Sunday, 30 March 2014

Quilting exhibition, Dubai festival city

Popped to the festival city mall today to do a bit of food shopping and came across a quilting exhibition! 

Not quite what I was expecting to see! But what a treat! People had entered their quilting masterpieces into a competition and they were being displayed in the mall. 

Some were very traditional and some were a bit different, using different textiles and creating 3d effects. The colours were brilliant! My favourites were the brightly coloured ones that really stand out! 

They are true works of art! I was just taken back by the effort, skill and time they must have taken to complete! I knew straight away I should take a few snaps with my phone to show you all. Although it's impossible to pick up on the detail and accuracy of them when raking quick pics. 

I thought this owl one was very cute and the swirly design of the quilting on the yellow fabric was crazy, just perfect. I don't know how they do it! 

This one was also spectacular! It won judges recommendation and definitely deserves it! The overall image, the tiny details and just how the creator has managed such a solid piece of work look so delicate! It almost looks like a painting! I am extremely jealous of this one and wish I could have a go myself. This takes massive dedication, time and skill. Maybe one day... 

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Little boys, granny stripe blanket

As you can see, i have been busy hooking... lots and lots of granny stripes!! And then more granny stripes!

These two blankets are destined for two baby boys here in Dubai, who's mums really liked the 'nautical' colour scheme. Its a lovely pattern to use as once you get going you don't have to think too much about it, and it grows quite quickly. Somehow i managed to get each of these done in just over a week! That's probably my quickest work yet! 

So if you would like to have a go, here is the method i used below...

I used a 3.5mm hook and Double Knitting weight yarn. I think it probably used about 700g of yarn. To begin, chain the width you would like your blanket, it should be in multiples of 3. For these blankets that are about 80cm square, i did a beginning chain of 120.

Foundation row: In 4th chain from hook, make one treble. *Skip next 2 chains, in next chain make 3 trebbles*. Repeat from * to * until you reach the end of the row. In the last chain just make 2 trebbles instead of 3.

This gives you a foundation to go from and it is pretty easy from here...

Row 1: Chain 3, make 3 trebles in space between treble clusters of foundation row. Continue making treble clusters in the spaces for the length of the row. When you reach the end of the row, finish with one trebble in the top of the last trebble stitch of the previous row.

Row 2: Chain 3 (first treble), treble in same first stitch, make 3 trebles in space of last row and repeat until end of row. In last space, just make 2 trebles.

Row 3: As Row 1.

Repeat Rows 2 and 3 until your blanket is the length you would like it to be.

I chose a simple border to finish the blanket off, using rows of trebbles and a 'v' stitch for the last border row. When working the first row of border, i put a treble in each stitch across the width and 3 trebles across each 2 rows down the sides. Does that make sense? So in my blankets, i changed colours every two rows, so on each set of colours i made 3 trebles down the side. Just play around with what works for you, it will probably make sense when you actually do it!

Well i hope the pattern makes sense to you, im not great at tutorials, as i just try to describe it how it is in my head. haha. I really enjoyed making these blankets and they were great projects to do while curled up watching a film or something. I have enlisted Williams help now, yes child labour starts at 2 years old in my house.... he fetches me the next colour i need! Its educational for him... learning colours... *cough cough*...

I hope you are all well, we had a bit of rain here in Dubai yesterday so everything is feeling a bit fresher this morning, the weather change is coming and it is getting hotter and hotter. Most days now are reaching around 30oC.

Im getting quite a bit of crafting done at the moment, so will be back again soon! Please let me know what you guys are up to at the moment! I love to read your comments and check out your blogs too!

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Festival of Lights, Dubai

On Thursday night we headed to downtown, Dubai for the first night of the Festival of Lights. 

The festival of light is an event put on in downtown dubai that celebrates various forms of art based on light. It is running from March 20 - 29, 7pm - 12am. Apparently there are so many lights it will make it one of the brightest spots on earth for 10 nights. We did not know what to expect but it turned out to be one of the best things we have seen in Dubai. Unfortunately I for have many photos as I was mainly in charge of the push chair but here are a few... 

You can't tell very well from the photo but this was a movie projection on the souk al bahar. It was probably one of my favourite displays and was amazing to watch. We walked all around burj lake and had some amazing views. 

As always the burj kalifa was on full display, flashing it's lights and dominating the area outside the Dubai mall. 

This dragon was pretty cool too. William thought it might be the dragon from 'Room on the broom' haha, you can tell we read a lot of Julia Donaldson books in this house! 

The displays were amazing, and as always the setting with awesome. You can find more information on the website, along with a list and preview on each of the displays and info on the artists that created them. 

There seems to always be something going on in Dubai and they don't do things by half! 

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Desert camping!

We have had an awesome weekend here in Dubai. The weather is warming up even more, not far off 30oc during the day now and on Friday we jumped in the car and drove off into the desert with some friends! 

Now I know that blog posts should be fairly informative and I should tell you exactly where we went and what was near by etc etc... But I can't. I have no idea. 

Our friends had been to this spot in the desert before so we were completely at their mercy. And apart from gettin our car stuck on a sand dune (40 minutes and 2 Pakistani helpers later) it was the perfect spot. We camped out at the bottom of a sand dune and did the whole camp fire, BBQ, toasting marshmallows thing. 

The views from the top of the sand dunes were stunning. It's amazing how such stark, barren land can look so beautiful!

The friends we went with have 3 lovely girls and they were brilliant with William. As you can see he had some great fun in the sand with them. Somehow their choice of attire (Christmas onesies) didn't seem quite right in the desert, but they all had an awesome time. 

I must give some credit to my hubby as he took most of these photos. And good old Instagram makes them look even better. 

In other news, I have raced ahead with a granny stripe blanket I am making for a special boys 1st birthday in a couple of weeks. I am quite impressed with how much I have got done in just 4 days (and that's as well as going camping!). I have to keep the momentum going as the deadline is looming and I have other projects to do too. 

Hopefully I will be back soon with the finished tada! 

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Crochet mood blanket

I know, I'm late, like really late! But I've had a busy few weeks. I have managed to get some more of my mood blanket done though. The colour choices seem to have evolved into basically choosing what I feel like crocheting with next! 

It's going well and I feel like I am getting somewhere with it. I have cunningly cropped the wonky edges out of the picture. They are shocking! I am hoping when I do the border I can stretch it out a bit. Any recommendations??? 

I am still really enjoying seeing all the blankets on the mood blanket Facebook page. It keeps giving me ideas for other projects that I don't have time for yet! 

My next project is going to be a granny stripe blanket using colours based on a 'nautical' theme. So I have been wool shopping this afternoon and got two kinds of blue, a bright red and soft grey. I will be starting it tomorrow and have got to get a move on with it as it's for a birthday in a few weeks. 

So how is everyone getting on with your current works in progress?? 

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Emirates palace hotel, Abu Dhabi

This is the amazing Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. You may remember i visited Abu Dhabi a couple of weeks ago with my parents while they were here on holiday. I have finally got round to posting about our little look around the Emirates Palace Hotel. It is a gigantic, commanding structure, in the heart of Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.

It is free to go in and have a look around the main part of the hotel, and worth popping in if you are in Abu Dhabi. I think the cheapest room i could find online was about £300 a night. To be fair, it wasn't as expensive as i thought it would be but wow the place is amazing!

You are greeted by dancing fountains, before ascending up the wide steps to the hotel. Every bit of it screams money and opulence and luxury. When you enter the hotel, it opens up to a magnificent domed, central reception room. Golds, warm orange hues and detailed carvings on the ceiling.

A selection of cakes on offer in one of the lounges. They almost look too delicate to eat! You can have afternoon tea here as a visitor or overnight guest, for around 250 AED (£45/50).

This was one of two tapestries adorning the walls near the rear of the hotel. It is hard to capture the detail in a photograph but they were amazing. They ran the length of the wall and were huge! A lot of work and skill has gone into making these!

While we were strolling around, taking in the scenery, a brilliant pianist took to the keys. We stopped and listened for a while, the music was beautiful and really added to the whole ambiance of the palace.

This is the view from the back of the hotel. As we are mere commoners and not paying guests we could not go outside. You can see the docks in the background with yaughts and boats lining the edge of the water. The beach was gorgeous, clean, soft sand, all glistening in the bright sunshine.

This bit made us giggle... a GOLD ATM, as in, you can draw out GOLD bars or gold trinkets.  I tried to convince my dad but he just said his card would get declined haha.

The Emirates palace was a beautiful place to have a wonder around, and i am sure if you can afford the hefty price tag then a few nights/weeks stay here would be amazing. After our visit, we took a drive down to the Corniche beach and had a really lovely walk along the coast. As always the weather was awesome and William enjoyed having a paddle in the crystal clear sea with Grandad. We topped the day off with a pizza and iced coffee for lunch before heading home.

Ripple blanket Ta-da!

Ah, look at the beautiful waves...

Calming ripples of white, soft grey and pale blue. I love this blanket. I am so pleased with it and proud to be able to show it to you today. 

I made this ripple blanket for a special new friend of mine in Dubai. Francesca has just had her first baby, a very cute baby boy called Lucas. She had a bit of a traumatic time at the birth but is doing really well now and Lucas is so handsome! 

I enjoyed making this blanket a lot, as its repetitiveness was relaxing to do and i love the soft, muted colours together, absolutely perfect for a lovely baby boy!

Here is the pattern for the ripple blanket in case you fancy having a go yourself, or contact me and i will make one for you! 

To start, chain multiples of 14, plus 3 for turning.

Foundation Row:
1 tr into 4th chain from hook, 1tr into each of next 4 chs, tr2tog, tr2tog, 1 tr into each of next 4 chs, *2tr into next ch, 2 tr into next ch, 1tr into each of next 4 chs, tr2tog, tr2tog, 1 tr into each of next 4 chs*
Repeat between * and * ending last rep with 2 tr into last chain, turn.

ROW 1:
ch3, 1 tr into same stitch, 1tr into each of next 4 chs, tr2tog, tr2tog, 1 tr into each of next 4 chs,
*2tr into next ch, 2 tr into next ch, 1tr into each of next 4 chs, tr2tog, tr2tog, 1 tr into each of next 4 chs*
Repeat between * and * ending last rep with 2 tr into the top chain of the chain-3 from previous row.
Repeat row 1 until the blanket is the length you would like it to be.