Monday, 31 December 2012

Last post of 2012

So this is my last post of 2012 and what a year it has been both in crafty and non crafty ways. In non crafty events my lovely family has kept me busy, my DD is growing up fast and still fills me with wonder. We had an amazing summer spent in London sight seeing and watching the amazing events unfold at the Olympics and Paralympics. 

On the crafting side I am still enjoying my sewing classes and the crochet bug has definitely hit. Christmas was filled with sewing projects, I managed to make my DD two dresses that she can dance around the living room in and pretend that she is on Strictly Come Dancing. The new addition to our house Toby (DD's baby doll boy from Father Christmas) has a lovely wardrobe of a baby grow, two rompers, trousers and matching hat, all made by me.

My scrapbooking has suffered, it is much easier to carry around a hook and ball of wool in your handbag. I still plan to get to crop but my year is not starting off well as I will be missing the first one of the year as we still will be in London. I do plan to do the 365 photo project and I have already updated the app, this I hope will lead to more scrapbooking.

My crafty plans for 2013, to continue with my sewing I have already booked my next five classes. I was given a great book at Christmas called 101 Great Things To Do With A Metre Of Fabric, I took myself off to the sales and bought various pieces of fabric so that I can work my way through the book. I plan to find some new crochet projects and there is always the granny square blanket to finish.

So here's to an amazing 2013, let's hope it's a crafty one.

PS. Sorry for the lack of photos would have loved to showed off all my creations but as yet I still have not been able how to figure out how to add photos to blogger from the IPad. One day everything will be compatible (fingers crossed).

Sunday, 11 November 2012

A whole lot of crafting going on.

Yesterday was crop day at Eclectic Keepsakes, I really do enjoy my time spent there, especially at the moment as I am not really scrapbooking (hadn't touched a LO since last crop). It reminds me why I like scrapbooking, also the company is good, it's a good way of exchanging ideas and as always the Lovely Karen had made very yummy cakes.

This months crop was a little different, as there was no class taught, instead we were each to provide a small kit that we had put together and then we would do a swap. Now as a girl who tends to buy whole sets of papers so that they match or kits that have already been put together, this did scare me rather a
lot, as did working to the budget of £5. My DH would readily confirm that I have great difficulty working to a budget. Luckily for me ATDML had their retreat last weekend and we were lucky enough to pop over and have a look at their shop and what a delight it was, so many papers to choose from, so many ideas for embellishments.

The first papers that I came across I chose, they were a mix of reds (favourite colour), blue and greens. Unfortunately I forgot to make a note of the name (I think I was just in denial about giving away the lovely new papers ;) I also came across some embellishments by Webster Pages called Designer threads dollies spring mix. Now these lovely things were out of my price range so I thought that I would have a go at making some, it took me all week but I succeeded. So I had a kit ready to go. We all arrived at crop and Karen asked us to put our goodies into brown paper bags so we did not know what was in them. They was great excitement in the afternoon when we got to choose a brown bag, like an early Christmas present.

Here is what I got in my brown bag, a lovely selection of My Mind's Eye papers, aren't the colours gorgeous. I would not normally go for this colour range, I tend to stick to very girly papers, but that is the beauty of this swap, it gives you something totally new to play with.

Guess who put together my brown bag, yes the lovely cake baking Karen, she also put together a lovely sketch for us to use.

So armed with the sketch and my lovely goodies I got straight to it and actually finished a layout to bring home.

I am really happy with the finished LO, it features a photo of my DH, which is something new as well as using a different colour scheme. I hardly ever scrap just him, most of my LO's feature my DD.

So in my eyes crop was a great success and I hope that Karen does the kit swap again sometime. Talking of Karen again, guess you got my kit?

Thursday, 8 November 2012

It can be done

Yesterday my Mum and I attended a class held at our local sewing supply shop, a day of Mother, Daughter bonding. I was a little nervous as my sewing adventures are a little hit and miss and the free style embroidery that we would be attempting is more my Mum's thing. So with Grandad on pickup duty for school, off Mum and I went.

The class is held at Franklins our local sewing supply shop, it is also where I attend my sewing classes on a Tuesday. Our teacher was the lovely Alex Waylett, who introduced herself and made us all feel very welcome. In all there were four of us ladies eager to learn how to make one of Alex's gorgeous clutch bags.

So after all had been explained to us and we had rummaged in our supply bag in front of us, we then had to make an important decision, what fabric to use on the front of our clutch bag. Would we like an evening bag or a daytime bag? How would we be using the sewing machine to embellish it?
I found a gorgeous fabric that had a mainly circular pattern, in my eyes I would perfectly sew around the circles.

So once we had cut out all our required pieces, Alex gave us pieces of fabric to practice on. The excitement was rising, what could go wrong?

My inability to sew in the gorgeous precise manner that I had first imagined when I first picked up my chosen fabric. At this point I was thinking what on earth have I got myself into, I am not going to enjoy this at all, I can not perfectly sew around the patterns. Alex came over and gave me a couple of tips, firstly the foot that I had attached to the sewing machine so that I could do the free style embroidery was too tight against the material so that the fabric underneath did not flow as easily. I also needed to even out my speed, too slow leads to large stitches and too fast leads to too small stitches. So again I attempted to embroider around the pattern, at this point it hit me, it does not have to be perfect, if I do perfectly sew around the circles you would not actually see my sewing embellishment, also why am I giving myself a hard time, it is my first attempt at this. So with this in mind I started at the edge and began to sew around my circles and yes they are far from perfect but I love the effect that I have.

I also added some black sequins and orange seed beads to embellish further. At this point I am really happy, I can't believe how much fun I am having with the sewing. Time is ticking by so Alex starts to help us with putting together our purses. I chose a lovely deep purple to be the inside.

And this is my purse before we added the clasp, I love the padded feel it has.

Alex demonstrated how to attach the clasp on one side.

Then we attempted to finish it and finish it I did. I can not believe I finished a project in a day, a sewing project at that.

I am so happy with the end result and I can not wait to have a go myself at home, I even purchased a foot for my sewing machine that will let me do the free style embroidery. I am thinking of other things that I can use the technique on, maybe even somehow manage to use it in my scrapbooking, who knows, we shall just have to wait and see.

If you would like to see more of Alex's work click here

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Crash & Burn

So my last post I was flying high, I had finished my basket and I was hoping to finish my dress that I have been making at home, what high hopes I had. Well I came crashing back down to earth, my dress that I was so excited about and that I thought was nearly finished has a major problem, it is too small! When trimming the material so that it fitted I had not factored in the seams allowances for the zip. I can't believe that I have made such a major mistake.

So on Sunday afternoon I was all for giving up on the whole sewing thing, but my lovely ever patient DH talked me down and persuaded me to go back to sewing class on Tuesday. I am so glad that I did, my teacher assures me that we can do something so that the dress will fit (hooray as I love the fabric) and I also completed my first dress, all that was needed was the hem doing so I have one finished dress that fits perfectly. Once I have ironed it I will post a photo.

So what about scrapbooking I hear you ask, well it is there I have a couple of pages from crop that I need to put on here. I don't think that I will manage my 100 layouts target this year, but there is always next year. Scrapbooking has taken a back seat, but while I have the opportunity to learn a new skill I want to make the most of it. Maybe I should think about doing some layouts that involve scraps from my sewing, what do you think?

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

This could be the start

So it is just under a week since I completed my basket and I am still riding high on the feeling of actually completing something, especially as it impressed my lovely ever patient DH.

As promised here is the link to the basket, it was created by Elizabeth Trantham and she very kindly put it on Ravelry, which is a great source of ideas and patterns for crochet & knitting. I love that the internet is such a great source of inspiration & also a great tool for learning.

So while I am on my finishing roll, my aim today is to complete the dress that I have been making at home to replicate what I have been learning at sewing school. My DH made sure that I had some time at the weekend to get a bit more done & I thought that I was doing great until I realised that I had actually done the seams the wrong way, so when I turned my dress the right way you could see all the armhole seams. So I spent most of Sunday afternoon unpicking. I must not let this get me down as I am still learning & as one of my friends pointed out, we learn from our mistakes.

So hopefully next blog post I will have a completed dress to boast about.
 Wish me luck x

Thursday, 11 October 2012

In the mood to boast

I need to boast to somebody, so this will be short and sweet.
I finished something!!! I have completed a WIP (work in progress). Not only have I finished it, it actually looks like the photo on the pattern, hooray.
I have made a basket to put all my granny squares in. I will post the pattern details next blog post.

Monday, 17 September 2012

A crop a month....

A crop a month helps a girl's scrapping mojo. Unfortunately I missed last months crop (was having an amazing time at the Paralympics), so my scrapbooking mojo has gone a little astray. I have also found myself a little busy since DD went back to school, I was expecting life to calm down a bit but that doesn't seem to be the case.
Today is the first day I have actually been able to get to spend a good couple of hours in my craft room. I am still plodding away on our holiday photos, I have so many that it could take a while. Luckily for me the last crop I attended Karen did a fabulous class that I got to take away with me. It was perfect for the photo that was taken on holiday on our anniversary.
So today I have two completed LO's, let's hope it leads to plenty more.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

A finished WIP

In my last post I mentioned WIPs (work in progress) & UFOs (unfinished objects). Well last night I managed to finish a WIP, hooray!

I am a lover of Starbucks, I just can't help myself. While looking on the Internet for ideas I came across various images for a cup holder, one of those cardboard bands that they put around your take away coffee. Well this idea spoke to me and I had a go.

I don't think it is bad for a first attempt, my DH is not so sure, his comment of "are you really going to use that" says it all. I think I will have another attempt, maybe some stripes or even seams might be good :)

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Back to school

September is here and that means back to school, but not just for my DD but for me also. I am going to sewing school. This is a big step for me as I have dabbled in the past with mixed success. I usually leave all sewing to my wonderful Mum, who does a great job.

So Tuesday of this week I walked DD to school for her first day of year four, then jumped into the car to drive into town. While feeling a little nervous, I was excited more than anything. I have spent all summer looking for the perfect pattern, which I finally did, but then became stuck when I was unable to find any fabric that I liked that would suit the pattern. Luckily for me where are classes are held in a fabric shop.

The class is being taught by a lovely lady called Pat, who was very welcoming. There were four other ladies in the class all with different sewing abilities. Our first step was to measure one another, not a great after the school holidays but I guess it had to be done. Then Pat took a look at our patterns to see if they were suitable, luckily for me mine was. Then it was a trip down stairs to find fabric, again I got lucky and found some lovely suit fabric.

So the photo below shows my pattern, fabric, lining, zip and thread. Pat assures me that I will have a completed dress by the end of the course.

This is great news for me as I am know for not finishing anything and thanks to a lady called Susan Carlson who has a lovely blog called Felted Button I am going to borrow her categories. An Unfinished Project will now be know as a UFO and a Work In Progress will be a WIP. This dress is in the WIP pile, it will be finished. Many of my crochet attempts are in the UFO pile.

So back to my class, once we had the fabric, we then had to cut out our patterns, if anybody has ever opened a pattern you will know that they are folded and a little fragile, so you have to unravel them very carefully, otherwise you might tear or lose a bit. Luckily for me I only had four pieces of the pattern to cut out, a couple of the other ladies had many pieces to cut out. Once cut out you then have to pin the pattern to the fabric, in line with the grain of the fabric. I had no idea that fabric had grain but apparently it does.

Now my teacher Pat, said at the beginning of the class that if she says "are you happy with that" she actually means that she is not happy with it. So I awaited with baited breath and got a well done, hooray. Next task to cut out, then also cut a lining to match.

So there we have my first class, I am feeling a little chuffed with myself and can't wait to go back next week. I will be pinning it all together and then sewing!

Monday, 20 August 2012

I am lovin the school holidays!

There have been times this last school year that I thought I would never find myself making a statement like
"I am lovin the school holidays."
DD has had a rough year at school, which also led to home life being a bit rocky at times too. So the school holidays could be seen as something to dread, luckily it has not been the case. Without the whole school issues, DD has turned into a happy, helpful eight year old.
We have managed to jam pack the holidays with fun stuff and we have seen so much of London. We have been Wenlock mascot hunting (83 Wenlocks & Mandevilles have been placed all over London), we have visited Hampton Court, the Tower of London, Kennsington Palace and Buckingham Palace. All have given me lots of opportunities for lots of photo taking, which is good because when DD goes back to school (boo) I will have some time on my hands to scrapbook & hopefully catch up on my target of 100 layouts.
So with two weeks left let's hope my DD stays the happy princess that she has turned into.

Monday, 6 August 2012

What a way to spend an afternoon

Saturday was crop day and as always it was lovely to see the ladies. I made the decision to leave early as my DH was on his own as our DD was staying with her Granparents.
DH picked me up & we drove down to London for the weekend. We are all definitely seeing the benefits of DH having a flat there. He can work late as much as he likes without the stress of the sometimes two hour journey home & DD & I have base in the holidays so that we can explore London.
So today I could not persuade anybody to hang out with me (they all had to work) & DD had gone to Legoland, I had a free day. What to do? There are so many things to see, well I decided on the National Gallery. It has been years since my last visit. The gallery has two of my favourite paintings, Van Gogh's Sunflowers & Monet's painting of a bridge over water lillies, always worth a visit. After a mooch round I decided to come back to the flat to catch up on my Olympics addiction. I can't help myself I am obsessed. Team GB is doing so well, we can't wait to go to the Paralympics, we have bought t-shirts to wear & a flag to wave.
So my afternoon has been spent watching the Olympics & scrapbooking, yes you read it right, scrapbooking. By my DH picking me up early from crop & driving straight to London I had my stash in the back of the car. It doesn't get much better than that :)

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Olympic Fever has hit

I would be the first to admit that when London won the Olympic bid I let out a big groan. Why would we want to host the Olympics? What was the likelyhood that we would be ready in time?
Gradually I have been proved wrong and slowly my excitement has been building, yes I did get very grumpy at the whole ticket fiasco (I had a daughter desperate to see the gymnastics). I have enjoyed coming down to London on the train & watching in amazement as the stadium progressed. We were lucky enough to get Paralympic tickets (swimming, cycling & athletics) & we got a real buzz when I collected the tickets from the post office. Looking on the plans to see where we will be sitting.
Yes we did go & see the Olympic torch go through Colchester High Street in the rain & yes we have been Olympic spotting for weeks now. We spot (& count) the signs, cars & buses. We have now started spotting people in Olympic 2012 uniforms, this leads to great excitement from my daughter trying to guess what they do, I wonder what she would actually do if she saw an actual athlete.
This school holiday will be full of Wenlock Mascot searching & watching sport on tv. We have plans to go on the cable car as well. So the day before the opening ceremony we braved the traffic & came down to London. We found these amazing mosaics in the mall & plan to use them as inspiration when we attempt to do our own mosaics later in the holidays.
I also finally found the Heroes tin bus, which I think we will be tucking into while we watch the ceremony tomorrow.
So will anybody out there be joining me in cheering for Team GB?

Friday, 20 July 2012

Finished Crochet Project

Yes I did it I managed to finish a crochet project. Admittedly it is not the one I intended, but a finished project, is a finished project.
I just realised I haven't mentioned what I have finished other than it was crocheted. Can you tell I am pleased with myself? I finished (there is that fabulous word again) a granny square pillow for my girlie. Granny squares are a great way to start crochet and they grow so quickly. There are loads of tutorials on the web, just type granny square into google.
Here is my girlie with said finished pillow. The colours go great in her room, I used Patons Smootie DK (double knit).

Monday, 9 July 2012

It really is July!

Hello Blog, remember me? I am the lady who last posted on here in May. Yes I know I have left you but lets be honest, you know that I am a sucker for some sunshine and a holiday was much needed. Just in case you are interested blog, I had a fabulous time.

So what have I been up too? Well before we went away I managed to get some layouts done that featured DD's eighth birthday, yes my baby girl is now eight.

This layout features my two favourite people, I stamped the background which says "precious moments". I really like these papers they are from My Minds Eye, Stella & Rose, I love that they are not really girlie, so are great for layouts that have my DH on.

The layout below is very girlie, as it should be, with DD & her friends on it.  They were all so giggly &  they had the fidgets. I think that they all had a good time at the cinema & then pizza after.

I am trying to use some different coloured backgrounds, as I seem to have lots of white ones in my albums. I also used something new for me, washi tape. Eileen at a previous crop had given me some to try. I wasn't sure, but she assured me that it is really easy to use & that once I start I will want more. Eileen was right, it is really easy to use & I have ordered myself some. I blinged the wash tape up to add to the girlieness.

Another bold background below, there is nothing like some bright pink. Again something else new for me, I inked round a doily to add something different to my page. Really simple and easy and they seem to be coming back into fashion, maybe because of the jubilee? I also used a different size photo, 4x4. I love the effects that Hipstamatic & Instagram can add to your photos, so being able to print to print them out in all their glory is fab.

Last week DD had a tudor school trip, luckily for me Nanny was able to make DD's costume that was needed. Thinking about this I thought it was about time I scrapped the photos from the last dress up day that DD had at school, Mad Science Day. Looking at these photos I thought it would be great to have a go at the hexagon phase that seems to be going round. Karen posted a tutorial on her blog, so I thought I would have a go. Bonus it is a double pager!

In between scrapping I am still plodding away with my crochet, the bag has hit a slight hitch. I have discovered that gin and crochet do not mix, apparently a small glass affects my ability to count stitches. I have managed to complete two massive granny squares that will hopefully become a cushion cover once I have figured out how to stitch it together. Will keep you updated.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Sunday Afternoons

Every now and then I get to have a crafty Sunday afternoon and if I am lucky I might even have company, this Sunday was one of those Sundays. DD is a Brownie (which she loves) and we were emailed last week about the Braiswick Handicraft Show, which we are encouraged to encourage our DD's to take part in. We have been sent a list of crafts that they can attempt. Now I am being honest here, by saying that if I got to enter I think I would have an entry for everything, but DD is a little more reserved so she picked out two. Posy of three paper flowers and a necklace of handmade beads. After a trip The Range for supplies, we sat down together. DD chose to do the necklace first, we had talked through a couple of options, like paper beads, but DD chose Fimo (good choice). She picked her colours red, white & blue to go with the theme of the jubilee and got to work.

First she rolled out the Fimo.

Then she measured, marked & cut to get the beads roughly the same size.

She rolled to get the bead shape.

Then she skewered them, this puts the hole through the middle & also helps them in the oven. Mummy puts them in the oven for required time.

Once cooled, DD then threads them on some elastic in her chosen pattern.

Hey presto! We have a finished necklace, ready for the handicraft show. Next task the posy of paper flowers.

What was I doing I hear you ask, well I was making this very yummy Rhubarb Bakewell Tart, recipe courtesy of The Caked Crusader. I have never used rhubarb before in a recipe, but I will definitely be making this again, it is very yummy. So there we have it my crafty sunday afternoon, very productive I think.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Can you see the potential?

Over the last couple of months I have been dabbling with crochet. I am finding it much easier than knitting & it is much easier to play around with as well as very easy to undo if you go wrong. I have completed a couple of hats for DD & her dollies & also made a flower brooch for her new denim jacket.

As yet I have not managed to complete a take out coffee cozy, which is what I am really wanting for me, I just can't seem to get the shape right. I have lots of odd flowers & granny squares but nothing to actually put together.

So I am challenging myself to make myself a crochet bag & finish it. A lot to ask I know, but a challenge is a challenge. I have fallen in love with the variegated wools that you can buy, you know the stuff that changes colour. So I have treated myself to a couple of balls & I have started with some circles.
I love the colours, they are very girly. Can you see the potential? This was last nights effort, so if I can average four circles a night, I might actually have a bag by next month. We shall see, wish me luck.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Squeezing in a crop

Last weekend was a busy one for me, Saturday was crop day and then on Sunday we made the trip to Stratford Upon Avon for a family wedding. We had planned to go to Stratford on the Saturday and make the most of the long weekend, but the weather has been so awful that we decided against it, which was good for me as it meant that I got to go to the Eclectic Keepsakes Crop. It has been ages since I last went and it was so good to catch up with the ladies there.

I usually plan some layouts out in advance but I didn't do that this time, so I wasn't as productive as I could have been, I also spend a lot of time chatting. I love catching up with the ladies and I will admit to having some favourites. I also love looking at other people's stash, a lovely lady called Eileen has an amazing stash, I actually think that she could name any piece of paper you put in front of her. She also make gorgeous layouts. She has given me some washi tape to use on a layout, she is convinced that I will love it. I need some convincing but I plan to have a go.

This is my first layout that I managed to complete. I took the photo of DD on the morning of her birthday,  hence the big smiley face.

Here's a close up of the tape measure running a long the bottom of the photo, I stamped round the eight and then added some bling. Makes a change to a stamped number, I am really liking all the tape measures that are around at the moment.

The class this month was by Ann Freeman, I usually love Ann's layouts at first sight, but this time I was a little troubled by what I saw. There were paint and ink splatters and also large painted letters, all of which is totally out of my comfort zone! Ann as always was cheerful and VERY patient. I did brave the splatters but didn't push the boat out & paint the title. As I am sure I have mentioned before I am what I call an anal scrapper, I do straight lines and don't tend to use loads of embellishments. I guess we all have our own styles. I do like my finished layout, so much that I have attempted more ink splatters.

Unfortunately my ink splatters are not as subtle as Ann's, but I am liking how it takes some of the whiteness away from the background, it is not so stark.

I managed to take some photos at the wedding and I plan to take some more at the wedding party this weekend, so hopefully you will see them on some layouts soon. Who knows there might even be some washi tape and ink splatters.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

For the love of coffee

Is anybody else hating all this rain? It makes a girl want to just snuggle up in front of the fire and not go out. I am definitely getting my moneys worth from my wellies and raincoat. The only upside is that I get to spend time in my craft room, always a plus.

This post is dedicated to my love of coffee & Starbucks, a love that I am now sharing with my DD. For years now I have frequented Starbucks, I guess it started when we lived in New York. Even when I was pregnant and off coffee I would go in there for a donut and a sit down on one of their comfy chairs. We were lucky enough to have a Barnes & Noble bookstore near us that had a Starbucks in store. Books & coffee, my kind of heaven.

I have coffee in the mornings with my breakfast & when I go over to my friend Vicky's it is coffee that we drink. If I am in town I will try & make time so that I can sneak a coffee in.  For years my DD has gone along with this, when we returned to New York for a visit my DD & I got into the habit of going to Starbucks for coffee for Mummy & a donut for Ella. I would grab a take away & take Ella to the park. It has now got to the point that if I take Ella into town she is just as desperate to go to Starbucks as I am.

The layout below show's Ella's favourite coffee, shame that it was only a limited edition. She is even bold enough to go & order what she would like on her own, my little girl is growing up.

The next layout shows a photo of our order together. When my DH has his haircut in town, Ella & I go & get ourselves a magazine each & then go to Starbucks. We sit on the sofa if it is available flicking through our magazines, looking at new fashions & boy bands sipping our coffees. 

The photo doesn't really show that I stamped some swirls around the butterflies and also drew a border around the edge. I still think that it is missing something, but the beauty is that if I think of something I will be add it at a later date.

Well next weekend is going to be a busy one, I am finally getting to go to a crop (hooray!) and we are also attending a family wedding, let's hope that the weather improves. Should be a great opportunity for some photo taking. 

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Happy Birthday Ella

This week was my Ella's 8th birthday, and I am still in a little denial about it. From being a little girly girl, she is now showing signs of becoming a big girly girl. This years birthday was all about gymnastics and One Direction, yes my DD loves a boy band.

Again I have done no real scrapbooking but I have done some cake baking. Ella's birthday cake is where I try to pull out all the stops. I had an image in my head and a trip to a shop called Almond Art, helped me with trying to make it.

In my head I saw a cake covered in flowers, with butterflies fluttering over the top. The idea came at Christmas when my Mum & Dad bought me some butterfly cutters for Christmas. Unfortunately for me my butterflies were a little over weight.

The didn't really flutter, as more dive bombed the cake, oh well Ella loved it (which is all that matters) and said that I was very clever (added bonus).

Finally here is the gorgeous birthday girl, she is growing up so fast. I managed to get some shots of her on her birthday so I will have have something to scrap at the next crop, which I am going to hell or high water.