Sewing, crochet, crafts, accessories, baking, tutorials,


Crocheted and beaded necklace tutorial

In my last post I showed you the necklace that I made to go with the top I had just finished, to add a bit of colour to the neckline.


It was quick and easy to do, so I decided to make a whole bunch more for the school to sell at their Summer fair – and here they are!


The lovely folk on Instagram said that a tutorial would be nice, so here goes….

For each necklace you will need one skein of embroidery floss. I bought this packet of 30 for just £3.00 from The Works which, as most of the beads were rescued from broken jewellery, works out at only 10p each – perfect for the school fair, or any fundraising event.


I chose beads ranging from natural wooden ones to lace covered pearlescent ones.


For the necklace itself you will need a 2.5mm crochet hook.


Simply crochet a chain to your desired length then fasten off.



Tie the threads together in a double knot to complete the circle.


Weave in the ends through a few chains and trim neatly.


Using all the remaining floss, wrap it continuously around three fingers, leaving a tail of about 12″.


Take a 5.50mm crochet hook….


….and pass the handle through the loops as shown.


Using the 12″ tail, wind the floss tightly, close to the crochet hook.


Secure the floss with a knot.


Cut through the bottom loops to form your tassel.


Leave the crochet hook in place for now.


Thread a needle with about 10″ of matching thread.

Take your beads and, starting at the bottom, pass the needle up through all the beads, around the crocheted chain and back down through all the beads.


Push the beads up tight to the crocheted chain. Both ends of the floss should be hanging down from the bottom bead at this point.


Pass your needle through the top loops that are still on your crochet hook.


Tie the ends together securely.


Hide the ends by passing the needle through the wrapped section and trim to the length of the tassel.


And that’s it!


These are some of the other ones I made.


I think the girls at the school fair will have no problem parting with their pocket money for one of these.




Crochet For Calais

A friend of mine has put out a request to all knitters and crocheters who would like to help the refugees at Calais. She needs 12″ squares made IN A HURRY and sent to her which she will then sew together to make blankets for the refugees. The weather is starting to get cold and blankets will make a huge difference to them.

She is hoping to send the first parcel out with a contact who is going on 28th November and would ideally like the squares by 20th in order to sew them together in time.

If you have a couple of hours to whip up a square, please help.

The squares all need to be 12″ in size, made from acrylic yarn and in any colour or pattern you wish – use up some scraps and help a great cause at the same time.

Here’s one I crocheted last night in just two hours. 
I used Robin acrylic DK which is hardwearing and will wash and dry easily…..

…..and a 5mm hook.

The address to send your squares to is:-

Jane Wheelen

5 Donnes Terrace

Castle Cary



It would be even better if you could share this post on your own blog to see just how many squares we can make between us – bloggers are, in my experience, a caring and generous lot:)

Thank you.


Cocktails & Canapés

A couple of weeks ago we were invited to a Cocktails & Canapés fundraising event at a good friend’s house, to take place in her garden on a balmy Summer’s evening in July.

Whilst this all sounded rather wonderful, there was one obvious obstacle – the state of the garden!

Overgrown with weeds, the fence had also partially fallen down and broken glass from the old greenhouse littered the gravel.


Clearly, a lot of work was needed to tidy up the garden enough to make it a relaxing and pleasant environment in which to spend an entire evening, so all hands were on deck to muck in and help.

Her eldest son and her father-in-law (in the background) set to work sprucing up the tired garden furniture with a few coats of suitable paint or oil.


Didn’t they turn out well?


The derelict octagonal aluminium framed greenhouse had lost all of its glass and weeds had long since replaced the tomatoes.



A parasol whose pole had broken made the perfect weatherproof roof for the greenhouse which, with the addition of some fabric panels and bunting, was transformed into a fabulous cocktail bar!

Mr. H-L did a great job of fixing the fencing and strengthening the ‘bar’ worktops, and the bunting from my gazebo at home lends a celebratory air to the area.


The Boy’s black/white board served as a useful stand for the cocktails menu.


The bar was stocked with all manner of ingredients and accessories, all essential elements in the strive to make the perfect cocktail.


Several seating areas were created to form conversational groups.



Hedges were trimmed, lawn was mown, gravel was weeded and finally, after more than a week’s solid hard work, this is the result!

Before After


The evening kicked off with a glass of bubbly to set the mood.



Our hostess served the most delicious homemade canapés throughout the entire night.



The Boys even had a whole platter to themselves!


As dusk gradually fell, the garden filled up with guests, all eager to sample the fine food and drink on offer.

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Our host found his calling as cocktail inventor supreme!


The best Cosmopolitan I’ve ever tasted….


…and a totally dangerous Vodka Martini were just a couple that we tried throughout the night.


The atmosphere was amazing, helped by neon lighting around the bar and numerous candles and lanterns dotted around the garden, and disco tunes from the 70s and 80s that were playing through an ad hoc speaker system.

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No.3 Son eventually collapsed about ten thirty, curled up cosily under one of my crocheted blankets and fell fast asleep until we left after midnight.


No.2 Son lasted the distance wrapped up in another of my blankets, but slept in until gone nine the next morning.


A brilliant night was had by all and we were delighted to find out that over £350 had been raised for the cause – and what better way to get your garden done than to set yourself a tight deadline of a garden party and ask all your friends to help?!

Might have to try that……


Charity Knitting – #knitforwinter

I don’t know whether it’s an age thing or not but the older I get, the more I feel the need to “give something back”.

What that means, I’m not quite sure but I find myself drawn towards charities and happily dive into anything that involves helping a cause.

I’m well aware that, in common with the majority of Brits, we are a charitable nation – I, for one, cannot pass a volunteer shaking a charity box in the high street or outside the supermarket without rummaging through my purse to empty all my spare change into it.

I give to various charities on a monthly basis via standing orders and yet I still feel as if I could do more, after all, my monthly donations whilst regular, are not massive amounts of money.  Donating cash is rather an easy option and, self indulgent though it sounds, is not actually that satisfying!

When I found out about #knitforwinter campaign organised by Sunrise Senior Living, I jumped at the chance to get involved. Just look at this shocking statistic: –

Each winter, 1 older person dies needlessly every 7 minutes from the cold – that’s 200 deaths a day that could be prevented.

woman knitting

Image courtesy of Age UK

Sunrise Senior Living have got together with a community of volunteer knitters who knit hats, gloves and scarves which are donated to age charities. These charities will take the donations and sell them in their stores to raise money to deal with issues such as the elderly not being able to afford to put on their heating in the cold.

Although this Winter is nearing an end, they are looking for more willing knitters to join in and give a head start to next Winter’s campaign.

This is how it works.

Visit the Knit For Winter campaign page and let them know you would like to offer your knitting skills.

You get to choose exactly what you would prefer to knit according to your level of expertise (or not, as the case may be!). There are projects for very basic scarves in garter stitch suitable for beginners, through to more complicated infinity cowls in a fancy Brioche stitch for the more experienced knitter.

I settled on a simple bobble hat pattern which promised to be quick to whip up in super chunky yarn, but interesting enough to not get bored whilst making it.

knit for winter pattern

The really clever part is that you are sent absolutely everything you will need to complete the project, including needles, so you don’t have to worry about anything other than the knitting itself.

knit for winter kit

Return postage is also included – you just return the entire kit with your finished item in the same box it arrived in.


knit for winter sunrise campaign

My yarn was a lovely shade of maroon and the needles were a large 9mm. I found the plastic a little sticky for the acrylic yarn to begin with as I personally am used to knitting on metal needles, but can understand that they must be a lot cheaper to send out so it was an insignificant inconvenience really.

knit for winter wool

The hat knitted up in a couple of evening sessions spent catching up on a few of the many re-runs of “Poirot” that have been languishing on our Sky hard drive for a while now.

knitted bobble hat pattern

Instructions are given to make the pom pom bobble the traditional way, with two card circles.  However, I have this handy little gadget that is vastly quicker and simple to use and made the perfect sized pom pom suggested by the pattern.

pom pom maker

bobble pom pom

I thought I’d better model the hat to give you an idea of what it looks like on…..

knitted bobble hat

The large band of ribbing turn-up makes a cosy double layer of snugness for extra warmth.

Oops, the centre back seam could have been a little neater but hopefully the shaping detail of the crown draws the eye away successfully!

bobble hat

So come on, hop on over to Sunrise and give a little something back yourself – it doesn’t cost anything but your time and you can do something constructive to help whilst watching Strictly on a Saturday night!