Bunny droppings

Bunny-pattern,-Japan
Dandelion and Buttercup 

Dandelion and Buttercup here are going to be popped in the post later today to hitch a ride all the way to Japan. They're taking part in Operation Bunny Drop and they are very excited.

Operation Bunny Drop, organized by Liz Minnick is about "...crafting soft and simple bunnies for children in Japan who are recovering from the effects of the recent natural disasters, many displaced and all needing LOVE and HOPE."

To take part, fill out the simple registration form here. Whip up some sweet bunnies and send them off to Japan stuffed with your own love and hope. There is a Facebook page dedicated to the effort where you can find patterns and share images too.

Dandelion-bunny
Dandelion showing off her needle-felted wool roving tail

I learned about this project from Pat just after my last post linking to my free Sunny Bunny pattern. I looked through my felted wool stash and a gentle, butter coloured blanket spoke to me. It was just begging to be stitched up into toys for children. Dandelion, the Cuddle Bunny, is from Pat's pattern and is a real joy to hand stitch. Gracie is extremely fond of him and has made me "pinky swear" that I will make her one just like it. Buttercup is a Sunny Bunny.

Well we must go and get ready for the post.

Happy, sunny Tuesday to you.

Jx

update: excuse my earlier brain fade when I wrote "Lisa" instead of "Pat" regarding Cuddle Bunny

 


Boards and bunnies and things

Inspiration-board-redo
Filling my new, old board

This week has been about doing a lot of nothing except simple, mindless projects and hanging out with my two favourite little people who are off for Easter break. The last few days have brought sun and warmth helping to inject a bit of much needed energy into my days.

I've been dragging around this old pin board for yonks. It had a small Laura Ashley print on it that I hated so I never bothered to make space for it here where wall space is at a premium. When I moved my glass cupboard one result was a big enough wall for my board, but I still had to do something to cover up the print. I chose one of my coffee bags that I use mostly for school projects, decorating at harvest festivals and things. I decided one could be spared for my board and I'm happy with the result. 

Twine-trim
Gluing a couple rows of jute twine over the stapled edge

Very easy, I just stretched it across, staple-gunned the edges a whole lot then covered up the staples with jute twine. I'll darken the frame with a bit of stain or some shoe polish but I was too impatient for that and desperate to start pinning. Before pinning I sprayed it with water and ironed it, the sack pressed and flattened really well.

Fair-Isle-bunny
Fair Isle Bunny gift

We made a few teacher presents like this quick bunny from a very thick felted fair isle jumper. We stuffed a chocolate egg in him (poor bunny) and secured his, ummm..... bottom with a slide button closure.

Bunny-bottom
Slide button bum ;)

He was made for a special teacher; this post shows how we made him. If you'd like a stuffed bunny softie pattern you can get the one I created last year here. Or check out the bunny pattern we'll be stitching up this year, Pat's super cute little stitched bunnies; available here.

House-camp
Camp heaven

T & G set up camp in the family room at the weekend with a small sun shade tent, not weather-proof for real camping. They've slept there each night, Pippi too. Mostly they're excited to have Pippi with them; I'm a mean mama and won't allow a doggy upstairs in the house so normally she sleeps alone. She's been in hog dog heaven, a very happy little pooch. I'd planned for the tent to come down after a couple of days but after I said goodnight and switched off the light two nights ago I heard T whisper "Night Gracie, love you." And then heard Gracie return the love - sniff. The tent stayed up.

Book-nook
Cozy place to read

Sunday it was turned into Mummy's Palace for Mother's Day. I was allowed to sleep in (not in the tent), had breakfast in bed and went for a wonderful walk to the pub for a pint - a lovely day. Yesterday was spent at the beach basking in the warmth. I filled one of my Forager bags and chased the dog from one picnic to another, greedy little thing.

I'm off to walk the greedy little thing now. Sorry for a lack of visits and emails, extra focus is needed elsewhere right now. Thanks for the sweet comments on my last post.

Happy Friday to you.

Jx


Crafting For Courage

Linen-scarf-2

Linen-scarf
Long linen scarf

Gracie-doll
Brown-eyed girl - A Gracie Doll

Cheky-Cherub-pattern
Favourite pattern

All of these items will be available starting later today through Monday the 28th. They will be sold through my new Etsy shop; 100% of the proceeds will go to the Save The Children Japan Earthquake/Tsunami relief fund.

Please walk, run, skip or trip on over to the Crafting For Courage blog now to see the wide assortment of items from a whole group of big hearted crafters.

Crafting-Courage-Banner

I'm hoping to also be adding a couple of vintage textile packages to the sale.

Shop if you can, and spread the word if you would.

J x


Buttons and snowdrops and things

Button-bracelet
Vintage button bracelet

Not much time to hang around at the moment, Gracie's giving the dog a bath and Tristan's making cookies so I have just enough time to sneak in here before I go and clean up after both my little helpers. We've had a busy old week off school visiting friends in Kent, catching up with projects and going for walks.

A few of the items in the project department are a button bracelet, a pencil case, needlebook, crochet face cloths and a finished embroidered top.

Pecil-case-experiment
Pencil case for Gracie

Gracie has a bad pencil case habit and would like a new one each week. She begged me to make one over the half-term holiday and so I have. The construction isn't great but it met her design specifications (three compartments inside and a small outer pocket) so she's happy. I also lined it with shower curtain plastic to make it leaky pen proof, all a little tricky. There won't be more of this model crossing my sewing table, ever.

Stitched-top
Embroidered top finished

And there have been more than a few special treats this week. Like a pound of buttons from Lisa all packaged up beautifully. Click on the button images for a closer look.

Button-bliss
Happy packaging

Fast-favourites
A few favourites

So many wonderful finds inside. Glass, mother of pearl, bone, old metal designs and so many more. If you're quick you just may be able to grab a bag for yourself in her Extras shop.

Snowdrops
Snowdrops in a woodpile

Bright, shiny snowdrops are everywhere right now, celebrating spring on the way. And the wood in this pile leads me to another treat, a surprise birthday blog for Nanou; it celebrates her and the woodland creatures she makes. If you visit, Nanou's many Forest Friends are guaranteed to make you smile.

Happy weekend to you!

Jx

 

 

 


Finishing is good

Goldfinch-says-hello
Goldfinch Stitched

I had an enormous amount of fun stitching this guy. Often times while I should have been doing other things, like running baths or folding laundry. The pattern created for him will be included as one of four stitching motifs added to the new bag pattern available now!

Cover pattern
Forager Bag Pattern e-booklet

I'm very excited about this pattern because I feel it's easy enough for sewists at beginner level to achieve a professional finish, I know that because I'm no professional. It's also easy enough to still knock-out a few in time for Christmas. I have two on the go at the moment for gifts - one for a child, the other for a grown-up.

You can read more about it on the very neglected Stitch Village blog, or go right to the shop here.

Embroidery page I had intended it to be part of another collection but a full e-book will have to wait until later in the year; this is in the form of an eight page pattern e-booklet instead.

I think most of our goldfinches are wintering in Spain, but the blue tits are so active it almost looks like spring outside my window, they fly in flocks this time of year. Also on the bird front, two mornings in a row I got to see a red kite swoop down low over one of my favourite walking paths and from my window I can see dozens of thrushes plucking holly berries from the trees.

Our cold weather has nearly kept me indoors this week, but instead it simply shortened my walks due to numb toes and a numb nose. I spotted the fellow below watching me, do you see him? 

Old-man
Old Man of the forest

I must go now and prepare a belated Thanksgiving dinner. I'm giving thanks for healthy, happy family and friends and the wonderful people I've met right here. I'm also thankful for finishing, and for my parents instilling in me the desire to complete things even if it's hard (not that I'm interested in being an Everest climber or anything). I hope in the coming year I'll be dipping my toe into a pool of new activities and also doing more completing.

Happy Sunday to you! 


Painted owl cards & things

Party-parliment
Parliament of cards

Just dropping back in for a quick post on Gracie's party invites. She's having a small gathering this year for a sleepover... wish me luck. They have to do it at least once right!? I know, not more owls, but because it's a sleepover we decided night owls would be just the ticket. Gracie and I had such a good time making these together she wanted to share them.

The cards are just half an A4 card (A5) and folded once. A4 is nearly the same as letter size.

It ended up being very good practice using different brushes to vary paint effects. We used three brushes, one flat brush a round brush and a tiny round brush for details like the point of the nose. Making more than one owl gave Gracie a chance to practice the brush techniques. 

Painting-invites
Painting base colours 

I've uploaded a very simple sketched template if anyone wants to use it. Simply draw the owl on the fold and cut it out. Sketch in the circles with pencil as a guide for the paint. We used acrylic because they blend easily and dry well. To make the paint more opaque on the darker papers paint a base colour first mixed with some titanium white.

Painting-details
Painting details

To paint the feathery details we dipped the flat brush in whites and browns without blending them and painted from the eye outward. We used the unblended paint the same way on the body feathers.

Easy and effective and quick to do too. 

I'll soon be back to check out what I've been missing with friends around blogland and share a sewing project I've been working on for quite a while, it incorporates some new, simple embroidery patterns.

Oak-leaf
Oak leaf on a linen/cotton blend

I'm very excited about this one. The project started as many do, making something I needed then deciding other people might just need or want one too.

Stitched-seashell
Seashell on denim

And BTW, I'm still looking for the floor of Gracie's room, but to be fair, I haven't bothered to look very hard yet. We've been enjoying many sunny autumn days and new projects far too much to bother with indoor challenges. Besides, I've always found just closing her door very effective anyway ;)

Back soon. 

Jx

P.S. The template (sans the feet) would also work well for owl softies and acrylic or fabric paint would work just as well painting on fabric instead of paper.


A test, the fun kind

First swatch test
First test swatch

I finally got around to trying out Spoonflower. I took advantage of their one day free swatch offer and I'm so glad I did; thanks Pam for posting about it. I'd wanted to turn my Lykke embroidery pattern (below) into a fabric design for a very long time so I quickly put it together to send it through. The ordering process is so easy, I will definitely give it another try.

What I'll do next time: 

  • heavy up the lines, they came out a little too faint for my liking
  • do more homework about the printing process before ordering, Spoonflower have a great help section, I guess that's where I should start 
  • order one of their fabric swatch packs (they're only $1)  I'm not that crazy about the quilting cotton I had my swatch printed on

I might also decide to do a test swatch to try out various colour palettes.

Lykke design The first week of school is nearly over and we've managed to get there on time every single day, a good start. My week has been spent mainly on winter projects for The GP, like the teddy in progress above. I've been mulling over several other patterns and I'm hoping to get at least one drawn up soon, because it's something I need.

Not only did the postman bring me the treat of my swatch (which arrived very quickly), he also brought me some pretty postcards from Nicole. My favourite is one of her sweetest patterns, Forty Winks Fox. I love her distinctive style, a little like a modern Beatrix Potter in stitches - the animals in her patterns always have real personality.

I'll be meeting deadlines over the weekend and I look forward to visitors from home in the week ahead. Whatever you're up to at the weekend I hope you have a great one.

Fox postcard 
Forty Winks Fox, Follow the White Bunny

 

 


Repurposing and mopping up

Repurposed-3-ways

Today we quickly whipped up three easy items from one leg of an old pair of Gracie's jeans.

It started when I used the old jeans to make a coaster. I simply sewed two denim discs together then stitched on a vintage doily. I liked the way the denim went with the natural colour of the linen thread the doily was crocheted with.

Secondly, noticing the left-over long, sturdy seam that was scrap, I trimmed the seam close on both edges. Then sewed (with my machine) a buttonhole on one end and an orange, glass button on the other to make an ankle bracelet for Gracie. No need to even take this one off at bath time :)

And lastly, a new bone for Pippi. Denim is a great, sturdy fabric for dog toys. I made a simple bone shape with chalk on the remaining scrap, double-stitched around the shape and turned it. Then the kids stuffed it tightly with fabric scraps. After ladder-stitching up the opening she enjoyed a little chew time. This will be her craft room toy, no dragging it into the garden to hide it from us.

Denim will always be one of my favourite fabrics to sew with, it's uses are endless. Which reminds me, I love this denim necklace and this little denim number too.

Lichen-liken-the-weather
Lichen liken the weather

And yay! The sun peeped through this afternoon. We've had very little let up from the rain until today. It rained so hard two nights ago that the chimney above our stove had water pouring down it puddling under the oven, splashing over the stove into our dinner which was cooking away and also into a pool on the kitchen floor (it ended up being a perfect opportunity to give that grimy area a good clean).

Thirsy-thistle
Thistles showered

Having a week of heavy rain makes me feel even more sadness for people in Pakistan who are living in the floods and rain with no homes. I know the British people have been big supporters of the relief efforts, I hope it continues.

On another note, a couple of Gracie's favourite summer reads have been The tail of Emily Windsnap by, Liz Kessler and Kensuke's Kingdom by, Michael Morpurgo. She also whizzed through one of the Wimpy Kid books and howled all the way. Tristan isn't a lover of reading, never has been, but he does enjoy Chris Ryan books, lots of action.

Back to school soon. Hopefully the sun will keep on shining and we'll have a chance to hit the beach a few more times before going back.

Happy weekend to you!


Greenhouse effect

Green-house

This is our humble little greenhouse, purchased because the old glass greenhouse it's standing in has no walls left making it a chilly, breezy place for young seedlings just starting out. The start of our crop is ready to plant out, with more to come, but we're busy rabbit proofing before this can happen. I swear those weeds swallowing it up weren't there just a couple weeks ago.

Mini greenhouses like these, usually with the plastic lost can be seen languishing at the back of gardens all over the UK. Probably because the plastic covers are pretty flimsy or the gardeners take them off for winter and forget where they stored them when spring rolls around.

We bought ours at a local shop and while Gracie and I slotted it together we realised it was a very handy size and we knew another way we could put the greenhouse to good use.

Gracie's bedroom is too small for a decent size wardrobe and 17th century cottages don't have them built in. We've looked around for the perfect storage for her since we moved in 8 months ago with no success, until we got our greenhouse. 

New-wardrobe

So we purchased another greenhouse, put it together and removed a couple of bars and shelves. Then we bought some heavy cotton calico for a steal on eBay and whipped up a cover by copying the plastic one. I added pockets to the sides and some loops to hang scarves and belts and Gracie is so happy with the outcome.

We'd planned on appliqueing a "G" at the top but Gracie was too excited to finally have space for her hanging clothes that she put it up before I could even press out the seams. I love the fact that when she no longer needs this storage it will fit easily into other rooms and can be quickly disassembled for moving. 

So if you have a lonely greenhouse at the back of your garden, bring it indoors for a new life. It's very sturdy and the total cost for the whole thing was only £23.50 - bargain!

I'll be back soon with a blog birthday giveaway and a fun download.


More happy things & WIPs

 Margie-necklace 

Sea-glass crochet necklace from Margie, exactly what I would have chosen for myself, thank-you friend. And thank-you sweet Mathyld for the Owlette post. Click the image to see it a little closer. I wish photographs could show you how fine the stitches are.

We're winding down a week off school with a surprise visit from friends today so this will be a word-thin post. The images will portray how happy friends near and far have been making me. Poor postman, I've nearly kissed him several times this past week - I didn't for fear of putting him off. 

Nanou-treats 

And, a surprise from Nanou! This was a very big surprise and I will have to expand on just how wonderful this package is at a later date. Let's just say she's given me the tools to become a flower maker too. How wonderful and generous to pass on favourite crafts.

New-earrings 

And these are new earrings from moss and vine. I've not been spending much lately but these were on the Haiti By Hand site and I loved the delicate nature of them. I found this charity Etsy site through Pat whose fabulous felted stone donation was snapped right up, but these spoke to me. I don't wear earrings all the time but these feel special. I'm glad to have found this pretty Etsy shop

On-the-table

With the children home space is at a premium on my table which gets shared. We've had a little sun lately and it streamed in yesterday as I was making another crochet necklace gift, this time with button box treasures. There's also a cut apart jumper there that has been waiting to be re-assembled into a scarf for me. And at the top, a Black Apple sketch book that Gracie and I share. 

Growing-hexies

And lastly, sunshine this morning. These little hexies are now multiplying to become a special gift. 

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend.

J x

P.S. Don't forget the grand opening contest begins on Monday but you can still enter until Friday night.

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