Monday, December 16, 2013

Moo! Goes the Birthday Girl!

It’s been four years and my precociously fabulous daughter turned four last week…
And what does a precociously fabulous 4 year old request??
A Cow Cake of course.
A bit of sugarpaste, a bit of chopstick action to support ears and horns and done!
Tasty too, if I do say so myself!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Mini speedy commission...

November and December have been busy months with classes and commissions keeping my hands, machine and mind busy! 

We've made cushions, bench seats, a Princess Leia costume and a nativity chicken costume for Homespun Livings own daughter too! 

Most favourite mini-project for a good friend?

Felt+blanket stitch...

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Ikea gets its craft on

A recent trip to Ikea found me impressed by (and not a little bit expectant of) the range of crafty nods throughout the store…
The powers that be have noticed, it seems, that their various storage solutions are perfect for the home crafter – and have also increased their stock of specific craft supplies too…

Raskog kitchen storage repurposed for craft materials…

A budget sewing machine – not for the major stitcher but a fun tryer-outer for little people, perhaps – SY for £45

Mock craft room in a bureau – Hemnes storage combination

Tastrup rug with buttons on!
Decorative crochet patches applied to a plain cushion…

Me, I wasn’t alone, then in my quest for crafty bits and bobs, and came away with two lots of mini drawers to sort out my craft cess pit *ahem* room, and a little something to have a go at re-crafting soon, too….

Saturday, September 14, 2013

RSI of the Wrist

Realise stash increasing
Reduce stitch inventory
Reading Stories instead

No hooking/knitting/hand sewing around these parts for six weeks. 

Rather sorry individual. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Clover Mill Retreat

A short break with the wonderful Julie during her 'soft opening' this summer. 

Yoga with children is never ideal in such a setting (find me one child whose world is either 'tranquil' or 'elegant') but we somehow managed it due in large part to her patience and excellent cooking!! 

Maybe preschoolers do their own version of zen...

A beautiful stay at the indulgent retreat: 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Autumn Sewing Patterns

The human condition has a wonderful inevitability to it… Feel hot and crave the cold… enjoy summer but crave winter woolies… tire of woolies and crave floating maxi-dresses…

And so it is that I come in from a languishingly gorgeous day in the heat of the barbeque-fuzz, thinking up autumn’s sewing projects and the range of ideas for those gorgeous yards of crepes, tweeds and boucles stashed in my basement…


Vogue 1367 – not the most straightforward pattern method to create this kind of look, but a very elegant result, nonethless. If you’re a newbie stitcher, Simplicity 2147 would create a similar effect with much less head-scratching…


Vogue 8937 shouts ‘Toast’ elegance at me… and would be a great wardrobe staple, particularly if you like snoods and don’t want a pesky collar interfering…


Vogue 8921 might just convince me to foray into knits…


Butterick 5916: Not convinced by the peplum on this one, but the gathered shoulder detail is just stunning…

And for the significant others in your life (not that my crew will get a look-in, mind, but may as well appear to be fair on the internet, at least…)


Vogue 8940 is a rare glimpse of beautiful menswear from Vogue…

And for children there are, as ever, a few gems in the books…


McCalls 6783


McCalls 6781


Butterick 5912

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Dinner: Panzanella

Or ... The most expensive way to use up a loaf of bread if your fridge is empty and you don't have the right kind of vinegar in stock ...

Yummy though!! Summer bread salad

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Introduction to Quilting Course photos

P1100739 P1100740 P1100741 P1100742 P1100743 P1100744 P1100745

Lovely ladies, lovely quilts and four lovely weeks of patchworking, basting, quilting and binding to result in six completely different fabulous finished baby quilts!


Friday, June 21, 2013

Making the headlines…

Delighted to be able to share our latest coverage in July’s edition of Making Magazine which is in the shops now. Do go buy your own copy as it is full of beautiful makes and scrummy recipes, but in the meantime, have a gander at what you might come across if you were to flick to page 86…

July 2013 Making Magazine-page-0

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Quilty weddings…

Scrappy blocked pinwheel as the wedding present for a gorgeous couple who got hitched this weekend… one of my oldest friends and the lucky man who got her hook line and sinker…


I think the pieced back may be my favourite bit but it’s all just so pretty and I’m more than a little gutted to be without it in my house… Will have to get stitching to make one for our sofa…


The hen party took place in a cottage in Shropshire and included beautiful food, pretty flowers and wine-fuelled stitchery…


The stitching was far better received than I thought it may be, with many of the hens working into the sunset on their squares, with two further additions received in the post later that week…


The hens each embroidered one or more calico squares which I then stitched into a quilt, interspersing the squares with Kaffe Fasset cotton prints.



Workshop pictures courtesy of a lovely friend.

If you fancy holding your own embroidery/quilt-making party with Homespun Living, bespoke workshops and a follow-up fee for the quilt construction start at £50 per head for 90 minutes and a minimum of 5 friends, including materials. See the website for more details and to enquire further…

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Beginner Sewing Tutorial Roundups

There are so many beautiful and inspiring ideas for what to make once you’ve mastered the basics of sewing… A number of the students of my Learn to Love Your Sewing Machine class ask what to do next… here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing…


How about a simple drawstring bag? I spent a while thinking these were utterly useless beyond that annoying ‘first Home Ec project’ until I had Tils…. and her toys… So many little pieces… And so few come with their own long term storage solution… These are great for puzzles, games, goody bags, craft project bags or for wrapping awkward items… Made in a pretty lightweight cotton they also work as laundry bags for holidays or children’s rooms… As Cath Kidston can testify

P1090477Storage baskets are another simple and useful make that will make your life easier… and more pretty… and maybe more organised…

In the Learn to Love Your Sewing Machine class we make a simple pillow… There are a few ‘frills’ you can add to the basics that we taught to send it into the realm of utterly fabulous… Tooth fairy pillow? Buttons? Letters? Pretty trims… The options are endless and easily findable… Ultimately, there are lots of lovely ideas out there to explore. Pinterest, blogs, company websites like Good Housekeeping, Channel4 and Hobbycraft all offer a range of ideas and lessons.

Happy stitching and crafting!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Although I love it, it was really just too big, and so I’ve sadly decided to frog it. The sizing stipulates that, with the batwing, it ‘functions as a traditional bust size x’…. I didn’t, however, take into account that my bust is large in relation to my waist, and should have probably gone for a bust size smaller than usual… My fault entirely…
Luckily I’ve got a lovely mum who is willing to re-knit it and prevent the depressing horridness of going back to square one… I love oversized, but this image taken by a friend at a hen do this weekend guaranteed that it just had to go….
Hey ho.
Live & learn!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Busy crafts... Terrible photos

As per usual, I’ve been stitching away and neglecting the blog of late…

However, it’s been fun to get some good crafting hours under my belt/machine/needles, so I’m not too apologetic, really, I’m afraid!

Top left is a the most basic skirt I’ve ever made and I LOVE it! The fabric is a border-print of snowdrops that was found by Tilly’s Great Grandmother in her ‘leftover fabrics from curtains made in the 60s’ cupboard which I seamed into a rectangle, hemmed and then threaded elastic through. Tilly loves it and the subdued pallete goes with a lot of her more shall-we-say ‘vivacious’ tops…

Top right is the Fisherman’s Top from the May issue of Making magazine, designed by the lovely Suzanne Rowland. I got in touch with her to decide sizing as there was no indication in the magazine as to what measurements the S, M and L equated to… I chose the Large and I was concerned about positive ease etc, as it was supposedly Small 34″ bust, Medium 38″ and Large 42″but in the end, took an inch off each side seam (though not arm seam – as these were ungraded, they fit just fine off the pattern)… The fabric is a vibrant-yet-muddy green. Not my usual colour shade, but with a Liberty Tana Lawn trim, it goes with a load of brightly coloured jeans and I’ve already worn it three times. It works just perfectly with this in-betweeny-not-quite-summer weather we’ve been having…

Tilly is sporting a simple top-down raglan made from a bag of ball-ends of Rowan linen-silk yarn. It was a case of ball of cotton for the bodice, join under the arms and knit in the round until the yarn runs out. The Owlet on the right is for a bump-in-the-oven and I’m hoping to find (or make) a pastel-based tartan skirt to go with it now that I know the bump is to be of the pink variety.

Finally, some present-stashing. The left Old Shale Cowl is for Tilly’s preschool teacher out of some thrifted yarn I found for £1 and the right is a Camp Out fingerless mitts pattern made for an international swap… The fact that the person who was picked to swap with me lives twenty minutes away in the neighbouring town is rather amusing, but at least we get to meet next week for a coffee and a swap-in-person…

In other news, I’ve managed to complete Jumper Number 5 of my International Sweater a Month Dodecathalon – more details when I’ve had a chance to model a few pictures… And you never know, I may just get the decent camera out and do it properly for you….