Big Moves – Leaving Lausanne

I’ve alluded to big changes here and there the last few months. I can finally share the largest one with you. This one has been in the works since before Christmas, and having it settled last week had us drinking pink champagne on a school night.

Champagne on a school night

We’re moving. Farewelling Lausanne and Europe, for a few years at least, and heading to California.

DM has accepted a job he was offered in Silicon Valley, so we’re looking to live in the Oakland/ Berkeley area. It seems we might fit there (I’ve already found two stitch ‘n’ bitch groups!).

We’ve a few months in Europe yet, we move in June/July, so I’m cramming in many visits to Paris, Berlin and London before then.

I’m 50% insanely excited and 50% heartbroken. I adore Europe and living here for almost 6 years has resulted in fabulous friendships and Lausanne feeling a lot like home. Munchkin was born here and I can see the clinic she was born in from my lounge. Switzerland is central to so much and has resulted in us having so many exciting European adventures. Read more

Wool and the Gang – a knit party

Wool and the gang knit party

This past Friday, I held my first Wool and the Gang Knit Party.

It was great fun. Ten crafty ladies arrived for champagne, snacks and some fun chunky knitting action. They’d all pre-ordered their kits, so a few days beforehand this amazing box full of goodies arrived at my door.

Wool and the gang knit party

I had loads of fun putting all the packages together and getting my bake on in preparation.

Wool and the gang knit party

I whipped up my banana, sour cream and dulce de leche cake with sour cream frosting and made up a batch of caramelised red onion and goats cheese tarts. Then included a few extra nibbles, a few bottles of champagne and we were set!

Wool and the gang knit party

There was loads of conversation, laughter, knitting, learning and the creation of some gorgeous snoods.

The alcohol may have slowed down some of our better knitters and have steepened the learning curve for the beginners but the tutorials were available for reference afterwards. With the result my Facebook feed and phone have been filled with photos and updates the last few days. Almost all are finished!

Wool and the gang knit party

I got the kit in Sherpa Blue. It knit up in the twisted rib stitch.

Wool and the gang knit party

It turned out I had enough yarn to make myself a snood and to create a mini one for Munchkin.

Wool and the gang knit party

She was somewhat reluctant to try it on this morning; until I put mine on too and bribed her with milk. Then she didn’t want to take it off! We’ll have to go for a walk today to try them outdoors.

Wool and the gang knit party

I can’t wait to host another WATG party. I’ve decided to keep up knitting now I’m in the groove, by making their fantastic Cosmic Sweater for Spring. Here’s hoping mine turns out like the picture!

If you’d like to try out Wool and the Gang. You can click here and sign up for 10% off your first order.

And if you live in Lausanne, and want to join in a knit party, leave me a comment or get in touch. I’ll be hosting another one with their Spring/ Summer knit project in early May.

Heart Pop Up Card

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This year Munchkin and I collaborated to create a card for DM. Below is the result. Munchkin directed where she wanted me to draw hearts and with which crayon, then got to embellishing the rest of the card, leaving me to do the final assembly.

It’s a simple design but quite effective and really easy to put together.

Above is the slightly tweaked version you can download templates for. I’ve included both PDF and SVG files, so you can use a cutting machine (like the Silhouette if you have access to one).

 

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To create this project you’ll need 3 pieces of A4 card, an x-acto knife and some glue or double-sided tape.

If you’re collaborating with your Munchkin, I suggest letting them decorate the card stock first.

Print the PDF templates below onto the back of their artwork and cut it out; this way you won’t see the score and cut lines muddying up their artwork.

Or put their finished artwork through your cutting machine. This way your card won’t end up looking like something Frank Gehry created. Read more

Free Craftsy Downloads

I’m a recent convert to Craftsy. I’m working on some of their cake and cookie decorating classes and I’m also making up a PDF pattern! I’ll share the results with you as I finish them.

They’ve informed me that for four days, they’re offering a selection of their e-guides for free. They cover a broad range of topics. So have a look below and if you see something you like, download it. You can’t beat free!

Photography

Craftsy e-guide - Photography

eGuide: Understanding Exposure for Better Photos Now: Beginner Photography Tutorials

 

Cake Decorating

Craftsy e-guide - Buttercream

eGuide: Not-So-Basic Buttercream Decorating Ideas

 

Food & Cooking

Craftsy e-guide - Doughnuts

eGuide: Delicious Doughnut Recipes You Can Make at Home

 

Paper Crafts

Craftsy e-guide - Paper Crafts

eGuide: 6+ Stash-Busting Paper Craft Projects

 

Drawing

Craftsy e-guide - Photography

eGuide: Drawing the Human Face: A Primer

 

Painting

Craftsy e-guide - Watercolour

eGuide: Beginner’s Guide to the World of Watercolor

 

Gardening

Craftsy e-guide - Gardening

eGuide: Success With Container Gardening

 

Woodworking

Craftsy e-guide - Woodworking

eGuide: Woodturning Basics for Beginners

 

 

This post contains affiliate links

Fabric Printing an Infinity Scarf

Fabric Printed Infinity Scarf

 

A friend of mine took a fabric painting class this week and put her wonderful results up on Instagram. It had me remembering how I used to customise my old cotton work shirts with fabric paints and then to wear them casually. It meant I got extra wear out a good quality shirt and I really enjoyed the customising process.

Then I stumbled across this tutorial and I love the result! Adding a little more water to create a watercolour effect is great.

 

Fabric Printed Infinity Scarf

 

I think I need to get my paints and Fabric Medium

Three free crochet watermelon pot holder patterns

Watermelon crochet pot holder patterns

 

 

Such a fabulous array of crochet watermelon pot holders!

Kitsch, cute and quite easy to do, they’d make gorgeous gifts. Or as a gift to oneself!

 

If you feel inclined to make your own, here are three free patterns to try.

A vintage pattern

A modern version with great step by step tutorial

And yet another vintage pattern!

 

 I am unable to find the origin of this image. If you own this image or know how does, please contact me so I can appropriately credit.

Heart Gift Box Template

Heart Shaped Box Template

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, here is a free printable gift box for you to make up. Or for any reason actually. It’s sweet packaging for birthdays, anniversaries or any reason you need to give a little gift!

Heart Shaped Box Template

To make them up, you need:

Scissors or an x-acto knife and cutting mat.

Adhesive. I’ve used double-sided tape and a normal pritt glue stick and both work well

Two pieces of A4 card stock per box. I used 200 gsm and it worked splendidly. Print out the PDF template attached below onto your card.

Heart Shaped Box Template

Cut out the template and lightly score along the dotted lines to give yourself a nice crisp edge. A blunt butter knife run does a good job if you do not have a Bone Folder

Fold along all the dotted lines.

Heart Shaped Box Template

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Munchkin et moi- a sister blog

Munchkin et moi - Paris weekend trip

 

I’ve spent the last few weeks and months thinking about where I’d like to take Next to Nicx, both as a blog and as a store. I’ve hinted at some exciting projects in the past, some that will involve the creation of kits, and physical products.

But some big life changes have appeared on the horizon and I’ve had to put the creation of some product on hold until these things are settled. Thankfully none of this will stop me from being able to blog.

Hopefully I’ll be able to tell you more very shortly but we are waiting for things to fall into place. And these things involve other people, which takes time, and so for the moment there is nothing we can do but wait!

In the meantime, I have been busy! I took myself off to Playtime Paris last weekend and that visit confirmed something I’d been thinking for a while. I’ve felt a little hampered over the past few months as I’ve really wanted to share loads of the amazing kids things I’ve found, bought or made for Munchkin, but Next to Nicx hasn’t felt like the right medium.

I’ve decided I need a kids blog.

I’m not leaving Next to Nicx, it will just revert to more of what it used to be; crafting and making and baking. And my new blog will be purely Munchkin based. Including craft, recipes, fashion… anything Munchkin.

So with a grand TA… DA…! I introduce you to a sister blog to Next to Nicx:

 

Munchkin et moi.

 

Have a look and let me know what you think? It’s still in very early stages and will grow and evolve just like Next to Nicx has. For the moment, it only has it’s own Facebook page. Next to Nicx is still where to find me on Instagram, Pinterest, Ello and Bloglovin etc

 

Munchkin et moi – A Paris weekend

Munchkin et moi - Paris weekend trip

 

Last weekend Munchkin and I went on an adventure together. DM had a work conference thingy in Budapest and so was away for the week. Munchkin and I decided that it was only fair we had some fun too.

It was the first time I’d travelled with just Munchkin and I. And so after wrapping ourselves in coats, hats, gloves etc that are required in Europe at this time of year, loading myself up with a backpack full of books, pencils, colouring-in books and toys, Munchkin in her MiaMilly Hipster on my front, suitcase in one hand and folded Maclaren stroller in the other, we got onto the TGV Lyria at Lausanne and took ourselves off to Paris!

 

Munchkin et moi - Paris weekend trip

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