ScrapHappy # March

I have decided to join in the ScrapHappy fun – a monthly “event” organised by Kate in Australia and Gun in Sweden.  The idea is simple and very economical . . . all you have to do is post on 15th of each month about something made during the month with scraps!  Can be fabric, yarn . . . anything so long as we’re working to keep that scrap pile under control.

Since I have more fabric scraps than anything else, I was inspired by a free pattern by Lauri to make a soft toy fish.  She published this delightful pattern on her blog way back in 2012, but I only stumbled across it the other week.

fishie 01

The printed picture in the background is from Lauri’s block, with the step-by-step instructions.  I opened my “orange” scrap bag and also my “very small pieces” scrap box (perfect for scales).  Some of my regular readers may recognise a few of these scraps, leftovers from so many fun patchwork & sewing projects.

Lauri’s pattern has scales only on one side of the fishy, and she says to lightly stuff them.  I did things slightly differently.  Didn’t stuff scales, and I didn’t like the idea of a plain side, so . . .

fishie 02

Whichever direction my fishy swims in, she has 5 very colourful scales on each side to warn off predators.

I also made a couple of 12″ blocks, using leftover fabrics from the sewing session with Cléo in Fébruary.

scrap turquoise 01

scrap turquoise 02

The second one isn’t strictly a scrap block as I had to use some solid white from my stash rather than scrap box, but it’s a twin to the first one, which is why I’m posting it here.

Here are the links to other people participating in ScrapHappy.  Not everyone posts everytime, but it’s lovely see what wonderful things can be made from scraps.

Kate, Gun, Titti, Heléne, Eva, Sue, Nanette, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan, Karen,
Moira, Sandra, Linda, Chris Nancy and Alys.


giving and receiving

I have yet to decide whether it’s more fun to give or to receive.  I do love to be on the giving end, especially when it involves some secret crafting or shopping.  The waiting for the person to receive the parcel and wondering if gifts will be appreciated.  But then it’s also such fun when an unexpected parcel arrives, and to be on the receiving end.  Photos today because I have been a giver and a receiver . . .

megan bday 

Here is what I sent to my daughter, Lindashee, who turned 24 yesterday.  A Michael Powell book with 20 charts for xmas decorations/cards; 15 different colours of A4 sized felt (for future crafting projects); a pink “lipstick” needle holder and . . . a “bag bag”.

megan bag

I’m getting rather good at making these now, even if I do say so myself.   I made this one in a turquoise “umbrella” nylon fabric, so it’s completely water-proof.

On the receiving end . . . an unexpected surprise from Avis who decided I needed cheering up (after having had to listen to me whinging via email about various things I won’t go into here). 

babmoo 04

Some chocolate – we all know about the positive effects of chocolate.   A tin of Spam because Avis knows that’s something I can’t find in France, and I love the stuff!  And the most gorgeous zipper pouch, made with fabric that came all the way from China.  When I say, all the way from China, I mean that Avis’ daughter was visiting China and bought the fabric for her Mum.  Fabric which Avis then made into a zippy pouch, using her gorgeous hand-cranked Singer 99k (you can read more about that on her blog).

bamboo 02

There was also a matching bookmark hidden inside.

bamboo 01

bamboo 03

This zippy bag is going to come in handy for crochet amigurumi projects.  I am currently making a monster, and have lots of loose body parts including three eyeballs, and lots of tiny fingers & toes . . . sorry, I’ll rephrase that . . . my MONSTER has loose body parts, including three eyeballs etc.   A bright zippy bag is the perfect place to keep that lot safe until I get around to the job of assembling body parts.

meet Manfred (amigurumi happy dancing)

Last month I showed you the beginnings of another amigurumi

crochet mouse

‘Manfred the Mouse”, a pattern by Pii_ Chii and published in

crochet mouse 03 

Well, I’m am very pleased to be able to introduce you to my finished Manfred. 

manfred 01

He was lots of fun to hook, and I am really pleased with how the bright neon green of his dungarees contrasts with the denim blue of his other bits. 

manfred 02

He’s got a cute pink tail (husband reckons it could have done with being longer, but I followed the pattern).

manfred 03 

Manfred can even give us a little wave  because I put a short length of pipe cleaner into each arm (although that wasn’t suggested in the pattern).

manfred 04

I finished his little dungarees off, with two “sheep” buttons.   I realise they’re not really to scale, but they’ve been in my button stash for years and I think they liven up Manfred’s outfit. 


It was a very interesting pattern to follow.  Marked as “easy” in the book, which is fair enough, but in my opinion would be too tricky for an absolute beginner.  I really loved how the dungaree effect was obtained.  Basically using green for most of the body, and then crocheting small bands for the straps, as well as extra bits which made little “cuffs” to slip over the legs before attaching.  All very cleverly thought out by¨Pii_ Chii.   I also love Manfred’s nose . . . which was fiddly to manage but well worth the effort.  


I’ve already begun work on my next crochet critter . . . won’t tell you what I’m making next except that I’ve begun hooking in shocking pink lol. 


sewing with Cléo during the school holidays

During the Christmas holidays, I didn’t have time to invite our young neighbour, Cléo,  round to do any sewing.  And yet, she was dying to come and play with Juki, because in November, her parents gifted her a very pink camera, exactly like this one.


She had already done a sketch of what she wanted to make: a bag, with a long strap, for her new camera.  And she had even chosen the fabric for this new project, and lace!

Luckily, the February half term holidays finally arrived and we were able to organise a free morning for the sewing to take place.

cleo bag 01

We worked non-stop for 3 hours, and voilà . . . one bag!  Cléo chose a fabric with feather print, and wanted 3 rows of lace.  According to Cléo there is no such thing as “too much lace” lol.  She wanted lace, so she’s the one who sewed on the three rows of lace (one of the reasons this bag took so long to make)!  So, 3 layers of lace on the front panel, the back is just one piece of the feather print.

cleo bag 02

The bag has wadding inside and is lined in solid turquoise.  There’s a long strap (72cm long) with a thinner piece of lace running the whole length (which sadly I didn’t get a photo of) so Cléo can wear the bag on her shoulder. A short strap with a popper for the fastening.  And the pink camera now has a very pretty bag to keep it safe!

Even if the camera is shocking pink, you’ll notice that the bag isn’t!  This is because Cléo is now 7 and a half, and her favourite colour is no longer bright pink lol.  Now, her favourite colours are blue, turquoise and purple!  And, of course, the more lace, the better!


all the king’s horses and all the king’s men . . .

body parts 01

Just look what I’ve been up to!  Yup, taking dolls to pieces . . . before putting them back together again!

Now, originally, the plan was to simply take Lily and Noah apart and make new cloth bodies for both of them, so that I could “weight” bodies, heads & limbs and make them feel more like real babies.  However, once I started looking closely I realised that Alice (the reborn bought on ebay) had not been made with the correct body.

body parts 03

I don’t know if you can see, but if you look at limbs, Noah has FULL limbs (since they were attached to a vinyl body;  Lily has 3/4 limbs; and Alice has 3/4 arms but FULL legs.  She was reborn using a body for both 3/4 arms & legs which meant that her legs were actually too long.

body parts 04

Lily will need some adjustments because her limbs don’t have grooves so that they can be attached with cable ties, but I know how to sort that out.  Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself.

body parts 02

Basically, I decided that Lily wouldn’t need a brand new body, since the one from Alice looks like a nice fit for her.  In photo, just placed to check for sizing, nothing is attached.     Whereas on Alice (same body) – you can see how it makes her legs too long and the body just looks too short.


It’s therefore Alice and Noah who need a new body.  Off I went browsing on various reborn sites . . . trying hard to find a shop which stocked bodies in the 2 sizes I needed to avoid having to order on two different sites, therefore pay two lots of shipping.  But had no luck.

So . . . I decided simply to buy a pattern, some plastic joints & cable ties, and to make my own!


I bought a pattern by Ragdoll Fairy with instructions to make cloth bodies in all sizes (ranging from 14” to 22” dolls) and with the option to mix & match joints for whatever length limb (full, 3/4, 1/2 and 1/4).  It’s a question of just cutting out the right bits, in the right size then mix & matching for the doll in question.  I also bought in a supply of the necessary plastic joints (in 35mm and 45mm) so I was prepared for all eventualities.  And set to work.

I didn’t have any “doe suede” or flannel which is the fabric used for cloth bodies so just used an ivory cotton for my first attempt.  My aim was to have a trial run with the pattern, work out exactly which size body I needed to make, and manage to put one doll back together again.


And I did – yay!  I’m not 100% satisfied with Alice’s new body and there are a few things I would change (for next time).  Her shoulders are too large and (while I marked the exact spot) I think they should have been attached slightly higher.  I made a 21” body and used the shoulder pattern for that size, but Alice would look better with a smaller shoulder .  And, if you can see a crease across her tummy, it’s because the pattern gives a very tubby tummy which I chose not to completely pad out as it made Alice look too fat.


The part I was really pleased about though is the joints!  Everything swivels round nicely and Alice can pose in some very unrealistic positions lol.   The rest is really simply a question of tweaking for next time.


I honestly feel things went very well for a first attempt.  Pattern called for some elastic sewn onto the bottom, which I didn’t add, and I think the bottom looks fine without.

Anyway, I followed instructions (found on various sites)  for weighting her and putting her back together again.  She is actually the same length (since her legs were too long before) and fatter than she was when I first got her, but has lost weight.  Her maker had used steel balls for weighting.  I have removed those, and weighted with micro fine glass beads (in vinyl gloves for head & body) and then plumped her out with  fibrefill.  When I’ve had time to save up, I’ll order in some “baby fat” or some high density poly pellets as I think they would give a more realistic feel & weight to the body.   For the moment she’s a feather-weight at 1.650 kilos for approx 50cm.


Anyway, I did what I set out to do.  Alice has a brand new cotton body, even if her shoulders are a little puffy.  Stay tuned in the coming weeks to see what a difference a new body will make to Lily and Noah.


a secret sewing reveal

Today I can reveal a secret sewing project which kept me busy and happy for a few hours . . . making something for a friend’s birthday.  The friend in question is Avis.

Not sure if she’ll actually use this, but if she doesn’t, I’m sure she had a chuckle anyway.


I made Avis a tote bag, with a matching pouch for tote bag to be folded into, so it can be clipped to a jean’s loop.  I don’t know about you, but when I just nip to the shops for one or two bits, I always end up buying more than intended . . . and I don’t like to have to pay for a plastic carrier bag.

avis 02

The tote bag measures approximately 16” x 16” so it’s a nice shopping bag size.  The pouch, for when it’s folded measures approx 3.5” x 7”.

I bought this fabric especially.  It’s a batik cotton but has a waterproof coating so will be brilliant for shopping on a rainy day.  Mind you, I got a bit confused about which side was the right side . . . unsure if the coated side was meant to be on the outside or the inside.  I ended up opting for the waterproof side on the outside.

And just to prove that the large tote bag can fit inside the pouch . . . there’s a folding method to stick to.

avis 03

First, bag needs to be flat (and dry)

avis 04

And you simply start by folding up the bottom

avis 05

Until it’s a nice flat roll like this.

avis 06

Fold one side in (about 1/3 in)

avis 07

The second side in.

avis 08

And then continue rolling the straps round.

avis 09

And voilà!  One good sized tote bag, all neatly folded into its pouch!

avis 10

Anyway, I sent that to Avis, along with some fun plant pot decorations with little wooden hedgehogs on the ends and a copy of “The Sewing Machine” by Nathalie Fergie.  If you haven’t read that, I’ll be doing a quick book review post in the coming days.


“Simpaw” mobile, happy dancing


I have been busy cross stitching, testing a new pattern that my daughter, Lindashee designed for her etsy shop: LindasheesStitches.   The charts are now on sale as a set of 5, so I can reveal all, with the help of little Alice.  The newest design is a set of five animals:  elephant, rhino, zebra, lion and gazelle,  which would be perfect for a beginner stitcher.  All full stitches, no back stitch.  Lindashee imagined them finished as individual framed pictures to decorate a nursery, or as birthday cards.

However, while testing, I asked Lindashee if she could also include a rear view of each animal . . . so charts contain both front view and rear view of all five animals.  And I have made a mobile.  I stitched on perforated paper, and glued fronts to backs before cutting around the edge.

mobile 02

mobile 03

So, there you have it!  The new animal chart is called “Simpaw” and is now available here: LindasheesStitches.