Wednesday, 26 November 2014

The best present. Ever. (FO)

Last year I made my husband some shoe bags for Christmas, which he declared were The Best Present Ever. High praise, no? Flattery like that gets you everywhere...

He likes them for all sorts of reasons:

:: he has expensive taste in shoes, which he keeps for years decades
:: they don't take up any room in the house
:: they help him keep his shoes shiny and dust free

I like them too, for different reasons:

:: they are really easy to make
:: I made them from the stash
:: they are quick and cheap and have a high appreciation factor

After the raging success if last year's bags, an order was placed for more. Last year I upcycled some unused pillowcases (unused because they were the wrong size/shape for our pillows). This year I homed in on a linen skirt that had been hanging about in the upcycling pile for aaaaages.

It looked promising: a natural fibre in a neutral colour, and after a quick eyeball for size, I calculated that I could cut it up to make two new shoe bags in next to no time.

The first step was to cut the top of the skirt off. Choppity chop.

Then I ripped the central seams of the skirt. Riiiiip.

This left me with two rectangular pieces of cloth, each joined at the side seam and with the original hem. I spent a bit of time looking at the hem deciding what to do with it. I wanted my bags to have drawstrings, so needed a casing to run the strings through.The hem finish seemed to be perfect for this purpose,  so I just needed to sew the side and bottom of the bags together.

For durability and neatness and just because I like it, I used French seams. And, I bagged the bottom of the bags too, to give them a bit of shape.

Finally, I ran some tape through the hem casings to make drawstrings. All in all, a really quick little project. I reckon it was under half an hour, including all the rummaging and ironing. Result.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Stir-up Saturday

Yesterday afternoon the jelly bean and I spent a happy half an hour mixing this year's Christmas cake.  She's a good helper, and is particularly enthusiastic about licking the bowl afterwards (well, who isn't?)

We used our normal recipe from Nigella Lawson's 'how to be a domestic goddess'. With a few tweaks here and there. I tend to omit the mixed peel and put in more cherries instead, and I use whatever alcohol is available in the drinks cupboard - this year the brandy ran out when I was soaking the fruit, so I brushed the top of the cake with whisky. I don't think anyone will notice.

Today I transferred the wrapped cake from its tin to an airtight container. The jelly bean was rather disappointed . She thought we would be icing it today. I sense a compensatory session of cake baking coming on, just to take our minds off the cake that is cooked, but not ready to eat!

Friday, 7 November 2014

'Tis the season

Winter is almost here. My pockets are stuffed with hats and gloves, and the nights are getting longer and longer. Maybe it was the clocks going back that did it, that caused a switch in my brain to turn on. 

C R A F T! 

it says

M A K E!

Knit, sew, cut, stick, bake, glue - just DO something. Christmas is a-comin, dontcha know?

My fingers are itching to make and do. My head is full of ideas and plans, There are lists and notes, books, magazines, blogs and websites and flashes of inspiration here and there. In the last week I have bought card stock, circular hole punches and a new guillotine. I am lusting after fabric and yarn - but trying to restrain myself to shopping in the stash. That is the challenge: Use. The. Stash. 

I am planning:

  • A zippered bag for shoe cleaning kit for DH (probably the Purl Bee one)
  • A waistcoat for the bean (BBC vest by Schwin designs)
  • A dress for the jelly bean (Figgy's Sunki dress)
  • Zippered pouches/project bags for the jelly bean
  • Some raglan tees for the bean (Recess raglan tee by See Kate Sew)
  • Some self-made bias tape for my MIL
  • A knitted cowl for the bean
  • To finish the Phoebe cardigan for the jelly bean

Then there is a Christmas cake to make, plus peppermint bark, fudge and a whole pile of Christmas cards to make (and write). And, of course I could add a few more projects like: make decorations, finish that quilt top I have barely started and tidy up some of the other WIPS lurking in corners. But doing that would be ALL kinds of crazy, and I am definitely not crazy: I am completely in control (yeah). 

Since the crafting fever began last week 18 Christmas cards have been made, Christmas cake ingredients have been bought and the patterns for Sunki dress and BBC vest printed out. And, yesterday I bought two presents!