Thursday, 2 May 2013

A Quilt!

3 years ago, my sister got married and I promised her a quilt as her wedding present. And it is!

As they were in the process of renovating their house at the time, I needed to wait to let her choose the general colour scheme. That sounds like it explains the three year wait, but that's not the case....

Anyway, she went for a greys and neutrals scheme with orange as  a highlighting colour, as she had chosen some wallpaper lwith those colours and liked them.

I used the orange sparingly, only for the centre square of the log cabin and in the binding to tie the scheme together.

The design is a 12.5" wonky log cabin square, with a light side and a dark side, arranged in pinwheel formation and quilted with a free motion quilting stitch.

In the centre of each log cabin, I tried to quilt a little heart...some were more successful than others.....

I'm extremely pleased with how this has turned out, and I don't mind showing it off.  I can truthfully say that no corners were cut, that everything lines up, that all the thread ends are tied off, and that after 4 evenings of hand-sewing the binding, it looks really quite neat.  Chuffed to bits!  I've told her to give it back to me rather than give it to the charity shop, I won't mind!

Monday, 16 July 2012

A little sideline

You may know I have a little sideline studying to be an NCT breastfeeding counsellor.  To help me collate resources for parents as well as other snippets of interest to both myself and others, I have created a new blog to stuff them all onto.  Feel free to pop along and have a browse (warning: there isn't much there yet.....)

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Hooded Swimming Towel Tutorial

My first ever craft tutorial - how exciting!

One positive to come out of this disgusting summer weather, is that beach towels are on special offer everywhere - so to make the most, I have spent the grand sum of around a tenner on 2 large beach towels and 2 small hand towels.  A quick trawl of other tutorials and I was ready to cobble together a few different methods to come up with this (very basic) bit of sewing.

1) find a hood that seems to fit your child about right.  Fold the small hand towel in half.  I wanted to have the edged parts at the front of the hood, because I thought it would look nice, and because it would save me hemming the front parts.

2) Draw around the hood, then cut it out leaving a reasonable seam allowance - around 2 cm

3) Sew up the seam

4) zig zag stitch the raw edges of the hem down to neaten and prevent towel bits shedding

Check the hood fits your child  ;) .....

5) Fold your big towel in half down the long side so it is half as long, then fold in half again the other way for you to make the neckline.  Make the neckline just a smidge wider than the width of the finished hood folded down the seam (does that make sense?)

Add caption
Basically, don't do what I did, which was cut the neck hole before you make the hood, because it could be ok - see Josephs......

........or it could be significantly too wide, requiring a bit of a bodge when it comes to sewing up

6)  Start by pinning the middle seam of the hood to the centre of the head hole at the back - find it again by folding in half

 7) Work your way round, pinning until you reach the front - leave a gap of around 5 cm between the two edges of the hood at the front

8) Take your scissors and snip about 5 -10 cm down the centre at the front - you don't need  it too far down as the opening should be generous enough to get over damp heads anyway, it just seemed to finish it nicely.  You can cut a wedge shape out, or just go straight down and remove some of the material at the upper part - you'll neaten these later

9) Sew up the hood into the neck opening.  Useful tip - where the corner of the towel has about a million layers of fabric at the bottom of the front edges of the hood, don't bother trying to stitch through it - just snip it off.  Job done.

10) zig zag stitch the seam down into the body of the towel to neaten the edges and as you go round, make sure you zig zag stitch the v-neck opening too.

And there you have it ...................TA DAH!!!!!

And here's one that Emmy took of me working on the towels in my craft space in the loft.  Unbelievably this is the tidy version of the loft.......

Sunday, 18 March 2012

A new DEN!

The kids needed more to play with outside - there is only so many times they can re-dig the hole where the washing whirly-gig used to be.  With their love of hiding and running in and out of little houses we thought  of a den - with living willow being both the cheapest and easiest way to construct it.

When we bought a 3 m dome kit though we weren't quite prepared for 10ft long bits of willow.......

Digging the hole - 

Emeline's vision of what the den will look like - 

The first few sticks went it - we went in to regroup and work out the next step over a coffee and a biscuit at this stage.  The instructions were, well, sketchy to say the least.

A quick google and off we went! The finished result:

In the context of the whole garden, it doesn't look so enormous - see?  Its down the end on the right, in front of the orchard.

OK, so it slants a bit when you look at it from the doorway, but when you look at it from the house its spot on.  The gaps are far from even, but I can still tinker with those a bit and tie it in a bit better as it grows.  The windows were, I say modestly, nothing short of a triumph.  I'm looking for some play bark to fill the inside with.  

The main downside, if I'm being totally honest, would be that I got a 6' 2 man to construct the roof (yes, it was Jonathan, not some passing giant).  So as a consequence the den for children now has a roof height more suitable for a convention of tall people. Still it will be nice to sit in when the kids aren't using it, I might put a little bench in there, and at least we won't have to stoop uncomfortably to join in the games.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

guerilla gardening

The small people and myself have spent the afternoon flower-bombing our street on a small scale - guerrilla gardening.  We've adopted the rowan tree outside our house and prettified it with lavender, heathers, violas and some spring bulbs - fritillarias, white tulips and narcissi - all chosen by Emeline and Joseph.  The squids had fabulous fun - digging is one of their favourite activities in any case.  Can't wait for the spring time to see them in bloom and I think Emmy and Joseph will get a lovely surprise -  Emmy looks so proud of her work! - she was such a smasher helping me.  We had a particularly tricky giant thistle to dig out.  Emmy had "something in her head" to help me.  I guess she meant a thought.  She often has "a good idea" - and they are nearly always corkers.  Highly developed problem solving skills for a 3 year old.

Spending the afternoon outside on the street was a really nice experience, chatting to lots of people and bumping into people who live locally, which I suppose is the whole point.  Lately I've really valued being part of the community, from the apple pressing day at Highbury Park (wet, but both fun and useful) to making a cake for the playgroup fundraiser this week.

**update 16/10/11** 

slightly less in love with my community now I've realised that my nice hand-trowel was pinched while I was wrangling the kids in and out of the house and dragging bags of compost outside.  Toerags.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Our september holiday

We are back from our very wet and windy holiday to Brean Sands, we thought we were very clever going the first week back to school, but actually the weather was dreadful and everything was shut.  We still had a lovely time though!  We are getting quite accomplished at seeking out indoor entertainment for two small people who are full of beans and passed a pleasurable hour or two at the monkey gym at the holiday park

A gale force wind along the beach at Burnham

Drawing pictures in the sand on our deserted beach

I think the gull may have seen Joseph coming.....

Finding a picnic spot atop a cliff at Weston Woods with an amazing view over the sands and bay.  Needless to say we all risked life and limb getting there.

Sheltering from the rain inside the fortress at Weston Super Mare's playground.  Quite simply the best council playground I have ever seen in my life.

In the ice-cream parlour at the end of the pier at Weston-Super-Mare.

On our last evening of holiday, after we had scoffed down our baked potatoes for tea, we finally ventured down to the beach at Brean.   We were rewarded for our efforts with a low tide that went out for miles and an incredible sunset over the sea.  I've never seen so many tiny intact shells on a beach, Emmy had a lot of fun finding all the pink butterfly ones where the two parts of the shell are still joined together.  I've got a craft project or two in mind for all our treasures that we have brought home.

And last, but not least, we had a day out today at Vanfest in Malvern.  I wish I could show  you lots of amazing VW show-vans, but I forgot to take any pictures.  

Anyway, we lost Joseph for a few minutes and found him driving this van.