Category: Things to make

Not Another Hobby……

Actually it’s two more! Eeek.

Macrame.

And weaving.

Here is the story…….

First the Macrame. Last summer I watched a video through Creative Bug showing how to make a macrame wall hanging. I’d see them pop up on Instagram and was intrigued. So much so that I convinced H we should make one as part of her summer list. That plan didn’t work out but it did get me hooked on this craft.

The photo above shows my first attempts at knot tying. The rope is 5mm, 4 strand twisted cotton. See I even talk the macrame talk now!

Same piece as that first shot but I changed the pattern. It ended up looking like this –

Square and half hitch knots. I absolutely loved making this. There was something therapeutic in repeating the same thing over and over and seeing it grow.

I also saw that weaving was being incorporated into macrame so I had a go at the too….

Same square and half hitch knots but this time I added black wool and some roving to the piece.

That one is much smaller and actually used up some of the left over rope from the bigger one. I hung it on a piece of driftwood found when we were at the cottage in November. Loved the chunkier wood for a chunkier wall hanging.

And now the weaving. I have actually weaved before. I made a couple of wall hangings and a little necklace in 2015. I remember enjoying making them but moved on to other things…… Such is my crafty life!

Enter Instagram again. Added to a request from my sister for gift ideas last Christmas. She fulfilled my wish and bought me a loom.

I raided my box of wool, my Mums supply of wool and bought a few balls too.

I’m keen to use recycled/upcycled materials and after I made the blue and mustard weaving I began to experiment and made one that had our old denim jeans in it. I can’t bear to throw jeams away when only the knees or hems are worn so I have been collecting cut off legs for many years knowing that one day I’ll find a use for them.

The fringe and the two strips were once jeans. I cut narrow lengths from the legs, frayed the edges and wove them in.

I also found a great shop on Etsy that sold organic roving and another that sold recycled cotton cord that is perfect for macrame.

And very bizarrely I saved that horrid nylon netting they wrap Christmas Trees in and I plan to weave that into a large macrame too. I’m quite excited about this as you can tell. I just hope my momentum carries on for a while as I made a very rash claim to H and Gav the other day.

I said that when I’d made ten wall hanging I was going to open an Etsy shop! Oh bother what did I have to say that for?? I have no idea how to open an Etsy shop…….. Anyway we will see where this new creative adventure takes me!

The 100 Day Project 2018 – Thoughts on the Completed Project

It’s over three months since I made my final heart on fabric for this years 100 Day Project! Where does the time go?

I did really well at sewing the squares together and finished that part of the quilt a few weeks after the end of the project. The time lapse is partly to do with me, the well known fact that crafts go in seasons with me, and partly that I have struggled to get a good photo of the quilt top.

I had it in my head that I wanted to hold up the quilt top not lay it down as I had all through the 100 days. After my second ‘photo shoot’ I should have given up and just laid it on the floor but I was stubborn and tried again.

Argh…… still blurry and with shadows but here it is.

Back at day eighty four I promised to return here and share what I learned from doing this project. I’ve just gone back and read my roundup post for last year to see what I thought about that project (I’ve linked all past post’s below).

What I mentioned in that post was that I’d surprised myself by completing the 100 days and that I was happy to have carved 15-30 minutes out of my day to craft.

Both of those thoughts are true this time around. I had set a more challenging project but still completed it and I made the time to do it.

I also simply love what I have made. I love that I tried new techniques, learnt about fabric paint (grr) and stamping with ink on fabric. That I used a well loved blouse, a sheet my sister gave me and mostly materials I had on hand for the squares. That I carved my own heart stamps, used a colour palette and fell in love with applique.

I think my biggest takeaway should be that I can do it. I may tweak and make it work for me but I can do it.

What I would really like to do then is believe this of myself day in and day out. I have a dream to sell things that I make. But I do not believe I can. I don’t really try to do it. There are a dozen reasons why I don’t. Excuses I should say, not reasons. There are too many folk already doing it, it will cost more that it makes, I don’t have people skills to sell things, nothing I make will be good enough………..

Perhaps I need to look long and hard at those 100 quilt squares and realise that I can do it if I want to and stop all the excuses? Maybe I will. We will see.

In the meantime I am already looking forward to 100 days 2019 and planning to finish the quilt obviously!

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Here is my intro post to the 2018 project and my thoughts on 25 days down and at 80 days. And here is the post I wrote at the beginning of the 2017 project with this one summing up my thoughts at the end of those 100 days last year.

Click Tick List – Sew an Item of Clothing

At some point in my teenage years I made a top and trousers for a school class. As far as I can remember that was the first and last time I made clothes.

I’ve been following Elise’s sewing exploits with interest for a while now and decided that I could add another hobby to my ever growing list!

Adding this onto my list was one way to make sure I did it.

I signed up for a free trail over at the Creative Bug a few months ago and one of the classes was to make Shirt No 1 by 100 Acts of Sewing. This was the top that I’d seen Elise make so I downloaded the pattern and slowly, step by step began.

I have to say that this is a great pattern for a beginner. Only two pieces to cut and the neck, hem and sleeves to finish. I complicated it by following one of the variations show in the class as I really wanted to use that orange material with the linen.

I was perhaps half way through making the shirt above when I saw this grey spotty fabric and had to buy it for another shirt.

Unfortunately, however beautiful that grey spot is the material was way too thick. It doesn’t drape as you really need a shape like this to do. But I still love it and I’m sure it will after some washing it will soften up.

I think that I have always steered clear of sewing clothes because I know it isn’t easy. I know that often it is trial and error because a pattern you buy will not fit you exactly and it can be very frustrating not to understand where you went wrong, or rather where you need to adjust the paper pattern in order to get a better fit. Google is always a good friend in these circumstances although another class that I watched at Creative Bug was a pattern drafting class and this gave a wealth of information and was full of tips and tricks for getting a better fit.

In the spirit of practice and trying to weave making clothes into my normal life I have made a list of what I think I’ve learned from these two sewing projects –

  • I need to develop more patience and accept that I’ll have to rip out seams to get something right.
  • Read the instructions about types of fabric best suited to the pattern.
  • I need to actually make more stuff! It’s no good just watching videos. To improve and get better I need to make clothes.
  • When I make this top again add a couple of inches to the length.
  • Watch the neckline on the top too. They are both fine but I think I’d prefer it less wide at the tops of my shoulders.
  • Remember the tip about turning up a hem to avoid ‘bubbles’.

Here’s to slow fashion, practice and general creativeness.

The 100 Day Project 2018 – Thoughts on 25 Days Down

Where did those 25 days go? I have be messing about with fabric pens, dimensional paint, scraps of material and embroidery floss and created a quarter of the squares. I’ve been sharing a photo everyday over here on Instagram along with a few words. I am smiling all over my face as I write because I absolutely adore this project.

The first 16.

Since I’m plod, plodding along I wanted to get a few of my thoughts and feelings about the project so far down ‘on paper’ because I know I’ll hit a wall at some point so let’s celebrate these first 25 days with a little honesty.

Here’s quick list of things that have come into my head so far –

  1. I don’t love every square and have made some mistakes
  2. I’m not doing it over if I don’t like it (yet anyway!)
  3. I’m a little panicky about them all looking the same
  4. I’m getting too conscious about the designs/colours matching other days nearby in the layout
  5. I dislike dimensional paint!
  6. I love applique
  7. Play is good

Here’s a bit more of a ramble about point 4.

Seeing my ‘grid’ of squares grow over on Instagram makes me want them all to be cohesive. I will hold my hand up and admit that I’ve made a pile of squares all in order of how I want to use them for the next 15 days. Is that cheating?

First of all Mel, it’s your project so you can do what you like and second of all if it is then so what! Maybe I’ll loosen up on this as time goes on or maybe I won’t and I’ll keep planning the fabric choices based on the other growing rows of squares. It’s just one of those quirks in my personality that I’m very matchy matchy.

Play is good. Below is a great example of how I played with card and supplies and made a template so I could use it as a mask.

I went for the ‘negative’ look so used the cut out hearts as the mask.

I loved making that template. But unfortunately the stamp I picked to create the design over the masked hearts didn’t allow those ‘negative’ hearts show up enough. (Plus I seem to have some old blue paint on the stamp….)

So I grabbed a Mister Huey’s spray mist and covered the square in pink ink!

This is one of the ones I don’t like. The combination of slightly patterned background fabric with the swirls and then the pink is too much. But it’s staying in the mix of squares if only to make me remember that play is good but test things out first is also a necessary part of play.

The dimensional paint issue. So on day 2 and 10 I used Tulip dimensional fabric paint. I loved day 2 but when I came to use it on day 10 my test runs with the white matt paint just looked awful. I’d committed to using paint on that day so I just did it. You can see the result in the last photo below. It’s the grey square with three white hearts and that zig zag border. It turned out ok and I like the addition of a border, something I’d yet to try. My thought about the paint overall should have been a good thing as it was pushing me to different things. But really I just didn’t want to work with the paint again.

Then I looked at the three tubes of paint and knew there was no way I wasn’t going to use them on this project again so I googled dimensional paint and came up with the technique I used here.

I drew the hearts onto a sheet of card and smushed the fabric square onto the paint. It’s so messy and imperfect but I love it. I really like the ‘negative cream heart on the inside of the paint and think I’ll try this again but paint the hearts closer so I get hardly any space between smushed hearts on the finished square. We will see.

I found that I was panicking around day 15 when all I seem to have made were squares with a big heart in the middle or squares with random little hearts. I know that really that wasn’t the case because when you look at them all laid out they do vary but that’s how I felt. I tried to just ignore those feelings and make the next square.

Just pushing on is really all you can do in a project like this because if you don’t you end up not making anything and that day is suddenly gone.

Day 24 is perhaps my most fav square of all. You know how I love a spotty fabric…… And my new love of the applique technique.

Below are all 25 laid out as they will be when I put them together as a quilt. Day 1 is top left.

I think you can tell by the length of my ramblings that I’m loving this so much and that is the most important part. Bring on the next 75!

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Here is my intro post to the 2018 project. And here is the post I wrote at the beginning of the 2017 project with this one summing up my thoughts at the end of those 100 days last year.

Adventures in Quilt Making – The Purple One

Hooray! I’ve finished it and I think this is the fastest quilt I’ve made so far. Under a year, now that progress.

Little photo bomber……..

I mentioned it over here in January.

I bought the fabric last year at Jo-ann in Florida with the intention of making a quilt for our living room and even though I say so myself I think it goes perfectly.

I also feel like I employed some of my previously learnt skills on this one too. I measured correctly this time and I trimmed all the edges as I sewed. Being precise does not come naturally to me but I have learnt that it’s vital when piecing your quilt tops. I also used a technique I saw on one of the Creative Bug tutorials about how to secure your quilting stitches. By turning the size of the stitches down to very very very small you can start the line off, trim your threads and the quilted stitches stay secure. A great tip which saved so much time for me because previously I sewed all my loose threads into the quilt.

I’m still no expert and it isn’t perfect but I’m fine with that. Do a little, learn a little.

I wanted to get this finished before spring and before the 100 day project as I know I won’t be doing much crafty stuff other than making hearts on fabric till July.

Glad it’s finished and ready for the autumn, or right now as it’s been snowing again today!

The 100 Day Project 2018 – 100 Hearts on Fabric

Can you believe it is almost a year since I began writing 100 Brush Script Quotes? I can’t.

I loved the project so much last year that I have decided to jump on board again in 2018 and have shamelessly plagiarised the project that Elise Blaha Cripe  did last year. But instead of 100 Plants on Fabric I’m going with 100 Hearts on Fabric!

And let me tell you I am about as excited as I have ever been about this! The idea came to me about two months ago during a quilty phase when I found myself wondering how I could do something similar to Elise (because I thought her take on the idea was so cool) without being exactly the same. Then it hit me. I love hearts as a motif so why not do hearts on fabric.

I began by pinning over here to see if I could come up with enough ideas……..

Then I thought where is the challenge if you know you can do it? I was hooked on the idea anyway and now can’t wait to get going.

Although I’m all fired up, which is of course exactly how you need to be at the start of something that is going to last a long time, I’m also realistic and know that I’ll get fed up and stressed along the journey. To help combat those feelings I know I can consult my board over on Pinterest when I need inspiration.

As far as supplies I’ve purchased some fabric markers, fabric inks and dimensional fabric paint.

I’ve sorted out a pile of embroidery floss, sequins and beads and have a small stack of fabric. The salmon linen on the top of the pile is the only one I have purchased so far all the others are from my stash.

I intend to make squares (when I said I’d plagiarised her idea I wasn’t kidding!) and sew them into a quilt so my colour scheme is going to be white, pink, grey and some other neutrals. If I get to the end of the 100 days and manage to sew a quilt I’ll put it our bedroom to go with my very first quilt.

A week today is all begins again!

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Here is the post I wrote at the beginning of the 2017 project and here is a post summing up my thoughts at the end of the 100 days.

Adventures in Quilt Making

Back in August I shared the baby quilt my niece and I made for my great niece and I mentioned that it had re-inspired my love of patchwork and quilting. I dug out all of my previously started quilting projects…….

There were three of them back then. H thought this was dreadful and kept asking why I hadn’t finished them. My answer didn’t go down well as I admitted that I get bored and want to move on to other things. No point in sugar coating it. I can hold my head up high and admit, as I have many times before that my hobbies go in phases. Just because the buying, planning and cutting of fabric seems to come around more often that the sewing together of all the blocks shouldn’t stop me in my quilt adventures!

Here are two of them.

The denim and red has been in the works for longer than I dare admit. I love the idea of re-using denim from old jeans and thought the reds went really well with that faded blue. I added a neutral or two in as well.

I have a pile of jeans legs (that sounds funny!) tucked away and I’m determined to use them one day. It is a heavier material than all the other fabrics and I’m sure I shouldn’t have put lightweight and heavyweight materials together. But the beauty of not having much of a clue about quilting is that I just go with it and sometimes out works out fine. And other times I have to unpick for days…..

The orange triangles have also been around a while. I think I bought the material from Jo-Ann’s in 2015…. Here is another example as learning as I go. While I seem to have done quite a decent job of getting my pinwheel points matched up in the red and denim blocks I’ve managed to do a terrible job with those triangle points. Definitely a steep learning curve. Even my rows are wibbly wobbly!

And then we have the Christmas Tree Quilt which had been a work in progress for a few years too but finally got finished last December.

Inspired by this pin and this blog post. It is the most adorable thing I’ve ever made. I love it and from the remarks I got about it from family I better get cutting trees again and give a few away as Christmas gifts. In a few years of course…….

And as we are doing the full disclosure bit I hold my hand up and admit that while in the US last August I did drag my family to Jo-Ann and bought more fabric.

This time purple and grey to match our living room.

I decided to go more modern with this one and got the design inspiration somewhere online but cannot remember where!

As you can see from the photo at the beginning of the post this one is coming along great and I’ve finished piecing the top.

As of this point in time I have the orange and purple ready to sandwich together and baste.  The poor old red and denim is still in blocks but you never know by the end of the year they could all be finished. Stranger things have happened.

100 Brushscript Quotes – Thoughts on the Completed Project

100 days. Seems like an age ago. Time has flown by since it was completed, almost another 100 days in fact!

Here is my original post at the start of the project. And here is the link to the official pages from the host Elle Luna.

I’m mentioning the ticking away of time quite a bit here recently mainly because I seem to be finding it hard to sit and blog, so ideas I had planned to write about have passed me by or, as in this case, what I’m writing about was ages ago. However, I still want to document and share my feeling about the 100 days project so here we go…..

First of all I surprised myself. I was amazed that I completed it and that I posted a photo of my handwritten quote everyday on Instagram. I was also pretty impressed that not only did I post the quote but that I interspersed those posts with other photos that gave my feed a chequerboard effect! Loved that, thanks Gav for pointing it out.

Secondly, I liked that I was quite picky about the quotes I chose to write. Although many of the comments I made attached to the image on Instagram didn’t mention the quote itself, I did find that I wouldn’t write just any old quote. I had to love it, it had to speak to me. More on that below. I also think that deciding to change it up part way through and adding in the movie quotes and then the Friends quotes shows something of my personality. Glad I mixed it up and added those into the process.

Thirdly, I found right after the end I didn’t want to stop! I missed it so very much at first and I still want to work on my style and practice more. As the time has gone by though I’m happy that I did it for the 100 days and now am finished. I can pick up the brush at any time and keep up the practice and I intend to do just that.

I also need to remember that I carved out 15-30 minutes a day to do this. What other creative thing could I do in that time?

I hope to go back and read and digest the words/quotes I wrote. Why did I pick them? How do I want them to impact my life. I chose them because they ‘spoke’ to me so I want ti think about why? Not just to leave it there I’d like to it think about the words more.

Overall then, it was a great success, I have a book of words documenting a project and also a period in my life. Love that tangible stuff! And I’m looking forward to doing it again next year maybe something a little more of a challenge??

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A Baby Quilt

It was all my Mums idea after she saw the Christmas quilt I made for my younger niece. She suggested that I made one for the new baby and I decided it would be fun to ask my niece to help. After all this baby is her niece! Crazy I know.

So a few months ago we embarked on project baby quilt. We picked out colours based around lemon the colour of the nursery.

And cut them into 5 inch square blocks. Sewed the squares together and then we sewed them into rows. Here I am sewing and she is playing the piano. The fun never stops in this house…..

Here she is at the sewing machine on a different day. Love this photo. It have Gav and the record player visible, documenting everyday stuff.

And here it is all finished.

I think she did a great job with it. A great collaborative effort. As a finishing touch I wanted to ‘write’ something on the back of the quilt to say who this was from so we brainstormed a few ideas and between us came up with the perfect phrase….

That made us laugh. Love from the Aunts! Because we are of course, we’ll just gloss over the fact I’m a Great Aunt! It actually reminded me of my favourite film Practical Magic where the two main characters refer to the older generation ladies as ‘The Aunts.’

So a pretty little quilt has been made and given to our beautiful new niece and with it I hope to have whetted Hannah’s appetite for sewing, I know I have re-kindled my love of patchwork.

The 100 Day Project – 100 Brushscript Quotes

Phew…… I am just over a third of the way through this project! 100 days is a long time! I’ve been sharing my quote each day on Instagram and you can find me here over there.

I may have rambled before about my attraction to this art form before but thought I’d go over it again as I try to cement ideas in my head.

It all started with Kal. She doesn’t really post there anymore but that is where I found her many years ago. She is over here on Instagram.

I have tried her way of writing before.

I also found Amy through scrapbooking and a few years ago she started writing in watercolour brush script. Her style is completely different to Kal and they are both different to what I imagine that kind of writing to be. Mostly you find, if you look on You Tube, a perfect ‘copperplate’ style that is written to a formula. Neither of these artists write that way and I don’t want to either.

I want to try to develop a style. My style. And I think by writing for 100 days I may get there.

So far I am loving it. Up until day six I didn’t practice before I put brush to paper I just wrote the quote. Of those first few some were just a mess that looking back I don’t like very much.

Lesson number one then? I do need to ‘warm’ up before I write each one simply to get the movement flowing and to keep up the practicing. Lesson number two? Keep varying the size and style. I have tried to write differently but am drawn to the loopy writing more as you can see.

Lesson number three? Slowly does it. Now here in lies a problem. I have no patience. I want to take up the brush load it with colour and write. But I have found that if I slow down I can better judge the letters and where exactly I want the brush to go. I have also found that the way I hold the brush makes a difference. Straight up or like a pen and you end up with a different look.

 

I hope I’m getting better. Well I think I am. I have developed certain letters that were a problem to start with like ‘b’ and ‘y’ I like my ‘f’, ‘h’, ‘l’. Some are still tricky like ‘s’ and ‘m’ but I keep trying.

A few days ago I started with movie quotes and I’m loving that twist.

Generally I am writing them all in a book. I thought the idea of having all of them together would be kind of cool. I have done three ‘loose’ and may do more perhaps on different paper like the one in the first photo.

The paper in this pad I’m using is not watercolour paper but is slightly thicker and more textured than printer paper. I’m using a set of proper watercolour paints and a cheaper, chalkier set that I got from Hobbycraft in the UK. I use a fine water-brush for convenience and the bristles are very controllable.

I’m not sure I like the way my style is developing but I’ll keep going and see where this adventures leads me!

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Go here to find out more about the 100 Day Project.