Book Review - 100 Lace Flowers to Crochet

I'm going through a bit of a phase of buying new crochet books at the moment. I've mastered most of the patterns in the crochet flower and motif books I already have so I was looking for something new.

I've just ordered 75 Birds & Butterflies to Knit & Crochet and it is expected to arrive on Friday.

I also have 100 Lace Flowers To Crochet which I got last week. Quite a few of the patterns are similar to patterns I have seen on the internet, but this is helpful for me, since it demonstrates how patterns can be modified, even slightly, to create a totally different effect.

The sheer number of different flower patterns in this book fascinates and overwhelmes me all at once. I'm being really good and I'm actually starting at the beginning and working through each pattern because I know that the patterns I really want to try, like the tulip, which is a 3D flower and is ever to pretty, would be too difficult for me to do straight away. I'm still relatively new to crochet, having only started it around a year ago, so there are some patterns in all of my books that I haven't done yet because I'm not experienced enough with the more complicated stitches.

Overall, this is a really comprehensive collection of flowers, quite a few of which I haven't seen anything quite like before. The book encourages you to experiment and to use your flowers in different projects, such as layering a number of different flowers to make a corsage. It also includes a number of leaves that I haven't come across before, and it demonstrates different ways of crocheting leaves, as well as all the flower patterns.

I think it's going to take a while for me to work my way through this one....


I'm cold.

However, I do have a small cat curled up on my lap and a glass of wine, so life isn't all bad. 

I have to say, I like winter. I like the warm, gusty feel of the heating being on everywhere, it makes me kind of Christmassy (Yeah, I know it's September....). I like wrapping myself up in layers of clothes and scarves and gloves and woolly hats. I like putting on my 'granny' cardigans and huddling round a mug of tea to keep warm. 

I don't like standing in the cold waiting for a bus that's 25 minutes late. I don't like the fact that, now it's getting darker in the evenings and it's now colder, people seem to lose any ability to drive safety and arrive at places on time. For goodness sake, it isn't snowing (yet). I really don't like getting up out of my warm bed in the mornings and having he world assault me with icy temperatures so I have to scurry into the bathroom to get dressed huffing and puffing and rubbing my arms to keep warm. 

How does everyone else feel about the imminent coming of the dark times? Although, I did hear that here in the UK, we are due to get some more summery(ish) weather next week, so this must just be the pretend winter.

Hell's Reality Show

I have recently been introduced to Hell’s Kitchen. The husband and I been working our way through one of the old American series on Netflix, and I have become addicted to the dreadful thing. Now we are watching this years series.

What boggles me is how on earth so many of the so-called ‘trained chefs’ are so incompetently awful at cooking. I mean, these people are all professional chefs who earn a living from cooking food for others, and yet in one of the episodes, one of the hopefuls continuously burned fish, another continuously turned out raw pork. Then we have the joys of seeing them leave hair in the food, dropping lamb on the floor and serving 'medium well done' steak swimming in a sea of its own juice. Dear Lord...

I’m not a cook, in fact I absolutely loathe cooking with a passion (I think it’s partly a confidence issue) but even I can cook when I have to (or when I graciously decide to cook something when the husband isn’t well and it’s either that or fish and chips....). I’ve been told I make a very nice pan fried salmon.

So, if I can cook when I have to (generally around once or twice a year if I can get away with it) then why can’t professionals who are supposed to cook 40+ meals every night??

This programme makes me even angrier than Don't Tell the Bride and The Apprentice.

Venetian Lace

Venetian Lace. That may strike you as a bit of an odd subject, but I have always had a bit of a thing about lace. I crochet, and laceworking is only a few steps away from that, but the microscopic scale of the work would be a bit beyond me. It's one of those skills that infinitely fascinates me, but would frustrate the devil out of me should I ever try to do it. I'm happy to admire it from afar.

I recently had the good fortune to visit Burano (Venice):

Yes, there is a reason why the houses are all different colours. The different colours follow a strict system run by the government. If you buy a house on Burano and wish to paint it a different colour, you need to notify the government, who will tell you which colours you are allowed to use in that part of the island. The story behind this is that it supposedly helped fishermen find the island and their own house when they returned from a fishing trip at night.

Burano is the island which is famous for its beautiful handmade lace. I was also lucky enough to visit one of the lace workshops there, where an old lady gave a demonstration of how they make the lace. They had some beautiful designs, and I bought my lace fan from there.

The quality and detail is fantastic, and it really makes me want to make lace! The different ways of making lace overwhelmes me though, as well as how it takes so long to make such a tiny piece of work.

I could write more about Burano and the lace, and more about Venice in general, but if you want to learn more about needle lace, and Burano lace, this website may be helpful, provided the Youtube links still work...

Business Cards

My business cards arrived from Vistaprint on Tuesday.

I am absolutely chuffed to bits with them. Yes I know, they are Vistaprint's £9.99 cheap and cheerful business cards, but they're mine! I've never had business cards before and I'm looking forward to handing them out and leaving them in places.

In lieu of a picture, I have taken a picture of the design I picked right from the site:

I changed the large blue text on the card to purple. I felt a darker colour was more 'me' and also looked a bit more professional.

The only thing I would say is that I was a little bit disappointed with Vistaprints selection of crochet and alternative jewellery business cards. Everything with flowers on either looked as though I was advertising a funeral parlour or a florist. Then again, there aren't many people hat do what I do, I suppose....

Rewnewed Listings at Merryflowers

Well, it's been four months and 4 of my items have expired. I have decided to renew all of them with modified tags and titles and will shortly be uploading some new pictures as well.

Please have a look at my relisted items. I'd like to sell them this time round!

A couple of these are on sale, so please have a look. As with all my items I offer free postage if more than one item is bought at the same time.

Black Crochet Flower Brooch

Pink Crocheted Flower Brooch

White Rose Crochet Brooch

White Crochet Flower Brooch

Postal Service Rant

WARNING: This is a bit of rant. I don't want or expect any advise from anyone, I just want to vent some steam!

As an Etsy Seller, I have seen a few posts on the Etsy forums from people saying they have had customers complaining about high postal rates, and them saying there's nothing they can do about it, the postal rates are the postal rates. And that's true.

I completely sympathise with them. The Royal Mail has gone nuts just recently. The other week I sent out a ‘large letter’ for 90p, which was fine. This week I posted out a package that was only slightly bigger and only a few grams heavier. The only problem with the package was that it wouldn’t fit through the small letter slot – it was too tall by about half a cm, therefore I had to pay £3.00 postage for a small parcel! Insane.

What annoyed me was that I had already charged the young lady buying the item 90p for a small letter, and I didn’t have the heart to ask for the £2.10 back for the extra postage. I was worried I might lose the sale that way.

I have now had to go through all of my items and change the delivery cost on a couple of items because I can see the same thing happening again. My only other option to avoid losing money is to charge 90p postage for everything being posted around the UK, and put the item up for sale at £2 more than I would normally want to charge for the actual item. Either way, I might not sell the item either because it’s overpriced, or because people think the postage is too high.

I’m being stubborn and charging more for items I know will be parcels rather than letters. I’m not prepared to pay buyer’s postage just because Royal Mail are delusional and are overpricing small light items. I’d probably pay less postage on a lead brick if it fitted through the ‘large letter’ slot.... it’s not fair on anyone.

Royal mail are puddings!


The other evening I arrived home from a long, difficult day at work to find my husband skipping around the kitchen in chef's whites and an apron clearly pretending to be Gordon Ramsay....

He calls cooking 'therapy'. I call it torture. Which is why I never do any cooking if I can help it.

Yes, I am an incredibly lucky person in that I have a husband who can produce this (on a complete whim due to the fact that he'd gone and bought himself a new cookery book):

Spicy tomato soup and crusty bread. And that was just the starter.

This was the main course:

Shepherds pie!

We were meant to have sticky toffee pudding for pudding, but we were both too full to eat after all that so they will be for another day.

Etsy Seller Spotlight - Elements Inspired

Welcome to another post promoting one of my fellow Etsy sellers.

Today’s promotee is Elements Inspired, run by lovely Elizabeth Banks, who makes a variety of jewellery from a number of different mediums.

I completely fell in love with the necklace below, it’s something I may have to treat myself to sometime in the next few weeks..... I just love the pearls teamed with the rose pendant.

Elements Inspired carries a range of necklaces and earrings made with beads, precious stones, resin, some gorgeous metalwork, and even a felted/crocheted flower brooch or two.

There are a lot of different items spread across a number of pages so it’s well worth having a look at the shop and looking at everything she has to offer. I really do love the range of items that are available in this shop, the owner really is multi-talented. Elizabeth's love of metalsmithing comes through in her profile and in her items, such as this gorgeous ring:

Funny, I never really thought of metalsmithing as a hobby before.... then again, I recently fell in love with the idea of becoming a glass blower in Venice, but that is a whole other story.

Quick Update

There are some posts coming, it's just having the time to write them and then post them, which I won't until tomorrow or Wednesday. 

I have a couple of posts drafted to come soon, including the next installment of my Etsy Spotlight series.