Friday, 25 April 2008

100th Post Giveaway

I can not believe that I have reached a 100 posts!!!
However I have been absent from this blog for the past week due to work. Sounds rather boring I know, but unfortunately true. We had a our annual review which causes worry and concern even for the most level minded person. well it is over for another year unless something else crops up.
I have been able to make a special item for my give-away which I finished last night.

You may remember this lovely fabric that I could not bring myself to cut into and that looking at it was my prefered idea.

Well I have taken the plunge and taken the scissors to it and...
made this...
It measures 18cm wide x 13.5cm deep. The pink ribbon line indicates the start of a pocket and I am putting a special double sided white popper there to hold the deep pocket in place.
Fully lined with white cotton.
A runner-up will get a hand-made felt keyring similar to this one......
I have decided to take my flower theme in clashing colours further and I am busy making a load of these keyrings to compliment the others in my Etsy shop.
Deadline for the give-away is Saturday 3rd May 2008 then I will be able to send if off on Monday.
Just leave a comment on this post and the winner will be announced on Sunday 4th May.
I have been working on some book covers. I have several made in denium ones and completed several orders for fabric covers as presents and leavers gifts. So hoprfully some pictures of those tomorrow.
Best go and do some stitching which has had to sit on the back burner this week.
Best of luck.
PS Added on Sunday 27th.
Silly Billy Me, I can't send it on 4th May because it is a Bank holiday (here in the UK) and I am doing a craft fair that day so how on earth that slipped my mind goodness only knows. So posting on Tuesday 5th May instead, hope that is ok. I think I need a lie down!

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Sketch Book Sunday 4

My final sketch book peek is from a project that was made for part of my City & Guilds course. I took the theme of flowers and wanted to incorporate machine embroidery. For the background I used a piece of cotton that I had dyed using procion dyes at an evening class. Lovely vibrant colours that I felt matched in with the flower theme. Then as you can see I scribbled and doodled to try and come up withan idea. There was a moodboard that went with this but I can not find it at the moment.

I did think of embroidering flowers, cutting them out and them stitching them on but I changed my mind on that. (Can not remember why).
This is the outcome. It messures about 10inches x 10 inches and to give it more texture he central section has been added. At the moment it is lying on my sewing desk waiting to be stretch and stapled to a canvas. Thought it might look good int he attic when it is finished.
It is one of my favourite pieces that I made on the course, a real one off that I am not sure that I could pull off again!

Sorry it has been posted rather late but I have a big day at work tomorrow that I have needed to prepare for and with hubby up country Sophie and I needed to spent some time together. More on that tomorrow.

My 100th post is next and I am going to have a giveaway of one of my handmade items. More on that nest time once I have decided what it will be. Can't believe I have reached a 100 posts it has gone quickly. I have completed some WIPS but not had a chance to upload them yet. They will go towards my craft fair stock which is looming up too quickly.
Guess who caught me playing on Patchworkz? Yes, that's right Sophie wanted to have a go (it is her in the picture) and she manged to complete level 11 and 12! Which is why I added it to my side bar as I need to have it ready for Sophie's next laptop session.
Have a ggod week.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Award...Thank you!

I was dead chuffed to see that I have been given an award by Picciolo.

This is one of the aspects of blogging that I like as well as leaving comments and hearing other peoples view of your work. Giving awards is nice because others have taken time to think of you and post about you. Picciolo and I set up our blogs at a similar time and she was the first to leave a comment on my blog. So thank you very much.

I would like to pass this onto:
* Nannybird: Who has helped with some technical aspects of blogging, been supportive of my work especially with felt and sent me some really lovely emails.
*M.Kate: For having a blog that is very original and with fantastic photography.
*InkberryBlue: For her enviable crochet skills, lovely photography and enjoyable posts.
*Twiggypeasticks: For finding my blogging, re-visitng and for having a very interesting and lively blog.
*U-Handbag: For having an inspirational blog and fantastic on-line shop where I could literally spend a fortune on bag loveliness.

I have recently been visitng other blogs but as they do not know me very well I have not mentioned them here. Does anyone else feel that they need to have commented a few times before adding their name to this kind of thing? Maybe it is just me. Do take a look at these blogs and others in my sidebar as they are worth a visit. I have added a few more this past week.

It has been really hectic here with the building work and nest week I will start posting some pictures so that you can see the transformation. We are really pleased with the attic conversion so far but once it is finished I reckon that I will be finding and removing dust etc for WEEKS! Never mind eh!

So sewing, completing WIP's or taking pictures has been low on the agenda this week.

I may not have achieved much this week but look at this little lady!!!

Sophie simply said one morning "Can I have my stabilisers taken off my bike please?" My hubby and I looked at each other and held our breath. That was last Sunday and you may remember I said about keeping plasters to hand. Well after school on Monday she announced that she had a surprise for me and it was this........

"Look Mum no stabilisers!"
It was one of those teary- eyed Navtity play sort of experience. She was rock steady on her bike and was confident to go at a reasonable speed too.
Not bad for 5 years old. I have found over the past year or so that when she makes a decision she sticks to it and does it. It is great when shopping for school shoes believe me! I am very impressed with how she has handled her first year at school (so far) and her determination when she puts her mind to it.
Any way slushy mummy time over,
More tomorrow I have the last sketch book Sunday post and hopefully some completed WIP's.

Nighty Nighty

Monday, 14 April 2008

Computer Game for crafters....have fun!

Purple and Paisley has featured this on her blog. I have had a go and it is easy and fun once you get the hang of it. There are patchwork patterns and you have to complete them, that is all I am going to say.

So take a look at Patchworkz.

Sent off my fee for the craft fair today so it is going to be SEW, SEW, SEW for the next few weeks. What have I done? Sophie is really looking forward to it as she remembers playing shops at work last October. Wasn't going to take her originally but I think that I now have my own PA for the day!
I am off to do some work for the day job then a bit of sewing.

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Craft Fair advice ....

Well I have decided that despite all the chaos here and work that I will do a craft fair on May 5th Bank Holiday. Certainly got plenty to take plus some bits to make.
So really I am wondering if there are any seasoned craft fair bloggers out there or anyone who has done a fair for the first time and has any advice.
Such as..
* Things to take (or wished that you had taken).
* Pricing ranges (what did you find successful, I thought having some items under £5 would be good as well as higher ones).
* Any other tips that others might find useful as well.
This is one of my book covers that I thought I would take along.

Many thanks for the Wedded Bliss comments, it was amazing that day how many people we met who thought that 10 years was some major achievement. Perhaps it is for today but we have a long way to go before we match our parents number of wedlock (or is that padlock) years! The suggestive comment did make us both laugh.
OOpps Sketch Book Sunday 3, forgotten to take the photos so I will come back again and add them in.
Enjoy the rest of the day, it is sunny here and Sophie is out with Dad trying her bike without the stabilizers for the first time. So I shall have tissues and plasters at the ready for when she comes home just in case.

Sketch Book Sunday 3
This bag has since winged its way to America as part of a bag swap that I took part in in March. I wanted to make a round bag simply becuase I had never made one before. The fabric was left over from my degree and is a wool and cashmere mix in a camel colour. lovely to stitch with. The ideas were very random with this bag and the fact that flowers appeared was completely out of no where. By using free machine embroidery and complimentary colours I stitched random flowers which were embellished in the centre with an orangey clay bead. The sketches were drawn in black pen where wavey lines were also looked at as well as curvey lines for the flowers.
With this bag I started with the fabric, beads and threads and fiddled about until I found something I liked, not exactly planned, more accidental which can turn out better.

Friday, 11 April 2008

Wedded Bliss!!

It is our 10th wedding anniversary today and hubby and I are off out tonight to a new Italian Restaurant. (We have been together for about 18th odd years). Sophie has just been picked up by Grandma and Grandad. So just a quick post today. The picture is the card sent to us by my parents which is just perfect to show here.

Many many thanks for the comments left on the last post. So many! It has been lovely to read these and has spurred me on to finish loading up the other items that I have made.

Have a great and relaxing evening.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Yippee! First Etsy Sale..

Only a couple of posts back I mentioned about Etsy selling whether people used this method or not, how successful they felt it was. Well literally the next day or so I saw on my email that one of my purses that been snapped up. One of my favourites, and I heard today that it has arrived so I can blog it here. Due to computer problems and incompatability of software I have lost track of the photo of the purse which is annoying but it was made out of Cath Kidston fabric in the style of other that are still on Etsy. I had lots of fun wrapping it up and I popped in a few extras, Moo cards, pin badge with the Indigo Blue flower on it and a coin in the purse for luck.
Even the light looks blue on this photo but it was caused by dull weather not my photography skills. This has spurred me on to upload a few more items onto Etsy as I keep making things and putting them in a box and not doing anything else. Tut, Tut.
Over Easter I did manage to fulfill a promise to myself and finish reading this..
This was a nice cosy read and ideal for picking up and putting down. It has been featured lately in knitting and other craft magazines. I will say that there is some swearing in it should it concern you but it is intended as a friendly book. There is a follow up called "Needles and Pearls" but I do not now if it is out yet. Some patterns and items are mentioned in the book and you can find these here. i have printed them all off and there is a pattern for a lovely shawl, teacosy and spiral scarf.
I am going to my sewing group tonight to continue working on Sophie's quilt. I know that I have not mentioned it in a while but it is still on-going and I have nearly done all of the squares but I have got a bit behind due to work and camping on the kitchen table due to the building work. Pictures will be posted of the attic conversion when it is finished so that they are not spread out too much but it is all starting to get quite exciting now.
Many thanks for all the comments left lately. There are more than there used to be and I have found some new blogs to visit as a result. I love reading them and I get a kick out of thinking that you have bothered to visit and type!
Have a great evening.

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Sketchbook Sunday 2

I unfortnately lost the original photos for this post due to some fun and games that I have been having this week with the internet and my poor laptop. So these may not be quite as good. This week I am showing how I took an idea from a 1970's embroidery book and developed into 2 tiny bags.

I really like the picture on the right which was in black and white. I then took part of that idea and transfered it into beading. At the time I was making a lot of beaded bags and purses which I am going to revive. I had lots of purple beads left over from amking a beaded reticule for a bride. So wanting to use the stash that was the colour scheme that I decided to use. Witht the beads in front effect would look like. So this sketch book page shows the how the embellishment idea evolved. Actually making the purse itself is another story another time which I will tell another time and credit it where due as it originally devloped from a kit I had. The beads were sewn on with transparent thread but also silk thread if the needle went through the bead.
Here is the result:
After making this one I got a bit carried away and spent much time making more as presents, particualarly 18th, 21st. The one below is one of my favourites and and has been hard to part far anyway.
Then about a year ago my branch of the embroiderers guild were having a bag making day so I started this and finished it at home...
A lovely big glass bead and handmade cord has been made to create a fastening. I used machine and hand embroidery, beading couching on of unusual threads and varigated threads were stitched on before beening made up. This developed from the bags above. So even an idea found in a book that is in black and white can be created into something original and eye-catching. There is perhaps a better photo onmy flickr page if you want to pop over and see.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Chunky Knitted Bag Tutorial.

This tutorial is not intended to be revolutionary in any way and many more experienced knitters may not be impressed. However, as a person who has a bit of a problem following patterns and finds knitting takes too long sometimes, I did find this project refreshing. I saw a pattern that I liked, used the same size needles and wool size, changed the overall stitch used and worked out the rows etc to work to a given size. Therefore it will be easy to change this for your own needs- bigger/smaller/thicker/thinner etc.
You will need these..
This lovely chunky wool was recommended by the pattern and it really is chunky. It is brilliant!
You could use any brand of chunky wool or double up yarn to get the thickness.
You will need:
5 x 100g of Sirdar Bigga wool ( or similar)
Pair of 8mm (no.0) knitting needles
Pair of 12mm (no.0000) knitting needles
Stitch markers ( I did not need them)
50 x 100cm piece of fabric for the lining ( I used cotton)
Sewing needle and mactching sewing thread for attaching lining.
A bodkin for sewing up the bag. (The chunky wool would only go through a bodkin due to its thickness)
From here on I did it my way a little:
Using the 12mm needles cast on 23 sts.
Knit 38 rows of Moss stitch. (Or a stitch of your own choice to a size of your choice)
Work 2 rows of garter stitch (this will be the top edgeing of the front panel)
Cast off.
Repeat the above to make the back panel.
To make the gusset cast on 7 sts and work 2 rows in garter stitch to match the top edge of the back and front panels. Then work the rest of the gusset in Moss stitch ( K1, P1, K1 etc)
The gusset needs to measure approx a total of 90cm when slightly stretched (or to match your front and back pieces when gusset is slightly stretched. It would be worth checking this as you knit to make sure it fits and will help to maintain the bags shape when finished. Remember to work 2 rows of garter stitch then cast off as this will match the top edge of the front and back panels.
With the last ball of wool I found both ends and cast on 5 sts for one strap then with the other end I cast on another 5 sts for the other strap and then knitted them at the same time so that they came out exactly the same length of 40cm. (Or longer if you want them and have enough wool). At this point I needed to make sure that I had enough wool to actually sew the bag together!

Hopefully by now you will have the above pieces:
Handles x 2.
I hope that this photo shows that you need to first pin the gusset to one of the panels. Match the top edges of one end the gusset level with the front panel and pin, then match the top edge of the other end of the gusset with the back panel. Then even out the rest of the gusset around the front panel. I used over-sew stitch on the inside which once finished I could not see at all!
Then do the same with the back panel.
Next, pin the handles evenly on the front and back panels on the inside of the panels. Exactly where and how far apart is up to you. I put them about 1.5cm in from the side/gusset seam.
This time I back stitched the handles on to add extra strength.

Adding the lining:
Cut your lining pieces back, front and gusset.
Allow at least 1cm seam allowance on the seams and I allowed 2cm on the top edge to fold under before attaching to the bag.
Pin the gusset and panels together. Take care with the corners and stitch on the sewing machine.
The lining should look like this when stitched together.
With wrong sides together turn in your allowance at the top of your lining and then pin it to the top edge of your bag. I decided to put it between the two rows of garter stitch.
Using matching thread I then slipped stitched the lining to the wool bag.
Do not pull too tightly, this will not affect the knitting but can make the lining a bit puckered looking.
Then hopefully you will have your own version of this...
Yippeee!! your own (quickly) knitted bag. I knitted and stitched the outter bag in approx 2.5 evening and the lining did not take long.
I really like Moss stitch , it is easy to do, very effective, firm and you can see immediately if you have gone wrong and it is easy to correct.
Let me know if this has been of any use/interest. I shall certainly develop this further over the coming months.
Hope this was not too long.
It is now Thursday even though I started this post Wednesday evening oopps!
Many many thanks for the lovely get well comments. It was not expected and cheered me up after a bad night of not getting to sleep.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Battling with a stubborn website and a horrible cold..

Not a lot to report today. My cold is at its peak so it will hopefully start to go away. (Just in time to go back to work yippee!) I have just finished one item which I am going to put into a tutorial as I have not done one since October 2007. It concerns Knitting... OOOH

I have been battling again with my website and even though I have upgraded this, that and the other "IT" and I still seem to be at odds. The fabric book cover section has been started and has two items with more to add that I made before Christmas for a craft fair. My keyrings are proving more tricky as the photos that I took last November are on another computer.... I am sure that you are getting the idea by now. I have even decided to open up my Esty shop again. I thought I was going to have to move out whilst the builders were in so I let the expiry dates pass. Now we do not think it will be necessary until right at the end so I am going to renew the keyrings already on there and I have added 4 purses. I have heard mixed things about the success for people on Etsy but then nothing is for sure is it. Would really like someone to buy something to get the ball rolling..

A question for you all...
How long was it until anyone bought an item from you and what did it feel like when you put it in the post?

Any sketchbook offerings? Or drawings etc? Or even written suggestions as to how your ideas get from your head to reality?

I am going over to a colleagues house tomorrow to do some coursework marking but I shall post my tutorial in the evening when I get back. I am going to take my head cold and a lemsip to bed and read my book for a bit. Sniff, Sniff.
Take care

PS One funny thing today... Sophie decided that by putting her red trousers on with a back to front red T-shirt with black paper dots stuck to her made a good ladybird outfit today!! It was the hairband with the red sparkly pipe cleaners for antenna that really made me laugh!!

image courtesy of world wildlife trust: Google.

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