31 December 2012

My Handmade Year 2012

This year has surpassed my expectations in so many ways. This blog has done better than I ever hoped.  I joined Instagram, I opened a Facebook page (didn't see that one coming!) and I made my home prettier and crafty than ever before.

It's been a great year in fact, and here's a round up of my twelve crafty months.

(Oh, and if you see something you like and want to see more, click on the picture and you'll jump to that month's posts.  You'll be able to track down your favourites in a jiffy!)












I hope you enjoyed taking a look through the year with me and the very last thing to do is to thank all of you for your kind comments and fabulous support over the past year.

Thank you all!  

S x

24 December 2012

21 December 2012

Deck the Halls

There's one last thing I wanted to show you before the festivities begin.  Well, four last things actually, but as they are all the same sort of thing and I'm running out of time, I've decided to clump them all together into an end of the year grand finale type thing.

First up is my solution to a problem that's been bothering me for years.

Many moons ago, on a 'Sparkly Trip' I purchased a garland for my tree which consisted of a string of beads, coloured and shaped, so it appeared to me, to ressemble Jelly Beans.  Well, I have loved this garland very much ever since.  Loved it so much in fact I continually wish I could give myself a good kick in the pants for not getting more than one of the delicious things at the time.

I have hunted high and low for something like it ever since and drawn a blank.  It is only this year it occurred to me to make my own.  (Yes, I can be very dim.)  I sat in front of the trusty computer and was rewarded by finding some beads that were remarkably similar to what I required and I was ecstatic.

A couple of weekend's ago my Little Miss and I sat and spent a jolly hour or two stringing them up.  A happy and easy task for us children of all ages to enjoy, and now my Christmas tree is reaping the benefit.

I can't tell you how happy I am to see those little coloured beads hanging in a row.  Sigh... yes, very happy.

Next up are two little garlands that have been inspired by trips around Blogland this year.

I've seen lots of beautiful pom-pom garlands and lots of lovely red and white twine and a fair quota of adorable silver bells.  I decided I needed some of these objects of beauty in my home too.  Queue some more playing with Fimo.

That's what the little white stars are made of.  Easy peasy cut shapes and bake, a glue gun to add a button, some silver bells (from Ebay) and some bakers twine and a simple but very Christmassy garland was born.

Then, my laziness kicked in again because, despite owning those clever little knick knacks that make pom-pom making quick and easy I decided I wanted quicker and easier still.  I fancied a circle shape and didn't want to fork out a fortune for all the felted balls that I'd need to make a decent size garland.  So, crochet to the rescue!

I devised a little disc shape and a handy dandy method for linking them together and picking my favourite Christmas colours of the moment, I spent a few evenings hooking myself up this little beauty.

That mantle is getting a little crowded now isn't it.  I still love it though.

Fear not good people, we are almost there.  Only one thing left to share and it's as cute as a button.  

Those bits and pieces in the picture at the top are coming into play now.  You were no doubt wondering when I was going to mention them.  This garland, which you'll probably guess if you've been hanging around here very long, is inspired by the great, good and exceptional talented Amy of Nana Co.  (Yes, again.)  I love her, what can I say!

The Fimo makes a feature again here, that's what the hearts are made from, but I've also had some fun with felt.  Felt and fabric, buttons and sequins, what happy play things.  

I didn't really have an end result in mind when I started this one.  I just started trying things out and the plan formed as I played.  Looking back at Amy's glorious garland now, I'm happy to see I didn't copy it too shamelessly.  The candy canes are a complete lift of course, but I see I've also 'made it my own' as they say with the holly and gingerbread houses.

The hearts were a last minute addition when I came to thread everything up.  I'm glad I used them though, they seem to pull it all together somehow.  I can't take credit for thinking of it at the time but the red and white working with the candy canes I suppose is what does it.

Well, I hope you enjoyed my plethora of Christmas garlands and my 'Grand Finale' of festive creativity for the year.

Have a wonderful and joyful Christmas.

S x

19 December 2012

Biased about Bias

Before I start this post properly, I want to take a moment to say a huge great big thank you to you all.  You've given me such a Fabulous Facebook Welcome and I really appreciate it.  A wonderful 150 of you have popped in to smoosh my little button over there so far and you've really made me feel very chuffed and a bit on top of the world actually!


I ought to explain what these dancing gingerbread men and jolly candy canes are all about though, so we'll turn to them now.  These yummy sweet treats are  actually doing a very important job of concealing all the ugly wires and plugs that are necessary to make my Christmas Tree all sparkly and bright.  They are part of my new tree skirt you see.

It was one of those very 'touch and go' type projects.  There were times when I floundered around for ideas and times when I feared disaster.  There were many revisions and re-thinks, but in the end, I think I just about managed to salvage it.

I started with just the men and the canes, but then there was a huge expanse of red just didn't sit right at all, so I hummed and hawed a goodish bit until I had the Eureka moment of adding the inner circle of a different fabric.  Actually, it had been my original idea but I didn't really know the best way to go about sewing an inner and outer circle of fabric together without making a huge pickle of the thing.

The 'lightbulb' moment came when I had the idea of making a scalloped edge to ressemble... I don't know, snow, or icing maybe... then appliquéing it on.  After I'd thought of that I was much happier with the whole affair.  The applique isn't my bestest work either, but it will suffice.

The next big hurdle was the bias binding.  I'd not done it before, using just plain old binding for my quilts so far, so I was a bit anxious about it.  I knew how to make the stuff, it's just the sewing it on I was worried about.  What if it didn't curve enough to go round my circle?  What if it all wrinkled?  How was I going to keep to the curve neatly? I foresaw difficulties.

But research and the wonderful world of the web came to my rescue.  Half a dozen tutorials later, I felt ready and able to give it a shot and my goodness it worked!  It worked like an utter dream and delight.   I sewed away and it curved it's little heart out.

I particularly like how the seams in the binding aren't all stacked as they are all cut on the angle too.  Oh yes, I am totally converted to this slanted view of binding.  Already I am wondering what future projects I might be able to use it on... humm so many possibilites.  Don't you just love learning something new?

It was very pleasing to find something I could use some nice big buttons on too.  I have lots of buttons in different shapes and sizes, but I find the smaller ones are more useful generally.  These nice big shiny red ones were just the ticket here though.

Here it is look.  You can just about see it doing it's nifty business under the tree.  Looking rather precious actually.  It's a shame I've got to cover it up with all the presents.

S x

17 December 2012

It felt a bit wrong...

...but I've done it.

I've joined Facebook.  Well, sort of.

I've made a Cherry Heart page at any rate.

Maybe you love it or maybe you hate it?  I've kind of avoided it for a long, long time but for a quite a while now I've been wondering about the merits of it, from a bloggy point of view.

Then clever hubby said, 'You can just make a 'page' you know'.  I didn't know, he had to explain.  But once he had, I thought maybe that would be something I could do.

So if you love it and you're part of it, come push my button!

I'll hope to see you there.

S x

13 December 2012

Let it Snow!

I've been catching up today.  It's been a day of bits and bobs and ticking off lists.  A lot has been ticked off, I'm glad to say.  But then again, there's a lot that hasn't.

All these things either haven't been finished or haven't even been started yet.  Those teeny tiny baubles that I adore, I just discovered again today and I'd almost forgotten all about them.  What should they be I wonder? Then there's a bowl of fimo stars that were going to be a garland...

My candy canes and holly, which is almost done and then there's the decoupage Santas and angels haven't been touched.  Oh dear, I'm not sure it'll all be done somehow.  Maybe next year...

Anyway, let's talk of the finished things.  I had the idea for these flakes absolutely ages ago, probably in about May or something and I sat on it until the time was right.

I got some felted balls way back then and I decided they would look as cute as Rudolf's nose, if they were all strung up between snowflakes.

I made quite a few, so I have them hanging up all over.  On the mantle...

In the windows...

And from the walls...

Ooh, if you'll forgive me being very immodest for a moment, they do look every bit as good as I'd hoped.  How exciting!

I love the little felt balls and the colour they bring to the beautifully simple white flakes.  Quite delightful and especially nice with some twinkly lights in the back ground.

The devil is in the details, so for those who want the details:

Sorry, unknown.
I brought it from a fabric/yarn/haberdashery/bit of everything shop and they have no ball bands.  But basically it's just white crocheting cotton.

2.5 mm (USA: C)

Pattern links:
No point re-inventing the wheel when there are hundred of patterns to choose from.  These are the ones I used.
Snowflake 11
Snowflake Bookmark
Chain Loop Snowflake
Gardener's Snowflake
Snowflake 14
And a modified version of - Crocheted Snowflake

The felted balls are from Ebay
The hearts are made from Fimo

S x

11 December 2012

Ho Ho Ho Mats

I think I might have mentioned it here previously, but it is our turn to play Christmas Hosts this year and so I've been wanting to add a few crafty touches to proceedings.  This was my first plan, an individual placemat for one and all at the feast.  The design may look familiar to you if we read the same blogs, because the inspiration for this plan came from here.  Another absolute gem from my sewing idol, Amy.

I'm so glad to finally be able to show you them, they've been a bit of an epic task between you and me and I've been working on them through most of November.

Not that I haven't enjoyed it.  I have.  The first cutting of the Christmassy fabrics and the excitement of seeing those little squares come together.  Oh yes, much fun was had I assure you.  But making ten of them turned out to be a bit more work than I'd bargained for.  Still, I hope it'll be worth it and on the plus side, it's not like it's something I have to do again next time.

Truth be told, it was the embroidery that took the biggest chunk of time.  The accomplished embroiders amongst you would no doubt have been quicker at the work, but slow and steady is the moto of my novice hand.  I do very much love the result though.  Oh yes, those stitched letters do make me very happy.

And of course, everyone will have a different song snippet on their mat.  They can each choose their favourite or we can play 'name that tune'.  See, these are not just seasonal placemats, they are a source of festive entertainment too!

I  can't wait to use them on Christmas day, I hope everyone will like them.  Little Miss has already earmarked her favourite - 'He's making a list...' and secretly, I have my preference too, but I couldn't possibly say which.  The others would be jealous and it seems wrong to choose as so much effort and love has gone into each one.  They are all my favourites really.

S x

09 December 2012

It begins...

Is there such a thing as being too productive?  I'm thinking maybe there is because I've been crafting my little Christmas socks off and I've got creative whatnots on the go everywhere over here at the moment.  

If you do happen to see what I get up to on Instagram, you'll have seen lots of tasty snippets appearing that haven't yet got their moment in the bloggy limelight.  I'm beginning to wonder when I'm going to have time to post about it all but fear not, I shall find a way!  I can't wait to share and hopefully you will want to see.

Here's a little taster to get you started though, another little hat for my adorable niece.  I think every baby needs one at Christmas don't you?

S x

06 December 2012

Home truths

You remember when I did a little review of that book, Crochet Boutique?  Well, the thing that caught my eye most at that moment was a pair of lovely, cozy looking leg warmers.

I thought I'd hook myself up a pair so I dashed out to snap up some suitable yarn and got straight down to it.  I expected it to be rather dull as the pattern was very straight forward, but actually it grew really quickly and it only took me a couple of nights to have one leg complete.

But, being a two legged sort of personage, I needed another and duly started away on warmer number two.  I'd only got half way through this one, when I found that I was at the end of my yarn.

While I was waiting for the new ball to arrive I started trying on my one warmer.  It fit very nicely and looked good, I thought.  Until I tried it with my boots that is.

I am many things, dear Reader, but thin calved is not something I have ever been able to claim.  I wrestled and I whinged but there was no way that the boot zipper was going to hold in my legs, my jeans and a great chuck of wooly warmer.  Humpf.

It seemed like it was time to face up the the unpleasant reality that I really can't just wear whatever I like in the leg region.  I may love the look of boot toppers and leg warmers on other people, but that doesn't mean they suit me.  I have the same problem with hats.  I love them, they do not love me.

Oh well, c'est le vie.

It turned out though, that if I only tucked about half of them into my boots, I could still get the 'boot topper' look and just about manage to crowbar the zipper closed.  So, I quickly whipped out  stitches until I was left with a shortened version and tried the boot test again.  Success!

I used the yarn I'd saved on warmer number one to complete warmer number two and before I knew it, there I was all ready with a ta-dah.  Ok, so they are not quite so snugly and warm in my boots as the full length one was and they are not quite so nice and long to wear on their ownsome, but I think I can just about get away with it.

Ha ha, fat calves, I think you'll find I won this time!

S x

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