Sunday, 28 February 2016

Nayu's Craft Time #106 Hayfever season has begun: aka Toxic flowers

Some hyacinth (not my photo)
I love flowers. They are pretty, make me wonder about the planet's creation, and brighten up the place. They are also toxic. 
I don't mean this in the complete literal sense, although no doubt there are some plants somewhere in the world like this. I get hayfever, which I've had for years. This year I decided to stop my medication which I have all year round, simply because it's the only medication I can actually do that for. Stopping my pain medication is a no-brainer and a 'never going to happen' scenario. I need them to survive. 

Basically I reacted extremely badly to a hyacinth yesterday. Cue streaming eyes, streaming nose, oh and itchy eyes too - you'd think with lots of liquid they would be soothed but that so wasn't the case. Plus hayfever makes me feel like I'm fighting a virus, which since the cold weather makes me feel like that too it's not a good combo. 
Used a lot of these...

Eventually located some anti-histamines with a 2015 sell by date - it was late Saturday night and I was desperate. It helped take the edge off, but it took an age to sleep with mega itchy eyes that were uncomfortable to close. 
This was me yesterday, only my tissues box wasn't as pretty and I was wearing a different coloured top.
Woke up feeling much better, eyes still bad. So went off to Boots and had to wait a good extra 15 minutes for the store to open - apparently it can't without a pharmacist. I zoomed to the pharmacy part of the store, asked politely for drops & tablets, made sure I got a tablet I know I can safely take with my usual medicine cocktail, and took it as soon as I could. 
I had these or some similar, can't remember the type and can't be bothered to hunt down the container right now.
The eye drops had to wait until I got home and could wash my hands. It could just be me but whenever I have eyedrops I always want to have my mouth open too. Weird, I know, but I have to make sure I close it. Putting the eyedrops in is a small feat, especially if you wear strong prescription lenses (I took my contacts out), as you have to line up the bottle with your eye. I invariable have a few drops that fall on my face rather than my eye (bigger bottles would be so much better to account for failed drops). You have to make sure the dropper doesn't touch the eye, to help avoid infection. 

These drops can be taken up to 4x a day, so I'm happy to have so much relief. Meds are doing their job, but still staying as far away from the offending plant as humanly possible. As a result of yesterday's fiasco I didn't get any craft done (or any today). Here's to craft tomorrow! 

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Nayu's Craft Time #105 Experiments galore!

A sign Spring is on the way!
  Sorry for disappearing for a few days - cold weather still doesn't agree with me, and on Monday it was time to take my super strong pain medication, so needed a few days before I could get back into blogging. If I blog in the comfort of my room I'm able to do blog work, which is a relief since I've missed it and love sharing with you what I've been up to! 

I made this!
Some of you may remember me mentioning an experiment, which I refused to reveal until it was complete. Well, as you can see from the top of the post it is finished! I'd decided to make a granny square bag. It was entirely my own design, right down to the handles which I did row crochet for the first time! 

Let me tell you row crochet is next to impossible to undo if you go wrong (it's entirely possible I'm going about undoing it in the wrong way), but is simple and grows quickly. I only know that because the first handle I made was initially put in the wrong position (preventing the bag from being opened too wide), so I had to do undo what I could and put it in the correct place. Since this is a prototype I didn't bother redoing it completely. 
Inside the bag with my phone as a size guide.
I didn't make a deeper bag because that's pretty much all I had of that colour yarn. Well, I've got enough to try a much smaller bag, which is taking time because I can't remember how I did the corners when joining it all together. Yes I am finding that as amusing as it as annoying, and hope I figure it out soon! The bag can take lightweight items, obviously nothing too small (so pens and pencils are out of the question, but in thinking ahead for future creations I will look into a denser crochet stitch so that anything can be stored in the bag. 

While being ill I have managed some other crochet. There's the heart which isn't quite a heart: 
I couldn't seem to make the dip of the heart deeper with the pattern used. I temporarily gave up after trying 3 more patterns which I simply couldn't get on with. The search for the ideal crochet heart continues!

Then there's these cotton make up remover pads which took a while to perfect: I'd made a good sample in one type of yarn, but the thinner yarn needed a few goes before I got it just right. 
This isn't the final verison, but it's very close to it.
 I ended up needing to use a smaller hook and more stitches. The hours of undoing and redoing yarn was totally worth it as I've finally got a workable pattern. Unlike my bags I wrote down the final version so I don't have to struggle to remember it. 

What's inside this?

On Monday I had my monthly meet up with a friend where we sit and do craft together. I managed to start and finish a project! Unfortunately I can't show you what it is because it's a present, but I should be able to show it to you by April. 

The extent of my baking.
I'm crafting when I'm up for it, and mixing it up alongside more restful activities such as watching anime and reading. I haven't made anything recently due to being ill, unless boiling eggs counts, but I have a few treats which I hope to make in the following weeks. 

Time for me to go do something ordinary - hang laundry up to dry! Then time for a smoothie while I work through my mandatory anime watching (4 episodes is just enough to help me unwind each day), probably opting for orange and carrot with spinach (way nicer than it sounds). I'll be working with the cute purple yarn this evening if I'm not too tired.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Nayu's Product Review #1 Nothing But Tea sample order

 As promised yesterday, today I'm talking about tea! It's not a sponsored post, simply made because I love the tea I've tried! Here's a review of the 6 herbal teas I ordered from Nothing But Tea
I ordered samples of the following flavours because I wanted to know how each tasted before buying 100g packets: Peppermint, Nettle, Milk thistle, Spearmint, Chamomile, and Calendula. I haven't done the clever thing of naming them in the order they appear in the picture...
It arrived in a neat little box. Each 10g packet is easy to reseal (think ziplock bags),
Close up of Spearmint packet - can't remember if this is before or after I cut the top off to get to the seal: wasn't easy enough to tear it open.
This small packet provides quite a few cups of tea, although due to weak hands sometimes it can take me a while to get into them, even after cutting above the seal to get into it. 
No flowers in spearmint. Couldn't crop this photo as it then made everything out of focus.
 I like how on the back there is a set of brewing instructions, and that experimenting with different combinations and brewing times is encouraged. There are further instructions in the leaflet which was included with the order (see top photo), although there is all you need on the packet itself. I guess the leaflet is useful if you store the tea in a different container to the packet supplied. Haven't quite figured out where I'll keep my tea, I have until the next order arrives to decide a permanent home!

I'm making my way through them all. I love seeing actual little flowers for the tea - somehow it feels like 'proper' tea, even though teabags are awesome and convenient.

The teapot looks mostly like this.
It really doesn't take long to put a teaspoon of tea in the mini teapot's filter thingy (yes I found the teapot was easier to use). I can be fussy with Chamomile but I enjoyed it plain, without adding peppermint. The Spearmint is definitely a favourite, with not much left in the packet placing a non-sample order is fast becoming a necessity. One of my family use a different tea company, but for me Nothing But Tea are simple, non-fussy, and easy to use with PayPal being a purchase option. It isn't openly shown that they use PayPal, but they do. They offer many non-herbal tea varieties too!

What kind of tea do you enjoy?

Friday, 19 February 2016

Nayu's Craft Time #104 A pink post

Sadly not my cute cloud pillows, but they cheered me up when I saw this pic online.
Finally I'm starting to be less tired than a hibernating dormouse. I even managed 20 minutes of crochet yesterday! It's wonderful having marginally warmer weather. I also think sheer determination is granting me a smidge of energy too. As nice as it is watching dvds all day long, I'm glad to have the energy to do some things.

Craft wise I'm still working on my experiment, so nothing to show you there. I've done so little on the rest of my projects that it's not worth showing you anything. Tomorrow I plan on chatting about the lovely tea samples I bought from Nothing But Tea! So stay tuned, and put that kettle on!
If you hadn't guessed today's post has a cute theme ^o^ Sady this isn't my kettle. Maybe one day!

Monday, 15 February 2016

Weather Interlude

so true
My body is having a strike against the cold, so no full post today. I am, however, working on a secret crochet experiment! Secret as in I'm not revealing it anywhere, including social media unless it works out. Right now it's  50% working. Here's hoping I can make it into a triple digit percentage! I'm also doing a lot of the above slogan. :-)

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Nayu's Craft Time #103 Time for tea!

A lovely cup of herbal tea - wish I had a glass cup and saucer like this!
So far today I've worked a little bit more on my check blanket, which I chatted about yesterday. I've also looked into and ordered some samples of loose herbal tea. I stick with herbal because caffeine doesn't agree with me, it hasn't for a few years now. I'm partial to Twinings, especially anything with nettle, peppermint, spearmint (yes there is a difference between the two), nettle, and chamomile. I've discovered that Marks and Spencers tea is usually around the £1 mark, and other supermarket brands at similar prices.
One of my favourite blends!

However, loose tea has been on my mind for a while. Other members of my family use loose tea. I confess that anime is the reason why I'm looking into using loose tea. In an episode of Aikatsu, the key character Akari seeks out Sumire's sister to discover her blend for easing a sore throat, so Sumire can recover from her cold. 
A selection of herbal tea can look like this
I do enjoy the pre-blended tea bags, but I'm starting to get interested in creating my own flavour combinations, not just for when I'm ill but for the sheer fun of experimenting. It took a long time online to find a store that stocks my main flavours, but I've ordered some samples to see if I like their range. Yes samples are a little pricey, but better than spending even more money on something I'm not sure I like. 
My nemesis!

Loose tea usually necessitates using a tea strainer of some sort. There's a wide variety on the market, and my family have some in the kitchen I can use. Yet I'm probably not going to use them. I've tried using the little ball infusers, but with me the tea always came out of the ball while it brewed. So I'm just going to try putting the tea directly in the cup (or, if I can be bothered, my mini teapot), letting it settle and drinking it. When a teabag has torn I haven't minded having the leaves in the cup, as they soon settle down to the bottom and don't affect the taste. 
Who'd have thought this spikey, ouch-inducing plant could produce such a refreshing drink? No dock leaves required!

Speaking of taste I've heard online that loose tea is a better quality than bagged tea. I've no idea how true this is, but I know I like both methods which is all that matters. I'll keep you posted on my tea experimenting! 
I'd love to know what type of tea you drink!

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Nayu's Project Progress #17 Check project is a go!

It started started from this...
Hi all! Weather is getting too cold for me to function well so I'm doing more reading and crochet than blogging at the moment. However I'm drummed up some energy today to share how I'm doing on the check project that I was trying to figure out the other day
...and now is this!
 Do you like it? I'm using a 9 block pattern in 2 different colour styles, with white in the centre of one and purple in the centre of the other. I'll be repeating these row by row. I'd quite like to make this the size of a single bed (it obviously isn't just for a bed) but I'll see how much yarn gets used before I commit to that size. 

I'm loving the pastel colours, and it's fun watching each area of the pattern grow. I currently don't know what cute charm I'll use to decorate this blanket - it all depends on what I feel like (and more accurately what I can successfully crochet) once I've finished the blanket. Given that most of February is set to be cold (thank you long range weather forecasts!), it is possible that I could finish this before March. I'll have to wait and see what life has in store for me! 

Confession: haven't done any crochet yet today. I've been too tired for it, so I've spent most of the day on the sofa reading, which is bliss! Thanks to delicious chocolate cake I revived enough to catch up with some blog work ^o^ although that energy is rapidly disappearing. 
Feels cold enough for snow, but none had fallen where I live

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Nayu's Project Progress #16 Experimenting with check patterns!

Made this yummy fudge this week - can you guess the flavour? Look at the non chocolate coloured bits...
I hope you've all had a good few days. The weather is unpredictable, which does in some ways mean how I feel is up and down. It's nice being able to post a proper post! 
While resting and between doing other things, including making chocolate orange truffles which I will talk about in more detail in another post, I've been experimenting with colour. Here's the yarn I've got: 
It will be a pretty pink and purple blanket. I can't remember whether I this when I bought the yarn, but the reason I'm experimenting is because I want to come up with a check pattern blanket. I could do a simple two colour check blanket, like this one: 
On closer inspection it isn't a simple 2 colour one, but pretend it is just pink and white please! Not different shades of pink as I'm almost out of online time....
but I don't want to. There's no way I'm going to do a complex pattern, involving rectangles and random lines of colour.
These are beyond my current crochet skills to recreate.

The kind of pattern I want is one found in some outfits in my favourite anime Aikatsu. 

As you can see it's a simple check pattern using a few colours, and I'm working on replicating this, minus the separating white stripes. One day I may use these exact colours, but for now I'm just using the pattern idea. Here's my first trial with colour: 

Not quite a check pattern but pretty enough I'm tempted to use it in a future project (with the same yarn!) 

So I'm on attempt #2, and here's what it looks like now. 
 I might be on to something! Promise to give you updates when I finally settle on a pattern for the blanket: it won't be this small, I'm only using small squares for figuring out the final pattern. 

I hope you're having fun with whatever craft/diy project is on your agenda!  

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Busy resting

Yummy apple parfait!
Had planned to post later today but feeling peaky so going to rest. If I'm better I'll put a more substantial post. Until then, feast your eyes on this amazing parfait which I'd certainly like to try!

Monday, 1 February 2016

Nayu's Craft Time #102 Tis the Season...

My week has felt like this diverse range of weather! be ill. Really sorry for not updating you for a few days, I've been under the weather on and off most of the week, and had a migraine yesterday. I think sleeping most of the day away and most of the night helped me feel fairly human today - yay! 

I have been busy craft wise - started a new project yesterday while cursing migraine gremlins. Wanted something nice and simple that went round and round.
It might look simple now, but I assure you by the time it gets to my shop it will be sparkling! 

I've also done a bit more work on my baby blanket, but will save that progress report for tomorrow.  I'm on minimal blog work today, just a little to keep things ticking over while I regain my strength.If you didn't already know, migraines cause major fatigue levels for me, which seeing as I'm normally fatigued really sets me back a few steps. 

Still, it's over (yay!) and I'm getting back on track! 
Sunshine always follows rain, and rainbows sometimes do too!