The beauty of crafts

Last summer I picked up an embroidered picture from a little bric-a-brac stall at a local craft fair. It hangs on the wall outside our bathroom and I look at it many times everyday. It’s a lovely garden scene with a path leading through beautiful floral borders and a bird table alongside, all set off in a lovely antique gold style frame.

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I often look at it and wonder who the lady was that created it? Where did she live? Did she have a family? She must have spent many hours working on it.

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I love the detail of the flowers and it really makes me smile to look at it. The dark blue flowers on the right are my favourite. I wonder what variety they are? I don’t really know a lot about gardening yet but I’m inspired to learn.

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And these delicate pink flowers, so detailed.

I wonder if she ever thought someone else would get so much enjoyment from it when she made it? Don’t you think it’s a wonderful testament to the fact that we all put so much time and love into our craft projects that they might get a second lease of life and be enjoyed in this way? The beauty and longevity of crafts. It really gives me a warm glow inside to think about this, don’t you agree?

Do you have any little gems in your collection that you’ve found or inherited? I’d love to hear about them. It would be lovely to know you’ve stopped by…

Sarah x

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Ripply ramblings

Hello lovely readers. I hope you are well. In my last post I mentioned how it was coming up to my birthday and that I was going to be really busy but would try to make sure I kept up with my blog posts. Well clearly I failed and three weeks have passed. I did have a great birthday though! I’ve just realised that I think it has got to a point where I was putting off writing a post because I felt like I ought to be catching you up with everything that I’ve been doing in the meantime and that felt like a big task. Then I realised that the whole point of writing this blog was to write for fun and to share the things I enjoy making and so to stress about it is ridiculous and I should just sit down and write!

So here we are. It somehow got to nearly the end of February! The seemingly endless rain has seemingly started to run out of steam and I’m almost driving to and from work in day light again, all of which add up to a pretty cheery mood really. Work has been pretty stressful the last couple of weeks so I’ve been so grateful to have a house full of colourful flowers to come home to after my birthday and Valentines day and they have helped to keep me smiling! Would you like to see? The lighting in these photos is awful so please forgive me – blame spontaneity!

I also have a ton of crafty projects on the go at the moment and that always gives me something exciting to come home to.

This lovely pile of chunky baby yarn…

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… is slowly turning into a baby blanket…

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… inspired by Lucy at Attic 24 and her lovely crochet ripple blankets. I wish I had the budget for all that lovely Cashmerino yarn she uses!

And here’s me playing around with the colours for the blanket on top of my foxy footstool, a pile of crochet squares and the front of a cushion cover they became…

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…and a pile of fat quarters I loved the look of but haven’t decided what to make them into yet! I got my sewing machine back from the servicing man last week and am determined to make more use of it although I keep procrastinating about a couple of projects I have in mind. I’m not that confident a sewer yet so I just need an evening when I’m in the mood to have a go and I’m going to sew up a storm – I’ll let you know how it all goes! And how exciting is it that the Great British Sewing Bee is back! Perfect timing to help get me motivated… Are you watching it?

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading!

Re-covered footstool

Well it’s been a very busy week this week and there’s been little time for crafting. I’ve done some work on my crochet skirt (from Love Crochet Autumn 2013, pictures to follow) and last weekend I finished my patchwork blanket that is now my header picture! Now that was a long project – its taken a whole year to do and may not even be completely finished now – I’m still thinking of putting a border on it at some point!

So after two long ongoing projects, today I felt inspired to do a project that I could start and finish on a day. An afternoon in fact!

I’ve had the materials for this project for a while now but haven’t gotten around to actually doing it. My mum gave me a footstool she no longer uses that used to belong to her uncle Jack, my great uncle Jack, so it’s pretty old. I remember mum re-covering it once when I was a child. It was now in a pretty poor state – stained, tatty, and the foam had pretty much perished. If you’ve read my blog before you may remember me mentioning some fabric I bought with foxes on (Scion’s Mr Fox). My family name is Fox as you may have guessed from the name of my blog! So I’m always drawn to foxy things, and there’s so much of it around at the moment – it’s great! I had a couple of things in mind for the fabric – the footstool and a cushion. It is a bit awkward as the print on the fabric is so big but I’m pretty pleased with how my footstool had turned out…
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I’ve never done anything like this before and had to admit I pretty much made it up as I went along and not at all perfect but I’m still really happy with it! No step by step pictures this time I’m afraid as I was so determined to get it done quite quickly. It’s a simple process I suppose although it was a little tricky in parts and my staple gun broke half way through so it was a good job I had plenty of upholstery tacks!

Getting all the old covering and foam off it was a bit tricky as it was very old. I’d bought a big piece of foam which I cut to size with a hack saw – definitely not the best tool to use but all I had to hand. Then I covered this with some wadding and stapled it in place. Then I had to cut out my fabric with the design in the centre which was a bit scary as I didn’t want to get it wrong – I only have a metre of fabric. Then I machine stitched around the edge to prevent fraying. I put the fabric over the stool, wrong side facing, and pinned the corners. I straight-stiched these to make the shape of the cushion and cut off the excess fabric from the corners, oversewing the edges again.

Then I just had to tack it in place and add my edging. Thinking I was nearly finished I was a bit gutted to realise that because my pom pom edging was so narrow it didn’t cover up all the staples and tacks and the edge of the fabric as I’d wanted. Luckily I found some black grossgrain ribbon in my stash and attached that first then tacked on the pom pom edging on top. As I said before it really isn’t perfect but it’s just for me and in really proud of it so it doesn’t matter! I’d love to hear what you think of it though, and if it’s inspired you to have a go, or even any tips for me in case I ever end up doing something similar again!

Next week is due to be a busy one as it’s my birthday on Wednesday but hopefully I’ll get chance to do some crafting, or maybe even some baking…

Thanks for reading!

Too many WIP’s!

At work yesterday one of my colleagues asked if I could make her some little crochet woodland characters for her child’s bedroom. I’d love to help but I explained I’ve got so much on at the moment that it might take me a while (plus, no patterns in my collection immediately sprang to mind). Later, she asked what I was working on? When I started to reel off a list I realised that I might have to start finishing some projects before I start any new ones…

Crochet butterfly motifs to decorate home-made cushion,
needlepoint cushion, (plus I need to make up the matching one I made last year)
knitted/crochet patchwork blanket (now a whole year in the making),
tea cosy, toaster cover and food mixer cover to match kitchen blind,
re-cover old footstool in fabric with a fox on (and a cushion to match),
crochet skirt that I have just received the yarn I’d ordered for…

and this morning I had an idea for a crochet cushion in country-inspired yarn/colours…

and a pair of socks I started last night!

So much crafting, so little time! There seemed to be even more when I was talking through them. I just can’t seem to help myself at the moment – all I want to do is crafts and I’m forever having more ideas for things I’d like to do and I feel like I have to seize the moment or it might just stay an idea! Maybe I should try to get better at drawing and start sketching my project ideas? That way I’d get them out of my head (it seems very cluttered in there at the moment) and into a book or something so I could come back to the idea later and remember the details rather than constantly starting new things? Or maybe I just like to have lots going on so I can choose what I feel like doing that day…?

Would you like to see a few of my wips/recent FO’s?

Image My hat that was the first think I’d knitted on a circular needle

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Christmas bunting I made at a sewing workshop

ImageMy part-finished blanket and a selection of as yet un-joined squares (bit of a rubbish picture, sorry)

Image My first “sockette”

Image A little amigurumi fox toy for a friend from work who’s having a baby

Image Handle covers for my boyfriend’s ugly old drinks cabinet

Image And here’s the fox fabric I bought for a cushion and footstool.

I think that’s enough for now… I’d better go and get on with something!

A taste of things to come

It’s been great to see that people enjoyed my first post. I thought my next one should be a little taster of some of the other projects I like to do, as I’m generally into doing anything creative!

The first is this present that I made for my parents’ wedding anniversary. 

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I put the design together from various motifs in Jo Verso’s cross stitch books.  Despite having these books for years (probably over a decade, eek), I’d never actually done that before but I really enjoyed the process. I adapted the colours to match the clothes my parents’ had worn on their big day, and their hair colour etc.  I already had loads of colours left over from other cross stitch projects I’ve done over the years, so it was just a case of selecting the right ones.  The whole process for this one was really enjoyable – as was the reaction from Mum and Dad when they saw it!

The next few pictures show how much much my crochet skills have improved this year. I taught myself to crochet from books last winter and am loving it. Though I’ve always enjoyed knitting I’d been itching to learn to crochet for ages and finally bit the bullet. My favourite things about crocheting are that the projects seem to grow more quickly than knitting does and it’s also so versatile. Here is my tablet cover that I knocked up on the morning of my birthday to protect my brand new present!

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It is basically just a long piece of double crochet that I joined up at the sides with single crochet. Then I started this project from Crochet Today magazine.  It was designed to be a basket for a bicycle but as I don’t have one of those I thought it’d make a great craft bag, so I made some longer handles to put on it. It was made from oddments of yarn that I had in my stash so all I had to buy was the plastic canvas to line it and the cotton to sew that to the crochet pieces. I must admit this took some time and I would tend to make a section and then leave it for a while. I probably started this last winter and have only recently finished it but I’m so pleased with the result! I also had to learn the difference between British and American crochet terminology as I discovered that the stitches are the same but have different names! I kind of love the 70’s vibe of the colours and it is definitely my most adventurous crochet project to date.

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The last crochet project that I wanted to share was inspired by a post I saw on Pinterest. The original pin was for a framed piece of wall art made from 9 granny squares.  However, as I had tons of little balls of different coloured yarn I found I just couldn’t stop – and in the end decided they needed to be made into something practical. So they became a cover for my ugly black printer!

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I had to look online for tutorials for the half granny squares along the bottom row (the printer is deeper at one side than the other) and in the end pretty much just worked it out for myself as I found it easier that way.

Finally, I’ve been trying my hand at a little sewing. I’ve “borrowed” my mum’s sewing machine which it almost 30 years old but she’s never really used it much and still works really well. Although it terrified me at first I’m getting used to it now. I was determined to make my own travel laundry bag for our holiday to America earlier this summer so I bought some lovely Clarke and Clarke fabric and some matching ribbon.  I started adapting some instructions from Knit and Stitch Collection (Bergere de France) but was freestyling it by the end (as usual)!

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It’s the first thing I’ve ever made in this way and am really proud of it.  I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post and if you have please feel free to spread the word! Now I’d better go and get on with some more projects or I’ll have nothing to write about next week… Smile