Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Hassocks Artists Open Houses

If you're a local you will have heard about these. If you are not local you may have heard about the Brighton  Artists that open their houses during the festival month of May. It's a time when artists and makers open their doors to show their creations off and offer some of them for sale. They are a treasure trove for finding something unique or talking with like minded people.

Ever since I moved to Sussex over 10 years ago I've looked forward to Open House season. It was my time to get a day to myself - to follow the trails and potter to my hearts content. So I'm delighted that this year I'll be one of the Open Houses in Hassocks. 

There will be more to follow but for the meantime note your diaries that we'll be open on the weekend of the 16th and 17th June. Fathers Day weekend - you can't forget it.

There's a lot of work that will go into the preparations but I can't wait. 


Saturday, 25 February 2012

Revamping with maps

A few weeks ago I stumbled across this in the local antiques market. I have had all sorts of ideas around it, including leaving it completely untouched and also painting it an off white before hanging on the wall. Yesterday though I decided that I would decoupage it with maps. There's a chair in our garage that I want to  possibly do the same to so this would be a great test case.

It was already quite a sweet little unit with tropical island scenes on the side....

..... but after cutting up an old map book and a little bit of time and care it's ended up like this!

Just need to find the right spot for it now.


Friday, 24 February 2012

Pop Up Vintage arrives in Hassocks

Snooping around Rockinghorse, my local antiques market, I spotted a poster advertising this.

We're blessed with some really good vintage fairs and shops locally but it's still exciting to hear about a new one. One thing's for sure.... I'll be popping along to see what treats there are!

See you there

Wednesday, 22 February 2012


Well I did sew the buttons on Mr B's coat and I even found time to finish off one of my other projects.

When we moved here and had the work done to the house I found the most wonderful old front door on ebay. The one we had was non descript and slightly sad looking. The downside of the fabulous door with it's beautiful glass is that it had to be adjusted to fit and there's a slight gap at the bottom. Now, I'm happy with a little natural ventilation, I can't stand homes that are so tightly shut there isn't a smidgen of fresh air to be had. In the recent cold snap though, the draft was that little but more noticeable. But it's amazing what you can do with an old scarf you've felted and an old wool coat!

Sometimes it doesn't seem right to cut up a perfectly good garment but if your a true crafter you know that not one bit of it will go to waste!

So an old red coat.....

... and a charity shop scarf...

... with beautiful stripes....

... become my own unique homemade draught excluder! 

I machine stitched it all together as I wanted it to be robust and included a piece of folded leather one end for hanging. I then set about blanket stitching the sides and completed two rows of cross stitch at the ends to add a little charm. The tassels of the scarf worked into the design perfectly. The most expensive part were the plastic beads that I put in the middle (along the with stuffing from an old duvet that didn't survive a wash!). I could have used a couple of cheap bags of rice but decided against just in case it got damp for any reason.

I love it, it looks fab and it was dead cheap!


Friday, 17 February 2012

Happy Flower Tutorial with Attic 24

Oh my goodness! 

Just spotted this on Attic 24 - Happy Flower Tutorial. I think it's stunning. Lucy always chooses such great colours. I can't wait to give this a go. Thank you for sharing Lucy.


Friday Fun

Even though we've still got the weekend together it feels like the beginning of the end of the half term.  Determined to get out this afternoon this morning was the last chance to do some making before work resumes Monday. I possibly should have got on with those buttons on Mr B's coat but unfortunately he wore it to work! I possibly should have finished the cushion but instead I made myself a brooch.

It started on Wednesday when Cait and I spent a lovely day in London together. We snooped in VV Rouleaux and I bought some wired ribbon and some gorgeous velvet ribbon. They had so many colours to choose from it was hard to decide. (If you love trimmings and you've never been you really should - a real treat). We then popped over MacCulloch and Wallis for snoop number two. You possibly couldn't get two more diverse stores. We spent the rest of the day heading towards Covent Garden and slightly more mainstream shopping.

Anyway, this morning I put my ribbons on the table and found my box of bits. Bits from old jewellery and brooches. Having made my ribbon flower, which I had always envisaged being the base for the brooch, I then added some embellishments and a few bits of the velvet ribbon to end up with this.

The centrepiece is a really old broken brooch that I got years ago in a mixed bag of bits from a lovely old shop down in Hastings Old Town. Put away for an unknown project one day, today was it's day!

This afternoon was beach combing at Birling Gap. The sea air smelt great and the only downside was that we hadn't got out early enough to do the trip real justice. But we did get some lovely fresh air and came back with a bag of treasures including driftwood and those ever popular pebbles with holes in!


Wednesday, 15 February 2012

The finale.

I couldn't take the photos last night when this was finished as the light was so poor. Hence the rather short post earlier. We've been up to London today with a relaxed but rather full schedule.

The 14th heart was another simple one but one which I had had in my head a while. I stopped by one of my favourite Oxfam shops the other day and picked up a little packet of mixed beads including the ones you can see on this heart. Lovely bright colours that I knew would be great for something for Niamh. (I love the charity stores that realise the worth of a broken necklace or that the buttons on a garment might be worth more than the shabby garment itself.)

Two small pieces of felt, a few beads, some thread and a flower from another broken necklace and hey presto!

And that's my challenge over. I can't believe it. I still have so many ideas in my head! Only this evening I found my needle felting needles to let Cait have a go and my head started whizzing with more ideas.

However, after this challenge I think I should take a couple of days to refocus. I need to finish some of those other jobs that have been waiting for my attention. Like the two buttons that I've been meaning to sew on to Mr B's coat for quite some time, or finishing off the project using an old red coat or finishing off the birdy heart cushion (Wednesday 8th Feb). I think I might start with the last one first (but don't tell Mr B!)

I've really enjoyed my challenge and if you have been following me tell me which was your favourite.

I find it so hard to choose one. I have really enjoyed having the heart map mobile hung in the living room....

... I have loved looking at the heart bunting hanging on the mirror in the hall (and thinking about all the other things that could be made into bunting with crochet)......

... and I really loved making these hearts from the salt dough shapes. 

I made two more to give the girls as little valentine gifts, prizes at the end of a valentines treasure hunt.

Off to think of a new challenge... Good Night.


14th Heart

A snap shot of the final heart, made into a brooch for Niamhy.

More to follow later.


Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Heart 13

Happy Valentines Day!

We've been busy today but first things first.

This heart was a treat all for me. I've been wanting to do a purely decorative heart with stitching since I started this. I've also wanted to try out some of the stitches on my machine. I never normally investigate them, so much of what I do tends to be more functional. Today I had the time to be decorative.

I used a piece of an old red coat that I'd been cutting up for a draught excluder and a piece of vintage lace (bought when I got married nearly 8 years ago). I experimented with a flower stitch and also an imitation cross stitch.

It needed something extra though so a few buttons got added on and then that got  me thinking about a few charms/beads that I've bought recently and not used.

The icing on the cake is the little bird bead. So cute.

It's now residing in a frame on a shelf in the craft room with some of my other prized possessions.

But that's not all!

A few weeks back I took the girls to a local boot sale once Sunday morning. These were my treasures.

The little blue case was slightly worn, inside and out, but I had a plan and it involved the small pile of old children's comics.

I stripped the inside of the blue patterned paper. A real shame as it was a lovely print but it was torn and battered in too many places. 

I then set to work in covering the interior with a patchwork of old pictures.

A few words in the comics really struck out at me so I kept them as one and put one inside the lid....

.... and another on the bottom. 

A lot of the comic content was informative, all around nature and the seasons. It's made for quite a charming look and this is one of my favourite views.

It's been quite a fun day and that's without mentioning the tomato spirals we made for lunch or the rest of this afternoon!


Monday, 13 February 2012

Heart Number 12

First day of the half term at home with the girls but a couple of errands to run, including taking Caoimhe for her first trip to vets. Poor soul.

I have gone for a simple one today. Some might say a cheat I guess.

Ever since Cait was small I've really quite liked Hama beads. There is something quite therapeutic about putting the beads on the boards and then watching the patchwork emerge. Niamh had some in her stocking this year from Father Christmas and we made some lovely flowers. 

Today it has to be a large heart.

We were all crafting at the table listening to music. Unfortunately Niamh didn't manage to stay interested long enough to finish anything and I had to keep sliding along the table so as not be knocked! Regardless, it's been a lovely afternoon. 

So... from this......

....... to this. All in moments.

Finished and mounted on a simple cheap canvas but looking great.

We've a whole day at home tomorrow (no errands needing to be done) so happy crafting here we come!


Sunday, 12 February 2012

11th February - Part Two

Back from a lovely weekend visitng good friends in Dorset. 

Weekends like this one are precious. Time to catch up, share stories, enjoy each others company - all without having to worry about a thing. This mornng we all went for a lovely walk around Stourhead. I only wish I'd packed the camera. There were some gorgeous sights with snow still resting on the trees and the lakes frozen over.

I've kept myself on track though and packed my crochet hook and wool for the journey. I got into crochet a couple of years ago when I inherited a leather bound set of crochet hooks from my dear Gran. I really wish that I'd had to the chance for her to teach me but I love the fact that I have her hooks to keep her memory with me.

I've come across a few different patterns for hearts and there was one by Bella Dia in this months Mollie Makes. The ones I prefer highlight the shape of the heart and work in the round. Given how many heart decorations we have at the moment I decided not to make a huge garland but just a little simple one for our hallway.

Just five little hearts in a lovely colour called lipstick by Stylecraft in the Special DK range. Unfortunately the photo's here don't do the colour justice, perhaps because they were taken at night. 

I'm keen to find a local stockist who has a good range of their colours because it's a really good value yarn and available in nearly 60 shades. I've seen some beautiful blankets made up in it and am keen to attempt my first one.

So that's 11 down and 3 to go!


Saturday 11th feb

Away in Dorset but crochet heart garland underway. More to tell tomorrow.


Saturday, 11 February 2012

Friday February 10th - Day 10!

Well the power didn't go off on Friday but I'd thought ahead during the day and decided to try to do something simple just in case.

I spotted these washi tape flowers a week or so ago and thought they looked fab. They were from the blog Amytangerine and were given to her by her friend. They all look great but I do love the multicoloured ones best.

They were my inspiration and the heart bit comes in because I had some heart print washi tape that I had picked up from Paperchase. I can't quite remember where the other one came from. 

So, two simple rolls of tape and a piece of card become....

I'm not sure they are quite as good as the other ones but they were fun and simple to make. I put beads in the  middle and have already pondered about threading these with some wire and giving them stems to make into a bouquet... may need to make a few more I guess!

We're off to dorset this weekend to see really good friends but the challenge continues regardless!


Thursday, 9 February 2012

Thursday February 9th

A late post as once more the power has been off! We did get chance to have our yummy dinner first though. It was just as I sat down with Mr B that it all went dark.

Still, candlelight was enough for my heart of the day today.

Back at the weekend I had planned ahead a little and had made some salt dough shapes. Whether you remember this from your own childhood, or for your own children now, it's dead simple and a great way to create a structured shape. Funny though... when I actually do a craft that is very child friendly Niamh is rarely interested... or perhaps she just prefers cooking with real food!

The recipe that I used was 

300g (10oz) plain flour
300g (10oz) salt
200ml (1/3 pint) Lukewarm water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

And I made all these and more!

I'd thought about painting them but, on the way home from work tonight, had a much better idea of decoupage. So out came the glue and the papers and hey presto!

I had a play around to see if they worked better with a greater number of papers (using smaller bits) and I think I like both to be honest.

And they look great in some small frames that I picked up recently in the sales.

Not too shabby an effort for a power cut night afterall!

Before I go I will also just share with you a little purchase that I made on a heart (I know seems mad when I'm making so many). To explain.....I love the quote

“Dance like no one is watching. Sing like no one is listening. Love like you've never been hurt and live like it's heaven on Earth.” 

Then I saw this in a shop, whilst hunting for a birthday present, and just couldn't resist. It follows the same sentiment and are the three things that I think make a home.