Friday, 14 September 2018

My superpower - I make beautiful things

It is a me made kind of day! Some days I wake up in a rush, the school drop off, the to-do list, the laundry... and so I just throw a top and jeans on. But some days I think, what do I want wear today? And then I put together an outfit, around something I made. I just love it - especially if someone compliments it and I get to say "Oh, this silly thing, I made it!".




Making things for myself empowers me, it makes me feel so good, so proud, like I achieved something even before I left the house... note how confident I am that I took this picture with cero make up on!

I take a lot of pride in the things I make, well that is when they come out the way I wanted to... and I learn from my mistakes. I have a move-on approach. So if no good, I generally finish and donate it (or trash it if really bad), or take it apart and try again... but whichever happens I move on until I have something beautiful in my hands...

So I like to think that I have a superpower...  I make beautiful things. I can transform fabric, or yarn, or thread into something beautiful, something I can wear, or I can display and enjoy... I create a bond with the materials and transform them into, generally, something even better.

As a mum, my making super power, has allowed me to create beautiful moments with my son, like drawing, painting or being crafty together... as well as being able to create things for him that make him feel special. Like costumes, or special outfits... or warm scarves and hats. I made him all his tiny baby sweaters and I loved seeing him wearing them...

So my question today is what is your super power? And if you would like to have a making super power like me? Why not join my Facebook Group "Let's Get Crafty" for lots of stitching and making inspiration...


Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Grany square day

International granny square day started back in 2014 in Instagram by @suregal27 and this year it is being hosted by Simply Crochet Magazine. I am joining in showing my all time favourite square, which is my heart bonding square and to celebrate the wonderful grannies everywhere I am sharing my pattern for free (see below). 



But first let me show you a load of all time favourite granny makes.


These are all time favourites and you can find them all here in the blog. There's the one square blankets, the pastel granny and the all colourful granny blanket that was made by my students, all charity makes. And the bottom left is the calm blanket that was made for a lovely little baby girl, who still treasures it... many years later... 

So today I am sharing how I make my super easy granny square, please click here for the step by step picture instructions. 


What is your favourite granny square? I would love to hear...







Friday, 10 August 2018

Winding fibres to wind down...

I have been knitting and crocheting for over 20 years now (and that’s more than half my life) most times with yarn from the big producers. But I have always been drawn to natural materials, wool and cotton especially.
However recently, I have had the need to work with the most natural materials, hand dyed if possible, or not dyed at all. And so I have been toying with the idea of dying and spinning my own yarn.

Not sure how it is going to balance my excitement and patience... I generally love easy quick projects that I can get done in a couple of weeks at most, but a couple of hours preferably.

When I went to the New Forest Country Show a couple of weeks ago, the ladies at the weavers and spinners guild were super nice and I had the chance to have a quick one to one lesson on spinning. Next thing I know I had already ordered some fibres and a drop spindle to give it a go.



I am absolutely loving the process, I find it the most relaxing and meditative craft I have yet tried.
I just simply wind down... So I find myself working super slowly, parking the spindle as I go, enjoying the process and not really caring about the end result. This is so not me, and I love it.

And that's why I find it so surprising that I am winding up yarn to wind down... to relax. I am meditating through the fibres, the twisting motion, feeling the twist in my fingers and letting it go up the fibres to create yarn. It also smells so good! like being transported back to the countryside and a lovely British hill in the sun!

And I bought more fibres that I will be able to spin in my tiny drop spindle, but hey ho, I am learning a new lovely craft and hopefully, eventually, one day, make something beautiful to wear that will remind me of the amazing transformative process of the yarn.

My love today to all the makers out there, that create, transform and fill the world with beautiful things, one spin at a time!


Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Reward charts - chasing the carrot works?

This is quite an unusual post for me, but I am feeling more and more the need to share more than just my crafting. Hope you like that and choose to stick with me on this one too.

Our son has been potty training during the last month and there has been a lot of praise and gifts to encourage the toilet action. But it got to a point were going to the toilet was no longer an issue and he was asking (more like demanding with a nice pleaseeeeee at the end) for gifts at all times. 



So we decided to introduce a rewards chart. It was a spur of the moment thing that I just drew on a paper, with spaces to add stamps when he does something really well or that's helpful, some smiley faces for some "fun activities" along the way and a present at the end of the chart.

It has worked a treat. He understands the concept of the rewards for things well done and is really looking forward to his present. He also gets to choose his fun activity, which mostly consists of us singing and dancing crazy in the kitchen to a couple of Katie Perry's songs. I am happy to oblige!

And as I was sharing the news of how well the chart is going in my family WhatsApp group, a certain brother in law said that his wife should have one too! So jokingly I made one for her, but instead of empty circles I wrote activities that I knew my sister would need to get done. And then I made one for myself.. and I was honest, like I haven't been in years, about all of those tasks that really needed doing...

… the box of handbags that still sits in the loft from two moves ago...
… the dreaded spare bedroom closet...
… the little one's clothes that need sorting and taking to the charity shop...
… and so on.

 And I displayed it proudly next to my son's. So I get questioned daily by him how many stamps I got each day.



Well let me tell you it is actually working. Not sure if it is the fact that it is very predominantly displayed in the kitchen, or the fact that my son is constantly reminding me that I need to get more stamps. But it is working and I am getting things done. The not so happy part is that I am starting a new list already for the next chart... buy hey, I have stopped procrastinating over those tasks, that were hanging over my shoulders...

Do you think that's something you could give a go? Are there a few things that you have been procrastinating for weeks, months or even years? or any tasks you want to achieve in the next few weeks that a chart with a promise of a nice reward can help you with?
I would love to hear.



 

Thursday, 2 August 2018

My wish list

A new month and a new update on my wish list... I do love colourful things and this one won't disappoint... watch out in the upcoming days for some pictures of things I added to my stash lately too... Oh the shopping!

Enjoy the picture list below, links in caption text. As always I have picked all the items in the list and are actually things I want to get for myself. I am in no way related or sponsored by any of them.

Seamstress key ring by Pink Coat Club

Wild Olive tomato needle minder - Cloud Craft

Be a lovely human by Nutmeg and Arlo

Hope you enjoyed all the lovely items here, this time I have chose all UK small business to showcase as I have fall in love with their makes lately. Happy crafting!


Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Creative parent equals creative child?

Crafting has always been a part of me, so I find myself working when my little one is around lots, specially so during the summer holidays. In my house you will find my embroidery tools, or my sewing box or my hooks and needles around all of the time. Partly because I like to have them handy for when I have 5 minutes to work but also unconsciously because I want to transfer him the love of what I make.

However this is the way I was brought up too. I have plenty memories of my grandmothers and my mum sewing, knitting, painting and cooking all while we played around. As a child I would sit at the pedal of my grandmother's Singer and help her move the pedal while she sewed. Her scissors and all sewing implements were in the drawers in her sewing table, and I remember admiring them and opening the drawers many times. I knew what the tools were and that I was not to touch them. I respected them and I loved them too!

I also loved joining in, so from early on I was making clothes for my dolls (gluing scraps of fabric together) or knitting wonky scarves or ironing the clothes in my play ironing board (aka old bench) and iron. Came the time of carnival (there was no dressing up for Halloween at the time) or school plays, we would rummage in a drawer of old clothes and make things out of them. I always loved my costumes and my earliest memories are a Hawaiian skirt made out of a potato bag, a colonial dress in blue fabric and black lace, and a 60s skirt for a rock and roll dance made out of my mums old green striped dress...

For every occasion there was a handmade gift, partly because we couldn't afford otherwise, but partly because it is what we did. Pencil holders made out of tins, Paper Mache whatever you can imagine, etc. It is what we did.



And so as I don’t know any better that’s what I do at home. We have had our issues, like the time my son grabbed my bird crewelwork embroidery to look at the pretty bird whilst his fingers were covered in chocolate (I am yet to clean that stain)… but generally at 3 years old he understands and respects my tools, and he loves copying and being involved. So we colour together and lately we started embroidering together. First with perforated paper and last weekend for the first time with actual cross stitch tools. The needles that were in my sewing case (blunt needles for cross stitch) and Aida fabric, the same one I use.


My son also knows about wool, you may have seen in my stories the videos of him winding up yarn. He is also learning to make pom poms, and I am planning to get him into dyeing yarn and finger knitting as soon as he is ready.

I adapt the materials as much as I possibly can, but generally he asks to do things there and then so I have to improvise. I won't lie it is messy, there is a bit of shouting involved some times when I see he is about to mess up with the bits I don't want to share... life is real, not the imaginary tale in my head and he is 3! But we try, we inspire each other and we try to share a special time of what mum does.

Creative parent equals creative child? I don't know yet. I may figure it out in a few years time. But I hope to be transferring the love of handmade, of working with your own hands, of creating. I hope to be giving him the confidence that he can make things, that he can transform a material into something beautiful, that his hands can create what he imagines. I hope to be transferring the love of hand made... and secretly I am hoping that it will also lead to him appreciating what I do... and how much love goes into it.

Do you share what you do with your child? Be it your job or you hobby? I would love to know.


Monday, 9 July 2018

Making a larger peg bag

Hello there!

You may have seen before over here that I have a pattern for a peg bag over in my Craftsy store (here). And I have been using it for well over 5 years now... but as families grow so does the needs for pegs unfortunately and I found myself needing a new, larger bag.


After a little consideration and deciding how bigger I wanted my bag to be without being too large and how was I going to amend the pattern to make it work for us now I came up with this!



In my bag I am using a lovely fabric from IKEA that I had leftover from ages ago when I made my doggy Feli a coat and cushion. You can have a peak at that one (here). I even managed to fuzzy cut some sections to make sure I got the pretty pictures in the bag...



So what you will you need:

- The pattern for my Pretty Peg Bag from my Crftsy store (here) printed.
- Still you will use half a meter of sturdy cotton fabric.
- A baby size hanger.
- Printer paper, ruler, pencil, paper scissors and tape for drafting the new pattern.
- Sewing notions, machine and thread.

Amending the pattern
The first thing you will need to do is modify the printed pattern to add length to the bag. To do that pint the original pattern. You will be adding about 10cm height to the bag.



Trace the shape of the front bottom piece of the peg bag into a new piece of paper leaving about 10cm of paper to the top. Depending on the size of paper you are using you may need to patch a new piece of paper on top. On an A4 sheet it should just fit. Then trace the side lines up for 10cm and trace the new top mark as per the picture below.


Now trace and cut two of the new drafted pieces and two of the top front section as per the original pattern. Stick one top and bottom part together, this will form the new back piece of the pattern. Use the other two pieces as your front top and bottom parts. Your new piece patterns should look something like this.


Continue assembling the pattern pieces as per the instructions in the pattern. Please note in the finished peg bag I sewn two tacks by hand about 4cm from the side joining the front top and bottom together. This was done to ensure the opening doesn't open too wide with the weight of the bag. You would not need to make this tag if you are making the smaller version, however you can do if you choose too!

Hope you enjoy the peg bag pattern and please do share back or tag @natilittlethings so I can see it when you post on social media!

Enjoy sewing,

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