Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A red-riding hood box case for a Galaxy Ace

A month or so ago I accidently destroyed my mobile phone. This was my old, reliable, Nokia that cost £7 and could do nothing fancier than send text messages and make calls. Oh, it also had a torch. On the night of Diwali I left it next to a bottle of water. The condensation from this bottle then formed a pool around my poor phone. It's battery was completely destroyed. 

Old phone and new phone

So I was forced to buy a new one. I had been sneaking covetous looks at my boyfriend's smart phone so bought one similar, but an older model (I don't need to go overboard with the fanciness). As I had a new phone I needed a new case (old phone didn't even have a case so unconcerned for it's well-being I was).

I pulled out the pelmet vilene, bondaweb, fabric scraps and embroidery thread and started to make a case.

Checking for size
Pieces waiting for assembly
Ta da!

It is ever-so-slightly too big. Blast! And I did so much measuring. I think the problem was that I gave a seam allowance which I didn't need because I sewed the pieces up using blanket stitch. It is fine for it's purpose though.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A souvenir of Bangalore

I've been working fairly slowly the last few weeks on a new project. I want to make souvenir postcards of places I travel to so as I'm currently living in Bangalore I started there.

I used different materials and techniques to make it. The background is painted with fabric water colour dye and finished with pastels. The main body of the rickshaw is appliqu├ęd onto the background. I stuck it down with bondaweb and stitched it down. The details are added in running stitch with embroidery thread. 

The front and back have pelmet vilene in-between them to make the whole postcard stiff.

I embroidered the back to make it more postcard-like.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Easy to make felt baby shoes

I was reading A Beautiful Mess (really awesome blog) the other week and found this amazing post about DIY moccasins for children.

The author Katie had adapted the idea from Purl Bee's pattern for felt baby shoes.

Awwwwww! It's at times like this that I wish I had children to make things for. Not to be deterred I decided to make some anyway. The pattern is super easy! I made the above shoes in above 30 mins - and that includes faffing time.

They're not quite finished as I don't have any elastic and as you can see the fabric pen hasn't faded yet. But.... I was so excited I just wanted to share this awesome new project.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I Spy: Ben Venom and heavy metal quilts

Ben Venom. Image from

I was reading this list of male crafters when I spied Ben Venom. He makes the most amazing quilts made out of old heavy metal t-shirts. Apparently he tours around the U.S. with them. I love his designs and the up-cycling involved. Amazing!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Don't break my heart

A friend of mine was going in for heart surgery. She asked for cheesy and bad-taste songs. I sent her as many as I could think of and then made her the above. The background and heart are felt. I made the words by painting onto calico with fabric paint. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Exciting new Indian clothes: but bad material

I know that I've kind of fallen out of the blogging world in the last few weeks. That's because I've moved to India! I've been busy moving from hotels to a flat and settling in. I have unpacked my craft materials and am in the process of making something for a friend so stay posted - I'll be blogging that soon.

For now I thought I'd share these amazing "dresses" (they're not dresses but I don't know what they're called - help anyone?) that I bought the other day. These are my first Indian clothes and I'm hoping they will allow me to blend in a little (ha ha ha - unlikely!). I love the patterns on these. I'm particularly smitten with the one on the right because of the garish clashing of bright pink and lime green. Awesomeness. 

The only downside to these is that the quality of the cotton is really bad. I'd been told this would be the case with Indian cottons but it's still a little surprising. The cotton is very thin and kind of rough. Definitely not cosy. I'm hoping with a few more washes it'll soften up.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A map of New Zealand in felt

I made this map for my father as it was his birthday the other week. It's New Zealand. We went there once together so it has fond memories for us.

Can you spot the mistake I made?

Saturday, September 29, 2012

A way to use a jellyroll

This is very simple way to use a jellyroll. I've decided jellyrolls are one of my new favourite things. In case you don't know what a jellyroll is - it's a bundle of fabric cut into strips for you. They're very useful for using as borders in quilts. However, I decided to use them to make the main body of a quilt wall-hanging.

This was super easy to make! I just machined the strips together and added the border. Then I put this on top of some plain backing material with some fleece in the middle to act as wadding. Next, I hand-stitched simple lines in running stitch to quilt it.

It's not quite finished in these photos as I haven't sewn up the edges yet. That's because I moved to India before I was quite finished.

I think this is simple but effective. It's a great way of using a roll of beautiful fabrics.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Guest Post: Working with fabric when you can't sew

As I've briefly mentioned I'm off to India this week! (eek!). As I am busy cramming everything I own into two bags mrsmcindoe offered to write me a guest post. f you haven't seen her blog yet you should pop over and have a nose. She makes really beautiful paper-cuts and the most amazing lampshades. If I ever have a house I am so commissioning one.


I love fabric. Always have. Such fond memories of trips to Weekes department store in Tunbridge Wells to look at the haberdashery department, along with Barsleys in Paddock Wood and Beatties in Solihull. Mum made many of our clothes when we were little, along with various home furnishings - done as many mums at the time did, in order to save a few pennies. Seemed to me like all mums could make replacement seat pads and school pinafore dresses when I were a lass! Mum also made amazing wall hangings - these days they would be called mixed media installations I think! Fabric and ribbon and buttons and twigs and pine cones and shiny stuff all sewn onto a hessian backing. And of course all those other things that go with small children - kit bags, Indian headdresses, cowboy waistcoats, school play costumes, soft toys for the church fete, patches on knees, hems up, hems down!

So I think I just assumed that one day I would be able to sew. I managed the basics at primary school and even managed to sew a stuffed owl (although I did glue the eyes on). I only had one bad incident - when sewing Brownie badges ono my uniform, which I did on my lap, I managed to attach the badge to the uniform, but also to the skirt and tights I was wearing - many tears and much unpicking. When I was a bit older I had a go with Mums sewing machine. I managed to do a straight line, kind of, and a little bit of round the corner-ing. Forwards, backwards, even a zig zag! And I kind of thought that was it, I could sew. Dreams of doing all these wonderful things when I was a mum, just like mine did.

Then disaster. Mum upgraded her sewing machine and I was entrusted with the old one - its a really lovely thing - the soft glowing light, that special sewing machine smell, and the most fabulous 'singer blue' colour. And so I thought Wowzers, I can make all sorts of stuff now. The problem is, well, firstly it was that there was no instruction manual. I managed to find the original one online - some kind person out there had scanned in all the pages - how lovely of them! Didn't make any difference. Then the problem was the wrong thread. So I changed it all, re-wound all the bobbins and so on. Didn't help. Then it was the material - it was obviously too thin/thick/stretchy. Didn't help. Um... then needle - needs changing... and the machine needs oil. Didn't help. IT NEEDS A SERVICE! Yay, surely...... but no...

So I have unfinished cushion covers, a bag from John Lewis with a simple dress pattern lovely green material, zip and trim, still neatly wrapped up, a very odd looking mouse shape that looks more like a breast implant - I can't even remember what it was supposed to be! And the machine is tucked away in the spare bedroom, gathering dust. My love of fabric has to stay tucked away in the corner, and in the third draw down of the bureau (thesewing basket and the lovely fabrics, and the zips and buttons - plus the knitting needles and wool - a whole other story!)

It is all very sad. Sad that I can't sew, and sad that I don;t have the time (and not even the inclination really) to learn how.

So then it is all very odd- that I am now working with fabric! My lampshades are made out of fabric!! It does make me chuckle a little to myself every time I make a new shade - I can make things out of fabric without having to sew - how very delightfully wonderful! And I have plans.... plans that involve more fabric! But my involvement will have to be strictly limited to the design side, and I will employ someone else to do the sewing for me. So I will have fabric in my life, even if I can't sew!


Thank you mrsmcindoe!! I have to confess that somedays when I'm feeling particularly lazy I have been known to whip out the glue to finish something off rather than sewing it down. There are lots of things you can do with fabric rather than having to sew it.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Top 3 blogs in all of today

I may have spent a bit too much time this morning browsing the interwebs. But what else are rainy Monday mornings for?

I am kind of in love with the above yellow and blue combination at the moment. And yes I realise it looks like Ikea. But I like Ikea so all is good. 

I found three excellent new blogs. They're not new in a general sense, just new to me. All have now been added to my reader and I heartily recommend going and checking them out (so fun!).

1. A Beautiful Mess. This is an amazing blog. I can't believe I haven't come across it before. It's run by two lasses Elsie and Emma. It's a lifestyle blog "focused on creating a beautiful life". It's crammed full of wonderful photos and advice that make me yearn for nest-making.
2. Scientific Culture. A blog where science and cuteness have snuggled up together. Kate, who writes it, also runs a lovely etsy store selling cute science things she's made herself. A great blog that is full of inspiration and fun things. I look forward to reading more of this.
3. Skunkboy.  A lovely crafty lady writes about her projects and posts beautiful outfit posts.

So there you are. A good way to spend a few hours.

P.s. I made the above picture using PicMonkey.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Exhibition: The Quilter's Guild at Hever Castle

Last Saturday we went to Hever Castle. Hever Castle was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn (the second wife of Henry VIII). It's very beautiful.

Interesting when we arrived we discovered there was a country-side living special event on. There was wood carving! And chickens! (man I long for chickens). As part of this there was also a quilt exhibition run by a local chapter of the Quilter's Guild. I used to a member of this Guild when I was a child (Young Quilters go) so I always like seeing what groups are up to.

There were some cute things hanging in trees.

And on washing lines.

Inside the big tent were lots of quilts made by members.

These were quite nice but the beautiful grounds were too alluring and so we ended up zooming around this exhibit in favour of the outdoors.

We saw a snake!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A wall-hanging for a new-born

Technically I made this two years ago but thought I would share it here now. A good friend of mine was pregnant with her first child and as she was the first of our group of friends to have a child I wanted to make her something special to celebrate it. 

I contacted our friends and some of her old friends from school and university and asked everyone to make a square. 

Originally I was going to make a playmat but when I received some of the squares I decided it wouldn't be suitable for small hands (buttons!) so thought a wall-hanging would work better.

When I received enough squares I sewed them all together. By this point the baby had been born (I had to wait a while for some of the squares) so I was able to add his name to the top. Huzah!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

An ABC wall-hanging

When I went to the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham I saw a small quilt which had a black and white ABC on a red background. I loved it and so I bought a black and white charm pack and made my own. Mine is longer. I hurriedly whipped it up in a day because I was losing my sewing machine the next day (oh, moving countries has its downsides). This isn't quite finished as I need to put some binding tape around the edges but I think it's really effective. 

It was super easy too. I sketched the letters onto bondaweb (don't forget you need to do them backwards), ironed them onto the charm pack, cut out the letters and then ironed them onto the background fabric. Then I sewed around the letters on the sewing machine.

It is quilted. I used a piece of fleece for the middle, added backing fabric and machine quilted straight lines across it.

I think I might take this to India with me and use it in my lessons. Or something.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Packing the (craft) essentials

So I started to put things I wanted to take to India into my suitcase......

I seem to have no space for clothes....

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A jar of love in the post

Last week I received a jar of love in the post! Yay!

Rae sent me this wonderful package:

How cute is that! I love the red packing strips.

Inside was:

It's a jar of marshmallow fluff! So cute! Rae had stuffed the jar with toy stuffing. When I pulled it out I discovered all kinds of wonderful goodies.

I especially love the ring you can just see on the top right. 

Thank you Rae! I love it all!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A special felt birthday portrait

Last week it was my partner's birthday. As a present I made him the above portrait. Of himself. His eyes have come out a little evil-looking. I swear in real life he doesn't look this villainous. His eyes are a strange colour though - grey-like or green-like. So I used grey embroidery thread. But now he looks a bit strange. I may have to adjust it.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Guest Post: Making a diary cover by Thread Fairy

Thread Fairy has kindly written the following guest post for me. She's just started blogging but I recommend popping by - I predict some glorious goodies will be featured on her blog soon.


Every year I make a cover for my academic diary.

Two fabrics have been sewn together and you can see where I have started to quilt. The pink (cerise red) fabric is screen printed with a selection of bird ‘sayings’. The yellow (acid lemon) has a screen printed green square (turquoise) and then a ‘lino’ printed bird. 

The cut ‘lino’.

Fabric is now all quilted and I have folded back the flaps to hold the book.

The lining is placed over the cover and will be stitched along the top and bottom.

Front of diary.

Back of diary.


Thanks Thread Fairy!


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The great big stitched postcard swap

I joined the do what you love great big stitched postcard swap. The theme was 'Discover'. Above is the postcard I sent my swap partner in the U.S.A. You can't see it too well in this photo but I stitched around the M25 circular and sewed on beads for each place name within London. I made the map in a similar way to my mixed media book cover. But with more pastels.

This is what she sent me:

Very cute and lots of fun.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Festival of Quilts 2012 Birmingham

Last week I went to the festival of quilts in Birmingham's NEC. It was great fun and there were many many inspiring quilts there. Here are a few of my favourites:

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Review and Giveaway: Egg Cozies

This book has loads of quirky patterns and ideas for knitting your own egg cozy.

I like this apple one - it's cute. There are patterns for making a variety of cozies from chicks to a basket of violets.

I haven't actually had a go making any of these. That's partly because my knitting is not great and I can't follow knitting instructions, and I can only do one type of stitch. Having flicked through this book I'd say you need to be able to follow knitting instructions and do multiple stitches - it's not for beginners. 

It is cute though and I have one to give away to one of you lucky lot. All you need to do to enter is leave a comment telling me what else you could use an egg cozy for. I like runny eggs so have no need for something to keep my eggs warm but I'm intrigued what other uses could exist.

So leave a comment and I'll pick my favourite. My choice is final.

**Edit: Forgot to say that this giveaway ends on Friday 24th August at 11pm.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

TLC Bird Swap

So I started my own swap a few months back in the TLC Coffeehouse. It was a bird swap. That was it. Nice and simple.

Above is what I sent to my swap partner. It's a pigeon portrait! I got the outline pattern from the very kind Lismer Photography who had offered the silhouette on their blog. Thank you kind sharer.

I was a little late sending this off. I hope my swap partner likes it and wasn't too put out at the delay. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A country of mystery (and felt)

This is both a very exciting and stressful time for me. I'm really excited and yet nervous. There is a very real possibility that in September I'll be moving countries again. Yay!

The catch is that we don't yet know where we'll be going. The three likeliest countries are India, Brazil or Uganda. Right now I'm really rooting for Uganda. The decision is not really ours - it's in the hands of work (not mine). This has been going on for months and months and months and still we're no closer to knowing where we'll be going. The unknowing is beginning to make me feel a little crazy. I'm preparing as best I can by putting my excess stuff up for sale on e-bay, getting vaccinated and so on.

Oh and by making these felt map outlines of the three contenders. Tee hee.

Which country will win? Which do you think we'll end up going to?

(Note: All three maps are available in my Etsy shop. I also take custom orders for any other country)
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