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Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Christmas decorations

I have dreams of having a house that completely changes at Christmas. Everything you use during the rest of the year goes up in the loft and is replaced with a Christmas version. I want chrsitmas throws, cushions, pictures, tea towel, crockery, glasses, mugs, doormats...EVERYTHING!!

With this in mind I thought I should get cracking! I stitched some pictures from CrossStitcher one from last year and one from this year. I'm really liking the Scandinavian style christmas colours at the moment, I like the simplicity.They were really easy to stitch as they only have one colour and only took a few evenings for each one.

I then framed them in 2 matching frames my grandma was chucking out. I feel more Christmassy just looking at them!

This is the red and white one from lat years CrossStitcher that I've been wanting to stitch for the whole year!!

This one was in the magazine a couple of months ago but on blue evenweave with white thread. But as I have only £20 for Christmas this year I used what I already had and still love it!

I have also knitted up this little guy! I downloaded the pattern earlier in the year after the success of the bunny rabbit pattern from Mochimochiland and once you get the hang of firstly knitting on 4 needles and secondly having very few stitches it is very easy to follow and took an episode of Downton to make!

I'm already knitting up more of them so I can have a rainbow of different coloured scarves in the house by Christmas!

This is my Christmas crafting so far and I still have my whole £20 budget remaining as these were all made using materials I already had. I have started creating some Christmas presents so will share them with you soon.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

The £20 Christmas Challenge

I have set myself a challenge to do Christmas this year for £20! I know crazy right?! I work in retail and Christmas starts early decorations come out at the end of September and it is a long old slog to Christmas. After working in a shop all day the last thing I can be bothered to do is trudge round the shops buying Christmas presents for my family and friends, spending £100 or so on things they may not even like.

The last few years I have made presents for family members but this still didn't prove to be very cheap (although much more enjoyable than shopping). So this year I am taking the challenge further my £20 Christmas includes:
  • Presents
  • Decorations
  • Wrapping paper
  • Cards
  • Postage
I will be making my Christmas presents as much as I can from bits I already have only buying materials where absolutely necessary. Decorations wise I have quite a lot of bits already so I will make a few bits here and there with stuff from my stash (I have a cushion very nearly finished) and mainly be resisting the urge to buy more stuff!!

I'm going to keep boxes to put presents in and keep the wrapping paper simple- maybe just brown paper with old ribbons I have stashed from last Christmas. I have last years Chrsitmas cards I can use to make tags or to make into new cards.

Is anyone else setting themselves a Christmas challenge this year?

Sunday, 9 September 2012

I won I won I won!!!

As I was working I had to wait until I got home at 8pm to see if I had won anything in the local Flower and Veg show and I did!!!

As I said in my previous post I entered 6 items and I am pleased to announce that they all came either 1st, 2nd or 3rd- yay!

Here are my entries in no particular order! (I couldn't wait until it was light to take the pictures- I was too excited!)

The little beach hut doorstop I made for my auntie came 3rd in '1 Article of counted cross stitch' BUT that was not my only cross stitch entry!

This won 1st prize!!!!! The pattern (like the beach hut) was from CrossStitcher magazine and this particlular one was in the first magazine I ever purchased and was the reason I wanted the magazine. The pattern said it took 30 hours to stitch but I imagine I'm probably slower than that speed! I got fed up with it at times and moved onto other things but I eventually finished it and am ridiculously proud of it! (I put it on my craft stall but was really glad that it didn't sell as now I can keep it!!)

The tapestry I made for a friend's birthday also won first prize in the '1 Article of tapestry' category! I haven't seen it for a while and forgot how much I love it! It has made me want to do tapestry again after swearing off it forever when I completed this! It was the first thing I ever stitched on a canvas and I didn't know that I needed a frame so it wouldn't go wonky hence the slant of the flag! I also made up the pattern as I stitched it so some of the diagonals are a little suspect! But I still love it and so does my friend!

This is the blanket made from old jumpers from a pattern in a Mollie Makes last October. It was entered in the 'Something new from something old' class.

I entered this one just because I had him made up already I didn't think it would win anything but it actually came second in the 'Handmade toy' class. I personally think the other entries were better than mine but I'm not the judge!

And finally my '1 Article of hand knitting for a child' where I was up against my grandma!!

Yep I won second!!! But who got first?!!?!?! Did I beat my grandma?!?!?

YES I DID!!!! She didn't get any place. She knew that she hadn't knitted this jumper well enough (even though it looks perfect to me!) So I am taking this victory to mean that I am officially better than my grandma at knitting! (her excuse is that the pupil should be better than the teacher!) The pattern is a Debbie Bliss one and it is knitted in blue as that is what I had in my stash and I didn't want to go out a buy new wool!

All my lovely certificates!! And because I got the most points in the Handicrafts category I won a cup!!!!!

It is so shiny!! My name will be engraved on it too! I feel I need to defend my title now so will have to get thinking for next year!! But for now I will have to display this in pride of place in the house for all to see!!

Thursday, 6 September 2012

This is war!

Every year in my town there is a local show you know the giant vegetable kind of one?

Well they also have cooking, flower arranging and HANDICRAFTS!! I am going to enter into the show this year. There are various sections with knitting, tapestry, cross stitch, patchwork, quilting etc etc. I am going to try and enter as many categories as I can because there is a cup up for grabs!

I mentioned entering to my grandma and she has now also decided to enter some knitting so I am in direct competition with my her! It is going to be tense to see if either of us manage to win the 50p up for grabs!!! And more importantly who beats who! (I am ignoring the fact that she helped me pick up some stitches for the collar!). She is an amazing knitter (so fast) so I am nervous to see the results. I suppose after over 80 years of knitting I may reach her standards!

I won't show you what I am entering yet (you never know my competition may stumble upon it!) but I have 6 items in the show. Only 2 of them are completed though.....the others all need finishing off and the show is this saturday- uh oh!! I am also having a craft stall with a colleague on the Sunday and have yet to make enough stock for that but who needs sleep anyway?!

I unfortunately am working on Saturday (booo!!) so won't get to see if I win or not. But panic not for I have my trusty spies going in to see where I come and will fill you in over the weekend! I never knew I was so competitive but clearly when it comes to crafts it is war!!

Friday, 24 August 2012

One Lovely Blog Award

I've had a busy few weeks but am finally getting to post about the One Lovely Blog Award.

Thank you to madeformollyrose for nominating me. Have a look at her blog, she posts about her crafts and family life and needs a reminder to finish her cowboy cross stitch and log cabin quilt before the end of the year!!

The Rules are:-
The Rules for accepting this Award is as follows:
1. Add the award to your blog.
2. Thank the blogger(s) who gave it to you.
3. Mention 7 random things about yourself.
4. List the rules.
5. Award up to 15 bloggers.
6. Inform each of those 15 by leaving a comment on their blog.

7 random things about me:

1. I am left handed. Although I am a rubbish leftie! I use cutlery and scissors right handed, I knit right handed, I pretty much only write left handed. It does mean I can sew with either hand and I never have to use back hand in badminton or tennis as I just swap the hand my racket is in- useful!!

2. I am terrified of wasps! I think it is because I have never been stung so don't know how much it is going to hurt. I have been trying to remain calm recently as this is probably more efficient way getting rid of them but it is so hard not to run in the other direction!

3. I play the flute. I used to play the flute much better (grade 8 to be precise!!) but since finishing school and n1ot having lessons I am pretty rubbish! I play in a local concert band just to make sure I can still play!

4. I am a member of St John Ambulance. I have dreams of becoming a nurse but don't want to jump into another degree without making sure it is definitely what I want to do.

5. I can't swim. Well I can keep myself afloat but I've never had swimming lessons so I have my own style when I swim, it is a mix between doggy paddle and breast stroke whilst kicking my legs! Sometimes I get bored and do a few length with just arms or just legs! Although if I am made to laugh whilst awimming it becomes very difficult to remain above water!!

6. I have a law degree. I never really wanted to do anything with law but when I had a connexions meeting at school (how useless were they?!) I said I was interested in law and she told me I should look at something else as I wasn't clever enough to get into a law course. So I proved her wrong!! Law is a really interesting subject, I nearly did my masters in it as well!

7. I LOVE Gilmore Girls!!! I first watched it when I was jobless after finishing my degree. At first I thought it was weird and couldn't understand what they were saying but I was soon hooked and had to watch it everyday. When I got a job and could no longer watch it I brought the first 3 series on dvd and have been watching them ever since! I wish I was a gilmore girl!

And now for my nominations!!

Drum roll please.....


The 39 Stitches

Tales From Homemade House

Shabbily Ever After

I really enjoy reading all of them!


Monday, 6 August 2012

Polka Dot Craft Swap

I've become quite obsessed with craft swaps recently. I like thinking of something my swap partner will like that will make me use new techiques and materials to make. I like the suspense and nervouseness after you've sent it, whether they'll like what you've made. And I LOVE post so I love getting my parcel in the post and excitedly unwrapping it to see what is inside.

I have signed up to the Popular Crafts swap twice now. The first time the theme was 'spring' and I cross stitched a little picture which can be seen here and brought a gift and sent it on its way but didn't receive anything in return which was a little dissapointing. This put me off craft swaps for a couple of months but I have taken the plunge again and so glad I did as I received a lovely present from @sarahwalters99 and really enjoyed making her a present.

The theme for this swap was 'polka dot's. Who doesn't love polka dots right? You make your partner an item related to the theme and buy a little gift to the value of £3. This is what I received from Sarah:

A polka dot strawberry pin cushion which is living in my sewing box:

A wooden heart memo clip:

A Cath Kidston brooch, the second layer is polka dotty!

And these are my gifts: An embroidery hoop (perfect for on the go stitching), Cath Kidston buttons and cupcake ribbon. And yes Sarah I also LOVE buttons and ribbons!!!

And this is what I sent Sarah. Her email stated that she loved pink and Hello Kitty so I thought it safe to encorporate these into her present!

I'm quite pleased with how the cushion turned out and wanted to keep it for myself! I am planning to make more to sell at a craft stall in September they may even make it into my Etsy shop when I get round to stocking it up! I do love cushions!

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Handmade Heart Swap

You may remember me mentioning a while ago about a heart swap I signed up to on Mary Poppins blog? I was partnered with the lovely Jayne and we exchanged a few emails about likes and dislikes and what we do etc etc. It turned out we like similar things and what we were struggling with was making 5 things with the theme of hearts! We both got crafting and last week sent our items to each other.

Here is what I received from Jayne:

Some crochet bunting which I have put up on my mirror. The wool is multicoloured!!

Some lovely handmade earings which will definitely be going in my suitcase on holiday.

Some knitted wrist warmers which will come in very handy when playing my flute outside near christmas.

A matching tissue box cover and padded coat hanger which have both been put to good use.

Two christmas decorations. They have a cross stitch design stitched onto them, I can't wait until christmas so I can put them up now!

There was also a Tilda card which I have put into a frame but I forgot to take a picture of it but trust me it was lovely!

This is what I sent Jayne:

There is a cushion with applique hearts going round to (hopefully) look like a flower. A tiny knitted heart bunting (I love that we both sent mini bunting!!!), a book mark with cross stitch and embroidery, a heart-shaped ceramic dish that I included a recipe with called 'impossible pudding' and a lavender hear sachet with felt hearts decreasing in size stitched to the top.

I have really enjoyed this swap so thank you to Mary Poppins for organising it. Swaps challenge you to make different things and try out new ideas and 'meet' like minded people along the way, me and Jayne are already planning a Christmas themed swap between ourselves!

Monday, 30 July 2012

12 weeks until holiday!

Yesterday me and two of my friends book a holiday to Malta! I am beyond excited already and we aren't even going until October (but 12 weeks sounds sooooo much closer!) I brought a guide book the other day and the country looks amazing, the sea looks clear and there is lots of old buildings to look at and lot of mentions of craft markets (yay!) and flea markets. I can't quite picture the size of the island, there is a walk in the guidebook which takes you from the north coast to central Malta in just 4 hours. I can't imagine an entire country so small.

The sea looks so clear!


The entire country fits into a picture from a plane it is insane!!

I have holiday booked starting tomorrow so will be able to catch you up on my crafting over the next week. I have sent and received my handmade heart swap so will do a post about that. I have also nearly finished the Popular Crafts #polkadotswap. My partner in the swap has already posted my parcel so I need to get a wriggle on!

I will post again very soon!

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

I'm in love...with Tilda!

I've seen the dolls and angels popping up for the past year or so and thought they were ok but nothing special but recently I  REALLY want one. A blog I follow talesfromhomemadehouse yesterday did a post about her tilda angel called Cecelia which resulted in me searching for the books and patterns to make my very own.

I didn't realise how big they are but they sizes seem to range from 50-80cm which just adds to the appeal as no ridiculously small pieces! The problem now is I can't decide which one I want to make the most!

I love the sewing one as it would sit very nicely in my craft area (and would give me an excuse to make a proper craft area) but I also like just the angel...there is loads of different choices for clothes for the dolls as well (too many decisions for me to make)

But then there is the christmas ranges......but they would only come out at christmas time so I would obviously need them in addition to an all year round doll!

There isn't just the dolls though they have little friends like bunnies and bears and christmas decorations which makes me think it would be better for me to buy a book with patterns in instead of a kit but I can't decide which one I NEED more!!!

I did loads of overtime last month so I decided I should treat myself to something but I just can't decide what as everything is so lovely. I have a week off work at the beginning of august and plan to just do crafting and olympic watching the entire time so need to decide soon so I can add it to my list!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012


The other day I found my childhood doll Lulu!

I received Lulu as a present when my brother was born (I guess so I wouldn't feel jealous about all the attention he was getting).

I was almost 2 and my mum was in hospital for 6 weeks before he arrived. My mum told me that when I used to come and visit I would go round talking to all the other ladies in the ward before I went to see her. Now I don't say much at all!

I could never throw Lulu away as she is too much a part of my childhood. She still has the remains of chickenpox (red felt tip pen!) on her from when I had chickenpox!. Her clothes are rather worn and falling apart though so I'm thinking I shall make her some new clothes but have no idea what to make her. She has always worn these blue trousers so I think a dress would just look weird, maybe some dungarees and a top underneath. I want to sew some clothes and then make a knitted cardigan or something and have her out on a chair in my room. She is nothing special but to me she is priceless!!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

A belated housewarming gift

I have finished my friend Frances' house warming present!!!! She may have moved into her new flat at the beginning of the year but better late than never eh! I didn't know what to make her for her new home but luckily when I went round there for a 'crafternoon' she was flicking through a tea cosy book I was knitting from and requested one so I didn't even have to come up with my own idea!

I started knitting it that very evening as I had all the wool I needed. The main tea cosy was knitted from the left over wool I made her daughter a matinee coat from when she was born- very thrifty!

I got stuck on some parts of the pattern as the book uses some strange terms to decribe stiches but luckily my grandma came to the rescue and evetually (after loosing the tea cosy in a bag for a month or so) I finished it and am rather pleased with how it has turned out:

And a close up of the strawberries:

This is the perfect time to have finished it I think with all the English (and especially Kent) strawberries in season. Also with wimbledon just a few weeks away it will be perfect to have out whilst watching it on the tv! So although I should have finished it sooner (sorry Frances!) the timing has turned out well and I hope she likes it as much as I do!


Thursday, 7 June 2012

Trying to organise my recipes!

Been very busy with my uni course again these past few weeks so sorry for my absence in blogland!

Whenever I have a deadline and an essay to writ I always find a million and one other things I could (and would rather) be doing! The other day I decided I needed to sort out under my bed as I haven't opened most of the boxes under there for over a year. What started out as me definitely going to throw out or take to a charity shop everything that was in those boxes ended up with me finding excuses to keep most of it! I didn't return it to the boxes though, I made a deal with myself that if I am keeping it then I have to use it. So most of the stuff is now in a pile in front of my wardrobe!!

I did however find my recipe collectors and recipe journals people have brought me and have decided to write all the scraps of paper with recipes in and websites bookmarked with recipes on my phone into them nice and neatly and organised. Well that is the plan anyway!

I also have a really nice Emma Bridgewater one somewhere, I guess I will have to keep sorting to find it!

I have collected so many of the Sainsbury's recipe cards over the years. I decided to make a concious effort to work my way through them so I know if they are worth keeping. I made a chorizo and pasta dish the other night which was really yummy so that if definitely going in the book.

I also need to copy some recipes from my mums recipe collection so if I can ever afford to move out I will have them ready!

Hope you are having a good week

Monday, 21 May 2012

Save Water and Drink Champagne

Good morning!

I'm feeling very positive this morning about my crafty life! I have signed up to 2 more swaps over the weekend. Another Popular crafts swap (the theme is polka dots and I just couldn't resist!) and one on a blog which can be found here (for which the theme is hearts). I have also had thoughts on what I could fill my Etsy shop with (which is still just in my mind) and am excited to start practising making things for that.

The item I have finished this week was a thank you present for my Auntie. She ran a craft stall near where she lives in Somerset over the May day bank holiday and managed to sell some items for me. I had originally planned to make her this for Christmas but I had too much to make and didn't get time to finish it before the present exchange somewhere on the M25!

My Auntie loves champagne. She will quite happily spend over £30 on a bottle as long as it is going to taste good and knows about some special code they put on the back of champagne which tells her if it is a good champagne or not (don't even ask!!!)

I saw this phrase on a bag last year and thought it was perfect for her. But of course I never have any money so I couldn't afford the £10 or so to buy if for her. So I decided I would make her a version of it and sew it onto a bag for her.

I got the lettering from charts in CrossStitcher which had similar sayings on and I think only had to design one letter in the end myself. I should have stitched it on coloured Aida but as I didn't have any money to buy some I had to stitch on white and then fill in the background in the colour I wanted which took FOREVER!!!!! But I finally got it finished the morning that mum and dad were driving down there for her and my Uncle's 25th wedding anniversary celebrations (i like to leave stuff to the last minute!)
I just have one more present to make in May now and I can have a rest before my grandma's birthday at the end of June!
Have a good week!

Friday, 18 May 2012

The beginnings of a knitted bear

I have started a new knitting project already from the Debbie Bliss book I purchased last week. All the projects were so nice I just couldn't wait to get started and so far I am very impressed with how easy to work with her patterns are.

The pattern is from The Ultimate Book of Baby Knits which is a collection of patterns from all her other baby knitting books. I really love all the patterns so it was hard to choose just one to start knitting but I decided on the bear as it looked like it would be quite quick to knit (compared to the sampler blankets I want to make!!) and easy to carry around for an on-the-go pattern.

So far I have knitted one half of the body and I'm really enjoying the pattern. I don't have to concentrate and count stitches too much so it is easy to do in front of the tv in the evening.

I'm doing it on slightly bigger needles as I could on;y find one in the right size (don't you hate it when that happens?) but it is turning out ok. I hope to get this one finished fairly quickly so I can knit something else from the book!


London and Cambridge skyline bag

Today I finished my godmother's bag and today is her actual birthday, but she won't be getting it for a while as she got a 3am flight to Portugal for a couple of weeks this morning! (it's alright for some!)

I am ridiculously pleased with how it turned out and want to take it everywhere with me just to show anyone who will look, so if she doesn't like it I will happily take it back!

So here are a couple of pictures of the finished item (it needs a good press but the iron is currently on strike so you will have to imagine no creases)

I really like the hand stitched spoked on the London Eye and the Mathmatical Bridge.

After finishing this bag I am thinking of other cities that I can make into a skyline. I have some friends still living in Lincoln (who I went to uni with) who have brought a house that they are doing up and I'm thinking a picture or cushion with the Lincoln skyline on as a present for them.

I also want to make an olympics and jubilee version for myself too! Now I just need to find some more hours in the day and all will be good!