22 August 2011

What Do I Do Now?

I didn't get around to posting last week.  I'm not surprised either, it was all such a flurry of activity.  It was birthday time for Little Miss you see, so there was much party preparation going on around here.

I decided to make a rainbow cake such as I have seen around and about on the internet:

Las Recetitas Rainbow Cake

So, I mixed, separated, coloured and baked, making much mess while I was at it

Using an assortment of my own and borrowed cake tins didn't help as I had all different circle sizes, but I stacked it high and trimmed as best I could

Then the decorating began.  As children tend not to be impressed by the subtleties of an all white glazed cake, I had the rather genius (to my mind at least) idea of using Smarties to decorate the outside, giving it a great rainbow effect on the outside too.

The light was not at it's best by the time I had finished but I was pretty pleased with my efforts!

In all the comotion of the party I almost forgot to get a picture of the insides.  All I managed was this rather feeble offering.  Still, I hope you can get the idea?  I was rather pleased with how the violet came out in the end.  I had to mix food colouring to make it and it looked rather drab and grey at one point, but I think I pulled it out of the bag!

So, what with cake making, party craft preparing, party game arranging and the party itself, I was pooped by the time the day of the actual birthday came around.  Into action again, with family visitors this time, more presents to open plus this time there was also a holiday to pack for.  Little Miss was to go off to the beach for a week with grandparents and the excitement (her's) and anxiety(mine) levels were running a little high!

But the weekend came, the bags got packed and off she went, with no fuss at all in the end, much to my relief.  Amazing what a Finding Nemo DVD can do to distract you from the hardship of leaving your parents for a whole week!

So what of this week?

Well, this week is very quiet.  Little Miss is now away on her holiday and I hardly know what to do with myself.  It's so strange not to have her here.

I shall have to try and keep myself busy, I have a few ideas how to occupy my time!
S x

12 August 2011

Second Time Around

So many things are better the second time around aren't they?

For example, I remember knitting when younger and how time consuming it seemed, how sloooowly the little completed portion grew.  As someone who has a Grandmother who has knit constantly during the whole of my life, I have dabbled with knitting many times during my childhood and my enduring memory for years was the amount of work that it took.

Going back to it now, in later life, my perspective has changed and I have finally gained the patience I need to see such a project through to conclusion and this time, finally, knitting (and crochet) have 'stuck' with me.

I have very similar memories of patchwork.  I remember staying at that same Grandmother's house one school holiday and she set me off on sewing together hexagons.  I don't think the project survived more than a day or two as I can clearly remember my utter incredulity of first having the tack the material round the paper and then having to sew yet again to attach them to each other!  The sheer levels of work and effort required blew my little, transient mind and I don't think I successfully completed much more than one hexagon flower.

And so, armed with this memory, I have been surfing around amongst the many wonderful quilting blogs out there in the ether, admiring blocks and fabrics and skill.  Of course, I have noticed a beautiful hexagon quilt here, a hexagon tutorial there and marvelled at these people's dedication in taking on such a humongous task.  Certainly, as lovely as these people's work was, it did not sway me to having a go at such labour intensive work!


As I mentioned before, when talking about my experience with the Japanese Flower Shawl somehow, these things permeate into your brain.  You see something, you like it but you don't want it.  The thing however is now in your head.  For a while it just sits there quietly, biding it's time.  But then, slowly at first, the idea starts to grow.  Before you know it you find not only do you like this thing, but now, amazingly, you have a burning desire to own/make/try the thing in question.  I get this all the time!

So, back to hexagons...

I still had no plans to try any patchwork at all when I stumbled across this, this and this rather brilliant set of tutorials by Lori Holt of Bee in my Bonnet (most excellent site, if you haven't come across it before).  I was looking for something else at the time, but I got reading and....

... Lori makes it all look and sound so easy, you see?  I got tempted.  I got sucked into thinking that maybe I could do it too.

So, off I set (without a special cutter) making a template hexagon for my fabric, paper hexagons to 'piece' with, finding suitable fabric to use and all in all, enjoying myself thoroughly!

I don't have anything finished to show you quite yet, but hopefully in the not too distant future there will be. 

I'm having great fun with patchwork on this second time around though.

S x

10 August 2011

Containing the Situation

If, out there in the big wide world, I do indeed have any regular 'Bleaders' (blog-readers -  yes, I went there and coined that one!)  And, if you haven't immediately been put off by being called a 'Bleader' and closed the page in disgust (and who could blame you?)  Then you might remember that I was recently having problems getting things all finalised and sighed off during these summer holidays.  Well, I'm pleased to say that my issues are at an end and I'm happily putting the last cherry on top of projects all over the place.

Today, I'm going to show all the various holding, containing and carrying types of thing that I've been working on, as there seems to be a few of them.

Firstly, a little while ago, I did come across this in a little local shop:

And as it seemed to me, that once spruced up and made to be a little more pretty, it might be just the thing for putting in this bit of something and that bob of something else and keeping it handy,  I decided to purchase it forthwith.   Of course I do not know how that delightful vintage sheet found it's way into the basket also, or how it followed me home, folded itself up neatly and sat itself on my craft room shelf.  It's a total mystery to me naturally!

I set to work on it's revamp quite quickly and in a day or too it was almost done.  Almost done, but not completely finished, that took another couple of weeks.  Finally though, I managed it and here it is as it looks now:

Much better I think, and the lovely vintage sheet knew what it was doing when it followed me home that day because it made a very pretty lining.

The reason it took so long to get this little project complete?

These little side ties is all it took.  I just ran out of time when I made the lining and then I kept forgetting.  I used elastic so they pull the sides in nicely and I like the cute bow, so I'm glad I managed it in the end.

For item number two, as seen at the very top of the page, I'm afraid you've have to forgive me, because once again I am going to sing the praises of the very worthy Lucy of Attic24 fame and rave on about her fabulous bag pattern that I've been meaning to make since the beginning of the year.

Things didn't start well when it took me two months to get the yarn I'd ordered.  Not that I blame the supplier, they were 'having issues' with Rico apparently.  Anyway, I was all excitement when it did arrive, in all it's glory:

In fact, it was so glorious I really couldn't bring myself to use it for a further good few months.  I had it hanging around the crafty corner looking fabulous so I could admire it, drink it in and get all excited by those wonderful colours.  Eventually, in time, came the day when I felt ready to move on from this stage and actually take off a ball band and (gasp) use some of it's cottony loveliness to make something!

The best thing about this fabulous bag, if you are, as I was, planning on lining it with fabric, is that you can leave all the ends hanging inside without bothering to sew them all in.  Oh the joy, the freedom, the exhilarating carefree feeling!

The yarn doesn't disappoint and made for a true burst of sunshine colour stripy happiness and very much suitable for carrying yarns and bits of hooky yumminess from here to there with comfort and ease!

The sticking point on this one was the lining.  It took me quite a few days of rumaging and umming and ahhing and 'I'm really not quite sure-ing' before I settled on the correct fabric and to be honest I wasn't completely convinced even then.  But, as I was blowed if I was going to be buying anything else especially for the job, I sewed away and as luck would have it, I'm very happy with the end result. 

A stripy inside for a stripy outside.  Appropriate.

It's the flowers that I like the best though.  That's the Lucy genius at work, the perfect finishing touch!

I did have something else to share, but as it has gotten to be late and my eyes are beginning to droop, I fear I'll have to save it for another day.  I'll try to make it soon though, as I have some eye candy for you to enjoy!

S x

04 August 2011

In the End, it's Flowers

My Brain works in a strange way you know.  I don't know if this story is familiar to you too but it's happened to me time and time again...

You've probably seen, as I have, these flowers popping up on many a blog recently.  I originally discovered them via the ever delightful Attic24 who also found inspiration in the international pages of blogland.  Delightful aren't they?

Well, here's what happened.  I saw them, I found them to be pretty, colourful and lovely.  Did I feel the urge to make them?  No.  Admire, yes.  Make myself, not so much...

Then I found the exact yarn that Lucy used, in my local John Lewis.  I saw it a few times, I stroked it a bit but did I buy it?  No....

...until about the fourth time I saw it that is.  I had absolutely no plan for it, but I brought it.  I'm not entirely sure why.

As I wound it from hanks to gloriously usable balls, I started thinking what on earth I would do with it.

Such luxurious yarn did deserve to be made into something to be worn, maybe a shrug or shawl but not a flower scarf.  As lovely as those wraps are I wanted to do something else, something original.

That flower granny motif did look very good in that yarn though, I thought to myself.  So, I'd find a different motif and make something similar but still different.  So I opened up my new Japanese Motif book and had a nice long browse amongst it's pages and spend a few pleasurable hours testing out patterns here and there.

Many, many variations.  But, the only one that I really liked, the only one I was really drawn to was...

of course... that same flower pattern I'd seen everywhere else.  Sometimes you just can't fight these things can you!

It turns out that same motif was in my book too and although I made a few little alterations to get the exact shape I wanted, basically the flower is much the same.   So much for me and my originality!

After that slow start and no intention to make one, I am now very happy with my Japanese Flower Scarf or Etole Fleurs if you prefer!

I'll have to wait for it to be a little cooler to wear it though.  It's surprisingly warming for such a holey creation.  It can stay looking beautiful and colourful on my mirror until I need it.

Lucy was right about another thing too, it's quite a hard thing to take a picture of.  And as usual, she had absolutely the best idea of how to display it.

A fab chair shot fits the bill nicely.  Although, I'm still a bit fan of the 'detail' shot!

So is it just me?  Have you ever ended up making/buying/loving something that originally you had no plans to?

S x
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