Saturday, 24 March 2012

No longer a WIP!

Every time I have a little tidy up of my craft area (i.e. my corner of the dining room!) I come across the same pile of WIP's...and each time I get the same guilty feeling that I haven't even given any of them a second thought.

Well, every now and then something will happen and I'll have a lightbulb moment - namely thinking up a use for one of my WIP's. 

This time, it was the turn of this one to be turned into something useful -

This was my very first (and so far only) attempt at log cabin patchwork.  It's a great way of using up scraps and those long thin pieces of fabric I can never bare to part with (the ones I know will come in useful one day!).  I think when I started this I must've had my son in mind as it's not my usual blend of colours (i.e. pink!) but I love the bright blue and yellow combo. 

Lately, Joshua has taken to claiming 'my' cushions (this one and another similar) as 'his' so I thought it was high time he did have his own!  This piece of patchwork was a perfect start.  I had a rummage and found a few more pieces of fabric to continue the log cabin effect and then framed it all in plain cream.  I quilted it with vertical lines, roughly following the lines of the patchwork, and here is the finished cushion -

The colours of the cushion really remind me of Springtime so I think these pretty Daffodils frame it perfectly :)

The cushion is backed with a lovely bright blue gingham -

Here is a close up of the patchwork and some quilting lines -

Here you can see the effect of the quilting much better - all nice and soft!
Joshua is now over the moon to have his 'own' cushion!

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Meet and Make - Embroidery workshop

Last night was Julie's turn to teach a workshop for the Meet and Make group.  Julie's passion is embroidery and she was keen as mustard to share her enthusiasm for this craft! 

The location was the summer house where I taught my workshop last month.  Here it is all lit up, looking cosy and inviting!

We were all gathered on comfy couches, around the log-burning stove...

Julie was super organised and handed each of us a little embroidery pack containing all that we would need for the evening - needlebook with needles, instruction booklet, embroidery hoop and canvas to sew on. 

To familiarise ourselves with the basic stitches Julie had prepared a little sampler for us to sew -

We worked through this, practicing running stitch, backstitch, chain stitch and blanket stitch. 

After my first 2 rows I decided to use one of the variated threads - they have a rainbow colour effect, mine was pink shades and turned out so pretty :)

I even mastered a few french knots at the bottom!  I am very pleased about this as I haven't managed to get the hang of them before. 

Julie had prepared 3 different designs for us to choose from, a fox, hedgehog and badger.  I chose a fox and then chose the thread colours I wanted to work with -

We started with the outline and then moved onto filling in the fur and facial details...

I just love how the fox really came to life the more I continued to sew, and by the end of the evening, this is how my embroidery looked -

I am so pleased with this!  I will carry on, adding more detail to my fox.  I wanted to try an applique leaf but I think this one is maybe a little overpowering and detracting the detail away from the fox so I may remove it and sew the leaves with embroidery detail instead.  This little fox (I'm hoping) will end up as a lovely wall hanging.  I even managed to do some clusters of french knots for the eyes!

Here are some of the other fab ladies who were there last night, and their creations -

I have done embroidery before, but as with most things, it was self-taught, and it always makes such a big difference having someone 'teach' you so that you can ask questions (and boy did I ask A LOT of questions, sorry Julie!).  It's definitely given me a bit of encouragement to have a go again, maybe with some designs of my own. 

Now, the only problem is going to be deciding which craft to do when I get a bit of free time!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Fabric gifts for Mothers Day

It's Mothers Day here in the UK and of course my thoughts of gifts for my mum turned to fabric!  I love the fabric basket I made for myself a few weeks ago and instantly thought of making one for my mum too (she has as many crafting hobbies as I do so I knew she'd find it really useful). 

So here's one I made for my mum - it's not as deep as the one I made for myself, but it's still roomy all the same -

This time I used 2 gorgeous Clarke & Clarke fabrics, these are heavy weight home furnishing fabrics, perfect for making sturdy little baskets.

This pretty wrapping paper that I got from IKEA last week adds a beautiful finishing touch to the gifts :)

I also got some lovely Mothers Day goodies today, along with a card from Joshua I also got one from my other baby -

The cat!

I also got some pretty flowers in an outdoor planter, chocolates and these cute baking measuring cups -

Over the weekend I have been working on turning an old WIP into a finished item!  I'll show you all in my next post :)

PS - Just in case you're interested you can see here what I made for my mum for Mothers Day last year. 

Linking up to -

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Spring cleaning

There must be something in the air's been making me want to tidy up my supplies.  Or maybe it was just that everything was becoming such a mess that it *needed* tidying up!

As you may know, I do my sewing on the dining room table.  This means that projects have to be tidied away at meal times and the sewing machine is put away in it's box every night.  Yeah, I know, it's a real pain. 

I'm also not the tidiest person.  I grab a pile of fabrics for my current project, get so engrossed in the project, move on to another...and before I know it there's a little fabric mountain at the end of the dining table...

So a tidy up was in order.  A big tidy up.  I haven't taken any 'before' photos, but believe me, it was a big mess - different piles of this and that - everywhere. 

I started off by tidying up my half of the study (this is a very messy place as the OH is as messy as I am and he works from the get the picture).  My half of the study is more for storage than for working in, although I do have a desk, just not really big enough for manoeuvring sewing machine and fabrics etc.  Plus, I thought if I tidied it up in there it would hopefully make a bit more storage space for my sewing things. 

Tidy bookshelves - magazines and scrapbooking supplies.

I had a really good tidy up and clear out, 1 massive bag for the paper recycling bin and 2 bags for the charity shop.  That felt good :)

Next I moved onto the sewing corner of the dining room.  Luckily we were also headed to IKEA yesterday (no coincidence!) so I managed to pick up an extra set of drawers that would fit neatly into a little space next to the table.

Ahhh...fresh storage! 

I had fun filling these up...mainly because I was moving fabric from an overspill box into actual proper storage!

A drawer of lovely vintage fabrics.

A drawer for 'large' pieces of fabric!

The top drawer will be a place for useful things - like postage items, odds and ends etc (and I forgot to get a photo of this one!).

I also tidied up the existing cupboards and dug out some old boxes I'd been keeping as I knew they'd come in handy one day! 

Fancy ribbons - pretty :)

More ribbons!

Multi-coloured zips.

Lots of binding.

These boxes are now neatly stored in the cupboards along with my scrap basket and every day sewing items - sewing roll, spool basket, etc. 

I also purchased some really handy hanging shelf thingys.  I think they're supposed to be spice racks for the kitchen, but I knew they'd be perfect for all my jars of buttons!

Ooooh! I was right - it looks fantastic!  I can now have pens and scissors to hand - and they're way high up, so no chance of my son reaching them. 

I also ended up with some storage space on top of the new fabric drawers.  The white box was a present from my OH - it's from Dunelm Mill.  My lovely patchwork notebook is now easily accessible too.  (My notebook has now become one of my most favourite handmade items - it's soooo pretty!)

You can see here the cupboards above and below my 'shelves' where all those boxes full to the brim with sewing goodies are now stored.  (The rest of my fabric has sneaked it's way into cupboards in the sitting room!)

And lastly, as I came across some Cath Kidston scraps and some of the stamping I'd done a few weeks ago I decided to make myself a little lavender hanging for my new sewing space.  I don't know how well you can see it but where the 2 fabrics join I have used the frayed selvage edge as a feature! 

Now all that remains is for me to keep it this tidy!

Linking up to -

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Sewing for crochet

If you're anything like me, you will use *any* excuse to sew something!  Well, if you saw my last post you'll know I'm now 'hooked' on crochet.  And of course.....that  means I need crochet storage!  ....Do you see how my mind works ;)

Well, I have some gorgeous new Cath Kidston fabrics in my stash (from the Christmas/New Year sale), so it seemed only right that I should choose some of them them (since they're so pretty!) to make something for myself.

My chosen ones :)

Wanna see?

Don't they look soooooo pretty together? :)

I even played about with the selvedge to make a little Cath Kidston label for inside 'it' -

Crafty huh?

Am I teasing you too much with these sneeky peek photos?

Well, here's what it is - a gorgeous (and ever so handy) crochet-on-the-go (or infront of the tv) bag -

Since finishing my cowl, it's sadly empty at the moment...but that will soon change when I decide on my next project.

There's a gorgeous vintage button closure.

Just setting the scene.... :)

But I didn't stop there, oh no!  My wool collection is now growing so I *also* need somewhere to store that....

How's about this - fabric storage basket?

Made from the same heavy weight Cath Kidston fabric teamed with a gorgeous Clarke and Clarke beige gingham.  Yummy!

These 2 new things are definitely my favourite things I've made for a while - the kind of things where you just have to keep looking...and smiling :)


Now all I need to make is something to store my hooks in ;)

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Branching out

A week and a half ago I returned home from a shopping trip with these -

I finally decided to learn crochet! Or should I say 'teach myself' crochet.  My main reason for wanting to learn is that I do my sewing through the day and not in the evenings, meaning that I sit infront of (rubbish) tv most evenings achieving not very much!  Hopefully, now, I can crochet away and have something pretty to show for all those evenings slumped in front of the tv :)

Hearing of my new venture, a Twitter friend @LforLemonade offered to send me some wool she no longer needed, I had a few more colours to play with!

Thank you so much Emma!!  Emma has provided me with much crochet inspiration as she is fantastic at it herself, you can see her blog here

I used a few YouTube videos and got myself started.  To be honest I found the whole theory of the basic stitches pretty easy, it was just a matter of getting my hands to do what my brain wanted!  And getting that dreaded tension right.  So I practiced and practiced,

Rows and rows,

Until finally my crochet was looking less holey, more even, and well...just pretty :)

Not wanting to stop there, I tried doing a circle -

Not bad!

So many rows, all unravelled again so I could re-use the wool.  I needed to make something to keep.  I decided on a jar cosy and ended up making 3!  My first one was the stripey one, I love how this turned out, the picture doesn't show the colours very well as I took it at night.  The blue and pink were created soon after -
They are completely brought to life with a glowing candle inside, shining through the gaps in the crochet, just beautiful! I think I may end up using the stripey one as a pen-pot as it's so pretty (and the gaps are not so big so the light doesn't shine through at all). 

As pretty as they are, I decided that one only needs so many jar/candle cosies!  It was time to start a 'proper' project.  I've collected a few ideas on my crochet Pinterest board and eventually decided on a gorgeous cowl. 

I used this tutorial, lost count of my rows and just ended up making it as wide as I wanted.  Nearly there....

It only took me a couple of evenings to make, of course I also managed to squeeze in a little bit of crochet through the day when I had 10 minutes to spare!  But it was really enjoyable to just sit and crochet row after row, whilst sat on the sofa watching tv.  And I have something beautiful to show for it! 

Here's a picture of me wearing it - do you know how difficult it is to take a picture of yourself in a mirror!?  (I chopped half my head off too, oops!)

So, that just leaves the question of what to make next?  I was thinking of a cream scarf :)

In my next blog post I'll show you some sewing related things I've made to go with my 'new' hobby!