Sunday, 29 January 2012

Baby Slippers

OK....I'm taking you back now to earlier in the month when I wrote this about some books I had received as gifts.

One of them was this....

Oh Joy!  What a delicious book!  There's some scrummy projects for your kitchen, for your home and for yourself.  BUT, the one that melted my heart was Babywear!  Well I don't have a baby anymore (sadly!)....but I do have THE most beautiful soon to be God-Daughter who was only born days before I got this book!

How fortunate for me!

If you have eagle this blog you will have spotted something on the desk of my bureau.  See......?

And here it is in close up.......

Open at the Baby Slipper page.... yes, Nicki Trench's Cute & Easy Crochet book .......MmmmmmmMmmmmm!

Sooooo scrumptious.

And have you spotted them in the top right hand corner?  Slippers. All made from Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino which I bought from Sue & Linda at The Wool Shop, Essex who offer good prices and excellent customer service (Thank you ladies xx).

The darker pink ones are made using 3.5mm & 4mm crochet hooks (so are different sizes - slightly!).  They were used to keep a certain God-Daughter's feet warm on a visit.  Which then prompted Mummy to request a pair for God-Daughter's Naming Ceremony in April...  The bliss of being able to make them for a purpose...a real Occassion!

So off I went again, hookedy-hook......  Pale pink and ivory yarn.  Hookedy-hook with my 4mm crochet hook.

And look what happened...............  Ta-Dah!!.........................

The most perfect, gorgeous, pinky-ivory, soft and scrummy Slippers in the Whole World....well, street!

Aren't they just adorable?  Do you like them?

I know a Little Lady (& her Mummy) who will LOVE them...... what a delight!

I'll be back again very soon with another Ta-Dah, but for now.... Bye bye xx

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Winter Wreath

I've passed other peoples doors and seen THE most gorgeous door wreaths, not just at Christmas, but, Winter ones with Ice Skates, Easter ones covered in colourful eggs, Autumn ones with twigs, leaves and berries.

I've thought what a lovely idea it is and wondered where they got these wonderful decorative items from.

After the Christmas Wreath....a shop bought one.  I pondered how easy it would be to make one.  Remember the Blue Peter versions made out of a wire coathanger, some tinsel and baubles?!

Mmmmm *thinking*. THEN this copy of Simply Homemade by Pratical Publishing dropped onto my doormat!  Look at that on the front cover!  AND....just like Blue've guessed it - the basic design is made from a wire coathanger!

Well after I'd finished laughing about the Blue Peter coincidence, I got to thinking it might be do-able, so I got to searching for a wire coathanger.

To no avail....they all seem to be plastic now.  Then a Lightbulb moment struck me..... round handles.  You know - the ones you buy to make your own bags....look....

I searched the house for wintry coloured ribbons and fabric...the ribbons from my cardmaking stash (some of which I cut off of the inside of know the ones - shops use them to get the clothes to cling to the hangers and you end up with them hanging out of your sleeves or strangling yourselves on them!)  The fabric was left over from curtains that I morphed into a roman blind for our lounge.

Then I got to thinking that the one on the cover of the magazine was lacking something.  Something dangly in the middle.  I toyed with the word 'Winter'...maybe I could fashion this out of wire.   Second!

Then I remembered this crochet snowflake tutorial from Lucy at Attic24.  To bring a bit of bling to my wreath I wondered if these could be made using a fine crochet hook and this......

Well, Twelve-Teen Daughter & I sat one evening (for longer than you would believe), cutting lengths of fabric and ribbon and simply knotting them onto the bag handle (which I had wrapped in a length of bandage like cotton from that old sheet that I also used for the upcycled chair).

It took quite a while to do, but suprisingly we didn't use all of the ribbon and fabric stash that I had put aside.  We built up layers, tied on a piece of ribbon to hang it. 

I sat for a couple of evenings before I went to bed and made 2 snowflakes which were then tied onto the wreath giving me the all important Dangly Bling....done!

Ready......I love it and I hope you do too..........Ta-Dah!!!!

And a close up of the all important Dangly Bling...........

And there it is.  Currently gracing our front door.  I love it!  What do you think?

Well, must be going..... thanks for dropping by again..... see you soon xx

Monday, 23 January 2012

New, not really

What can I say...where do I start....well - take a look at this sorry article I was given!

Sad, isn't it? Well....not for long!

Remember the fabric in the top of the picture (fourth picture down) in this post?

Well...... I stripped off that old green fabric and used it as a template to cut some wadding, (probably similar to the stuff you use in quilting, or maybe to insulate something like a tea cosy), I left the old stuffing where it was (it is amazingly comfortable, so whay change it!) and used the wadding to cover the old stuffing.

I used the old green fabric again as a template to cut a lining from an old white sheet

Ah!  There it is....THAT fabric.  Again using the old green fabric as a template, I cut this fabric.

I scoured the local haberdashery shop for a suitable trim, couldn't find anything the correct size or my friend Jenny would describe them - they were all 'moth' colours!

Mmmm! *thinking*, problem solved!  With my new Rico Creative Cotton Stash, there was a beautiful zingy lime colour, very much like the colour of the small flowers on the fabric......look....

I played and came up with this....

It is basically a foundation chain (mine was 215 stitches so that I could be sure it would fit the full 2m around the chair). 

You then Double Crochet or DC (UK terms) into the top loop of each chain (start in the second chain from your hook). 

When you've worked back to your very first chain you make 6DCs into this, this turns the work around the end and you then DC in th remaining loop of you chains all the way back to the other end. In your last chain (the first one you started with 2 Chains going in the other direction) make 5DCs and join with a Slip Stitch or SS into the second of the original 2 chain turn.

Because I couldn't get my fingers, tacks and a hammer all the way around the chair...I cheated!! 

I stapled the fabric onto the chair like this......

...and I used a hot glue gun to attach my Homemade Crochet Chair Trim like this.....

So are you ready for the Full Monty?  Want to see the finished (or should that be furnished!) goes..................Ta-Dah!!!

And there my little Chair sits, in the corner, next to my Craft Cabinet (and if you can see it just peeking out from under my cabinet and to the left of the chair seat... a Fortnum & Mason Hamper I also 'won' on Ebay...... to hide more stash! Shhhh! Don't tell!)

I'm looking forward to many happy hours creating in my upcycled, Comfy Crafting Chair.

Hope you enjoyed sharing my joy.  See you soon xx

Friday, 20 January 2012

New Year......New Start!

Sounds grand....but really it's not!

For a while I've been craving a little corner, where I can set up a space all of my own for crafting.  I've looked at various options of Hobby Tables, gateleg tables, making something out of MDF and brackets but all were more expensive than just a beautiful old bureau with a glazed bookcase on top.

I Ebay'ed, searched, watched, wished and BID!

For days I kept popping back to see if there was other interest...there was!  Oh my!  Well I had a budget and I put that as my top bid...I then waited and watched, watched and waited and then........... I WON THE BID!!!

After a flurry of emails and 'phone calls I collected a bit of a sad specimen that was damp, very dirty and in need of some serious TLC.

Once home, The Hubby & I had a bit of a Laurel & Hardy moment trying to lift this treasure up the stairs to our bedroom.  Once there it was washed, oiled, polished and had it's rough shelves covered in funky wrapping paper (a trick from my Nanny).

Do you want to see.........?  Well here it is...... Ta-Dah!!

Can you see how snuggly it fits into that little gap between the side of our wardrobe and the wall.... I'm sure for this reason alone, it was meant to be mine!

It houses my stash of Rico Design Creative Cotton and...... stash of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino sooooooo well!

Not to mention an array of fabrics awaiting transformation, including my red skirt that I mentioned here.  The dark blue patterned one (a couple below my red cord skirt) destined to become a Pillowcase Dress for Sew Scrumptious, Dress A Girl Around the World.  And the fabric at the top of the picture....well that Ta-Dah will be coming in a few days!

In addition to this wondrous new start for my craft I've also decided to get some I'm starting Ballet very soon.  And, to eat better at lunchtime, not necessarily more healthily, just eat....well, more! 

I tend to graze and snack (or go for the easy cheese sandwich option) and then realise it's time to go to work and haven't had the sort of lunch that will sustain yet more snacking and grazing!  I think I need more of this.....

 ... and definitely more of this!

I hope you can get a bit of these into your life...... in the meantime ENJOY! xx

Monday, 16 January 2012

...and sharing Christmas makes

Again I must apologise for my excuse...well, life really, it's all got a bit busy here and it's taken a while to get the photos together.


As promised I wanted to share with you the things my Twelve-teen Daughter & I made for Christmas.  Not all presents, as some were fundraisers for a friends Christmas Bazaar and Tiddly Toes Pre-School Christmas Fayre.

If I start way back in December and work my way forward it looks like this.... starting off with some Christmas cards for family and friends...a lovely relaxing couple of hours at the dining table.  Unfortunately, using the dining table means I have to put it all away, so if I want to leave it out in case Inspiration hits me or if I have a spare 10 minutes to make a quick card....I can't.  Oh! For a lovely crafty me space...*dream, dream*.

Next up was the Christmas Fayre at the Pre-School our Tiddly Toes goes to.  They provide a cracker template and ask you to make 2 toy or sweetie filled crackers to go on a Cracker Tombola...they are soooo easy and she loved sticking on the stars soooo much that we made a few more than 2!

This is a good template from a site called, print it onto coloured A4 card, fold the ends towards the centre at the line that goes through the middle of the diamonds and snip out the triangles.  Roll the tube (you can use a loo or kitchen roll tube to keep the shape), glue together, tie one end with ribbon, pop your gift in the other end and tie up that end with ribbon, decorate however you like and ....Ta-Dah! 

For luxurious and adult crackers, why not try good quality handmade paper or even designer wallpaper....crackers aren't just for Christmas...try them as Wedding favours or Birthday gifts.  For a bit more inspiration on the making and decorating with a lovely Engagement story thrown in, try watching this from Channel 4's programme Kirsties Homemade Christmas or if you just fancy a tutorial try this, also from Kirstie.

Next up was our friends Christmas Bazaar fundraiser, my Twelve-Teen Daughter got busy with the knitting needles encouraged by Granny, who also helped swell the stash, I managed 3 'phone cozies and an apple cozy. 

Not sure where the pattern for the 'phone cozies came from, but from memory it was about 30 stitches, stocking stitch 2 rows in alternate colours for about 18 stripes (36 rows), change to a contrasting colour for 1 or 2 rows and then cast off.  This is also the perfect size for a packet of tissues!  To finish, pop a button in the middle of one side and a piece of ribbon threaded through the knitting and knotted on the top of the other side.  It should now just fold over at the top, slip the ribbon around the button and ....Ta-Dah!

The pattern for the apple cozy came from a magazine called Mollie Makes.  The little Treasure Bags on the top row were a Granny knit, not sure where she got the pattern (although lots of things are just in her head!), finished off with button embellishment and ribbon ties by Twelve-Teen Daughter.

Just before Christmas, we meet up with the family that we won't see on Christmas Day as they have gone to visit other relatives further afield.  Thinking I was all ahead of myself I wrote a list on the morning of the meal to remind me of all the things I had to take.  I got as far as my cousin, his wife and 2 children and presents!!

I stuck on my thinking cap and got out my stash to see what I could conjure up.  Having recently seen heart decorations on another episode of Kirstie's Channel 4 show and knowing that I had felt, embroidery floss, Christmas fabric, stuffing, ribbon and some fusible webbing (the sort you use for applique), I decided on these.......

...and stitched the children's names and the year onto the felt.

They are 'glued together with the applique webbing, so the stitching around the outside is just for decoration.

Daddy wouldn't have appreciated anything crafty, so he got some lottery tickets, but Mummy got a 'phone cozy, same pattern as the ones above, but this time the closure was crocheted chain stitch rather than a ribbon....lovely old fashioned button, don't you think?

OK, we're getting there, still a way to go though.

Next were some presents that indulged my passion for crochet (again inspired by this at Attic24).  I started off with a cushion in cotton for Tiddly Toes (front right), then one in Debbie Bliss Cashmerino (front left) for my God-Daughter (only born on 25th November..... I was was fabulous....but that's a whole other story!), then thought I'd go chunky with one in Sirdar Big Softie (back right), one in Pampas (back centre) and one in some really cheap but nice DK that I doubled up (back left), look.....

My Daughters was the first made, thankfully she had a wee accident on it.....! 

Thankfully!  I hear you cry...... why yes. 

It meant that I taught myself how to crochet most of the cushion together and then edge one side and edge and make loops on the other side of an opening (that you close with buttons), so that if any of the cushions were to have an unfortunate accident....they could be washed!  Ta-Dah!

Next was my lovely friend in America, we met through and hit it off straight away.  Just knew I had to make her something special so went for this Friendship Bird.......

That's my name for it and I got the idea from the Talented and Inspirational Lucy at Attic24.  Try it.... her tutorials are great...lovely, simple step-by-step photos to guide you through.

The other makes I've already shown you.  Remember these Gingerbread Stars?  The recipe is here.

And the Chocolate Traybakes?  The recipe for those is here.

There was our Last-Minute-Dash-Around-The-Garden Table Decoration....remember that's here if you want to see that one.....

....along with this about my Attic24 inspired wrist-warmers.  Remember those?

Well, I think that's brought you right up to date with all the Christmas making, creating and baking.  I hope you liked it and maybe it's inspired you to have a go at
non-commercial celebrations, whatever they may be.

Hope to see you again soon, bye xx

Monday, 9 January 2012

Sharing Gifts....

I'm getting so behind...I do apologise.  For weeks now I have been meaning to share with you some of the wonderful gifts I have been given.

I am a book person....I do love my books.  I haven't tried an electronic book, but I have to say it just doesn't appeal.  I do love flicking through the pages (backwards, odd, I know...but I bet a few of you do it too!).  For some strange reason I always hold the bulk of the book or magazine in my left hand and flick from the back to the front.  I'm trying to make an effort to start at the front these days...but old habits and all that!

Anyway, part of the joy of real books is the feel of the pages and the smell of new books....well even the smell of old books....dusty, musty creamy, brown pages.  I digress!

My friends and family know that I love books and would rather sit and thumb pages than flick screens on a laptop or handheld techno-book (my one exception is to read the blog of Lucy at attic24) . So over the last months, either to cheer me up when I was ill or for my birthday and Christmas presents these are the wonderful reading materials and inspiration I have received.....

.. has some lovely projects with beads in the body of the piece, trims with beads and some that you sew the beads on afterwards...don't you just love that beach cover up on the front?

.. is quite a funky book, has some unusual things like a crochet trim for a skirt, jewellery and a lovely chunky hat and scarf, pictures and the most fantastic hot water bottle cover (never though I'd be excited by that!)

.... is a real feast for the eyes, so colourful....and clever.  I've got an idea to crochet some red roses and mount on a canvas as I can't find a picture I like for my landing.

..... was one from my lovely sons for my birthday.  The Christmas projects are delightful and the little linen dress is sooooo sweet, plenty here for me to create or use as inspiration for embellishing my own makes. 

.....given to me by the other son.  I'm crazy about some little slippers in here, so that is top of my list of quick evening projects!

I do love colour and this magazine is full of it.  I want to try the Japanese Knot Bags, but I love this mag not so much for the making as the lifestyle it portrays, the inspiration and colour.  Thank you to my daughter for this one.

And thanks to my other daughter for this one.  It was featured in a magazine I bought, think it might have been a Christmas edition of Prima.  I loved the simple but striking makes and put the book on my Wishlist for Christmas.... fortunately I didn't have to wait long to unwrap it!

..last but not least a novel.  I'm not a great reader of anything that isn't crafty or
bake-y, so this was a suprise.  The story of a group of friends, all members of a Cookie Club that bakes and meets before Christmas.  Each chapter has a cookie recipe ... delicious! 

I know these aren't books but I couldn't finish without showing you 2 more of my lovely gifts.  Remember I said I liked colour?  Well, I just love this.....

And another item on my Wishlist was a skirt kit from clothkits, that I had been logging on and drooling over for months!  It is soooo lovely!  The pattern is printed on the fabric, it comes with thread, lining and zip neatly wrapped in the fabric and tied with a ribbon tape measure, look....

I hope you've enjoyed sharing in the pleasure my gifts have bought me.  I've just realised that I didn't show you all our Christmas makes that we gave as gifts so....I'll see you again very soon with an update on that.

Bye for now x