Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Caroline and the Machine

Blimey. Near December. As if to underline that fact, my laptop (or rather my finger) clipped caps lock and typed December in capitals then. Shout it at me! I have been trying to make sure I have everything in place for the craft fayres I'm doing over the next couple of weekends and I think I'm kind of there bar the boring fiddly little bits like pricing. I've also had a couple of boxes of tarnished flutes to clean. Then they go and put Masterchef on four nights a week...

So, me and the machine... its on borrowed time, or maybe I'm on borrowed time. Its clattering along, jamming up, breaking threads left right and centre. Every time I sit down in front of it, I don't know whether to sweet talk it or threaten it with a big stick. I was lured by a shiny new (secondhand!) embroidery machine which I still  haven't sat down and got to grips with, but if the old faithful doesn't sort itself out I will be selling up and replacing it. So there.

It did manage to crank its way through some Christmas bags though. Simple things these. Some cotton shopping bags I bought from Hobbycraft, some lovely seasonal fabric and some bondaweb.
Just cut out your shapes from the bondaweb, iron onto the reverse of your fabric, then peel off the backing paper and iron on the the bag. All that's left to do is to machine it on.

I just used a simple straight stitch. The only slight complicating factor is keeping an eye on what's under foot. On several occasions I found I had machined the other side of the bag. Or the handles. Not good. Definitely a case of slow and steady winning the day.

I ordered some ridiculously cheap purse frames last week and when they arrived I was a little thrown. The ones I have been used to dealing with have a channel all the way round to glue the fabric into, whereas these just had one along the top. I did a little old Internet search and found this: Fabric clutch complete with video tutorial. So, so easy, I knocked out a couple of them in under and hour. Now how's that for quick end results?

I'll leave you with one of my key rings. I love these bunnies! Urban Threads, you've done it again.

I am at Bawdeswell Pamper and Craft Fayre on Saturday 26th November at the village hall, 10-4.

Check out my shop

Take care. xx

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Quick Update

Wow, Wednesday already. We had a great time out on Saturday night, my first night out quite probably since the girls were born, but will definitely not be left that long again!
Colds and sneezes are hopefully behind us for the moment although they do seem to come one on top of each other sometimes. But for now, normal service has been resumed! Yey. And that means that the neglected old sewing machine has been seeing some action. So here's some pics of what I have been up to recently. All of these are now, or will be- that's my next job; listed on my shop site which is

Plenty of girly bags. Birthday parties have depleted my stock so I thought I'd better whip up a few more. I'll stick a tutorial on for these soon as they are so easy to make, and so cute!

Ice cream apron. Again for the little ones, with two big pockets for useful stuff.

Talking of pockets for useful stuff, I'm always looking for scissors, tape, ruler etc when I'm making things, which are never where I left them (its the small gremlins in the house, they move things when I'm not looking) Anyway, when I got this fabric, I was initially going to just use it for a cushion cover, but it seemed to lend itself to these. A crafty tool belt with lots of pockets. For stuff.

And a couple of bags. Haven't made any full size bags in a while. I'm also on a bit of a mission to use up some of my rather large collection of fabrics.

So that's it. I haven't had chance to use my new toys yet and there's a saxophone that needs beating into working order this evening. Now where's my big stick....?

Friday, 4 November 2011


Okay, its time for some serious organisation now. Which would be easier said than done if I didn't have a cold for the second week running. Standing up and moving around results in major sneezing and limits my capacity to do anything. I've had to temporarily abandon a bag that would ordinarily have only taken me a night to do, because snot drenched is just not a good look for your tote!
Its even more irritating given I have new toys I'm itching to get to grips with (oo-er missus!) Sad as I am, I am now the owner of a second hand embroidery machine- with not a clue how to use it; and a seriously professional pyrography tool which makes my beginners cheapo feel like up until now I have been branding wood rather than 'writing with fire' which is what pyrography means. Unfortunately, I'm running out of room on my desk and my wood blanks won't be here until next week.
I now have three events that I need to prepare for at the end of the month. Now, I like to think that I'm a fairly organised person, I know how my week works out, I plan my shopping list within an inch of its life; but I'm looking at the calender and thinking (polite version) eeeeeeekkkkk!! Given my previous experiences with craft fayres, I could sell nothing and be left with a load of stuff, or- positive thinking- I could do quite well. Its difficult to gauge. And difficult to know what to make too.. A list is in order. A plan of action. But we all know what happens to the best laid plans.

I mentioned a while back I'd do a book review, well not so much a review, more a taster. I imagine I'm not alone in having bought books and then found, on closer reading, they require a- huge amount of skill; b- large amounts of material (v. expensive), or c- obscure items that are just impossible to find, even on eBay.
This is one I considered for a while. Its called Everything Alice and as the title suggests, all Alice in Wonderland makes.
There are a good selection of different crafts, games and cookery bits. Contents include:
Time for Tea Jewellery

which was very straight forwards and only involved a trip to a dolls house shop. My teapot however didn't withstand much wearing- broken handle :-(
Lavender Dormice, Invitation cushion, Cheshire Cat Hand Warmers:

Cupcake Embroidery Box, Shadow Puppet Theatre, Drink Me Cordials, Fabric Covered Teapot:
a bit messy to make but my personal favorite. Red Velvet Cupcakes, Vintage Cake Stand, Curious Teapot Cake, Chocolate Teaspoons...
There's a lot more besides, and I still have a fair list of things I want to make out of it, Most of the projects can be done quite inexpensively and the instructions are concise so with anyone with a modicum of crafting know how wouldn't find it a problem. My only tiny gripe, and its not just with this book, is the patterns which are hand drawn. I don't have access to a photocopier and can't enlarge all of the patterns. This one is a little better than most as there are conversions for graph paper so you could draw it out. I'm just impatient. I want to get on with a project, not sit down and spend half of my time drawing things out.
This book is great for something a little bit different and has a wide variety of things to do, most of them not requiring much sewing if that's not your thing. And for all of my friends and relatives, if your Christmas presents have a Wonderland touch, its this books fault!

I'm hitting the town tomorrow night for the first time since forever, off to a Burlesque cabaret show, so I appologise to the people of Norwich for the sight of me in a corset. And no, there will be no photos!