Monthly Archives: February 2017

Follow Mrs Blooms! She’s got cake!

Back when I first started blogging (way back in June 2015) I was new to the whole blogging scene. People liked my posts and people commented on them, re-blogged them and followed them. And it was all new to me. I was a like a little puppy who’s ears perk up every time they hear something. What’s this? What’s this?!

One of the first people I came across was Mrs Blooms (I just sort of started calling her that – I hope she doesn’t mind lol! :O) from Candelo Blooms. I’m not kidding when I say she is probably the nicest person on the internet. Her comments are always really sweet and she takes the time to write long ones not just a thumbs up!

Her latest post is up and involves Martenitsas which I wrote about a few weeks ago. They are Bulgarian good luck charms and are worn throughout March pinned to clothing (or trees I think). See, Trina Collins, look what you have started! Now even people in Australia are wearing them!!!

The Summer Garden

Mrs Blooms always takes such amazing pictures of her garden and flowers and I do sometimes wonder how long it takes her to put a blog post together as there are always so many lovely pictures. I also like nosing at the veggies and fruit which are being grown, it’s the eco warrior in me…makes me dream of smallholdings and homesteads.

You should definitely head on over there to have a look and follow her lovely blog, a while back she posted a recipe for an apple cake which I tried and was very delicious just so you know!

Have a good day Ellen xx

Knits and Bits

Now that I have all that technical wisdom stuff out of my system, I can get back to what I have been up to.

Making Mozzarella Cheese

Christmas 2015 – my parents bought me a cheese making set to make either mozzarella or ricotta (you provide the milk and there’s enough rennet and citric acid to make 10 batches). I think they got it from Steamer Trading which sells kitchen stuff in the UK but here is a link to the actual cheese company’s website.

http://www.bigcheesemakingkit.com/

The kit has lain around the house in various places and it’s only now I got the oomph to make it (with a little help from my lovely assistant aka mum). It was quite easy to do too although I didn’t really take a lot of pics and document the whole process as a lot of it is literally looking at milk! In the picture below my balls of cheese are in ice water cooling down and the white stripe across the pic is the reflection of the light above! Just in case you were wondering…don’t think you were, but anyway. I also added a few chilli flakes to a few balls so we will see how they turn out.

img_1995

Knitted Spring Bunting

Just got one more triangle to do, weave in ends and make a long strip to attach them to and hang up, also they are quite twisted so will need blocking first. I think I am going to go down the edge them with crochet route so that should help them stop curling too. I changed my mind slightly on colours, sticking with 4 triangles of 3 colours – pink, yellow and green. I was going to do light blue as well but decided it just didn’t fit. Also I may do the strip in blue to denote the sky! And since I had to throw 3 triangles away after realising I had done them in 4mm needles and not 5mm ones….this project has taken longer than it should have!

img_1996

New stuff

Yesterday bought Let’s Knit magazine and a few more stitch holders since mine has gone walkabouts. The knitting mag came with a free crochet pattern mag and I actually like a few patterns from here, so not a bad buy I think!

The stitch holders were from Wilkos which I never think about for knitting supplies.

img_1997

img_2001

Mollie Makes

Magazine through the post today, will look at later. 🙂

img_1998

Books

I am reading Daniel Deronda at the moment, tried to get into it a couple of years ago but lost the will, so am trying again. Of the 13 books in my Read What You Have Challenge in the pages above I have now read 4 so only 9 to go! Most are classics which as we all know are never a quick read, especially when, with some of them it’s a case of here is a paragraph. Three pages later the paragraph has ended. The style of the writing itself can make a book very hard to read, even though the story may be fantastic.

I am also having a look at the ones below. Coz I have a whole shelf of crafty books. And sometimes we just need pictures!

img_1999

Using up my stash

The only problem with knitting magazines is that a lot of the time for me the free gifts are either naff or just what I wouldn’t make. So I had LOADS of leftover yarn and nothing to do with them. Finally decided to make a few knitted squares as I think I showed you in a previous post somewhere and some crochet granny squares which are a heck of a lot quicker to make. Will darn in the ends and maybe find a charity to donate to or make something simple, don’t know yet, just wanted the pile of tiny balls gone!

img_1989

img_1988

And it has suddenly got REALLY dark and rainy now. I’m British, so a dark overcast afternoon means only one thing – time for a brew! 🙂

Favicon

Who here knows what a favicon is?

I didn’t until 5 mins ago. It’s the little icon/picture next to the title of your blog which appears on the tabs page on your browser. Currently mine was the default setting with the blue and white wordpress ‘w’ in a circle logo. Having a custom favicon makes your site look a little more professional and a little less like a free hobby one (even if it is!).

How to change it?

Go to your wordpress dashboard and Appearance – Customise – Site Identity

Here you will find your title and tagline for your blog and there is an option to upload and later crop a picture. Upload one and see that ‘w’ disappear!

Just an idea. And OMG since when did I become WordPress expert lol?!! What world is this?!

 

Pinterest Spam

I have posted before about how much I like Pinterest, I mean let’s face it, what crafty and creative person doesn’t? The arty pictures, the infographics, the inspiration, the oohing and aahhing over simple yet great ideas. It’s great for creativity and sparking off moments of genius.

Except.

One does get a heck of a lot of spam. And where the hell have ten of my boards gone?!

The help centre on Pinterest is actually a no-help-centre since their idea of advice is to say check you didn’t accidentally delete your boards coz you can’t get them back again if you did. Yeah, thanks, but even I would have noticed if I had deleted them! They also say Google may have a cached copy. OK, fine. But clicking on the link doesn’t get my boards back. And I don’t even understand what that means or where the link is or what I should do to get them back!!

As of now I can search for them in Pinterest search but I can’t see them on my laptop, yet I can on my phone. Very confusing.

So. I decided to do some sorting through my boards and deleted LOADS of pins yesterday.

Here are some tips for getting round the spammers.

  1. Check your boards regularly. Sometimes extra pins will just appear (I’m talking about your own boards here, not group ones). If that happens just get rid. If you didn’t pin it, it’s spam.
  2. Look at the description of the pin. Long descriptions with words like ‘wow, how does she do it?’ or  lots of keywords or symbols, then it’s probably spam.
  3. Spammers use clickbait. This is defined, according to a Google search, as ‘(on the Internet) content whose main purpose is to attract attention and encourage visitors to click on a link to a particular web page’. And they love lists, so you will see titles like 25 ways to decorate your home, the 10 greatest….,the 20 best ways to…. If it’s a list and you didn’t pin it, delete it!
  4. Dodgy or blurred or grainy photos. Obviously spammers have copied it from somewhere. Don’t re-pin.  Delete.
  5. Check your privacy settings. Who can see your boards? What can they access? Who have you invited to share your boards? If I can search for it on Google, I can spam it!!
  6. Followers. There are not just spam pins on Pinterest, but spam accounts too. How can you tell a spam account? First of all for me, I am instantly suspicious when there is no photo. OK, lots of people don’t use Pinterest enough to be bothered with completing their account details and some don’t want to share pics of themselves, OK, I get it. But be aware if there is no photo or if there is a dodgy one. A woman with lots of cleavage and a raunchy expression will not be a good representation for an online business which claims to sell fishing gear – does the photo match the name and description of the account holder? Also, look at the description of account, is there a lot of keywords? Look at the boards of your followers, do they have one or two boards with a 1000 + pins? Spam. Do they have lots of boards with a bald man in front of a whiteboard?!! Spam! Lots of boards with some 7 or 8 pins and some 1000+ pins? Spam. Sometimes you can look for bad English, which obviously doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a spam account but be aware. Spammers will often use common names like John Smith or Owen Jones. You will often get a sudden surge of followers – NO SPAMMER SPAMS ALONE!!  Delete your follower if he looks dodgy, don’t feel bad just go with your gut instinct.
  7. Following. By the same token, look every so often at the people YOU are following. Spam slips in. If on second thoughts, you’re not sure about an account, then un-follow. Simples.
  8. If one of your boards is chock full of spam, just delete it and start again, or re-pin some of the pins you want to keep to another board.
  9. A good but slightly nerdy tip would be to make a note of your boards and rough number of pins and the name of your boards. Just in case any go ‘missing’. I didn’t even notice I couldn’t see some of mine, so I don’t know how long they have been ‘gone’.
  10. The last point is one you should probably do in the first place. Lots of places I have read about online regarding the spamming of pinterest recommend this, however you must ensure you have adequate anti-virus protection. This tip is the most obvious, yet we don’t always do it because either we are short on time or we are simply inspired by the picture, maybe we want to build up a board quickly. Whatever. Here it is: FOLLOW THE LINK TO THE WEBSITE. It’s obvious isn’t it? ONLY PIN WHAT YOU KNOW YOU ARE PINNING!

Hopefully that gives you some food for thought. I still don’t know how to get my boards back! Will have another go tonight and if not. I shall find them and I shall delete them. If I can’t have a board with Christmas Inspiration or Halloween Inspiration, or Hygge, then I don’t see why the spammers should have them!!!!

*SIGH* If only these people would put all their IT skills to a good use, and not waste everyone’s time, imagine all the good that could be accomplished!!

Admin and Learnings

I did a thing yesterday but you won’t have noticed. I scheduled my post for this morning – I wrote it yesterday and decided I wanted it to post at 10am today. Figured it out all by myself! Is that a sarcastic round of applause I hear? Well, I’m going to ignore the sarcasm and do a little bow in response – you’re welcome and yes, I DID figure it out all by myself. 🙂

If you go to the little box on the right where it says ‘publish’ you will see an icon with a calendar and ‘publish immediately’ – click on ‘edit’ next to it and decide what time and date you want it publishing and click ok. Your blue ‘publish’ button will now have changed to ‘schedule’. Click that when you are finished writing/ uploading media to your post and it will go in your posts queue ready and waiting.

It’s that easy!

One thing I did notice was that I scheduled it for 10am but it posted 9am, possibly this was something to do with living in the UK? If you go into settings and general, you can change the time settings if you want. But they use UTC which is a standard of time I’m not familiar with (not being GMT and all that) but anyway just so you know.

Ellen xx

3 Things Knitting And Crochet Has Taught Me

I was just scrolling down the list of early blog posts (cringe) that I wrote at the start of this blog and I came across this and it made me smile, I, having forgotten all about it.

https://chronicleofellen.wordpress.com/2015/07/28/the-ten-crochet-commandments/

It made me think of what I have gained from my hobbies. Crochet, Knitting, Reading, Blogging, Writing, Sewing, Cross-Stitch all have similar roots you could say in the crafty and creative sense. My personal 3 things are as follows:

  1. Patience

The amount of times I have had to frog a piece I was working on, or, with knitting, accidentally slipping a stitch and watching in horror as it leaves a ladder down the work, or noticing I have missed a stitch and therefore have to re-do a whole row or the whole piece is off. Seriously, the amount of times! I have never screamed or cried over a project, although there are times when I have felt like it (especially with learning to knit last year!). But, now, I just rip it apart/ undo that last row and start over. I’m not even so bothered anymore because I realise, for me, it’s the making that is the most fun part and redoing it? It’s not the end of the world is it?!

2. Problem- Solving

This is kind of linked to the first point. I have been crocheting since 2009 and knitting since last year, so I am able to notice when a pattern has a mistake in it. Like the wrist warmers I am STILL knitting, I tried a few variations on a theme, then decided to make up my own pattern. And when I slip a stitch knitting? A crochet hook will pull the stitch back onto the needle. And when I don’t have exactly the materials/ equipment that a pattern recommends? Improvise – paperclips for stitch holders; a safety pin on the working stitch to stop the stitches unravelling when you put it down for the night and take the crochet hook out; pattern calls for a zip and you don’t have one – use buttons or ribbon etc.

3. Confidence/ Appreciation

I have always been guided by one rule, even when I was a teenager, and it trickles it’s way through my life now, as an adult. And it is this.

Like what you like and don’t be put down or put off by other people for liking it.

I like crafts. I like nerdy sci-fi stuff. I like love books. I like space. I like Ancient Egypt. I like Sausage Dogs and Labradors and Spaniels. I like environmentally friendly things. I like the idea of me raising pigs and keeping chicken one day. I like helping dad on his allotment. I like a lot of other things too. So what?

I can appreciate other people’s work and creations and understand/ empathise with how much consideration and effort has gone into it. I can understand patterns and charts. I can sit on a ferry to the Isle of Wight as I did last week and confidently get out my crochet/ knitting even though I will get stared at by the little children nearby and just about anyone who walks past. I’m OK with liking what I like because I am the one who likes it.

And I swear I will talk about something else in the next post, it has been knitting this and crochet that recently for ages.

Except. I’ll probably forget and show you the granny squares and the stash-busting that has been going on lately!

Till next time, Ellen xx

 

Crafting The Giant Nerd In Me

I saw this pattern on Ravelry a few weeks ago and I shared it here on my blog. https://chronicleofellen.wordpress.com/2017/01/24/crochet-blanket/

If you were paying attention you would have noticed I didn’t come right out and say what it was!

Well, I have decided. I’m doing it. Yes, I’m bloody well doing it!

Here are the materials and some notes on the project.

The blanket is 25 x 25 squares. That’s 625 granny squares to make. I am doing three rounds for each square, don’t know the finished size but it will be the biggest blankie I have EVER made!

I am using Boyes own brand 100% acrylic DK weight yarn. It’s cheap and really soft for a cheap yarn. I would imagine any DK weight yarn would be suitable for this project such as Stylecraft Special DK.

4mm crochet hook.

Squares:

White: 199

Black: 312

Light Grey: 100

Dark Grey: 14

So far I have done all the Dark Grey, 2 Light Grey, 2 Black and 14 White squares. Not much but I’m not rushing.

I was also thinking of doing a border in a Dark Green or Dark Red to show off all that black and white.

So it begins....

So it begins….

And if you need a good way to keep all your squares together? A simple piece of scrap yarn through the centre and you could hang them up (or keep in a carrier bag like I do), yes they curl a bit around the edges, but that will sort itself out when you come to sew them together, so don’t worry about it!

I wish there were more nerdy patterns out there!

So, that’s my latest WIP. I haven’t done much more on the knitted wrist warmers or bunting, finding it hard to finish them (and the bunting is the EASIEST project ever). Also a blanket for Lizzie’s housewarming is still on the go but is taking ages, so she’ll likely get it when she’s forty! I have some free wool with a magazine to make a lacy shawl but I didn’t like the pink and green colours so I think I’ll use a couple of balls of my own yarn, so that’s on the cards. The crochet blanket in the background needs another ball each of pink, brown and purple before I think it’s really finished. And I still need to sew up my crochet hook holder.

Lots of wants and lots of needs. And I have been looking at the crochet along on attic24 with her Moorland Blanket…I want!

Time to go and do something useful and stop whining about how much I love wool!! xx