Monday, 20 December 2010

Xmas greetings

Tree's up, cake baked, presents (almost) wrapped. Gingerbread House is still a baking fantasy.

Just one more job; to thank all of you for stopping by and reading this blog.

Have a very merry and prosperous Xmas and New Year.

See you in 2011.

Claire xox

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Herbst Bowl

This is a Herbst Urchin Bowl made from a pattern bought on etsy (it was a downloadable PDF). I bought the 5mm 100% wool felt from Blooming Felt.

It came together quickly. I want to improve the seams so I will do a larger seam allowance on the next one. This is a 9" bowl there is also an 8" size as well.

This makes for a very quick make. Two bowls sitting inside each other looks good too.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Reviving my Spirits

In between doing my best impression of Florence Nightingale I made this lovely Tea Fruit Loaf from a Sainsbury's recipe card that I picked up a few years ago.

It is very quick and easy, and apart from soaking your dried fruit for a while in tea, it comes together very quickly.

The recipe is as follows:

350g mixed dried fruit (I used 200g sultanas, 100g raisins, 50g currants)
350ml tea
Cover the fruit with the tea and leave overnight (or a few hours depending how desperate you are)
Mix with:
2 beaten eggs
200g dark brown soft sugar
270g self raising flour
1teaspoon of cinnamon

Put into a lined loaf tin, and bake at 170deg C or fan 160 deg C or gas mark 3 for 1.5 hours. I checked mine at 1 hours fifteen minutes and it was ready, so out it came. Cool on a wire rack and eat as soon as you want to (preferably with a nice cup of tea). Sainsburys suggest you spread margarine on it, I leave that up to you!

I have also been having a go at Attic24's crochet star decorations. Hooky fantasticnous! One wonky point but I got there in the end!

Have a lovely weekend. BTW My son is a bit better today.

Friday, 10 December 2010


My lovely eldest son has Scarlet Fever. Apparently it is still
around. The doctor brought in 2 other doctors so they could look at
his symptoms ! A course of antibiotics and he should be well again .
Here's a lovely note he made for me earlier in the week. We do love
him very much here. In between sleep we've watched The Flumps and
Paddington - good 70s children's shows.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

pretty patchwork

Here is another dolls blanket that I have made from fabric scraps that I have. I used some of the decorative stitches that my sewing machine does.
It looks a bit wonky in the photo, and dark, too many sunless days.

This is the back.

Now onto a quick and fast way to create a patchwork piece of fabric.

The first step is to sew together larger fabric scraps together into a rough square/ rectangular shape:

If this isn't patchworky enough for you, then re chop it up:

Now move the strips around into a pleasing new patchwork design:
Then sew back together:

Now you have an even more intricate patchwork piece.
You can keep chopping it up and resewing it as many times as you like, the only thing to remember is that it becomes smaller with each round.
Use this in projects such as lavendar bags, as a pocket on a bag or apron or in another way you see fit! You could sew a piece of fabric to the back, so it looks neater (there are a lot of seams)

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Tuesday Photo

It is a cold and frosty morning on this first Tuesday in December.

Monday, 6 December 2010

artistic treasures

Brighton is in the middle of the Xmas 2010 Artists' Open Houses. I have mentioned this amazing scheme before, as it also happens in May for the Brighton festival.

It is the most wonderful thing. I walk to houses, within 5mins of my own, and get to meet artists, see their work and buy things that I like (and can afford).

I started at at the Dragonfly House (#48 on the house tour) which always has a great choice of artists and disciplines. In this house, the ceramicists really caught my eye. There were three (I think, all with totally different styles).

I picked up this heart Xmas tree decoration made by Stacey Manser-Knight.

I really love it, very simple but stylish.

And to prove not all art is expensive, it was only £4.

I believe this sweet little bowl is made by Christiane Kersten, who usually makes printed ceramics. It was only £8, which I thought was pretty good for a limited edition piece.

The next house, that I bought something was The Family Show (#46 on the house tour). The standout artist for me was Shyama Ruffell. I bought this flower print from her (stupid blogger keeps turning it around!) I might be able to sort it out later, I've already tried twice.

I like the seedheads and flowers in this. The originals in oil were amazing, but I could only afford this print, which cost £25.

The next house that I went to, that I was impressed with, was 24 Yardley St (#24 on the house tour) There were three artists, Belen Gomez, John Dilnot and Kate Jenkins.

These 2 cards were by John Dilnot. I have seen his work in a shop in Brighton. I like his animal/ insect prints. All I could afford were these cards at £2 each. I plan to frame them, and put them on the wall in my son's bedroom. My eldest son likes them and wants them above his bed.

I picked up this sweet locket (£8) made by Kate Jenkins.

But my favourite things in Yardley St were these:

One side of the mug

The other side

The ceramics are made by Belen Gomez.

She is a lovely lady, and talented artist. I bought 2 mugs and 2 egg cups from her, with her allotment/ hen theme.
They are all on English fine bone china. (which is always nice to drink out of).

I hope you will agree, this is a great way to find some lovely presents for your family and friends and yourself!

Friday, 3 December 2010

Gift Ideas - Doll's Patchwork Quilt

This is another stash busting gift, a doll's patchwork quilt for my nieces.

I pieced together some of my fabric scraps in three coordinating fabrics. These fabrics had been originally used to make myself an apron, and dresses for my nieces. I had saved the last few bits away, I pulled them out and I literally tried to piece them together like a jigsaw, so I would end up with a rough rectangular shape (c45cm x 35cm). As you can see there is no set design, more crazy paving, if you will.

Once that is large enough. I trimmed it down to a rectangular shape. I them cut out a piece of cheap gingham fabric, I had, to the same size.

sewing batting together

Now for the clever bit, I have sewed together left over batting, from quilts I have already made, again to the same measurements. The way I did this, was to butt them up against each other and join using a zigzag stitch. That means it's a flat seam.

batting all sewn together

I'm not going to bind this, so I am laying the batting down then I lay the two rectangles of fabric right sides together.

Batting, fabric 1, Fabric 2 (rst)

I stitched all the way around, leaving a gap of between 5-8 cms. Turn inside out. Poke out corners. Now whip stitch gap together.

Feel free to quilt the blanket if you like. Make it as simple or as decorative as you desire. Time is probably an influencing factor here. It measures approx 19" x 15".

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Gift Ideas - Lavender Bags

I am going to try and show you the things I am making for friends and family.

My first set of gifts are some quick and easy lavender bags.

I am using up small pieces of fabric, that I probably won't be needing for anything else. You could piece them together, if you have more time, but I'm just using 2 coordinating fabrics for the front and back. I'm just cutting them into squares and rectangles. I am attaching ribbon, so they can be hung on hangers to scent clothes, and keep those moths at bay. You could omit the ribbon, and have them to be put on shelves and in drawers. I am making some for my husband as he had some suspicious holes in one of his jumpers. But we haven't seen any moths, but better to be safe than sorry.

I bought the dried lavender from a shop on Ebay, specialising in organic french lavender, a few years ago. Believe it or not, it still smells pretty strong. It did not cost too much either.

The tricky bit is inserting the ribbon.

As you can see you make a sandwich, with the fabric right sides together and the ribbon in the middle. You only want to sew the ribbon down on one side, so tuck it in as you sew round.

Sew around the edge with a 0.5cm seam (or whatever seam width you like). Do leave a gap, so you can turn your bag inside out and fill with lavender.

Gap left, and ribbon inserted.

Bags ready to fill

I filled with the lavender using some paper rolled into a cone shape, to help the lavender go in without making too much of a mess.

Once filled up whip stitch the hole up.

One lovely gift!