Thursday, 17 July 2014

HANNAH THE BEAUTIFUL MERMAID

Hi Girlies!
So I finally got round to listing Hannah the Beautiful Mermaid on Ebay. 100% of the proceeds from her sale will go to Cancer Research UK. You all know why I'm fundraising for CRUK...all my hopes are with them. I'm happy to post anywhere in the world. If you wouldn't mind sharing this it would mean a lot to me. Thank you my dear girls. Click here to go to the ebay listing....ebay listing.The listing goes live at 20.05 tonight.
Lots of love and hugs
Amanda xxx

Hannah is made from some old white linen which I dyed with coffee grounds...

 .....the back of her tail is a beautiful piece of embroidered cotton which I have been saving for something special....
.....the front of her tail is a piece of Echino fabric you might recognise if you've read my blog for a long time. I made a handbag from it a few years ago and this is a piece of the precious offcuts....

....she wears a fishy stole made from scraps of gorgeous merino wool and silver tulle, embroidered with silver thread and sequinned scales....


...Hannah's hair is woven in many shades of blue and green threads and is adorned with a garland of shells, jewels and silver thread...

...she shimmers in places....
....but mainly she just looks enigmatic.....
xxx



Tuesday, 1 July 2014

The One Where Kate Came to Stay....and I made stuff. Oh and we got a puppyyyyyyyy!


A couple of weeks ago I had a wonderful treat! Kate and her menfolk, Jonno, Archie and Hugo came to stay with Jenny and I. We've been friends since I started blogging and finally we met each other when they visited as part of their 7 week world tour! Strangely I had no fears about  them coming to stay...I just knew that we would get on like a house on fire and we did. I'd go so far as to say that they felt like family. Not my dysfunctional, stone hearted family but the sort of family that I get to choose. The lovely, funny, kind, goofy sort.
The days flew by. We did a bit of sightseeing.. (aka going to the BEST shop in Manchester, Oklahoma, the Manchester Art Gallery and visiting the Craft and Design Centre) lots of coffee and cake. 


Jonno is exactly the sort of man I was hoping that Kate had married...a really calm, funny, handsome man. I especially appreciated him holding the fort while Kate and I took time out to make a Stanley together. She kindly gave me a copy of her book and I've got to tell you it's brilliant. It has the pattern for Stanley and lots of other cute things to crochet. So we sat down with the pattern and did a joint effort version of my favourite rabbit


If I'm honest I was a bit giddy and Kate did most of it xxx

If I had had son's they would have been just like Archie and Hugo....so dear and normal and fun. Archie is heaven on legs, quirky and adorable. Hugo makes me want to munch him up. When he has something exciting to tell you he waggles his bottom like an excited puppy. Kate and Jonno have done a splendid job with these boys. Archie is coming to stay here when he leaves home and Hugo can now speak Manc...my work is done!
When they had to leave I cried buckets and moped around for a few days. They are home now and I think they have made a wonderful load of memories for their family....we miss you so much Brunings!
So...on the making front....I wanted to make a stags head so I set about drawing up patterns. At first they looked like a badger but in the end I used Bustle and Sew's pattern. I tweaked it a bit but basically I love it. I mounted him on a brown velvet sheild and made some flowers for him to wear. Bob's your uncle!


This was my first attempt at making stuffed creatures and I got totally hooked.
Here he is in his new home.



Next up I drafted a pattern for a girl called Layla. What amazed me about this was the degree to which she formed herself...as if I had no choice but just followed the Muse. I LOVED making her...


...flying by the seat of my pants...
...going with the flow. I dyed some white linen with coffee to make her skin. Using old scraps of this and that..cashmere jumper, flowery skirt, boho headband...she just flowed out of my needle. She has gone to live with a dear little friend of mine and last I saw of her she was clutched in the pudgy sweet arms of a sleeping 3 year old


I couldn't stop now, and again beyond my control I knew I had to make Hannah the Beautiful Mermaid....this time definitely not a toy.


Four different shades of blue and green silk hair...scraps of Echino fabric left over from another project, an old shirt, scraps of variegated merino wool and lots of sequins and silver bits...fins and seaweed.




I adore her. 


As she came to life I decided that I want to auction her to raise funds for Cancer Research. I can't do running but I can do making. So I'm going to think about how best to do this. If you have any suggestions about how to do this I would be thrilled!




My favourite parts are the Fishy draped around her neck and her face.
I've been feeling pretty low lately so I decided that Jenny and I needed a little doggy love in our lives. We were both VERY excited to welcome Teddy into our family. Our Puggy Boy is 8 weeks old and is absolutely fantandabulosy! He is a bundle of snuffling cuddly fun and we love him.




Look at that face :-)


I know you all want to know how Jenny is. It's been rather a rough few weeks. She's suffering from some delayed shock and stress, very understandably but she's well and I know that this will pass. She has been so strong and I can only take her in my arms and say it's ok to let go a bit. We just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Thank God for our dear friends who bring joy into our lives. That includes you. If you are reading this but don't normally comment I would LOVE it if you said hello. Your company is so appreciated over here.
Big hugs and love
Amanda xxxx

Monday, 14 April 2014

Attic24 Workshop

Good afternoon girls!
Guess what I did last weekend!!!!
Well the title was a bit of a give away wasn't it?
I did! I did!
I went to Skipton to make Bower Birds with Lucy!!!

I set off early from Manchester, thinking that I would have a little pootle round Skipton before the workshop started at 10. However when I arrived in Skipton it was blowing a gale, raining and pretty cold so I decided to go straight to Coopers, the cafe where Lucy has her studio. I thought I would have a leisurely cuppa and catch up with some emails.

A couple of minutes after I sat down a whirlwind of energy burst into the room...Lucy!!!
She gave me a big squeezy hug and sat down with me, winding bits of wool and nattering with me like an old friend. It was surreal and wonderful to meet her. I had been a little worried that she might be a diva, only because of the huge success she's made of her blog but I needn't have worried. She is the most gentle and sweet girl you could hope to meet.


I did just fall totally in love with her!
After a while more people arrived to join the group...all of them really nice women, and I knew we were in for a wonderful day.


Lucy led us upstairs to her studio. It was as overwhelmingly pretty as you would imagine. Each corner packed with crochet goodness, yarn and bits and bobs. It took a few minutes to stop hyperventilating to be honest!


Seeing some of Lucy's beautiful creations in the flesh was a real treat...the colours even lovelier in the flesh...the quality and workmanship just perfect.


We sat down to start work and within minutes we were totally immersed in our Bower Birds. Lucy has not scrimped on anything about her workshops. The yarn we had to work with was fantastic quality and a great array of colours which, as you know my dears, is very important to me! Lucy talked a bit about colour choices. It was fascinating to learn more about how to put colours together and to see how different each person's choice was.


I chose some pretty hot colours for mine and I'm very happy with how they worked together. Lucy was a perfect teacher (I know...I have used the P word a few times now to describe Lucy but I have a girl crush and I just can't help it. I know you understand!) She was there to help and I learnt quite a few new things but she wasn't too in your face...letting us make our mistakes and then showing us how to rectify them with good humour and patience. Throughout the day we had delicious coffees, nibbles and lunch served from downstairs. It was great to spend the day with like minded women. They really were a lovely bunch. When the subject of Jenny's illness came up they were so sweet and caring. I was touched. We liked each other so much that we've decided to do a block booking for another Attic24 Workshop in the autumn.


Here are the final results of our day's labour! Seven fat little birds!
We went home with everything we needed to finish our Bower Birds. And that's what I did...non stop until the last stitch was completed! Who needs a clean house, I ask you!!


Here is my final Bower Bird! I can't tell you how happy I am with it! I'm sure you can tell that I had a brilliant day. All joking apart, I liked Lucy tremendously and will certainly be seeing her again. I have reassured her however that a restraining order will probably not be necessary ;-) 

I know that you always like to have news of Jenny, my dear girls. I'm sure you understand that there's a lot that I can't say on here, but at the moment she's very well and we are having a super time. She has her next scan at the end of April and to be honest I feel sick with fear about it. I try not to because that isn't going to help anyone but my body seems to have a mind of it's own and stops me sleeping etc.


Jenny is a joy. As always I'm in awe of her courage and dignity, her kind heart and capacity to see the funny side of everything. I love her more than I can say.


Please keep everything crossed for her scan results...well you can uncross them if you need to crochet but other than that only at meal times!
Love and hugs to you all!
Amanda xxxx

Friday, 11 April 2014

I think I just invented the wheel!

 
Good afternoon dear Readers! 
How about this glorious weather then? I don't know about you but it's certainly put a spring in my step....and Jenny's! It was just what we needed after a tough Winter.
I've been working on something suitably Spring like and I've got to tell you...I think I might have invented something!!!!!

 
I was fiddling about with bits of knitting...like you do....and I realised that I had created a stitch that I had never come across before! It's such a wonderful little stitch that I feel quite sure that it's a worldwide favourite and you've all been doing it for years but honestly girls......I just found it by accident and I love it!


The wonderful thing about this stitch is that it knits up as two layers of fabric! Great for tea cosies and hot water bottles!

 
So .....I started to design this cute little tea cosy pattern! What do you think? Would you like to see the end result?

 
Or would you prefer to see gratuitous shots of my little Jessie?
She's so nosy!
 
 
So...Taa Daahhhh!
 

 
I must admit I 'm rather thrilled with it!
I've no idea why, at this point Blogger wants to move some of my pics to the side of the page but it's insistent so I'm just going with the flow and hope you can too!

 
I made it some sweet little flowers from my stash of scrap fabric.

I used my beloved Rico Creative Cotton and some Paris Drops so it's washable.





 
There...I think that's enough of that!
Would you like the pattern?
I hope that all's good in your worlds girls.. I'm still following all your blogs but I'm sorry I don't comment much at the moment. Somehow I'm struggling to find the worlds these days. Thank you as always for your kindness and for keeping in touch with me. I love hearing from you.
Big hugs
Amanda xxx

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Valentine's Day Heart Brooch Tutorial!

Evening dear Girls!


As promised, I'm pleased to introduce my first ever tutorial!
It's an easy project but very satisfying! Once you start you can't stop and you can introduce all manner of variations and make it your own.
So.

AMANDA'S VALENTINE HEART BROOCH

Ingredients
  • PVA Glue
  • Scissors
  • Biro
  • Paintbrush
  • Main Fabric...10 cm square
  • Backing Fabric...10 cm square
  • Felt, Wool or Fleece (anything soft and squishy basically)...10 cm square
  • Scrap of Ribbon 1.5 cm wide and 2-3 cm long
  • Brooch Back...or if you don't have one a Safety Pin will do
  • Piece of Card...I used a cereal box....10 cm square
  • A book that you don't mind chopping up and is likely to have some endearments in it...I used Love Letters of Great Men and Women 
  • A tray to work on


Draw a heart on the piece of cardboard. This is how I do it...by starting with 2 circles. Put a dot where you want the heart to end....


....and then draw curved lines to meet the dot. Easy peasy.


Cut out the heart...


...then place it on the felt/wool/fleece and draw round it with Biro. I used an piece of old shrunken sweater...tell me I'm not the only one to have those.


Using your brush smear a big blob of PVA on the card heart.


Stick the wool heart on top of the card heart and squeeze it together with your fingers...this is where it get fun :-) Now pop another good big blob of PVA onto the wool heart. Spread it around the whole surface with your brush. Splish, splash, splosh.


Turn over the heart and place glue side down onto the wrong side of your main fabric.


Cut roughly around the Heart and then snip into the fabric up to the edge of the Heart. Cut the point of the fabric off across the bottom of the Heart. I made a Booboo on this one and  cut it at an odd angle. I've left this mistake in the tutorial because it's no bad thing for you to know that I am, as we all are, without question, Less Than Perfect!


By now this Heart is getting pretty sodden...but it's time for more PVA! Yay! 
I love PVA!
Squeeze more PVA around the edge of the heart.....


 ...and turn the fabric over the back of the heart, squishing it into the PVA as you go (I think this is my favourite part!). Get the fabric thoroughly soaked with glue, adding more if you need to. 


 By this stage the whole heart is rather soft and squashy! Don't panic!!! It's supposed to be like that.


So just when you think this can't get any soggier, guess what???...add more glue all over the back of the heart. Cover the whole back up to the edges with glue.


Place the Heart, glue side down on the wrong side of the backing fabric.


Turn over and trim the backing fabric around the Heart, angling your scissors so that you are cutting slightly inside the back of the Heart.


 Spread more PVA over the back of the Heart....just for a change...


By this time, to be honest, it's starting to look a bit of a mess and you think you've gone wrong but trust me...all will be well.


Choose your text...


 ...and cut it out. Don't worry about being perfect. I think it looks good being a bit wonky.


Time for some more...you guessed it...PVA.


 Pop a wee blob where you want your text to go then squish your text into the glue, piling  more glue on top of it and brush all over the Heart.


For this little Heart I chose a resin flower to decorate it. 


One more blob of PVA and stick the flower on.


Gently turn the Heart over and put a blob of PVA in the centre of the back where you want to place the brooch back.
Place the brooch back across the centre of the Heart and press it into the glue so that it squishes through the sewing holes in the brooch back. Put more glue on the brooch back, avoiding the pin part.


Cut your scrap of ribbon at an angle on both ends to make a parallelogram and pop this underneath the brooch bar, into the glue and press with your fingers, adding more glue onto the ribbon so that it is absolutely soaked.
Turn over your Heart....still looking a bit messy? Don't worry. At this point I should say that I do this with a damp cloth beside me to wipe my hands on!


And now the most important bit...the bit when Squishy and Messy turns into cute and quirky. You need to leave this to dry for a few hours until it's TOTALLY DRY! It will magically then be plump and slightly shiny like gorgeous papier mache!
And that is all there is to it!
You can decorate your Heart in any way you like...here are a few I whipped up last night. You could also use this method to make any shape that takes your fancy! Oval, square, round....


Once you've got all your Ingredients out you can make loads in one go and they can be put to many uses...a brooch to wear on your cardi, gift tags, fridge magnets, run with it.


Hope you like it girls. Let me know what you think!


This one is for Jenny x


Lot's of love,



Amanda
 xxx


XXX