Sunday, 24 November 2013

Puppy Love.

Puppy Love
Has it really been over two months??  I have a lot to catch up on and share as craft has wheedled more of my spare time this year.  I love it!  After having to pull back when HB was a baby, I am starting to have the freedom to indulge in my hobbies during the DAYTIME!  Seriously- I love this not having to steal half hours in the evening to unwind.  Especially as the evenings are filled with marking and preparing for Class in the morning.  Any other Mummies out there will know of the serious lack of free moments when your children are tiny.  Even when playing, they still seem to need constant chatter and company! 
So, I had better start catch up.  The first one to grace my blog will be this lovely little collar and dog bed made to accompany a cute puppy.  My little nephew received this for his second birthday and, as usual, the adults politely smiled appreciation until my nephew proceeded to drag puppy around everywhere, putting him to bed and generally having a lovely play.  I would love to sound smug but in all honesty, he probably put it back down the second I left not to touch it again for months!  But it was a good response, especially from both my girls who tried to hide it before wrapping…
You will need:
  • Hook size 3
  • Key ring
  • Clip (I bought for one pound at Post office as part of a keychain)
  • DK Cotton in main colour and contrast colour
SC= single crochet
SS= slip stitch
Collar Instructions
I love using DK cotton.  It works especially well for this to give you denser fabric (acrylic was just too stretchy)
  1. In main colour Ch 3, SC into 2nd chain from hook and SC to the end  (2SC).
  2. Ch 1, 2SC across.
  3. Repeat step 2 to desired length.
  4. Fasten off leaving a long tail for sewing on.
  5. Choose contrast colour and put two SC in each row space for a Granny Square effect. Continue this along both long edges (not corners).
  6. Stitch in ends and use long tail to whipstitch collar ends together.
Lead Instructions
  1. Repeat collar instructions for the lead.  Leave enough in length to fold over for the handle and a small fold over to whipstitch your clip on!
So, a simple pattern but very sweet.  I designed a Puppy bed as well that I will add as soon as I can find the pattern.  

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

End of year gifts (before the new year rolls in)

As an end of the year gift, I decided to make my class a cushion to take up with them to their new classroom- a bit of me in their new world.  Now, this may sound a bit strange, but you probably haven't witnessed the ongoing battle for the best cushion when children come to the classroom.  Seriously, it doesn't matter how old they are, boy or girl, they all grab for a bit of comfort and the best cushion is a prized belonging!  This cushion met with HUGE excitement and enthusiasm and was tossed around the room for a hug and a squeeze before being ceremoniously carried down to their new classroom (I checked with the next teacher first..)  No pattern needed here, just a big Granny square in rainbow colours to the cushion size and single crochet edge to hold together.
A few crafty gifts for my Teaching assistants ended the year nicely. These were balanced with boxes of Chocs and smart new water flasks- as they were always leaving glasses in the classroom (grrr).  Like my sister, I had also made apple keyrings from my "Heartfelt Holidays" book as great minds do think alike!  The strawberry keyring was a quick online feltie idea for one lady who always has strawberries after lunch.  I also made a batch of stress relieving lavender pyramids as two of my support ladies are going on to working with special children (and both adult and child may need a soothing mini hug from these)  The third was to keep in class for circle time and calming down zone...

It's wonderful to see how children love the comfy and colourful woolly world I share with them.  My new project is to bring more of this love and craft into my classroom- keep you posted!

Sunday, 25 August 2013

A ripped dress- darn it!

I had so much fun recently changing a pair of ripped jeans into a skirt but regretted my rushed hem which was crooked and wasn't double folded over.  Well, I thought that it was time to start learning how to mend properly as I always seem to have some favourite dress or top to fix in my cupboard.  I bought a lovely little book called "Mend it Better" which is very useful and helped me have the confidence to do a couple of those cupboard jobs!  First, that skirt.  You see, the hem started to fray and drip down messy threads.  Along with the uneven hem, it was looking pretty naff, so I decided to re hem it.  It didn't take long to realise that I needed to cut away the old hem and would end up with a mini skirt (not a good look for my daughter just yet...).  So, out came a saved ripped dress from KJ's super cousin and, "Ta Da!", we now have a gorgeous long and colourful skirt.  That £1 pair of jeans is on it's third regeneration and I look forward to seeing just how many more changes one piece of clothing can go through.

But that's not all- oh no- I also rescued HB's dress!  This was recently found in the loft as a hand-me-down from another cousin.  It was promptly announced as, "My favourite, Mummy" but when Madam turned around I discovered two great big holes in the back! (I mean, how could her Auntie have missed those??)  So, I promised I would try, and used my fab book to snip the frayed edges, stretch onto an embroidery hoop, whipstitch to prevent fraying and then have lots of fun cutting tiny patch flowers to applique over the holes.  I added extra flowers to the front so that the back repair looked intentional and HB wore her dress all holiday!  Now, the bow has fallen off I see (HB is wearing the dress as I type)- seriously, this dress is a pain in the neck...but she loves it so I forgive it.
1- Ripped Dress

2- Neatened holes and whipstitching

3- Starting to patch.

4- Front and back fixed sun dress!

Monday, 12 August 2013

Baptism Bunny!

It's "Baptism Bunny"!  Sounds almost Superhero, doesn't it.  Like those new age catholics who try a bit too hard to make Church "cool".  But isn't she a peach!  I love that my little design took wings and inspired some more simple designs.  Simple because, like most crafters, I class myself still as a learner.  This is less to do with false modesty than an ongoing desire to learn, improve and create.  It really is the most addictive pleasure, being able to create without a book and a pattern!  Best of all is to become one of those teachers who share easy patterns to the learners out there.  So, I hope you enjoy these really easy little extras for your bunny. x

You will need:
-Any odds and ends of wool (acrylic is a good washable choice for baby drool)
White, yellow, red and black DK cotton for candle
-Size 2.5, 3.00 and 3.5 hook 

Shawl (almost a granny!)
1.       Ch 4 and SS.
2.       Ch 3 (counts as first tr), 2tr in ring, ch 2,
3.       (3tr, ch 2) repeat until you have 4 sets as in a granny square.  SS to top of first chain.
4.       SS along to next ch space, ch 2, 2tr, ch 2, 3tr in same corner space.
5.       Ch 2, 3tr, ch 2, 3tr all the way around.
6.       SS to the top of the ch 3.
7.       Repeat row 6.
8.       SS to next chain space.  Repeat as above but with ch 1 between each set of trebles.
Candle- I used DK cotton for stiffness and a size 2.5 hook
1.       Ch 2, 6sc in sc ch- 6 stitches.
2.       Ch 1, 2sc in each stitch- 12 stitches.
3.       Ch 1, sc in loop closest to you all the way around, ss into first stitch and ch 1.
4.       Sc in a spiral to desired length.
5.       SS, fasten off and stuff firmly.
6.       Make a separate circle to top the candle (step 1 and 2). 
7.       Fasten off leaving a long tail and stitch on.
1.       Ch 2, 6sc in second chain from hook- 6 stitches.
2.       Ch 1, sc in loop closest to you- 6 stitches.
3.       Continue up 2 rounds.
4.       Sc dec until final stitch, knot tail at the point of the flame and stitch on with black thread for wick.
Dress- Use a size 3 hook for this one

1.       Ch 23 and ss into a loop.
2.       Sc all the way around and join with a ss.
3.       Ch 1 and sc all the way around 3 more rows.
4.       (Sc inc, 11sc, sc inc) x2 and ss at the start- 25 stitches
5.       Ch 1, sc all around and ss.
6.       Ch 3 (counts as first tr), Tr all around and ss into first stitch.
7.       (Ch 2, miss 1 stitch, sc in the next stitch) all around to make a scallop edge.
8.       SS into first ch 2 space.  Ch 3 and 2tr into first space.
9.       Ch 2 into next space, putting 3tr into each chain space.  SS final ch 2 into first stitch.
10.   Ch 1 and sc all around, ( just pop 1sc into each ch 2 space), and ss into first.
11.   Repeat sc all around.
12.   Ch 3 and tr all around. SS into first.
13.   Now for final scallop edge!  Ch3, miss a stich and sc into the next stitch all the way around.
14.   Straps- Press dress flat so that the increases sit at each side.  Attach wool for first strap, ch 1, 2sc across into top of bodice, turn, ch 1, 2sc across.  Repeat this to desired length (approx. 11 rows) and fasten off.  Repeat for second strap and whipstitch into place.
Tiny flower
  1. Ch 4 and ss into ring.
  2. 6sc around and ss into first stitch.
  3. Ch 3 and ss into stitch.
  4. Repeat step three all around and slip stich to the first.
  5. Fasten off leaving a long tail for stitching onto the dress.

Please have a go and keep an eye out for more Bunny Fun (I don't think I'm going to be able to stop!)

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Clip-a-dee-doo-dah Clips!

Last month I did a little post about Attic24's beautiful blog and how I have been inspired by her colour and creativity.  Well, the other day, I managed to send off a few Granny triangles for her Yarndale bunting project
I forgot to take a pic but remembered to pop on pictures of my completed clips as they came from tiny bright circles I saw on her blog the other month.  These were a gift to my school fete and it was so lovely to see some of my girls wandering around wearing these!  I knocked up a few flowers as well and used just a bit of craft paper to hold them but I think they came out pretty good.  So, thank you Lucy for your inspirational blog and I will try to knock out a few more triangles before August! x
How to make the clips
You will need:
Any scraps of wool work great but DK cotton looked the best.
3.5 hook

  1. Ch 4 and ss into a ring.
  2. Ch 2 and do 8dc around the ring.  SS and fasten off.
  3. Attatch contrast colour, Ch 2 and do 2dc into each stitch- 16 stitches.  Fasten off.
  1. Ch 4 and ss into a ring.
  2. Ch 2 and do 9dc around the ring and ss into first stitch.
  3. Ch 5, skip one dc and ss into next dc.
  4. Repeat step 3 around the flower to make 5 petals and ss into the base for final one.
Before I go, I thought I better add on a few other clip related pictures!  Yes, I have a lot of catch- up posts to do. (I'm even writing posts and holding off posting- July is going to look good on the post count!)
I'm sorry these are a bit fuzzy, they were a quick snap that I forgot to check.  Iphones are great but tricky to get the light right and mine is such an old phone now.  I saw a few die cast roses that twisted up easily and thought I would have a go myself.  The rose worked very well, I thought.  I added an extra felt circle on the back of the clip to disguise the use of a glue gun which also helped the clip stay fast in baby hair as it was for my little niece.  I tried a quick "Hello Kitty" bow on request by my baby but it turned out a bit pants- that's what you get when you rush...
1- Cut a flower shape with decreasing size petals swirling into the centre.
2- Roll around tightly.
3- Pop a few stitches through the base and up through the centre to hold. 
4- Cut a matching small circle for the back of the clip.
5- Attach using a glue gun.
By the way, the gorgeous blue flower came from a free brooch idea from "Mollie Makes".  These are folded flowers stitched onto a circle base.  It's so pretty that I've used it for several brooches as well. 
Finally, I come to another little thrifty project- It really is getting a bit silly now.  Take one unravelled school hairband.  Wind on a favourite ribbon tightly and fix with a glue spot or superglue.  Stitch a quick embelishment from the odds and ends jar and have it ready just in time for a birthday party!  Big Madam was so pleased.  You do have to alternate between crafts for others and crafts for kids or else they get a bit grumpy for all the nice things leaving the house!


Thursday, 25 July 2013

Here comes Summer!

It's here!  Finally!
It's been such a busy school year that, any spare minute has been given to planning, assessment and reports (60 hours overtime for reports this year).  But each holiday comes with a promise to myself to get a couple of my projects completed and I generally get at least one or two done.  I find myself getting quite tense when I am away from my craft cupboard for too long.  It's like an itch in your hands that leaves you flexing fingers and biting nails- I accept that this may just be me though...
This means that for a couple of hours each week, I will be able to catch up on blog posts not completed, projects half started and catching up on other people's great blogs.  I will also be a bit prolific in my July/ August posts- Yay!  I evn have a ray of sun for when school starts back up as my baby will be going to playgroup on Thursdays and Fridays for a couple of hours.  This was sheer heaven when her big sister started as I used this time to whiz to work, get my planning done and finally got my evenings and weekends back for family and fun (crochetcrochetcrochetcrochetcrochetcrochet).
I was going to list my projects but that may not be as interesting for you as for me!  I will, however, share this little tradition with you.  It started when Katie was really small.  We wanted to squeeze in lots of fun for the times in the holiday between the family going away time.  As some years needed to be home holidays, I found that we needed set ideas so that the day didn't get frittered away with long mornings and slow starts.
We started drawing pictures, taking turns choosing things we wanted to do together and added a tick box in the corner to tick when each one was done.  This was a God-send the year I was pregnant with Hannah as the summer holidays hit when I was 7/8 months pregnant.  I was huge- seriously.  I had just developed gestational diabetes and was fighting back weight.  So this booklet set up several weekly trips where I could sit and watch Katie have fun.
Now Hannah is old enough, she joins in with ideas and colouring (bless).  It's a working document as we keep adding to it!

Old jeans into skirt!

I'm so into the thrifty thing at the moment!  In fact, I can see how it gets to be a bit of an obsession...  My Katie has always been an angel in hand me downs and gets the fact that each penny saved can be used for days out and holidays!  So this skirt really sums up the whole, "That's still got plenty of wear in it!" philosophy.  Let me explain... 
Like most Mummies, I've got into a pattern where, once a week, I pop into my local charity shop to either drop off donations or pick up some bargains ( I very rarely leave without something!).  It's not toot either.  I grab books that I have on my Kindle wish list for 50p, classic books for my classroom, fab dresses for me and board games and bits for the girls as a weekly treat.  I much prefer getting a beaten up board game for a pound than spending £3 or £4 on a flimsy magazine and plastic toy.
So, during winter I managed to pick up a 50p pair of jeans for Katie to rough around the park in and, when the knees finally gave in, I jsut couldn't give up on them!  A quick look on Ehow gave a simple explanation which I, of course, ignored most of for a quick fix:
  1. Cut off legs
  2. Cut triangle from legs to fill leg space (I made a quick cardboard template and left 1/2cm edge for hemming).
  3. Zig zag edges to prevent fraying.
  4. Pin panels in place and stitch using simple straight stitch.
  5. Press with an iron (this will help when doing the hem).
  6. Cut hem if needed to even out.
  7. Zig zag edges to prevent fraying.
  8. Turn up to length, press and straight stitch the hem.
Now, I know I should have double turned the hem but I was going out and Katie wanted to wear it.  I have learnt now that turning up a hem needs to be done whilst the person is wearing it!  I tried to make it straight on the table and, of course, forgot about bottoms and hips and all those curves which alter the final line.  So, it's a bit crooked but much loved.  I wasn't even allowed to add a bit of embellishment as, "It's fine like that Mummy."  Such a Madam!