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Sunday, 14 September 2014

Stitchin' up a storm

Well what a lovely long summer it has been - sunshine, holidays and high-days (not literally, but that natural high I get from the fabulous Standon Calling), and to top it all off, the shiniest sugariest cheeky cherry of all time.... the man (or woman, I know not) from Canadian immigration s/he say YES!!!!  So our Nova Scotian holiday-dreaming-home-away-from-home home will pretty soon become our homestead-crafting-glamping-gorgeous-gorgeous-permanent home, and the UK will be our holiday destination to spend quality time with family and friends.  So, so happy. Cue much writing of lists, and a little scratching of head when I discovered how expensive it is to ship goods - what to do with my humungous fabric stash?!  Mental switch from bargain-buyer to e-bay-seller as a hobby, and a determination to stay home and stich instead of go out and spend.  Starting with some fabric purchased several months ago for 1. glamorous fifties trousers from this pattern ....

.... which I am rather pleased with and planning to wear to the next Lindy Hop social, and 2. homesteading dungarees, from this pattern.  I have a bit of an obsession with dungarees, a result of spending far too much time in the perfect world of Pinterest  and deliberately ignoring the knowledge that I always end up covered in muck even doing a bit of ladylike potting.  I was a  bit worried about the outcome being more 70s throwback than vintage lady gardener, but I like them enough to maybe try another pair in a more suitable shade of mud-brown.  But with a few flowery touches here and there of course.

 And I couldn't resist stitching my little label where no-one can see it - if the next pair turn out well, maybe I'll be brave and stick it on the outside.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Phil the Pheasant

My big brother's 60th birthday - what to get for a present...?  I was perusing the lovely homewares in John Lewis when I spotted this - gorgeous.  But maybe I could make something...? Decided to try my hand at something pheasant-themed - a bit dubious whether my rough and ready applique methods (pins / a spot of glue / machine zig-zag) would meet the challenge, but apart from the much-too-big feet which were hastily disguised, I quite liked the result.  Enough to wrap it up and give it to my brother anyway.  It reminds me of the beautiful cottage we used to live in - we had a pheasant that would eat out of our hands, and also a characterful neighbour called Phil, so it seemed appropriate.  Not sure my brother will call him that or anything else, but I hope he's a comfy armchair companion.

Monday, 19 May 2014

A Crafty Corner for the Summer

Dilemna - wanting to crack on with my little hexagons and also wanting to be outside in the sunshine. Solution - deckchair, table and tray - ta dah!
The weather was perfect this weekend and I really felt like I was on holiday, managing just a sprinkling of chores so I felt deserving of a few hours in the sun. I even invented a lovely summer drink to add to that holiday feel - ice, juice of half a lime, a couple of sprigs of fresh mint and lemon balm, fill to the brim with cranberry juice and top with an edible flower (chive in this case, which looked pretty and I couldn't detect any hint of onions!). Delicious and refreshing, and I suspect rather good with a splash of vodka too. How I love summer.

Monday, 12 May 2014

My other new obsession

Crystalised edible flowers - so pretty and really , really easy to make.  I finally got around to having a go after discovering I had aquired no less than three cut-out-and-keep recipes in my stash; to my delight they are really simple to do and look soooo pretty.  Probably a bit o.t.t. on this particular cake, maybe less is more, but I was showing off to my good friend Holly, the Queen of Baking.  I think it worked :)

Monday, 28 April 2014

My latest obsession

Hexagons.  Little patches of prettiness, so quick and easy to make, they multiply like little flowers blooming from tatty scraps of leftover fabric - so simple and yet so lovely.  This is a new discovery for me; my fabulous friend Jane sent me a little package ages ago, containing the templates, a few cut pieces and few extra bits of fabric - all for the princely sum of £1.15.  I've researched a whole new world of hexagonal quilts on Pinterest and I think I have decided that I like the randomly pieced ones best, which has the added advantage of not having to plan how many of each fabric to prepare.  Eagle-eyed quilters our there will spot that I started tacking my fabric right through the paper, but then I saw this and it's soooo much easier! Hoping to make a small-ish quilt/throw for Dolly, although my lovely husband said he quite fancies one for his den.  The way I am going at the moment, it will be no problem to make two!

Monday, 14 April 2014

Pretty as a picture

A little while ago my rather clever daughter showed me her first attempt in many years at putting oil to canvas and I was over-the-moon-impressed. 

Well, guess what? I am now the VERY proud owner of my one of her original artworks, which I absolutely love because a) it is beautiful, b) my fabulous daughter painted it and c) it absoutely encapsulates everything I love about our Nova Scotian home-away-from-home.  

What a very lucky Mum I am.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Cute as a Cupcake

My lovely friend Karen's adorable daughter Alice had her 3rd birthday last week; I decided to make her an apron as a present, but after hours of searching t'internet for a pattern for the kind I had in mind, I did a makey-uppy newspaper pattern, which is definitely not my forté.  I got the vital measurements from children's clothing retail sites and went for it - the inital idea was to have no bows or buttons, but I ended up adding buttons in case too small to go over her head!  In fact the whole thing looked worryingly small when it was done but I hoped for the best and popped it in the post. 

I was rewarded with the most gorgeous video of Alice wearing the outfit and saying 'thank you' - with her Mum telling her to 'Say 'Bye! Wave!' to which of course Alice responded with 'Bye Wave!'. Bless.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Spring is for... picnics!

I planned on making a picnic rug for someone for Christmas but ran out of time - so with my best friend Holly's birthday looming, March seemed like a good time to get down to it.  Learning points: 1. patchwork laid out on the table looks bigger than the finished article (kinda obvious but I forgot about the seam allowances :)  2. Batting looks thinner in the store on a great big roll than when it's squished between fabric and backing  3. I don't like working out technicalities such as fixing ties to the backing which would like up when the rug is folded / rolled - hence the carry-bag instead!  So although it's a bit small, I think its just about big enough for Holly's gorgeous baby boys to sit their behinds on and enjoy a good old fashioned picnic.  And the bit that made me feel fabulous was stitching on my little label - printed on this amazing cotton a that you can just run through your printer.  Happy days.

And - a couple of weeks after writing this post, I received this - I do like a happy customer!

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Sticky bits and pieces

One of my excuses for having a subscription to Country Living magazine is that I use their lovely pictures for my decoupage stash - I have to admit that I have a pretty substantial stash and my mini-projects don't seem to dent it much, but better than dumping the whole magazine in the recycling bin I think.  My latest efforts have resulted in a fairly presentable upcycled tray which I acquired for £1.50 at a boot sale, and a few cards ready to pop in the post for Easter.  The latter started off looking more shabby than chic but once I got into the flow I was quite pleased with the results. 

No progress on the knitting front yet though; I know I found a pattern I liked a while back but now I can't find it anywhere - but... in my search I discovered the wonders of Ravelry, and I just know I'm going to be hooked! 

Monday, 17 March 2014

The never-ending-quilt is done!

Well it took me an awful long time to finish, but I am very proud to say that I finally got there! I made the quilt about 6 years ago under the expert tutorage of the lovely ladies at Busy Bees Patchwork (who very sadly lost their entire stock to a fire recently - this must have been heart-breaking but they have rallied admirably and are keeping their brilliant courses going).  The machine stitched pieces were completed in a mere 6 weeks of classes + homework; and then it was down to me to put the backing on and set about hand stitching.  I worked on each square in turn but there were long periods inactivity where I got distracted with gardening and other crafty delights.  Towards the end of last summer I decided to take up knitting, but forbade myself from getting started until I was done with this, which spurred me on to doggedly keep at it.  So at last it is done, and I am inordinately pleased with the result.  Now... where are those knitting needles?

Saturday, 15 February 2014

A treasure unlocked

When visiting my Dad and step-ma Sheila a few months back, somehow the conversation turned to my ambition to one day acquire a pretty vintage sewing machine, to remind me of the one my mother had and sadly lost, on which I remember stitching simple garments (and tying off the thread ends as it didn't do reverse or zig zag or anything at all other than straight ahead).  It transpired that Sheila had something similar residing in a dark corner of a cupboard under the stairs - she had lost the key to the locked cover some years ago and was contemplating a trip to the dump....  I pounced.  Confident that my terribly clever husband could turn his hand to a spot of lock breaking, and having been reassured by Sheila that she would have no plans to use it even then, we brought it home with us - and now this little beauty (which weighs something in the range of a small car) is in my very proud possession.  Pretty cool eh?

Monday, 20 January 2014

High Tea and thoughts of spring

I finally got around to making a Tea Cosy for my lovely tea set - Inspired by something I saw somewhere but cannot now locate, but something like this one on Pinterest.  I made the fatal error of putting 'felted tea cosy' into Pinterest and Google and Etsy, resulting in a happy but unproductive hour or so marvelling at other people's talents - this one and this one were my favorites I think.   Anyway, my version was cobbled together from a shrunken child's wool jumper that has been lurking in my 'it will come in useful one day' pile for a year or so.  It's a long old time since I did any kind of embroidery, and even a basic blanket stitch took some scratching of head and giggling at my ineptitude.  But the final result I am very pleased with, and is just one more reason for endless cups of tea, which as my children know only too well is my cure for any of life's little challenges. 

Now that Christmas is behind us, I thought I'd try and steal a march on spring and start thinking about a crafty Easter, so I unscrewed the little dried flower press I picked up at a boot sale last summer and carefully extracted the flowers I selected in Autumn.  Some of them survived better than others, but overall I'm quite pleased with the result.  Now all I have to do is figure out what to do with them - but that's the nice thing about crafting, I do enjoy the general faffing around with pretty bits and pieces. Oh, and looking for inspiration on Pinterest of course :)