Beak Up Crafts

I'll craft anything once


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Beak Up Crafts has moved!

Yes that’s right, Beak Up Crafts has packed its bags and moved over to a new website, http://www.beakupcrafts.co.uk/.

After some thought about where I wanted to take my blog I decided that it needed a quite substantial upgrade, and the new site was born.

I really hope you will head over there and follow my crafting adventures on the new-look blog. It’s up and running now, and while there will be a few changes and features still to come, I hope you like what you see.

Blog header

 

I’m going to stop posting to this site from now on and focus on the new site. I hope you will follow me over there (you can tick a box to receive email updates in the comments section or enter your email address in the subscribe box).

Thanks for all of your support and for reading my blog so far. It means the world to me.

Kate x


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How to… Crochet an iPad Mini Cover

This is a really nice and simple crochet project and something I made a few months after first picking up a hook and some yarn for the first time.

I thought it would be a nice project for the sunny spring days as you can use pretty bright colours.

I was struggling to find an iPad Mini case that I loved so I decided to make one for myself! My first effort was a bit wonky but for my second try I made a pocket-like pouch which worked perfectly, so I made another one for Wayne too!

IPad Mini covers

You can either choose to make the case in the same colour or mix it up with stripes. The pattern I’ve written below is for both, but if you want to make one in a block colour simply ignore the bits where it says to change yarn and keep on going!

What you will need:

Aran wool/yarn in one or two colours
A crochet hook – 4.5mm
Two buttons
A darning needle

Stitch description:

Ch – chain
Hdc – Half double crochet
St – stitch

Pattern:

Ch 27 (This should be long enough for the width of an iPad Mini, but if your tension is a bit tighter you may want to add extra stitches and adjust the numbers for the rest of the pattern accordingly).

R1: Using yarn A, Hdc in the 2nd ch from the hook. Hdc across in the outside loops only.
When you get to the end of the row instead of turning, continue around, working into the other loop of the starting chain. This is where you are creating the bottom of the pocket. This will bring you all the way round to the first Hdc (54).
At the end of the first round, crochet your next stitch in the first Hdc you made to join and finish the row, then mark this with a stitch marker. Move the stitch marker up with each completed round.

For the plain case:
R2-30: Hdc in each st around (54). Go to R31.

For the stripey case:
R2-3: Hdc in each st around (54). At the end of the third round change to yarn B in the final stitch.

R4-6: Hdc in each st around (54). At the end of the third round change to yarn A in the final stitch.

R7-9: Hdc in each st around (54). At the end of the third round change to yarn B in the final stitch.

R10-12: Hdc in each st around (54). At the end of the third round change to yarn A in the final stitch.

Repeat alternating the colours until you have completed round 30.

R31: At this stage, your iPad Mini should fit the in cosy (check!) but if not, you may wish to add extra rows to ensure a snug fit. This all depends on the tension you are crocheting with. Now you will make the flap for the case on one side only. Hdc in each st (27) then turn.

R32-33: Hdc in each st (27)  then turn.

Fasten off.

Fold the flap over and position the buttons in the right place before sewing them to the cosy.

Ch 8. Make a loop and stitch this to one side of the flap so it loops over the button to close the cosy. Ch 8 and repeat on the other side.

And that’s it! You have made a cute, bright and cheap iPad Mini cover!

I hope you enjoy using this pattern and I would love to see any iPad Mini crochet covers you make! If the pattern doesn’t make sense or if you have any questions please ask and I will be happy to help!

Kate x

 


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The Wily Fox

Crochet fox

I started on a new crochet project the other day – making a fox for my pregnant friend Nicola, who is a bit obsessed with woodland creatures at the moment and asked me to make one for her new nursery.

I was excited to start and she gave me a pattern she liked from xmoonbloom on Etsy, so I got cracking! I didn’t have any orange wool/yarn so I’m making a test fox (no animals were hurt in this testing, though!) in a burnt red yarn which I had leftover from a red blanket I made my parents for their ruby wedding anniversary.

Big Plans

In other news, I have got my thinking cap firmly on at the moment about where I want to take this blog and what I want to do with it. I have to say I’m pretty excited about the future – I’ve just got to get all of my ideas down on paper and then make them a reality!

So what are you working on at the moment? Have you made any woodland-inspired amigurumi? I would love to see them!

Foxy updates to follow soon…

Kate x


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How to Make: A Rainbow Granny Square Blanket

Hello everyone,

I recently finished my first ever granny square blanket and thought it would be nice to pass on how to make one to anyone who is looking for help.

As a beginner in crochet, a granny square was the first thing I ever learned how to make. Practice makes perfect and I used it to help me get used to keeping the right tension while making something small that I could finish pretty quickly. However, making granny squares turned out to be quite addictive, so I carried on and soon had enough for a baby blanket!

This post will show you how to make a granny square, how to put granny squares together and how to make a rainbow border for your blanket.

You will need:

  • Different colours of wool/yarn. I used Aran yarn and had eight different colours, but the number is up to you depending on how you want the squares to look.  I had white, yellow, purple, fuschia pink, turquoise, charcoal grey, dark blue and mid blue.
  • 1 x crochet hook (I used a 4.5 (7) hook, but this depends on the type of yarn you use)
  • Time and patience!
Granny squares

My first granny squares!

  1. Make your first granny square. I looked around for the best videos on YouTube showing how to make these small woolly squares, and the best I found were by Bethintx1. They are really easy to follow and take you through every step and I would really recommend them to anyone here.
  2. Once you have made one granny square, if you would like to make a blanket the same size as the one I did you will need to make 29 more! That will make a blanket of 5 squares x 6 squares, although of course you can go bigger or smaller if you wish! Have fun with the colour combinations and maybe try to make 30 different colourways if you have enough different shades of yarn.

    Granny Squares

    Lots and lots of granny squares

  3. Fasten your squares together. After asking for some help on this blog, I was recommended Attic24‘s method of crocheting the squares together using a simple slip stitch method. I can confirm that this was a really easy way to put them all together.
    Border and no border

    Border and no border

    As my squares were in a variety of colours, I decided to single crochet a white border around each one before putting them together using white yarn to make sure the stitch colour was neat and uniform. If you don’t know how to do a single crochet you can find out how here, while Attic24′s granny square method is here.

  4. Finally, make the rainbow border! I picked out colours from my blanket for the border but you can choose any colours you like. I did mine in rainbow colours, starting at the bottom of the rainbow with white, then blue, working through turquoise, yellow, purple and finishing off with hot pink. To do this, I did rounds of half double crochet – one round in each colour – fastened off and crocheted over the fastened end with the next row. For the final row, I weaved the tail in using my hook. I chose to do half double crochet stitches for a bit of height so you could see each one of the colours while keeping the rows solid. If you don’t know how to do a half double crochet stitch you can find out how here.

    Blanket corner

    Blanket corner

And that’s how to make a granny square blanket with a rainbow border!

I hope you find this tutorial useful, but if not please let me know and I will try to help/change the instructions to make it clearer.

I would love to see any blankets you make so if you do make one please leave a link to some pictures in the comments section!

Kate x


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The Completed Rainbow Granny Square Baby Blanket

It’s finally finished! After a year-long gap when I had made all of the granny squares but failed to do anything with them, my colourful granny square baby blanket is now finished!

I decided to leave a straight edge on the border (made up of rounds of half double crochet stitches in rainbow colours) as I think it looks nice and neat and as there’s already enough going on with the bright granny squares!

So what do you think? I know it’s not perfect but it’s my first attempt made with granny squares I made when I first picked up a crochet hook. I don’t think it’s that bad!

 

Onto the next project, but I will post a quick How To… for this blanket soon!

Kate x


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Inspired by the past – A trip to Temple Newsam

Hello everyone, I hope you’re all well today. Spring seems to be very much on its way now – dare I say it but there are blue skies above our home in east Yorkshire today… Probably cursed it now, though!

Yesterday Wayne and I had the day off work and so did our friend Aimee so we decided to head out and go and have a bit of culture. We met in Leeds and as the weather was a bit naff (think fog, depressing grey clouds and omnipresent drizzle) we knew we needed a mostly indoor activity. After giving it a bit of thought, we decided on a visit to Temple Newsam  -  a Tudor-Jacobean house with grounds landscaped by Capability Brown which was mentioned in the Domesday Book as “Neuhusum” in 1086.

Temple Newsam HouseI’ll skip the history lesson, but let’s just say through the Knights Templar (which gives the house and estate its name), to Elizabeth I seizing the property after the owner’s son Lord Henry Darnley married Mary Queen of Scots, the house has a colourful past. It is now owned by Leeds City Council and it was one of the places Wayne and I looked at as a possible wedding venue, before we fell in love with Rudding Park in Harrogate.

We started off with a walk around the house, which was grand but had surprisingly small rooms, apart from the picture gallery which was huge.

The thing that struck me the most was the soft furnishings. Although the four poster beds were more often than not draped in hundreds of metres of crimson red damask, the wallpaper (most of which was from the 18th century) looked really modern and fresh. I have to say I found the patterns and colours really inspiring. I love the soft muted colours and patterns, although maybe not the carpet – I’m guessing this might be a more recent addition!

Here are a few examples – I included the dark red one as it was furry to the touch!

I’m now trying to work out how I can incorporate this in some kind of craft…

Jazzy carpet

After the house we had a wander round the farm next to the property. This was really good fun and would be especially good for children. Here’s a few pictures of what we saw!

Have you ever visited anywhere and been inspired by the past? I would love to hear about it, especially if it’s close enough for a day trip!

Kate x


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Monday Morning Matters: Our honeymoon in Paradise

Hello everyone and a very happy Monday to you all!

I wanted to do something a bit different today and I’ve handed over the blog to my husband Wayne for a guest post! I was going to write one myself but Wayne had already written a post for Victoria Marie over at This Is The Life so I thought, why reinvent the wheel? Plus his post is brilliant (despite me being biased!) and I would love to share it.

Here is Wayne’s review of our amazing honeymoon to Kuala Lumpur and Pangkor Laut in Malaysia with some of our photos. I hope you enjoy it:

Pangkor Laut sea villas

The only time I had known someone win a holiday was Rodney Trotter in Only Fools and Horses. And even then he had to pretend to be a teenager in order to claim the prize.  A similar height to television’s favourite plonker, I wondered if I would be forced to also claim to be a 15-year-old when my now wife, Kate, won us a honeymoon to Malaysia in Brides Magazine thanks to Turquoise Holidays.

This was a competition not won by Mr and Mrs Made-up of London or by the editor’s daughter, but by us, Wayne and Kate, two sport journalists from East Yorkshire. The bounty? Ten days in Malaysia, spread across three in Kuala Lumpur and seven on the private island resort of Pangkor Laut. The flights were thrown in by Emirates and all our food was too.  Cushty! But surely they would want something in return? Shots of my milk-white body on the beach for the next issue? On second thoughts…

So off we went, wondering when the first sighting of Beadle would be to send us back down to earth with a bump. First up was check-in at Heathrow. No problems, have a nice flight. So we were definitely going at the very least. I will not bore veteran fliers about the quality of Emirates, but as someone who had previously counted Greece as long haul, I was amazed.

The Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur

And so Malaysia (via a quick pit stop in Dubai). Our prep notes said a driver would be waiting for us, but in amongst the throng there was no sign being held for ‘Miss Kate’ or ‘Mr Wayne’. “I told you it was a hoax, I told you, this was too good too be true,” I said. Danger was soon averted, though, as we were in the wrong spot, and were quickly found and packed onto a train to the central station, where a car was waiting to take us to the Majestic Hotel - one of KL’s most famous spots.

Built in 1932, the Majestic was the go to place in the city in its day – classic white columns and marble halls making it a stand-out and a hive for visiting dignitaries. The owners took their eye off the ball, though, and competition not only caught up but passed. The hotel closed in 1984 and became the National Art Gallery, before reopening as the Majestic in 1998. The new owners, YTL, have tried to incorporate the old with the new, and the place does have a feeling of grandeur about it – possibly to the point where as a travelling Yorkshireman I felt a little out of place.

In total we had two nights in a Junior Suite – which would cost anywhere between £240 and £400 over the counter – and an hour-long spa treatment thrown in to take our minds off where the sting in the tail was going to come from! We had breakfast at the hotel on all of the days which was, for want of a better word, fine. Corned beef hash might be a winter warmer in the UK, but it’s a breakfast delicacy in Malaysia! Again, though, it was difficult to feel comfortable in the regal surroundings. We were on holiday, so shorts and t-shirts were abound, but I did feel a little as though I should be in a jacket and tie – the Prime Minister even popped in on one night.

I found the city to be very business like, although mixed in with the suits and cufflinks was a pretty unsavoury underbelly, with lots of dirt and dust and shady-looking characters on street corners. It was an eclectic mix with no real middle ground. I loved the China Town market which was amazing. I felt in my element amidst all the bargain-price football shirts and sunglasses and revelled in bartering with the local traders. In terms of eating on the streets, we were a little bit rabbit-in-the-headlights when it came to dinner and ended up doing out money in a mutton-dressed-as-lamb spot called Sesai. It only cost us roughly £10 each in English coin, but we felt oddly mugged. We could have eaten in China Town for 80p and I would advise anyone heading to KL to do the same.

After our first two nights in KL (the third was tagged at the end for logistical reasons) we were driven to the coast and given a 4G router (I’m looking at you, UK) to help keep us company. We reached the marina – oddly close to a huge Tesco – and were then whizzed to Pangkor Laut on a speedboat. The island goes under the banner of ‘One Island, One Resort’ and is a 230-acre site, pointed entirely towards holiday luxury. There are seven restaurants, a fitness suite, four acres of spa, a private beach, pool and three sites of accommodation; the sea villas, spa villas and jungle villas. We had the letters VIP stamped next to our name and were in the biggest of the sea villas, bested only by the Pavarotti suite, named after the resort’s famous fan.

Upon arrival it quickly felt as though my brain wasn’t big enough to take in everything that was going on. How was I going to be able to capture everything I could see on camera? How was I going to be able to relay to my mum just what I could see? In the end, I wandered around on FaceTime a lot, holding up the iPad and saying ‘look at this’. It was a place where I wished I could afford to bring my nearest and dearest.

The seven days we spent there were incredible – as good a time as I have had anywhere. From the champagne-on-ice and rose-petal bath on arrival to a teary goodbye to favourite staff members on departure, we savoured every minute. The food was incredible and so fresh that it made us ashamed of our late-night slinks through the drive-thru. Everything was halal, there was fruit and veg galore and every angle was blocked off, right down to selecting your own fruit and taking them to a waiter who would turn them into a juice in front of your eyes. Every meal was taken either beach or poolside, with incredible views of the villas and jetty, with the sun either rising or saying goodbye for the night in the background. It was the sort of place where you start thinking about your own approach to life – why do we not live like this at home?

It could be said that the resort does not offer a great deal nightlife wise, although that considered, I was fine as I do not drink. If you want a stella-fuelled karaoke sesh at 1am, do not come here. If you want a juice on your balcony with plenty of time to detox, then come ashore. As a big runner I hammered the gym and we also swam plenty, played a fair bit of tennis and cashed in some free yoga. Alternatively the outdoor library had lots to keep you busy, with hundreds of books to trade and big, four-poster beds to kick back on. Also, the 4G coverage meant it was the same as being at home. I am someone who likes his comforts, so to have the internet close at hand (I know, turn the phone off, whatever) was a great way of keeping in touch with people and interests.

The whole thing (KL too) stacked up to just about £10,000 which is the most fortuitous thing to happen to me in my life and to be honest, I am ruled out of bemoaning back luck for many years to come. I can live with that.

A good friend had told me that this would change my views of holidays forever. On our last night, we sat on the balcony of our villa until gone midnight and just reflected on what had happened. I was quite misty-eyed by this point and I remembered what my pal had said. My thinking had changed and I was actually going home feeling a refreshed man with changes to his outlook. Of course, we would never have been able to afford this holiday but then again, I would never have considered it either as ‘it wasn’t me’. In future, if finances allowed, I most certainly would. It would not need to cost such an amount either. We would drop the KL part and save a percentage, and would not necessarily need such a high spec of villa.

That said, I do not know if I want to head back to Pangkor Laut. Not because I think its quality will not endure, but because it might not be be the same. As an example, Kate and I got on famously with a couple of staff members in particular who really helped make the trip – what if we saved up and came back and they were not there? It might sound innocuous and even silly, but as Liam Gallagher said recently, how can you remaster something that’s already been mastered? It all made sense very quickly. Your honeymoon is the time of your life. It is one of the rare occasions in life when good will is raining down on you and no-one tells it to stop.

I will always be glad that I headed to Malaysia and without sounding like a wise – possibly smug – married man, I would recommend anyone to push the boat out with their honeymoon if possible. We of course had the boat not just pushed but super-powered by Turquoise UK who I cannot thank enough.

People in the world there earn plenty more than I do – some earn plenty less too – but if you get the chance to head to Pangkor Laut, via hook, crook or competition, take it and run with it. You will not regret it.

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I hope you enjoyed reading Wayne’s review of our honeymoon. Have you been to Malaysia and do you have some travel tips? Would love to hear from you!

Kate x

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