Sunday, 23 December 2012

Let's get 2013 started properly

I know, it has been a bad end to my excited start for 2012. Still I have learned a lot:

Crafting: well that's such a dangerous world and I have no idea what my brilliant USP make will be. But the research has been amazingly good fun and I have met so many lovely people on Craft Forum I have joined in 2 secret makes, Easter Bunny and the current Secret Santa - I can barely stand the wait to see what I got! Stupidly I forgot to photograph what I sent out, ah well!

What I have definitely decided is that I will be recycling and upcycling regardless of what I end up making.

Sewing: well I still can't. I know I need a craft light as my eyes are just so badly focussed close up that I need all the help I can get. the Sewing Forum has been a great giggle, though I have read far more than I have posted. Who knew so many people made tutu's?

Again I have made a decision and I have bought a couple of books to help, already reviewed I think. I have one more to go, but will review it once I have used it. My decision is again to recycle all material and clothing and to trace existing clothing for patterns as much as possible. I have a few cheap tops that I intend to sew a skirt onto, like this (I wish).

So how do I make 2013 a much more productive year? I mean I have a promotion to contend with, an OH who needs TLC and I am still lacking in gumption and not particularly brimming with energy. Whatever I do I will also need to continue losing weight and get some exercise in - but that's another blog!

An art teacher friend has supplied me with a big black sketchpad for my journaling, fabric ideas one way round, non fabric the other (I have all of that jewellery stuff too, remember?). So I will be keeping a proper journal of my ideas. Hopefully that will be fun! I can use it alongside my e-notebook OneNote, that is where I keep all online ideas, links and pictures, as well as my Pinterest obsession.

Wotcha gonna do, Stef?
Immediately I have 3 ideas that will let me practice different sewing skills:
  • Bags from old things: Tops, shirts, jackets and pillowcases I bought over the year can all be made up into bags of different sizes and shapes. Hopefully I will come up with 2 or 3 simple enough patterns that I can size and use for almost anything I fall across when out scavenging. I think if I can turn the piles of stuff into piles of things I will feel better. Though I do have to admit that the piles of  'potential' are really exciting in themselves.
  • Hat, scarf and glove sets: I still love these. I have a few different shapes for the hats and enough old jumpers to really get to grips with different finishes. I am looking forward to that. I also have some jumpers that won't shrink in the wash. I will see what I can make out of them.
  • Brooches: scraps of material  with free motion machine embroidery. Well, I couldn't not do any jewellery at all, could I? It is where I started all those years ago! I have so much broken jewellery, buttons and bits that I think I could keep myself occupied for a few months on this alone. But it is the free motion embroidery I am most interested in.

 I will make more than I read, think, plan or wish!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

I am so very, very sorry

I have been so very, very busy and tired. I know I expected it but I didn't think that the beginning of term would be such a complete stop to all things non work related! I have got to get over that!

I have been seduced by an old passion, weaving. I found some great looking looms, from a proper weaving heddle loom to peg looms, dolly bobbins, weaving sticks and lucets. I have asked he who is currently not at work to make me the last 4 and threatened him with my wanting one of the heddles.

I have so much material that could be woven and I don't anticipate using wool very often.

When I was a kid I had a little plastic heddle loom and I loved it, I have no idea where it went, but it was very narrow, about 2 inches perhaps. I have always wanted to do something more arty and thought I'd start at the bottom of weaving and work my way up! Easy, especially when you can't knit or crochet to save your life!

So if Mike doesn't make at least the sticks for me, I shall do it myself and get started over the holidays!
Rigid Heddle
Peg Loom

Lucets - they make cord!

Sunday, 2 September 2012

2 in 2 days

So this morning I have folded and stacked and tucked away lots of interesting stuff. It is all under the bed or on top of the chest of drawers.... lurking!

Don't worry, nothing was injured or thrown away during the tidy up. The rest of it is still in the other bedroom, in a pile :D

I found some really good stuff that I have not looked at properly, stuff that came from car boots and Freegle. Next week, when the lawnmower man has built the cubes, I will remember to wind up the camera and take some really good piccies.

The best bit was finding the blackout curtain lining. I had wondered how to stop the edges of any folded fabrics from getting sunbleached. Now I know. I shall velcro the curtain lining to each cube. Easy to remove and no problem to do. I may even decorate it - eventually!

I suspect that I will prevaricate a while longer whilst I consider using piccies to catalogue what I have.  Oh but shall I sort by material, by colour, by possible end product....? Oh how complicated it all gets.

Meanwhile I have re-sorted all of my tools, beads, bits and bobs into the mushroom trays I have collected. It almost looks tidy now!

I shall be back next weekend with more tales of woe - or piccies of a very small victory :)

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Oh the shame of it!

OK, I always knew that I would find actually making time to make things difficult. I am a college lecturer, I have a large garden, chickens and a weight loss habit to be gained. But how long is it since I last posted? Unforgiveable!

I had a delivery, 3 of these beauties. Each cube is 35cm in all directions. They are in the shed at the moment, waiting to be built! I have done all I can to get myself organised but it became painfully obvious that I had to do more if I was ever going to have the space to actually use my sewing machine and make something. That something turned out to be storage and organisation. So in a way my making journey gets a re-start here.

I have cleaned and oiled my sewing machine. Sorted out all my tools, replaced rusty bits and the tape measure my haste cut in half. All I have left now is a bedroom that I can't get into properly as I have dug out everything I had tucked away under beds, in corners etc. Who knew doing something that is so much fun could cause such chaos?

Over the next couple of weeks I will continue to explore the darkest recesses of boxes, bags and hidden bits. Some of it has been hanging around since the late 80s. I may find it hard to find the time to make and post as the first few weeks of term are always hectic, but I will make a real effort to get things moving.

I have also started a de-stashing programme. My thoughts journal is bulging, I have matched some materials with projects already and am desperately trying to control the urge to leap into something and wreck the material or my machine. I am not setting any deadlines but I fully intend to use up some of the less interesting fabrics on practice pieces, making pattern pieces etc, and to get rid of a lot of it.

Don't tell him on lawnmower duty, but as you all know, the only reason to de-stash is to make room to re-stash [:)]

I WILL make it..... lots of 'its'!!

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Freegle collection - photos later

Oh how I love freegle!

I put out a shout 2 weeks ago for bits and pieces of material and 'stuff' and got a single reply! Oh dear, I thought, how disappointing. Worse, I couldn't make the date I suggested to pick up the stuff offered and felt like a heel. Fortunately the nice lady emailed me back and offered to leave it out for me to pick up today.

Well.... I am gobsmacked - and you will be when I get it all sorted! Buttons, jewellery, curtains an old woolly kilt and an amazing coat from Afghanistan - very colourful and lined, even after 30 years of life in a bag, I think!

I'll be washing and thinking over the week. It is all lovely and clean but, like much of my own stash, has that stored smell (which is nice, like old books, but probably won't sell well) so photos and ideas for it all will be up soon.

But I have to say, Freegle helps you meet the most amazingly generous people (or not quite meet, if you see what I mean).

Hopefully I'll get more over summer - my ideas list has growed like Topsy!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Oh my how time flies

And I have done so little with it! Well, I have been beavering away in the day job, suffering from a horrendous sore throat and loss of voice (yet again). I shall be ready for my holidays! I may even get to the gym on a regular basis rather than the once a week I have been managing!

So I am having another go at procrastinating and putting off until next year what could be done today!

I have been doing a little bit of stuff (mainly gardening so not being put here, I have another blog for that!) and here it is:

I took this material and cut out the flowers for a later project.

Then I sat, snuffling, and grabbed glue, thread, buttons and some hair clips and made these.

I shall be sorting out all my stash now - it is escaping and I can't spot what I need. So I'll spend a weekend doing that - must get some shelving first thoug (see, I put anything off!).

I picked up some great material from a car boot, Laura Ashley bed set and curtain material for a fiver. Oh I have to do something great with that! 

Pictures of sorted stash will follow, when I have it all washed, ironed and sorted.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

A promise

This week I will make on at least 3 days.

I will be out in the garden in the mornings, 6 - 7.30 on Monday, Wednesday and Friday (bit of kickboxing on the back to finish off) and gym on Tuesday and Thursday morning.

When I get back from work I will get crafty. Here's my first two days:

Monday: clean the sewing machine and move more stash to its new home. Then select a couple of makes and materials - possibly a needle book from nanaCompany I know they aren't difficult, I made a few as a kid. But I want to start doing something useful that would get me into using the machine a bit and maybe hand sewing again, these include both. I could even use the new machine foot and do some free motion embroidery! God knows I lose enough pins!

Tuesday: Select material and start first make - report back and don't forget the piccies!

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Secret Easter Bunny swap

Well... I have had a couple of weeks.

I have lost internet for a week and been drive slightly batty by the presence of a square brown package sent to me by a Secret Easter Bunny from UKCraftsforum swap.

Now I can reveal what I got... and what I sent.

First what I received. A little bit of detective work tells me that Bodrighy made it, thanks Pete, they are lovely.

I know my chickens did not lay that yew egg. It's beautiful and I read the instructions carefully and have stroked and polished it, it works, I feel less stressed!
As for the mini vase (walnut) - it is lovely. I am going to make a little posy for it. I will make on later in the year form dried flowers I think. Meanwhile mini buttons might look OK.
As for what I made, well, what a trial! I had grandiose ideas and got the sewing machine all warmed up. But sadly nothing turned out as I wanted it. I now have some unfinished slightly clunky looking storage thingies sitting around... waiting.

So I sat down in something of a panic and thought... what on earth could I do? I twiddled and fussed and, to be honest, slightly panicked. Had I let myself get into a situation where I would have to let someone down? I hate that, really hate it!

I was sorting out my fabric stash into colourways and then moved onto the button tin when inspiration struck!

A little dab of glue and earrings arrived. A bit more and I had a brooch.

But it wasn't good enough. I needed more. I was twiddling and sorting and pondering when more buttons sort of fell into place. Some stringing elastic and all as done. I was a happy bunny!

But then doubt crept in. Was that really enough to send to a real, professional crafter? Noooooooooooooooo. Far too easy, small and insignificant. So I sat and continued to sort out the stashy overflow. 

Then I found something that made me think... plastic stuff, I think it is used for cross stitching. Why I have it I have no idea, I don't like doing cross stitch!! But it made me think..... what could I do with it?

 A happy thinking hour later I got to my bits box and contemplated the wire samples I got from Wires, could I string some buttons into a something? But a what? Ah ha! A pendant. Wire plus cross stich plastic stuff plus buttons and there you go! I was somewhat pleased with myself. Here is the collection complete, I hope my SEB receiver likes them!

 Oh, before I forget. Part of the SEB brief was to wrap the gift carefully or, if you can't, get someone to do it for you. Well I fall into the can't wrap to save my life category. So I had another problem. Then I remembered a giveway I had won. Kat from With U in Mind had sent the gift in two lovely little pockets, so I brazenly used one to package the buttony bits in. The colours were a perfect match, it felt like cheating, big time, but needs must and all!

Thank you Kat, I am very, very grateful, and not a little embarrassed!

I didn't stop there though. I had some green buttons I quite liked. But I couldn't find a lot of matching so I started again with some blue buttons. I have worn the set for about a week now and people comment on the pendant a lot, so I think I have found a 'thing' I could do more of.

All in all I really enjoyed the SEB swap. Thanks to Beads by Design for organising it. I loved the whole scary experience!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Blog Hopping

Well. I am just sat here blog hopping. I am making a secret thing for a swap and am wandering around looking for some inspiration for finishing details. It's fun, time wasting and just perfect for a miserable dark grey day!

Well, I got sidetracked as you do and found myself looking at other peoples favourite blogs. I hadn't realised there were so many card crafters out there! Being a fabric freak I did find some nice things and some great new blogs to follow:

Modest Maven has some lovely tutes, I've added her to my blog list cos I don't want to miss anything.

Ros is just amazing, I love the material. Sadly my mum doesn't have a garden - but I do!

Bugsandfishes is sharing things her customers have made and I have to admit that whilst some of it is too pretty for me I love the simplicity of a lot of it. She has a nice line in felty tutes too!

Obviously that reminded me of Annie and Lyn at rosiepink - it seems they are being too creative to be spring cleaning! Well, I am blog hopping to the same ends

That was also a natural hint to go and look at what Helen has been up to... though I suspect I will really regret this...... yes! I am so going to have to make some bags at half term!

I usually search for textiles at some point... and that is when I got lost and forgot to keep track of where I had been! So I am off out for a while. I need to buy some cleaning stuff - I WILL spring clean this week!

Saturday, 3 March 2012

I can't do anything

I am so buried under marking coursework! I have so many things to do, like taking piccies of my lovely new jewellery Jules sent me. I will do it Jules, promise.

I have so many crafty ideas going through my head. I have an ideas journal but it isn't doing anything for me. I despair! Or I did until I found Mythillogical's blog, I will now simply back engineer whatever I make. Hopefully drawing and deconstructing stuff will help me get my mind's eye in!

But I think it will be April before I get to start anything again! Aaaaaaaaaaaargh. I almost wish I hadn't started this! I am so conflicted. Work : craft : work : craft  eeeeeeeeeeeeek!

Mind you, the evenings are getting longer.... mabe there is hope!

Saturday, 18 February 2012


Liebster Blog Award

I was a tad stunned to receive poke from Kat from With U in Mind.   She had decided to include me in her list of 5 small bloggers that inspire. Given that I am such a procrastinating blogger I was delighted that something I type and make makes someone smile! Thanks Kat xx

So there are some rules that go with this award. However they are nice rules. Not the kind that gives you urge to press the big red button saying 'please do not press'.

The rules for this award are:
1. You must link back to the person who gave it to you - yep, did that
2. Put the award on your blog - uh huh. Logo and link included
3. Pass it on to 5 other blogs who inspire you and have less than 200 followers  - ah!
4. Leave a comment on their blogs to let them know - OK
5 blogs.... I don't really blog hop that much (she lies).

So here we go:

Dragonfly-Jersey you only have to look at my logo to know why. Sarah is so generous (and talented)

Handbags by Helen cos she makes great bags and laughs at my unsuccesful attempts not to leap in!

Amigurami Barmy well, you see bags and buttons.... they just fit. I don't know how Liz survives surounded by so many buttons and other crafty bitses...... I wouldn't be able to breathe!  I have updated this link, thanks Liz!!

Kayleigh's Homemade Life cos she has some great ideas and has been a bit quiet recently. Having nicked a couple of ideas I hope this says thanks!

The English Country Garden Steve's nan's recipes are great, I've made some, yum yum (and his wood stuff is brilliant too)

I'm now off to let them know... and set them the gnarly problem of picking 5 of their own!

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Piglet Heaven

I hit a road of charity shops yesterday and sort of went a bit mad!

I left my name in 3, they are looking out semi rag woollies for me.

I spent about £30 (oops) and bought:
  • 5 woolly jumpers
  • 1 double duvet set
  • 1 set of curtains and tie backs
  • 8 place mats
  • 3 mini skirts
  • 2 woolly tweedy skirts, long, wrap overs
  • 6 bangles (handles to be)
  • 6 woolly mens scarves

So in order that's:
  • 5 more hat, scarflet and wrist warmer sets
  • loads of outers and linings for the bags I am not planning, the pillowcases are not pretty enough for summer dresses
  • Hats, scarf rings
  • Lots more storage cubes
  • 3 skirt bags
  • any number of lovely woolly things - to be decided (any help gratefully received)
  • handles
  • about 12 clutch bags or a few laptop bags

That reminds me I still need interfacing and fleece!

All cut off bits will be made into a variety of accessories. I saw some lovely hair clips this morning, teeny tiny and £8 each !!!!!!

So hair clips, pendants, cuffs, brooches, key charms, bag charms, page markers, glasses cases, pen cases, iphone/pad cases, pencil/needle wrap thingies and anything else I can think of.... unless you have any ideas of what to do with offcuts.

I hate to waste anything and am more than happy to sew the little bits together to make more material. I might even try out my arty side and make pretty things, pictures with free embroidery or even some weaving....

I'm off to load the washing machine with woollies and golf balls!

When it's all clean I shall take photies and start cutting!

Monday, 13 February 2012

Storage first

I know I need practice with the machine and I need some proper storage. SO I had to think about some straight line sewing.... cubes!

Old place mats
Sewing machine - I even tried a new stitch: over edge!

I seem to have quite a few of these and we don't use them any more. I have more, they need a wash and a good ironing before I can use them.

I simply drew a cross of 4inch squares.
Cut it out. Sewed over the two cut edges that would be the tops and then sewed up each side.

Then I filled them up! I have lots more stuff to house so I will be making a few more of these.

But I also want to have a look at denim versions and that door hanger of pockets! So I am having another root through my stash of materials before I go to work for an hour or so!

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Birthday Bouquet

A colleague has decided that she loves the little flowers I have needle felted. As it is her birthday soon she has dropped one (un)subtle hint. So I have had a little stab or two this morning and completed a quartet of brooches for her.

The latest started life as a breakfast cereal box and ended up a bit pink!

I had also tried making little balls and stabbed them together into a sort of bobbly thing!  And I tried making a flower on a leaf - personally I think the leaf has more the look of a triceratop's frill, but I am assured it isn't that bad !

So.... here is the finished quartet. I hope you like it Vicky :)

Hopefully I will get on to the sewing machine this week as it is half term. I have a lot of things lined up to go!

Sunday, 29 January 2012

This WILL be the week

I get the table back tomorrow, the whole dining room in fact. So I shall be able to get on and do something.

I have added a couple of things to the make list -  the first is not quite straight line sewing but something I have done a lot of before:
  • Rain hats and summer hats - I think I have some material for both and the pattern is a doddle!
  • Door hanging organiser - old jeans and more of those squares of material samples I Freegled. This may be my first make, I need more space to shove things away
  • Roving organiser - like those bags for bottles of wine, but smaller, for felting wools and the other needle felting bitses and pieces - should stretch my ability to sew straight and make pockets! 
  • Some kind of jewellery organiser - for the broken beads and bits I am collecting. Clear pockets??? Or shall I just buy a tower of drawers?? I may continue with the organiser theme - one for each type of 'thing' in my ever growing stash!
  • Any bits of leftover material will be cut into petals and sewn into flowers - little teeny ones for page markers to be glued to strips of fused plastic bags
  • Book ends - no not sewn ones. Old exercise video cases glued to old DVDs to make bright book ends for my desk at work
My camera is charged and I am ready to go - tomorrow when I get back from work!

The door organiser will have to be 3 or 4 pockets wide. Tab topped to hang off some dowling or a curtain pole. On one side there will be some belt loops for hanging scissors through. The bottom could have a couple of loops with poppers, to hang separate pockets/bags of makes in progress.

I can almost see it now! I will have to draw it up and start collecting the materials for it! Not forgetting heavy duty needles and thread for the machine!

Sunday, 15 January 2012

W/B 20th January: things to do

I am getting properly sorted now. OH has gone back to work so I have the kitchen table back!

My resolution for the week is to get my ideas book out and to go through my material stash and designate a project for each piece.

I need to stay neat and tidy so I must be ruthless. I will Freegle anything I don't immediately like! Honest!!

I also have to make a couple of trips down into the cellar! We had a tidy and threw a lot of stuff down there. The idea was that if we didn't miss it we would get rid of it. Unfortunately someone got carried away and just put everything down there. So my brand new, never been opened bag of brooch backs is down there somewhere - and I need them NOW! It's just as well he works away!

I want to be sorted before I start car booting again. I need to reduce the impulse buys and go with more of an idea of what I want to buy/make. I now know my sewing skills are sadly diminished so I will be looking at straight line projects like these:
  • Plastic bag holders: easy tubes with elastic at each end (French seams hopefully)
  • Square bags with some decoration: buttons, needle felt or a photo (I have never even opened the clever paper I bought)
  • Girls skirts into bags: linings with and without pocketses
  • Skirts into pinnies: well, the idea seems simple in my head!
  • Jumpers into scarflet, wrist warmer, hat sets (well I do already have the pattern sketched out!)
  • draft excluders: but I'd need to think about the stuffing!
I think that'll do for now....
So, the camera is on charge and I have tidied the table..... tomorrow night I shall start sorting!

Unless of course work gets in the way! I do have a bit of marking left to finish - oops!

Little Blue tutorial

I thought I would add a bit more detail to my first attempt at a tutorial (below). Forgive the awful piccies, it was quite late evening and I don't have clever lighting!

The equipment you need for needle felting is not really very exclusive. You must have the proper needles and after that everything else is down to your imagination. I was given needles and the brush thing and bought some roving from a well known hobby store because that's the first place I saw some in the flesh.
The needle pen carries three needles. The bristles on the brush are nylon. I have seen some dog/cat grooming brushes that could easily be used instead. This one is the bigger of the two commercialy available ones I have seen. The cookie cutter is just one possibility for templates for flat felting. Since I started thinking about this I have wandered round the house looking..... loads of things could be used!

Cardboard cut outs are next on my list. I will be re-using cardboards boxes to make some new templates. I will draw or glue shapes on and then cut around them - another tutue in the making! The only other material you need is the wool roving or tops. I think you can get synthetic versions too, but I haven't tried any yet.

Place your template on the brush and some roving into the shape and then simply start to stab!

Don't stab too deeply as this means you push the roving further down into the bristles of the brush. But don't worry if you don't get this bit right, as it just means you have more tidying to do in the next stage.

When you have stabbed one side and  are happy with the results, take off the template - looks sad doesn't it? Peel off the shape, turn it over and pop it back into the template and start stabbing again!

Repeat the turn until you are happy. I also stabbed into the edges to tighten them up. Take the shape out of the template and carefully stab into the edge. In the picture on the left you can see the left hand side is tighter than the right. I then removed two of the needles from the needle pen and added some detail. A darker blue for the centre of the flower and some yellow for two stamens. I pulled out an extremely small amount of yellow roving, twisted it and then used the single needle to stab it into the flower shape. 

I have read that you can give flat work a neater finish by spritzing with water and then ironing it. I might try that with the next make! 

Sunday, 8 January 2012

How lucky am I?

First I get a logo made for me by Sarah of Dragonfly-Jersey It started off with someone else posting on Craft Forum about logos and look what  got? I think Sarah's talents are amazing. She insists it is just for fun - she makes jewellery really!

And then I win a beautiful set of jewellery courtesy of Kat at With U in Mind The jewellery is really pretty and she has promised a little surprise too. Obviously I shall put up photos when the parcel arrives.

I hope my year continues to be so lucky! Somehow I think 2012 is going to be a goody'un.

Thank you to both Sarah and Kat.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

First make of the year

Happy New Year to you all!

I got quite excited yesterday and decided to try to make something with a little bit of 3Dness. So I grabbed one of the hooks I use to hang the ratties hammocks to use as a shape...

I started to stab some roving into it

They look much less clunky than the one I made yesterday. I like the way they look quite fragile, you can see through them in some places.

Then I simply stabbed it together, I left the tail ends almost completely un-needled on each petal. I also needled some of the petals together a little to give it a slightly cupped shape.

Now I need to shuffle through my box of bits and see if I can find a bead or a button for the centre (possibly) and to decide how I will finish it - hair slide or brooch or save it until I can think of something else.

This is fun. It took 2 1/2 Judge Judys to find the bits, think about it, make and photograph it. So I doubt I could make a living doing this, but it is fun and feels creative(ish).