Stitches and Stepping-Stones

I was lucky enough to receive Ayumi Takahashi’s book, Patchwork, Please! for my birthday last month. It is a fabulous introduction to paper piecing, and just what I needed. My first attempt is going well now that I understand the whole fabric underneath/paper on top so you can’t see it thing! This is the paper pattern for the coaster (Mug Rug) that I have traced from the book ((it should be enlarged to make a pot stand but I am too impatient!))

20130516-165013.jpg

And here is the back which is actually the front! I am sure you will agree it is coming along nicely, and a great way to use up scraps.

20130516-165021.jpg

My embroidered toadstool design is nearly finished too. I think I may add some applique flowers and maybe a tiny bee buzzing around in the sky somewhere. I also need to decide what to do with it when it is finished. I may keep it in the frame and use as a wall hanging, I had originally planned to incorporate it into a cushion, but I am not sure my stitching will be able to withstand daily life with a toddler. What else could I do with it??

20130516-165031.jpg

My Textile Artist Trading Card is finished and ready to be posted off to it’s new owner! I am so pleased with how it has turned out, I love my design and will probably be incorporating it into more things in the future. here is a sneeky peak until I photograph it finished. I hope the new owner likes it!

20130516-165130.jpg

And the stepping stones in a woodland not too far from us. Very exciting if you are 3 (not so much if you are trying to keep the 3 yr old dry!!)

20130516-165054.jpg

Have a nice day xxxx

The Dambusters

Have you heard of  the Dam Busters? Seen the film (cue very bad english accents)? You must be humming the music by now….? well it is the 70th anniversary of the famous Second World War RAF Dam Busters’ raid today, and to commemorate this there was a flyover over the Derwent and Ladybower dams, Now I am no expert but this included an old Lancaster Bomber and some small planes, possibly Spitfires??

The Derwent and Ladybower Dam”s hold great significance, as the actual real brave Dam Busters practised their bouncing bomb e here!  See……The 617 Squadron was founded as part of Operation Chastise which was a Second World War raid on Germany’s Ruhr dams using Barnes Wallis’ revolutionary bouncing bomb and modified Lancaster bombers.  Crews trained for the operation at British reservoirs including the Derwent Dam.  The German dams which help provide vital water and electrical supplies were targeted on the night of May 16, 1943, with two dams being successfully destroyed…..Beautifully displayed in The DamBusters film ( I belive it is quite accurate but I am no historian). There is a serious element too, 8 of the 18 planes who set off for that mission didn’t come home that night, 53 dies and 2 were taken prisoner of war.  Very  very sad.

Me and my little (nearly) four-year old walked to the top of Derwent Ridge to see the display today.  For those who have never visited the Peak District, this involved a serious hike up a huge rocky peak to reach the ridge.  It is the first time I have taken him to the peaks, even though we only live 20 mins away as it is not baby/toddler friendly, think steeeeep hills, rocks, stiles, loose rocky paths etc, so it was a lovely surprise when we actually made it to the top without any complaints/200 ft falls/disappearing down a mine shaft etc etc.  I think this was helped in part by his obsession with poo/beetles/mud/puddles, all in plentiful abundance.

Here are a few photos…

20130516-170045.jpg

The stunning view we had looking out over the Derwent Reservoir, there is a dam situated at either end but too far for little legs to walk to.

20130516-170054.jpg

Can you spot the well camouflaged Lancaster Bomber?? She glided gracefully through the air below us.

20130516-170104.jpg

The small planes, are they spitfires??? They were very fast!

20130516-170112.jpg

Using the rocks as stepping-stones and looking for creatures in the heather was great fun too!

20130516-170119.jpg

All in all a lovely day. I am very proud that we made it to the top, all the people who walked past us (we were slow but steady!) commented that he was doing really well getting as it is quite a mountain to get up! and we made it down safely too, with a little bribery of sweets to get us right back to the car. I think I may watch the DamBusters film tonight, did I mention they filmed some of it at Derwent Dam??? Go on, treat yourself to an old war film!

My First Textile Artist Trading Card Swap

I have just signed up to be part of a textile artist trading card swap which is being hosted by over at Very Berry Handmade, a lovely blog and online shop written from here in the UK.

20130422-211959.jpg

It is the first time I have done anything like this, but it is quite exciting to think something I make might be sent to the other side of the world.  I have also never heard of textile artist trading cards until I read the sign-up post.  I have done a little research *read Google Images* and they look pretty cute and easy to construct.  I have a few ideas in my head to fit in with the theme of Something New, but it makes me a little nervous to be making something for someone else.  On the other hand, I will also be receiving one made by someone else, and I know that it will be fabulous because someone will have put great thought, time and effort into it for me.  So maybe I shouldn’t worry so much??

If you are tempted to come and join the very first Very Berry Handmade Textile Artist Trading Card Swap with me please click on one of the links above, it would be good to have some friends along for the ride 🙂

Birthday Thoughts – Quilts, Sewing and Critters

It is my proper birthday and my blog birthday this week or thereabouts. It has been a whole year since I introduced these guys to the world…

20120410-183708.jpg

20120404-231904.jpg

20120418-200138.jpg

20120416-151416.jpg

I enrolled on a two day quilting course last year and have now caught the quilting bug (and a severe blog reading addiction!)…

20120428-162650.jpg

IMG_0276

IMG_0694

20120813-164033.jpg

cropped-img_1136-e1352738797529.jpg

20130210-200224.jpg

And my latest Ta Daaaaa, which hasn’t even been blogged yet (my little one is growing up too!)

DSC_0170

DSC_0172

I have learned a huge amount from other bloggers and have made some blog-friends along the way too!!

A few weeks ago I turned this ….

20130417-214459.jpg

…into this!

DSC_0188

DSC_0189
(Another Ta Daaaa moment!)

There have been ups and downs in both my virtual world and real life, but what a year I have had. A lovely thing about blogging is that it leaves a snapshot of the nice things that have happened. I created this blog with the intention of recording my creations and developing my style. I have certainly done that!! Never in a million years did I think that anyone would read it! Thankyou to each and every one of you who stumbles upon my blog, thanks even more for choosing to follow* my Little Red Monkey escapades. You have helped and encouraged me more than you can ever know 🙂

(*via a blog reader, facebook or twitter – its my bithday, I am allowing myself a plug!)

Freezer Paper Stencilled Octonauts TShirt

I used my first attempt at freezer paper stencilling to make an Octonauts T-shirt for my little boy. We used fabric pens and basically did a lot of scribbling, it worked really well!

20130329-142620.jpg

20130329-142629.jpg

20130329-142643.jpg

20130329-142716.jpg

20130329-142726.jpg

20130329-142739.jpg

There are loads if tutorials on how to make a freezer paper stencil, the hardest part was finding some paper here in the UK. It is not the common household product which it seems to be over in the USA.

Anyway, it seems to be a big hit as he is still wearing it! If you know of any quirky stencils anywhere I would love to know, particularly boy ones!

My first venture into pockets, zips, interfacing and velcro

I seem to have done a lot more blog reading than blog writing of late. I am finding it increasingly difficult to take nice pictures on my phone in this dark gloomy winter that we are having here in the UK, and I think this may be a big reason why. hopefully to be remedied soon by a snazzy new camera for my birthday next month. However, I have done a fair bit of making, and I seem to keep adding to my *work in progress* list. I am also collecting a fairly substantial list of questions to ask you all about various things, I don’t have many crafty friends you see. Of course I have now put myself under pressure and forgotten them all! I will add them on the end when I remember them!

And so onto the project…

My little boy received a Leappad 2 for christmas, For those who aren’t familiar with the toddler world think little ipad with educational games and no internet access. He needed a case to keep it safe, and somewhere to store the little game cartridges. I based it on this tutorial by pink stiches, with a few modifications here and there.

20130321-134512.jpg

20130321-134521.jpg

20130321-134701.jpg

I am very pleased with it and it works brilliantly. Yes it is a bit wonky, and I would have preferred the zip to open the other way. But you live and learn. And as the post title suggests, it was the first time I have lengthened and sewn in a zipper, and used interfacing, and made a pocket. All in all a good days work. And I have nearly forgotten that it took be EIGHT attempts to get that zip in!

Bungle Jungle Rail Fence Quilt

Here are a few pictures of a lovely rail-fence quilt I made for a baby boy. I used a jelly roll for the first time which really speeded things up!

20130308-213920.jpg

20130308-213929.jpg

20130308-213946.jpg

20130308-214000.jpg

My photo’s don’t quite do it the justice it deserves. It looked much better in real life, and despite what the photo’s show, it was most definitely an even rectangle! Do you have any tips for me? (Other than get a proper camera so I don’t have to use my phone!)

An Elf-Whisperer Has Sent Me A Letter!

Some of you may know Ziggy Shortcrust, if you don’t then you really should.  Ziggy Shortcrust is an elf-whisperer. And she has a campervan. And she works in a children’s book museum.  And she is THE most amazing illustrator.  Nope, I am not in the least bit envious!

Ziggy has set herself a mammoth task.  She is singlehandedly reviving the art of the hand-written letter by sending a hand written and illustrated letter every day for the next year!!!  And guess what the postman brought me………………

20130210-195113.jpg

Only a freaking hand written and illustrated letter!  Just for me!  It is breathtakingly beautiful! My elf sews. She is pretty lovely I am sure you will agree!  If you would like to help Ziggy in her quest all the information can be found here , and please check out her blog, she is such a talent!

Now, I am not much of a letter writer.  My handwriting is not the beautiful script that I would choose.  But I like to sew.  And I have been doing some secret sewing over this weekend.  So a little parcel will soon be on its way to an elf-whisperer I know……

Clothkits Giraffe – Sewing with a Toddler!

Happy 2013 everyone. Sorry that is a whole 20 days late, it has been a bit hectic in my little world. Illness put an end to my new years celebrations, I was tucked up in bed being poorly for 4 days. Couple that with a christmas of hospital visits, a dental abscess, and working at said hospital, it was not the happiest time for my little family. But christmas is now all packed away and we have a brand new year to look forward too!

I have been slowly working through my to do list. I got a fair few craft projects from the knit and stitch show in harrogate last december. One of which was a Giraffe kit to make. I was drawn to the simple design and bought it for me and my little M to hopefully sew together. He loves stuffed teddies and animals, and he is my number one sewing fan. Everything that I make inevitably belongs to him (in his world anyway!). He slept with my owl doorstop for a week… yes it is full of gravel to make it super heavy….. thankfully no injuries sustained!

So I bought the kit for us to sew together. And we did……

This is how it came. The kit included a reel of cotton, needle and full instrctions.

20130120-073617.jpg

It was really easy to stich together and the instructions very clear and simple. It all came together very fast, even M who is 3 1/2 years old sat on my knee the whole time “helping”.

20130120-073625.jpg

Concentrating……

20130120-073634.jpg

After stuffing and a bit of hand stiching to close the gap, giraffe was complete!

20130120-073644.jpg

Giraffe went to nursery the next day. He enjoyed it!