Saturday, 30 June 2012

Card Holder

I've been needing a new holder for my Oyster card (payment card for the London Underground trains) for a long time. I go through these plastic ones at a rate of about one a year, and they're just not pretty. 

So I decided to cut in to one of my lovely Lecien fabrics. I used this tutorial from The Crafty Cupboard, which is really for business cards, but works just as well for this. 

I cut out all the necessary pieces, opting to go for fewer different fabrics than the original. 

Folded, pressed and topstitched a double hem onto the pockets.

Pinned the pockets to the lining. Ironed the fusible fleece to the top layer and pinned it, right sides together to the lining piece. I inserted a small hair tie for closing purposes. Then sewed all the way around, turned inside out and used an invisible stitch to close the gap. It was around this point that I realised that the metal part of the hair tie was now on the outside. So I cut it off and sewed it back together. Not sure how well this will hold with time, but the metal part made it difficult to close. I then sewed on a button (I agonised over which button to use for ages, but decided the blue went well with the blue flowers on the fabric). 

Now I have a much prettier holder for my Oyster card, and hopefully a much more hard-wearing one!

Thursday, 28 June 2012

June Wishlist

Just about squeezing this wishlist into June!

Fabric is still top of my list. Seeing all of the beautiful fabrics everyone is using is really bad for my bank account! Some of the ones I'm coveting at the moment:

Timeless Treasures from Stitch Me Lane (I swear I'm not connected to them in any way! They're just a lovely shop!)

Spoonflower. This place is fantastic for some really interesting prints, but the shipping to the UK puts me off a little. I think it's only worth it for buying over a yard. I love the black cat print. It reminds me of some of the printed blouses on the high street at the moment. 

I love the Moda Walk in the Woods collection by Aneela Hoey. After I've finished the quilt I'm making (..which could well be months), I'm thinking of making Hexagon Park with it.

Seeing all the pretty pins people have in their pincushion makes me a little ashamed of my boring plain ones! I love some of the cute ones people have pinned on pinterest!

With Fabric and Thread has been appearing all over my blog reader recently. Seeing all of the adorable projects in there, it's clearly with good reason. I really love the slippers and the flower pincushion!

I'd love to hear what's currently on your wishlists!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Bow Headband

I'm always looking for things to knit that aren't wintery. I have hundreds of scarves and more hats and gloves than I could ever really use. This bow headband may still not be suitable for summer, but it's still nice to knit something a bit different.

I'd never knit short rows before and mine are far from perfect. I used the wrap and turn instructions from the pattern, but still have some small holes. They're not very obvious though and the bow mostly covers them. I also had a bit of a problem, having used smaller needles - my headband wasn't long enough. I managed to crochet a portion to lengthen it, which is thankfully covered by the bow (it's not pretty).

The pattern is from NorthThirty-Fourth and it was really easy to follow - a beginner shouldn't really struggle too much with anything except maybe the wrapping and turning.

I used Dream in Colour Classy in Grey Tabby, which is a really nice 100% merino wool yarn. It used up a minuscule amount of the ball though, so maybe I'll have to make another!

Sunday, 24 June 2012


I could not have been happier to have checked my emails in Paris (sneakily in an Apple store by Opera Garnier) to see that I had won Stitch Me Lane and Very Berry Handmade's giveaway for a gorgeous fat quarter bundle of Lecien fabrics! (I also found out I managed to snag free tickets for a filming of QI, which I've been applying for unsuccessfully for years. Best email check ever!)

When I got home, a lovely pink package was sitting waiting for me. The first thing I did as soon as I got through the door was tear it open!

I've been admiring this fabrics, seeing them all over the blogosphere, and I am so excited to have them. My fabric stash was (and still is) pretty tiny, being a beginner, so it's great to have some really beautiful fabrics to add to my collection! I think it'll take me a while before I can bear to cut into them though!

You can buy these here at Stitch Me Lane! Thank you Stitch Me Lane and Very Berry Handmade!! 

(Sorry for the very delayed post, I did receive this about a week ago!)

P.S. I can report that my camera strap was a huge improvement over the original strap, and was very heavily used while I was away!

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Camera Strap Slipcover

I'm off to Paris on Sunday! I'm going for a week and I intend to take a lot of pictures. My camera strap tends to give me Chinese burns though (why do they make them like that?). Not any more!

I used this tutorial from the Moda Bake Shop to make this. I cut out 5in squares from some of my fabric stash (entirely donated by my lovely Great-Aunt who can no longer sew any more). 

I then sewed all together and pressed the seams open.

Then I ironed on some fusible fleece (after cutting it too short and having to iron it on in two parts...)

Then all that was left to do was fold and sew the ends and then sew it into a tube. I turned it right side out and threaded my camera strap through it (with difficulty, is there an easier way?). I attached it to my camera, then realised this made it a little difficult to get pictures... So I unattached it again...

It's now wonderful and comfy! No more red and sore collarbones! Trés bon!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Box Pouch

Apparently a lot of people avoid installing zippers, unless they can help it. So naturally the second thing I chose to sew, ever, has a zipper in. I have a tendency to pick things way above my level. Some of the first things I ever knit were massively complicated cabled mittens, knit in the round and adapted from a pattern for fingerless mitts. I suppose I must like a challenge...

I used the tutorial from prettymodern to make this, as opposed to the tutorial for a box pouch I linked to a few posts ago, as  this one included a lining, as well as the pull tabs for easy zipping. I used some of the sizings from the previous pattern though. 

2 8in x 6in exterior fabric
2 8in x 6in lining fabric
8 in zip
2 2in x 3in contrasting fabric for pull tabs

I didn't really find the zip any more difficult than any thing else, but I did find it all pretty hard! I'm still working on sewing in a straight line, really. I also forgot to add in the pull tab for the other side, so there's only one, and it would have been more useful on the other side. It's not really a problem though, as it's not difficult to do up without it. 

It's great for all the little bits and pieces that usually end up strewn along the bottom of my handbag!

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Jubilee Cookies

For those of you not in the UK (or those living in the UK in a cave for the past few months), this weekend is the Queen's Diamond Jubliee. She will have been on the throne for 60 years, and the UK seems to have suddenly become very patriotic! Those flags that usually only come out for major football fixtures are in windows and on cars, and bunting is everywhere.

I've been seeing Jubilee cookies everywhere recently. These were some of my favourite.

[Credit: The Good Life Mum.]

I'd been seeing these crown cookie cutters from Lakeland everywhere recently, but these sealed the deal. I went into town especially yesterday to get these cookie cutters, but when I got there, the sales assistant at Lakeland said they'd sold out that day! I was so disappointed! The rest of the selection of cookie cutters wasn't great (although they did have flag cutters), so I went to John Lewis where I found a very cute teapot cutter, which is relatively patriotic, I suppose. Tea drinking is a national pastime.

Unfortunately, the rest of the country seems to have joined in the baking frenzy. Everywhere I looked had sold out of red and blue colouring. There were bottles and bottles of yellow, green and even black on the shelves, but no red or blue. I managed to get one of the very last bottles of red food colouring in Sainsbury's, but no blue was to be found. I really consider myself British, rather than English, so please, Scotland and Northern Ireland, don't be offended by my lack of blue icing (I guess red and white could be Welsh too)!

To make the sugar cookies, I used this recipe from bakeat350. I struggled somewhat to find a recipe for royal icing that didn't have meringue powder in, but eventually found one at the Telegraph. If you're a bit more worried about raw eggs than me, there's a royal icing recipe on bakeat350 too.

Here are the ingredients. Plain flour, baking powder, an egg, butter (or margarine), caster sugar and vanilla essence. The recipe had almond extract too, but I didn't have any. My cookies still taste good without it.

Sugar and butter creamed together.

My teapots before cooking. (Seriously, how cute is this cutter?)

And after!

Outlining the cookies wasn't as hard as I was expecting, although it's not nearly so neat as everyone else's seem to be. This may possibly be because I was making do with a parchment paper cone, as I don't have piping bags and nozzles for royal icing (I only have ones suitable for buttercream).  

Flooding the cookies with icing takes forever. I really didn't expect it to take as long as it did, and I didn't end up flooding all of them, as I'd made a lot of cookies. I'm quite happy with the ones I did flood though! 

I'd love to hear what everybody else is doing over the Jubilee weekend! I'm meeting up with some friends for lunch tomorrow, and am going to have a look at the festivities in town on Tuesday. Enjoy the long weekend!