The Ruffles Quiet Book

The Ruffles Quiet Book

You may remember some time ago I posted about the most amazing handmade item we had as children, the Harwood’s Quiet Book (apologies for the shit photos on there – I have gotten marginally better these days).

Hilariously I blogged that I was planning to make one in the ‘coming months’ HA, that was almost exactly 3 years ago! I have, however, finally produced said book for my lovely un-god daughter Beatrix, she will receive it when her new baby sister arrives (probably sometime next week!).

Preface: This took me a good 2 years to make, it’s probably the best thing I ever made so feel free to affirm my creation in the comments/on Twitter or facebook/call me up to congratulate me etc.

So let’s get down to it: The Ruffles Quiet Book has arrived.

I have to say I copied a lot of the pages form the Harwood book wholesale, having done some research online ours really is one of the better ones I’ve seen (take a look on Pinterest and Etsy). The idea of the book is to train your fine motor skills, as well as to divert annoying children of course, and the activities in ours seemed to be the best, and clearest for that.

The cover above was inspired (copied) from the Vine app home screen, perfect simple representations of hot air balloons, which I’m obsessed with by the way. If I won the lottery I’d buy a hot air balloon. I mean I’d have to play the lottery to win it but you get the idea. I like them.

The mitten page, which on reflection isn’t that great but does look nice. I must say up front that this is obviously not my writing (which is a barely legible scrawl), my sister used her perfect teacher handwriting to finish the book off, it would have looked crap without her!

Mitten

I really love the fabric on the washing line page, which I bought especially, this was always my favourite page as a child for some reason. It’s odd because my sister was the one who professed that she wanted to be a washer woman when she grew up.

This is the first page I made and I tried to machine stich everything, didn’t go so well.

Washing Line

After that I hand-stitched most of the small felt pieces as a) I’m not that great/precise on my machine and b) it meant I could do it in front of the TV. I particularly like the ladybirds as I know Lizzy has a bit of a phobia of them. I gave it extra-mental faceted  eyes to make it more freaky for her.

Ladybirds

So the clown is scary, I know. Why has he got no eyes? Why has he got massive unformed yellow ear tufts but no ears? Suck it up, kids need to learn to deal with these things. His eyes and mouth are latched on and the nose is a magnet (a really strong one actually). The policeman replaces the american baseball player, I wanted it to be more British. I found this image on Flickr and I copied it unashamedly, I love his mental face.

Clown and Policeman

It’s important to be able to use an abacus, come the apocalypse when all electronic items fail this will become a key life skill.

Abacus

I had planned to make some stuff to go in the train’s carriages, but I failed. Also no puffs of smoke – completely forgot about those!

Train

Plait, NOT braid. FFS. I made loads of candles, I always wanted more when we were kids. I’m really pleased with this page, I think the cake and present are bloody brilliant. The present is a pouch for the candles too by the way.

Plait and birthday

The trainers replace the laced football in our book, I like how loud they are but if I’m honest they are not that well constructed and I failed to get proper laces to go in them, also they have no tongue. Annoying.

The flowers on the other hand are brilliant, the pot is a pouch to store them in, clever huh?

Trainers and flowers

Ok the cat is awful, I know. I hate his eyes especially. Eugh, don’t look at it.

The shapes are fine, they popper on if you’re interested, although Amber reliably informs me that ‘diamond’ is not a shape.

Crap cat and shapes

Apparently the clock is ‘as crap as the one in our book’ but I like it’s retro look. Felt very pleased with myself for making the face with a nice button instead of a crappy split pin. The balloons are a bit hard to get on and off but it’s good to have a challenge I think.

Balloons and clock

The last page is a complete change, Amber and I decided the alphabet in our one was pointless and looked a bit lame plus we found this amazing page on Pinterest (original source here) which I really wanted to copy. It doesn’t have a specific educational purpose but it is pretty fucking adorable.

Vegetable patch

And that’s it, I finished this off in a panic of broken sewing machines, sewing buttonhloles on the flowers in the evenings after skiing (thanks Mum) and very last minute trips to the DIY shop in Geneva to make the rivet holes, completed on the day before I left Lizzy’s house. Remember people: a deadline is not a target.

Despite my bitching I’m really pleased with the finished result and I did enjoy making it, it’s fun collecting all the bits you need and rummaging around in all that crap you’ve been hoarding to find the perfect piece of fabric/ribbon/button etc. However it’s really nice to not have it hanging over my head, I am now free to craft without guilt!

I just hope Bea likes it, but Lizzy’s a good enough friend to lie to me even if she doesn’t 🙂

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Liberty Print Patchwork Purse

Liberty scrap purse

I started this without any real concept of the level of commitment it would require. ‘It’s only small’ I thought, ‘I like patchwork’ I continued, ‘Lizzy will love it’ was only third on the list, ‘oh look this shop stocks snap frames’ and it was all over.

I actually spotted this a while back and thought I’d like to make it for Lizzy so when I bought the snap frame I thought it would be a nice little extra for her birthday. It is not an extra now. It is THE MAIN PRESENT.

It is different on both sides ok?!

I used a mixture of fabrics for this, pretty much everything I had in my stash went in somewhere, although I tried to stick to florals. I used some Liberty fabric from the quilting exhibition range, some tana lawn, and then whatever else I could get a 1/2 inch hexagon out of. The flex covering is made from linen and the lining is Liberty quilting too.

I finished the patchwork a while ago and then thought the sewing up would take no time and so, as usual left it unfinished. On returning to it I discovered that the tutorial wasn’t massively comprehensive, I mean it’s work-out-able but not idiot-proof (my sewing skills are not what I’d like them to be). I ended up handstitching the lining in as I have no idea how you would get something so tiny through your machine but maybe I’m missing some vital attachment or something.

The innards

Now I’m pretty sure this is an utterly useless gift for someone about to have their second child with another under 3 years old, BUT Lizzy will appreciate the effort and enjoy its prettiness so hopefully that forgives me for being completely indulgent and terribly impractical!

It actually didn’t take that long and I really enjoy paper piecing so it was a nice tv project. Obvioulsy my finish isn’t as good as the original as I used various weights of fabric and they don’t all coordinate, but I like the higglydy-pigglydy-ness of it, that’s the point of patchwork after all.

Posted in Sew

Kindle Fire Case

Nice button

Another quick one for you. This is a very speedy but useful Kindle Fire Case, made for the incredibly shrewd Emily who managed to blag herself a Kindle Fire for FREE when she upgraded her phone. Mental.

The pattern came from a blog called Charmstitch and is really easy to follow and modify, I will definitely use this again. I padded the case with quilt wadding as I know Emily is rather clumsy (but is otherwise brilliant) so I wanted to make sure it was protected from knocks AND scratches. You can knock this up in an afternoon easily, highly recommended.

Simple case

Posted in Sew

Mini make-up pouches

A trio of pouches

Just a quickie this time, found the pattern for these adorable pouches on Pinterest, the tutorial is excellent, check it out on the Three Bears blog. I had to mess around with the measurements a bit to get the shape I wanted and this definitely works better with stiffer fabric. The Ikea canvas worked best I think, but it would work fine with some interfacing or possibly even quilted too.
Pouches.jpgI made these as mini make-up purses but I’d like to do some bigger ones from oilcloth for wash bags at some point. They are really quick to make up, the lining took a little longer as you sew it in by hand. However, I didn’t realise you need to walk your sewing machine foot across zips in order to not break them. Lesson learnt!

Posted in Sew

A quilt for the modern baby

Hi, welcome to the all-new, all-singing, all-dancing-but-no-promises-to-blog-regularly Lickety Split! Huzzah! Bear with me whilst I sort out all the image files etc., I hope you like it.

First up, a new post, oh the excitement 🙂

Quilt for Ted

I made this quilt for my wonderful friend Nell, well, for her baby, Ted. I didn’t know if Ted would be a boy or a girl when making this so I was hoping it was androgynous enough for either. Let’s say it is.

The fabric is ‘Little Apples’ by Aneela Hoey for Moda, I bought a layer cake at a craft fair last year and gave the offcuts to my sister who got another whole quilt out of it so it was really good value.
I opted for a simple stacked coins quilt as the fabric had such beautiful prints I didn’t want to lose them in a more intricate design.

Little Apples

This is a fairly large quilt as I wanted it to be useful beyond the cot and act as a playmat later on. I know white isn’t that practical but it’s washable and it looks nice. I guess (with excellent hindsight) I could have gone for grey as the background colour instead which might have been a better choice for a small child.

Ted is an incredibly cute, happy and content baby, I imagine this is mostly due to having such a lovely quilt.

The end of the never-ending quilt

It looks bigger folded upAmazingly I started this quilt exactly three years ago today, can you believe it? Three years to make a bloody quilt (and not even a very big quilt)!

I have to say I lost interest in it, as you can tell from the fact I haven’t posted about it since 2009. I optimistically wrote back then ‘I think I’ll need at least 15 squares to make a decent size quilt’. I’ve scaled back my ambitions since then and settled for a 9 square lap quilt.

The perfect size...

To be honest, I started this without really thinking about the end design. I SHOULD have chosen two or three fabrics and broken them up with a plain colour, but in my impatience to get started I ploughed ahead regardless. I got to a point where I really hated it, the colours, the patterns, how busy it was, it disgusted me. At this point it went into a drawer and didn’t see the light of day for a good nine months.

I finally decided it had to be finished, even if I didn’t like it I could give it away. To reduce the pain I figured I should just complete it with the nine squares I had already, and be done with it.

For some bizarre reason I then took it upon myself to hand-quilt it as well, ‘in for a penny, in for a pound’ eh? But actually that was a really good call, I love how handmade it looks and the bigger stitches somehow make the design less busy, so up to that point every single stitch on the quilt was done by hand. Impressed? You should be!

I finished the edging on the machine last night and I must say that main emotion I feel is relief. Suffice to say I won’t be making a hand pieced quilt again. I do actually quite like it now, but, lets face it, it’s just going to end up as a glorified kitty bed, I hope they appreciate the effort.

New Year = more blogging (subtitled ‘Empty Promises’)

Okay so it’s WAY past new year and I’ve yet to post anything so I thought I would end the drought tonight REGARDLESS of what I actually wrote.

I’ve made loads of stuff over the past two months (lots of Christmas presents) but  have totally failed to photograph most of them, so lets forget them for now, they are dead to us until such a time as their new owners take and send me photos.

Let’s look to the future, and projects I have planned for this year:

Number 1: Roseling Cardigan

Roseling

This is amazing, I’ve bought the wool for this and will be starting it next week, it will be a challenge as it involves steeking (which I am freaking out about but doing anyway) but it’s so cute it will be worth it.

Number 2: Coraline Knitalong

Coraline

Lizzy and I are planning a knitalong to make Ysolda’s Coraline cardigan, I’m planning on following the mods by Lolita Blahnik (as pictured above). If anyone wants to join Lizzy and I just shout, the more of us there are the better the motivation!

Number 3: Little Cat Fianna

Fianna

I’m going to make these for my friends children, so cute!

Other projects include finishing 2 quilts, (yes, one of them is the never-ending quilt), the Ruffles quiet book and some cushions for our new lounge. Not to mention the baking I have planned.

So I should have no problem keeping the blog up to date right? HA!

Cross Stitch Jam Pot Covers

Pot cover

Just to be clear, I’m not a huge fan of cross stitch. That is to say, I don’t hate it, but it’s not a craft I have lots of time for myself. However, on this occasion I have made an exception.

On holiday in France recently I came across a quilting/knitting/general craft shop (much to Simon’s disappointment) and found these cute little jam pot covers in aida fabric.  Having just made a shit load of jam this seemed like the perfect accompanying craft to transform them into gifts.

Strawberry

I had some left over crewel wool from the Olde Towne crewel work project, which I used instead of embroidery thread and I found the pattern for free on this fab blog – instant gratification craft, you can’t often say that about cross stitich.

PS I still don’t like cross stitch

Posted in Sew

Custom House Olde Towne Crewel Work

Olde Towne - the finished article

I got this kit from the Purl Bee for my birthday, I was SUPER excited about it. I like the idea of embroidery but find it rather daunting, this was perfect for me as it was quite open stitching and I learnt loads of different stitches.

Top half

The kit comes with everything you need plus a whole stitch booklet (type-written) and really detailed hand-written instructions. This made it feel very cottagy and vintage.

Bottom half

Basically I couldn’t put it down, it was so much fun to do.

Brilliant tree and cobblestones

I need to get it framed and then it will take pride of place in my Haberdashery.

Amazing tree, shit man

For my next project I’d like to try these goldfinches, maybe for my grandmother, or there are some amazing jacobean samplers around, but what would I DO with them? Answers on a postcard…

Goldfinches Custom House Pattern

Posted in Sew

Miniature party garland (more bunting)

Bonjour, Amber here, guest-posting, as I have had 6 weeks off and have inevitably been crafting it up…

So, I have had my eye on this party garland recipe from The Purl Bee for ages as it looks amazing in their carefully styled photos and I loved the different shapes and sizes. Seeing as it looked pretty easy and I’m all about the instant gratification of such projects, I gave it a go one typical ‘summer’ afternoon.


Apologies for the poor and dingy photo, I’m afraid I have no garden or quaint natural setting as has Kimberly… However, it does look very sweet in my newly organised Haberdashery room and was super easy and quick to make, as claimed by The Purl Bee.

I used some ‘fat eighths’ of this beautiful V&A revival fabric that Kimberly bought me over a year ago for patchwork, but as mentioned earlier, I’m all about the instant gratification and I have discovered that slow paced crafts such as patchwork are therefore, not for me.

First I downloaded the templates for the different shapes and duly cut out a few of each from each piece of fabric. I was concerned that the shapes looked a bit titchy but did what I was told…
I then laid them out into some kind of ‘random’ order.

So, to the sewing! I was thrilled to find the required invisible thread in my local Morrisons! It was actually quite satisfying sewing it all together, if only because it takes hardly any time at all and the whole thing was finished in an afternoon!

Although it looks lovely, my main problem with the whole thing is that it is all so ABUSRDLY TINY! As if it’s been made for The Borrowers’ summer fete. The main reason I decided against employing my own initiative in the sizing was that the photos on The Purl Bee made it look much larger and I thought it would all be ok once it was put up somewhere. What a fool I was…


The fabric works perfectly for this project I think but I would need a lot more to make a proper length garland should I want to use it for some kind of celebration.

So, despite the templates for this being so stupidly miniature, I would definitely make more of this, but bigger, and maybe using some plain fabrics too to complement the beautiful patterns. The moral of this story is therefore, I know best.