not your average zoe

life, love and knitting

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tadaa! knitted puppet

As usual (I love that I wrote that, it’s merely a 2 year tradition), Stepson and I made boxes for Operation Shoebox to send across the world as a parcel of love for those in need.  He chose a 10-14year old boy, and I prepared a box for a 5-9year old girl.

As part of my box I knitted up a pattern from their site, a puppet in the vague shape of a teddy bear, and tadaa! Here it is!

IMG_0644 IMG_0645

Have you completed any projects recently?


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Knitting and making list

My mind is whirring with creative projects at the moment those for family (as dictated on the family holiday), those for friends having babies, and Christmas gifts.  Not to mention a few for actual ME!

So my brain doesn’t pop and I can orgainse my thoughts I have had to make a list (yippee!).  It means I now have 3 knitting projects for my in-laws alongside 6 Christmas projects for them.  I also have 4 baby projects (2 on the needles), 18 tree decoration gifts, the blanket squares I mentioned before that need sewing up, 5 Christmas presents I hope to knit, and 2 December birthday presents.  –ahem–

So to combat all this, I’ve decided to share some of the projects I lOvE and want to do the second 1.1.15 hits!

First we have the leaving cowl.  I already have some amazing grey SkeinQueen yarn lined up for this:


The “I’ll never finish, not afford the yarn” project, by Yellocosmo

The “I love the yellow” cardigan, by the amazing Georgie Hallam



and finally (for now) the amazing hap blanket by knitting legend in her own lifetime Ysolda Teague,

because who doesn’t need 12 blankets (yes I’ve made 11…)


What are you lusting over at the moment?

Please note I do not own the copyright for any of these pictures.  I have lovingly slurped the photos from Ravelry, and clicking on the images above should take you to the Ravelry pattern pages.


Summer 2014 Week 1 in photos


Bunny and I have been melting in the heat.


I’ve made sooooo many handmade cards.





Plus I’ve been making other bits and bobs crafty style including the dreaded loom bands and these:


There have been some dates:



Husband and I went out for afternoon tea to celebrate being married for 2 years.  TWO YEARS! Time is whizzzzzzing!


Been making a point of meeting my friends for coffee (dairy free), iced tea etc.  I am fighting my urges to be a hermit.



but sometimes a quiet soya milk coffee with a book or a bit of knitting in my own back garden is what I crave and give into.



Meet Larry the lifesaver airconditioner unit.  We used the last of our savings (after rectifying the damp/water ingress in the hall, having a new front door fitted and replacing the destroyed fence) to invest in this amazing piece of technology.  Husband and I are both melters so this was super amazing and makes us both able to sleep.  I have rationalised it that we will look after it and keep it for YEARS in order to justify the expense.


Can you see the bruise on my hand under the ring and little finger near the wrist?  Yeah they couldn’t find any veins when I went for my procedures on Thursday.  It hurts.  Husband occasionally hilariously mentions that if I ever do get pregnant how will I cope with giving birth?  Oh. How. I. Laugh.


I am now dairy free and experimenting (with soya produce) for the first time in my life.

Above is a breakfast smoothie of Soya milk, Vanilla Soya dessert, Pineapple, Pineapple juice, frozen banana and a nectarine #nomnom.


Then we have frozen blueberries, soya milk, soya mango yogurt, banana, nectarine, pineapples #moreplease.

Also I have been trying to make salads more exciting than lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber…zzzz


This example is orange pepper, baby plum tomatoes, red grapes, babycorn, spinach and was then topped with homemade potato salad.



There has been much knitting.







and I’ve read 2 books, and organised some Christmas presents.

Oh summer you are being kind and I hope that there is so much more to come!

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let’s get nosy – guest blogger Jane!

Next up in the let’s get nosy campaign is my dear knitting chum and fellow twitterer jm3twink or Jane to real people.  She is one of the most knowledgeable people I have ever met, about pretty much every darn thing – especially knitting.  My mum and I refer to her as “Dr J” because she can mend any knitting mistake, advise on any yarny question and is generally a fantabbydosy addition to any knitting circle.  I am equal parts in awe and envious of her.  Let’s dig a little deeper:

Favourite place to create

On my sofa surrounded by all the pretty yarn with a good costume drama on the TV

Proudest moment

Picking up my little dog Mia from the RSPCA kennels – realising that I was giving a lovely new home to an abandoned dog.

Favourite medium to create with

It has to be knitting & yarn, and probably a wool/cashmere/silk blend as my favourite.  It is so luxurious to handle whilst you are knitting, gives a beautiful result for a small shawl from a single skein and is wonderfully warm.

First ever creation

I was trying to think what this would have been, and whilst I may well have knit the obligatory ‘scarf’ when my Grandma taught me to knit, I remember having a pattern to knit a dress for my Sindy doll when I must have been about 7-8, which was probably my first useful creation.

Dress up, or dress down?

Dress down everytime.  I can’t really be bothered with the whole dressing up thing, and its never as comfortable.

Christmas or birthday?

Difficult – I don’t really do much for my birthday anymore (getting too old – [this is not true, Z] ) and I find Christmas has become one big shopping extravaganza.  I do enjoy cooking a big roast meal for the family and seeing them enjoy it, not something I get to do very often as I live alone (apart from the dog), so I would probably go with Christmas.

Fiction or non-fiction?

Fiction is what I read for pleasure but I do read non-fiction if I am interested in a particular subject.  I do find that as I have to concentrate a lot at work that I like to release my mind by reading something easygoing so I stick with fiction, the trashier the better.

Spender or saver?

I’m afraid, as you may well know, that I am a spender.  I can contain myself normally but do feel the need to splurge when faced with pretty yarn or fabric at a festival! [we hear ya sister!]

Favourite author

I don’t have one author that I stick with, but my favourite book is Jane Eyre so I would probably go with Charlotte Bronté.

Best musical memory

I was part of our school choir at boarding school and as we contributed something they organised trips up to London musicals every year.  I remember going up to see Les Misérables, which I didn’t know anything about.  We had seats up in the gods (which I found difficult at first as I have a real fear of heights) and as soon as the music started I was entranced.  I have been to see it 3 times in total (much better seats for the last time!) and still love it. [me too, although I sob from the second half onwards and come out a complete wreck…]

Favourite smell

Bit strange [not strange – unique!], but I love the smell of cooking beetroot.  It reminds me of my Grandma as she always used to buy raw beetroot & then boil it and I remember coming into her house with  that distinctive smell

Past, present or future?

Present – you need to focus on what is around you now and appreciate it rather than dwell on what has happened, or dream of what might be.

Fearful or fearless?

Fearless, unless you put me in a room with spiders whilst giving me an injection.

What would your superpower be?

To be able to create more hours in the day to do all the thinks I want to do with yarn, fabric and fibre.  I suppose that’s called retirement – only 25 years to go! [phew – not just me counting then… ]

Top tip?

I always say this, and I’m usually ignored, but if you are knitting a garment that needs to fit, then you need to knit a tension square.  Don’t tell me that you always knit to tension and then complain when whatever you have knitted doesn’t fit.  A tension square takes maybe 30 mins to do, compared with a couple of weeks worth of work on a cardigan!  (btw – you should really wash the tension square before measuring it, but I know when to give in). [I admit to nothing.]


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let’s get nosy – guest blogger Heather McAvan

Heather is one of the glorious minds behind and her personal site is here

She is one of my favourite twitter-wittererers [@twinklresources] and has honoured me with answering some of my let’s get nosy questions – let’s find out more about Heather!

Favourite place to create – downstairs in my kitchen I have somehow wrangled some space and call it “my office”. It is right at the front of house and I have a beautiful silk blind I can pull down in case the sun gets in my eyes!

Proudest moment – when I gave birth with no pain relief.

Favourite medium to create with – my brain! I love to write, and my ideas come from within.

First ever creation – my blog! It might not look creative, but I spent a long time sorting it out and making it look as beautiful as possible. [it looks creative to me – we celebrate ALL creativity here!]

Dress up, or dress down? Dress up. I work from home so relish any chance to put a frock on. Even a visit to the soft play centre is an exciting outing for me! [me too…]

Christmas or birthday? Birthday. I don’t like buying presents en masse for everyone!

Fiction or non-fiction? Fiction. Anything with gentlemen and ladies, or with “scandal” that would be perfectly normal behaviour today! LOL!

Spender or saver? Kind of both. I like splurging on nice stuff but prefer saving on the every day, if that makes sense.

Favourite author? Most definitely Anne Bronte.

Thanks Heather!

So if you drop by her website or start to witter on twitter with her then please let her know you came via me… sorta…

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declutter december – a review

How did you do?

  1.  declutter your bag
  2. go through your pen pot
  3. Phone
  4. junk drawer/dumping space
  5. old christmas decorations
  6. beauty products.
  7. paperwork
  8. tinned foods
  9. clothes
  10. email
  11. books
  12. medicines
  13. matches and magazines
  14. baking supplies
  15. finances
  16. TV recording box
  17. towels
  18. fridge
  19. freezer
  20. DVDs
  21. make up
  22. kitchen appliances
  23. bed linen
  24. alcohol/drinks
  25. wrapping paper
  26. tupperware
  27. crockery
  28. ornaments
  29. documents on the computer
  30. CDs
  31. hobby supplies

All ready for 2014?