Brownies

My daughter moved up to Brownies last year and with that move has come the need to cajole her into doing some badges.  Left to her own devices she’ll happily breeze through the three years running about and nothing else!  This year she has seen quite a few of her older Brownie chums move up to Guides, so she has had to take on some of the responsibility herself in showing the newer recruits what to do.  So we have started to make some efforts on a few of the simpler badges, to get her going!

First up we’ve done some wildlife watching and which has involved some birdwatching for the RSPB Garden Birdwatch, some bug hunting in the garden and keeping a diary of what she spotted.  To finish I found her a set of instructions on how to build her own bird feeder.  This one uses lolly sticks and string, all essential components in a kids craft stash!

She didn’t do too badly with it, although I think the birds were quite rough with it (either that or the wind was particularly strong) as it only lasted a few weeks.

Having successfully completed one badge, she moved quite swiftly on to a number of sporty and artistic ones and has had her swimming, agility, sports, artist and craft badges signed off too. She was also rewarded with being made a sixer!

The school council ran a talent show just before the Easter break and completely out of the blue, Alice wanted to enter, singing with her friend.  She asked if I would help her make some props and costumes.  Of course, they chose to sing something very simple and child-friendly – “The Yellow Submarine”.  Unfortunately we didn’t have time to get everything ready for the school show, but they decided to do it for their Entertainer badge at Brownies instead.

So for what seems like forever, I’ve been adding finishing touches to this huge monstrosity!  Hubby cut out the main submarine while the girls did the main painting and drew the faces for the portholes.  It’s massive and almost fills one wall of our little house.  It looks quite good though, if I do say so myself, although I don’t think I want to take up a career in prop-design, just yet.

Now it’s fingers crossed that they get the rest of their show planned and rehearsed in time before the end of the term.  I can’t wait to get rid of this out of  my living room!

Happy crafting
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Hearts Everywhere

This year the heart has never seemed more appropriate to send to someone.  I think we all need to show a bit more love.  I’ve had a few wedding cards to make for and it always restores my faith in humanity when I’m asked to make a special card.

I’ve made a couple fairy recently for a lovely lady who wanted the colours to tie in with the colours on the wedding invitation she had received.  This first one was a classic cream and navy scheme.  I still love this style with the dangler heart on acetate.

The second one was a much more colourful affair.  I was a bit unsure at first, but I rather like the overall effect of the nesting hearts and borders.

I also had a wedding of my own to go to, as my cousin was tying the knot, with my daughter as her little bridesmaid.  Her scheme was very pastel colours, so I went for a pale pink with floral foiling and added pearls.

Last month was so sad with all the terrible events in Manchester and London.  I was at a complete loss after the Manchester Arena  bombing, I knew several people at the concert and we lost two young lives in the town.  I wanted to do something to help so I joined a group #aheart4mcr making hearts to distribute around Manchester city centre.  It was a wonderful way to show support and care for those that had lost loved ones or sustained terrible injuries.

I sent off 27 knitted and crochet hearts in total and they joined over 26,000 others from all over the world, displayed and then taken home by people coming into the city centre.  I was struck just after the first heart drop to find this lovely heart on my lawn.

Sometimes it pays not to mow the lawn every week!

I thought I’d end today with one of the cards I sent in my order to Hearts for Homes in Ramsbottom, a red button heart for an engagement.  I was asked to make a few new engagement cards and the heart just seemed to fit the bill.  I haven’t done a button based card for quite a while and I really enjoyed emptying my ever-growing button stash onto the table to find the right size and colours.

I’m afraid I’m not very organised with my buttons and ribbons.  I wish I was, but I don’t have very much space really, or maybe it’s not having the inclination to sort them out!  I’ve taken over the box room so I’m squashed in with everything else that hasn’t found a home elsewhere in the house.  I really do need to get cracking on sorting it out though, but I always get so distracted whenever I start.

Oh, well, back to finding some more love and make some more hearts.

Happy crafting
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2017 is flying!

I can’t believe where this year has gone and it’s almost July already!  It’s been a rather odd year for me and I’ve been busy with all sorts of things that I haven’t had time to sit down and write anything.  So I’ve grabbed a few minutes and thought I’d have a catch up and see what’s been going on.

I had a rather rotten end to 2016 and start to 2017 as my back went and I was unable to stay in any position for long, so I was a bit grumpy (to say the least), well lack of sleep will do that to you!    So I’ve been trying to do some back strengthening exercises every day to help, but it still twinges every so often.  I also spent several weeks on physio and hospital check-ups following my broken foot last July.

Anyway, I seem to be hospital free for the time being (fingers crossed) and I’m back to my weekly tap class which is great fun.  I’m also back crafting again and have spent the last few weeks and months busy making all sorts of items for orders and for our own use at home.

I ended last year making loads of legwarmers for the girls at dancing, and this year has continued the trend.  Since Easter I’ve been knitting frantically, furry wrist cuffs and legwarmers for some the girls taking part in a ‘Cats’ number both for the annual dance show and for competitions.

These feel lovely when knitted up, but depending on the yarn used I found them quite difficult to make.  The white ones were made with Eskimo yarn and that knitted up quite nicely, but I used some eyelash yarn that was really difficult to keep count of my stitches.  They did all look lovely on the girls though and made the outfits.  Alice has also asked for some now as she’s obsessed with white!

So I’ve beenknitting quite a lot over the months, and managed to get in a bit for my family.  I always make the children something to play with at the end of the egg hunt we do at Easter, and this year was no exception.

This year the three children found a knitted egg cosy character with a chocolate egg inside.  These are made from a free pattern of Jean Greenhowe that I’ve ad for ages and never got round to making up before.  They are easy to do and they were very popular, so I introduce you to Holly, Eggy and Steven!  They certainly has plenty of adventures on Easter Sunday, poor Steven was lost several times, but he was eventually found and went home with his new best friend!!

Easter also involved quite a bit of baking which was shared with family, friends and neighbours.

Mother’s and Father’s Day meant a lot of card crafting and my large owl cards were very popular.

I made these in a variety of papers and love the different effects they create.  I also enjoyed making the triangular backgrounds and took this further making some cards for men.

I love the monochrome set of card and toppers and when matched with the Hunkydory rainbow mirri card they really shine.

For Father’s Day I made a collection of cards for Hearts for Homes in Ramsbottom.

I fancied doing some more origami and made these using an old Papermania set of men’s papers, but I had to do some owls too and loved using these old maps.

Well it’s time to head off to work now, but I’ll be back soon with some more ramblings of a middle-aged crafter!  Have a great day.

Happy crafting

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Dance accessories

A couple of years ago, I made Alice a pair of legwarmers and a pair of wrist warmers for here to wear on her way to dance classes. She’s never been very good at remembering to wear them, but she did a couple of weeks ago and it would appear everyone wants some now! I think the little cold snap we’ve had has seen some chilly legs both in and out of dance class.

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I haven’t done any knitting for a while so it’s been nice to get out my needles again and start scaling up patterns to the right size. Fortunately, Alice is quite a good guide for her dance pals size. It’s also been fun sorting through my immense yarn stash. Trying to get perfect matches for dance uniforms isn’t easy, but I’ve not done too badly with a deep raspberry pink soft baby yarn and a bright turquoise for the younger children. Some of the older ones have a real love of sparkle, so along with the relevant Mums, we settled on some bright pink with a sparkle running through it for 3 of the girls, a navy blue with a blue sparkle in for another two and a black with silver thread for another.

It’s been touch and go getting these all finished for the big day (and before dancing finishes for the Christmas break), but they are all now complete. I hope they all like them when they open them under the Christmas tree. I can’t wait to see them all being worn in the new year!

Happy Christmas crafting
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School Christmas Fair Preparations

Once again we have the school Christmas fair to look forward too. I will be having a stall with all my tree decorations, some garlands and plenty of cards. This year, it’s being co-run by the newly formed friends group of parent volunteers, who all have their own ideas on what will work best.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the request for each child to fill and decorate a plastic pint pot for the Pot Goody stall. This is one of the most popular stalls among the children. Plus each class has a prize on offer for the best decoration. So this week we have been thinking about how we can do something a bit different. We’ve done several Christmas trees, a snowman and Santa getting stuck in a chimney, so this has not been an easy task!

Alice has been set on making a reindeer, though I can’t quite work out how she thinks we’ll make one. So after much discussion, we settled on a Christmas Cracker, filled with sweets and decorated with lots of bits and bobs from old Christmas cards. I think it looks fantastic. I hope for her sake that she wins, she’s been so disappointed in previous years.

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Fingers crossed.
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New Christmas Traditions – Satsuma Thrifty Christmas Campaign

Last year I decided to start a new tradition for Christmas. I was fed up of buying the same cheap little chocolate advent calendars year on year, and while my daughter liked them, I could never find anywhere to put them and they just didn’t seem to be very Christmassy. So I started to crochet some little stockings and made them into a perpeptual advent calendar.

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It looked lovely up in the hall last year as a Christmas garland as well as being my daughter’s favourite part of the run up to Christmas. I filled it with individual wrapped chocolates, so it didn’t cost a fortune to fill either.

This year I’m looking round for inexpensive little gifts to fill it with again. At seven (almost eight), my daughter is becoming a little more difficult to please with sweets and chocolates. I’ve bought a couple of selection boxes and will add those to the stockings. I think it’s always nice to see something peeking out of the top of the stocking. But I also want to add something other than sugar loaded treats. The stockings aren’t very big so I can’t go mad with gifts, but I think a couple of packs of her favourite (My Little Pony) Stickers and perhaps one of the mystery bags as a treat for Christmas Eve. She also loves to draw, so I’m going to get a pack of pens and split them up putting a different one in each stocking.

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It’s great to think that this will be a tradition that we can carry on and hopefully she will enjoy the individuality of her calendar. I know I certainly enjoyed making it and have great fun thinking of things to fill it with. And it doesn’t have to cost a lot either. I’m going to stick to a budget of £10 maximum to fill it. Who knows I might even find some of the stocking fillers I put away last year and forgot about!

Now I just need to hang it up high enough that the meddlesome cats don’t attack it!

Not long to go.
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See mine and other ideas for a savvy Christmas here

Christmas Card Collection

This year I decided to work on a full collection of five or six card designs for Christmas.  I was asked recently to provide the cards for the lovely gift shop Hearts for Homes in Ramsbottom, so this idea of a collection has become more relevant and important.

I’ve had my Christmas craft materials out for a few weeks now and have rediscovered some beautiful papers and patterns.  I found a stack of twisted pyramage with some lovely winter images.  I particularly like robins at Christmas, so thought I’d revisit this style of papercraft.  I’ve really loved the embossed and aperture style cards I’ve been working on this year, so keeping with that I found a lovely couple of embossing folders to work as backgrounds.

The snowflake embossing folder is by Darice.  I think it’s so pretty.  The snowflakes are all different and very delicate.  I think it works well with the twisted pyramage robin.

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My next card style in the collection is the large poinsettia.  This is a Bigz die by Sizzix and it works so well on all types of card, paper and fabric.  Here I’ve used some Kanban papers and combined it with a circular die cut aperture and embossed snowflake background.

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The third design in my collection uses some gorgeous rich cardstock I bought at the creative craft show .  This green is so sumptuous it just cried out to be used with gold mirror card.  I added a snowflake cut using an X-Cut die.  I think the gold ribbon bow and gems set it off a treat.  Don’t you?

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I’ve had such fun routing through my crafting arsenal of dies and materials.  I bought this Spellbinders bow die a while back and haven’t really used it.  But it called to me to make Christmas paper bows and add to the front of some cards.  I was reminded of a series of cards I made several years ago with large organza ribbon bows on the front which were very popular with my work colleagues at the time.  I loved making these bows from all the different Christmas patterned papers.  They looked so lovely on square cards, I even made some look like parcels.  My Mum and Dad will be getting one of these and I hope they like it as much as I enjoyed making it.

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These cards take a little bit of time to make so I was in need of making something quick to put in packs and that wouldn’t cost as much to make or buy.  I’d been thinking about doing some cut outs with patterned papers behind for a while now, but never gotten around to it.  This was the ideal opportunity to do some with my snowflake die.  I love this silver holographic paper.  It it so sparkly behind the snowflake.  I think they will look great on my stall at the school fair too.

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As in the words of the great Monty Python, now for something completely different!  I bought this lovely papercraft kit from Create and Craft several years ago and not known what to do with it.  The papers are quite pastel in colour but very fun and wintry too, and the little elements are very cute.  I particularly like the children in their winter outfits.  I thought they were perfect to send to siblings and grown up children.

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For my final card design this year I went back to my love of DL cards.  There is somethigng so elegant about a tall slim card and I just couldn’t help myself in making at least one.  For these I again used a Kanban card kit with some lovely HunkyDory Mirri card.  Simple but elegant I hope you agree

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So that’s my collection for Christmas 2016.  There is a selection available in Hearts for Homes in Ramsbottom as well as in Holts Newsagents in Walmersley.  I will also be selling these directly at the Springside Primary School Christmas Fair and via facebook.

I hope you like them.

Happy Christmas Crafting
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More Crochet Snowmen

Last Christmas, I had a rush on little crochet snowmen. They are very cute, and they were so popular with the dance mums, that I had orders for five more for this Christmas.

So for the last few weeks I’ve been crocheting parts of little snowmen. It has really started to get me in the mood for Christmas. I hope we get a spell of cold weather though. It does seem a bit odd making snowmen when it’s still well above 10 degrees outside!

My first set of snowmen are a for a lovely family with two little girls.  Their favourite colours are pink and purple.  I haven’t come up with any good names for these two yet, but I’m sure the girls will!p1250303

This trio are for two brothers and their younger sister.  One brother’s a Manchester United fan, the other is a Manchester City fan (I don’t fancy being there for football arguments in the future) and their sister is a dancer.

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I love how each one ends up different although the pattern is the same throughout.  It just goes to show how different yarns make things very individual.

I think the most fun I had though was with my jar of buttons while waiting for Alice in her dance class.  Looking for just the right shade of each colour is very important.  I was counting on any of the other Mums loving the buttons too, so we had buttons everywhere and I had to promise to bring them again!

Happy Crafting
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Unexpected crafting!

I know I’m a crafter, so this title in itself is rather unexpected.  However, our Alice has been unwell really for a few weeks now, but she’s finally given in to being fully blown ill and is currently enjoying / enduring  some restful time off school.

This has meant I am now totally behind with my preparations for Halloween and Christmas, but that’s the life of a crafting Mum!  So today I decided to find something for both of us to do that would help lift Alice’s spirits and maybe go some way to starting my stash of Christmas decorations.

I’ve been thinking about making some simple, no knit hat decorations for a while and this seemed the ideal opportunity with a willing helper too!  What I wasn’t counting on was how much she loved making them.

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We had such a great crafty afternoon watching ‘Equestria Girls’ on dvd and making these hats, that she decided she wanted to make them and sell them too.  So it rather turned into me being her assistant and she’s planning on taking her little stash to her dance class at weekend and maybe even to the school Christmas Fair! I’m hoping that she will make her own gifts for her teachers this year too.

I think she may have caught the crafting bug – much better than the virus she is recovering from.

Happy crafting
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