June 10 2017

My Garden Project and Plantain Salve

I have been working in the garden most of the last week, tidying up and transforming an unused area. The area is currently partly undercover but I’m not 100% confident off of the stability of the structure. I’ve given it a good wobble and it even takes my weight easily but parts of the wood are quite rotten and so we’ve just tended to stay out of there.

This year I decided I would make it a project to get that area sorted out and usable again. I have added some extra support and stabilising length of timber to add strength to the whole structure. My intention is to completely clear the area and use it to extend the veggie and herb garden. I am also considering moving all my plants from the patio and into this space instead. There is an old swing frame there which I’m going to use rather than dig out. Each of the four legs has a huge ball of concrete attached to it under the soil which I would need to dig out, break up and then get rid of somehow. Then I would need to take apart and store the swing frame itself somewhere. But looking at it I don’t think the screws are going to come out easily, if at all as they are quite rusted. Easier to leave it there and incorporate it into the garden. So far I have planted my runner beans to grow up one side of it and I have sown broad beans and peas for the other side. They seem quite happy with the arrangement and the spot is sunny in the morning with shade later on in the day, so should be just right.

 

healing plantain salve

 

A large part of the area was originally covered in an old carpet and a few years ago I discovered a large paved circle underneath. The inside of the circle is all soil and looked as though it had been used for planting at some point. I assume the soil was covered over when the swings were fitted so that whoever used them didn’t end up muddy.

 

plantain herbal remedy

 

Under one corner of the carpet I had often seen slow worms. They are a protected species here so I was worried about disturbing them and if they could be a nest or similar as they were often there. After doing some reading, I feel that they like the area as they can lay on the warm paving stones but be safely undercover. As there is an overgrown hedge area next to the space it is also easy to get to without too much worry of predators. As where we live is away from town and has a lot of woodland around we get lots of birds here as well as foxes, plus cats from other households. All I’m sure would happily eat slow worms. To solve the issue I decided to leave the entire end of the area overgrown and transform it into a wildlife area. I have left a length of the carpet say the slowest can still have their sunny spot. Using an old rabbit hutch and bits and pieces we picked up around the garden Jack and I created a bug hotel for the area too.

While working on the area I have got bitten many times I’m not sure by what. I always suffer from insect bites in the summer and have done for as long as I can remember. They are mostly on my legs and hands and itch like crazy. I wanted to make some soothing plantain salve to put on them but don’t have any plantain oil ready, though I do have loads of both greater plantain and ribwort plantain growing in my front garden.

On Pinterest I found a method for making a quick herb infused oil. I’m not sure if it will be as good as the slower method of infusion but I’m going to give it a try and see how it goes. I am only making a small batch as I don’t have that much dried plantain at the moment. As I will use over half my store I have picked some plantain from my front garden and that is now drying in the dehydrator. I have enough for two trays worth so I have a good amount ready for future batches. I’m going to use a recipe for a basic herbal salve I pinned from Mountain Rose Herbs for amounts.

 

healing plantain salve

 

The pantain salve came out great and was really easy to make. I couldn’t have made it a better time, as later in the evening I began itching and found several bug bites. I always seem to get bitten in summer and never notice it at the time, but boy do they itch later! I waited for the plantain salve to fully harden and then applied some to the bites. After a few moments the itching began to die down and stop, much to my relief. I used the balm several times over the next few days and found it very soothing. Definitely glad I gave making this easy plantain salve a try and have popped a jar into the buggy bag to keep with us when out. Looking forward to using the herbal oils I have infusing on other home made remedies.

 

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April 11 2017

Stained Glass Crochet Blanket – Current Project

This stained glass crochet blanket is another project that has been on my to-do list for a while now. My ten year old has a baby blanket that is a similar design and I have been planning a larger one, with an added touch of magic 🙂 I am not sure what the finished size will be but due to the way it is made, it is very easy to make in any size you wish.

I have decided to add a little number magic into the blanket and use multiples of seven and three were possible within the design. However I have decided to keep to the standard six stitches on the corners for ease of following the pattern and keeping things balanced and even. Each of the squares in my stained glass crochet blanket is made up of seven rows of colour and one row of black border. I am considering adding another two rows of black border as that would mean each square consisted of seven rows of colour and three rows of black. I’m not sure if that will be too much black but will test it out once I have made a few more squares. I will then sew these squares together and then add a row of two of black border around the whole blanket. I will most likely add two rows in keeping with the numbers as there will be three outer rows of black. I haven’t yet decided between two rows of stitches to match the blanket or one row of these and then a row of scallops or another border stitch. On my last blanket I added a row of normal crochet and then a row of scallops in the same colour and was really pleased with how it came out.

 

Stained glass crochet

 

I have not decided on a final size for my stained glass crochet blanket. It will be made up of the smaller squares in either a multiple of seven or three. I am temped to make another large blanket but at the same time to go for something smaller. A nice size for using on the sofa would be good. I suspect that Rowan may claim it once it is finished as he loves blankets.

 

Stained Glass Crochet Blanket Instructions

These granny squares are the first thing I learnt to crochet, many years ago. They are great as they are so versatile and can be made in so many sizes and colour combinations. My eldest son has a blanket made up of lots of small squares whereas the blanket I made my daughter is one huge square that I went round and round. Getting towards the end of that blanket was great as I was able to use it to keep warm too. I was first shown how to make these by a friend when I was at school and made several cushions and blankets. Then I did n;t crochet for several years and had to try and remember the best I could how to create them. I found that they would often come out a little lop-sided or wonky and so I have tweaked what I remember to get a neat square that stays flat and neatly square.

Please note that all terms used throughout the pattern are UK versions. I am using double knitting yarn from various brands. Most is what I have in my stash but I am always on the look out for nice yarns to add 🙂 I used approximately 20g of yarn for each coloured section, to give you an idea of how much is needed.

If you are unsure how to do a treble crochet stitch there are some nice instructions here
Start at step 1.

1. Magic loop

2. 12 triple crochet into loop

3. Join with a slip stitch

4. Chain two, five treble crochet in same hole

5. Skip 3 stitches, 6 treble crochet into next stitch. Repeat twice more so you have four lots of six treble crochet. Join with a slip stitch.

 
Teble crochet square

 

6. Slip stitch along two stitches (like on C2C decrease) so you are in the middle of a group of six treble stitches.

7. Ch 2, five treble crochet in space

8. Skip three stitches, three treble crochet in space.

9. Skip three stitches, six treble crochet in space. (The blocks of six treble crochet form the corners).

10. Repeat steps 8 and 9 twice more.

11. Skip three stitches, three treble crochet in space

12. Join with a slip stitch.

 

Granny square

 

13. Six treble crochet into corner

14. Continue adding blocks of treble crochet in this way until you reach the end of the row (six treble crochet in corners and three in all other spaces) until end of the row.

 

Stained glass crochet instructions

 

15. Repeat steps 13 and 14 three times more.

 

Finished crochet square

 

16. Change to black

17. Crochet one full row

Join with a slip stitch and fasten off. Sew in yarn ends.

 

Stained glass crochet blanket

 

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March 7 2017

Random Stripes Crochet Blanket Update – Project Finished

Last week I managed to get my random stripes crochet blanket finished and edged. I started this one in January and then at the beginning of February I discovered C2C crochet and really wanted to give it a try. I wanted to get the stripes blanket finished first but in end gave in and made a start on a large C2C blanket. I am using two strands of DK yarn and a 8mm hook again and the finished blanket will be 160 x 230cm. My biggest crochet piece ever! and I am planing on it being a stash busting project. Will update on that as I go.

The random stripes crochet blanket is a gift for a friends baby. The largest stripe is seven rows wide and smallest is one row, with all sizes inbetween. It was made almost entirely from my yarn stash, I saw a dark plum coloured yarn and really liked it so bought two 50g balls. I wish I had bought more now as it looks really nice used – which makes me not want to use the rest as then it will be gone! ha ha, does any one else save their best or favourite yrans (beads, papers, cords, ingredients…) and then never end up actually using them at all? Can’t just be me 😀 Once I was finished I wasn’t too sure I was happy with the blanket and I am dissapointed in how one of the yarns looks. It’s a furry varigated style and I feel like it look out of place. However I feel like the bits that I am not happy with are all things no one else will even notice. It’s an artists curse – always seeing fault in what others see only as perfect.

crochet blanket

Finishing the stripes crochet blanket kinda snuck up on me. I hadn’t looked at the blanket at all for about a week as I had been working on my C2C blanket but when I took it out of my bag I realised it was getting pretty big for a baby blanket. I like to make my baby blankets so they can be folded in use for extra cold days, which also means that they last a few years before being too small. My youngest is nearly 18 months and his crochet blanket still has loads of growing room in it. With so much work and time going into them it is nice that they aren’t get a short term use thing.

I had decided at the start that the blanket would be edged in black for a bold, contrasting effect. It’s not a traditionally coloured baby blanket at all but that completly suits the recipients tastes. The baby is a little girl but I went for a mix of all colours for variety. I added one row of treble crochet stitches in black but felt that it didn’t quite finish off the blanket properly. It was too abrupt. I had a browse on Pinterest for crochet edgings but choose to go with scallops, which gave the look I was after. Each scallop is made up of three treble crochet stitches and seven on the corners.


stripes crochet blanket

Using two strands of yarn to make my stripes crochet blanket has made it quite a chunky blanket with a bit of bouncy stretch. It is the second blanket I have made that way and I really like the squishy, cuddly softness of the style.


scallop crochet edge

Random stripes crochet blanket

 

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February 13 2017

Random Stripes Crochet Blanket – My Current Work in Progress.

After Christmas I started on a new crochet blanket design. I have had the blanket idea planned out for a while but haven’t had much time to get started on it. A good friend of mine is having a baby in the summer, so that seemed a perfect excuse to grab my yarn and hook and get started.

 

crochet blanket

 

The crochet blanket isn’t a traditional baby blanket in pastel colours but instead features bright and bold colours. I am using (UK) treble crochet and working with two strands of double knit wool. Using an 8mm (size L) hook this combination creates a soft, squishy fabric with a little stretch that I really like. I first tried out this mix when making my rainbow crochet blanket and really liked how it turned out. Seems like my son agrees as he has claimed it as his own! All of the blankets I had made previous had been done using double knit wool and treble crochet but only a 4mm hook (F). That make up a more solid, prehaps even a little stiff blanket. They do soften up with use so its not really a problem.

 

striped crochet blanket

 

The stripes in the blanket are made up of varying number of rows. Sometimes this number has depended on how much of a certain colour yarn I had left, but others I decide as I go along based on how it looks. The largest sections are seven rows. Seven has been my favourite number since I was a child and it adds a little magic to the design. The blanket is 89 stitches wide and so far I have completed 67 rows. The fabrics is now a good size for keeping me warm as I work on. I am planned on continuing until I have 100 rows  and then will add a border and edging to finish it off.

 

crochet blanket

December 15 2016

Jewellery Making Business: Start Your Own! – Introduction Video

My jewellery making course has is now rated five stars on www.ofcourse.co.uk. I designed and created the course with complete novices and those just starting out in mind. The course covers a range of topics including using colour in jewellery making, different types of beads, information on tools and precious and semi-precious gemstones. The final section covers how to start selling jewellery on and offline and some practical and legal matters than need to be considered or followed.

Jewellery making business course that will teach you the key skills for designing fabulous jewellery, and setting up a business to sell jewellery. Do you have a passion for creating jewellery that you want to make into your career? Have you always wanted to know how to design your own jewellery products? This course will teach you the key skills for creating and designing fabulous jewellery, and will then explain what is required to price and sell jewellery online and offline.

Visit the Jewellery Making Business: Start Your Own! course page for full details and to sign up and get started.  Use code; TEACHER_CLAIRE50 at checkout to receive a 50% discount on the course price.

Course Highlights

  • Over 2 hrs of video content to help you create jewellery, with supporting PDF Tutorials for making specific jewellery
  • Learn how to create a profitable jewellery making business
  • Detailed presentations explaining how to utilise beads of all materials
  • Pricing strategies, and legal information concerning the running of a jewellery making business

Enrol to Earn Your Certificate

  • Enrol and become certified in a new skill
  • Share your new skill with employers, friends and colleagues
  • Build a porfolio of course projects
October 1 2016

Brand New Class – Using Colour in Jewellery Design

Using Colour in Jewellery Design online class

My brand new class Using Colour in Jewellery design is now publish on Skillshare. The class will show you how to use colour effectively in jewellery design and covers topics such as colour theory, colours and emotions and colour schemes. The class then guides you through creating a beautiful and unique stitched bracelet where you will be able to apply the knowledge you have gained.

The class consists of short videos that each introduce a new subject. The videos can be accessed at any time and worked through at your own pace.

Skillshare are currently offering 3 months of premium membership for $0.99 (approximately 80p). The premium membership means you can access any of the premium content on the website, which includes hundreds of classes covering a wide range of topics. Each class has a community board so you can chat you other students taking the same class as well as the class authors.

You can sign up for Using Colour in Jewellery Design here. I look forward to chatting with you all and seeing your finished projects.

 

September 8 2016

Online Jewellery Making Course Update

My online jewellery making course is now live and ready to go! The course is available via the online learning provider Of Course and covers a wide range of related subjects including bead types, where to find inspiration, colour schemes and to get started with your own jewellery making business. The course also includes several step by step tutorials showing you how to create finished pieces of jewellery.

Description from the course page:

Do you have a passion for creating jewellery that you want to make into your career? Have you always wanted to know how to design your own jewellery products? This jewellery making business course will teach you the key skills for creating and designing fabulous jewellery, and will then explain what is required to price and sell jewellery online and offline.

Claire Pearcy, your course instructor, is the founder, designer and owner of Elderberry Arts.  She specialises in creating handmade unique and uncommon jewellery made using a variety of materials including wood, silver, hemp, glass, crystal, gemstones and lamp work.

She is an experienced Jewellery tutor, and will guide you through all of the steps required to set up a thriving jewellery making business. She has included detailed tutorials concerning bead type, bead shape, bead sizes, using semi-precious stones, advice on design and creative inspiration, and detailed practical advice on setting up a jewellery making business.

If you want to make your creative skills into a career sign up to this course today!

 

Highlights

  • Over 2 hrs of video content to help you create jewellery, with supporting PDF Tutorials for making specific jewellery
  • Learn how to create a profitable jewellery making business
  • Detailed presentations explaining how to utilise beads of all materials
  • Pricing strategies, and legal information concerning the running of a jewellery making business

 

Who is this course for?

  • Jewellery makers of all ability who want to learn how to turn their passion into a business
  • Beginners wishing to learn how to create jewellery
  • All ability jewellery makers who want to expand their jewellery making skills

Earn Your Certificate of Completion!

 

No previous knowledge of jewellery making is needed and you can work through the course at your own pace. Each video and document is available to view whenever and as many times as you need (files can also be downloaded to keep). This complete online jewellery making course can be found here.