I Tried Plastic Free July

I don’t know when Plastic Free July became a thing – until this year, I’d certainly never heard of it before.

But I thought it was something I could have a go at. Usually I don’t jump on bandwagons…I like to watch them roll by! The thing is, I thought this was doable for one main reason…work!

I could pack my own lunchbox for work!!

So, what did I do?

I bought myself a glass water bottle from Wilkos for a measly £2.50 and it has worked perfectly as my workplace has a staff canteen where I can refill it with either water or squash.

I also bought myself a glass pyrex lunchbox and some metal reusable cutlery.

There is only one problem with all of the above and that is the very obvious ‘But Sarah, they’re made of glass!‘. Yes, yes they are! I proved I had the reflexes of a cat ninja the other day when my glass water bottle fell out of my locker.

Overall though, the plastic free lunches worked quite well. I still had the odd bottle of Coca Cola or Fanta…it’s a heatwave kind of summer you know? So, there were a few plastic items that slipped in.

The thing I did really well was that I started recycling MORE of my plastic last month. I didn’t realise my local supermarket took in soft plastics to recycle, so on the way to work lately I’ve been dropping off a plastic bag full of soft plastics to recycle. Soft plastics such as bread wrapping, food packaging, food bags etc.

I’ve used my local greengrocers more and opted for paper bags over plastic ones.

And as always I’ve brought my own shopping bags with me (such as the one below I designed myself for my Zazzle store).

tote bag woolly orbit zazzle

So, my ‘plastic free’ July was mostly focussed on food and shopping. I didn’t go completely free as it just wasn’t possible for me then. I got sick in July and something else cropped up and I had to just focus on a couple of things.

But I still class it as a success though as I got into the habit of thinking about plastic and I actually made a start!

What’s next?

I guess there’s always health and beauty products, but honestly, I’m not ready to completely change my period products just yet!

I do have some ideas for other things though; a selection of either sewn or knitted facecloths or pads, buying shampoo bars instead of bottles, hard soaps instead of in bottles etc.

And there’s always cleaning products for the home. I’m experimenting in finding the right dishcloth pattern with cotton yarn. I find cotton quite hard to knit with, so I’m still looking for the ‘perfect’ pattern.

Such as the ones below from a couple of months ago.

I did buy more cotton yarn in different colours, so I might have a go and see what I can make.

I quite like the colours and the texture of the yarn of James C. Brett’s It’s 100% Pure Cotton DK range. Another cotton yarn by James C. Brett which I’ve used in the past is Craft Cotton which is good for cotton dishcloths. You can get it from The Knitting Network here. It’s also quite cheap for a 100g ball in my opinion!

I quite like The Knitting Network as they don’t use any plastic in their packaging. I’ve ordered from them before and can recommend them!

I’m glad I tried Plastic Free July, even if I still bought and used some forms of plastic. It just goes to show how widespread it is in our lives. It’s also given me a bit of a push to look at how much plastic I’m using in other areas of my life, such as crafting and hobbies.

But more to come on that in another post!

For now, I’m going to continue using my glass bottle and just pray I don’t drop it!


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Try Dying Your Fabric With Ice For Cool Effects

My friend Lizzie bought me an ice dying kit for Christmas (thank you!) and I’ve only just now found the time to have a go.

The results are pretty cool if I do say so myself!

I’d never heard of ice dying until she bought me the kit but basically you place ice cubes onto a piece of fabric, sprinkle over powdered fabric dye and as the ice melts it makes some really funky patterns depending on whether you scrunch up the fabric beforehand.

I think it’s supposed to give a kind of tie-dye effect.

I placed my fabric on a baking rack over a baking tray (I didn’t have a bowl or bucket wide enough for the fat quarter so I used a tray).

I also folded my fabric into 4 quarters and laid it flat.

Once the ice had melted I realised that on the bottom the baking rack had made a striped pattern which was quite interesting! All 4 quarters had different patterns, I’m just waiting for it all to dry before I decide what to do with it.

So, if you want to have a go at something different and easy to (you could do this with kids it’s so easy!) then this is definitely an option!

March Craft Goals Met?

A few weeks ago I posted a few crafty goals for March, let’s see what I’ve been able to get done shall we?

I think I may have been a little bit ambitious with the amount and the size of these goals, though!

I’ve been busy with work and I was ill the last week of March, so although last week I got lots of knitting done, I haven’t really been focussing on crafting.

I finished a book last night by Isaac Asimov called The Gods Themselves, so I’ve also been doing reading too. So little time to do all the things!


Crafting Goals

Sewing

  • Do something with denim fabric I got for Christmas – maybe a bag?
  • Find a skirt or top pattern for the dark denim I bought myself a few weeks ago.
  • Use up old wool fabric for a draught excluder (the front door is VERY chilly!).
  • Use up old fat quarters and zips and make some zipper bags.
  • Go through all my sewing patterns and get rid of the ones I am realistically never going to use!

NOPE! Haven’t done any sewing and in all honesty I probably won’t do any at all this month…they roll over to April Goals!

Knitting

  • Work more on my grey top in Fisherman’s Rib. I’ve done a few inches on the front but I’ve put it aside for a few weeks as I’ve been working so much!
  • Try and finish a sock that I cast on a while back, literally only a few cm done on the top cuff rib at the moment.
  • I cast on a green sweater a few weeks ago and haven’t touched it since, so, try and do the rib at the bottom as it’s on quite small needles so might take a while.
  • Sock yarn shawl – just do a few rows, it’s getting long to finish a row now.
  • Measure and design a top down sweater with aran natural fibre I got for Christmas. Or just find the right pattern!

I’ve done more on the 1st and 3rd points, even getting onto the main body pattern for my green sweater, yet I’ve hardly done any more on the others.

Crochet

  • Finish pink and purple granny square blanket. Not much yarn left, so just finish what I have for a few more rows and then see what size it is! FINISHED!
  • Do some more on my bright pink and blue granny square blanket, not much done so far.
  • Finish top piece of my crochet top. I’m crocheting the front, which has the sleeves and yoke bit all in one if that makes sense? So, it’s taking a little while to do a single row, but it’s looking good so far!
  • Make a hat with scrap yarn.

I started another crochet blanket which sort of took over all of my crochet headspace. That’s about 2/3 done and I did manage to finish a baby blanket out of scrap yarn (1st point above) so that was good!

Miscellaneous

  • Ice dying kit to do with fabric.
  • Leather handbag to pick up and sew together with saddle stitch. All the pieces are dyed and ready to go.
  • Get back into baking bread again, haven’t done any in AGES!

NOPE to all of the miscellaneous items!


Conclusion

Too many projects mean not much progress with many.

Also, I started extra projects that weren’t on the list which takes away from the intended goals.

I cast on another granny blanket and a baby knitted hat with spare yarn and sent them to Knit For Peace. The pics below were all donated, as well as some I didn’t take photos of:

My main priorities now are my green and grey knitted tops. And a new chunky knitted top I recently cast on.

I want to get back to my crochet top too.

Everything else can wait!!!

Except…I did buy a pattern for a v-neck tank top (or sweater vest, whatever you want to call it) from Petite Knits and I REALLY want to cast that on too…

No, concentrate on finishing what I have on the go already before I cast on any more…but it’s hard!

WIPS and Bits!

It’s back! The crafting bug that is!

After a couple of months of not doing much at all, now I’m doing EVERYTHING!

Last week I even started and completed a finished object (a crochet cowl I began on my lunch break at work!).

I’ve got 2 knitted jumpers on the go, a pair of socks and a shawl.

And for crochet there are 2 blankets and a top. Yes, I’ve started a crochet top!

So, here’s what I’m working on currently.


Grey Fisherman’s Rib

Thought I’d taken a better photo than the one below but oh well!

I’m doing the version on the right which is longer and has a rollover collar. It’s aran yarn, so it’s knitting up quite quick when I work on it, I just haven’t had much time lately to have a go at it in earnest.

I love the look of Fisherman’s Rib, it’s a surprisingly simple pattern by King Cole (Tabards 5657).

What I’m not so sure of is the bottom of the piece. It’s a normal rib worked on smaller needles and then you start the fisherman’s rib properly with larger needles. But, the thing is you have a border of 5 garter stitches on both sides.

I think it would have looked better if there was a garter stitch border on the bottom instead of a normal rib if that makes any sense?!

If you look at the picture below, it looks like there’s 3 different stitches and it looks a little strange to me…but I’m going to finish it!

The yarn is lovely. It’s a wool and acrylic mix so it feels soft and squishy and it’s by Hayfield.

Hayfield Bonus Aran.

Shade 0051 FORGE

You can get the yarn from The Knitting Network here (affiliate link).

I’m only on the front and have still got the back to do, but it’s one I’m working on whenever I have a spare few minutes. I don’t feel the rush for this one!

Green Jumper

I have literally just cast on the front. Not even done any stitches!

It’s a pattern from Let’s Knit magazine on page 22 of issue 180 Feb 2022. It’s by Susie Johns.

Not much more to say as I haven’t properly started it, but I guess I’ll just say there is more to come with this one!

Sock Yarn Shawl

I’ve done a couple more rows of this ongoing WIP, but it’s starting to get long which means each row takes ages. Also, it’s in sock yarn…which is really thin! So it’s a marathon not a sprint for this one.

But I’m still in love with the colours. They seem almost too autumnal for this time of year!

Socks

I’ve done maybe 2 or 3 more rows of the ribbing for the cuff since I showed it last. I want to make this a priority once I finish my crochet blankets.

lol not much done! But I forgot how fiddly DPNs can be. No, don’t tell me about other methods of sock knitting…I’m determined to finish this the way I started it!

Scrap Yarn Crochet Blanket

Possibly one of the best colours I’ve ever used for a blanket!

I had 6 balls of yarn in 3 colours to use up. One of which I used for testing a baby cardigan which I didn’t like and the others were going to be for a jumper which I never ended up casting on.

2 are plain and 1 is variegated.

They go together perfectly!

I’ve been doing 2 rounds of each colour in a set pattern, but now I’m on the last bits of the last balls I’m almost playing yarn chicken. I think I’m going to have to do single rounds to finish as I really don’t want to buy any more yarn! Totally defeats the object of making a stash buster blanket if you have to buy more yarn, doesn’t it?!

I think I might either give it away or donate it to charity once I’m finished with it. I have too many blankets as it is. The same applies for the one below!

Blue and Pink Crochet Blanket

Literally another plain old Granny Square blanket in blue and pink. The light is really bad today, so I’ll just have to leave you wondering about what it looks like. Also it’s only about 10 rounds big so it’s not massive at the moment. I started this one at work as well.

Who knew breaks were such a good crafting opportunity?!

I’m not really actively working on this one apart from at work, so it might take a while to build up.

Crochet Top

With all the crocheting I’ve been doing lately, I felt inspired to make a crochet top. This came out of nowhere.

I’m making it in the yarn below which is Pebble Chunky. It’s sold in Yorkshire Trading (which is what I call a ‘cheap shop‘ in my mind. I guess something like Dollar Tree in the states? Not somewhere you’d think of immediately for yarn anyway!).

It’s 200g and I got 2 balls. I have to remind myself how much crochet eats the wool, so I’ll probably have to get at least 1 more ball.

The pattern does the sleeves and the yoke all in one long piece so it looks like I’m crocheting a massively long scarf. Hopefully it’ll all shrink a bit when I come to join pieces and seam it up at the end.

Again, I’ve not done much, but the yarn looks a million times better in real life than the picture below!


So, those are my knitting and crochet WIPS. Quite a bit to be getting on with.

I’ve also been buying a few craft related books lately too.

I found a couple of bargains which I snatched up right away.

The first is a cross stitch book by Emma Congden (I’ve done some of her designs in previous posts last year).

You can get it here from Waterstones (affiliate link) if you want to have a look yourself.

Since I’ve used up all my threads, it’ll be fun picking a design and getting the materials for it. I think I have enough Aida fabric left from previous projects so it’s just the threads I need. But, more stitching ahead!

And I bought a beginner knitting book. I know, I know, I’m an intermediate to advanced knitter…but I quite liked the look of some of the patterns in the back of the book.

And for inspiration which is (kind of) nothing to do with crafting I bought THIS BOOK!

I love flicking through the pages and dreaming of my own crafty homestead!

I’m also reading a few books at the moment as well as just looking at pretty pictures.

These 2 classics about writing.

And this one below about manifestation. It’s kind of an ‘alternative’ read if you know what I mean. Whilst it does address manifesting things etc. there is also a few mentions of Tarot Cards and crystals which honestly, just makes me sigh a bit. Not the book I was expecting exactly, but still a good read.

I like the fact she talks about manifestation as utterly pointless unless you put in the action as well as the thought and feeling, though.

So, yeah, that’s what I’ve been up to!

And I want to get back into sewing again soon too. But knitting comes first!


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March Goals

It’s funny that my last post was almost a month ago…so much for posting every day in February!

But, you know what? Life got busy and I had a lot of hours at work last month and when you get in late at night, you just don’t feel like blogging…or doing much else at all!

But, this week I’m off and I’m back to writing and blogging with a vengeance, so what better at the start of a new month to set some goals? I love reading other people’s goals posts, yes, I’m sad like that!

So, what do I want to achieve with my crafting first of all, and then what do I want to get done with life and everything else?

I’m saying goals for March, but let’s face it, some of these will probably roll over into April or even May!


Crafting Goals

Sewing

  • Do something with denim fabric I got for Christmas – maybe a bag?
  • Find a skirt or top pattern for the dark denim I bought myself a few weeks ago.
  • Use up old wool fabric for a draught excluder (the front door is VERY chilly!).
  • Use up old fat quarters and zips and make some zipper bags.
  • Go through all my sewing patterns and get rid of the ones I am realistically never going to use!

Knitting

  • Work more on my grey top in Fisherman’s Rib. I’ve done a few inches on the front but I’ve put it aside for a few weeks as I’ve been working so much!
  • Try and finish a sock that I cast on a while back, literally only a few cm done on the top cuff rib at the moment.
  • I cast on a green sweater a few weeks ago and haven’t touched it since, so, try and do the rib at the bottom as it’s on quite small needles so might take a while.
  • Sock yarn shawl – just do a few rows, it’s getting long to finish a row now.
  • Measure and design a top down sweater with aran natural fibre I got for Christmas. Or just find the right pattern!

Crochet

  • Finish pink and purple granny square blanket. Not much yarn left, so just finish what I have for a few more rows and then see what size it is!
  • Do some more on my bright pink and blue granny square blanket, not much done so far.
  • Finish top piece of my crochet top. I’m crocheting the front, which has the sleeves and yoke bit all in one if that makes sense? So, it’s taking a little while to do a single row, but it’s looking good so far!
  • Make a hat with scrap yarn.

Miscellaneous

  • Ice dying kit to do with fabric.
  • Leather handbag to pick up and sew together with saddle stitch. All the pieces are dyed and ready to go.
  • Get back into baking bread again, haven’t done any in AGES!

Work/ Life Goals

  • Schedule a week’s worth of posts in advance for this blog and on Medium. I’ve neglected both a little bit recently.
  • Get up to 500 designs on RedBubble by the end of March (I’m about halfway there already).
  • Get up to 50 designs on Society 6, oh what a pain it is to upload on that site!
  • Launch my 2 other blogs I have waiting in the wings…just how am I going to find the time to write so much content?!
  • Do more with Pinterest.
  • Publish my book which is about 2/3 done, most of the printables are done I just need to do the actual writing, like the introduction and conclusion etc.
  • Launch/ ope my Etsy store with printables to download and print yourself at home.

  • See more of my home county! I feel like there are lots of places in Yorkshire that I haven’t been to even though I’ve lived here for years!
  • Do more Yoga – either DVDs or from Youtube.
  • Do something physical, either cycling, or go to the gym. The ‘worry’ about going to the gym is starting to ease a bit now the pandemic is lessening (is that the word?).
  • Finish all the books on my shelf. Only 5 to read and I’m halfway through one.

What I really want to do this year is use stuff up.

Read all my books and either donate or sort out somehow those that I’m not likely to read again etc.

Use up my wool and fabric stashes before buying any more of either. There is literally NO ROOM for any more!

Just make some space and get rid of the old things that are taking up space and that I’m fed up of!

I’m making headway on that already. I’ve already made a bright neon cowl that I started to crochet on my lunch break at work and finished at home the next day. I just have a tiny bit of neon wool left now and I’m not sure what to do with that. I’d love to crochet a pair of wrist warmers but I don’t think there’s enough yarn left!

Anyway, that’s my rough goals for March. It’s a lot, but it’s all doable as long as I plan my time carefully and get motivated!

What are your plans for this month?

Aside from relaxing and taking time for yourself of course!

The grey fisherman’s rib sweater progress below as well as books I’m reading now, a crochet blanket I’m nearly finished and my sock yarn shawl progress!

Ah, the colours look so good on this scrap yarn pink and purple crochet blanket!

Latest Pin For My Collection

It’s been a while since I added an enamel pin to my little collection but it’s finally happened!

Why? I just decided I needed a treat! A lot of what I’ve been buying lately has been essential stuff (and wool…lots of wool!) and so it was nice to buy something frivolous for myself!

I bought this cute autumnal bear from an Etsy shop called Emma Carpenter Studio.

I’ve bought pins and stickers from this shop before and they always arrive very fast and well packaged.

I had a little trouble trying to take a good picture as it’s very shiny and I kept getting my face or my phone in the reflection on the pin.

And below is what my enamel pin collection currently looks like.

The bear and hedgehog on the bottom left are from the same shop, as are the two pins above (the house and teacup). I’m sure if you follow arty YouTubers you’ll recognise a few pins from some other shops such as Katnipp Illustrations, Ellis Woolley and Baylee Jae.

And whilst it doesn’t look like there is any order to the layout there actually is! YouTubers on the left, nature in the top middle, nerd pins in the centre, Christmas in the top right and mystical pins on the right.

Quite a few were either seconds or freebies…some were buy 2, get a third free, so you can definitely build up a collection quickly and cheaply if you find the right shop at the right time. Glitterpunk Jewellery is an Etsy shop that sells cute pins and they often have seconds sales (the sparkling mystical pins were from here on the right)

The pin banner is just the right size for now… although it’s almost getting a little small and definitely looks a little worse for wear with all the rearranging I’ve been doing! I got it from an Etsy shop The Novel Menagerie and I might have to pop along and see if there are any more…I’ve sort of outgrown the pink!!

So, yeah, have a look at Emma Carpenter Studio on Etsy if you want any cute pins for yourself or as gifts for people. I would recommend the shop! 🙂

She’s also on Youtube if you want to see what she’s up to!


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LATEST POSTS

2022 Knitting/ Crafting Goals

I thought I’d write my crafty goals for the year here.

To be honest, it’s mostly going to be knitting for now. Yes, there’ll be the odd crochet or sewing project too, but I have a little list of knitting projects to get out of the way first (or at the very least, started!).

Sock Yarn Shawl

This is an ongoing project with no particular urgency, but it’s the project I cast on before all of the others on this list, so it gets first place! It’s a 4ply yarn by West Yorkshire Spinners in a GORGEOUS colour way (you can get it here from The Knitting Network if you want it in your stash!).

It’s going to take a while to finish it, but there’s no rush!

Socks!

I have only ever knitted one sock. As in, ONE. Not a pair…but one!

I threw it away last year as it was all twisted and would never be worn!

Socks are my knitting nemesis. They take ages and they seem so slow to make any progress with at all. I’m a bit impatient!

So, this year, I’m going to focus on socks. I’ve cast on and knitted a couple of rows before Christmas, and then I put it aside. It’s time to pick it up again.

I just find DPNs so fiddly and no, I’m going to try any other methods like the magic loop anytime soon as I think it will be just the same amount of fiddliness!!

Fair Isle Top Down Sweater

I have the aran wool all ready for this. I have the book all ready to look at. I don’t have a pattern!

I’m going to have a go at designing one myself, which means I need to measure myself, design a Fair Isle Yoke motif (I’m thinking trees) and then write up the pattern itself for me to follow.

I’ve never designed a sweater before, I’ve only ever knitted 2 in my life in fact. Last year.

But, it’s a huge project I’m really looking forward to!

Miscellaneous Bits

I have wool for the following projects:

  • A soft grey hat
  • A neon cowl
  • A baby blanket from scraps
  • Aran wool for a tank top (sweater vest)
  • About 20 random single hanks/ balls of yarn that I have NO IDEA what to do with!

And I’m currently crocheting a scraps blanket which I’ll donate somewhere that accepts baby knitted items.

Sewing

  • Christmas fat quarters
  • Denim fabric – maybe a skirt or a bag?
  • Grey wool fabric into a draught excluder?
  • Fix a pair of shorts I made last year!

I also bought 3 metres of some striped fabric, with the intention of making either a dress or top. I’m thinking a t-shirt, which isn’t my first choice of garment for sewing…but it’s something I’ve never done before and will give me good practice with pattern matching. I could make it into a mix of t-shirt and dress by doing a long tunic type top.

We’ll see!

And finally, I’m going to finish a leather handbag I started last year…it’s all dyed red and green, it just needs to be sewn up. I’ll have to refresh saddle stitch, but it should be no problem once I get into it!

That just needs a big chunk of time to focus on it!

Well, that’s it. All my crafty projects for the year.

There is not a lot on here really, I feel like I finished a lot of the bigger projects last year so I’m almost starting with a clean slate this year. And that feels pretty good. 🙂


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Little Catch Up

It’s been a while since I last posted on here.

Happy New Year to you all!

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year and managed to get a lot of crafting in. I haven’t managed to get much crafting done at all lately.

Christmas kind of takes over everything, but I’ve also started a new job in the last month and since that was in retail…well, you can imagine how manic that got over December!

Honestly, I simply haven’t had the inclination to sit down and knit and it’s been kind of nice to step back away from the crafty side of things for a little while.


I’ve been doing some reading lately. With all the books I’ve been buying people I racked up 10 stamps at Waterstones which means a free book! I chose The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix.

It’s set in the early 80’s (in an alternate 80’s) and is about the coexistence of the Old World and the New. Our heroine Susan is caught up in an adventure after witnessing Merlin, who is a Left-handed fighting bookseller, kill a crime boss with a silver hatpin…

I really can’t explain it anymore than that! I enjoyed the book as a fiction read that wasn’t a science fiction book by Isaac Asimov (which feels like all I’ve read over the past 3 years!) and it was an interesting concept.

The writing style was almost a little too simplistic. And the heroine was mostly swept up in things rather than participating in a lot of it. I guess it felt more reactive than active until the very end.

Some things could have been explained or detailed a bit more. And the relationship between Merlin and Susan could have been expanded upon.

But overall, a good read.

I wouldn’t be surprised if they turned this into a film…

I’m currently reading Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott...it’s about the art of writing. Some writing and life advice. It was going OK, until she started mentioning God every 3 pages and made a comment about France losing the war! I can’t get that throwaway comment out of my mind and it’s coloured the whole book now, haha!

So, we’ll see if I can finish it!


I thought I’d show you some of the crafty bits and bobs I got for Christmas…

I got some fabric. Denim in dark blue and yellow/ gold. I’m thinking a bag or a skirt. Not sure yet!

You can just see the yellow and blue denim in the background below…I couldn’t get the other pics to upload, internet just went funny at the crucial moment!

I also got a set of gorgeous dark red Christmas fat quarters. The colours are a lot darker in real life. I’m saving them for next year as the desire to make ANYTHING festive has completely left me.

My brother bought me a wool winder and since I’ve treated myself to 3 new balls of wool today and all of them are in hanks and not balls…well, that’s going to come in useful!

And the wool I bought?

Some 100% British Wool by West Yorkshire Spinners (Jacob in Aran weight) on the right of the pic below. I bought 2 balls of that, thinking it would be good for a hat or as part of a Fair Isle yoke for a jumper I have in mind to start soon.

And I also bought just the one ball of Washted Malabrigo (684 Chameleon colour).

You can get that one here from Wool Warehouse if you like the look of it(the one on the left). It’s really squishy and soft!

And for Christmas I got some more wool by West Yorkshire Spinners in brown and cream colours for the jumper I just mentioned above…so I’m all ready to start measuring and designing my first ever top down jumper!

And these are natural fleece colours…no nasty chemicals or fixatives, just pure wool as it came off the sheep! So…an eco-friendly option!


And finally…

The next post will be looking at my 2022 crafting goals. And then, hopefully back to blogging with a vengeance in January and beyond.

Last year in February I did a 30 day blogging challenge and I’m thinking of doing that again this year. Last year was about crafting, not sure what the topic/ theme could be for this year. Maybe a specific craft like knitting or crochet?

I was almost thinking of sharing a small business or a pattern I’ve enjoyed every day…something like that? Not sure! What do you think?!


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Knitting Updates

Last week I sent another box of knitted goodies to charity. It’s great for me as I have more room to make more stuff now!

Do you remember some of these below from previous posts this year? All gone now as well as more blankets that I forgot to take pictures of!

I loved the Christmas blankie so much…but there comes a point when you have to say to yourself “Actually, I have ENOUGH knitted blankets now!”.

I have a few projects on the go which are:

  • Knitted baby cardigan
  • Knitted sock yarn shawl
  • Knitted socks
  • Orange granny square blanket using up scraps from a jumper I made earlier in the year

That’s enough to be getting on with now. I have a few ideas for future projects which is basically, a top down sweater and more socks! Also a tank top and a neon fair isle cowl.

Since I got rid of a lot of scrap fabric the other day, I don’t have a lot of sewing projects planned. Although I did buy a couple of cute Christmas fat quarters from a local sewing shop a couple of days ago…I couldn’t help myself!

Just look at the traditional Christmas colours on the fat quarter on the right!

I never go for weird Christmas colours…I remember as a teenager in the early 2000’s when they bought out black Christmas trees for the first time, as well as purple and silver as a festive colour combo…I hated them! What was wrong with golds, red and greens?

Anyway…I have NO IDEA what I’m going to make with them…probably zipper bags as they are my absolute favourite sewing make!

Handmade Christmas Wreath

Mother and me went on a Christmas Wreath making workshop yesterday and our wreathes looked pretty good!

It’s a day later and they haven’t fallen apart so that’s a success in my book!

I chose to decorate mine with whole oranges, pine cones and slices of dried limes, thinking I would go for the all natural theme. I was going to put some cinnamon sticks in there too…but less is more when it comes to wreathes.

I put some straggly bits around the edges, which if I did it again, I probably would skip. But it’s the first ones we’ve ever made and I think they look OK for total beginners! 🙂

The whole process was really easy too.

  1. Buy a metal wreath ring from your local craft shop/ florist
  2. Wrap it with metal
  3. Stuff moss around the ring and wrap that with wire for your base
  4. Add your leaves and foliage…make sure to wrap it all tightly
  5. Add decorations such as ribbons, pine cones, baubles, oranges etc.
  6. Add a wire hook to hang it up with
  7. That’s it! You’re done!

Ah, WordPress, How I Neglect Thee So!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted consistently here. I’ve got to say that writing on Medium has now taken over my life!

Just today I posted 2 posts over there, each about 1000 words. I’ve been posting there everyday and it’s shown in the stats and the payments.

But, I feel like I’m neglecting this lil blog a bit and I had this one before Medium! So, what else have I been up to?

Crafting

I’ve cast on a pink knitted baby hat and have done only about 6cm of the rib. I only started that last night, but it shouldn’t take me long and then next to cast on is a matching baby cardigan or jumper.

I’m still crocheting and knitting baby blankets and I haven’t done any more of my knitted socks! Too much writing happening that the knitting also takes a back seat!

I went through my fabric and wool drawers and boxes and have 2 bags of stuff I don’t want any more. I’m not sure what to do with them as a lot of charity shops can be funny about craft supplies. I might see if a local primary school wants any of it. There’s card blanks, paint brushes, fabric…all sorts.

And yet I still don’t seem to have any more room, after I got rid of 2 bags of craft supplies, 4 bags to the charity shop and 2 bags of paper recycling!

I was ruthless last week, going through all my old knitting magazines and patterns I’d pulled from magazines and put into my knitting folder. I threw out so much stuff that I realistically was never going to use.

Photo by Ron Lach on Pexels.com

Print on Demand

Not much done for RedBubble and Society 6, although I did update the shop banner yesterday. I made a sale on RedBubble yesterday (yay!) and that prompted me to have a look. I was excited for a moment as I thought I’d crossed the payment threshold, but nope! Still need another 20p haha!

I’m going to have to have a look this week at print on demand stuff, but it’s still fun. Just a bit neglected too at the moment.

Writing

Apart from Medium, I did set up an e-mail system but I just haven’t had chance to even look at that. I might do soon, but it’s 8pm now and I want to come off the computer soon! Tomorrow is Sunday, so I’ll see if I can send out an e-mail tomorrow.

I’ve also let Etsy and the Amazon book I was writing slide a bit…there is just not enough hours to write! I thought since I’m a fast typer that writing would be quick for me, but it’s been surprisingly time consuming. That’s without my second WordPress blog and my website which both need content.

Affiliates

On the plus side I have joined up and applied to join a few more affiliate schemes which is fun. I haven’t been using them in Medium posts as I submit them to publications and they each have their own rules about what links you can use. But I think I’ll try and do a few more in the near future!

I joined Cadbury’s affiliate scheme (you should be able to see a banner on the sidebar). Yay chocolate!

The whole passive income side of things is slow going, but still fun. The amount of things I’ve learned this year has been unreal!

Christmas

I can’t believe I’ve bought my first Christmas present of the year already. For some people this is early, for others late.

I don’t like leaving it all to the last minute anymore and I NEVER buy anything on Christmas Eve – too last minute, rushed and busy!

I bought my brother a few books and ordered another one. And the fact that it was double points at Waterstones until today…well so much the better!

I’ve decided not to make any more decorations this year, either sewn or knitted as I have no room to store them! Maybe some people might get a mini knitted stocking or something like that, but I’m not doing big things. Need to focus on other crafty things!

Saying that though, I might make another hat or some mittens or myself if I have time. Socks and baby stuff come first though…

Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com

Anyway, that was a bit of a ramble through my head and where I’m at right now.

Still plodding on with things, not as much crafting going on as I would like, but I’m sure I will make a lot of progress with things now that I finished my jumper a few weeks ago.

Hope you’re having a fun and productive weekend and I’ll try to get back into the swing of posting a bit more regularly. 🙂


Here’s a few popular posts I’ve written on Medium:

5 Things This Week

I’ve been a bit quiet over here this week but I’ve been busy beavering away at other things. Even managed to get in a spot of crafting or two.

This week in general has been a week of little but long errands, like yesterday was my car’s MOT, but I went to a new place so had to drive a bit further than usual, so it was a little but long errand!

And there have been more appointments for people and picking up and that sort of thing, which leaves you feeling you only have half a day to do stuff.

Anyway, this is what I’ve been up to this week:


1. I joined Twitter!

I had such a busy day yesterday with the errands, writing 3 articles for Medium, picking up people, doing household chores etc. that I decided to join a new social media platform too. I used to have a personal account years ago, in fact I only joined it then because I was forced to for a university project. I’ve never understood it much or loved it in all honesty, but I’m trying to be more social and business minded on the internet.

Which means that Pinterest just isn’t enough! Whilst I do have an Instagram account for Woolly Orbit, I only have 3 crappy posts on there, I’m beginning to hate Instagram with all the videos and I don’t use Facebook. Which is what I’ll have to eventually do if I want to progress with the sharing and marketing side of things, but anyway back to Twitter.

I have a few tweets and I’m just getting started, so stuff will change in the future, especially when I finally sort out branding and everything!

I’m @woollyorbit if you want to come say hello and help me figure out the platform!!

It also means I can do this here:


2. I’ve started to upload to my Society 6 shop

I joined a few months ago, but have been focussing on RedBubble. This week I looked at both Spoonflower and Society 6. Spoonflower needs a lot before I launch patterns as I need to order samples and so I’m going to wait until I have a lot of designs uploaded and ready to go.

But as of today, I have 5 designs live on Society 6. And OMG what a pain to get the file sizes! I’m glad I kept the Photoshop subscription as some of the file sizes are HUGE. And you need different dimensions – square, vertical, horizontal etc.

BUT I like the products they have over there…they have bar stools and deckchairs and yoga mats. They have a credenza! I’d never even heard of that before…but I can stick a simple design on one!

Screenshot (I can do those now) of a credenza on Society 6

I like the furniture they have on Society 6, although not so much the prices, but you know – furniture!

So, I’m going to keep going with that, even though it takes me a lot longer to upload each design onto the platform.

https://society6.com/woollyorbit

So that’s fun!


3. Medium – Publications and More

I won’t go into the details on here, but if you want to get your stuff read on Medium, you have to submit to publications. Which I haven’t been doing because I’ve been focussing on my writing. Also, the submitting and signing up process scares me!

Anyone on Medium can create a publication. They are just another part of the platform.

Imagine if you could create a group blogging section on WordPress and invite other bloggers or accept articles on relevant topics to your group. That’s kind of like what the publications are like on Medium, except the bigger ones get thousands of views and followers, and so your post is more likely to get seen and therefore read by more people. Hope that makes sense!

Anyway, not only did I write 3 posts on there yesterday, but I also left an add me as a writer comment on my first publication which might take a while to get accepted (he does say on the submission guidelines he only checks it once or twice a month). In the meantime, I’m making a list of potential publications that could work for me and I’m going to try and submit a few articles to them in the coming days and weeks.

First I need to spend a bit of time actually writing a REALLY good article!

I do have my own publication which is called Woolly Orbit Passive Income (no surprises there!) but I’m not doing much with it. Maybe now I have Twitter I can promote the publication itself on there as well as the articles themselves?

So, that’s another side of Medium I’ve been looking at.

If you want to follow my writing on Medium, you can subscribe via e-mail here:

https://woollyorbit.medium.com/subscribe

Or, if you want to join Medium you can use my referral link here (if you use this link then I’ll receive a portion of your Medium fees at no extra cost to you)

https://woollyorbit.medium.com/membership


4. I’ve been watching…

Simple Living Alaska

Skeindeer Knits

This Is Kachi


5. Finishing Miscellaneous Craft Bits And Bobs

A bit of crafting done this week but not much ‘big’ progress!

I’m just sewing in the ends of my Christmas Crochet Blanket right now and then I need to decide what to do with it. Where to donate it.

I love it, I love the colours and the fact it’s a Christmas blanket…but I have 5 blankets already and they’re just the ones I can think of off the top of my head. So, to charity with this one!

I’m also doing one more round of black cross stitch for the placemat I finished last week. I might see how much thread is left and do another round after that…but there’s not much black left. I just thought it would be easier to sew up if there was a bit of wriggle room when sewing the edges.

I’ve done about 10 rows on my knitted orange jumper. I am getting sick of writing that phrase on here…knitted orange jumper, knitted orange jumper! It doesn’t even have a pattern name, I don’t think! I’m on the home stretch for it now though.

Here’s a previous post about it.

And I’m about to cast on a pair of vanilla socks by Winwick Mum.

There’s no photos because they don’t look all that much different from previous posts for everything here…and I’ve been writing at the computer for hours today and I want a break!!


So, that’s pretty much it for now. It’s been another week of half days.

And a heatwave…29 degrees celsius yesterday and the day before. I thought summer was over, in fact I was getting ready to put all my summer clothes away!

I’ll try and post a bit more over here, but you know, I get carried away writing!


Two of my most recent posts on Medium:

https://woollyorbit.medium.com/what-youtube-has-taught-me-about-homesteading-in-the-usa-f821d0e2c728

https://woollyorbit.medium.com/how-to-update-your-redbubble-store-ed8085fea436

LATEST POSTS:

Hand Salve

I had a few ingredients to use up so I thought I’d make a new hand salve/ cuticle balm.

A lotion bar type thing…except I pour it into tiny plastic pots which saves on a lot of the mess and you can wash out and reuse when they’re empty.

I’m not an expert at this kind of thing, but I do like to have a play around and it’s really easy to do.

Basically I used equal parts of beeswax, runny oil and a hard oil or butter. If you want it softer, add more runny oil or take out some of the beeswax. If you like it really hard, make sure you have more beeswax or use harder butters.

I have a huge tub of shea butter that I wanted to use up and I had exactly 1 1/2 cups of beeswax left, so that’s why everything is this amount! That makes a lot of mixture, but at least I got rid of a few bottles of oil!

The only ingredients I have left now apart from essential oils are shea butter and a bottle of sweet almond oil so I’ll have to find a recipe to use those up in the future.

The shea butter and beeswax I bought from an Etsy shop called Classikool (in the UK). They do food and body related ingredients with minimal packaging and I’ve bought from them several times in the past. They’ve always had fast shipping and their products have always been great. I’ve bought cocoa butter and other oils like Carrot Tissue, St John’s Wort and more.

Here’s the affiliate link to their shop below if you want to have a look:

https://tidd.ly/3n8aJLc


Here’s what I did:

First of all I melted the beeswax and shea butter in a double boiler (if you don’t have a double boiler you can do what I did, which is to use a jug for your ingredients in a pan of hot water).

Once they are all melted I added the runny oils, in this case Sweet Almond Oil and Jojoba Oil and mixed it all together until it’s all melted and clear.

I took it off the heat for a few minutes to cool down slightly before I added the Lemon, Rosemary and Bergamot essential oils.

You need to be careful with some essential oils as to the ratio/amount you put in, but I’ve done this before quite a few times, so I had a good idea when to stop!

Stir it all together and if you want to add any colouring to it, do it now. I like mine to look natural so I didn’t add any colouring.

I then poured the mixture into little plastic pots and left them to solidify at room temperature for the rest of the afternoon and got on with other stuff!

All done!

To use, just scrape/ scoop a bit out of the pot with your finger, and it should melt a bit on your fingers or your palm, just rub it into your hands.

I wouldn’t use this on my face, but it’s good for cuticles, hands and areas of rough skin. It’s really good for elbows and cracked heels…just put it on at night when you’re sitting down to give it a chance to sink in a bit!


These make really sweet and useful Christmas or Birthday gifts for people and they are SO easy to make! And they’re handmade in re-usable packaging!

I thought I’d try a stocking mould I’ve had for a while and never used…it came out quite good if I say so myself! But I didn’t have a tin big enough for it, so it’s in a plastic bag for now.

It goes without saying that you need to double check your ingredients and recipes for this kind of thing. This isn’t really an in depth tutorial kind of post.

For essential oils there are guidelines for use with children (basically use less!) and about how much you use in each recipe. Some essential oils can only be used in small amounts as they can react with the sun on your skin…so be careful!


Recent posts on Medium:

https://woollyorbit.medium.com/bestsellers-i-didnt-like-but-everyone-else-loved-31aad1fe4394

https://woollyorbit.medium.com/my-autumn-knitting-projects-c5d6e57e6c13

If you want to sign up for Medium, you can use my referral link here below. If you use this link then I get a part of your membership fee each month at no extra cost to you.

https://woollyorbit.medium.com/membership


[This post contains affiliate links which means if you click the link and make a purchase, I get a small commission of that purchase at no extra cost to you!]


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Turning One Thing Into Another

I finished the stitching part of my latest cross stitch project last week (I just need to sew it all up).

And I thought I would have a go at adding it to my RedBubble store, just to see what it looked like. It looks pretty funky on the cushions I think!

The piece was stitched out of fabric and threads I already had and had no other use for. So, I turned things that were likely to be thrown away into a future piece of ‘art’. It’s going to be a placemat/ trivet type thing once I get around to sewing it up.

I then turned that into other products by taking a picture of it and uploading it onto RedBubble.

You could do this with knitting and crochet projects too. I’ve seen some funky designs with pictures of patchwork quilts that have been added to places like RedBubble.

So, you can make a little bit of extra pocket money from a project you’ve already sewn/ knitted/ stitched etc. I mean, even if you took pictures of things you made for other people, you could still make money!

Just a quick idea to turn your projects into cash without much extra work!

You can find my RedBubble store here if you’re interested. I’m in the process of sorting it out and updating collections and banners etc. for the autumn.

WoollyOrbit2000.redbubble.com


Other recent RedBubble designs below:

Follow me on Pinterest @woollyorbit

August Goals Update

Craft goals:

  1. Try and get the front of my orange jumper finished, or at the very least a lot of progress made.
  2. Try and finish the sample baby cardigan I’m knitting. So far got the back and one side done.
  3. Do a few more rows on my sock yarn shawl.
  4. Do more on crochet baby blanket.
  5. Cast on large heirloom knitted blanket, I think I’m going to go for entrelac! :O
  6. Finish sewing together fabric baby dress.
  7. Find a simple sock pattern for beginners and cast on.

The only one of those I’ve made much progress with is the first one. I’ve done so much with the orange jumper, only about 10cm to go before I start to shape the neckline. But I also picked up another crochet project not listed here and worked on that this month as well as finishing a cross stitch project.

And I sorted my craft boxes out yesterday…I had a big hoover and clear out and did a spring clean. Which meant I found my sock yarn shawl and did a few more rows.

The picture below is an old one from January, but it shows the yarn which is my favourite colour way EVER in yarn! It’s West Yorkshire Spinners I think. Sock yarn in wool and nylon so it’s not soft and snuggly, but it’ll feel better once it’s a lot bigger. I’ve only done about 10 more rows after what I have here…oh dear!

So, 1 and 3 had a bit more work done on them but that was pretty much it. There was crafting, just not the stuff I put on the list!


Work goals:

  1. I am opening my Etsy shop this month regardless of how many listings there are.
  2. I am publishing my book regardless of how finished it is!!!
  3. I want to post an article on Medium every day. Make a push for it!
  4. Join Fiverr.
  5. Join Substack.
  6. Spoonflower have 10 designs up.

These were my August goals.

I did manage to get about 20 posts written and published on Medium. And I joined Substack. But, the last week or 2 I’ve felt a bit bleurgh so I’ve slowed down with creating and uploading content and writing and everything.

I’ve uploaded several notebook designs to Amazon KDP. And to RedBubble too.

There are a few Halloween-ish black and orange designs on RedBubble and a few Back To School ones. I need to re-do the branding of the shop as it’s a bit random at the moment!

I love the chalk font for this simple design!

But I haven’t done much on RedBubble in the last two weeks to be honest.

WoollyOrbit2000.redbubble.com

Most importantly with work stuff, I’ve started work on the printables book again. And although the Etsy shop isn’t open, it soon will be!


So, there has been progress, just not the sort that I can actually show a lot of here!

I guess what I didn’t manage here will roll over to September. But it’s Q4 nearly…gotta think about Halloween, Autumn, Christmas, New Year…

I might make a September goals post in a few days once I’ve had time to think about priorities for this month.


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