Moji-Moji Design

Original Amigurumi Crochet Patterns


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My First Moji-Moji Craft Stall

Its been a funny old week, having had a total break from my normal routine. I found that time was flying even faster than usual and the craft fair I had signed myself up for, many months ago, was suddenly very nearly upon us. Now I don’t know about you but I always work much better under a tight deadline and so leaving the vast bulk of the preparation and organisation to be crammed into just over a week was probably the best way of tackling it for me personally.

As you can see, I managed to fill my 10 foot long table quite nicely in the end!

The stall sign was both a labour of love and a feat of engineering. But it should last me for a while as it is made out of very sturdy laser cut plywood. Each piece was individually painted by myself and a very patient friend (it took about six hours of paintbrush wielding between us) and was then pieced back together, jigsaw style, and glued onto a backing board.

A lot of work, I know, but well worth the effort. Weirdly there were still three pieces left over that we just couldn’t figure out where to fit. Very odd, but the sign didn’t look any the worse for it so we got straight on with the job of sticking it down. This involved turning it over while sandwhiched between two boards, taping it together along the back, brushing with generous amounts of PVA glue and then weighting it down overnight with anything I could find. Mainly my vast collection of cookbooks, the ever overflowing laundry basket and anything else heavy enough to help but light enough to lift.

And tadah! Here it is after it’s final coat of varnish.

The sign was a good start but I needed things to sell too. Obviously I have a generous supply of ready made amigurumis which were only in need of digging out and showing off.

They all looked a little startled to be seeing the light of day again!

Amigurumis aside, I really felt I wanted to offer a bit more variety to potential customers. So with that thought in mind I embarked on making up a whole batch of crochet kits. I actually really enjoyed this process once I got into the swing of it, though I’m quite happy to take a break from the endless winding and weighing of balls of yarn for a while now!

They next job was to package them up and squirrel them away into boxes along with the all the equipment and notions necessary to create the finished articles.

One week of winding, weighing, measuring, graphic designing, printing, box folding, bag filling and label sticking, and I had my first collection of finished kits to sell. Six different types in all. I would have liked to do more but there’s always next time!

My very helpful sign painting partner also dedicated a whole evening to making me some badges with the Moji-Moji logo cat on (you know who you are and you’re a star – thanks a million!).

I love these so much. Think I might have to invest in my very own badge making machine soon. Maybe one for the Christmas list if Santa is still listening, I have been very, very good this year, I promise!

I found my stash of owl purses (my free tutorial is here if you fancy making some).

And I dug out and blinged up some of my Mini Party Treats by adding a few sprinkles of seed beads and multi-coloured yarn.

I forgot how much I like playing around with toy food!

Looks good enough to eat huh?

I also had a small supply of extra books featuring some of my designs to take with me. A great way of introducing my customers to the topic of the new Amigurumi Monsters book (more on that in the next post) and as there was a recent outbreak of Jeepers and Creepers (who are featuring in the book) spawning in the studio I had plenty of examples to take along as conversation starters. I figured you couldn’t miss all those eyes staring at you as they followed you around the field!

I did have to spend a fair bit of time thoroughly picking them over for kitten hairs though. Oops!

The night before the show everything was stacked and ready to go and an early night beckoned.

My youngest son kindly came along to help set everything up and keep things running smoothly behind the scenes, tidying the table during the lulls and restocking after the rushes.

There was a lot going on at the Worcester Show but I didn’t get to take many photos as I was kept very busy all day behind my stall but for those of you who are curious about the event you can see snapshots of some of the best moments from previous years on their official site in the Gallery section. There was belly dancing, water zorbing, live music, biggest cabbage, longest runner bean, roundest dahlia, best use of recycling, competitive crafts, face painting, fantastic food and fine wine, bonsai beauties, a dog show, sport events, a fairground, and of course the market stalls…  to name just a few.

All in all it was a very successful and enjoyable day. The weather was kind to us and the hours just whizzed by. Thanks to everyone who stopped by to chat and to those who bought a little something to take away with them. It was lovely to meet you all and I hope to see you again next year, if not before!

And for those that weren’t there, thank you for reading this and sharing my day with me via my blog.

I appreciate all your support and the encouragement that helps me to indulge in my gloriously yarn surrounded lifestyle and passion for amigurumi!


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A Quick Getaway

I’m back at my desk today after a long weekend away at the Livestock festival. The boys wanted to stay home alone this time, and at 16 and 18 I guess it’s only natural not to want to party with Mum and Dad! I thought it would do them good to fend for themselves (with the help of pizzas and pot noodles!) for a day or two and they seemed rather pleased with the prospect.

The festival was only 20 minutes away from our home, down some very quiet roads, winding through open countryside, a small town and a tiny village. The sun was shining with all it’s might and Hubby and I were as free as birds for the next few days.

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After last years long car drives down to Dorset for the Jurassic Rocks Festival and the even longer car drive to Somerset for the Watchet Festival it was refreshing to arrive in minutes, not hours, feeling full of beans, bouncing with energy just waiting to be spent in the dance tents!

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This was the traffic at it’s very worst this time – got to admit this JCB did slow us down for a couple of miles, but after last years debacle of five hours to travel 80 miles to Watchet on a grubby, jam packed motorway, stuck behind a huge filthy lorry, this was heaven!

But I’m leaping ahead here in my enthusiasm to re-live my little holiday! Just as last years festivals began with a crochet project, this one was no exception. All packing – for any amount of time away from my beloved studio, be it an hour or a week – must begin with a suitable crochet project for take-a-long hooky entertainment purposes.

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I got a great deal on this Rowan yarn in a local department store where it was on the kind of offer you simply can’t refuse (though just for the record, I find it difficult to refuse beautiful yarn whether it’s on offer or not). These were marked down at just £12 for 10 balls. How could you possibly walk on by?!

I wanted to make something to wear this time. The project had to be super simple and easily portable so I plumped for a pretty lattice work shawl made up of rows of linked chains that I found on Crochet and Other Stuff.

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My yarn is heavier than that used in the original but I just upped the hook size to a 5 mm and decided to keep the starting chain the same size in the hope I would get a more generously sized shawl – just right for keeping off the evening chills. Yeah, I know, I could have done a gauge swatch but for some reason I avoid those things whenever there appears to be the remotest possibility of getting away without one! This cartoon by Natalie Dee ticks all my boxes with regard to swatch attitude!

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I made sure I crocheted up the first few rows before we headed off. It’s a terrible moment when you get to your destination only to find the pattern is indecipherable, or there are bits of it missing, or maybe you just picked up the wrong hook size. Always do a taster session before you leave the house! Having taken my own advice on this matter I can report that this pattern is a dream to work, nicely written, fully complete and my hook size was just perfect.

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Looking good so far. Now the crochet-to-go is sorted, and the flower crowns and sun hat are located it’s time to start thinking about all the other less important stuff, you know, like bedding, clothes, food, money, tent…

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Hubby is in charge of all the big stuff because he thinks it’s all so much more important than crochet (poor deluded fool!) and doesn’t trust me to get the balance right, fearing we may just end up going away in a van packed to the roof with yarn and very little else!

But see here, I know how to pack… Here are all my essentials. I’m hoping I have every weather eventuality covered. Wellies and flip flops, waterproof and sunhat, cosy blankets and sun cream. That should be enough stuff for pretty much anything the British summer can throw at us.

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And just in case I feel like a break from crocheting I’ve packed my kindle and a sketch book. And of course my festival owl purse is coming with me, containing my lucky rune stone and enough emergency money for a few scrumpy ciders.

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So let’s go! Well I already told you a little bit about the journey and as it’s so local there’s not much else to add on that subject. We arrived at the campsite in the early afternoon. Still sunny and pleased to soak up the wonderful views of the Malvern Hills. (They’re the ones in my summer banner at the top of this blog by the way).

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A lovely first glimpse, which just got lovelier as we rounded the corner into the farm.

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We were glad to see oodles of camping space in the fields below. I like a bit of an empty bubble around my tent if at all possible, and here it was very much possible as long as you didn’t mind a five minute walk to the main field, which is fine with me. After a short drive around to find our perfect spot it was time to fling our pop up tent out of the van, pump up the inflatable sofa bed and get all the bedding in to bring it up to a maximum of 11 on the comfort scale.

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Festival Owl graces the doorway of the tent…

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…and the nibbles and liquid refreshment are ready and waiting, it’s time to study the programme and start making a plan of action…

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…which basically was to get down to the main field to see what we could see. A lot of people, a couple of stages, a double decker comedy bus, sunshine, flags, hay bales, food bars and a beer tent. Lovely!

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I whiled away some of the afternoon adding rows of relaxing chain stitches to the shawl.

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A delicious dish of seafood paella and a pint of scrumpy to wash it down with is a sure way to get the mood on an upswing.

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We watched our shadows grow longer as the sun sank lower.

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By the way, I’m not actually trying to make an ostrich or a diplodocus shadow puppet with my hand here, just trying to get a good perspective by holding up the camera!

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As the sun sets on the first evening we take some time to admire the awesomeness.

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Then get our groove on at the main stage, bouncing up and down enthusiastically and singing very loudly and way out of tune to The Feeling, who were in tune enough and loud enough to cover my less than perfect voice. (I never do karaoke).

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More food and a few more glugs of cider later and it was time to settle down, backs against a hay bale and wrapped in the blankets we brought from the tent, to watch the film – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. A nice way to end our own lovely day off, and with a few more to look forward to yet we wended our weary way back to our tent, happy and tired in equal measures. After a little moon and star gazing we had one of the best festival sleeps ever. The extra five minutes walking to the outskirts of the site paid dividends and the Quiet Camping Field was exactly as it should be. A bit of peace after all the bustle was very welcome and I drifted off to the sound of Hubby snoring. Nothing new there then!

In the morning we woke refreshed and ready to head off early to Tewkesbury to treat ourselves to a full english breakfast on a proper china plate with proper stainless steel cutlery and a drink of tea that doesn’t come in a paper cup (impossible to find at festivals!). A look around the town resulted in an unexpected purchase. I’ve actually been searching for two new chairs for the kitchen and a second chair for upstairs in my studio for ages with no luck at all. Then, lo and behold, on our way back from our breakfast we find three perfect candidates all sitting outside a second hand shop. I just had to have them, so they ended up back at the tent with us.

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They’re going to fit in a treat back at home, though I must admit they look a little incongruous in a camping scene!

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You can see that the shawl was growing nicely by now thanks to the leisurely few hours sat in the pub over our long and lazy breakfast. I’d used up about four balls of yarn at this point and so still had six left. Definitely enough to finish up on this project with plenty to spare. DSCN9187

I’m really pleased with the way it drapes, the yarn is incredibly soft and not a hint of a prickle or an itch when you hold it next to your skin.

As for the evening we pretty much repeated what we did the previous day, this time with Toploader and Scouting For Girls as the main music acts and Monty Python’s Life of Brian on at the outdoor cinema.

We found time to go back to the tent just after it got dark and saw a most excellent sight of the moon rising from behind the hills opposite our tent. It always looks so huge when it’s close to the horizon and sure was a pretty thing to rest your eyes upon. These photos don’t even nearly do it justice but I wanted to share a few anyway because it was just such a special and lovely thing to see.

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The following day we woke up to yet more sunshine. A late breakfast of a fried egg roll and black coffee coupled with more crochet work on the shawl kickstarted my good mood as we sat and listened to the first bands at around midday.fest15

The battery on my camera ran out here so this is where I have to leave you all but I’m sure you get the idea by now! It may have been a micro festival compared to the likes of Glastonbury or Latitude but we had a thoroughly good time, though after day three we were both ready for a real bed again and some solid brick walls around us, especially as the weather began to take a turn for the worst.

I’ve loved living the good life out here in the fields, getting back to nature and away from the familiar, but it’s good to be home again and to find that the boys managed to look after themselves, the house and the cats admirably. Oh, and it’s quite nice to be plugging back into the grid too. I missed my computer just a tiny bit!

Now it’s back to work, hitting the ground running. I’ve got lots to be getting on with this week. Looking forward to sharing it all with you in my next post. Thanks for stopping by!


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Stash that Cash – Little Owl Purses

I’ve hooked up a few of these wide-eyed owl necklace purses recently and thought I would share the ins and outs of how I made them with you in case you want to have a go yourself.

They’re useful, decorative and a bit quirky and are an ideal festival accessory for keeping a bit of cash handy when you’re out and about all day, larking around in bunting strewn, tent clad fields of freaked out, cosmic awesomeness. (I like festivals, can you tell?)

So if you have a fancy to make one of your own, I’ll be happy to show you how.

Firstly you’ll need to gather together your equipment and materials. These are the usual suspects such as scissors, stitch marker, tapestry needles and, of course your crochet hook.820Owl-Purse-materials-

You will also need yarn in any colour of your choice for the main part of the purse plus a small amount of brown/orange for the beak and ear tufts and some white for the eyes. I made a few of these with aran (worsted) weight yarn and a 4 mm hook and a few more with double knit (light worsted) weight yarn and a 3 mm hook. You can see how the various sizes work out here and decide which you like best. If you want a bigger purse try doubling up your yarn and using a larger hook.820Sizes

Add a couple of black buttons, a 1 cm press stud (snap fastener), a length of sewing cotton and you’re ready to begin.

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(US crochet terminology is used throughout, for abbreviations and UK conversion chart take a look here)

Head and Body
With Blue yarn make 2 ch. (Or substitute any other colour that tickles your fancy).
Rnd 1: 6 sc in second ch from hook. (6 sts)
Rnd 2: 2 sc in each of next 6 st. (12 sts)
Rnd 3: [sc in next st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (18 sts)
Rnd 4: [sc in each of next 2 st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (24 sts)820fig-1

Rnds 5-13: sc in each st to end. (9 rounds)
Now continue working in rows.
Note: 1 ch at beginning of each row does not count as a stitch.
Row 1: sc in each of next 12 st, turn820fig-2

Row 2: Working in front loops only:  1 ch, sc in all 12 st, turn. (12 sts)820fig-3

Row 3: 1 ch, miss next st, sc in the next 9 sts, miss next st, sc in the last st, turn. (10 sts)
(Picture below shows where to put the first stitch)820fig-4

Row 4: 1ch, miss next st, sc in each of the next 7 st, miss next st, sc in last st, turn. (8 sts)
Row 5: 1ch, miss next st, sc in each of next 5 st, miss next st, sc in last st, turn. (6 sts)
Row 6: 1ch, miss next st, sc in each of next 3 st, miss next st, sc in last st, turn. (4 sts)
Row 7: 1ch, miss next st, sc in next st, miss next st, sc in last st, turn. (2 sts)
Row 8: 1ch, miss next st, sc in last st. (1 st)
Fasten off, weave in the yarn tails.

Beak
With Brown yarn make 2ch.
Rnd 1: 3 sc in second ch from hook. (3 sts)
Rnd 2: 2 sc in each of next 3 st. (6 sts)
Rnd 3: [sc in next st, 2 sc in next st] 3 times. (9 sts)
Rnd 4: [sc in each of next 2 st, 2 sc in next st] 3 times. (12 sts)
Fasten off, leaving a long yarn tail for sewing.

Eyes
Make 2
With White yarn make 2ch.
Rnd 1:  6 sc into second ch from hook. (6 sts)
Rnd 2: 2 sc in each of next 6 st. (12 sts)
Fasten off, leaving a long yarn tail for sewing.

Now you will have all these pieces ready to transform into an owl.820fig-0

To make up
Sandwich the pointed end of the purse flap inside the beak and sew in place.820fig-6

Sew the eyes to the flap directly above the beak spacing them slightly apart. The neatest way to do this is to use back stitch in between the V shapes of the final round.

Sew a black button to each eye patch. Weaving in the ends inside the beak.

To make the ear tufts take 3 x 10cm strands of brown yarn, fold in half and, inserting your crochet hook from back to front, pull up a loop of all three strands in the corner of one side of the purse. Feed the ends through the loop and pull tight to form a tassel. Trim to 3cm long. Repeat for other side.

Use sewing cotton and a small needle to sew one half of the press stud to the back of the beak and the other half to its matching place about halfway down the body. You’ll end up with a neat way to close your purse and keep your treasures safe.This is what the open purse looks like once everything is sewn in place.820fig-16

The owl purse looks sweet as it is and I have one of these in my go-everywhere bag to keep my keys together and stop them scratching my phone or my sunglasses. However, a great big tote bag is not always the best take along if you are planning an evening lightfooting it dancing to your fave band so to make your mini purse into a hands free necklace purse just follow the next steps.

Neck cord
Pull up a loop of Blue yarn in a leftover front loop from Row 2, right next to one of the ear tufts. Chain as many as you require to give you the desired length (I made 150 ch),  then make one Slst into the leftover front loop next to the ear tuft on the opposite side. Weave in all ends securely on the inside of the purse.

And – Hey Presto! – you have a cute little purse for your coins, lipbalm, fairy dust, lucky rune, hair band and/or other diminutive festival essentials.

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I got a bit addicted to making these and spent a whole afternoon hooking up an array of different colours.820Owls

I’m hard pressed to choose a favorite so I’m going to be packing all of these up to take with me. 820Owl-jumble

A colour to suit every mood (as long as it’s happy!)820Owl-Purse-Rainbow

And if I still can’t decide what colour to wear on the day I’ll pick the all in one rainbow number with the crazy kaleidoscope eyes. Although there might be a case to state that this one has been to one too many festivals already, right!?820Swirl

Peace, love and happy hooking, man!820RainbowPurse


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Dante and Carlos

I’m very happy to be able to say I’ve finally finished my Dante the Donkey and Carlos the Cactus pattern. These little guys were originally inspired by my Mexican blanket project *all those pretty colours*  and were just the most fun characters to make.

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They’ve also turned out to be the best and most devoted amigos ever!

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They first met in the Mexican desert after Dante got lost straying too far from his family’s rancho. Carlos the Cactus chatted away enthusiastically and shook his maracas to cheer the little donkey up as he rested his weary legs through the long, dark night. By the time the sun rose and the morning shone its welcoming light, they were firm friends. Bored of being mostly alone in the desert with only the other cacti for company, Carlos persuaded Dante to dig up his roots and put him in a terracotta pot so he could travel around with his new found soul mate wherever he roamed.

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With Carlos along for the ride and offering some much needed moral support, you’ll doubtless be relieved to know that Dante eventually managed to find his way back home. Now the two of them spend sunny days and starry nights planning their next daring adventure together. Carlos has said he’ll travel to the ends of the earth just to be with his new friend. Dante’s a little more cautious about wandering too far again after his recent incident, but whatever they do they’ve agreed that they’ll do it together. Here’s proof that best friends can come in all shapes and sizes and sometimes make the most unlikely alliances!

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Happy as he is with his new life, Carlos still likes to meet up with his old succulent chums from time to time. Since he started wearing his jazzy pot he appears to have sparked a new fashion.  Now all the best dressed cacti are sporting one! Well, it certainly makes them more mobile – as long as they can get a friendly donkey to carry them about that is. Here they are getting ready for the local Fiesta.

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Dante sets up a food stall to sell some of his homegrown carrots and specialty basil flavored hay to the other hungry donkeys…

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…While Carlos and his friends make a bit of pocket money supplying firecrackers to liven up the crowds, and homemade sombreros to keep them cool. Very enterprising!

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Have a happy weekend!

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xoxox


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Awesome Autumn

It seems we’re well on our way to a proper Autumn at last. Slow to get going this year because of all the unseasonably warm weather, a big storm a few days ago has blown the leaves down and those left on the trees are turning deeper shades of red and orange every day. Time to cosy up! And now I remember all the things I love about this time of year. And lots of them involve yarn or food! Here are a random selection of ten of them.
1) A cosy combination of, skinny jeans, sturdy boots and fake fur.
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Just right forexploring the autumn countryside on one of my favorite Malvern walks. It’s a long hard slog to get to the top but it’s always worth it for the views.

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Even if it’s about to pour down with rain!
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2) Re-discovering my collection of hand knitted socks. Yes I know I can buy a pair of socks for a fraction of the cost and save time too, but where’s the fun in that!
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I found some great free patterns over at Dyed Jems Yarn Company. I might try these sweet pumpkin coloured Waffle Socks next, or maybe the Rippled Lace or the Lattice pattern.


All my socks have been plain stocking stitch so far. It might be time to ramp things up a notch! Although Minnie seems to have taken a proprietorial stance with the sock yarn now. Perhaps I can persuade her to let go of it if I promise to knit some for her!
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4) Shiny new Horse Chestnuts fresh out of their armour. Whose up for a conker fight?
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5) Freshly collected Sweet Chestnuts, roasted and eaten while they’re hot with a glass of cold milk. Oh so yummy! (Don’t forget to split the skins first or they’ll explode!)
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The milk and the chestnuts do wonders for each other. If you’ve never tried them together before, I highly recommend it.
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6) Colourful fingerless gloves that keep my hands warm while I work. I want to knit another pair of these soon with some of my sock yarn stash… but not until I finish these chunky crocheted boot cuffs. I’ve got way too many part finished projects as it is!
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7) Making red wine with this year’s bumper crop of small, but beautifully formed grapes. It took longer than I expected to squeeze all the grapes by hand, but it was so satisfying and possibly even more fun than popping bubble wrap!


Now to rack it a few times until it’s crystal clear, bottle it up and wait a year. Five gallons ought to be enough to get us through next winter!
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And just look at those gorgeous leaves from the grapevine. It would be enough to grow it for those patterns alone, the grape crop is just an added bonus! Had to get a closeup. Just wow!
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8) Pumpkins, of course. I love having these scattered around the house adding a splash of autumn colour.
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9) Carving pumpkins and eating Pumpkins is all good too! Here’s my Halloween lantern…
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10) And my final autumn joy in this list, my nearly completed set of blanket squares, I’ve been making a couple, or sometimes more, every evening, spurred on by the recent drop in temperatures. It’s getting quite chilly around here at last, so I’m going to need it sooner rather than later.
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Hopefully I’ll be showing you the finished daisy blanket in the not too distant future!
So all in all, autumn’s pretty awesome really.
Wishing you all a good share of blessings too!


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Even More Bucket Loads of Fun

Well, you can’t have too much fun can you? So after a few requests from friends in response to my last collection of Bucket Head bags, I’ve made a second set of different characters to brighten up your Trick or Treat adventures, or just to add a bit of holiday magic to your Halloween decorations this year. This time I have Frankenstein’s Monster, a Candy Corn Man and a Scarecrow to introduce to you.Bucketlineup2If your favorite character wasn’t included in the last set then maybe these will be more to your liking 🙂Bucket2

Happy Trick or Treating to all you Halloween Fanatics!


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Bucket Loads of Fun!

Hooray! Just launched a new pattern for Halloween! Now I know I’m cutting it a bit fine time wise but these Bucket Head Trick or Treat bags are crocheted with doubled up worsted weight (aran/10 ply) yarn and a big hook so they really don’t take that long to make.

Come and meet my empty headed and empty bellied Vampire, Witch and Pumpkin who are just waiting to be filled up with loads of Halloween candy 🙂820HalloweenLineThey’ve got dangly arms and legs and a comfy handle to carry them around with.

Even though my kids are a bit too old to go trick or treating now I shall be making them one each and filling it with their favorite chocolate. Because chocolate is the one thing they don’t seem to have outgrown yet! (I’m still waiting too!)