Crochet time!!

I’ve had a bit more time recently to do some bits of crochet, which i hadn’t for a month or two, so i’ve been making the most of it! Here are a couple of pretty shawls i’ve been making :)

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I’m really loving these autumnal russet colours at the moment. They’re so lush and warm!!

There are a couple of blue ones underway as well, no photos as yet. They are a simple granny square pattern, each square joined in to the whole as its final round is worked. I love this new way of joining the squares, something i’ve only figured out relatively recently. I used to just make all the squares then sew them together, which is fine, but this way is quicker and lets the shawl keep more of a lacy, soft, and less solid feel.


If you are interested in how to do this, it’s actually very simple. The first square is worked as a normal granny square – [3dc, 1ch] repeated along the side, and 3ch to turn at the corners. when working the final round of the second square, work as normal except on one side, which will be the joining side. on this side, when you come to turn the first corner, work 2ch, sl st into the 3ch at a corner of the first square, 1ch, then work 3dc into the corner space on your second square as you would normally to complete the corner. Ch1, sl st into the next space on your first square, ch1, work 3dc into the next space on your second square. Continue across the rest of the ‘joining side’. When you reach the next corner, work your 3dc into the corner space, ch1, sl st into the corner space of the first square, ch2, and then work 3dc into the corner space of your second square to complete that corner. Work the rest of your second square as normal.


It gets a little more complicated when you’re joining a square to other squares on two sides, but not much. Just work as above, but at a corner where you’re joining to 2 squares, work the 3dc into the corner space of your current square, ch1, sl st into the corner space of the first square to be joined, ch1, sl st into the corner of the next square, ch1, then work your 3dc to complete the corner of your current square. It may sounds complex, but it feels very logical once you’re doing it.


More shawls and woolly things to follow soon, i’ve been having an unseasonal blitz on jumpers and warm clothes that have been in my ‘do something with’ pile for far too long!





It’s cake time!!

So, every year i have a cake stall at a couple of small music festivals hosted by our lovely ‘local’ pub (by no means our closest pub, but definitely the closest that we regularly go to). Their acoustic music festival is coming up and i’d been suckered into ordering a ‘free’ (actualy cost about £2 p&p)  tshirt from vistaprint when i last ordered more business cards, intending to make it into some sort of top to wear for the weekend.

Then i had a better idea! The only apron i currently own is black and has swearing on it, and doesn’t really fit with the cute and chintzy feel i’m generally going for with a crafty-cake stall-thing at a local festival. So – ta-daaaa! Take one XL vistaprint tshirt, remove sleeves, which when spread out turn out to be almost the exact right shape for pockets, trim sleeves into pocket shapes, trim rest of tshirt into apron shape and edge everything in bias binding. Voila!

IMG_2833Sadly i’m rubbish at this sort of thing and can’t work out how to get the picture to flip, but in case you’re struggling the text says ‘it’s cake time!’ and then underneath ‘with cherries on top’. The pocket is just both sleeves stitched together, and the body of the apron uses both front and back of the tshirt for extra thickness and durability. So this ended up being almost a zero-waste refashion – all i threw away was the original shoulder seams, and a few scraps i snipped off the edges. Yay!

And, for those of you who are sitting going ‘swearing? on an apron? wtf?!!’ I thought i should show you my original refashioned apron. If you happen to be reading this with small children, or have delicate sensibilities, please be warned. Please ensure that your children/sensibilities look away now! In truth, the offending text is very small in the picture below so unless you click to enlarge it you probably won’t be able to read it anyway.


This apron, while admittedly potentially a little offensive, is very dear to me. It’s made from a t-shirt that used to belong to my best friend, and the ties and waistband from my old red shirt that i got signed by some schoolfriends’ band years and years ago (black marker does NOT come out in the wash – have a look at the left tie!), so it has a lot of good memories. The silly text on the front makes me smile every time i get it out to do some baking – as i had done just before taking this picture it would seem from all the flour smudges!

Anyway, now i have a less offensive apron for when i’m manning my stall at the upcoming event. You can bet i’m still wearing the old one to do the baking though!


Pretty new sundress

This is a fairly simple refashion from an old long tunic top passed on to me that was pretty, and i could have worn as a dress as it was (after maybe taking in the arm holes a little!) but it was a bit too big and not quite the right style for me

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I used to have a cute pink tie-dyed strappy sundress, which i wore absolutely to death a few years ago, and the recent hot weather means there is more opportunity to wear little sun dresses than we normally get in england! (Sadly a couple of days ago it started raining again, but at least it’s still quite warm!) So i decided that’s what i would do with this top. I used a dress that fits me well, in a similarly stretchy type of fabric, as a pattern.IMG_2830

I folded both the top and the dress in half, and used the dress to cut the pieces from the top for my new dress. I basically cut two ‘front’ style pieces to start with, then cut the back one straight across at the top. I kept the beaded bottom hem of the original top as i thought it would be a shame to waste it! I didn’t need to add any length as the top had started off slightly longer than my dress.

I used the offcut pieces from the sides of the top to make binding for the front edges (i just folded over and hemmed the straight edge of the back of the dress) and for the straps. I was surprised at how little time it took me to make – about half an hour in total. Boom! new sun dress. Now all i need is for it to stop raining! stupid english weather! :p


Much better! :)

I just can’t help myself…

Oh dear. Here i was, thinking maybe, just maybe, it would be ok to put up this one last picture, just to show you the green version of the corduroy-dress bag from last time. And it is lovely (even if i do say so myself! just love this fabric!)


But then i just thought i’d show you the pretty green lining too…IMG_2764

And then i came across a few more bags, which i had to photograph for my etsy shop anyway, and i just thought…well, i might as well! So here goes…

These next ones are made from upcycled chenille sweaters using a similar pattern to the corduroy ones, and fabric from my stash and an old tshirt for linings. Also some lovely buttons!

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These last two are inspired by the beaded handbag i thrifted as a gift for my friend, and changed the plastic handle for a long shoulder strap. These two are made from scratch in a similar design, from materials that are part recycled, part new, and part ‘gifted stash’ – that is, fabric i have rescued from friends who were going to throw it away (horror!) I’m afraid i don’t have before pictures of the things i have recycled and they were mostly cut up a long time ago, but many of the beads were from old pieces of jewellery, buttons from clothes that have since been refashioned, ribbon scraps from other projects, and fabric from upcycled clothes (the outer of the black bag) and bedlinen (lining of the brown bag).

Here is the first:IMG_2770

And a close up of the beading (this took about 3 hours to painstakingly fill all of this little ‘bib’ area with lots of buttons and beads!) This one fastens with a zip and has a shorter strap just long enough to comfortably carry on one shoulder.


And here is the second one, in brown satin:


This bag has a longer strap so it can be worn across the body – it’s lined in red-brown cotton from an upcycled valance and fastens with a press stud.


So there you go! last bags for a while…maybe! These are all now in my Etsy shop along with some new crochet shawls i have been making!

Last bag (for a while at least)… Promise!!

Ok, just one more bag then i’ll stop, ok? It’s been bag overload in the last couple of posts, and i am sorry – i’m just trying to document all the bags i’ve recently made so i can put them on one side and start writing about some other stuff! And frankly, at the moment i can’t wait!


So, just one more bag…

This simple handbag in a gorgeous deep red corduroy from a thrifted toddler dress (accidentally deleted the before pic from my computer, sorry!) and some thrifted cotton sheets (lining) and cushion covers (handles).


The beautiful enamel button has been with me for a few years, it was quite expensive and so i was reluctant to use it without some careful consideration and it spent a long time waiting to be used. It went so well with this fabric i just couldn’t resist. No idea where it came from originally, but it’s made with a glass-like enamel on a concave disc of coconut shell and it really is gorgeous. There is another bag, almost exactly the same (the lovely toddler dress fabric just about stretched to 2 bags!) but lined with a dark forest green cotton and with a green enamel button, but i don’t have pictures of it yet. There are also a few bags i’ve finally got round to making from lovely soft knitted jumpers and lined with other upcycled clothing, but i don’t have photos of those yet either! There may well be another post on bags here before i’m done, but i promise i will post about something else in between, if only because i am becoming truly sick of bags (and i never thought i’d be saying that!) :) xx

Bags, Bags and more Bags!

A long time ago (sometime last summer if i remember…) in this post, i talked about some shorts i’d rescued for my partner, camouflaging some paint stains with – wait for it – more paint!


The design i used was one of his phone doodles, picked out from the intriguing muddle of swirly and spiky lines and blocks that are created whenever he’s on the phone for more than 2 minutes. I love these, and have been meaning to do something artistic with them for ages now. Several months ago i ‘borrowed’ a pile of old work papers from his office and scanned some of the doodles in the margins before they were filed away and lost forever! I got busy with some fabric paint and some tote bags and little gift bags i’d been making from upcycled and vintage bedlinen and clothing. I basically just drew out the designs on thin card, cut with a craft knife, and used some cheap washing-up sponges and fabric paint (on a cling-filmed saucer! easily the best idea i’ve had this year :D )

The results:


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Some are a bit smudged, and i think next time i’d give screen printing a go rather than stencilling, as the stencils took ages to make and were only really good for one go (most of the smudged ones were a result of overused and soggy stencils!). Definitely a learning experience. I do love how the doodle designs turned out though, especially the dragon and fish designs, and will hopefully do some more in this vein in the future!

The smudged ones will be added to my emergency car-boot bag stash – you know, for all those dire shopping related emergencies :p The few that ended up good enough to pass on to other people will find their way into my Etsy shop!


A couple more bags i’ve made recently… one from an upcycled thrifted tshirt, which just grabbed me with its kitschy awesomeness:


And became this kitsch and awesome tote bag!


Also a couple of bags made out of some tough synthetic fabric i inherited from a friend…

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Then there was this bag – thrifted as a present for a friend, but i didn’t like the scratched plastic handle, so i replaced it with a longer fabric strap so it could be worn cross-body, and made it adjustable using a ring-pull from a can as a ‘buckle’.

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And last but not least, this wonderfully eye-bogglingly patterned cotton dress:


Which became this lovely big tote bag:



In this cute little clip-on pouch!IMG_1157

whew! bag overload much? i think i need to make more things that aren’t bags!