Brrrrrrrrrr!! No draughts here thank you!

….Not in this owner’s home anyway! I made this a little while back (as a Christmas pressy actually) for someone who a) had a draughty home and b) also liked sewing and knitting. And what could be more perfect!

I love the detail you can get with free-hand machine applique! And I love these bright colours of the sewing items, of which I tried to include recognisable items; things I’m pretty sure every sewer owns…a pin cushion, those scissors!

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A Splash of Colour

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For my wedding back in 2011 I made over 100 placemats – using six different fabrics and each having a little ‘thank you for coming to our wedding’ label stitched in (for our guest to take away). Even now when I pop round to friends and family’s houses, I see them used: if not for dinner, being given the honour of protecting tables from various household items – which is actually kind of nice.

My friend Sarah and her handy-man husband Glen have recently refurbished their kitchen/dining area and Sarah asked me to make a table runner and six mats, requesting ‘something like my wedding ones‘: different but coordinating fabric for the top, same spotty fabric on the underside. I had a look around and gave Sarah some nice fabric options, of which she chose a selection from the Amy Butler Hapi range.

I used each different fabric per placemats and with the spare fabric (from each fat quarter) I cut into patches to create the runner, that was just short of 2m long. As well as the mats, I quilted the runner so it was nice and padded to protect Sarah’s lovely table. For the backing of all the mats and runner, I used a Kaffe Fassett blue spot fabric, that coordinated nicely with the colours of the Amy Butler’s.

I didn’t actually take any photos of these myself but Sarah sent me some of them in action…

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Sarah’s Houses

Every year I like to make birthday pressies for my good friends and as the years pass by it’s getting harder and harder to come up with new (and good friend-worthy) gift ideas.

My friend Sarah lives in the most lovely house…it’s one of those quirky old buildings that’s been around for years and years with loads of character. She is currently in the middle of some decorating so I thought I would make her something housey…in more than one sense of the word!

The first is a draught excluder…well, we are getting old and the nights are drawing in! Plus Sarah’s house, whilst it may have been standing hundreds of years but with it’s higgledy piggledy walls is sure to let some cold winter air through somewhere.

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I used a medium weight fabric to ensure it’s hard-wearing qualities and decorated it with mini houses, trees and bunting using free-hand machine embroidery.

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The second little gift is an actual house, or a door stop to be more exact. I did it in the same fabrics and colours as to match the draught excluder, and again used free-hand machine embroidery to decorate the front (including the name of Sarah’s house over the door).

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Ahoy there!

I’ve been making a few cushions of late which I quite enjoy as it’s a little like making a picture; the making up of the cushion is easy, it’s the design on the front that takes the thinking about.

Like my cushions I posted a few weeks ago, for two twin baby girls, this cushion was for a new born baby boy. The theme was nautical to match his nursery.

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I bought the fabric for the cushion from Etsy; it’s a linen cotton blend which I think is more hardwearing and suitable for home furnishings. I wanted something relatively plain coloured with a bit of pattern so this fits perfectly.

SONY DSCThe front I decorated with a fabric applique boat, and add a few personal details such as little Harry’s name in big red felt letters on the flag, his birth date on the sail (in a format normally seen on sailing boats) and in small embroidery I’ve named the boat after him: H J Robinson.

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The boat is quite a simple shape so I included a few extra details such as applique clouds, and hand-sewn waves and birds. On the spotty blue background, anything else would have been a bit too much. Finishing it off, I trimmed the whole picture with red and cream gingham ribbon which I think ties in all the colours quite nicely.

My friend Elena, who I’ve made a few bits for in the past for her cutie of a daughter, Emily, asked me to make this for her friend’s new baby. On receipt of this cushion, Els forwarded me her friend’s response…

‘And we had a beautiful package through today!!! Oh my god, the cushion is beautiful! Did you know I liked the nautical theme?! If not fantastic choice! It’s absolutely gorgeous and of course goes so well in his nursery!’

Always lovely to know my crafty items are liked and I hope this adds a little special something to baby Harry’s nursery that will make family Robinson think of Els (and hubby Mark and their little lady Emily) and their kindness.

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Twin Cushions

I was recently asked to make two matching cushions for newborn baby twin girls as their Christening presents. The brief was something quite girly and colourful, decorated with their names.

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The two floral fabrics I used were from Dunelm Mill and, as a medium weight cotton, it was perfect for cushions. The two florals were from the same range so, although different patterns, complimented each other – I used one for the front (called ‘Rosetta’) and the other, the striped floral (called ‘Chloe’) for the back.

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The other request for the cushions were for them to be decorated with something like little baby booties. I thought my attempts at baby booties might end up just looking like wellies so I decided to do little girl-style shoes instead – a much clearer and more obvious (and cute) shape me thinks!

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I used regular machine appliqué for the shoes in a zig zag stitch and straight stitch for the names, hand-sewing a running stitch using embroidery thread around each letter to make them stand out.

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Finishing, I added a little pink button to each shoe for the ‘fastening’ and used coconut shell buttons for the back closing of the cushion.

I really enjoyed making these cushions as, while cushions themselves are pretty easy to make it’s the decorating that’s fun!

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I’ve got another cushion on my ‘to do’ list and this time it’s for a baby boy so I’m looking forward to thinking of ways to decorate this next one.

Rose’s Hand-printed Cushion

I hear what you say…‘cushion! Booorrrinng!’ 

Ok so I’ve made many a cushion, most I haven’t bothered posting about as, nice as they may be, there is just nothing that special about them, a cushions a cushion right?

Right! But this, my most recent one is special – to me anyway as it’s my first ever attempt at block printing where I designed the print, cut the block (and my hands!), and printed the fabric…all that before cutting and sewing it into a cushion cover.

I decided to make this for my friend Rose, who is a fan of cool stuff and likes and appreciates how things look (being a graphic designed and all!). I made it for her birthday/house-warming pressy. I went with a palm tree design to match her very funky wallpaper in her new living room.

First off I drew the design onto a piece of parchment paper, then magically transferred it by rubbing the back of the paper onto the lino block (I was pretty impressed with how well this technique worked!).

The next step was to work out how the blade worked and start to chip away around the design…this was quite fiddly and cost me quite a bit of skin off my fingers! (hence the glove…note to self: invest in a hand guard!). Once this hard work was done, many an hour late, the fun messy bit began.

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Before I jumped in a printed onto my lovely linen, I practiced on some scraps of fabric to test amount of paint and to see if I’d cut away well enough. After a bit of practice and a few amends to the block, away I went…

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Once all the fabric was printed, I left it to dry for a day before the easy part – sewing it together to make the cushion cover.

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I even added coconut buttons (appropriate!)

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I may have used a easy shape and soft cut lino but I was super pleased with my first attempt, and whilst it may not be the most complicated thing I’ve ever made it certainly is the most ‘hand-made’.

Jess’s Quilt

I was asked to make a gift that could be given from a boyfriend to his girlfriend – Jess. The brief was…pretty brief (I know he won’t mind me saying that!).

The brief consisted of a list of all the things that Jess liked including elephants, rabbits, Cath Kidston and warm cuddly stuff…sounds like a lady after my own heart.

After mixing these idea ingredients together in a big pot, the result was an explosion of colour and a hand-made, thoughtful gift that was created out of love of one person to another.

I think that’s enough photos…you get the idea.

(And I really enjoyed making this too…although a bigger table would have come in really useful!)

Not just another apron…

This weekend I have been making yet another apron for a customer (the lovely Di), however, this one is little different from my previous makes and also, with this one, I got to be a little bit more creative!

The brief was: just a half pinny (do other people use this word or is it just one from my childhood?), and vintage-looking prints: ‘she likes Cath Kidston‘…who doesn’t! And finally, it needed to be a little bit more personal with the name of the lady who will be receiving it as a gift.

I’ve had the most lovely floral fabric, that I bought a few weeks ago, just waiting to be used on a project like this. So, using this for the main apron, I then used contrasting fabrics (spots and more florals) for the pockets, ruffle trim and waist band, and jazzed it up with crochet trim and ric rac.

 

I embroidered Shauni’s name on the pocket followed by a smaller ‘Love Cats’ (the name of the shop giving this apron as a leaving gift.) I am pretty pleased with the results (in fact, I’m thinking of making another for myself).I hope Cats and Shauni love it too.

It’s not all about the dogs.

Whilst I love dogs, it’s probably a good thing that I broaden my range of aprons.

My friend and colleague Charlie asked me to make her an apron for her mum’s birthday. As there are only a few things you can really do to jazz up a basic apron [still making it usable], like Charlie, her mum likes stripes, so I used a nice cream, red and navy striped ticking fabric, popped a pocket decorated with red crochet trim (my new favourite trimming!) on the front and…ta da… pretty yet practical.

This post is also for Charlie as she won’t see the apron in real life until her mum opens her birthday gift, as it’s all tucked up in tissue. So here it is…hope you like x

And for anyone who still likes the dogs, you can see them on my gallery.