in the field I’m trained in and so I turned to my number one passion.

It was an idea that had been brewing for a few months, initially I thought of doing a brownies by post service – and had thought of lots of awesome brownie flavours. However, there are quite a few companies out there who just do brownies. One night after a 3am wake up call from my toddler, it came to me – little selection boxes of different baked goodies including brownies. I couldn’t sleep that whole night with a million ideas whizzing around my head of all the different flavour combos I could do, and within a month or so Borders Bakeshop was up and running!

How do your decide on flavours and recipes, and do you have favourite/least favourite ingredients you can share with us?

The recipes I use are mostly tried and tested favourites of mine. I have had a baking blog since 2009 and so over the years I have built up quite a collection of recipes. I now have a great fudgy brownie recipe that I just tweak each week to incorporate the new ingredients of that week. I definitely have favourite ingredients – anyone who knows me will know I am obsessed with coconut, nutella and Oreo’s – so you will find lots of flavour combos that revolve around those ingredients! I’m not personally the biggest fan of chocolate orange, but it has certainly proved to be popular among my customers and I am also not so keen on salted caramel! It’s good to have some flavours that aren’t my favourite though because then I’m not so tempted to eat all the ingredients I’m baking with!

So what does a typical day look like to you?

Tuesday and Wednesday are my baking days, and the busiest days of my week. I wake up and get Ella her breakfast and get her ready for playgroup. She goes to playgroup for 3 hours in the morning, sometimes my husband is able to drop her off and then I get right to my baking. If I’m super organised and hardworking I can make at least 2 of the bakes, or sometimes 3 while she is at playgroup. Then it’s time to pick her up, and we usually try and do something fun in between pick up time and her afternoon nap – she loves to feed the ducks and so we’ll usually try and fit that in and a trip to a playpark.

A chat with Gem from Borders Bakeshop about baking, family life and running her own business. Interviewed on This Little Space of Mine

One night after a 3am wake up call from my toddler, it came to me – little selection boxes of different baked goodies including brownies. I couldn’t sleep that whole night with a million ideas whizzing around my head of all the different flavour combos I could do, and within a month or so Borders Bakeshop was up and running!

After lunch she goes down for a 2 hour nap usually and so I get back to baking, and I start assembling all the boxes and writing out the addresses of where the orders are going to. When she wakes up it’s more fun time – she loves to dress up, and is especially into building towers at the moment and she also likes you to read dozens of books to her over and over!

We eat dinner when my husband gets home from work, and then he’ll usually take her out on a bike ride or to do some gardening together so that I have more time to finish off the bakes, or slice them up. The getting out of the pans and slicing up into as even pieces as possible actually always takes longer than you think! I always make sure I’m done by Ella’s bedtime so I can be there for story time and prayers that we do together as family.

If it’s been a productive day I’ll grab an episode on Netflix with my husband and chill til bedtime! or if not I’ll get back into the kitchen! It’s a really busy day packing everything in. Sometimes I make things harder for myself by making triple layer brownies, and chocolate dipped truffles and so there are always more components to make then just four different bakes! but I always just want to make the bakes as over the top as possible because I enjoy producing something that you can’t really find if you walk into a run of the mill bakery/cafe on any high street. That’s what I like to think makes my boxes a little bit unique. 🙂

What’s the one piece of advise you’d offer to anyone thinking of starting their own business?

I know it’s not very original but just do it! There are always so many fears holding you back, all the what ifs! I always have them just before 7am/7pm on ordering day – Monday. What if no one orders this week? What if everyone is trying to be good this week? What if people don’t have the extra cash to order treats this week? I always worry that those notification won’t start showing up on my phone but sure enough every week they do! It’s so rewarding to be doing what you love for yourself. Like I said before, baking has always been this huge passion of mine, but it’s not just the baking itself I love – it’s the sharing of the end result! So when people share little pictures of the treat boxes they’ve received along with commenting on how delicious everything was or how much they enjoyed it all that makes me SO happy! I could bake every day just for myself and still be happy, but when baking for others and seeing the joy it brings to sometimes complete strangers who I don’t even know, nothing compares to that!

A chat with Gem from Borders Bakeshop about baking, family life and running her own business. Interviewed on This Little Space of Mine

Often people order treat boxes as gifts, and so to think my baked goods are arriving on someones doorstep to cheer them up after bad news, or to bring them congratulations on their new arrival, or a surprise weekend pick me up that they weren’t expecting after a hectic week – that just warms my heart!

What’s the key to a happy life for you?

The key to a happy life is a happy family for me! I’ve always loved the quote by George Bernard Shaw ‘A happy family is but an earlier heaven’. Anytime that I’m spending time with my husband Byron and little girl Ella I am happy! We love exploring and getting outdoors together. We live in a beautiful part of the country so there is always awesome countryside on our doorstep to explore – we love going on bike rides around Kielder Forest in Northumberland, or going to National Trust properties and building dens with Ella, or of course going on foodie filled days out to Edinburgh where I get to visit all of my favourite bakeries for a sugar fix! So obviously getting to stay at home with Ella is just such a blessing for me, and so I am genuinely grateful to all my customers because if it weren’t for all of you buying my baked goods each week I wouldn’t have this amazing opportunity to be home with her each day being silly, playing hide and seek, getting crafty together or watching the Gruffalo and eating popcorn together (which is what she told me was her favourite thing about Mommy staying at home the other day!)

I could bake every day just for myself and still be happy, but when baking for others and seeing the joy it brings to sometimes complete strangers who I don’t even know, nothing compares to that!

And finally, who would you invite to your famous person dinner party (dead or alive) and why?

This was such a tricky question!! I think I’d have to say Gwen Stefani, I’ve been a No Doubt Fan since my teens, and anyone who knows me will know I always adorned my bedroom or Uni walls with wall to wall Gwen pics! So I would definitely like to have a chin wag with her, share a tear over her recent heartbreak and let her share all her cute kiddie pics with me!!

I’d also say Caleb Followill from Kings of Leon, purely so that he could serenade us at the end of our meal because they are some of my fave musicians of all time!

A chat with Gem from Borders Bakeshop about baking, family life and running her own business. Interviewed on This Little Space of Mine

I would also extend an invite to Rosie Daykin – the owner of Butter Baked Goods. We spent a year living in Vancouver, and she is the owner of my favourite bakery I came across while out there – the walls are painted mint green and pastel pinks and they have every manner of sweet treats that you can imagine from peanut butter cookie sandwiches to pineapple coconut scones and mint s’mores to pumpkin spice marshmallows. I think her delicious gourmet marshmallows were what inspired me to start making my own because I knew airfare to Vancouver would be a bit excessive to help me get a homemade mallow fix – seriously if you’ve never tried homemade marshmallows you need to rectify that immediately, they are nothing like the ones you buy in the shops and are like fluffy tasty clouds! I’d like for her to share all her best marshmallow tips with me and hopefully she might turn up with a dessert like her famous coconut cake with cream cheese frosting.

A big thank you to Gem for her time, it’s wonderful to have you on my blog! You can catch Gem and Borders Bakeshop over on Instagram, and Facebook.

And now it’s giveaway time! Gem is very kindly giving away one of next week’s Nutella and cookie dough themed boxes (you heard it here first!). Entries are open now and will close at the end of Monday 30th May. All you need to do is follow the steps below to be in with a chance of winning!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be picked at random on Tuesday 31st May and we’ll be in touch to get your address ready to send out your prize later that week – so keep an eye out on your emails! Good luck!

If you fancy catching a previous ‘A chat with…’ here are a few links for you –

Finally, I thought I’d put out a call to see if there are any small business owners you’d like to see featured in this series? Or perhaps you’re a small business owner and would like to be interviewed? I’ve got June’s all lined up, but I’m always open to suggestions so drop me an email.

Thanks for reading and good luck with the giveaway!

Leanne x

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What it means to make

I’m joining in with Kate from A Playful Day and her prompt “What It Means To Make” for today’s post.

I write this post at a time of grief; last week my Grandad passed away after being back and forth in hospital for the best part of a year. We didn’t want him to suffer anymore and while there is relief that he’s at peace, my heart feels heavy and I’m so sad I’ll never get to sit in an armchair in their living room and show him my knitting, or photographs or just wait for him to say something cheeky that he shouldn’t say.

What it means to make - This Little Space of Mine

As I hold onto my memories and think about saying my final goodbyes soon, it’s the knitted blanket he made me when I was a little girl that I hold onto. He knitted them for all of the grandchildren and my sister and I always refer to it as ‘Grandad’s blanket’. It’s barely left my side in the last week. Grandad always knitted; my Nan and him have knitted for the WI and for charities for as long as I can remember – blankets, clothing, toys etc. – I can picture their living room now, lined up with teddy bears ready to be sent to children in need of comfort. They gave me one of those teddy bears when I went travelling in 2008; ‘Baz’. The blanket, especially, is incredibly special to me; I’ve travelled with it, slept on it, cuddled it in bad times, wrapped up our various pets in it (even if they didn’t want me to) and it now sits proudly on our yellow armchair in the living room (when it’s not on my lap). Stu says it probably needs a wash, but I like it just the way it is. Note: it has been washed over the years, I just can’t remember the last time that was!

When I think about the blanket, my Grandad and what it means to me to make, I guess eventually it’s the things we make that can be left behind – for our children, grandchildren, family, it’s a piece of us that remains. It’s a piece of my Grandad that can stay with me even though he’s gone. Maybe my sky blanket will be a heirloom, who knows. I’d like to hope so.

What it means to make - This Little Space of Mine

Recently my Nan gave me a bag of squares Grandad had knitted and she hadn’t got round to sewing together. How’s that for teamwork? He’d knit them, she’d sew them together. When I asked her last weekend about his knitting she said she could never keep up with him, that he’d knit morning, noon and night. They’re certainly the memories I have too. She gave the squares to me knowing they’d be loved and they currently sit in my craft room in pride of place. I want to sew them together in hope that one day I’ll be able to give a blanket to my child; they’ll have something special from their Great Grandfather that I hope they’ll love dearly.

So what does it mean to me to make? I guess it’s beyond what it means, it’s entwined in my memories and my family and I don’t think making will ever leave me. It’s not a fad or novelty and there’s barely a day that passes where I’m not using my hands to make something. I have my Grandad, my Nan and my Mum to thank for that, for inspiring and teaching me how to knit.

Sleep well Grandad, I love you xxx

Leanne x

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Baby colour scheme ideas using Stylecraft Yarn’s Special DK collection

Hello! It’s been a while since I’ve shared some yarn peg colour inspiration and so, with my best friends baby due next month, I thought I’d share with you some baby colour scheme ideas using Stylecraft Yarn‘s Special DK collection. I love playing with different colours and it was great fun to sit in the garden last week and put together different combinations to share with you. I’d also like to think my photos have improved since last time!

Baby colour scheme ideas using Stylecraft Yarn's Special DK collection. Post from This Little Space of Mine

Baby colour scheme ideas using Stylecraft Yarn’s Special DK collection

Before I get started I should mention that I know there’s a lot of conversation about colour preferences for babies; some like gender neutral and hate stereotypes like girls in pink, some don’t like dark colours on babies, as two examples. I’m sure there are lots more. With that in mind, I’ve gone for some gender specific ideas, gender neutral ideas, brights and a little darker tones too. I hope there’s something for everyone and, let’s face it, that’s the joy of the Stylecraft Special DK range – there’s something for everyone!

Baby colour scheme ideas using Stylecraft Yarn's Special DK collection - Duck Egg, Storm Blue, Sherbet, Cloud Blue and Silver. Post from This Little Space of Mine

1. Duck Egg, Storm Blue, Sherbet, Cloud Blue and Silver. Kicking off this post with a baby boy inspired colour scheme, thinking of my friend in mind as she’s expecting a boy. I’d avoided going for anything too bright here and instead focused on softer colours with the Storm Blue shade bringing it all together. Grey’s also work well with blue so I added in Silver, plus the Duck Egg shade has a blue/grey feel to it.

Baby colour scheme ideas using Stylecraft Yarn's Special DK collection - Parma Violet, Soft Peach, Candyfloss, Apricot and Cream. Post from This Little Space of Mine

2. Parma Violet, Soft Peach, Candyfloss, Apricot and Cream. By complete contrast to the first idea, here’s a collection of colours with a baby girl in mind. I’ve again opted for soft colours, which are always popular for a baby, and I’ve added in a contrast in the Parma Violet shade. Looking back I’m not convinced it’s entirely worked and the Candyfloss and Soft Peach shades are the standout colours for me.

Baby colour scheme ideas using Stylecraft Yarn's Special DK collection - Grass Green, Citron, Shrimp, Sunshine and Cloud Blue. Post from This Little Space of Mine

3. Grass Green, Citron, Shrimp, Sunshine and Cloud Blue. How about this for gender neutral? I love this collection and how bright it is. I feels like a safari or beach type collection of colours and I love how the colours work together. You’ve got Citron and Sunshine for the summer feeling, Grass Green for a grassy, woodland vibe and Cloud Blue and Shrimp for the seaside. I’m not sure it’d work for a winter baby, but for this time of year it’s an absolute winner and my favourite of the 5 ideas in this post.

Baby colour scheme ideas using Stylecraft Yarn's Special DK collection - Parchment, Soft Peach, Cream, Duck Egg and Stone. Post from This Little Space of Mine

4. Parchment, Soft Peach, Cream, Duck Egg and Stone. I love this collection and feel like it’s a good middle ground between neutral and gender specific – with the inclusion of the Duck Egg and Soft Peach shades. The natural tones of these shades, with Stone and Parchment, feels cosy and suited to a newborn baby and there’s a vibe of the classic neapolitan ice cream about it. Certainly one of the softer collections in this post, this could be used for a baby gift all year round.

Baby colour scheme ideas using Stylecraft Yarn's Special DK collection - Mustard, Lobelia, Fondant, Teal and Empire. Post from This Little Space of Mine

5. Mustard, Lobelia, Fondant, Teal and Empire. I’d say this feels like a more ‘grown up’ baby colour scheme. The colours are quite rich, as well as having a couple of bright tones in the Mustard and Fondant shades, but they’re balanced well with the other colours. The reason I like this collection of colours for a baby is because it feels warm, the warmth of the Lobelia and Teal especially stood out and this makes for a great gender neutral colour scheme. Plus, babies aside I want this is my home!

What do you think? Any standout colour schemes that catch your eye?

I should also mention that I chose Stylecraft Special DK (again) for this post because a) I love their range of colours but b) the yarn washes up really well, which is just what you need for a baby! In terms of where to buy it, there are lots of online and bricks and mortar shops that stock it though I tend to buy from Wool Warehouse as it’s affordable and their delivery is pretty quick!

If you fancy catching up on previous Stylecraft colour scheme posts, here are a couple of links you might like:

Thanks for reading, and do let me know if you have a favourite.

Leanne x

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A year on from buying a home – 10 things we’ve learned

Today marks a year since we completed on our home – I can’t believe it’s been a year already! While we didn’t move in until a couple of weeks later (seriously, completing so quickly took us by such surprise that we weren’t ready), it’s so strange to think we’ve been home owners for a year. To mark the occasion I thought I’d share 10 things we’ve learnt – with a little contribution from guest blogger… my boyfriend Stuart. If only Freds could talk and tell me what he’s learnt!

A year on from buying our home - 10 things we've learnt. Post from This Little Space of Mine

Before I delve into what we’ve learnt, I’ll just add a disclaimer that I wrote my five before finding out what Stu had learnt. I dropped him a text, thinking he’d take a while to respond, and got an immediate response with five brief, but hilarious (and very true) things. Nothing like keeping it short and sweet!

  1. Teamwork makes all the difference. It took us a while to find our groove and now we have, it’s pretty sweet.
  2. As organised as I am, there’s nothing like a change in environment to throw me into unorganised chaos. I wrote a bit about that here just after we moved.
  3. It takes so much longer to create a home than I ever could’ve imagined. A year on and we still haven’t framed prints to put on the wall and it took us eight months to get a dining table.
  4. I find myself saying things that make me feel like a grown up. Discussions about property development, shops opening in town and what it’ll mean to the value of our house (the Waitrose affect) and when roadworks that affect my journey are tip of the iceberg.
  5. Moving to a new town, in a new county, was 100% the right thing for us.
  1. How a mortgage works
  2. How a credit card works
  3. How to use a drill properly
  4. How to prune
  5. How to grout

He sums it up so well!

Go us – home owners for a year! If you’re in the process of buying, moving or thinking about it for the future, here’s a couple of links to posts I wrote that might be useful.

Thanks for reading!

Leanne x

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Life as a crafter: my current works in progress – May 2016

Hello! I’m back today sharing how I’m getting on with my crafting projects – my works in progress and the things I’d like to make this year.

If you’re a regular reader you’ll know to keep it flowing from month to month I have a) created a spreadsheet (because I love a good spreadsheet!) and b) I’m going to copy and paste from post to post and adjust the wording if I’ve made progress. If you see any bits repeat, it’ll tell you I did nothing on it all month!

Life as a crafter - my current works in progress - This Little Space of Mine

April was mainly about making crochet flowers for Make May Purple, but I also managed to finish a granny square scrap blanket I started making last summer. You might also notice that I’ve added a couple of projects to the ‘on my radar’ list, which I’ve promised myself I won’t start on until I’ve finished the ripple blanket. Promise, promise, promise! Anyway, let’s check out the list…

  • Scraps granny square blanket. Yayyy I finished this and I love how it turned out. I busted through a good amount of yarn, though I still seem to have heaps more! Plus it’s one of the first times I’ve really done bordering on a blanket where I haven’t followed a pattern, but it worked out well and Freds loves cuddling up on it.
  • Secret gift for a friend. Sometimes craft projects just don’t work out, and this was definitely one of those. I followed the pattern right, but it just didn’t come together very well. It looks so bad I’m not even sharing a photo, let alone giving it as a gift. Ah well, live and learn!
  • The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery ‘Let’s go on an adventure’ stitch-along. I left working on April’s Switzerland pattern until quite late and finished it just in time for the arrival of May’s Greece pattern, which makes me excited for our trip to Greece in August! Cross stitch still remains one of my favourite crafts.
  • Crochet flowers for Make May Purple. Last month I had a lightbulb moment to make purple flowers to support Stroke Association’s ‘Make May Purple’ annual fundraising month. You can find out more about why I’m making them here and if you’d like to buy one for £3 pop over to my JustGiving page.
  • Attic 24 ripple blanket. I started this in May time and it’s been one of those projects I tend to pick it up and put it down every now and then. The pattern is over here.
  • Sew La Di Da dress. I started this around May 2014 and haven’t finished it. To make matters worse there’s not much more to do. I can feel my Mum frowning at me as I type this. Must get this Sew La Di Da make finished for spring.
On my radar
  • Simply Crochet’s bright granny square blanket. I’ve decided on the colours so I’ll be ordering the yarn soon. The plan is for it to match our living room theme and sit on the back of our sofa.
  • Socks! My Mum bought me everything I need to start, for my birthday, so there’s no excuse not to learn how to make them for myself.
  • Patchwork quilt. My friend has asked me to make one using her baby daughter’s baby grows, so this year my Mum and I are going to tackle it as a joint project together.
  • Tilly and the Button’s Françoise dress. I completely forgot about this; my friend bought me this shift dress pattern for Christmas. I love the style of the dress, so perfect for me.
  • San Francisco tapestry cushion. I treated myself big time at the Knitting and Stitching, buying my first tapestry kit from Hannah Bass. I fell in love with her map designs and can’t wait to get started on this.
  • Weekender blanket with Stylecraft’s newest colours. I’ve wanted to make Cherry Heart’s blanket for a while and the newest colours from Stylecraft would be a great colour combination for it – plus when it was limited edition I bought two packs and have now idea what to do with them! Not sure I like how they’re joined in her pattern, so may look for something a bit different.
  • Scrap blanket for charity. I still have a lot of scrap yarns that I need to do something with, so I’m going to continue making blankets like the one I did for Freds and give them to a cat charity. I might opt for a big granny square blanket next time.

Boy that list is getting longer!

If you fancy seeing my previous month’s WIPs and progress, here are a couple of links for you – January, February, March and April.

So this month my main priority is making crochet flowers for Make May Purple. I’m also the type of crafter that needs a couple of other things on the go, when I need a break and to do something different; the Frosted Pumpkin cross stitch project and ripple blanket will fill that gap for me. I’d love to finish the ripple blanket but I know I’ve still got quite a bit to do on it – it’s turning out to be quite a big blanket because I set the width a bit too wide.

What’s on your list? Have you been working on anything exciting in the last month?

Thanks for reading and I hope you have a good week!

Leanne x

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Snapshots 006

Hello! I’m back with my 6th snapshots post, the idea with snapshots being to share things going on in my life or things that I’m excited about, in this particular moment of time.

As always I’ve been noting down things on my phone that have caught my interest and today I’m sharing with you four of them. If you fancy catching a previous Snapshot here are the links to 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.

Snapshots 006 - This Little Space of Mine

  1. We finished House of Cards series 4 next week. Woah, what a series. Definitely the best. Have you seen it? So so good.
  2. I knew this day would come… I’ve now listened to all of Elise Joy’s podcasts. I need something new to listen to, any recommendations? I’m currently catching up on Adam Buxton.
  3. Did you see the pictures released for Princess Charlotte’s first birthday? So cute. I love the Royal Family and I love how they occasionally share family moments with us.
  4. The latest Pomcast talked about Gwen Mathewman, was an English Guinness World Record holder in knitting between 1980 and 2005. She was able to knit over 100 stitches a minute. A minute. How incredible. I found this BBC clip about her, just love how her husband references wool being everywhere.

What’s caught your eye recently?

Leanne x

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Why I’m raising funds for Stroke Association’s ‘Make May Purple’ campaign

I’ve been a little nervous about sharing this post and I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve written it and then binned it. What’s to be scared of? Well, putting into words what happened is hard, but publishing it online has made me anxious about the reaction I’d get; would people care, would they comment, would they think I was being over the top? And with any of those, how would I feel as a result? Silence can be the worst sometimes, so those fears put me off. But time has gone on and I feel braver and more confident that sharing is a good thing. I want to share what happened to Dad and I hope that even if just one person reads it and digests what happens it means they may one day save someone’s life or improve their chance of recovery should (and I hope not) a stroke happen.

I’ve broken this post into two – should you want to skip a part; 1) how I’m raising funds by crocheting purple flowers, and why and 2) what happened to Dad at the beginning of the year, and how it could so easily have happened to anyone at any age.

A look back at April 2016 - This Little Space of Mine

Handmade purple flower badges for Make May Purple

The month of May is Stroke Association‘s annual fundraising month, Make May Purple, and to help raise funds for the charity I am making and selling these pretty flower crochet badges for a £3 donation, all you have to do is pop over to my JustGiving page to make a donation and I’ll put one in the post to you. All donations go directly to the charity and a big thank you to Lucy from Attic 24 for allowing me to use her flower pattern.

The idea with these flowers is to wear them throughout May and hopefully it’ll prompt conversation and raise awareness. I’ve worn pins on my coat before and often people in shops and the likes comment, so I really hope that happens with these flowers.

At the time of writing this I’ve raised just over £300(!) and hope to raise lots more throughout May. I’ll be busy crocheting these flowers now and until the end of May and I hope this money will help the wonderful work Stroke Association are doing; their website was a great support to my family and me and continues to be as Dad recovers.

Why I'm raising funds for Stroke Association's 'Make May Purple' campaign

What happened to Dad

Back at the very start of January my Dad had two strokes, one around New Year’s Eve and one on the 4th January. Between those two dates we’d had a family meal for my 30th birthday and all said separately how Dad had behaved a little oddly, but put it down to the fact he had a heavy cold and may have taken a bit too much Lemsip. How I wish I’d known. The second stroke, on the 4th, was more severe and caused him to fall at home. When he didn’t turn up for work his boss raised the alarm and called my sister. I’ll never forget the moment my sister called us and said “something’s wrong with Dad”. Thinking he had concussion, to then hear he’d been rushed to hospital after a suspected stroke was terrifying.

A day later and an MRI scan confirmed he’d had 2 strokes and that the reason for this was due to a perforated artery in his neck – most likely caused when he had a fall while walking in the Lake District the previous April. By this point Dad was walking, talking, eating and his face had return to normal, but cognitively there was damage and he’d lost some of his vision.

After a week in hospital Dad was allowed home to the care of a community team. The community team were there to help him in his recovery for 12 weeks, visiting him on average about 3 times a week. During this time they also helped with doctor’s appointments, advised on how he’d return to work and provided a general support. He thankfully passed his visual test and was allowed to return to driving 2 months after the stroke and the follow up MRI showed his artery has healed, so the chance of another stroke is minimal. In April he begun slowly returning to work, for a few hours every other day.

While the headlines are really great news, Dad’s recovery continues and will do for a long time yet. The brain is a funny old thing and is taking its time to heal. He’s getting there and I’m so proud at how determined he’s been to get back to his old self. He tells me he plans to beat this and live on to 100 now. If anyone can do it, he can.

The point I have to mention is that Dad was 58 when it happened, healthy, eating well and regularly exercising. There are a set of risk factors behind why a stroke might happen, but the reality is they can happen for any reason to anyone at any age. The consultant told us the damage Dad did to his neck could have happened to someone turning their neck funny, which is so scary. We largely can’t prevent a stroke happening, but what we can do is be aware of the signs when one happens – that’s what ensures our loved ones are kept safe and they have the best chances at full recovery. Please head over to this webpage to see those signs and understand them. That’s my hope from this post, that you’ll just take 2 minutes to familiarise yourself with the signs.

All that I’d like to do now is say a big thank you to everyone who sent my family and me kind messages when it happened, and to people who continue to provide a support to Dad and all of us. It’s not been the easiest of times, but we’ll get there. Raising funds is helping me to feel like I’m turning this situation into a positive.

Thank you for reading and, if you can, please donate £3 to my JustGiving page and wear a purple flower badge this month to raise awareness.

Leanne x

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A look back at April 2016

Hello! How was your bank holiday weekend? I normally post on a Monday but thought I’d enjoy the long weekend and get back into blogging today. This weekend I got cracking on an exciting project, saw some friends and did some baking… as well as enjoyed a bit of downtime.

A look back at April 2016 - This Little Space of Mine

So onto blogging… I’m back today with my final post for the week –  a look back at April, all with a little help from photos from my Instagram feed.

If you remember last month’s post, March was a little bumpy, but I feel like April has been better. It hasn’t been without it’s tricky bits, but I’ve generally felt better in myself and a corner has been turned. I’ve started a new project, begun fundraising for Stroke Association, whose website was full of useful information when my Dad was taken ill at the beginning of the year, crafted ’til my hearts content and hung out with friends and enjoyed the outdoors a bit more. It feels like I’ve finally come out of hibernation and I’m ready for summer… though my wardrobe most definitely isn’t!

As I’m sharing pictures from my Instagram feed in this post, I should mention my new found love for Instagram in April. I joined in with two photo-alongs, thanks to Lazy Daisy Jones and Crochet Now and Elliebeth Designs UK prompts, and found some great new accounts to follow, felt a bit more confident in the pictures I was posting and generally felt a bit more inspired. Instagram remains my favourite social media channel, though I really do need to get to grips with Snapchat this month. On the subject of Lazy Daisy Jones and Crochet Now’s photo-along, I shared the first 16 days of photos in a post in the middle of last month.

Onto crafts, making crochet flowers for Make May Purple is taking up a lot of my time, but I’m so pleased with how they’re looking – plus I’ve sold over 70 flowers and raised over £200 and it’s only just the beginning of May! If you’d like one too, donate £3 on my JustGiving page and I’ll pop one in the post to you. I also finished the granny square scrap buster blanket I was making for Freds, loved how it turned out, and carried on with my love of cross stitch. I’d imagine May is going to be all about the flowers, but hopefully I can squeeze in some work on my ripple blanket which I really must finish. Pretty sure I started that a year ago this month.

So onto May and this month I’m hoping to enjoy the outdoors even more, keep organising fun things with friends and family and keep enjoying my love of being creative. My best friend has her baby shower at the end of the month and my other best friend has her hen do next month, so there’s a few bits of fun things to organise for them and I’ll keep making flowers too!

How was your April? Any exciting plans for May? Oh I should also add that my May newsletter arrives later today, so add your email address here if you fancy receiving some exclusive sneak peaks at what’s to come this month on This Little Space of Mine.

Thanks for reading, hope you have a good start to the month! Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram for all the latest.

Leanne x

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The year in books – May 2016

Hello, how has your week been? It’s time to catch up on what I’ve been reading this month and what I plan to read in May, all part of my 2016 goal to read at least one book a month, as part of Circle of Pine Tree’s the year in books.

The year in books - May 2016 - This Little Space of Mine

Before I talk about The Year of Living Danishly, my choice for May, here’s how I got on with April’s read.

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes there is a book that touches you way after you’ve finished the last page. All The Light We Cannot See did that, before that it was Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. Both Second World War stories, but very different and unique in their own right. I finished All The Light We Cannot See last weekend and had a tear in my eye as I read the last page, staring at it long after I’d read the last sentence. A deeply moving story that’s written so beautifully; the story focuses on two key characters and the different ends of the spectrum of the war and the families it affected. I honestly don’t think I could write the words to do justice to this story, so I’ll just say it’s one I’ll read again in time and one I would recommend to anyone.

May’s book choice

So how do I go from reading an book like that? I figured going for something completely different, and probably light hearted, was my best bet. For May I’m going to read The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell. I’ve got to say that I’m quite curious about this book and whether it’s going to ‘change my life’ or just give me insight into how the Danish live; either way I think it’s going to be a good read and I think I’ll learn something. I’ll report back and let you know!

What are you reading at the moment? Keep the recommendations coming and hopefully we can all inspire each other to read more in 2016.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to catch the #theyearinbooks hashtag over on Instagram!

Leanne x

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