Sunday, 30 December 2012

Christmas Feltie- Trees (in bulk)

Here's to Christmas and making decorations in bulk!  I really must get a wriggle on and create my own Felties designs as I always enjoy working in multiples.  My inspirational sisters encourage me to start my own little business.  And now that I have found a specific taste and a bit of a personal style, I think that 2013 Is the year to get the business ball rolling! So watch this space!
These darlings come from that lovely Fa La La favourite- Definately an all round classic!

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Delightful Door stops!

I have a new toy!  My hubby bought me a Kindle fire for Christmas after I thought I made it clear that I didn't really have a need or desire for one ( He was right and I love it!)  I've finally worked out how to add a photo- I think - and am slowly trying to post by these pictures of my door stops.
Don't you just love them?  I'm pretty proud of these thrifty little gems.  I've been saving the curtain off cuts to make matching door stops for upstairs and down.  The idea came from the soft baby felt pyramid I made last year (see previous post) but the time came from the hand embroidery which makes them look so delicate.  These were weighted with dried marrow far peas ( definitely the cheapest)
I must admit that I was a bit precious about them at first, worrying that they would get marked/ripped/freyed etc but that changed after a day of giggling girls hiding and running off with them at every spare moment!  Talk about loving anything new...They were even wrapping them up as babies!
Now,with the help of some gorgeous Christmas gifts, my home is finally coming to life.

Friday, 5 October 2012

My first painting in years....

Drawing was my first foray into the creative world and, although I'm not much cop, it's something that I go back to whenever I get the head space to do it.  I always feel that, to paint well, I need time and space and most definitely peace.  It's not a "Zen" thing, more that I get so involved that I don't really notice anyone else!  So, after years of occupied baby thoughts, I managed to squirrel away some time to paint. 
It takes a bit of doing in my rush-around life, I can tell you!   I have to try to get a week ahead on work, cleaning, laundry and all those daily jobs to free up a couple of nap-times to the task.  But, the push of my Mother's 70th birthday, gave me the push I needed.
  I knew I wouldn't get the time to sit outside and paint from nature *sigh* so I chose a favourite image from my Honeymoon.  We travelled up to Scotland, stopping off at Lake Windermere on the way.  Now, my husband is the photographer in the family (and pretty good he is too), but this is one I took and I just loved the light and thought it would be a step up from other paintings I have done.
I am finally at the age where I can paint and not freeze up, worrying that any more may spoil what I've already done.  This has always been my problem (and there are only so many times you can say that the half finished look is what you were going for...) but I soldiered on and am sooooo chuffed with how it came out.  So, without further ado, here it is!
 Here you have day 1 and day 2 final colour detail painting and the paintings done by my girls (of course they had to get in on the action)  I framed their work as well for their rooms and lovely they look too.  
Oh, by the way, she loves it!

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Back to work!

It's September and back to work!  It's been an exciting and hectic month as I am back to teaching my own class.  After a year of covering other teachers, running up and down corridors and teaching every year group, I am now settled in my own room own cupboard (such a relief!). 
All my time at the moment is trying to keep up with the planning and marking whilst dealing with the hundreds of class set up details.  Seriously, every day is filled with stolen school minutes.  But no, I'm rebelling today with a sneaky breakfast cuppa and some catch up time.  I have a few posts to share with you which should fill up the gaps until I can pick up my crafty projects again.  I'm even going to squeeze in a couple at work!  I've recovered the window seat and WILL definitely do some granny square cushion covers.  Window painting next week though, I think...
Oh, almost forgot.  Here is the final piece of food for the final birthday lunch box.  "Tasty crochet"s best one I think- even Hubby loved it.  The card was a last minute quick fix for my friend's little girl.  I love how, when you have run out of card toppers, you can always find a crochet flower somewhere!  I think I need my sister's pink glue gun for these next time. x

Saturday, 18 August 2012

How to do a square knot (with bells on!)

I may have got a bit carried away with the bells.  It's just that it is such an easy pattern (from "Handmade Living" magazine July edition) that once I started, I kept thinking of more and more people who would love one.  It also used up a bag of tiny bells that I bought last year to make jingly baby balls.  The pattern is my idea of heaven.  Quick, simple, cheap and very effective. 
The bracelet uses simple square knots and  threading bells on at regular intervals.  This was a new technique for me and I found the square knot tricky at first.  The first two photos show how I did it.  The thread for bells was always the same strand so I found keeping the needle threaded helped me see which part of the knot I was on. 
1-You start with four threads and separate the first and last thread out for knotting. 
2-Left thread over middle two to make a loop. 
3-Back thread comes over the first thread, tucked behind the central threads and through the loop on the left. 
4-Pull these threads slowly and evenly to make half of the knot.  The needle is now on the right.
5- Repeat the process so that the needle ends up back on the left to make a square knot!
Hope this helps x

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Belated Birthday Bear.

Ladies and Gentlemen....Presenting Penny Bear in all her Royal Glory!  I've been meaning to post this for a while as it was a lovely gift from one of my sisters for Katie's 6th birthday.  Isn't it ace?  The present arrived just as Hubby and I were rushing around to get ready for a surprise birthday meal.  It got packed in the changing bag and brought along when we picked  up the girls.  The evening was a riot of little girls having a whole restaurant wrapped around their dainty fingers and the crown- well- crowned it off!  Seriously, the waiters were enchanted by my little madam in a crown, placing her own orders and skipping around to introduce Penny to the chefs.  She basically had the whole restaurant wish her a happy birthday as we left (By name, I might add).  Baby Hannah wasn't going to be out done either as she sang "Twinkle Twinkle", danced to "Jingle Jangle  scarecrow" and flutter her little lashes to the waiters.  What finally sent me off into hopeless laughter was our charming waiter go down on his knee, hold out his arms and have both my little heart-breakers run into his arms to hug him goodbye.  I'm in for a rough ride with these two, I think!

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

To party or not to party??

That little Minx!  I had a fantastic "Charlie and the Chocolate birthday party planned for my little ones 6th birthday and she changed her mind just when I had gathered together party supplies and designed the invites!  This is what happens when they talk to other children- apparently, some of her gal pals thought that it would be "Too boyish" which, of course, put her off.  She then couldn't make up her mind and, over the next week she switched back and forth between ideas.
It's a shame as the games were going to be mega!  Oh well, we live but to serve, and managed to settle on a small family gathering, cake and a girls night out just the two of us at the movies.  I had a bit of fun designing a simple cake and trying out an icing bag with very basic success.  I put most of the issues down to the natural food colouring I used.  It seemed a good idea at the time but, the pale colours meant that i needed loads to achieve a sludgy colour which, in turn, thinned the butter cream too much.  She loved it though which is all that mattered and I've not been put off trying again another time.

Home improvements- Cath Kidston style!

I haven't been lazy this month- honest!  There's been lots of little jobs to finish and I'm getting into the whole mending thing (there always seems to be something that needs a tweak and a stitch).  Now thatt the holidays are here I've been able to attack some of those jobs that have been on the to-do list for a while.  I planned to jazz up my girl's curtains using my left over bunting fabric and was looking online for applique techniques but actually found a very simple technique in the Cath Kidston "Sew" book that I've been meaning to start since Christmas when I recieved it.  Don't they look fab!  I think I've morphed into Calamity Jane...I remember watching the "Never underestimate a woman's touch" song when I was little and thinking that putting ribbons on a chair was so far over the edge of taste that it was cringe-worthy.  Oh dear, how I have fallen.  I've chintzed up a perfectly simple set of curtains with the girliest fabrics around (Hate them, if you dare!)

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Sew, a needle pulling thread!

Greetings from the Von Trapp sisters!  This was a June project that had to wait until I could pin both girls down long enough to take a picture of them!  Don't they look like the fabulous curtain outfits made by Maria as play clothes?  Now that's what I call "Thrifty" (and bordering on the realms of cruelty to children)
These cute little headscarves were to allow crazy running around without losing their head covers- something which "accidently" seems to happen a lot with big sister.  But, oops, the triangles aren't deep enough for the point to be tucked into the tied up scarf so instead we get that comical blindness as the tail flips over the face as they run around.  
This is just a variation of my pretty bunting.  
1-Hem a triangle around the two diagonal edges.
2-Fold bias tape over the straight edge leaving long enough tales.  
3-Stitch straight across bias tape to make the ties and Bob's your uncle!

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Birthday DS covers

It's birthday time in our family with a huge amount of special days coming up.  2 little girls in the family are finally getting their very own DS so I've whipped up a couple of DS cases in matching colours so that the two girls can have matching gifts- They've even got the the same game to play on, which is going to give them another chance for a natter on the phone I suppose... 
Why do we put our own age restrictions on things we are not too keen on?  After years of her asking and being answered with "not until you're 6", I swear she seemed to lose interest.  Until, that is, a couple of moonths ago when she calmly announced a list of things which she expected on this birthday.  It turrns out that the "Not until..." line had been used for a whole variety of wants that we tried to hold her off from and now she is waiting for the big pay out !
So, it's "Yes" to a DS (second hand)
"No" to Disneyland (until number 2 is bigger)
and "Maybe" for the ballet lessons (I didn't realise that there were waiting lists for these things?!)
Anyway, back to these cases.  This design is by my sister Jess.  Well, she doesn't class it as a design as it is so simple.  But simple is what we all want in a design, especially when it looks so good and does the job well. 
So, using single crochet, make a rectangle long enough to double over + flap allowance and slightly under the width allowing for the edging.  Single crochet all around whilst joining the edges cuts the job down by half and makes the cover look really seamless.  I did add a tiny front pocket for a single cased game for the busy girl on the move.  I toyed with the idea of adding a strap but as we have a car bag- and that's primarily where it will live- I left well enough alone. 

And now for a brief moan about velcro...Stick on velcro seemed like such a good idea.    Ok, the thread HATED the glue and ended up breaking and knotting causing many holes to my delicate pinkies.  I changed over to non-stick for ds case number 2 which was much easier but as I only had black velcro it doesn't look as nice.  I'm  sure they will love it anyway! 

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Why is there never enough time?!

 I have finally fallen into the category of "Pulling out a favourite pattern" brigade.  Gone are the days when each patterns was new and devoured at great speed, now my time is filled with the ever increasing babies and the gifts that need to be made.  So, again, out come my "Tasty Crochet" book and another picnic pack is created.  Although, I must say that each time, the idea gets tweaked a little and improved. 
As I have two nephews approaching their first birthday I decided that a lunch box for them to tote around with their play lunch would be just the thing!  I loved the mental image of them squeezing the soft toys as babies and growing to play picnics and then using their little bags at playgroups (so grown up!)  Several adults did not seem to get the gift- My husband's side see my crafty gifts as a bit hmmmmm- but hey, it was made for a tot and I know tots LOVE play food!
 Don't you just love the lunch box? A fiver from matalan which was a bargain.  I made a sweet little napkin/ table cloth out of the gorgeous fabric from my recent swaps and it all wrapped up a treat.

And now for a thrifty tip....
In my attempts to Make do and mend I finally had a go at saving some of those beautiful candle holders that I could not bear to throw away.  The rational in keeping these was to clean them out and fill with new candles, sweets or treats and cellophane up with ribbons for a easy Christmas gift (I'm thinking of end of year Teacher gifts...) 
VERY important- Heating in the microwave is a BAD idea!  It seemed so practical but I forgot all about the metal wick holder which immediately started to spark and crackle.  Thankfully I was standing by and pulled them out before the thing exploded.
So, placed in boiling water for 2-3 minutes to loosen the edges and they popped out like removing a jelly from it's mould.  A bit of a wash in soapy water and don't they look lovely!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Hero day costumes!

Here are my Hero Day costumes from February.  Yes it's a tad late going on but, when you have a husband with a bit of a camera obsession, it takes a while to find the pictures!  Especially since he rarely remembers to upload or edit the dodgy ones...You know the ones, the pics where he think you look fine but your eyes are closed, you look like you've got a double chin and you really should have put make-up on that morning.
Mother Teresa took forever but looks great!  I attacked my local charity shops for cheap fabric and both costumes ended costing  less than £10.  My costume involve a bed sheet cut in two pieces for a skirt and head scarf, and a blue £shop table cloth.  The strips took hours to cut, press in half, stitch and repress open to make the bands of blue but it was worth it .  The polo neck was £3 in Primark so all in all, a thrifty costume.  The day itself was blanketed with snow but I stood at the gate without a coat (it would have spoilt the look!) and my little blue sandals and welcomed each child in.  I must admit that the best part was driving to work in full dress- the looks I got on the way was priceless as were the reactions of my work colleagues!

Now, Katie's costume was lots of fun.  I found an adult grey jumper for the chain mail which I lay her on top of, cut around her, pinned and stitched on the reverse The tunic was one of Hannah's old baby sheets cut, pinned and stitched on the reverse (this one took a while).  The cloak and matching emblem was an adults red t-shirt cut, gathered and edged with little crosses.  I used Velcro to attach and remove the cloak and the sword and shield cost about £3 from amazon.  I'm so pleased Katie chose St George as the school have a dress up day on St Georges Day.  Can you guess what she wore??

Friday, 27 April 2012

It's getting better all the time!

I have neglected my crafts this past few months- sorry.  But I've had a dark few months.  Nothing has happened per say but I've been on a roller coaster of emotions which is finally starting to settle down.  One of the flies in my ointment has been my house.  I've never bonded with it after almost 6 years.  This will make sense to all you ladies out there, I know.  If you don't like your home, you feel without an anchor...
So, after a lot of soul searching, I've decided that this year I must love my house.  After a short visit to my lovely sister's home, I was inspired by every tiny homemade touch.  A name plate for the front door, tea cosies (one was mine!) glass painting and even a beautiful basket for the lowly loo roll.  Some bought, homemade and given meant that her home had a soul and felt loved. 
I think that I've spent so long making things for others that I've forgotten to make this house my home.  2012 marks the year of domestic bliss!
Project 1- Make the curtains fit.
The cheap curtains we bought to "make do" never fit and neither did my nice Next ones from our last house.  So out came the sewing machine and a shaky pair of scissors and...snip, snip, snip they were cut to length.  A bit of steam pressing those hems, pinning and measuring means that each set looks much better.  I really must paint those window sills this weekend though!  I wasn't brave enough to attack my expensive set but happily paid out a few pounds and got them done just right by my local cleaners. (no photo for that one as the room's too dark)

I'm overwhelmed with ideas now and can't wait to make my house a home- wish me luck!

Sunday, 26 February 2012

And then two came along at once....

My last post was about my first swap and yes, I wait and wait and then two came along at once! I happened across a swap and was actually in time to join in- what are the odds eh! This one came with a list of likes and dislikes to lead my gift choices. This got me stuck for a while as I wanted to stay away from the obvious as my swappee loves chocolate, fudge and lavender. I ended up just giving the gifts a bit of a twist and made...

1- Chocolate, pistachio and almond fudge (I hope it makes it there ok)
2-Lavender heart keyring- so she can keep lavender with her all day
3- Everlasting flowers- until the Spring brings out the bulbs!

The fudge was so easy and yummy- It's from Nigella's Express book and can be kept in the fridge but is best in the freezer where you can sneak chunks straight from the drawer and into your mouth. YUM
The flowers were made from floristry ribbon using the kit I purchased from the Glow event in Bluewater last month. I'm hoping to make up some more bunches for Mothers day.
The heart keyring was a wrench to give away as I absolutely loved it. I had so much fun using some of the embroidery skills I've picked up this year to make an old fashioned floral design. I made a mini bag and stuffed as much lavender as I could inside and blanket stitched beads around the edge.

I do hope you love it.

Thanks for organising this snipsnaphappy!

A pause before publishing this post.....My own parcel arrived on Monday!

I've only just started making things for me to keep as there is always a birthday or celebration to cater for so I LOVED getting these thoughtful gifts. Mine came from lily@makingitvintage and they are all corkers. The peg bag is swinging on the line- one of my many on my to do list- and my fabric, calender and paper will all be stashed for the right project. But my favourite and best are these fingerless gloves! I joined Slimmingworld last year and have managed to lose 4 stone which is wonderful but leaves me with very cold hands and feet! Who knew that those skinny girls with multiple vests and tops weren't being fashionable but were just really, really cold? So, yes, I love them! They go on in the morning so I have nice warm hands when it comes to changing my baby's nappy (don't worry, I take the gloves off for that) and they stay on for morning lessons until I am truly warmed up. I only got them 4 days ago and they are hardly off and the classes I teach think they are fab too. So a huge thank you Lily and I hope your own gift will be as much loved as mine x

Fabulous February Swaps

I love reading about other peoples swaps. I've always seemed to miss them though so I had an idea. Why not do a mini swap with my fabulous crafty sisters? It would be such a treat to get a surprise packet once in a while. So, we all agreed for a February parcel based on the theme of "Hearts". Theming the swap seemed such a good idea at the time but you end up wracked with insecure choices and worry over them liking it. In the end, I opted to just have fun with it and got a bit carried away I must admit!

My parcel contained:

1-A felt notebook cover (for all those designs and crafty ideas)

2-A "Mug Hug" from my "Cute and Easy" crochet book

3-Herbal Tea bags with paper heart tags (featuring sentimental notes)

4- Heart Cookie (Christmas box- couldn't resist)

5- Fimo heart buttons- Not my best work but not bad for a first attempt.

One of my sisters posted that this was a monthly thing. God No, it took me most of the month to do these! I will do a separate post for my sisters beautiful gifts. It was like getting a hug in the post my girls- I look forward to our next challenge!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Glow event at Bluewater

I went to my first craft event on Friday and had such a blast! These things are always far away day events that wouldn't be up my husband's and little girl's street. I had heard about the Glow event at Bluewater earlier this year as I was invited to teach there but, as it's on my day with my little tot, I decided not to go. Friday came and I thought I would pop in as I had jobs at Bluewater and I grinned the whole time!

I stocked up on healthy nibbles for my baby, milk and planned rest stops but she spent most of the time holding my hand and toddling around as I one-handed pushed the buggy. The Mermaid's Grotto was our favourite- I don't think we could make one pass without popping in and waving to all the fish and stroking the seaweed strands. The life-sized Mermaid and Fisherman are amazing don't you think? I love her hair and false eyelashes!

I met the wonderful Erika Knight who's books I learnt to crochet by and did finger knitting with Hannah on my knee. She is bringing out her own range of stunning wools and individual patterns for downloading which is a great idea. She also said that she's bringing out a new crochet book for Baby patterns which I must get.

I saw the exhibit of costumes from Downton abbey and managed to even quickly stitch my name into the world's longest embroidery- this was tricky as Hannah was again on my knee, babbling away and pretending to sew with the other ladies.

I did buy myself one treat. There was a stall demonstrating how to turn florist ribbon and tape into amazing flowers. The chap who demonstrated had all the right patter and made it look so effortless that you knew it would actually be really hard. He whipped up two flowers so quickly for my girls and spritzed them with perfume ( which is so 1970s). But it looked like something new and a craft I have never done before so I bought into it happily, knowing that I may flop but I would enjoy the process! I bought the starter kit which came with loads of different colour ribbon, tape, dvd of techniques and the special cutting tool. Then I spent a happy couple of hours getting to grips with it all. Guess what? It worked! I love the ones so far and will pop some pictures up when I have made a few bunches. With Mother's day coming up, I know what I'll be making...