Sunday, 14 November 2010

Recycled coffee sack coffee warmer

I have been making things out of recycled coffee sacks for a while now but the idea of a cosy for a coffee caffetiere has only just sprung to mind. I have made these two designs with Christmas presents in mind.......The sacking fabric is stuffed with normal quilt wadding and sewn on a standard sewing machine. The warmer is tied to the caffetiere with a button and loop fastening. This can be adjusted to suit different sized coffee makers.

This weeks craft projects.....


Recently I have been making more purses to sell at a craft fair in the New Year - I really enjoy making them in different types of fabrics. The purse on the right is made from some lovely vintage hand-stitched linen which I found in a charity shop in Cambridge. The beautiful cross stitch design is really elegant and has a wonderful antique vibe.

If you would like to purchase a purse made in your choice of fabric/design then email me (cost £10 per purse made to order - your choice of buttons, threads and fabric).

Monday, 8 November 2010

Candle making

I have been saving odd pots/dieshes for ages with the intention of turning them into candles & I have finally got around to transforming them! I used white candle pellets (from craft

shop) which i melted on the hob and then I poured the melted wax into each container with the addition of a new wick. It is a good way to reuse old pots but as craftting goes the skill level and creativity needed is limited and I would soon get bored of this technique!

Traditional heart design apron

To make the template for this project i simply traced around an old apron; this gave me the shape and size I needed. I then hemed the edges and used ribbon for the ties. To make it more interesting i used bondaweb to attach the hessian and heart and then sewedit all in place. Overall a very easy and effective little project......

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Christmas stockings.....

The coffee sacks are proving useful once again - this time they are being turned into christmas stockings!

Getting ready for Christmas......

Now it is the 2nd November I feel it is ok to embark on the massive task of making this years batch of Christmas presents and cards. I have decided for 2010 to make small tree decorations instead of cards and attach a message on each one with a brown luggage tag. The fabric hearts only take a little longer to make than a card and i think are a nice keep-sake. I have stuffed each with wading and finished them with an antique button. The ribbon was purchased from CallyCo in Cambridge (see post below). If I make about 10 a week I should have enough but perhaps I am being too optimistic with the imminent arrival of baby Robson!

baby's room decorations.....

Cambridge has a lovely fabric shop called CallyCo. The shop is situated on Peas Hill (such an amazing name for a road!) near the market. CallyCo has a lovely range of fabrics (not cheap but probably no more expensive than similar shops) and general haberdashery supplies. I am on a fairly tight budget at the moment and beautiful fabric is bit of a luxury. Therefore on my last visit I purchased just ½ metre of fabric and gave myself a personal challenge of seeing how many items I could make for the baby’s room with it. The result was that I was able to re-cover an old blanket box, make some curtain tie-backs and also create decorative bunting for the crib! I feel quite triumphant in my ability to make just a small piece of fabric go such a long way!

Monday, 25 October 2010

Tea Cosy

Recently I have been seeing 'handmade' style, appliqu├ęd tea cosys everywhere and I thought that I would try making one. It was easy enough to make a semi-circle pattern big enough for my tea pot and go from there. They tend to retail at about £30-£40 in smart home-ware shops ('not on the high' also stock them for this amount) which seems somewhat pricey considering that they don't really take too much work to make. Now i have made my first one and have a pattern i think I could make another in about 1 1/2 hours. I still need to perfect the design but its a start.... I may try one with a tea cup design next. A tea cosy would make a nice Christmas present so I will try and make a couple more in time for family members. It all depends now on when our baby arrives and my crafting time gets more limited, which could be any day now!

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Rejuvenating my old chairs

I have had these chairs for a while now and before they were mine they belonged to my Grandparents who used them as kitchen chairs.

I should have taken a 'before and after' photo but like with most projects i tend to jump straight in.....I have no patience when it comes to craft and have to start a project as soon as an idea comes to mind. So, in the absence of a 'before' photo you will have to believe me that the chair frames were an unpainted light wood and the seat covers a rather dated sandy cream vinyl fabric. Overall they looked a bit boring and miserable.

I used the left over paint (yes the paint left-over’s keep on going…) from the dresser project (see below) to paint the chairs. I then covered the seat bases in some lovely 1950s style fabric; the fabric features a dense pattern of stylised flowers and seed heads. The fabric was on the end of a roll in John Lewis and because they only had 90cm left and I had asked for 100cm they gave it to me for half price. Good Customer service and a bargain – great!

Upgraded tray

I recently purchased this wooden tray in a charity shop for 99p. At the time it was a vulgar green colour and looked pretty tatty. Using a sample wallpaper scrap of Sanderson's 'Finches' design I covered the base of the tray. I then painted the rest of the tray in some left over Farrow and Ball 'Old White' paint. In total because I used left over paint and a free paper sample the whole project cost just 99p - Bargain!

Friday, 8 October 2010

Pin cushion

simple pincushion made with left-over scraps of felt.

Painted dresser project




I recently ordered a welsh dresser online from a company called Wye Pine. I asked for the dresser to be left 'in the white' so not varnished or waxed etc so that i could have a go at painting it myself........perhaps a bit too ambitious for my first wood painting project whilst 8months pregnant but i like a challenge, particulary a creative challenge!!!
Firstly i sanded down the dresser and got rid of any dust/dirt. I then gave the dresser a coat of white wood primer on the parts i wanted to eventually paint. I decided i wanted to use Farrow and Ball estate eggshell paint as it is supposed to be really good quality and ideal for furniture. After much deliberation i went for No. 4 Old white. It is a white paint with a slight blue/grey tone. I then used an antique pine wax for the top and door knobs. I really like the fact that you can still see wood on some parts of the dresser and it makes the whole dresser look a bit more 'country' inspired than if i had painted the whole dresser in a single shade. I have now displayed our collection of Sophie Conran china in the dresser and the grey tone of the paint works well with the bright white china as it really stands out.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Nigella Lawson's Devils Food Cake (from her new 'Kitchen' recipe book)

At the request of my husband and brother in law 'Devil's food Cake' was picked for tonight’s pudding.

The recipe has fairly sensible quantities of ingredients for something which aesthetically gives the impression of being very extravagant and luxurious. The recipe is very easy to follow and the clarity of the instructions is very good. I can’t quite discern why but the language/articulation of the recipe feels different to her other books; overall i guess it is slightly more user friendly and practical.

My brother in law is a big M&M's fan so these also got added onto the cake at the end; personally I think white chocolate curls or something like minstrels would look good on the cake but colourful M&M’s it is for this occasion! We have lots of guests over the next couple of days so I hope the cake lasts longer than just tonight so they can try it!

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Kitchen - Best Nigella Book yet???

My Nigella Collection.........

My Nigella Awards
Most Used: Nigella Express (however i have only owned Kitchen for a few days so this may change)
Most useful: How to Eat
Best for special occasions: Feast & Nigella Christmas

New Nigella book arrived this week - first impressions very good - I will keep blog updated when i try out new recipes from it!

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Easy to make journal cover

banana Bread

Yumm......Banana Bread

Today I tried baking Banana Bread from Nigella's 'How to be a domestic Goddess' cookbook. The recipe was really easy to follow and didn't have any fancy ingredients. The smell of the cooking bananas was really yummy in the house and the cake lovely when eaten warm. I will definately be making this again.....

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Chocolate Pistachio fudge

I have just made some Chocolate Pistachio fudge from the 'Nigella Express' cookbook to take to some friends for dinner tonight. It is so easy (so easy that you kind of hope nobody asks you for the recipe!) and it tastes amazing. My husband came into the kitchen just to check i had saved him some to eat at home. I like the way that when you cut the fudge up you get to see the striking colour of the green pistachio nuts next to the dark rich chocolate.

'Love the lord your God with all your heart' picture

This idea was adapted from "Not on the high's" popular map pictures by a friend and myself who thought we could do 'that' better...........

We spent an evening creating a few different designs. I made one for a friend's wedding with their names and date of wedding included in the design. I also wanted to make one which used a bible verse; Christian bookshops usually only have cheap looking, badly designed Christian gifts with bible verse (so my challenge was to try and show it is posible to create nice Christian gifts.....why suddenly ignore any sense of style!)

For the picture above I decided on a verse from Luke 10:27 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart" (the verse also had to use only 9 words as i wanted just 9 hearts in the picture!)

I have also made many other similar pictures with different style papers, verses and words included. The possibilities for this style picture are endless! The only real cost of making them is the time it takes and a frame.

Garden coffee sack chair covers

I am so excited to have a garden in the new house and one of the first house purchases has been a wooden table and chair set. The chairs definately needed seat covers but I couldn't find anything i liked within budget so I had the idea of recovering boring seat covers. I picked up 4 cheap and dull covers for under £10 from a local hardware shop and went to my local coffee roasters to ask for a couple of old coffee sacks. I made a template for the covers by simply drawing around the cushion pad. I sealed the cover up by sewing a row of buttons to the top of the cover - this will mean that i can easily wash the covers if they get left out in the rain - very likely! The great thing about using coffee sack hessian is that firstly it is free (& recycling) and secondly it is really hard wearing and durable. I think my next task will be to make matching placemats for the table.

peg bag

A friend of my mine gave me a great craft book for my birthday and i decided to make the peg bag as my first project in my new craft to decide who gets a peg bag for their birthday present!
I really enjoyed making the little clothes for the washing line but the middle hole for grabbing the pegs was bit of a pain to sew & line.

If you are interested the idea came from a book called Sew Fabulous fabrics

Updated towel rail....

Our bathroom is quite small and there is not enough room to hang bath towels so i have updated an old wooden towel rail by covering it with fun bright fabric purchased from a market stall in Bafoussam, Cameroon. I decorated the sides of the rail with an odd assortment of buttons.


Opps it's so long sice i have blogged that it took me about 5min to remember how to post something!! Hopefully now I have moved to Cambridge and am on maternity leave I will now have more time for cooking and crafting.......Even though i haven't blogged for a while i have still been making things! I have just finished making a bird mobile (based on the one in cath kidston's 'Sew' book) I am really pleased with the result and have hung it in the spare/baby's room....

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Baby clothes

This is my first post in quite a while. Crafting has been put on hold for a few weeks as my pregnancy tiredness has really kicked in and i have decided to sleep rather than make things in the evenings after work. However the last couple of days I have had more energy and have focused my attention on customising plain baby clothes into more interesting colourful ones. I made the blue dog t-shirt for a friend of mine who had a baby boy in March. I am using a really simple applique technique using bondaweb and machine stitch. The elephant on the white t-shirt and the bird images were traced from stencils in Cath Kidston's 'Make' book. I am back in the crafting mood so i am sure there will be more posts soon.....