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Shop Update – June 2015

okyupdate062015A few lovely pinks and orange/reds – Marshmallow and Brick (in case you’re wondering. 🙂

See them in the shop


Let’s talk about Bullet Journals


I’ve talked about Bullet Journals on the blog before, but I’ve been using it now for nearly a year and I’ve recently been making some changes so I thought I’d write a post about it all.

All you need to know about the basics of Bullet Journalling is here (watch the video – it’s only about three minutes long.) I’ve just started my third moleskine (I got this one, having just finished the teal one) and was wanting to make things look a bit prettier than they had been in my last book. So I fell into a Pinterest black hole and came across Robin Imhof, who has done great writing and decorating tutorials for her filofax, which can totally been ported over to a bullet journal.

At which point I fell into an Etsy blackhole, first looking at pre-made stickers for journals, and then when that proved too expensive, at print-your-own stickers, and THEN clip art that you can turn into your own customised print-your-own stickers. (Yes, I fell hard. My stationary love was a blaze.)

Print-your-own stickers are pretty good, especially if you know how to use photoshop a little bit, so that you can file A4 size sheets with fun clip art (like I have above), but it assumes you have the patience to cut out the stickers and peel the backing off. I’m currently using it as a way of encouraging me to stop biting my nails, because without nails it’s pretty much impossible. Think of it as a tiny bit of forced mindfulness. 😉

Anyway if you’re interested the stickers in the image above came from the following shops on etsy:

The sticker paper is just basic address label sticky paper, which I got from our local stationers. However I also got some glossy sticker paper from ebay and I think I like that more for the stickers I’m not planning on writing on.

Watching Robin’s video taught me about Frixion pens, which are erasable gel pens. Suddenly my writing is neater and it makes me want to keep the whole book looking lovely.

I have set up this current journal so that I have the index and then four double spread month pages at the front of the book, and then daily pages, and lists as I need them. (This is a great article on lists that are useful to keep.) I’ll add the autumn months as the summer goes on, but we also have a family calendar in the kitchen so I can put any notes I need onto that and then move it into my bullet journal  once I get that month sorted out. I use the daily pages as a way to keep accountable through the day. So I have the meals I’m planning to cook (so I can make the decisions all at once, and not have to think about it during the day), a log of my water, and my running/walking. Then I have my to do list, which includes various habits I’m working on, my plan for the da regarding our home education, cleaning, OxfordKitchenYarns work, things that need to remember, and events. I’ve also added a gratitude journal at the bottom of the page, which feels a lot less intimidating that having my own book for it. If there is any extra space left on the page, I’ve started writing in a quote from my pinterest quote board.

I have the book open in the kitchen during the day, so that I can refer to it often, but it only takes about 10 minutes to set up for each day, (and mostly that’s me picking the backs off stickers to be honest.) When I was just writing stuff down it probably took me 3-4 minutes a day.

I’m really pleased with the system and how adaptable it is. I certainly get more stuff done because of it, and my head feels less cluttered. The cute stickers are fun, and am enjoying ended the day with a page that I think looks good. But that’s just icing on the cake.

If you have any questions about the bullet journal system, or anything I’ve written about here, comment and I’ll do my best to answer them.

(I’m now off to tick a box.)


(BTW none of these links are affiliates in any way. I just like this stuff and thought you might like some of it too.)


A Shift in thinking…

So I haven’t been posting much here recently. I kept sitting down the write a blog post and feeling like I had nothing to say, even though I have projects to show you, and podcasts and books to recommend. I just couldn’t get them in to a blog post.

Luckily my dear friend Lara came to visit us, and she managed to tease out of me what is going on.

Basically all my online presence is branded with OxfordKitchenYarns, which is great, except there is SO much else going on my life, and OxfordKitchenYarns is only one small part of that. It’s not a full time job. It hasn’t been a full time job in a long time, but at the same time, it’s still important to me, and I don’t want to give it up.

However right now, it feels really weird having it out there front and center when most of my time is actually spend on parenting, and home education, and our home, and making things that are for our practical use, rather than to show off my yarn. Basically my perception of all this is all out of balance and it makes me not want to be out in the world online, because it makes me feel like I’m not doing enough. Which is not true. I’m doing plenty.

I can’t express how freeing it was to realise all this. (Thank you Lara! X)

So here is what I’m doing to change things up:

I am still dyeing yarn. I will try to do a shop update every month, but there will only be one update a month. But OxfordKitchenYarns is just one of the things I am doing. It’s not central to my online presences any more.

I am going to post more, (probably about once a week), but about all thing I want to post – so there will be sewing, and knitting, and books and some adventures in home education, and stuff about doing up our house, and book recs and podcast recs and all the other things in my head.

The blog, and pinterest will look different to reflect what is going on with all this. All my blurb will be different. I will probably change my url, though oxfordkitchenyarns.com will still exist and any links to the blog with send you right here. The twitter will continue to highlight stuff going into the shop.

OxfordKitchenYarns has existed for over seven years! And in that time become a parent, and had three children, and as a family we’ve started to home educate. It not surprising that the fit has shifted some what.

Anyway that was probably more of an insight into my thought process that you needed, but there you go.

I’ll be back next week with a whole load of recs. It’s going to be great.

Thanks for sticking around.

(I promise there will still be yarn.)




Time for a Shop Update!

OxfordKitchenYarns DK "Midnight"
OxfordKitchenYarns DK "Deep Blue Sea"
OxfordKitchenYarns Aran "Cloudy Day"
OxfordKitchenYarns Sock "Comfy Jeans"
OxfordKitchenYarns DK "Wasp"
OxfordKitchenYarns Aran "Daffodil"
OxfordKitchenYarns Sock "Morning Light"
OxfordKitchenYarns DK "Peaches and Cream"

All these (and more) at the shop.

Have a good weekend. 🙂


framed mice(The postcard set is from here.)

I had the frames, I had the prints, I had the mat board, and I had a mat cutter, but they sat in a cupboard for about two and a half years gathering dust because I was scared I wasn’t going to do it well enough.

And then, about three weeks ago, I was tired of the images on the wall by my desk, and decided I should cut the mat for one of the prints and hang it up. And so I did. And in about ten minutes it was done, and I was pleased, and I wanted to do the other three in the set. Unfortunately I ran out of mat board and CP cracked one of the panes of glass so I still have the fourth one waiting in the wings until I sort out more glass, (I’ve already bought more mat board).

Spurred on by that success I decided to pick up some frames for some more images I’ve been wanting to frame and put up, and last week I got on and cut the mats for the postcards I bought I about two years ago, (and which have been sitting in their packaging ever since.)

It… well it didn’t go as well. Probably because  had to cut smaller mats, with multiple holes. Having done some more reading since, I realise that the green cutting board I have is too hard, and I would be better putting a layer of cardboard on top, which I will try next time. Probably I should have waiting till the children weren’t around, but that time is really limited right now, and I would have probably made a worse job in an evening.

It’s not terrible. It’s just not my best work.

I admit I was disappointed, and for a moment I didn’t know really what to do next.

So I hung them any way.

Why not? They were hidden away for ages and if I can’t change the walls of our house right now (which I can’t), then I can at least put things on them that are meaningful to me. And I can always cut better mats in the future.

So I hung them, and actually, they are fine. Not perfect, but not noticeably bad. If I get up really close, I can see the wobbles. But when I pass them, having just come in the front door, or down the stairs, what I actually see are the beautiful felt mice, the clever details, the actual images, rather than the card around them.



FO – Kiri Shawl

 IMG_1959(You can find my kiri shawl on Ravelry.)




kiri shawl

kiri shawl

kiri shawl

 This project started with a random trip to Oxford Fiberworks, where I fell a bit in love with a couple of skeins of Malabrigo Rios in the ‘Marte’ colour way. I think originally I was planning for them to be long mitts, which then morphed into a shrug (which I actually cast on for) before deciding I needed some shawl knitting back in my life.

Back in 2007 the Oxford Bluestockings had a Kiri knit-along and Abbi knit her’s in a chunky weight and I was amazing. I’ve had it on my to-do list to make one ever since, and I realised that this was a prime opportunity. Kiri is just diverting enough a pattern, and knit up on 7mm needles it should have been a quick knit. However four birthdays and Christmas got in the way of completing it, until last week when I decided I couldn’t start my birthday sock blank until the shawl was finished and blocked.

Blocking in a house full of small children is a pain to be honest, and I just have to bite the bullet, shut the door and do it. Luckily it only took about a day and a half to dry. And today I’m wearing it.

I have to say – I’m really pleased with it. I love the stripes (Brooklyn Tweed Shelter, and some Alpaca handspun). I love how they balance the differences between the two skeins of Rios. I love how squooshy and warm, and big it is. I love the stitch size, and the drape and basically I’m really happy with it.

Plus it goes with my ‘Troy and Abed in the Morning’ tee.

I think we can chalk this one up as a success. *big grin*




What’s on the Needles February 2015?

I’m just sneaking in under the wire to have a look at what on the needles in February compared to last month, and I have to say, knowing this post was coming up was motivation to get some projects finally finished.

The Kiri shawl is done and blocking upstairs as I write this – finished on a long car trip to see granny at the weekend (including cast off in the gloom on the way home. I pretty much got away with it.) Assuming I can keep the pins in it while it dries (CR is carefully re-arranging them every chance she can get), I’ll blog about that later in the week.


The cowl for CR took much longer than it should of, mostly because there hasn’t been any uninterrupted knitting time to be had recently, and any attempts to work on it were punctuated by two small people wanted to sit on my lap. But now it is done, still in time for the proper chilly weather we’ve been having here recently, and frankly doesn’t really need a block because I want to keep it as squooshy as possible.



It was a fluke, but it goes really well with the body warmer CP got for Christmas. (Why yes, that her most requested ‘coat’ despite it being February – can you tell she’s about to be 2?)


Of course if she ever gets sick of it, it turns out it’s a really good fit for me too…  😉

The socks from last month are no further on but there are next on my list of things to work on. (Pretty much…)


They still look great though.

Let’s not talk about the rug (except to say that I bought one from Ikea that is in the front room and I’m really happy with it.)



goodbye Winter…


…roll on Spring!


OxfordKitchenYarns September 2014 whole order to Darn it and Stitch

Today I’m 37 years old, so let’s have a Birthday Sale! 30% because I’m REALLY in the depths of my thirties now.

So for TODAY (21st February GMT), you can get 30% off anything in the shop with the code HAPPYBIRTHDAY.

Let’s make it a good one!



Right now…

W is at home, doing maths, and lego and documentaries, and our reading programme with the children* and I am in the nearby coffee shop chopping up the next unit of said reading programme ready for next week, updating the blog, finishing some website work for a friend of mine (who’s books you should read), and doing the weekly shop online.

20150219_090816(cue the fuzzy phone photos)

I should have got a second drink while it was quiet, and now there is a queue of people and I don’t want to leave my things unattended. 🙁

20150219_090827(I love when disparate hand knits work together)

I didn’t even brush my hair this morning!


*Do to completely forseen circumstances that were still beyond our control (but that we were at least able to prepare for), W only has half a job at the moment. This is hard for us, but we are grateful for the half-job at least. And currently it means I have one day a week where he can be in charge at home, and I can get things-that-can’t-be-done-easily-around-the-children done. Which is nice, especially right now when a combination of cold weather, cold house, and small children who still need me at night, means that I am getting next to no evenings at the moment. However I’d give it up in a heartbeat for him to have a full time job.

Hopefully things will improve on all fronts later in the year. But right now we are trying to live as gently as we can.

Wow. That got a little more personal than usual.

Keep an eye on my twitter, or the blog on Saturday morning, for information about the 30% off Birthday Flash Sale.



feb things to love

(None of these links are affiliated – I just like this stuff.)

– I recently treated us to our second set of Stabilo Cappi pens. I like that we can keep them all together, and not loose the caps (though it does mean that when we use pens at friends houses, my three have to be reminded to put the lids on the ends of the pens or the lids go everywhere!)

– With the launch of her second book, I felt compelled to pull out Margaret Bloom‘s Making Peg Dolls, and pull out my precious collection of wood peg dolls I had brought over from the US by my father-in-law. We gobbled up the 25 dolls in two sessions. Luckily they are more widely available over here now, but I could easily spend way too much money on more. And I have plans for Easter that I probably should get started on as soon as this season of birthdays calms down.

(Wee Wonderful wrote a great review of both books here, and really it’s her fault that I grabbed it off my shelf. Not that I’m complaining. I completely agree with what she’s written. ps. Her book is fantastic too!)

– The mini Orchard game got pulled out of the cupboard when Granny came over on saturday, and the children taught her how to play it. In return she taught them clock patience, which I’m sure we’re going to be playing a lot more of, and I should hunt out some packs of cards and make them more available… (can you tell I’m now just talking to myself? I can’t be the only one who does that, right?)

– TV-wise I just finished watching Galavant, which was delightful. Who doesn’t love watching Magnitude from Community and Hugh Bonneville doing dance routines and singing about being land locked pirates?

– Audio-wise our Sarah & Duck love continues and now we have found there is a podcast you can stream here (scroll down to the bottom of the page.)

– On Saturday I turn 37 (though I’m not very happy about it tbh.) so there will be a flash sale at the shop for 24 hours. But I’ll post more about that later.


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