Sunday, 20 April 2014

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter to everyone, we're about to crunch up the crystallised primroses!

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Winter Embroidery Hoop Pictures

I've finally finished the last of my Winter embroidery hoop pictures, I did predict it would probably be Spring before I got them done!

The three of them will now be all ready to hang next Winter!

The final push to get it finished has been my Plastic Canvas making, which I'll show you on Monday. That's also a now unseasonal, Wintry make so it got me in the mood, and these are setting the scene here ready for Monday.


Friday, 18 April 2014

This Moment

Here's a link to Soulemama, and here's my moment...

{this moment}
A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
. . . . . . . . . .

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Easter Baking and Fun

I've shown you quite a few glimpses of some of the outdoor fun we've been having this Easter holiday. The weather has been amazingly kind to us, and our weather is unpredictable enough that I always want to make the most of the good days. But we've been squeezing lots of indoor fun in too that I thought I might share today.

Before I get on to that though I just wanted to put a quick apology out there. With all this fun going on, in and out, I've been keeping up with the blogging reasonably, squeezing a fair amount of making in still, definitely following all my favourite blogs still and visiting gorgeous new blogs through comments left here, but the one thing that has definitely been hugely neglected (other than housework of course, but that goes without saying!) is replying to the lovely comments that you've left here. So I'm very sorry, I've loved reading them all as usual over the last couple of weeks but I haven't got round to replying properly. I'm hoping I'll catch up next week but you'll probably have forgotten all about the comment by then!

So back to the fun now. Lots of baking has been going on. Everyone has been involved in making hot cross buns aplenty:

I love having them with the 'crosses', but I don't much like the hassle of making the crosses, especially if it involves piping them on. It just seems too much effort for the end result - those crosses only look good after all, if they tasted good that would be another matter! So we experimented with some of this batch, and rolled out a thin slice of marzipan and cut stripes out of it to make the crosses. If you like marzipan, which we do, then it worked perfectly - very quick and easy to do and yummy to eat! (But don't cook them too hot I'd say.)

 Theo had a go at these chocolate monuts. He buried a frozen mini creme egg in each one before cooking too.

We were a bit disappointed that the creme egg didn't keep its egg like appearance more, despite being frozen hard before cooking it just melted into the middle really. These were too sweet and sickly for me, I'm not a creme egg fan, but the boys are and they seemed to enjoy them.

Next up, a chocolate cake with this Malteser Icing and decorated with lots ...

...and lots of maltesers!

This one was pretty high up the sweet and sickly stakes too, but was a big favourite and disappeared very fast!

And today Venetia and I have been creating crystallised primroses (and just a few violets too)

I saw them being made from this recipe last year and we really fancied giving them a go but didn't get round to it. These ones are drying out for a day now until we use them to decorate a special Easter cake at the weekend. We haven't decided what the special cake will be yet but I'm confident it will look amazing with these!

Non baking activities have included lots of playing cards, reading, a little bit of sewing and lots and lots of drawing. There's always lots of drawing going on here, but it's been egged on even more than usual by this challenge:

I came across this idea on a lovely blog I like to follow - 'Family, Faith, Food, Fabric', take a look here. We've been picking and choosing a bit, mainly because our 'sketchbooks' aren't the kind which allow you to tear out pages. They're proper, small, bound books, so anything with sticking or wetness generally isn't the best thing for the book as a whole. And I do like the idea of working in a book rather than on individual pieces of paper, there's plenty of that going on all the time as it is.  I really should have taken photos here, but we were all too intent on the drawing to remember about that. It's been fun, and interesting to see different interpretations of the prompts.

Last up - there's been lots of plastic canvas stitching going on. This is because I'm busy making something for the Plastic Canvas Blog Hop that's going on right now over at Crafty Pod. There have been gorgeous, creative makes every day this week that you can find over there. My turn is coming up on Monday, so I can't show you how it's going yet. Here's Maria's contribution though:

I'm so impressed with how her plastic canvas efforts have progressed since the Autumn when she last had a go. She really enjoyed it then but was incredibly random with it and enjoyed pulling her threads out and restarting far more than she did trying to finish.  It's strange how funny, little things suddenly open your eyes and make you see how your babies are growing up and changing before your eyes.

That's it for tonight. I'll be back tomorrow with a photo,


Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Mermaids and a Patchwork Skirt

You might remember that Maria requested a Mermaid brooch a while back. To be honest, it's not something that's been high on my making list. But this week, with so much time spent at the beach (and now in the sea too), mermaids have been more on my mind! Especially with beach activities like these going on right under my nose...

Subtle reminder perhaps?!

So I had a bit of a doodle, and started to come up with a shape I quite liked...

Here it is sewn...

But I decided it wasn't working on the hessian and switched to a light, plain fabric instead, with a bit more detail, and then cut out...

I quite liked how this was going, and with the beautiful quilts of Joan Dawson still fresh in my mind from my recent trip to the Quilt Show...

Spot the sea glass sewn into the quilt to embellish it.

... with her gorgeous use of sea glass sewn onto the fabric, I had the (possibly) brilliant idea of sewing some of my sea glass on to my mermaid's tail. That's for another post though - because I haven't tried it yet! But once I'd decided on that course of action, all of a sudden that particular mermaid brooch didn't seem quite right for Maria. Since I still wanted to make something mermaid related for Maria my mind wandered a bit more...

I don't normally have the urge to make clothes for my children, but recently I've been feeling like dabbling in it. I think I'd have to mostly blame The Great British Sewing Bee for this (for non UK readers it's a tv series that's been running - a group of keen amateur sewers, different challenges each week, focusing mainly on dress making, a sewer is eliminated each week until the final when a 'champion' is crowned).

Then when this patchwork skirt popped up before my eyes, on Pinterest, the other day...

Here on Pinterest
 I decided I had to try a patchwork skirt myself. And the 2 ideas clicked together and I suddenly wanted to make Maria a seasidey patchwork skirt with my mermaid appliqued/embroidered on there.

I have a deep dislike of following patterns, so I just made myself a very simple paper pattern for an A line skirt. I'd decided on an easy elasticated waist so I just measured Maria around her widest part (her bottom!), measured how long I wanted it to be and drew it on a folded piece of paper. It might make more sense in a photo perhaps...

Here it is cut out, but still folded down the right,  with notes added if you can read them!

And now opened up, I half wish I'd made it slightly more 'A' line.
I sewed some strips together roughly to the shape of my pattern, and then trimmed them up more exactly. I used a couple of old scraps and a couple of old shirts for the fabric. Here they are with my mermaid sewn on too...

Apologies for the feet! I'm having trouble with Picasa at the moment and haven't been able to crop my photos. It's amazing how lazy you can get taking photos when you think you can crop them!

And a little closer on the mermaid...

Then I just sewed down both sides, right sides together. A couple of my fabrics were very fine so I also sewed a plain yellow lining (exactly the same shape) in some thin, yellow cotton and slipped it inside the patchwork skirt before I then turned over my waistband with both the layers. Finally I just needed to insert my elastic and hem both the patchwork outer skirt and the yellow lining. Hope that makes sense, bit sparse on photos near the end, but it was all so quick and easy I didn't want to stop to take them.

I added a few, old mother of pearl buttons...

Easier to wash than sea glass!

And it was all done...

With a glimpse of the yellow lining.

It was a really gorgeous day today, and we were going to the beach. Perfect for a photo shoot, and I remembered the skirt. But it was warm and sunny, and the beach and sea were so beautiful that as soon as we got there Maria (and the bigger ones too) were all straight into their wet suits and we were off to get wet and sandy. Photo shoots were forgotten.

I did remember just as we were about to leave - when my camera was almost out of battery, Maria's t-shirt had somehow fallen in a rockpool, the skirt was all crumpled and I was getting a little nervous about how fast the tide was coming in on our patch of the beach. I managed one quick photo...

Not the perfect photos I'd envisaged, but we had the perfect day instead!

I'm doing lots of linking up today -  linky parties at Sew Fresh Quilts,  Freshly Pieced, Freemotion by the River and tomorrow at My Quilt Infatuation.



Tuesday, 15 April 2014

More Ipad/Tablet Covers

So here are my other Ipad/Tablet cases finished. A patchwork one...

A stripey chameleon...

Inspired by this print on Pinterest.
And possibly my favourite, a peacock...

All fastening with tabs and buttons...

I've been busy making these for an exciting reason. I've arranged to run some workshops at a lovely local shop, Furniture Magpie. For those of you reading this in beautiful North Devon, 'Furniture Magpie' is in Barnstaple, and is full of gorgeous furniture and crafty items. There are lots of sewing workshops available to try there as well as furniture painting ones (have a look here for a full list), but Samantha, who owns the shop, was looking for someone to run some patchwork workshops too. I'm going to do a 4 week Patchwork course, with one session a week in June, where everyone will create their own, very individual quilt. But we also wanted to come up with something that could be done in one evening session. Which isn't necessarily that easy when it comes to patchwork. Samantha and I were both keen to have something using recycled fabric too. One of my friends recently made a lovely Ipad case in wools with some applique, and it occurred to me that this could be the perfect Workshop make. So that's the plan now for a couple of evening workshops in May. And of course I had to try making a few prototypes!

So if you are local and fancy making one at a workshop, give a shout! Or maybe you'd like to have a go at the 4 week workshop and make your own quilt? And if you're in Barnstaple for whatever reason, then Furniture Magpie is a lovely place to go and have a browse.

Have any of you ever gone along to a workshop somewhere to try out a new skill before? Was it a good experience? What kind of things did you make? Or perhaps you might have taught a workshop before and have some wonderful, helpful words of advice for me?

Any insights into the world of workshops, from whatever perspective, will be very gratefully received!


Monday, 14 April 2014

Wool Ipad/Tablet Cases

Just a quick post tonight. I've finally finished converting my wool moths into....... an Ipad/tablet case.

And that one has been joined by another.

This one was inspired by the lovely cushion here, which I spotted on Pinterest recently.
Here they both are from the back, with a little tab over and a button to fasten...

And one more finished at the moment, a patchwork rainbow front...

With a cloud and sunshine back...

It's just a shame I don't have an Ipad or a tablet to put in any of them! I've got a few more very nearly finished which I'll hopefully show you tomorrow and I'll explain why I'm suddenly making lots of Ipad cases for my non existent Ipad!

See you then,