The Birdie Bag and the Birdie Book

August 4th, 2014

Hello! You on holiday today? It’s a bank holiday in Ireland and the sun is shining. The world is lit with bright lights and colours! My garden is a riot of colour. I have huge hydrangeas covered in hot pink pom poms – three in the front garden and four in the back. All around are tall orange lily things, vibrant and juicy and all around them are fuschias, lavenders, marigolds, daisies, honesty, rosemary, honeysuckle and more … It’s glorious.

Got two loads of washing on the line this morning and dry by three o’ clock – smelling fabulous. Gorgous new Comfort (or Lenor?) fabric conditioner – am loving it.

But what have I made lately? A pretty tote made from a cute dickie bird design (lined, of course).

And a sticky-back vinyl bird on a bike cut out with the Cougar. It’s a design I created about a year ago but with my name welded onto it.

Can you see the cabinets the bag and book are resting against? They’re going to be our new bedside cabinets. Bought two at auction for €24 the pair. They’re wood, not MDF with a gorgeous relief carving on the front. There is also a drawer above with some corner decoration and an ornate handle but they’re out of the shot.

I’m prepping them for a chalk paint make over. So far, have sugar soaped and sanded. I’m not going to paint the carved areas; just paint the large flat areas and have a light paint, dark wood alternate thing going on.

The paint is an off-white, creamy colour so the contrast will work nicely (I hope). Probably won’t get done  for a couple of weeks but they’re ready to paint. When they’re done, they’ll replace the horrid cabinets we have by our bed. Nasty, featureless, MDF things.

Now to make tea, mow the front lawn and get some ironing done. Life in the fast lane, eh?!

 

Make a notice board – so easy!

July 20th, 2014

These noticeboards are in all the craft shops, haberdashers, garden centres, hobby shops, etc. Here, in ROI, they sell for around the €15 mark for an average sized one. You can make one for at least half of that.

My neighbour recently decorated her kitchen and made some new curtains to go with the new decor.  Then while out shopping, I saw a cupcake-shaped notice board with all the colours that went with her colour scheme and bought it as a present for her.

Looking at it, I realised how easy they are to make! All you need is a piece of MDF or board, some wadding or batting to cover it and material to cover that. To finish off, you’ll need about 4m of ribbon, some upholstery tacks, a stapler and/or hot glue, a couple of net curtain eyes and wire or ribbon to hang it up.

It’s almost a no-brainer to make.Mine cost no more than a fiver as I had most of the stuff lying around.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Hot glue or staple the wadding over the front of the board with an inch or so around all four sides to fold over the back.

2. Hot glue and/or staple some fabric over that with an inch or so to fold around all four sides.

3. Lay some lengths of ribbon in a criss-cross pattern (you can measure the distances if you want or do it by eye). Again, staple or hot glue in place, keeping the ribbon pulled fairly taut. Pop some upholstery studs or  pretty drawing pins at the ribbon intersections, you get the idea!

4. Finally, insert  some picture holders or curtain-net eyes (the ones that screw into the ends of curtain wire)  into one side of your  notice board so you can thread some ribbon or twine or wire to hang it up with.

Mine is in the sewing room and waiting for me to use it but it looks very pretty and better than a lot of the ones in the shops. Toot-toot.

I’m also getting hooked (pun) on crochet again. Crochet is easier than knitting and makes up much quicker. For an impatient soul like me, that is a big positive. I started back with making up lots and lots of flowers and now have a bag full. I embellished a plain wooly hat with a few  and it looks kind of sweet. Goes very well with my green pashmina.

 

I am in the middle of crocheting a crochet heart garland. The pattern is simple – I don’t have any real flair for crochet so it has to be – and each heart takes me just under 10 minutes. I’ve made them in lots of colours and sizes and the next project is to embellish some knitted socks I have. They’re a lovely rusty, terracotta, grainy coarse wool (real wool – no acrylic or other man-made fibres) and just asking for some wee hearts to decorate them

 

This will get done if my wools survive the atomic kitten. I swear she is nuclear-fuelled. This little ball of energy runs up trees, gambols around the garden chasing balls and can jump higher than any one of Abi Lee’s dance troupe. When she’s stuck in with bad weather she goes looking to see where I’ve hidden them and if she finds them, she pulls and tangles them into total chaos. Butter wouldn’t melt to see her afterwards – and to see her sleeping like she hasn’t a care in the world you’d find it hard to believe that she could wreak so much havoc! Isn’t she the sweetest?!

 

Lady Jess is much more sedate than Gracie. She takes her time having a wander round the garden. She likes to sniff every flower and never rushes it. She is relaxing day by day and the hissing has largely stopped. The lashing out is pretty much gone but still have to be wary. She can get spooked too quickly and default to old behaviours. Still, I love to see her rolling about on her back when she’s in a playful mood – looks like a little pudding.

She’s also having a good long nap on her throne here.

Our girls, awwww.

The Trick to Mastering the French Knot

May 22nd, 2014

This little lavender sachet is decorated with small beads and some French Knots. It was a stitch I’d given up on so many times. It always fell apart until I worked out what the trick to it was!

I’ve used this pretty little stitch on lots of things – like here:

And  here:

It’s a beautiful stitch for a filler like wooly-type sheep fellows or just dotted around for a pretty surface texture.

To Be or Knot to Be

Follow this tutorial to get the knack and enjoy using this pretty stitch on your projects. A little bit of practice and a taut thread. An educational post today – taut us a lesson… groan. Bye for now.

Helen

Car wash

May 20th, 2014

Okay, should have washed the car but it’s up and down the motorway most days and it rains a lot here! Just wanted to show the Sheriff decal made from vehicle-quality vinyl and cut with my Cougarrrrrr. Speed 400, pressure 25. Puurrrfect.

Recognise him? Same Sheriff I made with clothing vinyl a year or so ago for some hoodies and T shirts.

 

Boxing Clever

May 15th, 2014

Made a sunny day shopping bag with pretty box pleats and spotty peep outs over the last couple of evenings. The floral fabric is one of my favourite Ikea designs and the green spotty is a craft cotton from a local shop. Both 100% cotton. The handles came from a cheapy bag in the bargain bucket from a charity shop for a euro. The bag had seen better days but the handles were fine.

No pattern, all came out of my head based on pleated pouch bags etc. I did have to unpick a couple of times because I got myself confused attaching the inner cuff and lining and handle attachment but soon worked out and sorted. Now I have a new shopper to cheer up dull and dreary days.

Was listening to the radio and had a funny case of the Mondegreens…. Al Green’s ‘Take me to the river’… singing along I rendered the second line as ‘Watch me drown’. Lol! Sorry Al.

Here’s the inside – all lined and lovely with matching fabrics.

I always offer and get deluged with the numbers of requests (ha ha) – if you would like a pattern, I will write it up with diagrams and pictures and post it free.

Have a nice day.

Hel

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