Tuesday, 20 December 2011

recycled dolly

This doll is made from recycling Betty's outgrown baby clothes. She's a birthday present for her little friend Freya.

I wonder what else could be done with all the old vests and all-in-ones? Maybe a rag rug?

origami flower ball

We've all been laid low with colds this week. To make the most of being trapped indoors during this frosty spell, I got stuck into a bit of origami.

This is an origami flower ball and the instructions are from here. I've made it as a Christmas/first Wedding Anniversary present for two dear friends. They we're married last Christmas in Vegas and honeymooned on the Californian coast. I've used a map of California I had from an amazing trip there five years ago. I've been getting distracted from all the cutting and folding by pouring over it and remembering our adventures on the lovely Big Sur coastline.

There's a lot of work involved in making this. Each flower is made from five folded petals, and twelve flowers make the ball.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

windy winterland evening

I spent a really enjoyable evening at Windy Corner Stores on Friday for their Christmas market.

Here we are setting up our wares.

Lots of lovely things on display... This is work from the Print Block artists...

... and this is Karen Boatwright's wonderful display. She has a great etsy shop...

... and these are Hiroko's beautifully embroidered necklaces...

... and this is what I came away with... a lavender bag kitten, (which I suspect is vintage Tammis Keefe fabric) and a crow painting, all from Karen Boatwright.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

windy winterland

I'm going to be taking part in Windy Winterland this coming Friday at Windy Corner Stores in Whitstable. Windy Corner is a very special and slightly eccentric cafe/general stores with a wonderfully random menu, the best brownies I've ever tasted, artisan bread baked on the premises and a mystery sweet drawer. The tables and chairs will be pushed aside and the shelves cleared to make room for the work. It'll be all Christmassy with mince pies and mulled wine. Really looking forward to it.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

cat party dress

Tis the season to be ill, overworked and suffering from severe lack of sleep. I haven't blogged for a while, as for a whole month now we have all been coughing night and day. I have barely managed to string a coherent sentence together.

I have managed to finish this dress though, just in time for a very special day coming up this weekend. It's the same pattern as the cloud blouse, Oliver and S Family Reunion. The fabric is a Tammis Keefe tribute design by Michael Miller.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

cloud blouse

I signed up again for the Kids Clothes Week Challenge on the Elsie Marley blog. Like last time I only managed to finish one thing, and that was several weeks after everyone else. But, I'm amazed at what I've achieved being a novice seamstress!

I love this pattern. It's the Family Reunion Dress/Blouse by Oliver and S. It's so easy to follow, and although it's quite dear to buy, I can see that I'll be making it again and again.

The fabric is Free as a Bird which is part of the Cut Out and Keep collection by Cloud 9 Fabrics. I bought it from M is For Make.

There's a ruffle at the front and pin tucks front and back. It fastens at the rear.

I've already cut out the pieces for another version. A dress this time.

Monday, 10 October 2011


Here we are picking tomatoes at the allotment. We got a whole load extra thanks to a late heatwave. I reckon I've harvested at least 50kg so far. Mostly I've been roasting them by the tray full, pushing them through a sieve and freezing the sauce. Such a luxury to have a glut of tomatoes. Also on the menu has been minestrone and Tuscan bean soups and I made six jars of tomato and apple chutney thus...

1.5kg tomatoes skinned, (sort of) deseeded and roughly chopped
1kg apples (a mix of eaters and cookers) peeled, cored and chopped
200g sultanas
500g onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
450ml vinegar, (I used a mix of malt, white wine and cider - just what I had in my cupboard)
350g brown sugar, (I used demerara)
1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon of allspice
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne
salt and pepper

In a big pan heat tomatoes, apple, onion, garlic and vinegar until soft, (about half and hour).
Add the remaining ingredients and boil until reduced right down, (about 2 hours).
Ladle into clean jars.
Leave to mature for at least a month.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

knitting and stitching show

Oooooh! I had a fun day at the Knitting and Stitching show with my mum. Here's my hoard... a Miz Mozelle Dress pattern from the Raystitch stand (can't wait to visit their new shop/cafe in Islington), an Oliver and S dress pattern and various fabric from the wonderful Eternal Maker stand including some Echino and Tammis Keefe. Some Millamia yarn, and a beaded necklace made in Bawaqua, Tanzania by Maasai women. This was from the stand of Mary Sleigh who was exhibiting an amazing collection of African textiles and beadwork. Wish I'd had my camera with me. I've just discovered her blog though.

Thursday, 6 October 2011


Today I parceled off some work to Gallerytop in the Peak District for their New Domestic Ceramics show.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

pixie hat

This is the Stella Pixie Hat from Kristen Rengren's book Vintage Baby Knits. I've used 1.5 balls of King Cole Merino Blend dk and modified the pattern slightly to include a 1x1 rib border and an i-cord tie strap instead of a button fastening. You can get a free copy of this pattern here.

Poor Betty, having to pose for photos in this heat wave we are having!

Saturday, 24 September 2011

scottie dog jumper

This pattern and the yarn, (Baby Rooster) were given to me for Betty's first birthday by my friend Linda. It's only taken me 10 months to knit it up!

The yarn is lovely but it does take a few washes to get rid of the sheep poo smell.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

raglan jumper

Just managed to finish and photograph this before it got covered in pasty and mud. It's a free Drops Design pattern that I enlarged by adapting it for slightly thicker wool and larger needles.

The yarn is Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino

.... as I type this I have another failed batch of macaroons in the oven. Just can't seem to get them to work.... too tired to wash up piping bag mess.

Friday, 26 August 2011

macaroon obsession

We had some friends round yesterday for afternoon tea in the garden. A good reason to make another batch of macaroons - my current obsession. I tried a new recipe I found online. They taste good but don't look anything like the recipe picture. How are theirs so smooth?! I must continue to practice.

A tip to get them to come away cleanly from the greaseproof paper is to pour a little freshly boiled water underneath the paper as soon as they are out of the oven. As the paper dampens, they lift off no problem!

Monday, 22 August 2011

Laundry disasters

Not a good week. Laundry disasters. (neither were my fault)

RIP birdy dress, now minus birds after having been SOAKED IN BLEACH!?!

RIP lovely fairisle cardigan, now very much shrunk and felted.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

tank top (and a new camera)

This is a pattern called Archie's Vest from Kristen Rengren's book Vintage Baby Knits. It's taken me four library renewals, (and two fines) to get this finished. But jolly nice it is!

The yarn is Rowan 4 Ply Soft (green) and Lang Yarns Jawoll Solid Superwash, (pink).

I've also been a bit naughty and treated myself to a Nikon D90 camera.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011


From this...

to this...

via this!

My poor Dad. He and Mum were coming down to stay for a short holiday. Alarm bells rang when I asked if he could bring down his angle grinder. I honestly believed that I would be able to lay the paving myself after they'd gone. How wrong I was! There was so much fiddly cutting to do, and cutting 25mm slate is not easy. It took four days to finish. I was a human cement mixer, (very good for toning stomach muscles), and Dad cut and laid. We both pointed them in. We even covered half the garden with a tarpaulin so we could carry on working through the rain!
The finished result is fantastic. It's great to have a smooth, even, clean surface. Betty can now wander in and out all day, and we've been eating meals out there too. Good old Dad!

clothkits shift dress

Oooh! A beautifully wrapped parcel arrived from Clothkits the other day. With much glee I immediately set about making this little 'funky chicken' shift dress.

It's got lovely Liberty print lining.

I could make an awful lot of things from Clothkits. Being a child of the 70s, I remember having some brown dungarees and a pinny dress. Must find some photos.

Please also note the paving is done! Blog on that soon!

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

little top

A little summer top I've just finished. Made from some voile I found in The Cloth House. The top section is double layered and it fastens with three squares of velcro up the back. The pattern is an enlarged copy of a top Betty had when she was born.

Monday, 11 July 2011

summer dress

I made this last summer but it was so big on Betty that she's not been wearing it until just recently. It's Burda 6878 and the fabric I'm pretty sure I got from M is for Make. I reckon she'll still be able to wear it next summer as a top, it's so roomy.