13 December 2010

Last second gifts.

Last night, as the boyfriend settled down on the couch to watch some telly, and recover from a party the night before, and I satisfied an over-whelming urge to bake double-chocolate cookies, he suddenly gasped "It's the 12th!"

"Yea?" I replied, unsure what important date I had forgotten this time, as I sneakily ate some chocolate chips.
"It's 2 weeks to Christmas!" he exclaimed, "I need to sort presents out!"

This revelation for a normal person will produce a large amount of stress, but for a crafter, it's positively DEFCON1. 2 WEEKS?! I'll never get presents made!

Oh, yes you will, poppet. Just look below for a few simple, fast ideas which will see you right. : )

Pot Holders:

Who doesn't need something to kitch up their kitchen a bit? This pot-holder is made from Donegal Studio's Aran Tweed, using Tunisian Simple Stitch, and Tunisian Purl Stitch. If you're determined, it takes about an hour to do, and can be impressively embellished with stars, flowers or a person's name. I have put daisies on this example, using petal stitch, french knot, and captured thread stitch. Why not make a set of three, in different colours?

Personalised wrapping paper:

Ok, so you have a gift, but it just doesn't seem to be special enough? Why not wrap it in your own hand-designed wrapping paper? I have done this for years, now. Not for MY gifts that horrible, thin paper that cheapens the look of a pretty tree. Brown paper, for me is instantly classic and romantic, and decorating it a bit by hand adds a wonderful, unique touch. Wrapped in twine, with a hand-written card and you're bound to be on to a winner.

The photo shows a potato-stamp I created with a Celtic/LaTene trinity spiral.
Last year I used christmas trees, and the year before, stars. A potato, a sharp knife or scalpel (careful!) and an ink pad are all you really need. I recommend drying the potato off with some tissue once you're done carving. The potato juice can dilute the ink a bit.

Christmas Decorations:

This cheerful little star would make the perfect gift for someone who you exchange small gifts with. It's lightly stuffed, so it's 3-D and uses only the smplest of stitches. In fact, three, in a string makes a very cheerful wall hanging, too.

Oh, yes. Toffee. I have recently discovered I can do this successfully.

All you need to be sure about is that you have a thick-bottomed pot to cook it in. Thin-bottomed pots transmit temperature variations too efficiently and will instantly ruin your toffee-plans. Try this recipe. It's my favourite. With, or without the chocolate on top, this is a winner every time.

Teddy Bear:

This bear is cute, adorable, and a day's work at most. Use thread and a tiny hook to make a mini-bear, or aran weight yarn and a larger hook, to make one suitable for a child. Remember, don't give this to a baby. Small parts may be swallowed.

More to follow over the next few days.

What plans are you making for last-minute gift? Let me know! I could use the help, too...

07 December 2010

I Luv Gloves!

And 25% off is even better!

So, it has been quite the busy time here at Yarn Towers.

Between minding a total of 5 family animals, getting the book written, the editing delays and now Christmas upon us, there just seems not to be enough time to do anything lately.

So, I am resorting to making small, cute presents for friends and family. You guessed it, everyone is getting gloves!

And, since I assume you have crocheted yourself into an equally difficult corner this year, I've decided to slash 25% off the price of all my glove patterns on Ravelry until the 14th. All you need do is use the voucher code: ILUVGLOVES at check out in my Rav Shop and you'll get my glove patterns with a whopping 25% off! That's a whole quarter! Add that to the fact that gloves are always welcome this time of year and that they are small, but impressive as a gift, you'll be sorted in no time!

No stress, more savings.

01 December 2010

My week

Or: What happens when everything is up in the air

So, the last week or so has been pretty hectic here at Yarn Towers.

I have been interviewed and then photoshooted with my FFF partner in crime, E, for an article in Image Magazine. It's the intelligent read for Ireland's smartest women, apparently. That made me feel very clever. It was a lot of fun, chatting away as normal, but with a photographer in our mugs, flashes going off and stitches being dropped left, right and centre.

I'm pretty sure we got at least one good photo, though, so I'm really looking forward to seeing the finished article, which will be out over here in Ireland on the 17th of this month.

On top of that, I have had to screech somewhat to a halt (a difficult thing to do with all the ice around here) on the book because my lovely editor has come upon a few completely unavoidable delays. This, for me, is very sad. I was so looking forward to getting the full 10 pattern ebook, with extra goodies, out before Christmas! It looks like that just won't be happening now, I have have had to take stock, and will be releasing individual patterns as they become available for publication.

So, today, I managed to finish off two patterns. Cozy Cuffs and Boleyn.


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