Wednesday, 29 February 2012

February - The Best Bits

Sources, Clockwise from Top Left
1. Scout Bow Tie from A Beautiful Mess, 2. Cupid's Arrow Sweater from Elegant Musings,
3. DIY Shoes from Cassie Stephens, 4. Sunday Pictorial Beret from By Gum, By Golly,
5. Wiggle Dress from Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing

Once again it's been a great month at The Little Red Squirrel, I've had more page views than ever before and have some lovely new readers too, so welcome! I hope you are enjoying what you see here as much as I enjoy putting it all together :)

Highlights of this blogging month for me are:

*My first ever tutorial: A Perfectly Personal Valentine*

And now an update on my two current projects:

24 Things Before 25 - Update

I created and post my very own tutorial, and I can't wait to do some more :)

UFO/Stash Busting Project - Update

Thank you so much for reading my blog this month, it's been a good one, and hopefully March will be even better :) Onwards and upwards!

Katie xxx

Wednesday Wonderfuls #59

Hello lovely readers! A happy Wednesday and also a very happy Leap Day to you all! I wonder if any of you ladies reading are thinking about getting down on one knee today, hmmm? :)

Can you believe February is practically over? I can't, this year is zipping by very fast, I'm finding it hard to keep track! March is coming, and hopefully with it a bit of sunshine and slightly warmer weather. Also, did you know that tomorrow is National World Book Day here in the UK? It's all about getting children into reading, it's brilliant :) I used to love celebrating this day at school as a child, so I thought that in it's honour I would share some of my all time favourite books...

Images Sources, Clockwise from Top Left
1. The Lord of the Rings, 2. Les Liaisons Dangereues, 3. South Riding, 4. Shakespeare's Sonnets,
5. Dracula, 6. The Crimson Petal and the White, 7. Beauty, 8. Jane Eyre

I intend to see in March with a good book, are you reading anything thrilling at the moment? But whether you're a book worm or not, let's welcome in the new month on a high note, let's have some fabulous Wednesday Wonderfuls!

And there you have it! I hope you have a great leap day and do something special with this extra day of February :) Bring on March for more adventures!

Katie x

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

UFO/Stash Busting Project, Monthly Round Up - February!

Welcome to the first ever Monthly Round Up of the UFO/Stash Busting Project! I had the pleasure this week of sorting through all the projects that were submitted for February's Round Up and there are some absolute beauties, let me tell you. I'm so thrilled that I finally get to share them with all of you. 

So without further ado let me introduce you to some fabulous Stash Busting super stars!

First up we have the lovely Nicole of Nicole Needles - Adventures in Sewing, with a project that is just perfect for all those scraps of fabric you may have in your stash: a Wrist PinCushion! I love the fabric, I need one of these in my life! And it would also make a great gift for a fellow sewing enthusiast :)

Nicole's Wrist Pin Cushion 

Susan of Snippa managed to complete two UFOs recently, and very lovely they are too! I think that both this Work Blouse and this Grey Shift Dress are very chic and sophisticated, well done Susan!

Susan's work blouse and grey shift dress

Now, Lynne from Sewing Cafe is constantly wowing me with her stunning creations (Wonder Woman Outfit anyone?!) and her UFO/Stash Busting this month is no different! Lynne has three projects to offer up, a stunning blouse (which she is also entering into the Eva Dress Competition), a beautifully tailored jacket and a knitted sweater too, just for good measure. Why, yes Lynne, I'll take one of each please, if you're asking :)

Lynne's blouse, jacket and sweater

Anyone who knows me well will know about my love of lingerie and all things undergarment-wise, so I was blown away when Sabrina submitted her stunning Corset and Petticoat for the Monthly Round Up. Prepare to swoon at the beauty of these now completed UFOs, they're simply gorgeous! 

Sabrina's Corset and Petticoat

Of course Stash Busting can be quite hard from the to time, so I'm happy to include this post from Liz Makes it about Stash Busting. You may not have made much headway yet Liz, but when you do I'm sure you'll create something beautiful :)

Liz Makes It

I'm sure that you all know the fabulous Sarah from Rhinestones and Telephones, and have been keeping up with the Sew Colette sew along that she has been hosting with Erin of Miss Crayola Creepy. So far they have tackled the Meringue skirt and have almost finished with the Pastille dress, it's a gorgeous sew along so do check it out if you haven't already. Anyways, it turns out that Sarah's Meringue Skirt was made of items all found in her stash, so I'm happy to include it here, and isn't it pretty? :)

Sarah's Meringue Skirt

Following on nicely from the Sew Colette sew along is Alyssa from Hems to Dolls who actually took part in the sew along and created a lovely checked version of the Meringue Skirt. But that's not all Alyssa has been up to, she's also created the cutest little Peggy Skirt. Lucky little girl who gets to wear that!

Alyssa's Meringue and Peggy Skirts

Many of you will know of Cassie Stephens from the adorably gorgeous belts she sells on etsy (I own three of her belts, I know, it's getting to be an addiction!) but she also has time for a bit of Stash Busting. I love a good revamp of an outfit, and Cassie has done just that by taking an old dress and giving it some new life with a few embroidered cowgirls! Yeehaw!

Cassie's Embroidered Cowgirls Dress

Wendy from The Butterfly Balcony has also been busy this month completing three different UFO/Stash Busting Projects. My favourite would have to be the unfinished sweater that she turned into a knitting bag, how clever is that? She also completed a very pretty Colette Set which counts as a UFO and a Stash Buster, so gold star to you Wendy!

Wendy's Knitting Bag and Colette Set

And last, but by no means least we have two lovely projects from the equally lovely Leah, who blogs over at Struggle Sews A Straight Line. This pretty dress and this Renfrew top were both made from fabrics that Leah rescued from a hoarder, so I think she get's extra points for that! You look great Leah, plus you did a person a good turn, so big yay!! 

Leah's dress and top

And that's the lot! Phew!

I don't know about you, but I think that that is a pretty impressive show of UFO and Stash Busting! I'm so happy that so many of you decided to get involved and have chosen to share your beautiful projects, you should all be very proud, I certainly am of all of you!

February was a great month for UFO and Stash Busting, but if you weren't ready to be included this month then never fear, there will be another Round Up at the end of next month! Get busting those stashes people, I can't wait to see what you create next month :)

Katie xxx 

Monday, 27 February 2012

The Most Glamourous Dressing Gown in the World!

Project: Knitted Dressing Gown
Stash Buster? this one's a long overdue UFO
Items From Stash: what felt like a million balls of yarn!
Date Started: June 2011
Date Finished: February 2012
New Techniques Used: none
Wear Again? I never want to take it off!

To say that I am head over heels in love with this dressing gown would be an understatement! I feel ridiculously glamourous in it, I never want to take it off, I may become a recluse just so that I can wear this dressing gown all day  swan about :)

I'm not going to lie, there were times during this project when I wanted to throw in the towel, it was just so epic and huge and I felt like it would never end! Plus it was far from portable and seeing as I am constantly travelling at the moment being able to actually work on this project in comfort was a challenge in itself! But now that it's finished and I have my gorgeous new dressing gown all those problems seem to melt away in how gorgeous it is and how snuggly it is to wear... :) 

One thing I would say about this pattern is that it is not for the faint of heart, I would consider myself to be quite an experienced knitter and this dressing gown still nearly beat me with it's vast size. It's also not a cheap project, as Rowan yarn is quite pricey and you can see that I used a fair bit of it! The pattern also didn't give the correct amount of yarn so I ended up having to buy about 3 extra balls, which was a little bit irritating. But hey, it was worth it in the end :)

I'm so thrilled that I have finally completed this UFO, starting my UFO/Stash Busting Project was worth it just to give me the incentive to complete this epic challenge! I hope you like it as much as I do!

Katie xxx

Saturday, 25 February 2012

I'd just like to say...

...happiness is a choice.

Image source

Sometimes you just have a grey day. Even when the weather has started to pick up and it's nearly the end of the working week you can get hit with a bought of the blues. 

I love my job and I feel incredibly lucky to be able to make a living through performing, but at the same time the constant travelling, having to live out of a suitcase and the unsociable hours (unsociable to anyone who doesn't work in the theatre that is!) can take it's toll on a person. I am a nester and I enjoy being at home close to the ones I love, surrounded by the pretty things that I like in the home I have carefully created. It's so hard being away from home when you have always been a home girl, not to mention the severe sewing-machine withdrawal I am constantly suffering! Basically this week was a bit of a tough one, leaving me feeling a bit sad and lacklustre and very homesick. 

I'm naturally quite an upbeat person so I find grey days quite difficult, it's odd to suddenly feel so down without really having much of a reason to be. 

This blog is a happy place where I like to share happy things, but I think it's ok to acknowledge that sometimes being happy takes a bit of work. And the only one who you need to do that work is you. Of course I'm not talking about serious depression, that's something else entirely, but sometimes when we're feeling a little down in the dumps and glum for no reason all it takes is a little bit of effort on our part to help ourselves feel better. It's a mantra that I like to live by and it's certainly been helping me out of my personal funk over the last few days!

So for all of you who might like to try and make a grey day seem a little brighter, here are a few ways that I try to help myself out of the blues. These things may not work for you the way they do for me, I'm by not means trying to dictate the way to happiness, but I thought I'd share them just in case they might be of use to even just one of you...

Happiness comes in all shapes and sizes :)

Do something for you

something that you know will make you smile. Go crazy and splash out on those shoes you have be mooning over for months (yes, that was me...!), or pick up a copy of that book you've been wanting to read. Even if it's something really small like treating yourself to your favourite hot drink on your way to work, doing something just for yourself once in a while can be the best way to feel better when you're down. Treating yourself to something nice isn't a crime! 

Do something for someone else

give yourself that warm inner glow you get when you know you've helped someone else get happy :) I love to make things and I can't explain how thrilling it is to make something for another person and see how much joy they get from receiving something that has been made specifically for them. It's like magic :) Find your own way to show your love and spread it around!

Make plans

this is a big one for me. I find that I appreciate each day a lot more if I have something on the horizon to look forward to. I love having a diary and filling it to the brim with plans, whether they are to do with posts for my blog, days out with my friends or my lovely mum or even trips away with my Sweetheart. Making plans helps me see the bigger picture and that whatever I'm moping about in the meantime doesn't really count in the grand scheme of things. 

Make time for yourself

sometimes I think we forget that quality time with ourselves is just as important as quality time with those we love. I think it's important to make time for just you in your daily routine. For me, blogging is the time that I get for myself, my little corner of the blogosphere, and I love having such a personal and creative outlet in my life. Giving myself that personal time each day means that I'm much happier to spend time with others afterwards, I genuinely think it improves my mood in all things! Even if it's just an hour here and there, time to take a bath or finish a book or watch a silly film, give yourself some me time, you deserve it.

The small things count

don't underestimate the power of small things in your life. The smallest action can determine the difference between a grey day and a day filled with sunshine. Small things that lift my spirits immensely are a hot shower, red lipstick, a spritz of perfume, a good breakfast and wearing a favourite dress. They may not mean much (if anything) to another, but to me these small things always help me start my day on the up. Changing the small things to make yourself happy will eventually make it easier for you to change the big things.

Happiness is not always the easiest thing to feel but I do believe (in my case at least) that very often happiness is a choice. Like most things in life you have to put a bit of work in to be able to reap the rewards of happiness, but then again, also like most things in life, I think that with being happy, practice makes perfect! 

And even if sometimes it's hard, I'll choose happiness over the grey day every time.

Katie xxx

Friday, 24 February 2012

Last Call for the UFO/Stash Busting Monthly Round Up!

Hello lovely readers, I hope you are all enjoying your Fridays :)

This is just a quick note to say that today is the last day that I'm accepting project submissions for this month's Round Up for the UFO/Stash Busting Project. You have until the end of today to send me a link to your gorgeous projects otherwise you're just going to have to wait until next month! :)

Thank you to everyone who has gotten involved so far, it's been so lovely to get in touch with you all and your projects are beautiful. I can't wait to piece the post together properly, it's going to be a good one!

Bye for now!

Katie xxx

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Wednesday Wonderfuls #58

Hello there lovely readers! Happy Wednesday to you all :) I hope you've all been having a marvellous week so far, all your lovely comments on my Knitted Dressing Gown completely made mine! I'm so glad you all like it, for those of you who were interested this is the pattern, it's from a book called "Beads, Buttons and Lace", and as for the yardage, it's about 2448 yards of yarn! Eek! But like I said, thank you for all the lovely comments, I've been grinning from ear to ear all week :)

Now is it just me or are we more than ready for a bit of spring time? I know it's still only February and the weather probably won't be picking up for a while, but I'm so ready to break out my Spring and Summer frocks and shoes, I can't even tell you! I just want to frolic about in pretty pastels and heels, is that a crime? I've been feeding my need for Springtime by collecting pretty pictures, here are a few of my favourites...

Sources, Clockwise from top left:
1. Zooey Deschanel, 2. Yellow Shoe, 3. Pink Bag,  4. Dita Von Teese,
 5. Zooey Deschanel, 6. Green Shoe, 7. Anna Friel

I'll take one of each please!

And as if that wasn't enough, allow me to bring some sunshine to your lives with a fabulous selection of my picks from the Blogosphere, bring on the Wonderfuls!

Hopefully those Wonderfuls have brought some light to what has been a bit of a grey day, and hopefully it will be getting sunny soon!

Have a great week :)

Katie xxx

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Hurray for Pancake Day!

I love holidays that involve food, although, mind you, that basically means all holidays doesn't it? :) But pancake day has always had a special place in my heart - I love a good pancake!

Usually my mum whips up the family pancakes - she can flip a pancake like a pro! - but this year I decided to have a go myself and I have to say I think I did pretty well...

I used this recipe for Smashed Raspberry Chocolate Chunk Pancakes (although I substituted raspberries for strawberries) from my all time favourite food blog, Joy the Baker. If you read my blog regularly you will know that Joy's recipes often end up in my Wednesday Wonderfuls posts, I just love the treats she creates! These pancakes were completely fool proof, and if I, as a pancake novice, could cook them up with no problems at all, then I'm sure they'll work for anyone!

And if chocolately/raspberry treats aren't really your thing then never fear, Joy is a bit of a self-proclaimed pancake addict and so has a whole variety of other pancake recipes to tempt you (seriously, the girl is amazing!). Here are my picks of the rest:

or just good old-fashioned Buttermilk Pancakes

Happy Pancake Day!

Katie xxx

Monday, 20 February 2012

What's on my sewing (well, knitting!) table...

Hello there lovely readers, Happy Monday to you all!

Let me start by saying a big thank you to everyone who has contacted me about getting involved in the UFO/Stash Busting Project Monthly Round Up, it's so exciting that so many of you want to be included! Check out this post if you want to be featured in the Round Up, the final date for submissions is February 24th, so you still have time. If you've already gotten in touch then I will be contacting you soon, I can't wait to start taking a look at what you've all Stash Busted so far :)

Talking of Stash Busting and completing UFOs, I have been tackling a rather mammoth project recently and I wanted to show you my progress so far. I'm not quite sure what possessed me to knit my own dressing gown, but the second I saw this pattern I fell in love and I knew that my life wouldn't be complete without it. I started it last year whilst on the European tour of Hair and I've finally finished the main body of the dressing gown and now I just have to knit up the trim. Take a look...

Dressing Gown Front
Dressing Gown Back

I know, pretty epic right? :) 

You can see from the above images that I haven't yet completed the trim for the left front of the dressing gown, but the trim seems to grow pretty fast so hopefully it won't be too long now! I also need to add the same trim to the cuffs and add a crocheted belt, but then I will finally be done, I just want to be able to wear this a few times before the weather turns!

Here are a few close ups to show the details, forgive me for showing this dressing gown off, I feel that it deserves it after the amount of time it has taken to knit it up!

I must admit, she is a beauty, isn't she? I'm completely smitten with this project, I just can't wait to finally finish and swan around the house in my new dressing gown! She's almost too glamourous to only be worn indoors, just look at the curve of the train...


Hopefully I'll finish this project in the coming week, wish me luck!

Katie xxx 

Friday, 17 February 2012

Calling all UFO/Stash Busters!!!

Hello there lovely readers, it's time for some more talk about my UFO/Stash Busting Project!

Since my initial post things have been going well. I have been working hard on organising my stash and have already completed a couple of UFO/Busters myself, but what I'm really interested in is how is the Project going for you?

So I'm going to put together the:

UFO/Stash Busting Project Monthly Round Up!

A number of you showed an interest in joining me on my Project, some of you have even been lovely enough to add my badge to your blogs, so I want to see what you've been up to! I want to put together a feature for everyone taking part in the Project at the end of each month so we can all bask in the glory of our progress. Plus it's always fun to see all the lovely things that other people have created :) 

If you have created something beautiful this month then it's time to show it off! But also don;t feel pressured into having to submit something every month, take part in as many or as few Monthly Round Ups as is convenient for you. This also means that you can take part in the UFO/Stash Busting Project whenever you want, as I know that some of you may only have fabrics in your stash the are for a particular season, so feel free to join in whenever suits you best :)

Here's what you need to do if you want to be included:

**If you have a blog send me a link to a post (or posts!) about any UFOs or Stash Busting Projects you have completed this month. Pictures are a must, we all want to see the lovelies you have created!**

**If you don't have a blog, never fear, you can still be included too! Drop me an e-mail we'll find a way to get some pictures of your creations up on the blog if you want to share them :)**

**Obviously completed projects are preferred but if you've got a fascinating work in progress to share then that's great too. Also if you've created any tutorials to use up your stash then I would love to include those too!**

**The closing date for all submissions is February 24th so I have time to put the post together before the end of the month (obviously this would normally be slightly later, but February is an annoyingly short month!)**

So, if you feel like being included then please do drop me a line! Either leave me a comment on this post or email me at 

I can't wait to see what you've been up to!

Katie xxx

Eggcellent Egg Cups!

I'm sorry for the terrible title, I just couldn't resist! You may remember that on my recent trip to Brighton I visited the Pottery Painting Cafe and spent a lovely time painting a couple of egg cups for me and my Sweetheart (I know, how can I stand such a crazy rock and roll lifestyle!). Well on a recent trip home the finished cups were waiting for me, I am so thrilled with how they turned out!

Here they are when I had finished painting them:

And here they are after being glazed and fired, all pretty and shiny! 

A "K" for me and an "E" for my Sweetheart :)

I'm crazy happy with how they turned out, aren't they cute? I would recommend the Pottery Painting Cafe to anyone in the Brighton area, it's great fun and you get a gorgeous keepsake afterwards. I'm totally in love with these egg cups, I can't wait to enjoy some eggs and soldiers with our new fancy china wear!

Katie xxx

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Wednesday Wonderfuls #57

Hello there and welcome to this week's Wednesday Wonderfuls!

I've had a lovely week, what with Valentine's Day preparations and the actual day, plus I went out to Bill's in Covent Garden with my lovely mum (now my favourite cafe!), and I got the chance to hang out with some gorgeous puppies, so life has been good!

I hope you've all had great weeks too, but allow me to add some more joy to your lives with this week's Wednesday Wonderfuls!

Yet again another fab selection of Wonderfuls this week, I hope you enjoy them as much as I did! 

Katie xxx

My Valentine's Day

In pictures! With the help of my trusty instagram app :)

I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's Day, filled with lovely love and yummy treats (the treats are always an integral part of any holiday for me!). I had a gorgeous time with my Sweetheart, we spent some proper quality time together munching sweets and sharing presents (he bought me the most beautiful wicker and bakelite bag, swoon!) and we treated ourselves to the Marks and Spencers dine in for two deal so we didn't have to worry too much about cooking. And it was worth it, the food was divine! We also watched Midnight in Paris and it blew both of us away, seriously, if you haven't already, watch it now! It was a very special day spent with my very special someone :)

Katie xxx
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