Handmade Chicken Doorstop

A handmade chicken doorstop, made from my left over navy and white spot dress fabric! I found the pattern and instructions for this doorstop on the Guardian website. I needed some fast sewing therapy last night – this fit the bill, and it’s useful too! Splendid. Wouldn’t it make the most perfect present?

Chicken Doorstop Handmade

Chicken Doorstop Handmade

 

Chicken Doorstop Handmade

The tutorial is relatively simple for an advanced beginner. I did a couple of things differently. Instead of using felt for the eyes, I used some nice shiny buttons and, instead of using rice as a filler, I used stuffing with some baking beads. Pretty and practical, it’s making a clucking fun statement in my living room. Love it!

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Handmade Retro Peg Bag

I made another peg bag! It’s the first of 2015 and my seventh (here’s number one, two, three, four, five and six). Grab your sunglasses people – it’s a BRIGHT one!

DIY PEG BAG

I made it for a little retro magpie that I know and it’s my most favouritist yet. I feel bad for one, two, three, four, five and six but it’s truuuue. I found the material in the bargain bin at Heathcoat’s Retail Shop in Tiverton and it was love at first sight. How fun are those bright colours and the playful pattern? If you want to make your own version, I put together a little how-to in this post 😉

Better Than a Bare Wall

If you’re broke, but desperately want some pretty artwork for your walls, I have a tip for you! Framing wall paper. It really is that simple.

Framed Wall Paper

Yesterday our recently renovated entrance was so bare it looked like we had been robbed. But yesterday is ancient history my friends, because today it’s got six pictures. YAY!

Framing Wall Paper

The wall paper samples were picked up for free in the decorating aisle at Homebase. And the picture frames were just £4.43 each – total cost £26.58!! I am so pleased with how this little project turned out. Even Jon is pleased, although he did grumble something about using a spirit level to hang pictures… Gah! I hate it when he’s right.

Furniture Makeover: 1 Chest, 1 Morning…

I picked up a hideous pine chest of drawers aaaages ago from a local second hand shop. I’m a sucker for quality, no matter how uuuugly, and this was a solid piece of furniture. The drawers actually have dovetail joints. Yes my friends, I am talking dovetail joints here. Here’s a reference for all those who missed that Design & Tech class…

Furniture Makeover

It was a steal at £25 and with a smidgen of DIY attention, I’ve transformed it into a nice piece of furniture for Henry’s room. Do you like before and after shots? Good. I knew I liked you for a reason… I love before and afters too!

Furniture Makeover Furniture Makeover

It took me one morning to do. No lie. I used Rust-Oleum Chalky Finish Furniture Paint in Sage Green on the drawers and Rust-Oleum Chalky Finish Furniture Paint in Mustard Yellow for the handles.

So, what do you think?

A Trio of Handmade Peg Bags (Clothespin Bags)

Yes my friends, I’ve made some more peg bags! What can I say? I just love, love, love giving these away as gifts! They are super duper easy to make and look so lovely. If you would like to make one/some, here are the instructions. Okay, let’s take a look at the trio…

Bright red with white polka dots made for Marieclare:

Handmade Peg Bag

Dogs with green and white polka dots made for my lovely step mum, Ellen:

Handmade Peg Bag

Baking with green and white stripes made for Jayne:

Handmade Peg Bag

What was that you said? Not quite enough peg bags for you? Well, you can feast your eyes on a ‘cats and spots’ version here and an ‘elephant’ version here.

Alright, I’ll give the peg bags a rest for now or at least until after Christmas anyway!

Homemade Christmas Stocking

68 days until the big day. Yes, I’m talking Christmas again. Despite living in shoe string alley (AKA maternity leave), I’ve never felt so excited about Christmas. Being broke forces creativity and, like blondes, creative people have waaaay more fun! How fun and festive is my handmade stocking? If the white pom poms don’t attract Father Christmas, I don’t know what will.

handmade christmas stocking

I made it using the free pattern and how-to from Sew Scrumptious. The step by step instructions are easy to follow and it’s a super quick sew, it’ll take about an hour. The stocking is lined so everything is nice and neat on the inside too.

Homemade Christmas Stocking

The how-to doesn’t include any embellishment. I chose to add the white pom pom trim but you could embellish the cuff with anything that takes your fancy. There are so many, many possibilities! Do share your own ideas for embellishing Christmas stockings in the comments below.

Homemade Christmas Stocking

For more inspiration, follow my Christmas board on Pinterest and stay tuned for my take on more homemade gifts in the run up to the big day. 

 

 

Make it Yourself: Peg Bag (Clothespin Bag in America)

How to Make a Peg Bag / Clothes Pin Bag

Yes, I’ve made another one. But this time, I made a note of each step to bring you this little how-to, which means you can make your own peg bag too. Hooray. The ‘Roses & Spots’ version pictured is my third peg bag, you can see number two ‘Cats & Spots’ here and number one ‘Elephants’  here. OK, let’s get started.

You will need:

  • Large paper, pencil and ruler
  • A child’s coat hanger
  • One piece of lining fabric 40cm x 40cm
  • Two pieces of medium weight focus fabric 40cm x 40cm
  • Two strips of coordinating bias binding 40cm long
  • Usual sewing supplies (thread, sewing machine, etc.)
  • Optional: ribbon and button

To make the peg bag:

  1. Make a template by drawing around the top of a coat hanger (leaving a gap where the hook is). From the coat hanger measure down 25cm and square off the bottom. Allow a 2cm seam allowance all the way around and cut out your template.
    PegBag_Template.jpg
  2. Using your template cut out three pieces of fabric – one piece from your lining fabric for the inside, one piece for the back panel and one piece for the front panel from your focus fabric.
  3. Now cut horizontally across, approx. one-third of the way down, your front panel.
  4. Apply bias binding across the cut edge of your two pieces of fabric for the front panel.
  5. Place wrong sides of the back panel and lining material together and place the two pieces of the front panel with the right side facing up on top of the lining. Pin the layers together.
  6. Sew all the way around the edge using a 0.5cm seam allowance and leaving a gap (0.5cm) at the top for the hanger hook. Remove pins, snip the corners, and iron the seams neatly to one side.
  7. Then, turn the bag inside out and sew the seam again, leaving the same gap at the top, and encasing the first seam.
  8. Turn your peg bag back the right way, push the bottom corners out and press neatly. Insert the coat hanger, working the hook carefully through the hole you left at the top.
  9. Now to make it look really pretty you can decorate it with a button and a loop.

Et voilà! A pretty peg bag with french seams.
If you make a peg bag using this how-to, please send me a photo. I would LOVE to see it!

Mastering the Dark Art of Knitting for #WoolWeek

It’s UK #WoolWeek, seven days dedicated to celebrating wool, and a perfect excuse to conquer my fear of knitting. I’ve always had a massive fear of knitting. Those of you who’ve looked at a knitting pattern will understand why. They’re literally as complicated as algebra. These naughty knitters have actually developed their own language, knit-speak. It’s their way of ensuring that their knitting remains a dark art, reserved only for Grannies. Knitters, you can’t pull the wool over my eyes, I’m on to you.

So, you’re sitting there and wondering how did I get on? I won’t lie. It hasn’t been easy. I read a lot of books on knitting, cover to cover, and still didn’t get it. Until, by chance, I came across the first issue of a magazine called Simple Stylish Knitting that explained how to get started (in plain English).

First Knitting Project

Hooray for Simple Stylish Knitting. I’ve cast on my first knitting project and I’m as happy as a sheep in neeps.

First Knitting Project

It’s the start of a blanket to go with the duvet cover I made for Henry. And I think it’s safe to say that knitting and I are going to be good friends from now on. You can do it while relaxing in front of the TV, what’s not to love? And if you think knitting is only for Grannies. Think again. Forget twerking, according to the HuffPost, knitting is where it’s at!

Any tips for a novice knitter are welcome in the comments below. Thanks!

5 Ways to Make a Drawstring Bag (And Why Your Toes Will Thank You)

There are three levels of pain:
Pain, excruciating pain, and stepping on a Lego.
Huffpost Parents

Truer words were never spoken. Or written. Yesterday I was swamped in the clutter of having two small children. Today I have lots of drawstring bags to put it all in. If you’re constantly stepping around (or on) Lego and other small plastic toys, then this list of how-tos has been put together with you (and your toes) in mind. And for those of you that are not especially handy with a sewing machine, I’ve even included a no-sew drawstring bag you can make.

 DIY Drawstring Bag

  1. Make a no-sew drawstring bag – no sewing, no excuses.
  2. Make a quick unlined drawstring bag – an easy sewing project for beginners.
  3. Make a lined drawstring bag – this is what I made as they are a studier.
  4. Make a patchwork drawstring bag – a great scrap buster project.
  5. Make a drawstring bag with waterproof lining – ideal for storing paints and brushes.

It feels wonderful to be winning the battle against kid clutter (yeah right! Who am I kidding?). Henry is also quite delighted by his special little bags. He loves taking all of his knick-knacks out, putting them all back, taking them all out… over and over again. Whoever said variety was the spice of life obviously hadn’t spent much time with a two year old.

So, do you need one of these little clutter busters in your house? Which how-to are you planning to use? Let me know in the comments below.

Cats & Spots Peg Bag

If you like cats and you like spots, you’re going to love this peg bag.

BeFunky_IMAG0428PEGMUM

This is my second peg bag, number 1 was made as a house warming gift, and number 2 has been made for my mum’s birthday. Yes, mum loves pussy cats, especially the Siamese variety, so the fabric I’ve chosen is as purrrfect as a peach. This time I experimented with contrasting fabric on the outside for a kookier finish. Now to make one for Aunt Sarah, she likes flowers…

Want a pretty peg bag? Here’s how to make it yourself.