Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Noses...

I'm on a quest to find a new way of adding noses to the larger cat softies that I make, like this one here, which popped up on Softies Central this week.  After being unable to find suitable triangular shaped pink buttons, it was suggested to me to try polymer clay, and make my own...!

Well, I've given it a try.  Maybe the weather is too warm at the moment, I found it really hard to shape as the clay had gone a bit too squidgy or maybe the tools I was using were inappropriate (they were from the kids playdoh set!).  I will give it another go, has anyone made their own buttons before?  Any tips to share would be much appreciated.

PS, the tantrum free summer is going pretty well, there have been a few close calls but so far, so good! 

Friday, July 25, 2008

Pandora's Box...

Apologies for the unexpected hiatus, our kitchen fiasco has become a bit all consuming this week, but we are now on the way back up (I hope!).  Our kitchen has been a bit of a 'Pandora's Box' from the start, so, trying desperately to stay positive about loosing the floor, has led us to finally start decorating the room.  So, today, I have painted 3 coats of white (it still looks patchy) onto what was a bare plaster ceiling, and being such a messy job, I have virtually turned myself into a human paint brush and am covered in white paint drips!!

(latest wip, which has unfortunately had to go on the back burner due to kitchen mess)

Now, down to the serious business, first, there is an interview with me here, and second, the winner of the toadstool giveaway is...

Amy from My Zoe Bug

So, if you can email me your address, I will get the toadstool off in the post.  

All I need to do now, is swap the paint brush for a sewing needle and camera, and there will be a new tutorial to post, watch this space...!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Help!, the summer holidays are coming... and a GIVEAWAY!

I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling a state of panic coming over me.  School finishes on Tuesday for the summer, 6 weeks of attempting to keep everyone happy, entertained, and fed on a very tight budget, what fun!  So, what better way to start the summer fun, than with a giveaway!

Come September, things are going to change for me.  Luke is starting pre-school, which will give me 3 whole days a week to work, and chance to begin putting all my plans for this little business into action.  Every move forward means leaving some things behind, this is a philosophy I often apply to my work.  I'm an ideas person, hence all the tutorials popping up, and after posting a while back about me not being a sketch book person, I actually realised I use my blog kind of like a sketch book, a place to note things down, try things out, some I use again, some I will go back to in the future, and some I wish I'd never posted!.

So, moving on from some of my older work, leaves space for the new to flourish, and means  I'm going to give away my tutorial toadstool...

leave a comment by midnight, Sunday 20th July (tell me your tips for a tantrum free summer!), and I'll do the draw for a winner on Monday morning.  This is also a way to say thank you, I've had so many visitors and inspirational comments left recently, I'm struggling to find the time to visit everyones blogs to comment back, and keep sewing!.  I might have to throw in a few left over birthday chocolates too, I'm starting to feel ill, I think I've eaten too many! 

EDIT TO POST

I'm going to have to leave this running for a couple more days, we have had a bit of a disaster this weekend, involving our kitchen floor, damp, what looks like could be a leaking pipe and worst of all, ants nests, so it's all hands on deck in the Lucykate household!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Toadstool round up...

I think it's time to round up the toadstool swap.  Here is just a small selection of the lovely things that were made...

(can you spot the tiny mouse?!)

I wish I could show more, but it's taken forever and a day just to build that mosaic, you can see more in the Flickr toadstool swap group pool.  If you are still to receive your swap toadstool, you are in good company, mine hasn't arrived yet either, but I did get this in the post...

(look at that amazing stitching, it's so neat)

It's from Louise at Prairie Mouse, and it's beautiful!

Thank you for all the lovely comments for the cotton reels, I won't be posting a tutorial for those just yet, I have other plans for them.  But don't worry, there will be plenty more tutorials coming up, I'm certain, one day, there is a craft book inside me just bursting to come out!

Well, I'm going to take a couple of days off, it's my birthday tomorrow and I will be...

a 38 year old, shopping, eating take away and in denial that I'm one step closer to the big 4 0!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Cotton reels,

I love old cotton reels, there is something very appealing about all that wound up thread waiting to be sewn with.  For a while, I have been wondering if there was a way of making a cotton reel out of fabric, felt and embroidery.

With some tinkering around involved, I came up with a pattern and began a little cotton reel production line.  After I'd added a felt label to one end, I sat staring at it for a while, and thought, this would make a great pin cushion!

Funnily enough, the other day, I'd already ordered some key rings, so attached one to the pincushion, and made a little needle book to match.  Was really handy for storing all my bits and bobs when we went away last weekend.

Oh, and if you happen to see a copy of the August issue of 'Quick & Crafty' magazine, turn to page 70 for a little interview...

...with me!

Thank you for all the lovely jam pot comments, we will have the best dressed jam in the land!

(sorry for the terrible photos, it's rain, rain, and more rain here, where is summer hey?!)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Tis the season for strawberries...

I've noticed there is a lot of jam making happening in Blogland lately, plus with Wimbledon also on, and so thought this tutorial for a really easy jar jar topper might be useful, if you have jam left over you'd like to give as a gift.


To make one for strawberry jam (the pattern can be easily adapted for other fruit), you will need - 
 
a jam jar with lid (mine is 8.5 cm across, and notice, once again for the purposes of photography, I have 'stunt' jam, not homemade!), a circle of felt measuring 16cm across (you will need a larger piece if your jam jar is larger than mine), two pieces of red felt 2.5cm x 4.5cm, another piece of red felt cut into a strawberry shape about 3cm tall, a small amount of green felt for leaves, about 58cm of narrow ribbon, some red, green and yellow embroidery thread (I've used pearl cotton 8), a small amount of stuffing, pencil, pins, sewing needle and some scissors.

First, scallop around the edge of the large felt circle, I just used normal scissors for this and did it freehand, but if you have some scalloped edge scissors, you could use those.

Then, place the jam jar lid centrally, and draw round it with a pencil to mark its position.  Thread the needle with the ribbon, weave it in and out all the way round, 1cm away from the drawn circle.  You may need to poke a small hole with some sharp scissors first, just make sure that both ends of the ribbon come out on the top side of the topper so they can be tied in a bow.

Next, to make mini strawberries to decorate the ribbon with, fold the red rectangle in half, and sew down one of the open edges which is at a right angle to the fold.  Trim the open side to a curve,

turn the shape inside out so the seams are on the inside, fill with a little stuffing, then sew running stitch all the way round the open edge, and pull to gather.

Before you sew it up, poke in one end of the ribbon, then secure the top with a few stitches.

Next, decorate the strawberry with a few yellow french knots, cut 4 small leaf shapes out of the green felt, and sew them to the top with the green thread.  Repeat, for the second strawberry.

Place the topper on the jam jar, and gather the ribbon, then pin the felt strawberry shape centrally to the top.  Applique it on by sewing blanket stitch around the edge, leave a small gap at the top, fill with a little stuffing, continue stitching to close it up.

Again, decorate the strawberry with some yellow french knots and add some more green felt leaves.  Then pop your topper back on your jam jar and tie the ribbon into a bow.  The good thing about making this in felt, is felt is quite forgiving, it is really easy to sew with, doesn't fray, and has a little 'give' in it so will stretch to fit if it's a little tight.

There you go, all you need know are some scones, clotted cream and a pot of tea!

If you make something from one of my tutorials please do join the Flickr group, Lucykate Crafts... pattern pieces, to show off your creations.