Sunday, 25 January 2015

SAL update

Looking for my Grow Your Blog Post?

It's here, or just scroll down to the next post.

I can't believe it, but another 3 weeks has passed since I last updated you on my Save The Stitches blackwork sampler designed by Elizabeth Almond of Blackwork Journey.

I haven't made as much progress as last time, but I'm still chugging away.

I finished block 18 (the two squares on the left), and have made a start on block 19 (the four squares plus the little one on the right).  Block 20 (the bottom row) is nearly done.  When I've finished this section, I've only got one more set of 4 blocks to go!  It's a good job too as I did enter this into the Uttoxeter Quilt and Stitch Village show, so it needs to be finished and framed by April!

You can go and see what the other participants have been up to here:

Claire at Claire93's blog

Gun at Rutigt

Alison at Minerva Handmade

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Grow your blog

I took part in Grow your Blog last year and enjoyed meeting so many new bloggers, so when Vicki at 2 Bags Full announced another blog hop for 2015, I signed up straight away.

For those of you who are visiting as part of the blog hop, welcome to my blog!  I will tell you a bit about my blog below.  For regular readers, go over and have a look at the lineup.  There are over 400 different bloggers participating, some are holding giveaways, and you're sure to find something to interest you as there are bloggers writing about all kinds of topics.  I found some great blogs through the party last year.

I think my post last year said it all about me and what this blog is about, so if you feel inclined, hop over and have a look at the post here.

I live with one Mr CA and 4 bunnies.  They are not house bunnies, they hate our laminate floors too much for that, so they live in the garden.

They are Colin and Ellis:


And Harry:

This is probably a good clue to the fact that I like bunnies, though they don't feature on my blog as regularly as they should.  I have been busy making bunnies though.

Most recently I made a beadwork bunny.  I enjoy a bit of beadweaving (usually making jewellery rather than buns) and this was my first attempt at square stitch.

On a crafting holiday last year I made a bunny clock from wood in a scroll saw class.

I've made some silly amigurumi bunnies, silly for the faces that I'm so terrible at embroidering and the weird googly eyes rather than for the patterns I used!

I was very pleased with the plush bunny I sewed, that's little Bertie sitting in the pouch.

I've been cross stitching a set of bunnies, representative of my real life buns, this is the boys.

I was very proud of the copper bunny I formed, hammered and soldered in a jewellery making class.  I wear him a lot.

I like to review craft books, and as part of that I made this (pregnant?) bunny from wire.  One of my quirkier makes!

I quilt as well as sew, and I enjoy paper piecing.  I made this paper pieced rabbit and turned it into a project bag.

I love to embroider and try lots of different kinds of embroidery, this is one of my simpler makes and the only embroidery is the outline of the bunny, but it counts!

My friend Kerry taught me a brilliant form of appliqué, which I used to make this cushion of Colin.  I still have to do something with photos of the other three buns.  Don't want them getting jealous.

Jewellery making in all its forms and disciplines is another love of mine though I've only made two items of bunny jewellery, the second was made from polymer clay.

I love to sew on my machine, though I'm not so patient with hand sewing (except embroidery).  I did handsew this little bunny though.

I hope that this post full of bunnies has given you an insight into the kinds of crafts I like to do, and the fact I love bunnies!  I have to assure you though, bunnies are not the only things that I make, my interests are wide and varied!  

Feel free to have a poke around my blog and see if there is anything that interests you.  If you're part of the hop, I will be along to visit you at some point, though last year it took me 3 weeks to visit everyone.  Oh, if you leave me a comment, I reply by email rather than on my blog, so if you're no reply, I won't be able to respond.

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Breaking needles

I have done a little needle felting in my time, never anything 3d (must give that a go) and not much.  Back in November I had an urge to needle felt, so got out my supplies of wool roving, my needle tool and my foam pad.  The needle tool holds 3 felting needles which differ to sewing needles in that you can't thread them and they have little barbs on them which grab hold of the wool and make it felt (magically, I don't understand the science behind it).  Those needles are sharp.

Abd fragile.  

Unfortunately they were the only needles I had and I'd managed to break all three in one foul swoop.  (Is that the right expression?  Is it foul swoop or fell swoop or something else entirely?)  I had to put the needle felting to one side whilst I waited for some more to come in the post.

When they did, I felted this vase of flowers and made it into a card for my mum's birthday.  The flower centres are little jewels that I glued on afterwards.

I didn't design this card, I took it from Beginner's Guide to Needle Felting by Susanna Wallis, and I really enjoyed it.  I'm not quite sure why the roving and needles got put away after that as I had planned on making more.

The reason I'm showing you this now, rather than the beginning of November when I made it, is that I forgot to take a photo and only just got one from my mum.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Craft Book Review - Adult Colouring Books

When those lovely folks at GMC offered me a chance to review some adult colouring books, I jumped at the chance!  I've been eyeing these up and wondering if it was something I'd enjoy doing and now I can have a go.

Before we go any further, the disclaimers.  I was sent the book for free to review but I was not told what to say and all opinions are 100% my own.  I didn't receive any monetary compensation.  

I received 2 books, the first I dug into was Creative Coloring Mandalas.

Each motif is full sized and on its own page.  On the reverse of each page is a quote so you can tear the designs out if you wanted to display them.  Not sure what hubs would say if he came home to find I'd stuck my colouring on the fridge...

At the front of the book are some examples of how you can colour the designs in and there is a bit of blurb about what kind of mediums you can use.  

The second book is Nature Mandalas.  A similar idea but with pictures of animals so you could colour them in naturally, or in whatever wild colours take your fancy.

This one has some information about doodling in the front and goes on to talk about colour.  I suppose you could use these books as a way of teaching yourself more about colour palettes and the kind of colour combinations you like and want to use in your crafts.

Yep, there's a page with bunnies.

So I bet you're wondering where the coloured in pictures are?  I didn't take any.  I have coloured in some of the mandalas in these books and it is an enjoyable thing to do in front of the TV when I'm too tired to do anything as strenuous as pull a threaded needle.  No, I'm not showing you because, quite frankly, you might mistake them for the work of your 6-year old niece.  

Of the two, I like the Creative Mandalas best (despite a lack of bunnies) as there is more detail which makes them more fun to colour.  There are several other titles in the series so if you look at the kids' colouring books with envy, get one of these and find your inner artist.


I was given a review copy of the book by GMC however this review and all opinions are 100% my own, I was not told what to say.  

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

making lace

A couple of years ago I got a lacemaking kit from my parents for either my birthday or Christmas.  I got a few craft kits this year for both my birthday and Christmas, so decided it was time to start an old one!  This is for making bobbin lace.

The contents seemed a bit bizarre until I actually got down to it. The polystyrene roll is the worksurface, it's now been covered in the navy fabric provided.  Each of the bobbins had to have a beaded dangle attached, that took me ages!

I could have sworn I'd taken a work in progress photo, but I can't find one so clearly I didn't.  I'll get one next time.  

This is the piece of lace I made.  Don't laugh!  It was my first time...  One the right is the start and it seems I was doing it wrong, then I started doing it right and made the rest of the piece.  As I was following the instructions I realised that they were to make a rose with petals and leaves and a decoration at the back.  I thought it was just making random pieces of lace.  As my attempt wasn't quite perfect, I plan to start again, but I need to get some more of the thread first, it's just DMC but I'm not sure I'll have enough left.

I promise that next time I'll take some photos of the set up and tell you more of what's involved.  I really enjoyed trying something new, must do it more often!

Saturday, 10 January 2015

A Time to Stitch 6

I joined in A Time To Stitch 5, so jumped at the chance to join the next round.  The challenge was to create a piece of beadweaving following a chart.  If you're not sure what a beadweaving chart looks like, take a look at my Pinterest board here.  The charts on that board are for the peyote stitch and that's where I began, thinking it would be easy.

It wasn't.  The up and down nature of the stitch meant that I struggled to follow the chart!  You can find this particular free pattern here.  I made quite a few mistakes which had to be ripped out and it took me forever!  I stitched this using various size 11/0 seed beads.  It is supposed to be a bookmark but it's too short, has one raggedy edge and my attempt at a point was a massive failure!

I have collected a lot of free charts for cross stitch over the years (check out my Pinterest boards) and had always wanted to try one in beads.  I realised I'd have to learn how to do square stitch, but that was pretty easy.  I chose a pattern and got working.

The free chart is from Matryoshka Biscornue, though I can't find the actual chart now.  It's a great blog though, full of free small cross stitch charts. It turned out a lot taller and thinner than I was expecting, but I suppose that makes sense.  It's stitched using size 11/0 seed beads and the slight waviness at the edges is due to using 2 different brands of seed bead.  The white beads are Miyukis which are very regular in size and shape.  The blue were a cheaper brand and lots of different sizes and shapes.

My apologies for the dreadful photos.  I'm at the East Midlands Quilting Group of Moderners today and I only realised I hadn't taken photos on Friday morning which meant a quick photo shoot with my tablet and daylight lamp on an envelope before work, rather than with the camera in my lightbox in daylight!  What's that, you see no difference from my usual crappy photos?  Yeah, OK!

I really enjoyed this challenge.  I found out that following a Peyote chart is quite tricky but that you can use any of the millions of cross stitch charts out there to square stitch a piece.  I probably should have tried brick stitch.  It's like peyote stitch, but on its side, so I could have followed the chart a lot more easily.

If you'd like to see what the other participants in this challenge got up to, you can find them below.  

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Christmas fabric that's not Christmassy

The lovely hubs bought me some fabric for Christmas.

Rabbits!  I'd love to tell you what it is, but I just don't know!  I must get started on that rabbit quilt...