One of the highlights of any blogger's year is the 'end of year collage'. It's a deliciously self-indulgent look back at the last twelve months and is no small job. I also use the opportunity to have a jolly good organise and an all essential back-up of my (hundreds of) pictures. Since getting my DSLR camera for Christmas last year, I have definitely fallen in love with photography. I still rely on instinct more than knowledge (no idea what some of the settings even mean) but I'm so enjoying it.
I'm going to do my 2014 round-up in three parts. Today I'd like to share my favourite photographs from January to July inclusive. August to December collages will follow in a day or so. I am then going to have a little bloggy break until just after Christmas when I shall return with my very own awards ceremony. Yep, you read right! You'll see! ;-)
At the beginning of every single year, I resolve to be more organised. At the end of every single year, I kick myself for being so bloody disorganised. Well, no more. You, my friends, are my witnesses. 2015 is going to see a new me. A manic diary-keeping, list-writing me who has all Christmas presents bought/made and wrapped by the end of September. I shall have meals planned weeks in advance, my social engagements will be cleverly-arranged and equidistant, and my life will run like clockwork.
Did you just see that pig fly past the window? ;-)
How are you? Are you buzzing with festive excitement or are you slightly frazzled too?
By way of a brief respite, I thought I'd pop by and take the opportunity to share a few 'happies' with you ...
❤ No flashing reindeer badges for me yet - I am completely smitten with my new pretty felt flower corsage and am wearing it nearly all the time, mostly pinned to my Miss Piggy Ponchette. It is my second purchase from this lovely lady on Etsy. I'm thinking it would also look rather cute on a crocheted hat?
❤ I have a serious mitt habit, lest you'd not noticed. Using my own pattern, I've made myself another pair of Rosie Mitts, this time in spring brussels sprout green.
❤ Candles. I can't pretend I'm liking these dark evenings one jot but fragrant flickering candles and twinkling fairy lights do help. My favourite Yankee Candle is currently Snowflake Cookie - it is just how I imagine heaven must smell.
❤ Slowly, slowly I'm introducing little Christmassy touches, each one causing a teeny frisson of excitement. I know some of you already have your trees up but we have a gazillion birthdays first. I rather like the gradual build-up, it's like festive foreplay! ;-)
❤ Beautiful sunrises. No filter. No words needed.
❤ Crumpets. What can I say? Hot and dripping with butter. It's a comfort (and elasticated waistband) thing.
❤ One of the aforementioned December birthdays is today. My baby boy is 16. Sixteen!!! We spent last weekend in Nottingham to celebrate. We had a fabulous supper at Jamie's Italian and then the boys went to a Kasabian concert (which is a little ironic considering all the band members live within a mile of us here in Leicester, with one of them just around the corner). I shall be cooking his chosen birthday supper of risotto tonight and I daresay he will pester me for my "when I was in labour for 25 hours …" story. Not!!! (A quick reminisce is a mother's prerogative on her child's birthday is it not?!)
Of course, it goes without saying that I was extremely young when I had him. ;-)
I wondered if you fancied a little potter around my craft room? It's definitely an 'in day' today as the weather's been so grotty and I've just been giving it a bit of a spruce. The kettle is on and you're most welcome.
I love my craft room. I wish I'd given it a more interesting name from the offset. My friend Cuckoo calls hers 'the bird box' which is delightful but if I called mine anything else now it would be too contrived so 'craft room' it is.
I claimed this room as my very own eighteen months ago and blogged about it here. Gosh, it looks so much more cluttered now. It's definitely a hotchpotch and not the kind of room you'd ever see gracing the pages of a magazine but it's full of my pretty treasures and favourite things. It even smells nice. Occasionally I get an urge to have a ruthless purge and turn it into something a little more streamlined and stylish but it doesn't last long. Anyway, I don't think there is one single thing in here I could, or would want to, do without.
It's extremely dull today so please forgive the lighting.
Unfortunately I do have to share it with the ironing board. And Mount Ironing. There's no point in my pretending that the shameful heap you see there is a one-off; there will be clothes at the bottom of the basket I've actually forgotten I own, trust me.
The pin board hasn't quite made it up on to the wall yet. If you've ever sent me a pretty card at some point, you might just see it on there.
My pile of magazines. Mostly Mollie Makes, Simply Crochet and Cross Stitcher. I don't subscribe to any magazine any more and only very rarely do I buy one. I feel I've amassed a bit of a reference library and can spend ages just picking through them.
As for the files? I file everything; it's one of my 'things'. I think it stems from my days as a PA.
Essential yarn storage! I wonder if there is anyone, anywhere who doesn't have at least one Ikea bookcase??? It may look a bit of a piggy mess to you but I assure you it is organised. At the top there you see my beloved Sublime stash, a wire basket of aran weight yarn and another of Rooster on the middle shelf, and my Debbie Bliss baby cashmerino collection on the bottom.
On the very top shelf, I have an original matryoshka doll. My grandmother brought it back from Moscow as a gift, over thirty years ago. Also, a couple of mementoes from my 40th birthday trip to Paris, including an entrance ticket to The Louvre and a candle from Notre Dame. I'm not sure why I keep them all hiding up here.
Katie Daisy calendar. I must check if there is to be a 2015 version.
This is a little bedside table that used to belong to my Mother In Law. One day I will paint it. A soft turquoise I think. The drawers are chock-full of felt.
My poor neglected sewing machine sits on top. It's a Brother XL-4023. I bought it years ago from a mail order catalogue, paying in instalments, and, despite its ill-treatment, it's never let me down.
Oops, I think it needs a wipe!
Random pretties hanging from the ceiling.
My 'control centre' from a very unflattering angle. Shredder (what can I say, I worry about fraud!), bin, 'phone, printer, radio and laptop. All within easy reach. All extremely essential. This is where I sit and blog. My 'desk' is actually our old Habitat kitchen table and, after years of being smeared with vegetable puree and Weetabix, glue and paint, I like to think it's enjoying its sedentary retirement in my craft room.
A Laura Ashley lamp my daughter didn't want anymore and, likewise, a cow alarm clock from my son.
One of my many gorgeous Janet Bell prints. I particularly love this one because it reminds me of Mevagissey. I'm going to hang it above the table, so it's directly in my eyeline. One day.
Ahem. More shelves. More yarn. Drops in the bottom basket and a random selection in the top.
I often print out yarn colour charts - they're such a useful quick reference. It makes reordering (too) easy plus, of course, they're nice to look at! To its right is a selection of discontinued Sublime colours. I'm often asked which yarn I used for past projects and, without this, I'm sure I wouldn't remember.
Oh, and do you like my daughter's sketch of me? ;-)
Bertie loves it when I'm in my craft room. He lies just over the border into the lounge where he can keep close tabs on me. Today he seems to have collected a motley pile of toys. Bless him, do you think perhaps he wants to show you some of his favourite things too?
If I've inspired you to share your crafty corner (go on, please do), simply add a link at the bottom of this post (under the comments box).
Thank you so much for visiting. Do come again soon.
Edited to add … take a peek at these lovely ladies' craft room ideas:-
I made a point of going outside and seeking out the moon last night. Sometimes it's hard to tell if there is a teeny sliver missing from view but I'm pretty sure it was full. Please let it be full. You see, that way I can make some sort of sense of this last week which has, my friends, been an unrelenting catalogue of errors. Or, as I like to call it, a complete tits-up. (Apologies if that offends.)
It's a well known fact that the moon's cycle can affect people's biorhythms and, I've heard (and selectively remembered) that people with green eyes are particularly susceptible. Phew.
Either that or I've lost the plot.
I have broken things, spilt things, burnt things, lost things, forgotten things, hurt myself, hurt my car, made mistakes and put my foot in it. I've been ratty, stressed, impractical, clumsy and away with the fairies.
Then, just to round off the week perfectly, my car got a puncture on the way to school this morning.
Of course it did. Joy.
I think the only thing I've managed not to do this week is face-plant a pile of freshly-laid dog poo but, hey, there's still time.
As tempting as it might be to climb back into bed and hide before anything else goes wrong, I've decided to come and see you and jumble my way through an appropriately random blog post. :-)
Little affirmation on my bedroom mirror. Quite tempted to cross out 'great' and write 'trying' at the moment! ;-)
Oh how I love a sunny corner. Despite being lucky enough to have a little craft room, this is where I prefer to sit and crochet. It's always flooded with light. Our house is a peculiar upside-down, three-storey affair with the lounge being on the second floor, at the back. Just to the right of my armchair, as you look at this picture, there are double doors with a juliet balcony. From here I can see into about twenty gardens, including our own, and nose to my heart's content.
One of my favourite recent purchases. I simply cannot tell you how deliciously chocolatey it smells.
Another recent purchase, Cute and Easy Crocheted Baby Clothes by Nicki Trench. Rest assured, I don't have any announcements to make; I bought it almost purely for this pattern which has been on one of my Pinterest boards for an age. I absolutely adore it.
My accessories of choice this week. I won the scarf (Avoca Anthology) on Ebay a couple of weeks ago and just love the colour combination. I did a little happy dance when it arrived in the post, so delighted was I with its prettiness!
Ok. Another small matter to address - my promise of a crochet pattern to be released on Tuesday. It would seem that a public declaration on my blog acts only as a magnet for disaster and I am not going to be quite so contrived again. If I am, you have my permission to come and give me a slap. In future, I will only announce something once it's happened. Like now. Three days later than planned, I can confirm that I have now listed my Miss Read Mitts pattern in my Etsy shop.
I do hope you've all managed to drift happily through the week without adversity.
Have a glorious weekend and, if it involves fireworks, look after your little selves.