ocean themed crafting

It might be because of this never ending summer, with temperatures still around 30°C during the daytime . . . but I’ve been having something of an ocean themed crafting spurt.

First up . . . Carole, very kindly sent me an unbirthday gift a few months ago.  A little mermaid cross stitch kit.  Well, that gave me some light relief from all the dull browns & beiges I’ve been working on with the SAL project, and she turned out beautifully.

mermaid

I deliberately didn’t give her a mouth as I think she actually looks prettier without.  And I’m not sure if I’ll be finishing her off as a bookmark, to slip insde the printed card that came with the kit, or coming up with a different kind of finish.  Whatever, she was a real joy to stitch.  The kit was a freebie from a back issue of Cross Stitch Crazy magazine.  I had been dithering about whether or not to renew subs to a UK crafting magazine, and this gift from Carole spurred me on.  I signed up for a 12 month subs to Cross Stitch Crazy, so now have several other pretty freebie kits in my stash.  Perfect for those little projects when you want a quick finish!

Other crafting . . . if you saw my ScrapHappy post on 15th, you’ll have seen the stuffed fish I made, with its upper fin sewn on back to front.  Now, although Viking Parents said Baby Viking would love it (it’s also got a rattle inside so makes a lovely noise) I still wanted to make one that looked right.  So I rifled through scrap bags again and made another one.

3rd fishy 01

3rd fishy 02

Much more successful than the previous one, and with some lovely scraps.  This fishy has white felt circles appliqued on for eyes and a cross-stitched navy pupil.  He/she also has a “squeaker” inside, just below the upper fin. 

Here are the three fish together, all following the pattern by Lauri.

3 fishies 01

3 fishines 02

What I love about patchwork, and scraps . . . you get to use up every last bit of fabric, and each of these fishes is a reminder of past patchwork projects.  The one with spotty body was my first fish, made in March.  He’ll be staying here, as a photo prop for my reborn dolls, since he has buttons for eyes, therefore is not 100% baby friendly.  The other two will be swimming their way to Baby Viking.

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“Entwined Star” – an unbirthday/house warming gift

A neighbour’s daughter recently bought her first house, and I wanted to mark the occasion with a hand-made gift.   What better excuse to do some crafting?  A house-warming/unbirthday gift!    Now, I don’t know the daughter’s taste in interior decorating, nor her choice in colours, so I thought it prudent to ask her first.   She had said she likes “hot/bright” colours,  so I took that to mean “hot” on the patchwork colour wheel.  We had a quick look at possible fabrics together, with the design I had in mind requiring 3 different shades plus a background colour.  We did toy with some hot pink, and bright yellow, but in the end, the decision was made to stick with orange. 

entwined 01

This is the block pattern I had decided on.  The “Entwined Star” and this is my version.

entwined 02

It was only after piecing, I realised I hadn’t respected the colour “values” with the black background fabric, and maybe it would have looked better on white,  but it was too late to worry about that.   So I carried on, batting, quilting, and making a 16” cushion cover.

for Raphaelle 01

Raphaelle 03

I used some grey, velvety curtain fabric for the back  and 3 old jeans buttons for the fastening.

for Raphaelle 02

I don’t tend to use black very often, so it was interesting to see how this star and oranges seem so vivid on the dark background.  The extra 1/2” orange band all around, because I felt it needed more brightness to draw the eyes away from the centre.

Anyway, I had lots of fun making this and thoroughly enjoyed tackling a new block pattern. 

ooooh surprise mail!

Don’t you just love it when the postie stops by with a little package and you weren’t expecting anything?  I most certainly do!  Sometimes I recognise the hand-writing on the front.  Sometimes I have to turn over and look for the sender’s name . . . but it’s always really exciting, those few seconds before the package is ripped open.

The other day, I received an un-birthday gift and card from Cathy, aka nanacathy.

from Cathy

The most gorgeous bookmark, made with lace and a lilac ribbon not to mention a tiny pair of scissors on the end.  How appropriate and totally unexpected!

And something else that was totally unexpected . . . Avis had decided to make some blocks in my F2F colourway “just because”.  There are 9 ladies in the F2F swap this season which means we all end up with 27 blocks but with the extra block from Nanette and the 3 surprise blocks from Avis, I now have 31.  Plenty for either one large quilt and a cushion cover, or 2 smaller quilts and cushion cover.

Avis

Here is a close up of each block.

Avis 1

Avis 2

Avis 3

My photography is a bit off, I can assure you, blocks are all lovely, and crisp and square.  I had a good chuckle at the grey fabric  . . . can you see, it’s covered in paw prints, awww!

A big warm thank you Cathy and Avis.  You both brought a big smile to my face.

ScrapHappy – if the hat fits . . . (and unbirthday in July)

I’m linking up with Kate and Gun, the two ladies who organise ScrapHappy, which is a once a month post (always on 15th) to encourage us crafters to make use of our scraps.

Earlier this month, I showed you a couple of sewing projects, where I was having some trial and error with tunic sewing.  I did end up with 2 completely wearable tunics, it’s just that one of them is too big for me.

Anyway . . . whoever does clothes making knows that you always end up with a fair amount of fabric scraps (or is it just me?).  I’ll probably use some of my leftover tunic fabric for patchworking, but I was still on a roll with sewing patterns, so wanted to see if I could actually make something else out of my grey floral fabric.  And found the perfect project!

hat01

I made a baby’s sun hat!  NewLook # 6274.

hat 02

Another learning curve for me . . . who’d have thought I’d be trying my hand at making a hat one day?   With the hot summer here, and 9 month old little girl just opposite, soon to be going to Corsica for the summer holidays, I decided to make and gift the hat as an un-birthday present for July.

I had asked the Mum beforehand for baby’s head measurement which corresponded perfectly to the pattern size M.  And it fits!

Mona hat 01

Hmmmm . . . little neighbour isn’t quite sure if it matches her pink PJs.

Mona hat 02

She’s not even sure you’re supposed to wear a hat when you’re almost ready for bed.

I’ll definitely be making a few more baby hats in future!

Linking up also to other crafters who regularly join in with ScrapHappy.

Titti, Heléne, Eva, Sue, Nanette, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan, Karen,
Moira, Sandra, Linda, Chris, Nancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean, Johanna,
Joanne,Jon,Hayley and Dawn

a bit of this & that

Summer officially arrived on 21st June, but we’ve already been enjoying fine weather for a while.  Our spa has been set up in the back garden

summer here

Here it was being filled, but since then, I’ve been enjoying refreshing bubbles late afternoon every day.  I’ve also been doing a bit more cross stitch, with my feet up,  and lots of secret sewing.  Sadly, because of the latter, I realise I don’t have time to make un-birthday gifts this month but hope to have some made for July.

While I won’t be sending any gifts out, I was lucky and received some surprise mail in the post though.  A lovely hand-stitched card from Cathy

from cathy

and a little cross stitch kit, plus hand-made card from Carole.

from Carole

This kit was a free gift with Cross Stitch Crazy, and Carole thought I might like to stitch it (which I do! ).  Seeing that lovely design, spurred me into going on the internet and checking out subscription costs for UK xstitch magazines.  I let my subs run out several years ago because I was stock-piling magazines and not really having time to make the most of all the lovely designs.  However, I did miss the delight of receiving a magazine through the post . . . so I’ve just signed up for a 12 months subscription for Cross Stitch Crazy (so thanks for giving me the idea, Carole). 

Most of my stitching time, of late, has been spent trying to make progress on “Getting Ready” for the SAL.  But I did also finish up a small design.

permin robot

A very cute little robot, kit by Permin.  Three shades of grey, black and a bright green.  I’m thinking I might stitch the design a second time but using three shades of a different colour.  Maybe blue, or pink, or green.  In the meantime, I need to get my thinking cap on and decide how to finish this little fellow.  The Permin kit came with enough aida plus a lining fabric and instructions to make a pouch for mobile phone but I’m not too keen on that idea. 

happy un-birthdays in May

I had lots of fun cross stitching a couple more freebie designs recently. Two partner designs, with two naughty partners in crime, by Sylvia and called “Der Dieb” and “Der Dieb 2”.  Der Dieb being German for “the thief”.

der dieb x2

I wasn’t sure how I was going to finish these two designs until the stitching was done, and then it came to me.  Two little coasters! Which then winged their way to NanaCathy and Mr E (because I don’t see why husbands of crafters shouldn’t celebrate an un-birthday from time to time!).

dieb 01

I didn’t send the matching mugs & spoons (sorry Cathy lol) but I did make them in two different colours, being inspired by the cross stitched border on each.

dieb 04

dieb 05

They were very quick & simple to make.  Two 5” squares of patchwork fabric for each, and a square of wadding.

dieb 03

I went for contrasting print fabric on the back.

dieb 02

Hopefully these will come in useful to protect wooden furniture from either hot mugs or from cool glasses, with condensation dripping down.  As to which one is for Cathy and which one is for Mr E . . . I’ll let them decide.

whhoo whhoooo!–or happy unbirthdays in April

Another month, another excuse to celebrate some happy un-birthdays  . . . for April, I decided to send out something “fun” and “silly”

non anniv x2

Yup, two of my little amigurumi owls have flown off to new homes where, I hope, they will bring a smile to someone’s face, despite their obvious imperfections.  These little fellows crocheted following a free pattern by Moji-Moji Designs.

The green one, flew to Corinne of Passion Broderie, who loves owls and has quite a collection, I believe.  She is also a cross stitcher, so I added two skeins of DMC thread.

non anniv passion

And the pink owl flew to Sandrine, also a cross stitcher, so also posted with 2 skeins of pretty  DMC thread.

non anniv Sandrine

I kept the nest, as my remaining two owls do like somewhere to snuggle up together, when they’re not out hunting mice at night.