Posts tagged ‘Craft’

August 12, 2013

Vintage Birthday Tea Party

So there is no stopping it, it seems that every year you do get a year older and this month I clocked up 30 years.  To celebrate I planned an afternoon tea party as I love a cream tea, cake, spending time with my friends and making things pretty.  I found this really cute little hall to hire locally as a venue.


Thankfully it was sunny enough for us to spill outside as it was dinky!


My sister and I made the cakes and decorations.  The colour scheme was aqua, peach and light pink to give a bit of a modern edge to the vintage theme.  We made tissue paper pompoms to add to balloons and fabric bunting.


A friend of mine hires out vintage china with all proceeds going to charity (Vintage Hope).  An amazing cause and a nice touch to the party.



I had a fab time both putting it together and celebrating.



Here are some more pics…

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January 18, 2013

Craft group update

Well we’ve be very busy in sewing/craft group recently sharing lots of ideas and skills, sewing and more. Here is a little round up…

Flower arranging
We had a great evening before Christmas making festive door hangings utilising Kate’s expertise on the subject. Using a potato(!), wire, festive off cuts and decorative accents we each made an arrangement that can be hung on the door.


This was a really fun evening and I think we were all happy with the results we got.


Sewing skills
We have a new member of the group, Sally, who worked as a seamstress and is keen to pass on her knowledge, yes please!! We’ve had a couple of sessions looking at clothes alterations and how to do piping on a cushion cover. It’s really nice to learn new techniques with good instruction. We are hoping that there will be more to come.

Sock monkeys
I recently came across Craft Hope on Facebook. They (based in America) seek to spread love and encouragement to those facing difficult times, through crafted gifts. I think this is a great idea, to know that someone has put in the time and effort to make something unique for you might be small in the face of the big issues in the world but it must be encouraging. It’s great that people are also willing to organise the collecting and distribution of these gifts and amazing how much response they get to their projects.

So the most recent project was to create soft toys for children affected by hurricane Sandy. I thought it would be good for us to get involved so we had a sock monkey making session. I’ve made many sock monkeys in the past (tutorial here) so led people thought the process. They are fairly easy and each one is unique with lots of character.


Our little clan of sock monkeys

They might not be the best of the lot that craft hope receive but I think they look fab. They are on their way to The States now.


Hopefully there will be many more evenings of making, sharing ideas and techniques and chatting over coffee and a needle and thread to come in 2013 x

December 2, 2012

Craft stall, mixed media etc update

So it’s been ages since my last post.  I’ve been up to a fair bit craft-wise although also busy with other stuff, this is a quick update/round up x

I had another go it making a mixed media canvas, trying out some new products and ideas.

grace mixed media canvas

With a three dimensional element this time.


I did another craft stall.

craft stall

Again it wasn’t a big seller but the table was reasonable and I enjoyed meeting the other stall holders.

craft stall

I made some of these sewing kit jars with pin cushion lids.  I think they’re really cute and good fun to put together.  I roughly followed the instructions from Martha Stewarts book.

sewing kit jar

And made some coordinating labels for them.

craft stall items

And I had a go at a Christmasy-themed digital media composition text thingy (not sure what you call it!).

So, in the words of the John Lewis snowmen (and a few others)…

make love your goal image

November 7, 2012

Creative Craft Corner

I recently started a textiles course which involves a bit of drawing, painting, sticking etc as well as sewing.  So I thought it would be handy to have a space set up for where I can have the bits and pieces I need handy and not have to put everything away at the end of every session.  I would love to have a craft room, but that would mean throwing my housemate out and that’s not conducive to funding further craft activities or maintaining human contact!  But I did have this corner in my lounge that wasn’t doing a great deal.

A quick trip to Ikea and a rummage in the cupboards later and I now have a little station to do my work at.

It’s quite a bright, cosy little corner now.  Not much to it; table and chair, lamp (Ikea), wire photo holder for inspiration pics (from somewhere in Bath ages ago), plant pots for brushes and bits and bobs and spice jars for smaller bits and bobs (both Ikea), space for some books including my collection of secondhand sewing/textiles books and the small wooden draw set (also from Ikea!).

The draws came in plain wood like this…

 But a couple of coats of white primer, some pretty serviettes and some matte Mod Podge later and they were transformed.  I’m really pleased with how they turned out.

I didn’t do the inside (or all of the sides and backs of the draws) but i did line with some pretty paper.


The rest of the stuff in my house had better beware, before you know it I might have everything covered in serviettes and Mod Podge!

June 26, 2012

Craft Stall #2

I had a second go at selling my wares last weekend.  It was another school fair and I wasn’t actually able to go but my two friends who I was sharing a table with very kindly agreed to take along my things.  All together our stuff looked pretty good from the photo.

I learnt from the last craft stall (read about it here) and made sure that I had some little things that appealed to the kids who didn’t have much money to spend.  And those were the things that went, hardly any of the bigger things sold.

I branched out into a bit of jewellery making and made some flower necklaces and hair slides that were very popular.

I also made some simple button hair clips, flower hair bands (no photos but based on this tutorial), and some more button hearts.

Details on some other makes to follow.

Oh and look…

… flowers from my garden!!

June 17, 2012

Using up the stash!

Well it feels like we’ve had the wettest, coldest and darkest June ever in the UK!  While I am disappointed that we can’t be out in the sun, having bbqs and enjoying the new grass in the garden, it does mean that I don’t mind staying in making.  My current aim: use up some of the stash!

This is my dresser. I got it in a much more orange pine state from a charity shop. I painted it white (many layers!) and changed the handles to make a cute place to keep my sewing stuff. In addition to the fat quarters you can see, the bottom cupboard is also full of fabric and other bits including ribbon, buttons and cotton.  My mission is to use some of it up.

I know from reading other people’s blogs that I’m not alone in accumulating significant amounts of fabric, and reassured when I see that other people have way more than I do.  I have a habit of buying things without a purpose, just because I like it and buying more than I need for projects and never getting round to using up the left overs.  So my aim is to make things that start to use up all of the bits and pieces that I have.

A top tip that I picked up from somewhere is to cut scraps of fabric into squares ready to use for patchwork rather than leaving them stashed away as scraps.  This makes it easy to create something like these patchwork cushions, particularly if your fabrics coordinate.

Left overs from this quilt

Left overs from a few projects

(the backs)

I also conquered the zip and made these little zip pouches using 5″x5″ squares (same size as in the cushions), bits of ribbon, and some calico that I had left over.  These were a bit fiddly but worked out ok.

And I made another baby blanket, again using 5″x5″ squares.  I love the colour combination on this one. I used some satin bias binding for the edges which makes it nice and tactile and fleece on the back for comfort.

Fabric purchased from the Festival of Quilts 2011 (must use these up before going again in August!)

Still plenty of material to go.  I’m going to struggle more with the bits that don’t seem to match anything.  I’m thinking maybe a scrappy quilt with lots of different colours.

April 21, 2012

Sock Monkey Tutorial

A few years ago someone taught me how to make sock monkeys so that we could do it as an activity on a summer youth camp.  Since then I’ve done them with various groups and friends and they always go down well so I thought I’d have a go at my first tutorial.  Here goes…

Disclaimer/excuses: I started writing this post a while ago waited until the weekend so that I could take nice photos in the daylight, but it was such a dull day when I took them that I still needed the flash so the images are less than perfect.  Also I had a few monkeys at various stages of completion so I have used them to demonstrate the steps and therefore the colour/pattern changes.  Hopefully it isn’t too confusing.


  • 1 pair of ladies ankle socks (patterns are good but they need to be able to work upside down, so spots and stripes but not hearts)
  • Toy stuffing
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Needle and coordinating thread

Step 1: Cut 1st sock

Put one sock aside and lay the other out as shown.

Cut 1: Cut along the full length of the top of the sock approximately 2cm from the edge.  (Ensure that you don’t cut through the heel part.)  This is the tail piece.

Cut 1: The Tail

Cut 2: Cut the heel piece out approximately 0.5cm from where it changes colour.  This is the snout.

Cut 2: The Snout

Cut 3: Cut the the ankle section in half lengthways to make two arms.

Cut 3: The Arms

Cut 4: With the remaining foot section cut off the toe and cut the remaining piece in half widthways.  These will be the ears.  The toe can be discarded.

Cut 4: The Ears

Put all of these pieces to one side being careful not to lose any.

Step 2: Cut 2nd sock

Take the second sock and arrange it so that it lays flat with the heel on the top.

Ensure top and bottom layers are even

Starting at the opening cut up the centre of the sock finishing approximately 2cm from the heel.

Stop 2cm from the heel

These are the legs.

Step 3: Turn inside out

Take each piece of sock and turn them inside out or put right sides together and pin ready to sew.

Tail, arms and ears pinned

Legs pinned

Step 4: Sew limbs and ears

Take both arm pieces and the tail.  Machine sew (or hand sew using back stitch) along the long edge and one short edge, rounding the corners (for second arm sew both long edges).  Reverse to secure stitches at either end.

Trim corners after sewing

Take the ear pieces and sew a ‘u’ shape in each piece to form the ear. Trim edges to follow stitches.

I roughly try to line up the stitching with the pattern

Sew each leg separately.  Begin roughly 1cm from the top to allow a gap for turning.

Pins indicate the start of stitching

Step 5: Turn out and stuff

Trim all corners and turn right side out.

Starting to look more like a monkey!!

Next stuff the body with the toy stuffing until it is firm but not stretched.  Ensure that there is enough stuffing at the top of the legs so they’re not too floppy.  Using slip stitch, sew up the gap between the legs.

Slip stitch across the opening a couple of times to close the gap securely

Use a little bit of stuffing at a time to stuff the limbs.  Using a pencil push the stuffing to the end.

All pieces stuffed and ready to attach!

Step 6: Attach Limbs

The tail, arms, and ears all then need to be attached using slip stitch.  I like to tuck the ends in as I go round to make it neater but it doesn’t really matter.  I tend to hold the part in position and sew round using fairly large stitches to begin with and then go round once or twice more with smaller stitched to firmly attach in the following places…

Tail in the centre at the bottom of the back. This helps him/her to sit up!

One arm on each side about half way up the body. Ears just below the toe section of the head.

The snout then needs to be attached.  To do this first pin it in place in the centre at the front so that the edges come just below the ears.

Then begin to sew from one corner tucking the raw edges in as you go.  If you have it use the colour change on the sock as a guide.

Again use slip stitch and remove the pins as you work round

When you have sewn three quarters of the way round stop and stuff the snout.  Then continue stitching until complete.

Insert stuffing

Step 7: Add Eyes

Finally add eyes using one or two buttons, special toy eyes or felt if you’re worried about small parts.  And your sock monkey is complete!…

You can make boy monkeys, girl monkeys and even baby monkeys using children’s socks.  These are very cute!

Baby monkey

So there we are, a step by step guide to making a sock monkey.  I hope it is useful.  If you have any questions or need clarification on anything just let me know.

Happy sock monkey making!!

January 16, 2012

Notice the transformation

Me and my housemate were up into the early hours of this morning.  Partying?  No.  Crafting? Yes!!  Inspired by the last photo in my previous post and some that a friend had made we decided to make fabric covered notice boards.  I was making one for my room (which currently has absolutely nothing on the walls) and Beth was making one for a friend.

Notice board before

I started out with an old, probably very cheap, cork board that I’ve had for ages.  With the intention of trying to use things up (bit of a new years resolution to deal with the fabric stash I’m accumulating) I used some batting that I had left over from quilt making, thick cotton fabric left over from some aprons I made and ribbon from my stash.  In order to get the colours I wanted I did add to the ribbon collection with a couple of lovely East of India spools.  I wanted the board to tie in with the colours of my quilt.

i.e. pinks and neutrals

I cut two layers of the batting (which was quite thin) to fit just inside the frame of the board to eliminate the level change.  Then I cut a layer of batting and a layer of fabric a couple of inches larger than the board all the way round, laid them out and smoothed them down and placed the board face down on top.  Pulling the fabric and batting round to the back I stabled both layers to the wooden frame.  Next I arranged my ribbons in different orders until I was happy with them and again stapled them to the back of the frame making sure they were straight and taught.  Et voila…

One notice board with a new lease of life.  I like the eclectic mix of ribbon colour and texture.  The notice holding power of the ribbon varies depending on how slippery they are and how lose the weave is (loser weaves don’t pull so tight).  I like the idea of using pegs to hold bits and pieces on as well.

My housemate took hers to an advanced level by adding pockets to the bottom; pretty and useful!

Two posts in a week, woohoo!  Next make… not sure yet.


December 17, 2011

Craft Stall

It’s been far too long since my last post, I forgot how busy things get in the lead up to Christmas (well that’s my excuse anyway!).   The big news in my crafting world recently is that, together with a couple of others from sewing group, I had my first experience of selling some of my makes  at a Christmas fair.  We each made what we could in the time available and, when we pooled our goods we had a table full which looked pretty good.

Craft Stall


My stuff is mostly on the right side of the picture.  I made sock monkeys, Christmas scented hearts, lavender scented hearts, baby blankets, tote bags, button hearts and some brooches.  This was complemented by Ayla’s bunting, needle cases and tea cup candles, and Susie’s vintage plate stands, fridge magnet pegs, notice boards and more candles, all of which were lovely.  The display was quite simple with a white tablecloth and some bunting and use of a cake stand to give it some height.  It all had a nice vintage feel too it and it all looked very pretty which attracted people over to have a look.

Originally we were going to have a table at a craft fair but unfortunately that fell through so we managed to book a space at a school Christmas fair instead.  As we expected this meant that our products weren’t really targeted at the right audience.  The kids were there to spend their 50p and the parents weren’t really planning to spend much so the larger, more expensive things didn’t go.

Christmas hearts and sock monkeys


Our aim was to each sell at least one thing and cover the £10 for the table and we did that in the first 20 mins or so which was a relief!  After the two hours we had each sold a few things, mainly the smaller things but also a cake stand so we were happy.  Overall it was a really useful experience.  Although people weren’t looking to spend much the feedback we had on our products was all really positive.  We also met some lovely ladies on the stalls next door who had much more experience than us and we were able to exchange ideas and tips on making and selling.  We are definitely up for doing it again, perhaps at  craft fair next time.

I’m afraid making has been rather slow since the stall, not much of a home made Christmas this year.  But I am always very excited to put up my tree which has some home made bits on it.

I'm loving red and white at Christmas at the moment



November 30, 2011

Presenting my third quilt!!

I introduced this quilt here.  I made it for my sister for her 30th birthday and it is now signed, sealed and delivered so here it is…

(I managed to catch a moment of sun to take some pictures!)

I was very happy with the final result.  I love the mix of colours against the grey solid background.  I think the fabrics stand out really wall in the simple design, which is why I chose the simple design, along with time constraints.  Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of the back (oops).

I quilted it with a simple stitch in the ditch along the horizontal joints.  I haven’t really experimented much with other quilting designs, maybe on the next one!

I love the tones and patterns of these fabrics

This is the third quilt that I’ve made.  The first one was for me, and the second for my mum which I haven’t posted yet but will do soon.

It’s make, make, make here as this weekend I’m having my first craft stall with some of the ladies from sewing group.  It is the first time any of us have tried to sell any of our makes so it will be interesting to see how it goes.  I will post with an update and photos of the fair.

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