Friday, 28 September 2012

Sayonara September

Anyone who knows me well would say that I am not the greatest at sticking at things - unless it involves demolishing whole packets of chocolate biscuits or eating several Moro bars in one sitting, then I'm pretty good at applying myself to the task at hand.  I think I've even surprised myself at the number of crafts I completed this month.  I've got a few projects lined up so watch out October, I'm coming for you.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Sshh! Secret Squirrel

Sewing makes me so happy.  Usually there are elements within a craft that are fairly tedious to carry out, but I love it all, even unpicking the seams when I make a mistake.  Just as well really as that happens a fair bit.

I love these colour and pattern combinations:

I have already made a skirt for my eldest daughter using them.  She often receives lovely comments about it so I made another smaller version for someone else today.  Don't tell her, it is a surprise.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Et voilĂ !

Here is the finished creation.  The cushion is a mixture of acrylic and wool and is backed in a cotton vintage rose fabric with ribbon tie closures.  It's 23cm x 23cm, a cute size for a child's chair (if we actually had one).



As I have mentioned in my earlier post, I was very unprepared for how long this project would take, even though I did get faster at making the flower blocks.

I bought far too much yarn so there will be more crochet projects in the pipeline to use up the remaining balls.

The pattern can be found at Rosehip.  There's lots of loveliness on her blog, my cushion looks like the clumsy cousin in comparison.  Do you like my alliteration?

Degree of difficulty:  Definitely not easy for a beginner crocheter (even if the pattern says otherwise)
Time taken: 10 days
Result: Small but averagely formed - if you squint your eyes and look at it from a distance, it's passable.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Holy Half-Treble Crochet Batman!

Now I know why crochet is traditionally viewed as an old person's pastime.  It takes a really, really, really long time to complete anything.  You may be young(ish) when you start a project but by the time you actually finish it, you are 85.

Trawling the internet for ideas on my first crochet project ever, I could have picked any number of simple projects.  A granny square.  Pfft, challenge me!  A scarf.  No thanks.  Then I saw it - a gorgeous flower crochet blanket, yes, that's right, a B-L-A-N-K-E-T.  How hard could it possibly be??  I had a pattern, and if parts of it were tricky to follow, I had the internet to decipher the abbreviations, right?  Online crochet tutorials make the craft look so deceptively simple!

Project size aside, there are lots of traps for a novice crocheter to watch out for and I think I fell into them all.  Go me!  Firstly, I chose the wrong gauge yarn for the size of the hook I was using, so the squares are quite dense. Four squares and one snapped crochet hook into the process, that single granny square project was looking pretty good to me.  I realized then that my grand dream of an heirloom blanket would now be downsized to a very small cushion.

Here's a glimpse of what I have done so far:

I lost track of where I was on the pattern a few times and missed stitches, so I had to unravel a number of flowers and start again.  Weaving in the ends of the yarn was also a mission!  I had cut a number of ends too short which made the job harder than it needed to be.  That job is best done as you go rather than at the very end as the sight of all those brightly coloured tails taunting me left me overwhelmed at the amount of work still left to do and nearly made me throw the whole thing away. Well, not quite, but you get the idea.

When I have finished the cushion, I will post an update along with a link to the pattern I used for anyone who wants to try it.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Beauty with a purpose

Most young children go through a stage of destroying everything in sight.  For one of my children, this stage has lasted for 3 years.  This calls for a parent with Eyes in the Back of their Head. At times, having spider vision would be even better.  Obviously, I have neither of those talents, otherwise they may have helped me save a number of books from being destroyed over the years.

Here are my examples of how to turn the destruction into purposeful creations.

Rectangular envelopes:

On Sunday, he was upcycled and felt much better...

Square envelopes:

Maisy was feeling a little torn...

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Let's party!

All of my girls were born in the spring, so it is birthday season in this household.  My youngest turned 3 recently and she requested a fairy party with a butterfly cake and lots of pink.  You would think after organizing 13 birthday parties for three girls over the past seven years, at least one of them would have been a fairy party, but this is the first.

So, in the howling storm that raged all day that Saturday, four fairy friends (and one Woody from Toy Story) came to help her celebrate.

Monday, 17 September 2012

It's Wills Month

According to Public Trust, this is the month to get your wills in order.  I know.  You're wondering how you managed to get through over half of this month without even knowing that?!  You are probably also wondering what this is doing in the crochet section.

Here are some other Wills I'd rather be:



laughing at

not doing crochet with

You're welcome.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

A sneak peek...

My latest project could be a bit ambitious, this flower took me 2 hours to create.  Respect to all the crocheters out there.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Paintings, paintings everywhere

Why is it that the artwork that your child has not paid any attention to since it arrived home suddenly becomes their most prized possession the minute they catch you putting it in the rubbish - or worse, discover it already in the bin?  Cue the following:
(wail of indignation from wronged child) "Heeeyyyy, what's this doing in here?"
(parent feigns great surprise) "How did that get in there?" (thinks up lightening-quick feasible reply) "Maybe it got caught up with all the recycling, yeah, that's it, the recycling".
Major trust issues with parent averted but artwork still in the house in a more crumpled form.

There is almost 4 years worth of art that my two eldest children have created in their time at home and kindy, to view them all en masse is slightly overwhelming.  I have managed to sort out and discreetly discard plenty of the repetitive pictures, there's only so many flowers and stick figures a person needs.  Amongst it all there are some really wonderful, vibrant drawings and I love that their artistic progression is shown from mad scrawls and random splotches to the more detailed pictures.

I discovered the perfect solution for displaying their masterpieces and scaling back the mountain of art at the same time.  It's pure genius and can be found under the DIY section at Maisy and Grace.

I have no connection to the owner of the website whatsoever, I just really love her style.

The best part of this was that my daughters were able to help me.  Cutting out a heap of squares and listening to them chat about their drawings and where they wanted to position the vignettes was a lovely way to spend the afternoon together.  There were several paintings that they simply loved and could not bear to cut into so these will be kept in an art folder.  We certainly aren't drowning in paper any more so it was a win-win situation.

It doesn't matter that the squares aren't completely uniform, it all adds to its charm.  It is about 110 centimetres long so it's a real statement piece.  Eventually, there will be three of these framed pictures displayed on our walls, one for each of the children.  It is such a great record of their time at kindergarten and will be absolutely treasured by us all.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Mr Formica Table meet Ms Marimekko

There was a reason I picked this project first.  It appeared, at first glance, to be a relatively straightforward task. However, once I got started, it did present a few challenges which I will explain shortly.

Firstly, I want to talk about the fabric.  Have I mentioned that I love fabric?  I just adore this Marimekko print.  I love red, so it was always going to feature somewhere in my projects and the small scale poppies are perfect for using on such a small area.  It is also an oilcloth so should handle the occasional spill.  Which should be the middle name of all of my children. Along with Calamitous and Quietly Destructive.

Now, back to the problems I encountered.  The first one was how to treat the curved corners on the table.  The online upholstering tutorials that I viewed showed the instructor pleating the fabric at regular intervals around a curved edge and stapling the fabric to the underside, which would be fine except I wanted this table to have a neat finish from every angle not just from the top view.

I spent a fair bit of time trying different ways of folding the fabric around the edges and none of them were entirely satisfactory, but I did eventually settle upon just tucking one edge of overlapping fabric underneath the top flap in a sort of envelope style.  The curved edges of the table look less rounded as a result, but the fabric underneath looks tidy so I think I can live with that.

Instead of using a staple gun, I opted for some stainless steel studs. These required some gentle persuasion with the mallet and this is where I encountered my second problem. With each tap of the hammer, small pieces of wood would dislodge and get trapped between the layer of fabric and the table top.  And lumpy, bumpy table tops just won't do.  So, much of the time for this project was spent lifting up one edge of the unsecured fabric and rummaging around for the wood particle with my hand (very technical) and praying to the Patron Saint of Annoying Wood Splinters for a smooth finish when it came time to secure the final stud.

Then it was just a case of rescrewing the metal frame to the table and that's it.  Job done.

Degree of difficulty: At Least One Braincell Required
Time taken: 1.5 hours
Result: Love it.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Let's begin

I have had this table forever.  It was one of several pieces of furniture that was given to my then boyfriend (now husband) and I when we first started living together.  As poor students, we were always grateful to be given anything to furnish the flat with but we did decide to paint the surface dark green to match another larger formica cabinet in the house.  Bad move.  Left in its original state, it would be quite a cool retro piece now.  It has got brown metal legs and a handy magazine rack beneath the table. Even its rubber feet are original and still all intact.  It has found a purpose in every house we have moved into since our student days, but in our current home, it has been left gathering dust tucked out of sight behind my bedroom door. Time for your makeover, Mr Formica Table.

I do have dreams to powder coat the metal frame one day, but to keep things simple for this novice, I shall just attempt to restyle the top.  Watch this space.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012


A green (and sometimes blue) life
El petit taller
I Love Buttons By Emma
Rose hip
Seriously I Think It Needs Stitches
Sunshine x 3
Works In Progress

Little Tin Bird

Cush and Nooks
ES Design
Leanne Culy

Baking Makes Things Better
Good, honest grub


The Penny Drops

Big Little
Cirque du bebe
Sew Country Chick
Dana Made It
Mad mim
On the Windy Side
Sarah Jane
See Kate Sew
Sew Delicious


Hi everybody, and come on in.

Let me introduce myself.  I am a mother to three girls who are the inspiration for much of what I create, and a wife to a fantastic and patient (and handsome) husband who appreciates that I need a creative outlet (and who, sensibly, backs away when the sewing machine comes out!). I may have a slight obsession with fabric and trims, retro furniture and most things vintage but I love contemporary design as well.  Consequently, our home is a fusion of the two and is still a work in progress!

Starting a blog seemed a logical progression to combine my love of writing with my other newly-found passion for sewing.  My mother and grandmother sewed, and I am surrounded by incredibly talented and creative people so it had to rub off on me at some point.  My creative spark was well and truly lit once I had children of my own.  I love to sew for my girls but it hasn't been happening very often lately, which is why I thought a blog would be a good idea so I could get motivated, complete some projects and take on other new crafts that I have always wanted to try.  Which is where the 'dangerous' part of my blog title comes in, this could turn into a complete disaster for everybody in Blogland to see as I try my hand at restyling lovely old pieces of furniture, crochet, do some paper craft and even carry out some room makeover projects.  I won't be trying knitting.  Ever.

I promise I will put up pictures even if the end result is not what I had envisaged.  At the very least someone will get a bit of a laugh out of my tragic attempts.

I have given myself what I hope to be a manageable amount of time to complete each project, surely one month is enough time to produce something?  Isn't it?