One year on …

Today marks a year since I started this blog. Happy blogday/blogiversary/whatever you call it to me! I’m pleased I’ve stuck at it. And I thank you for reading. At the end of last year, when everyone was doing ‘end of year’ reviews, I said I’d save mine for when I’d been blogging a year. So, here goes.

I kicked off with two lots of bunting and refashioning an old pair of my husband’s jeans into a toolbelt. 
Meanwhile, I’d continued work on the giraffe cot quilt I’d begun in January 2013 and finally finished it in August. Plus I hosted the first Crafternoon of the year, where I made some baby booties.  
In September, I received my first commission: a boy’s memory quilt. A mishap with my rotary cutter cost me the tip of a finger. But, do not be alarmed, it did grow back!  

Finished the memory quilt and made a Waybuloo-themed birthday card for my son. It didn’t make it on to children’s TV 😦

Started my next commission, a girl’s memory quilt.  
Turned an old babygro into a Chrismas stocking and had our Christmas Crafternoon. 
Finished my second memory quilt and made a calorific salted caramel chocolate torte.  
Back on to birthday presents, this time for my niece’s 3rd birthday.  
March was a productive month (by my standards)!  
As was April …  
And, back to the present:

 

Not too bad for a mum of a toddler who doesn’t have much free time. This blog – and reading others’ – has certainly motivated me to try new things. Perhaps at the expense of not finishing some of my existing UFOs/WIPs …

Looking back, my favourite makes were the giraffe quilt – a labour of love – and the memory bear. I’m particularly proud of those two.

 Thank you for sharing in the past year with me!

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Betsy the Ballerina

Super-quick post before we head off to meet a friend at Bluewater (a shopping mall for non-UK readers). Last time I met this particular friend at a shopping centre, we were both heavily pregnant and I went into labour that night! This time, we’ll have two toddlers In tow. Not much shopping will be done. But she lives in Suffolk and I live in Surrey, so it’s a good halfway point.

I’ve finished the rag doll I’ve made for a friend’s little girl’s 2nd birthday. I decided to make a ballerina in the end. As with my Polly the Pirate doll, I adapted Laura Hunter’s Mollie the dolly pattern from The Big Comic Relief Crafternoon magazine.

I had to visit three fabric shops to find some pale pink and white polka dot fabric as I didn’t have quite enough left over from the bunting I made for the same little girl last year.

  
Betsy Ballerina had her photoshoot this morning, following the completion of her tutu which I made by following a tutorial from thetiptoefairy.com. It was really easy to make.

  

 
  

I think I will trim the tutu a bit, as its a bit ‘gypsy wedding’ at the moment. I’m pleased with the ric rac I added above the shoes to give the effect of ribbon laces.

 
Her collar is a bit wonky, which is a shame. I couldn’t face unpicking it a third time though.

  

I’m a little worried she looks a bit like an alien. Can’t help but feel a bit disappointed with the end result. Hopefully little Ava won’t notice this. What it is to be a perfectionist!?

Flagging

I’ve now cut out 419 flags for the bunting for my friend’s wedding. I’m one of her six bridesmaids. Her colour theme is ‘sunset’ and the six of us are all wearing different dresses, two in each colour: coral/orange, fushia and daffodil. I think it’ll look great.

So, I finally got around to using my new toy, the pinking blade I bought for my rotary cutter. Once I was up and running, I was cutting through 4 layers of fabric at a time. So it hasn’t taken me long to do. MUCH quicker than cutting by hand with pinking shears. 

  

I cut the fabric into 8″ strips, then marked the points of the triangles using tailor’s chalk. No messing around with washable fabric pen this time.

 
I switched to a different bunting template, which left me with 419 flags in total, instead of the 426 I’d calculated.

  
Work has stopped while I await the arrival of my ebay bargain – a job lot of 120 metres of bias binding for £10!

So, I’ve done a little on my cross stitch and, today, I’ve started thinking about the rag doll I’m making for my friend’s little girl. Like my pirate rag doll, she will be based on Laura Hunter’s Mollie the Dolly pattern, which was featured in The Big Comic Relief Crafternoon. Having raided my scraps box, I was toying with putting her in a t-shirt and jeans …
  
But having discovered Laura Hunter’s Facebook page, I’m now overwhelmed by possibilities … Pretty dress or ballerina outfit … Decisions, decisions. 

This week, I’ve also finally embraced Instagram. Better late than never, hey?! You can follow me here, I hope.  

I’m playing around with watermarking my photos, having found that some of my photos are coming up in Google image searches now. I know opinions are divided over doing this, but I read a very compelling argument for doing it here.

Back soon!

Stop(it) and tidy up: Spring clean

Stoppit and Tidy Up was one of my favourite TV programmes as a child. The characters were all named after parental orders, e.g., Stoppit, Tidyup, I said no, Comb your hair … They lived in the land of ‘Do as you’re told’.

  
Anyway …, I decided it was time for a spring clean. Hence, before I started anything new, I needed to Stop(it) and tidy up! Tenuous link.

I use my Welsh dresser and a couple of wicker baskets as storage for all my craft items: wool, fabric, embroidery, wadding, stuffing, etc. They were in a right mess. 

  
After:
 

Now I’m ready to begin the bunting for my friend’s wedding. I’ve calculated I can get 426 flags (to be precise) out of the fabric I’ve bought. Better get cutting!

I’m also going to make some coverings for the hay bales being provided for wedding guests to sit on at the reception. I have grand plans for these coverings and bought some fabric from a charity shop today. As usual, I think I may have overstretched myself …

Friendly frog: back to the ’90s

I needed a small project to work on during my weekly pubcraft trip. With nothing immediately available, I had to raid my sewing box. This is literally a time capsule. I still have the gift tag that came with it:  

It had remained at my parents’ house since I went to uni and only came back into my possession a year or two ago. It probably hadn’t been opened for getting on for 20 years! There’s a few kits in there half completed and some uncompleted ones. Well, I must admit, the box itself is in the loft because it’s past its best (I’m saving it just in case I was ever to have a girl).  

I selected a DMC kit called ‘Friendly frog’.  

It comes with a frame and a frog button.  

Having sorted my threads out over a Coke and bag of crisps at lunchtime, I managed to get started on the half stitches on the train journey home from work.  

My new Frixion highlighter got its first use! But I need a bigger hoop.

Stars and Stripes bear

I’ve been holding off from posting til I finished my nephew’s memory bear. Finally, he is finished. 

Originally, I was going to make him out of these:

I planned it out like this:  

But, I just wasn’t feeling the colour combinations. I had a flash of inspiration that some of my nephew’s babygros had been passed on to my little boy. As luck would have it, they were too small for him. So, I changed tack and went for these: 

I added in a complimentary polo shirt and wanted to keep the teddy saying ‘Hi Mum’. I felt this looked much better:  

 

I struggled with how to transfer the pattern markings, however, I hope to remedy this for future projects with some recent Amazon purchases …

I made the same mistake as with my last (as yet unfinished) bear, in that I didn’t transfer the pattern notches properly. Rookie error! I’m very much a learn by making mistakes person! That said – apologies if this offends some out there – I’m not sure I see the need for matching notches on a project like this. Seems a hassle, when you can match up pretty accurately without them …

New stitches learnt as part of this project:

  • Ladder stitch – for sewing up the openings left for stuffing. Actually another name for slip stitch, as it turns out. 
  • Satin stitch – for the nose. Did not go too well. I was satin-stitching over a piece of felt stuck on with fabric glue. The middle bit of the nose was fine to satin stitch, but the ends were somewhat troublesome. I went for my favourite ‘It’ll do’ approach.

I raided my button jar for the eyes. I knew there was a reason I’d kept all these ‘spare’ buttons.

 

All that remained was to wash off my washable fabric pen. Every time, I curse myself for using it, as it never seems to come off as easily as I think. It’s just much easier to work with than chalk. For me, anyway. I was reluctant to put the teddy in the washing machine, as I wasn’t convinced my slip stitching would survive. So I went for the dampening option. Three separate attempts and two short stays in solitary confinement the airing cupboard later, there was still blue ink, so into the washing machine he went. Followed by a third stint in the airing cupboard.

   
   

Here’s the finished bear. Of all the things I’ve made over the past year, he’s one of my favourites. And reasonably quick to assemble too.

 
   

  

 

It was my birthday on Tuesday, and, for the first time, I created an Amazon wish list and sent it to my parents and my husband. All craft-based items. I’m not a lover of Amazon wish lists being thrust upon people; I don’t like being told what to buy someone. Unless I’ve asked for suggestions that is. But, being sent a wish list when I haven’t asked what someone would like? Well, I think that’s rude. Anyway, disappointingly, I got absolutely nothing from my wish list. But, I can’t complain as I was taken on a spa break to the lovely Ragdale Hall and treated to several lovely treatments. I did receive a couple of Amazon vouchers though, so I used them to treat myself to my wish list. Quite a few arrived today. Here’s the haul so far:  

Excitingly, this week I also purchased the fabric to make bunting for my friend’s wedding in August. The colour scheme is ‘sunset’: pinks, yellows and oranges. Whilst debating the best way to cut out the flags with my friend, she wondered if you could get a pinking rotary cutter. And you can! So, I’ve ordered one. Excited to get started on this. I’m going to aim for 100 metres of bunting. Am I mad?!