Friday 15 September 2017

A new home

My blog has a new home. Its purpose and format are still work in progress. You can follow my journey here...

Friday 24 April 2015

Just for fun

It's been a long while since my last post - a short break turned into over a year! I've still been crafting bits and pieces though! 

My most recent project was a Christmas present for my little niece, who was 2 in September. I decided that I'd like to try my hand at making some felt food. I've always admired the felt doughnuts and cupcakes that I've seen on Pinterest. 

I started collecting patterns and soon amassed quite a few! Patterns for ice creams, biscuits, cakes, sandwiches, pasta, pizza, hamburgers, .... The list goes on! So then I had to narrow it down!

I loved these ice cream patterns so decided that I'd make a little cafe set with ice cream, cakes and biscuits. 

The pattern is genius! The underside of each scoop has a piece of Velcro so that it attaches to the cone - you can even create double, or even triple, scoop ice creams! Yum (here's me, demonstrating how tasty it is)!

Very soon, I had made 4 cones and 9 scoops of ice cream (in colours to represent mint-choc-chip, chocolate, vanilla, lemon and strawberry. My amazing OH painstakingly cut the round holes for the stand before I covered it with gingham and white sticky-back plastic.

 Next I started on biscuits. I made some gingerbread men...

... and a selection of favourites...

The gingerbread men, "nice" and digestives are from my own patterns but the chocolate-creams, pink wafers, ring biscuits and ginger snaps came from this pattern. These were great fun to make too and I'm really pleased with how well they came out!

I then added some doughnuts based on this tutorial and some cupcakes adapted from this tutorial. Then, with the other half of the box divided into shelves, the little cafe was nearly complete! All of the cafe items can be packed into the "shelves" for storage (since they were just an old box to begin with!).

Of course, a cafe wouldn't be a cafe without a special flip notepad and a pen with which to take all the orders! And every good cafe needs a good name!

I had a ludicrous amount of fun making these, even though sewing Velcro is VERY hard on the fingers! I was just a teeny bit sad that I had to give them away but it seems the family have been enjoying lots of ice cream and cake since, so I suppose that makes it worthwhile!

(Thanks to my brother for taking the photos, I completely forgot!)

Saturday 3 January 2015

Since the last post I have completed the sewing of the selvedge bear (except for the dreaded foot pads which I'll leave for tomorrow!) and have started stuffing the head and the paws in the arm pieces. Will need to find my cotter pins tomorrow as I can't go any further without putting the joints in the limbs.
 The layered fabric has made many trips through the washing machine and has been spun repeatedly so it's looking a lot more hairy now! I'll decide what size bear to make and start cutting out pieces over the weekend.
Well it's been a few days and progress has been slow! I blame most of it on the fact I was celebrating OH's birthday over the weekend and lots of other things that weren't as exciting!
Anyway the bear is almost complete - I have the dreaded foot pads to do then I can turn, stuff and attach the legs. Oh, and the ears need to be sewn on. I am a little unhappy with the head for this bear as without the fur it's completely the wrong shape! Oh well, that'll teach me to make a scrap fabric prototype before using the good fabric - sigh. I'll complete it and post the pictures but will have to adjust the pattern until I'm happy with it before I make another selvedge bear. The selvedge effect is good and I'd like to try again when I've collected a few more!

Busy day yesterday - just didn't get a chance to upload progress.
Have finished the cutting of the layered fabric (wahoo!), so it has been photographed and is currently taking it's third trip through the washing machine.
I also cut out the pieces for a bear from the selvedge fabric. I had to sew around each piece after marking out and before cutting so that the layers stayed intact. It will make a bear that's about 7in tall - a bit small to show off the fabric fully but the piece of fabric wasn't enough for a larger bear. The pieces are pinned, ready to sew, and I have chosen paw pad material to match the darker selvedge colours. Oh well, time to get back to the sewing!
Urgh! The cutting is taking a very, VERY long time! I'm just over half way across the fabric and getting a teeny bit fed-up! But the colours are pretty and I hope the finished fabric will be nice - that's what I'm telling myself anyway! So I will persevere and get it done soon...
Anyway - here's a photo of the 5 fabrics I chose to use - colours are not very clear (looked at cameras today...) but there's a mint green cotton with black motifs; a lilac patterned silk; a turquoise printed silk; a cream herring-bone effect cotton; and a lilac herring-bone effect cotton. I have used the cream as the backing fabric and then layered the lilac silk, the green cotton, the turquoise silk and then the lilac cotton as the top layer.

03.07.11 Part 2..
Second piece of fabric started...
I have layered five pieces of scrap fabric, pinning them together carefully before sewing across them repeatedly at 1/4inch intervals. This took FOREVER as I should really have anticipated and I am now part way through the next step.
I am now cutting through the top four layers of fabric, half way between each pair of stitched rows. This process is going to take longer than the sewing! Hopefully the effect will be worth it!

Hmmm very difficult to photograph! Must get a better camera...
The original is more cream and less orange than the photo implies but the effect is the same - stripes of complementary fabrics. Each pair of selvedges is sewn together along the cut edge (right sides together) before being pressed flat. Then the pairs are pinned onto a backing fabric (in this case a plain white cotton) and sewn down with a zig-zag stitch. The selvedges won't fray so this stitch is just to keep it still.

Hmmm very difficult to photograph! Must get a better camera...
The original is more cream and less orange than the photo implies but the effect is the same - stripes of complementary fabrics. Each pair of selvedges is sewn together along the cut edge (right sides together) before being pressed flat. Then the pairs are pinned onto a backing fabric (in this case a plain white cotton) and sewn down with a zig-zag stitch. The selvedges won't fray so this stitch is just to keep it still.


Charity elephant

YDC86 Charity auction - 24th-28th March 2011

Welcome to my website!
Here I will document my progress with the mystery elephant - my contribution to March's YDC charity auction in aid of Shelterbox.
24.03.11  13.00 These are pictures of the prototype elephant in scrap fabric.
Best go for a rummage then and choose some suitably elephanty fabric....
24.03.11 18.00
Fabric chosen! Blue denim (mid blue I guess) and a complementary print - pale blue with green, dark blue and white leaf and flower pattern.
And after computer issues have finally managed to update this - have spent slightly longer trying to get the photos uploaded than I have spent on the project so far! Oops!
Pieces cut out and pinned in preparation for sewing. Progress is at last being made. Sewing for the evening then!
26.03.11 12.30 Completed the turning and stuffing yesterday (OH was hogging the computer or would have uploaded last night!) and have left the stuffing to "rest" before closing the hole . Have chosen eyes for the elephant and have pinned ears ready for stuffing.
I am currently embroidering the blanket for his back so pictures of completed elephant should be online today!
25.03.11 10.30 Sewing completed last night except for the foot pads which (I know from bitter experience) should NOT be attempted late at night when tired! No matter how dearly you want to finish a project!
So the leg and body gussets are sewn in. I've sewn round the trunk and the head and I even remembered to leave myself a turning hole in the back. Forgot on the prototype and had to stuff through a back leg! Not easy - hence the lumpy stuffing! Lesson learned!  :o)
Four foot pads to sew in next then! NOT my favourite job but got to be 1000 times easier than miniature bear pads.....
25.03.11 12.30 Yay! Foot pads done! All sewing completed! Can get on with the more exciting tasks of turning, stuffing and decorating!
26.03.11 23.30 Elephant is completed! Ears and eyes positioned and sewn in place. Stuffing hole closed up - I always forget how much polyester stuffing you can cram into a small space! Oh well, slight dent made in my stuffing mountain I suppose....
Blanket is made and embroidery started - large blank canvas to be filled yet.....
28.03.11 11.00  The elephant is completed and ready for it's new home! I have really enjoyed being back in the YDC this month - it's been great fun! I've really loved the challenge of creating something new on a deadline too!
I may have got a teeny bit carried away with the blanket embroidery but I do like intricate detail (reflected I suppose in my preference for making miniature teddies!) and, although it took a while, I think the overall effect is good!
It has become increasingly evident that I will have to invest in a better camera: one which will cope with taking close-ups and photos of miniatures.
Just realised the elephant might want a tail - so off to see what I can find......!
28.03.11 13.30  That's better! Tail is done and sewn on and now I really am ready for the auction to end in about 45mins!
Phew! Time for a cup of tea!

Friday 1 November 2013

Creativity Challenge - Round Up

I can't believe we have already reached the end of October! I'm not sure where it went!

My month of creativity is also over and I am pleased to report that I have managed to spend at least 30 minutes every day on a creative project. Yay!

I haven't completed half of the projects that I intended but they will wait for me. It's not helped by the fact that things kept getting added to the list!

So how have I got on for these last ten days? 

I have been ploughing on with my scrap quilt and I now have 26 completed blocks. I have a further 7 blocks sewn the first time, cut into strips and ready to be sewn back together. that just leaves 3 blocks to start. I was hoping to get them all finished yesterday but the sewing machine was having a funny 5 minutes so I gave up and got some other jobs done. Photos to follow when I have all the blocks completed.

Heather and I took a trip to Westonbirt last week to see if the Acers had started to change colour yet and I took a few photos as usual. There were some lovely colours already (click on the photos for a larger view)....

After all the high winds this week, I imagine there aren't many leaves left on the trees by now!

This week I baked a fruit cake ready for Christmas. There is something very cruel about slowly baking a cake over 4 hours. The whole house was filled with the tempting aromas of fruit and spices. And we don't even get to eat it yet!! 

It looks pretty good though - a tried and tested Mary Berry recipe that Mum's been using for years. 


I might have lied slightly about not getting to try it yet...

... our tin was a little smaller than the recipe called for so there was a little mixture left over for a dinky "test-cake". One to eat and one to keep. How does it get better than that!?! Taste testing will commence over the weekend: notes to follow.

A few things crossed off the list then...

...but a little way to go yet before this list is finished. I need to buy some fleece fabric before I can make the felt slippers - that's my job for next week. I think I'll make the peg bag out of the leftover fabrics from my scrap quilt.

Heather's been struggling a little to fit in the challenge around a new job, so I only have a few things to show from her this time. She made a mega chocolate cake:


The recipe, Devil's Food Cake, looked similar to Heather's cake until she went a bit overboard with decorations...

It was really good. And I have to confess that it was even better warmed up with a smidgen of ice cream. Heather renamed it the "Spawn of the Devil Cake" as we dread to think the calorie content of this creation! Mmmmm.... cake!

She also completed a couple of paper cuts and has been experimenting with backgrounds:

She's very clever! The little birds are so cute!

Well, I think that's it for our creativity challenge. I hope you have enjoyed finding out what we've been up to - I've certainly enjoyed committing time to creativity. It is definitely something I'd like to keep up if possible. After all, I have a quilt to finish and several other projects to start....

Have a lovely weekend.

Monday 21 October 2013

Creativity Challenge - Progress Report 5

I can't believe quite how fast we are steaming through October but I am managing (just about!) to keep up with my challenge, although I have been a little lax about posting my efforts.

Last week, I met up with a friend from many years ago who was visiting from Japan. I haven't seen her in 11 years and it was sooooo good to see her. It's funny how, with some people, it seems like no time has passed and you can get back to where you left off. Her visit was way too short so I'd really like to save up my pennies and visit her in Japan - I wonder what it would take to make it possible.... must look into that!

I have been ploughing on with my quilt blocks. I now have 12 completed blocks and 4 more at the strips-sewn-together stage. It's looking really good and I just hope I can continue to make progress without too many mistakes. 

(And yes, I know this is only six blocks but the photo of the other six didn't come out well at all!)

I also made ginger cake...

... it won't be winning any Bake Off challenges but it's goooooood!

I also spent a pleasant half hour (or so...) pinning pictures of butterflies. 

I like butterflies.


There's something joyful and exuberant in their colours and patterns. And the weather has taken a definite swing winter-wards so I needed joy and exuberance! You can see my collection of pins here. I strayed into butterfly related crafty-ness too - who knows when I might get a chance to add butterflies to our decorations...

I seem to have missed posting two of Mum's posts - she been making labels and seems to have got a teeny-bit hooked on covering things in fabric. Sadly Heather has been working rather hard and hasn't managed to give me photos of what she's been up to - hopefully on her days off this week. 

Have a great week everyone.

Tuesday 15 October 2013

Creativity Challenge - Progress Report 4

It is quite strange the way sometimes creativity involves destruction. 

I now have a pile of over 200 fabric strips (16" x 2.5"). I have finished cutting strips for the time being and I am slowly beginning their transformation from this....


to these...

I think they look really good! I'm so glad I decided that my first real attempt at patchwork would be with scrap fabrics: it gives me the opportunity to be more relaxed about mistakes as I know that I am only playing with scraps. And the technique is so clever! Rather than messing around with loads and loads of tiny squares you sew the strips, cut them up and then sew them together again - easy peasy! The pattern is one from Bonnie K Hunter's lovely site "Quiltville's Quips and Snips" (pattern here) where there are so many fantastic ideas for scrap quilts (many beyond my abilities!). I'm sure she can explain the magic better than I can!

I have 3 blocks finished...

...only another 33 to go! 

Mum's finished another set of "Moppe" drawers - I think she may be hooked! I wonder what will be covered in fabric next!?! Her latest post is here.

Heather's been doing some paper cutting - she's promised me a photo so I'll share when I have it. 

It's quite refreshing this whole creativity thing - I like being able to learn something new. If you could learn a new craft, what would it be?
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