Saturday, August 31, 2013

Something for the Weekend - cute mini pincushion tutorial

Here's a cute project for you - these adorable little pincushions take just moments to put together and make fab gifts for your stitchy friends!

For the base I used a small curtain ring  - I picked up a big bag of them for £1.50 from a charity shop last year - even bought new they are much cheaper than the purpose made 'craft rings' you can buy and wooden ones can easily be painted to match your chosen fabric too!

You will need:

small wooden curtain ring (outer diameter 55mm)
circle of fabric approx 15cm diameter - I used a small plate as a template
circle of felt cut to inner diameter of curtain ring
needle and thread
toy stuffing
craft glue
teeny button to trim

 First run a gathering stitch around the edge of your fabric circle, approx 5mm in from the edge.

Pull the the thread to gather the fabric together 

Add the stuffing then pull the thread tight to close the gap and fasten off. 
Don't worry too much about neatness as this will be hidden later... 

 Put some glue all around the edge of the curtain ring

Place the cushion on top. 
Push down gently so the fabric comes into contact with the glue all the way around.  
Leave to dry for a few minutes.

Now glue the felt circle onto the bottom of the cushion to neaten it up.

My curtain ring had a small hole where I had removed the eye hook so I covered it up by gluing on a teeny pink button.

And there you have it - pincushion cuteness in minutes! 

Team up with a matching needle book for a perfectly co-ordinated addition to your work basket.

(if you really don't want to make one yourself, this little pincushion, along with cute matching needle book, is available to purchase from my Folksy shop now! )

Happy Crafting!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

#WIPsLinky No 2 - Sharing our Work-in-Progress

First of all I would like to say THANK YOU to those of you who joined the linky last month, and those who tweeted and shared. I realise these things take time to grow - it's a work-in-progress in it's own right! Your support is much appreciated.

Now Summer is nearing it's end (boo!) my crafting mind is turning to the Forest Flower Designs Christmas range. The first batch of festive fabric (from the fab Fabric Rehab) arrived a couple of weeks back and the first 'Merry Christmas' embroidered hearts stuffed with gorgeous Christmas spice scented aroma beads have gone into production and should be heading into my Folksy store soon.

This doesn't leave much time for other projects but I am pleased to report that I have nearly used up all the green 'Galaxy' yarn and have a small pile of granny squares ready to create something with. I now have four balls of white chunky yarn to use too (courtesy, once again of my lovely MIL's wool stash!) but I am still not sure what this finished project is going to be... Any ideas readers?

granny squares galore!

 The cable throw is also coming along quite nicely. I completed three panels - including the first of four Celtic Knot panels - whilst on holiday.
However I have already nearly finished the first ball of yarn and the blanket still has a long way to go so I now I am starting to worry that I won't have enough to finish it!

 So - are there any NEW projects for September?

Well I had a lovely surprise this Bank Holiday Weekend when my subscription copy of Mollie Makes arrived a full week before it is available in the shops. I always find Mollie Makes so inspirational, and this month's issue is no exception. In fact I think I actually DO want to make everything in it! I may even put the granny squares to one side for a while to have a go at the fab crocheted High-tops... and I'm not just talking about one pair - these will make perfect Xmas pressies!

What projects do you have planned for the next few weeks? Are you starting to think about winter woollies or Christmas pressie makes yet?
If you blog and would like to join in, please add your post to the linky widget below.  Alternatively share your #WIPsLinky pictures with me on Twitter or Facebook or you can email them to me at  I will add them to the #WIPsLinky Pinterest board and maybe feature some on next month's post too!

Happy Crafting! 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Pretty Nostalgic & Clothes Show Live sewing competition

Fabulous magazine devoted to all things vintage, Pretty Nostalgic have teamed up with Clothes Show Live 2013 and are calling all crafters, makers, designers and customisers to show off their creative skills in a great new competition.

The Best Customised Party Outfit Competition is open to everyone and the winners get free tickets to Clothes Show Live 2013 where you will see your work showcased at the Pretty Nostalgic Customisation Station plus a chance to feature in the magazine itself.

What do you need to do?

First you will need to download an entry form from here and send it in, along with before and after photographs of your reworked party outfit by October 1st 2013.

There are three catagories - mens, womens and kids outfits - and the initial stage of judging will be based on this entry so make sure you include lots of detail about how your outfit was constructed, materials used, inspiration and, of course, a picture of the final outfit being modelled.

A selection of entries will be invited to the Pretty Nostalgic Gathering in Bristol in late October for the next round of judging where the final three outfits from each category will be selected to go forward to the grand final at the Clothes Show Live 2013. Pretty Nostalgic will be hosting their own Customisation Station where visitors can bring their own outfits for advice on customising and redesigning. The final designs will be on display in this area.

You can enter all three categories if you wish and the judges will be looking particularly at good use of upcycled and recycled clothing and cast offs - so go to town, raid granny's button tin, scour the charity shops and ask friends for things they don't want anymore and get creative.


Entry closing date : 1st October 2013
Semi finals :  26th/27th October 2013 at Pretty Nostalgic Gathering, Kings Weston House, Bristol
Finals : 6-10 December 2013 at Clothes Show Live 2013, NEC Birmingham


#SilentSunday 25/08/2013

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Village Fair, Southbank Centre - A virtual craft bloggers stall

This weekend (24th and 25th August) the Southbank Centre , London, is hosting a large scale quintessential Village Fair including stalls, traditional games and crafting. Here's what Davina Drummond of The Making Home and organiser of this fab Virtual Craft Stall writes...

"The key theme of the fair is community and bringing people together to share their passions. This is explicit in a series of interactive talks titled the Craft Code Village, which explore the relationship between the craft community revival and the Internet. In response to this the Southbank Centre have invited Craft Bloggers from across the UK to create a collective Virtual stall on their blogs for the weekend of the fair. Crafters traditionally share their practice at market stalls and sell their goods as a way to generate income, whereas craft bloggers are more likely to share online and often share how to make their craft too. What happens when craft bloggers create a virtual stall?

Here is the outcome of the craft bloggers virtual stall: a Tutorial Stall sharing one link to each blogger's favourite DIY tutorial on their site. It provides a chance for all 12 bloggers simultaneously to share each other's practice to their readers and through doing so celebrate the very foundation of Craft Code Village. "

So here is the collection of tutorials very nicely curated by Davina (hers is the very cute 'yes' stamp hankie :-) ) Links to each tutorial are below...


 1. DIY Plastic Taxidermy by Pointless Pretty Things  2. DIY Dip dyed Shoes by Trends with Benefits
3. DIY Rubber Stamp Printed Handkerchief by Davina Drummond at The Making Home  4. Crochet pin cushion by Crafting Fingers  5. Woven ribbon lavender pillow by Tales From Mount Pleasant (that would be me then... ;-) )  6. Flower Fabric Badges by The New Craft Society  7. Felt Streamers by This is Wiss  8. LittlePaper Book by Something I Made   9. Teacup Embroidery by Ailie Williams 
10. Booboxes by Emily Quinton at the Start Up Wife  11. DIY CurveBead Cord Bracelet by Claireabellemakes   12. Bunting Notebook by Papermash 

So - a pretty eclectic mix of lovely makes I think you'd agree! Any one (or two or three) could be put together in an afternoon so why not have a go this weekend?  I am loving the fab dip dyed shoes by Trends with Benefits  and the cute bracelet by Claireabellemakes . The little mini notebook make from Something I Made would be a perfect project for Roo at the moment as he loves writing little stories and Emily Quinton's Booboxes are a fab kids make too!

And for those of you in the capital why not head down the The SouthBank Centre today or tomorrow and catch some of the Village Fair vibe yourself :-)

ps: If you want to keep track of events on Twitter then follow @SouthbankCentre and hashtag #villagefair

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Fruity Peanut Butter Crunch Bites recipe

When those lovely people at Duerr's tweeted this cute message to me a few weeks back, I had to respond (I'm a crunchy gal, in case you were wondering...) It would have been rude not to!

Duerr's sent me a jar of of their brand new crunchy peanut butter and a tasty looking recipe for peanut butter cookies but as our oven is still out of action I had to think up other creative and tasty ways to use my jar of crunchy peanut butter, and I came up with this delicious, no-bake sweet treat...

Fruity Peanut Butter Crunch Bites

100g digestive biscuits
100g crunchy peanut butter
50g butter
50g mixed dried fruit
25g glace cherries, quartered

First you need to crush your digestive biscuits to fine crumbs. Either blitz them in a food processor or place them in a strong plastic bag - zip lock freezer bags are good - and bash them up with a rolling pin. For some reason kids LOVE doing this ;-)

Next melt the butter in a saucepan (or large jug/bowl in the microwave).  Remove from the heat and stir in the peanut butter, dried fruit and chopped glace cherries and crushed biscuits until thoroughly combined.

Line an 18cm square cake tin (I use one of these from Lakeland) with foil and press the mixture into the tin. Pop it in the fridge to chill for an hour or so.

When completely cooled and set cut into bite size squares. The squares can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week and are better if kept chilled.

Be warned - these fruity, crunchy, peanuty squares are very rich but incredibly more-ish!

ps - want to make a larger batch? Just double up the ingredients and use a tray bake or swiss roll tin.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

A little jaunt down to Devon...

The Other Half's parents are very lucky to have friends who own a holiday lodge on a campsite down in North Devon, about 10 minutes drive from Ilfracombe. Last year we went with them for a few days away and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. This year they let us go on our own!  It is the first time just the three of us - Roo, daddy and me - have been away together on holiday and although four days may not seem like much if you are used to two weeks in the sun every year, to us it was enough of a break away from the normal routine to return feeling refreshed and (almost) ready to get back to work...

The weather wasn't too unkind - hot sunshine the first day, warm and breezy on Friday and Saturday and then non-stop, pretty epic rain on Sunday (and Monday when we were trying to pack up the car!).
I couldn't get a decent wi-fi signal on my laptop and mobile signal was a bit touch and go too so, apart from a couple of checking in phone calls to the OH's mum who was looking after the shop, we did actually manage to stay away from work for the whole time we were away (no mean feat when you are self employed!).

Here are a few photos of our holiday. It's a beautiful area to stay. I just wish we could stay a little longer...

Ilfracombe Tunnels Beach and Harbour

Tunnels Beach, Ilfracombe

surfs up!

Back through the tunnels...
Ilfracombe harbour
The controversial Damien Hirst sculpture 'Verity' stands guard at the entrance of Ilfracombe Harbour. Viewed from the landward side she is a very naked, very pregnant woman, standing on a pile of legal tomes with sword aloft in her left hand and scales of justice held in her right. On the seaward side her skin is pared back to reveal the anatomical details - including baby in womb. She is said to represent truth and justice. There was quite an uproar when the statue was first installed (as there usually is surrounding most of Hirst's work). Whilst I'm not too sure about the anatomical side I think from this angle she is quite stunning...

Combe Martin Wildlife & Dinosaur Park

Wallaby welcoming committee
dinosaur walk through suitably primeval forest...
Spider monkey - so cute!
'you lookin' at me?' Marmoset with attitude...
raccoon feeding time!
beautiful Hudson Bay white wolf

grey wolf enclosure
One of the bonus attractions...
Roo particularly enjoyed the Dinosaur Show exhibit where an enclosure of life size dinosaur models, including a fearsome T-rex, comes to life every hour, on the hour. Right next door was a very clever parrot that is also a master mimic. He happily chirped, wolf whistled, did mobile phone ring tones and the most convincing seagull impression for his audience.

The highlight for me, apart from the wolves, which were simply magnificent, were the otters.
When we first arrived at their enclosure we could only see two of them on the far side of the river but they quickly spotted us watching them and trotted over, joined by the rest of the clan, and entertained us with their playfulness and adorable squeaks and cat-like meows for a good 15 mins while I took pictures...

Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park was a great day out* with plenty to see (although we didn't see the lions as they were sleeping at the far side of their enclosure) and do. The park was recently taking under new management and the new owners are working on updating attractions and enclosures. They also hold regular talks and displays throughout the day - don't forget to check out the notice board near the entrance. We will definitely head back next time we stay in the area - if only so I can get some film of the adorable otter family!!

*here's a tip - whether you are staying on a campsite or hotel check out all the leaflets of local attractions usually found in the foyer/reception area. We found one that entitled us to one free child entry to the park with two paying adults, perfect for our family - it saved us a tenner!  The park also offered a deal whereby full paying entrants get 50% off a return visit.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Follow me on BlogLovin

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As many of you know Google Reader is now defunct (boo) but luckily for us there are plenty of alternatives out there!

I have just signed up to Bloglovin and so I'm loving how easy it is to use! :-) If you would like to add me to your blog lovin' reading list just click on the arty button in the column on the right - and if you haven't joined why not sign up now? It's free and it makes keeping up with your favourite blogs a breeze!

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