Monday, 21 July 2014

Tea or Coffee?


I'm making lavender stuffed sleep inducing pillows/sachets using some of my doily collection.  Inevitably old table linens and doilies will have stains - especially tea stains, so I thought I would try dying a few using tea.


Its an easy process - find a suitable dish or baking tin to fit the doily, add tea bag or bags, and pour on hot water.  Swish about a bit to release the tea from the bag.  Leave until you have the colour you like.  I left mine about 45 minutes then squeezed out the tea and rinsed them a couple of times.  I dried them flat on kitchen paper towel sheets, finishing off with my iron to keep them nice and flat. 


We only use loose tea for drinking but I had a gift box of Harrods English Breakfast teabags in the cupboard and as you can see the colour has turned out rather more of a pretty coffee shade than tea.


These two are hand crocheted - such very fine work!  They must have taken hours to make and really deserve a second life on show.  They are next to be transformed into pretty lavender sachets.  I hand stitch the doilies onto squares of suitable fabric, add a plain back, machine stitch into a square and fill with dried lavender and polyester filling.  Although rather a long process, its best to stitch down as much of the doily as you can so that it doesn't catch on something and tear.

My room is filled with the scent of lavender - lovely..... zzzzzzz!

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Pink Gooseberries


The soft fruit season is in full swing in gardens all over the country and I picked a small crop of gooseberries yesterday - I have only one small bush.  They looked so pretty in this vintage Pyrex Cinderella bowl.  The pattern is called Pink Gooseberry! 


I've been enarmoured with my new stamp set Bowl of Sunshine recently arrived from Papertrey Ink courtesy of my very good friend Yuki over there in The States (a million thanks once again Yuki!).  I just love the little bowl that looks like vintage Pyrex and thought I'd try to reproduce my gooseberries in ink.  However there's no gooseberry stamp in the set - do they even have them in North America?  I tried a bunch of grapes stamp instead, masking along the bowl's rim, and I think it does very nicely. 


I can't stop making cards with this set - its so cute.  Here's a few using the fruits that are in the set - apples, lemons and oranges.  I used vivid dye inks from the Adirondak Brights and Earthtones ranges on 3 inch square card blanks. 

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Gift of Friendship


The festival season is in full swing and brings to my mind all those hippy-type crafts I used to do in my younger days.  Friendship bracelets were very popular in the 70s and I remember making lots of different designs using all sorts of materials - coloured cord, macrame string, leather, glass beads, crochet yarn, safety pins, etc, etc.  I thought I'd make some for selling at my sister's fund raiser next Saturday.


I found an easy how-to for these pretty woven bracelets here.  They are much simpler to create than they look and all you need, apart from the cord, is a circle of cardboard.  I made one in about 20 minutes.  Traditionally friendship bracelets are tied onto the wrist but I wanted to make them get on and offable and experimented with fastenings.  I used some jewellery findings and added little lobster claws with jump rings but I also like the button fastening I adapted from this tutorial.   


As you can see I added little 'made with love' charms too and packaged some up ready for selling.  Blogger Michael Ann has used embroidery silks for her bracelets but I've used 1mm nylon Chinese Knotting Cord which is easy and cheap to buy on ebay.  You can melt the ends of the cord carefully with a lighter or tealight to stop them fraying and I also slightly melted the end knots to stop them loosening with wear as the cord is quite slippy. 


I originally bought the cord to make these traditional macrame friendship bracelets for my great niece's birthday the other week - how-to here.  She'd seen older girls in school making them to raise money for charity and wanted a few more to add to her wrist.  I made this little zipped pouch for her too as some gorgeous woven ribbons I'd ordered on Etsy finally arrived from China!  They were worth the wait of 3-4 weeks - so pretty!  I might just have to order some more! 

If you haven't made them before I hope you'll try some friendship bracelets - they are an easy portable project and just right to keep hands, young and old, busy whilst sitting in the sun. 

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Its good to stamp!



I loved Melissa Bickford's series of little flower stamp sets when they were introduced by Papertrey Ink a few years ago and collected the whole set of 12.  I remembered them when I wanted to make a stack of cards for my sister's tea party fund raiser next month.  I decided to just go with each little set, simply stamped directly onto small plain 3 inch square card bases and using the sentiments that came with each flower image.  Quick and simple - just the way I like it! 


Of course I'll need to have more than 12 cards to offer the tea party goers so I carried on stamping.  I quite liked the idea of using every stamp set in my collection and here are some more cards for the pile - the same size as before and again just one layer of ink and cardstock.

 

And yet more..... these use 4 inch card bases.  I've not far to go before I reach my aim of using every stamp set - but I think I'll have to draw the line at Christmas cards.  No one wants to think of Christmas in July!

Saturday, 7 June 2014

A Great Age Reached



Its a very long time since I made a special card, let alone blogged about one, but this week I had to create something for my Mum's 90th birthday - which is today!  In our local shops the "90 today" cards were uninspiring or just plain unsuitable so I got out my favourite Fresh Cut Floral sets from Wplus9 and came up with this.


At 90 my Mum's interests in life are few as she in not in the best of health but she does like flowers.  I suspect today the house will be rather short of vases to hold birthday bouquets - two large boxes of blooms have already arrived from distant relations.  I just had to have 90 on the card but as I don't have any number stamps or dies I printed out large numbers in a suitable font on plain paper, cut them out, traced round the shapes onto masking paper, cut those numbers out and arranged them on my card base.  Then all I had to do was fill the front with stamped images.  I love the layering opportunities of the Fresh Cut Florals sets and spent a happy hour stamping away before carefully peeling off the mask.  I'm pleased with the result.


Here's the birthday girl at her party in another age.  Mum's the little girl shading her eyes from the sun in the middle of her friends.  Probably 6 or 7 years of age in her back garden in Knighton in Mid-Wales.


And another photo includes her Mum (in the centre), the midwife that brought her into the world (left) and their little "mother's help" dressed in her lacy maid's cap for the occasion - I understand quite ordinary folks had a "treasure" to help in the house in those far off days.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Its nice in Nice!


Err, no - that's not me (I wish!), just a neighbour on the beach.  I had a trip to Nice in France last week visiting my sister and nephew, who was graduating from The International School of Nice.  I'm not a city person but Nice really is a lovely city.  Here's a few images that might just tempt you to a visit some time.


Since my last visit 18 months ago a beautiful modern park has been created on the site that was previously home to an ugly bus station and car park.  Now the Promenade du Pallion stretches for almost three quarters of a mile from the center of the city down to the promenade and the sea.



There's beautiful prairie-type planting on both sides of the long narrow park, shady and sunny sitting places, really imaginative play areas for the children, lawns to picnic on and simply wonderful mirror fountains that temp both children and adults to playfulness.




This little girl, about 3 years old, certainly made the most of cooling off on a hot day.  Although you might think there could be falling dangers here, the shiny marble like floors were not at all slippy.


A wander around the Old Town is a must if visiting Nice - narrow streets between high buildings full of small shops, restaurants, and opening up into squares where you can linger and enjoy an ice cream or cold drink.




And finally opening out into the Flower and Produce Market - a camera here is a must.  I wish I'd had a bit more time here but there's always my next trip. 





At night the stalls are cleared away and restaurants, which line all sides, bring out their tables.



And of course Nice old and new is full of the most interesting shops.  I managed to resist the patisseries (well almost) but did bring home my usual packet of herbes de provence and a little something from this olive oil shop.



We did have time for one excursion and chose Haut de Cages, one of the many "perched" medieval villages in the area.  This one kindly laid on a free bus to the top of the old village, though we held our breath as the driver squeezed through the narrow streets with just inches to spare!


When at home I find it hard to get myself into travel mode but I always enjoy my trips to Nice and its lovely to see my sister between her visits home at Christmas in the summer holidays.  We had our usual meal out on our last night and as we wandered through the Promenade du Pallion home, again stopping to watch the fountains, I was already planning what to do on my next visit!



Thursday, 8 May 2014

Zipped in!


I love this idea from A Spoonful of Sugar - my phone is always at the bottom of my bag and I usually end up frantically tipping everything out to find it when it rings.  The middle purse here was made to fit it and I simply clipped to the inside pocket of my bag and hey presto no more searching when I hear that insistent ring.  I found the three vintage animal embroidered ribbons in France when I last visited my sister and these little purses are the perfect project, using only small pieces of the precious stuff.  One for me and one each for my sisters.

 
I've not tried zippered purses before and needed to practice a bit more so I adapted the tutorial to make some larger purse/pockets - one for my sister's fancy all singing all dancing phone and one for my reading specs - another item that hides at the bottom of my bag!  These two feature printed cotton tape and ribbon which is easy to find in craft stores and on line.  But I bet you'll already have some in your stash and just haven't found the right project to show them off till now!

 

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