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There is nothing more lovely than waking up on a Saturday morning (without the alarm going off) realising it is Saturday morning (yippee no work), knowing that Sunday follows Saturday (yippee still no work), remembering that you did all the housework in the previous two days (the joys of working from home meaning you can get the boring stuff done in between work) so realising that the next 48 hours are just yours for stitching :-) Added to that the fact that next week is the end of term with a couple of Christmas dos to attend and then I am on holiday!

And I have discovered (and made) a new Christmas ornament which is will share with you in a minute – I may just be the happiest bunny on the planet!!!

Plus my lovely son has returned from University for the holidays so not only is it very nice to spend time with him (and lovely daughter from next weekend) but he very kindly does the stuff like vacuuming, popping to the shops and jobs that need a tall person.

First the important task of telling you who won the giveaway for my 7th blogaversary. Thanks to the random number generator the winner is ‘Like number 3′ who is Pam in the UK.

Please could you e-mail me at alisonmryan@yahoo.co.uk with your address so I can send your ornaments out. Thanks as well to everyone else who liked and for all the lovely comments.

We had another little ornament making session recently (or Crafternoon as Sharon discovered they are now called from my new Simply Crochet magazine). Helen, Sharon and Sammy from knitting group came for an afternoon of festive making and a little bit of fizz!

Apologies for the bad light, it was actually sleeting most of that day, but here are Sharon and Helen discussing the all important issue of which buttons would look best on Helen’s heart and stocking.

Crafternoon 2 - choosing buttons

She used some Scandi fabric in my stash to make these.

Crafternoon 3 - stocking and heart

Here is my work in progress picture.

Crafternoon pictures

27 Suffolk Puffs with little buttons attached turns into ……

Crafternoon 4 - puff bauble

A Suffolk Puff bauble!

I was actually looking for instructions on how to make a Suffolk Puff Christmas tree when I found this very cute idea.

I cut out all of my puff circles to 2 and a half inches originally, sewed them up and attached buttons to cover the hole and then pinned them on to a polystyrene bauble (2 small pins underneath each button) whereas the original tutorial says to sew them together round an ordinary bauble but that looked a bit tricky.

The original  tutorial for the Suffolk Puff (Yo-Yo) bauble can be found here at Cut Out and Keep

I may well have to make a whole load more of these (probably not before Christmas)  but this could well be next year’s gift bauble to friends and family as it is so cute!

In my searching for Suffolk Puff Inspiration I found this lovely blog, Potter, Wright and Webb  that looks at all sorts of traditional crafts from the UK which I thought may be of interest.

So I do hope you are going to have an equally lovely weekend, I have now got to go and put the pedal to the metal (sewing machine not car) to finish up presents that need to go in the post on Monday.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

I am having a very festive weekend, the last bits of decorating have been done and last night was the Marsden lights switch on so the village now looks very pretty.

Our local Morris dancers and fire jugglers were out too so that was very nice. Along with a glass of mulled wine and a mice pie it was a lovely couple of hours.

It is attempting to snow today as well but it is mainly slushy hail at the moment, hope things don’t get too bad, my Mum and Aunt are flying in from Spain today as sadly we have a family funeral to go to tomorrow so the last thing we need is bad weather!

My tree is up and it is not only a Christmas tree but a memory tree, as few years ago I got rid of all the mass-produced baubles.

Xmas tree

Now I only have ones that I have made (which remind me of many happy hours of stitching) and special ones bought mainly on holidays or hand-made from other craft fairs.

This year’s hand-made by me have been added ,one flower and one hexagon so far, maybe more to come if I have time.

Xmas tree ornie 2

Xmas tree ornie 3

And here are the special ones both from Bavaria, our visit to Rothenburg ob der Tauber  where we found that amazing Christmas shop.

Xmas tree and ornies

Xmas tree ornie 4

I have also made a few more Christmas flowers for friends.

Xmas tree ornies- flowers

I am getting on well with the bee quilt, here is my inspiration. Details of the source in this post.

Vintage fabric bee quilt

And here is the progress so far, really enjoying doing this, am limiting myself to seven hexagons for this one due to lack of time and it will be appliqued to a cushion cover.

bee quilt progress

bee quilt progress 2

bee quilt progress 3

bee quilt progress 4

bee quilt progress 5

All of this is from my stock of vintage linen, embroidery, lace and crochet with added beads and maybe some embroidered flowers if I have time.

Hope you have had a good week, don’t forget to like my giveaway post from last week as I will picking a winner on Friday 12th Dec.

Thanks for visiting.

Well all those years ago when I started I didn’t realise I would still be blogging 7 years later. Thank you everyone who has visited, liked, followed and commented. I really appreciate all of your bloggy love :-)

As is now traditional for me I am going to offer a Christmas ornament giveaway, please ‘like’ this post and I will choose a winner and send them a selection of hand-made ornaments.

Thought I would indulge with a run through of some of my makes over the last few years so people can see what sorts of things they would be getting.

Xmas Baubles

JBW Stockings 1

JBW tree ornie 1

Small xmas hearts 2012

Baubles Sept

Xmas mini stockings

Hexi Xmas ornie 5

Sewing day Nov - hexi ornie

Xmas ornie - flower

I do love making ornaments! Have just put my tree up and am really enjoying looking at all of the things I have made over the years.

I will pick the winner on Friday 12th Dec so that I can get them in the post in time.

Thanks for continuing to visit – I really appreciate it.

 

Hello again

We (as in Ellie, Kerry, Sadie and I) promised ourselves at the end of last season in September that we would not spend the winter as we usually do talking about all of the things we were going to make but meet up more regularly to make things.

So we met again this weekend at my house for a second sewing weekend. This also included a little evening out to introduce Sadie to the delights of Marsden.

I am exempt from having to make any large things as I am hostess so I feed and provide equipment and guidance if needed while the others get on with their stuff.

It was a very successful weekend with Kerry finishing two linings to go under her corset , working on a pair of cuffs for her gloves for next season and revising a dress.

Ellie and Sadie both made shifts which were nearly finished by yesterday evening apart from the hand finishing of the seams. Here Ellie is hard at work and later modelling her creation (excuse the lack of light – winter in Yorkshire!)

Sewing day Nov -Ellie

Sewing day Nov -Ellie 2

She has had her hair cut short which looks very lovely and donated the hair to a children’s cancer charity for making wigs for kids undergoing chemotherapy.

Sadie was using her machine for the first time and it all went very well!

Sewing day Nov -Sadie

Since we do so much work for English Heritage ( who have very strict guidelines on costume) we machine sew main seams then fold the seam allowance over and ‘stab stitch’ through to neaten the seams.

This also hides the overlocking on the edge of the material. I usually then oversew the seams, both to cover up the machining and to provide extra strength.

Some of the garments like shifts and hose and brais (the men’s undergarments) get a lot of wear and tear, particularly when worn under armour and this helps strengthen the seams. All hems are handstitched.

I did manage to finish a couple of things – hexis of course! Here are two of my latest Christmas ornaments using a slightly bigger hexi and making two hexi flowers which are sewn together.

Sewing day Nov - hexi ornie

 

Sewing day Nov -ornie 2

The flower for the backing is plain fabric with a patterned centre square.

This is a great way of using up little scraps from my Christmas fabric stash. Some of the fabric that I am using now I have had for years and am getting to the end of it so this is a very economical method as well as being very enjoyable :-)

I am also making good progress with all of my hand-made gifts (though there will no doubt be a mad dash as usual at the end – luckily some don’t have to be finished until the 29th when I go to Spain!).

Below are the finished pincushion and needlebook. The scissor keep to finish the set is almost done, just needs the buttons and cord added.

Sewing day Nov -needlebook

Sewing day Nov -needlebook 2

Of course the great excitement later this week is the visit to Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show! I have set myself quite a strict budget which I intend to spend on charm packs and buttons.

There may just be some pictures of fabric in my next post :-)

Meanwhile stay happy and thanks for visiting.

I went for a little visit to the town of Hebden Bridge the other day with my friend Sharon. It is a very pretty place, similar to Marsden with a river and a canal.

Hebden Bridge - canal

Hebden Bridge - river

Hebden Bridge - river 2

We hadn’t really planned what to do as were just going for a tootle but imagine our delight at finding this as one of the first shops we came across!

Hebden Bridge - quilt shop 2

Hebden Bridge quilt shop

Hebden Bridge - quilt shop 3

We had to go in of course (it would have been rude not to) and a while later left with all of this lovely stuff. They also do classes and online sales and this is their web site.

Hebden Bridge - material

Hebden Bridge - material 2

Hebden Bridge - material 3

Most of this will become Xmas presents so it is guilt free fabric ;-) and I was very pleased to get some more of the Makower sewing print range for my gifts.

I was most impressed with this little mini cake – 40 pieces of fabric for only £3, they are about 2 inches square so will make lovely hexis for pincushions and aprons.

Hebden bridge - mini cake

Hebden Bridge - material 6

Then a little further on down the street we found this lovely wool and haberdashery shop. They must have known we were coming :-)  Love the cross stitch opening hours sign.

Hebden Bridge - sewing shop

Hebden Bridge - sewing shop 2

I bought ribbon and self covering buttons for a project I will mention later in this post. And there were some very cute teddy buttons.

Hebden Bridge - buttons

We went to the local WI this week as they were having a demonstration on how to make a brooch from Liberty fabric. The session was run by Julie from a local handmade company Teazle and we all made very cute little flowers.

WI flower

I bought a kit to make another with some beautiful Liberty paisley and have adapted the design to make Xmas ornaments.The flower looked a little like a poinsettia so I thought it would be nice hanging from a tree.

Xmas ornie - flower

I have made Suffolk Puffs (or Yo – Yos) for the first time for the centre of the flower. I made 2 of different sizes and layered them to cover up the centre hole.

Xmas ornie - flower

I am still enjoying my hexagons, as well as using them for Xmas ornaments I am making some little pincushions for my friend Sue’s charity stall.

Hexi pincushions

Hexi pincushion 2

The one on the left is made from the hexi needlecase freebie fabric from my Love Patchwork and Quilting magazine and the one on the right is fabric from two charity shop blouses.

I love the little flowers on this fabric and think that the broderie anglaise flowers on the white fabric look really pretty against the dark pink which is Kona solids from my stash.

I am aiming to do some more brooches, pincushions and ornaments over this weekend as I would like to have all my hand-made ornaments finished before term starts in two weeks if possible.

Hope you have a nice relaxing and crafty weekend planned. Thanks for visiting.

Just thought I would do an update on my work yesterday and share with you a tutorial for my latest Xmas ornament. I had a very lovely day – unfortunately today is wet as well so I will just have to carry on sitting making more ornaments, how sad ;-)

I would love to design and make full-time but in the mean time am happy with the little bits I get to do.

This is my third original Xmas ornament design, tutorials for the crazy patchwork Xmas tree  and information on the Crazy patchwork Xmas heart can be found at these links. None of these are earthshatteringly different from other things you can find on the web but are all my own work.

I have never done anything with hexagons before and have quite frankly considered English Paper Piecing a bit of a faff but I am very much enjoying this.

My inspiration came from two free gifts from my Love Quilting and Patchwork magazines. I started sewing the hexi pincushion last week on the train and I really liked it.

 

Hexi Xmas ornie 1

I do enjoy small-scale work and as friends have always told me these are very portable projects. The free pre-cut papers will come in very handy as well!

Here are the two I finished yesterday and below is a step by step guide for those of you who might like to have a go yourselves.

Hexi Xmas ornie 6

The ornament is made from 2 sizes of hexagon – 2 inch for the main body of the ornament and 1 cm for each of the hexagons in the ‘flower’. Please note that hexagons are sized by the length of each side (something that I found a bit confusing to start with) and you can happily mix metric and imperial measurements.

If you want to save yourself the trouble of drawing round a template here are links for free printables from the Snippets and Blabbery blog and some free printable hexagon graph paper  in different sizes and you can also buy pre-cut papers from many sources including these from Quilt Direct.

There are also lots of pre-cut (and even pre-stitched onto papers) fabric on Ebay if you really want to save time,  for me half of the fun is choosing the fabric though.

I used material from my small (ahem) stock of Xmas fabric but this design would work well from charm packs and scraps from other quilting.

Step 1 – Cut out 2 of the larger 2 inch hexagons from your backing fabric, I have used plain for the front and patterned for the back.

Step 2 – Cut out 7 of the smaller 1 cm hexagons – I used 3 different fabrics from the same ranges for each of my designs. You need a bigger seam allowance than you might think for folding over, I use 0.5 cm.

Hexi Xmas ornie 2

The small size of the hexagons makes it great for fussy cutting elements out of larger designs but you may have to watch the orientation of the hexagons when you stitch them together if the design had a ‘right way up’.

Fussy cutting means choosing a part of the design rather than just cutting out of the general fabric, it does mean you get more waste but the effect is good.

Step 3 – Sew the smaller hexagons onto your paper hexagons folding the seams over as you go. Use a contrasting thread then it is easier to unpick when you take the papers out. There is an excellent step by step tutorial on making a hexagon flower at Pretty by Hand’s blog here which shows how to stitch the pieces together.

Hexi Xmas ornie 3

Step 4 – Arrange the 7 hexagons into a flower shape and sew all the seams together using small stitches. If you are using a plain centre fabric the same as the backing then you could just have a ring of 6 hexagons but I liked the stability of the flower shape. Iron at this point to help secure seams for the next stage.

Hexi Xmas ornie 4

Step 5 – Remove the stitches and then the hexagon backing paper pieces carefully. I use my unpicker for this bit, you can re-use the papers if you are careful. I did then tack the outer 3 edges of each hexagon (those that are not sewn to anything), this makes the next step easier.

Step 6 – Applique your hexagon flower to one of the large backing hexagons using small stitches in a matching thread colour – if you have multiple colours in your flower go for a match to your backing fabric.

Hexi Xmas ornie - whip stitch detail

Step 7 – Put the appliqued front hexagon and your backing hexagon right sides together and stitch all the way round – I used hand stitching with a running stitch then went back to fill in the gaps but you could machine stitch.

Step 8 – Turn ornament to show right sides – poking the corners with scissor ends or a pencil help to ensure sharp corners.

Step 9 – Stuff the ornament – I use polyester toy filling for all my work available from craft shops or places like this on Ebay.

Step 10 – Turn the raw edges of the open side over, pin and sew. I have made this the top edge on my ornaments as however careful you are it never looks the same as all the other edges and the ribbon hides some of this.

Step 11 – Sew through the middle of the centre hexagon with some tiny stitches pulling tight to create a hollow in the centre – stitch a small button, bead or embellishment there.

Hexi Xmas ornie 5

Step 12 – Attach a ribbon to the back of the ornament, I have also added a bead to cover up the stitching.

Hexi Xmas ornie 7

If you want more hexagon inspiration go and have a look at this Pinterest page that I found the other evening – I particularly love the designs from the Broderie blog featured on that page though it would take centuries for me to complete anything like her quilts.

And look at this for hexi love – this was from the same Pinterest page, not sure who it was from originally but look at that stash!

Hexagon box

I am aiming to make 10 of these ornaments for this year’s friends and family seasonal gifts so am going to be having an enjoyable and productive Autumn.

Happy ornament making and thanks for visiting.

Well it looks like summer is over here in Yorkshire but that is ok.

There is nothing quite as delicious as the prospect of a weekend where you have nothing to do except create so I will watch the rain from the comfort of my sofa and make Christmas ornaments while watching DVDs … it is a hard life sometimes ;-)

I have been doing some research on patchwork ornaments as I need a new design for this year’s friends and family gifts and came across this very useful web site last night with links to all sorts of lovely stuff – the site is called Pinwheel Ponder .

She also has a Pinterest Page with some other gorgeous stuff on – look at these lovely fussy cut kaleidoscope ornaments from the Quilt Art Mountain Vistas blog of Lynn Crosswell.

 

Fussy cut ornaments Lynn Croswell

 

I also wanted to show you my latest creation, I am temporarily moving away from knitted animals to make some more Xmas stockings but this is one that I have just made for a friend from re-enactment.

I have called him Hannibal after the famous story of Hannibal and his elephants as their route took them just past where my Mum lives in Spain!

 

Medieval elephant 2

I knitted a jumper out of wool that is meant to look like maille and gave him maille legs as well and made a little linen surcoat with my friend’s heraldry on. I also did some laces on his boots.

I like the way his legs are shiny in this photo :-)

Medieval elephant

It was the first jumper and boy’s feet I have knitted and as always Julie’s pattern was very easy to follow.

Hope that you have a lovely weekend and week ahead and thanks for visiting.

Hello and I hope you are having good weather – we are having a minor heat wave here which is very nice.

Hope it continues for the weekend as we have our first ever show at Peveril Castle and we are not going to have much shelter as it is right on top of a hill so the tents will be miles away!

Spent last weekend at home so decided to have a ‘ Christmas in July ‘ afternoon with friends from my knitting group here in sunny Marsden.

Sue, Sharon and Sammy (other people with names not beginning with S were invited but couldn’t make it) all came round for a few hours of crafty loveliness and a bit of light refreshment ;-)

I showed them how to do the lovely baubles from Springwood House Designs and my little stocking designs and we were away playing with fabric.

Xmas in July Sharon

Xmas in July Sue

Xmas in July Sharon and Sue

They were very talented, Sue made a beautiful blue and silver bauble and Sharon proved herself to be the fastest bauble maker in the West (Yorkshire) with two produced that you can see on the left here, one traditional holly patterned and another Scandi style burgundy one.

Sammy’s is the red and gold bauble on the right and I stuck to my good old traditional colours for the one at the back – I do love a bit of red, green and gold!

Xmas in July Ornaments

We had a little seasonal feast as well with mince pies, ginger and chocolate cupcakes , rocky road and crispy cakes and pigs in blankets accompanied by Prosecco and mulled wine (which tastes very good cold!)

Xmas in July

A lovely afternoon and one we will repeat a bit nearer the actual festive season as we have lots of things to make for friends, family and fund raising at craft stalls.

Thanks for visiting and will be back next week with hopefully some pictures of a lovely sunny re-enactment event!

Hello everyone

You would think that someone who makes Christmas ornaments nearly all year round and started knitting gifts months ago would be finished well in time for the last posting dates wouldn’t you?

You would not imagine a weekend of frantic finishing and a sudden realisation that one of the bunny gifts does not have any legs at the moment :-(

Only realised yesterday as well that the bag that was going to be given with one of the bunny gifts was still unfinished – oops.

However I am doing well despite the lateness and have the gifts that need to be posted ready to go and will be doing more finishing this week including the legs – was sure I had a whole bag of completed bits but one bunny has had too much Xmas cheer and is legless ha ha :-)

The finished bunny I have named Lucy though she is going to my cousin’s daughter who will name her, hope she likes her as much as the other cousin’s daughter did with the first bunny I made.

I made the bag in the summer – it is made from recycled jeans and a pillow case and it was the colour scheme of the pillow case that inspired Lucy’s 3 dresses.

Lucy Bunny's bag

Lucy Bunny and bag

Lucy Bunny dress 2

Lucy Bunny dress 3

I love the way she has wonky ears, all the bunnies turn out with such different faces. Lucy looks quite serious don’t you think?

Lucy Bunny head

Have also made up all the stitched ornaments into little hanging pillows.These are all JBW Designs from Sew and Sew.

Xmas ornies finished

I have little to excuse myself for this tardiness except the fact that I have been very busy at work and possibly have tried once again to make too much in too short a space of time ;-)

I think when I sort out the craft room in Jan I shall have a noticeboard and will write a list of projects and timescales so I can keep track, especially as I have so much medieval kit to stitch for next season.

Planning not helped by the fact that I have just subscribed to a new magazine called Love Patchwork and Quilting which has given me so many new ideas for things that I want to make.

Love Patchwork magazine

What about this little bird ornament – can you imagine some of those in Christmas fabric?

Love patchwork mag

They have a first 3 issues for £5 deal on their website at the moment and it is a very lovely magazine with links to lots of other lovely blogs.

I have been looking at the work of Amy Smart whose Diary of a Quilter blog is full of lovely, lovely things. So many ideas and so little time!

Anyway back to my finishing now – only 9 days to go till Christmas eek! Thankfully the food shopping is nearly all done so I can concentrate on crafting!

Hope you all have a good lead up to the festive season and thanks for visiting.

Xmas tree 2013

Hello everyone

I now declare the Christmas season well and truly open.The turkey is in the freezer (along with the gammon and beef) the tree is up, most of the cards have been written and I am just frantically finishing off the ornies and gifts to send to family and friends.

You would think that since I make Christmas ornaments nearly all year round there would be no last-minute finishing but despite having done all the stitching and knitting I haven’t quite got around to putting them all together and as they need to go in the post by the end of the week I need to get cracking!

I did quite a bit yesterday while I was doing my stall at the lovely Oakwell Hall Christmas Craft Fair.That is another thing that always makes me feel very Christmassy as I sat and listened to Christmas songs all day and chatted to people about my ornaments.

Xmas craft fair Oakwell

Xmas craft fair Oakwell 2

Xmas craft fair Oakwell 3

I love doing this event ( did not make it last year due to being in China for most of Oct). I did sell lots of things which was great but even nicer were the lovely comments people made and it is very nice to know that my work will be hanging on other people’s trees this year.

There was one very cute little boy who had come to the fair with his grandparents just to buy a nice bauble and he choose one of my favourites from this year’s new stock.

He looked so pleased, bless him, and a little bit later they came back to buy two more ornaments for their other grandchildren so that they wouldn’t be left out!

I also bought this very lovely pine cone from one of the other stalls, it is similar to the ones I make but is made from fabric and very neatly done with little sequins with the pins at the top.

Xmas material cone

There were also these Tudor musicians entertaining us with a variety of instruments, very lovely and made me nostalgic for being in kit!

Xmas Oakwell Hall Craft fair musicians

I have been busy sorting out the menu as well, we are at home all Christmas this year in the lovely new house – a rarity for me as we often go away but we don’t see much of each other now with Ellie at Hardwick and Jake at Uni so we are looking forward to some good food and a catch up. The children are always very appreciative of my home cooking now that they have to cater for themselves :-)

I have been experimenting with bread recipes from my new Paul Hollywood book, here is a rye bread I made with a parmesan and poppy-seed topping – yum yum.

Rye bread

Have lots of other lovely stuff planned to cook, especially on Boxing Day when my brother and sister-in-law come round as they really enjoy cooking and will appreciate my efforts as well.

I have a busy week ahead with 2 Christmas dos, the knitting group when we have a crafty Secret Santa and all come home with a new ornament and a work do with a 50s theme.

Hope you are enjoying the run up to the festive season – don’t forget to comment on my giveaway post as I will be choosing the winner on Friday so that I can get the ornaments in the post in time.

Thanks as always for visiting.

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