A surprise in the post

Craft | Tuesday June 8 2010 | 9:36 pm | Comments (3) | Tags: , , |

I had a lovely, unexpected surprise in the post today when I arrived home from work. A brown envelope was waiting for me which could have contained anything from a bill to some random advertising thing. However, it wasn’t anything as dull as that. It was a lovely treat… £25 of Hobbycraft vouchers!  Whoop Whoop!

The last time I was in my nearest store in Stockport it had had a facelift and they were having a draw to win gift vouchers to celebrate.  I duly filled in my details and forgot all about it.  You see, I never win anything!  I can’t say that any more can I!!

I’ve spent plenty money in Hobbycraft and other craft shops over the years so it’s great to get a bit of it back.  I think I may use my winnings to buy some lovely Amy Butler for Rowanyarn.  Last week I treated myself to 3 balls and haven’t decided what to do with them yet.  I might just pop back for some more and get enough to make myself a bag.  Yes, that sounds like a plan!


From Manchester to Bucharest

Blogging,Craft | Monday June 7 2010 | 5:29 pm | Comments (3) | Tags: , , , , |

Some things just take a long time to come to fruition and for Anca there was a long, long wait for her pincushion swap, but she sent me a very excited email this afternoon saying ‘My pincushion is here!’.

The first pincushion I made for the Fox’s Lane Pincushion Swap aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaages ago disappeared somewhere in the postal system and Anca, my swap partner and I were both really, really disappointed.  After exchanging several emails about where it could be I downloaded a claim / complaint form from the Royal Mail.  While it is possible to report it as missing, it is virtually impossible to claim for the lost contents.  They want receipts for everything: how is that possible for hand crafted items I made myself.  I’m not at all bothered about the money side of it, but the principle of that makes me more than a little gggrrrrrrrrrr!

Anyway, I couldn’t possibly leave Anca without a pincushion, so I made another one and I didn’t tell her I was sending it!  Sneaky huh??  I posted it ‘international signed for’ so it was receipted and tracked from door to door.  I wasn’t taking any chances this time!! 

I’ve already written up details of themaking the pincushion itself but now that I know the second pincushion has arrived safely in Bucharest I want to reveal all the details of my side of the swap.  I wrote up a post about 2 months ago in anticipation of the pincushion parcel arriving with details of all the little goodies I sent Anca and I still want to share those, despite them disappearing, so the rest of this post is from that original draft:

I was very excited when I first looked at Anca’s lovely website Happy hang around and started thinking of what I could make for her.  She has a coffee shop in Bucharest so I felt a donut pincushion was just perfect.  Coffee and donuts are a perfect combination in my opinion.

The other exciting thing about Anca is that she LOVES owls – more than I do I think.  Therefore, I just had to send her a few little owley things.  I found the pattern for lovely little owlets at Littlegreen and although this one I made has slightly squinty eyes I love its cute and homemade look.

I really enjoyed choosing and wrapping up the little parcels to send to Anca, a complete stranger apart from what I’d read on her website.  The knowledge that I was able to make and chose a few little bits and pieces as treats for a stranger was very exciting.

Anca also loves postcards and is part of a postcard exchange called Postcrossing.  I chose the best of a rather poor selection of postcards of Manchester to send.  Apart from Manchester United Football Club there aren’t really any particular landmarks that make Manchester instantly recognisable unless you already know the city, so I just chose one with pictures that seemed to be taken in this century.

To complete the package I got a few little owl stationery things to send too.  I love stationery so it was fun chosing them.

Many, many thanks to Kate at Fox’s Lane for organising this swap.  You can see some of the other gorgeous pincushions made for the swap in its Flickr group.  It’s been the first I’ve taken part in and I am sure it won’t be my last.  Maybe I’ll even organise one myself.  I have an idea of what I’d like to swap so let me know if you are interested and I’ll keep you posted.


The original whole swap package (sadly missing!):



Craft | Wednesday June 2 2010 | 7:33 pm | No Comments | Tags: , , , |

I’ve been after a new crochet project.  A big project.  Something to get my teeth into.  A blanket sized project to be precise.  And as if by magic Lucy at Attic 24 has started a granny stripe blanket hook-a-long just at the right time!  A lovely colourful yummy stripey granny stripe blanket!  Perfect!

The yarn is Stylecraft Special double knit which is 100% acrylic.  I’ve used similar before and it is a good practical, easy to work with yarn.  It’s also great value and comes in loads of colours!

So far I’ve made only a couple of minor changes from Lucy’s instructions.  I ordered a couple of slightly different shades of yarn, as I’m not keen on an awful lot of blue and there was a lot of blue in Lucy’s shade selection.  However, there were a couple of balls out of stock so I’m waiting for 4 to follow to complete the selection below:


I’m also using a 4.5mm hook.  I just wanted it to be a little thicker and bigger without having to add more stitches.  This will use a bit more yarn but I have a extra to start off with, when the remainder comes.

Look how much I’ve done so far…


Well, I only started this evening (and you can’t see from this picture that it’s actually about 2metres long)!!

There’s just one thing I don’t understand.  Why did I buy this bright orange yarn?  It doesn’t match, it wasn’t in the recipe and yes, it did look this shade on screen!  Words fail me!  Needless to say it won’t be going in the blanket but if you need any hi-vis crochet, give me a shout!


Now that I’ve got plenty of crochet to do, I’m away to get on with it!


She’s a star!

Craft | Monday May 31 2010 | 7:24 pm | 1 Comment | Tags: , , , |

I’ve just completed my first ever commission!  How exciting!  So I decided to make a little step by step guide for you to share it!

I was recently persuaded to take my stock box into work to show the girls what I make.  They were very complimentary about my bits and pieces and bought quite a few things which was really lovely.  I do find it hard taking money from people I know but as they said I can’t just give things away and I don’t charge over the odds for them.  I really just cover the costs of materials and not much more.

Anyway, my friend at work was telling me that it was her neice’s first birthday was coming up when I was showing her the little embroidered pillows I’d made.  She said she would love one with her neice’s name and stars on it, so I set to work.   Here’s how I did it…

What you need:

  • Felt – for main body plus different colours for decoration
  • Embroidery needle
  • Embroidery thread – matching and contrasting shades
  • Stuffing / wadding
  • Buttons – 2
  • Ribbon – 1.5 x width of cushion

What to do:

1.  Cut two pieces of felt to the finished size you want the cushion to be (this one was approx 15cm x 11cm)

2.  Cut a variety of stars in contrasting felt in different sizes

3.  Lightly mark the name / text on the front side of one piece of felt

4.  Using back stitch, embroider the letters in a contrasting colour (I separated the floss down to two threads) 

5.  Embroider one of the stars to the back of the cushion


6.  Place stars around the text until you are happy with the layout and colour placement

7.  Embroider the stars in place using a variety of stitches and colours of thread


8.  Join front to back with running stitch, adding ends of ribbon at top right and left corners between the two layers (don’t worry if ribbon isn’t very secure, you’ll fix that later)

9.  Fill with stuffing before joining final edge (you could add lavender at this stage too)


10.  Sew a little button to each corner where the ribbon is joined, making sure you go through all the layers including the ribbon.

11.  Hang up and enjoy!




The Well Travelled Owl

Craft | Monday May 10 2010 | 6:25 pm | 1 Comment | Tags: , |

Ooooh the cutest little owl arrived on my doormat at the weekend.  All the way from Idaho from Tracylea at Homegrown Insanity as part of the Foxs Lane pincushion swap.

He’s so cute – I love owls and I love colour so he’s just perfect.  (Yes, I do think he’s a ‘he’, don’t ask me how I know, I just do).  Tracylea makes lots and lots and lots of owls but this is her first pincushion so I am very privileged to have him.

After mailing him ages ago then him being returned to her, Tracylea was rather concerned that he wouldn’t make it this time again, but he has and I am very happy that he’s now found a safe home.  Big thanks to Tracylea for making him for me.

I emailed Tracylea to say he’d arrived and that it didn’t feel right to stick pins in him, but as she rightly pointed out he was made as a pincushion so he should be properly used.  As a result, I have now put him to good use.  Tracylea stuffed him with steelwool as she’d researched that as a good pincushion stuffing to keep pins sharp which is a great tip I haven’t heard of before.

Tracylea included some pieces of my favourite types of fabrics in my parcel too – cotton prints.  These may become lavender bags – my fave make of the mo!!

Now, all I need to do is work out why Anka’s pincushion hasn’t got to her yet – its now been a month since I posted it and I fear it may never arrive – and then this swap will be complete!

p.s. I just noticed when looking at the preview of this post that the owl’s colours match my website colours brilliantly!!!


What’s been going on?

Blogging,Craft | Sunday May 2 2010 | 11:33 am | No Comments | Tags: , , |

I’ve been having (and think I still am actually having) some very peculiar technical problems which have been preventing me posting much recently as every page is taking ages to load and trying to get images up is virtually impossible.  I think the live pages are fine for most people viewing my site, but behind the scenes it’s been grinding to a halt.

However, I’m persevering and now trying Firefox, which appears to be marginally quicker… so far!!

So what have you missed?

Lots and lots of making.  I’ve been doing lots of new things and some experimenting and looking forward to sharing details.

A craft fair which was very quiet in punter terms but still a great day as I just love the chit chat and meeting folk and hanging out with crafty types.

I’ve also been really inspired recently by a particular project I’ve been involved in which is going to include a whole new website.  This may sound mad given current techie issues but I’ll sort that out or use alterative services as necessary.  I’m not going to spill the beans yet as it needs a lot more work but I’ll give general details soon.

Lots of reading.  Since I’ve not been able to write much online I’ve been reading lots online and have found some great sites and great makes.  Lots of inspiration and ideas!

Here’s a taste of projects to come, now that I’m determined to battle the technical problems.  We’ll have coasters, necklaces, hair bands, flowers, bows, purses, lavender bags and bracelets.  I sure have been a busy bee!!  Oh, and there’s been a little owl twit twahoooooo!

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