Free Owl Template for Cutting or Sewing

November 24th, 2014

A frosty Monday Freebie for you. I am still getting things ready for the Christmas Fair and these little stuffies filled with rosemary and lavender are great stocking fillers. They are useful for popping into  drawers and wardrobes to keep moths away and keep the clothes sweet and fresh. Oh – and I think they’re very pretty as well.

As you can see, I’ve been crocheting and sewing and loving it! I’m giving away the owl pattern (top picture). You can cut two main bodies, stitch together to make a stuffy or cut one and use as an applique template. I have also included an SVG in case you would like the pieces to cut out with your Cameos, Silhouettes, Silver Bullets, etc, to make cards and embellishments.

 

Looks like I put the baby to bed in this pic, ha ha. I made the little basket. Crochet is such a joy – it grows very quickly so you get results in a satisfyingly short time.

 

So quickly that I had time to make a batch of lemon buns – what we pretty much call all small cakes in Ireland though you’ll recognise it as a cupcake. This goodie is topped with edible glitter (sadly, lost in the photo) with silver balls and is sitting pretty in a silver foil case. This was for my neighbour so I popped it into the gift box to make it a bit more special.

Am fibbing about having made the basket this weekend though – it was something I’ve been doing a bit with in the evenings though I did finish it Saturday night so not too much of a fib. Just operating a little word economy…

Anyway, all, in all, a good weekend.

Stashbusting

November 18th, 2014

I’m still trying to use up bags of cuttings and used some to piece together this little bit of pink patchwork with applique leaves. It’s very pretty but hasn’t yet got a purpose so will have a think about what to do with it. In the meantime, it’s just a study of pretty in pink.

And how about these two cushion covers? More offcuts pieced together  in a quilty pinwheel. The dinky button in the middle of each just sets them off nicely.

The background covers were from my granny; the pinwheels give them a modern twist (pun!).

After making the Christmas Tree wall hanging (pics in last post), I had some triangles left over. I stitched them up, added a loop of ribbon and a jingle bell. There – a couple of hand made tree decs for Christmas.

I found a simple tutorial on a Debbie Shore You Tube on how to make these melted roses – very simple and a swathe of these on a Christmas wreath with a pretty string of LED twinkling lights would make for a gorgeous decoration. And I had the organza-type material in my cupboard so still using up old stash.

I have a gorgeous willow heart to decorate. Will maybe go with these melted roses or will master the burlap shabby chic ones – they look fantastic. Lots of hot glue involved though and as we crafters know, hot glue is like bloody Napalm. I’m very attached to my skin and reluctant to shred it in withered strips to make a wall hanging…

But as fast as the stash gets busted, I’m creating whole new nests of wools… this is just one bunch of many. Crochet has really got me hooked (pun again). I’m absolutely loving snowflakes (see Attic24 for a really pretty free snowflake pattern), granny squares (Sheruknitting.com – especially check out her YouTubes), flowers, leaves, hearts… I have bagfulls now. Lick-my-lollipops rainbows of colours. I’m deadly serious that when I catch programmes like ‘Hoarders, buried alive’ it makes me think where will it all end! I can see me in a sea of entropic loops; I was going to say ‘soup’ but ‘loops’ is more apropos.

Trouble is, there are always more gorgeous things out there to try which for me is Jolly Hooky Sticks, Hoorah! My next project is to make a snowflake garland. I really must be going to heaven because they say the devil makes work for idle hands and mine never stay still! Talking of the devil, there were a couple in the town last week with a stall and a placard with the words ‘Do you believe in Santa’? I thought, ”How ridiculous! Adults wanting to debate or philosophise on the reality, or otherwise, of a mythical being – then realised it said ‘Satan’ and thought ”’How ridiculous! Adults…..’.

But all this talk of cushions and no kittens?  Can’t embarrass  folk with wild and dangerous opinions on returning to the gold standard. (Harry Enfield) Ladies, Know your limits! So, in the natural order of gender division, I present to you, me, being a dear, sweet, fragile little thing, my pretty kitten in furry pyjamas- little Gracie lolloped across a chair in total abandon!

She doesn’t like the cold or the wet and ‘Yows’ at me in a very admonishing kind of way if the weather is all wrong! We’re actually having a very warm and sunny November, on the whole. The days do start quite chilly and damp and the temperature really drops by early evening but we’re generally getting some very nice day in between times. Still, I open the curtains and she jumps up to look out and I can feel her enthusiasm in a ‘Look, there’s a whole new day out there’ kind of way.

I popped out the other morning and the hedges were glistening with dewy cobwebs like this one:

You wouldn’t think there’d be many flies around now but still getting occasional stupid bluebottles droning in erratic flight paths around the house. Banging into the windows and buzzing about annoyingly. The cats see them as fair game for catching and they get very excited and chase about batting and jumping around after them. And if they catch them? They eat them… yes – ew. Furry Renfields. We even had a wasp yesterday. Managed to hoosh him out the house and not kill him. I like to give them a chance.

Anyhoo, must go now so be good and play nicely.

Stitchy Fingers

November 2nd, 2014

November already! I went into Dublin yesterday to get some shopping done before the Christmas rush really gets going and bought some beautiful fabrics. This, at a time when I was determined to do some scrapbusting. The owls (the two outer ones) are newbies and made from scraps. Good girl.

These little houses are also made up from scraps – they’re ready to be stitched as an applique decoration for some needle cases I’m making… Very good. I’m doing well.

And this super little pincushion: here’s the pattern link.

Will make a few more of these for the Christmas Fair… Isn’t it sweet? And practical. And another good use of fabric bits and pieces. My halo is getting tight at this point…

And another lavender sachet made from scraps topped with two decorative buttons. Halo  positively trying to constrict the top off my head like decapitating a boiled egg. Much too holy…

Then good intentions flew out of the window.  I found this owl fabric… it had to be mine. I came, I coveted, I captured and have already made a crochet hook roll from it. I was up at 6.00 and just had to make one – all for me! There’s still plenty left and as I have ordered a beautiful  set of coloured aluminium hooks to give as a Christmas present will make a case especially for her from it.  The crochet rolls I made previously are going  towards my Craft Fair stash.

 

Notice the ribbon? It’s double-sided. I stitched the black spotty grosgrain onto the East of India chequered heart ribbon.

Was it painstaking and difficult? No, not really. I’ve been using my feet – quarter inch foot and the blind hemming foot – to help get good close stitching lately. These little darlings make precision stitching close to edges much easier than a standard foot. The stitching along the ribbon edges looks very tidy and professional.

Best foot foward! Look at them – little stars. And see the fabric? Another impulse buy but so Wow. Gorgeous red apples.

And this Beatrix Potter material – beautiful. I was listening to The Unbelievable Truth on Radio 4 and it came out that Beatrix Potter actually chloroformed and killed several animals for dissection and stuffing to provide her with models for her paintings. If you want to know more there’s a piece here about her: Beatrix Potter. Not quite the image I held of her  – Victorian illustrator to sadistic vivisectionist… I am pulling your leg and exaggerating! She was, apparently, a very accomplished naturalist and highly respected by the scientific establishment… just psychopathically able to kill her own pet rabbit for artistic purposes. Joking again. Probably not even slightly psychopathic. Good job she didn’t paint children though.

When I was expecting my youngest I made a cross-stitch alphabet tableau, each letter decorated with a Beatrix Potter character. Lots of shading. It took me the full 40 weeks to complete. Looked great and still does. I sewed a pretty backing fabric onto it and have kept it as something to pass on, a sort of heirloom, if you like. But, I’ve never touched cross-stitch since. And my son is a very big boy now. It became such a chore; so laborious and painstaking that it killed all pleasure in cross-stitch for me. I gave away all the embroidery floss – tons of it – that I had accumulated – to a friend who enjoys it like I once did. In moderation not a bloody mission.

Anyway, the Beatrix Potter material is quite lovely and the illustrations exquisitely sweet.

And these birdies! Oh Wow. They are so funky  – love them. So it was a day of unbridled fabric purchase frenzy. A pash for stash. I haven’t shown you the trimmings… it was like I’d been chasing rainbows and finally caught them.  All the fabrics are 100% cotton so not cheap but they will all be used (when is a different matter though).

But what of crochet? I’m still smitten. I have a crocheted bag on the go. It’s deadly dull to do – row after row of double crochet. Am looking forward to completing it then – yes, oh, yes – decorating it with lots of colourful crochet flowers and leaves. The bag is basically grey with a dark, flat blue edge round the handles so is fairly nondescript and dare I say, dull. But that was the intention – it’s a great backdrop for the explosion of flowers to come!

I have also learned that I cannot watch The Blacklist and crochet… I end up frogging every few rows because I can’t concentrate. I didn’t know what frogging was until recently. Apparently, knitters unravel and that’s called Tinking (knit backwards), Sewists Rip It when they undo and Crocheters Ribit, ribit like a frog. Or so I am told. Crochet was displaced for a little while yesterday as the new fabric had to be scrutinised, fingered and smelled (like smelling the inside of a new book) and for a little bit of Goggle Box watching. I am tremendously happy, though,  and feel like the dog’s bollocks (or should that be Frog’s Bollocks?).  Goggle Box fave at the moment is The Blacklist. James Spader is, as usual, brilliant in role. Love him and William Shatner in Boston Legal, another great show. Also, happy, happy, happy – we’re getting Sky installed this week. The service we’ve got at the moment is pants and just maybe there’ll be something worth watching for a change.

Still chasing the existing service provider for an acknowledgement that we’ve cancelled them. E-mail after e-mail. No response. We’re well over the initial 1 year contract and expect to pay a month’s overlap with Sky but no more. They’ve already had over a week to get back to us so hope they don’t try rolling the notice period over into two months because they won’t get it.

BTW, did you know that the ‘@’ sign we use in our e-mail addresses is sometimes called ‘A Cat’s Meow’ or a ‘Rollmop herring’ or even sometimes a ‘Cornflake’? Very cute. I’ve also adopted another lovely, but this time, inadvertent or unintentional word for a Needle. I was watching a tutorial on You Tube and had the auto-translate facility on. The translation came up with ‘Take your Niddle and Thread’. Niddle! Brilliant word and quite charming.

Now off to make soup. Chicken and winter vegetable with some dumplings or mumpsy duffins as we call them. Simple one-pot-stop. Chuck all the following in the pressure cooker: stock, chicken, veggies (carrots, swede, leeks, onions), pearl barley, chick peas with  mumpsy duffins. Bring to pressure and cook for about 15 minutes. Bring down the pressure, take the lid off and chuck in a nestie of Vermicelli. It’s so fine it cooks through in about 5 minutes with the heat of the soup. Add a platter of  granary bread wedgies to dunk and it’s a very filling, won’t-eat-for-a-week, kind of meal. But so tasty.

Loving Lavender Sachets

October 26th, 2014

This is my latest make, a simple lavender bag with an appliquéd rabbit and a tiny pom-pom tail. The smell of lavender is wafting everywhere! It’s a really pretty smell and has earned a reputation for having a relaxing effect so a lovely home fragrance to have.

These little bags make up quickly with a couple of squares of fabric. The rabbit was drawn in Illustrator, printed out and cut around to make a stencil. I fused some  Wonderweb onto the back of the spotty fabric and drew round the rabbit outline before cutting the rabbit out. The backing sheet was peeled off and the rabbit  ironed right-side-up on the gingham check. I like to stitch around the applique and used a single line of machine stitching to secure it in place and give the appliqué shape a little more definition.

The two squares of gingham were then pinned pretty sides together and the seams around the sides were stitched leaving an opening so that it could be turned the right way out and filled. I popped a loop of ribbon in one corner so it could be hung up. Once stitched, the corners were clipped to make them crisper and sharper when turned out.

I then turned it out, rolled the seams a little between my thumbs and forefingers and gave it a press with the iron. It was filled with cushion filling and a good dose of dried lavender. The  opening was closed using a ladder stitch to make the closure as neat and as invisible as possible. It’s finished off with a pom-pom tail using the smallest Clover pom-pom maker.

There. All done. I think this would be lovely in a little girl’s nursery. Have to make some blue ones for little baby boys now!

Make concentric spiral text paths in Illustrator

October 25th, 2014

Remember I said I’d write up the tutorial to create concentric spirals in Illustrator? Here it is. I have included another method of creating the spiral but the second way doesn’t (obviously, if at all – not sure) allow for conversion to a text path – BUT I could be wrong! It’s free to download so if you want to know how, grab my pdf. Am happy to deal with any questions if you have any.

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