Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Felt Gift Tag Brooches!

I just couldn't resist doing something crafty to give away this year. I have been pretty slack in gift making. But I am busy crocheting, so I should be excused!

These gift bows made in felt, are from ow About Orange's tutorial, who inspired Kathleen from Twig & Thistle. who inspired me!

One in pink for a friend.

Lime green for my sister.

Purple one for me!!!
Just need to sew on the brooch backs now!
Are you doing anything last minute as well?

Monday, 21 December 2009

Merry Xmas

We may never get a white Xmas, but it was nice to get some decent snow the other day!
Everything looked beautiful for a few days, but the ice was somewhat deadly!

I wish everyone a wonderful and happy holiday, and a fantastic New Year. I'll probably see you in 2010!!

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Yummy Yarn

So this is what I've been buying with my hard earned cash (and a few sales on ebay). Crochet has me hooked!!!
This is all Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, chosen primarily, because I already had quite a few balls of it, but it is lovely and soft, and warm!
Fabulous colours!
The reason I need so much yarn?

By the way, it's not enough!
I am crocheting a georgeous ripple blanket.

The pattern is supplied by Attic 24. If you haven't looked at Lucy's site, you must. She is fantastic! I'm hoping one day, I can buy her a coffee or tea and a slice of cake to say thank you!

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Half Treble Anyone?

Oh I love You Tube, and generous people who pop up their video tutorials on there, and other sites.

So thanks to the KnitWitch I can now do a Half Treble (UK) or a Half Double Crochet (US). And by learning that I've now forgotten the other stictch that I learnt the other day!!!

I'm attempting to make the lovely wrist warmers, first spotted on Attic 24's site. I'm using a merino aran, that I accidently bid on on ebay (clicking before reading! I was after cashmerino!) Still it's a very nice blue. I'm doing 1 colour, as oppossed to multi, but I am a beginner. I'm definitely going to do the edging. And so far, so good. I was crocheting away watching a film on TV, that I already have on DVD!

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Made 09

Made 09 is Brighton's Design and Craft Fair. You can see some pictures here.

I got to talk to Linda Miller about her embroideries, which in person, are fantastic. There's such charm to them.
She was very nice and self deprecating and really informative about he work. She has been doing it for 20 years, no wonder it looks so good! I would love to go on one of her courses. That would be something to save up for. I did watch her on TV this week, and she demonstrated her technique. She also told me that she has a book coming out next September. I think I will buy that!

I also met and bought a print and postcard from Quietly Eccentrics, or Lindsey Gardiner.
She was a really nice lady, the print and photo are at a shop being mounted and framed. They are for my son's bedroom. I'm trying to add some more art into it. A bit of a gallery if you like!
I also liked the stall run by Seed, supporting emerging artists and designers. I bought myself a very small work of art, threads in acrylic by Sarah Thomas, it's a smaller version of the photo below!

There were some lovely knitwear designers as well. Very tempting. I particularly lied Woodchild, who had great blankets and also Elsy and Vine, more gorgeous knitwear!

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Happy Hooker

Last weekend I attended a 2 hour beginner's crochet class with Jan Eaton. She is actually retired and living close to me! So we were very lucky to have her run this class, as she normally does not do this anymore. Her friend works at the museum, where the workshop was, so I think that is what swung it! Anyway, Jan is a really really nice lady, full of life, very funny and incredible patient and friendly. 2 hours would never belong enough to get into much crochet, but she taught us how to chain stitch, slip stitch and do a treble stitch, and we all got started on some granny squares.

I have to say I'm now doing them every night, using up old wool that I have from a knitted blanket I made a while ago. I'm using Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, I know this is cheeky, but if anyone has any (even just a bit of it, enough for a round, I'd be ever so grateful!) As with all things woolen, it starts getting expensive very quickly. My colour scheme is purple, pinks, green, blue, I'm not 100% happy with those colours, and think I need a few more to help blend the whole thing together. I'm probably going to add in some orange, rusty red, and a lime green, to give it some zest! So I'm putting my crochet hook on hold, until I pick up some more colours, that I can work in. I did however pick up an Erica Knight book up from the library, for some inspiration!

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Retail Happiness

Firstly, sorry for being away so long. Been so so busy. Had my in-laws stay for 9 days. Now, about 9 or so days later, I've recovered!

Had 2 traumas on the sewing front, 1 may be recoverable, 1 i don't think so. I made the Tate Skirt from sew hip, and it was a disaster, their fault, with wrongly sized pattern pieces and so on. So I could rip it apart for the 4th time, or just leave it in the not quite right pile (which seems to be growing with my Heather Ross stuff I made!!!) From now on I'm either going to buy a pattern from the major pattern makers or just shop in a normal shop!!! Having said that Boden have SOLD OUT of the lovely spot skirt I wanted!!!! Curses. Sold out in EVERY size.

The other skirt, that may be salvageable, is my attempt at making my own pattern, based on a skirt in the toast catalogue! My husband's grandma is giving me all her old craft books, and one of them is a great pattern manual, from the 1970s, but is so comprehensive, it's fabulous!!! So using that and the Reader's Digest book of Sewing, I constructed my pattern. (I use IKEA kid's paper, that comes on a roll. Really handy for drafting patterns on!) It's nearly there, I've just got to get the side zip in, that will go in on a curve, between my waist and hip, and hopefully look smooth! I'm using an invisible zip for a neater finish.

Went to Gap today as they are running a 30% off week. I needed new jeans, but I guess I was having a fat day, as all the styles that I tried on, did nothing for me. So I left it! Skirts just seem more flattering, right now.

But what has been a success was my trip to Bert's Homestore, in Brighton. Just me, no children. So I could actually look at EVERYTHING they sell. It is such a great shop for kitchen and homeware. Really nice makes (actually they sell my friend's tinwear, Elite Boxes, which is nice as well).

As my husband always moans that my salad is not dry enough, I have bought a salad spinner. In, a lovely red colour, plus it's also a measuring jug, so therefore excellent value for money. Obviously I'm either 6 months too late or 6 months early with this, as we ate salad non stop throughout the summer months, and we eat it a bit less through winter!

I also bough a jelly mould, as they have to look special. So jelly will be made this week, for sure! My local veggie shop sells vegetarian jelly mixes. Also, I do need a larger mixing bowl. They had a pink plastic one, that looked cool, or some of those traditional ceramic ones (brown and cream ones). I will be going back in a few months to pick one up!

I have also been looking for some bits and bobs for our hallway table, letter holder, place for keys etc. And I happened to go into the Futon Company. See what you can do WITHOUT children with you, amazing! And bizarrely they had just the thing. I bought a nice bamboo letter holder, and also this little lidless box, with a slim drawer underneath it, to store your pens. Just the thing to pop a notepad in by the phone, and a place to leave my keys when I come home! I have to say these new purchases for my table, now make my table look like it needs an upgrade (which it does, it was bought years ago, for our old maisonette, where we had virtually no hallway, so we needed the smallest table for it! Now we have a large hallway, and a tiny table which needs replacing asap!)
So all in all, I had a good day, where I bought some improvements to my home. Small steps, sure, but happy ones all the same.

Sunday, 18 October 2009


I have been very busy lately. This is why:

I made this quilt for my sister's birthday present, and it was a long time in coming together. I used the wonderful pattern, by Crazy Mom Quilts, found here.
Just choosing the fabrics was a job and a half. Many I bought off the Internet, so was never sure if I was getting the right colours. I wanted them to flow from red to orange to golden yellow.
I feel I achieved that! I used a few fabric ranges, from Moda, Amy Butler, Heather Bailey, Anna Maria Horner.
And I wanted the back to be as good as the front. So I made one of my favourite designs from Last Minute Fabric Quilts by Joelle Hoverson.
This is the Stacked Coin Quilt. I made it using the left over fabric.
And I left buying the brown fabric till the end, and again that was a nightmare, as I didn't want to spend a fortune on a plain brown fabric. Again I got it from the USA, as it was cheaper, even with shipping added to the cost!

I love this quilt, and would have kept it, no problems! I'm not sure I would make it again, as I don't like to repeat myself, but never say never!

Friday, 25 September 2009

Made by Rae Jackpack Backpack Giveaway

Made by Rae Jackpack Backpack GUEST GIVEAWAY!!!!

Go on over and try and win! Rae makes great patterns. Do you remember the buttercup bag at the start of summer?

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

window shopping

I found these 2 dresses on the Toast website.

It's not easy to see on the silk one, but it has a wide neckline (boat style? is that the term?) and then it's sewn in 2 parts, the bodice and the skirt, both with darts and pleats. I like that look, looks comfortable to wear. The downside is the price £155. Yeah right!

Next up is this dress, the amor, slightly cheaper at £135. Still not in my budget range. I especially love the sticky out collar, what a cool detail. This has an empire line, which is flattering if the skirt isn't too flared, so you look pregnant! Ha!

Obviously there is something I can do! That's right, make my own. Now on my supersaving spate of late I want a pattern to replicate these 2 dresses! But why pay for that when the fantastic burda style has one for me! The Danielle dress is as near as I've found to the checked dress. So I may well have a bash at it. The downside, with all my quilt making, my dress fabric buying has been non existant! I'll have to see what the fabric shops have to offer aftr pay day!

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Things to do

I'm really busy at the moment making a quilt, using these instructions. So far it is going well, and I am loving it. Too much. You see it's not for me, so I mustn't fall in love too much, as I might not let go when I hand it over, wrapped in a pretty paper with ribbon! That would be embarrassing! Of course, I could pop on one of the lovely labels that Amy Karol has designed.

So I thought I would share with you some lovely things that YOU could make, if you have time on your hands, and are so inclined!

Scrap Fabric Flowers from Heather Bailey (see her make them here)

Apron Tool from Sew What Bags by Lexie Barnes featured on Etsy.

Parchment Flowers by Jeffrey Ruddell

Jewellery Stamping by Lisa Niven Kelly

Have fun if you try any of these things!

Friday, 11 September 2009

I've just found this site www.sewmag.co.uk, it's a new sewing magazine, but more importantly it has a great website, that you need to log into and can watch how to videos and so on. I've watched the how to do a concealed zip, and can genuinely say I learned something new!

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Wardrobe Planning

I've been thinking about my clothes, and I'm trying to be more organised and practical in what I buy. So I'm just making an inventory of what I've got and any gaps in my wardrobe. I need to stop being a magpie, and have a more uniform style, if you will.
Janie Dress from Monsoon £60

Having said that, I need a few long sleeve tops and some knitwear, in the colours that would go with the bulk of my clothes, which are mainly deep pinks/ purples, greens and brown. Well it looks like these are NOT the "in" colours of this A/W collections, as it seems to be a lot of black, grey, coral in the shops - oh no!

Tess Tie Neck Dress £55 - Monsoon

I used to wear black ALL the time, from my teenage years into my mid 20s. I have made an active decision to mainly keep it out of my wardrobe, and go for more colourful items. So this leaves me with a bit of a dilemma, as I do need a cardigan and 1 or 2 long sleeve tops, but obviously I need them to match my other clothes! Admitedly half the time I wear jeans, and I also have an A line denim skirt, so they do go with any colour!

I did see this amazingly cheap grey jersey dress with 3 flower details from Next for £22. That does seem very tempting! Yet again, I can't pull pictures off their site, but it's worth a look! It also comes in black! I know, I know, it is NOT in my colour spectrum! But it's so cute, and a bit more exciting that I usually go for!

Favourite Crew Neck £39 - Boden

I have ordered an orange cardigan/semi jacket from Boden (this was at a muched knocked down price of £22 - from £75) and a stripey purpley jumper.

Sasssy Fit Cardigan - Boden Sale (looks better on, in the photo!)

I know all these clothes look a bit disparate, I guess what i'm after is like a core wardrobe, of mix and match. I'm happy to have other clothes that are outside of this, but I want to sort out my key elements, so it's a lot less hassle getting dressed every day!

Obviously I am skint after the summer holidays, so I have plenty of time to continue my window shopping, and work out my my clothes etc for Autumn and Winter. On the sewing side, I am making a quilt at the moment, and I am going to make an A-Line skirt from some material I picked up last year, I think it's an embroidered brown corduroy. Anyway, very autumnal!

The only reason I'm doing this is because last week it went all cold here, but of course this week we're back to the summer sunshine! Hooray!

Friday, 4 September 2009

Catching my eye

Apologies for blurry image, but I've just discovered these kits over at AMH's shop. I love the dress in the Drawing room fabric, Volumes in Gold. It costs $63 which includes the fabric and the pattern. I think I'll save up and get that for next spring, if I still like it! (I'm pretty sure I will).

And I loves these green shoes from Next, £45. Ok, I don't have a huge amount of green in my wardrobe, but I'm sure that can be changed!
And I've been enjoying the new Boden catalogue. I bought a raincoat in their sale, and notice they do a winter version, that looks identical, except it has an inner fleece to keep you snuggly. I bought it as it had a hood, a must have with a buggy! Mine is in a brown fabric with a lovely contasting lining. Boden makes me feel a bit grown up, and smart, which can come in usefull with all those yummy mummies at the school gates!

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Sharing Summer

Sorry I've been away for so long. But I have been having a great summer with my family. So August has been very relaxing and great fun.

For the first week of August we all went up to Yorkshire, and went on various trips to the Dales, to York and so on.

Then my husband and I returned to Brighton (leaving our 2 offspring with their grandparents) and we had a very pleasant and quiet week. Sleeping in, tidy house, peace and quiet at ALL times of the day, and a general feeling of rest fell upon us! And we managed to oversleep on quite a few occassions!

In the third week I returned to Leeds and split my time between my dad and my sister's houses. During this time I saw old friends and had more day trips. And I have to say the weather smiled on us during August, and it was pretty much dry and sunny every day.

My sister and I took my boys to the York Maze, which is a maze of maize. This was a fantastic day trip, as apart from the maze (theme of maze changes annually) they had a huge playground, drag cars, the farm and other bits and bobs to do and see! They also had an onsite cafe and obligatory gift shop! I took my youngest son (he's 2) on the drag cars and I was in hysterics the whole way round, it was so funny! We all had the best day.

We also went to the Royal Armouries, which again is a fantsastic day out.

They have loads of live interpretations as they call it, to bring the place alive. Plus falconry displays, done by an amazing man, and jousting!!! Absolutely fabulous, and incredibly reasonable. All we spent for 4 of us to see the falconry and jousting was £7.50 and the museum entrance is free. A bit more money was spent in the gift shop, certain small children wanted a knight on a horse!

We also visited Hebden Bridge and we went to Hannah Nunn's shop Radiance. And we met Hannah, who is a lovely woman, as is her shop. She told me she does the artists open houses in Brighton. So I may well go along and see her in the Spring when she is next down here! I also popped into Circus Circus for some ribbon and the world's best sweet shop also deserved our custom! Another good day!

Friday, 14 August 2009

Catching Up

Sorry I have been so quite lately. We have been on a family holiday to Yorkshire. One of the more spectacular outings that we did was a day trip to Aysgarth Falls. It is in Wensleydale (home of the cheese). I know my husband took a load of photos, so I'll have to get them from him! It is a lovely riverside walk, with 3 waterfalls at various points. At the highest point the river is shallow enough to play in. So the boys had a great time, splashing in the river.

On another day we went on a walk from one small town (forgotten name to Grassington) which was really nice. We walked along the river path, and then had to cross this very rickety suspension bridge, it was a one person at a time job) We all had lovely icecreams at the end of our journey and a drink in a nice hotel/ pub.

We also saw "moon" which is a brilliant psychological film, about a man working on the moon. Really really good. I think Sam Rockwell will be up for awards for his performance, for sure.

And one other think that we did, was go up to Yorkshire, with 4 people in the car, but return with only 2! Yes the children are staying with their grandparents for a week. Which is a win-win for everyone. But I am missing them, so looking forward to having them back in a few day's time. The silence in the house is very relaxing and lovely. It's so rare to have the home like this, that I'm relishing it, because before long, the noise will be back.

I have been sewing over the last 4 weeks, so I do have a few bits to show you (still more to photograph and show later!) I did make a linen dress from a Simplicity pattern that I am pleased with. It has a natural simplicity that I like (Japaneseish?).

Here are the few things that I can show:

Firstly, this is my Clothkits Trellick Skirt. I'm very pleased with this. I got this one as a second, as the dye run wasn't perfect. It cost me £14, and I had to buy the lining, thread and zip (that would normally come with it). It's so easy to make, just cut along your correct size, sew up, and wear! It certainly gets me noticed, and many people have asked me where I bought it. I will certainly buy more things from Clothkits.

This is the huge bag from Weekend Sewing!!

It is too big really, I would make it slightly narrower next time, but I like the design.

I used Alexander Henry Pear and Apple fabric, and a plain red cotton for the lining.

Never one to have nothing to sew, I now have 2 quilts lined up. One is for me (from the leftover Amy Butler Midwest Modern fabrics that I have) It's going to be quite bold and busy. And one is for my sister, a zigzag quilt and buying plain brown cotton fabric has been a pain in the neck. I had to resort to buying it online from USA, but it's still not been sent. I've been quoted between £7-9 for plain cotton quilting fabric, which I'm not prepared to pay. It's no wonder so many people buy from the USA, evern with P&P and tax, it's cheaper!

Back soon with some more finished work!

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Animal Quilt

I made this quilt for my friend's baby. I used 5 animal print fabrics, and then bold primary and secondary colours as a frame, and sashed in white cotton.

I like the back as much as the front!

Monday, 27 July 2009


These kicked started a great weekend for us.

(lemon & blueberry buckle)

How could I resist cooking a buckle? I'd never heard of that, but it just screamed out "make me", then I had to aso try the stone filled fruit teacake, which is sublime.

(stone filled teacake)

It's not a teacake as we know them, here is the UK, more a halfway house between a pie and a cake! More pie if anything! But what a great pie, filled with plums, it was sublime. A new favourite. (thank you Chicken)! Recipes found here under cookbook club, "Rustic Fruit Desserts".