Easy homemade curtains.

pink japanese anemone

Whilst I was trying to take photos of my newly made curtains, I went and took a couple of pictures of the garden (I do love the Japanese Anemone). It has been raining a lot since the school holidays started last week. Nice one, thanks very much.

Garden after the rain.

Taking photgraphs of curtains is tricky. They do need to be slightly closed in order to see them but then half your light is gone. I gave up and accepted that most of the pictures were rubbish pictures.

Homemade curtains

Here they are.

sewing on the header tape

Making these curtains involved lots of late night sewing sessions. They were straightforward to make especially since they had stripes I could follow. Hand sewing the hems was the most time consuming bit.

Using Ikea fabric to make curtains

The gather is not that full but I couldn’t afford to buy twice as much fabric. I don’t think it’s much of an issue. I used a very helpful tutorial. Without it, I wouldn’t have known about ‘returns’ or how to make the hem properly.

I made two pairs for the front room and a single curtain for the front door. It all feels much brighter and cleaner now. Making things is fun!

Anyway, I’m off to go and sulk now, I got stung by a wasp this afternoon (on my left ring finger). It really flipping hurts and has left me in danger of throwing some kind of tantrummy strop.

I’m not sure how much crafting will ensue now that the holidays are here. Hopefully I will still be here but maybe not as often. I dunno.

Sewing curtains, re-homing a crochet blanket and enjoying summer.

Last week I said I wasn’t allowed to buy any more fabric…. I have….

Ikea fabric for making curtains

Half a tonne of it. Lots of it. Loads. I’m making curtains, it’s totally legit. When I said I wasn’t allowed to buy any more fabric I had forgotten that I’d planned new curtains. It was not an impulse purchase but a careful, well thought out one. I started on the first curtain the other night but was scuppered by having bought the wrong header tape. I blame IKEA, I don’t think they do the normal header tape anymore and it wasn’t for normal curtains, it was weird. Anyway, by the time the replacement stuff we ordered from Ebay turns up, I’ll have hopefully sorted out all of the other curtains ready for the tape. I can’t wait to have new curtains!

a mixed up granny stripe crochet blanket

I got a request  from a friend on Monday night asking if I had a spare baby blanket they could have to give as a present for someone. Actually, I had three from leftover experiments. This is the one they chose. Unfortunately, it wasn’t actually finished. Thankfully I’d sewn in the ends already. However, it had no border so I had to quickly whizz around it a few times and find  a pretty edge that would suit a baby girl. This is the blanket.

mixed up granny stripe crochet baby blanket.

It was initially going to be for a baby I knew but once I’d almost finished, I decided it wouldn’t suit said baby and stored it away with all the other abandoned projects. Poor blanket. Luckily, someone else saw the potential in it and asked if they could have it. Yes. Good.

Mixed up granny stripe crochet blanket

There isn’t a pattern for it, it’s just a basic granny stripe mixed in with a variety of doubles, half trebles and trebles in a random order. I used Stylecraft Special DK. I quite liked it once it had its border added. The border was inspired by various different patterns I’ve seen around. It’s a bit hotchpotch.

sweet peas in the garden.

The garden is getting pretty again after its June lull. It makes me ponder what I need to do for next year, to ensure I have  colour in more places. I’ve noticed that the greenfly have come to party on my Sweet Peas.

beautiful sweet peas.

My six year old and I went outside this morning and snipped all the Sweet Peas and some Lavender to make posies for his teachers. It’s the last day of school today. I shook off the greenfly before he handed them over.

borage in the herb bed

There is loads of Borage in the herb bed, I didn’t realise it was such a prolific self seeder.  There are so many plants. It’s managed to travel to some other parts of the garden too. I’m going to have to keep on top of that.

Bee bum in the Borage!

The bees flipping love it. It would make me feel guilty if I took too much of it out. I’m going to have to keep it to one part of the garden but still make sure the bees have enough to keep their tummies full.

nastutiums over taking the veg patch

Bees are also having a great time in the Nasturtiums. I’ve spotted more bumble bees here as opposed to the honey bees on the Borage. I don’t know any other type of bees. I could well be mixing my bees.

I’ll soon be running the risk of repeating myself with the garden pics. I’ll need to look at past blog posts to remind myself of my blatherings.

Borage flowers. Bees love them.

Here, another one of Borage! I put them in ice cubes last year. Looked absolutely nothing like those pictures you see on Pinterest.

Sewing a simple skirt and how I added the pockets.

 

Simple sewn skirt pattern with pockets

Last week I decided to make a skirt from a pattern I’d spotted on Pinterest ages ago. I made it last Friday. The night before I drew out the pattern pieces I needed and cut out the fabric ready for the next day. The pattern is for a summery skirt on sewinglikemad.com which has the basic formula for the skirt and you kind of work out for yourself how it goes together. It has a useful link for making the waistband, which is much better than a plain elasticated waist. I also found a video tutorial to help me put the pockets together. I can’t remember if I’ve ever done pockets before.

pinning pocket facing onto skirt

This is pinning the pocket facings onto the front of the skirt. It was very easy to do and quite good fun. A step up from my normal sewing level, which isn’t usually adventurous.

sewing a simple pocket

Once I had sewn and pressed the facings, I added the main pocket piece to each side.

simple skirt pocket

What I should have done next was  gather the whole piece across the top. However, I had already gathered the front main piece of skirt before I’d attached the pockets. I should have waited until this stage. I had to do a teeny extra bit of gathering at the pockets to make it the same size as the waist band, ready to sew them together.

pocket sewn to skirt

This is it all stitched together. It didn’t take very long to get to this stage at all.It was definitely helpful to follow the link in the patten to make the waistband. I was so impatient, to get it finished I kept to my usual of 1inch elastic rather than three lots of thinner stuff. However, next time I will be up for making the smaller casings as it creates a really nice finish to the waistband.

homemade skirt with pockets

Not a particularly good picture but it is good enough to demonstrate what it looks like on. I’m enormously pleased with my new skirt!! My favourite bit is the pockets. I’m pretty sure I’m going to be adding pockets to everything now.

 

A few more crafting projects started and some summery garden stuff.

fox and raccoon crochet brooches

Okay, I think these are the only finished things this week. They’re little crochet brooches. The pattern for the raccoon is from issue 33 of Simply Crochet magazine. I made the fox so that he had a friend. Same pattern just different colours. The raccoon pattern is designed by Becky Garratt. I looked at her blog and I like it very much.

Drops Karisma selection

This is new wool for a blanket that has been “commissioned” (my Sister in Law has asked me to make it).  The colours have been taken from a tile from a victorian fireplace. I’m assuming that once the blanket is finished, it will drape beautifully somewhere beside the fire on a cold winter’s day (or something like that). It is Drops Karisma and seems ok, I’ve not used it before. I have made a tentative start but the pattern I’ve chosen might need tweaking.

collection of petal patch granny squares

Last week I started the Petal Patch blanket. I found the pattern for this on Betsy Makes and it makes a change from the standard granny without going crazy. I really like it. I have pretty much pilfered the colour scheme from Attic 24’s Harmony blanket.

petal patch granny square

I can’t decided whether to complete this first, or put it aside whilst I concentrate on the fireplace blanket. I know what I should do but I also know what I want to do. Actually, they will both be fun to make so I guess it doesn’t really matter. This Petal Patch blanket will take at least a few weeks more though as I want about 100 squares and so far I think I only have 25. I haven’t been working as fast as usual either. This is because of a hurty wrist and a yarn tangling toddler.

ardennes fabric

I bought this fabric in May, I think. It isn’t posh quality but it was less than £3 a metre, so I don’t care.

Ardennes dress fabric

I made a bag out of it first and this week I hope to make a summer skirt. If, once I’ve finished, it looks good I will post some pictures. I should probably take a picture of the bag too. I have found what looks to be a good free pattern for the skirt.

embroidered sweet peas

This isn’t my hand, it belongs to my blanket wanting Sister in Law. She is into embroidery and when she visited last Friday, she whipped it out whilst me and some other fab people did our crochet. I wanted to share it simply because I like it!

blue anagallis

Moving on from the crafting projects I am reminded that the garden is thirsty. These Anagallis are my new favourite flower. For about five years it was a Salvia, which I think is called Cambridge Blue but my Mum gave me some Anagallis seedlings after I spotted it in her garden last summer. These guys look like they need a drink.

summer garden flowers

Both the Salvia and the Anagallis are here. I expect the Salvia is feeling a bit miffed now.

garden view

Down at the bottom of the garden, the Crocosmia is just beginning to flower. It was here when we moved in. I don’t mind it too much, so it has been allowed to stay. This picture doesn’t show the Lavatera that has come up behind it but it does show the Salvia, which looks so much better in real life.

summer garden from above

I went upstairs and took a picture. Everything is looking quite nice from this angle!

Hopefully I will get the sewing machine out tonight. I’d like to make a start on that skirt.

 

Handmade elderflowers are better than real elderflowers.

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I think it was the weekend of Father’s Day that we saw lots of elderflowers blooming in Grandma and Grandad’s garden. Six year old and Daddy filled a little trug with elderflowers because six year old wanted to make elderflower cordial. I hate the stuff, it sucks. I do not get why everyone loves it so much. Blurgh. Any way, seeing as he’s only  six, I obliged and helped him make a drink out of the pretty but stinky flowers.

IMG_20150621_122521680_HDR

It was a made up recipe because we didn’t have things like citric acid. I whacked in a tonne of sugar and loads of lemon juice. It was far too sweet but mixed with fizzy water, we got away with it. He made me drink some.

Anyway, playing with these flowers gave me an idea for an elderflower without the stench. I quickly sketched out my idea and got stuck in. I decided to sew a brooch using felt. The last time I did felt sewing was when I made a cherry blossom needle case. It was one of my first blog posts and no one saw it!

beginning elderflower brooch

Cutting out the little flowers was a fiddly job. I didn’t bother using the templates for those, just cut little circles and snipped petal shapes into them.

elderflower design taking shape

I have white felt and off white felt. They are both different sorts of felt. I wanted to use the off white but I think it must be 100% wool because it is mega fluffy and breaks away at the edges very easily. I decided to make two brooches as I wasn’t sure which felt would be the best. In the above picture you can see I have used off white flowers on a white felt backing and vice versa in the other bloom. The extra woolly felt was definitely not good for the small flowers.

outer crochet purse

The beginnings of this purse is going to be the thing I pin the brooch onto. Originally, I was going to do it applique style and have the flower as the purse’s design feature. It turned out I couldn’t be bothered to do that so I added a little brooch clasp instead and that way I had a brooch or bag decoration!

To make the purse, I chained 34+1 and did enough rows until I was happy with the length before dropping the first stitch of every row for about eight rows (it might have been ten rows!). I then did six (maybe eight?)rows with a 2tgr at the beginning and end of each row. In the last three of those rows I made the button hole. To do this, I missed two stitches in the middle of the row and chained two instead. In the following row I made two single crochets in the space and then did the final row normally. Apologies, probably not the best instructions in the world but I didn’t write them down very clearly. Before fastening off it’s a good idea to go round the edge of the entire piece with single crochet for a neater result.

I used a 4mm hook and double knit yarn.

lining crochet purse

I sewed on the lining by hand and cut a hole for the button to go through. The button hole (also hand sewn) is messily stitched because I haven’t learned how to do it properly.

open crochet purse with lining

I folded the bottom up and crocheted the sides together (whip stitch would be good too). I forgot to go round all edges first with the single crochet, so I botched it, as usual. To rectify my error I attached some yarn to one of the corners and just single crocheted along the flap edge. Seeing as this is a prototype, it’s not bad. You learn as you go, I suppose.

a crochet purse with both elderflower brooches

I absolutely prefer the brooch on the right. It is brooch number two. The first one I used darker embroidery thread for the middles of the flowers and it  doesn’t work for me. I also went crazy with some dodgy french knots but they don’t work for me either. The flap is curling up so it looks wonky, but it isn’t really.

elderflower brooches

Yep, the left one is such a newb. Deffo the one on the right for me.

crochet purse with elderflower brooch

They look lovely together! I’m pleased now. I think, if I was going to get brave and open an Etsy shop, this is the kind of thing I’d want to sell.

elderflower embroidered felt brooch

So, that is the new thing I made.

Back to crochet this afternoon I reckon. And after a week of feeling rough I have my appetite back just in time for slow roasted pork and veg from the garden. All is good. Hurray!

We went camping!

camping in dorset

On a gloriously sunny weekend in Dorset, we went camping. It was hot. There were eight of us, four adults, four children. That’s two families. We had a lovely time. I wrote about this place a couple of months ago.

camping on the farm

There was only one heavy tumble down into a badger’s set (resulting in lots of bruises) and only one incident with a hand saw (involving  a quickish trip to a Minor Injuries Unit) but they somehow have added to the weekend, making it more memorable… and good for story telling.

cooking soggy shoes

Our shoes had to dry by the fire after a short but heavy downpour.

a little bit of rain

We briefly took refuge in the woods but it got slightly soggy so, in a break in the rain we went back to the tents.

dinner on a camp fire

We had delicious meals on the camp fire. The first night was a chicken and chorizo stew with new potatoes. The second night we had carbonara with homegrown courgettes.

dorset countryside

We camped in this very green and clovery field.

dorset sunset

I took a ridiculous number of sunset pictures.

first night camping

It was a beautiful and mostly peaceful place to be. We had to endure music from a nearby party the first night. It went on until 2am, ugh. In the first photo, peaking out from behind some trees is a white marquee. That is where the party was happening.

looking into our field

We stayed on a farm I know. I’ve been camping there a few times but this is the first time since having kids. I was worried it would be a nightmare but the children had a fantastic time. I didn’t like them waking us up at 4.45 but it was only for two nights.

camping in a field

Unfortunately, we forgot our sleeping bags so  Husband kindly drove back home to get them. It’s only about 50 minutes from home and I don’t think he minded too much. I just can’t believe we forgot such fundamental camping equipment. Duh.

camping in the great outdoors

This is our new tent, bought so that the boys could have one section and we could have the other. It has a porch inbetween. Nice and roomy.

camp fire

Camping isn’t camping without a proper fire to cook on and keep warm.

our camp site

This looks messy in the photograph but in reality it was very well organised. In lieu of crafting we set to work making an awesome drying rack thingy for dishes and a washing line for clothes. There is a bin hangy thing in there too and extra sticks stuck in the ground to hang lanterns from. It was very cosy.

a proper camping breakfast

Here is a proper camping breakfast!

another camping sunset

Nice views.

camping sunset night two

Promptly upon our return we all came down with a bug. I’m still feeling rubbish as I’ve been kept awake by pukey kids for two nights. Decent sleep hasn’t come to me yet. It’s such a shame because it put a downer on coming home. I think we caught the germs before we went camping and harboured them whilst we were away.

I might get back to some crochet today but I still don’t have much energy. I’ve been doing too much camping laundry instead. Boo.

Little crochet flower pattern

bunch of little crochet flowers

I’ve noticed that I have shared quite a few things I’ve made from other people’s patterns on here  but there hasn’t been much that, has come directly from my own brain. Sooo I am going to rectify that now and share a pattern that I’ve come up with myself.

It’s a pattern for some little flowers. I’m sure there are lots of similar ones out there but this one is nice because I created it for my friend’s daughter. She wanted some hair clips with crochet flowers and this is what I came up with.  There are two sizes because the first one I made was  just a bit too big to stick on a hair clip so I down sized it. I don’t remember if I took photographs of the orginal flowers I made, it was about two years ago!

bunch of crochet flowers

Please excuse me if the pattern doesn’t work, I’ve never done this properly before. My note book has words and pictures that I can just about decipher, translating that has been…interesting…

For both of these I used a 3mm hook and Stylecraft Special DK. I’ve written the pattern in UK terms.

Small flower pattern.

Chain (ch) 6 and join with a slip stitch (ss).

Round 1.

Ch3, 1trb into the ring (counts as 1 pair of spokes). (Ch5, 2trb into ring) x5. Ch5 and join with a ss to the top of the ch3.  [6 petals]. Fasten off (Fo).

joining round 2 crochet flower

Round 2.

Join new colour with a ss in between a pair of spokes. Into each 5ch sp (space) make 6dc. Ss in between each pair of spokes. Join with a ss to the first ss. Fo and sew in ends.

little crochet flower

Extra small flower pattern.

Ch5 and join with a ss.

Round  1.

Ch2, 1 half treble (htr)into ring (counts as 1 pair of spokes). (Ch3, 2htr) x4. Ch3 and join with ss to the top of the ch2. [5petals]. Fo.

small little crochet flower

Round 2.

Join new colour with a ss in between a pair of spokes. Into each 3ch sp make 4dc. Ss in between each pair of spokes. Join with a ss to the first ss. Fo and sew in ends.

With the help of a glue gun just wodge these on a hair clip. I can see lots of them together on a head band too or do whatever you like with them!

lots of crochet flowers

There, my first pattern. I do have more that I’m going to blog about including one that I am completely in love with that, is very cute indeed. I want to see if I’ve got this one right before I get over excited though. I’d love to hear what people think but please don’t hate it!!

A finished toadstool handbag and a self indulgent garden tour.

detail handmade toadstool bag

It was weeks ago that I cut out all the fabric pieces for this bag and because I’d never used the pattern before, I had some mild reluctance about starting. It always happens and I know it’s down to the fact that, at some point I’m going to have to concentrate. I am an easily distracted person. I did manage to find some time to focus and I am so pleased with the result!

sewing a mitred corner

I picked it up again a couple of weeks ago to make a start but it was abruptly stopped by a toddler waking from his nap and that means no sewing allowed. I got as far as basting things and stitching mitred corners. I was then disrupted by lost magnetic clasps. Should I even bother with them? Well, I’d bought them and one day they’d turn up so I really ought to give them a go. Two days ago I found them, so sewing resumed.

attaching magnetic clasp

Look! Look at the magnetic clasps! They are so snazzy. I actually put them in. And it was so straightforward. I feel silly now. My one disappointment regarding them is that I placed them too low. They need to be a couple of centimetres higher so that they’re nearer the top. I will know for next time.

toadstool bag detail

I’ve impresssed myself even if I haven’t impressed anyone else. There are straightlines for goodness sake. I never usually manage that sort of thing.

handmade handbag.

There are some untidy areas, such as the attachment of the handles. By that point I was sewing in the evening and getting distracted by the telly so I had some unpicking to do. Strangely I didn’t mind. However, I did mind a little bit when I got a random handle stuck to the handle I was working on. That was unnecessary unpicking. I used this tutorial at thinkliz.com and it was relatively easy. I got the fabric from Etsy.

Anyway, I have been randomly pushing it in peoples faces and parading round looking very pleased with myself, whilst I swing it on my shoulder!

pot plants

A quick tour of the garden in its current state. Here are some flowers I bought at Aldi (!). The salvia and the osteospermum are both Aldi bought.

sun after rain

This is the best hosta I have and I think that must be because it is in a pot. The others are down the bottom of the garden, which once weeded I shall take a photo of.

potted lobelia

I’m starting to wonder if most of this year’s annuals are actually bought from supermarkets because I think this lobelia came from Tesco! I’ve grown them from seed in the past but I’ve had a very lazy year.

pesky horseradish

Yep, the snapdragons are from Aldi too. Beginning to feel embarrassed. Look, I’ve spotted rogue horseradish trying to invade again. The winter before last I spent days digging the biggest hole ever trying to get rid of the stubborn roots…. So, that worked :\

pansy

Pansies from um, Aldi. But that blue salvia isn’t, I grew that from seeds I collected. That is going to look amazing in a few weeks. They all will, I have five or six of them.

nasturtium starting to flower

Self seeded nasturtium. It used to be a deep red but is slowly turning to orange. Each year the orange takes over a little bit more. I still like it.

 

first sweet pea

I was surprised to spot the first sweet peas yesterday. These are one of my favourite flowers. They smell gorgeous and I totally love them. I love you sweet peas!