Tuesday, 23 August 2011

New Blog here

I have moved my blog to a new home here:

http://craftywitchery.blogspot.com/

If you are following this blog please refollow me on the new one.  I know things have been pretty quiet round here but I promise I will start posting up more stuff soon!

Many thanks

Thursday, 28 July 2011

A quick update while the baby plays

Well, sods law, after being convinced the baby would be late she came 10 days early, scuppering my plans to finish the nursery before her arrival.  She is now a little over 2 months old, totally gorgeous and rather time consuming so, as you can imagine, there is not a lot left for crafting or blogging.  I had a couple of projects I completed before she came that I didn't have time to blog about so I hope I can get something up about those in the coming weeks.  In fact one of them was finished with the help of the other half while I was in slow labour!  Talk about nesting.

Then when I can find the time between nappy changes and feeding to put the finishing touches on the nursery then I will post up some pictures.  Don't anyone hold their breath though!

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Baby Mary Janes

I went on the hunt for a bootie or slipper pattern to make with the left over yarn from the blanket edging.  I wasn't happy with any of the patterns I found so I decided I would try and make up my own.  Here is the result: Mary Jane Baby Slippers  They are so cute they made me go a bit gooey (Sap!) I used a couple of the Liberty buttons to fasten (2 down, a couple of hundred to go)  Next, a matching hat I think.


On the nursery front, the carpets have been cleaned!  It was a bit of a task as we used a hired carpet cleaner and so thought we might as well do all the other carpets in the house.  Well I say 'we', the other half did most of it and a grand job he's done too (although broken himself a bit now)  So it is now all ready to take the dresser/changer we are collecting next week and then the cot we need to organise ourselves to collect at some point.  It's all coming together!

In the mean time, I am busy working on a wedding gift project for my friend who is getting married at the end of June.  The sunny weather is tempting me away from the sewing machine at the moment but I need to crack on as DDay is fast approaching, if I don't get it done before then they won't happen at all.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Blankets, Birdies and Buttons

This is a bit of a random round up of the things I have been up to over the last month or so.

Firstly, here is the video of me putting up the wall decals earlier in the week, as promised.  I've never used iMovie before (as you can probably tell) and its a bit jumpy as the camera obviously wasn't on a sturdy enough surface but it's just a bit of fun.  I'm not claiming to be Peter Jackson!

video

Secondly, I have finally finished the project that was keeping my hands busy while I wasn't working on the nursery or some other project.  It's taken a while as I've often put it down in favour of a quicker piece of work but a project like this is nice to have going on 'in the back ground' to fall back to when hands need to be kept busy.   I picked up the yarn for the main part of the blanket to keep me occupied while I was back home for a week in late February.  It is simply a granny square in 2 colours which I kept at until I ran out of yarn.  I'd slightly underestimated the amount I needed as I had intended the border to be in the darker green from the middle but there wasn't enough so I picked up a complementing green for the scalloped edge.  As it's a slightly thicker and softer yarn, it worked out well as it gives a cosy soft edge but the main bulk of the blanket will be nice and light for summer.




And finally I just wanted to post a picture of the jar of buttons I picked up from Libertys this week.  I  could have spent hours (and a small fortune) in the haberdashery department but I restrained myself, I really have no need for any more fabric or yarn just now!  But I couldn't resist the jewel like colours of this collection.  I have no idea what I am going to make with them, they could get used piece meal on various projects or I might make a button necklace from them.  If anyone else has any project ideas fot them then please let me know.


Monday, 11 April 2011

Been a long time, shouldn't have left you...

...without a blog post to read.

Well, a lot of things got in the way of me posting last month.  We have been having some (none nursery related) work done to the house, which is now finally finished.  The place was turned upside down for a while (to the point where I could barely find the laptop!) and has hindered progress on the nursery but we now have gorgeous new floors downstairs (clean and splinter free for little crawling paws) and a freshly painted hall, landing and dining room.  Downstairs feels so much more light and airy but very homely now and the added benefit is the dining room is now free from junk and hopefully fit to hold a birthing pool. (Eek!)

Also we have been away on a 'babymoon' to the Forest of Dean.  I'm not sure how I feel about this term really but the idea is you get away from it all to have some quality time as a couple before life changes forever.  We had a great time, very chilled out and were pretty lucky with the weather.  We stayed at a really fabulous and quirky B&B just outside of Ross on Wye called The Hill House.  It was just right, handy for Ross, but out of the way up the mysteriously named Howles Hill and a bit spooky - reputedly haunted although we never saw the White Lady our room was named after.   Duncan does the most incredible cooked breakfast, all locally produced and enormous portions.  I think my bump has doubled in side just from eating!  When we werent chilling out infront a roaring fire sampleing locally made ales and apple juice (you can guess who was drinking what?) we were mooched round Ross, doing a very a small spot of walking near Symonds Yat, and visiting the International Centre for Birds of Prey which sounds a bit nerdy but was actually fun and informative, my favorite creature being the cute and cat like Burrowing Owl.

But today I finally got round to putting up the wall decals.  It turned out to be fairly quick and easy, the first big piece that went up was the trickiest and after that it was plain sailing.  As I mentioned in my last post, each colour came on separate sheets, so this gave me to have a lot more flexibility into the design and placement of the different components than if it was just a one colour sticker on a massive sheet. And here it is:

The Finished Wall
I am really glad we decided to paint the wall a pale yellow as I think it would have been too stark on white.  The supplier also very kindly sent me loads of extra bird so some of them have escaped from the main wall to populate the rest of the room.

One landed on the window sill.
A little bird hanging out with the owls on the light switch
I also videoed myself putting the decal on the wall but I need to edit and speed this up Benny Hill style (to save you all falling asleep) so this will be posted at a later date if anyone wants to see exactly how easy this was!

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Decals have arrived!

Well I finally bit the bullet and chose the wall decals from the myriad of options on Amazon, Ebay and Etsy.  I ended up buying from Etsy as the options were the most flexible and also the cheapest.  Rather than giving you one sheet with the decal printed on, it comes in separate pieces so you can be a bit more creative with the way you apply it.

I think its going to be a bit of a mission but I am dying to get cracking with it. Unfortunately, we have decided that the wall needs a lick of 'feature' colour to set the design off properly and I have to wait 2 weeks for the paint to cure before applying the decals or they might not stick properly.  Lovely Husband is up there right now painting the wall so I will just have to be patient. (pics to follow)

We also decided to return the changing dresser as we have been offered a second hand oak chest of drawers which is going to save us money and also be better quality and more individual.  The only problem with this is its at the other end of the country currently so it's going to take some organising to get that up here.  Still, I am very grateful to Fabulous Sister for offering it to us (and to Mothercare who allowed us to return the changer even though 28 days had passed since delivery.) and really love the idea of our little one owning something that her cousin has used every day for 11 years.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Finally Finished Flopsy!

Well I've had a fabulous day today.  7 adults and 7 kids running round in the Worcestershire countryside, then eating cake and drinking hot chocolate.  If you are in the area then I would really recommend the Worcester Woods Country Park, brilliant play area, activities and fabulous cafe.

It was pretty exhausting though so this is going to be a fairly short post just to say that I finally finished Flopsy yesterday!! (about time I hear you say)  So here she is:


And here is the pattern for Flopsy should you fancy having a go yourself.  It turned out the bit I was putting off was the tricky part, making the body and attaching all the different parts and the head, but hopefully I have explained how I worked round it.  I had to modify the original mouse pattern from Esprit Cabana quite extensively.  I think the only part that is exactly the same is the front body but I'd still like to thank them for the inspiration.  Looking forward to seeing her in situ when the nursery is decorated.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Where has February gone?

Its just flown by and I don't really know where it's gone!!  This is just a quick update as I haven't got any photos to post at the moment.

Wonderful Husband has given the nursery a lick of paint so it is all lovely and fresh.  All of the old furniture has been removed and one piece of new furniture is in there already!  So now all I need to do it order the wall stickers, paint the woodwork and clean the carpet and it will be like a lovely blank canvas ready to be filled.

I am also going to have to pull my finger out and finish Flopsy.  I think I have been putting her off because it's the tricky bit to do next, assembling all the components (remember I am not a finisher?)  Hopefully I will get her finished and posted in the next few days so watch this space.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Progress

Work on the Nursery has been going quite well, the room still isn't completely cleared but we are definitely getting there. I can see a light at the end of the tunnel, be it rather dim and still some distance away.  The changing table has been delivered but needs assembly so I will have to wait for that joy!  And as I mentioned I now have a very neat home office in the dining room.  I am particularly pleased with how well it packs away into the corner of the room when not in use. It can't take up more than 3 square foot!

My new 'office' compact and bijoux

So much more tidy but it still needs to go!

Still a few bits to shift.
Hmm still some work to do here
Ok I agree to the untrained eye it still looks a mess but if you compare it to the first pictures you've got to admit there has been progress.  Just waiting to got some more bits up in the roof, on freecycle and ebay and it should be clear.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Help you I will, hmm?

This little fella has been keeping me from Flopsy for a few days. I think he turned out pretty well although some Starwars purists might quibble over the difference between a robe and a cape. I have written up the pattern for anyone who would like to attempt him too. Yoda

Amigurami Yoda
He has also given me an idea for a Leia pattern so watch this space.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Elusive Flopsy - Stage 1

Flopsy is taking a little longer than I expected,mainly because I am trying a few things out for the first time. I am basing her on a pattern from Esprit Cabane called Fabric Remnant Mouse but have modified the pattern quite a bit. Particularly pleased with how the head turned out as I wanted fatter cheeks and a wider nose and bunny ears not mouse ones obviously!


I am also modifying the body and legs quite a bit so its going to take longer than I had thought but at least will produce an almost original pattern that I am happy with. Having a redo on the legs as I'm not happy with the ones I made last night.

As for the nursery, I am typing this from my new 'office' set up downstairs so we are getting there! Getting rid of the desk will be a milestone and I also have loads of packing and sorting to do still which I am setting myself up to do tomorrow.  Now it's there in black and white I have to do it although I am so tempted just to work on Flopsy instead.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Chime Owl Pattern

Here is a little soft toy I made out of some left over fabric from making the mobile. I wanted to make him a bit interactive so I added some texture into his wings by inserting foil in one side and cellophane (from the package the bells came in) on the other and some chime bells into his body.   The cellophane definitely works the best as its more crackly.  He will be tied to the side of the cot (when we eventually get one!)

Chime Owl

He was quite easy to make and as I had already made the pattern in Illustrator I thought I'd create a instruction pattern to follow in case anyone else wanted to make him.   It is down loadable from here: Chime Owl Pattern  I am thinking of making a mini version to go on the pram so will post that pattern too.

I'd really appreciate any feed back on how clear this pattern is to follow and any mistakes or improvement you think I could make.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Slight change of plan (sure to be the first of many!)

There I was trying to be practical and reuse the things we have by keeping the (currently over loaded) wooden shelving unit in the corner.  Then The Other Half sent me a link to this bookcase in the Mark and Spencers Sale with 60% off and the temptation was just too much.

House bookcase

So what if I am going to have about a quarter of the storage space I would have had?  This is going to be much more beautiful and take up far less of the space which is at a premium in this room (see there where some practical considerations!)  The old shelf will go in the roof so we can get that organised and I am going to have to rethink where I keep some of my craft things.

Also as it is being delivered the 2nd week of February it gives me a junk clearing dead line to work towards.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

One thing I am not is a "Finisher"

What seems like a lifetime ago, I was sent on a management training course by work. Part of the course involved testing for various traits and leadership qualities. I don't really remember much else about the course but one thing has stuck in my mind, that apparently I am not a "finisher". I am great at starting projects, at inspiration and ideas, but not that great at seeing them through to the end.

This is something I hope I have worked on but there are several unfinished projects lying around the house that would suggest I need to give it some more work. This is why crochet and amigurami appeals to me so much. It gives almost instant gratification, keep it simple and you can make a ball in an hour or a toy in an evening. With larger projects you can see it growing before your eyes, which spurs me on to complete things. I don't seem to have as many problems finishing them, maybe thats just because it is so much fun.

I was bought a book of amigurami with a hook and a few yarns just over 12 months ago and haven't looked back. I love it!  So I thought I'd show you a few things I have made. Some of these are still around and will make it into the nursery, others have been given away.

My first ever amigurami

Kitteh - we still have her, she will be watching the mobile with mischief on her mind

A pair of owls - big given to my nephcousin and little to my nan

Bear pod - he has a secret compartment for my little ones trinkets

Red Pikmin - the first amigurami that i made without a pattern.

Inspiration!

Its funny how inspiration works.  I'd been noodling over the colour scheme for the nursery for a while.  I wanted something none gender specific and definitely not pastels.  It's actually a bit disturbing how hard it is to find things that aren't pastel pink or baby blue unless you are going to spend a fortune.  Anyway I digress... I also knew I wanted to keep the walls and probably the furniture white, (the room is quite small and has been painted fairly recently) and accent it with something bright.    And I wanted to make a mobile to hang over the cot, probably with crocheted birds, and while looking for inspiration I found this lovely website from the US. www.spoolsewing.com with a free pattern to make this mobile:


So I changed tack regarding the crochet as all the patterns I could find were a little too chunky for a mobile and had a root through my swatches of fabric until I came across these two:



I love how the chocolate colour complements the bright turquoise and lime green and that the spots on the brown fabric are muted versions of them.  Bingo, these were my colours and the addition of the chocolate meant that if I needed to go neutral instead of bright for bedding etc, it would still work.

So I went to my favourite fabric shop and picked out a few more lengths to go with them,


then set to work.  These little fellas are actually pretty easy to make, the tricky part is folding and stitching the tail end,  I think I may have made my life slightly more difficult by printing the PDF in portrait so they are smaller than intended but I think that just makes them cuter.



So four down and about six more to go!  I just hope I can get the mobile to balance properly.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Oh the Shame!

As I said the point of me doing this was to document the hopefully wonderful transformation of my office into the nest that by little bean will grow to love.  So first things first, off I merrily trotted to photograph this office.  It really is amazing what you can put up with when you are used to it, bearing in mind that most of this crap is behind me when I am working on the computer.  It is a tip, there are no excuses, its an absolute bin and for some reason I hadn't quite recognised that until I saw it shrunken down onto a digital camera screen.  So with much trepidation I am going to show you exactly what I am dealing with.

This shelf will stay but the contents needs to go.

Oh dear lord.  This is where the cot will go.

And here will be the chest of drawers/changing table.
I promise you the rest of my house is not this untidy (most of the time) but these photos have put me to shame and I have made a start since my first post this morning. I have sorted through the paperwork on the desk and started on the shelves.  I need more storage.  I suspect this might take longer than I originally thought!

I have always been a bit of a hoarder (no really?) and I hate to throw anything away that might useful.  So I am hoping to recycle and freecycle a lot of this stuff but the ecological part of me is fighting an instinct to hire a skip and just bin it all!  That is most unlike me, I guess this must the the nesting instinct in full effect.

The Whys and Wherefores.

I have always been a creative person.  It started when I was very small, from making party dresses for my Pippa dolls out of tissues and cellotape, to embroidering a 'horse' blanket for my Cindys pony. From finger knitting, to Fashion Plates, it wasn't always clothes that fascinated me but just the joy of making something new from things that were lying around.  These days I mainly make things by painting, sewing or crocheting.  And I have embarked on the ultimate creative project, making a human being, to be born sometime in early June.

But this blog isn't going to be about that, well at least, not yet.  I want to document the changes I will be making to the room I am sitting in now and its transformation from the cluttered home office and craft room it is currently, into the (hopefully) serene but funky if very small nursery it will become.  I would like to have as many home made elements as possible in this room partly because I enjoy making things, partly because I am on a budget. and partly because there is such a lot of new, manufactured stuff in the world and most of it is tat.

Of course, this blog could all be just another excuse (like the crafts) to avoid doing the grunt work of sorting though all this junk and (horror of horrors) actually having to throw or give some of it away!  But I'd also like to pay homage to some of the amazing people out there on the internet who have inspired me, those that give away their patterns, advice and expertise for free, so expect links to their sites and also any other commercial links I think are cool or useful.

So here goes, I hope you find it interesting and enjoyable or perhaps get inspired to make something yourself.