Monday, 18 May 2015

Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew - the Snowflake edition

Welcome to another Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew Link Party!

As ever our mission is to have you all organised and calm by the time December 25th comes around, and to help us we have gathered together a great bunch of bloggers, who are posting tutorials for gift and home decoration projects throughout the year. This month, our guest host is Karen, who blogs at Practically Pippy. I first came across Karen when she lived in Germany, and was very grateful for her sage advice on the etiquette of mulled wine drinking on our first German Christmas Market trip. My daughters-in-law were thankful too :) A few months ago, Karen moved back to the US, so I am delighted that she has found the time to craft a Christmas Mouse tutorial to share with us for this month's Link Party.

Of course it wouldn't be a Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew Link Party without a giveaway for one lucky linker. The winner of last month's Alpine Skier cushion cover pattern from Bustle and Sew was Sandra, aka the Novelty Pouch Factory, who made the link up with her fabric baskets posts by the skin of her teeth :) This month, the giveaway prize is generously provided by the wonderful Katie of Japan Crafts, who I had the good fortune to meet when she ran a Sashiko workshop at my local Embroiderer's Guild meeting.


Katie has donated this lovely Mini Rice Bag Kit for one lucky winner, it is just perfect for gift wrapping a special present.

 Having made a similar bag from one of Katie's kits already, I can attest to the clarity of the instructions and the high quality of the materials!

So, if you want to be in with a chance of winning head on over to link up your Christmas and Holiday makes at Practically Pippy

My own Christmas make this month came about when I accidentally spilled a tube of beads all over my craft room floor! Whilst laboriously picking them up I remembered that I had originally purchased the beads along with wire blanks to make a beaded snowflake. So, once I was up off my hands and knees that is what I did, and here is the result!

I think that I might look out for some different coloured beads to make a few more before December.

I also spotted this book on a recent IG'ers destash, so needless to say had to snap it up straightaway :) Hopefully there will be lots of inspiration for future Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew projects in there.

Looking forward to seeing all your holiday makes and as always a big thankyou to all of our lovely giveaway sponsors.










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Friday, 15 May 2015

Not one but two finishes!

I am surprised to find that I have not one, but two finishes to report this week! I shall probably have to lie down in a darkened room for a while after writing this post to recover :)


First up is this paper-pieced patchwork pouch (that's a bit of a mouthful to say!), which I have been wanting to make for a while.

The pattern for the pouch is from Patchwork Please by Ayumi Takahashi, which I bought when it first came out a while ago, but this is the first project that I have actually made from it. I am delighted with how the pouch turned out, but there was some head-scratching involved in interpreting the instructions.

"Mark the centre points on both long edges of the panel 1.25" from either corner"
I still have not been able to work out this one!

Emboldened by my success though, I decided to have a go at another project from the book. Rather rashly I thought that I would have a go at the Embroidery Pouch, where I hit my first problem. The pouch in the book has a delightful patchwork star pattern for the front panel, but although there are several other paper piecing patterns for other projects in the book, readers were blithely instructed to draw templates on paper to create their own. Now, it may just be me, but I feel that if I have paid good money for a book of patterns then maybe it is not unreasonable to expect that the patterns might be included! As it was the templates provided to piece the star block front panel needed to be resized and given my recent problems with the photocopies I didn't really think that my son would take too kindly to another request :)

So, I decided to do my own thing instead!



I rummaged through my scrap basket to find all my sewing related fabrics and used them to create this front panel.


The interior of the pouch includes a see-through vinyl pocket with binding. Given that vinyl is not a material that many sewers will have a lot of experience with, I thought that the instructions for the pocket were particularly sparse. Again, I never could get my head around the binding instructions, so after one failed attempt trying to understand them I gave up and did it my own way. It seems to have worked :)

Again, I am happy with how the Embroidery pouch turned out but I do feel that it was despite rather than because of the instructions.

I won't be put off trying other projects in the book, but I will be more wary of the instructions for the projects from the outset.

If you can make head nor tail of the marking instruction do let me know, as it has me completely baffled :)



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Thursday, 14 May 2015

Nessie's Rivals - The Kelpies

What's a Kelpie you may ask? Well, you might have already heard of the most famous Kelpie, Nessie the Loch Ness Monster, as a Kelpie is the name given in Scots to a shape-shifting water horse. Now, however, Nessie has a couple of serious rivals for her crown.

Just along from the Falkirk Wheel you will find these amazing structures!




Each of these Kelpies stands at 30 metres tall and weighs over 300 tons, so there would be no mistaking them on a misty evening, and unlike the sightings of Nessie there is definitely no chance of them being likened to a floating log in a photo :)

The structures were erected in 90 days in 2013, and were designed to both reflect the industrial heritage of the area, with their steel construction and the commercial past of the draught horses of the  canals, where they are based. I have to admit that their unveiling in early 2014 passed me by and I only became aware of them in a recent TV programme of a canal journey across Central Scotland. They are absolutely stunning though, so if you ever get the chance to go see them then I definitely recommend that you go!

I have to confess to taking rather a lot of photographs of The Kelpies as I just found them fascinating! The photo below is a particular favourite, and you can see more clearly in it, the steel plates which formed the construction of each Kelpie.
 

You can watch a time-lapse video of the construction process here

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