Getting organised

I have to confess that I’m more than a little ditzy and probably the most un-organised person in the world (maybe even the universe!)

I’m not sure whether it’s the on-set of the season of the spring clean or more to do with me spending more time at home now, but I have a desire to get structured, streamlined and more efficient.

Just the other day I discovered an amazing selection of blog posts about cleaning and organising your home by the lovely Sandra over at Cherry Heart.  The posts are broken down into bite sized little articles of inspiration.  Each one covering a different task or goal.  They really are a delightful read and immediately inspired me to get stuck in and organise both myself and our home.

Feeling motivated, I decided to begin by bringing some order to my crafty life. So last night I pulled together a few of my favourite crochet and stitch books and magazines and began marking some items which I’ve want to make but have never found the time or motivation to get things started.

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I was going to number each label then work through them in numerical order but I decided ‘one baby step at a time.’  Lets not make life too regimented.  So, I’m going to make a start on one of these exciting chosen projects this weekend, then as soon as its finished (YAY! I will finally be able to do a ‘Ta Dah’ post,) I shall select another, then another, until all the pretty pink tags are removed and replaced by pretty, colourful, handmade goodies.

Then today, striking while the iron was hot – I nipped out and bought myself a cute little planner pad.
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Each Sunday evening I’m going to spend 15 minutes noting down tasks and goals for the week and I’m going to start creating a meal plan and a shopping list.

So, lets re-cap – I have my pretty planner and pen, I have my funky pink page markers and I have my meal plans and shopping lists!  Now all I need is lots and lots of discipline and focus.

I think its a good start to a big and on-going job!  Grandma May will be so proud!

Sarah x

 

Beautiful Blogs

Happy Easter Everyone!

I would have liked this post to have been a ‘Ta Dah’ post, featuring a beautiful finished piece of sewing or crochet.  But alas, it wasn’t to be – I have many projects on the go but they are all rather large and are taking quite some time to complete.  My problem is exactly that – I have ‘many’ projects, flitting between them means that none are really moving along at any speed.

So seeing as I can’t share any of my own crafty goodness with you I thought I would share some wonderful blogs that I have recently un-earthed…

IHeart Organizing – If like me you need a little guidance and direction with the organisation and planning of your home and work life then this is the place to go.  Great for tips, advice and general motivation to get things in order.

Crafts from the Cwtch – Pop over and meet Sarah (Daughter of the lovely Linda from this years Great British Sewing Bee.)  An avid knitter and lover of all things yarn her blog is packed with great tips, tutorials and patterns.

All About Ami – All about crochet and amigurumi.  The beautiful Stephanie introduces us to the magical world of cute crochet pieces to make and adore.

Pretty by Hand – Gorgeous sewing tutorials and stunning snippets of inspiration.

Do What You Love – Feeling a bit lost?  Need some life direction?  Have a feeling you have the answer to your life path tucked away somewhere deep inside?  Then this is the place to go.

Guthrie & Ghani – Sewing inspiration and stunning fabric and haberdashery to boot.  What more can we crafters need?

Selina Lake – As you probably know I love her books.  Her blog is equally as wonderful for home and garden design and inspiration.

LoobyLou Creations – Hayley is a knitter and creator of wonderful felt pieces.  Grab a cuppa and nip over for some great crafty chatter and inspiration.

These are just a few of the blogs I love to browse whilst slurping tea and munching biscuits. You can find more of my blog-faves here – And should you have found any beautiful blogs that I haven’t yet un-earthed then please do let me know!

Now, I do believe that is the kettle I hear boiling…

Have a great bank holiday weekend one and all.

Sarah x

 

 

At a junction without a compass or map

Monday 24th March was my birthday.  It was an incredibly beautiful day full of flowers, cakes, cards, gifts and most importantly family and lots and lots of love.

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Since then I’ve been feeling lost… It’s like, I’m deep in the woods and I’ve come to a junction. There is a dusty circle in the ground which has many possible pathways but no clear signage indicating which way is the right way to go. My internal compass is spinning one way and then the other. And although each route is lit with sunshine the central point where I stand is clouded with a thick fog, commonly known as ‘indecision’

Last night I had a break through when I remembered a blog post I was reading from the superb ‘Tilly and the buttons‘ blog which was following a day in the life of Lauren from Guthrie and Ghani.  In the post Lauren mentioned that she had lost her way for a while but managed to unearth her life path through an online course, ‘Do what you Love.’

After another wasted day involving me bumbling around, not achieving very much, I decided to have a look on the link.  A quick read established that this could be exactly what I was looking for.  Small bite sized pieces, all aimed to get me pointing in the right direction, with the right mind set and a clear view of how and where I want to be.  The Do What You Love course is due to start at the end of April, giving me plenty of time to get my diary sorted and allocate myself some ‘me time’.

When you sign up to the site you receive a complementary link to a ‘New Year Resolution’ short course.Image
After answering just a few questions I was beginning to see my true self.  I was awakened to the fact that I care too much about what everyone else thinks.  I concern myself with other peoples opinions, therefore I’m living my life for everyone else.  I’m not listening to my heart or the music of my soul.

Maybe, just maybe this could be the answer… I can’t see the right path because I’m letting too many trees cover the way!

Today, after completing the questions and tasks, I woke up feeling motivated and determined.  I’ve printed my New Years Resolution answers out and pinned them on wall where I can see it every day.  Keeping me motivated and focused on moving forward to the place I want to be.

Life is a very spiritual journey!   If we don’t stop and listen to our heart and soul on a regular basis we lose sight of our true purpose.  Before you know it your soul music has ended and you are dancing to everyone else beat.  Bringing your orchestra back together is no easy task but in the end, the reward will be truly magnificent, not only for you, but for those who you share your life with too.

Thank you for stopping by,
Sarah x

A catch up

Hello everyone,

I hope this post is finding you in good health and that you are all getting into the festive spirit… 🙂

I will begin with an apology for my month long absence.  Life just, very suddenly, got busy.  Don’t get me wrong I’m not complaining, it has been a good busy with career changes and craft fairs, studying and well, family life.

They say a picture speaks a thousand words therefore I am going to use photographs to tell my ‘month away’ story.

Most of my time has been taken up with making little bits and pieces to sell at a few craft fairs with Pompom in the Attic.

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I also took the plunge and had a go at creating my very own pattern for some little festive stockings, (this process included lots of head scratching, unravelling, cursing and general grumpiness.)

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Now, you may remember me mentioning in a previous post that after discovering and falling in love with Love Patchwork and Quilting magazine I had decided to book myself onto a beginners quilting course at my local wool and fabric shop, The Skep.

Well, I have now been on that course… Nerves prevented me getting a wink of sleep the night before, which was ridiculous as all the ladies in the group we’re lovely and our teacher, Brioni Greenberg was an absolute treasure, so helpful and patient.

The course was over two Sundays, by the end of the first day I was WAY behind so had to take my quilt home to play catch up, which comprised of many tight shouldered and frowny-faced hours on my own, at the dining room table with just Stan for company (everyone else deserted ship, apparently I was grumpy!).

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My beautiful fabric pack.

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Cutting, cutting and more cutting and then stitch, stitch, stitching…

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Placing, rearranging, replacing, umming, ahhhhing all followed by more frowning.

BUT… Two Sunday and 4 extra hours at home, I did it!

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Ta Dah!!!  I’m so proud and Stan loves her too (yes she is so loved, she has a gender!)

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Okay so not quite finished. I still need to hand stitch the binding in place but I am on with it and loving every second.  Plans for quilt number 2, 3, 4 and 5 are already in the pipeline 🙂

My final little adventure of the month came when the owner of a beautiful, traditional fruit and veg shop asked me if I could make her some christmas bunting and christmas stockings to trim the shop.  I have never made either item before but I decided, that while I was on a roll, I needed to be brave.

I skipped off to the Skep and purchased bundles of beautiful festive material

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Then I sketched and re-sketched and measured and re-measured and re-measured again (just to be sure).

“Measure twice, cut once”

Brioni Greenberg November 2013

(heard once, never forgotten!)

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The results of which are…

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I made the bunting double-sided so it could be enjoyed both inside and outside of the shop.

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One side of each stocking is patchwork.

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The other is plain.  All made using the same fabric as the bunting, tying it all in nicely.

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I couldn’t resist adding a little touch to their beautiful tree 🙂

And there was have it…  My November in pictures.

From now going forward I shall be more attentive with my posting and catching up with comments.  Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to follow and comment on my blog to date, I’m humbled that you have chosen to join me on my crafty little journey.

And now, it is time for tea,

Sarah x

Love Patchwork & Quilting

You may or may not have read my about me page.  If you have you will know that ‘quilting’ is not on my learning curve list.  However that is all about to change.  Love Patchwork & Quilting Magazine has created an itch which is not going to disappear anytime soon…

Now quilting is something which has never really appealed to me.  My Auntie creates beautiful patchwork and quilted items which make me drool in envy and awe at the meticulous perfection.

This is a project bag she made for me.  Where I go, my adorable little bag doth go too!

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I was looking for a magazine to take away with me on our seaside break.  None of the crochet magazines on the stand appealed to my tastes (I already had Simply Crochet stashed away at home) and so I decided to go with the eye-catching front cover of Love Patchwork & Quilting.

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Saturday afternoon I managed to grab an hour of me time, so while the rain hammered down and the wind whipped up a storm around us  I took up my magazine and sat snug and warm in our little caravan, with tea in hand and a blanket on my legs.

As someone with a hell of a lot to learn in the sewing department I have often felt intimidated and overwhelmed by quilting.  To me, it always looks intricate, confusing and complex – I have to confess that these are not words which sit well in the mind of a perfectionist (I can only imagine how many times the seam ripper will be out on this little adventure!)

Saying that, Love Patchwork got me interested.  It didn’t scare or frighten me.

It made me want to be bold with neon brights

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I didn’t shudder at the complexity of quilted cushions.  Instead I sat and pondered what colours and patterns I would incorporate into my rail fence cushion.

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It lead me to blogs which inspired, impressed and encouraged me to try something new (additions to my ‘inspiring blogs’ list coming very soon!)

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Towards the back of the magazine there is a section called ‘the guide’ this takes you through the basics and gives you everything you need to get started.  It is full of informative yet digestible snippets of information which don’t overwhelm or scare but instead coax and nurture us newcomers into giving this quilting game a dam good try.

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From front to back Love Patchwork & Quilting is an unexpected pleasure – Packed with ideas, inspirations, must-have-a-go projects, techniques and how-to’s which I immediately fell in love with.  Even Stan had a quick read…

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When I say this magazine created an itch I was not kidding.  As soon as I arrived back home I did this

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And the money I saved with the fab offer went towards the beginners quilting course I booked myself on.

They say a picture speaks a 1,000 words so I’m going to end todays post with this…

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Sarah x

Handmade = Personal

Happy Friday everyone 🙂

I need to keep this brief – I shouldn’t even be here.  Serious slip of discipline.  I should be writing poetry!

One of the absolute joys of handmade pieces is that when they are given as a gift, they have a special personal touch.  Every stitch, every wrap of the yarn is done with love and care, something which sadly, is missing from many shop sold items.

It was my friend’s birthday yesterday.  Last weekend I decided I wanted to make her something unique, just for her.  As she is a busy Mum I thought a bag would be a cute yet practical idea.

I turned to Cath Kidson, Sew and traced the pattern for the large tote bag.

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Now incase you are looking at the book and thinking I’m a pattern piece short, I omitted the front pocket from my bag as I didn’t want to break up the pattern on the fabric.

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She LOVES owls so this beautiful linen was perfect.  I went with a plain black lining as I didn’t want a busy fabric inside to detract from the super funky owls on the outside.

I don’t feel I need to go into too much detail with regards to the making of the bag as the instructions in the book are nice and easy to follow, with great written and picture tutorials.  But I do have a couple of handy tips…

A Cool Little Helper

If like me, you would love an overlocker but simply do not have the space, you should look into purchasing an overedge foot.   Image

Fray prevention becomes as simple as butting your fabric up to the foot guide and taking a nice steady stitch to the end of your fabric.  No need for any tricky ‘zigzag as close to the edge as you dare then trim the excess without cutting the stitches’ with this little gem.

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A fray-free edge in minutes.

A Handy Strengthener

The pattern comes with an inside pocket.  The step I am about to show you isn’t included in the instructions but is something I was taught at college.  I think it’s handy, so I thought I would share…

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As per the pattern, I separated my pocket in two.  If you place a ‘V’ of stitches on the dividing line (yes the ‘V’ was supposed to hit the middle line perfectly, I’m a beginner, be nice!) It gives the seam a little more strength against all that hand in and out action that these pockets endure.

Ta-Dah

So, here it is, one finished tote.

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One cute owl tote finished in just one afternoon…

But hey!  Wait a minute… No handmade piece can possibly be complete without a little crochet addition.  So I headed to the internet and found this delightful pattern by Hopscotch Lane. Image

One hour and two pompoms later and we have ourselves a charm.

Bag complete!

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Time for a well deserved cuppa

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Should you have any questions about the pattern or construction of the bag then please feel free to comment below or email me and I will do my best to help.

Have a lovely weekend one and all.

Sarah x

A Beautiful Crochet Collar

Hi all,

Today I thought I would share a little project with you.  Issue 8 of Simply Crochet featured a pattern written by the incredibly talented Emma Escott from the beautiful Lulu Loves blog.    At the time of receiving the magazine my crochet confidence was more than a little low, I drooled over the patterns but never attempted them.  Each month the magazine was avidly read from front to back then simply added to the ever-growing pile on my sewing table.

Then at the beginning of last month Jenny from Pompom in the Attic asked if I would help out with a few crochet items for a craft fair they are doing in November in Leeds.  With Christmas sneaking up on us at an alarming rate, the collar pattern immediately sprang to mind as something that would be a nice addition to any Christmas Party LBD.  So last week, while I was feeling brave, I went online to Black Sheep Wools (I adore this store) and ordered myself some super soft Sirdar Snuggly Baby Bamboo Yarn in cream, flip flop and putty.

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And then, this weekend I bit the bullet and gave the pattern a go…

Oooh what a delight it was, why I was ever scared of it is beyond me.

The pattern is super easy to follow and uses mainly treble stitches (that’s double to US peeps) with just one row of half treble (US half double) to begin with.  Now, I do everything incredibly slowly but I managed to complete one collar in around 2 hours.

The instructions say to use a 4mm hook (G/6) which will give you a 19.5″ neckline measurement.  However, I crochet quite tightly and found that the first collar was a little small on this hook (14″ neckline measurement) so I went up to a 5mm (H/8) and the collar fitted perfectly.

And here we are, my very first collar…

(I will apologise now for some of the images being a little dark, as I’ve mentioned before, we are in the throws of extending and so have light-stealing clutter EVERYWHERE!)

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I chose to keep the colour of the yarn the same for my first attempt, the pattern does change for the final row.  However, I have done a colour change since and it is incredibly easy to do.

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I wish there was such thing as ‘touch-photography’ so you could feel how divinely soft this yarn is.

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These pictures are of the very first collar I made.  The colour used is putty.

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This is a WIP shot of the second collar I made.  Here I used the bigger 5mm hook and extra stitches.  The yarn used is cream

I learnt something with this beautiful pattern – That I shouldn’t be scared of trying new things, because sometimes we know more than we give ourselves credit for.

Thanks for dropping by,

Sarah and May

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Building, making and crafty blog-loving

We are in the process of extending our home.  The plans have been passed and the hunt for the ‘perfect builder’ is on.  It was these plans that originally got me curious about sewing and crochet.  I wanted (and still do want) to add tiny touches of handmade goodness to each room in our home.  I’m talking a cushion here, a blind there, a blanket on here, few coasters there…

When I began my handmade adventure last November I had no clue that it was going to spark such a passionate love affair with wool and fabric.

Now, although I attended college to learn some of my sewing and crochet skills, other techniques and projects have blossomed from reading some amazing blogs written by breathtakingly talented people from all around the world.

Here are just a few of my favourites which are more than worthy of half an hour your time.  So, grab a cuppa, crack open the biscuits and click on a link or two…

http://pompomintheattic.blogspot.co.uk/ – A charming and eclectic mix of craft and inspiration

http://flossieteacakes.blogspot.co.uk/ – Flossie is the perfect stop point for all things sewing and quilting.  Her work is not only beautiful but also incredibly inspiring.

http://www.attic24.typepad.com/ – Lucy is, without a shadow of a doubt the queen of crochet.  Her blog is fully of very generous tutorials and infamous ‘Ta-Dah’ moments.

http://emmallamb.blogspot.co.uk/ – Emma’s blog is packed full of inspiration and crocheted goodness.

http://www.tillyandthebuttons.com/ – Tilly shot to fame when she appeared on ‘The Great British Sewing Bee’ however she hasn’t let fame go to her head and still keeps us mere mortals in dressmaking tutorial heaven.

http://patchworkchickens.blogspot.co.uk/ –  A beautiful blog about sewing and life in the Yorkshire Dales.

http://onesheepishgirl.blogspot.co.uk/ – A cute peek into the life of a knitter

http://www.afashionablestitch.com/ – Superb sew-alongs and tutorials

These are just a handful of the blogs I love.  I’m hoping to, eventually, create a page listing them all.  In the mean time, if you have any favourite blogs you think I should know about then PLEASE do not keep them a secret – You know me, any excuse for a tea break…

Have a lovely weekend,

Sarah and May

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