Monthly Archives: December 2013

Reactions – and rabbits

All the presents have now been given out so I can sort of assess the success of the whole project.  In general I think people did like their presents, the moose hat has been shown off to many people certainly. I think the best way to round up is with photos and quotes.

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Becky liked the gloves

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The Gruffalo’s Child quite liked his toy bag

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Everyone liked the monster bag

According to Facebook I make “a mean liqueur”

And shock of shocks….

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The cat has been using the bed mat!!!!!

The Hoglet skirt was “particularly amazing”. Although she hasn’t tried it on yet so the jury is still out really!

I sent some friends home on a long car journey today with some sloe gin chocolate hidden away and received this text “just discovered the sloe gin chocolate, it;s fantastic. Officially I’m in heaven :)”

My auntie put her brooch straight on, the pear and fig chutney was opened the same day, the bag holder was in use by the next day and my dad liked his coasters “and they won’t break when your nephews throw them around”.

That’s all I know. If you have a comment about your present add it below! And only the bunnies unaccounted for.  Bunnies don’t really appreciate a polished gift, so I made a treat dispenser for them out of wrapping paper roll inners.  A little bit of environmental enrichment for the hutch, they got straight to work on it so it must be ok!

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The secret project revealed…

So now Christmas has come and gone (I was even at work yesterday! Running a children’s bush craft party, oh yes denbuilding and marshmallow toasting is the best thing to do with hyped up children) I can reveal one of my favourite projects.  It was for my long suffering husband, luckily he is creative too so didn’t mind all my crazy crafting.  His long time nickname was Moose so I decided to go for a fair isle hat, with a moose pattern.  There aren’t many out there on Ravelry, but I found one by Holly Marie Designs – which then sadly seemed to be unobtainable.  I was gutted so more in hope than expectation emailed the designer.  She gifted me the pattern!  What a lovely lady, and she didn’t want payment so I will be donating to a charity instead.

I knitted this on my days off on Mondays, and in any spare moment he wasn’t looking.  He did see me buy the yarn though at Cafe Knit in Lavenham but I know him too well – he’d forgotten all about it by Christmas. I do think if I did it again I would use more contrasting colours though.

Here is is looking cold (and cold-y) on Bacton beach in North Norfolk where we spent Christmas.

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Merry Christmas, Everyone…

…Snow is falling, all around us… Well, actually it isn’t, it is a very unseasonal 10C. There it is though, I have done it.  I made everyone at least part of their Christmas present.  At this stage I have no idea what people will think – in the main.  I was planning to do a photo of my dining table covered in all the things I had made, but of course I had to wrap and give away some of them early or post them so a lot had already gone before the great “Muppet Christmas Carol” wrapathon on 22nd.  I know that Beckie and Kim put their brooches on straight away, and that Matt loved his Damson gin, but I’ll be finding out over the next few days what other people think.  Of course no one is likely to say they hate things I’ve made, but hopefully I’ll be able to gauge reactions a bit.

I have enjoyed doing this challenge, it has seemed less stressful then going shopping (especially true when you are intermittently on crutches) and more personal and Christmassy than ordering from the internet.  I’ve started to see myself as a really creative person too, which I never have before – the legacy of being bad at art at school casts a long shadow obviously.

I wonder if I will get any homemade Christmas gifts?

Thank you for reading about my exploits – there’ll be more updates after Christmas, hopefully with some pictures of people with/in their HANdmade presents.  Have a lovely one!

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Waste not, want not

This is the penultimate make for Christmas! Some people are extremely hard to make things for.  A certain man in the family has the exact opposite sense of style from my homemade, nature loving aesthetic, and also doesn’t really drink! I had been planning to knit a plain black beanie hat, but it is not exactly a thrilling prospect so somehow it got to the back of the queue and I was without a make for him.  Then someone at work told me how they use the gin soaked sloes to make sloe gin chocolate….

So there I was yesterday cursing as I realised it is not that easy to get the stone out of a sloe, all I can say is it’s a good job I didn’t get a Christmas manicure! I ended up very sticky but got it done. I spread them in the bottoms of either silicon cake moulds, or baking tins lined with greaseproof paper.  Then I melted the chocolate in a bain-marie (I know a microwave is meant to be easier but I burn chocolate that way) and poured it slowly over the sloes.  After a couple of minutes I tapped the tins on the worktop and then put them in the fridge for 20 minutes before running a knife round the outside and turning them out.  This way they aren’t completely set so you can cut them up if needed.

Sloes ready for chocolate

Sloes ready for chocolate

Melting the chocolate

Melting the chocolate

Just then I had a brain wave – in the cupboard I had some edible gold glitter! So I grabbed a paintbrush and started applying it.

Adding the gold shimmer

Adding the gold shimmer

Gold bars

Gold bars

By 6 pm on the Sunday before Christmas I was kind of out of options for buying nice things to put them into so they just had to be wrapped in foil with some nice labels added.

Finished product!

Finished product!

The last make is going to be for my bunnies – yes Buffy and Wizz deserve a present too! I have saved all the inner tubes from the wrapping paper to make them something chewable, but photos are going to have to wait until after Christmas when I can give it to them.

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Strictly cabled

Another finished project! They are really stacking up now. I took advantage of all Brucie’s filler moments during Strictly last night to finish these wristwarmers.
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The slightly dodgy photo is pre wet blocking, which I did do to even them out a little. Doing something so narrow on 5mm double points did result in a few little ladders… They look great now though – they’re one of those products I’d love to keep!

And even better Abbey won! Yay!

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Solstice sew-athon

Winter solstice is one of my favourite days of the year, I love the idea of the year turning away from the darkening nights and towards the light.  We always celebrate with a bit hearty dinner and candles.  Luckily making a game pie is my husband’s speciality so I was able to spend the whole day at the sewing machine – after I’d cleaned out the rabbits, done the washing up, fed the cat…

First off I made a project I’d been looking forward to making for ages.  It’s for my nephew who loves carrying a bag around!  The tutorial can be found here and I just think it is so cool! I made a couple of modifications, the glorious Franklin’s in Colchester had no blue fleece so I had to go with lime green, and no big rolls of grey felt left so I needed to stitch two pieces together to make my bag instead of folding.  I do think that dark grey and apple green is my new favourite colour combination though, just look at that lovely contrast stitching.  I think that with the green fleece you could maybe design a Shrek monster bag – a future project maybe! I did also make an error and stitch the straps in the wrong configuration, but I don’t think he’ll notice, and it won’t affect the function of the bag.  I also enjoyed using my new pinking shears.

All that was left to do was add in some crayons and voila! I can’t believe that made this.

Monster minus teeth

Monster minus teeth

Contrast stitching

Contrast stitching

Monster bag

Next up, a present for the aforementioned cat.  She’s taken to sleeping on my coat which I foolishly left on top of the blanket box so I thought with a nice bed mat I could switch and reclaim my coat. I had originally toyed with making a felt cat cave but I just didn’t have the time or elbow power, so I decided to use this flannel in a plaid design, with a black felt (bought not made sadly) border on the top layer.  I totally designed this myself with an aim for it to come out about 65cm by 40cm – I had planned to quickly measure the length of the cat but she was hiding in the shoe tray under the bed at the time.

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Making up the front panel

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Hattie inspects the WIP

I used a different plaid underneath so it can be reversible, and stuffed lightly with washable toy stuffing.

All finished

All finished

Let’s hope she enjoys sleeping on it – though to get her to use it I may have to act like she’s not allowed on it…

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Maximum cuteness

The sewing is continuing apace. Yesterday I tackled something ambitious.  I used some more Fabric Rehab fabric to make a simple skirt for my friend’s daughter.  I used the instructions for the Simple Skirt from Dana Made it – that lady knows how to explain things clearly with no fuss.  In just over an hour I had made this gem.  I know it’s a summer fabric so I made it slightly large in the hope it will still fit her then, though I admit I know little about how fast 2 year olds grow. It was hard to choose the fabric but the Hedgehoglets were so incredibly cute, I really hope our little hoglet likes it!

Hedgehoglet skirt

I had some pieces left from the week’s sewing so I made (another) notebook cover for a colleague who’s been really good to me this year during my ill health. This one turned out really well, and surely everyone who works on a nature reserve would like these little guys?

Hedgehoglet notebook

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