Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Creative Every Day Challenge - The Weekend


The sum total of my weekend's crafting was....... 3 Christmas cards!

Saturday ended up being one of those days were you don't get round to doing anything and I was at a baby event all day on Sunday - getting stranded in the freezing cold as my friends' car got a puncture. Luckily we were only in Weston Super Mare and there was a greasy spoon cafe nearby, so we didn't get too cold waiting for the breakdown van. A big thank you to the nice security men at the Grand Pier who kept an eye on the car for us and to the breakdown chap who changed the tyre. A big boo, however, to the drunken idiot who tried to run off with the spare tyre! We made it home in one piece, but I didn't feel much like crafting that evening!

Friday, 26 November 2010

Creative Every Day -Friday

Today's creation is a much-needed draught excluder. I seem to remember Mr R&B ordered one last winter, but I never got around to it!

The fabric is from a curtain I won on ebay ages ago, it's 'Vermont' by Sanderson, I'm guessing it's probably 60s or 70s by the design. I stuffed it with scraps of fabric left over from other projects, so it's extra green!

I don't know about you, but I find it very hard to actually cut into my stash of vintage fabrics, which is daft when you consider they've been bought with the intention of actually doing something with them!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Creative Every Day - Wednesday

After slow progress yesterday, which consisted of a few seams and a couple more rows of knitting, I've been back on track today.

BB's shirt is nearly finished, just the hem to stitch and buttons to add.


The jacket is also growing - do you see the armhole shaping emerging?

More tomorrow, off to see how everyone is getting on.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Creative Every Day - Monday

Well, here we go with day one's creating:

This pile of squares will eventually become a patchwork quilt - today I pinned together quarter blocks to make half blocks, which I'll try and sew tomorrow.


This is a little shirt for BB - although I actually did the cutting out last night, after a burst of motivation.


A few more rows of knitting - this will be a jacket for BB, but it's been 'in progress' for a while. Hopefully I'll finish it while it still fits!

Nothing completed to show you as yet, but I aim to finish a few things by the weekend - that's my greatest challenge as I'm the Queen of UFOs (Un-Finished Objects)! My other challenge is to try and win a Wii console with Wii Fit game on ebay, but they keep going for more than I want to pay - maybe I'm just tight?!

Don't forget, you can still join in this challenge if you haven't already, just link back to my original post and make a comment to let me know you're taking part.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Creative Every Day Challenge

As a kick up the you-know-what, I'm putting myself on a challenge to do something creative every day this week and I'd like to invite you, dear reader, to join in if you wish.

The rules are simple - do something creative every day this week (from Monday until next Sunday) and post about it on your blog, if you have one. It doesn't have to be craft related - you could bake a gorgeous cake, or write a story, anything that you consider creative. And you don't have to complete whatever you create in a day, the challenge is just to spend a little bit of your day dedicated to creating. If you do join in, I'd appreciate it if you link back to this post and add the tag (on the right) to your blog during the challenge.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Christmas Decoration Craft Tutorial (picture heavy)

As promised, here's another craft tutorial. We had a better night with Baby Bird last night - he only woke up once (about 3am, worse luck), still wanted a feed, but went back to sleep fairly quickly thankfully. Funnily enough, he's just woken up as I'm typing - trapped wind this time, now loudly released. Boys will be boys!

Anyway, here's the tutorial.

Recycled Christmas Card Tree Decoration

Materials and Equipment needed:

Old Christmas cards
Pencil
Ruler
Cutting mat
Scissors
Glue roller/stick
Pair of compasses (I just used a round object, as I couldn't find compasses)


Firstly, sort your cards into piles of similar colours. I find this makes a more co-ordinated colour scheme, but feel free to skip this step if you prefer a more random effect.


Next, draw an equilateral (all sides are the same length) triangle using your ruler. This one is 5cms high, but you can adapt the size according to the cards you have. Remember that the finished size will be twice this height (e.g. I've used two halves, so my ornament will be 10cms high when finished). Create flaps by rounding off with a compass, or drawing around a round object. Make sure that the widest points of the flaps are equal - this is important when you glue the elements together later.


Using your first shape as a template, make another 7 pieces and cut out to make your 8 elements, as below.




Next, score along the straight lines on the wrong side, using a craft knife (or scissor blade) and a ruler. Take care not to cut the whole way through the card (or your fingers!). Also, make sure that the scores meet at each corner, otherwise you won't get a neat triangle.


Score all of the elements and you should end up with something like this:

Don't forget to bend the flaps!


Punch a hole at one point of two of the elements, you'll use these to hang the decoration, so make sure you place them opposite each other when making up. If using a glue roller, now is the time to add glue to the flaps. If you're using a glue stick, glue the flaps one at a time, or you'll end up with a horrible sticky mess!


This is the part where you find out how accurate your cutting and measuring is! Take four elements and stick them together, flaps outermost, lining the edges up. You'll need to create two halves, as above.


Next, take a length of ribbon or sparkly thread and thread it through the two holes you made earlier, tying a knot on the inside of the ornament. Finally, glue the two halves together and voila, your finished decoration!



This is just the basic model - you could embellish it with sequins, ribbon, glitter, whatever you want. You can also glue the flaps together on the inside to create a completely different look - just remember to score on the right side of the card to allow easier folding. If you're feeling adventurous, try adding more elements and seeing how big you can make your ornament, the posibilites are endless!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Tiredness

(http://blogs.coventrytelegraph.net/fromdawntillrusk/guest_blogs.html)

Today I am tired, bone tired. We've had a few weeks of unsettled nights with Baby Bird, firstly with his teeth (he cut his first one on Bonfire Night, bless), then he decided he likes sleeping across the width of his cot, thus knocking his little bonce on the rails and waking himself (and us) up. However the last two nights have been the nights from hell as he has been waking all night, then last night decided he wasn't going back to sleep until I fed him, which I only worked out at about 2am this morning. Hey ho, the joys of parenthood!

As such, I will be morphing into slob mode shortly, curling up with Kirstie, visiting the 30s high street and (hopefully) going to bed for some much needed sleep.

There may be a craft post tomorrow if I return to the land of the not-so-knackered.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Re-Inventing The Egg Cosy?

I bought myself a copy of Cath Kidston's Sew! book the other day and it arrived this afternoon. I had a good flick through and have to say I'm actually quite impressed with it - there's 41 projects ranging from the basics such as cushions and appliqued blankets (a very cute one with aeroplanes, perfect for the little man) to more complex items like a hand-quilted hot water bottle cover and a couple of patchwork items.

There's also lots of information about how to complete the projects, including tips for hand-decoration and trimming. Naturally, of course, Ms Kidston's trademark cotton prints are out in force. Certainly a good book for a beginner, but also great for some inspiration for a more experienced sewer. Glad I got it from The Book People for £4.99 though!

But onto the reason for the title of the post. I have a big collection of home craft books, but even my collection barely scratches the surface of the vast numbers out there. However, reading through them, I don't think I can pick out more than about ten to fifteen basic items that you could make. So, is it the case that we are simply redoing the same projects, over and over again, just with someone else's fabrics? And if this is the case, wouldn't it be better to spend the cost of another book on some lovely fabric and create something that's entirely our own design?

It applies so much to clothing as well - I have a huge collection of patterns (can you spot a trend here?) but in actual fact, they're all variations on a theme. I bought a number of patterns from the 60s and 70s from ebay a few weeks ago and looking at them, there's at least half of them that are virtually the same as patterns I've bought in the last few years.

What do you think, is there anything new to be discovered or has it all been done already?

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Guest Post : 'Punk Patchwork' by Vix of Vintage Vixen

Hi Folks
Apologies for not posting in a while - a lack of time and not very exciting things happening has led to a bit of a blog holiday. Also having a bit of a style overhaul both personally (possibly to be revealed at a later date) and with the blog. As such, I'm delighted to bring the first of my guest posts. The post is by the lovely Vix at Vintage Vixen - a truly stylish and inspirational lady. Enjoy!

'Punk Patchwork' by Vix of Vintage Vixen
Basically it's my punk approach to patchwork, I've called it "Random Acts Of Patchwork". I'm not very patient and once I get an idea in my head I tend to rush it through to maintain my interest, once it gets put aside I rarely go back to finish it. I made this method of patchwork up, I haven't seen it before.

The daybed is Edwardian and was found in a skip many years ago in a poor state. I sanded it down and restained it with Jacobean Oak, a lovely dark woodstain we always use on our floorboards.
It's currently sitting in our guest bedroom being very well-used by the cats.



I made the bolster cover by cutting a piece of old sheeting to size and hemming it. I then rifled through my stash of 1950's barkcloth curtains, vintage bed sheets, satin curtains and off-cuts of dresses (all bought second-hand) cut them into random sized pieces, pinned them haphazzardly on the sheet and zig-zag sewed them into place using a bright pink thread. The edges were trimmed with baby pink bias binding.



For the smaller cushions I used old covers I bought at a jumble sale and I did the same with scraps of fabric but this time I hand sewed them using some embroidery thread.


All my thread and trimmings are second-hand. I don't think I've ever bought a new reel of cotton.


The quilt on the day bed is a 1930's one I bought for 50p at a car boot sale and the crochet Afghani blanket was one of Mum's creations back in the late 1960's.

Many thanks to Vix for this great post x

All images courtesy of Vintage Vixen

Monday, 11 October 2010

Pyramage Christmas Card Tutorial

I'm pleased to bring you the first in a regular series of free craft tutorials wot (sic) I have done.

If you haven't seen pyramage before, the principle is similar to 3D decoupage. Instead of building up individual parts of the image, you focus on one part of the image and build up ever decreasing layers. Confused? Have a look at the pictures and it should make more sense.


Materials:

Kanban Tiverton diecut frames
Kanban Winter Post diecut papercraft toppers
Papermania Gem Sparkling Stars
Papermania Adhesive Shimmer Dots
Papermania Pearlescent DL card pack
Glue roller or double-sided tape
Sticky 3D pads
Scissors


Step 1: Remove frame and the 3 layers of your image from the die cut sheet. Trim notches if needs be. Apply glue/double sided tape to the back of the largest image, then attach to your frame, like so.


Step 2: Take the next smallest image and apply foam pads to the back, do this with each layer of your design. This card has 3 layers, but I've seen some with up to 5.


Step 3: After you've added the foam pads, layer up each image on top of the previous one, carefully lining them up with the first picture. This creates your 3D effect.



Step 4: Glue or tape the topper to your chosen card, and add a sentiment. I've also added some adhesive gems to finish off the card, but you could add glitter, ribbons etc, according to your own taste. And there you have it - your finished card!


Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Knitting Goes Mainstream

Having a baby, it seems like Mothercare is our second home at the moment, much as B&Q was when we first moved into our house. The Christmas catalogue popped through the other door and of course, it's full of toys and clothes. However, what I spotted was the backgrounds and props that were being used.

Knitted fairy lights and mountain scenery


My favourite, a wreath made of cabled baubles


More knitted baubles


Wrappings and bows

Have you seen any clever ideas for using knitting recently?

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Echoes Of Summer


You might think this is a photo from earlier in the year, but in fact it was taken just a few minutes ago. These are a few late roses and a foxglove - the bushes have had a second flush of blooms after the lovely weather earlier in the month. The roses are 'Golden Celebration', the yellow one and 'Double Delight', the pink and pale yellow. No idea on the variety of foxglove other than it's a white one that popped up in the garden! I wish I could share the scent of the roses with you, they smell gorgeous.

Sadly it looks as though Autumn has now arrived - the trees are starting to turn and I had to dig out my winter jacket, one of the few vintage things I own that (just) fits me at the moment. Still, the arrival of Autumn hopefully means some cosy evenings with knitting needles and something good on the TV. Failing that, a spot of Christmas shopping online!

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

52MMM Challenge - Week 7 & 8

Wow, week 8 already! I lost track a bit recently, and haven't managed any more makes up until last week.

Anyway, week 7's offering are these brownies, made from the recipe that Victoria at Florence & Mary sent me as part of the Good Enough to Eat Swap. Very yummy and the first brownie recipe that's actually worked for me:


Not many left as you can see, but to be fair I did make them for a barbeque, so we didn't eat them all ourselves!
Week 8 is also of the edible variety - this time it's bakewell slices, which I made today. This is the first time I've ever made these, so apart from a slightly crispy edge to the pastry (I blame the oven for not cooking evenly!), I think they turned out pretty well in the end.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Giveaway Result .. And Another Giveaway!

Apologies for the late drawing of the giveaway, but I've been away and there were also a couple of last-minute entries. However, with a drum roll, the name pulled from Baby Bird's sunhat was:



Vintage Vixen!

Please drop me an email with your address so I can send your winnings to you!

The other giveaway is over on Floss's blog - vintage French loveliness, although this giveaway is a tad more British in it's flavour!

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

What Now?

I am a terrible hoarder and collector (or a good one, depending on which way you look at it) and as a result the house does have rather a lot of clutter. However, I have a love/hate relationship with all the stuff - it's pretty and I like to look at it, but it creates more work in the way of dusting and most of it will have to be stored away once Baby Bird gets mobile, probably around Christmas time.

I also have shelves overflowing with fabrics (some vintage, some not) in my craft room, not that I've spent more than a couple of hours up there since May (yes, I could still heave myself up there despite being nearly 40 weeks pregnant).

Now, my dillemma is this - do I a) keep everything, enjoy it, but not buy anything more for the time being, b) try and sell it or c) try and create some stuff with the fabric, then sell those items? And if I do try to use the fabric, what do I make? Where do I sell? My forays into craft fairs were pretty unsucessful last year, but it's hard to tell whether that was my products, the venue or the recession.

Answers on the back of a postcard please!

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Self-Indulgent Nonsense ... and a Giveaway!

It's that time of year again, another birthday has rolled around! In some ways life has been completely turned on it's head by the arrival of Baby Bird, but in others, I'm no further forward than I was last year. I always assumed that I would get married and have babies, which I've achieved, but it's the more personal, selfish dreams that so far elude me. This time next year I will be celebrating a milestone birthday and it would be pretty amazing to have got somewhere along the personal goals path - so watch this space! I've booked myself a place on Debbie's retreat (link here) in May next year. Debbie has achieved so much this last year or so, I would love to be able to follow in her footsteps. You can read about her adventures on her lovely blog http://countryheartandhome.blogspot.com/ .
Anyway, enough with the self-indulgence, I would like to bring you my long-awaited book giveaway! I know you've all been waiting with baited breath (haven't you?!).


The book is 'Seasons of Giving' by Joni Prittie (appropriate name, I think!). There are lots of ideas for gifts crafted for seasonal occasions such as Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, new Baby, Autumn etc. There's a variety of items including dried flower arrangements, a woven ribbon sachet, a gardener's apron and even gifts for pets! At the beginning of the book there's lots of information about useful techniques for creating the items and making our own creations.
I'm also going to include some goodies to add to your crafting stash - this will include some vintage fabrics and trims, some card embellishments and whatever else I can think of!

All you have to do to be entered into the draw is become a follower of my blog. If you also introduce anyone whe becomes a follower, you'll get an extra entry, it's that simple! Closing date is next Friday, the 3rd of September.

Good luck and happy following!

Monday, 26 July 2010

A Thrifty Mrs' 52MMM Challenge - Weeks 1 & 2

As you've probably worked out from the title of this post (and my previous one), I've been taking part in the 52 Marvelous Makes Madness challenge set by A Thrifty Mrs over on her blog.
Basically the idea is to make one thing a week that you ENJOY (this is the important bit) making, using either existing skills or something you'd like to learn. It could be crocheting a blanket, making a fabulous cake or creating a 10-foot high garden sculpture out of used scooter parts, the choice is yours and limited only by your imagination. And no, making the dinner doesn't count!

I feel I want to share one of the reasons for doing this challenge and I'm going out on a limb doing so, but part of the purpose of this blog is to record my life as well as more fluffy things. I've been suffering with low moods for several weeks since T was born and am currently being refered for assesment and counselling to see if I have postnatal depression. As such, I haven't felt much like doing any crafting in the spare time I do have, so the challenge will hopefully give me some motivation to at least do a little something each week.

Anyway, please let me share with you the first two weeks' creations.

Week 1







My entries for the Bo Bunny Design Team auditions. The challenge was to create two scrapbook layouts, two cards and an item of your choice using at least 80% Bo Bunny products. My layouts were of T, (including one of his tags from the hospital), and our wedding (although I put the wrong year on it, we actually got married in 2007), using a photo of our first dance. The cards I made using the new Peacock Lane range and also the Delilah range. My item of choice was an empty (clean!) food can which I decorated with papers to turn it into a pretty storage tin.


Week 2


Jam! Pretty self-explanatory really! The greengrocer in the local high street had boxes and boxes of strawberries which they were selling off at 2 for 50p, so I bought six and made some jam. I don't think I'm going to be invited to join the WI any time soon, but it tastes pretty good. Perhaps my Week 3 make should be some scones to eat with it?

Monday, 5 July 2010

Catching Up

(www.jimandellen.org)

Just a quick post to say I'm still here and haven't forgotten about the world of blogging!

The last few weeks have been a mad round of feeding, nappy changing and not enough sleep, but I think things are starting to fall into place (for now, at least!). Thomas made his first real smile last night (funnily enough, during a nappy change), which was so nice to see and it's beginning to feel worth all the broken nights!

Naturally I haven't had a lot of time for crafting, but I managed to escape for a few hours last Saturday and took part in a knitting workshop with Debbie Abrahams. Debbie is a knitting designer and a consultant for Rowan yarns. She's published several books and runs courses and workshops all over the country.

The workshop I did was 'Professional Finishing', which was exactly as it says on the tin!
We learnt how to block and press the knitted pieces before using various techniques such as three-needle cast off to turn them into a finished garment. Debbie taught us the secret of picking up stitches evenly and also how to sew together the seams with mattress stitch. Despite a baking hot room, it was one of the best things I've done in a long time and I certainly learnt loads. I don't think I'll groan now when a pattern says 'pick up 100 stitches'!

I also decided to sign up to A Thrifty Mrs 52 Marvellous Makes Madness challenge, although goodness knows if I'll manage it, but what an inspiration!

I haven't forgotten about the giveaway I promised - I'm just waiting for my 50th follower to sign up and then you'll all have the chance to win. The main prize will be a book from my vast collection of crafting titles (to be revealed!), plus some other goodies to add to your craft stash!

Get following and in the words of a certain campaign 'It Could Be You!'