Crafting · Freebies · Home & Life · Uncategorized

Mother's Day round up and an Easter Freebie

With Mother’s Day looming how many people have forgotten to order their gifts in time for them to be delivered before Mother’s Day? I always do this whether it’s for birthdays, anniversaries, weddings etc. and I end up rushing to the shops and getting something that isn’t exactly what I wanted. So if that is you today then I thought I would do a quick round up of some of lovely, quick make at home gifts that would put a smile on any mum’s face.
First up is this sweet Crocheted Daffodil from Simply Crochet.

simply crochet crochet daffodil
Crocheted Daffodil from Simply Crochet

You could crochet up a few of them to make a bunch or add a brooch pin on the back to make a cute brooch. What mum wouldn’t be delighted with that!
Next up is a bouquet of Map Roses from Pillar Box Blue.
Map Roses from Pillar Box Blue
Map Roses from Pillar Box Blue

If you don’t have any old maps these would look just as good on pages from an old book or on scrapbooking papers.
Or what about Mother’s Day in a Jar from Hello Splendid.
Mother's Day in a Jar from Hello Splendid
Mother’s Day in a Jar from Hello Splendid

What a great way to pamper your mum, giving her lots of her favourite little treats in a pretty jar that she can use as storage afterwards.
If your mum likes to sew how about making this cute little Teacup Pincushion from Pins and Needles.
Teacup Pincushion from Pins and Needles
Teacup Pincushion from Pins and Needles

You could use some fabric from a favourite old blouse or dress, or from clothes that the grand-kids have grown out of to make this gift extra special.
Lastly, if you like to bake how about making this yummy Rose and Dark Chocolate Shortbread from Waitrose.
Rose & Dark Chocolate Shortbread from Waitrose
Rose & Dark Chocolate Shortbread from Waitrose

Add some pretty packaging to make a gorgeous handmade gift.
There are loads more fabulous ideas on Pinterest for quick and easy Mother’s Day gifts to make, but I warn you that you may end up spending so much time looking at all the great ideas that you don’t actually get the time to make anything (I speak from experience here lol).
Finally, with Easter just around the corner I thought I would make a cute Easter themed freebie for you. I love to add to my seasonal decor with printables because they are such a quick way to change things up a bit. Please remember that our Easter printable is Free for Personal Use only.
Easter Printable from RecklessHen
Easter Printable from RecklessHen

The printable will fit in an A4 frame and you can download it here.
Free Easter printable from RecklessHen
Free Easter printable from RecklessHen

If you like our printable please Pin it and if you use it we’d love to know.
Why not follow us on Facebook or Instagram too we would love to see you there 🙂
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mums out there.

Home & Life · Uncategorized

Decorating for Autumn

When my kids were smaller I used to have fun being OTT decorating the house for Halloween, the scarier the better. Now that they are older and not that interested in it anymore I was missing the decorating, so I decided a couple of years ago that I was going to decorate with an Autumn theme instead. I have picked up bits and bobs over the last few years and I’ve also made a few things, and each year I bring out whatever bits take my fancy to make the house all cosy and autumnal. I love all the rich reds, oranges, golds, greens and browns that this time of year brings. This year I have added a little leaf garland to the fireplace, added some orange candles from IKEA and put them in with some of the other pretty little things I had and I am pretty happy with the result. The red wall in my main room always comes into its own at this time of year and makes the whole room look very cosy and welcoming.

Decorate your home for Autumn with RecklessHen
Decorate your home for Autumn with RecklessHen

I have picked up bits and bobs over the last few years and I’ve also made a few things, and each year I bring out whatever bits take my fancy to make the house all cosy and autumnal. I love all the rich reds, oranges, golds, greens and browns that this time of year brings. This year I have added a little leaf garland to the fireplace, added some orange candles from IKEA and put them in with some of the other pretty little things I had and I am pretty happy with the result. The red wall in my main room always comes into its own at this time of year and makes the whole room look very cosy and welcoming.
Autumn Decor by RecklessHen
Living Room decor with an Autumn feel by RecklessHen

This year I made a few things to add to my collection. I made an Autumn printable that you can download here and I crocheted a few pumpkins too. You can find the tutorial for them here. I also bought a new candle that I spotted in TKMaxx. It is a lovely orange pumpkin spice scented candle that says ‘Give thanks with a grateful heart’ on it and the gold lid has the cutest, teeny, tiny pumpkin on it. I love it.  You can see it in some of the photos below.

In the rest of the house I added in some Hydrangeas from a friend’s garden, a jug full of Gerberas, some silk autumnal leaves, some greenery from my garden and some nuts and conkers. I love to settle down at night with the fire on, the candles lit and do some crocheting or knitting while the wind is howling outside and I’m all cosy indoors.
When it comes to looking for inspiration online for my Autumn decor a few of the places  I love to check out are Pinterest, Country Living, Martha Stewart, Pioneer Woman, Here Comes The Sun and Ideal Home. I also find that garden centres can be full of inspiration. I don’t know much about plants myself but their fabulous displays mean I don’t need to as I can just pick plants that are in their displays and know they will work in my autumn decor as well. We have some amazing garden centres here in Northern Ireland and three of my favourites are Creative Gardens, Camerons and Hillside Nursery. Here are some of the photos I took this year when searching for inspiration.

And did I mention that they all have lovely coffee shops and it would have been rude not to take the time to sample the coffee and cakes while I was there 🙂 Speaking of coffee, when RecklessHen went on a roadtrip the other day we stopped off at Starbucks for our first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season and Heather delved into her large handbag and out came some handmade autumnal props ready for an Instagram photo. The pattern for the leaves and acorns is from Just Pootling and the conkers were just made up as we went along.
Autumnal crocheted props
Autumnal props for our Pumpkin Spice Latte

Do you decorate for Autumn? Where do you get your inspiration from?

Crafting · Tutorials

How to crochet an Autumn Pumpkin

Feeling very autumny, I spent a few happy hours last week on a Pinterest safari looking for crochet patterns for autumnal bits and bobs. I found loads of fabulous leaf patterns, acorn patterns, squirrel and hedgehog patterns and of course pumpkin patterns. A crocheted pumpkin seemed a good place to start as the patterns were all pretty similar and straight forward and I knew I had some orange wool in my extensive stash. So I got a cuppa, my wool and my hook and settled down to start only to realise that the pattern I had chosen was for chunky wool and mine was DK. Not to be beaten I decided to wing it and try to come up with something that would pass as a pumpkin.  I was really happy with how it turned out and thought I would share the pattern in case it is useful for you. First, here is what it looks like.

crochet a pumpkin
How to crochet an Autumn Pumpkin by Recklesshen

You will need:
Double knitting wool
4mm hook
Toy stuffing
Twig about 1cm thick and about 3-4cm long
Hot glue gun
Wool needle

Here is how I made mine.

  • Make a slip knot and place it over your hook.
  • Chain 68.
  • Slip stitch into the starting chain to form a circle.
  • Chain 2. (This becomes your first DC)
  • Work a DC into the same stitch as your slip stitch.
  • Work a DC into each stitch around your circle to the end.
  • Slip stitch into the 2nd chain of the chain 2 at the start of the previous round.
  • *Chain 2.
  • Work a DC into the same stitch as your slip stitch.
  • Work a DC into each stitch around your circle to the end.
  • Slip stitch into the 2nd chain of the chain 2 at the start of the previous round*.
  • Repeat from * to * until your crochet measures as long as you want it to be.
    The longer the crochet is the taller your pumpkin will be. I kept going until mine measured around 30cm.
  • Finish on a slip stitch and fasten off your wool.
    You will now have a crocheted tube.
  • Using the same colour wool and a wool needle, do a running stitch around the edge at the bottom end of the tube. Gently pull the wool to gather the edge until it is as tight as it will comfortably go. Fasten off your wool.
  • Using toy stuffing, stuff your pumpkin right to the top so that it is full and plump.
  • Using the same colour wool and a wool needle, do a running stitch around the edge at the top end of the tube. Gently pull the wool to gather the edge until it is as tight as it will comfortably go. Fasten off your wool.
  • Take a long strand of wool and beginning in the centre of the bottom of your pumpkin, join your wool to the centre and then take it up the outside of the pumpkin and down through the hole in the centre at the top, and out through the bottom.
  • Pull this strand of wool and you will see it pulling the pumpkin and forming a segment.
  • Repeat this step, taking the wool up the outside, down through the centre and then pulling to form a segment.
  • Work your way around the pumpkin until you have as many segments as you want. I mad seven segments on mine.
  • Fasten off the wool securely at the bottom.
  • Using a hot glue gun, put some glue on your twig and place it into the hole at the top of your pumpkin.
  • And viola, you have a lovely autumn pumpkin

If you use this pattern we would love to see a picture of your pumpkins.
Happy Autumn 🙂

Freebies

Stripe-It updated

Just a quick update to let you all know that the three new Stylecraft Special DK colours – Lapis, Lincoln and Blush – have now been added to Stripe-It. If you haven’t heard of Stripe-It yet, it is a random stripe creator for those of us who have difficulty in doing ‘random’ colour patterns. At the moment it is based on the Stylecraft Special DK colours as this is what we most often use at RecklessHen HQ, but you can just ignore the colour names and use it for any yarn brand as well. Further colour charts will be added over time.
We have added a quick link to Stripe-It over on the right so you don’t have to scroll through posts to find the link. If you do use Stripe-It we would love to hear from you so leave us a comment.
Have a great weekend.

Tutorials

Ta Dah! I give you the Vintage Granny

As promised yesterday we have been busy writing up the pattern for the Vintage Granny blanket. This is a great stash buster project to use up all your leftover yarn and make room for new, yarny delights. Our colour inspiration came from the leftover colours we had after making the Attic24 Hydrangea blanket with the addition of two others. It is a very vintage inspired colour palette but you can use whatever yarn you have to hand, or use it as an excuse to buy more.

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Vintage Granny Square from RecklessHen

The Granny Square pattern we used was from a tutorial on The Patchwork Heart blog. Her instructions are very easy to follow and there are very detailed pictures to help you every step of the way. We decided to add in some solid blocks of colour which we haven’t really used in a blanket before but thought it would help bring the colours out more and shake it up a little. For joining our squares we used The Patchwork Heart’s Continuous Join As You Go method and again, there are loads of pictures on there to help you. For our border we chose a Linen Stitch edging which you can find on Attic24. Both The Patchwork Heart and Attic24 are fantastic resources for crocheters. They provide loads of inspiration and very detailed tutorials and as crocheters, we can’t thank them enough for how generous they are with their time and knowledge.
The colour sequences we used and the layout of the squares can be found in the download of our pattern Vintage Granny by RecklessHen. As I’ve said before we don’t do random well so there is actually a pattern in the colour sequences of the squares, can you find it? Heather worked out the sequence and I must admit she had to explain it to me so well done to anyone who can see it.
If you use the pattern we would love to see your finished blankets and if you want to keep up to date with our free patterns and downloads you can follow us on our blog, on Facebook and on Instagram .

Crafting

A pleasant way to spend the day

Today has been lovely so far. This morning we went to one of our favourite breakfast spots, General Merchants. They do a great selection of slightly unusual breakfasts and today we both opted for Elvis and a latte. I can wholeheartedly recommend Elvis and not just because I am a fan of its namesake. In this case, the Elvis in question consists of toasted sourdough, back bacon, banana and Meridian almond butter. It was delicious and very moreish. Then it was off back to Casa Hezza (a.k.a Heather’s house) to get some photos of our Vintage Granny blanket and to start to write up the pattern so we can share it with you. The Vintage Granny started life as a way to use up some of the ever growing stash of our favourite Stylecraft Special DK. We have so much extra yarn, in every colour imaginable that it was hard to choose but Heather knew she wanted to create a blanket that had a vintage vibe to it and used some of the colours from the Attic24 Hydrangea blanket. She soon whittled the hoard down to nine scrumptious shades and set about deciding what to make. Should it be a stripey blanket, a ripple, a granny square or something else? After many hours deliberation, and quite a few glorious detours via pinterest, she decided that the Granny Square from The Patchwork Heart would be perfect. If you haven’t found the beautiful patterns on The Patchwork Heart blog you really need to pop over and have a peek, they are fabulous. We took loads of photos of the blanket and really hope you like the colours. Surprisingly we have since discovered that Heather chose the same shades as those in The Patchwork Heart Vintage pack so just goes to show great minds think alike. Heather is the vintage loving half of RecklessHen whereas I am more of a brights girl but I do love the muted, almost faded effect of these colours together. I will write up the pattern and colour sequences and post them tomorrow.

Freebies

A little crochet humour

I have been missing for a week or two as I have been planning a new venture and there don’t seem to be enough hours in the day for everything I want to get done with the result that I have neglected the blog and I am very frustrated with myself. I think I really need to plan my time better. Thank goodness for my Erin Condren Life Planner or who knows if anything would ever get done. On a positive note, I am really enjoying being part of the Makelight membership and learning and connecting with so many other amazingly creative people. Although I am way behind on the courses I get lots of inspiration from the photos and blog posts of other members and I am constantly in awe of their creativity and drive. It has definitely made me up my game when it comes to my Instagram photos which have really improved over the last three months. Here are a few of my favourites from May.
instagram May
I’ve also been trying to keep up with my crocheting and I am on row 64 of my Attic24 Hydrangea blanket so I am three-quarters of the way through it and I LOVE it. I think this will definitely be my favourite blanket so far. Even though I know I shouldn’t start another project, I confess that I am doing the Vintage Sweethearts CAL in Crochet Now magazine. I am not using the wool recommended, instead I just matched the colours to my favourite Stylecraft Special DK colours and am using up some of my yarn stash. And as if two projects on the go aren’t enough I also got the beautiful Primavera blanket pattern by Debbie Bliss on Yarn Shop Day and have started that too.
Heather (the Hen from RecklessHen) has made up a pattern to use up her yarn stash and it is so gorgeous. She is calling it the Vintage Granny and once she finishes it she will write it up and we will put it on the blog. I know you will really love it. Here is a sneak peek.
Vintage Granny sneak peek
And finally, as a wee treat, here is a free crochet humour printable to download. It is 6 x 4 so it goes in a standard frame. I printed mine out on glossy photo paper but inkjet paper would be just as good.


Clicker here to download.
What are you working on at the moment?

Freebies

Hooked for you tags, free to good home

Good morning, what a lovely, sunny day it is here in Belfast. The weather has been fabulous for the last week and I am hoping it lasts for the rest of the month (and June, July & August too, but that is probably too much to wish for). Today I have a freebie for you. It is a cute set of gift tags for the crocheters among you. I was searching through some photos at the weekend and came across some crochet themed clipart I bought quite a while ago, planning to make stickers with it. I decided that I really need to be better at organising the files on my computer so I know where stuff is and it doesn’t get forgotten about and also that it was really time to put the clipart to good use. I have a few things I have crocheted to put away for birthday gifts so I thought it would be a good idea to make some tags to go with them. I had so much fun playing around with the graphics and trying to come up with suitable messages to go with them. I really need to do this kind of thing more often because I love working with graphics and designing things.

free Hooked For You gift tags
free Hooked For You gift tags from RecklessHen (personal use only)

I came up with three different designs so I hope you will like at least one of them and be able to use it on your gorgeous handmade yarn goodies. I printed mine on normal A4 white card and then I just cut them out, punched a hole at the top and put some coloured yarn through to hang them from. I think I might have to go and make some matching stickers now and I can think of lots of ways to use the pretty images in my EC planner.
I found that printing the tags from the pdf reader built into Google Chrome gave better colours than using Adobe Acrobat Reader but that may just be my printer. The link to download the tags is below the images. Let me know what you think of them, I always love feedback.
Have a great day whatever you are doing.

Download your hooked for you tags here.

Freebies

Random stripes dilemmas

I don’t know if you are like me,  but I have real problems trying to come up with crochet patterns for blankets etc. that use random stripes of colour. I start off so well but after a few rows it quickly becomes obvious that I am creating a pattern and the colours are not random at all. I know that makes me a bit OCD and I’m OK with that but it doesn’t help me get my pattern created. So I asked my lovely computer whiz other half to come up with something to help me do random stripes and he has created a fab little program for me that I want to share with you all.
Since I mostly use Stylecraft Special DK in my blankets, STRIPE-IT (that’s what I’m calling it) is based on the Stylecraft Special DK colours, or at least quite a few of them. All you have to do is choose your colours, choose how many rows in each stripe and the total number of rows in your pattern and hey presto – random stripes. I am so happy with this program and he has promised he will do the same for other yarn colours and turn it into an app for me. I am going to get him to do the Scheepjes Colour Crafter next. If you would like to use my STRIPE-IT random stripe creator you can find it HERE If you like it follow my blog or facebook or Instagram for updates when new versions come out.

Crafting

When one blanket finishes another begins

Since I finally learnt how to crochet in 2015 I have been a big fan of the brilliant Attic24 blog. I am such a fan of Lucy’s use of colour and the beautiful patterns she creates. I have so far managed to crochet four of her blanket patterns and a few of the lovely little flowers and birds on her blog as well. If you haven’t discovered Attic24 yet then do go and have a peek, I’m sure you will love it and find so much inspiration there. This week I finished the Moorland Stripe blanket and I love it.  The colours are fabulous and I love how Lucy got her inspiration from the moors near her home. Most people find that the sewing in of all the wool ends is their least favourite part of their crocheting but I find it quite relaxing in a way because you don’t need to think too much or concentrate too hard on it. Some people like to sew the ends in as they go along and some, like me, leave them all to the end. Are you a sew them in as you go or a leave them till the end girl? I am sure the answer to that question must say something about our personality types, but perhaps it’s better not to know 🙂


So now that I have finished my Moorland Blanket journey what next for my hook? Well, since you ask, I just happened to be browsing Wool Warehouse the other day and would you believe it but the Hydrangea Blanket kit just hopped on in to my basket (oops how did that happen!) so that is what I will be crocheting next. The colours are beautiful – very soft and definitely reminiscent of hydrangeas. If you want to see the pattern you can find it HERE on Attic24.
What are you crocheting, or knitting, or sewing at the moment?
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