Sunday, 24 July 2011

Busy, busy, busy

It's been a busy old week for me. most of it was spent in Cornwall for the Culdrose Air Day. Sadly the drizzle and cloud meant the Red Arrows, Lancaster, Spitfire etc couldn't fly. However, the wing walkers put on a great show and my hair curled beautifully in the damp sea air! I think I need to move to Cornwall so my hair would look fabulous all the time!

I don't have piccy of my pretty hair, so here is one of the view from my dinner table at Falmouth

I haven't managed to clear much of my WIP/UFO pile. Mostly I have been concentrating on my massage course which is pretty intensive. I have to learn the names of lots of muscles, what various bits of the body do, business studies, hygiene, towel management etc, etc. For homework I have to design my massage room (that's fun though), make notes for a 10 minute speech about myself and why I am doing the course (luckily I don't have to give the speech!) and I have to give 5 people 4 massages each and write it all up for my case studies

I did manage to whip up a little soft roll for my massage table after one case study complained mentioned that using the hole in the bed rather than the extended face rest was a bit uncomfortable. Hopefully this will do the trick - I'll know tomorrow when the client (that's what we have to call them) comes back for massage number 2

My mum's lovely next door neighbour gave me some bathroom scales that she no longer needed. they had been in her garage a while and the cork had a damp patch. In Proper Job (one of my favourite shops) I found some marble effect sticky back plastic and being a true Blue Peter gal I covered the scales with it to co-ordinate with my flooring

Saturday, 16 July 2011

WIP-a-dee-doo-dah, WIP-a-dee-ay

... my, oh my what a wonderful day! actually, the rain is chucking it down outside, but indoors here at my flat, all is cosy and busy. Recently I've been noticing a few people talking about WIPs and UFOs and initially I felt a little smug. After all, I only restarted crafting early this year, so I couldn't have many UnFinished Objects, could I? I might possibly have a couple of Works In Progress

I think what made me face reality was when LaaLaa over at Hookin' With Laalaa set up the UFO Support Group, that's when I counted up all the things I haven't finished yet...

Another 'blaze' bag needs making

both these purses need finishing

The second Barbie apron is cut out but not sewn... the first one was made back in March

My first 'blaze' and pansy bag is in progress at least - just need to finish the lining, attach the handle and make the closure

Most embarassing - I got cross making the first of my piped cushions and wrapped the uncut curtain around the whole lot of them back in March. The towels almost count as a WIP - they are ready for my next massage case study to arrive!

I have the lavender my mum lovingly dried for me, I have the fabric... must get cracking on making it all into lavender bags!

I don't feel quite so bad aboutr this one as I need to find and buy another item before I can progress

Denim covered jotters for my nephews - I must get them done and posted for the start of summer hols

Scrummy stripy rayon to make a summer skirt, I've not even cut in to it yet: I bought it back in April

Purple and blue handbags, not even started yet

Back in March I got a big bag of fabric from Freecycle and have meaning to make a brown faux fur gilet. I just found there is a big chunk of white faux fur too... polar bear anyone?

Well that's eleven WIPs and UFOs I need to get started on this weekend, so yes, I say let it rain! I'm fine all cosied up indoors trying to reduce the to-do pile!

Sunday, 10 July 2011

The owl and the purse went to sea

... in a beautiful pea green boat... oh, hang on it was a pussycat, oops.

So anyway, I've had a quiet weekend, therefore it's a (relatively) short post today. (Phew, I hear you sigh!) I was just in the mood to chill out, so all I have done is make one itsy bitsy tweeny weeny owl for a friend. He is my tiniest one yet, no more than an inch high. I seriously need to get my photo skills sorted out; I just couldn't get a shot of the little critter in focus. My china houses in the backgoround are looking pretty good though!

Of course I just had to finish the blue purse to match the blue handbag. It's lined with felt that matches the handbag. Inside is a pocket made out of a felt square from my giveaway winnings from Sew Sweet. The button is one from my lovely swappy parcel from Moonstruck Creations and matches the button on the handbag flower

In future I might make a glasses case as well to go with each handbag and matching purse, oh, and perhaps a bag charm. Can't have enough things that coordinate can we girls?!

I have made a start on the pansy lined flame handbag, but you'll have to wait to see that!

Hope you all have had a nice relaxed weekend too

PS, yes, all right I confess, I did have a swift trip to the Spinning Weal today, the call of fresh wool tops was too strong! Also I needed a ball of yarn for my Magic Ball Swap .I got a luscious ball of wool from the fabulous Mr & Mrs Harris - they never let me down

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Summertime blues

I had a sneaky trip to my beloved Spinning Weal a couple of weeks ago and one of my (I daren't mention how many as my family all read this blog!) purchases was a luscious 100g of blue merino wool top. Merino wool is usually used for hats but I really wanted all the lovely blueness for a handbag so I figured if I made a small clutch and lined it, it would be tough enough for the job. I had also bought a nicely coordinating blue fat quarter for the lining. The whole lining thing was inspired by a bag Becky J over at Fluff Pot has been making

So, I got stuck in and laid out the felt gently on a piece of net curtain on a strip of bubble wrap - 4 layers: 2 vertically and 2 horizontally on each side of the soft plastic template, tucking each layer carefully around the edges so there would be no gaps*

Slinging on a load of soapy hot water I started to rub the wool through the net curtain, and rub and rub and rub until my arms felt like they would fall off

Once the the wool couldn't be pulled up like in this picture below, I took the net curtain off and carried on bashing it all about

Eventually the wool felted and shrunk so the template got all squished, then I cut the upper edge and removed the template and bashed it about some more with plenty of hot water and soap. It's quite a tiring hobby this! When I was happy that I had finally felted it all enough I left the bag to dry, people say this takes about 24 hours, but mine always take a good 2-3 days to be fully dry

With the bag dry I was able to start on the lining. I always like to have a small pocket in my bags so, trimming round a flower from a pretty John Lewis fabric swatch and using interfacing I sewed the pocket to the lining

Then I sewed the lining together and after many, many, many attempts I finally worked out which way round to pin the bag and lining together  and sewed the top and then round the two handle holes, which I had strengthened with interfacing

As you can see I made the handle holes way too big. Grrr...

...but after a few curses I realised I had enough fabric to be able to put a seam in so that the excess was taken up. I added a pretty scarf and wore it with my turquoise maxi skirt and felt very ladylike all day

As a prototype I am quite pleased with it. The merino wool is definitely not strong enough for it to really be anything other an occasional bag, so next time in I am going to try corriedale wool for the inside layers and merino for the outside coupled with extra interfacing. Also, I think I probably won't make the handles as cutout holes as that also weakens the structure. I found some silky curtain tasselled tiebacks half price at Dunelm Mill and I think the tie bits will make great handles for shoulder bags - although I do need to think of something to do with the enormous tassels... any ideas?

I have a skein of flame coloured wool and a fat quarter of orange pansy cotton so you can guess what I'll be up to next!

* um, I kind of didn't do the covering the edges bit too well as on one corner the wool was a bit sparse so I made a felt flower and sewed that on to hide it!

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Almost time to go cold turkey

I'm joining in Stashtacular - I have pledged to not buy any fabric for a whole month, That's right, your heard me...  a whole month! Luckily, although not long in the making my fabric stash is pretty healthy, especially since I had a little spurge recently...

... two fat quarters from eBay; the pansy one will be used for lining my next handbag, the other is for a surprise so I can't say any more about that! The mauve and green bundles are remnants from a shop in Frome; they were selling for £2.00 each, but the nice lady only charged me £3.00 for the both. Her sewing thread was only 36p a reel too, so I picked up 3 reels of purple as I ran out of that making that disastrous purse.  

I wish I could remember the name of the shop to tell all you fellow bloggers who live near enough to visit. As you can imagine, I'll be going back soon for more thread and I promise I'll write the shop name down

In Dunelm Mill, not long ago I picked up this lovely pair of tassels , the orange cord and also that lovely seascape fabric in the first photo. Very luckily we are allowed to buy findings and notions and trimmings and beads and ribbons and.... (sorry got a bit excited there) whilst going through the cold turkey of Stashtacular

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Happy lucky me!

I entered a giveaway over at Sew Sweet and guess what? Yep, I won! 

I was so chuffed! I'm now getting all sorts of ideas for what to do with all those darling felt squares. And as for the buttons, well, I am over the moon with them, such a glorious selection of colours. Now I shall be searching for a lovely tin in my favourite charity shops to keep them in as this is just the start of my button collection

What a very generous giveaway - blogland is such a lovely place to be

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Happy swapping

I had my first swap with Helen from Moonstruck Creations, you've seen all the lovely goodies I received and you've seen the fairy, but I didn't just send a fairy, well that'd be a bit mean wouldn't it?

I had a lovely time making up the package...

I popped in a felted purple flower brooch/necklace (I know, I still haven't decided on a name for them yet and it gets worse, they now come with a headband as well, so they have 3 purposes... sigh!)

I had one of those mini Bonne Maman jars and since my Blue Peter habits have returned with a vengeance I just can't throw things away so easily! I filled it with wool roving and stabbed until it felted then glued the felt in with some seed beads at the bottom and voila - a travelling pin cushion, not sure why anyone would need a travelling pin cushion, but it was fun to make

To finish it off I also included some pansy fabric, ribbons, embroidery threads and a luscious ball of silky yarn that the nice lady at the Spinning Weal says is crochetable for more adventurous crocheters, since Helen's crochet always looks fantastic I figured she counts as an adventurous crocheter! I added a dark sparkly candle, some chocolate and of course, the fairy!

I'm already on my 4th swap now! My second, has been a bit disastrous as my swap partner lives in Canada and of course they have a postal strike and Royal Mail aren't allowed to take in in any more mail until things are back to normal, so it's going to be a while before that package sees the light of day!

Hopefully the 3rd and 4th will go a little more swimmingly! I am swapping with Heather at Patchwork Heart for the Unbirthday Swap hosted by The Undomesticated Scientist and also with The Undomesticated Scientist for Hookin' with Laalaa's Magic Ball Swap, so that's me kept happily busy for most of July! 

What are you all up to this month?

Friday, 1 July 2011

Paying it forward...

I had a nice surprise at the beginning of this week... the lovely NJ over at All things random and beautiful awarded me with this...

Do go take a peek at her blog, she is a fellow south-western gal  and was very deservedly featured over at Suzy's artsy-crafty sitcom 

Here are the rules! Please pass on this award to blogs you love with less than 100 followers! Pay it forward! I'm not sure how many people you have to pick on but I've chosen 5

My friend Sharon at Waffling on about. I have 'known' for about 10 years now I think, is that right Sharon? We 'met' through dooyoo the review writing website and we are finally getting to meet in real life at the end of this month when she comes to visit... as you can imagine I am pretty excited about that! Pop over and read some of her waffles, I have always loved her writing and I bet you will too

Helen at Moonstruck Creations was my first blog swap partner. She crochets beautifully and makes fabulous creations, I can definitely recommend her lavender hearts, I can't stop sniffing mine!

Helen's friend Sue @ Home is another creative crafter that I love to visit, I have one of her cards which came in my blog swap parcel from Helen. Sue takes the loveliest photos, the photos of the orange cake she made recently are truly droolworthy

Briony at Crafty-Cats-Corner lives in the south-east of England and I  always enjoy a new post from her and I just love her furry friends. She makes the most amazing embellished patchwork,

Last, but not least and only just coming in under the 100 mark is Emma who owns Sew Sweet and I love dropping in to her blog for inspiration from the cards she and her design team come up with. This week I found out I won her Friday Freebie Candy, to say was a chuffed would be an understatement... I had to read her announcement a few times before I finally believed it!

what I won... lucky, lucky me!!