Saturday, 31 December 2011

... a scarf

I decided Dan needed a new scarf for Christmas and I was the person to make it for him.  I am really pleased with the way it turned out but it was a monster of a thing to try and do in secret - I think I will make the next scarf more publically and in a more relaxed fashion - this was a bit of a last minute rush!

Also note, as promised a view of the mini jestrs hat in all it's glory!

... a mini jesters hat

I don't really know why I like making mini hats, but I do - they are brilliant!  I have been long meaning to add a mini jesters hat to Dan's collection of mini hats and here it is in all it's mini glory.  In the next post you will see a photo of it in use illustrating quite how wonderful having a mini hat in your life can be.

More mini hats in 2012 - thats a promise!

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

... an embroidery for Kate

I haven't done embroidery for years apart from details on a few toys.  For my birthday the lovely Kate (Dan's sister) bought me some V&A pattern books, beautiful little books made by the Victoria and Albert Museum (as far as I am concerned one of the best places in the world) full of patterns from wallpaper and fabric etc they own in their collection.  I wanted them to use as inspiration for a range of craft projects and what better way to say thankyou than making the first project for Kate's Christmas present.

The design is based on a Lewis Foreman Day / Jeffrey and Co.wallpaper titled 'Memphis'from 1887-1900.  I changed the colous as Kate loves purple (and so do I and it is always nice to love the colours you are using - I think it makes me enjoy the making even more).  I am pleased with the design and the stitchwork and am already having thought about more embroidery this space!

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

... Pixie Hats

Here is the first of a series of posts containing my Christmas makes.  I was pondering what to post first and then it turned out to be Tuesday - renamed Pixie Tuesday in my house after the wonderful postings of Wellington Drawe.  I was lucky enough to get a Wellington Drawe original pixie drawing for my birthday which I love to bits and so for Christmas I sent Wellington Drawe a pixie hat based on one on a post detailing pixie hat styles and a mini mini fez for a pixies favourite, Osterwald.  As you can see from his blog the pixies and indeed Wellington Drawe seemed pleased with their gifts. 

I also made Wellington Drawe a mini fez of his own so hopefully Osterwald and he can enjoy the coming year wearing fezes and eating liquorice together.  Enjoy, my fine fellows!

Saturday, 19 November 2011

... a new hot water bottle cover

My old hot water bottle cover, made in November 2009, after 2 years of very hard service has finally disintigrated.  I have had this old grey jumper in my stash for ages and have long thought it would be the successor to my lovely blue stripy cover finally hung up it's hat.  I used tapestry wool to do some rows of embroidery around the cables on the jumper to make it more decorative and am very pleased with the results. 

This is another crafty bargain costing me just the price of the electricity for my machine with an old jumper for the outer and an old tshirt for the lining, tapestry wool and sewing cotton I have been given.  Great!

Friday, 4 November 2011

... a fairy mural

As you may have noticed I haven't posted much recently.  I have fallen into my favourite trap of having loads of things on the go and therefore getting nothing finished!  Hopefully however, that might mean a flurry of posts as I get them all finished (well that's how it works in my head anyways).  However, I have managed to paint this cutey fairy mural for the beautiful Flo, the nearly 4 year old daughter of some friends of mine.  While I could never paint anything as cute as Flo I have really enjoyed doing a bit of painting again - I don't do it very often.

I wish I was nearly 4 and still believed in fairies!

Saturday, 10 September 2011

... a mini fez

Dan loves a Fez and I love making mini hats.  So i made a mini fez.  Makes sense!

Mini hats are great and realised recently I have made loads but not got round to posting many of them so I will make a post of mini hats soon.....  I started making them a couple of years ago as part of Innocent Smoothies' Big Knit Campaign and have carried on.  I will be making hats for their campaign again this year which aims to raise money to help older people keep warm in winter.  The hats are sold on bottles of smoothie which is cool.  If you can knit or crochet join in!

Exciting news - if you want to make your own mini fez you now can (although this one is a bit big for a smoothie bottle - mini mini version to come soon).  I have made my first pattern which I am very pleased about.  It took ages for me to have the confidence to make anything without having a pattern to follow and here I am writing my own.  Click on the picture to the left download the pattern for yourself

Sunday, 17 July 2011

... black crowes

For the eagle eyed amongst you these might seem familiar - they are a version of Birdy that I made earlier this year.  These were also a present for Dan's birthday (yes - I do seem to just make him toys - may need to consider this!).

I made Chris and Rich (that's their names) as we went to see the Black Crowes this week on Dan's birthday which was super fantastic.  As the pattern I used for Birdy also had a crow version a pair of black crowes to mark seeing the Black Crowes seemed appropriate.  I scaled the pattern down and produced a pair of small little sweeties.  They are about 8cm tall with out the legs and were quite a challenge to sew being that small!

It can be tricky to know if people like the gifts you make for them but one of these (Chris I believe) got painted as painting of the day on Dan's birthday as part of his DanYoungDaily blog.  I will take it he liked them!

... Batman egg cosy

This little fella is a birthday gift for Dan who loves boiled eggs and Batman.  Ergo the ideal pressie is surely a Batman egg cosy - no?

I would love to say this is all my own design but he is based on pattern from the wonderful Ravelry website which I use a lot to get inspiration from. I am really pleased with him - I think it is one of the best things I have crocheted so far.

It is tricky making crocheted gifts for someone you live with as you make them in little fits and starts as the other person is upstairs/out - thank goodness Dan paints each day giving me a bit of time to get something made.  This does however lead to slightly comedy moments as I rapidly stuff what I am making back in my workbag when Dan finishes painting quicker than I expected.  I try to sit there with an innocent look on my face but I am not sure it works very often!  I did leave him on the table one day by accident when Dan came downstairs but he didn't notice and I quickly stuffed him back in the bag.  Whew!!

Saturday, 25 June 2011


Basically, someone asked me to make them a crocheted Pac-Man, so I did!

No posts for a little while - secret making is now the name of the game - see you mid July with some new stuff

Sunday, 12 June 2011

... a wash basket lining

We have needed a new wash basket for ages.  Our bedroom looks lovely but our wash basket was monsterous and ugly.  We have been looking for a new one for what feels like forever but couldn't find exactally what we wanted.  The big hope being that the really good basket stall at the Malvern Spring Show would have one for us and bless them, they did.  So this beauty came home with us and needed lining.  A small sewing challenge as it is tapered and not very even due to it's lovely basketiness.  I am really pleased with the finished article - a triumph of £1.50ish a metre calico from Ikea.  Lovely buttons from my button collection and more of that free cotton I got with my machine and homemade bias binding means this cost less than £2 - super!

Sunday, 22 May 2011

...a tidy for my allotment bag

My Mum made me the outer bit of this bag to keep my gardening stuff in and it has been extremely useful.  This little bag has been to the allotment almost as much as I have as we take it almost every time we go.  It has pockets on the outside which are really useful but the stuff inside can get quite jumbled - particularly the string.  Isn't it amazing how string (or wool / cotton) manages to wrap itself around anything it is near even when you are not moving it around?

So to keep the inside a bit more organised and to tame that unruly string I have made an innard for the bag with lots of sections and pockets to store all those things necessary for a successful allotment trip.  It is another one of my virually free projects (seems to be a bit of a theme for the year - making things from stuff I already have) as all but the electricity was not paid for.  The fabric - a kite/tent like nylon was given to me - I have had it so long I no longer remember who it came from, I was given the velcro and the cotton I used came free with my machine.  Bargain!

Sunday, 1 May 2011

...list holders

The saga of our shopping lists (or more accurately lack of them) has been a long one.  We are very good at going to the supermarket and forgetting all those things we think about during the week and then within five minutes of getting home saying "Oh, I remember we needed....."

Apparently other people make shopping lists as they think of things - genius!  In truth it is not that we don't know we need to do it, it is the method of list making that is the problem.  What ever we try never quite seemed to work.  Then along came this gem of an idea on Etsy's Blog as part of their How-Tuesday series -  Dan and I made one each and that way we have a list for food and one for other stuff.  As you can see the other stuff one has been used (hence the ripped end tot he paper) when we went to B&Q today and it performed well!

The beauty of these are that, apart from the rolls of paper (5 for £2.99, they are calculator rolls) everything else was found around the house so the holders themselves cost us nothing.  Even better!

Monday, 25 April 2011

...a purple stripy quilt cover (and pillows)

This is one of those jobs that I thought would never be finished.  For such a simple project it has been a bit of an epic but all done now and looking mighty fine.

You would have every right to ask why the heck make a quilt cover and pillows when you can buy perfectly good ones for not too much money.  Well, this quilt cover is all to do with fabric weakness. 

The cover and pillows are actually made from other quilt covers that were not the right size but I found on sale (seriouslty reduced) one day and just fell in love with the fabric.  I knew it would look stunning in our purple bedroom.  So a seemingly simple task followed of remaking them.  Not so!  They sought to challenge me in many and various ways and therefore continually got left as I found myself getting frustrated with them.

However now they are done and looking lovely the pain of making them is fast melting away and will soon be forgotten.  I have a lovely quilt cover, 3 sets of pillow cases nd some fabric spare for a future quilting project I have brewing in the back of my sewing brain. 

Just for the record I have learnt one important lesson from this project.  I am never, ever, ever sewing those damned poppers on anything ever again.  They are truly evil.

(this does leave me however with an issue - I hate sewing in zips, I can't abide making button holes and now I hate poppers too - I am fast running out of fixings available that i can tollerate sewing.  Could be a problem!)

Sunday, 24 April 2011

...a needlecase

Some things you plan to make, some things just happen.  One of the best things about being on annual leave (which I have been for the last week) is that there is time to grab hold of those moments where you think "oooh, that's a good ideas. I'd like to make that..." and actually do it, not just think about it and then realise you have something else more practical to attend to.

This was born of one of those moments.  It was Earth Day on Friday and one of my favourite websites Burda Style challenged it's members to make something small from all those left over scraps of fabric that most sewers have.  As admitted previously I cannot throw anything away which in this case is a good thing as it means I have some lovely scraps of fabric left over ready for these moments!  Everything on here is leftovers from something else or free cotton I was given so no cost.  I know, I know, Earth Day and all that and I have machine sewn some of it.  What can I say - my hands ain't up to hand sewing the whole thing and I did quite a bit of it by hand! So in reality a bit of cost (both financially and ecologically) for the time on the machine. 

I have thought about (but never actually got round to) making a needlecase for ages as I am lacking anywhere for needles and pins etc when I am working downstairs.  Like most people who undertake craft involving pins and needles the odd one goes astray (or two or three).  My partner is suprisingly tolerant of this but nevertheless it doesn't hurt to try to keep better tabs on the sharp little things.  Having read the article about Earth Day I was inspired to get sewing and now I have a needlecase.  Hooray.

(Also may have been an attractive project to make as the other thing I am working on is a duvet cover which is massive and I quite fancied sewing something that was not 4 times my size!)

Monday, 18 April 2011

...Orange Lavender Bags

It is amazing how often you make something for someone else and don't get round to making things you want for yourself.  I have wanted lavender bags for ages for the bedding which lives in boxes under the bed.  Despite growing lavender each year and having numerous ways at my disposal to make the bags I have never got round to it. 

I have no real idea what made me make them this way but I suppose like many ideas it just sort of grew.  I wanted to crochet more things with the thinner cotton that I refound when making the bookmarks and have fancied making some square motifs from one of my books for ages.  Put the two things togther and we are half way there.  All that was left was to choose some fabric to set them it.  Easy.  When it comes to choosing fabric I will always go for orange if it is available!

It seemed nice for the lavender bags to have vents to let more of the lovely lavendery smell out.  A lot of smell there is too which is impressive as the lavender has been drying out in the shed since last summer!

So now I have 5 bright lovely smelling bags and next time I change my bed it will smell gorgeous.  Delighted!

Sunday, 3 April 2011

...bookmarks for Mums

So, here they are, the last of the March Madness makes.  These bookmarks were sent to our Mums for Mother's Day.  Strangely I made these out of some thin cotton I bought ages ago which I found really hard to crochet with when I first got it so it got abandonded and worked it's way to the bottom of my wool box.  For some unknown reason I decided it would be perfect for the bookmarks I wanted to make and so liberated it.  I really enjoyed making them and found it fairly easy to work with this time round.  I guess my crocheting fingers are getting smarter.  Good on them!

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

... Birdy

March is a bit of a crazy month for us present wise.  My Mum and Dad have their birthday's 10 day apart and our newest nephew Zach is at the end of March (4 days after my Dad).  When you add that Mother's day is usually in March as well, that is quite a few cards to make and presents to source.  If you are making gifts it becomes a real project production line with more deadlines than a hobby should really have.  But I do love making things for people so I am definitely not complaining!

Here is the latest of my March makes.. Birdy.  Zach is one today and I really wanted to make him something as his two older brothers both have things I have made but he does not yet.  Zach is a super cutie and so is Birdy, I hope they will get on great.

3 birthdays sorted, two Mothers day cards and gifts to go.....

Sunday, 20 March 2011

... a Jelly baby

My Dad loves Jelly babies.  As he (like most Men) is a bit tough to buy pressies for he nearly always gets a bag of Jelly babies from me for his birthday or Christmas, it has become a sort of family tradition.

I had no idea what else to get him this year and was bemoaning how hard it is to make things for him - I always feel a bit guilty that I make my Mum loads of stuff and don't make him anything apart from his card.  Thing is, he is not really a crochet basket or lavender bag kind of man!

I am experimenting with creating patterns for small figures at the moment and realised my pattern experimentations could be be made into a Jelly baby - here it is.  I am particularly pleased as it is another step away from needing to rely on the patterns of others and anyways being able to make your own up is much more fun!  It might not be as tasty as the real thing and might be a bit of  a weird pressie for a man in his seventies.  But hey, I'm a bit weird.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

... crocheted baskets

There are some things you can make out of crochet and some you can't.  Somehow some things just look super cheesy while some look super cool.  I decided that crocheted baskets fell into the good catagory and decided to have a go.  These one's were made for my Mum's birthday.  She seemed very pleased with them when I spoke to her this evening so it seems like I made the right call.

For examples of things that should never have been bought into this world via the crochet hook check out one of my favourite blogs ever - What Not to Crochet -

For examples of things that should have been - check out the rest of my blog!

Saturday, 12 February 2011

... Admiral Ackbar

A friend asked me to make him an Admiral Ackbar. I don't think he really thought I would. But I did!

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

... orange cushion covers

As previously discussed I am a shocker for starting things and then not finishing them for ages. I have sort of accepted this as part of my 'creative flow' but never the less this lovely pair of orange cushion covers really do take the biscuit. I started these a long long time ago. Like so long ago I had just started writing this blog. The problem with this philosophy is that if I had finished them earlier I would have been enjoying them for longer. Anyway as it is I have them now and absolutely LOVE them.

They are made from a really chunky wool which was lovely to work with and I loved making them. What I did not love as much was making the orange fabric cushion covers to sew them to. I had to dye the fabric as I could not get any the right colour but worst all they have zips in. Zips are my nemesis (well in truth they vie with buttonholes for that particular honour) and these were no exception. Seriously I am glad you cannot see them and more importantly I am glad my Mum has not seen them - she was a needlework teacher (hence my love of all things sewing and craft) and she would seriously doubt me if she saw the state of them. Mental note - hide cushions from Mum next time she comes over!

Sunday, 9 January 2011

...Croc Socks

Fact #1 - Dan is very attached to his Crocs.
Fact #2 - Dan gets cold feet.

These two pieces of fact are indeed interrelated. Dan's Crocs make a big difference to how cold his feet get and so he wears them ALL the time. However the weather has been super cold recently and we have floorboards so frostbite on the toes is a real possibility at this time of year even with Crocs!

I saw this clever idea of making wooly liners for Crocs on my favourite crochet pattern site Ravelry and putting all the above facts together decided this would be a good Christmas pressie for Dan. Little did I realise my one key mistake was ignoring fact #1. Dan never takes his Crocs off unless he is in bed or at work and as I am in bed and at work at the same time getting hold of his crocs to measure them and check to see if the Croc Socks fitted was a bit of a nightmare. Luckily (well sort of) I was off work poorly and was able to get my hands on them while he was at work.

These were one of my closest calls as last minute Christmas gifts go - they were finished at about 5pm on Christmas Eve!!

Saturday, 1 January 2011

... cat toys

These nifty little things are cat toys made from jute string and laced with catnip a herb which the packet tells me will drive cats wild. I am not sure if the friend I made these for wants her cats driving wild but that is what she is facing!

This is both the first post of the new year and the first post of my Christmas makes. I wanted to make a sort of new years resolution (well I sort of made it to myself in November, making it a new birthday year resolution I suppose) that I would try to post things as I finish them, I got a bit behind in 2010 and did some things late and didn't get round to posting some things at all.

Anyways armed with my resolution I ran into the obstacle of Christmas where actually you can't post anything you finish as it would be a bit of a giveaway. To make matters worse the weather then scuppered a variety of plans and as a result some people don't have their presents yet. Present and blogging chaos! My well meaning aim of making my blogging life simpler has gone down the pan and I am not sure I will be back on track until the end of January ........ oh well, I was never much good a resolutions anyway.