Sunday, 31 January 2010

New Phone Case

Following the production of the accidentally camoflauge phone case for R a couple of weeks ago I've finally got round to making a case for my own phone...

I used cotton rather than wool to make this slightly more hard wearing to cope with the battering its going to receive protecting my phone against the dangers of the inside of my hanbag. This is obviously a similar design to the messenger bag I created earlier this year....I'll be very matchy-matchy in the summer.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Busy busy tidying

Just had to show you yarn has been in carrier bags and piles in the corner of my living room...have just tidied it all up and I now have a small box with all my lovey cotton and the larger one with all my new wool....yippee...I love being organised.

Silver Jewellery Course - Class #2

Developing on the skills learnt last week we progressed to soldering at class on Thursday. I was a little nervous of this and had the beginning of flashdance passing through my head.....
Thankfully Liz (our tutor) didn't turn up the '80s tunes and pull out the face masks. No. What we were going to be doing was much less dangerous.
Like last week we started with a solid peice of silver, all shiny and straight....then having measured our fingers were had to cut this to the right length
Once cut......the silver had to be bent into a ring shape. Boy was this hard work, Liz did this in a matter of seconds on her demonstration peice the rest of us in the class spent about 40 minutes straining with various pillars, mallets and ring sticks until a round shape was achieved.
I was quite happy with this, honestly would have been happy to wear it, but we weren't finished yet....the blow torches and solder came out and off we went...
I was expecting some scary flame to be used but the tool was exactly the same as the blow torch I use on Creme Brulee...not scary at all...
So here is the almost finished article...

Don't worry this isn't finished yet.
The solder needs to be filed and maybe some bits touched up a little, and then of course I need to polish this to make it all shiny again.... so will show you the finished article next week

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Calling all Woolly Jumpers

Yes, you've guessed it, I've failed once more to find any potentially feltable jumpers in the raft of charity shops which fill one end of my high street. Following my previous attempts at this seemingly simple craft I have a better idea of what I'm looking for, I just can't find anything suitable....there just isn't any of this type of stock, it's all.....well how do I say this??? poor quality....never mind the woolly jumpers, where are the Jimmy Choo sandals and Hermes handbags you always see on tv when someone enters a charity shop? I'm seriously looking and I haven't seen anyone leaving the shops with a large bag and a smug grin....So either
a) the public aren't giving this stuff away, or
b) we just don't own pure wool jumpers any more

We've all seen the news reports and documentaries stating that The Devil Wears Primark i.e. Instead of investing in clothing which will last, we are all buying quick fashion fixes which either don't last, or we see as disposable due to the incredibly low prices (there are additional issues relating to the production of these items which I won't even consider mentioning for fear of being sued...)

Anyway... The point I was attempting to make (in a rather round-a-bout way) is that charity shops seem to be bursting at their poorly stitched seams with acrylic, polyester and any other man-made fabric you care to think of. This surely can't be good for the charity shop either...why buy Primark (or any other cheaper high street brand) which has been worn, stretched, shrunk and mis-shapen for £2-£3 when you can buy a similar brand new item from the other end of the high street for £5-£6...

Oops there I go again..rant over back on topic...

So basically what I'm trying to tell you is that I'm going to give up on my search for pure wool jumpers to felt and undertake Plan B

Yes I actually have a Plan B...

...I'm going to crochet or knit a square in pure wool and pop that in the washing machine in the hope that it felts and shrinks. The only problem is I have no idea how much shrinkage to expect...if I make a square 6" square will this come out 4" square or the size of a postage stamp??? I will have a go and report back

Watch this space...

Sunday, 24 January 2010

My Weekend in Pictures

So this was my weekend in pictures

:: there was flowers, lots of flowers, my house is brimming with red roses, tulips and lillies....

:: there was sewing...the front of my quilt is really taking shape...

:: there was chocolate brownie....yummy...

:: there was cosiness on the sofa with the latest fashion and home magazines

:: there was crochet..still behind on my granny-a-day challenge, oh well I'm only human and as we are told as kids "it's the taking part that counts"... I did crochet this lovely flower though, inspired by the beautiful flowers filling my house

:: all in all a good weekend

Friday, 22 January 2010

Weekend Craft List

I've been so busy this week, work has seriously woken up after the Christmas break and I have an intense 3 month project so might not be posting quite as regularly and I'm not having as much time at home to get on with my projects.

I'm really pleased to have no plans this weekend so am hoping to ...

- really get on with my quilt (and promise some photos)

- catch up with the challenge to create a granny a day....

Have a good one


Thursday, 21 January 2010

Silver Jewellery Course - Class #1

I'm on my way home from a great evening of learning the first stages of making silver jewellery, and I'm so proud to have my finger adorned with my very own handiwork as I type this to you.

The silver before I started playing with was all pretty and shiny I was tempted to leave it alone....

After blow torching....cooling......acid dunking the pretty silver to within an inch of its life it was apparently soft (felt like hard metal to me....but hey I'm the student...we got to choose a pattern to imprint on the metal...but which pattern to choose?

think it looks quite good really...

Almost there ... if anyone is wondering....yes bending metal is tough

And here it is... my chunky ring, loving it

There were 5 beginners in the class but thankfully Liz, our teacher, was patient and able to give us the attention we each needed. Think we have all gone home pretty chuffed, now I just need to plan an outfit for work tomorrow which will compliment and show off my new piece....

...and of course how to crowbar into conversations my ring and "oh like it? Oh I made this" hee hee hee
All suggestions welcome

Next week we are soldering...

Monday, 18 January 2010

A Granny A Day Update #1

I've kept up with the challenge, here are my first 4 squares

I've also started the quilt and as soon as the pile of 2.5" strips of fabric covering my dining room table start to look more like he end product I'll be sure to share it with you.

Friday, 15 January 2010

I've Accepted the Challenge...

I was doing my daily blog-surfing today with my new stash of yarn in mind and spotted the "A Granny A Day" challenge posted by Meet Me At Mikes and I simply couldnt resist.

So here we go - I should have a new blanket / cushion cover / or something very soon....

Here is Granny Square #1

Oh how that plan to only do one project at a time is failing...

A very successful lunch break

Well like I promised, I popped to the shops at lunch today to get supplies for the project idea which kept me up 'till the early hours this morning. I was pleased to see that the majority of the January sales madness had subsided and I was looking forward to a quick snatch-n-pay visit, I wasn't expecting to join the rugby-scrub surrounding what can only be described as a rather dingy bin marked 'Clearance'. But as soon as I spotted the contents it was elbows sharpened and take no prisoners.....rowan dk cotton and wool was reduced. Not all colours, but I've been wanting to start another granny square pile and I really like the pictures I've seen of mixed colours.

So here is a peak at what I got

What I acually went for is right at the bottom and will be revealled in good time....

Weekend Craft List

I have very high hopes for this weekend.....with no plans other than collecting the dry cleaning and stocking up on groceries for the week I should have some spare time to get on with my craftiness.

I've almost finished my second mini cross-stitch picture so

... hi-ho,hi-ho its off to-the-framer we go....

I'm really looking forward to getting these framed and, of course, finished. It always disappoints me when I have finished all my part of the work on a piece that I then have to wait for a framer to do his magic before the finished article is produced. Very excited about getting these new pictures back, I'll show you them when they are finished.

Having finished my bag and my cross-stitch means I can finally start on my quilt.....yippee!!! I had soooo many projects on the go last year that I had decided that I must finish one before starting the next....I had such wonderful intentions to focus only on one project, but I couldn't sleep last night because I was swarmed with ideas...

It happens about once a month I will just not be able to sleep, I'll be tossing and turning in bed annoying R. I eventually have to give-in, get up and sketch out the ideas which have been formulating before I can get to sleep. These are the hours when I get about 90% of my inspiration and ideas, I have most of them stored away to be completed at some point soon, if any of them are half as good as they look in my mind they will be fabulous.

There was one idea I was developing last night which I'm simply desperate to get fact I'm going to get the materials at lunch today so I can start this weekend ... so bang goes my good intentions to just have one thing on the go, I'm starting at least 2 new projects this weekend ...

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Messenger Bag

It is no secret amongst friends and family that I am quite a shoe and handbag addict.

I can actually remember my very first proper handbag, I was about 6 years old and it was a red leather envelope clutch bag from Miss Selfridge I think (I really must see if I still have that although I would imagine it is somewhat smaller than I remember). I have vivid memories of taking this beautiful red bag on Saturday morning shopping trips although I have absolutely no recollection what I was carrying in it…no doubt change I had dubiously acquired from my parents. I have continued to grow my collection over the years and am lucky lady to own beautiful individual pieces from all over the globe. As if this wasn’t enough for one lady - bags are not my only weakness…I believe I have a slight glitch in my DNA which means I am physically incapable of passing a shoe shop without popping in for a quick look, my Dad actually warned R in his speech at our wedding that this is a genetic illness from which my Mum has also been suffering for many years.

I live by the moto that - a girl can never have all the shoes and handbags she needs for every outfit and occasion!

My love of big bags and towering heels has seen me totter through my twenties always well dressed and stylish, however, since reaching 30 my body has started to battle back. I can no longer do marathon days and nights in my 4” stilettos and my back and neck are physically rejecting my beautiful large leather handbags, however I understand I am not alone in this pain, the American Chiropractic Association has done a study which proves my experience is not isolated, as if we couldn’t have predicted apparently carrying an additional 10% of your body weight on one shoulder and changing your centre of gravity in heels wont do your back any favours. Things need to change…..

I’ve been carefully monitoring the handbag industry for about 20 years as a customer and I believe we are about to see a big movement from…

impractical, and frankly comical, oversized bag the sleek cross-body messenger bag

... infinitely more practical - I am ready to embrace and lead this change, although I’m not about to give up my heels just yet ….

I challenged myself to make a summery messenger bag to brighten up the grey winter and have come up with this rather funky design……I’m loving the bright colours and asymmetrical design….come on sun so I can break this out…

This isn't quite a Mulberry Messenger, but I'm sure it will see me through many summer BBQs all the same

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Fashion dissection

As the UK has suffered antarctic-like temperatures recently my fellow residents have turned to all things woolly in an attempt to stay warm. We have been layering up the vests, jumpers and coats but I have been most interested in the hats, scarfs and gloves, in fact I have been struggling to focus on my book during my commute* 'cos I've been dissecting everyone's woollies.

I've seen everything recently from the more trendy slouch hats as sported by these ever fashionable ladies

to the less attractive and frankly crazy hats in rainbow colours and somewhat dubious styles.
Now I'm no fashion critic (although I do make a healthy contribution to the fashion industry each year) I have not been ogling these woollen-wonders to comment on the statement they are have actually found myself dissecting woollies on people's heads and hands to see how they are made.....
.....knitted or crocheted.....
.....wool or acrylic.....
.....handmade or machine made.....
I reached a particularly low point on the way home last night when I had established a lady's had was made using treble crochet was actually counting the stitches in the round in an attempt to figure out the pattern.
I have to laugh really - where will this obsession with the hook lead me???


* I've just started reading the Twilight Series so I'm desperately trying to concentrate - loving it

Friday, 8 January 2010

Shop window art

I was taking a walk through the shopping centre in Epsom yesterday, as the snow stopped me from getting to work again, when I spotted this in a shop window

It really caught my eye, I love the colour, shapes and symmetry. It just really appealled to me and I wanted to share this little peice of inspiration with you.

Hope you are having a great day

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

iPhone Case

When my mobile phone contract ended recently, there was no question what I would be getting, I have practically been counting down the days till I could get a shiny new iPhone.

However, i wonder if i am alone in my insane attempts to keep any new phone clean and scratch-free. It usually turns into a bit of an obsession, searching all the options on the high-street and online for the perfect case for my loved new gadget.

The problem is it's impossible to find the perfect case as they are all either

too bulky
too girlie
too boring
too loud
etc etc etc....

Well basically I fail everytime and end up with a scratched phone. This time I decided I wouldn't be beaten... I decided to make my own.

I bought this beautiful silk yarn a few weeks ago and thought the colours would make a nice sophisticated mix in a case.

Armed with my crochet hook i quickly wiped up a case which fitted snuggly without adding too much bulk, unfortunately the yarn has worked together into a camoflauge effect, not exactly the sophisticated "girl-about-town" look I was after so back to the yarn shop for me, but R is very pleased with his new phone case!!! And has 'helpfully' suggested some enhancments for the next version like a gap for the screen, he is over estimating my skill level somewhat here!!!!

Here's a sneaky peek at something else I'm working on, hoping it will take more shape soon

The snow has arrived

Wow... We'd been warned that the snow was coming and come it did. I've heard reports of 20cm in places, we've only about 6cm but it's enough to cause chaos and all the trains are cancelled

Can't get to work so day at home for me

Sunday, 3 January 2010

A lovely but unproductive break

This afternoon I've been putting away the Christmas decorations - boxing up the baubles, wrapping the delicates in tissue and quietly munching any of the chocolate decorations which by some strange luck have lasted this long. I've had just over a week off work as I finished on Christmas eve and am due back in the office tomorrow, I had such high hopes for this time;

- I was going to finish my 2 cross-stitch pictures

:: I actually managed to finish one and only make a start on the second

- I hoped to make a good start on another blanket

:: but actually managed only 3 squares I've only got about another 50 to go!!!!!

And I haven't even got the sewing machine out to start the quilt!

I really shouldn't be cross with myself about this progress but I have to admit I am, not because I haven't managed to achieve what I had hoped... No that wouldn't be fair.... I'm cross because once more I set an unrealistic goal. I've hardly been at home for the last 10 days as we've been visiting our nearest and dearest around the country so I've simply not had the time to sit and relax with my sewing or hooking.

I have also noticed a surprising amount of withdrawal symptoms from being away from my craftiness, I've literally been counting down to the afternoon when I knew all the tidying would be done and I could sit with a cup of tea and craft. I think we are all guilty of expecting too much from our time and uttering the classic phrase "if only there were a few more hours in the day......" oh wouldn't that be nice, but as days won't be growing longer than 24 hours anytime soon, and as once more we have failed to win the lottery so I'm back to work tomorrow I'm going to have to accept that I'm limited to evenings and weekend hobbying and progress will be slow :(

Well here's to a crafty and successful 2010, I've got some plans for this blog and my work which i'm looking forward to developing and sharing with you.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Quilt Fabric

Firstly Happy New Year to all.....Hope you had a good evening I certainly had a great night with some good friends....and best wishes for 2010

So, like a child with a new toy I was desperate to start quilting sooo I took my new quilting book and Christmas vouchers to the lovely local quilting shop this afternoon and had a long mooch round. I've decided to try the pattern below first, think this looks fairly beginner-friendly as there don't look to be too many scary stitches for me to measure and sew wrong. I'd love to have a go at one of the complex ones with lots of triangles but currently appreciate my novice skills so will be a little while before I'm attempting anything more complex than rectangles and squares.

So the the next challenge was to choose the colours. I was litterally in awe of the range of fabrics available. There was every shade and pattern type available from classic spots and stripes to cute teddies and even more modern abstracts in some alarming citrus shades.

I managed to take a brave step away from my comfort-zone of neutrals and purchased a rather patriotic red, white and blue jellyroll and some bright red for for the edging on the top. I'm sure this will brighten up any room.

I didn't choose the binding, stuffing or backing, I clearly had my "Beginner" badge on as the assistant assured me this would be more than enough to keep me busy for a while and I should head back in a few weeks to choose these fabrics.

I'm really excited to get started on this, so I'm looking forward to an evening of sewing bits of fabric together and pressing the seems (everyone tells me this is critical) very very soon.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone