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.

January-1

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

Feb-1

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.

Mar-1

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.

Apr-1

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.

May-1

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.

Aug-1

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.

Oct-1

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!

Dec-1

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!

Kate

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Since I’ve been gone

Long time no blog! Don’t know where the weeks have gone since we got back from our holiday. I use the term ‘holiday’ loosely, as I find going away with a toddler is less of a holiday, more of ‘same routine, change of location’. That said, we did have a lovely time. We spent a week in Devon, followed by a week in Cornwall. Here’s a pic from the Lost Gardens of Heligan.

image

I managed to get a little knitting done on the garter stitch cardigan I’d started on. I soon ground to a halt though, bamboozled by the pattern instructions for shaping the armholes of the back of the cardigan. Thank god for the Internet! I posted on a Facebook page for a local craft group and some very kind ladies came to my aid. In the end, I got my head around what to do next. Here is the finished cardigan back.

image

Do you remember Betsy the ballerina, the rag doll I made for a friend’s little girl? I’m pleased to say she loved her. So much so, she joined the birthday girl on her birthday trip to Peppa Pig World!

image

Since I returned from holiday, I’ve started on the bunting I’m making for my friend’s wedding in August. This involved ironing 120 metres of bias binding in half. And giving myself a nice burn in the process! This is the ‘after’ pic.

image

I reckon I’ve sewn about 30 flags onto the bunting so far. 390 to go!

image

Last, but not least, I used some leftover scraps from the bunting to decorate the bride’s shirt for her hen do last weekend.image

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!

Along came Polly

One of my nieces turns three on the 2nd April. She’s mad about pirates. I’d been toying with making her something pirate-themed and when I saw the pirate dressing-up outfit my Mum has got her, I decided I just had to make something to go with it. I quickly stumbled across these via Google Images. Both by Laura Hunter.

They looked familiar, I knew I’d seen something similar. And then I remembered, there was a similar dolly in The Big Comic Relief Crafternoon magazine – Mollie the dolly.

I felt reasonably confident that I could take the Mollie pattern and, with a few adjustments and additions, turn her into Polly the pirate. She’s called Polly because the rule in my (and my niece’s) house is that everything has to have an alliterative name and it has to be the first name that comes into your head. Thus, Polly was born!

The pattern called for muslin, so I dutifully went out and bought some. Plus some black and white felt for the hat, and I couldn’t resist buying some red fabric with white stars for the top, in the absence of being able to find anything nautical enough.

To adapt the pattern to make a pirate suitable for my niece, I:

  • Made a template for the hat, including skull and crossbones.
  • Made some loose-fitting (not that loose, as it turns out!) trousers.
  • Added some bunches to the hair, as I want Polly to vaguely resemble my niece.

Skipping ahead in the pattern instructions I started with the legs. The instruction was to triple stitch the seams. I’ve never done this stitch before and didn’t even know if my machine was capable of it. It was, and I’ve now learnt a new stitch. The bad news was that the muslin I’d bought was so thin that the stitching was chewing it up. I tried two other stitches, to no avail.

I was close to despair at this point. My husband was out and I’d been looking forward to an evening making the doll, but my fabric wasn’t up to the job. What to do? Much as I hate to deviate from the instructions, I thought I’d try some white cotton I found in my scraps box. And it was so much better, such relief!

The only hitch is that as the cotton is white, rather than cream, Polly is rather a pale pirate. An English rose, no less.

Having thought this was a one evening job (Are they ever?/When will I learn?), it’s taken me an hour here and there over the past three days to actually finish it. And more than a few hiccups along the way. The bunches were a pain, my guess at where to put them when sewing the front and back pieces of the head together was wrong and they ended up inside the head. Out came the unpicker. That was just one of the hiccups, I won’t bore you with the rest.

I finished her last night, leaving the hat to do today. Even though it’s supposed to be oversized, it still needed reducing a little in size. As I thought it looked too big like this.

Meet Polly, all finished and ready for my niece’s 3rd birthday. Which, wait for it, isn’t til the 2nd April! So, I’ve finished something AHEAD. OF. TIME.

[pause to appreciate this momentous occasion]

Now you can meet her.

This particular niece, Esmé, is doing quite well out of Aunty Kate’s crafty creations. Last year, she got bunting for her birthday and also received my first ever patchwork quilt, which had been intended for her 1st birthday, but which she got when she was 2 and a half. Better make something for her big sister, Adelaide. Fortunately, her birthday isn’t til October.

So, next project? I’m waiting for some silk noil to arrive so that I can have a go at some hand embroidery, inspired by Ambrosia Stitches.