I’m in Prima!

I’m chuffed to bits with this little nib in Prima magazine, this month. I’m in a feature all about the ‘Secrets of women who are always smiling’! I’d almost forgotten all about this, a journalist friend of mine rang me up back in January (did you know glossy magazines like Prima work at least four months in advance?) to ask if i’d have a chat to her about what makes me happy.

She said she had to think about women she knew who were always smiling and she thought of me! Now if that’s not a great compliment to have I don’t know what is.

The number 1 tip to be a smiley person is have a feelgood hobby – like crafting. There’s a great quote in here from Concordia University in Montreal who have found that hobbies have the power to help fight off depression. Other top tips include have healthy rows , snuggle up and find your happy weight (i’m still working on that last one!).

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By the way, Prima is a great little magazine for crafters – it’s not on my magazine reading list but at only £2.99 there’s some really nice patterns and ideas in here.

Lovely Busy Easter Holidays…

I hope you had a lovely, busy, sunny Easter holiday? We’ve had a couple of weeks off from work and school (well one week for me) and the weather has been fantastic. We’ve had some quality family time together, just the three of us, as well as doing some crafting, going on day trips, bike rides, outings with friends, all rounded off with a great Easter weekend with family.

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The Weekly Glint – Patch Pockets

I love a pocket.

I particularly like a nice, slouchy pocket with enough room to comfortably rest your hands whilst chatting or waiting for the kettle to boil. This pocket related post was inspired whilst sat in a meeting with a particular type of London creative. You know the media agency type? And this person  had a really lovely shirt on from trendy clothing brand Folk.

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So I found myself rather distracted by the pretty little knitted pocket on his shirt…Here are some other pretty patch pockets I’ve found on the web. I’m now daydreaming about adding a few patch pockets to my plain t-shirts…

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 Picture credits: La Maison Boheme, Country Living, The Wavedancers, Pinterest, Etsy

An Ode to Tacking

My latest craft obsession is tacking. Yes plain and simple tacking. Not fancy or clever but solid and helpful and actually a really good thing to do properly which saves loads of time in the long run.

If you’ve read any of my blog posts before you will know that I’m not a great machine sewer and one of my challenges to becoming better is patience. I’m after quick results and I want them now!

Tacking was always the thing in the pattern I skipped. Until now. I am now a fully signed up advocate of tacking to achieve a great finished garment or item. After a few mistakes on my Liberty Sewing Machine Cover, I decided to tack the sides to the cover and insert that way. It was like a miracle.

The fabric didn’t move, I didn’t sew over pins by mistake. And the best bit? I could test I’d put the pieces together in the correct way BEFORE machine stitching and then being faced with ripping out all of those tiny tight little machine stitches.

I used a bright red thread and nice long running stitches on my project so they are easy to see and remove once machine stitched.

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Sewing Machine Cover – Finished

I’ve completed my first ever sewing project from the Liberty Book of Simple Sewing PLUS my first ever sewing project which was a) from a pattern b) had curves and c) involved machine embroidery.

Here’s how it looks in the book…

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And here’s my version…

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Not too shabby!

I’m pretty pleased with how it’s turned out. I particularly like the chain stitch thread going from the bobbin down to the needle. (Hand stitching is much more in my comfort zone!).  The machine embroidery is a bit sketchy…

I used the fabric from the Hilary’s UK blogger competition and had every intention of entering it but missed the deadline due to my current hectic schedule of full time work, part time blogging, wife, mummy and training for the Bristol 10k which is in 6 weeks time. Eeek!

I also missed a slightly more important deadline of Mothers Day as this was for my mum. Sorry Mum!

I made a few adjustments to the pattern given in the book – I didn’t sew pockets onto the sides – this was a bit too complicated for a beginner like me. I also didn’t put the little handle onto the sewing machine wheel – the iron on adhesive and I had a bit of a falling out…

But aside from that, a quick review of the pattern. All in all, it was fairly easy to follow but relied on the reader having some sewing and pattern reading knowledge. I think a few more step by step pictures would have really helped me to navigate the instructions, which were also quite brief. Adding the boarder was tricky with hardly any instructions, I kind of had to ‘feel’ my way and hope for the best.

Equally, adding the side panels was a bit of a brain drain. Maybe it’s just me but I just couldn’t work out how to make the curve fit into a straight line and there was a lot of trial and error to get that bit right. A picture which showed exactly how to add the panels, how to pin to avoid puckering etc would have been helpful. I’m sure I only managed it because I’ve been avidly watching BBC2′s The Great British Sewing Bee, and I’ve got May in my head talking about easing in sleeves and avoiding puckers.

Anyway, it’s done and I’m tempted to make myself a cover now too so it can’t have been that bad! Here are some photos of the cover in detail.

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The Weekly Glint – Easter

It’s the first day of the school Easter holidays here in the South West of the UK, and a certain little person in our house is getting very excited about two Easter egg hunts with both sets of Grandparents over Easter weekend!

I don’t generally do seasonal craft (OK Christmas is the exception) but this year I quite fancy a little Easter tree in my kitchen – more of a decorated branch rather than a tree… we’ll see.

In the meantime, I’ve been looking into some cute Easter decoration which look great but require minimal effort and time. Enjoy!

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Picture credits: Arne and Carlos, bonbonbreak.com, hope-anchors-the-soul.tumblr.com, www.latanadelconiglio.com

Stig of the Dump

Going to the local dump isn’t usually one of my weekend past-times but it may well be from now on, after I had an absolutely brilliant find at our local tip.

Throwing away garden rubbish, I spotted this case being dumped by a young couple.  We got chatting and next thing I know, it’s in my car…

IMG_0881Have you guessed what’s inside?

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Wow! It’s so beautiful. I really don’t need another sewing machine, but I couldn’t bear to see it thrown in the tip with all the old washing machines, and microwaves.

 

I love it! It’s currently sitting in my garage on it’s stay of execution whilst I decide what to do with it.

 

Bedroom Blanket Update

Quick update on the Big Bedroom Blanket.

Number of squares crocheted to date: 190 (13 blue, 40 green, 16 grey, 58 red, 33 copper, 30 peach)

Squares left to crochet: 110

Balls of wool used: 7

Months spent: 3

I’m getting there! Need to up the blues and greys and am now thinking about boarders. I think Granny Square edges have an unfinished quality to them so am now pondering what boarders to give my lovely blanket once I’ve sewn all those little squares together. Pinterest has some lovely crochet blankets for inspiration!

I’m quite keen to finish with a bobble or popcorn stitch but am also quite taken with a little shell or clam stitch. I will definitely do a couple of rounds of a basic double crochet boarder to begin.

What do you think?

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Quick peg bag make over

There’s nothing nicer, I think , than the sight of washing blowing dry in the wind in the Spring. And clothes smell so much nicer when they’ve been dried outside – don’t you think?

All those months of drying clothes indoors are put behind us ( I don’t have a tumble drier, never felt the need) and I long to hang my washing out on the line in my garden – a true sign that Spring has sprung and summer is just around the corner.

So imagine my dismay, when this weekend – the first sunny weekend of 2014 – I reached for my old and much used Cath Kidston peg bag to find it VERY faded, slightly mouldy (!) and basically having seen much better days. Inspired by all of the sewing books I’ve been reading lately, I decided, to run a new one up on my sewing machine.

Using this beautiful 100% cotton fabric from Remnant Kings called Compton Spot in Apple (you can purchase it here http://www.remnantkings.co.uk/) I drew a template from my old peg bag.

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To make sure I left the correct amount of fabric for the seam allowance, I used this neat trick I found on another sewing blog http://www.coletterie.com/ - securing two pencils together with sticky tape, to trace the pattern and then another line to draw the seam allowance.

It was a pretty simple project. After cutting the two main pieces, chopping one side in half (making sure there was enough extra fabric to account for a double seam allowance top and bottom) to create the pocket, I headed to the sewing machine to seam and stitch together.

The trickiest part, well for me anyway, was making sure I achieved a neat curve on the shoulders of the bag. Once the corners were snipped and the bag turned right side out and pressed, it was ready to go. I re-used the small wooden coat hanger from my Cath Kidston bag – but I guess you could use a child’s coat hanger to do the same job.

And here it is. A great sense of achievement for about 45 minutes work, and another sewing project to add to my repertoire.

Peg Bag Collage

Exciting blog news to share

I have a daft smile on my face as I type this, as I have some exciting blog news to share. I have been commissioned by Remnant Kings, who are Scotland’s largest independent fabric, haberdashery and crafts retailer to be their guest blogger. Have a look at their great selection of products here www.remnantkings.co.uk 

As I type, I am plotting and planning my blog posts for this brilliant looking retailer – choosing and selecting fabric to blog about is just one of my new tasks. *oh the hardship*

Thanks to Louise and the team at Remnant Kings for thinking of me and look out here on the blog and over on my Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest pages for my first post.

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Picture credit: Oh So Lovely Vintage