Tag Archives: craft projects

Darling designer dachshund

You all know my friend Liz…she of the mad knit seaming skills who always rescues me from that onerous task. Well she’s be working on another project that is altogether more fun.  So much so that I begged her to let me share the finished product with you because….well, you’ll see.

You’ll love it!


Meet the designer dachshund.


Isn’t he just wonderful?


The base is this plain calico dog from Hobbycraft, although you could, if you were so inclined, make your own base.  The decoration is, of course, simply a fabulous collection of clothing labels hand stitched to the base.


I cannot tell you how much I covet this wee dog. It such a simple but genius idea and the result is just adorable.

I suppose a more sewing inspired version could be made using fabric selvedges. Hmmm…perhaps I should start collecting them!

What do you think?


….and the living is busy!

So much going on here.  The kids are on holiday from school now for 7 weeks. Already we have a playdate with friends and sleepovers at grandparents planned. A week at playscheme will be a good break for all of us, as will spending the last week with friends in Bedford.  It’s hard to believe but when they go back in September Button will be in juniors.

Needless to say everyone is tired.  Boy threw the mother of all tantrums this morning and after 3 hours (I kid ye not) of yelling and stamping and tears and throwing toys around the place he’s finally asleep.  Button is enjoying the respite as much as I. Things will settle soon after a few days of chillin’.

Husband and I are shattered as, despite not completing the reno on this house, we’re thinking the best option might actually be to move!

I know….it was totally outta the blue for us too.  But our current home is teeny tiny with a garden the size of a postage stamp.  After a recent visit to our friends in Bedford and their half acre garden, Button would stand at our bedroom window wistfully wishing that we could knock the fence down between us and our neighbours.  Add in that we have need of a home office  and a dedicated sewing room and only one small room that could eventually be argued over and we decided it’s time.  Trying to sew, eat and run a business from the kitchen table is getting old! We’ve spent the last few weeks looking at everything on the market that remotely fitted the bill.  We think we may have found the ideal candidate. There’s another interested buyer so we may lose out…time will tell.  I’ll let you know as things develop.

So, as you’d expect, there’s not much creativity happening here.

A little knitting…..


This is Brooklyn Tweed’s Longfellow by Michele Wang which I’m knitting in Drops Alpaca in Navy (colour 5575) for Hubby.


There’s also a quilt to be layered ready for hand quilting:


And a new bag kit that I received as a birthday gift from my in-laws:


Mine will be red leather.

That should keep me occupied over the holidays.  I’m hoping to get a little time at the machine too.  I’ve two lots of fabric for shirts for Boy and the yellow blouse is going to be remade for Button.


I’m planning a version of her Liberty blouse, this time with a pleated front as per her request.

I think it will suit her more than me!

I also have a couple of makes that need photographing.  Perhaps we’ll have a day of nice weather soon and we can get out and about with the camera.

Priority for the next 7 weeks, though, is picnics and playing in the park.  Reading and drawing.  Visits to the zoo and museums.  Playdates and pyjama days.  Pretty much taking the days as they come.  Hopefully without too many meltdowns!  Either theirs or mine!

So posting will sporadic…I’m sure you’ll understand.  In the meantime I’m off to do some colouring with a small girl.  I’ll see you soon.


I made a bag!


A real, honest to goodness leather bag. With an adjustable shoulder strap….


And lovely chrome hardware…


Now, I will admit that it came in kit form from Simple Way, but the stitching is all my own.


I’ve had this kit for over a year and finally laid hands on it again a few weeks ago whilst boxing up the loft.

The very same evening I sat down and opened the pack, threaded a needle and got all set to sew, when I realised that the gusset piece hadn’t been punched ready for attaching the strap.

Eep!  I was pretty sure that I’d just have to suck it up, purchase an awl, and punch the holes for myself.  And I was ok with that…it was my fault after all that I’d left it so long.  But I dropped a speculative email to Simple Way and explained the situation and asked if there was anything they could do to help.

I was astonished to receive a very prompt email replay offering to replace the piece for me, no problems.  In fact, as it was a while since the kit had been purchased it was very likely that the leather or colour would be different so would I like them to replace the whole kit?

Seriously…just the best levels of customer service I’ve experienced in quite some time.

So I packed up the bag, sent it back and within a few days a whole new kit arrived with me.

And I sat down over a couple of evenings and stitched together my first ever leather bag.


And I love it.  The Simple Way kit includes all you need to make this. Precut leather pieces which have been pre-punched ready for you to sew.  Matching thread and a whopping great needle.

The instructions are really clear, and show you how to secure the thread so the ends don’t show, but it’s really secure.

I really enjoyed the process, and the only thing I’d change about this bag is if it had a buckle closure, but that’s just being picky. And the newer version does have a strap to close it. It’s a roomy bag that will hold all my crap essentials, and which I can sling over my shoulder, so it’s immensely practical for family day’s out.  Even my DSLR camera fits in.

My only regret is that I wish I’d made this sooner.  I’m eyeing up the Simple Way website for another project.  I’ve got my eye on this little satchel in red:

petite satchel

PS…Simple Way only know of me because I’m a pesky customer who leaves stuff too long to sew.  

This kit was a Christmas gift from my lovely husband (who always does the best gifts).  I’m happy to review this because I think they’re a great little company with great products.  Sharing the love, peeps!

Build your sewing skills with Simplicity

If you’re a regular reader here you’ll know by now that I love a good sewing class or tutorial.  So when the lovely folk at Simplicity contacted me to ask if I’d like to tell you about their new Masterclass Webinars…well, how could I say no?

At the moment there are two, one featuring cushions, the other a tote bag.  They are, only short videos so you can easily watch them over a quiet tea break, but I think they could benefit from being slightly longer so that the editing is a wee bit smoother.

That said, these are perfect for beginner sewists who are looking to expand their repertoire.  There are more videos planned to follow on from these…a bridesmaids dress, inserting a zip, a table runner, and an apron masterclass, and I think these will also appeal to those of us who have a little more experience.

Even so, I’m always keen to see someone else sewing. You never know when you might learn a brilliant new tip that will either save you time or make your sewing look more professional, so these are definitely worth checking out.

This is the bag pattern used in the video:


I can think of so many uses for that bag….beach…baby…swimming at the pool…taking your knitting to Stitch ‘n’ Bitch…carrying your sewing to class…the list goes on.  It’s such a roomy tote.  And with the help of the tutorial, even a beginner sewist could tackle this project with confidence.

Also, take a look at that cute dress (which is drafted for wovens, btw).  Obviously it’s just a perfect everyday summer dress, but as the weather here is cooling down I can also easily see versions B and C in winter wools, layered over a polo neck sweater or crisp shirt, paired with cosy tights and boots.  Sew the tote in leather (faux or real, dependent on your nerve and budget) and it will take you through the winter months too.

Chic, no?

Oh, I’m glad you agree, because I’ve got two copies to give away.  Well, after all the knitterly love over the last week or so, how could I leave the seamstresses out of the fun?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

But if that doesn’t float your boat, do check out the Simplicity website, because they’ve got a half price sale on at the time of publishing this post.  That could be dangerous to the old bank balance.

Have fun either way!


SimplicityNewLook provided the patterns for this giveaway, but all opinions are my own.  And no…I’m not getting a commission for pattern sales either.  I just don’t see why I should be the only one with too many patterns landing on the doormat these days!


Way back in the summer I promised the local library that I’d do a “talk” at their December coffee morning on some, at that point undecided but definitely sewing related, subject.

It was months and months until December at that point and so, obviously, I forgot all about it until a few weeks ago when they reminded me.


Cut to this evening.  Although I’d planned that I’d talk the ladies through making some very simple felt Christmas decorations, and I’d collected together all the materials I’d need, I’d not actually done anything with them.

More oops!

felt hearts

So I’ve been drawing simple shapes, cutting some of them out and packing a small box to take with me tomorrow.

felt trees

This stocking, however, is for another project altogether.

felt stocking

One of The Husband’s colleagues is, Jude, a craft blogger who is knitting up a storm, making little stockings, which she is planning to fill with chocolate and sell for charity. All monies raised will be sent to The NIHR / WT Children’s Clinical Research Facility and the AT Society.

Both the stockings and the photo are Jude's

Both the stockings and the photo are Jude’s

When she asked me if I’d be willing to help out a little, of course I said yes. And promptly volunteered Ma as well!

Ma immediately set the needles clacking and whipped up a bagful of these little lovelies in no time flat:

IMG_9861_edited-1I, on the other hand, am characteristically tardy, but will, on my return from the library tomorrow, crack on and get my contribution done.

With such good causes at stake I really need not to let the side down.

Sock slugs

Half term.

A small phrase that sends shivers down the spines of many parents.  Especially at this time of year when the weather is less than clement and you can’t tip the little horrors darlings into the garden and let them burn off some energy climbing the hedge.

Don’t get me wrong.  We are so ready for half term.  It’s been a tiring few weeks for all of us, and my little ones need the break.  It was lovely today not to have to leap out of bed and herd everyone out of the door, but to take it gently with tea/milk in bed and a leisurely breakfast.

Still…they need plenty of entertaining when they are out of school. So today, although the storms skirted us and the most we’ve had is some blustery winds and rain, otherwise known as normal service in these parts, I was really glad to have a lovely, indoor, activity organised for the kids.

Our local bookshop, Ebb & Flo, is a delightful and child friendly place.  


Diane, the owner, is always ready with a great book recommendation, whether for your own child, or a birthday gift. She’s also really good at organising fun events, especially children’s ones for the holidays.  

Today it was a story time and activity session with Fiona Woodhead, author of Once-Upon-A-Slime:

once upon a slime

We had so much fun!


Apart from the subject matter…slugs, slime, and all sorts of things that make children roar with laughter and parents shudder slightly…we transformed old socks into slug companions, that even Boy managed to make with only a little bit of stitchy help from me.


Fiona is delightful…a vivacious and charming lady with an amazing rapport with children…and a passion for these tales which were originally the bedtimes stories told to her and her siblings by their father.  She’s also pretty amazing…she writes, illustrates and self-publishes this small range of books, as well as running these fabulous little workshops.


My two were mesmerised…no small feat…and the whole event was made more delightful as they were joined by their cousins and a school friend.

2013-10-28 10.54.14

This was a lovely morning that included all my favourite things…family, friends, crafting and books.  The slugs are a huge hit and have entertained the wee people far more than I could have imagined.

2013-10-28 11.00.49

I’ve a feeling we’ll need to do this again, sometime soon.  And if you’d like to make your own sock slug, which I highly recommend you do, then visit Fiona’s website for details.  


Have fun!

automne – FO 23/2012

So I have preparation for my final exam to do.

And the kids have brought home back-to-school-lurgy so I’ve been feeling quite a bit under par this week.

So, of course, I’ve been making a dress for Button.

And not just any old dress…no!  A forest themed dress for FSC Friday!

When school told us that today the children could go dressed in green instead of uniform, or in something forest themed, I first planned to do a quick dress out of cord to represent the tree with a few felt leaves tacked to it!

These leaves are all properly appliquéd onto the dress…by hand!  Thanks to the lovely Liz for letting me raid her felt stash!

I must be mad.  I swear I need to learn to leave well alone.  But this has gone from being a one off costume to a little dress she can wear all winter.  And a self drafted one to boot.

Because you know that the leaves go round to the back of the dress too.

Yep…I did…I’m crazy!  Even more so when you consider that that is a hand picked zip.

It was so worth it though to see her face light up as she saw it coming together, for the ecstatic thank yous, and the bear hug and face full of kisses she bestowed.

I know she won’t always want Mummy’s handmades, so for now I’m happy to pull crazy sewing out of the hat now and again.  Even if I should be studying.  😉


I forget the credit for the squirrel appliqué ..I do apologise.  

I sourced this from Wee Folk Art and you can download it here.

Pincushion – FO 15/2012

A few hexies that didn’t make it to the quilt pile.

An evening’s sewing and a little stuffing.

A perfect pincushion.

Four little speckled frogs…FO 4/2012

sat on a speckled log.

Or in this case a speckled table.

These little guys are made from this free pattern over at Purl, with thanks to them for sharing.

A few scraps of fabric, some ‘past their sell-by date’ lentils, and voila, happy children.

The originals have beautiful little bead eyes,

but in this house they’d be pulled off and eaten

faster than you can say


When good bunnies go bad!

The cape for Alice-who-isn’t-a-cat is almost done.  It would be completely done but Maud isn’t being helpful.

I need her to stand in a professional dressform manner and allow me to pin the hem.  She insists on falling off her legs into a crumpled heap.  She blames Mr S who has promised to screw her legs back on far tighter than I could ever manage but who has been too busy painting fences and laying lawns to do so.

I blame the gin!

I’m sure someone else has been drinking the not-very-secret bottle I keep in the freezer.  I can’t possibly have gotten that far through it on my own!

But I digress.

I blame the gin!

This evening, as she toppled over once more, I abandonded the cape hem and set to on the Easter Bunnies I’d added to my “to do” list at the beginning of the month.  I had already copied the pattern from Tone Finnanger’s book Crafting Springtime GiftsI’d also cut the fabric out.

BIG mistake.

Because, if I’d read the instructions I would have known to, and I quote, “fold the linen double…trace around the patterns….sew around the pieces leaving ends open”.

Instead I had pieces cut out without seam allowances.


I may just have managed to get away with it had I been using the recommended linen.  But, oh no.  Miss Smartypants here was using an old pair of Mr S’s jeans to make funky recycled bunnies.

And this just did not work.

So the bin in the sewing room looks like Bunny CSI with unstitched limbs and ears unceremoniously dumped.

The moral of this story is read the damned instructions!

Shorts for The Boy it is!