Saturday, 28 April 2012

Sewing Update

I was having a little look through my last few posts this morning, and realised that I haven’t done a ‘show and tell’ of what I’ve been up to on my sewing machine for AAAAAGES!!! 

I’ve shared crocheting, book reviews, paper crafts, bargain buys, photography, knitting, poetry, crafty gifts I’ve received, and even (shock of shocks)..... baking!  But, I haven’t shared any of my sewing with you since February.  And that’s very silly indeed, as I spend most of my time sewing and I  SEWING most out of all my crafting adventures!

So, here’s just a teeny-weeny taster of what I’ve been busying myself with over the past few weeks.....

[lots of colourful little rosettes]

[a spotty carry-all bag in my latest favourite colour combo]

[another carry-all bag.....]

[... and another!]

[some little gadget cases - for iphones, cameras, etc.]

[red and navy felt flower corsage]

[orange and purple felt flower corsage]

[purple and yellow felt flower corsage]

[some make-up/toiletry bags]

[kids' apron.....]

[...that's reversible]

[and another one....]

[... also reversible]

I’ll be putting some of these in to my Etsy and Misi stores, and I’ll be saving others for some fairs and markets I hope to be doing over the summer months (my first fairs/markets ever).

Happy weekend, lovely blogging friends!



Sunday, 22 April 2012

Crafty Book Bargains

As promised in my last post, I’m back to tell you about the books I bought while we were visiting my folks in England.  I thought I’d tell you a bit about each one (like mini-reviews) and show you my favourite projects from them.  So, here I go.....

I bought ‘Weekend Sewing’ (by Heather Ross) from a super-cheap book shop in Lichfield.  Sorry – I can’t remember the name of the shop.  The book cost £5. 

Most of the projects seem fairly achievable, and the introduction to the book states that all of them can be done in a weekend (or a day, or just an hour or so).  The ‘look’ of the book is bright and fresh, there are lots of diagrams to show you exactly what to do, and the photography is gorgeous!  There’s a huge range of projects (over 40), including:  bags and pouches, table linens and other kitchen stuff, slippers, gloves, dresses, skirts, PJs, and babies’ and kids’ clothes.  I especially like the clothes in the book, as I think craft books with an equal balance of ‘garments’ and ‘other stuff’ are a rarity.  Since buying the book, I’ve read some pretty negative reviews of it on Amazon (yes, I know it’s normal to read reviews first, THEN buy).  These reviews say that there are errors in a few of the patterns/instructions.  I was really disappointed to read this, as I LOVE this book, and was really excited to get going on some of the garment projects.  Of course, some of the reviewers were going crazy about this, while others wrote that the errors didn't really bother them and weren't a big deal.  So, I guess I just need to try the projects for myself and see how they work for me.  Even with a few errors, though, I think the book was great value for money (at the price I paid for it).  I’m not sure, though, that I’d be willing to pay the RRP of £14.99 knowing that there are problems with some of the projects.

These are the projects closest to the top of my ‘to do’ list (I’m hoping that none of them are the ‘problem-projects’):

I bought ‘Sewing Green’ (by Betz White) from the same bargain bookshop.  This one cost £6.

The book contains 25 projects, all of which are made with organic or repurposed materials.  There are also lots of hints, tips and resources to encourage environmentally-conscious sewing.  Like ‘Weekend Sewing’, this book has a fresh, modern look and some lovely photos.  There are also some really beautiful projects (pretty skirts, gorgeous cushions and blankets, super-cute kids’ stuff, and the AMAZING scarf on the front cover, for example).  As I was picking out my favourites to show you, I realised that they're all felted thingamabobs.  So, I guess that's what I feel the book does really well.  But, I have to say that I’m not so keen on other repurposing projects - I’m not particularly taken with projects that blatantly ‘look’ repurposed.  And this book has four or five that I’d put into that category (for example, an apron made out of an old shirt, a bag made out of old jeans, and a sunshade made from used Capri Sun cartons).  For some people, though, as I’ve read in other reviews, these are the projects that are most appealing.  Each to their own, of course!  I’ll definitely be trying out some of the makes in this book, and I’m pleased I picked it up. 

These are a few of my favourite projects:

The third book I wanted to share with you wasn’t a bargain book shop special.  I got it from Simon for Easter (don’t worry – I had plenty of eggs too).  This one’s called ‘The Crafter’s Guide to Taking Great Photos’ (by Heidi Adnum).  At the moment, the Amazon price is £8.44. 

I LOVE this book!!!  I thought I was on to a winner by putting it at the top of my Amazon wish list, as the 6 reviews there are of it on Amazon at the moment are ALL 5*.  And I wasn’t disappointed one little bit!!!  I took night classes in photography many moons ago (when I first went to uni).  The classes were great (especially the ones where we got to mess around in a darkroom), but I’ve forgotten most of what I was taught, and digital cameras weren’t around then (or at least we didn't learn about them).  This book starts from the most basic of basics (which really helped to refresh my memory), and goes on to explain things in finer detail (covering how to get the best results when photographing different types of craft products, how to edit and store your photos, and how to use your images to promote your crafty business).  There are also pages dedicated to sharing practical photography hints and tips from well-known crafters.  And, best of all, the book is a treasure trove of amazing photos of all kinds of crafty products!!!  I’ve read the whole book through, from start to finish.  It explains everything (camera settings, lighting, composition, etc) in easy-to-understand terms, and the author’s writing style is friendly and informal.  I can see myself dipping back into this book (for advice AND inspiration) time and time again.  I’d definitely recommend it!!!

Oooh – this has turned into a super-long post.  Sorry!!!

If you’ve read any of these books, I’d love to hear your thoughts on them.....

Happy Sunday to you!



Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Cheap and Cheerful

I’m just stopping by quickly today, to show you a few of the cheap and cheerful bits and bobs I bought while we were in England. 

I bought some buttons.  Well, of course I did – I just can’t help myself!!!  If you live in England, in the Midlands, I recommend Crafty Corner (in Atherstone).  They sell all sorts of stuff (mostly yarn and knitting patterns), but I go there for the buttons.  They’re just so cheap!  These little pretties only cost me between 5p and 12p each!!!

My favourites are the little owls!

I also bought a really sweet little book from a charity book shop.  

It’s a little bit battered and tattered, but I fell for it and had to buy it.  I wanted to show you all the pages, because I love the way the colours have been matched up on each double-page spread. 

My favourite pages are ‘3 cotton reels’ and ‘8 beads’!  I think the colours are extra-specially great on these pages.  Which page appeals to you most?

I’ll be back soon, to show you some craft books I bought while we were away.....



Thursday, 12 April 2012

Crocheting - at Long Last!

Thank you SO much for all the lovely comments you left me on my last post.  They really cheered me up!  I’m so lucky to have such wonderful friends!!!  ♥

I had to go back to see the doctor again yesterday.  He said that the antibiotics I’d been taking hadn’t worked, and gave me some different ones.  So, fingers crossed, these ones will start to work their magic over the next few days. 

Well, I’ve been a bit bored, just resting and not feeling up to doing much crafting.  But I do have ONE achievement I wanted to share with you.....

My first proper piece of crochet!!! 

I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to catch on to crocheting.  I only wanted to make a granny square!!!  I have books for beginners, but couldn’t follow the instructions or diagrams at all.  I’ve watched countless YouTube videos.  These were more useful than the books, but I still couldn’t quite get in.  Then, on Monday night, my mother-in-law (who was visiting for Easter weekend) showed me what to do – and it clicked.  Hooray!!!

So, I spent Tuesday morning re-reading the instructions in my books and re-watching the You-Tube videos.  And they all made sense!  Eureka!!!  I made this.....


Now I’ve got my granny square, though, I don’t know what to do with it.  Should I tie in the end bits and use it as a coaster?  Or should I keep going on this one – and turn it into a cushion cover or a little blanket?  Or make lots, fix them together and make something that way?  What do you think???  I’d be very grateful for any suggestions from you experts out there. 

I have some other colours that I could use.....

I bought these from the Creativa exhibition (in Dortmund) a few weeks ago.  I loved the bright colours, and bought them to motivate myself to learn to crochet.  It worked!

I’m off to do some more crocheting now – I’m worried that I’ll forget if I stop for too long.....  ;-)

Hugs to you all,



Saturday, 7 April 2012

Happy Easter!

Hello, my fabulous friends!  I have been enjoying reading your Easter-themed posts SO much!  I’ve loved seeing your super bunny and chick makes, and all your yummy-looking Easter baking! 

I’m afraid I don’t have any Easter makes to show you in return.  While we were at my folks’ in the UK, I finished knitting myself a cowl (photos to come), and tried AGAIN to crochet (no photos in the pipeline yet).  And that was all the holiday crafting I did because, a few days before we left, I started getting a funny rattling noise in my chest and didn’t feel 100%.  So, I went to see the doctor as soon as we got back to Germany.  And I have pneumonia!  Luckily, I don’t need to be admitted to the hospital.  But the doctor has told me I HAVE to rest – as in DO NOTHING!!!  I don’t really know how to do ‘doing nothing’ – I’m normally doing at least 10 things at the same time!  But, I’m TRYING to be good.  I think the ONLY upside of being told to rest is that I have plenty of time to catch up on reading crafty blogs and listening to crafty podcasts.

As I can’t share any Easter MAKES with you, I thought I’d share some Easter BUYS....

I got these cuties from a fantastic shop called Hema.  It sells the cutest, most colourful housey things ever!  Do you have Hema in your part of the world?    

Here are my new thingies hanging on my Easter tree old bits of branch with their new pals.....

I went shopping for these (and did the branch-decorating) BEFORE I got sick.  I’m just writing that in case my mom’s reading and I get into trouble!  ;-)

Oh, and I have to show you the little Easter stamp set I found (also in Hema).....

Wishing you all a very happy (and chocolate-filled) Easter!!!

Looking forward to having a bit of extra time to 'hang out' over at your blogs.....



Monday, 2 April 2012

Signs of Spring Along the Rhein

Just before we left on our little trip to the UK, we went for a walk along the Rhein.  I took my camera with me, with the intention of snapping any ‘signs of spring’ I spotted along our route.  I also took a few piccies of the river and the old part of our village.  Here are a couple of my favourites.....

Since we’ve been back in the UK, spring has REALLY arrived.  The weather has been (mostly) glorious, there are daffodils everywhere, and the trees are already looking very green and leafy.  

I’m hoping that Germany will have caught up with Britain in its level of ‘springiness’ when we get back home.  I’m enjoying all this greenness and – more importantly - I want to test-drive the summery frock and cardigan I picked up at M&S today!  Fingers crossed!!!



P.S.  Thank you all SO much for your lovely comments about my last post.  You’ve given my knitting-confidence a real boost!!!  ♥    
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