Monday, 29 August 2011

Thrifty curtains…

We found this fantastic pair of curtains in a charity shop, perfect for our living room – see how boring the old curtains were?


And the new curtains? Chintztastic.


We have two large windows but there was only one pair of curtains, luckily they were over twice the width of our windows so I thought I’d just cut them in half.

Imagine my joy when I got them home and found out they had a central seam!


I got out my trusty stitch ripper and hacked them in two. The header tape ran across the seam so I just cut it in half, sewed it down and tied the threads to secure them. A lot of hemming later, they looked like this:


Don’t they look much better? They cost £5, and took about an hour to fix.

Anyone remember that Ikea advert, Chuck out your chintz? I would have killed to know the location of that skip!


Friday, 19 August 2011

New baby knitty things!

Ok, I’m not having a baby, but I know a man who is. David, my oldest friend’s brother is going to be a dad for the first time in October and I couldn’t pass up the chance to make Saartje’s booties! There can’t be many of you who haven’t seen those little buttony beauties so without further ado, here’s my version:


I didn’t want to do boring blue for a boy/pink for a girl so I used Wizz aran in a lovely self-striping yellow/blue/pink/orange/purple/white colourway. I’m usually a bit wary of self-striping – you never know what it’s going to do until you start knitting but I’m glad mum persuaded me! It cost only £2.99 for two balls and I have enough left to make a hat (or do you think that would be overkill?!)


Because the yarn was a little thicker than the pattern the booties came out a bit big. I expected that, but I thought I might as well knit one just to see how big it would be. I decided to knit a smaller pair based on Karendidit’s mods for worsted. When I had knitted one of each, I found that I had done one complete colour length of the self-stripe! What are the chances? That meant that I would be able to get two matching pairs without having to waste loads of yarn Woo!


The purply-yellow ones are the smaller ones.

I also knitted a cardigan to match – this is bigger than newborn size, but I think the baby is likely to get a ton of newborn size clothes and might run out when he reaches 6 months or so!


It didn’t occur to me just how faffy it would be to get the stripes matching all around (bearing in mind It is knitted from the top down and then separated into 5 different bits) but with minimal waste, which was curiously mostly blue, I just about managed it. The pattern is the baby boy 5 hour cardi by Gail Bable and it was easy without being too boring. Didn’t take 5 hours though, more like two casual evenings, but it was still quick enough.


Don’t you just love 4-hole buttons? The thread is some from my precious vintage wooden spool collection but it was the only thing I had in a vibrant orange, and it had to be vibrant orange!

I can’t wait til October, until then they’ll just have to sit in a drawer.


Friday, 5 August 2011

Garden box cushions…

Continuing the garden theme, I decided to make Trace a set of garden cushions for her birthday.

I bought the fabric ages ago, intending to make a dress or something, but it was really thick (being curtains) and I thought it would be perfect for these cushions. I made them narrower than normal so they would fit on her pickernick benches.


You’ll probably know by now that I like bright colours, so I raided my stash of bias binding to make contrasting piping. Is there anything more boring than sewing metres and metres of piping?


I had the pink and yellow bias in stash but I had to make the red and green myself. I even covered plain old white plastic buttons with scraps of bias to make them matching.


Nothing from these is newly bought – even the stuffing is some I saved from the cushions of our old sofa (there’s forward thinking! Who says hoarding is bad?)

There is something extra nice about giving gifts you’ve made to people who truly appreciate them. I know Trace’s first thought wasn’t, “they have machines to do that nowadays you know” and that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.


Thursday, 4 August 2011

Nature will find a way…

… is what my friend Trace always says. Something about Jurassic Park, or something. She has a uniquely ad-hoc style of gardening as a result, simply chucking handfuls of annual seeds around the flowerbed and letting nature do it’s stuff. If it grows, it grows – if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. It works though. Sure, sometimes things die and others get out of hand but the result is a bit like manicured nature. Clouds of pretty things left to their own devices.

It was her birthday last week, so mum decided to make her a plaque for her garden.

After choosing a gardeny font, mum printed it out to the appropriate size.


The base of the plaque is an old drawer front, taken from our (ever growing) stash of Interesting Things.

Mum placed the print out over the drawer front, holding it up to the light to make sure the lettering was in the right place, and used a pen to draw over the letters making sure she pushed into the wood slightly.


This created a template that she simply filled with white acrylic paint. It’s a lot easier if you work from left to right, doing all the letters on the left before moving over. Use a tiny brush and don’t overload it (mum says). She also says curves come out better if you move the wood, rather than the brush.


Two suitably old screws were added to the top to attach a bit of wire for hanging and it was done!

Doesn’t it look great?


I’ll show you what I made tomorrow,