Saturday, 13 December 2014

Mini Christmas Stockings & Greenlands Farm, Carnforth

In September I bought three printed fabric panels to make these mini Advent Christmas Stockings for my family and for me but didn't manage to get them ready for December 1st.
I've just posted this set and hope to have another set ready soon to give to my family in Brighton but mine will have to wait until next year.
 They were far more labour intensive than I had anticipated, especially as each set has 24 stockings and 6 tags to cut and prepare. Then they have to be stitched onto the 60 pieces for the backings (30 backs and 30 fronts) and 30 ribbons attached before trimming to finish. It was a bit daunting to make just one set but I'm pleased I did.   Only 2 more sets of 90 pieces each to go!
 No 16, with the two houses is my favourite but I really love them all. 
They'll take a lot to fill them all with treats next year.
I can't wait to see a photo of them hanging like bunting up the sides of the stair rails.
The rest of this post is from our recent trip to the Lake District that I forgot to post. I wanted my grandees to see all the animals on the farm and hope one day to take them there as it is such a super place to visit.

We arrived too early to check in to our log cabin when we went to the Lake District but, by chance, we spotted a sign advertising a Christmas Fair at a fabulous farm. Somewhere interesting to have our lunch, I thought, but it was so much more.
I was more interested in the animals than the Christmas stuff and all year round the farm is a visitor centre for adults and children alike. There are shops selling handmade crafts, specialty food and fresh produce stores and a lovely cafe but best of all, there are so many different animals to see and handle.
snakes, ostrich, alpacas, sheep, birds

Play barn, tractor rides, donkey and pony rides.
Sheep in the field and Chinchillas in the barns.
Tow litters of piglets
I told this magnificent fella that he still had time to escape before Christmas!
A climbing wall outside the soft play barn.
There were snakes which could be handled, an aviary, tractor rides and a hay barn to swing and climb on.
 Grasmere Gingerbread Shop 
The tiniest quaintest shop and bakery imaginable, nestled in the corner of the church grounds where William Wordsworth is buried, has just celebrated 160 years of making the most delicious, yummy scrummy, gingerbread, which I consider to be the best in the world. Don't miss it if you can get there to buy and try some, it tastes like no other gingerbread.

There is a little robin that visits the shop each day for crumbs and this is the very first time he hasn't showed up when I have visited. I asked the lady who served us and she told me that he is OK and we just must have missed him. Phew!

Must get dinner made so I can watch Strictly, as most of UK will be doing tonight. 

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Canterbury Cathedral & More Craft Makes

I made several of these cute, heart shaped, Christmas Pudding decorations whilst I was staying in Canterbury. So simple to make. The idea came from pinterest but as usual I varied it to suit the materials I already had to hand.
I crocheted several of the friendship bracelets I had made last year. They are so popular with my little grandies, and their friends, that I had requests for more.
Another felt snowflake decoration with a bit of rather uneven embroidery due to the fact that I often stitch in the car.
One of the highlights of the Canterbury trip was our visit to the Cathedral and as I passed through the ancient gateway it amused me to see the pigeons hopping and fluttering around the statues whilst some of the little angels looked as if they were going to join them in flight.

The cathedral was well prepared for Christmas with huge trees, inside and outside, sparking with tiny lights, and a nativity scene with life sized figures. The atmosphere was set perfectly for the season with a background of beautiful Christmas music and carols.

St Michael's Chapel 
The old fading standards hung from the beautiful mitred ceiling.
I loved this view of the old Weavers' House as I looked over a bridge in the city centre.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Holiday Crafting in Kent

We've just returned from a break near Canterbury, in Kent, South East England.
We ventured forth during the days to visit some interesting places in an area we had never before explored and stayed in the countryside, in Broome Park, in a super luxurious log cabin. 
In the evenings and whilst travelling I did some crafting and made quite a few Christmas gift items and decorations.
I took my sewing machine so I could get these good sized, handy, shopping bags made from some Cath Kinston fabric I bought at a reduced price. I finished 8 and the price for each was a fraction of the price of the shop bags.
A Great IKEA Fabric idea.
I made 2 shopping bags, a cushion and a small shoe bag from this fabulous illustrated fabric (below) from Ikea. The fabric is intended to be coloured in using the pens they sell and it has been a huge hit with children and adults alike. I have given so many pieces away as gifts and children have really applied themselves to doing the colouring with the added benefit that it can be turned into useful items that they can be proud of as a result. 
Bags, cushions, pillowslips, aprons, or stretched over a canvas or framed. 
The pens need to be heat set to fix the colours and I do it simply by ironing the fabric between paper. (So the ironing board isn't dyed!)
Now I have started making the articles ready to colour.
The fabric is £7 metre and all these items were made from only a half metre. 
The colouring pens are £2 for a box of six colours. 
It makes a good value, worthwhile gift, to give fabric (or a ready sewn item) and a packet of pens.
These two gorgeous little Curly Girlies were happily occupied on their recent train journey home, all the way from the North to the South of England.

Here's the log cabin, alias my temporary sewing factory....
The lodge is so spacious and comfortable inside 
Below, is the Mansion house, Broome Park which provides the leisure facilities to the lodges. Restaurants, bar, gym, swimming pool, games room etc.

Set in splendid grounds of a huge country estate, which is also a golf course.
Broome Park was first built around 1650 then greatly renovated by Lord Kitchener of Khartoum. Kitchener was a prominent figure in the history of WW1 and most people remember him from these famous recruitment posters....
The interior is magnificent and has been beautifully restored.
It was so amazing to relax in such opulent surroundings and imagine how life must be at grand places such as Downton Abbey. Without servants! 
I loved this cottage where Kitchener lived during the rebuilding of his grand mansion. It was originally the estate managers house.... Flint Cottage and our lodge was just opposite.

I also made some felt Christmas decorations and crocheted several items during our stay but we had so much time to spare that it was the ideal situation for crafting...... but I'll save those and some more of the places we visited for another post. 

Monday, 24 November 2014

Farfield Mill, Sedburgh

While we were in the Lake District we met up with Chris, (pearshapedcrafter) and her DH who so kindly took us to Farfield Mill in Sedburgh. 
They drove us through all the little country lanes, through beautiful Cumbrian countryside we had never before travelled. We saw a huge rainbow, so intense in colours, and we could clearly see both ends in fields at opposite sides of the road. We were disappointed we couldn't manage to stop to photograph such an amazing sight or venture to find that legendary crock of gold.
Many thanks to Chris and Tony as this was a fabulous day out. 
The old water mill has four floors of quality crafts and materials, to see and to buy, with exhibitions and demonstrations too. We had a really good crafty natter whilst exploring and the DHs sat in the bookshop on a big comfy sofa and did a bit of man nattering before we went into the cafe for an excellent lunch. A place well worth visiting if ever you are in the area. 
Check out the link above.

The Technicolour Dreamcoat 
One of the wonderful projects on display, overflowing with the dreams of hundreds of children.

You can appreciate the scale of the coat as we stand next to it.
There were lots of crafts to try and I loved this giant sized French Knitting frame.

The results......
Chris, clutching some of her crafty purchases, and watching a weaver set up a loom.
Super hand made items for sale, beautifully displayed
I wondered if this sheep, Baabra, was knitting up wool from one of her family?
whilst her DH is on the pc!
Thanks again to Chris and Tony for such a great day out.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Elf Clogs & Angel Decorations

Just back from a most enjoyable few days in the Lake District, where we stayed in a super log cabin. 
We had perfect weather and, after days out visiting many of the lovely places, I managed quite a bit of crafting.
I'm sure you know the story of the Elf and the Shoemaker ......well I'm sorry to disappoint you, these little elf clogs did not appear in the morning by magic. 
I made them!!!
I found the pattern on pinterest but I reduced the size to make them cuter. They are so easy to make from felt and can be blanket stitched or simply just over stitched.
The little tag says, "Somewhere a tiny elf has lost a shoe" but it would have to be "Somewhere a tiny elf has lost his shoes" if you display a pair.
Bells or bobbles, added as trims, make them extra special.
Some are going to be posted off to my family in Brighton and Germany and will have little chocolate treats popped inside before they go on their Christmas trees.
You can judge the size by this collection which is in an A4 box.
I also found these little angels on pinterest. 
Also easy to make, from lined circles of fabric cleverly folded to make the angel's robes with a felt heart shape for the wings. Different colours, fabrics, ribbons and trims give them character.
To find the patterns on pinterest search "patchwork angels" and "elf clogs" and you will see lots of pins come up.
All the spare ones will go to my grandchildren's schools as fundraisers or little gifts for their teachers.
I also had the idea to make a Shepherd and a King from the same pattern.
Here's the view from our lakeside cabin window which was an idyllic spot to see the birds on the lake and the amazing skies at sunset and sunrise with all the reflections on the water. 
I kept forgetting to take photos so I missed capturing the best scenes and 
these inferior pics were taken from indoors. 
The two large dots on the windows were to stop the birds flying into the panes.
The birds swirled in patterns around the lake each evening at sunset.