Sunday, 31 January 2010

Winner is..........Italian Giveaway.

Lots of entries for this giveaway and I am delighted to see some new names appearing in the comment box too.

I thought that I would put my lovely ceramic cupcake to good use here. Due to a couple of double entries and those who had put links on their blogs needing their names to be added twice, I decided a draw out of the cupcake would be easier.

So in went the names, perfect size this pot, I think I shall make this my giveaway pot.

Dragged Sophie away from CBeebies for a couple of seconds and asked her to draw out.............

SILVERPEBBLE! So if you could please send me your snail mail address then I can send it to you asap.
Sorry to those who missed out but I do appreciate you taking part, quite good fun this giveaway lark. I hope to have a swap for Easter which I am putting the finishing touches to it. I shall announce it soon. Something that the youngsters might like to join in with this time. Anyway, hubby is working away in Southampton for all of next week and Sophie has a birthday party to go to at 2pm so best be off. Taking pictures of the kitchen today as well and make up some Valentine Cards to take into work.
Take care and thanks again for your support for Indigo Blue.

Friday, 29 January 2010

ATWQB - Birdie Block

There has been quite a break from producing theses quilt blocks lately, so I had to get myself in gear to make this one. Thought for ages, too long really, but then settled on these greeny colours. There is also a bird and butterfly theme going with this quilt. So I hunted through my books and magazines and found one that I thought would do the trick.
I started creating a Roman stripe block for the boarder (well, that is what it was called in my book anyway) and then cut a piece of white cotton for the middle.

Using pattern paper I created the bird shape and cut it out of fabric. I then attached it to the block using bond-a-web. I changed the machine setting to satin stitch and appliqued it to the block. Some wing and tail feathers finished it all off and a bluey craft button for his eye.

All in all I think it turned out quite well and I am really pleased with it. Sent it off to Maria today.

Relieved that it is Friday today. My eyes ache so much that the old specs are not even helping to keep things in focus!

Ballet tomorrow morning and then maybe a trip to Eden etc.

Have a great weekend.


Thursday, 28 January 2010

Cath Kidston delight.

I already had Cath Kidston's MAKE book and stitched a few items from it. So I was keen to get my hands on this one as well. Bought it ages ago and it was some time before I got around to making the bag which came with it. The fabric was all pre-cut with buttons included and all you needed to do is follow the instructions. There is also a paper pattern in the book so that you could make more bags if you wanted to.
I do not have any step by step pictures. It went together easily. The fabric was a bit thick really for the handle construction suggested to I made it in a different way with the same outcome. The worst part was the button holes as, again, the fabric is so thick, but got there in the end. You could easily leave the button holes out, stitch the handle directly to the bag and perhaps sew the buttons on for decoration. Next came the loop for the button fastening. Now, I have made more of these than I have had hot dinners and the instructions in the book where simple to follow but not with fabric this THICK!! Fold in half so the raw edges meet in the centre, then fold in half again and stitch along to secure. None of this making a tube and turning it through nonsense. The label that came with it stitched on nice and easily. It did not come with lining fabric, only the outer floral material, so I lined it with crisp white cotton. Simply made a copy of the pattern from the book and stitched the base slightly higher than the outer bag. This stops the contents from making the bag sag in the middle. The lining is actually supporting the contents and gives the bag (all bags) a better shape.

I liked the length of the strap at full stretch, but found the second hole position was neither here nor there. If it can be used as a hand bag then the strap needs a better way of being shortened so that it is actually a hand bag option and not that you have a bag strap that is simply too small for you!
The overall size of the bag is usable for the summer, so as not to carry around too much 'stuff' but did look a bit bigger on the book cover, but that is photography for you. The pattern is simple enough to enlarge if needed. Overall I enjoyed making the bag and I would certainly have a go at making more in different types of fabrics. A good starter bag.
What do you think? Anyone else had a go at this bag, what did you think to it?

Over the weekend I shall be giving a kitchen up date and we are very pleased with it all and hubby has surpassed himself with the final outcome. A little kitchen warming may be in the near future as so many people have been asking about it.
Remember the giveaway deadline - midnight 30th January

Take carexx

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Spring Swap...

Over at Dutch Blue they are having a sign up for their Surprise Spring Swap. So pop over and have a look at the guidelines and maybe sign up.

There is also my Italian Giveaway and the deadline for this is midnight on Saturday 30th January 2010.
I would like to say a blog hello to the three new followers and new visitors who have left comments recently. I have tried to return the compliment but clicking on the followers link picture does not always work. If you read this could you add your blog to the comments section then I will be able to get back to you more easily. Your visits are much appreciated.
Take care

Monday, 25 January 2010

Italian holiday Giveaway - 400+Posts too.

It has been a few weeks since we returned from Italy but due to repeating Christmas with relatives, New Year and my hubby's birthday, snow, the start of term etc it has been pushed back..However, at last here it is..........
In the picture is a rather nice cotton tea towel (bought one for myself too) with lots of Florence landmarks on it. A small calendar, easily sit on your desk/sewing table. A rather tasty sponge cake, wooden toy with the Italian flag on it and a lovely white rose candle.

A close up of the cotton tea towel which has various landmarks if Florence on it.

This sponge cake is lovely an ideal for one whilst having a lovely cup of tea.

I found this lovely candle in a cute little shop down a side street. It had soaps, cream etc and everything smelt lovely. Almost too nice to burn.Now, a giveaway is not a true giveaway (just my feeling about it) without a bit of fabric. I walked miles and miles to find a fabric shop but with no luck. I even looked in the Italian yellow pages and translated some words but still no. Although not all shops advertise in the yellow pages, but I was there a week without any luck. So, to make up for this I am also including two fat quarters of Cath Kidston fabric instead.

So there you have it..........I will post anywhere, I need you to comment on this post only, if you link it to a post about this on your blog let me know and I will put you name in the pot twice. I shall ask Sophie to pull out the name on Sunday so that I can post on Monday 1st February. Therefore the DEADLINE for comments is midnight on Saturday the 30th January 2010.

Could not be easier.

Good luck everyone.


Saturday, 23 January 2010

Knitting Club- Finshed Work

Just before Christmas my small knitting club which meets after school finished some of their projects.
A knitted candy holder to hang from a Christmas tree.
A pig finger puppet to go with the elephant that was made a few weeks prior.

The first garment, a skinny scarf which she cast on, knitted and cast off all by herself!

A work in progress: Knitted little squares with perfect tension which are being added to. Not sure if this is going to be a bag or a blanket. She is still deciding. All of the students are in Year 7. Went to IKEA in Bristol today to take back some unwanted kitchen bits which we did not need and to buy some dividers for drawers and some shelving etc. Took Sophie to Toys-r-us to spend a bit of her Christmas money and by the time I got to Hobby craft it was shut. That is the third time on the trot. I have either not had time, the queue to get in was horrendous or I needed to get to an appointment on time and could not risk being late. Oh well fourth time lucky maybe? More kitchen news tomorrow. We have nearly finished. Bit tired, so off tomy bed.
Take care all.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

OPAM 2010- January- Knitted Squared Blanket.

Many regular readers will know about my never ending knitted blanket. Never ending because it has taken about three years to get to this point. The aim was to learn a range of stitches and still create an item. It was with The Art of Knitting Magazine which I subscribed to and it came in the post once a month.

With each issue there came a ball of wool and a booklet with the square for that month plus other patterns. Every so often there was a plan to stitch them in the right order.I tried to block them as you are supposed to but that did not always work very well. Pleased with the above patterned sample. Quite an achievement for me considering following patterns baffles me.

Gradually I built up quite a few squares then there was a problem with the publishers and the magazines stopped for about 8 months. So I moved onto other things.

It did start up again but due to an increased workload with the day job at the same time, all I succeeded in doing was building up a wool mountain in my living room. I tried to keep up with the various different stitches but after a while I got fed-up. So I repeated a few of the squares and mixed and matched some others.

Then at Christmas I decided to work out exactly how many squares I needed just to even it up and I took what I needed to Italy with me. I knitted them in the evening, which was really nice after walking round Florence all day. Came back in January and stitched them all together. I then needed to think about the edge.

I decided that crocheting the edging might be the answer and I could use up some more of the still quite big pile of wool. I decided against the picot stitch that I used on a scarf so I think I came up with a form of the ladder stitch. Might need to check that with a book in my sewing/office. Anyway it seemed to work, looks even and I am happy with it.

Then then noticed that some of the squares were a little bare so I decided to make some very basic crochet flowers to add at random to the blanket. I may add to these over the coming weeks if I want something easy to do in front of the television.

So after many months is learning, knitting, waiting, frustration and completion it is DONE!
What do you think? This is the biggest knitted item I have ever made and it is the longest running project that I had on the go.

This is my January submission for the OPAM 2010 Challenge.

Take care all


Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Cupcake Fun.........

Before Christmas Sophie and I found this in Sainsbury's. We both spotted it unspoken at the same time, then our eyes meet and Sophie cracked first......Mum can we?
Inside were all of the ingredients and cases to make some chocolate cupcakes. Sophie wanted to make the cupcakes and I thought that the giant ceramic cupcake pot would look great in my new kitchen!

The cupcakes were mini ones so we made quite a few which lasted the week. The stars are little white chocolate ones which we liked. I made up the icing (correctly too as I am prone to making it too runny) and then Sophie sprinkled the stars on.

Now, there was loads of icing left and not wanting to waste it I looked round for another way of using it. When we came back from Italy I brought some sealed large sponge buns so we poured on the remainders of the icing. We had some decorations left over from Sophie's birthday and she had fun making an extra large version.

Guess what Sophie has for pudding that night?

Take care all


Monday, 18 January 2010

Kitchen Re-vamp 2

After the Friday evening fiasco with the floor, things got much better. On Sunday Hubby was up fairly early and cutting the holes for the sinks and tap attachment were the tasks for the day. Now, this wood is very thick and just cutting a straight line was very hard going and a couple of blades broke. So trying to cut neat accurate holes could be tricky. The unit was put back in the corner of the kitchen now that the floor had dried out and screwed to the wall. The dishwasher moved closer to the sink space and a gap left for the washing machine (sorry - yet to be bought new washing machine).Hubby and I then needed to carry the counter top from the garage, across the patio,spin round and get through the patio doors. Sounds easy but this counter is b****y heavy and of course I had the end which needed to swing round didn't I ? I also had to avoid tripping over the washing machine cables (machine is now out on patio awaiting its fate), various tools etc. Struggle through the door then negotiated the dishwasher and slide in on top of another cupboard which promptly fell over! Once we got it onto the other cupboards and picked up the other little cupboard circles were drawn on the wood for the sinks, and then ....that's right, back out the patio door again so that it could be cut on the black and decker workmate. (I feel a comedy sketch coming on here.)
I decided to leave hubby with his trusty little assistant to do some school work until I was needed for lifting again. The picture above shows the lovely round holes cutting using a jig saw. I did need to go back and help as the counter kept sliding whilst it was being cut, I got covered in saw dust as the wind was blowing my direction. The hole for the tap was next and a circle cutter was used for this.

Just a little bit of chiseling to make sure that the join in the circle was smooth. I have to say that Hubby did a great job cutting those circles first time with no swearing needed at all.

Then....yet again, back in through the patio door with the counter, I got the lighter this time end due to the holes being cut out but lost my grip and squashed my finger; and then it was ready to try the sinks. Ta Daaa!! Perfect fit. The funny grey contraption under the counter will join the sinks to the drain and water supply etc.

Here we have taken a step back. Flooring has been replaced where needed. Dish washer moved along, the gap for the washing machine then the little cupboard which toppled over earlier.
It started getting dark after this picture and we have moved on a little further with it all. The plumber is coming back tomorrow to plumb it all back in. He is squeezing us in because he felt so sorry for Hubby having to undo all his work otherwise it could be another week. You do not realise how much you use your sink until it is not there. Not sure when we will get a new washing machine, yet another unforeseen expense! However, next time I shall show you some of the other bits of the kitchen including the oven, which may be of interest if you are thinking of changing the one you have in the future.

I amongst all of the excitement I did manage to do my 20 mins of crafting on Sunday with these....I have decided to call it a day with my Knitted blanket! Long time regular readers will be familiar with my tales of woe over this blanket. I have knitted the last square as frankly I have had enough of it. With the left over wool I am decorating some of the squares with crochet flowers. Simple versions.

They have got looped petals and my next 20 mins today was to make three more. So I have about 10 so far. I am having to stay at work until 9pm tomorrow so I am not sure if I shall get my 20 mins in or not. So after moving a few photos around files for work tomorrow I may just have another 20 mins and sew a few of these onto the blanket.

P.S Hubby is taking a break from the kitchen tonight!

Take care


Sunday, 17 January 2010

Perfect Sunday Viewing........

Perfect Sunday evening viewing after a busy day DIY-ing and ironing!
Larkrise to Candleford on BBC1 8pm.

I shall be carrying out my 20 minutes crafting. How about signing up for this challenge? Click on the link in the margin.

P.S. Kitchen progress made today without any major hitches pictures tomorrow.

Many thanks for all your lovely comments. I showed them to my hubby and it put a smile right back on his little old face!

Take care


Saturday, 16 January 2010

Kitchen Re-vamp 1

Beginning of September 2009
We have lived in our house for about 11 years and the kitchen was never my favourite, but when we bought it it was fine. But recently things have begun to fall apart. The first thing to go was the built-in fridge-freezer, which decided to defrost itself and we saw this just as we were about to leave very early to travel to my parents near Cambridge. We then decided to take out the whole cupboard area, which is where the microwave is and just have a larder fridge instead. There is a small chest freezer in the garage anyway. So tentative plans to sort the kitchen out began, but were left. Then the grill went in the oven! Then the oven literally went bang one afternoon so we ended up borrowing an on the counter one. Surprising what dinners you can cook without a grill or big oven! Then the lino got a lovely cut in it when we had to move one of the units to sort out another problem....and so on. So, last August, just before I went back to school, yes great timing, we started to take out the kitchen.

This is the other side. Behind me is the dining table.
Next to the window is the patio doors.

We are not quite half-way through here and the best bit was a little after this picture when we chipped off the tiles. Very therapeutic and a great stress reliever!
End of September/ Beginning of October 2009.
We have had to fit this in around work, school, ballet, pay packets etc so progress was delayed for a week or two. Going to the tip was the biggest thing as driving there and back cuts down on your actual demolition time. With the kitchen we did take it apart carefully and put it in a container and advertised it as some bits would have been good for a smaller kitchen or form spares, but no one interested so another weekend was spent moving it again but never mind.

There were some gaps in the tiling on the floor under the cupboards so we added some to level it out. Everyday stuff like washing had to still be done and you can see the little white oven that we ended up using for nearly 4 months.

This is the other side and I can really only describe this as like camping! You can see my bread making on the seating bit. Now I had bread making in the living room, upstairs in our bedroom, basically anywhere where there was a socket and no dust being created. We were like this until the beginning of November. We planned our IKEA kitchen on their website but one weekend that we were going to go the weather was really bad and then my In-laws were away because we did not want to have to take Sophie all the way to Bristol kitchen hunting. Eventually a suitable weekend came along and we went up after work on a Friday. nipped into IKEA and grabbed some catalogues then went back in on the Saturday and sorted it out in one go.

It was delivered at the beginning of December and we had a couple of weeks to try and put as much of it in as possible before Christmas. The delivery was on time,they took everything off the lorry carefully and were very friendly. Then the job of fitting everything. My Hubby had great fun as everything fitted together so well. We really would recommend IKEA and even though it is a 2hour drive there and back for us it was definitely worth it.

Not too many boxes considering. You can see my weekly shop ended up in plastic boxes, could not find a thing most of the time.

The very first thing to be installed is this lovely oven. When we visited my sister-in-law she had just got one similar to this and by the end of the week we were smitten. After doing some number crunching and agreeing it was an investment, we took the plunge.

Drilling the hole through the wall to the outside for the extractor hood was so bad it could have shaken your fillings out of your teeth. A veeerrryyy long afternoon that one but Hubby fitted it all by himself and I do not think we annoyed the neighbours too much, well we tried not to. You can see the cupboards starting to be fitted and we had to shuffle things around the kitchen and in and out of the living room constantly. The poor old cat never knew where his bowls were going to be from one meal to the next!

We have actually moved on a bit from this picture until last night when we had to take up 1/4 of the flooring and one cupboard where the washing machine was. See previous post. I shall be back with an update and more pictures. Hubby has just been up stairs to say it all seems to be going back together ok so far, so please everyone fingers crossed!!!!

Take care


Friday, 15 January 2010

Kitchen Blues...

I came home tonight to hear that the washing machine is broken! The plumber says that it can not be fixed. (he was here to help plumb in our new sink) It has leaked all over our new oak flooring. It has warped the wooden panels and my hubby is having to take up the floor to see what can be salvage, what needs replacing and what can be moved.
I shall blog about our kitchen this weekend as it has been an on-going project for us.
So, it is ok if I jump up and down waving my arms like a mad women, stamping my feet, swearing very loudly and wailing like a banshee in the confines of my living room!!
So I am now off to give my husband some moral support as he spends his Friday evening taking apart all of his hard work. As I type this I am hearing "Oh no" quite a bit so things are not going well. Thank goodness we are having dinner at my in-laws tomorrow as my beloved new cooker is now in the middle of the room!
See you tomorrow.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Stocking thoughts....

Due to Internet problems my stocking swap partner was unable to get in contact to let me know that it had arrived and of course I feared the worst!! However, last week I received and email and it had arrived in Australia on Christmas Eve. I used the pattern that I featured in an earlier post.

It has several shapes, sizes and decoration ideas. It is one pattern that is bound to be brought out year after year.

I visited my partners blog a few times to have a good look round and then hunted through my stash for suitable fabric.

I settled for some lovely Cath Kidson fabric that I had bought last summer in Brighton when visiting my sister-in-law. I lined the stocking with crisp white cotton.

On the fabric I then high-lighted areas with sparkly iridescent sequins. I decided against adding anything else as I did not want to ruin the fact that Cath Kidston fabric was the main feature.

In contrast I then used some cotton gingham as this type of fabric features quite a bit in my partners own work and blog. This was made double thickness so that the raw edges were hidden. Along the top edge I then stitched some flat craft buttons in a dark pinky colour and some pink binding to finish the edge off nicely. I was a little worried that it did not look Christmas enough so I added a hanging loop with some mew green cross grain ribbon with dark green Christmas trees on it. In the parcel I also included a card, some fabric and couple of other little items.

I am going to feature the other entrants once I have tracked down all of the pictures because not all have been sent to me or blogged about so it is taking longer than I thought.

I shall be running another Christmas swap this year with another theme and this time I shall post it a bit earlier. I have the theme already and even an example item made up. The next one will have a basic pattern and simple instructions available if required via email, and should be suitable for a wide range of crafts so I hope to attract a wider range of participants.

My giveaway pictures did not turn out very well, taking pictures in the evening is not helpful, especially when one of the items is white! So I shall have another go at the weekend. It has been very hectic this week at work, trying to catch up with missed lessons due to last weeks snow. Back to normal this week and it has flown by.

Take care and back tomorrow.

Keep warm.


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