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The title of this post says it all. This year I will mostly be finishing my list of W.I.P.s! I’ve created a schedule and I aim to keep my creative ideas well organised in the future to stop this madness of starting multiple projects when it feels just as good to get stuff done as it does to start something new! So to begin . . .

 

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I finally finished my kitty cushion that I’d started probably a couple of years ago. Its all cross-stitched and once I’d gotten into the swing of it, I really enjoyed it and think its turned out just marvellous. I can see myself doing another one in the future once the W.I.P. list is complete.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts I’ve got myself organised using a planner and am very pleased to say it is still in use! I’m usually a little flaky when it comes to things like this, it could be the use of stickers and brightly coloured felt tips or perhaps the decorative washi tape but I am enjoying the use of the life planner and all its vibrant delight . .

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My planner is a Mid-year one so it will be running out this July. I’ve already begun to wonder what to do when it runs out as the one I’m using at the moment doesn’t have the capacity to refill with blank pages. I’ve toyed with the idea of getting an Erin Condren life planner but using my simple one from Paperchase I’m just wondering if I can’t customise one all by myself! It would be nice to really use my own ideas for the covers and inserts .Hmm.

The next project I have on the go is a woven friendship bracelet/bookmark which I was supposed to finish last July for my friends graduation, alas, I got side-tracked, probably with all my other W.I.Ps so this is the one I’ve been concentrating on next. . .

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It’s quite a complex pattern (found on Pinterest) so there’s no wonder its taken me this long! but this is one of those little hobbies I’ve picked up and could be quite addictive. I’ve also recently started using Instagram you can find me at anji85 where I’ll be posting regular doings from my little corner of the world. I’ve also invested in a new computer and hopefully will find blogging more accessible.

Since joining the world of Instagram I came across a hashtag which immediately caught my attention #1yearofstitches. This is where you take a blank canvas and sew something on each day of the year. What a brilliant idea! and what a brilliant way to catalogue and exhibit ones day to day life! so naturally I had to start one! I was dubious at first because I’ve been strict with myself about starting new projects, but as it was the end of the year I decided to go for it so here’s a little snap shot of my year so far . . .

 

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As I’m sure all the other stitchers out there know it is almost impossible to sit down every single day to get one done, so I’m a couple of days behind but I have done a picture for every day. I must say its jolly good fun thinking up things to put on. My life isn’t what you would call exciting! but I’ve got a lot of interest in different things. The elephant represents the new babys at Chester Zoo, which me and the bf were fortunate enough to visit last year which I desperately need to post about but it will be a monster of a post so it will have to wait just a little longer. Tilikum the Orca from SeaWorld is also featured after he passed away this year (If you haven’t watched the documentary Blackfish I urge you to do so, though it isn’t for the faint hearted).

I suppose I’ve made a mistake putting my year of stitches on this post as it quite obviously wont be finished until the end of the year but I kind of like knowing its just one day at a time. I feel more driven, more motivated than ever to get myself moving, and if I stick to the plan I know I can achieve, perhaps not great things, but damn good things. 🙂

Well, well, well. That wasn’t much of a return was it? Six months have passed since my last post! Firstly I should mention that this was partly due to my lack of organisation, I am a massively cluttered person! mentally, environmentally and craftily. I have too many thoughts, ideas and plans that I can’t keep track of, and like most people this stresses me out to no end. I used to write lists, but then there was lists everywhere some with the same tasks some with impossible taks.So this year I decided to do something about it. I imagine most people get their inspiration these days reading other people’s blogs and I am no exception. I was merrily reading one of Lucy’s posts from attic24 and she happened to mention the Erin Condren Life Planner, what is this Life Planner? I asked myself, and why does it sound like the answer to all my organisational problems? simply because it is!! it mashes together the boredom of scheduling ones mental clutter with crafty goodness thereby making the structuring of your daily tasks and household drudgery a pleasure to do knowing you can tick off the objectives with a brightly coloured pen! Checking out the beautiful Erin Condren Life Planners was wonderful but I soon realised they were a little too costly for the likes of a thrifty Yorkshire lass like myself and my eyes wondered slowly over to my dressing table where a £10 voucher for House of Fraser had sat since Christmas. I then made it my mission to find a mid year planner in order to start my own version of the Erin Condren Planner. In fact, I spent more money on the stickers and washi tape than I did the actual planner. which is just a simple mid year 12 month diary. I had a couple of weeks left in june which I used as experimental weeks, and then started my full structured week at the beginning of this week. This is my current lay out . . .

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Life Planner

As you can see from the fuzzy picture my schedule as such doesn’t look too full, but I do work full-time and so most of my week is simply being at work. What I wanted to achieve with my planner is to make time and schedule those out of office things that I wanted to complete around my work life. So far it’s not going too bad. I’ve seen a significant increase in my motivation and in my productivity. My decorative skills are still in their early stages but just the simply joy of colour coordinating the page and using my pretty stickers is enough to keep my determination up. I was so overjoyed to have found a use for washi tape! I’m sure there are hundreds of uses for the stuff, but for me, this seemed right. So here’s a few pictures of my little stash I’ve managed to build, purely for planner purposes.

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I particularly like the carrots!

I also got some stickers . . .

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Plates with faces, for meal planning!

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Cute date night stickers.

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These are from the Esty store theickleblogger.

The lady at the ickle blogger sent me such a lovely note with the pizza stickers, saying how she’d love to see how I’m using them, so here’s a shout out to Zoe and her wonderful stickers. I haven’t had my takeaway night just yet but I can’t wait to use these sticker slices.

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Yoga (more about that later)

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There are many more but I figure I’ll run out of space before I get to the end. Suffice to say I’m big on the stickers! As for the Yoga, I may or may not have mentioned that I got a fitbit for Christmas. In 6 months I’ve lost about 10lbs, it’s not a great amount but I’m only 2lbs off my current target which isn’t bad. Feeling a lot better about my physical self, I wanted to improve on it. As a child I had severe scoliosis and had two major surgeries as an 11-year-old to correct it. Despite undergoing these surgeries I was still left with deformed ribs and this I feel has limited my movement causing stiffness and aches. So to try to improve upon this I thought about Yoga classes. With time preciously limited outside of work I’ve postponed the idea of classes and started a home routine, within two weeks I felt a difference. My back didn’t click every morning and the persistent ache in my lower back dissipated, my posture has improved and confidence. I encourage anyone who’s been thinking about yoga to go ahead and try it. I only wish I’d have known about its benefits as a child. Side by side with my basic yoga routine I’ve added a little meditation to my day. I tried it at the suggestion of one of my Buddhist friends and couldn’t quite concentrate, so I read up on it, (the internet really is a marvel!) and found something called Mala beads, prayer beads used in lots of different religions but all do the same thing, to help repeat and count mantras or prayers or anything one wants to concentrate on. So being a bit crafty I made my own . .

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Mala Beads

They were quite simple to make, there are 108 beads and a guru bead to time the meditation. I’ve found a reduction in anxiety and noticed a positivity in my moods. Altogether I take about 20 minutes to do a quick stretching bit of Yoga and a few minutes meditation in a morning and on an evening and it works wonders! My body and mind are now on track to be as healthy as ever and I was determined to get every other aspect of my life together too. Readers of the past may remember that in no way can I get green things to live, year after year of dried up flowers and crispy plants on the windowsill have been my shame. However the bf recently bought me a miniature bonsai kit, and knowing how many plants he’d bought me that I’d killed I was determined to raise a bonsai tree! and was happy to see out of 5 seeds I had not one shoot but two!

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Jack Pines

The second shoot is only just visible in this shot and I know they’re delicately small but you can’t imagine how pleased I am. They’re still indoors at the moment and I’m going to be very nervous about putting them outside when they’re ready but they’re doing so well I was recently considering growing a few herbs, so watch this space.

It’s all thanks to the planner though that I’ve kept these little ones alive. Coming full circle here’s a couple of the pages I’ve done in order to keep organised, hopefully if your thinking about doing your own life planner you might find them interesting.

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Keeping track of tasks.

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Monthly Budget, incoming and outgoing.

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Project lists (all in one place)

I even made myself some pom-pom paperclips, supercute don’t you think?

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Pom pom paperclips

The planner has allowed me and driven me to complete some tasks that I’ve had on the go for a while, I’ve nearly finished this Moroccan x-stitch cushion which I started many moons ago.

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Pattern from cross stitcher magazine.

It’s a bit further along than the picture now and not far off finished so hopefully in my next post I’ll have a completed project to show you. Til next time.x

 

 

 

Hi guys, I am proud to announce, Minnie’s Memoirs is 1 today!!!!! Whoop whoop!! That’s right, its been a whole year since I first started this blog. I haven’t written as much as I would have liked but I can tell you it feels damn good to have kept up with it. To have shared my little adventures, and crafty endeavours with you all has been some of the happiest times for me this year and I hope to continue and improve my blogging skills in the years to come.

So without further ado, here’s some of the festivey bits I’ve been getting up to recently . . .

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Christmas stockings, never made them before but thought I’d have a crack at it. I crocheted some snowflakes and then some smaller ones for my dads, and sneakily put some chocolate coins in before Christmas day.

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The snowflake pattern is from “150 blocks to knit and crochet” by Heather Lodinsky, a very good book for this kind of project. You may recognise these snowflakes as I’d hung some on the tree last year.

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Next on the agenda was the bf’s stocking, I wanted to do them quite different so I opted for Christmas trees, I purposely made them chunky and childlike, because I think they’re more fun and its always good to have blocks of bright colour to break up the red of the stocking.

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They’re a bit topsy turvey but I think it adds to the charm of it, bold stitching is also a must, (nothing to do with the fact I finished it Christmas Eve night and was in a bit of a rush)

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Here in England we can no longer depend on snow for Christmas and this year brought nothing but rain and wind, which aside from keeping me awake all night and making me dream of tornados, brought utterly spectacular skies.

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I love the winter moon as it bobs cheekily in and out of the clouds, I find I look more and more to the sky recently, it has a wonderful calming effect on me, and seen as me and the bf haven’t been on a long walk for a while its all I can do to snatch a bit of enjoyment outdoors.

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Before we knew it Christmas was upon us, and this year I invested in this wonderful polar bear knitted jumper, which I wore proudly on Christmas Day as well as my works night out. So with Christmas jumper at the ready all that was left to do was bake.

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Mini orange and cranberry cheesecakes, I’d done a test run on these just before Christmas, and was going to make another batch Christmas Eve, but neither found the time nor room in the fridge. The bf seemed to like them though so New Years cheesecakes they may have to be.

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The customary mince pie/tart, in fact more tart than anything else as I couldn’t find my large fluted cutter anywhere so they didn’t curl up in the tin like they normally do, but these went down ok with my sister and so was quite satisfied at the dwindling pile in their tupperware container. Now I normally do gingerbread biscuits at Christmas and this year was no exception. The only thing that had been bugging me was I could never get them gingery enough, no matter how much ground ginger I put in, so this year . . .

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. . . I chopped some crystallised stem ginger, quite a generous amount and put that in as well as the ground ginger. I anticipated them to be too strong but when I finally tasted one I was over the moon, I’d got it just right, and was thrilled that a whole forest of gingerbread Christmas trees hadn’t been a disaster.

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I’d like to show you some hand embroidered gifts I got this year for Christmas, especially these incredibly beautiful embroidered hankies that the bf’s mum got me, they’re old and they’re so delicately sweet I wanted to share just how much love and attention had gone into them. depicting some of my favourite subject matter, it was such a wonderful gift.

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Aren’t they stunning! One of my other Christmas gifts this year was made by the bf’s mum, who is such an accomplished lady there doesn’t seem a limit to her skill.

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This fluffy nose belongs to a sleepy hedgehog entirely made by hand from a pattern on the Internet.

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With buttoned moveable joints and knitted scarf he’s super cute. She also made me a little scissor keep, using ribbon embroidery with little lavender stems and tiny tiny bumble bees.

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So as well as a festivey feeling Christmas, I’ve had a very happy 1st Birthday.:)

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Just before I sign off I’d like to dedicate this post to a very special lady who passed away on the 17th of December – Pauline xxxx

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Hello everybody! Hope you all had a happy chocolatey Easter. I’ve been rather productive on my Easter break and have finally got round to doing some bits that I’ve been meaning to do for a while, so without further ado . . .bobbins!

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Lovely anitquey ones that I de-threaded and de-spangled. The old spangles were a bit worse for wear and some of the glass beads were chipped so I removed them carefully and stored them away like a crafty squirrel, perhaps someday the not-so-chipped ones will find life again as something new! (I certainly hope so). As you know a few weeks ago I went a bit beady-eyed and came home with some shiny glass beads for the very purpose of spangling.

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For those of you who are interested I’ll be adding a spangling “how to” on a list of tutorials but for now ill just show you the finished result. I spangle the bobbins in matching pairs.

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Now they’re re-spangled I’ll be able to put them to use. They’re such a lovely tool to work with, especially when you know they’re old. There is a particular worn one which has been used so much the turned wood as smoothed down, and it just fills me with wonder that once, probably long ago, some gifted woman sat and worked a wonderful piece of lace with these bobbins.

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Another skill that I’ve been meaning to try my hand at is glass painting. A while back I bought some plain glass ornaments from Hobbycraft and some little pots of glass stain. The paints and ornaments were fairly cheap as I’d never done glass painting before. And so I looked online for inspiration. I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to paint onto my little circles of glass, and after looking at ornately decorated pieces of medieval windows I tried my hand at some pictures. Alas this was a mistake. Luckily, the good thing about the glass stain is it wipes off with water rather easily. So in the end I took my glass ornament.

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. . . And my glass stain . .

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And very VERY simply dripped the different colours of stain onto the glass.

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Though simple they’re nice and colourful and yes I would agree they look like some kind of psychedelic peatree dish, but for my first ever attempt I think they turned out rather well.

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A bit of posh ribbon and I think they look quite nice against the window. I did have them staggered in length but it looked as if I’d turned the flat into a pawn shop and gave it up as a bad idea. 🙂
After delving through my craft boxes to find my glass ornaments I also came across some small embroidery hoops that I’d bought intending to do something arty with. Some time ago I did this little coaster . . .

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I’d seen the verse in a magazine, and the rest I did myself. I enjoyed the project so much I decided to look up some more verse but this time about sewing.

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I used some plain white linen and though not as easy as aida to sew writing on I still found (much to my amusement) that my handwriting is so much neater when stitched. The three verses I found online and I believe to be by authors unknown. They’re quite well known ones I think.

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The light was quite terrible today and so my photos are quite shocking but you get the idea. These little hoops aren’t quite finished, they need a little colour on them and some little pictures I think, so watch this space!
Just one more thing! I finally bought a book today that I’ve been umming and arrring about for a while . .

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“100 Flowers to knit and crochet” by Lesley Stanfield. Though the picture on the front is delightful and I’ve had many recommendations from amazon to purchase it, I just wasn’t sure whether I could use or needed 100 knitted or crocheted flowers, however, after perusing its pages in the bookshop today I was won over. “We’ll . . .” I thought, “if we’re not going to have a spring I might as well crochet one!”

P.s. hope you’ve all had a great Easter and for those of you who are bobbin buddies check out my spangling tutorial.x

ayarnyrobin

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