Monthly challenge – September. Roses, Hand-spun yarn and Sewing.

How can it possibly be the end of another month already!  The time when I reveal my makes for the monthly challenge inspired by Jennifer.  I am really looking forward to showing you this month’s makes so here goes…

Firstly for my ‘Me/home’ make I decided to try to make something using the last bit of my handspun yarn left over from the shrug I made Abi last month.

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I needed a small project so I put the yarn quantity into Ravelry and chose this pattern to make a pair of fingerless mitts.

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I had to do them a little shorter than the pattern stated as I was worried about running out of yarn, I was glad I did as I had to finish the second mitt just a few stitches short.

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The long colour change has meant that the two gloves are noticeably different but I think they are still similar enough not to look too odd

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and it is so special to wear something that I have spun myself and I have been making good use of these already with the mornings being quite fresh as summer fades into autumn here in England.

The only downside with these is the jog that you get with crochet when you start a new row in the round.

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I think next time I shall work in a spiral.

I have also been busy sewing and when I made Josh’s stocking present for this month I did it factory style and used up all the fabric making it seven times as gifts for my nephews.

I have made seven reading cushions.

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I love this idea, I saw it on Pinterest and immediately thought of my book loving nephews.  It is just a simple cushion with a pocket on the front to store your book.

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I had meant to add a handle but didn’t remember until it was too late!

I have divided each pocket so that there is a small pocket with space for a torch, a mobile phone or maybe a tube of sweets and the large pocket for a book. The fabric is from a duvet I found in a charity shop and looked almost new.

I overlapped the fabric by about 8″ at the back and used Abi’s machine to sew some ‘boyish’ fancy stitching on the seams of the pocket and opening.

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Now Abi’s make I am really excited about.  It all started with a link to this site by one of you lovely ladies (sorry, my memory is failing me again and I can’t remember who!!). I was fascinated because it was so different…

…How to make beads from rose petals.  So I stripped my rose bushes

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measured them,

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added water, liquidized ,

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heated and then shaped them,

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threaded the pulpy balls onto a knitting needle and balanced them over a bowl to dry in the summer sun.

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The tutorial said they will shrink so I made the beads approx 1″ diameter and I was glad I did as after they had dried they had shrunk to 1/4 ” and dried a beautiful dark red-brown.

They dry really hard and sound as though they are wooden when I drop then onto the table.  They were a bit rough so I sanded them down and I love them so much.  They are supposed to keep their scent if you use highly scented roses but mine had very little scent.

I then decided to alternate the rose beads with wooden beads for a necklace for Abi.

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For a pendant I used a stone with a hole in it that I found at the beach.  (I collect these every time I see one for using as pendants.)

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I used cord to thread them and did a  sliding knot on each end so that the necklace can be adjusted.

I took some rather awkward selfies to try and give the effect of them on but my arms are just not long enough!

Here it is worn shorter

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and longer.

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With the last bead I made another necklace, this time with a shell for a pendant and the rose petal bead just above and wooden beads to compliment it.

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I was just so amazed at how hard the beads were considering that they had come from petals!  These were just so easy and fun to make and was well worth stripping my rose bushes for!

So another month is gone by and I need to get thinking about October makes.  How about you, have you started making Christmas gifts yet?  I hope you have a happy and creative week.

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

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My Sewing Case

This project has been at the back of my mind since the beginning of the year!  It started with just the idea to make some sort of a  case to hold a few essential sewing bits and bobs in.

The more I thought about it the more ideas I had that I wanted to include!  I gradually, mentally added more and more requirements to my case.

  • It had to be pretty fabric and I wanted to use a little bit of patchwork in the design, include some      embroidery.
  •  It needed to be washable as I intend it to be well used.
  • I wanted to incorporate a thread catcher.
  •  A pin cushion and a place for a couple crochet hooks were a must.
  • I wanted it to be just over A5 wide so that I could carry a downloaded pattern folded in half inside.
  • And somewhere for my little stork scissors.
  • Free standing and able to go over the arm of a chair

As the weeks went by I was gradually builting up a mental picture and then…

…Jenny from Elefantz did this amazing series of posts about the Regency ‘housewives’ or ‘hussif’ sewing cases the ladies used to carry around and I knew that when I had got everything sorted out in my head I would definitely run with this idea.

If you click here you can see the series of posts Jenny did called ‘The tale of a Hussif’, they contain so much information and history on the ‘hussif’ which makes fascinating reading and then there is the tutorial for her own beautiful hussif that she made with a pattern that you can purchase in her shop.

At this point I was really tempted to use Jenny’s tutorial, it is just so beautiful and so much easier than designing my own as by this time we were approaching the summer holidays and I knew my crafting time would drop right off through the summer. I so very nearly did but there were a couple of things on my list that had become a must in my mind, the thread catcher and being free standing in particular.

So, over the summer spare moments were grabbed here and there to design, wander the supermarket (more on that presently) and fabric shop – the best bit 🙂

Anyhow, after all of that waffling this is what I made.  I started with a patchwork for the main strip including a couple of pockets.

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It has four sections. I had to include thin strips of  fabric between the four sections to make the case deep enough to incorporate the depth of the thread catcher.  I wanted to stiffen it but still keep it washable so after looking at various pelmet stiffeners  I decided to laminate an A4 sheet of laminate with nothing in it, cut it in half and round the corners.  I then laminated these two sheets to create two thick plastic sheets. Here is when it is closed,

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and open…

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The covered elastic flips over to hold the case together but when you open the case out you bring sections one and two up and over in a upturned’ V’ and prop it against the thread catcher and pin cushion to create somewhere to hold a pattern while you are working.

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The thread catcher needed a quite a bit of thinking as the tutorial uses a Pringles tube which of course is not washable.  So this ended up as a supermarket hunt for a similar sized tub that was made of plastic that would not be brittle and crack!  I finally came across a tub of crispy onions made from a tough but squashy plastic,

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which conveniently proved to be almost the same size as a pringle tube!!  I cut out the bits I needed

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to make my washable thread catcher and it worked a treat.

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Next to the thread catcher is a little pincushion.  I used my large giant yo yo maker for this and topped it with a small yo yo and vintage button from my collection!

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I added a little heart with two pockets to hold my scissors and seam ripper, the idea came from Pinterest, here,

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and somewhere to store a couple of crochet hooks.

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somewhere for threads with a little vintage lace trim,

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and a little stitching to finish it off.

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So there you have it, my finished sewing case.  It is so useful to have the essentials neatly nearby and a lovely case for when I need to take bits with me. I loved every minute of my sewing case journey and I was pleased in the end that I had taken the time to design my own although I still have a little longing to one day use Jenny’s pattern 🙂

Happy Crafting and have a great week!!

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

Liebster Blog Award!

I was very touched when I realised that Jodie from Loopy Loops Blog had nominated me for a Liebster award, thanks Jodie. I would love to accept so, deep breath, here goes!!

I’m sure a lot of you already know about this award but for those of you who don’t I will give a brief summary. If you want to learn more you can read Jodie’s post here which explains it all very well.

This award has been going for some years and is a way to find new blogs and meet other bloggers.  It supports new and smaller blogs and is a great way of letting others know about your favourite blogs which is is just what I hope to do here.

I have to answer between 5 and 10 questions set by the nominee (Jodie) and then nominate my favourite blogs asking them a few questions, hopefully they do the same and so it grows.

Jodie slightly modified the rules allowing her nominees to choose between 5 and 10 questions from her list which is a lovely idea because if there is a question you really would rather not answer you can miss that one out!  🙂

So here are the questions I chose and here are my answers.

1. Why did you begin blogging?

Well, it all started when something I pinned on Pinterest was originally on a blog.  I loved their site and followed them on bloglovin.  (I wish I could remember who it was!)  From there I followed several other blogs and that was as far as it went for some time.  I then felt that there were so many people out there sharing all this creativity, often for free and I was giving nothing in return, so after some dithering I finally took the plunge in January this year to try and give a little back. I also felt that this would be a great way of documenting what I make.

2. What would you be doing if you weren’t blogging?

Crochet, sewing, embroidery, knitting, spinning etc, basically just more of what I blog about!!

3. May we take a look in your ‘hobby-room’ or craft area (preferably before you have tidied it up)? 😉

Hmmm, I was tempted to miss this one out as tidying the craft room is on my to do list but here it is in all its messy glory!!

On the worktop is my overlocker and Abi’s new machine, along with other bits and bobs.

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Behind the mannequin is our rather large fabric stash although in my defense I will say that well over half of it is recycled or gifted!

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but… it is crammed full and two layers deep!!

On the shelves are all sorts including my many jars of buttons, they fill the lower shelf across the whole width of the photo.  I have buttons from both Howard’s Gran and my Grandad’s collections here.

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Coming around the corner is what is supposed to be a clear area of worktop space but at the moment there are Christmas gifts in progress! On the far right hanging up is the Patchwork Abi made out of all her college bus tickets!

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And beyond that are lots of pens, pencils, brushes etc and lots of bits and bobs in the little drawers.

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Finally, underneath the worktop is crammed even more with bags of things to do, fabric, yarn etc even the red coolbox that is in here for storage is stuffed full !!!

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So that is our rather full creative space, I won’t show you in the cupboard under the stairs!!

4.  What makes you genuinely, truly, and really happy?

My Faith and my Family are what truly make me happy and anything creative not far behind.

5.  What else would you still really like to learn?

My next knitting goal after the socks is to learn how to do Fairisle.  I would also love to own a spinnning wheel and learn to spin using it, oh, and definitely stained glass too!

6.  What else do we still not know about you?

I love singing and playing the piano. I used to be really competitive, my health stops me doing a lot of things but I still have a little competitivity lurking underneath and it usually surfaces when we play ligretto. The children have inherited my competitive streak so board and card games are played very enthusiastically here!

7. Describe yourself in 3 words.

Enthusiastic, caring and empathetic. (I sometimes think I am too empathetic and take others problems onto myself too much but that is just who I am.)

8. What is, for you, an essential knitting and/or crochet tool?

This would definitely be my Pony Aluminium wool needles.  They have this great plastic loop instead of an eye so they are really easy to thread and the loop being flexible flattens when you pull it through so that you are not tugging and making your fingers sore.

I hope you enjoyed learning a little more about me.

I love so many of the blogs I follow but here are a few  that meet the criteria and that I have chosen to nominate for the award. Firstly I would say, please do not feel obliged to participate but I would love it if you do feel able to join in!

Allie – from Allie-oops Sweet Happy Life

Eleonora – from Coastal Crochet

Bekki – from Dartmoor Yarns 

Dory – from Homemade Crafts and Photos by Dory

Sheila – from Sewchet

Gillian – from Tales from a Happy House

Wendy – from The Crafter’s Apprentice

Tabitha – from The Sewing Nook

Jennifer – from Thistlebear

Chris – from UK City Crafter

Yarn, Books & Roses

There were some more but I thought I had better stop there!!

(I’m not too sure if I have the criteria right but these are people who WordPress say have less than 200/300 followers but there are some that come up saying they have 2 or 3 followers and I know that they have loads! So sorry if I have got it wrong!)

As an award winner you must:

  1. Acknowledge and accept the Liebster Award by leaving a comment on the blog where you were nominated.
  2. Copy and paste the Liebster Award medal (logo) onto your own blog.
  3. Link back to the blogger who awarded you and give thanks.
  4. Answer the questions put to you by the person who nominated you. This is a great way to get to know the people behind the blogs. The number of questions have vary from 5 to 11 depending on who is asking.
  5. On your blog nominate and link to your 5 favourite blogs (or more) that you enjoy but have a small readership (the rules have varied from less than 200 to less than 3000 readers). It could be that they have only been blogging for a short time or have a niche interest but are worthy of gaining more attention in the wider blogging world.  That means the blogs of large, commercial enterprises are not eligible for nomination; nor are blogs that are well publicised in a variety of media and established with tens of thousands of followers.
  6. List your questions for your Liebster Award nominees on your blog.
  7. Inform your nominees by leaving a comment on their blogs.

The Questions I would like you to answer are below.  Like Jodie did I am saying just choose 5 or more from the list below to answer.

  1.  What is your favourite crafting tool?
  2.  What is your favourite craft book
  3.  What is your all time favourite yarn, thread or silks.
  4.  Do you have a project that you have made time and time again?
  5.  Are you hoping to make gifts for Christmas this year and if so approximately how many?
  6.  What is your favourite handmade gift that you have received from somebody else?
  7.  Where do you get your best ideas?
  8.  Where do you sit to do your creating?  If possible could you share a photo?
  9.  Have your creative hobbies changed over the years or do you stick to the same ones?
  10. What do you store your wips and take out projects in?

Have fun answering the questions and I look forward to seeing your answers and also who you may nominate so I can add any other great blogs to my list of those I follow !! 🙂

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

Blankets…yes in the plural!!

I would have loved to join in Sandra’s blanket cal but having two of my own to do this winter I decided that I will just have to enjoy seeing all of yours!

I have begun the blanket for Josh’s bed.  In the summer I had planned to start it in September hoping to have it ready for his birthday in November.  Hmmm, ambitious I know and with all the Christmas pressie’s I am hoping to make, I have now decided that instead this will be a slow winter project.

I wanted it to be a ripple blanket of some description and have looked at so many pictures but nothing was quite what I was looking for.  Then I made my decision to be more creative (here), With that in mind I decided not to use a pattern but just ‘play’ until I managed to work out the wave that was just what I was looking for. So out came the ‘sample’ yarn. (my mistake online buy of Stylecraft (very) bright green that I used for my refugee teddy.)

I hooked, ripped back, experimented, made all sorts of wiggles

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and zig-zags.

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I learnt a lot about pattern repeats,

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how the increases and decreases affected the curve etc,

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and finally I settled on this as a gentle ocean wave.

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These are the yarns I have chosen, Hayfield Aran tweed with wool.

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I love the fleck in them.

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The only downside is that they are not very portable being 400g balls of Aran weight yarn but that is where the other blanket comes in, more about that in a moment but first, this is the start of it,

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and a closer look at the wave,

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what do you think?

My other blanket you have seen before and that is the patchwork quilt block blanket.  I still love this and the triangles are so relaxing to crochet. It is so portable as each block needs 16 triangles in each of two colours, so I just take along one ball and hook up as many as I can get done in that colour 🙂  I have just finished block three.

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And here are the others.

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I think things will be rather slow on the blanket front for the rest of this year as I get busy making gifts but hopefully in January I shall be able to really get going with them again.

Are you doing a blanket this winter?

Happy Hooking 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

Refugee Teddy!

Last week there was a post on the Crochet between worlds blog saying how Anne, who lives in the Dortmund area of Germany, had over 5000 refugees arrive over the last week in the town. Anne wanted to do something and came up with the idea of teddy bears for the children.  You can read all about it here. 

I knew to crochet a little bear wouldn’t take too long so in the interest of being more creative I decided to just grab a hook, some bright yarn (I’m using that green Bekki! *) and just create my own individual bear.  I jotted down a few notes so I shall try and get a pattern done for you at some point.

It started out looking rather alien like but as I progress he improved!

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I wanted to give him a fat tummy and floppy arms and legs.  I used a coral colour for the arms, legs, ears and snout and altogether I am rather pleased with how he turns out.  He certainly got my nieces approval over the weekend!

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I am sure Anne would love to have anyone else join in if you have a couple of hours to spare with your crochet hook to make a bear for a refugee child.

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I hope to be back soon with my latest make, until then …. Happy Crafting!!

*Bekki had made some knitting samples with some rather bright yellow yarn and I commented that I now knew what to do with the bright green yarn that I had ordered by mistake, I would use it for samples but I think this teddy is a much more fun way of using it 🙂

Have a great week,

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

I Honestly Really do Have a Brain… I Think!!!

Okay, right now I feel as though I am in some kind of weird blog dream!  I know that both the Lupus and Fibromyalgia make me really forgetful but there are times when I feel as though they make me completely Loopy.  Talking of being Loopy, there used to be a dear old gentleman at our chapel who always got the name Lupus wrong and used to ask me how my Loopy was, I am beginning to think he had the best name for it after all!

Well here goes and you can just see for yourselves just how ‘loopy’ I really am.

Most of you will know that I have been wittering on about wanting to eventually be good enough at knitting to make a pair of socks and if you read this post you will remember that in a comment I made on another blog I said that if ‘she’ crocheted a pair I would knit a pair!  Well, this lovely lady took me up on it a few weeks later but in the meantime I just could not remember who she was!  Suddenly a few days ago I got a lovely email from ‘Rainbow Junkie’ asking me if I had knitted my socks yet!  ‘Brilliant’ I thought, now I know who it was and I can change the post to link to her site rather than saying I didn’t know who I had challenged.  So, off I whizzed, edited the post and linked to her blog… or at least I thought I did until I got another lovely comment from DaniellaJoe’s Blog saying…

“I had totally forgotten about the challenge lol but I am on it :-)”

Feeling totally confused I went back to the post I had altered and stupidly I had linked to the wrong blog!!  So apologies all round, especially to Rainbow Junkie and Daniella Joe!

I am completely up for a sock challenge with any one of you, as you can probably tell 😉  I will knit a pair and if you are a sock knitter, how about crocheting a pair?!!  That is if you dare to have anything to do with such a noodlehead!

I am just off to cast on my first pair of knitted socks!!

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

‘To be More Creative’

There are so many gorgeous patterns out there, places like Pinterest and your blogs offer so many fantastic creative ideas, I have two large A4 ring binders stuffed with patterns I would like to make someday and a ridiculous amount of Pinterest boards with at least five dedicated solely to crochet!

So as you can see I have no shortage of things to make but then I read a couple of posts over recent weeks by the lovely Bekki of Creativity Cauldron.

In the first post that got me thinking Bekki looked back over her first six months of Blogging and what she had learnt.  Now I instantly pricked my ears up at this as I too had just reached 6 months of blogging. There were two of Bekki’s ten points that particularly resonated with me the first was…

I don’t spend enough time ‘playing’ with my creativity.

and the second …

To take a more experimental approach to my work.

I was being so inspired by everyone ‘around’ me in this online creative community that I was forgetting to be creative myself so then and there I resolved to be more creative.  Not a lot happened on this front over the hols other than a little stitchery but then this post by Bekki about experimenting and these points in particular really got me thinking about it again. (If you have a minute I would really recommend going over and reading these posts).

  • I don’t spend enough time ‘playing’ with my creativity.
  • I can take things far too seriously.
  • I need to take a more experimental approach.

I am loving this creative process so much, I am still getting so much inspiration from your blogs and patterns but I am trying to take these in my own direction and add my own individual touch to them. I do find it takes a bit lot longer as I am having to do all the hard background work myself but there is such a sense of achievement at the end. So here are my first two ‘experiments’.

The first was a stitchery inspired by the work of Jenny over at Elephanz.  I fell in love with her stitcheries some time ago and when I realised that my eldest niece was about to turn 21 I wanted to embroider her a verse from the Bible as a special extra gift and hopefully start a little tradition among my nieces and nephews (that will keep me busy over the coming years – my sister has 9 and my brother has just had number five, six weeks early while on holiday in Wales in their holiday cottage, they had to spend an extra two weeks down there as baby was in special care but home now and mother and baby doing well 🙂 ). Anyway, back to where I was about to embroider a verse for niece!   I looked at Jenny’s lovely patterns, she has some lovely free stitcheries with bible verses on but I felt I would like to use a verse that I felt I was to do just for her and I also remembered my resolution to be more creative and designed my own.

The verse I chose was ‘I will trust and not be afraid’.  The writing was the easy part as I taught myself calligraphy as a teen and love doing any fancy writing.  Then there was the inspiration for the border.  This came from a box Hubby got out when having a rummage our loft (that is about all you can do in our loft, with four of us in little two bedroom and me being a bit of a hoarder our loft is jam packed full)!!  It was a box with all those ‘sentimental’ bits from childhood in and among was this design I did when I was about 13.

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I took inspiration from this design and interpreted it in a style similar to Jenny’s and the result was this.

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It is worked mostly in back stitch with the occasional french knot.

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I spent a lot of time working on it while we were on our ‘holiday at home’!

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She was thrilled with it and I was so glad I had taken the time to make something special for her, she is such a dear kind and thoughtful girl.

My second creative attempt was for one of my cousins’ children, her youngest (well over 40 of them in all and counting, most of them local so we see a lot of them!). I digress again, sorry!!! Anyway, this little treasure has just gone into her own bedroom and it is all pretty and pink so I decided to crochet her some butterfly bunting.  I did my usual peruse of Pinterest but nothing really grabbed my attention, then remembering again my creativity endeavour (not sure where on earth all the big words are coming from today, not the usual me ;-)), I decided that I ought to just make up my own pattern and this is the result!

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and close up.

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I love it, I spent a lot of time going over the pattern and reworking it so they are all very slightly different but eventually I was satisfied and I was really pleased with the result.  I backed them onto felt to stiffen them, added some brads I had by to add a bit of interest and used doubled up yarn to join them together, what do you think?

I hope I haven’t bored you too much with all my waffling on!  What inspires you?  Do you like to design your own or use a pattern?

I hope you all have a great week and enjoy the sunshine if you have it in your little part of the world  at the moment 🙂

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