Saturday, December 14, 2013

My home made Xmas Tree

I only have a small one bedroomed flat so don't really have the room for a traditional Christmas Tree and looking around the shops I was uninspired by the small artificial trees on offer. I saw a long time ago a Christmas Wreath made from oddments of material and thought why not make my own tree! I had lots of scraps of green based materials which on their own were not really viable for projects but together would make some sort of project.

After much brain searching I came up with the idea of using the Rag or Peg Rug technique to make a ragged looking patchwork of scraps. This involved buying a piece of hessian which I then cut into a quarter circle which when folded round would make a cone. Then came the process of pegging all the scraps into the hessian.

This is done by poking holes in the hessian with a prodder, mine was the traditional half peg, sharpened to a point. The scraps are cut into strips and poked through the holes with the peg.
It took a while but it was a handy thing to keep me occupied whilst watching TV at night.
Finally the whole of the hessian was covered.
I included a few bits of red and gold coloured scrap material to give the effect of berries or baubles. I then stitched the edges together to make the cone shape and put some old cardboard inside to help it hold it's shape and added a cheap star decoration on the top to finish it.
Hey own artificial tree that will hopefully last for many years....


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Armchair Tidy or Table Scrap bin???

Happy December to one and all......

Just a quick posting to show one of my makes that has proved quite popular recently. I have made - and sold!!! - a number of these but never took any pictures. This is one I have made today (to order). Most of the others I had made previously were, not on purpose, more suited to ladies as the materials tended to be floral so while at a fayre over the weekend I was asked if I had any in more manly colours.

The idea of these is to drape them over the arm of your sofa or armchair to keep your remote controls, spectacles or other such items to hand.

The opening of the bag is kept open by a ring of plastic boning sewn in between the outer and the lining.

To balance the weight of the items placed in the bag the other end of the connecting straps has a small bag filled with dried rice.

Another use for these is as a small bin for scraps when crafting. The weight can be put on the table with the bag hanging over the side and all your scraps or off cuts can be put in the bag instead of (if you are anything like me) all over the floor.

Well off to find some more manly material to make a couple more of these handy items....

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Take an ink stained rugby shirt..........

Sorry I haven't posted for a while. I have been busy crafting but as most of the items are for Christmas presents it wouldn't be right to post them on my blog - well not without spoiling a few surprises.

I have today been playing with another donated item. My lovely brother had a bad day and spilt black ink over his Welsh rugby shirt - sacrilege - but we all make mistakes. He kindly passed it on to me to see if I could use it in my sewing so I've been chewing over what to do with it and came up with the idea of a bag of some kind.

So today I set about transforming the shirt into a drawstring backpack.

I split the shirt into it's separate back and front. I then cut each of those in half just below the placket where the worst of the ink was. By turning this piece around, so the hem became the top of the bag, I was able to hide the ink behind the front of the shirt. I then appliqued one to the other to make the front and back of the bag.

The back piece has the back of the collar and I decided to leave the top of the collar unsewn and this has formed a pocket.

I threaded some cord through and attached these to two loops I sewed into the bottom seam and hey presto, a rugby shirt backpack.
Well hopefully it won't be so long next time and maybe I'll ignore the bah humbugs and display some of my Christmas decorations that I have been busy making.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Handbags and glad rags

Well I don't really do glad rags, jeans and sneakers is more me I'm afraid... but I have had a go at designing a handbag and I think it works.

I was given some lovely material on a visit to the Cubby Hole on Saturday and was trying to think what it would be best suited to. It is a very fancy, shiny fabric and so it needed to be something equally fancy.

I had seen a bag recently that I liked the look of so tried to make something along the likes of it. The outer for the bag is just a rectangle of the material which I then pleated along the top to give a narrower top and more spacious bottom to the bag, the pleating also gives it some support along the top.

The finished bag.
I then made a similar bag to use as the lining, this is made from a textured heavier material so giving the bag a bit more weight and strength.

As it was designed as being more of a posh bag than a tote I thought it best to add a fastening of some sort. I  made a loop and added a shiny button to finish the look off.

Not a bad days work, hope someone will like it when it goes to the market in a couple of weeks.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Who remembers Jubblies?

Well after a few well earned days away in St Annes on Sea and Kendal area I thought I had best update the blog with some of my latest bits and pieces.

Who remembers these?
When I was a youngster one of my favourite summer treats was a Jubbly, a drink which when frozen was eaten like a big ice pop. What has this got to do with sewing you say? Well, carrying on from my first attempt at an ipod cushion a conversation pointed me to a different design which is basically the same shape as a Jubbly. That and the colours of the materials I used to make a number of these for the up coming Handmade Market just reminded me of those childhood treats.
I am really beginning to enjoy working out how to make best use of the materials I obtained recently. It appeals to my type of creativity to try to make the pattern of material part of the design.
I recently bought a pair of nice curtains with a striped design, but not equal width stripes, and the weight of the material made it ideal for another bag. I decided on another backpack but wanted to play around with the pattern I had to make pockets on the sides. I have to say I am really pleased with the outcome.
This bag is slightly deeper than the original ones and has a pocket on either side.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Buttermilk Bannock

This is the recipe for the Buttermilk Bannock that I mentioned in an earlier post. 2 or 3 have asked for the recipe so here it is. Try not to have it too dry as it can be very heavy if there isn't enough liquid added, and do remember to make the cross like in soda bread as it allows it to expand better. I forgot in this one and it was more dense than usual.

Buttermilk Bannock
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C/350 degrees F
4 cups (560g) Strong white flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 tsp salt to taste
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup white raisins
2 eggs
12 fl.ozs/350 ml /1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 Tbsp melted butter - optional

Stir flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda and raisins together.
Separately, fork-blend eggs and buttermilk, then add to dry ingredients.
Stir until sticky batter is formed. Scrape batter onto well floured surface and knead lightly. Shape batter into ball, then place in round non-stick casserole that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Mark a cross in the center, using a sharp knife. Bake uncovered for about 1 1/4 hour.
Brush top with melted butter whilst hot and cool on a wire rack

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Fruit Salad and Technology

Love making up these titles...

Earlier this week I made a quick table runner from some lovely bright materials I had. It is a really simple design made of 4 x 10" squares each cut into 2 pieces and randomly joined back together. It is just backed with thin batting and plain yellow material. I tried a new edging stich thanks to my "new" sewing machine on permanent loan from Mum. I tried to photograph it but not sure if it shows up well.

Fancy new stitching

 It was only when taking the pictures I realised it looked like a giant Fruit Salad chew!

Now I couldn't resist temptation this week. My mobile provider offered me a really tempting deal on a "Tablet" - strange only a year ago I wouldn't have even known what one was apart from something I swallow on a daily basis.
While waiting for it to arrive I got curious about the whole Tablet thing and began looking up on the internet what accessories were available for them. My main concern was being able to hold it for long periods as my hands are not the safest, they have no sensations and dropped crockery etc. is well known, I use plastic plates as pottery and wooden floors don't mix well. Anyway back to the point. I looked at cases and holders but they seemed so expensive, but I came across an article about ipad cushions and it got my designing thoughts going.
So here is the result. A bean bag for my Tablet.
It is basically 2 triangles of material at each end with a strip sewn around them and then filled with polystyrene bean bag filler.

It works a treat. It can be put on the table if you want to use it as you would your lap top, but it comes into it's own when you are relaxing on the sofa and it was great when reading my first ebook in bed last night.
Any input would be appreciated if you can see anyway to improve the design. Now to make a case!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Brain fodder and the "Banned" word

A strange title but all will become clear…


After a few days of plodding through but not being inspired I decided some brain fodder was needed so baked a Buttermilk Bannock to give me a much needed boost. Buttermilk is so hard to get these days and I treated myself to some on my Asda delivery on Saturday- yes I am lazy and have my shopping delivered, a) because walking around a crowded supermarket full of screaming kids and crowded aisles is not my favourite pastime and b) because I hate shopping. A friend couldn't believe my statement the other day when I said I would rather go to the dentist than go shopping! I was told I was a strange woman. Well I know that anyway.

So back to the Bannock, it is real boost food despite containing no sugar - the only sweetness is from the fruit. A slice of it warm with butter and a well earned coffee is something close to bliss for me.

So where does the "Banned" word come into things.....
Well I used to belong to a forum where the season surrounding the 25th December was not to be mentioned unless the month began with D on fear of being excommunicated from the site. That  and the fact  I can hear the "Tut Tut" from my brother leaves me quaking in my boots when I admit to having been making "C*r*s*m*s items.
These little stockings could be used as decorations or as small gift bags as they are lined and could hold a small gift or sweets etc.

Well my apologies for bringing the festive season forward but these are for a sale in October so I guess people will be thinking of buying such things by then.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Messenger/Laptop bag

September already, where is the year going? It will soon be time to start thinking of seasonal items to make but in the meantime I've had a go at another bag. This time it is a messenger/laptop bag.

It has a pocket on the back and 2 small pockets inside to hold a phone or accessories. I quilted the front flap to add a bit of support and protection and the inside is lined. I also added a magnetic catch as a fastener.

I'm going to have a go at a couple more of these but might add more stiffener as it is a bit floppy when empty even though the green material is fairly thick.
Well time for a toasted teacake and a hot chocolate to celebrate another job well done.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Little things

Well the sewing has continued but my computer muses have not really been flowing, the umph deserted me for a while, you know life getting in the way and all that.

I've made some more bags, another back pack and some more totes. I've designed an idea for a laptop/messenger bag so that is my next big project.

For now just a few of the little bits I've been fiddling with.

Oven mitts, these are made with proper heat proof wadding to protect those little pinkies from hot pots

The other cute little thing is this little girls shopping bag, I know I'm getting all girly in my old age. The pattern I adapted this from was originally to make gift bags but I can just see a nice girly girl wanting this as her shopping bag.

Well hopefully I can get through my doldrums and make the next blog a bit sooner and brighter. See you soon.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Bags galore

I am probably one of a few women who don't really do bags. I hate carrying a handbag and certainly don't do the matching bag and shoes thing. However I have found myself making them in the past week or so. It started when I bought some curtains from a charity shop and thought the material would work well on a project I had been mulling over for a while. To my surprise it worked really well and I am very pleased with it.

The first backpack

Today I didn't have a lot of time for creative sewing as I had some repairs and alterations to do for myself and others but I did have an hours play and have just finished another bag. This time a simple tote (again from charity shop curtains).
Add these to the little toiletries bag I made at the weekend and they are beginning to build up into a nice collection.
They will be calling me the bag lady if I'm not careful!!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Pansies and presents

Today has been a busy day.
I finally managed to create this blog after much muttering into the coffee cup.
Then I was donated a lovely present of loads of material by my crafty druid, well my big brother!
Finally I finished this pansy themed table runner, so all in all a good what to have for dinner?

Well my first blog. This is my current stash of material and the aim is to turn most of this into saleable items by 5th October. So time for a coffee with  a spoonfull of inspiration.