Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Collage pictures

Here are my latest felt collages. I love Paris so I've done a French themed one.

And this is my interpretation of a local National Trust site - Wallington Hall.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Sewing room revamp

So last week I decided to tidy up my sewing room! It's really our spare bedroom/office/dumping ground and it's been looking a bit messy in there. We had some building work done last year and unfortunately the ceiling came down so it was in desperate need of a lick of paint.

I've invested in a couple of new tables from Ikea to use as a work surface and I got some pink floral fabric from Dunelm Mill to make some curtains to hide the mess under the desks and a tablecloth to cover my fabric boxes. 

I already had a pink duvet cover and while the kids were at sports camp last week I gave the walls and ceiling a coat of white paint to make it really nice and bright. It tends to be a bit quite dark in there as the windows aren't very big, and it looks out onto the conservatory rather than outside.

I got a spice rack and jars from Ikea to keep all my spare sewing machine needles, poppers and zips. Scissors are in the big tin, and all my pens, glue and general 'stuff' are in the pink pots.

Here are my current works in progress!

This corner is dominated by a huge cream chest which I brought from a previous house. It holds things like spare paper, jewellery making supplies, patterns, envelopes, electric leads and instruction books. One of my friends ave me the white Ikea storage which is perfect for fabric, and I upcycled the mirror with a coat of Annie Sloan paint.

The small cream unit was given to me by another friend, who painted it and lined it in Orla Kiely paper. I keep my button jars and beads in there.

Once that was done I felt like I'd done my bit of hard work for the holidays, so we've had a few days out. I took these pictures last week in our local park. Carlisle Park in Morpeth  is always beautiful in the spring and summer - every year it sweeps the board in the Northumbria in Bloom awards for its floral displays. The hyacinths smell fabulous! 

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Seaham sea glass

We've been trying to make the most of the Easter holidays, especially as we seem to have some good weather. Long may it last!

One of my favourite things to do is to go to the beach. We have so many lovely beaches here in the North East and when I read a while ago on the Silverpebble blog that Seaham, which is about 15 miles away, is a great place to hunt for sea glass, I knew we just had to make a trip.

So although it was a bit chilly and we needed our winter coats back out of the cupboard, we had a lovely afternoon hunting among the pebbles for those elusive bits of glass. The potted history of the area is that there used to be a glassworks on the cliffs. At the end of each day, they would throw the waste glass over the cliff into the sea, and now 100 years later it is still washing up on the beach.

Here's our haul:

And here they are while still wet - fab colours!

There were also some beautiful pebbles and stones, all washed smooth by the sea.

And even better, there's a lovely cafe in the car park so you can warm up with coffee and cake after all that hunting!

There are lots of artists out there who make jewellery from the sea glass, one of them is Seaham Waves which has this beauty, among others. Isn't this the loveliest thing ever? Birthday hints needed I think!

I've put my sea glass into a little jar in my sewing room - hopefully my collection will start to grow now I know where to find it!

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Day out at Alnwick Garden

Yesterday we had a trip out to The Alnwick Garden, which is just a short hop north for us. If you've never heard of it, it was created on a derelict site by the Duchess of Northumberland and if you're in the area its well worth a visit. There's always lots of activities for families - yesterday there was an Lindt Easter bunny treasure hunt - as well as fountains, a bamboo maze, a poison garden, water features and a treehouse.

The formal garden was starting to bloom, here's a few pictures I took as the kids raced round. trying to find the hidden bunnies!

There were lots and lots of ladybirds which made us feel quite summery. Can you see this one hiding among the foliage?

There's some pieces of artwork dotted around too - this is a wirework lion, which is the symbol of the Percy family who own the garden.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Tutorial - sew an Easter bunny brooch!

After a lovely day of school Easter services I'm now feeling ready for the two week break and maybe the opportunity to do a little bit of crafting - with and without the kids!

I love using felt and I think it really lends itself to Spring projects because pastel coloured felt is just so more-ish. So here's a little tutorial for a Easter bunny brooch which would make a lovely gift instead of the traditional Easter egg. I don't know about you, but my children get so much chocolate that sometimes we leave the eggs to other people and get them another gift instead.

So here we go!

You'll need:

  • three colours of felt plus a little bit of white.
  • matching embroider silks, plus yellow and black for the bee and a colour of your choice for the flower
  • a brooch pin
  • small embroidery scissors, if you have them - they make cutting the felt easier
  • pins and a needle

1. First, you need to make a template out of stiff paper or card. You will need two circles - mine are 6cm  and 7.5cm - and a rabbit template which will comfortably fit in the smaller circle. If you're confident at drawing, sketch one yourself or scale the one below and print it out.

2. Choose your felt - I've used pink and green for the background, with grey for the bunny and a little bit of white for his tail.

3. Pin the templates to the felt and cut them out. 


You'll need one bunny, two large circles of the same colour, and two small circles, one of each colour. you'll also need a small white circle for a tail.

4. Sew the bunny onto the backing felt using a small running stitch and matching thread. I use three strands for this. 

Do the same for the tail, then embroider an eye and nose using satin stitch - small even stitches close together. Embellish the brooch by adding a little bee and a flower or two. 

I did the flower using lazy daisy stitch which is demonstrated below.

5. Sew the small circle onto one of the big circles. 

Sew the brooch bar securely onto the remaining big circle.

6. Now place the small circle of felt between the two big circles, like a sandwich. This strengthens the brooch. Sew round the outside edge using a small running stitch. I like to keep the front of the brooch nice and tidy with small stitches, widely spaced.

That's it! Wear it or give it to a lucky recipient!

I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial - I'd love to see pictures of the bunny brooches you've made!

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Sewing Bee inspiration

So like almost everyone else I've been hooked on the new season the The Great British Sewing Bee. How inspirational? I particularly enjoy the middle challenge, where they're given an existing garment and have to use their own creativity to create something new. I think I like it so much because I know I'd be rubbish at it!

But it has prompted me to try to think outside the box and look at how I can reuse existing garments and fabrics that I have in my stash.

So when I was tidying out my fabrics, I found a single curtain that I'd got from the remnant box in John Lewis for £2.

Although I'd been holding onto it with the view of making some sort of cushion, I wondered whether it would make up into something else - a skirt maybe? So using the BurdaStyle pattern I used a couple of weeks ago for my fox skirt, I thought I'd have a go at remaking it in this slightly heavier weight fabric.

Here it is half made up. It still needs to be hemmed, but I think it might be a bit roomy on the hips so I'll try it on again later and perhaps take it in a bit. What do you think? Although its upholstery fabric I think it makes an interesting skirt - nice with a white t-shirt. And all for about £4!!

Monday, 17 March 2014

Beach and garden

What fabulous weather we've had - at least here in the usually chilly North East! 

We celebrated the return of Spring by getting out into the garden for a general tidy up. I also managed to re-turf the 'penalty spot' created by my footy-mad kids, and got some seeds planted. Every year I'm determined to grow some veg and every year it doesn't happen - so fingers crossed I've got off to a good start. I've planted some spring onions and salad leaves, and I'm busy chitting some seed potatoes too.

This corner of the garden next to the back door used to be home to a rather manky water butt, so I've ditched that and put some plants on an old metal table to brighten the place up. I put my salad bowl there plus a lovely standard rosemary I got last year which has really come on well. And I added a few primroses for a splash of colour.

Love that purple and yellow combination!

We also headed to one of our beautiful local beaches at Alnmouth for a spot of rock pooling and shell collecting!