Sunday, 28 February 2010

Celebrating on Sunday!

Hello all Friends! Happy Sunday!

I've had a busy few days and now have a few things to celebrate as a result!

Firstly, it's nearly Spring!! These photos were taken yesterday morning, in our garden - just before it started raining! The snowdrops have been out for two or three weeks, but the crocus had only been in bud for a couple of days.  The sun came out yesterday morning and *POP*!  They are so pretty and it feels like Spring at last!

Secondly, I want to celebrate finding a bar of choccy, just when I had a big chocolate craving. I have been very naughty and hidden it in this box.  It's in among a pile of containers, which have crafting stuff in .. I know it's sad, but I feel kind of pleased to have my very own chocolate stash.  Of course, in a day or so, once I've eaten a couple more pieces, I'll take it out and share it with J. I never have a secret stash for long - I like sharing.  But I didn't know I still had this bar left over from Christmas and I just feel like hiding it for a little while... Does anyone else have a secret, sneaky store of sweeties?

The last thing I want to celebrate is finishing a Project that I've been busy with for weeks (on and off).  It's a photo album for my niece, C. and her BF, who are expecting their first baby any day now.  We know it will be a girl, but they're being very quiet about name ideas, so there are still surprises to come.  I have had such a lovley time making this, choosing paper and card, designing each pair of pages, but making sure it all "flows" nicely, adding the ribbons, flowers, brads etc, making the little tags for them to label their photos...

Last night I finished the final pages and the back cover, then punched the holes and put it all together with the lovely gold book rings.  It was fun to tie all the ribbon and fibres to the rings.  It made it feel "really finished"! 

Here are the photos I just took, of the book, showing the pages pair by pair. I am quite proud of myself and think they will love it!

PS: If Keri-Anne is reading this, please don't tell C & DC about it.. I want them to have a surprise!

The photos will expand a bit, if you click on them.

New Baby Girl Photo Album 8" x 8"

Hmm, the back cover looks a bit squashed to me! I don't know why that is.. I thought it was ok when I saved the photo! Anyway, it is as square as the rest of the book - honest!

I have tried to leave a good space on each page, so it will hold a 6x4" or 7x5" print in at least one direction.  I have put little headings/prompts on some pages (such as "Bath Time", "Daddy's Girl", "Friendship" or "Girls Rule"), but I have left many blank to allow them to choose their own subject, depending on their pictures. I hope that way, they will have some help for ideas of what to put in the album, so they do use it, but it doesn't seem as if they are being forced to only use pictures I wanted them to use!

The front and back covers have overlays of printed acetate, to keep them clean and provide a bit of extra strength. 

Most of the papers are "Sweet Nothings" by Papermania (a 6" paper pad), with the cupcake paper by Stemma and the pink with white polka dots by PebblesInc.

The cardstock (pink and white) is Bazzill. 

The embellishments are a variety of stickers from PebblesInc, Papermania, Me&MyBigIdeas;
cutouts from the Sweet Nothings papers;
flowers by Papermania;
flower brads, ribbons and assorted other bits from my stash. 

I also made some tags, using Bazzill ribbed white cardstock - which I also used to make the back cover - and stamps by Papermania and American Crafts. 

Overall, I think it looks pretty good and I'm very pleased with my work.  Definitely a cause for celebration!

Of course, I'm hoping to be celebrating the safe arrival of a new Great Niece any day soon - that will be a much bigger celebration... but I'm holding my breath right now!!

Friday, 26 February 2010

Digi Delights!

Good evening, all Bloggy-type friends!

After all the excitement with Bunnies and Giveaways, it's time I came back to earth.  I posted the Bunny today and hope the excited winner will get her tomorrow (or else Monday).

Now for some other lovely stuff, which I did not make.

For ages and ages, I have been following the blog of Kirsty Wiseman. You may know her yourself, as she's a very active and busy lady in the crafting world.  Recently she published a cd rom of print-at-home papers, embellishments and cute little ladies, which she called "Patti Picklicious".  There were zillions of things on this fabby cd and I even used some of Kirsty's papers to make covers for some of my books (with her permission).

She has now produced a second CD.  This one is even bigger and more luscious than the last. It's called "Kirsty Wiseman's Colour Burst of Fanciful Things" and is currently only available from Kirsty's own online shop.  That's until next week. On Wednesday, Kirsty has to go on telly, to sell her CD on Create and Craft (midday, March 3rd). 

This new CD has 1300 images, including papers, templates, greetings and embellishments.  They can be printed off at home for cards and scrapping. I am sure they will be as lovely as the first CD and I'm waiting with some anticipation, to get my sticky paws on my own copy.

So, I strongly suggest you whizz over to Kirsty's Shop right now and take advantage of the fact that it's not generally available yet, as the CDs will fly out of the Create and Craft shop faster than you can say "Kirsty Wiseman"!

Kirsty also has some digi images available in her shop (jpeg format). These can be printed off, either ready-coloured, or plain outlines for you to colour by hand, then used for cards or scrapping; they could also be used in your digi scrap pages.

If you go to Kirsty's shop here, there are two freebies available to download and use for your own personal scrapping or crafty projects.  She also has some lovely dollies and yummy cake designs.

The shop site is still being constructed and new items are being added all the time.  There are plans for Digi Stamps and stuff aimed specifically at digi scrappers. 

There is also a Video Tutorial, to show how to get started with digi scrapping, for the bargain price of £5.

The tutorial is in the form of a downloadable video file, which will take some time to download.  You will be sent a link to the download, then have 2 days in which to access the link and download the file to your pc. The video itself is then yours to watch as often as you like.  You need Quicktime running on your computer, in order to run the video - there's a link to get quicktime in the Tutorial listing at Kirsty's shop.

I am a definite Kirsty Fan! Kirsty has been so generous, over the years, with her talent and skill.  She has been producing digi stuff for ages (before most people had even heard of digital scrapbooking!) and has often posted free downloads for her blog followers.  It's great to see she now has a shop and that her CDs are doing so well.  She has worked amazingly hard and really deserves to do well - I wish her ooodles of success!

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Bunny Delight! The Prize goes to.....

Okay, so I'm sorry... it's waaay after 8pm.  But it was worth the wait, wasn't it?

I mean the announcement of the 100th Blog Post Giveaway! 

There were 20 comments on this post, but one was from me (answering other people) and another was from someone who'd already entered. So, this was the list, in order, after those were removed:

Angela - PosyMoe
Parkside Harmony

I used to generate a number from 1-18 and this was the result:

True Random Number Generator

Min: 1

Max: 18



Powered by RANDOM.ORG
Number 9 iiiiisss.... Spangle011...
This is a lovely lady, who I know via my Etsy shop and Twitter.  I made her a Diary/planner just before Christmas (my first commission!).  She has a little daughter and lives in the UK. 
I had to post the comment for her, as she couldn't get Netbook to work properly, but I hope everyone is happy to accept that as a genuine entry for the draw (I was and no-one has complained up to now, so I think it has to be okay).
I will contact her later, to tell her the news and confirm where to send her prize!!
Sorry you couldn't all win the bunny... I shall be sad to let her go, but then, I know she'll have a good home.
Do have another look at my Bunny Tutorial and maybe pop over to my shop and see some more bunny loveliness there.
Goodnight all, and thank you for joining in. 

Monday, 22 February 2010

Whether the Weather...

The Weather:

It's a commonly held conception, all over the world, that the British - or at least the English - spend half our time in conversation about the Weather.
I suppose it's hardly surprising, when it is so very changeable, that we do really talk - and write - rather a lot about it!  

I mean, really, when it's like this one day...

then the next it's like this....

and this...

and you wake up and look out at a sky like this...

with the garden looking like this again...

and even the birds are fed up...

Is is any wonder we all Moan?

For several days, we've woken to snow and ice.  By 11am it's all been gone away. 
Except for today.  When we woke, it was snowing.  The kids went back to school, after their half-term holiday, getting snowed on and making bets that it would be gone by lunch time.
Today it wasn't. It snowed all morning. And half the afternoon. 

Problem was, it was only 0 degrees (c).  Which meant that the snow was just wet and sloppy.  Although it sat on the ground, the underneath layer got warm and melted, making piles of yukky slush. 

I had to go out to do my Monday jobs.  It involves driving to the village nearby, where my mum lives. I visit the Post Office, to collect her pension money, the doctors' to get her prescription, the lady who sells eggs, to get hers & her neighbours' eggs, then her house, delivering all the above, plus her weekly shopping which was delivered here first thing in the morning (along with mine!).

I have to walk: from the car to the post office (not far), from the post office to the dr (not far), from there to the car, from the car park to the egg-lady's house (not far), then back, from the car to my mum's (really not far!) and back....

Not a lot of walking.  Just a few yards really.

So, why were my feet soaking wet?!

After lunch, the snow finally stopped.  By 3pm, when the mums went to get the littlies from school, it was all gone away.  J. walked home in the dry, though he went out in the wet.

My boots were finally dry, but I won't wear them in the snow again - not if it's going to be slushy.  From now on, it'll be waterproof boots to and from the car!


Giveaway Reminder

Remember that, if you would like a chance to win the little pink sock-bunny from the Sock Rabbit tutorial, you need to leave me a comment after last Wednesday's post (just below actually!). I will use a random number generator to select a winner and will publish the winning person's name this Wednesday evening, some time after 8pm.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

100th Post Celebration - A Tutorial and Giveaway!

Ha! This is my one hundredth blog post!  I started my blog last November, to follow Shimelle's Blogging for Scrapbookers course.  I did have a blog once before, but it didn't work out for me.  This blog has been working fine... I'm having such a good time and have made some great new "Blog World" friends!

So, by way of celebration, here is one of the Tutorials I have been promising (or is that threatening) for some time... and also, in honour of the occasion, I will set up a Giveaway of the little Mini Sock Rabbit that I made for this Tutorial post!

Leave me a comment at the end of the post.  I'll select a winner at random... next Wednesday (24th), about 8pm or so....

Here we go then:

Sock Rabbit Tutorial 

How to make a cute little sock pet

Turn this:
into this:

Cute, isn't it?

This little rabbit is made from one little pink baby sock with a long, fold-over cuff.  You could make one with smaller ears and paws, using a shorter-legged sock and obviously a larger rabbit can be made with a larger sock!

You will need:
One Sock - clean, preferably new. A patterned sock can be used, as well as a plain one.  Any pattern will appear right-way up on this sock pet, as the toe of the sock forms the rabbit's bottom!

Sewing kit, including matching cotton, embroidery threads, sewing and embroidery needles, fabric scissors, pins, tailor's chalk or a soft pencil.
Toy stuffing - the polyester stuffing is easily available at most haberdashery shops and many other craft shops. This is fire retardant and safe for children.
Ribbon or other material for rabbit's collar. Possibly a button or two - for collar, eyes or nose.

Just before we continue to the instructions; a quick note about toy safety.  Remember that you shouldn't give a small child any toy that has sharp bits, pieces that can be chewed or pulled off and swallowed, fluffy bits that could cause choking or irritate eyes and noses. 
Any ribbons or strings should either be very firmly stitched on all round, or else (the preferable option) removed before giving to a small child, as should bells, buttons etc. 
"Safety eyes" can be bought from craft shops, but you should be careful to follow the instructions when attaching them.
Stuffing and other materials should be fire retardent.
Children should be supervised when playing with hand-made toys and you should check regularly, to make sure nothing is coming apart, which could cause injury or choking.

Most of this is a matter of common sense, but it still needs saying!

Step One - Ears

Lay the sock flat and cut off the top inch or so (you will need to adjust this depending on the size of your sock, length of ears required etc.).  The cut-off part will be used for the paws, so keep it safe.

Turn the sock so that the toe and heel are flat and the heel is facing you (as in picture).  The heel of the sock will form the rabbit's face, with the leg-part forming the top of the head and the ears.
Cut down the middle of the leg-part for the ears, making sure you leave enough uncut sock to form the head.

Turn the sock inside-out. 
Lay it flat and mark the shape of the ears with a soft pencil or tailor's chalk.

Stitch from one outside edge, around the ear-shape, using small, neat stitches.  The sock is stretchy, so if your stitches are too big, they may split.

Continue round the bottom of the two ears, where the cut finishes.  Stitch just a little way up, then remove the needle from the thread, leaving the end for later (to close the hole after stuffing).

Check that the gap between the ears, at the top of the head, is well stitched. If there are not enough stitches, you may end up with a ladder from where the sock was cut - try to make sure the loop at the end of the cut has been picked up by your stitching.

Stitch the second ear, from the outside edge and round the top, leaving a gap to turn the sock right-way out and for stuffing the rabbit (see the pictures above).

Trim the corners off, so you will have a rounded end to each ear.

If you want your rabbit to have those glass toys' eyes that you buy from craft shops - you know, "real eyes", like toy-shop teddies and stuffed toys have - now is the time to attach them.  You may need to stuff the head temporarily, to work out where to put them, then mark the place for the eyes and remove the stuffing, before attaching them to the head (remember your sock is inside out!).

Step Two - Stuffing

Turn the sock right-way out, carefully pushing the fabric through the gap in the ear.  You can use the end of a pencil to carefully push the ears into shape.

Make two balls of stuffing, one big for the body and a smaller one for the head.  As you can see from the picture, one small sock can take a surprising amount of stuffing - you'll probably need twice as much as you think!

Carefully push the stuffing into the rabbit's body, poking it gently down and trying to form a smooth shape.  Once the body is filled, knead it a bit, to smooth out any bumps - you're aiming for a rounded shape, with a flattened base.
Add the stuffing to the head - this is the heel and the part below the ears. Again, knead it to achieve a smooth shape. 

You should end up with something like this:
A nice smooth body and head can be achieved by gently rolling the rabbit between your hands and kneading any lumpy bits. The rabbit should have a little kneck, as shown in the picture.

You may wish to add a little stuffing to the ears. I chose not to stuff the ears of this rabbit, but that was because the sock was small and the ears were quite stiff already.  Larger ears or a softer sock may require stuffing to support them - unless you want the floppy look!
Roll the seams of the ears gently with your finger tips, to encourage them to smooth out.  The ears need to be nice and even too.

Step Three - Close up the Gap

Thread the needle with the length of thread you left when stitching the ears, or if you finished off this thread end, use a new piece and make a couple of over-stitches to start off. 

Use a ladder stitch to close the gap in the ear - Take a stitch on the seam-line at one side, then another opposite this stitch, moving up the seam like a ladder - so that you get a succession of straight-across stitches, like rungs.

Gently pull the ladder closed.  The seam should form inside the ear, with almost no stitches (and definitely no raw edges) showing at the front.
You can pull the stitches as you go along, or leave it till you have made several "rungs". 
Double-check that the area between the ears has been well stitched, to avoid problems later.

You may need to pin the other ear out of the way, to allow you to stitch up the seam.


Step Four - Add a Collar

If you wish your rabbit to have a collar or kneck-ribbon, now is the time to add it.  If you add the arms, you may need to stitch them above the kneck, at the side of the head.  It would be tricky to add a collar or ribbon if there was stitching in the way.  By adding it now, you can avoid stitching the area where the collar is.

I cut a ribbon for my rabbit, crossed it at the front and secured with stitches, which attached to the sock as well.

I then added a little button, for decoration.

Step Five - Make the Arms

Cut a strip of left-over sock-top, on the fold.  You will need to judge the width, based on the size of your sock pet and the size of paws/arms that you want. Mine were around one third of the width of the sock-top.

Mark the shape of the paw with a soft pencil, or tailor's chalk.

Stitch the arm seam, trim and turn right-way out.  Stuff with a small ball of filling.

Repeat for the other arm, to make a lovely matching pair of paws! 



To close up each arm, make small running stitches a little way from the top edge, all the way round the top. 
Push the raw edges inside, then gently pull up the running stitch, to close the edges.
Make some stitches across the top, to flatten the arm and completely close the seam.

Step Six - Attach the Arms

Stitch the arm to the "shoulder" of the rabbit.  It's up to you how you position the rabbit's arms.  I made mine face upwards and outwards, in a "hug me" attitude, but you may want yours to face downward, or across the rabbit's tummy.. whatever you prefer.

Stitch each side of the arm to the body, starting with the outside edge and then the "underarm/armpit" edge.

Then bring the needle through the body and out a bit further up - around the collar edge.  Stitch the inside of the arm to the body, to stop it flopping about.  You may want to stitch it above the collar, or even to the side of the rabbit's face.  Or, if the arm is to face downwards, you will need to decide where it should be attached to the body.

Arms open in a hug!

Step Seven - The Face and Tail

Use a soft pencil or tailor's chalk, to mark the features on your rabbit's face.
You may wish to make the face with felt shapes, buttons or even glass toys' eyes (which you would have attached before stuffing the doll!)
Alternatively, make the features with embroidery, as I did.

You may like to give your rabbit a tail. Mine has a crochet tail, made from fluffy blue and mauve yarn.  I have also given rabbits a tail made with a button - large and white or little flower-shaped buttons look lovely - or a pom-pom (shop-bought or hand made). Cotton wool is possible, but you shouldn't let a small child play with the rabbit, as this would be a choking hazard! 

The finished Bunny!

I hope you've enjoyed this little tutorial and feel inspired to have a try yourself.

Making Sock Pets is a lovely way to relax. They are quite simple to make, especially these one-sock designs, and are fun to give as presents.

This rabbit design could easily be adapted to create other animals.

Cut the sock top much lower down, leaving enough room to make small pointy corners, for ears - you can make a cat.
Make the ears long and droopy, stitch rounder eyes and nose, a muzzle with whiskers - you could make a dog.
Try adding a loopy wool mane to a yellow cat - you'll have a great little lion.
Stitch the sock-top long-ways, add some loops of red wool or a red felt fringe, sew some loops of wool or feathers to the back and make wings instead of arms - you'll have a cute chicken.
Make wings and big round eyes, give your pet a pointy beak and maybe some tummy-feathers - you can make the cutest toy owl you ever saw (Jo!).

You are only limited by the basic shape and your own imagination.  Why not have a go - I'd love to see what others can create!

Giveaway Reminder

Remember that, if you would like a chance to win the little bunny from this tutorial, you need to leave me a comment.  I will use a random number generator to select a winner and will publish the winning person's name next Wednesday evening, some time after 8pm.

Good night all!


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