My 2015 makes

Here’s what I got up to in 2015 …

January saw me complete my 2nd commissioned memory quilt, for a friend’s little girl’s 3rd birthday. It was made up of her baby clothes.


In February, I made my niece some teddy bear/doll’s sleeping bags for her 3rd birthday.


In March, I finally completed my cross stitch of a West Highland terrier. I made some felt chicks and a mouse as part of the first ever Comic Relief Crafternoon; these were sold at my workplace along with other crafty contributions to make money for Comic Relief. March was a productive month, as I also made another niece a pirate doll for her 3rd birthday.


In April, I had somewhat of a baking disaster. Attempting to make Waitrose’s ‘bunny scones’, mine ended up rather scary looking – very much like they were modelled on Donnie Darko! However, I did have a baking success too, a car-themed birthday cake for my nephew’s 2nd birthday. I also did an embroidery hoop for a friend’s birthday.


In May, I finished my nephew’s memory bear, made from his baby clothes. This was also for his 2nd birthday (the one I made the car-themed cake for). I also made a ballerina doll for a friend’s little girl’s 2nd birthday. The memory bear was probably my favourite make of 2015, it came out really well.


June and July were fairly quiet months on the crafting front, no finished objects to show. But I did begin knitting a baby cardigan and I’d also begun the bunting for my friend’s wedding. In July, a summer crafternoon was had by myself and some colleagues.

August was the culmination of my months of work making things for my friend’s wedding, at which I was also a bridesmaid. I made about 90 metres of bunting, hay bale covers and heart-shaped decorations, all for the wedding reception. All the hard work was worth it on the big day when it all came together and fitted the colour scheme and festival theme perfectly.


September was another quiet month, perhaps as a result of working myself so hard finishing all the wedding bits in August.

In October, my son turned 2. I made two birthday cakes, one for a joint party with his friends – a chocolate finger and Smarties decorated cake. For my son’s party, I recreated my nephew’s car-themed cake as my son is also car-mad. I also finally finished knitting the baby cardigan I started in June. A little crochet was even involved, to do the edging and buttonholes on the front.


In November, again with work colleagues, we had our annual Christmas crafternoon. I didn’t get any good photos of this, otherwise I would have done a blog post about it. I moved house at this point, so crafting very much took a back seat.

Onto December, and settled into our new house, I made a last-minute sheep costume for my son’s pre-school nativity play. I also did a wreath-making workshop with my Mum – a lovely Christmassy way to spend an afternoon. And, very recently, I finished my second baby cardigan. Unfortunately, like the first one I knitted, this one is also too small for the intended recipient. So, I’ve started a third one and have kept the second one for myself as I’m due to have a baby any day and I’m convinced it’s another boy!


So that’s my round-up of my 2015 makes. Lots of things made for children! This is obviously where my interest lies. This year, I’m hoping to get some sort of craft business going, in the hope that I may not have to return to work from maternity leave in Jan 2017, or at least it’s something I could run alongside work. That’s the dream, anyway! Whether it happens as a mum of two, I’m somewhat doubtful …

My ‘to do’ list for 2016 currently looks as follows:

  • two memory cushions – one to match each memory quilt I made
  • make the hay bale covers from my friend’s wedding into a quilt
  • a memory lion, commissioned
  • poppy tapestry for my mum
  • froggy cross stitch
  • baby cardigan no.3, 3rd time lucky, hopefully this one will fit my friend’s not-so-new-anymore baby


What makes do you have planned for the year ahead? I’d love to hear about them. Wishing you a happy and crafty new year!






Westie has a wash

Can’t quite believe that it’s been 6 months since I finished my Westie cross stitch. I never did make a decision about framing him or making him into a cushion. Now that I’m going to be visiting my grandmother – who the cross stitch is for – in a couple of weeks, it was decision time. I opted for framing. But, this meant I needed to give him another press and, possibly a wash.

I found a really useful tutorial on how to wash a cross stitch, here

Before – a bit crumpled and a bit marked from the hoop:  

Into the washing-up bowl: lukewarm water and a little Fairy Liquid, soaked for 15 minutes. I put a little lemon juice on one of the marks before soaking. Note to self: don’t do this in future.  

Onto a white towel, folded in half and then rolled to remove some of the excess water.


Then onto another white towel and topped with a clean tea towel, pressed with a warm iron until dry.


In the light of day this morning, the lemon juice had left a bit of a mark. But, the framer assures me it won’t be noticeable once it’s mounted and framed properly. Just as well, for the amount it’s costing! Just the 6-8 week wait for the finished frame …

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.

28 (and a bit) days later

I set myself the challenge of finishing my Westie cross stitch by the end of Feb. Did I make it? Of course not. But, I was oh so close.

My dedication to the cause was such that, when taking my little man on a trip to a farm on Friday, I took my cross stitch with me ‘just in case’ he fell asleep en route. And he did. So I spent a lovely half an hour cross stitching in my car, with the sun shining through the window. I got a few odd looks from people parking up nearby, but who cares. Must make the most of this precious time. Another plus was that my little man recharged his batteries which meant we could spend longer at the farm.



I was desperately hoping to finish it at the weekend, but I didn’t quite make it. Very sadly, I had to miss out on a crafternoon due to my husband working, so, on Sunday, I used little man’s nap time to put in a solid hour and a half on the cross stitch. I then worked on it on the train on my way to and from work on Monday, and ‘finished’ it on Monday night. I’ve then spent the next two evenings, and yesterday lunchtime, tidying it up. Tightening loose threads, redoing stitches which had come out and filling in missing stitches. Never will I let a cross stitch get in such a mess again! I will be much more methodical in future, she says hopefully.

Having given it a quick press last night, here it is as of this morning. The finished cross stitch!



Now, to decide whether to frame it or make it into a cushion …

Other lessons learnt from this are to photocopy the pattern first. This pattern has been well-loved, to say the least. Which made deciphering some of the stitches rather difficult.

DSC_0088 DSC_0089 DSC_0087

For anyone wondering about the colour-coding, the red is what I’d done when I first started this cross stitch way back when in early 2013, and the green is everything since. I’d hoped to have finished it for my Nan’s birthday in December 2013, but I had my son in October 2013 and that went out the window. I picked it back up in June last year, when it looked like this.


Since then, I’ve sporadically worked on it around other projects. Then, in January, I set myself the challenge of finishing it by the end of Feb.

I really did start to give up towards the end, hence why my threads are now in a tangled mess like this.


So, what next? On my ‘to do’ list I have:

  • making something to sell at my work’s Comic Relief Crafternoon stall next Friday. I’m thinking something Mother’s Day-related may be a winner
  • two memory cushions to match the memory quilts I’ve made
  • a poppy tapestry I was hoping to make for my Mum for Mother’s Day, but which I think I’ll now save for her birthday in July
  • a memory bear for my nephew’s 2nd birthday in April
  • bunting for my friend’s wedding in September

Lot’s to do. Better crack on! After having a little rest first, of course.

Keep calm and cross stitch

Family dramas, my husband being away on business and catching up on housework are my excuses for lack of posts and lack of progress on my cross stitch. However, I’ve had a bit of a spurt on it in recent days, which brings me back in the game, so to speak. The game being the challenge I set myself of finishing this cross stitch by the end of the month. Here’s how it’s looking.


I just might finish it in time. If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll be familiar with me missing my self-imposed deadlines. I think I need to take a leaf out of a motto we came up with at work a few years ago: however long you think something will take, times it by 5 and that’s how long it will take. On that basis, I won’t be finished this cross stitch til July though, which even at my slow rate, would be pushing it.


*Keep Calm photo blatantly stolen from Google images.

Cross stitch calculations

On a roll after my mending endeavours, last night, I tackled the rest of my mending pile, meaning unfinished project no.6 is now finished.

So, now it’s time to tackle another one. I’ve been doing the odd bit here and there on unfinished project no.2, mostly at the pub on a Wednesday lunchtime. It’s currently looking like this:


I thought I’d see how many stitches I could do in an hour tonight. I did roughly 100. Not sure if that’s slow or not. There was a far bit of tv watching and stopping to change channels. Then I did a very rough count of how many stitches there are left. Looking at the chart, I estimated I have 27 squares of 100 stitches left. So, even I didn’t need a calculator to work out that I’ve got – roughly – 27 hours work left to do on this. Gulp. Considering it took me two months to do 23 hrs on my last quilt, this is somewhat daunting. HOWEVER, unlike quilting, I can do this sat in front of the tv. So, I’m going to set myself the challenge of finishing this cross stitch by the end of February. Wish me luck!

Slow progress

I ended my last post by setting myself the (slightly overambitious) task of sewing the quilt top of my latest memory quilt by the end of that week. I failed. Miserably. Over two weeks on, I’m hardly any further on.

The reasons for this are, as follows …


A lovely girly weekend spent in a log cabin in the Forest of Dean, on the last weekend of November. There was a hot tub and prosecco, need I say more! But for me, the absolute best bit was spending Saturday afternoon cross stitching whilst watching a film (About Time) and eating chocolate. Bliss. And something, as a Mummy, I never get to do anymore. (Little Man remained at home with Daddy.) So, despite a complete lack of progress on the quilt, I have made inroads on my cross stitch.


One evening last week, I got a little done on the quilt.


And, on the craft front, that’s been it.

On Saturday, I completed my 5th Grim 8. Which is an 8 mile run through mud and water on tank training land in Aldershot.


As a post-race treat, we went up to London, staying near Tower Bridge. Very near, as you can see from the view from our hotel room’s window.


And before heading home, we had a lovely sunny walk along the South Bank.


We’re hosting a Christmas bash on Saturday and my head is full of crafty ideas of things to make in advance. The sad thing is, I’m seriously lacking in time. I might see if I can squeeze in some bunting, but that’ll be about it.

On a more positive note, we put our tree up last night. How long til my little monkey pulls it over?


Onto the next one

Well, not much craft got done last week. I don’t know where my evenings go. I was reading a post by Craft Schmaft yesterday about how to find sewing time. Will have to try employing some of these strategies.

Anyway, I did – briefly – pick up my cross stitch on Thursday when I went to a Craft Cafe! I only found out about it on the morning via Facebook. It’s only been running for a month or so and is hosted every other Thursday evening at a local cupcake shop. You can bring your own craft or try something that’s been supplied. Last week it was card making. The Facebook page is here. I brought my Mum along with me for company; she did a bit of patchwork (by hand) while I cross stitched. And when our eyes were tired, we treated ourselves to one of the delicious cupcakes on offer. Cake and craft – a perfect combination!


While my little man had a nap this afternoon, I got started on memory quilt number 2. This one is a girly one so I’ve been looking forward to getting started on it. I’m being much more methodical and organised this time round. Well hoping to be. So I started by cutting out all my squares of interfacing first. As before, this quilt will be made up of 70 6×6″ squares. But as I’ll use some smaller 3×3 squares to make up some of those 70 squares, I ended up cutting out 56 big squares and 24 small squares.

I’ve cut the interfacing squares bigger than I need them. I’ve cut 7×7″ big squares and 4×4″ small squares. This is one of the lessons I learnt from the last quilt. Sometimes, when I’d cut the interfacing exactly to size, it didn’t quite match up when I ironed it onto the baby clothes and cut it out. So, when sewing the squares together, some of the seams stretched where the interfacing didn’t go quite to the edge. Not what you want.

The first item of clothing I picked out was a very recent addition to the pile of memory clothes. It must have been very recently outgrown by this little girl as it’s massive – compared to her newborn clothes, that is. I cut 3 big squares and 4 little squares out of it. I wanted to retain the ruffling detail, which actually hides a zip. Tough work on the rotary cutter. I’ve ordered a new blade as it was even struggling to cut through the interfacing. It has taken a battering recently. It’s even been through my fingertip 😉


I could get plenty more squares out of this babygro, but have left it at this for the time being. My ‘client’ doesn’t like too much repetition.

Cross stitch continued

Been plodding on with my cross stitch in the evenings. Finding I’m too tired to start on my patchwork after a day looking after an 8-month old! So cross stitching in front of the tv is an acceptable compromise. I had been colouring in the stitches I’ve done in red, but I’ve switched to green tonight so I can see my more recent progress in order to motivate myself as cross stitch is such a slow burner!