Monday, 19 March 2012

Stitch and Craft

I got very very excited when my friend Jo invited me to go to the Stitch and Craft Show at Londons Olympia, she very kindly bought me the ticket for my 30th bday pressie! Thanks Jo! 

Id never been to a craft show bfor, and wasnt really sure what to expect, but I was very excited especially when I found out that my favorite designer Emily Peacock would be there!!!!!

I would say that Emily is one of my major inspirations, shes not only a fabulous designer but shes also an incredibly lovely lady. Emily very kindly donated some kits that helped us to raise over £600 pounds for Macmillan last year, and she sent me a Love Tattoo Kit as a present which was unbeleivably kind and made me jump around my house for the majority of the morning in excitement! Since then Emily endures a random phone call from me every now and then with some random idea I have had, or something I have seen which I think she might like! It was during one of these phone calls that Emily told me she thought I was a frustrated designer... now for me thats incredible. Emily saw potential in little old me... 

So for ages Id been saying to Emily that I would make her a little something to say thankyou for her kindness, as you know ive been dallying with Crochet so I thought Id have a go at making Emily a 3d model of her Momiji Doll design.. You can find the cross stitch pattern here Emily Peacock Momiji Dolls

I found a yummy pattern and changed it slightly to look like Emilys doll and this is what I came up with :) You can find the pattern I used here PassionFyre Kokeshi Doll. This piccy isnt 100% finished because as per usual I was still putting on the detailing at 11pm the night bfor the show!!!! She also came with a cocktail umbrella to complete the look :)

So on the day of the show I was all excited, my other half had dyed my hair for me which was long overdue, and I got all dressed up in my favorite clothes with my hair all straightened (and almost long enough to sit on EEEEK) and off we went on the train to London :) I may be 30 but I still get excited like a 5 year old and jump up and down and clap etc ... yes I know its not cool - but I dont care! When we eventually got to Olympia and got inside I was astounded by how busy it was - seriously busy.... I can only describe it as tho someone had put out a bulletin that Craft supplies wouldnt be available after that day and that everyone had better get their asses down to the show or never craft again!

There was stall after stall of DELICIOUS craftyness, cross stitched art adorned the walls of the stalls, there was oooooh and ahhhs from myself and my friends. There was reams and reams of fabrics and balls and balls of wool, buttons and ribbons and just a world of yummyness. If I was rich I could have spent an absolute fortune but Im not so I didnt! We wandered around the first floor of cross stitched goodies and then went downstairs for lunch. At which point we joined a huge queue for the food and I was sworn at by a little whiskery chinned 75 year old who was 'fucking gasping' for a cup of tea :) Good job she was going for the tea bcos the Coffee was VILE! 

After lunch we went to find Emily, who was sitting in the CrossStitcher stall - this stall was absolutely gorgeous, It had 2 big tables and a comfy sofa with yummy stitchy cushions on and a world of delicious nik naks. They had adorned the walls with beautiful fabrics in embroidery hoops and it was probably one of the best thought out stalls in the show. Emily was sat at the table doing free embroidery, I had a slight jump up and down in excitement moment which I tried to hold back! LOL! 

(sorry my pictures got eaten by the interwebs and ive not been able to retrieve this one )

Emily Peacock is beautiful, I hope she wont mind me saying this but shes like 1950s american movie star beautiful, she was flawless! So I gave her the doll and a little pin cushion Id made and some SweetBird coffee syrup, and she hugged me and said thankyou and was super lovely and I went all shy and so when she asked me to sit down and sew with her I got all nervous and said Id come back later.... I am such a dufus! 

So off we went to see the rest of the stalls... The next 2 stalls were Mr X Stitch and Jane Greenoff - I have to say I was a bit dissapointed in Mr X Stitches stall.. Being that he is contraversial, and one of the only male crosstitchers I expected something more from his stall than 3 white walls with framed work up on it. Yes fair enough he had 3d cross stitch which you had to put glasses on to look at, but I just thought his stall lacked imagination and effort in the set up of it.. Sorry Jamie I do like your work but I think your stall really let you down - your cooler than that!

We wandered around the rest of the stalls, on the 3rd level was a lot of yummy wool and quilting fabrics, but bcos it was soo busy it was very difficult to actually look without feeling under pressure to get out of the way, so I skimmed most of the stalls which was probably good for my bank balance :) I was very surprised at the lack of anything amigurimi/crochet apart from a few books on the bookstall... Crochet is cool!

The bottom floor was all card making and papercraft which isnt my cup of tea, so not a lot to report about downstairs... 
After that Id plucked up the courage to go and do some sewing with Emily so I went and sat and had a chat with her and started embroidering an anchor :) Another thing to add to my list of works in progress :) 

Want to find out some more about Emily - you can find her here Emily Peacock

Friday, 3 February 2012

Crotch-It Mind Tricks

So Ive been a Crochet hook owner for 10 days.... I bought 2 hooks and 2 sets of knitting needles for 50p from a charity shop, then a ball of shaded dk yarn for 55p at another charity shop and thought rightio Il give this a whirl....

Ive been saying for over a year that Id love to learn to crochet, but Ive never had the time to actually get round to it, well I stole some time and its AWESOME FUN!

Ive taught myself using youtube videos, learning the stitches as I needed them... Ive watched quite a few diff videos for each stitch til I found the ones that made the most sense to me :) So far Ive learnt chain,  single, double, increase, decrease, slipnots, magic circles, cinching and binding off  :) I can now crochet in a round which is used for Amigurumi (cute animals etc) and have started to learn the traditional straight liney type stuff.

So why crochet? Well... I love the fact that you can take a ball of wool and turn it into something completely different. I have a friend who makes FABULOUS crochet characters AliTheAlien Crochet and she sent me a surprise crochet Hoonie for my birthday  - which was super kind, but even better that it was designed by her daughter who I had made a memory hoonie for ;)

The other cool thing about crochet is that if you make a mistake you can just unravel and start again... I have MAJOR issues cutting into the scrummiest bits in my fabric stash bcos if you cut it wrong its wasted, theres no going back... I like the margin for error in crochet... which is good cos my brain likes to trick me...!

Crochet requires a LOT of counting, and as alot of the stitches require more that one action sometimes your brain can play tricks on you... telling you you have done 2 stitches when in fact only one. So I had to devise a way to make my brain comprehend whats going on... to make it behave. I have to break down each row, so that I have each stitch mapped out and can cross them off as I go esp where increases and decreases are concerned LOL. So I end up with something like this....

Esp handy if you have to pick up and put down your crochet because of interruptions - cos then you know exactly where you are when you pick it up again, and your less likely to make a mistake too :)

So anyhooo I did a few plain old rows and thought... boring! I started to look for amigurumi patterns and found a cool website called Ravelry :) I signed up and started to have a butchers.... WOAH theres loads of FREE patterns and its fabby... and I found this pattern of yummification... Hermione The Unicorn By Dawn Toussaint

Copyright Dawn Toussaint
So thats what I am attempting to make... probably jumping in at the deep end just a little bit.... BUT its forced me to learn diff things as I go so its been a fabby project so far! And heres how far I am into it with my 55p ball of yarn :)

Its not perfect - I made a mistake with the magic circle at the begining of the head... but other than that I am pretty darn chuffed with it :)

So what other stuff have I made so far... well I stumbled across an awesome blog Attic 24 seriously you have to go look at this blog... Lucy is a frikking genius, the colors and the designs are just breathtaking... shes taken crochet and made it seriously COOL! Its like a world of rainbows and color explosions!!! Now I know another fabulous lady who is seriously into her bright colors and rainbows of yummyness and thats Kitty Pinkstars! She got a new hammy this week after her sidekick Ethel went over the rainbow with the hammy angels :( I thought oooooh what a way to welcome Walter! And soo I got out some yummy colors and made Walter some Mini Bunting for his cage :) (click on the attic24 linky above for the pattern)

This is Walter - how sweet is he :) I hope he hearts his bunting :) Pop by Kitty Pinkstars fbook page to see more things about him and also check out Kittys yummy makes!!!!!

So there we go the weeks adventures in Crochet... or as I like to call it Crotch-it  :) 

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Where it all began.....

Some of you may know and some of you may not, but in Nov 2010 I was diagnosed with Papilliary Thyroid Cancer thats a whole other story that you can read about here

So whats that got to do with the price of fish? Well when I got my diagnosis I decided that I wanted to cling to a positive, to not wallow in my diagnosis bcos to be fair that wasnt going to take away my cancer, all Id acheive by being miserable about it as exactly that - Id acheive being miserable... So I decided to face it head on with a smile on my face, I took the saying 'Keep Calm and Carry On' and I ran with it. It became a talisman, a sort of good luck charm and I tryed to live life by it.

2 days after Id been told I had the Big C I decided that I NEEDED a really cool hospital bag, so I asked a lady to make me one. At this point very few people new about my cancer so I asked her to pm me so I could explain about my custom order. Shelley of Thats Sew Shelby turned out to be lovely, she agreed to make me a Union Jack Bag with 'Keep Calm and Carry On' on the side, but not only that she offered her support which turned out to be invaluable and Im very lucky to say that she is one of my best friends now!

 And with that Shelley had given me the bug...... it was a cheeky bug, and a crafty bug! Shelleys kindness and fabulous makeyness had inspired me to think of ways I could make a difference, to try and put a smile on the faces of other people facing cancer. So the cogs started to whir....

Id always like the look of the Sock Monkeys that were popping up all over facebook and so when my partners Nan gave me some socks that Grampy didnt like I thought hmmmm I wonder how hard it would be to make a monkey... At this point I had no sewing machine so I started making one by hand, it took FOREVER to make but when I was finished I was pleased with him and the crafty bug had taken a strong hold of me.

And so Mac was born.... with the birth of Mac came Make For Macmillan, a charity page on facebook set up to raise money by auctioning things we had made with all the money going to Macmillan. We were astounded by the support - people donated items for us to auction and by the time we had been going 5 months we had raised over £2500 pounds. Unfortunately as I type M4M isnt running as it became sooo big that I struggled to manage to run it as well as deal with treatments and homelife. I hope that in the future we can get it all going again.

V luckily I was given help to purchase a sewing machine and so the monkeys just kept on coming, every single one made for macmillan :)

I fancied a change, and so one day I thought id try making a plush toy with fabric, I made a paper template (which I still use to this day!) and set about making Splodge.....

Splodge was created on one of my many craft days in Shelleys kitchen :) His decoration all handsewn he became quite the little character!

Sooo why Beeknee Hoonies? Well my 4 yr old used to call us beeknee hoonies as a sort of cheeky name - almost a sort of toddler swear word :) I loved it, it made me giggle and so the Hoonies were born :) I love that when he is older he will look back at  Splodge and know that he was part of it all :)

I am soo very glad that the big old beardy man in the sky decided to chuck lemons my way bcos I made some awesome lemonade, and some excellent friends in the process!