Monday, 31 December 2012


It's customary at this time of year to recap the year gone by. From a crafty point of view it's been an excellent year for me mainly because I've moved from just thinking about being creative and making to actually producing and finishing lots of things. I started the year totally obsessed with crochet but towards the middle of the year I got back into sewing and later on, embroidery. 

Right at the start of the year I signed up to the Granny-a-day crochet challenge set by Ali with the hope that it would encourage me to get making, but I soon fell behind and never really caught up. In hindsight I think it would have helped if I'd had a project in mind at the start as producing random granny squares with no plan soon lost its appeal. Also I found the daily challenge a bit stifling after a while. But I did manage to produce a few pretty things, both granny square-related and otherwise.

I also started going to a sewing class which rekindled my love of sewing. An unfortunate side-effect is that it has also rekindled my fabric addiction!

In September I came across the Take A Stitch Tuesday (TAST) embroidery challenge on Pin Tangle and fell in love with it. Embroidery is a skill I really want to develop and I loved the process of learning a new stitch, then thinking of a way to use it and also seeing what everyone else came up with.  Some of the creations were really inspiring.  I missed the last few weeks of the challenge, but fully intend to catch up, and to take part again next year.  The format will be a bit different, but should still be fun and interesting.

Overall I've learnt a lot this year, picked up a few new skills and honed a few old ones. I think I've achieved most of my sewing aspirations for the year, apart from using up my fabric stash, which has instead grown to epic proportions!  I'm looking forward to getting more creative (and productive) in 2013.  How has your 2012 craft journey been?

Monday, 17 December 2012

Patchwork Advent Calendar

I finally got around to making an Advent calendar. It's a little late (ahem!), but as they say better late than never.  I made it using 7x7cm squares of Christmas fabric sewn together in patchwork strips and then attached to a linen background. I sewed up the seams of the individual squares to make little pockets. The spacing of the rows is a bit off, but I really like it and more importantly my 5yo likes it.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

5 Reasons to Visit CRAFTfest - The Online Craft Fair

My soapmaking alter-ego, Fairfield Gardens, is taking part in CRAFTfest, an online craft fair, which started on Saturday and runs until 1st December.

There are lots of great reasons to visit, not least the 250 or so stalls to browse through, but here are my top 5:

1. It's on 24/7 so you can dip in and out whenever you feel like it.

2. There is so much to discover. One of the nice things about real-life fairs is finding something new or unexpected.

3. You can bookmark finds. If you're not in the market right now you can bookmark finds and makers that you like and come back to them at a later date.

4. Oodles of inspiration. Let's be honest. Sometimes you're not really interested in buying anything; you just want to look at the stalls and bask in the loveliness. With CRAFTfest there are blogs to discover, Facebook pages to follow, Pinterest boards to covet... You can find a list of most of the stall holders and their various locations on the internet via this CRAFTfest networking spreadsheet.

5. You can browse from wherever you are. It's nice to get out, and be able to touch and smell the goods on offer, but if it's raining buckets, or freezing cold outside, you just don't fancy getting dressed or you're on the move, you don't have to miss out.

So what are you waiting for? Head over to CRAFTfest and start browsing. If you're not convinced here's a taste of what's on offer:


Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Crochet Christmas Stars

I found some crochet star motifs in my needlecrafts book and after a bit of an impulsive purchase of Anchor metallic yarn I thought I'd try one of them out.

It looks great!  The metallic yarn works beautifully.  I think it will make a lovely Christmas decoration.  I added a loop at the top, then after blocking it, I painted it with silver glitter paint and PVA to stiffen it.  I can't wait to hang them up around the house.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

TAST Week 46 - Magic or Checkered Chain Stitch

This week's stitch from Sharon at Pin Tangle is a wonderfully fun one.  I have seen this stitch a few times and thought it would be fiendishly fiddly to do, but I was delighted to find that it was quite straightforward.

I opened a shop on Folksy a little while ago, and although I'm still in the process of setting it up (read trying to find the time to stock it!) I do need a banner/logo.  I had the idea of two B's (for Berry Bakewell) which were mirror images of each other, embroidered, with a shape that was reminiscent of a butterfly.  The magic chain, as it's a bit more interesting than the 'standard' chain, seemed like a good choice for the embroidery.  I tried a couple of different colour schemes and also a different shape and thickness for the B.  I also thought about filling one in completely, and also trying the third idea with the chain colours alternating rather than matched but haven't got around to it yet.  I think my favourite is the second one. I'm loving the combination of green against bright colours, particularly deep pinks, at the moment.  Which do you like best?

Monday, 12 November 2012

TAST Week 45 - Open Base Needlewoven Picot

Last week I inadvertently did open base needlewoven picots using a different method, but this week I learned to do it properly (and it was much easier!).  For some reason I felt compelled to do a dinosaur. I call him Embroiderosaurus!