Saturday, 27 April 2013

More Shrink Plastic Play

Thoroughly enjoying playing with shrink plastic. Here are my latest creations


There will definitely be more to's such fun


Thursday, 25 April 2013

#imapiece London Installation

I've blogged a few times about the #imapiece work being championed by the Craftivist Collective for Save The Children, read about them here and here.

An amazing 700 pieces have now been submitted, they were displayed today in Craft Central, London and I got to visit this evening after work, even the sun came out to celebrate the event.

It was inspirational to see and the messages were moving, I really stopped to think with a few of them

You can't walk a mile in their shoes...they have none

Live simply so the others can simply live

Crafters came out in force to support the event and after enlisting the help of crafters and Save the Children reps I managed to locate my piece here...

If you haven't had the opportunity to see all the handmade #imapiece jigsaw pieces together then there is still time, the installation will be continuing its tour so check out the Craftivist Collective site for more information.

And if you haven't made a piece yet, do it!

The work culminates in the G8 summit on hunger in June, Save the Children are holding an event in Hyde Park on 8th June where we can all show our support. For more info click here


Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Kit Review - Hooked Zpagetti Bag

Look what I've just made

As you know I'm a crochet addict. Over the past few years I've made blankets, necklaces, Christmas stockings and much much more. I spotted these kits in my local craft store and was intrigued.....


(picture from Google images)


The Hooked Zpagetti packaging was modern and funky, which is usually a good sign for me as it shouts that someone is taking care of the look and branding, it generally also means that the product is well thought through.

The the contents of the packaging were interesting....a lovely 10mm wooden crochet hook, some wooden (effect!) bag handles and 2 large cones of Zpagetti yarn-type-stuff.

The Zpagetti yarn was a stretchy, rolled cotton material, it looks like a t-shirt has been cut into long strips and rolled into a cone.


It had to be mine.....


A quick read through the instructions left me a little confused, the concept is simple but some of the wording was a little confusing. I think it may have been translated into English, but I got the general idea and the picture of the finished bag helped me understand what I was aiming for.

I took the plung and I was off, the chunky Zpagetti yarn and large hook meant this bag was created really quickly, I don't think it took me much more than 2 hours to complete the sides.

I was a little worried about the loose ends - how would I find a needle big enough to thread the chunky Zpagetti yarn through? But I found I could just use my fingers. Easy peasey. The handles are really easy to attach and you can personalise the bag however you choose.

I carry my life in my handbag so was a little worried about the Zpagetti yarn stretching and a lipstick escaping through the loops so whipped up a quick lining and hand stitched it around the top.


Really pleased with the results, I will be sporting my new bag to work tomorrow. I felt the Hooked Zpagetti kit was value for money and provided a quick return on your crafty-time investment, however, I was pleased I wasn't brand new to crochet as the instructions required a bit of interpretation.

There are a number if Hooked Zpagetti kits available if you fancy making a bag, alternatively you can buy the Zpagetti yarn on its own to make all sorts of home treats. The chunky nature of the Zpagetti yarn means it holds its shape, perfect for making baskets and other 3D objects. Think I might treat myself to another skein of Zpagetti yarn next time I'm in my local craft store so watch this space...


Friday, 19 April 2013

iPad Mini Case

I bought my cute iPad mini just before Christmas and have been carrying it around in a shoe bag since then. I've looked in a few shops for an iPad mini case but the are all either hard, boring or wouldn't fit the iPad mini and the Smart Cover. What to do?
I had a free evening this week so set too to make myself a simple envelope style iPad mini case.
I struggled to choose the fabric I wanted from my stash as there were too many options, oops, need some serious stash busting.
Decided on yellow and grey with batting and lining recycled from my destroyed quilt.

I made a simple sandwich of the 3 fabrics, quilting diagonal lines, folding over the outer edge and then hand stitching the sides together.

I got to use another function on my new sewing machine - button holes, yay (loving the new purrs)

So here is the finished article, my new iPad mini case. Ready to grace the table of various coffee shops and trains as it becomes an essential item in my hand bag, and when it gets a but grubby I can pop it in the washing machine, ah the joy of homemade and handmade

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

#imapiece mini quilt and art installation

You may remember my post about the #imapiece campaign by Save the Children which is being supported by the Craftivist Collective. Read them here and here.

Well I'm very excited to share that the art installation is doing a tour and is coming to London on Thursday 25th April. I'm urging my MP to visit the installation by sending her an #imapiece jigsaw mini quilt
Maybe I will get to meet my MP or one of her office at the evening. Anything we can do to support the cause in the work up to the hunger summit in June surely has to be good
Have you supported the #imapiece campaign?
Are you going to see the installation on its UK tour?

Friday, 12 April 2013

Part solving my UFO problem

I've been on a drive to finish some of my UFO projects since openly admitting to what was lurking under my craft desk here. The flurry of activity has kick started a couple of pieces but made me re-think others, there is a reason they are unfinished.


One such UFO is my big red, white and blue quilt.


I started this an age ago and it has a special place in my heart. My husband bought me a quilt book and the money to buy fabric for Christmas 2009 (yes you have read the right, 3 years ago!). Read about it here and here


It came on really well for my first quilt and I put the sandwich together in May 2010. But then I started the quilting. It didn't go well. The fabric seemed to move a few millimetres leaving puckers which I was unhappy with and the king-size bulk was just so huge to manipulate through the machine, my novice ambition was disheartened.


I love the fabric and the sentiment so was determind to finish this, BUT, as I've picked it up again

It isn't right

It's not perfect

I'm not proud of it

What to do?

I don't want to waste any more time or resources on the piece, so, I've cut it up. The fabric I can save will be used in other projects and the fabric I can't will be sent to fabric recycling to be made into house insulation so it's not really a waste.

It's been quite a learning experience I've learnt to -

Start small

Unpick as soon as it goes wrong

Don't be afraid to stop

Whilst its hard to take apart, at least it wont looking sorry and unfinished under my craft desk any more, that has to be a good thing.

Onwards and upwards, does this mean I can start something new now?

Have you admitted defeat on a large project?



Sunday, 7 April 2013

The Not-So-Secret Diary of Becca Lou Aged 34 1/2

I remember starting a journal when I was about 13. I don't know if this was in response to reading The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4, being a teenager or the fact my friends were doing it, but it seemed a good idea at the time. I guess most teens go through this

I have to admit that after struggling on and off for many years I gave up on the idea. I wasn't dedicated enough to write regularly, I really didn't see the point if no one was ever going to read it, and I simply didn't think my life was interesting enough to need documenting. I grew up and gave up. It was definitely the right decision for me.

But I've made a slight de-tour to this decision recently.

I stumbled upon Christie over at Grace Is Overrated. She has drawn a set of 50 journal template pages, they are full of fun pictures, thought provoking tasks and inspiring quotes.

I was most definitely interested

- This is journaling but not as we know it -

The pages offer escapism and day dreaming, not a detailed account of the days calorie intake and water cooler conversations. They are bliss to complete.

I've printed and bound the pages and keep it next to my bed for evenings when I need to wind down before sleep.

I've rediscovered colouring, it really shouldn't be saved for the young, it allows my hands to be occupied so my brain can wonder and its incredibly relaxing and it feels like I'm achieving something at the same time - win:win. And the pages are becoming a treasure trove of bright colours and thought

The little tasks are so simple but so incredibly clever "5 people who make you smile", but my relaxed mind then takes this I really spending enough time with these people? What about those I didn't put down, what is the reason? Do I need to think about those relationships? ...


I really don't want to be too deep here but wanted to share the gem over on Christie's blog.


I may not be about to become the new Adrian Mole but I'm certainly enjoying ending my day colouring and journaling once or twice a week



Saturday, 6 April 2013

My New Toy - Husqvarna Viking Opal 650

When I went to the Spring Knitting and Stitching Show in March I mentioned I made a few purchases....some fabric....some magazines.....A NEW SEWING MACHINE


Mine had been making funny noises for a little while,and whilst my parents did manage to stop the jamming it was over 10 years old and was good at the basics but did nothing special.


I went to the show with the intention of having a look. I'd done some research before going so had an idea of what I wanted and my budget. I wasn't certain I was going to buy though.


Anyway, towards the end of the day we spotted a sewing machine stand and went for a chat. They were selling Husqvarna Viking machines. Neither my friend or I had experience of these but strangely both our mothers had mentioned them as good machines in the past few weeks so we were definitely interested. The sales lady from The Sewing Rooms (Putney, London) was lovely but it was fatal for our wallets as soon as we both sat down to try them.

The machine did 80 stitches + alphabet, more than we will ever need but hey we loved the....and there was an offer......

So yes we both got one and got a few bonus bits thrown in for buying 2, yippee. It took a few days to arrive and the bonus treats took a bit longer, but it's all here now

Here it is - my new Husqvarna Viking Opal 650

So today is the first time I've really had a chance to have a play

It purrs when you stitch which is lovely. The only negative I've found so far is that it would appear you HAVE to use the Husqvarna Viking bobbins. So all those bobbins I have filled over the years are redundant. I suppose it isn't a bad negative really, just wish it had been in neon flashing lights at the beginning of the manual as I wasted an hour in YouTube trying to figure out what I was doing wrong as my bobbin kept bird nesting! Grrrrr!


I'm looking forward to practicing my freehand machine sewing, leaving that for another day... Too manymore stitches to try


Mum will be down in a few weeks and I know she will want to have a play...might have to check her bags when she leaves ;)





Tuesday, 2 April 2013

UFO Declaration

We all have a pile of projects which just need that last burst of energy to complete them. I know we are all the same as I keep spotting UnFinished Object posts on other blogs.

My pile is quite significant! It's not good. I've had some stern words with myself this morning and I am not allowed to start anything new until I start to finish some projects. This is a harsh reality of the state of my craft desk and (I hope) will spur on some energy to finish or ditch as I've got some lovely projects brewing in the back of my mind.


I've started well ditching a few projects including frogging an early attempt at knitting which didn't start well. It was part thrown in the textile recycling bin and part recovered to be used in another project


And here are some of the projects In my UFO pile at the moment

Ripple blanket - I've done 82 rows, reckon I'm about half way there, not ad seen as I only started in Jan/Feb

Zpagetti bag - loving the Hooked Zpagetti products so thought I'd give one of their bag kits a go - nearly completed



Mega stitched matt for the floor under my craft desk - about 1/3 complete


Quilt which was started years ago and I just need to finish quilting and bind

So no new projects for me until at least one of these is completed... Feeling exhilarated and deflated at the same time....although pleased I've shared this with you... Hi ho hi ho...