Saturday, 27 October 2007

Visit to the homeland and half term crafting

Just back from a few days in Wales, visiting some friends near Swansea, an area which I know really well as we must have done thousands of days out at the seaside on the Mumbles and Gower coastline.

the children looking at the sea in Mumbles

This time, we went for the first time to the Wildfowl and Wetlands trust centre in Llanelli
which was a lovely day out. The children really enjoyed feeding the ducks, and my 4 year old little girl really got into the whole concept of sitting in a hide with binoculars.

a duck at the wildfowl and wetlands trust centre

half term crafting ...

Back to school this morning - so I'm back to being a solo parent by day as my husband is a teacher. Did wangle plenty of crafting time over half term, so I can't really complain. Here are a couple of items hot off the sewing machine - a retro apron and a Christmas stocking. The apron is a version of one I've made before, but this time I lined the pockets and interfaced the waistband.

A friend bought the first one I made soon after I listed it, but I had a bit of the yellow bird fabric left over and some yellow ric-rac, so I thought I'd make another one. I might get around to making an apron for myself one of these days.

This is the front side of the finished stocking. I'm really pleased with this. I'd drawn up a pattern and got ready to start last weekend, but found that the fabric I'd intended to use had a large number of flaws in it. Too late to take it back to the shop too, as I've had it a year after never getting around to making stockings last year! Luckily, I rediscovered this bottle green cotton in my stash and had great fun hand embellishing the finished stocking with sequins, bells and ribbon. I'm really after a star bead now for the top of the Christmas tree, so I must keep my eyes peeled.

The stocking is the first time I've done appliques in years - and this time with the help of iron-on stabiliser, which worked really well. Unfortunately I was a bit slapdash and didn't iron my fabrics before fusing the stabiliser to them, so I have big creases fused into one piece - oops! It's my favourite one too - the one used for the Christmas tree applique, so it's a shame I've wasted some of it. I'll just have to cut really carefully and try and salvage as much as possible while avoiding the creases.

I do love applique work though - have a few ideas now for applique children's totes and another skirt for my little girl...

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Sewing to Catatonia

We had a nice morning out in Windsor this morning. We happened to arrive in time for the changing of the guard, which the chidren love. It's been a lovely bright Autumn day, so we walked in along the river and back through the park. Had an interesting conversation with my daughter about why it wouldn't be a good idea to take a swan home and keep it in the bath. We also had a quick trip into Daniels department store - haberdashery for me (not much, but the nearest source of basics) and the amazing toy department for the children to browse (with us hawk-eyeing to get ideas for Christmas!).

I've managed to scavenge a few hours knitting and sewing here and there over the past couple of days, so I'm feeling very pleased with my productivity. The children have been taken to the farm by my husband this afternoon, so I've had a couple of hours with the sewing machine and a trilogy of Welsh bands - Catatonia, Stereophonics and Supper Furry Animals CDs - must be missing the homeland :)

ready, steady, sew!

Working to music is definitely more relaxing, and I don't know whether this is a coincidence or not but I haven't used the stitch ripper at all today!

Just finished this bag, an order from my mother-in-law:

I can also feel very virtuous as I did my good deed for the week yesterday by shortening my father-in-law's shower curtain for him.

Yesterday I finally sent off my contribution to the UK Street Team's shop on Etsy (see the blog here) - some felt Christmas decorations. There are quite a few people taking part, so there should be a fair mixture of items in each bag. I think they're going to be listed sometime in November.

The sewing machine is still out on the table - we're eating our tea around it this evening - so I think I'll get on with a bit more sewing later on once the children, now back from their farm trip, are in bed.

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Half term crafting

Hooray - half term began on Friday. Most of my mum friend's loathe the week's half term break from school/playgroup as all the children's activities stop for a week. Not me though, as my husband is a teacher; that means I get time off for good behaviour and I can do lots of crafting!

Here is the finished napkin set, which I've just added to my shop:

I wish I'd bought more of this fabric now as it is just so soft and lovely to work with. I also want to make some more linen bags as I love the way it feels and looks when teamed with cotton prints.

Plenty more projects on the go; I'm off to do some knitting now - a scarf from a Louisa Harding book I borrowed from the library. I'll post some pictures later.

EDITED TO ADD: this project is now available as a free tutorial for napkin set and pouch

Friday, 19 October 2007

Little knitting

Here's the elf's work in progress - a tiny cardigan for my daughter's doll, Neniko (actually my sister's old childhood doll as hers seemed to look a lot healthier than my tiny tears after 20 years or so in the attic):

I just love knitting clothes for dolls - everything grows so quickly. I like to see fast results - that's the reason why the only adult-sized garments I knit are hats, scarves and gloves. I did once knit a jumper for myself about a hundred years ago when I was waiting for my A-level results - that was knitted in a stress frenzy and finished within a couple of days!

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Being an elf

Sewed up three of those napkins last night...

I'm really pleased with them - I just love this fabric as it has a really vintage feel, even down to the way the fabric handles. This is really really soft, unlike some quilting weight cottons I've been using recently. I'm just not sure how to convey how lovely this fabric really is when I list them in my shop.

The other three are to be finished tomorrow as I feel too weary to set up the maching tonight - knitting for me this evening, I think, or some handsewing. Maybe a ball dress for my daughter's Ariel (the little mermaid) doll, as she tends to go naked when she becomes a human and removes her tail.

I am so pleased with these recent finds. The first one is from the simplicity archive and has some fantastic clothes for baby dolls. I particularly like the red dress with the frilled neckline and the blue bonnet. The other one is for fashion dolls and has a reall 80s feel! The plan is to spend a few evenings running up a few bits and pieces like one of Santa's elves, so that I have a few things ready to wrap up in December. I know my mother used to do this for my sister and I when we were little and we never twigged, despite the fact that we'd seen our mother making dresses for us in identical fabrics to the dolls' clothes!

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Fun and games

Had a lovely couple of days with the children. Yesterday was painting day - the first time in a while we've emptied out the contents of the craft cupboard and got really messy.

They both painted their hands - my daughter consistently and painstakingly does this every time she has the paints out, and my little boy just had to follow suit as he obviously thought it was the done thing. Strange that everything ended up green! The evidence ...

Today has been beautifully sunny, which is always a good start! My daughter had a friend home for lunch from nursery and I had a lovely time just listening in to them playing together. The duplo fire station was dismantled and rebuilt several times with lots of role play going on. I was mildly concerned about the number of dead animals that were being rescued by the fire service, but all in all was very entertaining!

Children are now asleep, so I'm about to thread up the machine to sew some napkins. I've been hanging on to some beautiful pink fabric from the Flea Market fancy range for ages, while thinking what to use it for. I've finally cut into it, so tonight is sewing night. I'll hopefully post some evidence tomorrow.

Monday, 15 October 2007

First post - a finished skirt for my daughter

Oooh - my first post! Feeling very positive after a productive crafting weekend, in spite of other things going on. I managed to start and finish a bag for my shop and a skirt for 4 year old daughter.

I bought this pattern ages ago, Butterick B4277, and found the fabric for it the other day at John Lewis - a beautiful purple/burgundy corduroy, embroidered with flowers. I've spent a good few days agonising over wether the skirt ties should be lilac or hot pink, but finally bit the bullet and started sewing! Was slightly slowed down as I managed to lose the back panel of the skirt, which I'd taken to the shops with me to match with the thread. Ooops - luckily there was plenty of spare fabric!
Really pleased with the shape of the skirt - for a start it has a flat front and elastic in the back only, which is why I chose it (my little girl is quite fussy about elastic). If only I hadn't been in such a hurry to finish it, I might have waited to check the fit on her before sewing in the elastic - unfortunately it's a bit big, so I'll just have to unpick and adjust this evening.

The other thing making me happy is that I've sold two sets of my Christmas decorations over the weekend. All in all, a good start to the week!
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