Thursday, 29 September 2011

Finding time to craft

I've been back at work (part-time after a 2 year break) for about 7 weeks now.  Finally I seem to be finding time to work AND craft all in the same day!  For the first few weeks I was just so tired in the evenings that all I could do was curl up on the couch under my quilt and veg out in front of the tv. 

I've realised that whilst I'm not 'switched on' enough to do anything very taxing, I can manage some easy no-brainer hand sewing.  I also managed to thread all the drawstrings into the first lot of drawstring Christmas gift bags I've been making. One of which you can see in my previous post.  I will show you the finished 'range' soon!

I've been using this handy little tray and loading it up with all of my supplies - this is just so that once I sit down I don't have to get up to go and get anything else!!

I also make sure I have my handy travel sewing roll by my side too... you can read all about it in this blog post

As you can see from the pic above I've made a few of these lovely red flowers -

They'll probably end up as some hairslides or perhaps brooches.

I've also made a few yo-yo's, or the name I prefer - 'Suffolk puffs'! I don't know why I like that name for them, I just do!

You may be noticing that the majority of my makes these days have a Christmassy theme to them...These are the embelishments I'll use once I muster up the energy to make something to add them to! I'm not entirely sure where they'll end up, but I thought the fabrics were so pretty and I was just eager to start using them :)

I picked up this selection of fabric last week and I can't wait to start some lovely patchwork with them, they have such a pretty 'homespun' look to them.  I have managed to use some of these fabrics for my Suffolk puffs above. 

I'd also like to say a big hello to all of my new followers!  Thanks also to all of you who take the time to leave me lovely comments - I am really trying to keep up with them all and reply to you individually (if your email address is available through your Blogger profile), but things have been so hectic lately that I know I've been a little slow in keeping up.  I do read, and appreciate all of your comments though so please don't let that put you off. 

Monday, 26 September 2011

Christmas designs

I know, I know...for most people September is way too early to be even thinking about Christmas stuff, let alone making it, but for me as a craftster, I feel I need to be prepared and organised...and no last minute sewing until midnight! 

I'll hopefully have a couple of Christmas craft fairs to attend and I'm working on getting my Folksy shop stuffed to the brim with lovely things (as well as making a few special things for friends and family for a proper 'homespun' Christmas!).

I showed you previously some Christmassy applique I was working on in this post.... And here's a pic of what one of them has been turned into -

It's a sweet little drawstring gift bag.  I was thinking these would make a great alternative to the paper gift bags, these are re-usable so can be used to store toys, make up, snacks, nic-naks etc or can be used year after year as gift bags!  This one's a medium sized one measuring approx 7"x8".  I made really tiny ones last year which I filled with chocolates to be hung on the Christmas tree. 

I'm sorry - I know it's far too early for pictures of Christmas trees...

I also made a few bags in larger sizes last year (approx A4 size) specifically for storing my 'special' tree decorations and to keep them safe and clean while they were stored away in the horrible attic!

I've got a few other appliques ready for turning into more medium sized bags, and also a few pretty appliques for making somewhat 'wintery' cushions!  Hopefully I'll also have time to do a few personalised bags for that extra special touch. 

I managed to pick up this little lot today -

I can't wait to sit down and have a play with it all!  The ribbons will look fantastic on the drawstring bags and I think the fabrics would make some gorgeous Christmassy patchwork.... better get it in the washing machine so I can start sewing with it as soon as it's dry!

Friday, 23 September 2011

I'm in a magazine!

Finally, I can share with you something that has been planned for a few months, and I've had to keep it to myself all that time - I've been featured in a magazine!  (Although you probably guessed that from the title of this post!)

I received my copy of Craftseller magazine this morning (I subscribed so I receive it a few days earlier than its available in the shops). 

I ripped open the packaging as fast as I could....and raced to page 84....

I was practically jumping out of my seat at this point - a double page spread all about my week in the run up to my first craft fair!

There are some lovely photos of some of my work -

Oh and some photos of little old me working away on my sewing machine and laptop!

It's been so exciting to see myself and my products featured in the magazine.  This will definitely be something I'll keep forever and will be great to look back on when I'm successful and world famous....(think Cath Kidston!). You can also see how my first craft fair actually went here.

I've also been working hard at getting my Folksy shop filled up again, just in case anyone fancies owning some of my 'makes'.  I'll be filling it up even more over the next few weeks with some other items along with some special Christmas designs I've been working on.  I'll give you a little sneak peek of these soon....

While I was at the craft fair last Saturday I was approached by a lady who asked if I'd like to attend another craft fair this Saturday - of course I said yes! It's a little village craft fair this time, organised by a different group and it's in Letham Village Hall, Letham, Fife, 10am - 3pm.  Hopefully it'll be another successful day and if all goes well they're thinking of holding a Christmas craft event too!  Fingers crossed...

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Weekend craft fair (and aprons and cushions!)

I did my second craft fair on Saturday.  It was in a lovely little town perched on the edge of the river Tay.  There was a steady stream of visitors and there was a really nice atmosphere, everyone was so friendly and it was great to be able to chat with customers and hear so many positive comments about my items.

Here is a pic of my stall on the morning, ready for action!

You can just see on the left of my table one of the little aprons I have been making recently.  Here are the two finished aprons that were ordered - 1 with a crayon pocket and 1 with a normal pocket (both personalised) -

Here's a close up of the crayon holder -

I think it turned out pretty cute!  I also added an applique heart to the dark pink apron as I think it looked a little bare...but I forgot to take a picture of this after I added it :(

I also made a couple of cushions for the craft fair, featuring a little elephant which you may recognise from some previous items I've made here and here.  It's just so sweet that I thought it would look really cute as a cushion perhaps for a nursery, so I've done a pink and a blue version -

I decided to also add a sweet little patchwork feature to the backs of these cushions -

I've put my name down to do some Christmas craft fairs so I'll get cracking on with the Christmassy items I've started to prepare.  While I was a the craft fair on Saturday I was also approached by a lady who asked if I'd be interested at having a stall at some other local events, to which my reply was a very definite 'yes'! Hopefully they'll work out and I'll have a few more craft events to attend and sell at....I'll keep you posted ;)

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Cupcakes and competitions

I can finally share with you all the items that were swapped during the recent 'Cupcake Swap' which was organised by Oh Sew Beautiful.  My partner Debbie and I agreed to post our parcels on Thursday last week.  I was lucky enough that my postie delivered my parcel to me at about 9.30am,  whereas poor Debbie had to wait until 3pm until hers was delivered! 

It was so exciting to receive a lovely parcel in the mail.....wanna see what was inside?

This fantastically useful (and pretty) tin was stuffed full of lovely things,  here's a look at what I received -

There's a cute cupcake cross-stitch wall hanger (this will go in my oh-so-girly walk in wardrobe!), a cute cupcake bracelet, bookmark, cupcake buttons, stickers, drawstring bag and a little toadstool!  There were also a few naughty sweeties and chocolates in there...they certainly helped me get through the craft fair yesterday!  (I'll be doing a post on the craft fair later on in the week.)

There was also a pack of flowery cupcake cases which I've put to good use already -

Some very yummy (and healthy) breakfast banana muffins! 

I can now also show you what I sent to my partner in the swap.  Here it is all wrapped up -

I made the cute little cupcake card - I used to do cardmaking and scrapbooking before I got hooked on sewing!

Here's what's inside the packages (note the patchwork wrapping paper - cute huh?!)

I handmade some items especially for the swap, firstly was the little zip purse featuring an applique cupcake -

It's quite small, so hopefully just the right size for make up or money etc.

Since I knew my partner is an avid baker, I thought it appropriate to make this pot holder using some cupcake fabric I'd bought especially

It's a Martha Stewart design and you can find the tutorial here.  This was really easy to make, and turned out really pretty - but I think I need to work on the neatness of my binding - it didn't seem to want to go round corners very well (it was pre-made shop bought bias binding).  I may even be making a few of these for Christmas presents this year! 

And lastly - I also decorated the envelope!  Did I go too far??

I also thought I'd share with you a couple of competition wins I've had lately!  I found a giveaway via Twitter on The Green Gal's blog.  The prize was a mug.  Not just any mug - but one featuring bunting!  Which was rather appropriate given all the bunting I've made recently.  Well, I was very excited to find out that I won, and here it is, full of some lovely hot tea...

It says on it 'a bunting we will go'.  It is actually becoming one of my new favourite mugs.  Do you ever have to have your tea/coffee out of a certain mug - just cos it tastes better?  Or is it just me who's that weird!??

I also won a little giveaway over at The Krafty Cupcake blog.  I've won a copy of 'Sew' magazine - I've never read this one before so I'm looking forward to reading through it with a nice cuppa in my new mug!

I'd also like to give a little congratulatory shout out to Jenevieve who's just had a little baby boy!  Welcome to baby Oliver and well done to Jenevieve! 

Linking up to -


Friday, 16 September 2011

A relaxing day out

Last week, the OH and I managed a night away WITHOUT the toddler!  I can't tell you how relaxing this was!  It's very rare that we ever leave him with anyone so to have so much time to ourselves was very nice.  Grandma came on Friday morning and stayed til Saturday tea-time. 

The Mister and I drove down to the lovely Keswick in the Lake District, arriving there at lunch time.  He had a business meeting to attend - hence the trip in the first place, but we thought we'd kill two birds with one stone and all that and make the most of it.  I found a lovely little cafe to have lunch in before having a very leisurely stroll around the lovely shops of Keswick. 

I found many little gift shops hidden down various meandering side streets.  I was also on the lookout for gifts for my Cupcake Swap partner - and I wasn't disappointed.  I got lots for my partner Deborah and a few lovely bits and pieces for myself while I was at it! (I'll be posting photos of the cupcake swap goodies in another post.)

Here are some of the lovely items that I found for myself -

The fabric was a remnant from a small fabric shop, it's lovely neutral colours and will make a nice stuffed lavender heart perhaps.  I managed to get 2 decent sized pieces and the money for them went straight in the charity collection box, so that's what I call guilt free fabric shopping!  I also got a lovely selection of ribbons and a reel of love heart ribbon.  The wool was from the Oxfam shop (I love how rustic it looks) more good deeds!  And a few heart hangy things - the button heart will go on the wall and the little ones will maybe adorn the Christmas Tree this year. 

I also got this wooden heart for our newly decorated hallway -

Not a great picture - it's dull and grey today, but you get the idea. 

Oh and I also got myself some yummy fudge from the old-fashioned sweetie shop that's in Keswick, but that didn't last long enough to be photographed!

After a nice afternoon of shopping we had a very relaxing dinner back at our hotel.  But the thing I was most looking forward to was the huge cooked breakfast in the morning.  What a rare treat!!  Bacon, sausage, egg, ketchup...on toast, very classy I am! 

We took a detour on the way home and stopped off in Bowness-On-Windermere (in the pouring rain) for a little wander around the shops, we also stopped off at the shopping outlet in Gretna for er...some more shopping!  Well, I don't get the chance to shop much these days :)

We only had 2 days away in total but we fitted so much in that it felt a bit longer so it actually felt like a 'break' and time to refresh.  Looking forward to the next business trip I can tag along to! 

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

What I'm looking forward to this week...

There's a couple of things coming up that I'm looking forward to that I thought I'd share with you.

This Saturday (17th September) I'll be participating in my second ever craft fair!  There has been so much less stress in preparing for this one, I've just had to replenish a couple of different items of stock, so I haven't had to sew like mad in preparation this time!  That's the good thing about getting the first craft fair done - all the preparation has already been done.  (It was lots of hard work at the time, but at least from now on I won't have so much work to do beforehand.)  It's just as well because now that I'm back at work, I'd never have had the time to make up so much stock. 

The craft fair is in the Church Hall in Newport-On-Tay, Fife.  It's on from 10am - 4pm and there will be free refreshments.  If you're in the area on the day please pop along to see some lovely handmade items.  The list of stalls at this one is twice as big as the craft fair I attended last month so hopefully it will be a really great day with lots of lovely new people to meet. 

You can read all about my first craft fair in this blog post.   I am also hoping to take part in a couple of Christmas craft fairs so I'm starting my preparation early for these as I mentioned in my last blog post so I'm not rushing about daft at the last minute!

Now, we all like cupcakes right?

These are some delicious carrot cupcakes that I made recently.  The recipe was in an early issue of Simply Homemade magazine (although I halved the quantity of sugar suggested and added in a grated apple, so they're pretty healthy!).  They were an attempt at a slightly healthier alternative to birthday cake for my son's second birthday a few weeks ago.  They were so yummy that I've made another batch this weekend too. 

Which leads me nicely onto the second thing that I'm looking forward to this week.  I signed up to do a Cupcake Swap over at Oh Sew Beautiful.  This is my first ever swap and I've had lots of fun making things for my partner - and shopping for things too.  I had no idea the shops were so full of such fun 'cupcake' themed things, I really was spoiled for choice.  I've been partnered with the lovely Deborah whose blog you can visit here -  Love from Poppy.  Deborah is a keen cupcake maker and makes the most amazing looking cakes...unfortunately I don't think any of them would survive the postage so I don't think she'll be sending me any of them :(

We've arranged to each post our parcels on Thursday so hopefully we might receive them by the weekend.  It's quite a nice feeling knowing I'm going to get a little gift when it's not even my birthday!

Stay tuned and I'll show you what things I've got to send to Deborah....can't show you now otherwise it'll spoil the surprise for her. 

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Lots of preparation

Oh dear, I really am becoming a terrible Blogger.  I don't think I've posted anything for well over a week now.  It's very frustrating!

I have managed to get some sewing done over the past few days though, so I'm feeling very pleased with that.  I've also started the planning for *Christmas* craft fair stock! 

I also got the aprons finished that I showed you in my last post, but I can't show you them yet as I haven't passed them on to my customer. 

And I made a few more crayon rolls to replenish the craft fair stock - these ones are using the fabrics I got on a recent trip to IKEA -

Such fun transport fabric!

OK, are you ready to see my Christmassy appliques??  They took a lot of preparation as I traced many, many shapes onto bondaweb (mainly stars and hearts), then had to iron the bondaweb to the fabric, cut out the shapes, iron the shapes onto the main piece of fabric.....then I got to sew them on!  I've used really bright, fun colours and BLACK thread for the actual applique.  That is so not me, but I absolutely love the way they've all turned out. 

First up, we have some Christmas trees made entirely from scraps (y'all know how much I love scraps!)

(Actually, I didn't use bondaweb for these ones so they were pretty quick to make) It's so satisfying to make something pretty using scraps - and I keep even the tiny scraps, you never know when they'll come in useful!

Here are the stars -

I love the vibrant colours and the black outline really emphasises them.  It's very simple but very eye-catching.

And of course some of my beloved gingham had to appear in here somewhere -

Pretty hearts -

You'll have to wait and see what I'm planning to turn all of these into :)

Linking up to -

Sew Happy Geek

Sunday, 4 September 2011

A weekend of W.I.P's

I'm not making very much progress on my sewing projects at the moment, but I do have a growing pile of W.I.P's!  Maybe if I document them here I'll be more likely to get them finished....maybe...
My poor Tilda Angel now has all of her body parts stuffed and attached - and I'm glad to say she's fully dressed. However, she still needs a face, hair and her skirt sewn on...

Here she is, perching so elegantly on the back doorstep (and such shapely legs!).  As you can see, I had a bit of difficulty in getting the shape of the arms correct.  (And they are perhaps sewn on a bit too low!)

My pencil case has been hand quilted around the appliqued flowers, and I've also made a machine quilted back.  I just need to cut a lining, sew on the zip and sew it all together...not a huge amount of work, but I just keep on putting it off!

I've also been asked to make two aprons for little girls.  They are both to be personalised and one of them is to have a crayon pocket on the front.  I've really enjoyed making these (or at least starting to make them!).  It's not something I've made before, but I have made crayon rolls, so it took a bit of head scratching to work out how to combine the two ideas!

This is them half done!

One thing I did make from start to finish today was these -

Some lovely granary rolls for next week's lunches. 

It's a 2 day week for me this week, so I'll be looking forward to Wednesday when it's 'my time' again.  Lots planned for my days off, including collecting some curtains which need taking up (and getting those aprons finished since they're for someone else!) 

Linking up to -