Saturday, 24 December 2011

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas

As the festive season is upon us, I look back on the past year and remember the big and small things which have shaped my year in many significant ways. I think overall I've had a pretty good year and I hope you have too, friends and fellow bloggers.

I wish you all a very happy Christmas and a New Year filled with peace and prosperity.

Small Christmas gifts

As these were commissioned by a friend for her friends as Christmas gifts, I am happy to share these with you before Christmas! These are little purses made using Keyka Lou's Zip Pocket Pouch pattern.

When open, each has a zip pocket and a slip pocket (behind the zip pocket). A bit of velcro holds the pouch close.

The friend who commissioned these pouches specifically asked for cat themed fabric.

I made this one in two sizes.

The slip pocket in the smaller pouch is perfectly sized for credit cards. I made myself one of these for myself a couple of months ago. I added the loop and split-ring as I like having the option of adding a wrist-strap if I wanted to later on.

These are great fun to make and I have three in progress on my sewing table at the moment.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Non-Slip slippers for mum and a quick tutorial

When my mum was visiting me, she happened to mention in passing that she could do with some non-slip house slippers to wear when she was at home in Malaysia. Her house in Malaysia has terrazzo flooring which can be quite slippery if you're wearing socks and besides, the weather is far too warm for sock-wearing about the house. I had seen this stuff called 'Slipper Grippers' which is a non-slip slipper sole fabric. It's made from natural hardwearing thick cotton canvas which is embossed with rubber non-stick little 'feet'. I ordered some and it arrived the day before mum was supposed to fly home! Talk about Just-in-time! Here are the slippers I made for her.

To make the slippers fit my mum, I drew around her feet including a rough quarter inch allowance. I then measured across the bridge of her foot and drew onto my template where the slipper band would go.

I then traced and cut out the slipper gripper fabric, some fleecey interfacing, some iron-on interfacing and some quilting cotton weight fabric for the inner sole. I ironed the iron-on interfacing to the wrong side of the quilting cotton fabric.

Then I created a stack with the slipper gripper fabric right-side out at the bottom, the fleecey interfacing in the middle and the quilting cotton weight fabric right-side up on the top. I basted all around the stack to hold the layers together.

For the slipper band, I drafted a pattern following the template I sketched out earlier and cut two each of the quilting cotton fabric for each foot. I also cut some fleecey interfacing to give the slipper band a bit more body. Placing the fabric pieces right side together and the fleecey interfacing onto the wrong side, I sewed along the long sides (top of the band and bottom of the band). I then turned the bands right side out, pressed them, top-stitched along the top and bottom edges and basted the open sides closed.

I basted the bands to the soles and got mum to try them out for side and fit. Once we were happy, I sewed bias binding around the slipper edges.

I noticed that Wendy aka The Crafter's Apprentice had made very similar slippers for her spa kits (aren't they a fab gift idea??! Wendy - I might just nick that idea from you for next year's Christmas makes!) and she refers to this tutorial which illustrates the binding process wonderfully. (Thanks Wendy!)

Mum was very pleased with her slippers. She promised to send feedback on slipper performance once she's had a chance to use them properly at home.

I've had a few other last minute Christmas makes and will share them with you as soon as I am able to load up the photos.

5 sleeps to Christmas!! Eeeekkkk!!! I am so not ready ... food to be bought, gifts yet to be wrapped .... how about you? Are you ready for Christmas?

Monday, 19 December 2011

The last Crimbo cards of the year

I finally managed to finish my 2 dozen or so handmade Christmas cards for family and close friends. Whew!! Most have now been posted off to their destinations.

These were the last four cards I made.

Sorry I haven't been around much. My lovely mum visited us for 5 weeks from Malaysia and we've had a wonderful time together - although it's meant that the amount of crafting I was hoping to do didn't really get done!! Mum flew home to the warmth over the weekend and I think she was glad to escape the cold.

I managed to make a few gifts for Christmas. My little team of five colleagues at work all got handmade gifts from me this year which I was very pleased about. I'll share some of them with you after Christmas as I don't want their surprises spoilt. I also made mum some quick and simple house slippers. I'll share that with you very shortly.

Have a great week ahead, friends.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

My creative space

The space is still full of Christmas cardy bits and bobs. I finished a few cards last night.

I have maybe another dozen to finish off before I can get on with a few last minute Christmas makes.

Find other creative spaces here.

Have a creative day, friends.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

More cards to share with you

Some time ago I went to a craft fair and picked up a pack of paper, card and bits for card-making. I used the pack to make up some birthday cards. There's a red, pink, black & grey theme to these cards.

It's amazing how a few glittery stick-on gems, the odd punched flower or butterfly can make a card look so pretty. Short lengths of ribbon are nice additions too.

I also found a cheap pack of doillies in a local kitchenware shop and cut bits off to paste onto my cards. Pretty, aren't they?

A lot of it is just layering paper and card on top of each other. I use double-sided sticky tape a lot and double-sided sticky foam tape under the little messages. I also discovered these wonderful little things (described as brads without legs) called Card Candi. They're the little round red and white dome-shaped things on my cards.

I've made more cards than I need this year. So I took a bunch of cards into work and put them into a box on my desk. My colleagues can come help themselves to handmade cards if they want to and leave a contribution in the box in return. My colleagues are quite happy with this arrangement and some have already helped themselves to some cards from the box. All good!

It's a cold blustery day here in Birmingham and it looks like it's going to start raining any minute. Hope you're having a fine day where you are, friends.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

My creative space

I'll be spending the next few days making up Christmas cards for my friends and family. My creative space is littered with bits of card, small bottles of glitter glue (I love the name Stickles!), marker pens, bits of scrunched up tissue and my lovely Japanese water-brushes.

I need to get them done by next week. Royal Mail tells me that the last posting date for countries outside Europe are 5th and 9th of December if I want to make sure they get there in time for Christmas.

To see what other creative peeps are doing around the world, visit the home of creative spaces here.

Have a creative day, friends.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

A handful of Christmas cards

Here are the Christmas cards I made a couple of days ago using some freebie stamps that came with a craft magazine and a couple of other stamps I bought at a craft fair last month. The stamps are inked in black and I then coloured them in with watercolour pens and marker pens. The red patterned paper was another freebie in the magazine. Don't you just love freebies?!

I have many more to make and must do them soon if I want to be able to send family and friends abroad their CraftyAdy Christmas cards this year. I have no idea when the last posting dates for Royal Mail are. Note to self - need to find out asap!

Monday, 21 November 2011

Cute button paperclip bookmarks

I recently bought some metal cover button kits and some giant paperclips. The cover buttons are metal buttons which can be covered with fabric. Dritz do a kit which comes with the plastic tool you need to make the buttons up. I used scraps from my stash and a small round circle of wadding to cover my buttons.

I then hot-glued them onto some giant paperclips which I found on etsy.

These make great little gifts. I have a few around the house - either as bookmarks or paperclips to hold my sheaf of bills together. They're a quick make and make good use of fabric scraps which might not be useful for anything else.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

A few cards

In my last My Creative Space post I was showing you a birthday card I was working on for a young boy. It turned out quite nicely I thought.

I used the same range of papers and cutouts to create another one for my card stash.

Here are a couple of other birthday cards I made.

I love these next two cards. The bunting in the card on the left is stuck down with small bits of double-sided foam pads so they stand out from the card. I nicked a few small star-shaped stickers from Missy Moo's sticker stash to use on the bunting.

I've not made very many cards which would be suitable for male friends. I realised recently that my cards are all very 'girlie'. This card is a lot less 'girlie' than many of my cards.

I have a few more cards planned and laid out on my desk - all ready for an evening of sticking and colouring in. There are a few Christmas ones in there too. I hope to be able to show them to you soon.

Hope you're having a great weekend.

Chain maille jewellery for a friend

A couple of My creative space posts ago, I blogged about some chain maille I was working on. I made a necklace and matching earrings for a very dear friend of mine who was taking early retirement.

This is a variation on the Byzantine weave and has additional rings on each side. I think it worked really well. I didn't make a full necklace. I personally find them slightly uncomfortable to wear. So I made 8 inches of chain and used a length of silver fancy-link chain to make up the rest of the necklace.

I was very pleased with the finished pieces and my friend was delighted with her leaving present. I quite like this weave and might have to make another one for myself sometime soon.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

My Creative Space

The creative space is full of bits and pieces right now - mostly card-making type of bits and pieces. Here's a birthday card for one of Dinoboy's best friends.

I have a stack of cards to make up and have started on a handful of Christmas cards.

My friend was very happy with her jewellery which I made for her (see my last My Creative Space post here) - I did take some photos but have not had a chance to upload them. Sorry! I will try to post the up soon.

Visit the home of creative spaces to find out what others are doing around the world.

Have a creative day, friends.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Hat number 10

I finished all my hats in time for the date my work colleague had set for the making up of the office shoeboxes for the Operation Christmas Child Project. Whew!

This is hat number 10.

Made on my green Knifty Knitter round loom with half a ball of leftover Rowan Big Wool yarn. It turned out to be a lovely warm hat with a nice little rolled brim.

Missy Moo wholeheartedly approved.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

My creative space

A slightly early My Creative Space post this week. I wanted to be sure I didn't miss it like last week! Doh! There are a few projects on the go in my space right now. The most pressing is this one.

A very dear colleague and friend of mine is taking early retirement and she finishes this week. I wanted to make her something nice and since she likes jewellery, I thought I'd make her a chain maille necklace with matching earrings. I don't know if there is a name for this particular weave ... it's a Byzantine weave variant. The accent rings are smaller in diameter than the silver rings and there's a single accent ring locking the box together at the top and the bottom - forming a little cross of sorts.

Visit other wonderful creative spaces around the world here at the home of Our Creative Spaces.

Have a creative day, friends.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Lip balm making in time for winter

The kids and I get chappy lips a lot during the colder months of the year. So I normally buy a lot of lip balm aka chapsticks etc. This year I thought I'd have a go at making our own. It was actually pretty successful - we ended up with 4 little pots and 10 sticks and I had leftover balm mixture left to half fill an old small lip balm tin.

I used the following:
15gms of cocoa butter
25gms of shea butter
20gms of bees wax pellets
roughly 10gms of mango butter
40mls of sweet almond oil
a few drops of peppermint flavouring oil

If you search for lip balm making supplies on Google, you'll find lots of shops online which sell these. Normally these online shops also specialise in soap-making supplies too (next year's craft perhaps??)

I melted it all in a heatproof container in our microwave in short 20 - 30 second bursts. When it had all melted together, I poured the liquid balm into my containers and put them into the fridge for an hour or so to set. I was a bit slow in my pouring and the balm mixture actually started to set in my heatproof container. I had to return it to the microwave a couple of times to reheat. I had read somewhere on the internet that shea butter can go grainy when it gets too hot and I think the reheating of the balm mixture made this happen in my lip balm. In hindsight I might omit the shea butter altogether in future recipes and perhaps use more mango butter or more cocoa butter. Ours was a smidgen grainy but the grainy feeling dissipates really quickly when the wax melts on the lips.

I was very cautious with my flavour oil and the resulting lip balm is not very minty. It can stand a bit more next time.

Have you ever tried making lip balm? Do you use shea butter and if not, which other type of butter do you use?

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Ending Halloween on a happy note

31 October fell on a Monday this year. Normally the kids would have been at school but this year, Monday 31 October was a teacher-training day so the kids were not required to attend school. They got the day off to hang out with me and got all excited about a Halloween party they got invited to.

I had one last pumpkin left and asked Missy Moo what type of pumpkin she wanted me to carve for her. She immediately declared that she wanted a 'happy' pumpkin. I think she's probably had enough of scary pumpkins this year. So a happy pumpkin it was.

I didn't hollow out this pumpkin - I just carved into it. I also did not break into the middle bit. I'm hoping that the rest of the pumpkin might still be OK in a couple of days as I intend to cut the face bit off and roast up the rest of it to make a bit of pumpkin soup!

I hope you had a fun Halloween. My two certainly did - they probably ate far too much junk food and sweets and spent most of the evening running about scaring each other and their friends to bits.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Wishing you a happy scary Halloween!


Meet another one of our Halloween pumpkins - this is Scary 'Two-Face' Jack.

CraftyAdy, Dinoboy and Missy Moo (and Scary Jack too) would like to wish you a happy scary Halloween. Have fun and be safe.

Sunday, 30 October 2011


Here are my second and third attempts at 3D pumpkin carving.

Meet Franklin Fangs ...

And his brother, Fred Fangs.

I am really enjoying carving up pumpkins. Before the kids were born, I spent a year and a half studying the art of woodcarving under the tutelage of a master woodcarver. I mostly carved small decoy ducks, leaves in relief, one or two Welsh lovespoons and an owl. Then Dinoboy was born and I packed my chisels away (small children, no dedicated workspace and sharp chisels do not mix well together). Pumpkin carving is a little like woodcarving - yes it is a lot softer material than wood but it also has some similarities in that it is subtractive in nature (once you've cut it off, there's no going back!) and like wood, pumpkin has grain too which makes 3D carving a little challenging.

The kids very much enjoyed watching the pumpkins come to life and are quite accepting of the temporary nature of these carvings - they start decaying shortly after they're done being carved. Franklin's got mold growing on him as I type this (he is now 10 days old) and will shortly be sent to rot away in peace in the compost bin.

Fred's probably gone the same way too - we sent him into holiday club with the kids last week.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

A whole new take on pumpkin carving

For some months now I have been thinking about trying out pumpkin carving ... and not just the regular sort of pumpkin carving. I've been spending a lot of time thinking about 3D pumpkin carving. I have been very inspired by two guys in particular. I'd like to introduce them to you.

The first chap is a friendly and incredibly talented guy named Ray Villafane. Here is the link to Ray's website, Villafane Studios.

Here's one of Ray's amazing pumpkins ...

And this one is one of my favourite pumpkins carved by Ray.

The second chap is an equally talented and amazing carver named Scott Cummins whose website can be found here. Scott also has a great carving tutorial on his website.

Here's one of Scott's pumpkins ...

And here is another. Cool, huh?

Pumpkins started appearing in our local supermarkets some 2+ weeks before Halloween. I had found a ribbon tool as part of a clay modelling kit in a local craft shop. Armed with the ribbon tool, a vegetable peeler and a small paring knife, I decided to have a go myself after studying Scott's tutorial and watching a whole bunch of 3D pumpkin carving videos on youtube. Here is Dinoboy with my very first 3D attempt - Sir Percival Pumpkin.

Missy Moo liked Percival a lot too.

Percy taught me the value of a good plan (mine was not a good plan as I broke through into the middle whilst doing one eye so decided to cut both eyes out as a consequence) and I learnt what I could or could not do with the tools I had. I tried scraping the skin off with the ribbon tool like Ray and Scott do but that did not work for me - I struggled a lot so decided to use a vegetable peeler instead which worked a lot better for me. I also got quite excited once I had one 3D pumpkin carving under my belt. So off I went to the supermarket to hunt for more pumpkins to mutilate. I'll show you my other efforts in my next post.

Hope you are having a good weekend, friends.

Friday, 28 October 2011

9 down, 1 more to go

I am very close to achieving the target of 10 woolly hats which Missy Moo set for me when I first embarked on this year's hats for the Operation Christmas Child project. Here is hat number 9 on Dinoboy.

Of course Missy Moo had to inspect it too for quality assurance purposes.

This one has a little rolled brim instead of the usual doubled-up one. It's kinda cute.

The past week and a bit has been pretty busy as I've been trying my hand at pumpkin carving. I'll show you my efforts in my next post.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Magnetic words for Missy Moo

Missy Moo started school this fall and is enjoying it very much. She is in Reception year which is the first year of primary school here in the UK. Pupils in Reception are usually aged between four and five. Missy Moo is 4 and a half. Reception year students follow what is known as the foundation stage in the National Curriculum. One of the areas of learning at this stage is Communication, language and literacy and students like Missy Moo learn to expand their vocabulary and learn to read.

Missy Moo was sent home last week with a couple of sheets of some of the high frequency words the kids in her class are currently learning. I think the idea was to cut the words out, play matching pairs games with them and use the words to form sentences.

I decided to use the sheets to make magnetic words. We have a small home laminating machine and I used that to laminate the cut-out bits of paper first. I then stuck them onto a sticky-backed magnetic sheet. It couldn't be easier.

We've used them a lot over the past few days and she enjoys making up different sentences from the words we have got. Here is Missy Moo lining the words up randomly on our fridge so she can start picking individual words out to make her sentences.

She thinks she is playing and I know she is learning. So it's a win-win situation for all. We have a little magnetic wipe-dry white board too and she prefers to play with her magnetic words on the little white board on the floor of the playroom.

She can't wait for her next set of words from school so we can make more magnetic words and she can make more sentences.

Friday, 21 October 2011

A slightly late My Creative Space

Apologies for this late My Creative Space post. I've been a day behind all this week despite having a clock in our house which tells you the time and the day+date. I spent the whole of yesterday thinking it was Wednesday. I happened to glance at the clock this morning and noticed the day+date bit and realised it's now Friday! Part of me is going "Woohoo!! Friday!!" The other part of me's thinking "Oh no!! I've got a ton of stuff to do before the weekend!"

I finished hat number 8 - here it is modelled by Missy Moo who insists on being my Quality Assurance inspector.

I started hat number 9 which is currently in progress. Here it is on my KK loom.

I'm still working on using up as much leftover wool as I can. The brim of this is made from the leftovers of a ball of Rowan Big Wool (I totally love the Big Wool yarn. So soft and so chunky!) The body of the hat is being made using two strands of two different grades of yarn. One is supposed to be a chunky but is not really very chunky at all (not for looming anyway) and the other is a thin black and grey 4ply I think.

There are so many beautiful projects on the go in creative spaces all over the world. Check out some of them here at the home of creative spaces.

Have a great Friday and wishing you all a wonderful weekend ahead, friends.