Friday, 27 July 2012

Playing with stamps & markers :-)

Hello there! Today I would like to share with you some of the things I have been working on when I have been upstairs keeping out of the way of the DIY...
I had a few birthday cards to make & decided to have a play with some of the new stamps I bought on last months' trip to Sunderland. This first one is for a young girl I have never met (& in all likelihood never will!), I think a lot of us have people in that category in our lives & I personally find it very hard to know what kind of card to do for them so I hope she likes it...
The next two were easier, this one is for one of my sister's-in-law...
 ...and this is for a dear Auntie in Canada who I really wish lived closer so I could give her these flowers in person...
I have also been working on a new crochet project. I know, I'd said I wasn't starting anything new until I'd finished something BUT... the old bathmat is dying & I wondered if I could come up with something to replace it using some of the lovely cotton yarn I brought back from the States last summer... (any excuse huh?!) The colors go just perfectly with the new pale blue painted walls & I was rattling along LOVING every minute of these hexagons when I realised something... there is no way I have enough yarn!!! I can't find anything comparable locally but have started investigating a lead online so hopefully this will (one day) become our new bathroom mat...
I have been working on the dragon too & have finally finished all the stitching - YAY!!! Here he is drying off after his wash, hopefully he will get his beads this weekend...
I plan on making him into a wall hanging so I guess I better start looking at what I will need for that! I hope you have a lovely weekend whatever you are up to, thank you for dropping by today :)

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

The delinquent blogger & birthday goodies!

Hello there! I have been rather neglectful of my blog posting & blog reading over the last few weeks but when your only bathroom looks like this...

other things take priority for a little while!!
I helped where I could & kept out of the way the rest of the time & I am very happy to say this job is now nearly finished :) New plasterboard replaced the soggy stuff that crumbled onto the floor with the tiles &, in the hopes it will prove a better waterproof layer than the tiles did, it was covered in sparkly wetwall...
We replaced the old cracked sink & repainted the room, then hubbie made me a couple of shelves for the corner which I covered in good old sticky back plastic. I also covered the plastic storage for the shelves in the same pebble design sticky back plastic and voila! - one almost finished bathroom! :)
Okay you know it didn't go as smoothly as that but anyways... In the midst of all this I (rather selfishly) had a birthday. Work stopped for a little while as I opened my goodies, including these lovely handmade cards from crafty friends Cathy...

& Lori... 
 and these beautiful pressies from Lori!


Thank you so much I love them!!! Oooooh red gingham and little padded hearts? I think she knows me too well! I don't know that I will ever be able to bring myself to deface such a beautiful notebook by actually writing in it but it looks gorgeous sitting on the shelf in my craft space :) Hubbie remarked that I have been meaning to make myself a pincushion for a long time so now I could use this lovely biscornu, but I'm not sure I could stick pins in it so for the moment it is sitting next to my work chair in the living room where the sparkly white beads round the edge & the jewel-like button in the center catch any stray bit of sunlight that happens to show itself round here! The cards will stay up in the living room for a little while longer & then these two will join the notebook in my craft space because the next DIY job on hubbie's list is repainting the living room :/ 
I hope to be back with a couple of catch up posts before then, as long as I can find a little patch of peace & quiet to write in! Thank you for dropping by to visit with me today - I hope you are having a lovely week whatever this summer is bringing you :)



Thursday, 19 July 2012

A spot more sewing...

Hello there! It has been one of those chaotic weeks here - partly because hubbie is now on holidays from work which means another big DIY job is under way, and partly because my old, beloved washing machine finally died at the end of last week so we have been sorting out a replacement & running back & forth to my eldest son's house to do laundry! Of course I have to have a cuddle with/ feed baby H on every visit so it is not a quick call each time ;)
I haven't managed to add a stitch to the poor dragon WIP in over a week but I do have some other sewing I can share with you today (as you might have guessed from the title of this post). I think I might have mentioned before how handy  deadly Ebay is for me when it comes to buying crafting goodies? Well the other week I saw some gorgeous fabric. I didn't have a clue what I could do with it, but I had to think of something because it even started invading my dreams! No one else in the house seemed that enthusiastic about it when showed the pictures, or when I floated some ideas for things I could make with it, but I pressed on regardless because I HAD to have it. Somewhere where I could see it every day. I was totally bitten by it, can you tell? ;-) Eventually I decided I would make some cushion pads for the chair backs in the kitchen. "Why? The chairs are really comfy, they don't need a cushion!" I got told. "It will make it look pretty" I replied, which earned me an answering grunt...
I planned & measured & emailed the seller with a couple of questions, she was very prompt in replying, and I purchased the quantity she suggested. I bought the same fabric in two colorways because a) I couldn't decide which one I loved the most & b) I solved that problem by planning on making the fronts from one colorway & the backs from the other. 
I was very excited to receive the thin package in the mail a few days later, but unfortunately we had had a mix up between inches & centimetres & there was not enough fabric to use as I had planned :( It was beautiful tho'! So time for a rethink...  In the end I went fabric shopping locally & found a fabric I could use with both colorways to make the backs of the cushions leaving me enough fabric to do two fronts in each colorway. I also bought some more batting/wadding (whichever you want to call it!) to pad the cushions with. The last couple of materials I needed for this project were buttons & ribbons from my stash so now I was good to go. I found the trickiest part of putting them together was working out how to attach the ribbons at the top corners so they sat the way I wanted them to, but I got there in the end...
 I used some of the heart ribbon I bought in Sunderland a few weeks ago to make loops to sit around the tops of the chair.
I used some brown gingham ribbon from my stash at the bottom two corners of the cushion to tie at the back of the chair.
This is the red gingham fabric I bought locally to back the cushions (you can also see the brown gingham bows better in this photo).
I used four layers of batting/wadding to pad the cushions with & slipstitched the bottom edge of each cushion closed.

The final detail was to stitch six buttons on the front of each cushion to help keep the filling in place. I used two different designs of the hand painted wooden buttons I bought from ebay a few months ago...
 flowers... 
 ...and butterflies.
 Once I had worked out the first cushion the other three were much quicker to finish, and at least I can honestly say this is one project where I have bought the materials & completed the whole thing inside of a week! (A constant refrain in this house is "Why are you buying more craft stuff when you haven't used up everything you already have?") 
Now the cushions are in use the family like them & maybe would even go so far as seeing the point of them! I will leave you with one last shot of the chairs sitting around the kitchen table...
Thank you for dropping by to visit me today - I hope you are having a lovely week filled with good things :-) 

Thursday, 12 July 2012

A spot of sewing

Hello hello! Good afternoon! 
Do you find your trips around the blogosphere inspiring??? In the five months since I started exploring here I have found delights I would never have dreamed of & a wealth of friendly folk sharing their ideas & experiences - how come I didn't know about all this sooner?!?!?!A few weeks ago I was reading Kristen's blog and thought "Wow! That's just what I need to make!" If you haven't visited her blog before do go on over & say hi - she makes beautiful things! On this particular post she was sharing a clothespin bag she had made. Now my bag for the clothes pegs was in a sorry state. A very sorry state. I have no idea why I hadn't really thought about doing anything about it until I read Kristen's post, but once I saw her new bag I became even more ashamed of mine barely hanging together lopsidedly on the line. Last week I spent a big chunk of time sorting out the loft, including pulling out ALL my fabric, throwing it all across my (absent) son's bedroom floor, & sorting it into piles by color. By doing this I reacquainted myself with remnants I hadn't seen in years & hopefully have made it a lot easier to select coordinating fabrics for future projects - sometimes being good & tackling a yucky non crafty job like the loft has unforeseen crafty rewards ;-) ! When I realised I needed to rediscover a bedroom floor for the returning offspring I set about packing the piles into boxes & bags, but decided it would be a good time to pick out some fabrics for a new peg bag first. For while I had been sorting the loft most of my brain had wandered off to a happy place thinking about new things to make with my reorganised stash ;-) 
The peg bag in Kristen's post was from a beautifully simple idea at this blog. Given a fabric placemat or even a teatowel the whole thing should take 15 minutes. So I wasn't going to do it that way!!!! Why do I always have to over complicate things???? Well I decided I could tweak it a bit & give myself a practice at a technique I'm thinking of using on some Christmas presents this year (I told you my brain was off roaming while I sorted!).
I picked two old curtains that were the same type of fabric but in different colorways but to make the actual bag out of & three small scraps of fabric to make the owl from. I haven't done any applique since second year at school (...ummm...many years ago!) so, while it is far from perfect, I'm still quite satisfied with the result...
After all he is going to sit outside on the washing line & probably get rained on a lot so he doesn't need to be 100% spot on. (This was actually quite hard for the perfectionist in me to accept!) I used some wool from my stash to embroider his beak & picked two buttons from the big button tin that used to be my Nan's for his eyes
He probably took me about 4 enjoyable hours to make, I took photos along the way so I can post a tutorial in the next day or so of exactly what I did for those of you who are interested. Overall he is a VAST improvement on the old peg bag (which went straight in the bin once the pegs were in Mr Owl - a sign of just how far gone the fabric was that it didn't even make the recycle pile!) so now all I need is some dry weather to peg some laundry out!!!
I hope you are enjoying your day whatever the weather. Thank you for dropping by to visit!


Note: I have now added a tutorial for this project, you can find it under the tutorial tab at the top of the page under Applique Peg Bag - I would love to hear how you get on if you make one!

Monday, 9 July 2012

Cards & WIP progress

Hello there! Today I have some birthday cards that I can share with you now they have reached their intended destinations. 
Firstly, a card for one of my uncles in Canada...
I used plain white paper with various colors of ink pads & my big ink blending brushes (which are kinda like blusher brushes) to make the multicolored background. I stamped it with some stamps from my stash & matted it twice, firstly on a pale green pearlescent card & then on a dark green paper. Finally I mounted it on a plain white 5"x7" card.
My brother's eldest celebrates her birthday on the same day as my uncle & I made this card for her...
For this one I had a play with some vellum & an embossing grid which were the free gift on one of the card making magazines a little while ago. I hadn't tried this technique before & I was quite pleased with the resulting little butterflies! I colored them on the reverse with watercolor pencils as the magazine suggested - I think I will be playing with this again ;-) I glued the butterflies along their bodies only to a patterned blue paper so that they looked like they had just landed - NOTE: do not use PVA glue to stick vellum, it crinkles horribly & I had to start again :0 I used my Martha Stewart glue pen second time round which worked fine. I matted this on a tan paper & then a dark turquoise paper & cut along three sides of the rectangle with edging scissors. I used double sided sticky tape to secure a length of turquoise patterned ribbon down one side & attached it all to a dark pink card. Using a corner punch I punched flowers in the bottom corners of the card & added a silver peel-off for the greeting.
Number three was for a friends' daughter who celebrated a special birthday last week...
I used my Pazzle to cut out the numbers & glued them onto some mirrored card from my stash. Using a pink ink pad I stamped cupcakes on the pink card & the greeting on some cream card. I found a piece of darker pink ribbon in my ribbon draw & wrapped it round the mirrored card before attaching it to the pink card. I used a punch to round the corners of the greeting & mounted it using sticky fixers. I rounded two corners of the pink card in the same way & finished it off with dark green Candis in the four corners. 
Just as I was about to clear away for the day my daughter asked me if I could make a card for one of her friends. This is a girl who loves baking so this chipboard diecut sprang to mind!
I used a couple of coordinating papers wrapped with two different ribbons at the top & the bottom for Tatty Teddy & his butterfly friend to sit on. The corners were rounded with the punch as before. I stamped the greeting in a blue ink & mounted it & the butterfly using sticky fixers. Then it really was time to clear up & go cook supper!
Just before I go today I thought I would show you how my stitchy WIP (Work In Progress) is coming along...
This last week I managed to spend a couple of evenings stitching & finally got the moon finished! YAY! I also got some more of the back stitching done, but as this is dark grey it doesn't really show up until you're pretty close up to it... Lots more backstitching & the border to tackle in the coming week - I will take another photo next Sunday to show you how far I get with it...
Well the chores are calling me so time to go... I hope you have a lovely week, thank you so much for taking the time to stop by & visit me today! 



Friday, 6 July 2012

A new blanket love :-)

Hello again! Today I want to share my new big crochet project with you. It's probably not a very seasonal thing to be making in midsummer, but I think I'm addicted to making blankets! Be warned, this could be a long post as I am in love with this project already :)
Before the Rainbow Flower Circle Blanket was totally finished I was already having thoughts about what the next blanket should look like. That's one of the wonderful things about the internet - there are just SO MANY gorgeous blankets/afghans/& throws out there to inspire!!! So where to start?? Well luckily for this project I had three definite starting points...
Firstly, size. This blanket needs to be big enough to cover a double bed so hubbie & I can snuggle up under it together, it will be the biggest blanket I have made to date. One of my sons wants a ripple blanket & I really want to make a granny stripe blanket at some point, but for this size of blanket I decided to stick with constructing it from squares. But oh boy, what a huge variety of beautiful squares there are out there to choose from! 
The second parameter was ease. Thanks to my lovely daughter I have a wonderful selection of 200 crochet blocks in the book she bought me for Mother's Day, but having tried a few of them now I am beginning to appreciate that some of them take a great deal more concentration than others! This project is going to go everywhere with me; I want to be able to work on it in the front room whilst watching tv, to take it to friends' houses to work on while we chat, to work up a few squares in the car waiting outside my daughter's piano lessons, & to bring it out to the garden to enjoy any sunny days we might get! So I don't want to have to be looking at a pattern every few minutes (or trying to stop one blowing away in the breeze outside!). This guideline alone ruled out a lot of potential squares! I'm not saying I will never make blankets like that, one day I probably will because there are just too many beautiful squares that fall into that category for me to resist :) But today is not that day. 
However, I have been finding blankets made by combining squares of different sizes very alluring of late, so I thought if I made one along those lines I could make the biggest sized square (which I would only need a few of) a bit more complicated. It was around this time in my thought process that I discovered the free patterns at yarncrazy.com - crochet lovers this site is definitely worth a visit! One design particularly jumped out at me as it resembles the Celtic artwork I love, I just had to give it a try... 
It's called Waldo's Puzzle and measures a whopping 12" square! Although the pattern says it should come out at 12" it also gives guidelines on adding rounds if your one doesn't (which mine didn't) so the last two rounds here are my addition.
For this blanket I'm mainly using the Sirdar Supersoft Aran I blogged about here along with the Robin Aran also mentioned in that post & a couple of balls of the Woolcraft Aran yarn I mentioned here (in case you were wondering that blanket got cancelled because the squares demanded too much concentration!). Altogether I'm using 14 colors - oh did I mention the third parameter was color, as requested by hubbie this blanket is to be Bright!
The first of these squares took me a whole night with some pulling out along the way, but the second was a bit quicker...
I decided I could cope with making four of these squares for the center of the blanket, so only had to pick a medium sized & a small sized square to go with them.
One of the lovely blogs I enjoy reading is Kate's Signed With An Owl blog. Do pop over & visit her if you get the chance! I have been itching to try her Squaring the Big Circle square so decided to work one up & see how the size compared to Waldo's Puzzle. Happily I found it worked out at 8" &, although the first one took me a little concentration to get right, by the time I had made a few of them I could pretty much remember what I was doing without looking at the pattern! 
For the small square I decided to stick with the flower circle squares I used for the Rainbow Flower Circle Blanket. You would think that having just made 96 of them I would be sick of them, but I was actually missing them!!! You can find the pattern here at Attic 24. Using the Aran yarn they came out at 4" which was absolutely perfect for this project! Oh little flower circle squares how I love thee :-)
Having picked three different sized squares it was time to get out  the squared paper & a pencil & play with some different arrangements. I didn't want anything too uniform, have you ever noticed how hard it is to make something random? I think our brains subconsciously impose pattern on our world & when you come back to view your work you see there's a pattern there despite your efforts! Well in the end I found an arrangement I liked & set about making more squares. When we travelled to Northumberland this project went too (I did say it was going to go everywhere with me!) & I managed to complete a nice little pile of squares in the time away. The other day I reached one quarter of the total required so laid them all out on the floor to see what the design looked like in color for the first time! Would you like to see?
The squares will all need blocking before I join them but then this will form the bottom left hand corner of the blanket. What do you think? Now they're all next to each other I'm having second thoughts about the Waldo's Puzzle square. I'm not sure if it "belongs" or if it will look ok once it is joined by it's three friends? I think I will need to make them & see... 
Well apart from that one little doubt cloud I am loving this project! I am happily anticipating having it on our bed & yet I'm not impatient to get it done in a hurry. I am enjoying the pure indulgence of sitting contentedly hooking small & medium squares in the oh so soft, snuggly, colorful yarn :-) I haven't come up with a name for this blanket yet - any suggestions??
Well it has been a busy day so I'm going off to chill with some squares ;-) Thank you so much for dropping by today, I hope your weekend is lovely! 

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Monthly Makes - June


Hello there! July is now firmly under way but, before we totally leave it behind, here is a quick look at what I got up to in June... 
  My smaller projects this last month were four birthday cards, a new home card, & one crocheted baby toy. Two finished pieces of cross stitch, one for my daughter & one for my hubbie took a bit longer to complete. I also finished a big project this month. After seven weeks of crocheting happiness I was kinda sad to see the end of the rainbow flower circle blanket, but I have started working on a new blanket using the yarn in the box pictured above - I just haven't gotten around to posting about it yet :/ I'm hoping to get a chance to tell you about later in the week... 
Next month's collage might not contain as many projects as I have come to a Decision. This year is flying away too fast for my liking leaving me chasing my tail - I have especially felt that this last month. So with the start of the school summer holidays I have decided enough is enough, I'm going to tackle one job that I have been putting off for each of the seven weeks school is out. Some of them are crafty WIP's (Works In Progress) that have for varying reasons become stuck - oh ok let's call them what they truly are - UFO's (UnFinished Objects)!!! Others are jobs around the house or garden that I have been not quite getting around to...
I have been working on the first of these since Saturday - Tackling The Loft :/ I have dug numerous splinters out of my hands & boy do I a-c-h-e all over, but at least now I can announce that, as of June 30th, the Christmas decorations are finally, properly packed away!! It had gotten into a big mess up there with things being shoved up & back until there wasn't much floor left to stand on. There will be some more trips to the charity shop & to the recycling center, & I need to clear up the mess I've made sorting things across my son's bedroom floor (I'm borrowing it because he's away this week), but the end is definitely in sight - I might even manage to squeeze some daytime crafting time in this week :)
Thank you for dropping by today, I hope you are enjoying this first week of July however you are spending it!

Sunday, 1 July 2012

A Bunny & a Dragon

Hello! Thank you for stopping by, today I have some stitching to share with you. Some of you know hubbie has a soft spot for DMC's character Somebunny to Love so it probably doesn't come as much of a surprise to hear that I spent the first half of June secretly stitching one of these designs for his birthday. I had planned doing a much larger one, but the days were rapidly running away from me so I decided on a smaller chart from my files. 
 Hubbie likes dandelions - just not in our garden where he has a real vendetta against any that dare show their heads, so this seemed rather apt! There were some satin threads used in this design; the pink hearts in Somebunny's ear, the blue stripes on the sole of one foot, the lilac spots on the other, & the white of the dandelion clocks...
The other stitching I want to share with you today is my current WIP - the crescent moon dragon from Joan Elliott's book Bewitching Cross stitch. I started this design last year & loved working on it - it took me 12 weeks to get this far...
Reluctantly I left him behind when we went on our travels last summer & by the time we got home & I had crafting time again I was busy making presents & cards for birthdays & Christmas! So he sat... poor neglected dragon... I had every intention of picking him up in January but something always seemed to get in the way... plus my stitchy bug was off on his wanderings... so now my bug is home & I have a little space before I start thinking about Christmas again (!) it's time to bring the dragon out again & finish him off!!!
I plan on taking a photo of him each week & posting it so you can see how I get on... 
Thank you for stopping by to visit with me today, I hope the rest of your weekend is happy & fun filled :)