Sunday, 30 October 2011

It's nearly Halloween!

As it is nearly Halloween I just wanted to tell you about this great site that I found called It is full of tips, ideas on how to carve pumpkins, recipes, fun stuff, halloween facts and history etc.

This is a great tip to preserve your pumpkin if you carve it 2-3 days before Halloween:   
  1. Prevent your pumpkin from drying out by placing petroleum jelly on the cut edges of your carving.
  2. Spray your pumpkin with water, cover it with plastic wrap then store it in the refrigerator when it's not on display. This helps prevent premature decomposition.
  3. Soak or spray the pumpkin with water mixed with a little bit of bleach. This will help ward off mold and kill insects for a longer preservation.
If your pumpkin is showing signs of shriveling, soak it in water for several hours. The more shriveled the pumpkin, the longer it needs to soak. When the pumpkin is removed from the water, dry the inside with a towel as much as possible to impede mold growth. Dried-out pumpkins and melons can be revived almost completely with this technique.

I really love this tip:-

Create the smell of Halloween spice. Just sprinkle a little cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin spice on the bottom of the pumpkin lid. Once the pumpkin is lit, it will create a wonderful seasonal scent.

I was also searching the web and found some great vintage halloween pictures at

So whatever you are doing for Halloween have a great time and don't forget to use the pumpkin flesh that you scrape out for a delicious recipe such as pumpkin soup or these delicious pumpkin cupcakes. Absolutely delicious with the cinnamon cream cheese topping. The only mistake I made was halving the recipe and only baking 12 instead of 24. They really are soooo good!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Next Pumpkin Project & GIVEAWAY!

I have just knitted this fabulous little pumpkin (it should take about 10 minutes but it took me over a week what with other stuff getting in the way!) I am going to try knitting a bigger one by doubling the number of cast on stitches but this size is very cute.

It is knitted using the magic loop technique which is basically knitting on circular needles (there is a great tutorial here). This site also shows you the long tail cast on method which is useful as your tail and yarn are in the same place and makes for a neater finish. You can also find tutorials for this technique on youtube.

So, here is the pattern (which I found here)

You will need:
Orange yarn for your pumpkin and green for your stem.
Circular needles
Fleece for stuffing
Wool needle for sewing up
double pointed needles (for the i-cord stem)

With circular needles cast on 9 stitches.
Round 1: Knit the first round.
Round 2: Increase into every stitch in the second round, you will now have 18 stitches.
Round 3: Knit 1 round.
Round 4: Increase into each stitch in the 4th round, you will now have 36 stitches.
Round 5 to 9: Knit
Round 10: Knit 2 together all across the round.(18 stitches)
Round 11: Knit.
Round 12: Knit 2 together all across the round. (9 stitches)
Round 13: Knit.

Leaving a long thread, break yarn and thread onto a wool needle, thread your wool needle back through your stitches, stuff and pull tight. Do not overstuff as this may make your pumpkin look too round. The convolutions of the pumpkin's skin show up quite nicely if you understuffed your pumpkin

Once you have closed the top opening of your pumpkin, take your needle, push down through your pumpkin, pull out on the other side and pull tight. This makes a depression on the top of your pumpkin. Sew tightly underneath.

Pick up 2 stitches in the middle of the top of your pumpkin, attach your green thread and knit an i-cord for a stalk.

The i-cord technique tutorial is available here. However, I only cast on 3 stitches rather than 5. This gave me a thinner stem which was more in-keeping with the size and shape of the pumpkin.

If you try this pattern send me some pics.


If you don't fancy knitting your own I am going to give away the pumpkin that I knitted

What to do...

Please leave a comment at the end of this post by 8pm on Sunday 23rd October 2011 and I will randomly pick a winner from your entries. The winner will receive my cute knitted pumpkin in time for Halloween!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Fabric Pumpkins

I have been getting excited about Halloween ever since I saw this tutorial on how to make fabric pumpkins. I couldn't wait until the end of October to give making them a go so I decided to do them as a project for the school textiles club I run. I started off with the medium size so cut a rectangle of a burnt orange velvet fabric measuring about 8 inches by 16 inches.

Fold the rectangle of fabric in half with the right side facing inwards and stitch down the open short ends to secure in place leaving about a 1/4 inch seam allowance (you can just about see the stitches on the right hand side of the fabric).

Secondly, with strong doubled thread sew around one of the open ends with running stitch and rouche/cinch fabric closed as you sew along. When you get to the end stitch to secure and close any gap. I had quite a large gap as the fabric I chose was a thick velvet and didn't rouche that well but a few stitches across the bottom held the gap closed.

Now turn the fabric pouch inside out so the right side of your fabric is now showing

Stuff this with some wadding. I found it was best not to overfill and then you get a good pumpkin shape.

When stuffed do the same running stitch around the top and rouche/cinch fabric again to close, stitch across to close fully if necessary.

Then thread a long knitter's needle with embroidery thread or wool. Push the needle through the bottom of the pumpkin and out through the top wrapping the embroidery thread around pumpkin at quarter intervals, keep pulling through the core several times, to add ridges around your pumpkin.

I used embroidery thread for this but later changed it to a thicker wool which you can see much better, it is also stronger. Finally for the stalk, cut out 2 stalk shaped piece of felt or fabric. Sew the two pieces together with the right sides facing. Turn inside out so right side is facing and stuff with wadding. Stitch to the top of the pumpkin to secure.  

When I was threading the wool through the core I left some longer tail pieces to look like tendrils.

Have fun making these pumpkins and mix them in with real ones to make a really effective halloween display. Send me photos of how yours come out!

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Hen Party Pottery

It has been a while since I posted any information on the blog about the recent pottery events we have been to. Well, at the weekend we were asked to host a hen night gathering for about 19 ladies. It was a wonderful afternoon and there was a variety of pottery painted. It is great to see everyone's different ideas develop as they paint and I have taken pictures of some of the items so you can see. I apologise for the quality of the photos as it was dark when I took them but I think the pieces still look lovely.

cup cake money box and two cup cake trinket boxes

two Brown Betty teapots

two short am mugs decorated in a nursery theme

a selection of flowerpots and vases

 a deep star bowl

                                               a small gravy or sauce boat

small milk jugs for one

My mum and I have also been busy painting things for our up and coming Christmas Markets, we will put them on the blog for you to see asap

Monday, 3 October 2011

National Knitting Week

Running from 3-9 October 2011, National Knitting Week aims to inspire the next generation of knitters and get your community crazy for knitting!

This special week of crafty events was first celebrated in 2005 after it was created by Knitting Magazine.
There's lots of ways to get involved. You can organise free 'knit and crochet' classes, fashion shows to show off your newly spun clothes and much more!

At the official National Knitting Week website, you can see full lists of all events in your area.

There is also a serious side to National Knitting Week - money raised will go to Bliss the special care baby charity. Last year almost £10 000 was raised to help support the Bliss Family Support Helpline. And this year the money raised will by used to help with the costs of 40,000 Going Home Pack. So with your help lets hope they can raise much more than previous years!

Knit 1 - Pass it On is National Knitting Week's latest campaign, launched by the Crafts Council and the UK Handknitting Association . The aim is to support one other person and teach them how to knit or crochet. You could even get sponsored for your efforts and raise donations for Bliss!

So go on, pick up your pins, get started on that woolly jumper and help a good cause!

A Weekend of Unseasonal Weather

What fantastic weather we are having. We have had a very sunny hot weekend here with temperatures reaching 29.9C in Gravesend,  breaking the maximum daily temperature record for the UK in October. Incredible for this time of year. I have been making the most of it by walking my dogs, Daisy and Jess, over the field early in the morning and early evening and it has been beautiful.

This is the view from the top of the field

Here are Daisy and Jess enjoying the weather

and waiting for their treat before heading home.

Even though the leaves are turning and the evenings are drawing in it has felt more like mid summer. This is a picture of the creeper that grows rapidly over the front of my house. It is a wonderful light green in spring, dark green in summer and then a vibrant mix of autumn colours at this time of year. I am not sure what it is but I think it is a Boston Ivy.

Hope the weather has been lovely where you are too and you have enjoyed the weekend!