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Tuesday 25 February 2014

Well hello!


I hope you are all well. I most certainly am because I HAVE BEEN ON HOLIDAY!!!!! We took a much-needed break to Granada in Spain. It came at a perfect time as I was starting to get fed up with 'life' in general.......everywhere I looked there was something that needed doing, to the point where I was very close to just not doing anything at all.

My batteries are well and truly recharged now, and after this week I hope to get back up to full speed. At the moment I am just finishing up a couple of commissions, getting the flat in order and catching up on TV- its great that I have the luxury of being able to ease myself back in gently!

Here are a couple of my favourite snaps from our holiday. As you can see we were lucky and got a bit of sun :-)

I have so many blog posts whirring round my head at the moment, and you know, for the first time in ages I am really enjoying blogging again! Yipeeeeeee!

Much love,


Thursday 13 February 2014

Tweaking the Blog


Recently I have been putting more thought into my blog. I'm posting more regularly (or trying too!), I'm trying to think of different types of post other than 'look what I made' ones, and I'm thinking more about the design, structure and layout. 

I received this book for my Birthday 'Blogging for Creatives'.  

It is mostly aimed at people totally new to blogging. For example it goes into a fair bit of detail about which blogging platform would meet your requirements. However, it also goes into depth about what makes a good post, what makes a blog appealing etc which I found really interesting and useful. The Design Trust have actually written a full review if you are interested in finding out more about this fab book.

This book made me think a lot about my blog. I always worry that my blog doesn't look very professional....what with its pink background and silly title. Also, since getting a DSLR for Christmas my pictures have really improved and I wanted to showcase them more.

So, a couple of changes I made which I think have drastically improved my blog:

- Widened the screen so that I can show my pictures as XL

To adjust column widths:  in design mode, click 'template' on the sidebar. Then click 'customise'. Third option from the top is 'adjust widths'. click on this and use the slider to increase the size of the entire blog. Mine is currently set to 1080px, with each sidebar set to 180px. I think this worked pretty well as I now have enough space on the blog to display my pictures as XL (previously they went off the screen), and the sidebars are also wide enough to accommodate my badges etc. 

- Made a new header to incorporate my new logo (designed by Stephan Rhoades)

I had to do this in Photoshop. I then saved the file as a JPEG and used it as the header (using the 'instead of title' option).

I like the while header as I think it breaks up the pink- sometimes, there is a thing as too much pink. 

-Using 'labels' to tag my posts. 

I have added labels to all of my posts. You can find this option to the right of the screen when composing a post. I then added a gadget ('configure labels') to my left sidebar so that you can click through posts based on topic. 

- Keeping the pink

Maybe this is what makes the blog 'me'.......

What do you think of my little tweaks?! If you could suggest some improvements I would love to hear from you,


p.s I'm still not 100% sure about the red text....what do you think? I know that if you are viewing this blog on your phone the text is black....maybe I should change it to black on the computer? I'm not sure it wouldn't be too harsh....grey perhaps?!

Wednesday 12 February 2014

Beginners Crochet Class- A very proud moment

So, a couple of days ago I ran a crochet class. It was a beginners class where students learnt to crochet a granny square. I decided to start with the granny square for a couple of reasons:

1- It is the most iconic crochet motif 
2- It is the motif most commonly used for blankets and from a bit of market research most people that wanted to learn to crochet wanted to be able to make a blanket.
3- It is one of the easiest things to learn as there is none of the dreaded crocheting into the chain and it only involves learning couple of stitches

The yarn I decided to use for the classes is Drops Merino Aran. I love all the bright colours it comes in and I have found when teaching beginners that a slightly thicker, aran weight yarn, is easier to work with whilst you are learning. This yarn also gives great stitch definition which I love and enables a beginner to easily count their stitches. 

Just look at all the lovely colours.......yum yum!

I had two students in my class and they were really my guinea-pigs. I recently produced an in-depth 'learn to crochet a granny square' booklet full of colour pictures and step by step instructions and I needed some students to test it on!

You know what, they did really really well! By the end of the lesson they had completed three rounds and even learnt how to change colour. Ta-Dah! Here are their efforts. Pretty brilliant don't you think?! :-)

But it gets better. The text morning I nervously emailed them to ask what they thought of the class as I really need the feedback at this stage. You know what I got in return? Wait for it.........

One of my students only went home and did this:

I am so proud of her and really really happy that I helped her learn a skill she had been trying to learn for ages! She is going to become one talented crocheter :-)

I am running more classes in South Manchester. If you are interested please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Best wishes,

SS xx

Wednesday 5 February 2014

WIP Wednesday

Ok.......well my WIP from last week it very much in the same state as it was then.....

I have been very busy though:
- Preparing for my first crochet class which is TOMORROW!
- Selling at a market on Sunday
- Attending a business planning course- I'm all professional now you know!

I will be writing more about the business planning course etc in the next couple of weeks but for the meanwhile I actually need to get some business planning done!

Here is a little hint of what I have been up to........

.....more soon but unfortunately deadlines beckon and I'm prone to procrastination as it is!


Saturday 1 February 2014

Trip on the Manchester Wheel


Did you see the decopatch elephant I made on my Birthday last week? I'm so pleased with him!

The day after my Birthday Pete had the day off work.

As a treat we went to Teacup on Thomas Street We drank tea (of course!)..........

......I had the Rosebud tea and it was lovely. Surprisingly tasted quite "tea-like"!

.....and had lunch....

.....now that really was delicious! It was a mix of mushrooms with advocado on sourdough toast, topped off with a perfectly poached duck egg. The yolk was oozy and delicious....and did I say delicious?!

......and went on the Manchester wheel!

Manchester had a wheel when I first moved here but over Christmas a new one popped up in Piccadilly Gardens. Neither of us went on the old one so thought it might be worth a shot. 

It was a pretty miserable grey day as you can tell from these pictures, but once in the lovely warm pods you could forget about that and take in the Manchester skyline. Now, I wasn't really sure what to expect as I couldn't imagine the view to be that fantastic (sorry Manchester!), and to be honest it was as I expected, but it was still pretty fun (and a little bit wobbly!)!

So here we have the view down market street:

You can just make out the red lanterns for the Chinese New Year. Here you can make out the Etihad Stadium in the background: 

....and the Hilton Hotel here:

I had never noticed this sculpture before, and I actually quite like it (seems the pigeons do too!):

Worth a quick spin if you are around. I would definitely recommend going on a brighter day though!