Archive | May 2012

Emergency Jubilee Accessories

If you’re in the UK, you can’t really ignore the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee this weekend. Union jacks,bunting and red, white and blue themes are everywhere. Mr M and I aren’t doing anything for the jubilee and as a result I hadn’t made anything for it, (although I did suggest making bunting, but Mr didn’t want any) until this evening…

So, why the change? I’m a teacher and today we were told our students could wear red, blue or white (or all three) coloured hair accessories tomorrow and it would be nice for staff to dress according to the theme. Talk about short notice! This change has come about mainly due to the students. We have a nursery and prep school on site and these younger students are to be dressed appropriately, but the senior girls weren’t doing anything, so they asked the head if they could. They didn’t get a mufti day as they wished, but they did get the hair accessories concession.

I thought it would be nice to help my form with getting them some ribbon to put in their hair, and I’d seen some union jack ribbon, so decided I should pop to the shop on my way home. (Any excuse!) Unsurprisingly anything Union Jack had run out, so I decided to buy ribbon in the three colours instead. I bought enough to give them (and the other Yr8 form) 30cm each of the colours – I’ll let them have 1, 2 or 3 colours each. I was going to chop the ribbon tonight, but I’ve decided not to so that anything they don’t want will be kept in a long length, which will be more useful for me in the future.

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Now to me!
I’m going to wear white trousers and either a navy or red top with either a white (thin), red (too casual and thick) or navy (thick, but open) cardi, depending on the weather. I’d planned to make myself a brooch from ribbon and a Union Jack button, but they’d sold out of the buttons. I also had considered making a crochet brooch as previously done, but I don’t own any wool of the right colours, so that would be very expensive for a little thing! In the end I played round with buttons again…

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The buttons are all flower shapes, but with very different shapes at the back. The navy flower had a very pointy back which I filed down a little with sandpaper, as I did with the rounded middle of the red flower, before sticking together. There is only a smallish area of contact, but it was better than before. I chopped off the back loop of the white flower before sticking that one down (with a lot of glue as the blue one was like an inverted pyramid). Finally I stuck a brooch fastening on the back.

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When I got in from my brief trip to the shops I started to think about my jewellery. I have various different sets containing red or blue, but mostly with other colours, rather than the three I want. I decided to have a look through my jewellery making bits to see if I had anything suitable. I found small red and small blue beads, but no white, however I did find red and white beads. I threaded some of these onto a blue wire, but it didn’t look like much, so I turned it into a three chain necklace. The earrings were simple drop ones. My findings don’t match perfectly, but hopefully it’s not too obvious.

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The necklace looks better on (although not a flattering self portrait angle).

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I didn’t take a photo of the earrings on. The different metals used for the split pin and earring hook aren’t too obvious, unless looking closely!

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Now I just need to see what the weather is like in the morning so I can decide what to wear…

WIP – Baby Sampler – The Beginnings!

After a few weeks of making bits for me, it’s time to go back to making bits for other people. My current WIP is a baby A-Z for friends due to produce their first child just as we leave the country for a longish holiday. I won’t be able to do anything when the baby appears so I’m making something unisex in advance. What with all the sunshine atm progress is slow. This is where I’m up to…

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Last night we went out and I wore my zebra necklace and crochet handbag. It’s quite satisfying wearing or using stuff you’ve made. It was made even better by the barmaid in one pub we went to commenting “oh, that’s a nice bag”.

Mr and Mrs – A Modern Cross Stitch Wedding Sampler

Ideally today Mr M and I would currently be enjoying the sunshine in the Lake District, celebrating the wedding of a couple of our friends. Those in the UK will be aware that the last Monday in May is usually a bank holiday, but this year due to celebrations for the Queen’s diamond jubilee that bank holiday has been moved. Unfortunately our friends were unaware of this when they booked their wedding a couple of years ago. If Monday was a bank holiday attending a wedding six hours drive from here on a Sunday would be fine, but as I’m a teacher and can’t take time off, we had to say we couldn’t come. The couple were very understanding (Mrs works in a school, so knows!) and we’re not the only couple who’ve not been able to come for the same reason.

Despite not going to the wedding I still wanted to give them a personalised wedding present. I decided to sew them a sampler, but didn’t think they’d want anything too traditional. I’m hoping that I’ve guessed the purple colour scheme correctly (it is the bride’s favourite colour and the invitations had a purple theme). Anyway, here it is…

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It is safely in their house after Mr M delivered it when he went to the stag do. I can’t wait until they open it and let me know what they think.

Handmade labels

Ok, I haven’t made these, but they are for things I make.

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I want to be able to put labels on some gifts I make to remind the recipient who their present is from and that it was handmade. Buying craft labels for this purpose is quite expensive, but I bought these woven sew in labels as name labels. I chose the flower from a selection of logos/icons and as long as the wording was under the character limit, it doesn’t matter what you write.

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I have 72 for £2.99 + £0.99 postage – way cheaper than dedicated craft labels. The seller on ebay was woven-name-tags just in case you’re interested.
My current project won’t have these on, but they will appear soon. Now back soon to my WIP.

Zebra Jewellery

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These beads caught my eye in John Lewis this weekend. The teal is a very me colour and they were half price (£2.50 for the pack). I thought turning them into a simple matching set would be easy, but I was wrong!

The beads are 5.5cm long, which makes them longer than any of my assortment of headpins. I tried using wire and curling that at each end, but I couldn’t quite get the ends to match. I ended up with two headpins in each bead, joined together by thin wire, but then of course I did have the ends of the wire to deal with! After figuring out how it could work (eventually!) with the necklace, making the earrings was quicker, but it was still a bigger (whilst still relatively small) project than I thought!

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I originally put the necklace onto a metal (silver coloured) chain, but it didn’t look quite right, so I went with a black cord instead. It took longer than I thought, but I’m still quite pleased with the result.

Happy 1st Anniversary

Another wedding anniversary, another card! This one is stitched using metallic threads for the first time ever. They seem to tangle very easily and each strand is made of a few different strands, but it is sparkly!

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The recipients of this card are partial to a glass of bubbly. They got married in Italy and brought a lot of prosecco back with them! The label on the bottle says 1st, but it’s not incredibly clear. I’m not sure a handmade card is their thing, but it’s been sewn with them in mind, so they might appreciate it. I don’t like the idea of buying a readymade card!

Crochet Flowers!

I learnt some of the basic stitches of crochet (chain, treble and slip) whilst doing my crochet squares, but you can do so much more. When I saw Make and Do were doing a workshop on crochet flowers I jumped at the chance to join them.

Crochet flowers start differently to squares, by making a loop, which was a bit fiddly, but once I had that I was away! Each layer of petals starts off with a ring foundation and you do the petals onto the ring with just a double (a new stitch to me), a chain, trebles, a chain, then a double again. I suffered from poor counting and had to restart my first layer of petals after finding I’d only done seven spokes instead of eight oops! Later on, after I’d thinking I’d finished my first layer, I realised I’d gone into the wrong bit of the flower and had to pull it back.Unlike last time I wasn’t completely clueless – I just couldn’t count and made a few silly mistakes. I now have the confidence to pull back work and start bits again, but it is hard if you’re starting out. Unfortunately one girl completely gave up and left and another just decided to do a rectangular piece (i can’t do that!).

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Once the first layer of petals was done you have to join the next one. This involves turning your work over and working on the wrong side and forming new base loop type bit for your next petals to go from. This only involved chain stitch and trebles round the prongs and was required serious thinking at first, but I soon had that done. I also changed colour as this was the perfect time. Then it was back to the right side for your petals, which were one treble wider this time. Just as the workshop was ending I finished that layer and cut off the wool.

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Ta Da! Then I realised I’d skipped a petal on the outer layer. I took some wool and decided I’d need to go backwards. I actually pulled it back (I had to go halfway round) on the second of my two bus journeys and also redid half on the bus too! As soon as I got home I finished the layer again. It would have been much easier if I’d counted properly to start with. As I had snipped the wool I had to join a new bit in and that didn’t look amazing. Oh well, this is my first attempt!

Sensibly at this point (11:30 on a school night with my usual 6am get up) I should have gone to bed, but crochet is addictive! I started another layer of petals with the purple wool I had for the bag. I did a couple of petals then forced myself to go to bed. I put my crochet in my work bag, thinking I’d finish it at lunch.

As I’m still waiting for the DVLA to give me permission to drive, my commute currently involves some walking, a bus journey and a train trip. I decided to do some crochet on my bus trip in – after all I’d managed it on my way home! It got a bit tight when someone sat next to me, but I got a few petals done. It was also nice that a lady I see every morning on the bus spoke to me as I was doing it – we’ve never spoken before! I then finished off the layer on the train (just!) but had to wait until I got to work to cut the end of the wool. I then couldn’t do any more as I didn’t have a darning needle.

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It didn’t take me long to actually finish it at home. I just darned the ends in, added a button on the front and turned it into a brooch by adding a brooch finding.

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Being my first attempt at these it’s not perfect. The tension is a bit too tight in places, but as they can be used as brooches, on hats, bags etc I think I’ll probably make more!