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!

Some random crafting and baby vegetables

mohair shawl

I made this  a couple of weeks ago. It is a mohair mix that used to be a jumper in the 90’s. It was unravelled by a 92 year old woman and remade as a shawl by me for her daughter (my Mother-in-law!). The pattern is the Elise shawl I found on Ravelry. It was nice and straight forward to make.

blocking crochet

It needed blocking, which I did directly on the bedroom carpet. I don’t have any fancy blocking boards (if such things exist). I’m not sure this method is recommended but it works for me.  Any way, it turned out well so that’s all that matters.

handmade reversible bag

As an accompanying gift to go with the shawl I made this reversible bag. The tutorial is  clear and easy to follow. A few years ago I made a knitting needle case for my Mother-in-law out of the same fabric so I thought it would make a nice matchy matchy present. If I remember correctly the fabric was from Ikea. I probably bought it about four years ago. Hmm,  I obviously didn’t press this bag very well.

hook yarn and crochet

I also made up a very quick project from the book Hook, Yarn and Crochet by Ros Badger. I bought a ball of King Cole Cottonsoft DK especially for this one. This was beautiful stuff to use. I’d love to make a baby blanket out of it but can’t justify it at the moment. If any one I know begets a child then I might consider spending the extra to buy some.

blue crochet lamp shade

It’s a lamp shade cover! Now I’ve remembered that I still haven’t sewn in the ends yet, as soon as I finished it, it was shoved straight on. Maybe I’ll do that job today. It left the room a little bit darker but I like it. With the left overs I made four little coasters but I haven’t taken any pictures of those.

first veg

At the beginning of the week I came with up some excuse that these new vegetables were ready to eat. In reality they were super small and probably needed a weeny bit longer suckling from their roots.

baby courgettes and broad beans

Nevermind, we ate them anyway! I fried them in butter with garlic and lots of salt and pepper. Looking in the garden yesterday, everything has replenished and there are definitely some spoils to be had. Properly grown this time I reckon.

Good, now I feel as though I’m catching up with crafting projects. I have a few things half done and some things waiting to get started but I’ve also ticked other things off the list, which makes me feel better.

The blanket that took a very long time to make

 

green blanket in garden

At last I have finished and it turns out it’s not that big. I had thought it was going to be just a bit smaller than a single bed size but it’s probably a third of that. I also thought I’d made somewhere over 100 circles but when it came to getting them all together, there weren’t that many.

green crochet circle blanket

I think some circles went missing, or I completely miscounted. It is only 8×11 , which is rubbish. Seriously, I was expecting more. But there is that feeling  of having completed a job that means when you are wrong you really don’t want to keep on going. So I gave up on doing any more, and I’m glad I did because as I wrote in this post, I had do redo some anyway. In the end, it turned out I only had to make two extra circles as I forced the other ones to fit with some jiggery pokery (they were on the edge where it wouldn’t make such a difference). If you look closely you can spot some really bad crochet.

green blanket hung up

I’ve taken a ridiculous amount of photographs of it but none of them show the actual colours. I’m not sure how to rectify this, so I’ve given up chasing the perfect photo. The pictures I’ve taken on my phone do it more justice. I think I’ll put those on my facebook page, which is over there on the right!

Meg's Veg

I was originally inspired the colours of Meg and Mog books. I’d been reading the books to my youngest [2] and I kept thinking that the colours would make a nice bright blanket. I remember drawing Meg and Mog pictures when I was at primary school.

Meg and mog castle

I had a surplus of green yarn in my stash from some abandoned idea. That ended up being the main colour just because.  I then got started, which was in April or thereabouts.

meg and mog garden

I didn’t really pay close attention when I was actually picking out the balls of wool so the end product doesn’t really look like it has anything to do with Meg or Mog.

finished green crochet blanket

It’s incredibly bright in real life. It’s all Stylecraft Special DK as that is what they sell in the shop down the road. The pattern for the circles comes via Tiny Tin Bird. It is by Priscilla Hewit and I printed out the PDF a couple of years ago with the intention of doing something blankety with it then. I didn’t get round to it until this year.  It’s the slowest thing I’ve worked on, probably ever.  I think it’s due to not liking it very much! It’s the colours not the pattern. I’m not sure. It’ll come camping with us in a couple of weeks and I won’t mind of it gets scuffed up.

For the edging I gave up on finding something new and used one I have used quite a lot;  Attic 24’s bobble shell edging but with three slip stitches between each bobble to have a little gap between them.

In the mean time, I’ve got a couple of small things on the go and another blanket I want to make.

A little bit of crochet in the garden and yet more plants.

crochet in the garden

I’ve spent two days enjoying a proper sunny day in the garden!  Although I’m prone to burning, the sun heals my rubbish skin so I jumped outside to try and get mending. One of the things I like about crochet is that you can do it any where, so I took it outside with me.

crochet blanket nearly finished

It felt mightily hot ( compared to what I’m used to), but it was lovely. I’m nearly finished with this blanket now. These photos were taken on Thursday and I was stitching together the last row of circles. I’m now on the border.

crochet in the sunshine

Will I finish it this weekend? I dunno. It’s been a stop/starty project that has been interrupted by many other projects, photos of which, I will probably post next week.

emmet playing outside

I discovered that I had company whilst I was sat on the bench. Poor Emmet. He’s obviously been playing in the sand pit because he’s covered in the stuff.

courgettes veg patch etc

The courgette plants seem to have doubled in size in the last few days. Looking forward to eating those. I also got around to putting out the lettuce too, which the pigeons seem to be enjoying. There are a few of us that think about pigeon pie sometimes.

peach roses and fern

This is a nice looking corner of the garden, hidden in there somewhere are some cute little geraniums. The peach rose was in a pot sat in the dark behind a crumbling old shed when we moved in to our house. When we sorted out the garden the following spring, I chucked it in the ground and it is doing very well.

pink geranium small

These little geraniums are very cute but I’m not sure I’ve put them in the right place. They were too far back and getting swamped, so I dug them up and moved them forward. I’m still not sure they’re in the right place and the trauma of moving them might have disrupted their growth. I need to think more about where to place things.

rozanne, geranium.

These rozanne geraniums are crazy and have had no worries at all. This is their third year and I should probably split this plant. I think I’m supposed to do that in the spring. Anyway, I should probably go and help a two year old make a father’s day card. We’ve been painting this morning and it’s only 7.40am. He thinks mornings are great.

A quick sewing project and garden changes

purple lining zipper purse

I enjoy little sewing projects. Usually, they’re  easy and don’t take that long to make up. Just before the weekend I made two identical purses to give out as presents for two birthday girls.

two pleated purses

I didn’t do so well with pressing, meaning, I didn’t really do it. And I should have. They would have looked really tidy if I’d been more careful with the iron. I didn’t not get the iron out, but neither did I use it every time I needed to. Rush rush and being lazy. Also, with a good press, both bags would have opened without the lining repeatedly getting stuck in the zip. One did, one didn’t.

sewn purse with pleats

The tutorial is by Skip to My Lou, and it is really easy to follow. I think it looks a bit more special than a plain purse. The only problem was that the zips I had were too short, so I added a small strip of extra fabric to each end of the zips to make up the length. I got the idea from here at fishsticksdesigns.com and I’m really pleased with the effect. Also, in that tutorial the zip is top stitched, which would help to stop the lining getting stuck in the zip. And, don’t sew too close to the zip teeth, that helps.

pink foxglove

The garden is in a lull. I think it is a common occurrence in June. All the spring flowers have gone or are looking sadly scruffy but the true summer flowers are not yet at full gusto.

erysimum wallflower

I’ve got straggly areas that I don’t know what to do with and they could look much better with some planning. Next year I would like some sweet william and centaurea please. The erysimum is a new addition and I like it, hope it’s happy too.

lupins and a busy bee

The lupins are now tired, however, the bees think they’re awesome and have been buzzing around them constantly. I will take pictures of other plants from now on, these have had their moment.

baby courgettes

It’s time to move on to the veg patch. Things are beginning to appear! I’m excited as I can be about courgettes coming. I’ve also got flowers on the sugarsnap peas and runner beans. I’ve had a couple of batches of spinach for dinner too. It’s all a bit behind other years, I’m sure, but I’m starting to feel relief that production has begun.

baby apple

And, I am so pleased about the apple tree. This is only the second time that fruit has decided to turn up to the party. I bet they get some hideous disease and wither from their branches.

playing in the garden

I love my garden. I hate chunky, plastic garden toys. I do like these wooden blocks though. There is an old baby walker they belong to. I’m not sure where it is at the moment but the blocks have been sat outside for a couple of weeks.

Anyway, This was a bit of a mish mash of garden pics that I’m not really happy with. I think it’s dissapointment that the thrill of spring flowers has past and I don’t know what is going to happen next…. Apart from some crochet, I  know that that is going to happen next. I’m going to get a move on with turning some circles into a blanket.

Sewing machine adventures and walking in the country

sewing machine

This is my cranky old sewing  machine (it’s not mine, it’s my Mum’s). It likes to be used a certain way and it has taken me over two decades for me to really understand it.  I reckon it’s been that long anyway. I’m sure this was the machine I was allowed to use when I was little.

toadstool bag in pieces

Here are the pieces of my toadstool bag. Hmm, I was going to try and add a magnetic clasp to this to make it proper snazzy.  It’s not something I’ve done before. Sadly, I’ve lost my recent purchase of said magnetic clasp. Shame.

purse sewing pattern

I didn’t get very far with the toadstool bag before I realised that birthday presents had to be made for the weekend. Two small purses are being made from a really good online tutorial at skiptomylou. I’ve used the pattern before, about a month ago and I really liked it. Deffo a go-to recipe for a nice present.

new crochet owls

I’ve also been working on a crochet pattern this week. I’m excited by it. Way more than I thought I’d be. These are the prototypes that I’ve been working on. I typed up the pattern and handed it out to my crochet friends for testing. It turns out that pattern writing is tricksy. And because it’s so tricksy, it is far from being ready to release into the wild. Soon.

red salston manor

I had a lovely time on Tuesday evening. I went for a walk along the river Otter. These are the chimney tops of Salston Manor, I can’t believe it is sitting empty! Absolutely bonkers.

There’s a group of  people who meet regularly to walk around nearby places. Nice places, obviously. And no dawdling allowed. This time, we managed to squeeze in a quick drink at the pub too!

sunset bridge over river otter

I took a ridiculous amount of photographs but never really stood still to take them. Therefore, I have a huge selection of blurry pictures and only a few that managed to refuse the blur .

cows at sunset

The first time I joined the Weekly Walk I didn’t take my camera. Then when I did, I didn’t make an effort to use it properly. Tsk.

cows in a field. sunset

I don’t really mind cows. They’re OK. Moo.

Deciding what to blog about

I bought new fabric!

I can’t decide what to blog about today. I fancy having some random pictures is the thing.  I bought some fabric a couple of weeks ago from a shop in Exmouth. Gorgeous fabric, expensive fabric, birthday money fabric. I have no clue what I will be making with it. Every now and then I stare at it, then I put it away in the fabric drawer.

vintage books

Last Thursday I went to Exeter for car mending and lunch. There is a bookcycle place down the bottom of the high street. The books are free but you give a donation (however much you feel the books are worth). Three per person, but I stole Husband’s allowance too. I found Ladybird books!!ladybird books

More Ladybird books to add to my collection! I love Ladybird books. I love jumbling for them, car booting for them and finding them in charity shops. They’re getting pricey these days though and hard to find.

basket of tricks

I’ve been rooting through my basket of tricks this week. It’s a massive mess in there but it’s full of all things awesome.

needle in the eye

I got the basket out to make some felt eyes for a project I’m working on. It’s mostly a crochet thing. A new pattern I’ve invented all by myself! A friend is going to help me design a PDF thingummy so that, I can maybe put them on here to download and ultimately (one day) sell stuff on Etsy. Or some such thing. Maybe. It’s alien to me at the moment but it’s important to learn new skills I suppose.

sunny garden

Here, more gardens pictures, ha! Next door is like a building site, I pretend it’s not there.

lupins and peony

The peonies are out but I don’t understand what all the fuss is about. They’re not that great. The clematis is on its last legs.

baby lupins

The best thing about the lupins is the leaves. A fantastic contrast to boring roundy leaves. There are loads of colourful spires on this one too.

lupins afternoon sun

Anyway, I think  I’m going to go and sit in the garden now (after I’ve done the washing up and hung out some laundry).

garden bench

And lastly, in this random collection of pictures, I would like to say Thank You to Joyful Solitude for nominating me for a blogging award. Wow! Such a fabulous thing to happen so soon. Must be doing something right! I googled it and haven’t found where the specific award comes from. My gut feeling tells me not to accept because I dont know what it is. Well, actually I’d love to accept but there are conditions of acceptance which, to me defeat the purpose of this space, which is that it is mine and I want to do my own thing.  To accept the award you’re supposed to tell seven things about yourself and nominate ten others for the award. I might be shooting myself in the foot, maybe I can defer for a while instead? I’m being a pooper at a party about such a nice thoughtful thing. Eh, I’m still thinking. Also, I’m still adjusting to blogging. It takes me ages to do any thing. For five years I said “I’m gonna start a blog tomorrow.”

hotwheels

Sorry, one more thing. My eldest (6) requested that I post this picture of his Hotwheels car. Here it is sat on a dusty shelf.