Oink

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Just a quick wee crafty post today – I made this teeny little fella this evening and I’m actually pretty proud of him!

The pattern is this one by Lucy Ravenscar, made with cotton and a 1mm hook.

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Downtime

 

April collage

I seem to have taken an unplanned technology break over the past few weeks. I’ve managed Pinterest and the new Family Guy app whilst watching TV, but not much more than that! In fact, Feedly has a slightly daunting 200+ unread blog posts waiting for me…

April is always an eventful month for me, and this one has been no different. This month, amongst other more mundane things,  I turned 26, had my first ever afternoon tea, assembled a whole house full of Ikea furniture, ate far too much pizza and curry and baked a ridiculous amount of cake.

With all the running around I felt like a bit of lo-tech relaxation, so I picked up the crochet hook for the first time in forever and made the little guys you can see above. An Easter Bunny and an…Easter Diplodocus. Because dinosaurs laid eggs? Yeah, we’ll go with that.

I’m feeling a bit more with it now, so hopefully I’ll be diving head-first back into the Internet this week. I’ve signed up for Rosalilium’s Blog Every Day in May to give myself a bit of a kick up the bum too, so expect a little more noise around here over the next month!

Hillarys Blinds Country Craft Competition

A little while ago, I saw a post on Caroline’s blog about a competition being run by Hillary’s blinds and I thought it sounded so much fun I had to give it a go. So without further ado, this is my humble entry!

Hillarys Bird Parade

I chose the Bird Parade fabric above and had a bit of a panic when it arrived. The problem that I have with crafting is something a call The Fear – when fabric or wool arrives and it’s so pretty that you feel a bit wrong taking the scissors to it! Just look at that peacock! How could I live with myself if I accidentally cut off his head?!

After a cup of tea and a long think, I had a flash of inspiration. In my last post I talked about starting yoga instead of eating chocolates on the sofa every evening. I have officially bought myself a yoga mat now, so I’m fairly committed to the cause! The only problem is that said yoga mat is pink. So pink. Bright, Barbie, clashes-with-just-about-everything pink. Great for yoga, not so great in my calm, blue bedroom. After a quick Google, I figured that a yoga mat bag would be a lovely, easy project.

 

Pink Yoga Mat

In theory, it was easy. Its a big rectangle for the main bag, a long rouleau strap and a circle of fabric set in for the bottom. In practice? Well…I probably should mention that this was my second ever sewing project, the first being the hot water bottle cover which broke five needles and about which we do not speak. I should also mention that my sewing machine, Trixie, is a gorgeous but temperamental, hand-cranked old girl. This was not going to be smooth sailing…

So I threaded my needle and turned the handle. Things went well for about ten minutes, and then? Then I swore. I stuck more pins into my fingers than any competent adult should. I had a fraught encounter with an empty bobbin. I swore some more. I had a falling out with Trixie, and stormed off to fetch my mum’s 21st century machine, Peggy. I fell out with Peggy, too. I gave up and went to bed. When I came back to it this afternoon, I realised that in both sewing and life there is only one way to deal with tension issues – with a large glass of wine. And armed with that pearl of wisdom (and a little Sauvignon Blanc) I finally finished it:

 

Finshed Yoga Bag DIY

It might not be perfect, but I made it with my own hands, and that’s such a brilliant feeling. It’s like all those episodes of Sewing Bee are starting to pay off…

If you’re interested in having a go yourself (I’m sure it will be easier than I made it seem above!), here’s the how-to:

1) Measure your fabric against your yoga mat, and cut out a rectangle for the body of the bag. There’s no need to be too precise, just make sure you leave yourself plenty of wiggle room!

2) Cut your circle for the bottom – I did this by drawing around a small plate which was a wee bit wider than my finished bag would be.

Circle Plate Trick

3) Cut your strip for your strap. I made mine about two inches wide, but bear in mind it will be smaller once you turn it inside out!

4) Press everything. Everything!

5) Now, onto construction. Decide which is the top end of the bag, fold your fabric over about an inch and sew it down. This will be where you thread your cord to make the opening.

Top of Bag

6) Make your strap. Fold your strip of fabric in half, with the wrong side facing out, and sew all the way along the edge to make a tube. Now grab some kind of poking device, and turn that tube inside out. Ta-da! One strap.

Strap

7) Decide where you want your strap to sit on the bag, and pin it to the inside of your bag’s main body. Take care to make sure the strap is folded properly, so it won’t be twisted.

Insert Strap

 

8) Pin absolutely everything down, and you’re ready to sew up your bag. Leave a decent amount for your seam and sew the rectangle into a tube, making sure that you catch the strap nice and securely, and that you don’t sew the hole for the cord shut!

9) Now you need to sew your base in. Grab your circle and every single pin you own. Try and make it fit beautifully. Cry. Try again. Cry more. Enlist your mother’s help. Decide to just bodge it . Or, y’know, do it properly. Your call…

The Circle of Doom

10) Take a deep breath and turn your bag right side out. Almost done!

11) Thread your cord through the top of the bag. Attach one end of the cord to a large safety pin to help you wiggle it through!

Safety Pin Trick

12) If the cord is nylon (or similar), gently heat the ends with a lighter or a match to keep them from fraying. Now thread some pretty beads on!

Beads

And enjoy your yoga bag!

Thank you so much to Hillary’s for the fabric – it was great to work with, and the best bit? I still have almost half a metre left for my next project!  I’d love to see other people’s entries too – leave me a link if you’ve had a go!

 

Reasons to be cheerful

Hello! Hope everyone is having a lovely weekend so far!

I was looking forward to lovely, busy Saturday today – my other half is away for a friend’s birthday so instead of going to his place like I usually do, I’m staying home. I had hoped that this would mean a day of industrious sewing and traipsing around shops…but unfortunately my body had other plans and I woke up with a cracking headache that I cannot shift!

I usually get grumpy and let myself wallow in self-pity when I’m feeling poorly, but I’ve decided to make an effort to look on the bright side a little bit more. So, here are a few things that have brightened up my day:

A nice stack of magazines

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Sometimes it’s nice to come away from the computer, put down the phone and get into something made of paper. I was moaning the other day about how Elle Decor never comes free with Elle here – when I was living in Spain they used to all the time – so I was pretty chuffed that WH Smiths had them on offer. Homemaker is a monthly staple for me, it’s the perfect thing to flick through if you’re running low on inspiration. It a great mix of crafts, interiors and recipes and the design is seriously pretty to boot.

Ice cream

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Who doesn’t feel better after ice cream?! These little pots come from Aldi, they’re £1.99 for four and they are amazing.

Making something

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I’m pretty new to sewing, and the amount of concentration required to not make holes in my fingers was just a bit much today, so I picked up the hook and crocheted a little pin cushion instead. Much more relaxing and far less dangerous! If you’re interested, the daisy pattern is here.

Right, I’m going to get into bed and catch up with Call the Midwife. Don’t judge me. I just watch it for the frocks, honest!