Friday, 29 June 2012

Live to craft..

It can be a bit disheartening this selling your crafts malarky. Every time I buy a craft magazine I read about people who make a living from selling their wares. But for every one of those lucky souls, there must be literally thousands like me, who are thankful just to cover their costs at craft fairs and farmers markets. After a complete washout at the village fair;
its not very easy to tell, but that was taken in the middle of a thunder storm; I did get to wondering why exactly I was doing this, was I just wasting my time? I'm sure everyone has those doubts from time to time. Am I trying to sell my stuff in the wrong places, am I just making the wrong things? Its a very difficult thing to get right.
Then a very good friend reminded me that I do this because I couldn't imagine a world without being creative. Just like I play my instruments for my own pleasure and write stories for my eyes only, I make things because I love doing it, I love the sense of achievement when you can sit back and admire your handiwork. Sometimes you just need reminding of that, especially after a rubbish day!

So with that in mind, I have given myself a mental kick up the backside and heading for the Norwich Lanes summer fair on the 8th July. Its a much bigger event than I've ever attended before, but with a huge footfall anticipated, plus the fact that its in the city rather than a little village, I'm hoping for good things. Fingers crossed anyway.
And I've made some new notebooks just for the occasion.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Variations on a Tea loaf

There are the odd occasions when I know I should have taken the photo sooner. This is one of them.
I love tea loaves. I can kid myself that they're kind of healthy due to an absence of butter in the mix (never mind the large amount of sugar!) and given the chance they'll keep for ages. Just not in this house.
I absolutely love Jamie Oliver's Earl Grey Tea Loaf but in the absence of Earl Grey tea bags in the kitchen, I thought I'd try an experiment with another variety. So this is my Lemon and Ginger Tea Loaf.


200g mixed dried fruit
4 lemon and ginger tea bags
100g sugar
1 egg
200g self raising flour
1 tsp ground ginger

Stew up the teabags with 200ml of boiling water for about 5 minutes, then remove the teabag and add the fruit. Leave for at least a couple of hours, preferably overnight.
Turn your oven on to 180C. Add the egg, then the sugar, then flour and ginger and mix. Pour into a 1lb loaf tin and bake for about an hour, until a skewer inserted comes out clean of mix.
Now you can leave it at this, but it is made even more scrummy by simmering about 100ml of lemon and ginger tea with two tbsp of sugar until syrupy and pouring over the top of the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven.

The football over the last two weeks has given me an even better excuse than usual to bury myself in my workshop and make stuff. Not to mention the fact that I've got a stall at the village fete on Sunday and I'm frantically trying to get everything done for then. Its not like I haven't got enough stock already, but I always get overtaken by the urge to make something new. So I have.

I've continued with my mission to go back through back issues of magazines and make some of the project I'd earmarked. This week its Molly Makes. With the Molly dolly.

And a cute stuffed fox.

Last week I had a delivery from u-handbag and one of the things I ordered was a hard clam shell purse. They're not that cheap, at around £10, but they are ridiculously simple to make, you just need good glue and some fancy fabric.
And finally a purse, another pattern from A Bag For All Reasons,  another simple one to make and worked perfectly, even with a scaling down of the pattern because my frames were a slightly different size.
So that's it for this week. I'm digging out my wet weather gear for Sunday, wellies maybe essential I fear.
And if anyone fancies dragging themselves around a soggy field (Could I sell this any better??), its at the village hall in Bawdeswell on Sunday between 11am and 2pm. And before I forget, I have been overhauling my website, so please have a look. You'll find it at
Now where's my gazebo gone...

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Hats off!

I have a rare moment of peace this afternoon- obviously in typing this I've now cursed it- Wilbsy is at pre school, Pambers is playing in her bedroom and hubby is out. I'm sure I should be doing something important, washing, washing up, maybe even plod down to the allotment for an hour to try and find the few plants that are actually growing in amongst the weeds, which are now so high that if I took the girls there, I'd lose them. Maybe not such a bad idea...

It feels like my evenings have been taken over by repair work. This is a good thing. Its what makes the money after all, but leaves little time for crafting and my sewing machine is getting lonely.

Pause for a moment to open my delivery of goodies from u-handbag, thank you Mr Postman..

Talking of u-handbag, my first make comes from Lisa Lam's new book, the follow up to The Bag Making Bible. A few people have given the new book A Bag for all Reasons a bit of a scathing review on Amazon, and fair enough, the techniques section is very similar in both books. Then again, not everyone will have both books, so I really don't see the problem there, not when its another collection of lush bags to make. The first one I went for was the trifold wallet.
Nice straight forward make and easily done in an evening. I always have a bit of a problem making things for guys, but this is ideal and I'm starting to find some really cool fabrics out there.

Plenty of room for cards and a change pouch in the middle, a pocket section for notes and a separate one for receipts, and every child's dad is a super hero, right? (Shameless plug for fathers day!)

As you probably know, I love making purses with purse frames and have recently been sticking to sew in ones, but I got an absolute bargain on eBay, an 8" silver rectangular frame. Theses are the ones that only glue along the top and I have always used a pattern from the Martha Stewart site. But I found this one on and its great.

This was completed in just over an hour and is a nice light structured purse with plenty of room inside and tabs to attach a strap or chain to.

Finally, as the title alludes to, head wear. A redundant pair of jeans met a lazy flick through an old copy of Making magazine. I found a project I had been meaning to do, but just never got round to. I don't know if everyone else is the same, a shelf full of magazines with the corners folded over at things I fancy making, then forget about. Not sure if hats are totally my thing..

but it was a bit of fun, never the less! Right. Peace broken, daughter returns, I'm off. x

Sunday, 3 June 2012


Its been a while :-)
Post farmers market a few weeks ago I haven't had the need to maker any more stock and various other things i.e. work, has taken over my evenings, so instead of  leaning over a hot sewing machine, I have been up to my elbows in tarnished flutes, broken saxophones and school clarinets. I have just laid down my silver cloth for the night after sticking a spring under my fingernail. And yes it hurts!
So what I have made recently has been just for me, which is always kind of nice.
I haven't strayed from my favourite pattern, but I have added an adjustable strap and I love it!

The oops title however, comes from last nights efforts. Bit of fabulous fabric. Perfect for a laptop case, me thinks. I have a quick search and find a simple zippered laptop sleeve at and follow the instructions to a T.

What can go wrong? I've done this kind of thing many times before.

And the end result is lovely.

But I didn't take this into account:

THAT battery or whatever it is, is the reason why it doesn't quite fit by about a centimetre. It only zips up if you take that off and if you do that, the laptop obviously doesn't work.
I'm a little annoyed.
It'll appear for sale on my website soon. When I get round to getting my site done that is!