Last minute gifts

My mom’s birthday was last week.  I had chosen some nice toiletries for her and was crocheting a face cloth to go with them.  I showed you the start of it in a previous post.  Then at the last minute, well two days to go, thought a small storage box to put them all in would be nice.

I pulled fabric, made a pattern and was feeling quite satisfied that it could be done without buying more fabric. But…  Could I find any firm interfacing?  No.  After a thorough search of various cupboards and boxes, I decided buying more would be easier.  So off to the shops I went.  The interfacing will get used, well, it will, as long as I don’t put it some where so sensible that I can’t find it.  I am sure I have some but as yet it has not surfaced.

I was good as well, as I didn’t buy anything else.  Did look and covet, but as I am going to the Sewing for Pleasure at the NEC this week I held onto my pennies.

Box 1

So here is my fabric all cut out and ready for assembly.

Box 2

I was very pleased how my corners turned out.  Not sure if the best way was to attached the sides to the base and then sew up the sides or to sew all the sides together and attach them to the base?  Which way do you do it?  I tried both, outer one way and the lining the other.

Box 4

They did fit together, with some persuasion to get all the seams to sit nicely.

Box 5

It’s really starting to look good with the binding pinned in place.

Box 7

I did machine the binding to the outside, then fold it over and hand finish it on the inside.  I wanted a neat finish as it was to be a present.

Face Cloth 1

The face cloth came out like this.  I have never made a face cloth before so wasn’t sure what to expect from the finish.  I used Rowan Softknit Cotton and a 5mm hook and followed this pattern.  I did however change the pattern repeat to 10 as I used different yarn to the pattern maker, to get a face cloth the right size.  I am really pleased.  It had a lovely feel and I can see me making more of these.

Face Cloth 2

I had some ribbon that was free from a magazine ( don’t ask me which one or when ) that finished it off perfectly.

Box & Face Cloth

Here it is all ready for wrapping.

I love being able to make things to add to something bought.

What have you made to add to a gift?

Fiona

Sewing mojo?…..

sewing mojo pouchesI have found it really hard to find any motivation to do much crafting so far this year.  I have been trying, but I haven’t been able to get that buzz you get when excited about a project. I have picked up things and put them down again.  Can’t seem to settle.  But I am determined to get out of thin funk.  My cupboards and drawers are groaning with stash that needs using.  Well they don’t need using, but those areas are looking messy and its irritating me.

books 03.2016

I have treated myself to a couple of books, hoping they will help.  I have been coveting them for a while and thought why wait?

books em

This one was actually a birthday present in November.  So I started the Emma bunny, with the plan to have two for the kids for Easter.

em body 1

One body done.  Small steps.

Bu as for sewing, well….

Last year, on various travels, I bought quite a bit of dressmaking fabric, with the plan of using it obviously.  But the funk arrived and being honest, part of me is a bit nervous about cutting into it.  Stupid I know.  Its just fabric.  I have not made many clothes recently for myself, so wanted to start again.  Plus I wanted to sew with knits, so again my books are helping here.

So to help kick the sewing mojo back into action, I decided to sew something I have made before and the kids need.  Well I say they need.  I am making some pouches for them.  They each got headphones for Christmas last year, so we don’t have to listen to tablet games, and a bag to keep them neat and tidy will be useful.

sewing mojo pouches

The third is an extra for Sweetpea as she was given nail varnishes, etc for her birthday.  The little bottles are currently living on top of her bedside table, so a better home needs to be made.

Not wanting to do one thing at a time, that would be far too sensible, I started this this afternoon.

new crochet

Can’t say too much as it’s going to be part of a birthday gift.  I am pleased at the look and feel of it as it grows though.

Must go and start putting those pouches together.

Fiona

This week I have mostly……

..been running around like I don’t know what.  The kids are back at school and I am still not sure what happened to the summer.  I found myself hanging washing in the garden and looking round, felt out of place.  It had been a long time since I had been there.  How could I feel like this?  I’d cut the grass, hung out washing, put stuff in the compost bin and watered plants, but actually spend time there?  No!  I realised that we hadn’t had any days where we just played in the garden.  No dens or tents had been put up, no toys migrated nor had the paddling pool been unpacked.  Was I sleeping? I feel like a piece of time has been stolen from me.

I usually enjoy the summer holidays with the kids, no packed lunches, no timetables, etc.  This year, it all seems to have flown by and no, the weather has not helped.  Here is north oxon, the summer peaked at the beginning of July.  It is most definitely autumn now.

I am trying to be more organised, selfishly, so I can get more sewing done.  I am breaking projects down into smaller parts and just completing sections at a time, rather than trying to squeeze a gallon into a pint pot.

This is how I have been getting on….

At the start of the week, I was working on the edging for my ripple blanket.  I have finally finished, well, made it large enough for my daughters bed, the ripple blanket.  I have enjoyed making it, but did fall out of love for a while.  I think trying to do too much of it in one go, did that.

Edging being done

I finished the edging one evening and it was promptly grabbed by Sweatpea and taken to bed.  She has been sleeping under it for the last couple of nights.  As there was some sun this morning, here are a couple of pictures.

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I am really pleased with it and walking past her door this morning, this site made me smile.

bedroom door

Her brothers is in the same place!

Dr S's bed

On taking this photo though, I do think his needs a wash (next week, I have sewing to do).

Between this and sewing, I will get to that, I managed to bake Lemon Drizzle cake.

lemon drizzle cake

We all need a bit of cake.  My kids like having a piece in their lunch boxes, which may or may not be better than a small chocolate bar.  I say its better, but that might just be me justifying me baking something else equally yummy.

The sewing, well a couple of years ago, I went on a sampler quilt course, and yes you guessed it.  It is a WIP.  There blocks are done, they are attached, so what is the problem.  Well I normally make a whole top, baste layers, quilt them, bind them and voila!  This course wanted you to make it in sections, not quite quilt as you go, but sort of in the vein.  Being truthful, I can’t quite get my head round it.  I think I am further along than I feel, because its all in sections, but …..

Last week I quilted one set of three blocks.

1st row sampler quilt

Yesterday, I layered up and pin basted the next set of three, which is what I am planning on quilting later today.

Row 2 sampler quilt

Here are all nine.

sampler quilt 2015

There is to be a pieced border, if I follow the original instructions.  I am going to quilt these, join them and decide.

So these are my makes for the week.  What have you been making?

Fingers crossed the sun stays around a bit longer.

Talk soon

Fiona

Snowdrops!

Spring is trying here.  There are green tips and shoots appearing through the ground.  On the way to school this morning, we spotted various clumps of snowdrops, but these were the best.

Snowdrops 15

Sorry its out of focus.  I think the cold was giving me camera shake.  I will try for a better one later at pick up time.

However the thrill of seeing the newness of spring helped put a spring in my step this morning.  Do you find that sometimes something small like that, can put a smile on your face and make you feel better?  Nothing has actually changed in life, but it just feels better!

Well, off I went to do my jobs this morning.  Getting through them quickly, I gave myself the treat of a visit to the library.  I am a book person!  I love them.  All different kinds about all sorts of things.  They are fab.  So to a person like me, who could spend a fortune on books (and does), the library helps my bank balance stay healthy.  And I lucked out today.

Look at what I found!  No reservations needed.

Can you spot the influence of the Sewing Bee?

Library books 12.2.15

A couple I have borrowed before and wanted again, like the “Little Quilt Blocks” book.

Its full of little blocks, I know it says so on the front!  But they are gorgeous.  Each block measures between 4″ and 5″ finished size.  Its a great book with all the cutting sizes to make each block.  I particularly wanted to try this one for my son.

Plane block

So watch this space!

Two of the others, I have flicked through in the book shop before were “Edward’s Menagerie” and Lisa Lam’s “Bag Making Bible“.  So I was super pleased to find them on the shelf.

I could not resist having a look while having my lunch at Edward’s Menagerie.

I want to make this.

Emma the bunny

Isn’t she beautiful?  She’s called Emma in the book and I can see her helping to deliver some Easter eggs this year to the small people in this family.  So stash rummaging is needed as soon as I post this.

As I did promise before Christmas, I am trying to finish WIPs.  So here is one I made earlier.

Aran cable hat

I wanted a new hat, (this cold weather does that to you) and I had some Rowan pure wool aran (discontinued) left over from a scarf I made my mom, in a lovely teal colour.  The camera is not showing the true colour and unfortunately nor does it allow for a squeeze, as this wool is soooo soft.  So cable hat pattern was found that uses one ball.  However this is the medium and as you can see it is being modelled by my 6yr old.  Not big enough for me, so I am still hatless!  She however is very pleased and my mom wants one to match her scarf.  I’ll put those requests on the list!

Also on the list is a Shaun the Sheep.  The other half came back with the paper on Saturday with some free wool.  Rowan wool!  Wool with the paper?  Tell me more I said!  Rowan has provided a free knitting pattern for Shaun the Sheep and the wool came with the paper!  So hence now said sheep needs to be made.  This list keeps getting longer!

Here is a sock update.

2nd sock progress

I have turned the heel and am shaping the gusset, which is the bit around the ankle.

Well off to find something suitable for the bunny and work on the sock so I can justify starting something new.

Keep warm and have a good half term.

Fiona

New Ventures…

Sorry for the no show for a while.

Life sometimes throws curve balls, good and bad.  I had a good one.  Everything kind of added up too, so I couldn’t really say no.

I got a new job, part-time, working school hours, in a wool and fabric shop with people I know.  I know!  Truth is stranger than fiction and I couldn’t have predicted this in a million sundays!  I have had to re-doe how life works in our family so we all have what we need, where we need it, when we need it.

Still ironing out the wrinkles.  (which reminds me – ironing still to do)

So while learning new ropes, I have stuck with WIPs that don’t require too much thought.

My Ripple blanket has had more rows added.  As the weather has chilled in the evenings, its been lovely to have it draped over my lap while watching TV.

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Then there is my cardigan.  I have been working on this since Feb.  I am not the fastest knitter, but decided last year that I wanted to make an actual garment for myself.  So after much deliberation (I am good at that), I decided on the Teal cardigan from the book Winter Blooms by Kim Hargreaves.  A friend of mine has made it twice and said that she would help when I got stuck.

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I am on the second sleeve and then ready for sew it all together.  I am hoping for it to be ready before my birthday in November.  ( I can then ask for more wool)  Shuush!  Other half not aware of plan, yet….  And yes, after I did the first sleeve, several people asked why I hadn’t knitted them at the same time?  Didn’t even cross my mind, but will remember for the next project.  And yes there will be – I have started looking….

In my last post I mentioned I was doing some charity sewing, well, I did.  It was great fun.  We were making 12″ blocks for quilts and cot quilts for a local hospital.  I got to play with other peoples fabric and sew.

However not long after starting sewing, I suddenly realised there was a silence and looked up to find all my co-sewers all staring at me over the top of their machines.  It was unsettling.

“What” I asked.

They wondered if my machine always sounded like that?

Well, no.  It had become noisy.  So time for a service.  So off it went for a sabbatical.  I felt lost and suddenly had the urge for lots of projects, but no machine.  I had to console myself with knitting and crochet.

But is was back at the weekend and I had a little play.

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I needed a pincushion for my sewing table and I only used scraps.

It was great to have it back and to find that it really should not make all that noise.  The tutorial I used came from here, and was really easy to follow.

However those projects are still lining themselves up in my head and now working with beautiful fabric everyday, some of it has come home with me already.

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This is Forest Friends from Moda.  Aren’t those foxes too cute for words.  The autumn colours are just lovely.  These three are going to go into a skirt for Sweetpea.  First I need to finish a bag for her karate kit.

What autumn projects are you planning?

Take care in the wind.

Fiona

Where has the summer gone?

Sorry no visits but after a week in the Isle of Wight, we came home to rain and mountains of washing.  These two things do not go well together with two children who just want to run around.

But really where did the summer go?

Its the last week before they go back to school, what happened?  And who told autumn to arrive?  I had to put socks on, now what is that about before the end of August!

Enough complaining, here is a brief overview of events.

I made my first crochet amigurumi cat using my holiday present.

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He has been named “Paws” and claimed by my son.

He was supposed to go in the present drawer, but hey he is cute.  I am really pleased as I have been daunted by how complex  amigurumi looks.  So hopefully more will follow, but more about that later.

Sweatpea then asked for a bunny.

As if by magic I produced “Flopsy”.

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Well not magic as I had actually crocheted this for Easter and never got round to sewing her up.  The pattern is from The Green Dragonfly blog which I love.  You may notice a resemblance to the owls and I believe there is a family link.

So that brought me to thinking about my WIPs.

I think I should carry on this trend of finishing some of them.  My husband raised his eyebrows and said nothing when I voiced this thought out loud.  (Not a good start)

So like any good wife, feeling slightly indignant, pulled a face and thought to myself we shall see.

So I am on a mission.

Well….

I can’t start anything new unless a WIP of the same craft has been finished first.  Don’t want too much pressure now, this is supposed to be fun.

I will do a post on the list, but I need to brace myself to do it.  Its going to be long and the more I think about it, the longer it gets!

As it was a Bank Holiday here, my husband and some friends decided to go and be drowned rats for the day, the kids and I opted to stay in.  My mom popped round and we all made jam.

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Victoria plum jam.

I have not made jam for a couple of years and on seeing Victoria plums at the market on Saturday decided to make some.  After checking various recipes, I used this one and adjusted it for my weight of plums.  I did however use half normal granulated sugar and half jam sugar, as the last time I made Victoria plum jam it didn’t set properly.  This time,  it came out lovely.  Not sure how long 5 jars will last as my hubby loves plum jam.

On a roll, we also made honey biscuits to take to a friends for tea tomorrow.

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Notice the gaps!  Did not manage to take a pic before the cooling rack was raided!

So a productive but rainy Bank Holiday.

How was your bank holiday weekend?

Take care

Fiona

Exploring…

This week we met up with some friends at Upton House and Gardens.  It is a National Trust property in Warwickshire.  Its not far for us and we find it big enough but small enough.  If that makes any sense.  You get to feel that you could be part of the famous five, but not so far from the car park that your arms are dropping off with everything.

The gardens are lovely.

PENTAX ImageThis is the back lawn!

Here is the vegetable garden.

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There are winding pathways to follow, woods and an orchard to explore and stairs like these.

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There is also a large pond to walk round.

PENTAX ImageMy kids like the woodland trail near the café.  We ate our ice-creams as we wandered through spotting the resident creatures.  Lovely end to a lovely day.

We are off on holiday this weekend so no posts next week.  Sorry.

I went to my knitting group on Thurs evening with the idea to try and find a shawl or large scarf pattern to use with my new yarn I got at Fibre East.  I have gone round in circles and I’m not 100% sure if I’m happy with my choices, so we will see.

However, I did find this book and decided that instead of a magazine I would take this on holiday.

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I have added several balls of wool to one of the suitcases.

Well need to make lunch for tomorrow and paint my toes.

A girl needs holiday toes!

Take care and talk soon

Fiona

Sorry – computer malfunction that this did not post at the beginning of Aug.