Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Making Me Smile...

It's rather chilly here in Suffolk right now. We have had our first real glimpse of snow this afternoon and now there is a sprinkling on the rooftops and cars. Here are a few things that have been making me smile this week...

My little back garden looking white and snowy...

The first bunch of daffodils this year to decorate my kitchen and some hyacinth bulbs to look forward to.

Watching my little man playing by the sea at Felixstowe on Sunday and finding treasures to keep forever... That was his big long shadow as he looked through the binoculars out to sea.

Getting outdoors and taking the little people for a stroll over the bridge, by the lake and into the woods...

Finding collections of special things...

Keeping warm under my finished crochet poncho and enjoying hot chocolate and the scent of a new candle.

Hope you have a lovely week xx

Monday, 26 January 2015


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Friday, 23 January 2015

Trying New Things.

My poncho is nearly finished. I had a little disaster and ran out of wool but have ordered more to finish off the edging. It is quite a lucky thing really. I had been looking at the yarn I had left thinking about how I would finish it off and sadly realising that I wouldn't be able to have the big band of grey/blue, apparently called light grey green!! I also wouldn't be able to do a bobble edging of any sort. Now I have 2 more balls of yarn coming my way and will finish it off very soon. In the mean time here is a sneak preview....

It is as lovely, warm and blankety as it looks and I really do recommend making one. It has been such a quick project to do and very easy to make. Wearing it will be nice but I will miss making it.

And onto the next big project....Yes, this is a rather lovely pile of vintage linen and fabric bits and bobs crying out for some colour and creativity!

Firstly, perhaps now would be a good time to explain that I really do have a terrible addiction.
I LOOOOOOVE charity shops. Not just charity shops but all the things you find in charity shops; fabrics, buttons, yarn, zips, beads, interesting and unusual items, vintage and retro clothing, jewellery and furniture, bric-a-brac (I actually just love the term bric-a-brac), lovely preloved wooden toys, booooooooks, the list will go on and on and on. This is where I go to find wonderful treasures like these...

When I know I am going out and about I usually try really hard to work out how I can shoehorn in a trip to the nearest charity shop. I have my favourites too. The ones that I have to go to at least once a week especially as I know I have family and friends who also quite like a trip out to a charity shop and will tell me with glee what wonderful finds they have unearthed while I sit with green envy. I even have secret bestest charity shops. The really good ones that I only tell my most favourite people about for fear that word will get out and cause a stampede of vintage hungry shoppers. I have a sneaky suspicion that some of my friends and family also have secret bestest charity shops that they keep secret from me too.

My lovely fella does not have an addiction to charity shops. He is not amused when I arrive home with an armful of lovely shiny treasure to fill up our house. He does not get excited when I say shall we have a look at all the lovely things I have found today. No he does not. So on a recent shopping trip I was really rather surprised to find him burning pushchair tyre marks into the pavement as he whizzed around charity shop after charity shop filling his arms with lovely finds. I could barely keep up with him. Interesting! Clearly very contagious.

So, back to trying new things! A very long time ago I bought a set of dyes called Procion MX dyes from Art Van Go. I had never used these dyes before and after reading the instructions I wasn't quite so keen. There was lots of suggestion that it is quite a lengthy, timely process and required lots of other things like Urea? Soda Ash? Scouring the fabric to remove the sizing? They have sat in a box waiting to be used until now!!!

I have been doing a bit of research on Youtube and have found some lovely tutorials. Apparently there are lots of ways to use this type of dye and not all of them require hours of your time. I am all for instant results. I am going to give cram jar dyeing a go. The idea is that you mix up a 2 or 3 colours of dye in small amounts and work the dye and fabric in layers of both by cramming them into a jam jar. Leave them for half an hour or so or even over night if you can wait that long. The results should be a mottled effect where the colours have mixed into one another. Ooooh the ideas!!!

The method I used was a little experimental as it was my first time. Procion MX dyes only work on natural fibres. I washed the fabrics in the washing machine, normal 30o wash, with soda crystals bought from Tesco. I'm not entirely sure this is the best way to clean the fabrics to remove the sizing but it's worth at try. Then put the fabric bits and bobs in water to keep them soaking.

I prepared six jam jars with lids. Three with a mixture of: 1 table spoon of soda ash, 1 tea spoon of urea, 1/2 tea spoon of Procion MX dye powder. I mixed in 100ml of hot water (not boiling) to dissolve the mixture, adding it a bit at a time. I used an old paint brush to mix it with. Gloves and a decorators breathing mask is apparently a good idea as the dye powder is quite toxic.

Soda ash works as a dye fix..

Urea helps the dye work into the fabric..

I used the dye colours turquoise, lemon and magenta.

Ta dah.....

I put the lids on the jars, left them all night and just opened them this morning. So exciting!!!  Like unwrapping a wonderful surprise present. Oh the glee as I opened a jar spilling out wonderfully coloured bits of fabric. The colours changing and patterns emerging. Some lovely mottled patterns. Every piece of fabric has taken the dye differently. The colours have mixed together beautifully giving some really exciting patterns... I wasn't entirely sure whether all my fabrics were 100% natural fibre and you can see the fabrics that might have some man-made fibres in them but even these have taken the dye to a degree.  Now I really can't wait to get stitching into these. Soooooo many ideas...

I used all the colours in this jar.

I used lemon and turquoise in this jar.

And I used magenta and turquoise in this jar.

Here is a link to the Youtube video I followed for cram jar dyeing: Zart Art - Procion Dye cram jar dyeing technique

Thank you for coming by and hope you enjoyed your visit.

Sarah :) xxxxxxxxxx 

Sunday, 18 January 2015

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Not only do I have a shiny new blog but I also have a new Facebook page so you can follow me and receive all the info on my latest blog posts. Please take a look and like my page. Xxx

Saturday, 17 January 2015

New Year Hopes and Dreams 2015

Welcome to my new blog. I have to say I am very excited. At the start of every new year I always have high hopes for the months ahead and try to make plans that often involve loosing Christmas pounds, new crafty makes in my to do pile and plans for my home. Too often in the past we have one big plan for the year and the little things go by the wayside. Well this year I really feel like it might happen. I have wanted for so long to write a blog and share my ideas and crafts and for a change we have no big plans for the near future. We have not long moved into our new home and it is calling for so much colour and life to be added. I have also inherited a small summer house in our little back garden which I plan to turn into a studio space for just me. Can not wait to tell you more about that soon. We have high hopes this year for our allotment too and are already planning new things to grow and recipes to make. So my to do list is all fresh and raring to go.

My main aim this year is to stick with it and keep going. Snatch minutes and moments to create and hopefully finish some of my smaller projects. Already this year I have nearly finished my latest project, a crochet poncho with a cowl neck, very much inspired by Lucy from Attic24. I pinched her choice of colours in Drops Nepal yarn and using a pattern from Simply Crochet. I have mixed the colours up to make my own design and I am really please with the result so far.
You might notice a small person in my photo, that's my little man. I am a wife and a mum of 2 little people. My little lady is 1 and she is toddling about and quickly becoming little miss independence. My little man is nearly 4 and he is already a busy bee with lots of hopes and dreams of his own. So with so much newness around and perhaps the hope of a bit more me time this year it seems like now is a great time to start blogging and creating.
I hope you like my crochet pics... small snippets of my nearly finished poncho. I have to say this yarn is wonderfully easy to work with. It is a wool and alpaca blend. It's quite chunky and requires a 5mm hook. I have been using a 6mm hook and am working it very quickly and already thinking of ideas for the scraps and possibly a new blanket project in the future.
I love the colours as well, lovely warm tones mixed with cool blues and earthy green and pistachio. I have been exploring lots of combinations and have tried to create some order to my design. I have opted for the light blue grey for the cowl neck ribbing, the same colour as Lucy from Attic24 used for her poncho. I so nearly went for a pistachio but chickened out at the last minute. For my stripe pattern I have used the light blue grey a few times to bring the stripes together making the rainbow design feel slightly less random and I am planning to crochet a big border in the same colour with some lovely edging.
Its not even finished and its already a favourite with the little people. It has been dragged about, snuggled in and experimented with to see how much you can hide under it or how many heads can fit through the hole. I think a blanket would be very popular.