Sunday, December 27, 2009

Wonderful Chrimbo!

Justin and I had our first just the 2 of us Christmas. This was due to the fact that he had to go into work at 9pm and do the night shift at the hospital. So it was an interesting day - he slept in and then had to take another nap later so that he was able to be somewhat alert for work. Anyhoo, we had our Christmas slap bang in the middle of the day. I made a nice roast chicken and all the usual trimmings that one generally has with Turkey (except the Brussel sprouts).

I got some lovely presentsI finally got my Blue Morpho Butterfly necklace from neile's shop. I had wanted to buy it for my birthday but never could get round to spending the money on myself - Justin bought it for me. My luggage broke this summer and I had to sew it shut just to make it back home, Aunt Julie bought me a lovely Purple set of luggage. I got an overlocker from Justin's parents ( I actually got it at Thanksgiving but it was a Christmas gift.) Finally I got this lovely Pom-Pom scarf rom my Secret Santa. I got some other lovely gifts too!

My Mum and Dad left me a lovely parcel with lots of gorgeous items inside including these lovely pieces from Eden Pottery. I love the pottery and it is one of my favourite places to go when I am home, the owners are lovely and let my dad paint his own pieces and fire them for him, I have some great plates and bowls that he has made there. Of course we are great customers and regularly buy items in their annual "seconds "sale as well as eating the enormous cinnamon scones that they sell in the cafe. You can buy pieces from the website and I highly recommend them, my favourite current pattern is Cottage Garden after the sadly discontinued Sweet Pea series. A good friend of the family commissioned 2 sweet pea mugs for me a few years ago - a great gift.

It was a different Christmas but a good one!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Polka Dot Christmasy Swap

I went out for lunch with the hubby today and when I got home I found a delightful Christmas package on the door step. It was my polka dot gift for the Christmas Polka Dot Swap from my swap partner Bec Lewis of Little Brown Dog blog.

The rules for the swap were
  • At least three small items - these can be absolutely anything you want! But...
  • One item must be something handmade and Christmasy (i.e. a Christmas apron, decoration, stocking, etc) and must include some polka dot fabric
  • You must make the decoration including the colours your swap partner requests (this is because I know some of you will be like me, and have theme colours for Christmas)
I am delighted at what I have received. Firstly and polka dotty was my stocking. It is perfect! this is our first Christmas just the 2 of us so I was planning on making a stocking us both. Now I just have to make one for Justin. The bell on the toe is also great bells are somewhat of a Christmas theme for me. nicely wrapped in the stocking was a little birdy ornament which is now hanging on the tree. Thirdly all rolled up was a lovely cushion cover made from and Irish linen tea towel, perfect for me really - I love Irish Linen and the cushion is just so quirky!

Thank you so much Bec! I love all my items. I hope yours arrive soon!

I decided to experiment with Photovisi on this post. A way to make collages - anyone know of any other free programs - I am envious of those beautifully collaged posts which succesful bloggers put together.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Better Late than never...

I finally got around to updating my Etsy Shop today.

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade

Hopefully I haven't totally missed the boat and maybe I will get at least one holiday sale! Anyway - check it out and spread the news!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The joy of saving....

Giving, Saving and Spending Tags from mamaroots's shop

We have some pretty major expenses coming up next year and therefore have been under extreme save mode for some time. I have been keeping my money in a saving account and it is fun to watch that amount grow as we add to it each pay period.

We are fast approaching that time of year when we end up shelling out all of our hard earned cash on gifts for others. I love giving presents but all to often in the past couple of years I feel like we have given quite expensive gifts that were not necessarily wanted by the recipient, not that they were not thankful for the gift but they never really used it or wanted it in the first place. This year the extended family (on my side) have decided to do a secret Santa, I love this as Christmas has become increasingly more expensive as cousins have added spouses and children into the mix. Now all the adults are put into a hat and only have to buy 1 gift each. Children will still get gifts from everyone.

Fifteens from google images.

Today at my work my team are having a bake sale for our "Adopt a Family" I have made Fifteens and Hollywood Cakes, 2 recipes that my Nana gave me. Fifteens are a Northern Ireland favourite and Hollywood Cakes I have never heard of outside my family but they are yummy!

My husbands family were not up for the Secret Santa so we have to figure out something different. Inspired by the bake sale I am making the men in the family a tin of homemade tray bakes each. I ran this idea past the hubby yesterday and he is all for it. Now I just have to figure out what to get/make the women! Oh yeah, since we will not be visiting them at Christmas time this year we will do all of this at Thanksgiving (under 2 weeks).

Piggy Bank with Ladybug from lindaneubauer's shop

Monday, November 9, 2009

Flea Market Finds

While my parents were here I took them to the Royal Oak Flea Market. It is on every Sunday at the Royal Oak Farmers Market. we went both Sundays that they were here and we found some treats. I found this huge plastic peacock, which is painted to look like metal. The crest from his head is missing but i love him anyway. I wonder what he was originally used for.

Close up of the peacocks neck, you can tell he is plastic from this view point and you can see that there used to be some sort of crest on his head. He is now hanging in my sewing room.

The second major find was this fantastic piece of embroidery it is a very large panel made up of three lengths of cloth sewn together and hand embroidered. This was priced way over my budget but my Dad haggled and talked the vendor down to $90 this is still way more than I could have afforded but I think it is worth more - you would have to pay me a lot more than that for so much work.

Detail shot, the flash on the camera makes the red look a bit florescent it is a deeper shade in reality. The most lovely thing about this is that my Dad gave it to me to hang in my guest room, I guess they were tired at looking at nothing.

So I know nothing about the origins of this piece - if you have any idea about where this could be from I would be very interested to find out.

A quick google image search this evening has brought me these pictures of the big plastic peacock with intact crest from design boner blog. Look at that delicious bling! It completely makes sense that this piece is missing, I wonder if it became necklace or a brooch?

I also wonder since this particular peacock is all gold whether my crystals may have been green. I am interested to know. Also by by the 2 comments on the blog I found this it seems to be a particular favourite of grandmas for hanging over their bed (a fact that made me chuckle).

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Detroit Eastern Market

I had a great time with my parents while they were here. I had no time to blog so I felt a bit like I had abandoned it . I am back now. My Mum and Dad are fantastic and helped me get so much done around the house, including revamping my sewing room/studio I will post pictures of that soon.

One of the things we did when they were here was take a trip to the Eastern Market in Detroit. I had never been before and wanted someone to go with me and my parents happily obliged.

An amazing pile of gourds .

Indian corn.
Indian corn on top of gourds.

Beautifully displayed Chrysanthemums as I was taking this shot the market vendor posed for the pic and I felt obliged to take one of him as well.

Sunflower heads, I imagine people use these for displays? They were huge like great big pillows.

We came away with a load of veggies at extremely reasonable prices. I will definitely be going again.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Too Early?

I bought supplies to make Christmas cards last year and never got round to it, so friends and family got boring old shop bought cards (if i even sent out any - I can't remember!) I had the cards and a quick trip to the dollar store found some cheapo snowflake ornaments in the right colours and voila! Christmas cards.

This is actually good timing because now I can send my U.K. cards home with my parents when they come to visit next week, which will save on international postage!

BTW - Yay! my parents are visiting next week! I am very excited and am madly trying to clean up the house a bit and finish up a few art projects.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Day 30 OADCC

Today is day 30, the official last day of my one a day craft challenge. I am ashamed to admit that even though I made this challenge I haven't quite been able to keep up with it. I had a very hard week at work, 4 5am starts, that led to lots of falling asleep on the couch in the afternoon, my most productive time of day usually (because I have the house to myself). The mistake was not blogging every day, when I did that it was essential that I have a complete item to photograph. When I let that slip it was easy to fall behind. :(

With that said I am determined to get 30 items done, even if they are mostly brooches.
I went to take some pictures of some of the items I have made and the battery in my camrea was not charged.
I couldn't let this post go by without 1 picture so here are the postcards that I sent off for my postcard swap. Of course the scribble heart is my favourite. So much so that I have made it my new icon. I promise some pictures of more One A Day Challenge items tomorrow.

Please check out some of my friends who have been very good about joining me in this challenge

sara at soap rehab
Julie of Musings of a Northern Girl
Anjeanette of Roots and Wings Co

Juliann of The Sick Chick

Jen D of The Silver Lining

I am going to have to declare TiLT the absolute champion of this challenge she definitely rose to the occasion and produced some wonderful items.

Big thanks to everyone who participated. Look out for the rest of my items to appear here in the next few days!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Day 21 (OADCC)

Hi everyone, I know I haven't blogged for a few days but it doesn't mean that I haven't been making. Day 17, 18 and 19 I made more flower brooches, I decided it wasn't really necessary to write about each one of these as you have seen the idea a few times now. The flower is easy for me to do on those very rushed days and I still feel like I am getting something done. Anyway today is another day and I made a different kind of flower necklace. I made 3 rosettes out over layers of silvery fabric. and then sewed them onto a ruched length of ribbon. The sheer fabric is actually a silver check on a black background which makes a great pattern when layered over each other (detail below).

On Day 20 (yesterday) I quickly sewed up some cushions. I have had this fabric for years. Another great thing about this challenge, it has got me completing those little projects which I have been meaning to do for the longest time.

And due to Floss' suggestion I took a picture of one of my butterflies in amongst the flowers to see what that would be like. I think he looks quite charming perched on the Hydrangea.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Day 16 (OADCC)

Today I made this little fellow. It is a french beaded butterfly. I love french beading but it takes a long long time. In addition to this guy I also made the bodies to all of the little ones below. I have had the wings done for a long time now just waiting to get put together. Funny enough the wings are by far the easier part. Anyway It was good to get a production line of bodies going.

You can still see the wires behind the butterflies, I will need these to attach the butterflies to their final destination.

I was originally going to make these into hair sticks like the one below, I made him earlier in the year, I have modified the wing shape and the body since then. I am now thinking that I will make some hair clips/barrettes too! Any other suggestions of things I could do with my butterflies! The big problem with them is that they takes so much time to make If I charged by the hour they would cost a fortune.

Why are my butterflies fellows and hims ??

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Day 14 & 15 (OADCC)

The observant among you, may have noticed that i was off by 1 day on my count. I had worked very late on projects 2 nights running so just posted about them the next day. Yesterday however was the day of the baby shower for my friend, at my house. I live in a state of chaos and so I spent most of the day cooking, cleaning and generally preparing my house for guests. The most crafty thing I did was a bit of flower arranging.

Anyway to make up for that I planed to do 2 things today. I actually needed to do 2 things today. I agreed to be part of whosies postcard swap over at
I had 2 swap partners and the postcards had to be mailed out today! So I got to making 2 postcards - I carefully measured and cut and after making the first one I discovered I had made it an inch to wide, oops. I loved it so much that I sent it anyway ( actually that would have been a good excuse to keep it). I made the second one to the correct size. I am sorry to say that 1 is better than the other, but I did like them both. I don't want to show you them yet but I will when I think they may have received them.

Here they are sitting in my mail box, after which I took them out and took them to the post office to be mailed.

P.S. My friend loved her Bunting that I made on Day 4!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Day 13 (OADCC)

I decided I wanted to make a more casual brooch. What better material to use than T-shirt. I embroidered some simple flower shapes on t-shirt (with peltex backing) I layered some more t-shirt on top and cut petal shapes.

I cut the whole shape out and added some more petals. This whole piece went into the washer and dryer so the edges could curl.

I then added some beads and voila - this is how we dress up a plain white T!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Day 12 (OADCC)

For Day 12 I made this .....
A lovely little square cushion, or a massive pincushion! It measures 7 inches square. As I was doing this One a Day craft challenge I became increasingly aware that I did not have a pin cushion! Amazing, right? You would think that everyone who had a sewing room would have a pincushion. I used to have one of those tiny tomato ones but I have no idea where it is. I have been using lids to hold my pins and often nothing at all. Anyway I needed a big pin cushion and I used the basic idea from kootoyoo but having no cute handkerchiefs I made a cute square of my favourite fabrics.
It felt like I put so much stuffing in this thing. Then when I came to put the button in the center I didn't have a big long needle, so I had to clamp my cushion and use pliers to pull the embroidery thread through! Necessity is the mother of invention!

Here it is in use with the very needle I used to make it. Pin cushion tip, Always keep a short strand of thread in your needle it makes them much easier to find in amongst the pins. I just have to pick all of the pins and needles of the floor now!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Day 11 (OADCC)

Hello, I did not make any brooches today. I did however make this lovely necklace. I made some smaller flowers using the brooch technique and attatched them to twisted ribbon tubes. I have not embellished it yet with beads - do you think it would be better with or without?

Close up of the 2 flowers on the right side. I am really happy with this one. I am going to have to bribe someone to do a photo shoot of me wearing some of this stuff for my shop.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Day 10 (OADCC) Another Brooch

I am so sorry everyone, I just didn't have it in me today after getting home at 10pm, and having a fiasco filled morning, to make anything other than another brooch. Same shape, just different fabrics and beads. I do like this fabric it is a beige colour with a metallic purple/blue top weave. Shot fabrics or multi toned ones are perfect for these wrinkly flowers.

Again with and without flash above and a nice detail below.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Day 9 (OADCC)

Well it was coming to the end of day 9 and the bigger project was not looking anywhere near done so....... yes another flower brooch. This is the exact same size as the one 2 days ago, just in a much more sophisticated gunmetal and black colour scheme. You can see it above without flash and below with. I am happy because any other day I would have gone to bed with a 1/2 finished project but today i am going to bed with a a 1/2 finished project plus a pretty flower brooch!
I am getting quite good at making these, what kind of price would you be willing to pay for one (if you couldn't make it yourself that is) I am definitely producing a few of these for my Etsy shop.

I love this detail shot of the center, pretty.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Day 8 (OADCC)

Little purse/pouch. Just the thing for carrying your jewelry when you get tired of wearing it. I made a similar one for my pay it forward this is a bit different though with some ribbon knots to finish it and mitered corners (sort of, good practice anyhow). The main piece of fabric is gunmetal quilted with black thread in random spiral patterns. I admit that I had a little help, I cut one of the ribbon ends far to short and my hubby had to help me tie it with a pair of tweezers.

The back of the purse you can see the quilting pattern much more clearly here.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Day 7 (OADCC)

Today I decided to make another flower brooch, this time its a little different. I used a thinner interfacing which actually shrivels under heat. This can be used to make a great texture in the flower petals.
I used fabric from a friends bridesmaid dress. I love to get old bridesmaids dresses, they are rarely something a person would wear again and often have great fabrics for bags and brooches etc. Let me know if you want to get rid of any (and you live in Michigan).

Since I was making something smaller today I made 2 brooches instead of 1. I will try to get some better detail shots up here tomorrow.
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