Monday, 23 July 2012

Keeping the kids busy...

So the sun is out (finally) and school holidays have begun!  Like many mums, my thoughts have turned to how to keep my youngest occupied during the next 5 weeks that is  (a) not too expensive (b) doesn’t involve sitting in front of the TV/computer for hours on end and that will (c) hopefully keep him from groaning  ‘Muuuuummmm - I’m bored’ after only the third day off !

Of course, it’s all ok when there’s good weather as there are many freebie entertainment options like parks, scooters, bikes & picnics etc but on wet days it’s always good to have a few ideas ready up your sleeve. For me, being as I have plenty of crafting materials around, it makes sense to use some bits & pieces for the good of entertainment and one such idea is this simple covered pot (of course, this is my 'test' version in nice girly colours but my youngest wants to make one in rainbow brights!)

recycled crafts

Once made, this could be used as a money box, pen pot, a store for precious collectables and all sorts of other things!   It came about as an idea after teaching my youngest to crochet simple ‘chain stitch’  (he'd got curious when I was making a you tube video for Beadclub called  How to Crochet Chain Stitch and even joined in on the end of it which proves it is that easy!)  After he got the hang of it and made yards and yards of wibbly chains, I tried to think of something novel he could do with this newly learnt skill...

So, here we are, and all you really need for this idea is wool, crochet hook, a suitable ‘pot’, glue & scissors.  To start with just make enough chain length to be able to wrap around the entire pot. Then, starting under the top rim,  take your time wrapping & gluing it all into place.  If you have made several different colours of chain you just need to butt the end pieces up as closely as possible to avoid gaps when joining the new strand.  Finally, when you get to the bottom of the pot, trim the excess chain then tuck & glue the end neatly under the last round of chain.

If the pot has a lid it can be used to store stuff (of which most kids have plenty!) or you could cut a rectangular slot in it so that it can be used for coins that can be saved for the next rainy day.  Or, if there is no lid it can be simply useful as a pen pot or similar organiser type thing.

Well, I'm off to think of more ideas and I hope that’s one afternoons worth of idea 'brownie' points for you during the hols!

Happy Making ;-)

Thursday, 12 July 2012

In need of a sweet treat..

coconut ice

This week I have been catching up on admin & bookkeeping which, in spite of my best intentions to do more regularly, can end up in a pile of paperwork that takes a while to sort (well, you know how it works.... there are always a hundred other, more interesting tasks!) Anyway, realising that I really need to knuckle down and get it sorted I decided that this week would be the week I would get it all done & out the way.  To start with I thought it best if I restrict my social networking to '10 mins with morning coffee’  and then get my head down (because everyone knows how much time you can loose once you get lost in the i-vortex) and by the end of Day 1 I felt quite pleased that I had got well and truly stuck into the task. 

On Day 2 I resisted the urge to slip back into the ether(net) or start a new crafting project but it was harder.   Day 3 was more of the same with the addition of a hugely frustrating software crash that just would not fix but which meant I finally had the excuse I needed to escape and do something different! I settled on making a batch of coconut ice because I have been craving something really sweet and felt deserving of a treat.

I have to say that, although it’s a simple recipe, you need a bit of muscle for mixing! I found several recipes for it, all with varying quantities of this & that but the basic method is quite simple as you just mix everything up! Unless you choose to go for the rolling pin method, my best tip when you remove half the mixture to put in a lined tin/dish is that it really helps to use the back of a metal spoon to smooth the top. Once it’s ready you do have to resist the urge to starting eating and put it in the fridge overnight to chill although I have to confess I failed slightly at this stage (oh well, a cook needs to test the batch doesn’t she?!)

It really is as sweet as a sweet can be and although I’ve read it can last up to a month if stored properly I just don’t think it will somehow…

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Loving the buzz of a deadline....

I love the saying that 'the best diamonds are made under pressure'.....

handmade brooches

....and I believe that a deadline or two is good for my motivation!  I am fortunate to be able to work in my little makeshift office at home have a lot of flexibility when needed but I also know I need something to ensure I just don't fritter the day away playing with beads, threads, fabrics & anything else that might distract me so deadlines certainly have their uses!  I do actually work pretty hard most of the time and fortunately, after years of working in a different, highly pressurised profession, am pretty good at getting my head down and meeting targets!  

The thing I enjoy most about my work now is that much of the time I get to make & create and recently I had a self imposed target to make a range of small crafted items for a local fair to be made in between my other work commitments... and I loved it!  The result was a stash of little crochet brooches, felt hearts and bird brooches, vintage button earrings... and I can't wait to have an excuse to make more!

My adventures with Knit Corsham...

I was reading the local newspaper recently and came across an article about a little group of knitters in Corsham who were working hard to make & collect all kinds of knitted & crocheted items ready to 'yarn bomb' the town as part of the Corsham festival. They mentioned they would like people to get in touch and help if interested and of course I couldn't resist! 

I managed to get in touch with a lovely lady called Sandie and, after agreeing to pitch in went along to a 'Knit & Knatter' session at the Pound Arts Center. I had decided I would make a brightly coloured garland of little crochet flowers and managed to make this little contribution in the 3-4 days I had until the big 'Stitch Up' !

My flower garland ended up over 7ft long with over 50 crochet flowers!

So, after days of crocheting and linking flowers until my hands & arms ached, it got to the big day and in spite of the blustery wind and spitting rain on a dull Friday afternoon, Corsham  got yarn bombed!


I can't tell you how much I enjoyed meeting Sandie and the knitting team!  It was a truly fantastic effort by everyone who took part and all the woolly decorations were up around Corsham & The Pound Arts Center for a week (although I don't think that was long enough!)  I just need to go and collect my garland now - I think I will use it to yarn bomb the bench in my garden.... watch this space ;-)

If you'd like to see more pics pop on over to the Knit Corsham Facebook book page here:

Monday, 2 July 2012

I really am...

Addicted to Making book

Hello & Welcome!

My name is Mel and I really am addicted to making.... all kinds of things  (I always feel like I should stand when I say that outloud!) From a young age I have been strongly influenced by my Grandmother & Mothers crafting skills, combined with their thrifty leanings, and as a result it's simply become a natural part of my life to always be making... something.

I've given my blog a title to match my craft book (published 2011) which features a range of crafting project ideas from sewing to crochet, rag rugging to mosaic and decoupage and much more.  I've had some lovely feedback about the book which is inspiring as creating & writing is very much something I like to combine and which I hope to do more of in the future.

I also spend way too much time browsing second hand shops, vintage fairs and the like because I love to find all these little  inspirational bits & pieces (perhaps my next book should be Addicted to Thrifting!) Anyway, I guess this blog is a place where I can indulge my addiction and share projects, ideas, inspirations,  lovely things I've seen, talented people I've met and probably a whole lot more 'stuff' as I get going. I'll tell you about my beading exploits later too.

I'm really not expecting some sort of huge blog following but if you'd like to join me on here and see where it takes me then that would be lovely - just join me as a follower and please do say 'Hi'....