Posted in My Journey, News & Events, Woolly Wonders

May/ June Wrap Up 2018

So many exciting things happened during May and June and I got so wrapped up in living them that this blog post got majorly delayed. Therefore, I’m just going to dive right in with this mammoth wrap up! πŸ˜†

MAY:

I stayed in a log cabin in the woods. πŸ’š

Remember the holiday I was talking about in my April Wrap Up? Well, it was incredible. The whole experience was beautiful in every aspect and I cannot praise Forest Holidays enough.

I stayed in a Golden Oak Cabin in the Forest of Dean. Everywhere I looked there was greenery and nature. The sun shone everyday, despite it being early May. We had unlimited use of our own private hot tub as well as a gas bbq, meaning every day was a party!

It was bliss, pure bliss. Exactly what I was after, a complete unplugging and quality time with the family.

I’m fully aware that this part of my post is a little bit of a pic spam, but they’re just too good not to post. #memories

Everyone from my party had a great time, despite having completely different wants and needs. Most of all it was Baby Bobby’s first holiday and he had the time of his life!

I’ve already recommend this getaway to all my family and friends and now I’m here recommending it to of you too! We’re already thinking about when we could book our next stay! πŸ˜‚

I had a meeting with my publisher!

I absolutely love these meeting days. It’s just one of those times that, from an outsiders perspective probably looks completely normal and mundane, but being on the inside is truly magical. I’m not going to reveal too much at this stage, as I don’t want to ruin things for the future, however rest assured that we discussed many, many exciting things. Highlights including the future of Unravelled and ideas for book number two!!!! 😱

Yarn Shop Day 2018.

Yarn Shop Day 2018 was a great success for Unravelled! Being available to purchase in not only one, but two wool shops this year was an achievement in itself! Plus Unravelled was a prize in a YSD raffle!!! And, just to put the icing on the cake, I was only third in line at my local, so I managed to nab myself another fantastic Beacon Craft goodie bag. ❀️

I created the disaster crop top.

Remember me talking about the project I wanted to complete to take away with me on holiday? Well, I completed it… but it was a total disaster. πŸ˜‚ I’m fully intending to write a whole blog post dedicated to this topic soon, but I just wanted share the fact that no one is perfect and that is completely fine.

I took part in the TOFT Mystery CAL.

My favourite alpaca farm, come luxury British wool company, held another crochet along in May. By being sent only a little bit of the pattern a day, you finish an exclusive ed’s animal (an amigurumi animal in the simplistic but cute style TOFT are renoun for) by the end of the month. This CAL was slightly different than their Christmas one because they offered the choice of two animals; a beginner animal and an advanced animal. But the kit came with enough wool so you could make both! Me being me, I chose to do the advanced animal and ended up with the lovely Gina the Hyena. ❀️

I won’t lie, the pattern was most certainly advanced, but also well worth it. I’m just glad I had my week away during the CAL so I could dedicate some quality time to it.

Pre-orders for TOFT’s Christmas Mystery CAL are available now over on their website and they claim it’s going to big bigger and better before. I highly recommend it!

I started a new project.

On the back of finishing the TOFT CAL, and whilst I was still on holiday soaking up the sun, I got to start a new project with the wool I purchased on YSD! This one is going to be pretty big, but hopefully completely worth it. Also it gave me the perfect excuse to test out of one the new crochet hooks that I purchased from one of my Instagram faves, @make.e How cute are those watermelons? πŸ‰ This hook definitely gave me summer vibes and it feels really nice to work with.

JUNE:

Spinning Yarns joined the Unravelled family!

I have a new stockist! Spinning Yarns in Ossett, West Yorkshire are the newest member of the Unravelled family. Be sure to check them out on today Facebook and show them some love. ❀️

I continued with my new crochet project.

With the weather in England taking an usually sunny turn, I’ve been taking full advantage and partaking in some alfresco crocheting. I’ve been teasing this project on my social media over the last couple of months. I’m gonna give my blog buddies one last go at a guess before I do the reveal at some point over the next couple of weeks. Fancy a guess? Leave it in the comments below and make sure you’re following either my Facebook or my Instagram so you don’t miss the reveal. (Or you could follow me on both to make completely sure you don’t miss out and well, you should probably check my Twitter too while you’re at it. πŸ˜‰)

I purchased all of the tickets!

June for me must have been the month of planning new adventures. I’ve already spilled the beans that I got my Yarndale ticket, I was just too excited to hold it in! (But I couldn’t not mention it in my June wrap up now could I?) However, June was also the month I found out about the new Sherlock experience opening in London later this year. For those of you haven’t heard, BBC Sherlock writer: Steven Moffat, along with help from members of the original cast and crew, has devised a unique escape room style Sherlock experience entitled: The Game is Now. Now of course I had to get tickets for that! So that’s all booked up too as an anniversary present for me and the boyf, which is like next year, but I’m so blummin’ excited there’s a very high chance I may just explode before then! πŸ˜‚

I read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.

I’d heard a lot about this book, in fact that’s one of the main reasons why I bought it. It intrigued me; it was different, it was a debut and well it had won awards in its draft stages! … I had to read it. I’m not going to give anything away in this blog post because I would definitely encourage my readers to go and get themselves a copy. (I felt a bit of a connection between Gail Honeyman’s and my own writing style. But I also feel since reading this book that Unravelled could fall under the genre of Contemporary Fiction too.) I’ve already lent out my copy because I want to find someone I can talk to about it! πŸ˜‚ Have you read it? Drop me a comment or a DM. I’d love to chat it out. 😊

I got a new internet connection!

Now this may sound like a bit of a weird one but, I can now confess the online traumas I’ve been living with these past three years! πŸ˜‚ As soon as I signed my publishing contract I knew my internet connection was going to be a problem. It was old, it hadn’t been updated in a long, long, long time and well it couldn’t even load an Instagram story without buffering every few seconds. 😱 A couple of months ago the connection got so bad I was hopping between limited 4G and different Cloud hotspots to be able to “maintain” my online author life. 😫 So I just wanted to take the opportunity to say thank you to you all for sticking with me during the “dark” times and be rest assured that it’s all behind me now! Expect much more content now guys, super speedy internetz is my new best friend! 🀩

I wrote the synopsis for book two!

Big news alert for this one! 🚨 I can now confirm I have a full synopsis for book two and I love it! 😱😱😱 It is currently with my publisher, but as soon as I have the green light for it I’ll be back on that writing train and I cannot wait! Without giving too much away, I can confirm that this book will definitely contain some of my favourite elements and themes from Unravelled but will also be quite different and a refreshing change. πŸ˜‰

I had an eye test.

Again a bit of a random one, but I wanted to use my own little space on the internet to raise awareness. I’ll confess, I was naughty… there was probably about five years between my last eye test and this one. 😱 And I’m not scared to admit, I am ashamed of that fact. Luckily for me, my eye sight has not changed, but in a world where screens are everywhere the same cannot be true for everyone. As an author I rely heavily on my eyes throughout my creative process. Without my sight I honestly could not do what I do, at least not in the same way. So I wanted to take a moment to express the importance of self love and looking after ourselves, especially with things such as eye tests. The test itself took less than twenty minutes, the staff were absolutely lovely and now I can rest assured for two years that my eyes are in good shape. It’s a no brainier really.

Payday Treats!

And finally, when payday rolled around this month I treated myself to a couple of things I thought you might like to see. For those of you who don’t know, I’ve adored the band Panic! at the Disco for a very long time and their new album dropped on June 22nd. For me this was perfect timing as I do like to listen to music whilst I write and hopefully by the time I settle down to do just that, I’ll know all the words. πŸ˜‚ My fave tracks at the moment are High Hopes and Hey Look Ma, I Made It. ❀️

Also with the hype of purchasing The Game is Now tickets still strong, I treated myself to this super cute beanie hat pattern by Easy Patterns via Love Knitting.

The hat is based on the wallpaper in Sherlock and John’s flat. I think this will make the perfect addition to my outfit when I head to London next year. πŸ•΅πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Well wowzers, there we go. I told you it was going to be a big one. Hopefully I won’t get too carried away living July! πŸ˜‚

Until next time guys, stay safe and be sure to have some fun in the beautiful sunshine we’re having! β˜€οΈ 😎

– B xo

Posted in My Journey, The Bookshelf, Woolly Wonders

April Wrap Up 2018

April was a month I spent doing a lot of day dreaming. It was a very relaxed month and I didn’t really feel like I’d done much until I came to write this blog. πŸ˜… However, it appears I was wrong to think that….

I booked a family holiday!

At the beginning of the year I wrote myself a little bucket list. On said list I included places I’d like to visit and holidays I’d love to book. In amongst was the dream of living in a cabin in the woods for a week, switching off from the world and just taking a breather. Well last month I took the bull by the horns and booked that dream escape for me and all those I love. It was rather spontaneous and the first time I’ve booked up a trip for a group of this size. But the website promises an amazing getaway and I literally cannot wait! 😁

I started knitting again!

I do truly wish there were more hours in a day. Actually let me rephrase that; I do truly wish there were more leisure hours in a day. πŸ˜‚ I love my hobbies, all of them. But I do find myself having fads and flirtations with each at different times. (I’d love to be able to commit to a long term relationship with them all sometime. Maybe a few more years practice at allocating my time and I’ll get there! #goals). However this month I picked up my knitting needles again and loved it. Maybe it’s to do with the fact I’m wielding those Knit Pro Zings 😍😍😍 or maybe it’s my infactuation with the colour mustard. Either way, I’m back to knitting again and I’m determined to finish this project. πŸ’ͺ

I got very nostalgic over Pop-Punk.

The boyf treated me to this MTV Pop-Punk album in early April and it just gave me all of the feels. Although we grew up miles apart we were definitely meant to find each other purely because of moments like this. I ended up starting a full iPod over haul due to this. I’m a strong believer that music speaks to the soul. I also like listening to music when I’m looking for writing inspo, so it maybe it’s a sign…

I conquered my reading slump.

I suppose this is something I’ve been a little hush hush about, but given that it’s over now and also the fact that my plan has always been to be genuine with all, I’m going to say it. I’ve just not fancied reading these last few months. It wasn’t even like it was my choice of book, Throne of Glass is AMAZING!, or necessarily my schedule. I just didn’t want too, which was a very sad state of affairs. But that’s okay, because with a little motivation from one of my besties getting back into books, I’m back on that reading train and I’ve already finished that novel and started a new one! You see, it’s okay to be an writer and take reading breaks. I feel there is so much pressure on aspiring authors to be avid readers. Don’t get me wrong, you should definitely read, but it’s okay to have slumps and breaks. Nobody’s perfect.

I picked a pattern for my holiday.

I spent most of April trawling the internet for a knitting/ crocheted garment pattern that I’d want to make to take away with me on holiday. I must admit this took me ages. The spectrum ranged from huntress cowls to boho bikinis. πŸ˜‚ In the end I settled for a granny square crop top by Beautiful Crochet Stuff. However, because it took me so long to decide I’m now having a race against time to see if I can get it done before we go away!

The Temperature CAL gained new colours!

April was a great month for my AIYSO Temperature CAL blanket. We had the introduction of not one, not two but three new colours! We seem to have very swiftly taken a hot tropical vibe and I love it! Here comes summer! πŸ•ΆπŸ‘™πŸ

What did you get up to in April? Let me know in the comments. (Oh and if you’ve ever stay in a cabin in the woods send me your tips and tricks! πŸ˜‚)

– B xo

Posted in My Journey, Woolly Wonders

March Wrap Up.

Sooo it’s wrap up time again! πŸ˜ƒ

Doing these wrap up posts this year has made me realise just how quickly a month can fly by, it’s kinda scary! But I also love compiling my list across the month and being able to look back, and really appreciate what I’ve done with my month. It gives me that feeling of fulfilment, like a little cheerleader inside my head chanting: “You go girl!” It’s very satisfying. I highly recommend starting a monthly achievements list on your phone.

Anyways March…

March for me was a very crafty month and I LOVED it. Looking back I wish I’d taken part in the #marchmeetthemaker tag on Instagram, as I would have easily had enough to post about in hindsight. However, for those of you whose feeds I follow, I loved seeing all your posts. There are some very inspiring people out there, let me tell you. #goals

So what did I get up to last month? Well…

I had a week away from my day job.

Being a self proclaimed “Girl Boss” with a full-time day job, author responsibilities and a hundred and one hobbies, it can be a little overwhelming at times! (Although I absolutely wouldn’t change it for the world!) So to be able to take a week out and just chill was an absolute dream. That week mainly consisted of knitting, crochet, puppy cuddles, good company, coffee and cake. Bliss.

I had my podcast interview with The Slow Knitter.

March was the month I got to meet Rena, the lovely lady behind The Slow Knitter podcast on YouTube. In the month of March not only did we meet via video calling, but we also got to know each other , recorded our interview, recorded my WIPs and she edited and then uploaded the full interview to her email channel! If you look back through my blog posts you can read all about this adventure. It was very exciting!

I learnt to graphgan!

Speaking of YouTube… last month I taught myself to graphgan! (With the much needed help and advice of The Crochet Crowd and their fabulous YouTube channel. πŸ’– Honestly, I wouldn’t have been able to do it without you guys!)

For this of you who don’t know, graphganing is the art of using a chart to change the colour of stitches within a crochet project to create a picture or words. I must admit, when I first looked at the chart from One Dog Woof I was slightly terrified. I fell in love with her Get Some Zzz Blanket as soon as I stumbled across it on Pinterest 😍, but having never tackled anything like this before it was a little bit daunting. However, I am so proud with how this turned out. I definitely recommend you watch The Crochet Crowd’s video before attempting anything like this as it was that video that gave me the confidence to get stuck right in.

I think someone is a little protective over their new blankie. πŸ˜‚

I finished my first ever shawl!

The new year’s resolution I’ve been sticking to the most so far in 2018 has to be “Finish What You Started.” I started my Seems Like Old Times shawl in the summer last year. The summer ended and so did my shawl… or so it seemed… until this March.

To jazz things up, I was unconventional, and created this beautiful traditional shawl in the gorgeous rainbow variegated 4ply by the Women’s Institute. I love love love it!

I went to the ICHF Craft Show.

Back when snow was the in thing, my Mom, my bestie and I braved the elements and attended the ICHF Craft Show in Birmingham. The things purchased that day were the stuff of dreams. 😍

  • TOFT wool in the correct colours to make a mini Bobby 🐾❀️ (With complimentary puppy tote bag!)
  • Brittany shawl pin to adorn my brand new shawl! (I love Brittany needles, hooks and accessories because they remind me of wands!⚑️)
  • Free tote bag from Create & Craft! (Very nice of them.)
  • Felt Piggies Brooch kit. (I love piggies, they’re one of my favourite animals. 🐷 Fun fact!)
  • Beaded Dragon Earring Kit. 🐲 (I just fell in love with these at the stand. Never tried the craft before but they were just so vivid! Can’t wait to have a go!)
  • Scheepjes Yarn Ball House. πŸ’– (To stop your ball of wool from getting dirty/ being chewed to death by a certain little puppy!)

I also wandered around flashing my Unravelled tote bag for some causal self promotion. πŸ˜‚ All in all it was a wonderful day and I’m looking forward to using all my new pretties!

I made a pair of tassel earrings.

Statement earrings look set to be the fashion trend of Spring/Summer 2018 and I’m loving it! Anything bold, bright and a little bit extra, I’m all over it. However after finished my rainbow shawl and having a ball or two of wool left over, I had a craving to make my own.

I debating whether or not to post the pattern for these on the blog at some point. All supplies are easily available from hobbycraft and are super affordable. So be sure to let me know in the comments if this is something you’d be interested in.

I did lots of easter crafting!

Everything seems to be happening really early this year and although Easter isn’t until April, it’s the 1st April! (Us crafters really have to be prepared this year!) So during the month of March I made sure to dedicate some time to easter crafting and dreaming about longer, warmer brighter days.🌸🐰🐣

My achievement list consists of:

  • Faux grass bunny and egg ornaments, which I accessorised with daisies.
  • Super cute creme egg cosies from a pattern I found on Pinterest.
  • Mini Emma the Bunny from TOFT, whose colour way I changed to suit the eastery theme.
  • Yummy Chocolate Nest Cakes made with Shredded Wheat to give them more of a nest-like texture.

The easter treat table looked so cute!

Temperature Blanket update.

I only took this one picture of my temperature blanket throughout the whole of March (and even that was taken quite early on!) In short, I spent most of the month playing catch up until right at the end, when I finally felt like I was getting somewhere, I ran out of wool! 😩 I’m determined to make April a better delicious blanket month, as a little birdie told me there may be new colours on the horizon. πŸ˜‰

B xo

Posted in My Journey, News & Events, Unravelled, Woolly Wonders

The Slow Knitter Podcast & Giveaway!

You may remember, a few blogs ago, I announced the wonderful news that I was going to be a part of The Slow Knitter podcast!

Well, last week I spent some time chatting with Rena, the lovely lady behind The Slow Knitter, all about Unravelled as well as my knitting & crochet journey.

Today, her podcast containing my interview went live!

You can watch it here.

I’m so excited to share this experience with you, because I had so much fun doing it! Rena was a great host and asked some really interesting questions.

And if that wasn’t enough!!! Rena is also hosting a giveaway via her podcast where, not only could you win a copy of Unravelled along with the Adrian’s Scarf knitting pattern, but one lucky winner will have a chance to win the whole Ultimate Unravelled Kit… and it’s so easy to enter! (Be sure to watch the podcast for more details!)

Enjoy and hit the subscribe button whilst your there, so you never miss an episode of The Slow Knitter podcast. 😊

– B xo

(Image Credit: Yasmin Qureshi Photography.)
Posted in My Journey, News & Events, Unravelled, Woolly Wonders

Belated January Wrap Up 2018

Not many people I meet are a fan of January, in fact I know quite a few people who were very glad to see the back of it this year. But besides catching the flu and struggling against wisdom tooth pain that had me wanting to chop my own head off, I had a pretty fantastic January. So I thought today I’d share my January with you all and I’d like to encourage you to do the same in the comments. Go on, show January some love. πŸ’–

I started my AIYSO Temperature CAL.

know I mentioned this in a previous post but I thought this wrap up would be a good way to show you my progress. My blanket has already grown so much and it’s only been a month, it’s going to be huuuuuge!

I started jotting down ideas for a sequel. < /strong><

I don't want to get anybody too excited with this one but, along with the "new year new start" marlakee, I made myself a promise to start working on another novel this year. We're still in the very early stages of ideas right now but definitely something that happened that I thought was worth a mention. ❀️

I received my second delivery of Unravelled. πŸ“¦

I am aware that I’m just posting a picture of three cardboard boxes here, but for me this was such an exciting moment. I’m already on my second print of Unravelled!!! Thank you to everyone who’s already got their copies, you’re all a part of making dreams happen.

I received my first piece of hand written fan mail.

There’s just something nostalgically beautiful about hand written letters. Receiving this card really touched my heart. How lovely. ❀️ So far I’ve heard nothing but wonderful feedback about Unravelled. Thank you and please keep that feedback coming!

I was featured in Simply Knitting Magazine! This is another of those pinch me moments. Unravelled continues to offer me some truly amazing opportunities, just like this one. Haven’t got your copy yet? Find it here. (Issue 169)

I took part in the second ever Wolverhampton Literature Festival. And the festival as a whole was a huge success! In fact I am happy to announce that the festival has been awarded funding for next four years! πŸŽ‰

I learnt how to C2C crochet. I’m always up for a challenge, especially if it’s for a good cause. Last month I heard the story of a brave little girl called Grace and the amazing guys at littleheartsforgrace who were trying to make a difference. Grace is only three and she’s already undergone open heart surgery… more than once! Friends of the family asked crocheters from around the world if they’d help raise money for the charities that helped this little girl by crocheting hearts themed squares. You can read more about their story here. I instantly wanted to help out and grabbed my hook and wool. One of the patterns was for a C2C heart square and well, I set about teaching myself a new skill with the aid of YouTube! My square may not be perfect by any means, but I really enjoyed doing it and I can’t wait to see what the blankets will look like when all the squares are put together.

Crocheted Face Scrubbies.

January for me is home to a couple of birthdays. So I set myself the challenge of giving my gifts the personal touch and hand making a little something. Online I found the pattern for these cute, eco friendly, face scrubbies. The perfect re-washable alternative to cotton pads. What lady doesn’t love a nice pamper session? I had great fun making these, even if I did break my hook doing that puff stitch! πŸ˜‚

And that’s a wrap!

– Bxo

Posted in My Journey, Woolly Wonders

Review: TOFT Advent Calendar

Last year I was one of the few lucky people who managed to get their hands on the first ever TOFT Advent Calendar! And well, before we completely get into the swing of 2018, I wanted to fill you all in on how that went. So can we embrace the Christmas spirit (and just pretend like it’s still January) for just a teensy little bit longer whilst I bring you this review? πŸ˜‡

What is a TOFT Advent Calendar?<<<
he TOFT advent calendar was every crocheters dream. ❀️ Behind each door was an adorable skein of TOFT's signature wool which, when used every day with the accompanying pattern, would create a mystery animal toy. The pattern was broken down into twenty four manageable chunks, which were emailed to me daily from TOFT themselves. This meant that you couldn't skip ahead and spoil the fun and kept the project a surprise for as long as possible. In short, you were given all the materials you needed to crochet everyday on the run up to Christmas, but you didn't have a clue what you were making until Christmas Day. πŸ˜‚ A festive themed crochet-a-long, pitched at crocheters of all abilities.

Who are TOFT? TOFT are a British wool brand who specialise in luxury yarn. They are based on an alpaca farm on the border of Warwickshire. TOFT are well known for their cute animal patterns, which are designed by founder Kerry Lord, and are known within the brand as “Ed’s Animals”. You can find out more by visiting their website. I’ve been a fan of TOFT for a few years now and I always keep up to date with their new releases. So it was no surprise when I announced to my family I would be taking part in their advent calendar. You may have heard me talk about TOFT in some of my previous posts. Purchasing their kits or visiting their HQ is always a treat for me and this advent calendar was no exception.

First Thoughts: All I remember feeling when I found out about the TOFT advent calendar was excitement. I’d been looking for an advent calendar with a difference that year and TOFT completely fit the bill. In all honesty, I didn’t really think too much about the difficulty of the project, which in hindsight may have been a little silly. But TOFT always give such confidence to novice and beginner crocheters when facing a TOFT project that the thought never crossed my mind. I had a few amigurumis under my belt by this point too, so I felt like I was good to go. I also hazarded a guess that the mystery creature may be something of a festive theme. Like a reindeer or a turkey. The only thing giving me second thoughts was that TOFT told us early on that Gloria, whatever she may be, was an exclusive, never been done before, pattern especially for the advent calendar. And well TOFT had already done a reindeer and turkey pattern. But I thought maybe there was a specific breed…

My Experience: I remember going to bed on November 30th and being so super excited about this project! I’d already packed my project bag with all the essentials and couldn’t wait to get started! The next day I woke up to the pattern already in my inbox and a cute skein of cocoa wool.

Over the first couple of days we made Gloria’s legs. This was all crochet territory I was used to and so I happily got to work on these. I think this was the perfect start to this project as it would have eased beginners in gently and was a nice and easy start for more experienced crocheters.

Next came the body and this is where my crochet learning curve began. The body was made out of three different colours of yarn; cocoa, chestnut and fudge. I’d changed colour during crochet before, but only when making a granny square, so this time was rather different. I figured out how to colour change whilst crocheting in the amigurumi style and how to carry the yarn across as you work you way up the rounds, still colour changing throughout.

However, it was good I took to this new skill so quickly, because straight after the body came Gloria’s tail. The tail in question was stripey and loopy. Never had I attempted a loop stitch before in crochet! However, after watching the video tutorial on TOFT’s website I was soon popping those loops into stitches like nobody’s business.

By the time it got to Gloria’s head, I was prepared. More loops, more colour changes and decreasing! I loved how the head took shape. At this point I was still none the wiser about what animal Gloria was. I know on social media a few people had made a few guesses. If asked, I still would have said she was a Scandinavian Reindeer, like Sven from Frozen. Only the tail was making me doubt myself.

Now, can we just take a second to really, truly appreciate these ears. These ears were probably the biggest crochet hurdle I’ve had to jump since getting my head around how to hold a hook! Colour changes, loops and decreasing something that wasn’t even that big to begin with… but I love them. They are a visual representation of how far I’ve come on my crochet journey and they make me so super proud to look at them. I’m not gonna lie here, the ears started on day nineteen and this was the place I fell behind on my advent calendar. Trying to do all that twiddley crochet and coupe with Christmas in retail, something had to give. So the photographs of this parts progress don’t exist. But I got there in the end and they may not be perfect, but I’m so proud of them.

I think after the stress of those ears, Kerry let us wind down gently with Gloria’s arms. The arms were exactly the same as the legs so these got whipped up in no time at all. (I almost managed to catch up at this point.)

The final couple of days were reserved for putting Gloria together. I always get super nervous at this part and of any project. I always think of it as the “make or break” moment. You’ve worked so hard on something, yet this can still be the moment where it all goes wrong. But to be honest, there wasn’t that much sewing up to be done with Gloria and the same goes for many of Ed’s Animals. The simplicity of their designs in this sense is one of my favourite things about TOFT projects and this is what I ended doing Christmas Day afternoon.

My Gloria’s nose may not be perfect and cutting those loops to make her tufty ears and brows was terrifying but I absolutely love her and I’m so proud of my finished project.

For those of you who haven’t guessed it yet, Gloria turned out to be a Red Panda. I remember googling these early on in the CAL after someone posted this as a guess on the Ed’s Advent Instagram,!but for some unknown reason I didn’t completely believe it until I finished those ears!

Conclusion: Overall, I really enjoyed making Gloria. It tested my skills as a crocheter and it was great to face some new and exciting stitches along the way! I feel it was probably a challenge but also very clever of TOFT to devise a pattern that had both basic but also intricate levels of crochet in order to incorporate something for everyone. So although at times I found Gloria to be a bit of a challenge, she is also a project that I came away feeling immensely proud of.

The only trick I feel TOFT missed was that a Red Panda isn’t very Christmassy considering she came out of an advent calendar. But then Gloria is still sat on my desk as I type this and I suppose a festive themed animal would have been retired with the rest of my Christmas decorations well over a month ago now. So at least this way I get to appreciate Gloria every day of the week!

I really hope after the success of last year’s calendar, TOFT will do another this year. And if they do, I highly recommend you try and get yourself one. But you’ll have to be quick, I know last year very sold out almost instantly!

I hope you enjoyed this review, something a little different for the blog. Be sure to give this post a like if you did and I hope to see you joining in with Ed’s Advent this year, if it goes ahead.

– B xo

Posted in My Journey, Woolly Wonders

Resolutions, Blogversary & Crochet Alongs

Happy New Year everyone and welcome to 2018! πŸΎπŸŽ‰ I hope you all had a lovely New Years Eve. Mine was the perfect cosy night in, spent with my family, drinking prosecco and playing Trivial Pursuit. ❀️

Where do I even start with 2017? I went into last year with the sole goal of making it a year to remember and well, I certainly managed that! πŸŽ‰ 2017 was a year of a lot of amazing firsts. I had my first author event (and then did another and another and another!) I had my first official radio interview with Jason Forrest. I became a publisher author. ❀️ I signed my first ever autograph. I had a launch party! I designed my first ever knitting pattern. I got to see the joy on other peoples faces when then held a copy of book for the first time. I got to see my Momma get emotional at her dedication. 😘 And I got my first lot of lovely feedback on my story. ❀️

I was actually sad to see 2017 leave. But I’d like to think we shook hands on our departure and I’ve turned to welcome to 2018 with open arms. There’s so much already in the pipeline for this year that I literally cannot wait to start!

So, looking forward to 2018, my resolutions are:

  • Craft more wearables

I feel like my skills in both knitting and crochet have excelled greatly since the start of this journey. However the cuteness of toy making has got the better of me and I really don’t have many things I can wear to show my woolly pride. So this year I aim to change that.

  • Work on a new novel

Last year was all about Unravelled and I loved that. ❀️ But my creative input ended on that manuscript ended a while ago now. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the whirlwind that was publication but I’m starting to miss my laptop and my pen, so this year I’ve made not only a resolution but a promise to myself that I will start work on a new novel this year. (Exciting!!!)

  • Read at least one book a month

This one is a bit of a faux pas from me. 🀭 I did not complete my reading challenge last year in fact… *small voice* I’m still reading Throne of Glass which I started on my holiday last July. 😳 After I got back from that holiday everything just seemed to take off and well my reading took a back seat, but I’m back on it now and this year I aim to read at least twelve books!

  • Finish what you start

This is a biggie for me. As a person I get very excited about everything. So I start things with every intention to finish them but then get distracted by something that comes along and put my current thing down to pick back up at a later date and start the new thing that I’m equally excited about and in that well, the cycle begins. Don’t get me wrong, I do go back to the things that I put down, (the novel I’m still reading, the presents I finished crafting on Christmas Eve!) but it could be months, it could be years in between. Now remember I’m a writer, knitter, crocheter, blogger, and vlogger… This has got to stop.

However just to contradict myself…

I’ve decided to kick off another year of craft by taking part in the AYISO’s Temperature Blanket CAL.

The Association Of Independent Yarn Shop Owners are running their first crochet/ knit along that will run throughout 2018. The idea of the Temperature Blanket is every day you add a row to your blanket in a different colour depending what temperature it is near you. The blanket pattern you do is your choice, the colours you use and your temperature scale are your choice. But together we will share the journey of creating a beautiful unique piece.

I’ve planned to crochet my blanket in granny stripe, with guidance from Attic24’s pattern. I’m using DK wool on a 3.5mm hook and below you can see my chosen colours; pink being the hottest of days and white the coldest. (I made the picture of the white slightly larger so you can see the sparkle.✨)

I’m hoping to post updates across the year to show my blanket’s progress and if any of my lovely readers fancy giving it a go, I’d love to see your progress too! You can find out more about the CAL by joining the Facebook Group or reading Magnolia Tree Crafts’s blog.

And last, but by no means least, January the first is also my blogversary! 🎈And this year I’ve reached the magical three years! My website is something that continues to blossom and grow. It’s one of my favourite hobbies and it makes me so proud to see it evolve and take shape every year. So thank you to all of you for taking the time to be a part of it. ❀️

I’ll leave you now to enjoy the rest of your New Year’s Day because otherwise I feel this blog may go on forever! πŸ˜‚

Take care and I wish you all health and happiness for 2018!

– B xo