Christmas Cupcakes!

So little time for blogging and crafting right now! We are on the final run down to moving house, just packed the final van-load and its going down tomorrow morning whilst we ship out of Reading forever and settle in in Dorset at last!

Here’s a quick look at the cupcake class I ran last week at Make & Do, which was great fun. These are the demo cakes, which were quickly done, but the participants had a great time with coloured balls, sprinkles and glitter galore, and everyone seemed to love using the Wilton embosser roller on the parcel cakes – they spent a lot longer decorating theirs!

We tested a few out at work the next day, and I am pleased to say that they tasted as good as they looked!



Your perfect craft workshop?

I had a very enjoyable visit to Denman, the WI’s adult education college yesterday. I am a craft tutor there and met with the head of college to talk about new ideas for workshops. I am really excited about some of the wonderful ideas and themes we came up with. But real selling is about knowing what your audience wants, so if you had your perfect pick of a range of creative and personal development workshops, what would it be? 

We are talking historic old skills, thrift crafts, creativity with lots of chilled out relaxation, upcycling… what else?


Answers below please?! Thank you! 


Not a lot of time for blogging at all right now as I manage the big house move and wrap up my job! Sadly, not a lot of time for crafting either but I am going to see the Head of Denman College to talk about running more workshops for the WI!

Just spotted this article which was worth a re-post! Seems that we are all getting bitten by the bug!


Blessed Samhain or Happy Hallowe’en to you! Last night the tricksters were with us along with lots of laughter at the cupcake workshop I ran at Make & Do. A lovely group of ladies including two mums and young daughters all enjoyed playing with sugarpaste decorations and crazy Halloween piping! I hope that they all enjoyed eating them as much as they did making them. Lots of repeat bookings for the next workshop, which will be Christmas themed, with lots of glitter and sparkles! Here are the samples from last night. 



For once I turned the tables at Make & Do last night and did one of their workshops as a participant instead of a tutor! I’ve been wanting to find out the tricks of the trade of these lovely, ever so professional and stylish lampshades by Julie from Gilhoolie for a while, so off I went down to Make and Do and had a very convivial evening with one my favourite Michael Miller beachhuts fabric. This is going in one of the guest bedrooms in my new seaside home, got to have a bit of seaside kitch going, and I love the spotty red trim from the Make & Do haberdashery selection, sets it off a treat!


Covered Craft Storage Boxes


I have been asked about these this week. I am due to move house soon so don’t have the time to write up a full tutorial but here is a photo with some hints and tips. 

In my office, the varied uses of the photocopier box lid have been noted for some time. They are fairly strong, a good shape and size, like a deep sided tray. They are great for single layer storage, and if you are working on a project, you can see everything you need at a glance. 

The only problem – they aren’t too pretty to look at! So I came up with the idea of covering them with some remnants and bits of fabrics leftover from other jobs – its not a perfect sewing job as I used scraps, but you get the idea! This is full on recycling and I even made little Singleton buttons as handles for them, in matching fabrics. 

I basically made a sleeve for the tray by cutting an A4 base then attaching a long strip for the inner wall and to that a long strip for the outer wall. I then fitted the sleeve to the box and fixed it with some strong stitches in the inside corners in matching thread, to get it nice and snug. I then whip stitched a fabric base to the bottom of the outer wall piece to enclose the sleeve, and finished with a handmade singleton button! 

Here they are in use! 


Creating Texture in Crochet with Post Stitches

I am playing with post stitches at the moment. They are a great way to create ribbing and textural effects in crochet, but they can be real yarn gobblers, so make sure you have plenty!

Here I am making some boot cuffs in forward and back post stitches which will be trimmed with some horn buttons to add a touch of the individual to boot tops. I am using a flecky DK left over from some knitted socks, on a 4.5mm hook, worked in the round. The trick is to get your chain (even number of chains) flat on the first round so you can join a tube with a slip stitch, then after the foundation row of trebles you are away, working alternate stitches. The beauty of this technique is that the front and back is identical so great for turn down cuffs, or use it as a ribbing on mittens, a collar on a poncho (which I will be doing soon on a huge granny poncho I am working on). Image

You will want perfect rows for this, not spirals, so finish each row with two chains to bridge to the next round, like this:


And look how thick and chunky it is! These will be super cosy!


I am also experimenting with this lovely German sock yarn I got last weekend at the Knitting & Stitching Show, its quite fine and recommends a 2 to 3mm hook but I don’t want it to be too thick as it will be a men’s scarf, so after several goes with the hook sizes I am using a 4mm hook to get a close pattern but one which is quite flexible to be worn around the neck. Here I am using a basket weave pattern which alternates the front and back post stitches in rows of three, and I really like it! I found this great tutorial from Mikey (watched a few men doing crochet recently) which you need to translate from American terms – his double is our treble.  I love his ‘cheat’ on this first row – who says its all about being a perfectionist, if there is a way round a mistake, or a quick short cut, I am all for it! He also has an interesting technique which is very different to what I was taught, and teach, but super efficient! Great row end management too, with a neat result!

Here’s the first four pattern repeats, again, it’s identical front and back so perfect for a scarf:


Wibbly wobbly felted crochet

I just finished this little bowl with one of the balls of Adriafil Crea I posted earlier – this is a specific felting yarn so you’d expect it to work and it didn’t shrink quite as much as the 100% wool hand wash onlys I have tried before. I finished the top edge with some loopy chains to give it a wibbly look, I think I will do separate chains for the next one to get a shaggy look to it, which I will curl when damp. That’s the fun of felting your work, you never quite know how its going to come out the machine!

I dried this one around a pretty little Pip Studio bowl to get the exact shape I wanted, but I have used baked bean cans, biscuit tins and all sorts of shapes before – why not have a play!

You can make one of these using the pattern on the tutorial I posted a couple of weeks ago!


Yarn Adventures

I went to the Knitting & Stitching Show today and completely failed in my mission not to buy any yarn…. I did however resist the beautiful luxury alpaca, buffalo and artisan dyed yarns which were stunning, and what I did get were real bargs, plus some embroidery threads and sixteen fat quarters!

This week I finished the yarn eater cushion cover which now has a new pattern I tried out on the back, plus more Dorset buttons! I love them and look how perfectly they match the pattern!

More final shows later!

More Cake! and crochet…

I have finished so many things this week (yeah!!!) I don’t know where to start in showing them. I think I will start with cake, since cake is ALWAYS a good idea. Here is a rich fruit cake which I have done for a 90th birthday party – the old gent used to be an upholsterer so I went with a quilting, deep buttoning and tacking theme on this on, with a smart masculine colour scheme.



I liked the little bun feet on the armchair.



Not tried the quilted effect before and its not that easy but I found a great tutorial on You Tube. You basically mark out your quilting spaces using a measure along the top edge of the cake, then use a diagonally cut piece of card along the bottom as a guide and a stitching wheel to emboss. The numbers are meant to look a bit fabric-y too so I used quite a thick royal icing for the run outs.



Modelling little bits and pieces is fun but soooooo time consuming! I love metallic food paint, its so clever! So here are little silver scissors, a hammer and a heavy duty needle!