Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Pretty pot holder tutorial

A few weeks ago I showed you my latest bundle of pretties from Abakhan and a tutorial for an easy peasy reversible tea towel.

Now I am going to show you how to make a really cute matching pot holder - an essential piece of kitchen kit if, like us, you have a stove top kettle (boy, does that handle get hot!).

You will need

  • 2 x 15cm squares of your chosen fabrics (make sure they are natural fibres - cotton, linen or wool - polyesters are really not a good idea near heat!)
  • 2 x 15cm squares of cotton batting/wadding or a couple of layers of old cotton towel 
  • bias binding
  • matching thread

Sandwich your squares together with both of your chosen outer fabrics right way out and layers of cotton wadding in between.

Using a ruler ( I used an old plastic 30cm ruler from school) mark out a diagonal grid on the fabric with light pencil marks, tailors chalk or vanishing fabric marker pen. Pin through the stack to hold it together then stitch along the lines - by hand or machine - to quilt your fabric.

If you have used a machine it should look something like this...

flip it over...

All quilted - it really is that easy!

Now to add the bias binding.  Start in one corner. Open up the binding and place the edge of the binding up against the raw edge of your quilted square.

Pin it in place if it helps and, using neat back stitches sew it into place along the crease, easing it around the corners as you go.

Try and keep the stitches small and even - you won't see them but it makes for a neater finish! You can machine stitch if you prefer, it is much quicker, but I find it much easier to get the corners right when I do it by hand!

When you get back to where you started leave a length of binding a couple of inches long - this will be turned into the hanging loop.   Now fold the binding over the raw edge of your pot holder and, using a whip stitch to catch the binding to the layers of fabric...

Again try and keep the stitches small and neat as you will see these ones and ensure the binding covers over the back of the row of stitching you did to attach the binding to the other side. When you get back to your first corner continue the whip stitches up the length of binding to catch the two sides together then fold it round to create a loop and stitch the end down

And there you have it - one pretty pot holder to match my pretty reversible tea towel!

I have enough fabric  and wadding left over to make oven gloves too - there are lots of tutorials online like this one from Liberty or maybe this double mitt from a little gray.  I promise I'll show you the result.

I do still have one more tutorial for you from the 'kitchen makeover' Creative Budget bundle - the knitty one I promised yesterday.  It's coming soon...

Monday, June 24, 2013

Sorry, I'm a bad blogger (but here's some lovely photos to make up for it!)

Well my 30 posts in 30 days challenge seems to have fizzled out somewhat embarrassingly.

I really thought I could do it.

I had a plan and everything!

But what I don't have is enough hours in the day...

I didn't even manage a Veg Box post last week - it was a lovely one too. We had a half a watermelon and some gorgeous cherries along with the more usual carrots, lettuce, chard, potatoes, a couple of leeks, tomatoes, green beans and some plums.


cherry anyone?

Would you believe I actually *forgot* to photograph the veg box before I put it all away? I know! Call myself a blogger? Tsk....

In my defence I was cleaning out the fridge when it arrived and I just automatically put the veg away as I was putting stuff back. But clearly it shows that last week at least I just wasn't in blogging mode!

I have been busy too! Last week I spent catching up on the housework and paperwork that had been ignored for the previous couple of weeks due to prepping for the Tintern craft fair and over the weekend I have mostly been making these...

A variation on the embellished lavender hearts - these are lavender free but embroidered with 'Best Teacher' and added button cuteness. They make perfect gifts for teachers (summer hols are only a few weeks away now!) These four are listed on my facebook page right now at a special price until 9pm Wednesday evening. Another four will be added tomorrow night until 9pm Thursday. Any left will then be added to my folksy shop.  

*end of sales pitch*

On Friday we rescued a bird that flew into our window. The poor thing was a bit dazed and confused so we made it a little nest with some moss and brought it inside - away from the cat! - to give it some time to recover. It's not often you get so close to a bird so obviously the camera came out...

Thankfully, after about 15 mins rest it recovered and flew off.  The cat was a bit miffed though!

I'll try and be a better blogger this week - I have at least one tutorial to share with you, this one is for knitty peeps, specially for those fairly new to knitting who want to have a go at something pretty, practical and not too time consuming.  And don't forget there is still time to enter my giveaway and win a lovely bundle of fabric, buttons, ribbons and lace!

And as for 30 posts in 30 days... well, technically there's still time, if I post twice daily for the next week but you won't hold it against me if I don't manage it will you?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Giveaway - Boost your crafty stash!!

I promised you a little giveaway earlier in the month, just as a thank you for your continued support and as a little celebration of the fact that I have been writing in this little corner of the internet for four years now!

This one is for all you crafty people out there - or perhaps those of you who want to have a go at sewing some cute little things but don't know where to start. Or those of you who's main purpose in life is simply to build a stash... (or is that just me?)

I have put together a little bundle of goodies from my own stash just for you...

What's in the bundle?


A set of six fat quarters of lovely Tilda fabrics - perfect for patchwork, doll making and any number of small projects.

Ten 1 metre lengths of assorted ribbons, ric rac and some lovely vintage lace trim from my stash.

50 assorted buttons in pastel shades - mostly vintage/reclaimed but with a few new buttons too. There's hearts, flowers, shiny, matt and even one that looks just like a sweetie...

All together a pretty collection of items I think you'll agree!  

Want to know how you can be in with a chance of winning this beautiful bundle of crafty goodness?

How to Enter

  • Leave a comment below - why not tell me what you would do with all this crafty loveliness!
  • Tweet 'I'd love to boost my craft stash with @forestflower23's giveaway' with a link to this blog post
  • If you are on facebook, visit my Forest Flower facebook page, hit 'Like' and leave a comment on the 'Boost your stash Giveaway' post pinned to the top of the page. 
  • Share the facebook post with your friends for an extra entry too!
That's a total of four chances to win!

This competition will run until midnight on June 30th. I will announce the winner on Monday 1st of July so make sure you keep an eye on the blog, facebook page or my twitter feed to see if it's you!

Good Luck!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Craft Fair at Tintern

So, today I did my first craft fair of the summer, sharing a table with my friend, craft fair newbie, Marie.  Under the name Miss Willow, inspired by her beautiful baby girl, she makes lovely kids dresses and fab baby hats. 

Sharing a craft fair table with a friend when you first start out is a great way to dip your toes into the water and is much less scary than doing it on your own! Neither of us sold masses but it was a lovely day with lots of chatter, meeting some new customers, making new contacts and eating biscuits :-)

Plus I got to have lots of cuddles with THE cutest baby ...

The eponymous Miss Willow

Tintern is a small village on the banks of the River Wye situated between Chepstow and Monmouth, famous for its fabulous Abbey ruins that have inspired artists and writers for centuries.

The view from the window behind our table.

Good ol' village craft fair advertising (balloons are NOT optional!)

Our table - Forest Flower on right, Miss Willow on the left

Cute Owl dress by Miss Willow

After setting up my table I went for a little stroll across the cricket field to admire Tintern Abbey before the tourists arrived.

When I got back all the other stalls were set up...

sweet crochet baby shoes

This table was full of toy dogs modelling the funkiest dog coats!

Colourful tissue flowers

There were several stalls selling antiques and collectibles - I nearly bought this entire vintage alarm clock display!

Pretty vintage hand painted ceramic door plate (this nearly came home with me too!)

A selection of beautifully restored chairs and stools

A lovely day in a lovely location with lovely company.

And although I didn't sell a huge amount of stock at least I have some lots of pretty new things to add to my Folksy shop next week!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Trying to keep up...

Well I am ashamed to say that I am already slipping behind on the 30 posts in 30 days challenge. So far I have missed three days. And it's only the 13th of June!

In my defence I have been prepping for a craft fair that wasn't even booked when I set myself the challenge and that is really taking all my spare time.  It's been a while since my last crafty outing and as sales on Folksy have been quite steady so far this year I really didn't notice how little stock I had left!

I showed you the hearts and birds I started work on last week. Today my marvellous mother in law picked Roo up from school and took him over to his cousins house for tea and play, giving me a whole 8 hours to sew like a mutha!! My fingers are sore, my back a bit cramped and there are bits of fluff, thread and the odd button scattered about the house. It was hard slog but look what I did today...

from this....

...to this.

ah, who am I trying to kid? I spent 8 hours playing with buttons and felt and pretty fabric and colourful embroidery threads. Is it really work if you love doing it so much?

In other news, my other challenge is going well - today was also my fourth fasting day. I'd like to be able to say just how difficult it's been and how I am such a martyr to weight loss, suffering in silence whilst watching all those around me tucking into lovely food I can't have, but it's not been like that at all!! I lost 2 1/4lb in my first week, which is just fine by me. If I can continue at that rate I will be back to pre-baby weight by October. Just in time for a special 60's dance I am attending, celebrating the life of local music supremo Joe Meek.  

And yes, I have set myself yet another challenge - I am going to make my own dress for the event!


 Never let it be said I don't enjoy a challenge...

On that note I will leave you with my favourite photo of today's makes.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Vintage Singer treadle sewing machine

I have something to show you.

It's my new (but very old) toy!

Can you see what it is? Let's remove the cover...

Isn't she beautiful? She's a vintage Singer treadle sewing machine with lovely Sphinx decals. I think I'm gonna call her Cleo...


The belt is still in place, although it's seen better days and probably needs replacing...

The bobbin winding mechanism

The revolutionary 'vibrating shuttle' (fnarr fnarr) bobbin.. The metal plate that slides over the top is stamped as patented in 1886. Not sure if that means the bobbin shuttle mechanism or this particular version of it...

There is a plate with a model number which pins the year of manufacture down to 1900-01 so Cleo is well over 100 years old!

The cabinet is not in brilliant condition - it's badly in need of some tlc. Some of the veneer is flaking off, bits of the ornate turned pillars on the outside of the drawers are coming away and a only three of the six drawers have complete handles.

See that hole? It's a lock - two of the drawers are lockable as is the sewing machine cover.
And I have the key!

what a pretty piece of metal work.

The contents of one of the drawers (the rest were empty, sadly).

The base is cast iron and, apart from needing a good clean, is in excellent condition. This is the drive belt housing...

...and the all important treadle plate itself!

And just in case you were wondering who the manufacturer was...

and again...

Sorry, Cleo, who made you?

They certainly weren't afraid of adding a bit of branding back then were they?! ;-) 

I am so pleased with this - did I mention I was *given* it? For free? It would have been dumped otherwise and, well, Cleo might be a bit shabby round the edges but these machines were built to last and the mechanism seems to be ok. All she needs is a bit of pampering. A good old fashioned bit of spit and polish....

Then I shall need to utilise some modern technology (YouTube) and work out how to thread her up!

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