Saturday, 25 October 2014

Elephants :: Knit & crochet

This month's elephants are ... free patterns for knitted and crocheted elephants.

After purchasing the wonderful book Edward's Menagerie at The Handmade Fair, the first animal I made was Bridget the Elephant. I would absolutely encourage you to buy this book, but in the meantime if you want to make a toy elephant here are some of the free elephant knitting & crochet patterns I've found this month

1. Elephant by Vanessa - this crochet elephant looks pretty sturdy and his ears are huge
2. Elephant book ends - if you don't have a small person in your life to crochet an elephant for, how about some book ends?
3. Knitted Toy Elephant - love the textured trunk on this pattern
4. Rainbow Elephant - if you're making a crochet elephant there is no reason why it needs to be grey
5. Applique Elephant - if 3D isn't your thing how about a simple little crochet elephant that you can sew onto a blanket or outfit or make into a brooch
6. Flo the Elephant - I love the edge stitching of this knitting pattern.
7. Oliver the Elephant - he has a cute little tuft of hair which just gives this crocheted elephant bags of personality
8. Babar the Elephant - crown and cape or green suit and bowler hat - gotta love an elephant in clothes (Raverly link)
9. Ami's Elephants - these are another crocheted critter but they're very cute with the patterned fabric on their ears

For more images elephants in art and craft visit my Elephants board on Pinterest.

All links above are to the actual website, as websites come and go I can't guarantee that by the time you read this that the pattern will still be there and/or be free.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Review :: Sausage dog free kit

This was one of the free gifts I picked up visiting the Mollie Makes tent at the Handmade Fair.

The free gift was from issue 31, September 2013, before I started subscribing. It was designed by Jane Foster and it seems she has some similar designs available to buy as kits on her website.

Making this up was very straightforward and the instructions were clear. It's a bit crumpled though as the fabric was quite stiff when turning it the right side out

This is what my finished dog looks like ...

And this is how it should look ...

Pretty good outcome. My only thought about this kit is what are you meant to do with it once you've made it - what is it's purpose? It's a bit small as a cuddly toy for example.

I had two thoughts 1) pin cushion or 2) put some of my recently dried lavender from my lavender plants inside it and put it in drawer to make my undies smell nice.

What did you end up doing with this free kit?

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Review :: Boho feathers free kit

I liked the idea behind the free gift with Mollie Makes issue 44 but as with the shoe clips free kit (which I wrote about on my previous blog) I just couldn't ever see me wearing it. This is why I've only just got round to reviewing this free kit. So I did a bit of a hack using the materials provided. 

I loved the contrast of the gold and pink colours and used the two sheets of faux leather as the front and back of a purse. I stitched these together using the thread provided and then stitched the pink felt to the pink panel at the back to create a flap. 

I trimmed about 3cm off the end of the felt and about 2mm either side so that it was the same size as the faux leather.

The next step was to add a fastening. I cut a small slit about 2mm by 5mm in the front panel in the centre about 3cm from the bottom. Using a short length of the cord (about 8cm) I threaded on the bead and then poked both ends through the slit securing with a knot.

The other side of the fastening, the loop, was made by cutting about 6cm of cord and binding the ends together using the thread. Small stitches either side of the loop secured it to the inside of the flap. 

I've not worked with faux leather before and it was quite nice to work with so I may seek out some more in the future.

Et voila one small purse ...

I wasn't totally happy with my fininshed product and when I read this post on The DIY Fox blog. What Helen made with her free gift materials made me think about re-purposing the materials (again) into some little hair accessories for my neices, so watch this space.

Oh yes, this is what the free gift should have made ...

The design was by blogger Lotts and Lots - she has some great ideas and tutorials on her blog so even if (like me) this one wasn't your cup of tea do have a look at some of her other makes.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Review :: Pretty purse free kit

I'll get straight to the point, why give away a free gift if you don't include everything someone might need to make it?

I can find a pair of scissors, a needle and thread but I don't just have 'strong fabric glue' hanging around. So this free kit was doomed to fail before I started.

The other thing I found odd was the instructions resulted in unsightly seams on the inside of the purse so I went off-piste and stitched the outside and inside layer separately and then nested them inside of each other.

I thought I might be able to sqeeze the purse clasp together to pinch the fabric in place but they just weren't budging. So it's just there in it's constituent parts waiting for me to get some 'strong fabric glue'.

So this is what my unfinished item looks like and how it is destined to remain until I get myself some 'strong fabric glue' ...

And this is what it's meant to look like ...

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Finished make :: Jumble brooches

I blogged about a jumbley beaded brooch back in July. Since then I've made a few others in different colourways.

Of these I think my favourite is still the one with the clear and silver beads. It reminds me of the vintage brooches you see in antique shops/stalls but is more modern. I liked it so much that it's currently pinned to my jacket ... 

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Out and about :: Crafty Fox Autumn Market

So last weekend was Crafty Fox Market Autumn Markets.

I'd mentioned it to my Mum ages ago and my parents ended up inviting themselves down for a visit on Sunday and suggested we went along. 

But seeing as there were different traders on both days I decided to go along on my own on Saturday.

Before heading to Brixton I paid my first visit to The Pigeon Hole Cafe in Camberwell. I had a flick through the latest edition of Mollie Makes magazine whilst drinking a pot of tea and relaxing to the jazz being played in the cafe. I didn't partake in any of the food so will pop back in there again in the future to try that out.

I was keen to go to the Crafty Fox Market on Saturday as there were a couple of traders there who I'd bought things from previously - Pikku Potin and Oh My Clumsy Heart. It was no surprise that I ended up walking away with another item from each of them. 

The new pot is sitting proudly next to the previous purchase on the shelf in my living room. The pots look great but even better than that the plant I bought in April is still alive - it turns out I'm not as green fingered as I'd always hoped I'd be so I'm always looking for houseplants that can stand up to my neglect.

As soon as I saw this necklace I wanted it! I love the simple geometric design and it's had two outings already this week.

I also picked up a few more cards. I'm getting a growing collection of London themed cards that I'm popping in frames. At some point in the future, when the hallway finally gets painted, I anticipate that they will join the old photos of Camberwell and Peckham that I bought from Greenwich Market that are currently the only thing decorating the hall. This one from Victoria Eggs has joined the collection.

The final purchase I made was of these colourful cards from Cha Com Letras. I'm a sucker for a discount and the butterflies and animals were already in my hands so I selected the birds as my final card in the 3 for 2 offer.

I think the butterflies will also make it into a frame - for the living room I'd like a collection of colourful pictures to match the red sofa and curtains and the multi colour rug.

On Sunday en famille we hopped on the bus to Brixton. After a search for a cash machine without a queue and then finding that no-one actually needed any cash after all ... we headed to the Dogstar for some browsing. My Dad was impressed with how busy it was, my Mum was impressed by how the traders could fit so much on their little tables, my other half was impressed that he could be left at the bar with a beer and as always I was impressed by how professional all the items were.

More limited purchases on Sunday but I walked away with two plates from Jimbob - my other half had seen them on my iPad as I was browsing the traders before coming and he has a birthday coming up so that's one present sorted! 

He also chose this card for a friend's birthday from Oh My Gee.

Whilst I just loved the sea otters (who wouldn't?)

My mum also gravitated to the textile stitched jewellery (if you look at my Mum's website you'll probably guess why) and walked away with a couple of buttons one for her and one for her friend in Canada.

The plan was then to go to Brixton Village for food but it was so crazy busy there that we hopped on a bus back to Camberwell and ate our own weight in Turkish food.

You can explore the full list of traders from Saturday here and the full list of Sunday traders is here.

I did this last year when I wasn't able to attend the Christmas Market and found a couple of pressies for my family this way so - do take some time to browse and explore all the wonderful work on show.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Out and about :: The Make Escape

I can't quite remember how I first heard about The Make Escape, it was via a blog or twitter. Anyway I thought it was too good to be true, just turn up and try crafts for free. Yes free! 

I wasn't brave enough to go on my own when I first came across it but after struggling to find a day to meet a friend for lunch I suggested going to this instead on 30th September as it was relatively near where she lived and an overground train ride away for me.

So off we went, stopping first for some amazing but very filling Turkish food.

There wasn't much by way of instruction on the website but it seemed you got a ticket from the box office (for free) which then gets you into the Hackney Attic on the 5th floor.

We arrived just after 7:30 (the start time) and there were already quite a few people there. The peg loom weaving looked good but the table was full so we headed on over to the braiding table.

The first challenge was to cut out a braiding wheel such as the one here and stick it to some card (in this case two paper plates stuck together). The challenge wasn't the sticking but the cutting out with some scissors that had seen better days - note to self next time take your own scissors!

The next step was to cut out 8 pieces of yarn. The guidance was that the yarn needed to be about 3 times the length of the braid you wanted to make, so if you were after a bracelet, wrap the yarn round your wrist three times.

After tying the 8 strands of yarn together in a knot and popping that through the hole in the middle of the wheel. It was time to string the wheel. 

Concentration was required until I got the hang of the braiding action and chatting whilst braiding was difficult - I often lost my place and had to look at the folds to see where I was at. My friend did a bit of freestyle braiding through chatting too much. Once you got the rhythm the braid actually started to grow quite fast and after about an hour I had enough to make a bracelet.

Here's what it looked like...

I love the pop of pink that stands out against the greys and blues.

It was great fun to sit around, have a drink and chat to my friend (and a couple of Aussies) whilst crafting. Definitely going to go along to the next one, but will get these even more on time to get my pick of the crafts and will plan my train journey home a bit better so I don't have to run only to find I missed it.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Review :: Crochet flower frame free kit

Another issue of Mollie Makes (number 45) another crochet free gift - the last crochet gift was only 2 issues ago.

This was an interesting technique of crocheting around a piece of card. I consider myself quite an experienced crocheter but I found it quite difficult to keep the stitches quite tight - that may be because the card I used wasn't that thick.

As with my review of the cherry brooch, the yarn provided was nice to work with, but the crochet hook provided was a bit flimsy.

The only thing lacking from this project was any clue on how to attach your chosen image to the frame ... I just used a bit of sellotape. I'm not sure how I'd attach it if I was making it for someone else.

So how did I do ...

The end result was great - I can imagine knocking up a few of these and putting letters in the middle to spell out someone's name. In this instance I just picked some scrap paper from a pack I bought from Tiger stores.

This is what it looked like in the magazine. You can barely tell the difference!