Thursday, 9 February 2017

Running out of projects!!

I may be running out of projects to post. Not running out of things to do or projects to make, you understand - just making some projects at the moment and they are bigger projects such as my knitted jumper and so I have not been getting finished items to blog about.

So forgive me but I am going to show you some of the parcels of stash that have been coming through the door with my, getting larger, things to do list. The good thing is I am so excited about it I can hardly sit down and blog!

I am also getting excited about my exercise lately so some crafting time is being bumped!!

Here are a couple of things I have lined up craft-wise.

Three pieces of material - ignore the wool that has just photo-bombed the materials photo!
I am planning a shirt for work in the time piece lightweight cotton. Two dresses to go dancing in, in the black with pink and turquoise roses and the lime green, turquoise brown and orange smushy look material. One of them is going to be the dress in the free pattern on the magazine I reviewed last week.

I could not resist this interesting knit - actually made up in C&H fabrics - knitted but looks like crochet and I liked the look of the stitches. and I loved the colours.

Here is the twine from Nutscene - planning baskets and coasters and the raffia (which was in a neat bundle but got attacked by Gatsby dog - who also thinks its great fun getting balls of wool out of my basket and running off with them!) Well I'm not sure what I am thinking of doing with the raffia yet - I just liked the colour and I use plain raffia such a lot wrapping up presents I knew it would come in handy!

And ..... here is my sieve and tea  strainer - ready for some embroidery - except I changed my mind on the pattern in the sewing magazine which was a flower and decided it would look much more cool hanging on the kitchen wall with a teapot design on it - and for the sieve - maybe a cake design or something similar - so I'm collecting all of my old cross stitch magazines and books together to see if I have any patterns that will fit. Failing that - there is always the internet!

I am still awaiting a wool delivery - Hopefully I will post some more soon, but I have not got anything lined up at the moment, so a short break while I craft my socks off! (and maybe a bit of dancing and keep fit will be being undertaken too! )

Have Fun
Jo xxxx

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Mini Embroidery Hoop Badge

I recently bought some tiny little wooden embroidery hoops which I had seen advertised in a couple of my crafting magazines in January. So having completed this little kit from my crafting forage to Ali Pali last year, there was quite a lot of floss and beads left over.

I took out the corner of the material to make a tiny little version. Because it is only little it hardly took any time at all. Here is a close up.

Once completed, I followed the instructions in the hoop packet and mounted it into the hoop. This hoop has a badge back, which I have to glue on, so I am off to the shops to buy some Araldite to stick it with. Here it is in the hoop.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Pink Echinacea embroidery miniatures

What a fabulous excuse to send cards for no reason what-so-ever. And.... you can use all your best friendship quotes stamps! I really appreciate my friends so much and they may not realise it because when we spend time together I tend to talk , talk, talk because I'm so excited to see them. I have a new years resolution to also listen ! This is not going so great at the moment - it requires mindfulness. Its a bit like when a new person comes to the door and Gatsby the dog, a very well trained labrador, suddenly is blinded by the fact that he needs to greet the person who smells so lovely and different that is coming through the door and jump all over them! I am blinded and its become a habit that is hard to break .... but I am getting there and writing a blog actually really helps because I can get my 'me' news out of the way.

We are hearing a LOT about mindfulness these days - isn't it nice to have a proper word for what you know you do when you are in the crafting zone. That lovely release where (in crochet projects for example) you are enjoying the feel of the wool, counting the stitches in the pattern and your mind is in your work. No wonder the crafting industry is on the rise. It is so nice to get some time to get into that lovely zone. I have even managed to get some mindfulness into my daily driving commute, making it enjoyable rather than a chore.

So here are some cards I am planning to send out today.
Yes... I am working in a very messy craft room today!
I bought this lovely little kit from Rowendean Embroidery Miniatures. It is one of the items I showed in an earlier post that I must complete before I am going to permit myself to buy anymore at the Farnborough show at the end of this month. 

With this in mind my motivation was revved up and this took hardly any time at all to make. It was probably around 2 hours with accompaniment from Netflix!

The instructions were really good with good pictures and after struggling with french knots for years, I finally found out how to do them successfully overtime from the diagram in the kit. It actually had a hand in the diagram showing how to hold the thread while doing the knot, and that was the key to it for me!!
The picture shows that I also made a miniature miniature ! For more information about this and what I did with it just check out my blog tomorrow!

Jo xxxx

Monday, 6 February 2017

Stamping Up - Birthday Fun with Balloon Adventures

Apologies for the photographs but it is dark and I need to get this post out this evening for tomorrow (Monday) as there is crafting to be done!!!

 I felt very 'treated' on Cayleigh's one day retreat complete with Carvery and goodie bag. Everything was beautifully themed to birthdays from the table cloths to wrapped birthday presents and party bags on the tables, even balloons! In the goodie bag was Balloon Adventures stamp set and matching dies with a pack of 12 x 12 birthday papers and cute little balloon charms.

For Cayleigh's classes and retreats see

 Here are some of the cards I made and they are all sitting in a neat little gold striped tin that was also in our goodie bag.

The inside of the card is the best bit as it is designed to pop out and the die is really quick and easy to use. The balloons actually fit the balloon punch so no need to cut by hand.

Sometimes it shocks me as to how quickly the day goes by on crafty days. After such a big lunch through I am able to come straight back up to the craft room as i don't need any dinner - so more crafting and a bit of Netflix to finish the day off nicely.

Jo xxxx

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Review of February and some March Craft Mags

This is a review of some of the magazines that are out in the shops at the moment. I didn't get them all because it is too expensive, so I bought the ones that appeal to me the most of those on the shelf. I have to say the shop owner always looks a bit anxious when I am rummaging through them all, but then totally relieved when I put an armful on the counter to buy - so vindicated!

BUT before I start - do you remember my black stitch project - I got around to painting the frame , which is a printers tray with the drawer and back taken off. I need to put a new back on it today and then I can start loading up my pieces of black work. I thought it would be cool to do this as I go along  so I inspire myself to keep going - as I have to confess it has been a bit forgotten lately. Here is a picture of it on the sofa with the blank wall space behind - where I am going to mount it. P.S do you like my cushions my daughter gave to me for Christmas - they have sequins on them and you can 'draw' patterns on them by moving the sequins up and down. From NEXT.

And a close up of all those lovely little cubbies waiting to be filled. So far I have around 30 to put in but if you actually count the number of holes in this frame - you will see that there are still rather a lot to do!

So deep breath - this is going to be a fairly long post because there are 12 magazines in total.

1. Burda

£5.49 and Feb 2017 issue with 63 pages, 41 patterns on pattern sheet and 35 page supplement with all of the instructions in it.
This month's Burda was not as exciting for me as usual.  I like the Chanel Suit (would make it slightly longer skirt) and the Boucle collection including the handbag/purse. The collections revolve around Boucle - my favourite for making work suits; Romantic styles including off the shoulder blouse  and halter neck dress; Bohemian Deluxe - I'm not sure what this is to explain to you but there were a lot of ties around your middle which looks fab if you are very thin. There were usual plus size section with nice holiday outfits and some children clothes for communion or maybe a wedding.

I may return to the patterns later when the weather is warming me a bit. Currently with weather warnings being texted to me and the wind howling around my house I am not quite thinking summer dress.
 2. Mollie Makes

This mag is £issue 76 and costs £4.99 It has 106 pages which feel nice they are slightly thicker than usual magazines and not glossy. The pages could make good paper beads once finished with !!

31 pages of adverts and fillers. 4 pages of patterns at the back and 8 papers in the middle of the magazine which are nice because they are on the matt thicker paper. I'm definitely making something with the pages - although there are not any ideas for doing this in the magazine which is strange. I am also going to make the stitched Scandi Florals Hoop Kit on the front of the magazine. While browsing the internet I found a crochet pattern to cover embroidery hoops and I may see if I can have a go at doing this to the hoop.

Inside the magazine is a myriad of different projects, which is great for those who want to try different things other than paper crafting. There are some felt cakes, various bags made with tapestry, cork (cork is featuring quite a lot lately!) and knitted as well. I loved the felt stars and moon mobile and the Granny Chic crochet square blanket (loved the colours and the unusual 3D flower motifs.)

 3. Love Crochet

This magazine was issue 44 which is March. It costs £4.99 has no free gift (unusual!) and had 90 pages. The pages are quite large and so the photographs stand out nice and clearly. 19 pages of adverts and fillers - so more crochet less adverts. There was a lot of projects in the magazine that I loved and they were fairly quick projects so it is likely that I will make them and show them off on the blog! Also some of the adverts (I like the adverts) led me off to a company that sells wool kits that go together with a crochet along (CAL) and there are little videos of how to do the patterns and I don't see how I can possibly go wrong. The adverts also led me to ordering some twine to crochet from a company called Nutscene - if you are Pinterest you can check some ideas of what you can make with twine on my board called 'Crochet' my Pinterest is jo penney@toocraftyjo.

Projects I loved included: some cute little sheep draught excluders - you crochet a little line of them and the expressions on their faces are fab!, I loved the pennant necklace , you could put it on a card instead of on a necklace. I loved the crochet tea jar cover, the coasters , the crochet over the denim pocket to jazz up my jeans shorts and spring vest and also the yarn baskets (which I think is where the twine came in?)

 4. Simply Crochet

Yes I am into crochet - did you notice? Simply Crochet is issue 54 and is £5.99. It came with a little kit to make a Unicorm on the front and I like the fact that the kit included the safety eyes. Unlike my knitted sheep! (which is now all knitted and ready to sew up so will be on the blog soon). 98 pages of crochet bliss in this issue which included 28 pages of adverts and fillers.

I really loved the embroidery hoop picture featuring little crocheted 3D  hot air balloons. There was an advert in the magazine for a Crochet Along Project (CAL) Scheepjes 2017 shawl which I will need soon! There was also a feature in this and the crochet mag above for The Innocent Big Knit. Along with cute patterns of baby knitted hat for innocent smoothie bottles to raise money for age UK. 3 patterns to make some are included in the feature. I want to make some of these to send of to Innocent. see their website I loved the little bee with the bee hive hat.

I loved the crochet toy bunny, the mandala right at the back (it looks as if you can crochet a different one each month! More cool baskets to make for dressing tables, craft rooms etc. I also like the crochet vintage cardi - I would make it more modern colour scheme as I don't like retro colours, but its a nice shape and ideal to throw on with jeans - thinking maybe I will make it in shades of blue to go with my jeans. Jeans are really in at the moment - so go denim!

Also an interesting article on how to turn your crochet into felt and the best wool to use to get the right effect.

 5. Simply Sewing

After reading this magazine I am highly tempted to subscribe. It was £5.99, issue 26 and has 98 pages 23 pages ads and fillers.
It comes with a free pattern for the Denim pinafore dress and paper patterns for a sweatshirt shirt, saddle bag and duffle bag. I liked the advert for the giant safety pin to keep your reels of wash tape stored on from

I loved the cool for school makes for children which include the PE bag and duffle bag and apron and pencil case all made with laminate fabric - great presents if you have children or grandchildren. There was a clever way to turn an Oxfam find, tweed jacket into a fitted, up to date trendy jacket. I liked the toy cat and the saddle bag in denim.
 6. Cross Stitch Crazy

Two things made me buy Cross stitch crazy. The free gift on the front which is a wooden necklace to stitch. and The Margaret Sherry Playful Pups picture. 82 pages and £4.99 for March 2017 issue 226.

I can't wait to sew the necklace for you. The Pups may be a longer project and I have to complete by 12 months of Margaret Sherry as blogged earlier this month before starting another!

I also liked the alphabet in weather theme. Each month there is a different alphabet. There were a couple of nice mum cards to get ahead for Mothers Day and some through the ages fashion dresses as quick card makes - I am thinking of making the fifties one for my Rock and Roll Sister's birthday coming up next week (oh better get a wiggle on)

 7. Making Cards

Making Cards came with lots of free stuff this month. A book of lovely free papers in nice quality paper, some handy sentiments stamps and a free issue of Parchment Craft.

The magazine is £5.99 and 82 pages. There were lots of ideas on how to use the papers in the middle of the magazine. The papers are two different designs Together - romantic starry images and background papers and 'twit twoo' Owl images and feathered backgrounds. I liked them all and I liked the designs too. I might do a bit of sewing on them (as my machine is still out).

The mag is 82 pages - 20 pages are ads and fillers and the free parchment mag is 45 pages - 10 pages are ads and fillers.

There is an interesting article on printing with leaves and I liked all of the cards made in the magazine. Parchment craft isn't really my thing it looks so fussy to me but its a good way of finding out if you like it because the magazine is free.
 8. Creative Stamping

This magazine is fairly focussed on what you can make with the free gift with lots of techniques. It is more expensive and costs ££7.99 and the massive free stamp set in this issue is based around sweets with jelly babies, love heart, liquorice all sorts, a candy cart and a sweetie jar and I think they are great!
The magazine is 66 pages. I liked the look and colours of the cling film technique for lovely backgrounds.

 9. Cardmaking and Papercraft

This magazine is £5.99, issue 166 February 2017 and is £5.99. It came with a bag of Hunky Dory papers and pop outs. All very gold and flowery. A bit overdone for me as I struggle to make cards when it is all done for me - but I came up with an idea of a mini album which I will show you in the near future. There are also some papers in the middle of the magazine and although flimsy they are lovely colours.

There was a 3D cake box and some fabulous cards made with a technique using a brayer that was a little bit different to the usual way you would use your brayer (roller). Also a good article on the different types of embossing powder.  Not lots that jumped out at me this month.

 10. Paper craft Inspirations

The free stamp set on the mag is not 'talking' to me yet but it looks very pretty. The mag is March 2017 issue 162 and costs £4.99 for 82 pages 10 of which are free papers in the middle of the magazine which are talking to me! They are Russian Doll themed and I like the bright and bold colours. They are quite flimsy but I am looking forward to using them.

I like the princess castle card and its great to see some children themed cards. So often they are just flowers. There was an article on hiding gifts in easel cards - I am going to try this. There was also a nice article on 10 ways to use tassels - the next in thing apparently they are!

There are some very nice designs in this catalogue!

 11. Craft Stamper

Craft Stamper - nice paper in this magazine again not glossy but matt. It costs £4.99 and had one free stamp on the front which resembles a flower. Also some free downloads - but I didn't like them. There was one project in the magazine I would make which was a little pennant on a stick but with a lot of the items in the magazine I'm not sure what to do with them. However if you are artsy and into 3D types of altered art then go for it! I find it really hard to do artsy there is a fine line between it looking like a piece of art or like something the Kindergarten kids could churn out.

I probably won't buy it again.

 12. Quick Cards

Issue 162 February 2017 £4.99 with a free embossing folder and stamp set to go with it. 82 pages with 26 pages of ads and fillers, 4 pages are free papers in purple and yellow stripes and flowers. I like the stamp set the butterfly is very pretty and the lace stamp and embossing folders are very on-trend. The font is nice too. I liked the idea of a dressing table beauty set, but overall not lots to the magazine this month.

13. Sew

This magazine - you may have noticed was not in the original line up on the sofa! It sneaked in at the last minute. Mainly because I want to make the dress in the free pattern that comes with it!

Sew magazine is February 2017 issue 94 and cost £5.99 for 98 pages.
It is very difficult to judge with sewing magazines what is an advert and what is not because they often are showcasing materials, but I would say around 35 pages are adverts and fillers (i.e. shopping ideas, index pages, competitions.)
The things I loved in the magazine apart from the dress pattern on the front were: a very cute boy's cowl top - great for windy days; the flamingo quilt which was bright and modern and the idea of cross stitching onto a sieve for a kitchen wall hanging. I am going to have a go at doing this - I think I will buy a new sieve though as my sieve is bent, so not really up cycling for me but you could if you had one too many sieve's in the kitchen. I'm wondering if you could do a mini one in a tea strainer!! Pop back another day and hopefully some of these projects will be on their way!

Well, that's it for now. I'm off on a Stamping Up day retreat today (Sunday) so will show some of projects I make tomorrow.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

February Madness!

OMG! have I gone mad on my project line-up?  With February/March magazines and other projects inspired by Next homeware, Pinterest and me diving off into my new crochet hobby and becoming part of a CAL (Crochet -a-long). I am really excited and its Saturday, its nearly mid day and I was lying in bed all morning following through links from the magazines into online blogs/ websites and yes even more projects and Im not sure where to dive in. One thing is for sure - you certainly cannot be bored if you have a magazine or an internet connection.

I love love crochet - especially with soft wool. I have been making some lacy gloves from last months got really sore hand though Im not sure if its Repetitive Strain Injury or if it is arthritis onset. In any case I have ordered some wood crochet hooks. My project board looks completely crammed but I am ready and willing so with no further ado stay tuned for a complete run down of each of the catalogues and their summaries and marks out of 10 for tomorrow and.... projects following days, as well as some leftover projects being finished up from January.

One thing is for sure this weekend there is not going to be any housework going on! Maybe a hair wash?

Broccoli and Stilton Soup!

In recognition of National Homemade Soup Day!!

One of my favourite things for the weekend is homemade soup. This weekend it is broccoli and stilton (left over from christmas and one day in date!)

Chopped up the onion and celery and brocaalli and put into about 2 pints of water with two chicken stock cubes. When cooked whizzed in blender and back into the pan with crumbled in cheese which is then reheated until the cheese melts - YUM ! and really healthy too.