Saturday, 31 January 2015

January 2015 Tag

If you are visiting here for the Grow Your Blog Hop my post is here.

Well what a lovely morning I have had here in overcast Solihull.  When I first saw Tim's January tag back on the 1st January I knew exactly what I wanted to do but all month I couldn't find the inspiration to get going to actually put paint etc. to paper - however this morning I got up and found the energy! whoo hoo - so here it is:

Rather than using random words I decided to make mine into a bit of a Things To Complete list for 2015 - I say a bit because my Things To Do list is always extensive however I do have a pile of half done/not quite started projects that I would like to get done so I have set this whole year as the deadline.  Sounds a long time but if you see I have put on there "Date Quilts" this has been on my To Do list since my very first quilt which I made back in 2004!

So my aim this year is to complete:
A beautiful Moda Rocket Age quilt for my son - front and back are done it just needs sandwiching together with batting (already got) and quilting - started in October 2014
A cute Christmas Quilt - at exactly the same stage as the quilt above - started in October 2012
Date Quilts - all 13 of them! This will consist of either handsewing labels or using a fabric pen, either way should only take a couple of hours when I get going - all dates of completion are written down in a book!
Crochet Bat - an adorable bat pattern that I bought from the Toft Alpaca shop - don't know why the bat caught my eye or what I am going to do with it when it is done - started October 2014
Rabbit Clothes - I made a lovely rabbit a few months ago and have a kit consisting of a shirt, jeans and waistcoat for him - not yet started
Mushroom Mat - much to the amusement of my family I have a bit of a mushroom feature going on in my lounge so I want to make a mat (bit like a small quilt) to stand them on - not yet designed/started
Willow Basket - last August I bought a kit to make a small willow basket from Willow and Wetlands in Somerset - lovely place, well worth a visit if you are in that part of the world - not yet started
Use Old Stash - goes without saying really

So that's a little target for me to get on with amongst other things this year!

To make the panel I followed the instructions over on Tim's blog here.  I have tried to list all of the items used on the thumblinky thing.  I also used some Prima Shabby Chic mushrooms and a die cut Rocket from the Outer Space sizzix decorative strip (both unused stash - whoo hoo).  The rocket was coloured in with various distress markers and inked with Walnut Stain ink. The mushrooms got a light covering of Walnut Stain paint. The word "Twenty" is cut out from Tim's Santa's Workshop decorative strip die - it's black card covered with Brushed Pewter paint.  The 15 is black card covered in Blue glitter - I tried gold letters and numbers but they didn't look right and then I discovered that I don't have any silver glitter so went with the blue instead.

That's it for now - if you would like to pop back on 11th February I am hosting an Eclectic Elements blog hop and I would love it if you would take time to come and visit me and the other participants - am so very excited about it all and already have two projects done for it.

Thanks for looking - wanting more snow from Solihull

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Grow Your Blog

This year I am taking part in "Grow Your Blog" - I took quite a long time out of blogging last year so I feel that this is a good way to get back in the swing so to speak.  The blog hop is being organised by Vicki.

My name is Nicola and I live in Solihull, England.  I have been crafting and blogging for years sometimes in fits and starts, sometimes every day depending upon what is going on at home and how creative I am feeling.

I love most types of crafts, at present I am into hand sewing - for some strange reason hexagons are my latest passion and I am often sitting on the settee at night sewing up little hexagons for some project or another.  If I am not hand sewing in front of the tv I am knitting and my current passion for that is socks.

This is my favourite hexagon project so far:

it was done for a blog hop that I took part in August 2013.

My two main passions that I always return to though are papercrafting, for which I make items such as:

both of these are classes that I taught last year at my local Hobbycraft store.

I also love to sew and I hand/machine sew anything from quilts to bags to pin cushions to placemats, basically whatever I fancy making at the time!  Mostly I design all my own stuff but sometimes I do buy kits for the simplicity of sewing without too much thinking!  I love to take part in blog hops as I find this a great way to gain lots of inspiration and also showcase my own work.

This is one of my favourite quilts that I made last year, its big enough to fit on a double bed:

I can't blog any projects that I am currently working on as I am hosting an Eclectic Elements (that's the fabric used in the cog quilt above) blog hop in a couple of weeks time and I can't showcase my items early!

I have had various items published in scrapbooking, stamping and sewing magazines over the years and am lucky enough to have had everything that I have put forward to any publication published. An achievement I am very proud of!

I have recently started to make some YouTube videos, three of which are on my sidebar - in them I show you how to create an inked tag, take it a step further with stamping and also how to make 3d flowers.  I will be making some more videos in the near future too.

Here's a picture of me:

this was taken back in September 2012 and the reason I have a big cheesy grin on my face is because I am actually holding an olympic torch at my son's school! saying that I do usually have a cheesy grin on my face anyway!

Anyway that's enough about me for the moment, I am trying to keep this fairly short and sweet as I know we are all going to be reading a lot of blogs in the next few days!

Thanks for looking - patiently waiting for snow from Solihull

Wednesday, 14 January 2015


Happy New Year everyone!  Thought I would join in as I am inbetween projects - this is my desk as of 6am this morning (left this way from yesterday) and there are no prizes for guessing what I have been up to!

I am organising an Eclectic Elements blog hop next month (details on post below if you fancy joining in but you will have to be quick as its only three weeks away) so I have done a project for that which I finished yesterday and then today I am going to put all this away (well the sewing machine and pin cushion basket at least) and hopefully get inky and messy - something I haven't really been in the mood to do for a while but I am starting to get the itch again now - all very exciting!  Although knowing me I will just get on with knitting my next pair of socks which have been my latest addiction for a while now.

If  you want to know why I am showing my messy desk to the world the pop over to Julia's and see lots of others too and even join in if you fancy.  There is something quite nice about revealing the state of the desk to the world and realising that so many others out there live in the same chaos too!

Thanks for looking - one project sewn up and two to go from Solihull

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

An Eclectic Elements Blog Hop

Hi everyone,
I feel its time for a new blog hop as I haven't hosted one for a couple of years now.

I thought it would be fitting to do a blog hop with the fabulous Eclectic Elements range from Tim Holtz - so do you fancy joining me???

Don't worry you don't have to be a sewer to use the fabrics - it could be something simple such as a fabric brooch:

or a card:

both of the above use the fabrics cut out with sizzix dies - see you can use your sizzix dies in such a variety of ways when you start incorporating fabrics with paper - such fun!

Or you could sew something fabulous (and complicated!) with the fabrics, such as a quilt:

The blog hop will run from Monday 9th February 2015 - the exact date will depend upon how many participants join in.

Sew if you would like to join in this is the information I will need from you:

for the Subject line use " ECLECTIC ELEMENTS BLOG HOP"
in the message please let me know your name and your blog name URL - if you do not have one don't worry as I can host for you, sew this hop really is open to all!  I will then be in touch with your scheduled showcase day.

Anyone and everyone can participate as long as you use some Eclectic Elements fabric somewhere on your project - even if you don't have a blog you can take part as you will just need to email pictures and text to me and I will publish your project on my blog on your showcase day.

If you could add the Eclectic Elements button to your blog I would be grateful - the more people that see this hop the more will hopefully take part. 

For a better viewing of the Eclectic Elements range 1 pop over to Tim's blog here or view the second range here

I look foward to hopping with you in February!

Thanks for looking - feeling eclectic from Solihull.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Whoopedy Whoop - don't you just love Christmas Eve!  Have had a lovely morning watching Arthur Christmas and playing on the xbox with the little one, who is sooooo excited (but then so am I!) - he is hoping for Skylanders Trap Team from Santa so fingers crossed for him everyone!

I have now laid my table, nice and simple this year:

just cutlery and glasses to add now.  It's always at Christmas I realise just how much handmade stuff I have in my collection - I counted 19 Christmas items in my lounge and this only included one count for all the knitted items on my tree and such like - and look at my table all handmade apart from the lazy Susan, white tablecloth (even I don't have that much patience!) and the serviettes (thanks Ikea!).  The table runner, placemats and turkey were all made last year but I haven't felt like making much in the sewing department recently - not even the Christmas quilt has been finished and that was started last year too! Oh well I am sure the sewing bug will return soon when I get bored of knitting socks!

I have made this new this year though:

the image was preprinted on the fabric and I just stitched around it all using a backstitch - very therapeutic - I can see me doing more of these in the future!  I bought the redwork at the Malvern Quilt Show in October and finished it within a week of buying it however it took me until Monday to actually finish it off by adding the fabric sides and back - also I haven't quilted it yet, I might go for a holly leaf pattern around the edges one day - we shall see!

And then my table settings for this year are again very simple but oh so cute:

I got the idea from a craft fayre I went to in November and just knew that they would be adorning my Christmas table!  Bit of a disaster as I bought 8 kit kats a couple of weeks ago and they all mysteriously disappeared! Those darn pixes - I have since bought more and given these out as presents and also have a sneaky spare one just waiting for Mrs Claus tonight when the children have gone to bed! I don't see why Mr Claus should have all the fun with the whisky and mince pie, do you?

Anyway thank you everyone for all your support this year although mine hasn't been as particularly crafty as my last few years but its still all been very good fun and a great journey.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year - that's me signing off for now and off to sit in front of the telly.

Thanks for looking - Ready for Christmas from Solihull

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Keeping warm

Hi everyone,

I have been really busy this past week catching up on all the Christmas excitement, this morning I have been busy finishing off the last of my little handmade gifts and Christmas cards - all good fun - and last week we were busy celebrating my eldest's 14th Birthday.

I have also been busy in front of the tv catching up with Greys Anatomy - I am now on series 8 (so no spoilers please!) but box office sets are very addictive aren't they - as soon as you finish one episode you play the next one just to see what happens next! thank goodness they are only 40 mins long! Anyway whilst viewing I have been busy making these:

aren't they fabulous!  My first pair of knitted socks - quite a challenge when you get to the toe part particularly when you haven't got any double pointed needles in the right size!  Oh well I managed - the socks are knitted on a 2.25 circular needle which you can use throughout but I found it tough going at the toe so switched to four normal needles which I then had to keep swapping stitches over as they weren't double pointed so was a lot more time consuming, but thankfully saved me the expense of buying even more knitting needles when I already have hundreds!  The wool is again Bergere de France which I got from the fabulous Stitch Solihull and I am not sure if its 4ply or double knit as I don't speak French!

Am now busy on my second pair which I am going to make a little bit longer - again I am just doing a simple stocking stitch until I find a nice cable pattern for my next pair (seems knitting socks is very addictive too!).

Thanks for looking - going round in circles from Solihull

Friday, 5 December 2014

Something to keep me warm this winter

Have finally finished my crocheted blanket!

It's 11 hexagons in length and 7 in width - I would have preferred it a bit wider but didn't want to go out and buy more wool - this took 16 balls so wasn't too expensive but I could have just kept going and going until it filled my lounge as it was such fun to make and the wool - Bergere de France Magic - was a pleasure to crochet with.  I still have enough dark grey wool to do another round around the edge but haven't decided whether to or not yet.

Hope you are all enjoying this busy time of year I am almost ready for the visit from the big man in 20 days which is always a bit of a relief isn't it!  Am now busy spending my time knitting socks (such fun!) and catching up with Grey's Anatomy which I only discovered a few weeks ago and have managed to watch all the way through to series 7 so far - gotta love Sky box sets.

Thanks for looking - having a socking good time from Solihull