Monday, 28 January 2013

Could Have Done Better.

That should be written on my weekend report card I think! I have managed to do quite a bit of cooking (flapjack, pecan tassies and carrot and coriander soup) but I have not accomplished much on the craft front. We did some decorating yesterday (at last we've made a start!) so that was Sunday written off. On Saturday I did some preparation work for some bunting I've been asked to make but was unable to get further than cutting out the fabric because I wasn't able to print the templates for the name that I need to applique - I couldn't do it free hand because my art skills are not up to much. The fabric I'm using for the bunting is really pretty....

I will hopefully make some more progress this week. I did manage to whizz up a couple of lavender bags for a friend who wants to hide them amongst her son's smelly football kit:

I wasn't sure what size to make them and I think these are actually a bit on the large side but The Customer was happy with them and they'll do the job.

Sadly, I missed out on the Ardingly Quilting Show because of the forecast for badweatherthatnevercame. Once I had decided not to go, I made plans to decorate so when I woke up and there wasn't snow or ice it was too late for me to revert back to Plan A. Apparently it was amazing, I could kick myself really, but I will have to find out if there is a show in Farnborough which is a bit further away but do-able.

Re-reading what I've written I realise that I have actually done quite a lot this weekend, I just haven't done all the things I would have liked. So not too bad after all then!

As it's Monday, I'm going to head over to Handmade Harbour now to see what everyone else has been up to with their crafts over the weekend .

Have a great week,
Love Natalie

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Quilting - A Whole New Experience!

I have ended up having an extra day off this week thanks to a certain under the weather son. I spent the time wisely catching up on housework (yawn) but then sat patiently with him whilst he watched several DVD's - and what do I do in front of the telly? Sew.  I decided that as I was going to have a few uninterrupted hours on my hands (not least because the aforementioned child has lost his voice)  I would embark upon one of the fiddlier jobs on my "I want to do" list and therefore started to make a quilted purse. I have never done quilting before, so it seemed to take me ages just to mark up the grid pattern for the hand quilting but it looked like this

Have I done it correctly? I literally just chalked lines the specified distance apart (2.5cm) all over the fabric. If anyone with quilting experience can tell me if this was right or wrong, I'd love to know. I then sat and stitched the material to the wadding (which I really enjoyed) and now my pieces look like this

I'm quite pleased! I haven't had chance to actually sew them up into a purse yet (back to work today thanks to a kind friend who opened a sick bay for ill children) but I'm getting there. I will hopefully show you the completed article next week.

I also received the peacock fabric yesterday that I had ordered at the beginning of the week.

It's a beautiful colour, isn't it? I can't wait to turn it into.......did I say a bag? Make up bag? Both maybe? I shall have a little more time than I thought at the weekend because this awful weather seems to have put paid to my planned trip to the Ardingly Quilt Show - even if exhibitors can get there, I'm not sure that I can safely.

And to finish on a really positive note, when I was listing lots of old clothes on eBay last week I also listed my hanging heart decorated with buttons that you may remember from a few posts back. Although the description left something to be desired (I will put more effort in next time) I sold 1 yesterday! I was absolutely thrilled. In fact I was so pleased, I almost wasn't going to accept the payment. But it made me realise that people do want to buy homemade decorations and gifts and I have to value what I make a little bit more rather than always saying "it's just a little something I made".

Have a good weekend everyone, I hope we don't get snowed in again - although if we do, at least we can do some more crafting!

Love Natalie

Monday, 21 January 2013

More lavender hearts to show for Handmade Monday!

Because of the snowy weather I've had a lovely relaxing weekend - other than a couple of walks out with the dog, I've pretty much stayed in. I have done [some] housework but have managed quite a few little craft projects.

I spent a couple of hours teaching new knitting skills to a very keen young lady who left my house eager to knit herself a stripey scarf. I suggested that it may not be "perfect" but she'd be able to wear it proudly, knowing that she'd made it herself. Reports suggest that as soon as she makes a little mistake she is unpicking the whole thing at the moment (although there's nothing wrong with aiming for perfection) so I may need to give her a little bit more coaching else she may never finish it!

I made a lavender heart (pictured above) for my friends first grandchild, who arrived safely on Friday night, with her initial on the front (her name is Ruby) and her birth date on the back. And I also made a couple more of the purple lavender hearts like those I made for a gift last week.

I was disappointed with myself because I had been really looking forward to making a make-up bag this weekend but realised when I came to get everything out of my craft chest, including the pattern instructions, that I didn't have enough fabric. There's a lesson here somewhere - namely, CHECK YOUR STOCK! I seem to have loads of material, some "scrap" and many larger pieces but the amount needed in the pattern exceeded the amount that I had. Never mind - I've now ordered some really nice Peacock fabric, and to alleviate my disappointment I made a dishcloth for BFF as was requested ages ago.

Generally the snow has been quiet dispruptive (in a good way) as I would not normally spend so much time crafting at the weekend (not least because I/we are supposed to be decorating) and I would be worrying far more about getting stuff ready for school (but it's shut). Consequently I'd almost be glad for the snow to stay...... almost! However it's effecting you, I hope the weather is not getting in your way too much.

Now I'm going to go over to to check out everyone elses posts for Handmade Monday!

Love Natalie

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Ta da! Finished keyrings. I know they are small and I seem to have been working on them for ages but they have had to be done in stages. Cross stitching the initials has been a really enjoyable "quick" activity during the evenings when I've not had a lot of time to spare. I thought I would work out a little house drawing and one of a shed (and maybe a car?) and add those to the "collection" so I will certainly make some more.

I finally organised an order to place with Fabricland ( earlier this week so am really hoping that my plastic make-up bag lining arrives by the weekend because I'm really excited about finally having all the materials to practise making these small bags. Bags are something I really want to have a go at but my fabric stash mainly consists of fat quarters so I need to wait until I have meters of fabric. A make up bag seems do-able so that's where I'm going to start.

I'm going to spend some time with the daughter of a friend this weekend because she is really keen to perfect her knitting skills and generally wants to do some sewing. We've talked about a few little projects we could work on (like the knitted purse and keyrings) but I think the list of things she could make is endless as she is so keen. So this blog may feature a guest contributor every now and then in the future!

I've had such a productive week for one reason or another so I hope the snow (if it finally gets here) isn't so disruptive as to ruin it. So happy snow man building to all, I'll post again when we start thawing out again next week.

Love Natalie

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

I haven't posted 2 days in a row since the early days of this blog (a mere 3 or 4 months ago) but I just wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who visited as result of seeing my link on       Homemade Monday ( And hello! to anyone reading today after putting up their own links.

This has been the first time I have put a link on this brilliant site (that is not only great fun to read and informative, but a great platform for browsing other peoples sites) and I will definitely try and do it every week. It can sometimes feel like you are "talking" to yourself, despite the fact that you know there are so many likeminded people out there (I know - I read their blogs!) so it was great to get some lovely feedback from others. It's lovely to realise that other people are reading what you have had to say but even better to see that they've taken the time to post a quick comment, so thank you. I always try and leave a comment when I visit a site because it can really put a smile on your face to see that someone has enjoyed reading your post or looking at your "makes".

So just a big thank you really to those that have visited, and welcome to any first time readers - and of course any even bigger thank you to those of you that have been reading since I started!

I'd hate to sign of without a photo (no, not the keyrings, although they are finished, hurrah!) just the yummy hot chocolates I made for the rugby players after school yesterday (I was right - mud everywhere!)

Love Natalie

Monday, 14 January 2013

Welcome to what is said to be the most miserable day of the year! Personally, I am my usual chipper self(!) but somebody somewhere decided that today was the most depressing day of any year. I can't say that I wouldn't prefer to be bathed is sunshine rather than this torrential rainthatissupposedtobesnow but at least we aren't snowed in - I love a bit of snow but tire of it quite quickly.

I have had a very productive weekend on many levels. Friday evening started last this....

Jam tarts and fairy cakes to keep the boys going for about 5 minutes. Could I just apologise for the very shoddy tarts - some were made in a cake tray and I didn't put enough jam in these, and some were done in a mini-muffin pan and these seem to have too much pastry. Neither of these things stopped Henners from saying I make the best jam tarts EVER - high praise indeed from a seven year old! Around these parts, there really is no point making sure food looks presentable because it is eaten so quickly.

On Saturday I completed the cushion I've been making as a birthday present....

and I did some more work on the keyrings (they do exist, really they do!). I have finished one but George has already nabbed it for his school bag so I will add photos when I've finished the others. And I also made a couple more of the purple hanging hearts but this time I cut them out with pinking shears and hand sewed them - and put some lavender in with the stuffing -  Happy Birthday Belinda! I hope you like your gift.

I also knitted this tiny little purse to kill some time on Saturday night (I really should get out more)

It really is rather small but is quite cute so I might make some more. My sister is a whizz at crochet flowers so I may get her to make some to decorate further efforts with.

And to finish up, here are photos of the mug hug I was asked to make - I had to work out a "pattern" to knit the name in and I can't say that it's perfect - I used DK rather than chunky wool so it came up a little small but it was a good effort. And also a photo of the cushion I made Mum for her birthday.

Phew! Believe it or not I also managed to squeeze in a life amongst doing all that as well.
Now I must go and prepare the washing machine for the onslaught of 2 very dirty rugby kits that will be coming home in an hour or so. Just a tad muddy I expect!
Love Natalie


Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Remember I was talking about hearts earlier on in the week? Here are the red felt ones that I made and (even if I do say so myself) they are lovely! I'm really pleased with them and want to hang them all over the house (I don't think I'll get away with it). I think different coloured felt and buttons would be really nice too so I'm going to use some turquoise felt and some of the gorgeous green buttons that came with all my Tilda goodies to make some more.

I also made some hearts with the purple material left over from the cushions I made to order last year

For the first time ever I sewed the hearts on the sewing machine and I think my accuracy leaves something to be desired because the shape is a little off. Never mind, they were fun to make and purple is my favourite colour! They can be added to the pile (pile? I'm not sure that 1 mug hug constitutes a pile) of things I have made that I might take to a craft fair. We'll see.......

I'm determined to finish some of the personalised key rings that I've been working on at the weekend, and over the next couple of evenings I need to work out a pattern to add a name to the mug hug I made last week so that it can be given as a personalised birthday present - how thoughtful! I also need to work out the pattern to put Best Teacher on them but I think I've mentioned that before.

As a total aside, I took part in a market research project last night for a "meat substitute" company hoping to break into the vegetarian market. It was a brilliant evening (I would say it was Such Fun but since one of my fellow market researchers apparently thought I was Miranda-esque and I used the phrase "what you would call...." when talking to my Dad yesterday, I'll leave it at brilliant). My big question is this - when is meat-free meal vegetarian? For example, if I have cheese and onion quiche for dinner, am I eating a vegetarian meal? And do food items such as a cheese and onion bake need to be labelled as meat free when they clearly shouldn't contain meat in the first place? There's every chance that I was a researchers nightmare last night with all my goings on. Still, it earned me some money to put into the Craft fund which is especially handy as I'm going to a Quilters fair in Ardingly in a couple of weeks.

So it's Thursday tomorrow, the end of the first "normal" week is nearly here. Just when we'd got back into the swing of things, we might have to contend with snow next week. Such Fun!

Love Natalie

Monday, 7 January 2013

So here it is - Monday 7th January 2013, the day everything goes back to normal. At last! Some structure, less mess, fewer drinks and hopefully a lot less food!

As I mentioned in my last post, I have managed to do a little bit of crafting and have grand plans for some more. During the holidays I have made a Cath Kidson bag from her Sew! book. I was lent the book by a friend and it came with the bag pieces pre-cut. It was the most complicated thing I have made so far as I usually steer clear of such things but now that I have the sewing machine I decided to go for it and was really pleased with the result.


It's not perfect but I was really pleased to have had a go at all the various seams and fixings. The book is brilliant and I have added it (and the other 2 books in the series) to my Amazon wishlist because they contain lots of helpful tips and also lots of great little projects. Don't ask why a butternut squash decided to get itself into this photo......... And just to be clear, I had permission to make the bag! (I've just re-read what I've written and it does look like I've cheeked someone out of the chance to make it).

I have also made a mug hug because I was looking for something really quick and easy to occupy myself one evening.

It's a great way to use up scraps of wool and I've decided to try and make some that say               "Best Teacher" on them for the end of the summer term (I like to plan ahead!) because I think wrapped around a cheap mug filled with goodies they'd be great teacher presents.

I also received a wonderful homemade gift at the weekend from my favourite (!) niece in the form of this beautiful crocheted brooch

We're a clever lot in this family, aren't we?
So onwards and upwards. I've started making a cushion for a birthday present, I also finished some lovely hanging hearts over the weekend - why are they so appealing? Hanging hearts in any colour with all many of embellishments draw my constant attention for some reason. I'll post photos later in the week.
And finally, I would just like to highlight that since starting this blog, I have found myself almost addicted to reading other peoples blogs. How much time can be spent following links to other sites which you also want to read regularly? My favourites list in almost unmanageable. I think to myself that I'll just catch up on a couple of sites and before you know it the dinner is burnt and the kids are late for all many of afterschool clubs. I need to employ some better time management I think.
On that note, I think I can smell something burning......
Love Natalie



Thursday, 3 January 2013

Happy New Year!

I hope you have all had a fabulous Christmas and New Year and are slowly returning to something resembling "normal". I am waiting for Monday because although I have returned to work, neither the boys nor James have returned to school/work yet and I'm feeling a little disorganised. By the end of next week I'll be longing for half term I expect.....

Because of the holidays and all the revelry contained I have not done a lot of crafting so I thought that before I post about my own in/complete projects I'd show a couple of photos of Christmas goodies put together by my sister in law. However, I seem to have lost the ability to upload photos from my computer so cannot bring you photos of homemade Christmas pudding, marshmallows, candied brittle and raspberry vodka! I need to have a word with my support desk (or Hazel and James as I like to call them). Once I have sorted this minor problem out I can post the photos, and those of the Cath Kidson bag and Mug Hug that I've made.

In the meantime, I intend to be very organised in my crafting endeavours this year and keep a comprehensive list of the things I would like to make, and a separate list of those that I need to make. For example, it is a friends daughters birthday next week and I need to make her a cushion as a gift, despite the fact that I really want to make a start on a knitted cowl, the pattern for which I found in an old magazine at the weekend. It's all about priorities! But before that even, I really must have a good look through all the blogs that I follow to see what everyone has been up to over Christmas. So much to do!

Love Natalie

.....I've sorted my technical difficulties so can upload the photos...

And also a photo of the cushion I made for my niece for Christmas (I showed you the back when I first tried buttonholes on my new machine but I didn't show a photo of the front - she apparently thought I had bought it for her which is a high accolade from an 8 year old!)