Monday, 31 December 2012

Looking back to move forward

I always enjoy the beginning of the New Year - the opportunity for a clean slate and to start afresh, and at the moment I'm feeling very optimistic about 2013: although there will be challenges - some I know are coming and others that haven't yet come to light - it feels like it could be a turning point: Littlest Boy will be starting nursery and Little Boy will be starting school all of which should mean that I might get more time to craft and blog! I'm also hopeful that this will be the year that the boys learn to sleep through the night. We can but dream!

From a crafting perspective, I'm not really sure where to start! I've experimented with so many new things this year. And when I was going through all my pictures, there were a lot more finished items than I expected!

First off, I started to dabble in dress-making and am quite surprised to find that I have made four tops already! For 2013,  I've got plans and have the fabric for another Tova (and it's rather psycadelic!) and also for a Renfrew in some beautiful Roma Jersey. I would also like to have a go at making some skirts with cord fabric that I've been hoarding saving for a while.
2012 dressmaking projects by fabric&flowersuk

Back in May I started to experiment with patchwork and quilting which I've really enjoyed and have made a grand-total of four quilts now (all lap-sized, maybe 2013 will be the year for a bed-sized quilt?!)
Quilting projects by fabric&flowersuk

I've had so much fun with these and hope to do a lot more in the coming year, I feel I've got so much more to learn. I've already signed up for a Craftsy class on Free Machine Quilting Negative Spaces - an online class which I can do from the comfort of my own home and re-watch anytime I fancy. How cool is that?! I'm hoping that working my way through the Farmers Wife Quilt blocks will also teach me a lot

Yarn wise, it's been mostly about the Sky Blanket (which I'm going to leave for another post), but I have managed to fit in a few little knitting projects here and there as well as other little random projects
2012 Crafty projects by fabric&flowersuk

2012 Crafty projects by fabric&flowersuk

I've actually really missed knitting so hopefully I'll be able to fit in a little bit more during 2013.

I've even been surprised by the orders that I've done - this has been very much a sideline this year as there's been a lot going on. I enjoyed each and everyone of these - especially the comissions, I think the horse cushion remains my favourite.
Special Commissions by fabric&flowersuk

Having written down all my plans for next year, it's starting to feel pretty full already! I'd better go and sort out my craft space and make a plan!!!

I'd like to say a big thank-you to you all for following me on the beginnings of my blog journey and hope you all have a fabulous time bringing in the New Year and coming up with your own hopes and dreams.

Happy New Year!

S x

Todays sky ●  bit too dark to say - I'll have to update later!

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Some more Christmas gifts

I don't know about you, but I had a few crafty things on my Christmas list that I was very much hoping Santa would think I'd been good enough to get!

The one that I was most excited about was the Farmers Wife Quilt book - I've been seeing quite a few around the blogosphere and, as I don't yet own a patchwork book I thought it would be a really good resource for lots of different blocks. If you want to have a look at some of the fabulous blocks and finished quilts, then do go and check out the Flickr group. The book is based on letters written by American farming wives responding to the question "Would you want your daughter to marry a farmer?", and includes one/two blocks for each of the letters as well as excerpts from some of the letters. I've always loved history so I find it really interesting to read peoples perceptions about 1920's America. I was also lucky enough to be given some fabric to have a play with and have ordered some more - so I think this might be my ongoing project for 2013! If anyone fancies joining me then let me know!

The other item that I'd asked for was a spool rack. It doesn't look very exciting I know, but the idea of being able to see all of my spools at a glance and just grab the one I need rather than rummaging through my ice-cream tub feels like it's going to be a time-saver, as well as looking pretty on my wall. Once I (or Mr f&f!) put it up that is!

And then my Mum surprised me with the most gorgeous wooden buttons that she'd picked up on holiday in Talin

I'm going to have to make something very special to put them on. I'm thinking something knitted, maybe a shawl or something. If anyone has any pattern ideas I'd love to hear them.

And talking about Christmas gifts, I thought I'd share with you a couple of little things. The first one is a pressie that I made for my Dad. A hand-sewn rolled-hem handkerchief using a paisley print with a contrasting red perle cotton.
Rolled-hem handkerchief by fabric&flowersuk

I used the fantastic tutorial by Purl Bee and although it was a little tricky to start the hem rolling properly (and we won't talk too much about the corners!) it was very relaxing and therapeutic to just sit and sew and made a small and functional gift very personal.

The second one was a present to myself - a centre-piece for the Christmas table. I managed to finish it on Christmas Eve so it was only just ready. I used a wonky star for the centre panel and then free-motion quilted holly-leaves into each of the squares, although they don't really show up too well in the text
Christmas table mat by fabric&flowers

Christmas table mat by fabric&flowers

The crochet blanket is still coming along, although I have a little catch-up to play...I'm about ready to sew the two sides together and then it will be onto the border. They could take a while I reckon!

I don't know about you but I'm already starting to look forward to 2013 and thinking new goals. I just don't know if there's going to be enough time for everything that I'm thinking about?!


Todays sky ● overcast. Boo!

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Some Christmas gifts....

Did you make many gifts for Christmas? I made a few. Not as many as I would have really liked to do, but a few. And I thought I'd share with you a quilt that I made.

I really wanted to made something special for my in-laws - they've been so supportive in what has been quite a tricky year that has included lots of changes and some shocks along the way. When I went to the Knitting and Stiching show I came across a  Jelly Roll in one of their favourite colours and thought "Oh, a jelly roll quilt, that would make a lovely gift"

The thing was, once I thought about it, I didn't just want to do another Jelly Roll quilt, and fancied trying something different. After a bit of looking I came across a Garden Trellis patchwork block where you pair light and dark strips together. I made tubes of four strips, rather than six, but the principal is the same!

The quilt top took a bit longer to put together than I expected - not helped by a few miscalculations along the way - but eventually I was ready to start with the quilting and decided to go with some random stippling.
Christmas gift quilt by fabric&flowersuk

I took a-g-e-s taping the backing fabric down before pinning and do you know what, I still ended up with some bunching on the back that I had to rectify. Grrr! One of my goals for 2013 is to refine my quilting skills. At one point I even sewed through my finger.....certainly not something I'd recommend! Thankfully it didn't ruin the quilt but it certainly made me stop and think for a bit. Ouch!!!! (although I do feel like I've passed some kind of sewers initiation?!)

Would you like to see how it all came out in the end?! I forgot to measure the finished size, but it was something around 55"x55"
Christmas gift quilt by fabric&flowersuk

Because of all the blue, I went for a simple grey binding with a small flower print on it, which I think complemented the quilt top well. 
Christmas gift quilt by fabric&flowersuk

The quilt top was wider than my backing fabric so I added in some pieced strips with the remaining jelly roll strips and off-cuts to make the quilt back the right size. I think it helps to add some interest.
Christmas gift quilt by fabric&flowersuk

Thankfully my in-laws were over the moon and loved it!
Christmas gift quilt by fabric&flowersuk

I hope you're having a great Christmas holiday and see you soon with some of my spoils from the past few days! 

S x

Todays sky ● grey. More rain

Monday, 24 December 2012

Wishing you a Merry Christmas!

Ohhhh Christmas has come round quick, hasn't it?!

I hope you all have a fabulous day with friends and family and that Santa brings you everything that you've been hoping for!

See you soon,


Today's sky • grey and raining

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

And the winner is.....

Thank you all so much for your lovely comments on my last post...

And the lucky winner is.....
...and that was Bob & Neena who said....
Congratulations! Please drop me a mail with your address and I'll get it in the post to you as soon as possible.

I loved reading all your comments. It got me thinking about what my favourite thing about Christmas is but I don't think I can pick out just one thing, because for me it's a little bit of everything: keeping up the old traditions and occassionally adding in some new, giving someone (big or small) a present that makes them break into a smile, being surrounded by everyone that's important to me and having a meal where it's okay to take hours to eat it and maybe feel a little bit too full by the end of it! Having moved house this year, I'm also looking forward to having our first Christmas here and starting to make some memories and maybe some new traditions,

Hope you've all had a lovely day, 

S x

Todays sky ● blue

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Feeling Chrismassy....a Giveaway!

A little while ago I made a start on a Christmas table centre piece using a mix of fabrics that I'd picked up at the Knitting and Stitching Show.

I made a Wonky Star for the central panel using this tutorial and then two plain panels to go either side because the fabric is just so gorgeous and I think simple is best in this case!
Christmassy centre-piece to be! by fabric&flowersuk

I've made quite good progress, just need to finish the quilting - I'm thinking maybe some holly leaves on the outside squares - binding, and then it's done. But I've got some presents that I need to finish first!

I had some fabric left and because it's Christmas, and because I don't think I've said 'Thank You' enough to you all for sticking with me in my first year of blogging, I thought I'd have a little giveaway.
Christmassy table mat giveaway by fabric&flowersuk

It's for a little table mat measuring around 6"x16" - just about perfect for a Christmas table, or maybe even for putting some chocolates on - with some festive words, a scrappy back and lots of Christmas colours all ready to be posted off to one lucky reader.
Christmassy table mat giveaway by fabric&flowersuk

All you need to do is leave me a comment, maybe telling me your favourite thing about Christmas just for fun, and I'll pick a name on Tuesday at lunchtime (edited to add - I'm leaving this open until 6pm tonight as I've been made aware that people were having problems leaving comments), which should leave enough time for me to run to the post office and get it to you in time for Christmas Day!

Hope you've all had a lovely weekend,


Today's sky • blue with clouds

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Feeling Christmassy...A Lacey Wreath

How are you getting on with Christmas? I'm slowly getting there. Well, I've thought about presents, thought about wrapping, thought about quite a lot of things in fact.... just not yet done any of them properly. Still, I'm slowly getting into the festive spirit. 

Since about September I've been thinking about doing a fabric wreath and then they've been popping up everywhere on Pinterest, and my craftiness was piqued! Have you seen how fabric hungry they are though?! About 1.5-2m per wreath depending on how full you want them and I didn't have any/enough of the colours to hand to make one up, and didn't want to spend too much on it. 

And then, at silly o'clock one morning, I had a sudden thought! A good friend of mine had happened across a bag of lace when clearing out her loft a little while back and offered it to me and it had since sat unused amongst all my other bits and bobs. And I thought 'ooohhhh, that would make a perfect snowy, lacy wreath!'. So I was off! That morning, I popped into my local florists and picked up a wire wreath base for about 90p!

I set to chopping up all my lace into 4-5" lengths and tied them on to the wire wreath (you can find a tutorial here)....

...I then added in some strips of organza to fluff it out a bit more and then I was ready to pimp decorate it. I got these pretty decorations from Hobbycraft, some of them needed some thread hot-glue gunned onto the back but then I was all ready to go!

Beads were added, cotton was tied....

Lacey Christmas Wreath Close Up by fabric&flowersuk

And then it was all ready to hang up with some twine...
Lacey Christmas Wreath by fabric&flowersuk

It looks very pretty in our lounge and was so much fun to make. I'm even starting to think about digging out our Christmas decorations now.....!!!


Todays sky ● overcast, misty and cold but oh so pretty!

Sunday, 9 December 2012

The past few days have been mostly about...

...getting into the Christmas spirit!!!! I've been working on a quite a few projects all at the same time so my heads been in a bit of a spin...

...starting to quilt a table runner with my first attempt at using a walking foot. Ooohh, it took me a while to get the foot fitted properly but it seems to be working well so far. It will get a real test in the next couple of weeks so I'll report back then

...playing with some bits and bobs to make a Christmas wreath...

...working on some secret Christmas presents...
...making Cranberry Sauce for Christmas Dinner. When I was a little girl, my Mum always gave me the job of making this on Christmas Eve so it holds very special memories for me. My In-Laws have also grown to love this and in recent years I have taken to making it a few weeks in advance and pouring it into sterilised jars so that I can gift one and keep one. Just perfect. And it makes the house smell all Christmassy which is one of the best bits!
(I'm not going to show you the pic 10mins later where I'd let it boil over. Oops!)

I hope you've all had a lovely weekend getting in the festive spirit, 

S x

Todays sky ● blue with clouds

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

November in Crochet

I was anticipating posting this on the 1st December, now that I'm all caught up and everything, but general busyness with the build up to (whispers) Christmas meant that by the time I thought to take any photo's the light was really rubbish and wouldn't have done the blanket any justice!

Today I wrote myself a to-do list (as suggested by my 6yr old!) so here we finally are. I have to say that I can't believe there's only another 18 days to ripple away before I make a start on the border. December seems to have come around mightily quickly.

November started off with lots of promise.....
Taken on a day trip to Monmouth

....and was then followed by lots of this....

I even started to make a start on all of those pesky ends so that November is truly 'finished' which is very exciting! (let's not mention the non-straight side there, I'm hoping the border will straighten everything up!)
Sky Blanket by fabric&flowers

I love how the blanket looks from different angles and its gentle ripples, so soothing to look at as well as to hook.
Sky Blanket by fabric&flowers

Although I haven't got a picture to show you, I can't quite believe how big this half of the blanket is getting now - I don't remember the other half being this long? I'm going to have to do a little photo shoot of the sky blanket in it's entirety - I'm excited about laying them together side by side but am hoping that my tension hasn't changed and that the sides are going to match together nicely!!!

I hope you've all had a lovely day and maybe even got to enjoy a little snow? Now that we're in Gloucester the closest that we got today was a little bit of drizzle and quite a lot of sunshine,

See you all soon,


Todays sky ● blue! But very very cold!

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