Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Making for Someone Else

2014 was my year of selfish sewing. The year before I had been so busy making for others that I felt I didn’t get a really get a chance to try all the new sewing challenges and techniques I wanted. I felt I had become a little bit complacent about crafting in general. 2014 was a different year, I made selfish sewing a priority and crochet too for that matter. I even decided that Christmas I would give myself a break and not make everyone’s gifts. Having said all that I did make two Christmas gifts.

The first was for my sister. She had mentioned to me that she would love a crochet blanket, very bright, a real mixture of colours. Well challenge accepted! I have only ever made smaller crochet projects so this was going to be a big undertaking for me. I started it around Easter time and planned to work on it whenever I had some free time, a nice, relaxing, long term project, or so I thought.

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I underestimated how much time it would take and ended up frantically working on it every spare second I had towards the end! I used a simple granny square block but all the colour changing took a lot of time.

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I joined all the blocks with a cream colour which I think really lifts it and brings it all together.

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Confession time. I don’t have any good photos of it yet as it isn’t completely finished. I was a lazy muppet and didn’t finish the ends as I went so I had to give it to my sister unfinished and then take it back. I’m now still steadily working through all those ends. Worst. Job. Ever.

The only other handmade gift I made was a secret Santa pressie for the Sewing Club Christmas lunch. At sewing club this year we all agreed that the lead up to Christmas would be manic so it would be better for all of us to have a Christmas lunch in January. That way we would all have more time to make our secret Santa pressies and it would give us something to look forward to after all the Christmas excitement.

So a few weeks ago we all rocked up for lunch in our Christmas jumpers (well most of us anyway), my mum even bought us all crackers!

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We all put our handmade gifts into a bag then each took a turn to take one out, lucky dip style. I made this embroidery hoop craft storage which Emmie picked out.

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This was a nice little make for the new year and great for stash busting too. I found some crafty themed fabric in my stash, layered them up to and stitched straight lines at different intervals to make the pockets. I added a simple crochet layer to the embroidery hoop so it matched the fabrics and also so the wooden frame didn’t catch on it. I stretched the fabric layers over the hoop and tightened to secure it in place.

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To make sure the back stayed tidy and didn’t move I overlocked the edges of the fabric layers before putting them in the frame. Once I was happy with the fabric placement and the hoop was tightened I used my glue gun to stick the excess fabric to the inside of the frame. Handy hanging storage finished.

I pulled this cute little pincushion jar made by Annie out of the secret Santa lucky dip. You can never have too many pin cushions!

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My very clever friend Becca made this insanely cute purse, which my mum got.

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Rachel got these handy pattern weights that my mum made. How useful, I really must make some.

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I didn’t get a chance to photograph everyone else’s gifts but they were all equally as awesome. We all enjoyed a lovely lunch catching up and chatting about all things crafty.

New Year, New County, New Sewing Room

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a fabulous break and Father Christmas bought you everything you wished for.

My Christmas, well actually the whole of December was pretty insane. Monster no2 turned 3, 2 of our closest friends got married, oh and we moved house………..the weekend before Christmas. As I’m starting to write this I now understand why people were acting like I was insane on hearing our plans.

I’ve known my friend Jess since I was at uni, we met at our Saturday job and have been close friends since. A few years ago her and her lovely husband (eek!) Louie moved away for his work so the wedding meant a trip to Liverpool for us. I mean how perfect was that the week before Christmas, a cheeky trip to a beautiful city, maybe squeeze in a bit of shopping and then home in time for a big family Christmas at ours. Well that was my plan when we got our invite earlier in the year but then the beginning of November Sean came home and announced we were being relocated to Hampshire. Lucky girl you may think but here comes the best bit, we would be moving before Christmas. Now imagine me frantically driving backwards and forwards from Kent to Hampshire to find a house, school and nursery. Well I managed it but the only day we could move in was the day AFTER the wedding. So no shopping for me 🙁

Thanks to lots of help from my amazing mum, dad, sister and friend Sam I somehow managed to get us moved and to the wedding without any major catastrophes. We had a great time at the wedding, Jess looked amazing and I’m so glad we got to share such a special day with them.

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As a wedding present I made a pixelated heart quilt. All the patterned fabric used in the quilt top were “love” themed and for the back I used the last of my Ikea number print.

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After the wedding we had a few days to unpack and Christmasify (that’s a real word you know) the new house ready for our 5 guests arriving Christmas Eve and Christmas dinner for 11 of us Christmas Day.

My very hungry family
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A little Christmas Dinner
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The monsters and Aunty Frankie
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Just call her Rudolph
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Luckily I’d planned ahead when it came to making Christmas presents for everyone and just about managed to get everything finished before having to pack up all my sewing stuff for the move.

I made the monsters a Teepee. All the fabric is camping or outdoor themed and I used a fun black cobweb print for the tubes to hold the poles.
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My dad wanted something to keep his SatNav in, not overly exciting I know but it’s what he wanted. I went for this fun print that reminded me of The Two Ronnie’s.
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My mum loves anything nautical, the more anchors the better, so I chose a navy nautical print from Sevenberry for her quilted clutch. I also added a little zippered pocket inside which I lined with a bright pink and orange stripe fabric I had in my stash.
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I made both my Nan’s a set of pot holders each, one festive themed (an Alexander Henry print) and a scrappy one.
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For my sister I made a Crochet slouchy beanie. I used a Aran weight yarn so it was nice and chunky.
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These Dresden plate cushions were for Sean’s parents.
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I also made a few smaller gifts which I didn’t get a chance to photograph.

The best thing about the move for me was my sewing room. I finally have my own (very small) room, all to myself, just for me to fill with all my sewing goodies. Hopefully now the monsters are back at school and things are settling down I can start putting my room to good use and get sewing, I’ve got lots of crafty plans for 2014.

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I’ve been a busy bee

For a few weeks now I’ve hardly touched my sewing machine, which is seriously out of character for me. The allotment has been taking up a lot of my time but I’ve still managed to finish this EPP project I’ve had on the go for a while now.

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When I say finished I’m probably stretching the truth a bit, the top is done but that’s it. I just can’t really decide what to do with it? Don’t you get that, you see some fabric and just get the urge to make something with it, get so far then realise you don’t actually know what you want it to be. I’m slowly warming to the idea of a floor cushion? A table cloth? Oh I don’t know, it can just be hidden for a while and then I’ll decide later.

This year I’m trying really hard to plan ahead, so I’ve started planning gifts for the ‘C’ word (not the rude one, the one with the guy saying “Ho Ho Ho”). I’ve even finished one!!

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Ta Daa!

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I’m so pleased with it, I am really loving crochet and have found loads of projects to add to my to-do list. I found the pattern for this Beanie on Ravelry. It’s called the Urban Jungle Beanie and was really easy to follow and make,seriously if I can do it anyone can. I’m going to make myself one too. I’ll be honest I would of kept this one but the person it’s for has a much bigger head than me!

After this little lot my neglected machine got a lot of use this week. I was busy with a couple of custom orders for Etsy customers and getting teachers gifts done. Monster no1 is moving into year 1 so he and a few of his class mates each drew a portrait of their teacher and teaching assistant on fabric for me to sew into cushions. I opted for a plain cream for their works of art and a heart print for the back, it’s even got metallic gold hearts, as if that’s not the best?

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They’ll be giving the cushions to the teachers tomorrow so I’ll let you know what they thought soon.

Merry Christmas, Love Me

I’m thinking this is my last chance to write before the big day, from here on in me, Hubby and the monsters will be busy finishing making gifts, wrapping, baking, prepping veg and visiting friends and family. I love it all so much, not just receiving presents but giving them and the lead up to Santa’s visit.

I’m sorry I’ve been a bit quiet (again) but I have had a few Christmas fairs and orders to get done plus all the usual December planning to organise. I’m pleased to say I’ve only got two presents left to finish making but ALL the presents still to wrap! I’ve got all the food organised though, my final count is 12 for Christmas Day so we should have lots of fun. What do you do Christmas Day, have a houseful or escape to somewhere else?

Hubby, the boys and I took a day trip to Basel, Switzerland at the weekend to visit the Christmas Markets. We had a good day walking round the town, eating from the market stalls and listening to the brass band. We were a little shocked by how much rubbish there was in the town, but we didn’t let that spoil our day. Sean, the lovely man that he is, treated me to two tree decorations from the renowned shop of Johann Wanner. The shop was a treasure trove of all things Christmas, unfortunately there was no photography allowed in the shop so you will have to settle for photos of my purchases on my tree.

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I could have spent a fortune in there, but my budget didn’t meet my wish list and also glass doesn’t travel well on a flight with small children!

I can finally show you a few of my finished projects that I have had to keep secret.

Firstly Gina, my partner for the Handmade Gift Exchange organised by Craftaholics Anonymous received her gift yesterday.

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This is the second time I’ve joined this swap and I really enjoyed this swap again, I’ve made what I hope to be a great friend who I wouldn’t have had a chance to meet without the swap as she lives in Alaska. Gina has been great fun to get to know and I’m so pleased to hear she loves her gift. I can’t wait for mine to arrive either!

I made this large zip pouch for my friend and hairdresser, Lisa, for her birthday.
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I thought she could use it for all her scissors and combs for work.

This iPad case was a custom order, but I really wanted to keep it myself!
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This fun draught excluder, for the lovely Claire, owner and maker of Mummybird Pretties
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I’ve also had lots of bib orders and few tree decorations too!
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The rest of my projects have to stay secret for a little longer but I promise photos after the 25th.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

Now imagine me singing that in my most wonderful festive voice.

The monsters had their treat from pocket number 1 of their advent calendars this morning and I’m finally happy to embrace all the festive cheer I can! I LOVE Christmas but I like it to stay in December, each year the shops try and tempt us earlier and earlier, I don’t know about you but I think it makes it seem a little less special.

You might have noticed I’ve become a little quiet over the past few weeks both here, on twitter and Instagram, it’s not that I’m getting bored of you, I’m just busy at my sewing machine, a hive of activity, finishing orders, prep for Christmas stalls and finally making Christmas presents for my nearest and dearest. I’m also starting to plan Christmas Day. We have the whole family to us Christmas Day, it’s a squeeze but I that’s all part of the fun right?

Have you started planning your Christmas Day yet? At this rate I’ll still be doing the finishing touches as Ol’ Saint Nick is coming down the chimney, or in our case coming through the back door (we live in a flat but it’s ok he’s got a magic key)

Right enough chatter I’ve got work to do. Promise I will post lots of photos of my projects on the 26th or once I’m over the carnage of Christmas Day

It’s getting to that time of year

So Christmas is slowly creeping up on us, but if you’re like me Christmas shopping belongs in December, however there are a lot of very well prepared people out there who start a lot earlier in the year. This means the Christmas craft fairs start around now = my little sewing machine starts earning its keep! I’m doing my first Christmas stall this Saturday at Maidstone Musuem, 10 – 4, if you’re local come and say hello!

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I tend to work well under pressure, so am normally sewing right up to the night before but this time I’ve been really organised and I’m nearly all done. Everything is made and washed, price lists are printed, all I need to do is iron everything and do a quick mock up. I kinda like this feeling, I can spend the next few nights curled up on the sofa knowing I’m good to go Saturday morning.

How do you prefer to work, last minute scramble or all done with time to kill?

Another Month Gone

I can’t believe how quickly this month has gone! We’ve had a lot of change around here with Monster no1 finally starting school, but we seem settled in to the new routine. I’m really pleased he has settled in so quickly, although I’m not surprised, he is so confident and out going he easily makes friends (I don’t know where he gets it from??).

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Looking back its actually been pretty relaxed around here, we managed to spend a lot of time together as a family before my sister left for Spain, which has been really nice. We also had my mum and Sean’s birthdays which meant lots of cake and eating out, which can’t be bad can it!

Here’s my Photo a Day round up, I’m really pleased I managed to get a photo every day. Did you give it a go this month? How did you do?

Chantelle has put Octobers list up over on her blog (you can find it here) and I’ve put the list below too. I would love to know if you are joining in too so if you let me know in the comments below where you post your photos I will follow you.

On the sewing front I’ve had a few custom orders this month which is great as I need the distraction while I wait for my AMH bag pattern to arrive. Don’t forget I am happy to take custom orders so if you are after something special please email me or convo me on Etsy.

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I had strict instructions from Monster no1 last night to make him a new pencil case as his old cheapy one broke yesterday. Here’s what I came up with

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I’m a sucker for a bit of Summersville! I lined it with a bright red solid scrap I had and a matching red zip, job done.

Just before I go, I’ve listed some new items over in my Etsy shop, including a few Christmas Stockings and Advent Calendars, ready for you to peruse.

One Step Closer

Well we are back from camping and what an eventful few weeks it’s been. The night before we were supposed to be leaving Pluto decided to dislocate his knee on his “good” back leg, which meant an early trip to the vets the following morning and then a holiday destination change for Pluto. My lovely Mum let Pluto have a staycation at her house so that we could still have a few days away (Thank you Mummy!). Camping consisted of excited monsters shouting, lots of rain and lots of sausages. The monsters had a great time but unfortunately we had to come home a day early as Monster no1 was feeling ill. The tent was a success and we will definitely be going again, hopefully with Pluto.

Since being back I’ve managed to buckle down and finish my second quilt, Country Garden, for the exhibition. Both quilts are now photographed and washed so I just need to attach the sleeves. I’m really pleased with how Country Garden turned out. The bright green Polka dot back and pink Candy Stripe binding work really well with all the bright colours in the patchwork. This quilt is a 51″ square and will be for sale at the exhibition (a percentage of the sale goes to the Heart of Kent Hospice). If you are interested in purchasing this quilt please comment on this post or contact me using the form on the blog.

Country Garden £260Sold

It took me a long time to decide how I was going to quilt this, I spent quite a while just staring at it thinking (it takes a lot of effort you know!). I have always played it safe and worked with straight lines when quilting in the past but wanted to push myself and try something new so decided to go with a few curves. Also I really didn’t want to over quilt it; I thought it would end up looking too busy and spoil the floral top. In the end I settled for quilting a large, simple, line drawing of a flower. I drew the centre and first four petals and gradually built it up from there, I used a variegated green thread, I thought it would blend in well so that the design would only stand out in certain lights. I’m glad I tried something new, it was just want the quilt needed, don’t you think?

Are you going to the HOKH Maidstone Quilt Show? If you are let me know if you see my quilts (29 and 30), if you are entering the exhibition as well let me know as I would love to see your quilts too!

I feel like now these are done I have a quilt shaped hole in my life, I am going to spend the next day or two planning my next projects, I’ve got lots of things on my todo list and in the back of my mind a dirty “C” word keeps popping up – Yup CHRISTMAS. Has anyone else started thinking about Christmas makes yet? I can’t even begin to decide on which scrummy fabrics I want to play with, I do know Aneela Hoey’s Cherry Christmas will be on my list, you can get it now here at The Village Haberdashery!