Button heaven


Just spent a sunny Saturday afternoon wandering through the streets of the lovely and historic Shrewsbury. So many delights from the Tudor buildings to the floral displays, the medieval castle and churches to the street entertainers – which, considering its distance from the sea, strangely included a sand artist?

Found a lovely craft market in the main square run by ‘Made in Shropshire‘, a collaboration of artists, designer- makers and food producers who live or work in Shropshire. Beautiful products on display (not least the meringues the size of my face!!) and what a good idea to unite disparate local artisans under a common (and meaningful) brand in this way.

Of course, as well as drinking in all the history, I did have a weather eye open for a yarn store. Sadly I didn’t find it although apparently there is one – what happened there then? I am now ashamed to hold my head up in the company of other yarn junkies as I should have been able to sniff out a dealer from a mile away!

However, I did find a lovely fabric shop, Watson & Thornton, which also boasted an extensive haberdashery section – including the wonderful wall of buttons you see in the picture. It really was a most wonderful selection of shapes, sizes and colours and looked as much like a work of art as a product display. I was very good and only bought a few that I needed for specific projects (okay, so maybe I haven’t started those projects yet but hey, I could only resist so much temptation) but in the words of Mr Schwarzeneggar….I’ll be back!


Blue Sky thinking

I love the blue shutters – beautiful, peaceful colour!


A blog from Clever Designs plus a drive through Rugeley, Staffordshire today got me thinking about the versatility of blue in interior and exterior design.

Take the use of blue to disguise what is basically a tin shed! Amazon’s logistics centre in Rugeley, Staffordshire has been described as “a smear of summer sky on the damp industrial landscape” and as I drove past today I could understand exactly what they were talking about. I wish I could have got a picture but there was nowhere to stop – this artist’s impression at least gives a flavour of how the colour gradation blends into the skyline.

Soft sky blues can be used to create a relaxed and tranquil atmosphere anywhere in the house, not just in the bathroom, often associated with blues.  Here, Thomas Sanderson shutters have been used to great effect to add style and elegance to patio doors.

Midnight blue blinds have…

View original post 42 more words

Finish it Challenge – works for me!


Finish It Challenge before

Finish It Challenge before

Just wanted to say a big ‘thank you’ to Mollie & Claire and Stitches & Scraps for getting their ‘Finish it Challenge’ off the ground! If any crafter told me they didn’t have an unfinished project (or three) sitting in the back of a cupboard I simply wouldn’t believe them! The one I chose to complete for the Challenge was something for me…which is probably one of the main reasons why it isn’t finished.

About 18 months ago I was given some Emu Coolspun by a friend who found it when they clearing an elderly relative’s house. Coolspun is a knubbly cotton yarn and since it was in my favourite cornflower blue and there was enough for a summer top I decided to make something for me for a change. However, the yarn obviously came off the market years ago so all patterns were really dated – I found something that looked okay in a similar yarn and got started about April last year…. but could I get the sizing right?? Anyway, after unpicking and starting from scratch twice (which is a real pain as the little knubbles get stuck all the time), summer had turned into autumn so my pretty summer top gave way to winter and Christmas projects and it sat forlorn and forgotten……

….until the Finish it Challenge came along! I’ve now found a new pattern that works really well and it’s growing rapidly because I’ve got excited about it again – and it will be finished in time to wear in Summer. So thank you again ladies – will post the ‘after’ picture when it is completed.

Into Intarsia …and happy anniversary to me!

Intarsia montage

Well, apparently it is one year since my first foray into blogging – how fitting that I should get back into it on my first anniversary! Haven’t blogged for ages, which is a shame because I’ve had loads to talk about…and I’ve missed my blogging buddies!

Over the last couple of months I’ve discovered a love of intarsia, which I used to hate because I was pants at it. It all started with my lovely Baltimore Ravens fan friend requesting a cosy for her little tea pot and from there I went on to create a Lambretta-style scooter, an art deco design, a soccer themed Brazilian flag and a British bobby’s helmet. I love the process of making the pattern charts (which is probably what has occupied my blogging time) and the way in which they are used to create order out of a chaos of yarns…..a metaphor for life perhaps? If you have a plan and stick to it, it is possible to bring all the threads of your life together in harmony?

Enough philosophising! Enjoy some of my favourite designs! Do have a go if you haven’t tried it – it is a great way to use yarn oddments because you use a separate ball for each colour. However, it is a good idea to make sure you are sitting comfortably and not expecting too many disturbances. Trust me – leaping up to answer the phone/doorbell not a good idea with a lap full of 10 balls of yarn 😉

Upcycling, stash busting, memory sharing project!

Naked granny square bag

Clearing out a cupboard the other day, I found a box of the boys’ old pin badge collection ranging from ‘1 today’ to Biker Mice, to ‘I visited Hadrian’s Wall’ to ‘reading is cool’. Lots of memories in one little box – for me at least! When I mentioned it to them their reaction was “we create enough junk of our own without you adding to it, mum”.

So what do you do with a load of pin badges, other than stick them back in a box in the cupboard? I could (and may do yet) frame them and stick them on a wall somewhere but that’s a little boring. I did think about (and may do yet) a crocheted wall hanging – if I get really ambitious (and probably a lot more badges) I could make a fly curtain for the back door. What I did do in the end was use some of them to adorn a granny square bag!

It may not be to everyone’s taste, but I love it so that’s all that matters really! As we all know, small granny square projects are great for reducing the stash, I used some recycled fabric for lining and the badges create a talking point….so it really is an upcycling, stash busting, memory sharing project!

granny square bag with badges 1 granny square bag with badges 2

Game of Tea Cosies – number 5

Surprisingly, this wasn’t the hardest one to interpret – House Bolton, symbol a flayed man. In fact I rather enjoyed creating this one, even if it is a bit gruesome (well, I did use to be a biochemist once upon a time).

And of course, if you view it simply as a tea cosy, pretty pink petals on a beaded red background is quite an attractive combination. It’s not meant to resemble strips of skin and blood droplets at all, honest 😉

Tea with the Targaryens – GoT cosy no.4

Despite her time with the Dothrakis, I still think Daenerys would be more of a cinnamon chai than PG Tips sort of girl…and definitely leaf tea rather than bags. So this cosy would be perfect for her to keep the pot hot whilst watching her dragons at play.

When I was thinking about how to represent House Targaryen I immediately thought of dragon scales and, though I wasn’t sure how best to achieve the effect but I felt sure there had to be some sort of stitch that resembles scales. Nothing to be found in my ancient Good Housekeeping stitch bible but a quick Google introduced me to crocodile stitch. I did wonder how come it took me quite so long to complete but when each row comprised best part of 200 stitches, I suppose a week wasn’t too bad – interspersed with several other projects of course!

I’ve only made a ‘Drogon’ (black scales with red tips) but, having enjoyed creating it, I may do Rhaegal (green with bronze markings) and Viserion (cream with gold markings) versions as well.