Thursday, 31 July 2014


Now, these are not scraps, these part balls are a kind gift from a lady who has just finished my crochet classes. She gave them to me after she had finished a baby blanket for her grandchild with a thank you card. It is the softest baby alpaca you can imagine.

What to do with such a quantity? I went to the library last week with the twirly girlies and spotted this book.

It is full of the most classic, gorgeous bear patterns.

I fell in love with Oliver, he is beautiful and luckily quite small so I cast on immediately. I have enjoyed making him over the week in little snippets of time in the sunshine.

After a little sit in the garden I had this little pile of limbs.

One evening I stuffed and sewed. I can make neater seams with the stocking stitch side showing so I went for that.

Now for the crucial and deal-breaking part of making any toy, an endearing face. (I'm sorry to report that Baboushka went out in the cull)

Here is Oliver all finished and happy. 

I am saving this toy for my present box for when a baby is born. I have made the limbs very secure and used thread for the face, no beads. I might also put him into our local show in the knitted toy category in the Autumn.

Do you make toys? 
It is hard to get just the right pattern don't you think? 

Jo xxxx

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Still cheering me on?

Really, it is a disgrace how I have let stuff get out of control. This is our office. It is actually so bad that I have started to avoid going in there except to blog. I haven't made any scrapbook pages or birthday cards for ages because I can't see the desk and the bin got too full somehow...

and I was doing too many different little jobs all with their own resources - now I have my teaching one so I can par down.

That chair is actually broken and we keep wheeling it around to squeeze in another chair!

Anyway here it is now with a new chair and a seat cover which I found in the airing cupboard...oh that was another nasty area!

This wasn't without pain, it took just over six hours (til 9pm hence the dark photos) and the paper recycling bin is full and I had two additional bin bags.

The de-cluttering is done now so it is time to be creative. Watch this space...

Do you have a messy corner that needs some attention? 
I bet you do, go on tell all!

Jo xx

Sunday, 27 July 2014


This week there is liberation all fronts. Bloke has taken the girls to the east coast to stay with my Auntie and Uncle in their huge caravan. What about me? I am staying at home to get some stuff together. I will miss them dearly but I need some time.

Times they are a-changing round here as both girls will be at school in September and I have a new job which I secured last week. I am going to be working two days a week as an english and maths tutor for apprentices while continuing my other two days delivering courses for families in schools in english and maths too. 

There won't be as much time for crafting so I have decided to have a life clear out. What will I actually have time to do? How will I be able to do family and work? These are both questions I am asking myself at the moment so the first thing to do is to par down what I have in the house - less stuff means less tidying and more head room, right?

Over the last two weeks I have sorted the yarn down to just good stuff. All scraps have gone as reported. Today it was the turn of the fabric drawer.

I kept a range of lining for skirts.

I bagged and sorted two quilt packs, one in red tones...

and one in blue/green tones...

I chose the usable fabrics for clothes and quilt backing.

Three cottons, brown corduroy, ribbon edged, cotton gingham, ribbed jersey,white cotton, stretch cotton, spotty cord, grey jersey, sage cord, red viscose, blue shot silk, green suiting.
I kept a bag of felt bits for applique.

I kept an unusual group for making a messenger bag I have had my eye on for a while - but I don't know when, maybe I need to collect a few more bits yet.

I bagged up other projects already cut out with their notions. 
Then I placed them all in the drawer under the bed.

My attention then turned to clothes. I got out every item of winter clothing and made a selection of the ones I would wear AND which went with other things, then recycled the rest. The same with my summer ones. Then the same for the girls.

It has all been so liberating. Six bin bags of 'stuff' is leaving our home for either the tip (grrr) or recycling in one form or another.

So The top floor of 'Three stories High' has been done. Let's move to the next level shall we, physically and emotionally...

Thanks for sharing my life changing moment. Lots of encouragement is needed this week I think. Love Jo xxxx

Friday, 25 July 2014

Clamshell purse

These are fun. A clamshell case using a Clover template kit. I made this on the train after cutting them out at home.

The kit comes from Minerva crafts and includes the plastic template kit with instructions, and a pack of fat quarters.

so neat and perfect for very little effort

It was featured on the Christmas gift episode of the Sewing Bee in December 2013 and hung as a bauble with a surprise inside.

What gift would you pop inside?

Thanks Minerva, Jo xxxx

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Hooray! no more scraps

Over the last two sun filled days I have managed to turn this...

into this....

So, so satisfying. Searching the basket for the smallest pieces for the centre rounds and working my way up. Managing to slip in a smidgen of yellow without upsetting the whole thing, I have been quite addicted

When something is truly totally random it always seems to work. I can't force random, I am not very good at that but this worked out just fine, just a bit tricky to photograph though because it is quite long.

I am going to put it around the bunk beds at the cabin because my ethos for decorating in there is that everything should be something that was going to be thrown out and this fits the bill perfectly. Hand on my heart everyone, with the teapot cozy and this bunting I am ALL out of scraps!!!!!! only lovely packs of yarn in my stash now.

More sunshine anyone?? Jo xxx

Monday, 21 July 2014

Hooray! Tea cozy

I am working my way through a basket of bits and bobs left over from crochet classes. I took out all of the pastel, baby colours, played around and ended up with this.

Really not my colour palette but I will pop it in my present box for when I need it. Oodles more sunshine here today on the first day of our summer holidays. YAY! 

Jo xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Friday, 18 July 2014

Yarn News

In the Yarn news today...

Crochet classes have finished for the Summer and I couldn't resist showing you this project made by one of the ladies who comes to my class. She has made it for her daughter for a wedding present, isn't it lovely? My heart skipped a beat when I thought that I had taught her to crochet last year and now she is having creative ideas all of her own. Hooray!

This is annoying me so I think a tea cosy is in order.I have separated out all the pastel colours (not for me) and made a start.

Laugh all you like, I know I have not got the face right yet!!! but I enjoyed learning crab stitch to make the scarf edge.

I am about 4 rows further on with my Miette cardigan. My mum is choosing buttons for hers for goodness sake!

Started, then frogged (due to an error of my own), then cast on again this cardigan for myself. Lovely soft yarn.

That's my yarn news, what's yours?

Jo xxxx

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

A teeny bit better

I needed a shelf for my table when I do a craft fair. I saw one at my dad's house. He said I could have it.


I painted it (rather badly, it was a pesky thing to paint) and hung it on the wall with cup hooks. When it is not at a craft table, about 360 days of the year, it can be a sewing shelf.

The rest of the time it can be really useful. 

and boy is it useful. Just reaching for the scissors to snip a thread, sliding out a piece of bias binding from the old tie back fixture I screwed to the side, easily laying my hands on the unpicker - it is all so smooth and compact. I had a really good haberdashery sort out yesterday and now I want to leave it like that for a little while, all neat and tidy.

Crochet classes, maths exam for my group of adult learners EEK, children to play after school, parents evening, knit and natter - it is that time of year!! 
Jo x

Monday, 14 July 2014

Owl Apron

One of my belly dance friends works with an elderly lady and asked me did I know anyone who could make her a blue, half apron with a pocket on the front with an owl on? - quite specific I thought! 

Yes, I know someone....I said....

Cut a strip of fabric 2m long and 22cm wide, you will need to join two 1m lengths. Fold it over, sew seam, turn to right side out and press.

Cut out two rectangles for the apron about 62cm by 50cm sew them together and then turn right side out and press.

Do the same with smaller rectangles for the pocket 
about 26cm x 26cm

I added an owl to the pocket using free hand machine applique on the sewing machine. 

Top stitch the pocket to the apron. Top stitch round the apron, then stitch the strap to the waistband. You don't need to do everything double but it just feels good and keeps the seams inside.

As described I thought.

Now take it off before you start doing your own jobs! I nearly went to pick raspberries in it.

Happy sewing and gardening. Jo xx