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).

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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.

not one parcel, but two!

I was expecting a little parcel in the post recently . . . some supplies I’d ordered with a new sewing project in mind . . . so when postie knocked on the door, I was rather surprised to be handed not one, but two parcels.  One was my order (more on that further down) but one had come all the way from New Zealand!  A surprise parcel from Susan, containing lots of lovely goodies!

from SusanP01

Susan sent me: a copy of New Zealand Quilter magazine – their last issue, so that’s a very special one!  A very cute little xstitch kit, complete with scissors, to make an adorable scissor fob, some lovely lavender bags (I do love those hearts – so bright and cheerful) and a very cute little embroidered pig keyring: 

from SusanP02

So a very warm thank you to Susan!

Gibbs was very excited at parcel opening time . . . he was sniffing at those lavender bags, hoping one was for him.  Nope!   And when I opened the parcel of supplies I had ordered . . . he was hopeful there was something in there for him.

teething bits

Again, nope!  Sorry Gibbs.  These are for toys, and most of the items are even for chewing on . . . but not for dogs!  Yay, I ordered in a selection of silicon teething shapes plus some squeakers AND four little things that make a sort of rattle sound.  You’ve guessed . . . I’m planning on making some baby toys.  I fancy having a go at making some with different textures, in bright colours, adding squeakers, rattles or even crinkly paper so that they make lots of fun noises too.  Stay tuned!

And a last photo . . . to show a very quick & easy sewing project.

easy trousers

These, made following a free pattern by Made by Rae.  They are newborn size and are my first sewing project for my reborn dolls.  Fabric is a light-weight cotton, left over from a skirt I made myself in 2016.  I did also make a matching kimono top (a free by someone else) but it didn’t turn out quite as planned, so I’ll be trying that again and will show you when I have success.


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.


mend and make do

Like many crafters, I often try to mend and make do, using those grey cells to fathom out how to make things last longer or adapt things I have to make them more practical.  This month is no exception. 

First up . . . my faithful faded jeans were full of rips & tears after 5 or 6 years of loyal service.  I could have just cut them up, saving what denim could be salvaged, but I already had some salvaged denim in my drawers from a previous pair . . . so I patched.

make do 01

Working along the lines that so many young people these days fork out a small fortune for the “distressed” look . . . why waste money, when my old jeans are distressed enough?  Please ignore the different shade of blue under one of the patches (in the shape of an iron)  – I had a bit of an incident and not only are jeans distressed, they almost burned lol. 

make do 02

I really don’t care though!  They will live to be worn another season.  And because patches are so glaringly visible, I went the whole hog, and made them even more obvious.  A pretty iron on flower (that’s when I had the mishap with the iron) and “mend and make do” embroidered, just for fun.  To any embroiders out there: yes I know I’m supposed to snip the threads inbetween words & letters, but haven’t.

My next brilliant idea (even if I do say so myself) was . . . to head to Mr Bricolage (our local DIY shop) and buy a cube shelving unit to raise the height of my Juki sewing machine.


Back problems and sciatica are still with me, even after all this time, and sitting while sewing really doesn’t help.  So, the new system is this.  The cubby holes are useful for all my necessary bits & tools.  And Juki is now the perfect height for sewing while standing up. 

make do 04

This photo taken while on another “make do” mission.  Making a proto-type cushion cover.

make do 05

A cushion cover with flaps . . . bear with me!  BIL (the man who can get hold of anything) asked me, the other day, if I would like a second-hand wooden rocking chair he had picked up at the flea market!

make do 08

It’s not an antique rocking chair, and I doubt it could even be called “vintage” but I couldn’t say no to the above, could I?  Only problem is . . . the seat.  It is in perfect condition, but it’s made of straw therefore wouldn’t last 5 minutes in this house with four cats.  Hence the need to make a seat cover asap and above all, one which will not fall off.  The logical solution would have been just to add ribbons or ties to each corner, and tie it onto the chair.  However, Ducky (one of our cats) loves nothing better than to curl up on a cushion and EAT the ties. 

Which explains my wierd cushion with triangular flaps.

make do 09

I hand-sewed loops of elastic and 2 buttons (realised afterwards only one button was necessary, but we live and learn).

make do 11

This is what the underside of the seat looks like, with the flaps being held together.

make do 10

And one cushion neatly held in place!  This one was made very quickly as a proto-type to make sure my idea worked.  I therefore simply made it from a floral heavy-weight polyster.  Over the next few days, I’ll make a matching cushion to support my back.  The long-term plan, when I have more time, will be to make something more fun, in patchwork because I think this chair deserves something special and is destined to become my cross stitching/knitting/crocheting chair.