Monday 31 March 2014

Upcycled Vintage Bunting

Do you remember that bundle of vintage lovelyness I got at a table top sale the other day?   Well, I mentioned that I had a cunning plan of what to do with it, and here it is....  I was going to chop it all up and make some bunting!

Now I know that some people might be having a mild heart attack at the thought of me cutting up other peoples work, but the way I see it is that this stuff was probably destined for the land-fill once the table top sale was over if it didn't sell, so I have rescued it and giving it a whole new life while showing off the best bits  :)

First off I needed a template, so I took this napkin/hanky piece and worked out the best shape to get the most from it.

It ended up being 150mm across by 220mm down the edges.

Not great as some bits were going to be left out, but it worked.

Ta dah!

These 'chair backs' were greats, I got two lovely pieces out of each of those.

I used just a plain cream lining fabric for the backs.  Once you have cut one out you can just go along the strip with barely any wastage.

Back and front.

Putting the pieces good side in, it was time for Sally Singer to do her magic.  

A quick turn the right way in, with a little jiggery pokery with a pin to get the point out and it was starting to look the part.

Time to iron.  They looked so nice when pressed.  (Hey Mum, look at me, using an iron!!)

14 pieces in total.

Now to lay them out to try and work out if there is to be any patterning.

Pattern decided, it was now time to add the ribbony bit.  Having not ever made bunting before I wasn't totall sure what to go with.  In the end I decided on Bias Binding.  I didn't want it too thick so bought a 10mm one.  Well, that was a mistake wasn't it?  I couldn't get the tops of the bunting to stay in the binding long enough to even pin it, never mind sew it.    Back to the shop to buy a 25mm one.   This worked better, but I didn't like the look of it so ended up folding it in half on the front side and pressing it.  

I think it works.

Now I needed to find somewhere to hang it to photograph it!   Hallway cupboard doors?  (I had Hubster standing at the door trying to stop the light coming through the glass panel - didn't work.

Hall floor then.  In sections....

It measures just under 2.5 meters long.  I went up to visit my Mother for Mother's Day yesterday and meant to take it with me so I could drape it in her lovely garden... but forgot!

This is going to be entered into the Bead Buddies Forum monthly challenge, which is "bunting"  :)  You may recall I entered some pom-pom bunting a couple of weeks ago.  Will let you know how I get on  :)

Sunday 30 March 2014

James C Brett "Dreamer" Blanket

Finally finished my lovely blanket - well, it's a throw really for the back of the sofa.

I bought the pattern from Marken at The Hat and I - it's called "The Dreamer" and I have lusted after it for ages.

I used a James C Brett DK Yarn called Woodlander, in the L8 colour shade.

Now I like patterns to sink into my head right away, I can't be done with reading and re-reading, it needs to get in there and become second nature.

My first round failed, the stitches didn't work for me. I tried it again, looked just as bad.   Rather than trying to work out where I went wrong, I ended up just doing what I thought would look right, and it did.

I also added an extra row of black around the rounds than stated in the pattern as I wanted more black in it to make the colours pop more.

Then it was a case of trying to decide how to sew them up.  Should I randomize them or should I go with a more Ombre look.

I decided to sort them into colour lots - or as close as I could get, and have the colours running through from light to dark.

If I thought the rounds took a while, the joining them together seemed to take longer, don't know if that is just because it's a bit boring.  But the sewing in of the ends, well, that just took years!  YEARS I tell you.

Finally, all attached and ends sewn in.  

I added a border to try and fill in the spaces between the shapes, then added a crab stitch border to finish it off, only it pulled it in a little and made it curl.  To be honest I could get it to sit straight if I steam blocked it, but I really wanted to get it photographed  :)

And here it is, on the back of my sofa, just waiting for a chilly evening so it can be pulled down and snuggled into.  Although, quite probably, there will be a cat sitting on it at some point and you are not allowed to move a cat in our house, so I might just have to freeze  :)

Saturday 29 March 2014

Sally the Singer

Last week I had a bag making session with Marie from Nim & Num.  The night before, when I was confirming that she was still coming, she answered with "Yes, Stuart is already waiting by the door"


Well, it turns out that Stuart is her sewing machine.  I suppose being a Brother machine he needed a boy's name, so Stuart it became.

I got my sewing machine out - a Singer - and looked at her sadly (because I think it is a her) as she was unnamed.  Aww poor little sewing machine whose owner doesn't love her enough to give her a name.

Over the last couple of days I have been thinking about a nice name for my sewing machine - yeah, honestly, I really have nothing better to do.  The name that keeps popping in my head is Sally.

I keep pushing it back out again as I have a couple of friends called Sally so I really can't name my sewing machine that, can I?

But the name won't go away, so I think I will have to give in and give it to her.

Meet Sally the Singer.

The "creative director" of Vogue magazine is called Sally Singer, so Google tells me.

Well, could have been worse, could have been Sally the Swinger..... I'll get my coat  ;)

Do you name your machines/gadgets/etc....?

Friday 28 March 2014

New Biorb aquarium

I stumbled across a fabulous bargain last week on a Facebook local selling page - a Biorb 60L Aquarium, and the chap just wanted £20 for it!   They sell for £200 new in that size.

So, of course, I bought it.  I have been lusting after some Puffer fish for a while now, but they need their own tank as they tend to eat their tank mates.  I have a tropical tank already that has some neon tetras, cherry barbs and other little fishies in it.   I like fish tanks, they have a calming effect somehow.

So, I ended up with this huge Orb that measured half a meter wide.  Where was it going to go?

I spotted the wine rack, in the corner of the room, and decided that that would be the place for it.  The wine could go into the dining room where it was probably better suited.

Plus I never dust them, preferring more of a 'grubby old cellar' look - they look like expensive bottles with a bit of dust don't you think?

Champers anyone?  I have 4 bottles.   Don't care for the stuff. What should I mix it with to make it taste nice?

32 dusty bottles later and I could lift the wrought iron rack out from the corner.

In goes the Orb, which then meant having to walk back and forth from the kitchen with a small bucket to fill it up!

It has to be set up and running to do a 'fishless cycle', which basically means getting the water up to temperature, adding the salt (as Puffers need a bit of salt) and running it until the good bacterias are present and working - in order to keep waste at bay.

It need to run for at least a week, probably more like two, then after some tests it should be ready for my new puffer babies.

Hmmmmmm, someone is already showing an interest.

I was a little naughty with a rep that came to sell me some crafty stuff, I asked him to try and spot the fish while I went to make a brew.  He was still peering into the orb when I returned so I had to admit there wasn't actually any fish in there yet.

Hopefully I can get you a photo of the new fellas when they arrive, fish are always hard to photograph I find.

Thursday 27 March 2014

A bundle of vintage lovelyness

You know I like to potter around car boot and table top sales don't you?   Well, last Sunday there was a big one in the local leisure centre.  I do try to make the effort to go and have a pootle about if it is on, but it is very crowded as they cram a lot of tables into the space.  
People barge into you and grab things as you look at them, it is not a place for the faint-hearted, and manners seem to be left at the door!

But I did manage to pick up this.... a bundle of vintage tray cloths and doilies, for just one shiny pound!

One whole super shiny pound coin - what a bargain.  (Actually, the woman looked at me as though I was nuts, perhaps she thought it might not sell!)

Look at all these lovely bits and pieces.  Did I tell you it was just one shiny pound?

So, there are little bits, lacy bits, embroidered bits.

Covers for the backs of chairs - I remember my Nana having those when I was younger.  Woe-betide if you messed them up!

Possibly hankies, but they are a little small I think.  Perhaps ladies had more delicate noses back then.  I need a Kleenex man-size for my hooter.

Beautifully embroidered tray cloths, a little yellowing in places, but gorgeous all the same.

And this, I think it is a small pillow or cushion case.  Pretty nevertheless.

I have a cunning plan of what to do with these bits, so watch this space  :)

Wednesday 26 March 2014

April Workshops / Classes

Tue 1st Apr (5.30pm-7.30pm)
Hobbycraft, Carlisle
 Bead & Banter - £5.00
A tutored beading group at Hobbycraft, Carlisle. Bring your own projects.  No need to book, just drop in.

Wed 2nd Apr (1.00pm-4.00pm)
Hobbycraft, Carlisle
Upcycled Rag Rug Making - £10.00
The price includes hessian backing for your rug and a prodder to take home so you can continue your work.  Bring your own old clean clothing (some materials will be available).  Hobbycraft, Carlisle. Call 01228 812362 or click HERE to book.

Fri 4th Apr (6.00pm) - Sun 6th Apr (12.00pm)
Higham Hall, Cockermouth.
Beginners Knitting - Residential: £209  Non-residential: £146
Learn how to cast on, cast off, knit and purl.  The knitting world is your oyster as you experiment with stitches, learn about plys, tension and how to read a pattern.  Higham Hall, Cockermouth. Phone 017687 76276 to book.

Wed 9th Apr (1.00pm-3.00pm)
Hobbycraft, Carlisle
Granny Squares Crochet - £10.00
A workshop suitable for beginners, using the popular Treble Crochet stitch, learn how to make your own Granny Squares so you can make a blanket, cushion cover, bag or more...    Hobbycraft, Carlisle. Call 01228 812362 or click HERE to book.

Thur 10th Apr (10.00am-4.00pm)
Silver Yard Gallery
Beginners Basic Beadweaving - £55.00
Learn the three basic beadweaving stitches, Peyote, Spiral Staircase and Right Angle Weave (RAW). Learn how to add a pendant and a clasp.    Silver Yard Gallery, Orton, Penrith. Email: to book.

Mon 14th Apr (5.30pm-7.30pm)
Hobbycraft, Carlisle
 Crochet & Craic - £5.00
A tutored crochet group at Hobbycraft, Carlisle.Bring your own projects. No need to book, just drop in.

Tues 15th Apr (10.00am-3.30pm)
Hobbycraft, Carlisle
A Day Of Crafting - £30.00
A fun day of a little bit of all sorts.  1 hour will be spent on each of the following - Cross Stitch / Zentangle / Decopatch Pot / Beaded Bangle / Crochet.  Bring a packed lunch, or there is a Greg's & MacDonalds across the car park.  Hobbycraft, Carlisle.  Call 01228 812362 or click HERE to book.

Thu 17th Apr (10.00am-3.00pm)
Hobbycraft, Carlisle
A Day Of Beaded Jewellery - £30.00
A workshop for beginners. Learn how to make earrings, bracelets, necklaces and more in this full filled jewellery making day.  Bring a packed lunch, or there is a Greg's & MacDonalds across the car park.  Hobbycraft, Carlisle, including all materials & the use of tools.  Call 01228 812362 or click HERE to book.

Sun 27th Apr (10.00am-3.00pm)
Hobbycraft, Carlisle
A day of Crochet - £25.00
Suitable for beginners.  I will take you through all the basic stitches, granny squares, how to increase and decrease and other stuff too..  Bring a packed lunch, or there is a Greg's & MacDonalds across the car park.  Hobbycraft, Carlisle.  Call 01228 812362 or click HERE to book.

Mon 28th Apr (5.30pm-7.30pm)
Hobbycraft, Carlisle
 Crochet & Craic - £5.00
A tutored crochet group at Hobbycraft, Carlisle.Bring your own projects.  No need to book, just drop in.

Wed 30th Apr (1.00pm-3.00pm)
Hobbycraft, Carlisle
Crystal Bracelet - £10.00
Using a needle and thread and sparkly crystal beads, come and learn how to make yourself a beautiful Right Angle Weave bracelet with a crystal button clasp.   Hobbycraft, Carlisle. Call 01228 812362 or click HERE to book.

Monday 24 March 2014

My first kit, hot off the press

It was such a hard decision trying to work out which kit to make up first to launch on the new website.

In the end I just grabbed a lovely ball of ribbon yarn and made a drop-stitch scarf out of it.   THIS was going to be the first kit - well you have to start somewhere don't you?

Easy peasy pattern, great for beginners and established knitters alike.

Offered, at the moment, in 4 colours, but I do have a pink colourway on the way, which should be here by next week hopefully.

What I plan to do with most kits - stock allowing - is to offer "Refill Packs", so if you want to make more you can just buy the refill pack of the materials rather than having to purchase a whole kit again.

I am also going to offer a 'tool deduction' option, so if you already have the knitting needles, or the wire cutters, or the pom-pom maker, you can opt to have them removed at a reduced price.

Obviously these kits take quite a bit of time to build.  First of all there is the choosing of what to make with the materials, then you have to see if it works - sometimes it just doesn't.  Next comes the making and the step-by-step photography.  Followed by the photo editing, which can take a good chunk of time.  After that there is the writing up of the instructions which can take days in some cases.   Then the printing of instructions and the labels for the kit packaging.  Finally it is time to pack it all up and make it look nice before putting all the information on the website.  But it doesn't stop there as ideally I would like a sample in each colour way so off I go to make it all over again..... and again!

This is why it has taken a while to get these produced ready for sale.  But here it is.....

The "Flutters Scarf" kit.

Available in 'Candy', 'Lavender', 'Lilac' and 'Olive'.  Priced at £7.50 per kit.


Now then, what do I do next?