Friday, 23 September 2016

Crafting in September: learning ribbed web and lazy daisy stitch

embroidery hoop used for practising web stitch

At the start of the year I decided to embrace my creativity and try and reignite my sewing mojo. I wanted to try and create a piece of hand embroidery for every month of the year. I also wanted to push myself and learn some new stitches.

This month I had an idea in my mind for embellishing a piece of vintage fabric with embroidery stitches. I thought the ribbed web stitch would look great in the middle of a retro flower. Having never sewn this stitch before I turned to Youtube to hunt down some tutorials. I particularly liked the one posted by Mary Corbett and watched it a few times to get the gist of the stitch.

It's a mix between sewing and weaving and it creates a striking web effect on the fabric. I really like it but got in a complete muddle with my first attempt. You can see it below (brown and red thread). I kept messing up the wrapping around and moving along the 'spokes'. Easily confused you see...

first attempt at ribbed web stitch

My second attempt turned out better, see below. But I still had some uncovered spokes, which isn't quite right...

creating a eight point ribbed web stitch

Third time lucky...I think I've cracked it. I still need to practise, but understand what I need to do now. It's a soothing stitch because the weaving motion is relaxing. It's also nice seeing the thread build up on the fabric into a web pattern.

practising ribbed web stitch on an embroidery hoop

In between the web stitch I also attempted the lazy daisy stitch. I found it hard to keep the 'petals' even, but I'm sure that's just down to practice. Again I really love this stitch and it's useful for creating detail on a piece - a classic stitch which I really wanted to master. If you're interested in learning lazy daisy or detached chain stitch yourself, head over to Mary Corbett's Youtube tutorial

crafting is my therapy practising embroidery stitches

If you enjoy crafting for relaxation, you may like my blog link-up...

The focus of the linky is crafting for pleasure, basically taking some ‘me-time’ to unwind in our busy lives. It doesn’t have to be a finished project, we love seeing work in progress, planning posts or tutorials too. You can find out more about "Crafting is my Therapy" by clicking on this link

Me You and Magoo

Thursday, 8 September 2016

A year on the allotment: August 2016

I'm a little behind with my August allotment update. The school holidays take me away from the computer most days, which isn't a bad thing. Now the new school term has started, I get a bit more time to blog. August was an eventful month on the plot, lots of crops ripening and a bit of drama with a wasps nest...

pan full of homegrown peas and beans

In August we harvested:
* Our red Kestrel potatoes
* Lots of courgettes
* Tasty peas
* A few broad beans, had lots of issues with black fly this year
* Handfuls of beetroot
* A good crop of runner beans
* Tasty french beans
* The last of the mid-Summer strawberries

One of my favourite crops from the allotment are the peas. We can't resist popping open the pods and eating them right away. Some do manage to get home and I often mix them with the broad beans. They only take a few minutes to cook, best to eat them fresh and lighly boiled. Magoo and I love sitting in the sunshine podding peas into a pan, it just sums up Summer to me.

podding homegrown peas and broad beans

We also dug up the last of our red Kestrel spuds. This is probably one of Magoo's favourite things to do at the plot. I generally lift the plants with a fork and she dives in rootling out the potatoes. It's a system that works very well. Magoo and Grandma often have a race to find the biggest spud...

We have been really pleased with this year's potatoes. They aren't the prettiest, but they taste amazing. I haven't had to buy and spuds from a shop for weeks now.

lifting red kestrel potaoes

harvesting red kestrel potatoes

We've also had great success with our courgettes. We only had three plants survive slug attacks, but they have worked really hard producing lots of courgettes for us to harvest. The harvest has been so good, we've had to come up with new ways to cook with them. My Mum made Mary Berry's Courgette Loaf a couple of weeks ago and I can confirm it was delicious. Plus veg in cakes is good for you right? Better have another slice...

harvesting courgettes from our allotment

harvesting allotment courgettes

One of our plot neighbours gave us some of their white currants. The skin is translucent and you can see the seeds nestled inside. I have never seen them before and think they are rather beautiful.

I have mentioned before how the community aspect of allotment life is one of the loveliest parts of maintaining a plot. When another neighbour noticed how badly our broad beans were affected by black fly, he gave us handfuls of his own beans. How kind is that?

white currants grown on the allotment

Our sunflowers continue to grow ever taller. Each year we grow sunflowers with the intention of cutting them to have at home in a vase. I blogged last year about our 'super sunflowers', literally too big to fit in any vase known to man.

This years sunflowers have smaller flower heads, but they are towering over our heads. They are supposed to be fairly small and the packet said they would grow to about 180cm. Last time we were at the plot, they have easily grown to eight feet tall and over. No matter though, the bees love them and they look very statuesque on the plot.

very tall allotment sunflowers

sunset allotment sunflowers

About a fortnight ago we discovered a large wasps nest in the flower bed. We'd hoped to have left the nest alone, but unfortunately another plot holder got badly stung on his legs whilst walking past our plot to get to the water trough. After talking to the allotment committee, it was decided that something had to be done. The head of the committee volunteered to don his protective bee suit and deal with the nest, sadly using poison, which we were not keen to use ourselves. We've had to stay away over the past week or so because there would have been lots of angry wasps on the warpath. The situation seems under control and there are significantly less wasps buzzing about now. It's a shame really because they are pollinators too, but we need to respect the wishes of other allotmenteers using the space.

Magoo is back at school now and I'll miss our walks down to the plot in the sunshine. But we've had some fun times at the plot over the Summer Holidays. It's now time to start putting the plot to bed for the Winter. We don't tend to grow lots during the colder months. We're planning on adding lots of manure and covering the ground up with membrane. Fingers crossed it will keep the weeds and grass at bay. I will be back with another allotment update at the end of September...

family fun on the allotment

This week I'm linking up with these lovely blogs:

"How Does Your Garden Grow" over on the beautiful mammasaurus.co.uk

"Home Etc" over on www.thetwinklediaries.co.uk and mummyofboygirltwins.com

"Country Kids" over on www.coombemill.com

Monday, 5 September 2016

Crafting is my Therapy #8 + Posca Pen Giveaway

Welcome to the eighth “Crafting is my Therapy” blog link-up. A big thank you to everyone who linked up in August - I know it can be a busy month with holidays, days out and making the most of the sunshine...

I have to hold my hands up and say I haven’t sewn a single stitch in August. I had all sorts of plans and ideas, but the school holidays defeated me on the sewing front. Not that I’m complaining, we’ve had a great time. Lots of trips to the beach, playing in the park, picking fruit and veg at the allotment, sunny (yes, sunny) camping trips…I just haven’t had a moment to sit down and stitch!

Having said that, we’ve still had a crafty Summer with lots of colouring, painting and drawing. One thing we have loved is crafting with our Posca Pens. They draw on pretty much any surface you can think of…glass, stone, wood and plastic to name just a few. We put our Posca Pens through their paces and you can see my review post here.

Posca have also kindly offered us a set of their pens to giveaway this month. Simply link up with a craft related blog post and you could be in with a chance of winning...

Have you created anything crafty this month? If you sew, knit, crochet, paint, work with ceramics…please join in and share your blog posts.

The focus of this linky is crafting for pleasure, basically taking some ‘me-time’ to unwind in our busy lives. It doesn’t have to be a finished project, we love seeing work in progress, planning posts or tutorials too.

Grab the Crafting is my Therapy badge:

Me You and Magoo

I co-host Crafting is my Therapy with Jennifer Jain. She writes the popular craft blog Jennifers Little World

Jennifer hosts our Pinterest group board. Would you like your blog posts to be seen by over 700K followers? Craft Bloggers linking to #craftingismytherapy are welcome to join our board. It's a great way for your posts to reach a wider audience...

The “Crafting is my Therapy” linky will open on 5th September and stay open for the whole month – giving you plenty of time to get involved.
– You can link up with maximum of three posts per month, old or new.
– Grab the linky badge or link back to our blogs on your post.
– Please share the love and comment on other people’s posts.
– If you could share your post and the linky (using the hashtag #craftingismytherapy) on any social media channels that would be great. This will help us to grow the community. We will retweet all your posts via Twitter if you mention us (@pouchvintage/@JenniferJain )
– And finally, if you would like to follow me on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, you’re more than welcome! Jennifer Jain’s links are here too: Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook.

Giveaway Entry Rules:
– One winner will receive a pack of Posca Pens described above.
– The winner will be chosen at random from eligible entries to the linky this month.
– In order for an entry to be eligible it must be a relevant post, it must mention the "Crafting is my Therapy" linky either by text link or using the badge. It must link back to one of the hosts. The linky will remain open until 11.55pm (GMT) on Friday 30th September 2016.
– If the winner does not respond within 28 days we will redraw and reallocate the prize. There is no cash alternative. Invalid entries will be discounted.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Review Post: crafting with Posca Pens

I was delighted when Posca got in touch and asked if I'd be interested in reviewing their paint marker pens. A packet of their water-based pens arrived in the post a couple of weeks ago and we've been having fun creating with them.

a selection of posca pens

Posca Pens are designed to write on a multitude of surfaces, such as:
* Fabric
* Glass
* Metal
* Paper
* Card
* Wood
* Stone

The pens come in a large range of colours, are water resistant and fade resistant. When I first opened the packet I thought there would be a solvent smell when using the pens. But they are odour free and I felt completely comfortable with my daughter using them.

crafting with posca pens

We decided to put the Posca Pens through their paces and gathered together various materials, which included:
* A plastic yogurt pot
* A selection of stones collected from the beach
* A wooden drinks coaster
* A glass jar

Before you start getting creative, the brand new pens need to be prepped. Each pen needs a vigourous shake to move the ball inside the barrel. I then grabbed a test sheet of paper and pressed the tip down several times to start the paint flowing. Once you've done that with each pen, you're good to go. Remember to replace the cap firmly after using them or the pens will dry out.

First up we decided to decorate three stones we had collected from the beach. Magoo created a bright geometric pattern using a variety of colours. I think it looks fab for a first attempt using the pens.

creating pebble art with posca pens

childrens crafts with posca pens

I doodled a Summer inspired design featuring sunshine, lettering and swirls. We both loved how easy it was to use the pens on the stones. The colours were vibrant and we had more control than with paintbrushes.

posca pen pebble art summer 2016

decorate a pebble with posca pens

Here is our finished group of stones. We have often painted stones in the past, but Posca Pens help to create designs with finer details. There are plenty of examples of Posca painted stones on the internet, including these fun Totem Pebbles. I think we'll have a go at making the Totems next time we gather some stones together.

collection of pebbles we decorated with posca pens

Next up, the wooden coaster. Magoo set to work creating a floral pattern onto the wood surface. Again the colours were bright and went onto the surface smoothly. I would like to experiment further with wooden surfaces and create some plant markers for our allotment using Posca Pens.

drawing on wood with posca pens

artwork on wooden surface with posca pens

I was keen to try out a bit of doodling on the plastic yogurt pot. I thought this might be the toughest surface test for the Posca Pens. Most felt tip pens do not work well on plastic...this is not the case with Posca Pens. Again the ink glides onto the plastic, looks bright and dries quickly. There aren't many ink pens that team up with plastic in quite the same way.

doodling on plastic with posca pens

We then moved along to doodling on a glass jar. Magoo was keen to create a 'dream jar' as we had just seen the BFG film. She covered the jar with lots of swirls, loops and stars. We're going to add a label and create a lid to keep the dream contained within the jar.

crafting and doodling with posca pens

Magoo fell in love with drawing onto glass with the pens. I must admit, using Posca Pens on glass is amazing, again the ink glides onto the surface, dries quickly and looks really vibrant.

I spotted a number of images on Posca's Instagram account of artists creating window art for various shops using Posca Pens. The window displays look fantastic, so I decided to let Magoo loose on our patio doors. I had already tested a small area of our windows to see if the pens wiped off easily and I can confirm they do. So Magoo set to work...

creating window art with posca pens

window art makes a great children's creative activity

window art created with posca pens

I think her Posca Pen drawings look fab on the glass. Using the pens on the windows was a big hit with Magoo and a great way to get creative in the Summer holidays.

As you can see Posca Pens can handle many surfaces. It's easy to see why artists are using these pens to draw onto walls, windows, skateboards, surfboards and just about any other surface you can think of. Posca also hosted a "doodle wall" at the recent Upfest Street Art Festival in Bristol. If you take a look at the Posca Instagram account you can get inspired by the multitude of applications for their pens.

I have to say I'm a Posca Pen convert and will definitely be using them in future crafting projects. Magoo loves them too, in fact she refers to them as 'the special pens'. We didn't try them out on fabric, so that's next up on my crafting 'to do' list. I think we'd also like to use them to colour some creations made with air dried clay. So many possibilities!

Keep your eyes peeled for September's "Crafting is my Therapy", we will be holding a Posca Pen giveaway. Link up with your crafty blog posts to be in with a chance of winning a set of these amazing pens.
Disclaimer: these Posca Pens were sent to me for the purpose of this review. All views are honest and are my own.
This week I am linking up with these lovely blogs:
"Naturally Crafty" over on growingfamily.co.uk
"The List" over on youbabymemummy.com
"Blogger Club UK" over on www.cuddlefairy.com

Thursday, 11 August 2016

A family day out to Bristol Harbour and the M-shed

If you love nostalgia then you need to make a beeline for the M-shed in Bristol this Summer. They are hosting an exhibition entitled "The Story of Children’s Television From 1946 to Today" and it runs until 25th September 2016. As soon as I heard a host of beloved characters from my childhood would be on display, I knew we had to pay a visit.

Magoo had been asking if we could "go on a double decker bus" over the school holidays. Because we all like visiting Bristol and the bus stop is situated at the top of our road, we decided to jump on a double decker and head to the city. Like I say, I'd been itching to see the Story of Children's Television" exhibition for a while now. Because this temporary display covers Children's Televison from 1946 up to the present day, I knew Grandma, myself and Magoo would all find something to enjoy.

The M-Shed is situated right in the middle of Bristol Harbour, so there are plenty of boats to see. At the moment there is an impressive tall ship called the Kaskelot moored opposite the M-Shed. It was a truly magnificent sight and you can't help marvel at the size of it. If you look at the ship's website, you can see images of it at sea in full sail.

After admiring the Kaskelot we stopped off at Millenium Square to see the Official Team GB FanZone where live coverage of the Olympic Games from Rio is shown on a big screen. Grandma and I drank a cup of tea from the @Bristol Cafe and we all ate homemade cake watching the swimmers do their thing at the Olympic Games.

Once we'd finished our tea and cake, we headed across Pero's Bridge to reach the Queen Square side of the water. Whilst on the bridge, we stopped to look at the padlocks covering the sides. These 'love locks' are attached to the metal grids by couples as a romantic gesture and the amount of padlocks has steadily grown over the years. I was surprised at just how many locks are now on the bridge, they seem to have covered every available space.

The council don't like them and there were attempts to cut them off in 2015. Bristol citizens have a habit of not doing what is expected of them. It seems the council's dislike of the locks has prompted a whole sea of them to appear. I don't find them offensive and we all enjoyed looking at the names, inscriptions and different shaped locks.

We walked past the Arnolfini and across the swing bridge on Prince Street. Before we went into the M-Shed we took a moment to look at the sun shining on the water in Bristol Harbour and admire The Matthew. The "Modern Matthew' is a replica of the caravel ship sailed by John Cabot in 1497 from Bristol to North America.

It is a beautiful boat, run by volunteers and funded by charitable donations. Magoo was keen to climb down the wooden steps to see below deck. We found about eight small bunks crammed into a tight space. It's hard to imagine how the 1497 crew sailing to Newfoundland lived, ate and slept in such a small space. It must have been horrendous in severe storms and rolling waves.

After our tour of The Matthew we headed into the M-Shed. There is so much to see and lots to learn about Bristol life past, present and future. One of my favourite parts of the M-Shed are the perspex boxes cut into the wall looking out over the docks. There are quite a few of these 'windows' and each one is filled with intricate model boats. I love the juxtaposition of the tiny models against the impressive sight of a real tall ship outside.

The museum is divided up into three main areas, Bristol Places, Bristol People and Bristol Life. Each section spans past history and places through to modern day characters like Banksy. There's even a bright green, full-sized Bristol Bus from the 1960s for everyone to jump aboard. Magoo loved this part the best and she had the opportunity to sit on the top deck of a modern bus and an old fashioned one all in the same day.

Once we managed to coax Magoo off the bus we headed to the Children's Television Exhibition on the top floor. It was, as I had hoped, a complete nostalgia-fest! So many memories flooded back and I adored seeing Humpty from PlaySchool, Gordon the Gopher, puppets from Button Moon, DangerMouse and many, many more.

Magoo was also in her element as the exhibition features modern day TV programs from Cbeebies and CBBC. Having said that, she was glued to the compilations being shown on various televisions around the exhibition. The clip of Pogles' Wood which was made back in the late-1960s caught her attention and she particularly loved Roobarb and Custard. I know watching TV often gets a bad rap, but we all have shows we loved as kids and this exhibition celebrates that. Children's TV holds happy memories for lots of people and we all loved looking at the exhibits.

Once we'd had our fill of nostalgia we headed back out into the sunshine for an ice cream. As we looked out over the water I promised Magoo we would make a return visit to the M-Shed. We had barely scratched the surface of the vast array of items on display and we'll definitely be back...

This week I am linking up with:

"Country Kids" over on www.coombemill.com

Monday, 1 August 2016

Crafting is my Therapy #7

Welcome to the Seventh “Crafting is my Therapy” blog link-up.

I hope you’ve had a wonderful month or making and creating.

It was nice to see new craft bloggers getting involved in July. We loved seeing everything you’ve created. I particularly liked Deborah Champion’s post about sewing a tiny suit for her doll. Plus it was her first time linking up to Crafting is my Therapy.

This month I have linked up with my latest hand sewn hoop featuring a pretty butterfly motif. I attempted Satin Stitch for the first time in many years...

I also wanted to mention it's National Stitch Day on 6th August. The National Celebration of Stitch is designed to raise awareness of the Embroiderers’ Guild, demonstrating the delights of stitching, textiles and embroidery. Events will be taking place across the country and this event at Bristol Museum sounds particularly lovely and I'm going to try and go along...

Last month we also held a Sugru giveaway. There were 6 posts (not including the hosts) added to our link-up in July. Using the random number generator, I can tell you that the winner is…Zeens and Roger! A selection of Sugru packs will be heading her way shortly.

Have you created anything crafty this month? If you sew, knit, crochet, paint, work with ceramics…please join in and share your blog posts.

The focus of this blog link-up is crafting for pleasure, basically taking some ‘me-time’ to unwind in our busy lives. It doesn’t have to be a finished project, we love seeing work in progress, planning posts or tutorials too.

Grab the Crafting is my Therapy badge:

Me You and Magoo

I co-host Crafting is my Therapy with Jennifer Jain. She writes the popular craft blog Jennifers Little World

Jennifer hosts our Pinterest group board. Would you like your blog posts to be seen by over 700K followers? Craft Bloggers linking to #craftingismytherapy are welcome to join our board. It's a great way for your posts to reach a wider audience...

The “Crafting is my Therapy” link-up will open on 1st August and stay open for the whole month – giving you plenty of time to get involved.
* You can link up with maximum of three posts per month, old or new.
* Grab the link-up badge or link back to our blogs on your post.
* Please share the love and comment on other people’s posts.
* If you could share your post and the link-up (using the hashtag #craftingismytherapy) on any social media channels that would be great. This will help us to grow the community. We will retweet all your posts via Twitter if you mention us (@pouchvintage/@JenniferJain )
* And finally, if you would like to follow me on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, you’re more than welcome! Jennifer Jain’s links are here too: Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Crafting in July: hand embroidered butterfly hoop

"Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you" - Nathaniel Hawthorne

At the start of July I decided to create a piece of embroidery featuring a butterfly motif. I'd recently watched Butterflies: A Very British Obsession over on BBC4 and I was inspired to stitch one of these beautiful creatures.

I downloaded a free template from the web and transferred the image onto a piece of linen. I chose this particular motif because it would give me the opportunity to try out a number of stitches. In particular I wanted to attempt satin stitch which I haven't tried for many years...

I started by outlining the wings in backstitch using a lovely teal thread.

I moved onto filling in the lower wings with satin stitch. Like I say, I haven't attempted this stitch for a long time. I looked at a number of tutorials online and then took the plunge. At first I wasn't happy with the way it turned out. To me, the stitches looked messy and uneven. I had recently read the satin stitch tutorial over on the Sublime Stitching site.

I love Jenny Hart's laid back attitude to embroidery. She makes you feel that you don't have to get too hung up about it all...her attitude towards Satin Stitch is summed up here: "It will probably look really terrible to you. Stop looking at it. Set it down, forget about it, and then pick it up again later. I bet you will be surprised by how nice it looks"

So I've tried to take her advice and not stress about it too much. I need to practice more, but I think the overall effect now the piece is finished is good. I'm not a sewing machine, it's impossible to make every stitch uniform...it is handmade after all.

I really enjoyed sewing this butterfly and I feel more confident with using Satin Stitch. If you are interested in creating the same butterfly motif, you can find it here on Mary Corbet's Needle and Thread website

With the school holidays in full swing, it's harder to find the time to sit down and sew. I need to think of a new project for August and it will probably involve a quote. I dyed some linen fabric a sunny yellow colour a few weeks back, so I'd like to incorporate it into my next crafting project...

I am linking up to August's "Crafting is my Therapy" with my butterfly hoop.

Me You and Magoo

The focus of this link-up is crafting for pleasure, basically taking some ‘me-time’ to unwind in our busy lives. It doesn’t have to be a finished project, we love seeing work in progress, planning posts or tutorials too. If you'd like to find out more about Crafting is my Therapy, please head over to this blog post.

This week I am also linking up with these lovely blogs:

HomeEtc over on www.thetwinklediaries.co.uk and mummyofboygirltwins.com

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails