Monthly Challenge – June

Well, it has a very busy month on the creative front with a birthday cake, 18th birthday pressies and a new home gift so have I completed my challenge?  Well, yes and no I guess!

I did (just) manage to get the children’s stocking presents done.  I chose something fairly quick and easy this month as I had several makes planned for Abi’s 18th.  I crocheted them both a wash cloth and bath pouf.  For Abi I used a cheerful multi coloured yarn.

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I ordered several balls of this cotton yarn with wash cloths in mind.  I found it online but the writing is in Japanese. Since I have finished the crochet I found a little bit of writing in English including dry clean only – oops!!  Not ideal for a wash cloth so I shall just have to hope that it stands up to being wet rather a lot of the time!

For Josh I used two different yarns that I had in stash.  The wash cloth is not actually wonky but I couldn’t seem to get it to photograph right!  I think maybe I was a bit to one side.

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I love the way the multi coloured yarn has worked out in both of the yarns but I think this is my favourite. it was creme de la creme yarn in earth and sky.  I had ordered it some time ago from America.  I have not seen any since which is a shame as I love the colourway but I cannot remember who I ordered it from!  I think I need to get more organized and write down the websites use from as I can’t rely on my memory these days!

The wash cloths are bumpy but the yarn is soft and they feel lovely against your face.  I used this pattern from crochet spot for them.  The bath pouf pattern was from Daisy Cottage designs and is really simple but makes a lovely puffy scrubby.

I am hoping that they will be pleased with them.  I shall certainly be making more at some point for the bathroom but that will have to wait until after Christmas and I have given them theirs.

Now onto my ‘Me’/home make.  Here is where I am cheating a little.  With all the extra crafting I haven’t got around to making anything for me or the home so my make for that is the elderflower champagne!

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This wasn’t just for me although I enjoyed my fair share neither was it for the home but it will have to do this month as the four bits I have started for me are not finished 🙂

In other areas of creativity I am still slowly spinning a little most days, although there was a 2 week gap when I wasn’t well enough to do any at all.  I have started a crochet shawl and I shall tell you more about that soon just to say that I love it already.  I have one dress cut out and the fabric for another two.  I have done a couple of alterations and have more to do (mainly shortening summer clothes – I’m only 5’2″) and finally…

…. hopefully this week I will be able to show you the first two sections of my new blanket which I love so far and I am actually quite excited about! 🙂

Well, that’s all for now but have a great week and 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

My First Felted Picture!

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Well, I have finished the felted picture I was making for my Mum and I loved every minute of making it. This is one of those things that Abi has done, I have supervised Josh with but never done myself. I think I still have ever such a lot to learn and could improve a lot more but for a first attempt I am really happy with it.

I started by laying out a base layer of wool tops on top of some bubble wrap with a towel underneath.  I layered it up first in one direction and then the opposite direction.  For this base layer I used some natural wool – Herdwick – we had left from one of Abi’s college projects.  I would not use this again as a base layer as it had some very coarse white hairs in it and as I felted the piece these came through to the top.

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I had decided on a scene with hills, river and a rainbow so next I added the greens and blues for the background.

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I mixed colours together to get the shades I wanted by carding them with two dog brushes!

Then I added in a rainbow, (I have always loved rainbows, every time it rains when the sun is shining I rush to look for the rainbow.)

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and some poppies and wheat in the foreground.

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I covered it with dress net, wet it with soapy water and rubbed it with a scrunched up carrier bag to felt it.

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(Once it was more stable I used a car buffer to continue the felting process as my hands and shoulders won’t take too much vigorous work but I forgot to take a photo at that stage!)

I then rinsed and dried it.  At this point it was looking very flat.

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so I added some stitching detail

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and did some needle felting on it to give it more depth.

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lastly I added a Bible verse ‘He is faithful that promised’.  I chose this verse because the day Mum and Dad returned from their holiday last year there was a beautiful rainbow.  Five days later Dad passed away after having had a massive stroke.  In the Bible the rainbow is not only the sign of promise God gave to Noah but also an eternal promise to all his people and I have always felt that it was sent for Mum as a promise that God would be with her in all that was ahead.

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I would love to do another felted picture sometime soon.  It is so satisfying and easier than you would think.  I love the way that you can ‘paint’ a picture with fibres.

I hope you all have a lovely week.  I am hoping to have the first section of my new crochet blanket to show you 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

Birthday Makes Revealed!!

Well, the big day has come and gone and I can now show you what I have been frantically making the last couple of weeks!

Our gift to Abi was a sewing machine.  I had a sewing machine for my 18th and I wanted to be able to do the same for her, it will probably have to be instead of a family holiday but it will be worth it as it is a really useful gift that will hopefully last for many years.

So of course I had to make something to go with it, well two things actually.  A pretty cover for it and a quilted mat to go under it.

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I got the mat idea from one that a friend had made for my Mother-in-law.  It is basically a rectangle a little wider than the machine and about four times the depth.  The front hangs down and has a pocket for scissors, pen etc and also a pin cushion.

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Not the best image but it gives you the general idea.  I used my extra large yoyo maker for the pincushion.  I also put little yoyos on the machine cover to add a little something.   I hand quilted round some of the paisley on both the machine cover and the mat.

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I also wanted to do something a bit more special as it was her 18th so I printed onto fabric a photo Abi had taken of herself and added some stitching to the grasses and the boat and then added a verse at the top.

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Sorry, I forgot to take a photo before putting it into the frame and could only get this angle without reflections but the bible verse reads

‘For where your treasure is there will your heart be also.’

I always try to make the children’s cards and this year for Abi I decided to use some of my dear Dad’s bits he used to use in his watch making.

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An owl made with small watch movements, little screws and washers, a couple of some sort of dial for the eyes and a tiny watch for the necklace.

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Oh, and if you were wondering, the ‘bits sticking out of his head’ as Abi so eloquently put it when she asked, are actually supposed to be the numbers one and eight but they are rather close to the top of his head!

Abi loved her ‘Grandy’ so much that it was lovely to be able to use something of his to make her card.

The last make was this owl basket.

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I had seen a couple of owl baskets on Pinterest but they both had the ears as part of the eyes which I didn’t like, also one looked too tall to fit on Abi’s bedroom shelf and the other was only the head and would have been quite shallow. Quite a lot of frogging went on, especially with the ears but I eventually got it how I wanted it to look and I have jotted the pattern down.  For the yarn I made my own out of t-shirt following this great tutorial by Sheila at Sewchet.  Her tutorial is so much better than one I have used before and has plenty of pics to help. I think the pattern would work with any yarn as long as you worked on a smaller hook than recommended to make it work up firm.

Well, Abi loved all her makes and I am really glad that I took the time to do them. If anyone would like the pattern for either the owl or the sewing mat I can post it up here.

Have a great weekend and Happy Crafting!!

Sharon x

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

A Birthday Cake and a Picnic!

Well, the big birthday has been and gone and my little girl is now officially an adult!

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We had a lovely time on Saturday with family.  We met at a park for a picnic and the children had great fun playing rounders, football rounders, cricket etc.

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Then when it was time for the younger ones to go home to bed the older ones came round to our house where they sat out in our ‘garden room’ and played games, drank elderflower champagne and laughed a lot! It was a lovely time, much happiness and fun, I think that often the more simple things are the best. Family is very important to us and even more so since Dad passed away.

We took along Abi’s birthday cake, it stood 15″ tall.

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I had made it quite big by using two 8″ round cakes for the tree stump and part of an 8″ square cake for the owl, I was glad I did as people came back for seconds, thirds and even fourths but we still had enough to bring some back to enjoy this week. I used a new Madeira cake recipe and it was lovely, much moister than the one I usually use, it also has a chart for the quantities needed for various sizes of cake.

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The decorating was a bit rushed as I was very short of time.  We were helping my Mum move on the Friday, she has moved to a bungalow to be nearer to us children, it has always been hard going home to an empty house since Dad passed away but now she is near to all of us three children.  Then of course there were Abi’s pressies to finish!

I used this tutorial for the bark and I loved the way that turned out

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but I didn’t have the correct colours for the owl.  He also kept sagging, I lost count of how many times I had to stuff another lump of icing under one side of his body.

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His face is also a bit flat as  he nose dived a couple of times!

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I added small blue flowers as Abi loves blue and especially forget- me-nots, some ivy and a couple of butterflies.

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I had hoped for a more realistic looking owl but Abi loved it and that was the main thing.

She loved the bits I made her too, I hope to do a post about those 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

Elderflower Champagne Recipe.

Every year we pick Elderflowers to make champagne and usually the flowers are out just in time to make the champagne for Abi’s birthday and this year was no exception.

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Last year we bought a pink elderflower bush for our garden and this year we had several flowers enabling us to make one batch of pink and one of white champagne.

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Years ago my Mother-in-law used to make it and bottle it in glass bottles until one year the pressure got so great that the bottles shattered shredding the back of the sofa behind which she had placed them!!  The first year we were married we decided to use corked glass bottles and store them in the cupboard under the stairs but like Mum’s the pressure got too much and in the middle of the night we heard bangs as the corks flew off at pressure and hit the cupboard roof!  So now we reuse plastic squash or fizzy bottles.  This means that we can release the pressure every day and as it gets fizzier two or three times a day.  Interestingly the pink champagne was extremely fizzy within 24 hours whereas the white took a while longer.

So how do we make it?

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Elderflower Champagne

Ingredients

10-15 Elderflower heads

1lb (500g) sugar

2 Tablespoons of vinegar

2 lemons

5 pints of water  (1pint boiling and 4 pints cold)

Method

Put the sugar into a large bowl and pour on the one pint of boiling water and stir until the sugar is dissolved.

Squeeze the lemons and add the juice to the bowl.

Cut up the lemon rind and add to the bowl along with the vinegar.

Add the flowerheads and the 4 pints of cold water to the bowl, cover and leave to stand for 24 hours.

Strain and bottle remembering to release pressure daily or as often as needed.

Enjoy!!

One more thing to make you aware of is that this will get alcoholic.  Last year Abi picked a large bag full of elderflowers so we put at least 20 heads in each batch.  Rather stupidly we assumed that it just had been given the name champagne but wasn’t alcoholic, especially as no yeast etc is added.  Well, one Sunday last year Josh had rather greedily had five glasses of it and then complained of tummy ache.  I sent him to lie down where he promptly fell asleep for the whole afternoon.  Still I didn’t twig.  Abi went off for her first driving lesson the next day on three glasses of it, (incidentally her instructor commented on her good spacial awareness) but it wasn’t until later that day when I had some that I realised that it had become alcohlic as I react to alcohol.  Ooops!!  I  felt really bad about it at the time, I mean we do our best as parents to try to be responsible but we somehow ended up making nine year old Josh drunk and sending Abz for her first driving lesson on alcohol but we can laugh about it now!!  So just a warning be careful how much you drink at a time especially if you intend to drive!!

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

Apologies!!

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I recently had a comment from Wendy at the crafters apprentice where she told me that she could not reply to the comment I had made on her blog post because I am a no reply blogger and my email was not available.  After 6 months of blogging I had never realised that so many thanks Wendy for pointing it out!

I am so sorry if I have left you a comment and you wanted to reply but couldn’t.  It makes me feel as though I have  been rather rude to you all, even if it was unintentional.  Wendy had offered to help me if I emailed her but that pinged back so I did a bit of research of my own and found this great post and I have hopefully been able to rectify things.  Apparently there seems to a particular problem for wordpress users leaving comments on sites such as blogger.

I hope this may help some of you and apologies again if I have appeared rude by not having my email there for you to reply to me.

I hope you are having a great week,

Sharon xx

Wips and Ideas…

Things have been pretty busy round here with birthday preparations but I just wanted to pop by with a few pics of my wips.  Firstly my spinning.  I have started spinning my fourth lot of yarn and I am enjoying it as much as ever.  I have chosen these two colours.

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I have already spun these two, I spun a strip of the grey followed by a strip of blue until I had spun it all.

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I have now moved onto these two colours, navy and teal.

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When they are both finished I hope to ply the two yarns together to give a multi coloured effect.  It is rather slow going only doing a little at a time but with so much else on the go it doesn’t really worry me.

I am spinning it quite fine and I am really pleased with how even I am now managing to get the yarn.

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Here it is next to some no8 crochet thread.  I am hoping there will be enough this time for a lacey shawlette.

I have hardly touched my patchwork hexies lately but they are great to have nearby to do an odd one in a spare moment.

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I am nearly halfway through my monthly challenge makes for the children,

but I’m not sure what I shall be making for Me/the Home this month.

I have made the fronts of the cushions I am making with the leftover squares from my owl and flower granny blanket and have started on the backs.

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The embroidery on the aprons for the bunny/mice Pj cases is coming along little by little.  I have to do these in daylight as my eyes are no longer good enough to do detail stitching in the evenings 😦

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But all of this has been on the back burner this week as I have been busy making bits for Abi’s 18th.  There has been a bit of crochet, including a new pattern to share with you.  I have been busy with my machine on two other gifts and also added a little hand quilting and I have some embroidery not yet started.

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I have also been trying to finish the felted picture I am making for my Mum.  Here is a little peek at one of the beginning stages.

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Now for the ideas!  Well, I have so many ideas of things I would like to make so I will just tell you about the ones I am hoping to get on with in the next few weeks.

I would love to make some more project bags (now, why ever I would need more?!!).  I can’t see a pattern that is quite what I am looking for so I shall be combining one or two styles and attempting my own pattern.

I started my spiral blanket but after several rows it got frogged, I just wasn’t happy with it, I’m not sure why, I think it just seemed a bit flat. Here is what it looked like.

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So, when I couldn’t sleep one night I lay and thought of all sorts of blankets I have seen and nearly settled for another round ripple when I had a fantastic idea, or at least I absolutely love the idea!  This is where I tease you because I want to get a bit further with it before I show you but here is the tiniest peek.

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I know, not much of a clue there but I will try and show you more soon when I have the first trial bit done. It is something I have never seen done before for a crochet blanket but I am sure someone, somewhere, has done it already.

While I was planning in my crafty notebook I came across this note from Abi…

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It made me smile.  (Nunars is a nickname I somehow acquired in our courting days!)

My other idea is for a sewing/project book.  I have seen a couple recently but they don’t have quite what I am looking for so the creative brain cells will be getting another workout on a pattern for this one 🙂

Phew, well I must get going, I have a cake to ice, one gift not even started and three more to finish, not to mention Mum’s picture to finish!

What are you up to? Are you a little crazy like me with several wips or are you more organised and like to finish one thing at a time?

Happy Crafting!!

Sharon xx