Tuesday, 9 April 2013

"The Best Laid Plans O' Mice And Men ..."

"The best laid plans o'mice and men gang aft a-gley." You are so right, Robbie Burns!

Mrs Tittlemouse's Easter plans went seriously "a-gley" this year, scuppered by the arrival of a nasty 'flu virus that put paid to all manner of happy, homely activities for all of last week. The simnel cake that was to be baked, never made it; the Easter cheesecake never got eaten when it was supposed to be; chocolate eggs went untouched; Easter cards and gifts were undelivered; visits were unmade and what was supposed to be a week of recreative time away from the pressure of work was spent uncreatively mostly in bed, doing nothing at all. Sic vita.

But this week, life is looking up and over the last few days I have been making up for lost time. Chocolate mini-eggs anyone?

You've all probably had enough of them by now but I haven't and am happily scoffing them ten days late! So if you are mini-egged-out, I'll have yours on your behalf!

Baby simnel cakes, made very late in the day, have taken the place of the big one that was intended. I cut corners by using an easy boil-and-bake fruit cake recipe and retrieving some homemade marzipan out of the freezer, not as easy to roll out and use as freshly-made stuff, but zapped to a passingly malleable softness in the microwave, it served and I am not sure I don't prefer these baby simnel cupcakes to the big one I usually faff about making. The ratio of marzipan and mini-egg to cake is much better in these little ones. It's an ill wind that blows no good as they say.

And while unable to do or think much, all last week, Mrs T's fingers did manage to hook up a little Tunisian crochet cover for the cardboard tub that holds make-up brushes, tubes of sewing machine oil, crochet hooks and other life essentials on my chest of drawers.

The tub, originally a lid for a box containing handcream and redeployed, upside down, is quite squat and was a good shape and size but it had faded in the sunlight and needed a makeover.

A perfect project to do while being stuck in bed as the pattern is very basic and straightforward - just strips of Tunisian crochet in Tunisian simple stitch to line the inside and outside walls of the tub and two discs in the same stitch to cover the inside and outside of the base. Even if I went wrong, it didn't really bother me to unravel and redo it, I was just happy to have something in my hooky fingers. I like Tunisian crochet for this sort of thing - it makes a lovely dense, neat fabric with an appealing basket-work effect.

I made it in plain Casacade Ultra Pima cotton in the beautiful pale blue called "Alaska Sky". I am foolishly influenced by what yarn colours are called and am drawn to some in particular, just because the names they have are either beautiful, or evocative, or both. This is ridiculous, I know, but there it is and "Alaska Sky" does it for me. I am afraid this extends to buying bottles of particular wines because they have nice labels! And conversely I do not shop at a particular supermarket because I find the logo too ugly for words. Illogical, frivolous and shallow - I know!

To revert to hooky matters, the plain cover, even in the beautiful "Alaska Sky" blue, was very plain and needed a little jollying up, so once recovered from the worst of the 'flu, I embarked on making a collection of golden yellow and white Spring daisies to sew onto the sides.

The whole enterprise is perhaps not very practical as it will be difficult to wash with the cardboard tub sealed inside and the happy Spring daisies will probably collect the dust but I love it anyway.

The pattern for the daisies is from the book "Twenty To Make: Crocheted Flowers" by Jan Ollis. They are made using fine No 3 crochet cotton and a tiny 2.5 mm hook. They were rather fiddly to hook up, especially the double-petalled ones, and I was glad when I reached the end of the thirteen that I felt were enough but they do add a lovely Spring touch to my efforts.

The method for making the tub cover is adapted from the pattern in Gina Alton's book, "Pots To Knit And Crochet", which I used last year to cover my kitchen pencil pot. Have a look at my post here if you're interested.

In the meantime and rather belatedly, a very Happy Eastertide to you all!

I must now return to the pile of work awaiting, fuelled by another mini-egg or two, 
OK three, if you insist!

E x


  1. Dear E
    I'm pleased to hear that you are on the mend and making up for lost time with the mini-eggs! I think your crochet pot cover is lovely and totally agree about paint colour names - I have to like the name as well as the colour.
    A very Spring-inspired post.
    Best wishes

  2. I think your Easter being a bit late is very topical - after all Spring is still not quite here! Sorry you haven't been well but your sickbed crochet is really pretty! Jane x

  3. Happy belated Easter E!

    Oooooo...that "Alaska Sky" knick-knack container is migtyt fine and dandy! You are giving me ideas....hmmmmmm. I have a favorite alpaca yarn called "Sky", but this "Alaska Sky" might need to replace it; there's a soft spot in my heart for anything sky blue. It's the color of my heaven; that one that's going on right now right here!

    Lovin' that daisy crochet hook too!

  4. I looked at the photo and thought how pretty the daisies looked, but how they'd collect every speck of dust in my house and blow me, there it was written below. I think we're all influenced by logos, labels and colour names (which is why of course they use them) and it always amuses me to see the different names given to the same colours when overseas.
    Glad you're feeling better. You've reminded me that I hid away a few mini eggs - better just check they're still edible. x

  5. I say, mini Simnel cakes! I shall remember that for next year! Our maxi-cake is currently featured on my blog, but I'm glad you are feeling better and have recovered enough for cakes and craft.

  6. Hello from Rainy Michigan.

    I am soooooooooooo sorry to hear that you were unwell during the Easter Holiday. But good to hear you are back to health. I heard about your Easter Blizzard sounded dreadful...

    I really like your Alaska Blue Tub container crochet. The flowers are sooooooooooooooooo very very cute.

    Here it is coolish and rainy and is forcasted for all week. But I would prefer rain anyday to a snow blizzard. LOL Hugs Judy

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  8. Pleased you are feeling better, what a rotten way to spend Easter! I posted my first attempt at Tunisian crochet today, I love your pot cover and the little daisies. I know what you mean about yarn names I'm exactly the same, I have some called Seagrass that I'm looking forward to using. Rowen@Coastal Colours x

  9. Glad you're on the mend. I had NO mini eggs this year as we returned home on Easter Monday and when I went looking for the heavily discounted eggy peggies, there were NONE to be had. The scandal of it. Had to make do with peanut M&Ms, which are not the same at all.

  10. Hi such a pretty pot....sorry to hear you have been unwell glad you're feeling better now though.
    Thanks for the lovely book comment, made my day you have...thanks.
    A fabulous wool shop called Ippikin in Much Wenlock has almost sold out and the owner loved the book too.....I'm just so chuffed it seems to be selling well already...big grin.
    Hugs xx

  11. So sorry that you were ill all through Easter! How utterly rubbish. I'm glad you're feeling better now. I have never tried Tunisian crochet but have seen various projects in blogland lately and do like the woven effect very much. Your little pot is delightful. x

  12. Such a shame that you were ill over Easter and I'm afraid that you can't have my mini-eggs. I love them too much!!!! I love your pot makeover - so pretty and those little flowers finish it off just perfectly :) x

  13. Leave it to Mrs. T to make something beautiful while she's laid up with the flu!! I'm so sorry you've been sick and hope that's the last of it this year. I'm afraid I choose wine by your same method...

  14. Sorry that you were unwell over Easter and hope you are well on the way to recovery now. I've been looking at the details for Tunisian crochet in one of my books, toying with the idea of giving it a go so this could be a starting point perhaps? I love what you say about being attracted to the names of things - as an English teacher I'm always trying to persuade students about the importance of vocabulary choices and the connotations of words - even though we know how it works on us and why advertisers etc. do it, there is still something so powerful about the images that words evoke, even on something so lowly as the name of a yarn colour! Judy.

  15. Sorry you were sick, but you still managed to cook and hook up some sweet things.

    I am going to look up Tunisian crochet stitches as I like that dense look. It looks durable and the flowers are a nice touch.

  16. Hope you are much better now. I think mini simnel cakes sound way sweeter than the usual size and I'm loving the tub cover = great idea!


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