Thursday, 28 April 2011

Weekend update

This weekend we are planning to re-create the 'weekend that never was' and heading up to Aberdeenshire tomorrow to stay with the in-laws for a couple of days.  I may be a bit quiet as we usually take a 'No Technology' oath when we have these weekend breaks - no computer, no I-pod (me), no I-pad (him), no mobile phones (both of us).  This was primarily the reason my sewing roll was created.  Last time I planned to do some hand sewing and applique the hearts onto my 2 love heart cushions.  For this weekend I was thinking of trying some hexagons.  I'll pack some supplies for this and see whether I get the chance to give them a go. 

I thought I'd share with you some of the goodies I recieved in my order today from, (they don't just sell ribbons, but binding, buttons etc too). 

Don't you just love this 'measuring tape' printed ribbon?? I'll use it very sparingly, just an inch here or there!  It'll be great for 'sewing related' projects, i.e. pin cushion, needlebook, more sewing rolls/little artist's cases.

Some fat little bags of v-e-r-y highly scented lavender, lovely!  Great for scented hangers - I was thinking of making one for my car rather than for wardrobes/drawers etc.

How cute is this little stack of polka dot buttons?  Almost too cute to break open to use!  I will use these very reluctantly since there's only 1 of each colour.  They will be one of those oh-so-pretty things that you own and take out to look at every now and then, then store them away carefully because they're too precious to 'waste'! 

This was also included in my parcel, and made me very happy :)

Do you see those 2 words that made me especially happy?  'I'm' and 'free'!  It's a very generous selection of Easter/Spring ribbons.  And not just rubbishy plain boring ribbons either - these 2 fantastic ones were included amongst some other printed ones -

Very cute ladybirds.

And some very very cute chickens! With a co-ordinating fabric for the back, I think this would look great as a belt for a child, just like my fabric/lace belt I made recently.

Oh, by the way, this post isn't sponsored by Crafty Ribbons, however, Crafty Ribbons, if you're reading this, all offers will be considered lol!  Seriously, if you read this blog often, you'll be well aware of my love of ribbons and especially buttons! 

Now, Easter may well be over, but I have become such a great fan of my homemade Hot Cross Buns* that today, I made a Hot Cross Loaf!

Absolutely delicious - and the perfect size for the toaster, yum!

*I'm not sure if you guys outside of the UK have Hot Cross Buns?  If not, you could try the recipe from here - (although I have never used orange zest - just lemon).

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

A new design

Have you seen all the tutorials out there for crayon rolls?  Basically a little fabric roll up for holding crayons.  It's been on my to-do list for ages, and now that my son is starting to take more of an interest in drawing (or eating the crayons more like!) I thought it'd be a great idea to make him a portable art case.  Most of the tutorials only hold the crayons, but I really wanted something that would hold a notebook as well.  I did loads of searching and couldn't find anything suitable so I came up with my own design.

Here's how the inside of the case looks -

I took some inspiration from the sewing roll that I made a few months ago - I liked the idea of a zipped pocket to hold pencils, so I turned the pocket vertically and placed it at the top -

I also wanted a large open pocket to hold a notebook -

The front of this large pocket also has some little pockets - I used some of the elephant 'Little Menagerie' fabric and trimmed with with red binding.  These little pockets will be great for holding stickers,stencils, more paper etc.

And of course there's the crayon holder at the bottom, this holds 11 regular sized crayons -

I had originally planned to attach binding around the outside of the whole case, a bit like my sewing tool wrap, but then I would have had to choose which fabric to use for that and then make the binding etc etc. I just sewed the front and back together, right sides facing then turned it out and topstitched around the edge. This also allowed me to attach a hairband to use as a loop closure.

The outer jacket of the case is padded and quilted with diamonds.  I also added some appliqued stars which I think came out pretty good!

I'm really pleased with how this turned out, and I truly haven't seen anything else like it at all.  I'm not sure whether to give this one to my son or put it in my Folksy shop to see if anyone's interested in buying something like this. I have listed this item for sale in my Folksy shop.  I think it'll be great for keeping children entertained in restaurants, long journeys etc.  I'd have loved something like this when I was a child - I loved lots of little pockets and zippy closures etc to hold all of my little collections - shells, gemstones, coins, erasers etc!! (I have always been a hoarder lol.)

Oh, and I FINALLY got round to sewing the 3 self-cover buttons onto my pink love heart cushion.  I always find that I put off jobs like sewing on buttons - even though they literally take minutes to do. 

Sunday, 24 April 2011

A visit from the Easter Bunny and his friends!

The Easter Bunny came to our garden today and he brought some of his friends with him.  My son (who's 20 months old) went out into the garden and was greeted by some lovely surprises.  I hid/placed some fun items outside for him to discover.

His little face was a picture as he found these little toys and decorations.  The little characters all got a cuddle and a kiss as they were found and placed inside the Easter bag that I made a while ago (along with the Easter Bunny).  The teeny-weeny softie toys are from IKEA. 

And of course, after tea we'll be having some of these -

Homemade by me, and absolutely delicious - far better than supermarket ones (even if I do say so myself!). 

Happy Easter!

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Inspiration (Part 1)

It's a particularly dull and rainy Saturday today, it's cold and wet and just generally yucky.

I thought I'd take this time to put down in a couple of blog posts some things that have inspired me lately.  I find that when I see things I like, whether its in shops, other blogs or catalogues, they swim around in my head and eventually get forgotten about if I don't make a note of them.  So consider this a look into my 'ideas' book if you like, somewhere for me to jot down my inspirations, things that I think are particularly pretty, things I want to make, and things that are just generally 'eye candy'. 

We have had LOTS of beautiful weather lately (apart from today that is!) and the garden is absolutely blooming.  It almost feels like summer is here already, colours everywhere along with lush green shrubs and grass.  I was able to take some photos over the past few weeks of some particularly beautiful things out in the garden, and lets face it - who doesn't feel happy looking at bright colourful flowers?

Can you see the Forget-Me-Nots in the middle photo look like a heart shape? I thought that was rather cute! These flowers spread like mad, which is no bad thing in my garden - at lease they stop the weeds from taking over.  Right now its a gorgeous sea of these bright blue pretty faces, but here and there a splash of other colours peek through, including these -

Gorgeous purple pom-poms
Purple and peach Pansies
Hello Daffodil!

And a little multi-coloured windmill - just for fun :)
For some reason, playing about with these flower photos - cropping, making collages etc has taken a VERY long time, so I'll be back another day with another post with things that are inspiring me right now.  I hope you liked seeing some of the beautiful flowers that are in my back garden.  I'm glad I got some good photos of them because within a few weeks these ones will have died back - but some bright new ones will have emerged - I'm particularly looking forward to seeing the Lavender, Roses and Lilies making their appearances next.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

My first wearable item!

I've finally made something I can wear (and show off!).  I saw this tutorial for these gorgeous lace belts the other day and I knew I had to make one. 

Luckily I was in the town where my local fabric shop is so I popped in to find some lace ribbon and some fabrics to make my belt with. 

Here is my version -

I chose a dark brown fabric for the main piece and a pretty blue and cream floral for the reverse of the belt.  The lacey ribbon is also cream/off white. I got a bargain here because I only wanted 2 metres, but the woman in the shop gave me what was left on the roll - just over 4 metres!  The 'buckle' is made with 2 d-rings (which for some reason I just happened to have 2 of at the bottom of my scrap basket, no idea where they came from!).

As a full time mummy to a toddler I practically live in jeans at the moment and I think my new belt looks pretty good teamed with my skinnies today -

Have you any idea how difficult it is to take a photo of YOURSELF wearing a belt!? Not easy!

I think I might try another one with the brown and cream flowery fabric I got the other weekend at the car boot sale as the backing fabric.

Here's some other embroidery pictures I have been doing over the past few days - mostly just experimentation -

A sweet little beach hut

Little sailing boat

Some flowers using different techniques

A little birdie
These are all pretty small - the beach hut and boat are around 1.5" tall if even that,  the tallest flower is about 2" and the birdie is a bit bigger at 2.5" tall.  Once again, I have no idea what I'll do with these - suggestions are welcome!  I've been trying to think of things to fill my Folksy shop up with so maybe these will be put to good use on these items.  I think the nautical things would look sweet as a trio on a notebook or something - obviously I'd have to add 1 more - an anchor maybe or another beach hut?

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Sewing machine basket and a question.....?

Remember the cute little sewing machine I embroidered?  I didn't take much time in setting to work and turning it into a pretty little fabric basket (yes, another one!)  I knew they'd become addictive! 

I decided to funk this one up a bit with some hot pink! The spotty fabric is by Riley Blake and I've added some fuchsia ric-rac and binding around the top of the basket. 

As you can see above, the lining of this basket is white - I've changed the way this basket was made from the tutorial I used for the original baskets I made.  With the original baskets, the lining fabric forms the binding effect, i.e. you don't need to bind them.  However, it's a bit fiddly doing it this way so I think I've simplified the actual construction of the buckets (as long as you don't mind adding the binding as a final step).  I made an inner basket and an outer basket, put the inner inside the outer, then used the binding to secure the 2 together.  (I hope this makes sense!!)  I wanted nice binding, but didn't want to use any of my 'fancy' fabric for the lining - this white lining was actually a bargain find - a massive white cotton table cloth (almost 2 metres square) and it was on sale for £2 at my local supermarket. 

This basket now sits beside my sewing machine when I'm sewing and I can easily throw my spools of thread in here and keep them tidy and clean. 

I have been doing some more little bits of embroidery, I'll post pics of them another day as I haven't got round to photographing them yet. 

Now, just wondering..... would anyone be interested in a swap of some kind?? I keep seeing them all over blog-land, but many of them seem to be for those in the 'closed circle' only!  "You can only take part in this swap if you've taken part in a swap before".  Well....I've never done a swap um, you can see my predicament! 

I don't know what kind of swap, so if you would be interested, please leave me a comment and also let me know if you've any suggestions for what exactly to swap!  It would be nice to make something for someone else, using all of the unique talents we all have, and to look forward to something special coming our way too.  What do you think? 

Friday, 15 April 2011

A bit of this and a bit of that

I've had a funny few days craft-wise.  After finishing my fabric baskets, I wasn't really sure what I was going to make next.  I think I just needed some time to wind down from all the frantic sewing I've been doing lately, so I took some time to have a leisurely leaf through some craft books, browse some blogs etc.  I was still unsure of what my next project would be.

I met up with my 'sewing friend' Julie yesterday and she showed me some amazing freestyle embroidery she had done (I'm not even sure if that's a term, but that's what it should definitely be called!).  She just doodles in her notebook and takes it from there...and sometimes there's not even a notebook, she just puts needle to fabric and sees where it ends up.  Drop by her new blog and have a look at some of the things she came up with, they're amazing.  

While I'm no artist, I did quite fancy having a go at some embroidery so I found a couple of images I thought would look good as embroidered motifs, I traced them onto my fabric with a disappearing ink pen and set to work.  The first one I did was of an old-fashioned sewing machine (I found the image online), I love how it turned out -

Isn't it sweet?  I thought I might make another version of the fabric basket, to hold all those spools of coloured threads that I seem to have accumulated - they always need to be on hand!

Next up I wanted to try a slightly different embroidery style so I opted for a pretty little flower -

I love the way this turned out too (excuse the fabric, I literally grabbed a scrap!).  I'm not sure what I'll use this for, but it will add a very nice touch to whatever it adorns.

I seemed to be on a roll, today I finished both of these off and then wanted to make a little scented sachet for some scented beads I've had lying around for ages.  I chose some pretty fabric from my Hideaway layer cake and made this little hanging sachet -

I used this pretty yellow gingham (also from Hideaway) for the back -

I loved these 2 fabrics so much that I wanted to make something else, and this is what I came up with -

A very sweet little needle book. I didn't use a specific pattern, I literally made it up as I went along, I quilted the outer jacket with one way diagonal lines. I wasn't sure what to use for a closure so I used the bias binding as ties. 

And made a little ric-rac trimmed pocket to hold the essential needle threader/thread, along with 4 felt 'pages' to hold various needles/safety pins etc.

I'm really pleased with this and may make a few more to get my Folksy shop stocked up as I must admit, I have neglected it a little bit.

So there you have it, my rather productive if not eclectic, few days of sewing in various forms. 

And if you're still here at the end of this lengthy post, then well done!

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Fabric bathroom tidies (No 2 & 3)

In no time at all I managed to make fabric buckets numbers 2 and 3 today to match the one I made yesterday

I made the 2 new ones slightly shorter than yesterday's one, so the new ones are both approx 4.5" high, and still 6" diameter.

  Today's ones feature a cute little flower - another stamp in my (small) collection. 

Apart from the size, and the picture on the front, I kept the baskets exactly the same, using the same fabrics and the same stitching.  I think the 3 of them look great together -

They're so handy for hiding all of that clutter that always seems to amalgamate in a bathroom - little bottles, cotton wool, and most importantly for indulgent bubble baths - candles!

And here they are in their final location -