Thursday, 25 November 2010


How rubbish am I? Break a camera and it brings a halt to everything!!

I did take it easy with the making over the summer, then there was all the chaos and heart wrenching of Freddie starting school.. I felt more than a little out of sorts for a while, though I did settle back down to making bits and pieces for The Hope Emporium shop but still haven't replaced the camera and even managed to mess up my phone's camera trying to get it to speak to the computer - tech hates me!

In the meantime, my daughter became a teenager (aaarrgghh!!) she's just fine, just I feel very old now, turning a ripe old age next week in fact.

So I am sans camera, still and it's nearly Christmas, well, 4 weeks away... ahaa, an idea has struck! Think I've been good enough?

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Crafty Sunday (eventually)

I've been very quiet on the blogging front lately, apologies. Summer got into my bones and life has been all about playing out of recent, which has been much, much fun. Beach trips, walks and a festival have kept me very busy and very happy indeed.

This quite insular mood about making and sharing began with the miserable news that the Lord of the Rings event for which I was excited about designing and making a complete kit for has been postponed which kinda messed up my drive for creating stuff. I've got my head around it now and its actually handy to not have it hanging over me during the long holiday starting next week.

Another thing probably affecting me more than I may realise is that September is looming fast. September means my little one starts school which includes all those usual emotions involved in your children's milestones, but also loses my one excuse I have for not doing all that much in a week!

It's a real test coming up. Full time school means a lot more time to get on and be productive rather than procrastinate and put off. I'm really quite nervous of letting myself and the family down.

I'm also wondering how I will feel about it all, time to focus on me and my life's journey - eek!

Thankfully I have the 6 week holiday in between now and then which I plan to enjoy as much as possible so I may not post much as I may not be doing anything I feel is worth sharing.

I did get a few bits made this week but only have pictures of one due to camera problems again but also due to the fact that as soon as they were completed they were out the door in use!

I do have pics of this however

An order for a military style tactical vest for a 3 day airsofting event that has just finished today, I can't wait to hear how it was received and if it lived up to it's job!

All those straps I thought would be a nightmare of a job. I was right! They were quite a pain but could have been much worse, at least it was all straight lines! The shoulders Velcro together and shock cord lacing down the sides plus the webbing adjusters on the back so adjustments to fit are numerable. All in all I was happy with the job, I just want to hear the tales the vest got up to this weekend now!!

While the boys were away shooting each other, us girls and kids had a nice time too, strolling through the woods after the children who are getting quite skilled at hiding and sneaking whilst herding the toddler onward to ice cream at the end. The evenings were taken with a few good bottles of wine and much putting the world to rights. Very enjoyable indeed... I wonder when the boys will want to do it again?? Fingers crossed it's soon!

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Crafty Sunday (i've lost count)

I am sat here ringing out my brain, but i can't think what on earth happened this week to show for

I don't think I completed anything.

I altered a few bits of my other half's clothing, I made an impromptu net for the pool when the old one finally broke, I cut out a couple more of the Steampunk Hip Pouches in large and small sizes, the small in black this time. I am more than half way through one kit order and the design board for the Lord of the Rings costume is looking good, its just decision time now and how to cram it all into the budget, then I can go fabric hunting :)

The week has been good though, all this sun and warmth is just lovely and yesterday we went to see the kids Godparents and their 2 boys for a well overdue visit. It was great to see them all and we stayed for the Doctor Who finale as no one wanted to leave. The best bit I think is that we left having arranged the next visit already. Though there was a bonus to the trip, Jo and I did a surprise stash swap, I took a piece of Kaffe Fasset and a couple of bits of Amy Butler's Love range, but I think I very much won as Jo gave me some amazing pieces from a US designer, whose name escapes me, but the range is called 'Prarie Gothic' (I think) which have gone straight into my sit and stare at and occasionally stroke pile.

Seeing how easy it was for Jo to see her fabrics and therefore gain her inspiration for her fabulous quilts (see here ) I have been quite amazing today and reorganised my entire stash onto shelves and see through box drawers. This feels good, though strange to not have to rummage in baskets and bags for the slightest thing. (OK, in truth, half of it is sorted but I still have a basket and 2 bags I can rummage in, for now).

So, looking forward to a productive week, though now I have said that, who knows what may distract me, whatever it is, I hope it's fun!

(sorry there's no photos, I want to catch the last of the sun instead of sitting here!!)

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Mission Accomplished

Tis done and delivered. I think it's liked and definitely appreciated. What a nice feeling :)

I ended up quilting it, adding a ribbon loop to hang it by. I went through many options first, but for not finding a hacksaw for dowel mounting or a staple gun for mounting it onto wood as a canvas, I opted for the all fabric approach adding a batting and backing. It means its gently washable too, which is handy for a child's room decoration.

In quilting it though, it gave the addition of clouds in the sky, which I really like, so all in all I'm very pleased.

Time to make a start on those kit orders!

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Mission Improbable

I set myself the task of making a 10th Birthday present for a family friend, something different, not too young and something to cherish and keep as reaching double figures in age is quite a milestone.

So, yesterday I played with scraps and motif making and made this panel.

(Blatantly ripped off from an old Laura Ashley design, but it's gift so I feel ok about it)

Today's mission I have chosen to accept: I have to work out how to mount the thing... wish me luck!!

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Crafty Sunday VI - Made It!!!

Phew, I had pretty much written this week off after too good a weekend away with the family, reality was hard to accept. I was being all useless, not wanting to be productive or practical in any way.

I went with the feeling in the main and had a great week all told, lots of pottering doing nothing in particular, perfick.

The week was finished off by taking my son to his first taster session at his new school - a very emotional day saying goodbye, in fact I should admit here that he only said goodbye so very bravely due to the promise of me going straight to the shops for a big bag of sweets which he kindly insisted on sharing with his sister, I was given a few too as I had been very brave as well.

He, of course, had a fabulous time of playing in the forest (we are very lucky to have this school in the neighbourhood) and on his favourite tractor he knew from when his big sister went there.

Anyway, I really didn't think I would have anything to show for this week on top of completely forgetting to post anything at all last week (oops), but strangely I have made something, I have even surprised myself!

Another confession now, I have realised how much of a faddy crafter I am, I have loads of ideas and plans, get them to prototype stage, figure out the easy way to make them, then get bored and move on to something new. I must work on this, it is fun but it's not the best work ethic to have really.

So my latest fad is Steam punk. I am designing a few ideas but they will stay firmly on the drawing board for now, but I was sent a link from a friend to a Steam punk Etsy shop where I wowed a while, then looked at the prices, wowed some more, then thought... and had a dive deep into my scraps and bits and bobs stashes,

And made this today...

I really like it, I have made a few mistakes and would love to get more findings to attach like D-rings, cogs, clips etc. for the next ones. Going to make a larger one for the man in my life with the pockets sized to his effects for him to use on his boys weekend of Airsoft LRP coming up soon.

Whilst sketching, browsing and making this I also secured a couple of orders for costumes!! A Gondorian Ranger for a Lord of the Rings event and a fitted tactical vest (military style waistcoat) for the boys weekend. All very exciting stuff :)

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Crafty Sunday IV

Well, I actually managed to make a little this week, and even more fun, I made stuff for the family, with the kids help...

We're going away camping for an LRP event soon and we have been rejigging and revamping our camping stuff and kit. The kids couldn't wait to try out their new sleeping bags which they do look snuggly in. I'm waiting in anticipation for my new cool box as it was due on Friday by courier and didn't arrive. Everything is crossed that it arrives tomorrow.

In the meantime, the kids and I decided to make a couple of quilted bags for things that are usually hard to find when you need them. One for torches

the disgustingly gaudy colours are so you can find it easily in the dark, and a first aid kit bag

which I think is really quite sweet with it's dotty motif and drawstring.

They have both come out just the right size for their purpose, which was more by luck than judgement as it all came out of my scraps baskets. The batting will be perfect to protect contents from the inevitable knocks and scrapes.

We also made a lot of Jedi capes in many colours for our collection of Lego figures. A pic of these will have to wait until tomorrow as they have been stashed safely away by the boy before he climbed the wooden hill.

I do feel slightly mad for spending an afternoon dressing up Lego figures, but it made a very happy 4 year old so it was well worth it.

I also finished my kit for LRP, but having looked back at the photos I had taken, I got very self conscious and can't bring myself to post them up here, cos I'm in them.
But I did manage to work a kit around the embroidered overdress I bought a few weeks ago by butchering this dress.
I made it years ago and never used as it was a bit too much (I made it to challenge myself but it was too OTT) so I ripped off the sleeves (yey) and shortened it (more yey)  and also did some lace up 'vents' in back, as it fit like a glove years ago and I've had another sprog since then (not so yey!).
Ok, ok...

I think I'm pleased with the overall result, it needs to sink in a bit really before I am truly satisfied. I am very pleased with the fact that nothing else new went into the kit just stuff I already had reworked to fit a new look.

Lastly we made some baggy cropped trews for my daughter, again out of scraps, isn't it incredible what gets relegated to the scraps pile? But they're not finished yet.

Next week I can't see much getting made as prep for going away takes precedence. Getting the house, garden and animals to a stage that it can be left for a few days entails a surprising amount of work that always catches me off guard.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Another week please...

This half term has been utter bliss, I don't want it to end.

We have done some of this

and loads of this

and I have done something a little naughty, as I grabbed bargains without any distinct plans of what to do with said bargains... but... look....

I heard about Five Valley Design sale via Sew Justine Sew's blog and I'm glad I followed the link. A few items I'd ordered they had run out of, but being a closing down sale that's totally understandable. Still they took the time to wrap the stash nicely and it arrived within 3 days. 40% off was too much to ignore. I don't know if they have anything left, but the link is there if you want to try, sale runs until 30th June.

We really enjoyed discovering all that suddenly bloomed in the garden, these photos are by my daughter...

The kids have been lovely to each other and been positive and productive all week which, in turn has rubbed off on me and for the first time I felt like I could make stuff with the kids about, after I grabbed an extension lead and made an impromtu outdoor workshop.

What a mess!! More of that tomorrow for Crafty Sunday's post.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Confessions of a secret geek

The time has come to 'fess up. My family and I do a downright wierd (but great) hobby. I'm a live role-player. No, don't run away... come back... hear more first.

Remember as a child, playing out at cops and robbers, princesses, knights and dragons? We all did, and we LOVED it. Go on, admit it, forgetting reality for a while and losing yourself in a made up world where anything is possible, only your imagination limits your actions (and, of course, physics... it always seems to win - no flying for me however much I try) is FUN!!

See, I never grew up, I still love dressup clothes and pretending to be some daring heroine in armour, bashing fiends with your trusty blade or damsels in distress (actually it is still rubbish to play a distressed damsel) or a spitty hedgewitch (now they are fun to play), a rufty tufty pirate or even a dirty thieving goblin. So I do, and I'm not alone.

Otherwise known as Live Action Role Playing (LARP) or my favourite description, Cross Country Pantomime, we get out into the woods and fields and play at being kids again (though the bruises last longer and legs hurt more now we're older, the drinking, singing and general merry making around the campfire sure makes up for that!).

If you want to know a bit about the history of the hobby, look at wikipedia's entry for Live Role Playing.

I got into it without even knowing it (I thought everyone played at pirates) but went along festing with friends and their families and wondered where on earth I had landed, orcs, goblins, wizards, fairies, celts and elves all playing with or, more frequently, against each other. All in a make believe world where magic exists, loads of groups pretending to make friends or fall out. Politics and even war - a battle with around a thousand people on each side is really something you have to try, the adrenalin rush lasts so much longer than a bungee jump!!

From there I tried other games and settings and played many different characters, which is a really interesting way to mould your own morals and outlooks, by trying on different personas you soon come to know yourself pretty well.

Pic courtesy of H '5 Dice' Adkins
For the kids the sense of freedom, both phyical and mental, they can feel is so special, I wouldn't want mine to be without it. Also I feel its important to show them how we, the grown ups, can let go and play too. As a hobby it can promote imagination and storytelling, playing music, community parenting, it instills confidence and independance and I feel it's great excercise for knowing yourself.

Why am I confessing all this? Well, it is what started me off on a sewing machine. The need for a girl to look good when you can't buy a cloak or a princess dress off the shelf on the high street. What else can a girl do but to make her own?

All self taught through trial and error,books and chatting to friends already doing it for themselves, I soon got the hang of knocking out kit for myself and later for my other half. When I had my daughter, 12 long years ago, we wanted to continue with the hobby but to make things easier and still wanting to be in the thick of the story, I started making kit (costume) to sell so we could have a trade stall in the market area of events where the story passes by your front door - perfick!

So that's it really, how I came to be a crafter. Little did I know at the time that I would become a whizz on the sewing machine and a dab hand at knocking up patterns and designs for people's characters.

Now Raggedy Revival is here, I am again with the kit making and am picking up orders steadily once more. See my slowly growing Kit (Costume) page by following the link in the top bar above. If ever you find yourself in need of costume design and build, get in touch and we'll talk through your ideas.

Thanks for listening, I'm glad you stayed.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Crafty Sunday III

Cheat Alert!! I know this is not anywhere near crafting, but it's what I'm most pleased with getting done this week...

I managed to mow all the lawns, which is a pretty epic task

remembering, of course, to mow around half of the daisies

just because...

Finally, I actually got around to keeping the promise I made the kids...

So this week I have made a nice, cropped (if lumpy and a bit bald in places) daisy chain making lawn and a swimming pool in time for half term. Does that count? :)

Friday, 28 May 2010

Bags of bags

Was a bit down to say the least by the end of last week. A relatively productive week, to be followed by a gloriously sunny camping weekend with a beach trip thrown in for good measure - all good... then my camera decided it wouldn't play, doom and gloom ensued, but I managed to push all the negativity aside and have a good break with family and great friends.

The weekend away was just what I needed, much fun was had by all. I mean, who can't have fun when you mix sun, sea, sand, playing at being pirates, live music and a fire to sit around? But I have no photos to show for it, so let's move on :)

My wonderful friend Jo of Muddy Puddle Crafts heard of my camera issues and has kindly lent me her spare til I can afford to replace mine, so generous, thank you Jo! It's amazing how much of a motivational tool blogging has become, though not having pics to show and tell with it becomes a moot point and my productivity has suffered because of it.

So, getting the camera on Wednesday meant that yesterday I did all these
One of the pink ones is for my niece, the others I am looking to sell, I do wonder how they will go. I am really pleased with them, the fabrics are good and strong, the pink being an up cycled pair of blackout curtains and this has worked really well.

They are perfectly sized for 2-5 year olds and they have a Velcro envelope closing so that little fingers can manage it all by themselves, zips can be such a pain for little ones, so this can truly be their own bag.
Big enough to carry spare pants, a couple of toys, a snack and even a small book, (almost) everything a small child would want to take with them on their adventures.

I made the prototype for my own, then 3 year old, for Christmas and I was actually stunned by how much he loved it. He uses it daily, whether popping out to play or going to nursery or out on family day trips and I have never had to carry it for him, which is such a blessing! I have improved this batch by adding a hanging loop to make it easier to hang on hooks at nursery etc. I wish I had done one of those on my boys!

Sunday, 23 May 2010

My Crafty Sunday II

Ooops, nearly forgot... been away camping in glorious technicolour (sunshine).

Its just been the rucksacks I'm afraid... but I have again do more prepwork for next week.
My camera died on Friday, so no new pics I'm afraid.

Be back soon

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

No Pay to Display

A pretty busy week it has been so far, and only half way through we are!

I have finished the 2 toddler rucksacks I had on the go,

and then my thoughts turned to how to display them in the shop. I used to have space in this gorgeous little wardrobe

but I couldn't keep my stock levels high enough, so when I started the job in the Library I reduced my space and my things got dotted around in odd gaps. Now though I need to work out a display method for my stuff, yet the shop is getting quite full to say the least with around 18 crafters involved!

So, lamenting the loss of the wardrobe, which was all too quickly snapped up, I had to get my thinking cap on, so as usual, when I need a good think I took a stroll around the garden and found this

a (very) old set of cabin bed ladders from about 3 houses ago (yes I am a hoarder), the bed went the way of most things wooden in this house - part of it made our hen house and the rest fed our burner for a while. These ladders however survived as they became part of a now dilapidated and so deadly treehouse. So treehouse remodelling is on the cards for the bank holiday weekend.

I think these will work well in the shop as they wont take up much room and can have any number of fabric things strewn or hung upon it.

As the gap left to fill is against a vibrant pink wall, after a quick sand, I hunted through the old paint stash and chose the dusky pale olive green I used on a wall in the kitchen to hang my 'clutter shelves' on (does everyone have these clutter spaces in each of their rooms?). Having done that and found that being matt emulsion it left the ladders feeling dusty, I wondered about varnish. I had none. But what I did have was some of that glitter glue paint stuff that was all the rage when my 12 year old was 4. So I gave it a stir and a poke and slapped some of that on too. Very pleased it's all been salvage, it's worked a dream I think, look!

All that's left to do now is work out how to fix a baton to hook the ladders onto when I found out today its not a solid wall, hmmmm. Fun, fun, fun!!

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Hello to new followers!!

I'd like to welcome new followers, both here and via networked blogs on Farcebook (!) by sharing a little about me and mine in picture form... enjoy x

Sunday, 16 May 2010

My Crafty Sunday

What a nice way to sum up a week.

I have loved the thought of Sunday coming and what would I have to show for it, thank you, again to maria for the idea. The links to others joining in can be found on maria's blog, me and ma.

It hasn't been a good week for finishing, though I have started so much, so that's this coming weeks activity sorted! But I did complete a Superhero Cape as stock for the shop as we've had none in the shop since Christmas.

On the cards for next week are rucksacks, I have the privilege of making one for my gorgeous niece Hattie-Mae which I shall enjoy immensely, more capes on the go including a new 'Captain Planet' style in brightest green which I can't wait to see done, and I am hoping to make a gift bag from the fused plastic I experimented with making. Exciting week!!

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Retail therapy!

I'm not usually one for enjoying shopping. I'm more of a surgical strike kind of shopper, no browsing for me! But, today was different. Maybe it was the sunshine, maybe the fact that I was alone without the kids, maybe because I have felt more productive this week, more than I have for a long time or maybe because I have many plans for making rattling around in my head. Whatever it was, I loved it! So much so I wanted to share. I even found myself trying on a dress, I can't remember the last time I actually tried anything on, proper window shopping. Needless to say I didn't buy it, but I was sorely tempted. I even found a nice necklace to go with it, but I was very, very good and put them back, and didn't feel at all guilty that I had the shop assistant running around after me!!

The shopping trip was for fabrics, I hunted around charity shop for upcyclables and found this pair of curtains.

It's very thick fabric as it's got that blackout coating on it, but this should make it perfect for bags, pencil cases even wash bags. It's still washable at 30 degrees.

I also got bits and bobs to do more Superhero Capes and bits of felt for motif making and the thread I sorely missed having earlier in the week. And managed to find some fabrics for costume orders, namely a haversack for a friend who saw the toddler rucksack, (which I can't find any pictures of strangely and right now it's filthy so it will have to wait) that I made for my son for Christmas to use at nursery and wanted an adult version.

I was looking for some inspiration for a costume with an eastern influence as I mooched round town and I spotted at a stall set up in the church, just couldn't take my eyes of this

I tried so hard not to like it, but I think I fell in love with it so I did that deadly thing of asking the price, then I asked again if she was sure... £15! All hand embroidered and so heavy for just £15!! I had to have it. Now I just have to design the rest of the outfit around it, can't wait!!

Then I think I got the bug so when I saw these in the last charity shop I searched, I just threw caution to the wind and bought them too!

So cute! As soon as I got them out, before I could take this photo, my little one said "Ooh, mummy, I'm very thirsty. I would really like to have a cup of tea... In that blue cup please." So duly I gave it a quick wash and made him a cup of rooibos tea, and he did look sweet sat drinking it.

I was good though, in a way... I didn't stop at the coffee shop in the church (I did use their loo though - cheeky me!), or buy a smoothie to sit on the Cathedral lawn. I even remembered the kids and got them a tub of their favourite sweets to share when I got home.

On arrival back at base I found the lawns mowed, dinner in the oven and even the bathroom clean! (I think I should leave everyone at home more often) And to find we are expecting a good friend over for the weekend too, good news!

All in all, a wonderful day! Hope yours has been too :)