Sunday, 24 March 2013

Every cloud has a silver lining so they say....

.....and the silver lining to the cloud that is this awful weather is that I have had lots of time for crafting. Due to a certain young mans birthday the week before last, I didn't have a lot of time to do anything - I was caught up in a whirlwind of cakes, family dinners, sleepovers and go-carting. To say nothing of going to see The Script with everyone in tow just hours after number 2 son returned from a school residential. Busy, busy, busy! But I was left feeling like my mojo had gone a bit. I did sit at the table last weekend with every intention of crafting for maybe an hour but I felt entirely uninspired. Thank goodness for Handmade Monday - I sat and read through everyone else's posts on Sunday evening and I cheered right up, I even wrote myself a list of standby things to make if bored, to refer to the next time I feel like I'm twiddling my thumbs.

So here we are at the end of what, for me, has been a fabulous weekend. I've done the obligatory housework and washing and ironing of school uniforms but have also done plenty of crafting.

I have had 2 more bunting commissions so on Friday evening I sat and did all the cutting out whilst listening to Dan Johnson on Miskin Radio - it's an Internet station that is well worth a listen. His show is all 80's which is brilliant! He even gave my husband and I a shout out as it had been our wedding anniversary in the week.

On Saturday I decided to finish the cushion covers that I had started for my sofa after we finished the decorating. Although it doesn't seem like that long ago, since buying the fabric and cutting it to size, I've made a lot more cushion covers and so realised that my skills have improved - when I went to sew the covers together, I realised that my cutting out was all over the place. I only made 3 in the end but the results we good.

I made the 3 cushions at the front. The fabric is a suiting material, 1 with silver flecks, 2 with gold.
(Note I'm back to dodgy photos - too much snow outside to contemplate a picture in the garden).

I had really liked the look of the keyring coin purse that Wendy had given a tutorial for last week on Handmade Harbour so I decided to make one with some of the grey suiting I had on the table after making the cushion cover.

Voila! It was really simple, the tutorial was so clear and this is such a handy little purse. I'm going to make a couple more because when my boys have to take 20p for a cookie on a Friday, it invariably gets lost from pockets so now I can attach one of these to each of their school bags. A big thanks to Wendy for her inspiration.

My final make of the weekend is a bag made with the gorgeous peacock fabric I bought some time ago.

I'm not sure that the photo does it justice but it's actually darker outside than in so no hope of a well lit photo! I used a pattern from the Liberty Sewing book I was given for my birthday - a new experience for me in the drawing up of the paper pattern and I could do with a bit more practise but I'm very pleased with the bag. I absolutely love this fabric so I'll be really proud to carry it around with me.

Like the rest of the country, I'm hoping for an improvement in the weather (it can't get any worse, can it?) but all in all I think I've made the most of a couple of days stuck in the house!

As ever I'll be linking this post with Handmade Monday  - have a look around everyone else's blogs if you can, it will certainly get your mojo going!

Have a good week,
Love Natalie

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Happy Mothers Day!

I hope you have all had a nice Mothers Day and have been treated accordingly. I received Skyfall and a huge bar of chocolate this morning, and a framed "picture" from Archie of all the words he associates with me, ranging from Kind to Fierce (apparently he means fierce in the "That's fierce!" way).

I am really proud of my crafting this weekend. On Friday I received the latest copy of Craftseller magazine and after reading it from cover to cover I immediately set about making the Cheeky Doorstop. I haven't exactly used Vintage fabrics but some contrasting purple fabrics that I had in my stash. I'm so pleased with the result!

I shall definitely make some more of these because they would make great presents. There was great debate last night (aided by a few drinks) about whether he is a duck, chicken or turkey (turkey? seriously? Ross, you'd had more to drink than I realised.....) but he is certainly a duck and looks at home amongst my other ducks on the fireplace.

I also made some placemats which have turned out well. I learnt many lessons sewing with the bias binding last weekend so I think the edging is better.

BFF asked me to make her a placemat and picked the material. I had originally intended to applique a cupcake in the middle but I decided that the material was so pretty that it shouldn't be too covered. My quilting skills are still a work in progress, and how I was going to quilt the mat has quite literally kept me awake for a few nights (don't ask). I decided I would try and quilt heart shapes above and below a central line. The hearts would then have to be quite small so, having sewn a straight line across the middle first, I opted to sew 3 hearts across the middle of each mat (the central one being slightly larger than the other two). This does mean I have a slightly random line across the middle so when I make some more I will miss that out but still, the result is good enough that my ever tolerant husband asked if we could keep one (for the record, he is also really impressed with the Duck!).

So, 1 for BFF, 1 for me and since Mum is having to cook us dinner (my oven gave up the ghost on Friday night), 1 for Mum!

I will be linking up with Handmade Monday, facilitated as ever by Wendy over at Wendy also features in Craftseller Magazine this month with her Slinky Bird Feeder which is a great way to help feed the hungry birds at this time of year. Join me if you can to see what everyone else has been up to during the last few days.

Love Natalie x

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

I've been trying out new photography techniques.....

......By that, I mean I'm trying to improve my photography! I think I have made some progress. Natalie over at Free Spirit Designs ( suggested taking photos outside to improve the lighting. As the sun has been shining today, I thought I'd take a couple of photos of some cushions I made yesterday to see what a difference it would make to my otherwise dodgy photos.

Firstly, I took one of my usual, impatient photos of the cushions when I had finished them:

Then this morning, I took a photo of them outside on the bench:

This photo shows the colours of the fabric more so is an improvement on the first. But though it was bright, it was still early and certainly not sunny so after school I took one in the sunshine:

Though the colour of the photo is brighter, I think this may be too bright to show the colours of the fabrics as well. Just as well I suppose since the level of sunshine seen today is not common! Thanks to Natalie for the tip because I think it will definitely help in the future to photograph things outside, I now just need to learn some patience and spend a bit more time framing the photo and using an appropriate background.

Still, Rome wasn't built in a day!

Tomorrow I'm having a "Vintage Day Out" with BFF, visiting a Quilting/Fabric shop, a Deli and finally a Vintage Tea Room which I am really looking forward to. I did suggest I make us a Tea Dress each to wear but I thought that might be a bit too much. Hopefully the sun will be shining too!

Hope you're having a good week too,
Love Natalie

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Success in the face of adversity!

Despite all the bugs and illnesses that are lurking around these parts, I have managed to finish a project I've been working on for some time and start AND finish some coasters I was asked to make for BFF. I did have quite a temperature at one point and was probably working under a Beecham Flu Plus high but nonetheless, I'm pleased with my progress!

Remember when I was looking after poorly son number 3 a few weeks back and I quilted my way through a few DVD's? Well, here is the finished article:

 A quilted purse - its about the size of an ipad mini apparently (I don't have one so I'll have to take someones word for it). I've learnt a lot of new techniques through the making of this and though it's got a couple of slight imperfections, I'm thrilled with the results. The fastening was a bit tricky - I've used ribbon to hook around the button but I'm not totally happy with it. Twice I unpicked it because I had sewn it on as a loop but I wasn't happy with that. I then decided to fasten it on straight with the aid of a couple of buttons but I'm still not sure about it.

I might take it off again and make the ribbon totally straight as it doesn't sit around the button quite right. Still, practise makes perfect and there's always lots to learn from mistakes!

I was asked to make 2 quilted coasters with some leftover Moda Oh Deer fabric so I thought I'd make a couple for myself at the same time.

Again, some new skills here - and lots of mistakes to learn from! I've never made anything like this before and using bias binding around the edge was certainly an experience. My corners need much improvement and I used a wide binding when probably a narrow one would have been better but for a first attempt I'm chuffed with the result.

Towards the end of last week I also managed to finish the extra large carrier bag dispenser I'd been asked to make.

The fabric I used for the heart motifs is from a Tilda collection. Please excuse the random feature of washing machine and iron!

Unfortunately, I have been good for absolutely nothing today which is a shame - it feels like such  a waste to have done nothing at all but sometimes you have to give in and rest a bit (in case you are concerned, I will probably survive a cold and a tummy upset!). Still, the weather seems to be brightening up a little so hopefully normal service will be resumed this week. I'm certainly ready for some warmer weather and bright, sunny days for walking the dog. Since the enjoyment of craft and the great outdoors often go hand in hand, you may enjoy featuring the ever lovable pet of BFF (and Flash gets the odd mention too!).

Lemsip in hand I will now link this post up with Wendy at - have a good week everyone!

Love Natalie