Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Crochet Book Review....

Are you thinking of trying a new craft this year? Do you fancy having a go at Crochet?

If you have been reading this blog for a while you will know 2014 was the year I taught myself to Crochet and I love it! So I thought I would share with you some tips to get you started that I picked up as a beginner. I will have more practical tips in my next post but first I want to share with you my favourite Crochet Book ~ Crochet: The Complete Step-By-Step Guide~ and this is great for beginners....

I got this for my birthday which was 11 months after I started to teach myself and I wish I had this sooner. It has clear instructions taking you through the techniques and stitches.  It's in easy to follow step by step guides with clear photography with projects along the way so you can practise the stitches you have just learnt.  It covers the basics through to more adventurous techniques so even if you know the basics this book can help you improve your skills.

If you have been crocheting for a while this book has lovely projects in them. There are a lot of great patterns, including bags, toys, stuff to wear, accessories, home and gifts, blankets and cushions.  I don't think there is one I won't make at some point.  There are some great gift ideas in this book but my first project I made was for myself and I made this lap blanket....

Each pattern has a level of difficulty, so you can pick a project based on your ability.

The only down side is it's a hardback and it is so jam packed with projects, techniques and beautiful photography that it is a heavy book so it's not easy to throw in your bag and carry around.  This is a minor thing and doesn't stop me from loving it and recommending it.

Do you crochet, have you got a crochet book you would recommend?

fizzi~jayne x

Disclaimer: The Amazon links in this post are affiliated.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Lets do this 2015!....

So the past week has been time to catch up on the dull but necessary admin but I distracted myself by deciding what my goals will be for fizzi~jayne in 2015.  

I use the word goal instead of resolution, as goals need a plan of attack to make them happen and I need a plan otherwise I will have the same list in 2016!

I won't bore you with the details of my plans but I find having a list of tasks/steps needed to achieve a goal helps you break down a big task into smaller chunks that you can cross off, so you feel you are achieving as you work towards it. Well, that's the theory.

Anyway, here are my 2015 goals....

Organise my admin ~ Having spent a week under a pile of paper to sort out my tax return I now have a process in place that I need to stick to and keep on top of so by next January it's not so stressful.

Less procrastination ~ I want to be more efficient with my time and be able to do everything I need to as well as have time to develop creatively and as a business. I should read my own post from last year about time management! I found a great article on procrastination and I need to practice what it suggests!

Online ~ 2014 was a huge and exciting learning curve and I had great success with craft fairs and bespoke orders. My focus this year is to relaunch my online shops and grow that side of my business.

Blog ~ The survey I ran last year has really helped my plan for this blog.  I have planned more tutorials and techniques and I hope to show you more of behind the scenes as well as continuing with the types of posts you enjoy.

I have some personal goals too....

Read more ~ I love getting comfy with a cuppa and a good book to get lost in or learn from but I don't make enough time to read.  So I plan to read for at least 30 minutes every day and I have signed up for the Good Reads reading challenge.

Crafting ~ I am not planning to learn any more new crafts, I don't think I have the time, money or space for them!  Instead I want to learn more techniques and develop creatively in the crafts I already love. 

Lose weight ~  I've gained a lot of pounds since working from home! Weight loss is a common goal for January but I don't fit most of my clothes which is a problem so I have to do it! I have a friend's wedding as a target date and a dress in my wardrobe to wear when I am a healthier weight.

I haven't got a crazy long list as that would just look scary and unachievable, instead I'm focused on the important things which will help with my time management!

What are your goals/plans/resolutions for 2015? I'd love to hear about them and we can encourage each another. If you have blogged about them leave me a link in the comments, I'd love to read them.

fizzi~jayne x

I'm a member of running club to help with my weight loss goal and weather is not an excuse! This was on New Year's Eve.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

My Handmade Christmas....

Following on from my #CraftBlogClub Secret Santa reveal I thought I would share other gifts I made for Christmas.  

Do you remember the blanket I made for a friend's new baby? Well, it was her first Christmas so I made her a Christmas tree decoration as a memento.  I personalised it with her name and the year of her birth.  She's too young for it now but hopefully in a few years she will enjoy seeing it on the tree and in the meantime her parents can appreciate it. 

I love to make jewellery for gifts as it is the only time I really get to do this craft.

I made these earrings for my Sister-in-Law....

They were fiddly to make but I'm really pleased with the outcome and she loved them too.  I might make a pair for myself!

For my hubby on our wedding anniversary I made scrabble tile cufflinks, so I made some for his Dad and Brother....

I made this cute bookmark for my Mum....

My Mum loves elephants but they have to have their trunks up, apparently it's good feng shui. So I knew who this little fella would be for when I found him.

My friends and I don't give each other Christmas gifts but we do for birthdays and one of my friends has a birthday a couple of days before Christmas.  I decided to put together a gift based around Baileys hot chocolate, mmmm! I crocheted the mug hug using this pattern. I also made her one of my popular coasters to go with the chocolate theme.  The chocolate stirrer with marshmallows in the photo was from one of my fellow stall holders at New Milton, Fiona Ann Chocolates . Fiona's makes her chocolates and they are so yummy!

I crocheted other gifts....

A teapot cosy for my Brother-in-Law and his family.  The colour scheme was chosen to co-ordinate with their new kitchen.

I also hooked up a hair band for my 2 year old Niece and she kept it on so I guess she liked it!

I made this cactus for my husband's desk as a jokey gift. He had a real one but it died and when I came across a pattern for one in Simply Crochet magazine I had to make it!

and here he is in his new environment....

he has a nice view!

Everyone seemed happy with their handmade gifts which is a relief! I really enjoy making gifts, it makes them so much more personal and unique. The run up to Christmas is a busy time of year and at one point I was worried I wouldn't get them done in time! This year I have promised myself I will start much earlier but I'm sure I said that last year!!

fizzi~jayne x

Saturday, 3 January 2015

#CraftBlogClub Secret Santa Reveal....

Happy New Year! 

I hope the year has started well for you.  Do you have any resolutions? I have goals I want to achieve this year and I'm thinking about what I am going to do to make them happen, but more of that another time.  I have Christmassy things I want to share with you, first off is the #CraftBlogClub Secret Santa....

In November last year, my co-host Katie launched #CraftBlogClub Secret Santa Challenge, obviously I signed up straight away!

I received my gift from Kay the week before Christmas but I couldn't wait to open these goodies....

They were beautifully wrapped

Kay sent me a lovely package, as well as a very pretty handmade card she also made a Christmas decoration for my tree....

The stocking suited my colour scheme perfectly and looked so pretty on my tree. I loved the bell on it too.  This will make an appearance every year on my tree alongside the Secret Santa I received last year

Kay is from Cornwall and also in my present was a Cornish Piskie....

I have put him in my purse with the hope he brings me wealth!

This is not all, Kay also sent me some yummy Cornish chocolate, Christmas pudding flavour Mmmmm! I did wait until after Christmas to eat it but it did go in one sitting!

Thank you Kay! I loved my Secret Santa!

You can check out Kay's crafty blog here, but before you do, check out the Secret Santa gift I made....

My Secret Santa was for Zoe...

After doing some research on her blog and agonising over what to do for a while I decided to make her one of my coasters.  Zoe loves baking as well as craft and I was inspired by her baking posts so I made this coaster....

I also made her this Christmas card and sent a couple of candy canes, because they are just so Christmassy

It is always a little nerve racking making a gift for someone you don't know but I was happy to read she was pleased with her gift, phew! You can find out what she thought of it over on her blog, here.

#CraftBlogClub chats are every Tuesday from 7pm (GMT). 2015 is going to be an exciting year for #CraftBlogClub, we have guest hosts and more super challenges planned, it's going to a lot of crafty fun!

fizzi~jayne x

Psst.... I can't wait to see what you have created, so what are you waiting for?! The linky is live below and ready for your Secret Santa posts.

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Nice knowing you 2014....

This time of year I can't help but be reflective.  A blog is a great way to remind you what you have done, I had forgotten some of the things I've been up to!

You've probably seen a hundred of these types of posts but hopefully like me you enjoy reading them, so here is my look back over the last 12 months and my blog's highlights from 2014....

New Craft of 2014 ~ Crochet

One of my New Year Resolutions for 2014 was to learn to Crochet and I am hooked! Excuse the pun, but I am addicted and I now always have a crochet project on the go.  At first I didn't think I would ever get my head around it but after a few weeks of perseverance I started to understand what I was doing and more importantly enjoy it, now there is no stopping me!


I started the year as one of the new co-hosts on the #CraftBlogClub which has been a lot of fun and a great opportunity to get to know other crafters and bloggers and I have to say we are a great bunch!

I always look forward to our weekly chats but I equally enjoy the challenges too.  

Challenges ~ Relove Me Spring Clean Swap / Winter Challenge part 1 and part 2
I still use the pen pot I made and the teapot cosy given to me by Emma as part of the Spring Clean Swap. 

We've discussed some useful topics and I've shared some of these top tips from the chats....

Selling your crafts
Blogging Hints and tips
Photography hints and tips

and I got to meet my lovely co hosts 

Not such a great picture of me on the left! Emma is in the middle and Katie is on the right
Out and About

I made sure I got out of the craft den to meet other creative folk and attended small business conferences.  It has been lovely to meet and learn from other small business owners and meet virtual friends in reality. 

One of the highlights had to be when David Cameron unexpectedly turned up to the Home Business Conference! No matter what your political views are, I still think it is pretty cool to have the Prime Minster turn up to speak at a conference I was attending.

Photography Season

In July I ran a Photography season.  This included the first guest post on my blog from a professional offering hints and tips and I made my debut as a guest blogger over on Frugally Peachy showing you how to make a light tent. 

The Year of the Craft Fair

I have attended a lot of craft fairs this year to find the right ones for me....
(click on the images to read more about them)

New Milton Spring Craft Fair - The first fair of 2014

My first time at Harpenden

Another first at Little Fox, Rickmansworth

Back at the Little Fox and New Milton craft fairs in Autumn

Christmas Craft Fairs

It was a mixed bag of success but I am pleased for the experiences as I know which ones to return to next year.  Expect me back at The Little Fox in Rickmansworth and I've already booked New Milton for April and October.  I hope there will be more in Royston and Radlett too.

Also the Year of Celebrations

The year was full of celebrations, I celebrated the first full year of being fizzi~jayne full time, fizzi~jayne makes turned 2 and my blog turned 1....

....and you told me what you love about my blog and what you would like to read more of in my survey.  I am so grateful for everyone who took the time to complete this survey and leave lovely comments which were really motivating. It's good to know that there are people out there reading my blog and enjoying it.  THANK YOU!!

The Most Popular Blog Post this Year was....

.... Christmas Card Peg and String Tutorial 

You can check out other popular posts from my blog in the side bar *points to the right* (if you are reading the web version).

Right, that's it for 2014, I hope you have enjoyed my highlights.

What were your best bits of 2014? If you have shared them on your blog leave a link below so I can check them out....

Thank you to all my readers and supporters of my blog, I am so grateful for you all popping by to read my ramblings and I hope you will continue to enjoy what I have planned for next year!

Wishing you all health and happiness for 2015!

Happy New Year

fizzi~jayne x