Sewing, craft and other musings

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Paid to craft and create!

The usual mixture of family get togethers and then returning to school (as a teacher) always seems to impact the amount of crafting that I try to do.

However, being a school technician (with particular attention to costume and props) it does mean that occasionally I get to do some crafting as part of my job (certainly a perk).

With every new school year comes new school productions and my boss has been thinking about doing Hamlet as part of the School Shakespeare's festival. The festival is in theatres up and down the country and schools rehearse a thirty minute version of a Shakespeare script which is then performed in a local theatre. On the night of performance three other schools perform their plays on the same night as yours. This is my fourth year of doing it and I quite enjoy it. (See link for more info!)

My boss has decided that she wants Hamlet to have a modern vibe to it and wanted the musicians to have birdcage veils... And here lies the project!

After finding out the proper name for them I researched where one could lay their hands upon the french netting that is used in such headpieces and found that I would have to be parting with quite a bit of cash as it is quite a specialised material in millenary circles.

My disappointment quickly disappeared  when attending a fete at the weekend and my daughter won a massive tennis ball and it was contained in some netting that would make a perfect substitute for the french netting I so badly needed.

Back at school I sprayed it black and was impressed how good it looked.

This was then attached to a cheap poundland head piece and then spruced up with some black net that was in stock.

I am pleased with the result and have made two for the show... If only I could be paid to craft everyday!

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

The quilt is finished... The big reveal!

So... It has finally been done...

And what a journey it has been...

Once all the panels were finished I stitched them all together to make the complete front of the quilt.

I then cleared my living room to make enough space to lay down the backing, wadding and front panel on the floor.

And then the grand pinning project began...

Once pinned it was on through the sewing machine...

The weather has been extremely hot in Yorkshire which, I have found, is not conducive to sewing quilts in a windowless room shared with a smelly tortoise... Endurance didn't cover it! There must be an easier way too to get a quilt through a machine like mine... Though I am surprised how well it coped. There is nothing worse than stuffing a half made quilt through a machine when most of it starts on your lap, you are pricked to death by pins and the weather is 30o outside!

Since I last wrote I have recieved the walking foot for my sewing machine. And what a god send it has been. As readers of my blog will know that when I did my last quilt I broke a stack load of needles while using a regular foot and it was a complete nightmare. My life has now been transformed with this foot. I haven't puckered the fabric once and it worked like a dream... The link for the one I bought is below!

I then carefully pinned the re-ironed bias binding to the outside edge (while trimming the excess fabric along the way!)

That was then sewn... I don't know about anyone else but I love this part as you know you are on the home stretch... And it seems to go a lot quicker than the quilting bit... But it is not as hot either!

And then it was a quick trim or two and TA-dah! The quilt was finished. I am pleased that it is finally done as it was a long time in the conception and the actual practice but all a labour of love. I will be travelling down to my parents at the weekend to give it to them and can't wait to see their faces when they see it...

Ladies and gentlemen... The anniversary quilt!

Friday, 18 July 2014

A Guard Dinosaur of my very own!

My husband has been sewing again... Something he always does by hand as he doesn't trust my sewing machine... Not that he can get to it at the moment due to the large quilt that is currently being pushed through it!

I bought some fat quarters of fabric for the bow tie project a couple of months back and in amongst that material was some fabric with dinosaurs on it. To him, this was fabric Mecca and thought that he was his duty to use it.

So he designed a dinosaur that, once finished, would sit on my side of the bed during the day and 'guard me' during the night...

The whole idea of 'guard dinosaurs' is one that has been around many years - in fact, since me and my husband moved to Yorkshire. I bought him a dinosaur when he was unemployed to cheer him up (he never grew out of loving dinosaurs!) and as a bit of a joke he said it would guard the bed and him at night as it would make sure I wouldn't steal the duvet... And so the Guard dinosaur was born...

Even my 10 month old daughter has a Guard Dinosaur (who is apparently called Terry) whom she plays with in her cot when she awakens at some unearthly hour... Something which is all too frequent at the moment!

So, 'Eric' my Guard Dinosaur was made. He is made of two contrasting fabrics (easily purchased from Hobbycraft) and drew the outline of the dinosaur on the wrong side of the fabric.

He then sewed the two main body pieces together with the wrong sides facing leaving a quarter inch seam allowance. He then added the contrasting fabric pieces and then turned it inside out.

He stuffed the dinosaur with off cuts of wadding and toy stuffing which I had in my scrap boxes (something I am grateful for as I MANY off cuts from quilting projects!)

The rest of the dinosaur was then sewn together.

My husband then chose some buttons for the eyes and added some google eyes onto the buttons.

And there you have it... I introduce to you: Eric!

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Quilting against the clock... Part vi

The last couple of days have been manic in quilting terms...

I spent most of Friday cutting out, bondaweb-ing and sewing the remaining squares for my parents quilt. I have also been appliquéing as if my life depended on it!

The weekend was taken up by my daughter (10 months old and on the move!) so it meant that I could only do the finishing touches in the evenings after she had gone to bed.

I have also been hindered in terms of equipment. I have recently ordered a walking foot for my singers sewing machine as I hope I won't snap as many needles as I did when I last made a quilt! I am still awaiting its arrival! ... That and another foot which has a quarter inch setting which will be perfect for the edge of the quilt... I will let you know how/ if they work!

However, in more positive terms I have bought the remaining fabric, the backing, the wadding and the bias binding which means it is just the finishing touches to pin and cut...

But, I am now excited as I can feel how close I am to finishing... And within my deadline too... But I must be patient as I don't want to trip at the last hurdle...

I hope that my next post will show the finished product... As long as I don't get distracted as I am already looking to my next project...

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Quilting against the clock ... Part v

After the success of the peacock a few squares ago (and managing to not stick too many pieces to the iron which happens far too often when I have very small pieces to work with!) I thought I would tackle what seemed to be the most complicated square (and I hope I have judged it right!)

While looking for pictures that would be suitable to transfer to a quilt I loved that I found a map of the USA with a Stars and Stripes on it which encompassed my parents trip there a good couple of years ago.

I have found the best method is to bondaweb the material first and then cut out the shape... It helps to battle against fraying on the slightly thinner fabrics.

I have also discovered that it is useful to put a couple of tea towels under the fabric as well as having a few pieces of calico handy to place on top of the square too... I saves from burning anything... I hope!

I use a little travel iron for all my quilting needs... It heats up super quick, cools down ok and is perfect for doing smaller stuff!

I had to take a photo of the original picture before I cut it up and I am sooooo glad that I did! There is nothing more scary than being faced with a pile of fabric strips and not knowing the order of them...

This square isn't quite finished though... I realised I could bust a gut doing the stars on the blue background but realised I certainly didn't have the time (or possibly the patience) to cut out all the stars individually out of the white fabric (which frayed around the edges which was not ideal)... So, I have cheated and bought a square of it off ebay...

I am currently awaiting the square so I can finish this panel... One more 'country' square to go... Three letters and five 'project' ones to go too...

Oh... And 18 days to complete it? This is going to tight...

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Feels like summer...

I am now on my summer holidays (I am a teacher in my normal guise in a six day a week school!) so have finally been able to get around to finishing some jobs I have wanted to do and also been able to spend a bit more time on some projects that I have had for a while too...

I took a leisurely stroll around my local supermarket and saw they had an accessory sale so I had to have a look through them... And another fascinator was born!

This particular specimen started its life as a necklace, a hair clip and a hairband with some feathers...

And with a bit of silicone glue and imagination it has turned into this!

I'm undecided whether to sell this one or wear it to my next occasion... I think it has a nice summery feel so might look good at the races or a BBQ... But then again, I don't need much if an excuse to wear a fascinator!

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Quilting against the clock... Part iv

Well, it has been a few days since I lasted posted... Work got in the way meaning that time I could have spent doing the project was spent behind a follow spot at a school concert!

I couldn't wait to get started on this next square... The kiwi for my parents very recent trip to New Zealand...

I couldn't find any brown fabric that I liked so I got some brown felt as I thought this would look okay.

The picture was another cartoon I found and it was easy to cut into blocks... A lot easier than the previous ones!

The biggest challenge for this was the felt as the bondaweb didn't particularly like being stuck to it so I did have to use a few more pins than previous squares.

This was an easy appliqué job too... So it was quite satisfying to complete it in a shorter time than usual!

Monday, 23 June 2014

Quilting against the clock.... Part III

After spending a lot of the previous evening appliqué - ing I had a finished panel... Only another 12 to go plus the extra filler, backing, wadding, edging etc!!

The next on the list was the peacock to symbolise my parents trip to India as my mum couldn't get over the fact that she had wild peacocks to look at every day!

The picture I found had a lovely big tail and didn't seem too difficult to cut into colour blocks.

I have been able to use scraps and off cuts of cotton for this one ... The blue is from the off cuts of the massive quilt that I made for my husband... The green is from the bow tie project at school and the silver is from the previous lemur leftovers!

The cutting out of the fabric was slightly more fiddly than the last one... There seemed to be more small part in this one than in the last one.

The crest of the peacock will be finished once I have appliquéd it... Something I plan to do tomorrow night... I can't wait as I am really enjoying this project so far!

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Quilting against the clock... Part II

Update: My parents are not having their wedding anniversary 'do' until 26th July... This is a small mercy and I am grateful I have an extra week to work on the quilt.... It is still pushing it though!

The first square I wanted to tackle was the lemur one as I had found a picture that I wanted to follow.

The picture I found had lots of block colour which I could easily spilt for ease of appliqué...

Each of the designs was drawn onto the fabric and then bondaweb was ironed on the back. This was a particularly good move as the shiny silver fabric was very slippery and frayed easily so the bondaweb kept it together.

Before ironing on the main body of the lemur I back stitched the design of where the legs and paws of the lemur are...

I then cut out the main face and ironed them on the cream square.

Bit by bit I pieced together the black and white tail. This was a long and fiddly process and took a lot of concentration.

This is it so far... I need to appliqué it now...more updates soon...

Counting the flags...

One of the many joys of writing this blog is seeing the diversity of people who read it...

For any of you who are regular readers I have now added a flag counter down the right hand side...

This is more for my benefit than anything as I love that my blog is not just read in my home country but around the world...

Thank you everyone - it brings me so much joy!

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Quilting against the clock... Part I

So, I finished a massive quilt a couple of days ago. And said that I would leave it a while before I embarked on something so big again especially as I have a busy term at school with three school productions and a young daughter who needs my attention.

Well, that has gone out of the window!

My parents will have been married 11 years in July and they are the absolute role model for a marriage made in heaven! My step father has stepped in and been a great father figure and my mum is so supportive and willing to drop everything for me even though she lives over 5 hours away.

So, I thought I would design and make them a quilt. And I have until 17th July to finish it... Now that's what I call a challenge!

My parents are just about to redecorate their bedroom so this was a great starting point for the design and I asked my mum to send me a sample of their wallpaper.

As you can see the wallpaper is cream with a deep red and gold... So I went to have a look around my local haberdasheries to see what kind of fabric might fit this scheme.

I found a few fabrics that fitted the criteria nicely so I then started sketching what I wanted to do.

As it is mega personal to them I wanted to include some designs that would reflect what they have done together and places they have been so the top half of the quilt is all the diy projects that they have done around the house and the bottom is all the places they have been.

The design is relatively simple as I am still on the basic square quilt thing.
The quilt, when finished should measure the same as a double bedspread... Enormous really! So, with lots of maths I worked out how big each of the square should be allowing for 2cm on each side for seam allowance. (41cm if you are interested!)

I made a template out of cardboard and cut it so I could have the outside edge and the seam allowance.

I was fortunate enough be browsing around my local haberdasher when I spied some cream cotton on sale so had to buy it as I was certainly not going to find it any cheaper.

It was then the pain staining drawing out... Not an easy task when you have a very small dining room table!

And now I have a pile of squares!

This is as far as I have got... I hope to post more as the squares progress and as each one is completed...  And fingers crossed I may get it finished before the 17th July!

Friday, 20 June 2014

Glitter and feathers...

Just a quick one this evening... I finally found my other creation with feathers for hair...

I particularly like this one because of the sparkle...

This is also on etsy...

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Butterflies and bling...

So, I may be getting a bit of an obsession with fascinators ... I seem to want to make a lot of them but  I then have to sell them because otherwise the house will really be over run by feathers and bling!

My latest creation is another one with butterflies but this time to go on a hair clip which I picked up and thought might make a nice headpiece.

I did a lot of different drafts of this one as I could not decide which side the feathers should go on.

All the feathers are stuck on with silicone glue which, I have to admit, is one of my new favourite things... It seems to work with everything and doesn't have the white residue that seems to be left when using superglue.

I am really pleased with the results - so pleased that it is now for sale on my etsy page (see side bar for link!)

Definitely more of a back-of-the-head accessory rather than a side one!

A second one will follow... I just can't find the picture...

Again, this is available in my etsy shop!

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Tying up the bows...

Sometimes I really, really love my job. Especially when I get to sew at work.

I was recently asked to run a make do and mend workshop with a group of sixth form students at my school. They would have an hour with me and I would teach them what a sewing kit was, how to thread a needle, how to sew a button and how to make a simple material bow....

The pattern came from a Mollie Makes special - DIY Fashion...however, I did change it slightly as in the tutorial it said that the ribbon should be glued... I made it all by sewing the ribbon at the back...

I found some really nice Union Jack fabric to make the bows with and asked the students to use back stitch and slip stitch to complete their designs...

The seminar was highly successful... Even though one of my students did try and knot the thread at BOTH ends...

I have been making a lot of bows now to go in my Etsy shop as I think they would make wonder shoe clips, hair accessories or clip on bow ties! Check them out!

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Looks like rain...

Following the success of my first ever cross stitch I found in the back of a cupboard a small duck cross stitch...

I was surprised how satisfying it was to slowly chip away at this one and kind of wished that I had some long train journey to go on so that I could finish it sooner.

My biggest challenge was sewing in white on white aida... Next time I would get some small squares of black aida... But I am yet to find this in small qualities as I would rather not buy one that measures a metre each way!

I am pleased with this little guy ... And my husband keeps on threatening that he will buy me a bigger one to do soon.... I have many projects currently on the go so hopefully the threat should not come to ahead yet!

Monday, 16 June 2014

Taggie anyone?

My daughter is now nine months old and is now heavily into exploring the world around her. As a mother I hope to give her things that she can enjoy in her play time.

I came across this tutorial on how to make a Taggie which has different ribbons for a baby to explore. It also crackles - and my daughter LOVES things that crackle!

The project is easy to follow, simple to do and cheap to make...

It is the perfect project for using up small squares of fabric too (something I have in large quantities!)

The project did not take long at all to complete either which made it a good project to do of an evening when I just wanted to sew but not spend too long on it.

The website is: How to make a crinkle Taggie from cucicucicoo

My daughter simply loves it! She finds it fun to bury her face in it and laugh very loudly - oh how I wish how her brain works!

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Sock puppet pigeons...

I find my job frustrating at times - mostly because I have very little time at home at the moment and seem to be bogged down in office politics and jobs that seem to take forever to complete.

However, this week I had a minor blessing in the fact that a pigeon needed to be made for a play... And it needed to look a bit kooky...

I got some inspiration for the pigeon from the sock monkey I made a few months back. And bought a cheap pair of knee high socks in grey and set to work.

I find the best place to start when trying to make a sock animal is to cut the foot part of the sock first and then add to it with the rest of the sock.

The toe top was manipulated into the head and then the bottom tail was then formed by some creative cutting and sewing.

The two wings were made with a few cuttings from the socks too...

I stuck on eyes, beak and pipe cleaner legs and secured them with silicone glue as they had a weeks worth of show to survive.

So this is Duncan... Long story but he was named by one of my work collegues...

Has anybody else out there made sock puppet pigeons?!

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Home sweet home cross stitch...

I love getting free gifts... I just don't like them if it means I can't complete the project myself!

This happened about six months ago when I came across an envelope which was quite obviously a free gift from one of my many crafty magazines. It was a cross stitch of some bird houses... And the pattern was nowhere to be found!

So, it was quickly shelved in a cupboard - out of sight, out of mind!

A couple of days ago it saw that my husband was stitching ... And it was something small that I didn't recognise and asked him what he was doing... It was the free cross stitch and he was using the picture on the front of packaging to do the pattern...

Thankfully, him being a seasoned cross stitch whizz meant that he could at least guess where the middle of the aida was and could just about match up the colour blocks.

The finished item is a little bigger than the coasters that he did yet too small to put in a frame... Any ideas?

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

My first completed cross stitch!

As I have mentioned before I usually leave the cross stitching to my husband as he is quite content with tackling big projects. But I thought maybe it was time to see what all the fuss was about and try a small cross stitch of my own.

I picked up a cheap one from Hobbycraft with the thinking that if I didn't finish it/ couldn't work it out then it didn't matter!

I have a MASSIVE thing about chickens (though I have none of my own... Yet!) so it seemed appropriate to pick a chicken cross stitch...

The thing that always confused me about counted cross stitch was the fact that I never knew where to start...

Thankfully the kit I got showed me where the middle of the aida was and then I got stitching....

The pattern I did is not the same as the one on the design as I added an extra line by accident (obviously trying to do some too late at night!) so it is a slightly fatter chicken than planned.

The sense of achievement was amazing when I finished as I chipped away at it a bit every evening...

I don't know what will happen to him... Perhaps another coaster? Any ideas?

Monday, 19 May 2014

Black hats and feathers...

It is now high wedding season so it is fascinator time... But I always find that it is better to make your own!

I love hats and head pieces - regular readers of my blog will already know this! And I also thought that my etsy shop needed a few new things on it...

So I created this... The base piece is a small black hat with a ribbon rose on it attached to a hair clip... I loved this but thought it needed some feathers to make it look a little more snazzy!

I did experiment with adding some diamonte to it to see if that made it even better but decided that it perhaps didn't need it!

So... Here it is... It is now available in my etsy shop (see side menu for the link) - I am a little gutted that I am selling it but my house already has many, many head pieces and hats so this one has to go!

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Soaring high with paper wings...

A couple of weeks ago I bought my husband a paper craft challenge. It was to build a Merlin.

The paper craft kit starts off as three flat sheets of card... And you cut out the pieces and make them 3D...

My husband sat down every evening to chip away at the project... And look at the result...


Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Penguins on parade!

It would seem that recently we have gone a little penguin mad in our house!

My husband has been working on another wooden kit and this time it is a pair of penguins.

The instructions were easy to follow (but not to be guessed at!) and it was quite clearly a quick evening project.

The only disadvantage that we have found is that the adult penguin doesn't stand straight because of its design but could be quickly rectified with a hacksaw!

The penguin duo now look on over the living room with the wooden owl from many posts ago!

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Quilting the memories - part ii

It's not often that I take on a project that seems to take ages to complete.

Ok, maybe I should scrap that statement.

I am over ambitious when it comes to my work and I love ideas that are big, brash and bold as I am an eternal optimist who thinks that nothing is impossible - you just need to look at things in another way!

After completing my first memory quilt, you may remember from many posts back, my husband asked me to make one for him out of old university t shirts and the like...

When I last posted about it I think I had done the planning, the cutting and was about to pin.

I sewed all the rows together and then ended up with the front panel complete and it only dawned on me then just how enormous this quilt would really be!

Instead of buying backing fabric I bought a flat bed sheet in my husbands desired colour (always blue!) and also bought some 2oz wadding as I knew my sewing machine would not cope with anything more bulky.

That was all then pinned together and then the long process of feeding it though my machine began... And it was quite an epic task ... My machine was not happy at all especially when, in the entire process, I broke no less than 6 sewing machine needles! Admittedly my machine is not the most expensive on the market but is also not the cheapest, but I had never envisaged ever quilting anything so it can't be to blame! Next time I actually look up the proper settings and the proper needles (to be fair, though, the needles did say 'quilting' on them!)

Once the main bulk was done my husband had picked out some lemon coloured ribbon to act as the edge... And what a pain that was to pin! It wasn't really thick enough for the job but I had nothing else so persevered....

And then it was fed through the machine again... With a few needle fatalities along the way!

I had to neaten up the edges where the material hadn't quite caught.

I am so pleased that I have finally managed to finish it!

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Picking up a 3d penguin!

My husband gave me a little craft kit for Christmas a number of years ago and it has sat in the cupboard since then (and even survived a house move!)

This weekend I thought I would finally assemble the kit - a penguin made out of corrugated cardboard strips.

The instructions were clearly translated into English as some of steps were a bit unclear. Thankfully there was a lot good pictures to give you the gist of things.

Surprisingly, the glue that came with the kit was very good and stuck the cardboard coils together well.

I suppose this project was a bit like quilling - the rolling up of strips of paper and making things from them... This was a bit more 3d!

The project in all was finished in a day - I think it is rather cute... I am desperately trying to find others in the set to no avail... Any ideas?

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Something with feathers...

I love having leftovers from my craft projects and then trying to create something from them.

And this time it was another fascinator!

And this time it is not for me but for my Etsy shop as it was looking a bit sad for itself.

The felt was left over from the mug cosy I made a couple of months ago and the feathers and metal heart were left over from some earrings I took apart to make the fascinator for my daughters naming ceremony...

I then experimented with how I wanted it to look... And then glued it all in place with silicone glue (something I have only recently discovered and now I can't get enough of it!) and then left it to dry.

And this is it!

Now on my etsy page!

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Bunnies and chicks...

The last week has been turmoil.

Not only did we have the onslaught of family and a naming ceremony to survive but we all came down with the lurgy meaning it wasn't possible for me to post on my blog... This upset me greatly but I am now back with many posts to follow.

Easter has always been a family occasion in my house and for the first time simply ages me and my husband will not be travelling down to Herefordshire where my folks live as I need to be back to work quite soon after the Easter holidays...

Instead my father is travelling up to Yorkshire to spend time with me, my husband and his granddaughter along with his girlfriend and their two dogs so I am the host for the Easter feast...

I am not one to do things by halves so I have made sure that there is an Easter theme to our dinner and have made everyone a place card...

The cards themselves came from hobbycraft (although I think any chick card might do!) along with goggley eyes, some Easter paper from my stash and some red for the beak... And then just writing the names of each if the guests across them.

My husband made some little origami bunnies too... They were from

I think they are very cute and will make a nice addition to the Easter table...

I am rubbish at origami - I certainly feel there is an art to it... My husband has been paper folding since I met him as it keeps his hands busy when not making something or doing a cross stitch or two!

Happy Easter!

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Micro bunting... Finally!

It has been a long time since I posted my two adventures into bunting and I promised that I would try to make some even smaller than the last one.

So I have.

This time though it is not sewn as I am sure that neither my sewing machine or my fingers would have come out of it in a good way!

This time I used a strip of my huge stash of paper craft papers and a length of thread from my sewing box.

I cut out a template from some paper of two folded triangles and then transferred them onto a piece of folded patterned paper and cut them out.

They were then glued and then folded around the thread.

Very simple but very effective.... Perfect for a dolls house maybe?

Monday, 7 April 2014

'In Control' for Parkinson's disease - please help!

This week is Parkinson's Awareness week. And Parkinson's Uk is a cause which I raise funds for whenever I can.

My grandfather, for as long as I can remember, had Parkinson's. He always had the shakes. He found it difficult to talk and drink and be 'in control' of himself. And, because he had Parkinson's it meant that dementia also caught up with him too.

I ran the London marathon in 2010 (something which was a lifetime ambition of mine) and raised money for the charity. Now, four years down the line I want to raise some more money for them.

In my etsy shop I have a number of items but the one that I think is most apt is the felt hearts...

So, for every felt heart that I sell the proceeds will go to Parkinson's uk. Here is a link for the charity and the great work they do...

So please give a little to this wonderful cause and I will post how much I raise on here in a fortnights time...

Link to my felt hearts for Parkinson's ...Felt heart for Parkinson's

Thank you in advance... H x

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Feet first...

The final touches towards my daughters naming ceremony are coming together.

I want the guests to be able to take away something from the day as they are all close family. I think it is important to have something that can remind you of such a special day.

So I have made some 'favours' for each guest much as you would at a wedding.

And they are all unique!

My daughter and I love doing crafty things together (though I very much doubt she understands what it is all about!) so I thought we could make something together for the guests.

I cut out squares of card which would amply fit one of her feet. I then painted the bottom of her foot (with water based paint) and printed it on the card... Surprisingly enough she found this quite fun though did not enjoy the cleaning up afterwards...

After the square had been left to dry I dated them and stuck them to cards...

There is now a batch of 15 of them, written and put in envelopes, ready for a week tomorrow...

Who knew there was so much to do for a 20 minute service!?

Friday, 4 April 2014

In a flutter....

Avid readers of my blog will know that my daughters naming ceremony is looming (I promise there is only one more post with me harping on about it!) and I realised that it was the perfect excuse to get a fascinator...

This time of year is prime fascinator time and I spend a lot of time trying them on as I am one of the very few people who love hats and fascinators but also look okay in them... My husband despairs when he knows I have found a hat stand as he knows I will generally try on every one including the most elaborate ones... I love it!

Anyway, I have already decided what I am going to wear (I am still trying to loose my pregnancy weight so I have very few dresses to choose from anyway!) and have settled on one I bought in a sale which is dusky pink, knee length with hints of deep green and emerald green... So those are the colours I wanted to aim for.

Fascinators are expensive... So I thought - why not make one?!

I saw one of the local high street stores had a sale on and generally they have a lot of jewellery which is easy to take apart and upcycle into a head piece.

My hardest choice is usually what I want to use as the base to fix it to my head as my hair is very thick so hairpins are not a good choice. This time I went for a comb (different to the bases of my previous two fascinators!) with a butterfly on it. It was then just down to choosing some jewellery in my colour scheme and I settled with some feather earrings and a pair of correlated heart earrings as an embellishment.

When I got home I disassembled  my jewellery and started piecing together the head piece...

In previous projects of this kind I have used superglue to fuse the headpiece together but this time I thought I would use silicone glue to see if it didn't dry white which is the problem with superglue!

The silicone glue dried clear... And seemed the keep the rather heavy embellishment of the heart which needed to be glued twice as the feathers needed to be more sturdy!

The project (once I had tried out different ways to arrange the feathers) didn't take long to do although silicone glue takes 12 hours to dry fully...

So, I now have my fascinator and the elements of the afternoon tea are now coming together nicely... I now can't wait!

Thursday, 3 April 2014

When's a jar not a jar?

When it is a vase!

Again, today I have been neck deep in trying to sort out the stuff for my daughters naming ceremony and I had my first panic when sitting discussing the arrangements for the day.

So? Have you decided on the table decoration?
Yes. Giraffe themed tags to go on the tea cups and brown and yellow table gems.
And centre pieces? What about the flowers?

Damn, I thought. I hadn't thought of those!

At this time of year the roads and gardens are filled with daffodils so at least that would make things easier... It was just finding something for them to stand in.

After raiding my garden cupboard I found three jam jars that were all the same and gave them a quick rinse (who knows what kind of insects and bugs had been living in them!)

I then measured a length of giraffe print felt which fitted around the circumference of the jar and cut it to size. I also took a length of giraffe print ribbon (the same as the ones on the name tags!) and stuck that to the felt.

I then stuck the felt to the jar and stuck a fimo giraffe to it.

I can't wait for the ceremony now... A giraffe themed afternoon tea - what more could a 7 month old wish for?!

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Time for tea?

My daughters naming ceremony is in a couple of weeks time and I am slowly realising that there is a lot to do and not a lot of time in which to do it!

I also have very little money on which to spend it on as the ceremony has cost a lot more than I had hoped for so the ideas need to be quick, simple and cheap.

After the ceremony there will be an afternoon tea and I wanted to make it personal to my daughter.

A few weeks ago I made some name tags that I wanted to tie to the handles of the teacups. After making them I came back to them and I wasn't happy. So I would have to do them again.

This time I used some rubber stamp letters to spell out the names - taking time to make sure that they all fitted but instead of the names as I know them I did them from my daughters point of view. The black ink worked well against the tags I had bought.

On the other side I used letter outlines to have 'with love' in gold and stuck a giraffe that I had painstakingly made a couple of weeks ago (they were going to be used!!!)

The ribbon I bought was then threaded through the label.

I am much happier with the result ... So happy that the guests get to have a keepsake from, what I hope to be, a very special day!

Monday, 31 March 2014

Turning a pest into a sauce...

As discussed on my gardening blog (use link at the side!) I am still over run with horseradish even though I have tried to exterminate the crop from my herb bed.

When I dug up a massive root of it I knew it was to be turned into horseradish sauce.

The recipe came from 'The Preserving Book' again as it has been the only recipe so far that actually keeps the horseradish fresh and useable for up to two months!

This sauce needed:

300ml white wine vinegar
8 tbsp double cream (at room temperature!)
150g grated raw horseradish
4 tbsp sugar
4 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
12 whole peppercorns

The white wine vinegar, sugar, cloves, bay leaf and peppercorns is put in a large pan and heated until the sugar has dissolved. It is then boiled for 5 mins until the liquid has reduced by half.

The cream is added and boiled for 1 minute until it looks smooth.

The liquid is then passed through a sieve ( to remove the cloves, peppercorns and bay leaf) and then left to stand to cool.

Once cooled add the horseradish and season (with salt only) to taste! Pour into pre sterilised  jars!

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Dinosaur in disguise!

As I have said many times before my husband is a dinosaur nut. And, instead of getting him something rabbit related for Easter this year (to go with the jars I made a couple of weeks ago) I thought I would delve into the world of decoupage again and give him a decorated dinosaur.

The dinosaur template was relatively inexpensive  and the papers were left over from a few previous projects so it was nice to use up some scraps too!

Again I used Mod Podge which dries in a nice matt glaze.

I used two colours of the decoupage papers: camouflage and gold crackle...

The process of actually doing the decoupaging took a lot longer than I had anticipated as I was trying to do this project when my husband was not in the house so tried to fit in doing it between him leaving for work and me taking my daughter to nursery first thing in the morning... This had mixed results as sometimes my daughter let me get in with it and sometimes she didn't!

Eventually I got it done and was pleased that it was finished...

I can't wait to give it to him on Easter Sunday!

Thursday, 27 March 2014


The summer term is always packed with exams and stressing students but the one breath of fresh air is the middle school play which is an adaption of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere called 'London Below' and the set is currently being constructed, script being written and the props are being made...

I sometimes dread when my head of department writes the scripts as you never know what props she is going to come up with. The latest one that she wanted some rats made which can sit on your hand but also not look realistic and look handmade... This is right up my street!

I first made a paper version at my desk to work out how big it needed to be and then took it apart to make a template.

I then found some scraps of felt that I had in my stash of stuff which sits in a basket and cut out a body in the felt and stuck it together.

I cut out two ears and sewed them on and added scraps of red for the inside of the ears.

With a length of red material I rolled it up into a tail - and the fact that it is very creased seemed to help!

I sewed the eyes and added the whiskers...

And voila! A quick rat puppet!

When I make the next ones I hope to do the following:
1) sew down the body to make the seam join stronger
2) use embroidery thread for the eyes to make them stand out a little more
3) stiffen the felt with starch spray to make it more rigid!

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Loving mices to pieces...

As it has been a busy time at school I find it increasingly difficult to concentrate on bigger projects to do in my evenings so instead turn to little but satisfying ones while watching tv of an evening...

As ever, I still quest for the perfect craft magazine so was surprised that many weekly women's magazines are jumping on the bandwagon.

The latest in these is prima who have released a 'special' which is dedicated to all kinds of crafts.

On the front of the magazine is a kit to make a pin cushion mouse - perfect for an evenings worth of sewing!

The pattern was clear and easy to find... However, the instructions left quite a lot open to interpretation and could have benefitted from photos for each of the stages as both me and my husband had to re read a couple of the stages for sense!

Otherwise it made quite a pleasing pin cushion - though at the moment it is sat on the bookcase waiting to find a home!

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Footsteps and memories...

One of the many joys of having a young baby is the fact that there are many little things you can do to give yourself a memento of when they were very tiny!

This imprint was taken when my gorgeous daughter was only 3 months old at our local children's centre.

Play dough was placed in a clean metal takeaway container and her foot was carefully placed and pushed... Careful that the dough doesn't go between the toes otherwise it can take an age to clean afterwards!

Liquid plaster of paris is then added until the foot is filled and there is about a 1cm deep above it.

Let it dry for 24 hours.

Then remove the plaster carefully and use a dry toothbrush to get rid of any excess dough.

And there you have it. I have mounted my daughters on a cheap memory box frame with a sheet of patterned paper...

This particular one is so easy to do that I am thinking of doing one when it is her naming ceremony too as she has grown a lot since this one!

Saturday, 22 March 2014

The perfect present for a 6 month old...

When my husband was looking for his next cross stitching project he saw this kit and just knew that he wanted to sew it for our daughter who has just turned six months old.

My husband dedicates a lot of time to reading our daughter books of every kind but she especially loves the Mr Men books. So when he spied a height chart with mr men he simply had to give it a go.

The hardest part was trying to find the right place to start as finding middle of such a long project was not easy... But once he started on one the rest fell into place.

He has probably taken about a month to complete the project by completing a bit every night...

When he finished the pattern he also wanted to dedicate it to our daughter... Her nickname is 'little face' hence why it says 'for face'. My husband was particularly pleased with this as he didn't follow a pattern and did it freehand.

The piece is now waiting to be stretched and framed and hopefully will be enjoyed for years to come...

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Sleeping dragon in progress...

It is not often that I decide to take on a massive project. Especially when I am super busy with work.

But, with the easter holidays looming I thought it would not matter and I would find time to do it.

I have always wanted to make a model of a sleeping dragon - a name that has stuck from an early age - so when I got sent some fabric to make something with for a competition (I wasn't quick enough to enter, unfortunately!) I thought a sleeping dragon it would have to be!

First of all I made a paper version...

And then it was taking the model to pieces...
and lying them on the fabric and tracing around them.

Cutting out and labelling then commenced...

And this is where I am up to now...

So much still to do...