Decorating a clothes hanger

Braided hanger

Here’s a fun little craft project!  I wanted to make my clothes hangers a little more exciting, but as most of my hangers are plastic rather than wooden, most of the advice on the internet didn’t really help.  There are a lot of people doing decoupage and painting their hangers, but plastic hangers have neither the surface space or the right texture to do this.  Then I found a set of instructions for crocheting covers for hangers (also wooden), and I was suddenly hit by an idea.  How about braiding hangers?  As you can see from the photo above, it works!

For instructions on how to braid, you can visit my post on braiding earphones, which has photographed steps.  Doing it on a hanger is exactly the same.

Braided hanger 2

I used aran weight cotton yarn to braid the hanger, in three colours.  You’ll notice that one of the colours used is the mustard yellow I have.  I have unravelled the mustard yellow jumper I was having problems with, and it is now a pile of balls waiting for a new project!  The only advice I will give on choosing yarns to use is that you need to make sure they are colourfast (so you don’t stain your clothes), and try not to use anything fluffy as it will leave fluff inside your clothes.

I did the braiding very tight, and it took a couple of hours to do.  It’s an idle task to do in front of the TV as it doesn’t require much concentration.  I left the hook of the hanger clear so that it can move easily in my wardrobe, but you could continue around the hook if you wanted to.

I think it will be fun to have random splashes of colour in my wardrobe, especially as I’m making an effort to tidy it all up, so I will do a few more of these!  I’m using yarn I already have, and hangers I already have, so it doesn’t cost anything to make my wardrobe fun!

Star Wars Moleskine Week 1 & 2

It’s been a few weeks now since I started my 2015 planner.  This year I’m using a Star Wars edition Moleskine planner.  I’m loving the limited edition Moleskines that keep coming out!

2015 Moleskine planner

The inside front cover has an illustration of Vader approaching Luke to tell him who his Father is.

Inside of 2015 Moleskine planner

So, here are week 1 and week 2 of my planner.

2015 Star Wars Moleskine Week 1

Week 1

Haha, I wanted to restart my diet this year, because I am nothing if not optimistic!  Last year I actually finished the year weighing more than when I started, despite pretending to be on a diet for most of the year!  On the 2nd I finished my first book on 2015.  That is actually the only book I’ve finished so far.  As usual, I have far too many started.

2015 Star Wars Moleskine Week 2

Week 2

This week was my Mutti’s birthday and my best friend’s birthday.  My best friend currently lives in Australia so I couldn’t do much about that, but my Mum had a big party.  Yey!  This is also the week I took Archie to the vet for her limp.

Product review: a glass teapot

Glass teapot

I recently noticed that my red teapot had rust forming around the metal base (you can see my red teapot here). This made me very sad, and I went online to look for a new glass teapot for everyday use.

I decided to get one without any metal adornments this time round so that I don’t have a problem with rust again, but I did want it to be glass so that I could see the strength of the tea inside. I chose this one from The Tea Makers.  I’ve now been using it for a couple of weeks, so I thought I would share my thoughts on the design.

Glass teapots are great because of the appeal of watching your tea brew, and they seem to be in fashion at the moment as many retailers are selling them. However, an obvious problem is that it’s not easy to keep the spotless, so please bear this in mind. Tea stains the inside of teapots and mugs, and water leaves marks if the pot isn’t wiped properly. If these things are going to annoy you, it may be best to buy an opaque teapot. There are hundreds of awesome designs out there!

I drink loose-leaf tea and so I needed a pot with a strainer. Some glass teapots come with glass strainers, which is cool because it makes the entire pot see-through. However, most of the glass strainer designs I looked at only had holes at the bottom of the strainer. As the point of a strainer is to allow water to circulate amongst the leaves without getting bits floating everywhere, a strainer that restricts the movement of water serves little purpose. This is why I chose a pot with a metal strainer, as I want my tea to brew properly.  The strainer in this teapot has a very fine mesh, so no tea leaves are getting through into my drink!

One thing that is very annoying with teapots is the number of pots that are badly designed and dribble when you are pouring tea.  I mean, seriously, you had one job: make a teapot that pours tea!! How hard can it be?!  You’ll be pleased to hear that this teapot doesn’t dribble.  I actually quite like the spout; it makes the tea come out in an arch which I love (but you need to aim correctly for your mug!).

All in all, this is a great little teapot, and if you’re looking for a glass teapot I recommend it.  There isn’t a brand name on the teapot so I don’t know if you can find it anywhere else, but I didn’t have any problems ordering from The Tea Makers (I added a few black teas to my order to make it free delivery).

Week 4

Thank you so much for your lovely and thoughtful comments on my last post.  I haven’t made a decision about what to do with my blanket yet.  It’s lying abandoned in my WIP basket.  I have, however, started a new crochet blanket in the meantime.  It was an accident, of course!  While I was waiting for your input on the multi-coloured blanket, I started experimenting with tutorials I found online, and then I ended up making some new squares in a circular pattern.  I will show you that one shortly.  The colours are much more structured.

I’ve managed to make it to week 4 of Project 365.  Below are the photos I’ve taken each day.  I’ve cut my hair short, as you can see from 10th January.  It seems to be growing quickly though as it’s already feeling a bit scruffy!

Archie has now finished her course of antibiotics for her poorly leg, and she seems fine.  I’ve started letting her outside again so she can have a run around and destroy things.

The rough weather we had last week mostly didn’t affect my little garden, but during the night of the 15th there was a loud bang and my greenhouse (which is just a small plastic one) got blown over, with all the pots inside getting scattered around the garden.  Nothing actually broke, which is quite fortunate, and I tidied it all up the next day.

And that’s my life in the last week!

Photo a day 9-16 January

Granny square blanket dilemma

Multicoloured granny square blanket

My granny square blanket is slowly growing.  As mentioned in my previous post on this project, I don’t have a plan for the colours.  I’m just matching them together as I fancy.  To be honest, I’m not entirely sure about the blanket.  The colours sort of annoy me.  I’m obviously in a weird mood as I usually like lots of colours!  Do you think it looks a little garish?

I’m planning to do the border in a light grey eventually, so that might help mute the colours a bit.  Or do you think I should reduce the number of colours in the blanket and have more of a plan for the square patterns?  Maybe have a few repeating squares?  Please share your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter, as I need your ideas!

Product review: Flamingo candles

Flamingo candles

It’s definitely that time of year when you need candles.  It’s so dark all the time, and it’s nice to fill the house with delicious scents.  Also, I think candles are warming and cozy, which is just what you need when it’s raining outside!

Although I do occasionally succumb to Yankee candles, I try to find candles that are made with natural waxes and recyclable containers.  They’re really not as easy to find as they should be, and bees wax candles don’t always burn cleanly so they can be a bit of a nuisance.

I originally found Flamingo Candles after seeing an advert somewhere (I can’t remember where, but I think in a magazine), and I’ve been using them for a few months now (I also gave some as Christmas presents!).  There a few reasons why I like them:

  • They smell amazing.
  • They’re made with soy.
  • They’re made in the UK.
  • The colours are great.
  • They come in glass jars with a burning time of 50 hours.

The smells are brilliant.  Seriously, have a look at the range on their website.  So many delicious scents!  I’ve tried 14 now I think, and all of them are yummy.  I like citrus-y smells the best.  I’ve found that the strength of the smell varies from flavour to flavour, and some are more subtle than others when burning.  Overall though, they do fill my [small] house with scent.

The colours of the waxes are so vibrant, and with their contrasting Flamingo logo on the front of the jar they look quite distinctive on the mantlepiece.  You could choose a colour that matches your decor, but I tend to just buy what I fancy and not worry about clashing colours.  The back of the jar tells you what scent the candle is in a tidy black font, just in case you’ve forgotten.

I haven’t had any problems with the burning of the candles.  They usually start by not melting in the corners of the jar, but as you carry on using the candle the warmth from the flame melts the wax on the sides of the jar.  I hate candles that don’t burn wax evenly and leave bits untouched, so I like that these burn properly eventually.  You cannot really use the candle as a light source though, as the jar walls somewhat obscure the flame (the flame of the one I’m burning at the moment, which is Vanilla and Spices, isn’t visible at all from where I’m sitting as the wax on the sides hasn’t melted yet).

The jars cost £12 each, and you can order them online, which is how I buy them.  My sister informs me that you can also find them in TK Maxx occasionally.  I didn’t get sponsored to write this post.  I’m just passing on my find!

Plans for the garden this year

Pink rose 2

It was my Mum’s birthday last week, and we have three bouquets in the house now.  My favourite flowers to have indoors are roses and gerberas.  They’re both so cheerful.

I’ve been thinking about what to plant in the garden this year.  Flowers are my Mum’s domain, so I don’t get involved in that aspect too much, but in previous years I have tried growing sunflowers.  For some reason, I am really rubbish at it and they rarely grow that well.  Therefore, I think that this year I’m not going to bother trying with them, and I’m going to do marigolds instead.  I grew marigolds a couple of years ago from seed and they are such lovely happy flowers.

We already have onions and garlic in the ground.  The garlic is growing well, but the onions aren’t doing much.  I don’t think they like being disturbed by the cat (she keeps digging them up, and then I keep planting them back again!).  The squashes didn’t grow last summer, but we’ll try again this year.  Usually squashes are nice and easy to grow, but I think the weather just wasn’t good for them.  I’ll also have one bed of beans, which I think is where I will plant my marigolds (around the edges).

I have a new mini greenhouse to assemble in spring, and the cucumber and tomatoes are going in there because they hate English weather and I am fed up of rubbish crops!  So be prepared for lots of tomato photos this year (hopefully!).

And they are my vague plans for the garden.  How is yours doing?

Around here this week

Dr Seuss quote

I thought I’d try and do a few more personal blog posts in 2015 about things going on in my life. Would you like that?  (Comments please!)

This week, Archie has been limping, and I ended up taking her to the vet on Friday.  This happened last year, and her leg was swollen from an infection as a result of a fight.  This time, the vet found an abscess on her knee joint.  It was cheaper than the swollen leg (!), but very gross as the vet has had to shave her leg and leave the wound open.  Aren’t pets great!  For those keeping track (like me!), this is the third time Archie has been to the vet because of the black cat, who is horrible and attacks her constantly.  GRRRRRRR.

I started doing a ‘Photo a day’ project in 2015.  I’ve wanted to do one before, but I’ve never committed to it properly and I know I’d be really annoyed if I missed a day.  So far, I’ve not missed a day!  I decided that all the photos have to be square, as I like square photos (I take them most of the time anyway), and I don’t want them to get repetitive.  Other than that, I don’t have any rules!

Days 01.01 to 01.08

I have an album on Flickr where I’m sharing these photos, which you can find under PAD2015.  I will try and remember to share them on here occasionally too.

Today the weather is ridiculously rough still.  We’ve had storms for the last two days or so, and I haven’t been outside in it much.  As I write this I can see the giant tree at the end of the garden doing gymnastics.  I have a Boots parcel coming today (the high street store, not actual boots – for my non-British readers) so I have to wait around for that.  I’ve bought lots of new soaps which they’ve started stocking, from a French monastry called Le Couvent des Minimes.  My Mother says it’s well-known in France.

Speaking of France, some of you know that I’m half-French and that lots of my family live around Paris.  One of the sieges on Friday was uncomfortably close to family, but everyone is ok.  The world, however, is clearly in a mess.  I read an interesting comment on Twitter, which is that you can’t say “It’s society’s fault.” as if this somehow absolves you of responsibility.  We are society.  Even if our role is tiny, we still have a role to play.  We should all try and fill this role with positivity, compassion and generosity.  Maybe then we can change the world.

A visitor to the garden

Yesterday afternoon I was minding my own business playing on the internet and watching Countdown (pen and paper next to me!), when I spotted this little fellow in the garden.  I haven’t seen squirrels in the garden for a while so I’m pleased they’re back.  I try to feed them when I can, and this one was loving the hazelnuts I’d put outside (locally picked).  He/she stayed quite a while having a rummage around the garden.

1 Squirrel in garden Jan 2015

2 Squirrel in garden Jan 2015

3 Squirrel in garden Jan 2015

4 Squirrel in garden Jan 2015

5 Squirrel in garden Jan 2015

6 Squirrel in garden Jan 2015

7 Squirrel in garden Jan 2015

8 Squirrel in garden Jan 2015

9 Squirrel in garden Jan 2015