Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Socks and swaps

Following the fun I had taking part in the Cupcake Swap earlier this year, I jumped at the chance to take part in another when I saw Fran was organising one on her blog.   The 'Make Something' swap was open to anyone with any talent. 

Imagine my delight to find I'd been paired with an amazing knitter! (Unfortunately she doesn't have a blog but you'll see for yourself when I show you what she sent me!)  I've been coveting a cosy pair of knitted socks forever so I knew exactly what I'd be asking for....  In return, Claudia, my partner asked for a bag - across the body, big enough for books and with somewhere to keep her travel pass handy. 

I've never made a bag before (other than the occasional tote bag) but I found this simple tutorial for a messenger bag that I thought would fit the bill perfectly.  Here is my finished version of the bag -

The fabric is a heavy weight one from IKEA. 

The bag is fully lined with some stripey fabric from Sweetwater's Sunkissed range. There are 2 inside pockets and I also added a little key ring clip, handy for keys...

There's a big outside pocket on the bag too -

The tutorial didn't include any kind of closure for the bag so I decided to add a button and make a buttonhole.  I used a self-cover button and covered it with red felt.  I also used red to do all the top stitching on the bag as Claudia said she liked grey but also bright colours. 

And in return.....I received these gorgeous socks!

Pretty and pink.

And here they are being modelled -

So comfy...

And cosy :)

Thank you Claudia!  (and Fran for organising the swap!)

Linking up to -

Sew Happy Geek

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Experimenting with techniques - zipped purses

I mastered sewing in zips quite a while back, my first one was on a toddler sized bean bag I made for my son, you can see it here

Then I moved on to making zipped purses including lots of make up bags which you can see here.

More recently, I made a few zipped coin purses for craft fairs -

It soon became apparent that as with most sewing related projects, there's always more than one way to make something. 

I really like making zipped bags with square bases, just because it makes them so much 'roomier'. Up until recently I've been making box bottomed bags/purses etc by sewing up the ends as squares, then folding the seams together, measuring, sewing, cutting etc.  It's a painfully boring method and takes far too long for my liking!  Plus there's the added stress that you have to be quite exact in your measuring...pah!  It just wasn't for me. 

I've noticed in quite a few tutorials there's another method which involves cutting squares (of equal sizes) from the bottoms of all the squares - I'm probably not explaining this very well, but this is what I mean -

Pattern from 'Sew Pretty Homestyle' Tone Finnanger
So with Christmas gifts in mind, I started to think about how I could make make up purses look a little bit more special. 

The first one I made started out as these 2 patchwork squares - gorgeously pastel and vintage -

I then quilted them and turned them into a BEAUTIFUL cosmetic bag!  Unfortunately since it's for a gift, I can't actually show you the finished product, but as soon as it hits Dec 26th I will be showing all of my Christmas gift makes! 

I was so happy with the results from following this new techniques that I made another.... This time I dug out my Jelly Roll that I won and put together a brighter piece of patchwork.  Once quilted and sewn up into a purse, here's how it looks -

It's also fully lined - with no raw seams :)

And then I got an order for one so I got to make another!  I was asked specifically for one with pink, purple and blues with a pastel/vintage look.  So here's what I came up with -

Of course this one also has some pretty pastel lining - 

So, these 3 patchwork, quilted beauties are all spoken for, but just in case you'd like one (to give to someone as an extra special Christmas gift perhaps)...in  a colourway of your choice...please get in touch - £12.50 plus £1.00 P&P. 

Linking up to -

Link Party Sew Happy Geek

Friday, 25 November 2011

Recent finishes

I don't know where the time has gone lately.  Luckily, by looking back through all of the photos I take as I work on sewing projects/order, I can see exactly where some of the time has gone!  I'm glad I take so many photos as I love to be reminded of all that I've created.  The same goes for looking back through old blog posts at things I've made but forgotten about.  And I love the fact that in years to come I'll have even more to look back over and see just how productive I've been! 

Anyway, here's a few things I've been working on lately for customers. 

First up is another cute little apron, this one was to be personalised for 'Evie' who is only 18 months old, hence the reason it's just so teeny!  (But oh-so-cute!).  I was also asked to make a matching chef's hat....this turned out a little bigger than I'd expected - it looks massive in the photo - but the good thing is that it's adjustable at the back so will last her for years to come too :)

You can see some more of the aprons I've made for craft fairs in this post. 

More personalisation next in the form of a pretty t-shirt.  Lydia's mum supplied the t-shirt and asked me to make it really girly.  (Yipee!)

I used the butterfly design, kind of similar to the one I'd made for Daisy (you can see it here), but still different enough to be unique.  

I just love how cute and girly these butterflies are, I think I'll be using a lot more of them in some future projects I have in mind.

And since Lydia is a friend of my son's, I got to see this t-shirt modelled by the little lady herself!

So cute!

In between making and creating, I've also been busy preparing for the Advent Swap which was organised by Lynda over at Hookin' with Laa Laa.  It's been so much fun choosing 24 little gifts for my partner to open each day of Advent, then coming up with something special for her to open on Christmas Day itself.  Of course I'll have to wait until after Christmas to show you what's actually inside this little lot -

Stay tuned and I'll show you more of what I've been making lately :)

Linking up to -

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Christmas Tutorials

A few weeks ago, I was asked if I could produce some tutorials for Christmas projects to the Make with Me website.  I haven't really done any proper tutorials before but I fancied the challenge!

First up, I made some little tree decorations -

Cute little Christmas presents!  I think these would look really sweet tied with ribbon to special presents too.  This is a really simple idea that even children can make with a little supervision. 

The second project is for a drawstring patchwork gift sack -

This is an ideal project for anyone looking to begin making patchwork but doesn't know where to begin!  I love these sacks, they're a great 'eco' alternative to paper gift bags and not only can they be used year after year, but they can also be used throughout the year to store things in - i.e. decorations or even children's toys etc. 

The message behind the Make with Me website is all about promoting crafting and creating together, as a family, with friends or as part of the community.  Why not hold a crafting morning, charging a little entrance/participation fee and donate the money to Mencap which is the charity behind the initiative. 

To view the tutorials that I've submitted, hop on over to the projects section of the Make with Me website to find 2 of my designs with easy step-by-step instructions.

And if you make any of these projects, there's also a facebook page so that you can upload photos of your crations! 

Linking up to -

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Find me on Facebook

Just a short post to let you know that I've finally gotten round to setting Sew Ray Me up on Facebook!  You can find me under 'Sew Ray Me UK'.  Or you can click on the 'Like' button on the right of this blog page.

I feel that I'm more likely to keep the page on Facebook - more up to date with my creations than I do with my Folksy shop.  Probably because it's just so quick and easy to arrange everything into albums. 

I will be updating the photo albums with stock that is available to purchase and that can also be ordered and/or personalised - I have listed the price along side each item.  Postage and packaging costs will also apply depending on what is ordered. 

Mainly I'll be using the page to keep track of the vast amounts of things I'll be making, my computer is full of folders which all need a good sort out, so by putting the photos into albums on Facebook I will feel somewhat more organised! 

I won't just be using the page to sell from, but I'll be using it for general chit chat with my 'Likers' and if you have a page, I'll be sure to 'Like' you too! 

Here's a photo of my craft fair stall from yesterday -

I was delighted to have a lovely bare wall behind me and a wall bench to put my quilt on, and a mantle piece to put more cushions on!  If only every venue offered me this :)

Friday, 18 November 2011


Do you find yourself putting off the silly little jobs - the ones that you know will only take you a few minutes to do...but you just keep putting them off?

I'm the worst culprit for this - especially when it comes to the finishing off on projects that just need a tiny bit of hand sewing or a buttonhole sewn in. 

With a craft fair tomorrow, I desperately needed to replenish a few items of stock - including my felt/fabric hanging hearts, so I finally sat myself down with my sewing roll and sewed on the final buttons and hanging loops -

It took me a while as I kept getting slightly distracted with Twitter.....

Another little job I managed to get done today was a buttonhole.  I can't say too much about this project as it's for a specific recipient so I'll show  you properly once they've received it.  Here's the fabulous buttonhole alongside the lovely felt self-covered button I made to go with it -

I also managed to whip up some little lavender sachets for the craft fair, I've been meaning to do these for ages but not had the time.  Now that I'm at the end of my first week of self-employment, I am finding I have plenty of time to get creative :)

If you're in the Fife/Dundee area why not pop along to the Christmas craft fair which is being held at the YMCA in Broughty Ferry tomorrow, 10am - 4pm.  There will be mince pies all round!  Hope I manage to get one - it'll be my first of the festive season!

Linkin up to -

Link Party

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

A new job....kind of!

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have heard my news already.  I thought it was about time I 'announced' it properly.

I have given up the day job.  As of this week, I am now self-employed, designing and making, and selling my wares!  I have also been working on a few 'secret' projects, more of which I will hopefully be able to reveal soon. 

There are loads of things I also want to try, 2012 could be a very exciting year!

Right, with that little announcement out of the way I guess you'd like to see what I've been up to lately, yes?

First up, I was asked to create a pretty, girly version of the nappy and wipe holder that I made for my little one a few months ago. 
I made this one super girly by teaming the cupcake fabric with some solid pink and a line of ric-rac. 

The cupcake button which I received from Debbie in the cupcake swap finished it of perfectly!  Funnily enough - it was actually Debbie that ordered this nappy and wipe holder!

 I've also been working on some christmassy patchwork - for one of the 'special' projects I mentioned earlier.  I just love these fabrics together, they're so jolly! 

Mondays and Tuesdays from now on will be super productive - these are the 2 days that Joshua will be in nursery.  The rest of the week I'll be back to being a full time mummy (crafting during nap-times of course!). 

Linking up to:

Creative Itch Tip Junkie handmade projects Todays Creative Blog

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Birthday presents

I don't know about anyone else, but I just love to get crafting whenever I get the chance.  So, when my 2 year old was invited to a little girl's second birthday party, my first thought was oh good, I can make something girly!

Along with some play-doh and some cutters for her gift, I decided to make some personalised bunting.  I've made lots and lots of bunting before, but none with a name on it, so it was nice to be able to try something new.  Here's how it turned out -

I checked before-hand to ensure it would match the colours in Lydia's bedroom (pink and cream).  I think it's so cute!  It would look great above a doorway/window, or above a bed.  I'll have to get round to making some for Joshua too. 

Once I'd wrapped all the gifts I decided to finish off with an 'eco friendly' version of a gift bag, and made a cute fabric drawstring bag -

This is some fun fabric I got from IKEA.  I've made many bags like this already for Joshua and they hold cars, aeroplanes etc.  I've made some mini Christmas versions too, but I think I might also make some larger ones as they just come in so handy afterwards. 

And in craft fair news - I did an evening one last night.  It was in a small village where I'd done one a few months ago and it was one of those places that I knew had great community spirit.  The hall was packed full of fabulous stalls, and once the doors opened at 6.30pm, the customers came flooding in.  At one point, people could hardly move!  Here's my stall from last night -

I felt happier with the layout this time, last week felt a bit rushed, and because it was the first one, I was still 'experimenting' with how things looked.  Over November and December I've got 6 craft fairs booked in.  Two down, 4 to go.  Next Saturday I'll be in the YMCA, Broughty Ferry.  Pop along if you're in the area :)

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

The camel and the penguin

I had a special request recently for a lady who's granddaughters are big fans of camels and penguins.  She'd seen my cute elephant applique cushions I made a little while ago and asked if I could create something similar but one as an camel and one as a penguin. 

Hmmm, cue a lot of headscratching!

I'd never seen either done as appliques before so it took a long time before I actually worked out what I was going to do.  I had an idea in my head, but getting it down on fabric was another thing!

I'm happy to say that once I actually started, it didn't take long before the results took shape and I was quite pleased with the end results. 

Here are the two cushions -

I had a specific kind of image in mind for the camel, and eventually, I managed to get it looking 'just right'.  I wanted something not too 'serious' looking, but cute! 

I also thought if I put a 'blanket' over the camel's hump I could introduce another fabric, and also add some pretty trim.  This cream trim has teeny pom-poms along it.  I used a dark purple thread for the outlines, and a more visible zig-zag for the blanket edge.  I added a pink button for the eye and also 4 heart shaped buttons on the corners for a bit of detail. 

The penguin looks quite 'scrappy' (but in a good way I hope!) he/she also has buttons for eyes and the heart shaped buttons at the corners.  I added zig-zag quilting detail to both cushions using the rainbow thread that you can see in more detail here

For the back of the cushions, I had a bit of a brainwave!  Just for something different - I bought some lovely bright pink flowery fleece -

Not a great picture, but you get the idea.  Now the cushions are extra snuggly soft.  I'll definitely be doing this for more cushions I make in the future - how great would these be on kids beds?

These cushions are Christmas presents, so I can't wait to hear what their new owners think of them!

Linking up to -

Creative Itch Tip Junkie handmade projects Todays Creative Blog