Monthly Challenge – May

For this month’s challenge I have a rather amusing bag, a scrappy cushion and something made with clay to show you!

Firstly the cushion cover is my make for Josh and made using scraps and recycled fabrics. ( I haven’t put a cushion in it yet as I will have to be storing it until Christmas.)

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For this I cut a square out of an old sheet and covered it in a spray, washout, fabric glue.  I then cut and tore strips from my scraps bin and arranged them to more or less cover the square.

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I then added more fabrics this time cutting and tearing to smaller strips and long triangles before I then cut a square of organza and glued this on top.

To hold it all together I machined wiggly lines through all layers to represent the waves of the sea.

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Next I appliqued on the little boat and man fishing.

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Lastly, I trimmed the edges and cut a square the same size out of the front of a secondhand shirt to create the back, so that the buttons became the opening.

I particularly like the way the light catches the organza, almost as if the sun is reflecting off of the sea.

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My next make is for Abi.  I decided to try to make hers out of air drying clay, something I haven’t done since my schooldays! (And being for Abi, it is an owl!!)

I made her this little trinket dish.  It’s not perfect but I had great fun doing it.

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Firstly I kneaded the clay into a ball,

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then I used the heel of my hand to create the indent of the dish, shaped the ears,

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and used my finger to shape each side of the beak.

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The clay was starting to crack so I smoothed it over with a wet finger.

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I created the indent for the eyes firstly with my finger

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and then neatened it with a playdough tool!

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I then marked around the eyes,

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the pattern around edge of the dish

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the nose

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and the ears.

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It took less than half an hour in all and I really enjoyed making it.  It is something I would like try again.

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The only thing I am disappointed with is the edging pattern at the bottom, it went a bit wonky where I switched position!

Lastly for Me/the home is my string market bag.  This just makes me laugh.  It has turned out huge!!  I wanted it to be big but this absolutely swamps me.

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I’m only just over 5 foot but this is ridiculous.  Here it is hanging from the light switch.

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I knew that I needed to use cotton as other yarns stretched so I used this

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Hmmm, maybe next time I need 100% cotton, although it was already massive before putting anything in it.  Anyhow, Abi has fallen in love with it so it may just be heading her way, at least she will be able to fit whatever she wants to in it!

I have some ideas for next month’s makes but I’m not sure how much I shall get done as over the next couple of weeks I shall be doing some secret projects as Abi is 18 in the middle of June and I would like to make her a couple of bits.

Happy crafting and a Happy Weekend!!

Sharon xx

I love to hear from you, so please feel free to like or leave a comment.  I will try to reply as soon as possible. x

Up-cycling and Rejuvenating!

Abi and I love second hand shops, charity shops, Junk shops etc.  In a word we love a bargain.  In sorting through the craft room we unearthed these!

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Photo bombed by Abi 🙂

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We will often buy something because we love the fabric and then alter it or cut it up for fabric for other projectsWe hardly bought any new fabric for Abi’s four years of textile work, we could usually find what we needed second hand. Most of this pile are clothes that Abi has not yet had time to alter, due to being so busy with her textiles and photography coursework that she hasn’t had time to make things for herself but there are a few bits for me that I had forgotten about.

Firstly I wanted to rejuvenate a rather boring denim skirt

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by adding in fabric from this £1 dress.  It is a sheer patterned fabric with a plain lining.

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I cut the triangular panels out of the denim skirt and filled them in with the sheer outer layer of the dress using the existing hem.

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Then to add a bit more interest I made a flower and some leaves with both layers of the dress (outer and lining).  I appliqued these onto the denim using a very narrow zig zag and trimmed away some of the fabric so that the lining showed through and frayed the edges changing a plain skirt into something a bit more special.

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My next remodel was to make Abi’s skirt that she wears to work wearable again.  It is rather stained (she helps out at a garden centre during the busy season) and worn but one of those comfy, love to wear skirts.

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The front V panel had ripped and there were a couple of holes.

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I replaced the V panel with a slightly gathered floral panel to give her a bit more room to stretch and patched the holes with squares of the floral fabric on top and on the inside of the skirt, a denim patch to strengthen it.  I then over-stitched the patches for decoration giving the whole skirt a new look as well as a new lease of life.

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My third up-cycle was from this charity shop find.

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I only paid £1 for it and when I got it home I realised why!  It had all been sewn inside out.  Seeing as I had only bought it to use as fabric it wasn’t a problem.  It is woolen so I put it through a hot wash to felt it.

I then cut it to size and blanket stitched the edges to make a book cover and added embroidery to pick out some of the V stitches and now I have a lovely soft cover for my Bible.

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I have really enjoyed these makeovers, there is something in me that gets great satisfaction out of taking something unwanted and creating something new. If you get the opportunity I would encourage your to scour your local second hand shops, there is so much great fabric out there!

I was recently interested in the dress made by Beth of After dark sewing, using a top and a shirt!  There really are some great up-cycle ideas out there.

Before I go here is a little peep at the stocking pressie I have made Josh this month.  I have used lots of scraps of fabric, part of a sheet and a shirt!!

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More on that at the end of the month all being well.

I hope you all have a great weekend, thanks for dropping by.

Happy Crafting!!

Sharon xx

More Spinning – including my first Selfies :~} !!

I’ve been spinning again! After quickly using my first two yarns that I had spun without plying because I just couldn’t wait to use them, I decided this time to spin two different colours and then ply them together.  The spinning went very well.  My spinning improves each time and these were quite fine although there were some blips where it was a bit thicker particularly where I had to join.

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I enjoyed the plying so much.  It is so much faster for me than spinning and I loved watching the twist emerge.  I had wound the two balls into one double stranded ball which made the plying a lot easier than I think it would have done otherwise.

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I then washed and dried it (how I love this sunny weather).

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Well, as soon as I had it plyed I was then itching to crochet something with it. It couldn’t be too big as there wasn’t a huge amount of yarn.  It was also fairly fine, mostly about 2 ply.  I chose a shawl pattern that if made smaller could be a triangular scarf.  It was a bit complicated but I enjoyed it until I realised that there wasn’t even enough yarn for it to be a scarf, groan.

So I decided to use this cowl pattern which is crocheted in long rows so it could be thinner if necessary… I had enough yarn 🙂

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It worked up ever so quickly.

So then it was time to take my first ever selfies!

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Abi has just seen these and found them hilarious!  Delightful teenager 😉

I suppose the cowl could also be double looped for extra warmth..

So now I can’t wait to get spinning again!  I can only do it for 5 or 10 minutes before my neck gets too painful to continue so I am going to try to spin a little most days.  This time I am also hoping to spin about twice the amount so that I can make something a bit bigger.

If you fancy trying something new then I would definitely recommend giving spinning a try.  You can get all you need for under £15.  Until next time…

Happy Crafting!!

Sharon xx

I love to hear from you, so please feel free to like or leave a comment.  I will try to reply as soon as possible. x

Family Recipes to Share.

I just wanted to share with you a couple of our family recipes.  The first recipe is Great Aunty Esther’s Cheese scones and the second recipe is Aunty Marion’s Hungarian biscuits.

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Aunty Esther’s Cheese Scones

Ingredients

8oz (225g) Self Raising Flour

Salt and Pepper (I use a shake or two of cayenne pepper)

1 level teaspoon Mustard Powder.

3oz (75g) Hard Margarine or Butter

6oz (175g) grated cheddar cheese

Approx 6 tablespoons (3 fluid oz) Milk

Method

1 – Preheat the oven to 200 C (gas mark 6 or 400 F)

2 – Sieve the flour, salt and pepper into a bowl.

3 – Rub in the marge/butter until it looks like breadcrumbs.

4 – Add the grated cheese and mustard powder and mix well.

5 – Add the milk and mix to a soft dough.

6 – Roll out to about 3/4″ (2cm) thick and cut into rounds.

7 – Place on a baking tray and bake at for approx 12 minutes.

8 – After a couple of minutes transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool.

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Aunty Marion’s Hungarian Chocolate Biscuits

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Ingredients

For the biscuits…

8 oz (225g) Soft Margarine

4 oz  (100g) Castor Sugar

8 oz (225g) Self Raising Flour

2 oz (50g) Cocoa

Few drops of Vanilla Extract or Essence

For the butter cream icing…

4 oz (100g) Butter or Hard Margarine, softened

8oz (225g) icing (confectioners) sugar plus a little more for dusting.

30ml (2 tablespoons) fresh milk

few drops of Vanilla Extract or Essence

Method

1 –  Preheat oven to 190 C (gas mark 5 or 375 F)

2 –  Cream the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy.

3 –  Stir in the flour, cocoa and vanilla to form a stiff paste.

4 –  Roll into balls the size of a walnut.

5 –  Place onto silicone cookie sheets or greased baking trays and flatten about halfway with a fork dipped in cold water.

6 –  Bake for 9 minutes.  Leave on tray for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack until cold.

7 –  Meanwhile make up the butter cream by beating the margarine/butter until soft.

8 –  Gradually beat in the sugar, vanilla and milk.

9 –  Continue beating until light and fluffy.

10 -Spread some butter cream onto one of the biscuits and place another on top to sandwich them.

11 – Dust with icing sugar.

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Enjoy,

Happy Crafting!!

Sharon xx

I love to hear from you, so please feel free to like or leave a comment.  I will try to reply as soon as possible. x

All Sorts!

Firstly for those of you who may be wondering, our water came back on Monday late afternoon.  Josh was pleased to get a day off school. Two days without water soon makes you appreciate being able to just turn a tap or flush the toilet!

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I had meant to show you our blossom but somehow it just didn’t happen.  It was beautiful while it lasted.

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Josh has recently started to walk home from school on his own.  He has wanted to for sometime but we have skirted the issue for a while.  It is hard letting go, giving him that first little bit of complete independence!  To me, he is still my baby, the little one we prayed for for seven years, that little brother for Abi.

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I think the extra responsibility has made him feel more grown up.  He has been extra thoughtful and helpful at home.  The first Tuesday he made me want to cry.  He asked if he could take some money to school on Wednesday as he wanted to buy something on the way home.  I groaned inwardly thinking ‘here we go, sweet shop trips already!!’  I asked him what for and he replied ‘there is a man selling plants from his garden on the way home and I wanted to buy one for you!’  Next morning as he said goodbye he reminded me, ‘don’t forget that I might be a bit late home this afternoon, you will remember won’t you, I don’t want you to get worried’.  He came home with these. 🙂

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Then Thursday afternoon he arrived home with some runner bean plants for Daddy!

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He was complaining this morning that he hasn’t yet walked in the rain, well, with tomorrow’s forecast being for wet weather we shall see if he enjoys it as much as he thinks he will.  He always has been one to want to play out in the rain so maybe he really will enjoy it.

With my spinning, I have finished my 2 colours and plyed them together.  Then of course I couldn’t wait to use it so I hope to have a tada post soon 🙂

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I have also been up-cycling and re-purposing and hopefully next week I shall be able to show you that too.  I am really pleased so far.

I have finished my monthly challenge make for Josh and I love it.  It used up some scraps which is always good.  More about that at the end of the month.

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Abi finishes her textile coursework at the end of the week so I am looking forward to her having a bit more free time for some girly crafting sessions (and also getting the dining table back).

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The garden is really springing to life.  Hubby thinned out the radishes and there were several big enough to eat 🙂

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Josh’s gourds were growing like crazy indoors, so they are now outside.

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We are really hopeful that we will get some fruit on them so that we can make things with them.  We will need some patience though as from what I have read I think they will need to dry out for several months.  Maybe this time next year if all goes well.

The blue tits are busy backwards and forwards with food for their babies.

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You can just see one on the left.

We have also had a Mummy and Daddy blackbird, first collecting twigs, then worms and now they bring their babies into the garden and feed them. (You can just see them on the playhouse roof.)

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Yesterday evening when Hubby was outside the Daddy blackbird was kicking up a din and the gulls and crows were circling.  A while later a sparrowhawk dive bombed Hubby.  Later the gulls, rooks and crows were all circling it and trying to see him off.  The tits are still feeding today and the Daddy blackbird has been in feeding the babies but no sign of Mummy so we are hoping she wasn’t caught.  I know the sparrowhawk probably has its own babies to feed but I don’t like to think of it taking ‘our’ birds!

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Also along the ‘nature’ lines, Josh has used his pocket money to buy a live mouse trap.  We regularly get mice in the garden.  He set it last night and caught a very cute little mouse.  He has made a temporary home for it in his old stick insect vivarium.  He is going to study it for a day before setting it free somewhere else.

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I was just about to hit publish when Abi came home – wet through!!  She had had to go to Eastbourne and had decided to have a swim in the sea while she was there, fully clothed.  She had even got her hair wet!! The madness of youth 🙂

Hopefully I shall be back soon with my latest crafting makes.

Happy Crafting!!

Sharon xx

I love to hear from you, so please feel free to like or leave a comment.  I will try to reply as soon as possible. x

The Budgies are Finally Finished!!

I feel a bit shy about showing you these knitted budgies – when Abi and Hubby saw them they both laughed.  (We are very honest with each other here!)  To be honest, I am a bit disappointed with them myself, they are meant to be for Josh’s stocking (My Monthly challenge make for April),  I just hope that when Josh gets them in his stocking he won’t wonder what on earth Mum has decided to make him 🙂

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So, how did the knitting go after years of avoidance?  I really don’t know.  At times I started to relax and enjoy it but at other times I nearly gave up and nothing but sheer obstinacy kept me going.

Firstly I had to go to YouTube to find out how to cast on.  I could vaguely remember the thumb method so a quick video later and I had my first 9 stitches cast on, great!  Until row 3 where I had to M1, make one.  A special note said I wasn’t allowed to KBF or INC1 (whatever they may mean) because they would alter the stitch count, I must make one.  So I carefully followed the instructions but every time I ended up with a hole.  I was very near to giving up at this point but I mentioned my problem here and one of my lovely followers, Midnight Knitter at yarnbooksroses, soon gave me a link for a way that didn’t leave a hole. (Thanks so much. x)

So, I undid my precious knitting and started again – groan – I hate starting again.  One of the joys of crochet is that I am mostly able to work around mistakes but knitting was not proving so forgiving.

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This time things went well for a few rows and no holes from ‘knit one’s’ – just a dropped stitch!  When I was a girl, Mum always sorted out things like that for me but I can remember her wiggling the yarn up the rows and back on to the needles.  So I did just that and it worked, yes! you couldn’t see where I had done it at all.  I was now starting to think that maybe knitting was okay after all.

Then what…. I was doing SS, knit a row, purl a row, but I had knit two rows one after the other and half of the front was on the back.  So I ripped back several rows, muttering and grumbling as I fiddled around trying to pick up these tiny stitches and longing for my crochet hook.  I picked them up, not really sure which way round to have the stitches so there was rather a mixture.  It didn’t appear to make any difference other than some were harder to work into on the next row.  I was having a really fatigued week and this happened several times, once in the middle of the row, not sure quite how I managed that!  After a bit I learnt to know which side I was on and again started to enjoy knitting and managed to work out, all on my own, how to knit 2 tog through the back of the stitch.  I did check with Mum afterwards and I had got it right 🙂

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I continued like this x 3, gradually with a little more enjoyment and a lot fewer mistakes, until I was left with lots of body parts.

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I don’t usually enjoy sewing together but this time I was eager to see the finished result.  As I moved on to the second budgie I realised that one was considerably bigger than the other.  I had knitted looser on the second and third birds as first time around it had been quite hard working into the stitches, but dopey me, I didn’t even think that they would then turn out different sizes.

I was ever so disappointed with them at first I added the features and detail they began to look a bit more budgie like.  I added a bit of needle felting to create their ‘beard’ as Abi kindly described it! Sadly the one I like the least is the yellow one which happens to be the budgie that actually belongs to Josh.  I think that because she is all the same colour there isn’t the detail to make it look a little more like her.  (My knitted budgies all look rather over fed!)

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I then covered a hoop, attached the budgies and crocheted a few leaves to add interest.  (I would have liked to add flowers but I was worried Josh would think it a bit girly if I did that).  And here they are…

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The final question is …. will I be knitting again?  I would like to keep my hand in and maybe learn a little more, so I shall try to make something small and simple from time to time but for me, crochet definitely wins the day!

We are just starting our second day with no water supply, a 30 inch cast iron water main has burst leaving people up to 10 miles away without water!  So all fun here, Josh keeps hoping they will close the school 🙂

I have several lovely things on the go so hopefully more about them soon.

Happy Crafting!!

Sharon xx

I love to hear from you, so please feel free to like or leave a comment.  I will try to reply as soon as possible. x

Two Gifts Finished!

With so many things on the go it seems to take ages to come to the end of anything!  Today I finished my first creation from the Edward’s Menagerie book.  I love the creatures in this book and the patterns are really easy to follow. Emma the Bunny is for another baby addition to my extended family.

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(She looks a little as though she is smirking in this photo, I’m not quite sure why the photo made her look like that, I think it may be the way the light caught her!)

One of my cousins has just had her fifth child, a little girl.  With another three expecting there will hopefully be some more baby gifts crochet this year!

I have also finally got around to taking some photos of the scarf I have made for my sister.

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For those of you who are interested,  I used Hayfield Bonus chunky yarn in a light and dark grey. I started with light grey and made a foundation double crochet row of 150 stitches.  (U.S. fsc).  I love using a foundation row instead of working the first row into the chain.  I really do not enjoy working into those starting chains!

For anyone who hasn’t tried it there is a tutorial here on Sandra’s Cherry Heart blog.  There are also video tutorials on YouTube, once you get the hang of it you won’t want to go back to working into those starting chain!

I then worked a row of trebles (U.S. doubles) into the back loops only, turn.  Followed by a row of trebles worked in the front loops only. (Each row is started with 2 chain, the first treble is then worked into the bottom of the same stitch (the 2 chain are not counted as a stitch).  I continued with this pattern until it was the width I wanted – 7 rows of trebles.  I finished with a row of double crochet to match the foundation double crochet at the beginning and fastened off. So to summarise, on one side, all the rows are worked into the front loops and on the other side all of the rows are worked into the back loops.  Alternating as you switch sides.

For the Border I used the dark grey and worked double crochet evenly around all four edges.  Then on the two short sides I worked open shells along the edge.  *3ch into first dc, miss a dc, 1tr into next dc, 3ch, miss a dc, dc into next dc,*  repeat to the other end of that short edge. Repeat on the other short edge.

I hope that all makes sense!

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I like the way that each side of the scarf has a slightly different pattern.

The budgies are nearly all sewn up now so hopefully a budgies post by the end of the week!

Happy Crafting!!

Sharon xx

I love to hear from you, so please feel free to like or leave a comment.  I will try to reply as soon as possible. x