Friday 27 February 2015

Teen Stitchers Course at Hobbycraft

Over the last four weeks I have taken a "Teen Stitchers" course at Hobbycraft in Carlisle.

I had 6 young ladies attend, from age 8 to 14 years old.

The aim of the course was to find some kind of sewing technique that they would find interesting and perhaps carry on with as a hobby later on.  So each week we tackled something different.

Week one was Cross-Stitch.   I spend a whole afternoon designing them a Cross-Stitch initial each, then ended up leaving all the print outs on my printer at home - stupid me!   Luckily I had some butterfly kits with me that I designed ages ago, so after a little bit of practise on some #6 count Aida, we made a start on those.

They learnt how to cross-stitch, back stitch and follow a symbol chart.  They all did very well too, their "homework" was to try and get them finished by the end of the four weeks, and if they did I would frame their work for them as a gift  :)

The second week was hand sewing - finishing off, adding adornments and sewing on buttons.

They all made themselves a cardboard template of a heart, which they then cut out of their choice of fabric. I quickly sewed up the seams on the sewing machine for them, they they got to turn it right way in, stuff it (adding lavender if they cared to) and decorated it with buttons, beads, ribbons etc...

What a great job they all did!  And the shop smelt gorgeous with all that lavender wafting around.
Aren't these hearts just fabulous?  I was so impressed by their skills at hand-sewing.

Week three was Patchwork.

They all seemed to really like this one, with most producing a flower, some of them are ending there at that flower and we will appliqué it to a bag, but some will carry on and make it bigger they say  :)

The final week we got out the sewing machines.   The girls all learned how to thread the machines up and wind a bobbin.  Also change the needle and the presser foots, and had a play with stitch patterns on a scrap of material before going on to make something.

They all decided to add some applique bits to a ready made tote bag.  A couple had brought back their patchwork from the previous week, so they added that to their bags.

They did such a great job, all of them, and I will miss them all.  I do hope they carry on sewing and make beautiful things.

Matilda had to go on time (we ran over a little) so here is her bag.

Then there is:  Leanne, Hannah, Erin, Jessica, Robyn and Cherry.

Didn't they all do great?

Oh, and the cross-stitch initials I forgot in the first week, I did finally remember and made them a little pack up, with a certificate for doing so well  :)

I am thinking up something similar to put on in the summer holidays, so watch this space.

Thursday 26 February 2015

Sirdar Bubbly Booties

Aren't these booties so gorgeously cute?   All bubbly and cosy looking, and cute.   Did I mention cute?

The Sirdar Bubbly yarn came into Hobbcraft a couple of weeks ago and I love it, and had to have some, so when I saw this pattern for little cutie booties I knew just the person to make some for.

I got to work, doing the cuffs with a white yarn with a glitter running through it for some sparkle.  Little girls need to sparkle you know.

Then onto the 'bubbly' part.  Some textured yarns can be a bit of a pig to work with, but this was fine.

Bootie number two soon popped off my knitting needles.

Then I thought I better make her some pink ones too  :)

A slightly darker pink cuff, but the bubbly bit is pink too.

Sadly, even though I did the 0-6 month size and Hope is only 4 months, they don't fit her fat little feet!!

Back to the needles then  :)

Wednesday 25 February 2015

The Weekend Box - Review

About a year ago I did a review for a "Weekend Box", you can find it HERE if you like.

Well the nice people over at The Weekend Box Club website sent me another box to review for them.

They are a joy to get through your letterbox as the box is so colourful, bright and you just want to rip it right open.

Inside the box is a selection of coloured bags, a different bag for each activity.  Beautifully packaged.

Like last time I asked my friend with the help of her Granddaughter, Ava, to review it for me, as my little Granddaughter Hope is not yet old enough to play with crafty things  :)

Here is her honest review of the box, as tested by Lezley and Ava (age very nearly 4).

Ava chose the coaster to make first she needed adult help to cut the foam but then enjoyed peeling off the backing and sticking it onto the card. Ava made two coasters from the resources included in the pack. The activity lasted around 30-45 mins.
Ava did enjoy this activity.

Ava loved making the parrot but didn't want to paint the tube but wanted to use the glue again so we used the coloured paper to cover the tube. This activity was easy for Ava to do and she carefully choose what colour feathers she wanted where on the parrot.

The prints were more difficult as it needed an adult to cut the string as Ava chose the sun shape as her print.  She lost concentration waiting for the glue to dry on the print before using it but then enjoyed dipping it in the paint and making pictures of the sun. Maybe a little more string would have been useful to make another design but we cut a potato up and made potato prints with the left over paint.

All in all Ava does enjoy the box activities and likes to stick her well earned stickers onto the instruction cards.
We haven't yet made the hot chocolate that was also made of this pack.

Thank you Lezley and Ava for testing that box for me. If you fancy trying a box for yourself, I have been given a code for new customers to try their first weekend box for FREE!

The code is SUE149 , do let me know if you have a go and what you think of it.

Blue Dragon Instant Noodle Pot - review

I'm not usually one for buying a lot of processed food stuff, but I do buy Blue Dragon stir-fry sauces for adding a bit of flavour when I do my stir-fries.   So when buying some sauces for my store cupboard last week I spotted these.....

They are like a ready meal in a pot - I suppose like a posh Pot Noodle of sorts.  They cost £1.00 - not sure if that is a special introductory offer or is the regular price.

So, today, looking for something for lunch and having no bread in the house, we decided to try these.

All the ingredients are separately wrapped in the little tub.

The noodle block did look rather small though.  When I use dried noodles in stir fries, they come in a little 'nest' shape which is one serving, these looked smaller than that.

In the tub was the noodles, a pack of 'vegetables' and the seasoning powder.

Em... yeah.... vegetables!

So, you pop the powder in first, then the 'veg'.  The powder smelled most unappetising.  Mine smelt like it was very chemically, his pot smelt like the strong smell when you walk into a health food shop.

(Hubster's veg looked a bit more colourful than mine)  I should say that my pot was the Szechuan Tomato and his the Hoisin and Garlic.

The noodles then rest on top.

Time for the boiling water - it feels a bit weird pouring boiling water into what is effectively a cardboard tub - but I think it is waxed, so is waterproof.

Lid on for 2 and a half minutes.......

Then it is stir time.  The waxy cardboard tub and the fork scraping against it to make sure all the powdery seasoning was mixed in was a bit ......... you know..... chalk on a blackboard kind of feeling.

Lid back on - 2 and a half minutes.

And then we were done.  I wasn't sure if I was looking forward to trying mine or not, after the smell of the powder packet, I was very apprehensive.   Hubster tried his first and said "Actually, it's not too bad".

So I tried mine, and actually, it wasn't too bad!

Hubster said next time he would leave out the vegetables - it's actually nice that you can make that choice, apparently it took him ages to pick the peas out of Pot Noodles when he was younger!

For a lunch, it was quite filling, as well as being relatively tasty and hot.  And for £1.00, cheap too! 

Calories were around 250-290 per pot, so not bad either.

Have you tried one?  What did you think?

Monday 23 February 2015

An appliqué cushion for Freya-Rose

I was invited to one of my best friends, Granddaughter's Christenings a few weeks ago.

But what to give as a gift?

When my kids were little they got things like silver egg cups with matching spoons  (they are in their treasure boxes in my attic, getting very tarnished), or silver money boxes  (same place).

I don't know what to get as a Christening gift these days, so I thought I would make a cushion instead.

I started with some white cotton linen, and cut out some colourful fabric letters from my assortment of Fat Quarters that I have somehow gathered over the last year.

I stuck the letters in place with Bondaweb before free-machine embroidering around each one to make them stand out a bit more.

Next I thought I should have a play with my new Sewing Machine with it's many embroidery stitches  :)   I ran a couple of fancy lines up to border the letters.

Then it was time for the edging in a nice summery yellow with bright pink flowers pattern which went well with the fabric I chose for the backing.

Finally time for the backing and the zip   :)  then it was time to stuff it with a cushion pad.

And here it is in her bedroom, photo sent to me by her Mummy  :)

It seems to match in quite well   :)