......a needle pulling thread"...

...and other creative stuff...

Good with my hands

I've always been quite creative. I love to make things, all sorts of things. I particularly love needlecrafts, and sewing is one of my biggest passions. I'm lucky enough to sew for a living! I work for Bridal Collective (formerly Enzoani), where my main role is to customise and alter wedding gowns. I love my job.

I also love to make things for my home. I do lots of crochet and knitting, some cross stitch, and a little patchwork. I really want to fill my home with lovely hand-made items.

As a teenager I made all my own clothes. I loved that I could make unique garments, which fitted me properly. I made my own wedding dress in 1990, and I used to make lots of lovely things for my daughter Lydia when she was a little girl. As the years have gone by I've done less and less sewing for myself, and I'd like to change that, and get back into the personal dressmaking.

Hook it up

I am a happy hooker,
I love to play around,
With hooky things and stringy stuff,
And patterns that I've found!

One of my favourite yarn crafts is crochet. I love that it builds quickly, so there is a sense of achievement soon after starting a project.

I'm currently working on a few different crochet projects.

Current projects

The project in the main picture at the top of this page is a Janie Crow (Jane Crowfoot) blanket, called "Bohemian Blooms". I bought the pattern book at Wonderwool Wales around three years ago. My friend Angela, who I know from the group I belong to....which I affectionately call the Knifty, Knatty, Knorty, Knotty, Knattering, Knutty Knitwits....bought the same book at the same time, and we decided to do it as a CAL (crochet-along). We also roped in Linda, another fellow group member. Unfortunately, because of Covid (mainly) our CAL is kind of on hold, so that project can stay in my WIP bag for a while, until we can get together again.

I love Janie Crow designs. I love that she uses pretty, feminine, pastel colours, and lots of flowers in her designs. She also makes use of texture and added embellishments, such as beads. Her projects are challenging and interesting.

I'm looking forward to picking this particular project up again, although it might be a while. In the meantime, I do have lots of other projects - not just crochet, but sewing, knitting, and cross-stitch - to be getting on with.

"...I'll get the blanket"...

"...from the bedroom"...and the lounge, the craft room, the bathroom...

I love blankets! I've made lots of them, and I'll probably make lots more! I think that my blankets deserve a page all of their own, so I've given them one!

Please click here if you would like to visit my blanket page.

My 365 Days Of Creativity 2021

During 2021 I want to be more creative, and I've been posting a daily update on this page, of what I've been doing. It's partly to share the creative love with others, but also to keep myself motivated - to get through my (large) bag of WIPs (Works In Progress) and be more productive.

This has started well! During January, I finished off five WIPs - four cushions and a scarf, decorated a plain lamp shade for the lounge, made my first ever coffee & walnut cake - the first thing I made with my new (vintage) Braun Multipractic, and made headway on quite a few other projects.

February continued in a crafty manner! I've only actually finished one project - the peach knitted gilet which I was working on - but I have made headway on my cwtchy blanket, yellow throw, three-coloured jumper, and rainbow cushion covers, and on painting and varnishing the cupboard, shelf & spice rack for my kitchen. I've also made creative updates to this website, and on February 14th made my first ever successful batch of yummy biscuits!

March was equally crafty with two projects finished - a lacy throw for my kitchen and a Neapolitan jumper, and lots of updates to my website, some crochet, knitting, and cross-stitch and of course lots of wedding gown creativity in my job.

In April I finished quite a few cushion WIPs, and two cross stitched cushion panels, as well as the usual updates to my website and my continuing wedding gown creativity at work.

To avoid clutter on this page, I'm only showing the current month's posts. For previous months, you can click on the links below, and I'll update them at the end of each month.

I hope you enjoy following my creative progress through 2021, and thank you for looking and reading!

January

February

March

April

If you want to look at the May posts from the first one on May 1st, then please click here.

Day 282 - Saturday 9th October 2021

This morning I went for an art lesson and painted some poppies!

Bob's friend (and my friend too) Julia Harris is an artist and is putting on some classes local to us, so I thought I would take the plunge and see if there is an artist inside of me.

I'm mindful of, and thankful for the creative talents I have, but I really would love to be able to draw and paint. My ultimate aim really is to be able to paint fairies and flowers, so I that I can illustrate my writing. The artist gene seems to be right through my family, so I'm hoping it hasn't missed me out.

The medium was water colours, which I'm told are quite difficult to work with. Poppies are one of my favourite flowers, so this was a lovely place to start

I felt like I'd got off to a not-so-good start, but it was entirely my fault, as I wasn't listening properly to what Julia was telling us.

After that I felt that I did improve and made some progress.

I'm reasonably happy with my morning's work, but there is definitely lots of room for improvement. At least though, I don't feel as if I'm totally rubbish, so there's hope!

I learnt some fab techniques, which I will build on, hopefully with some practise this coming week, and I am really looking forward to the next session next Saturday, when apparently we'll be painting a hare!

Day 274 - Friday 1st October 2021

I've finished the back of my chunky cardigan and have made a good start on the left front.

As usual, Joe Cat wanted to be in on the action when I was photographing it......rest assured that I did manage to move him, before those claws actually went into my knitting! Haha, he does love 'playing piano' on knitwear!

Day 265 - Wednesday 22nd September 2021

I picked up this sewing pattern for a sweet little girl's dress today in a charity shop. It's brand new, and cost pennies.

I bought it for a little project I have in mind, which may or may not materialise. I have lots of project ideas running around in my head at the moment, and I'm not sure at this point what direction my creativity will go in, but it's nice to be prepared for every possible eventuality!

Day 264 - Tuesday 21st September 2021

More work on the wedding dress with the sparkly layer today.

After cutting out the sparkle fabric layer yesterday, I stitched it all together today......

......and then inserted it into the main dress, joining it at the waist to the bodice.

It's Day Off for me tomorrow, so on Thursday I'll be putting the rest of the dress together, and I hope to have it finished for the end of the week.

Day 263 - Monday 20th September 2021

Today I started working on a new wedding gown - putting a layer of sparkly fabric in.

There's not a lot to see at the moment. I've taken the skirt off at the waist, and used one layer as a pattern to cut out the new sparkly layer. Then I'll be making that up and putting it all back together.

For today though, I just wanted to share the sparkle love!

Day 262 - Sunday 19th September 2021

Up at Craig-y-Nos Country Park today, I collected together some lovely leaves, which I want to use for a craft project idea I have.

The project involves printing with leaves, and so I spent a bit of time in the autumn sunshine, having a little play around with some watercolour paints in pretty pastel colours.

It was good fun, and gave me some food for thought.

Day 255 - Sunday 12th September 2021

Some cross-stitching in the sunshine up at Craig-y-Nos Country Park today, working on my pretty towel borders.

Almost all of the lightest green is done now on these first four sections.

Day 250 - Tuesday 7th September 2021

I'm now half-way up the back of my lovely chunky cardigan. I love this yarn more every time I use it!

Day 248 - Sunday 5th September 2021

Craig-y-Nos Country Park is a lovely place for crafting in the sunshine, and today I worked on my pretty cross-stitched towel borders, stitching some of the palest green.

Day 241 - Sunday 29th August 2021

Today was the first of two days that I'm up at Craig-y-Nos Country Park. Always a fab location to stitch in the fresh air, and today I stitched some of my cross-stitched towel borders. Progress is slow but sure on this lovely project!

Day 234 - Sunday 22nd August 2021

Some work on my cross-stitched towel borders up at Craig-y-Nos Country Park today.

Day 230 - Wednesday 18th August 2021

Today I finished my crocheted cwtchy blanket! Yaaay!

It was Day Off and I was up at Craig-y-Nos Country Park with my Lovely Man, who was working up there today, and I had lots of opportunity to sit and crochet. So I did!

I had previously decided to do as many interlocking scallop rounds as I had yarn for. As it happened, although I had plenty of green left, I only had enough of the red to do two, and as it was the red I wanted to finish on and not the green, that means that there are three scallop rounds on the edge. That's fine, I'm happy with that.

I then had a few random yarn ends to weave and stitch in, just to finish it off completely.

In the afternoon at Craig-y-Nos, the sun came out so I had the chance to take some photographs of it.

I didn't make a wonderful job of photographing the whole blanket out flat, but you get the idea.

It certainly is very large - perfect for us to cwtch under when watching T.V., which of course is what it's for!

I decided to fold it in quarters and photograph it that way, and that was when Ollie Dog got involved and decided that he really wanted to sit on it in the sun!

Well, how could I refuse, since he looked so handsome and so comfortable on it!

When Ollie had had enough, I did manage to do some of the obligatory 'creative' draped and rolled pictures!

Since I've been working on it for about three years, and it's had a variety of cats and a dog sitting on it, as well as being on the floor quite a bit for photographing, it now needs a jolly good wash! I'll pop it in the machine sometime soon, and then drape it somewhere whilst it's damp, so that it can use its own weight to block itself and save me a job!

Once it is washed and dried, I'll photograph it again on the sofa where it's going to live.

Day 220 - Sunday 8th August 2021

Some cross stitch in the sun up at Craig-y-Nos Country Park today, working on my pretty towel borders.

Day 213 - Sunday 1st August 2021

Sitting up at Craig-y-Nos Country Park in the sunshine today, I re-started the blue WIP shawl. I got to the same point I did when I first crocheted it, and I'm much happier with how it looks this time. It is so fine and pretty.

Day 210 - Thursday 29th July 2021

This is sort of a WIP......it's a shawl I started a few years ago and didn't get very far with. I then put it to one side, and when I got it out again, I wasn't happy with the tension. The yarn is incredibly fine and it needed a much finer hook than the one I had used.

I came across it recently and decided to give it another go, so I'm hoping to start it later today or tomorrow. The yarn has been hanging around a bit and has got a bit dusty and marked, but I'm pretty sure it's superficial and once I've made the shawl, I'll be able to wash it and it should come up ok. I'm happy to take the chance anyway.

I actually want the shawl to drape over a chair in my kitchen, in the same way I will use the yellow lacy knitted one I finished a few months ago. Yes, frivolous I know, but why not?

Day 209 - Wednesday 28th July 2021

I continued with some of my knitted chunky cardigan today. I've knitted up some of the back. It knits up quite quickly, so this shouldn't take me too long, and hopefully I'll have it ready for the autumn/winter so I can wear it.

Day 208 - Tuesday 27th July 2021

I was awake early this morning, feeling anxious about the biopsy later, so I took my mind off things with a bit of cross-stitch, and stitched some of my pretty towel borders.

Day 207 - Monday 26th July 2021

This afternoon and evening I've been in a private room on a ward in the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham.

Tomorrow I will have an MRI scan and a biopsy on a lump which is at the base of my spine.

This evening there was nothing for it but to read, watch T.V. and of course, crochet! I've brought along this small project. It's a corner to corner crochet and is something I started a while ago and got quite a few rows into, and then put it away and forgot how to do it when I went back to it!

So I frogged it and started to do a basic granny square, intending it to be a large one. However, I didn't like the way the colours were working out, so I frogged that too!

A little while ago, a lovely friend sent me the YouTube link for the corner to corner, and so I've started it again!

Day 206 - Sunday 25th July 2021

Today I was priming the rest of the naked bits of the shelves for the kitchen. Next step will be undercoating, but it will probably be a little while before that gets done. Off up to Birmingham tomorrow for my appointments at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital.

Day 204 - Friday 23rd July 2021

Whilst isolating today (prior to hospital appointments in Birmingham on Monday and Tuesday) I decided to do a bit of DIY/upcycling.

This is quite a tall shelf unit which Bob gave to me a while ago. I want to use it on one of my kitchen walls, for storing all my pastas, pulses, baking ingredients, and that sort of thing in glass jars with pretty labels.

However, as it is, it's too tall for the wall space. So, I want to use the top part as a separate shelf unit for a small space in another part of my kitchen (for tea and coffee containers, etc).

My Lovely Man sawed the top part off for me, and I spent late afternoon out in the garden in the sunshine, sanding down and priming the naked bits of the shelves. Both shelves will be painted yellow, distressed and varnished in the same style as the cupboard and shelves I finished for the kitchen a few weeks ago, so the next stage will be prime the rest of the naked bits.

Day 202 - Wednesday 21st July 2021

Today I started knitting the lovely chunky cardigan, using the yarn which my Gowjus Girl gave me.

With my Dad's lovely hand-made needles, I cast on and knitted the rib for the back, so now I'm ready to change needle sizes and knit up the back.

The yarn is lovely to work with and I love how it's looking so far. If you want to know about the yarn and pattern I'm using, you can scroll back to my creative post on Sunday 18th July, and all the information is there.

Day 199 - Sunday 18th July 2021

I've been looking through my knitting patterns for a pattern to use with the lovely yarn which Lydia gave me. I have shelves in my craft room with loads of knitting patterns - in leaflets, books and magazines, but couldn't find one which would be suitable.

So I had a look online. The yarn is King Cole 'Stormy' in a 'super chunky' weight. I want to make an over-sized cardigan, to layer up with in the autumn/winter. I very rarely wear a coat, preferring to use lots of layers, including knitwear, and I want a super chunky cardigan to use as my top layer, and in a colour other than black! This yarn is perfect for that.

I couldn't find a pattern which I like for that particular yarn, so I had a look at similar weight yarns, and found a lovely one which uses 'Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick' yarn. It's pattern number L90157 and is available as a free download.

So, I hope to cast on later and get started on it. I'll be using needles in a size smaller than the recommended ones. This is because I know that my tension is loose, so I want it to be a bit tighter, so that the knitting is more 'together' and there should be no problem with shrinking when I wash it.

The larger needles in the picture are ones which my father made for me many years ago. He used doweling and turned the two little button-shaped knobs for the ends. They're not actually a perfectly true size to commercial knitting needles, but they're good enough, especially since they always remind me of my lovely Dad when I use them!

Day 198 - Saturday 17th July 2021

Some creativity in the garden today.

Last year I planted up an old, rustic looking wheelbarrow with some strawberry plants I had been gifted.

The plants themselves are absolutely thriving, and I am so pleased with them, although they're not yielding any fruit as yet.

However, I've been told that it's not unusual for the first year for them not to produce any fruit, so I am hopeful for next year.

They've been sending out lots of runners and today I wanted to tidy up the area and thin out the runners, and also add some other bits and pieces to make the whole thing a bit more attractive. So I cut back all the runners that were trailing down the back of the barrow, and left most of the ones at the front. Lots of them have already embedded into the earth, so I now have a wheelbarrow strawberry patch, and a ground level strawberry patch! I did pot up lots of the loose rooted plants on the runners, but forgot to take a photograph of those.

When I made up the barrow last year, I also planted an ivy at the base of the wheel and it has grown so much.

So today I put parts of it in place to try and train it to grow up and around the actual wheel. Hopefully it will also continue to spread across the ground, to fill in the gap where I've temporarily put some potted plants.

There are two places at the base of the barrow where I have a breeze block put into place, in order to stop the barrow from toppling over - this is because I have it at a bit of a jaunty angle against the tree, which is how I want it, for aesthetics, but it makes it top-heavy, so I've used the breeze blocks.

However, I don't really want them on show, so I'm going to try and grow plants around them. For now I've put a lovely Heuchera in place near one of them. I've kept it in a pot for now, to see if it likes it there, before I plant it properly.

The other breeze block is behind where I've put this potted-up black currant bush. I was given two of these bushes last year, believing them to be gooseberry bushes....well, that is what the guy told me! I got very excited when I saw 'gooseberries' growing on them, and then very confused when they turned black! I then realised they must be black currants and excitedly sampled three of them (yummy), taking a couple into the house to offer Bob a sample. He then refused, saying they looked exactly like Deadly Nightshade!! I then spent a frantic ten minutes googling the visual differences between the Deadly Nightshade bush and a blackcurrant bush. I'm still alive and kicking, so I think we can safely assume that they are indeed black currants. Haha.

Anyway, this bush has been at the side of the house in a sunny spot and it's not looking very happy. The other one has been in a shady spot at the back of the house, and is thriving. So I thought I'd pop this one in the shade near the wheelbarrow and to hide the other breeze block, and see how it gets on. I can always move it again if it's not happy there.

To fill up a couple of small gaps I've put a lovely pink geranium and an Alchemilla Mollis (Irish Silk) - again, in pots so that they can be relocated if they're not happy.

These ferns were really puny when I acquired them this time last year. They had about three fronds each, then appeared to die back during the winter and I thought they were gonners.

However, they've absolutely bounced back and are at least four times the size and with four times the amount of fronds on each. They've been under the tree all this time and I think that clearly demonstrates that they love it there!

I want to split them now, to get double the amount of plants and hopefully they'll grow as well again. However, I need to read up on how to do it properly and at what time of the year, so for now they can stay here, where they look lovely.

All in all, I'm very happy with how this little area of my garden is looking. There is still so much to do out there, and I have bits and pieces done here and there, so up until now it has all looked a bit 'bitty'.

Now though, when I look out of the window of the lounge, and see how pretty this area looks, it seems like it's starting to look like a proper garden!

Day 192 - Sunday 11th July 2021

Up at Craig-y-Nos Country Park today I was able to do some crochet in the sun, working on my cwtchy blanket. Previously I hadn't been able to decide whether to do the rows of scallops with each scallop directly on top of the one in the previous round, or with the scallops in between each other on each round.

After asking the opinions of two friends, and my Lovely Man (who will be sharing the cwtchy blanket with me!) it was unanimous - scallops in between each other. So today I got two full rounds done and started on the third. I'll probably do four or six rounds in total, depending on how far the yarn stretches! I'm really happy with how it's looking.

Day 189 - Thursday 8th July 2021

Just when you think you've dealt with all the cushion WIPs, you find one you forgot about!

This is a filet crochet panel I made lots of years ago. It's intended for a cushion, but at this stage I'm not sure what sort of a cushion I will make with it. The star pattern puts me in mind of Christmas, so I will likely make a specifically Christmas-themed cushion with it, but I'll ponder on it for a while.

Day 188 - Wednesday 7th July 2021

We popped over to Penarth today. Bob had some work to do over there, and Ollie & me went along for the ride, and for the three of us to spend some quality time together after the work was done.

Up in the town, in one of my favourite shops, I spied this lovely set of comfort grip crochet hooks, which are great for arthritic fingers, so I bought them. I'm looking forward to hooking lots of lovely things on them!

Day 185 - Sunday 4th July 2021

A bit on my cwtchy blanket today. I've started the scallops around the edge properly now, and today completed the first round of red scallops.

Day 184 - Saturday 3rd July 2021

I'm going to put a lace frill around the edge of the whole cushion cover, with these two pretty laces.

As one is wider than the other, they will look really nice layered up.

First of all I sectioned off the laces into four parts, making each part twice as long as the section it is going to go along, so that there will be a nice amount of gathering.

I was away from my sewing machine today, so I gathered each section up by hand. It was very therapeutic!

Then I pinned each section of gathered lace into place along the edges of the cushion cover.

After that I ran out of time! Next time I can squeeze in a bit of sewing, I will machine-stitch the lace into place, evening out the gathers as I go along.

Day 183 - Friday 2nd July 2021

Today I've been putting a zip into the tulip cross-stitched cushion.

I love my vintage sewing machine, but unfortunately there is no zip foot in with the accessories. I've put a concealed zip in, and it is possible to do it without a zip foot - it's just a bit fiddly.

I started by pinning the zip into place along one side. Then I ran a row of machine stitching along the outer edge, just to stabilise the zip whilst I turned back the teeth part and got in close to stitch it into place.

I then repeated the process with the other side of the zip, taking care to match it up so that it will be in line with itself when done, and therefore will open and close smoothly.

I've put hundreds of zips in over the years, and one thing I've learned with a concealed zip, is to leave about an inch - at the closed end of it - free from any stitching. This is because it's practically impossible to get right into near where the tab joins the teeth and have a neat finish. If you leave an inch unstitched, the finished article is so much neater, and it's far less frustrating to do!

So my pretty cushion cover now has a neatly-inserted, smooth-running zip. I won't show the finished cover at this point, because it needs to have a cushion pad to show it off properly! That is for another day.

Day 182 - Thursday 1st July 2021

Today's post is a crafts-in-the-planning kind of post.

I really like this small basket I found at a boot sale when I was down in Kent. I've put it with the heart-shaped basket I recently bought, and will probably paint it in duck egg so that they go nicely together, and then use it in the back bedroom for plants or something.

Day 181 - Wednesday 30th June 2021

When I was leaving 'L2' yesterday, my Gowjus Girl gave me this lovely basket of yarn. She bought it to make something but is just too busy and thought I may like it. I absolutely love it, it's beautiful yarn, and I shall find something yummy to make with it for the winter.

Day 180 - Tuesday 29th June 2021

I absolutely love this sea shell fabric I found in a shop in Folkestone. I'm intending to use it for appliqué for cushions. Watch this space!

Day 179 - Monday 28th June 2021

Today I got some of my cross-stitched towel borders done. I did quite a bit on the green leaves, adding in a new colour.

Day 178 - Sunday 27th June 2021

Today's post is again about creative inspiration.

Craft market stalls always make me feel inspired to create stuff myself.

As I'm still in Folkestone, visiting 'L2', we went down to the harbour again today to visit the craft market, which operates on a Sunday.

The market is set up along the platforms of the old Folkestone railway station. It has a good mix of hand-made crafts, including clothing, jewellery, wooden items, candles, sweets & treats, and paintings & drawings.

There was a lovely vibrant, friendly atmosphere and I came away from there with all my senses heightened and lots of ideas buzzing around in my head. A lovely visit!

If you find yourself in the Folkestone area on a Sunday (from April through to October)I would highly recommend a visit to the Sunday market. Please click here if you would like to find out more via their website. (Opens in a new window).

Day 177 - Saturday 26th June 2021

No practical creativity today, but plenty of creative inspiration.

Lydia, Lewis and I went down to Folkestone Harbour Arm, via the Folkestone Creative Corner, where there is so much to see.

There are lots of independent businesses there selling all sorts of delights, including jewellery, artwork, sculpture, artisan foods, fabrics & yarns, and clothing.

I always feel inspired any time I visit vibrant, eclectic areas like this. My head is buzzing with all sorts of ideas.

If you find yourself in the Folkestone area I would highly recommend a visit to their Creative Corner. Please click here if you would like to find out more via their website. (Opens in a new window).

Day 176 - Friday 25th June 2021

During a very chilled-out day down in Kent with my Gowjus Girl and her handsome man, I worked on my cross stitched towel borders.

I stitched more of the trailing leaves, and some of the lighter pink on the periwinkle flowers.

I love how this is taking shape.

Day 175 - Thursday 24th June 2021

Some creativity tools/materials loveliness today!

Bob spotted some lovely stitching bargains on Marketplace which he thought I would like, and they arrived recently in the post.

A lovely old tin, filled with lots of embroidery threads, an old needlework case filled with tools, and a couple of other bits and pieces.

The tin itself is lovely - a crinoline style lady, and I love the blue and yellow colours, which would actually look lovely in my kitchen!

There is a large quantity of skeins of embroidery floss, mainly in the Anchor brand, which is my favourite brand to stitch with. I'll have to get lots of cross stitching and embroidery done to use them all!

The sewing case is clearly old and loved. The back spine is unfortunately broken, but I'm sure with some care and patience it can be restored so that it functions properly.

The case is filled with some lovely old needle craft tools......

......some of them I know what they're for and how to use them, but others I don't, so I'll have fun finding out.

There are some lovely old sewing needles - 'sharps' - still in their packets......

......and I love this needle threader in a smart case - far superior to the ones you can buy now!

There are a few different crochet hooks, including this very fine one (for filet crochet, or for crocheting fine lace) in its own case to protect the delicate hook.

There is also a reel of Sylko thread, on a wooden reel. I love these old reels and threads, they bring back such lovely childhood memories for me.

Finally, there is a chart for an embroidered tablecloth with flowers on.

I haven't had much experience of free-hand embroidery, and I'd love to do more, so I may start that journey by making this tablecloth.

In any event, this lovely little parcel of goodies has left me feeling nostalgic and inpsired!

Day 174 - Wednesday 23rd June 2021

Back to my pretty tulip cushion today, and my mission was to cut and attach the back to the front, and leave room to insert a zip along the top.

I started by cutting the back fabric to size, and then I pinned and stitched the front to the back along three of the edges - the bottom and the sides.

I'll be putting a concealed zip in along the top, so the next thing was to prepare the top seam for the zip.

For this, I lined up the centre of the seam with the centre of the zip, then measured an equal amount in from each edge, along the top seam, putting a pin each end to mark. Then I stitched along to the pin on both ends. Next I turned the whole cover through to the right side, just to check that I hadn't caught any of the edges of the lace in the seams. However carefully you stitch, it's such an easy thing to do so it's always best to check before trimming the seams.

The other thing which I did was to open and close the zip a few times, just to check that it is running smoothly.

I turned the cover back to the wrong side, clipped the corners, trimmed all the seams, and then turned it back out to press.

It's now ready for the zip to be put in, which I'll do another day.

Day 173 - Tuesday 22nd June 2021

Back to the garden ladder project.

One lovely clematis planted next to the ladder.

Obviously I disturbed ground where I'd planted the wild flower seeds when I dug the hole, so I scattered a few more.

We haven't had proper rain for a few days, and the garden is very dry. No rain is actually forecast, but it does feel like rain is in the air, so I'll give it until this evening and if no rain, out I shall go with my watering can and quench the garden's thirst!

Day 172 - Monday 21st June 2021

Back to my pretty tulip cushion.

I had this lovely lace which I wanted to gather all around the edge of the cushion cover.

I don't have a gathering foot for my Pearl my sewing machine, so I needed to do it the 'old-fashioned' way!

I had two different types of lace - one wide, and one narrower - and so the first thing to do was to stitch them together so that they could both be gathered at the same time.

After stitching them together, I gave them a press and then sectioned them off using pins, into four equal sections. This is because the cushion cover is square, so each side is of equal length, and because it is easier to gather in sections than it is to do one long piece.

I then ran two rows of machined gathering stitches (a straight stitch, set on the longest stitch length the machine will do) along each section, and then pulled them up into a gather by hand, until each section was the required length to fit along the sides of the cover.

Please note that I used a slightly contrasting coloured thread to do the gathering, just to make it easier to see. This stitching will eventually be hidden in the seams of the cover so it's ok to do that.

Next I needed to attach the lace to the cover, so I ran a row of stitching all around, 1.5 cm from the edge, to act as a marker for stitching the lace on to. I again used a slight contrast coloured thread to do this.

Then I pinned and stitched the gathered lace in place, evening out the gathers as I went along so that it gives a nice neat frill.

It does need a press, but I'll wait until I've attached the back of the cover and trimmed back all the seams and corners before doing this - my next job!

Day 171 - Sunday 20th June 2021

A bit more on my ladder project in the garden.

I bought a clematis a couple of weeks ago, and had a spot in mind to put it. However, I think that spot is no longer viable, and I've been wondering where else I could put it......

......so I've decided that trailing up the side of the ladder would be pretty good.

So for now I've put it in place in it's pot, and I'll see how it gets on there over the next few days.

If it seems to like that spot, then that's where I'll plant it.

Day 170 - Saturday 19th June 2021

A bit more on my pretty tulip cushion.

Today I've been hand stitching some pretty braid along the centre of the pink ribbon frame......

......folding over at the corners to make a neat finish.

I'm really happy with how this is looking. The braid picks up the colours in the tulip image, and there is a slight sparkle to it, giving it a subtle touch of fairy glitter!

Tomorrow I will sort out some lace to make a frill around the edge of the whole cover, before cutting out and joining on the back.

Day 169 - Friday 18th June 2021

Following on from yesterday's garden creativity, this evening after work I did as much as I'm able to on the area for the time being.

I gave the ground another quick rake, and then I sprinkled around the wild flower seeds.

Next I sifted a thin layer of soil on top to cover them, rather than rake them in. This is because since the area is at the base of a tree, there's not much scope for going too far in the ground because of the tree roots.

Then I gave the area a bit of a water....although judging from the atmosphere at the moment I think rain is on its way, so I didn't soak it.

Finally I popped the ladder back into place how I want it against the tree. Now it's down to Mother Nature to do her bit, and hopefully the flowers will grow around the ladder! It'll be fun waiting to see anyway, and I have plenty of other stuff to be getting on with in the garden, so that should keep me occupied and stop me obsessing over whether the seeds are sprouting or not! Haha.

Day 168 - Thursday 17th June 2021

Some garden creativity today.

After getting so much done in the garden yesterday, I really wanted to continue the momentum after work today. To be honest, I felt exhausted but was determined to get out there for an hour or so, and I did manage it.

This picture collage is a sample of something I've been looking at on Pinterest and which has inspired me to do something similar in my own garden. People have used old stepladders to display potted plants on.

I really like the idea....however, I don't want mine to be as neat and organised as the ones I've seen. In keeping with how I want my garden to look overall, I want something a little bit more wild and natural looking - as if someone had used a ladder, and then left it there, and it had been kind of taken over by the flowers and plants!

This ladder, until yesterday, was leaning against next door's shed, with a view to taking it down the tip, because I didn't feel it was the right sort of size to do the ladder with plants thing with! Then Bob made a comment about an area of the garden under one of the trees, which was growing wild. He suggested I leave that area wild and put some sort of 'prop' there to make a feature.

It was then that I made the connection with the ladder and thought it would be perfect propped against that tree, with wildness growing all around it! So I moved it across and it's the perfect height, as the top of it meets where the tree divides, so it could tell the story of someone using it to go up into the tree and for some reason after that it was 'abandoned'. Perfect!

Anyway, this picture shows the area around the tree just as it was today before I set to work to make the inspiration a reality.

I've decided to strip the area back to basics, and then put down some wild flower seeds and see what they do.

Together with the flower seeds, I'll put some grass seed down, and I also want to try and train a plant or three up the sides of the ladder. I'll definitely try and use some ivy for this, and maybe a climbing rose or similar.

So today I pulled up all the weeds, and got rid of most of the stones and things from the soil, then raked it over roughly.

I can't dig the soil as such, because it is so close to the tree roots. So tomorrow I will give it another rake over, sprinkle the seeds, and cover it all over with some spare soil. Then sit back and wait for Mother Nature to do her thing!

Whilst Mother Nature is doing that, I'll look for some suitable plants to train up and around the ladder. I've taken some cuttings of ivy from elsewhere in the garden - fairly long stems - and have put them into water outside to see if they'll grow some roots.

In the meantime, I've popped the ladder back into place, so that it can get used to its new home!

Day 167 - Wednesday 16th June 2021

Today I began making up the cushion cover using the cross stitched tulip panel.

I've cut a panel of the pink fabric from the recycled duvet cover to 40cm square, and will put the cross stitched panel in the centre.

So I began by trimming evenly around the panel and then stitching it into place in the centre of the pink fabric.

I want to edge the tulip panel with some ribbon and braid, so next I found a toning pink ribbon and matching thread.

Then I stitched the ribbon all around, folding it at the corners to create a neatly shaped finish. Next I will stitch some pretty braid along the centre of the ribbon - a job for another day.

Day 166 - Tuesday 15th June 2021

Today I've been finishing off adding a sparkly layer of glitter tulle to the skirt of a wedding gown.

I've done quite a few of these lately, and I always love how they look - the glitter particles remind me of champagne bubbles!

When finishing off this kind of job, one of the tasks is to put all the small anchor stitches back into the skirt layers. These are placed at intervals around the dress, towards the hem line, and they help to allow for freedom of movement for the skirt, whilst at the same time keeping the layers all together so they don't end up as a bit of a crumpled mess.

This task can be quite tricky and time consuming. However, one way to aide this is to mark each of them with taylor's tacks in a contrasting thread when the skirts are being dismantled, and to also mark their placements on the new glitter layer when it is being cut out, using the originals as a guide.

In this way, the tacks on each layer can be married up with the next layer, and the new stitches be put into place, before removing the contrasting markers.

There are lots of anchoring stitches around the bottom of this gown, and when they were all put back in to place, the skirt was falling in beautiful, informal soft folds.

Again, I really enjoyed doing this customisation, and I hope the bride who wears it will get as much joy out of her beautiful dress, as I had working with it.

Day 165 - Monday 14th June 2021

More work on my cross-stitched roses cushion.

I changed my mind about the pink ribbon around the centre cross-stitched panel. I found some lovely green braid instead, which really brings out the greens of the rose leaves.

So I pinned it into place all around the edge of the panel, covering the ruffled edging of the lace, and then stitched it down by hand.

Next time I work on this I'll be adding some gathered lace around the edge of the cushion cover itself.

Day 164 - Sunday 13th June 2021

This is the story of two 'ats!

Since I seem to be spending a lot of time crafting in the sun up at the beautiful Craig-y-Nos Country Park lately, it has become apparent that I need a head covering so my brain doesn't get fried!

So I recently bought these two lovely hats. I'm not a hat person really, but I do like both of these and they do seem to suit me. However, since I must wear a hat, I decided to make a bit of a statement. So the boring bands and tiny flowers needed to come off and be replaced with something a little more bold and colourful.

I went through my boxes of craft bits and bobs and found a lovely bright scarf and some pretty flowers.

I started with the hat I bought on the high street. First I took off the narrow band and small flowers, which can go into my craft stash as I'm sure they'll be useful for another craft project somewhere down the line.

I then added two different bunches of leaves, which I threaded through the fabric of the hat and stitched into place by their stems.

This was followed by a lovely cerise pink rose, which has a brooch pin on the back of it, so was easy to add.

Finally I stitched on some pretty little purple flowers.

Next I moved on to my charity shop find - a brand new hat which I found in a charity shop in Devon, and which was a quarter of the cost of the high street one!

I added a lovely bright red chiffon scarf around it, and I had some more of the small purple flowers, so I added one to the back where the scarf ties and some along the front.

So now I have two 'ats to choose from!

This one is my favourite, so I expect I'll wear it a lot. I wore it at Craig-y-Nos today, and actually had two compliments on it from one complete random stranger and one lady who I've only met once before. It felt good!

I also like this one though, so I'll wear it sometimes.

It's nice to have a choice!

Day 163 - Saturday 12th June 2021

A bit of work on my cross-stitched roses cushion today. I want to add some lace and ribbon on the front, around the centre cross-stitched panel.

I started by gathering up the lace and stitching it into place around the edge of the panel, with the frill facing outwards away from the roses and towards the outside edge of the cushion cover.

Time was very limited for creativity today, so I got as far as starting to pin the pink ribbon in place, over the gathered part of the lace.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll be at least able to finish pinning, and then stitch the ribbon into place.

Day 162 - Friday 11th June 2021

My creativity post today is more of an inspirational one, rather than hands-on creativity.

These lovely reels of thread caught my eye in a charity shop in Devon when we were there. In fact, they more than caught my eye...I bought them!

I don't particularly need any reels of thread, as I already have hundreds of them in all sorts of colours. They're all in my craft room, displayed in jars of colours.

However, the lovely colours made me feel inspired. I also like that they are vintage, and I particularly like that some of them are on wooden reels! I remember wooden cotton reels from my childhood when my brother Dave used to make cotton reel 'tanks'. Since Dave is no longer with us, that is a precious memory.

Anyway, back to the reels of thread. I think I'll put these in a jar all of their own, because they are vintage. They can go in the 'rainbow' corner of my craft room, where I have lots of different coloured things.

As for the wooden ones, I have a bit of a DIY job in mind for them at some point in the future.

Day 161 - Thursday 10th June 2021

I've been playing around with the edging of my cwtchy blanket today. I'm still working on the first (red) scalloped row, but I've been having a look at how I'm going to place the next (green) row. I'm undecided whether to place the scallops directly on top of the ones in the previous row - as in the top picture - or in between the previous scallops as in the bottom picture. Hmmm, decisions decisions.

I will leave the two samples in place whilst I crochet the rest of the red, and then decide.

Day 160 - Wednesday 9th June 2021

Today I started the scalloped border of my cwtchy blanket. Yaaay!

That is all!

Day 159 - Tuesday 8th June 2021

You may remember that a while ago, I ran out of blue yarn to complete the single crochet row of that colour on my cwtchy blanket. I got around it by crocheting a slip stitch row instead of single crochet, and this worked, so I was very pleased.

However, although it worked in as much as I had enough yarn to do it, it has caused the blanket edging to flop over at that point, instead of sitting flat. I was hoping that continuing to crochet more rows around - and therefore adding some weight - would sort this out, and it has helped a bit, but it's still flopping over and spoiling the throw.

I think I've come up with a solution to this - by catch stitching (on the wrong side of the blanket) the two rows either side of the blue, in order to pull them together over the blue. So this is what I've been doing today.

The blanket is large, and it took quite a while to go around all of it, but I finally completed it, and it seems to have worked.

The only slight problem is that it's caused a bit of a ridge along the cream row, but in the grand scheme of things, I'd rather have a bit of a ridge than a floppy border!

Now I can get on with crocheting the scallops for the final part of the border, and hopefully it won't be long before we're cwtching under our cwtchy blanket! Yaay.

Day 158 - Monday 7th June 2021

I've finished the single crochet red and green rows of the border of my cwtchy blanket! Yaay! Now for some scalloping to commence.......or can it?

I do have a bit of a problem with this section, which needs sorting......but I'm too tired to do it tonight, so it will have to wait until tomorrow. Watch this space!

Day 157 - Sunday 6th June 2021

Today I spun my first ever yarn!

I've been trying to do it on and off for a couple of weeks and getting nowhere. This has been very frustrating, because I've been doing stuff with fibers, yarns and fabrics since I was a child, so to not be able to do something of that ilk is very disappointing.

However, Bob thinks (well, he knows now actually) that the wheel I've been using isn't quite right and so it was never going to happen with that one. So Bob's going to sort it out, and in the meantime, he's given me another one to have a go on, and hey presto! Spinning in the sunshine up at Craig-y-Nos today, and I managed to get somewhere within about fifteen minutes.

It's far from perfect, but at least it's some sort of recognisable yarn, and it's made me feel a whole lot better about it all.

I managed a bobbin full, and as you can see it's full of lumps, bumps and imperfections!

So I shall have to have lots and lots of practice, produce lots and lots more bobbin fulls, and turn those imperfections into perfections! Again I say - watch this space!

Day 156 - Saturday 5th June 2021

Today I've been putting together a cosy corner in my kitchen, with the yellow cupboard, shelf and spice rack I put up a few days ago.

This cute little hanging ornament is made up of two separate hearts, which I think I bought in two separate shops in Narberth on one of our Knorty Knitwits outings. The smallest heart says "Sunshine always follows the rain" - this is so true, and I always find it inspirational when things seem a little bit rough.

Anyway, it now sits on a handle of one of the yellow cupboard doors, looking very cute and inspiring me every time I go in that cupboard......

......which is often, now that the cupboard is filled with lots of the lovely sauces, spices and other cooking essentials which I use on a daily basis. It's so nice to now have them neatly organised, and at a better height.

Before they were all stored in one of my other kitchen cupboards, down at floor level, which was no good for my knees and back every time I had to get down there to get any out, and definitely no good for my patience, since that cupboard was over-full and things fell out regularly!

This corner of my kitchen is also now a perfect place to put some other lovely things I've had for a while......

......a cute little 'welcome' angel......

......a lacy yellow heart which looks lovely on the wall nearby......

......and a couple of gowjus bunny mugs. There are six mugs all together - three with a bunny, and one each with a squirrel, a fox, and a hedgehog. They don't all fit in this area, but I have another shelf on the go for a different part of the kitchen, and the rest will go on there. I bought them in B&M quite a while ago, so they weren't expensive, but I am so impressed with the quality of the mugs, as well as the designs, which look as if they're hand painted on. Also, they are a lovely size for a nice big cup of tea!

I really love pretty tins, boxes and jars for using as storage around my home.

Some of these tins are recent purchases, but the Colmans and Oxo tins are vintage, and I am so happy now to have somewhere lovely to display them.

Another thing I love is this cute little spice rack, which my clever brother in law made many years ago, and which until now has been sitting in my "DIY things to do" area in my store room!

The Schwartz spice jars are years old. I've always liked the shape of them and have collected them over the years and used to use them in the house in Cardiff. Then they got packed away when we moved and since then I've been using own brands of herbs and spices.

The labels are also quite old - again I bought them in Cardiff and used some of them, then packed them away with the jars. Now is the perfect time to use both, so that I can display them on my newly-painted spice rack. The rack doesn't hold many, so I've chosen herbs and spices which I use fairly often in my cooking. I'm hoping to use the rest of the jars and labels elsewhere in the kitchen as I progress in decorating it and putting up more shelves and storage.

I absolutely love the way this corner of my kitchen is looking now. It's a completed cosy corner in a house which is still very much a work in progress, and reminds me that I can achieve the look I want in my home, even if it takes me longer than most!

I love the happy yellow colour and the vintage, distressed 'shabby chic' style, and I'm so looking forward to doing more of the same!

Day 155 - Friday 4th June 2021

Today I worked on my cross stitched towel borders. I'm currently stitching some of the flower parts of the trailing periwinkles.

It's slow progress, but I love how it's looking!

Day 154 - Thursday 3rd June 2021

Today at work I finished off the job of making up some keyhole straps and cap sleeves to be used as samples for our customisation kit boxes.

I started with the lace to be used along the edges of the sleeves. It's a really pretty floral lace, with an eyelash edging, so I needed to trim it off to expose the eyelash detail.

Then the lace was pinned and stitched along the edges, with the scallop and eyelash part just peeping over the edge.

The next job was to prepare the lace motifs to be appliquéd on to the rest of the sleeves. The motifs are quite large, and so they need to be cut into smaller pieces and then placed in a pleasing pattern arrangement on the parts of the sleeves which will cover the shoulders of the bride wearing the dress.

For our samples we have an allocated lace which we use, but a bride can choose to use lace which is already on her gown for her cap sleeves or keyhole strap, in order to match and enhance her gown.

The appliqué was cut, arranged, pinned and stitched into place.

After pressing and attaching one of our fabric labels, which includes a code to identify the sample when ordering, the cap sleeves were ready to be put into the sample boxes.

The keyhole strap needed one more detail....as it fastens at the centre back of the neck, I needed to attach a popper and put a piece of appliqué lace over this to neaten the final look.

The straps were then pressed and with their labels attached they too were ready to go - after being beautifully modelled by Taylor our mannequin of course!

Day 153 - Wednesday 2nd June 2021

Today I started putting together the cross-stitched roses cushion cover.

Having decided on what fabric to use for the front, to mount the panel on, I cut the panel to even up the edges and then cut the fabric for the front to size. Then I stitched the panel on to the centre of the front.

My next job will be to edge around the cross-stitched panel with ribbon or braid. I haven't decided which yet, and I'm not entirely sure that either of the two I have put aside for this are quite the right colour. I'll have a little think on it.

Day 152 - Tuesday 1st June 2021

Today at work I was making up some keyhole straps and cap sleeves to be used as samples for our customisation kit boxes.

I began by gathering together all the components - soft tulle, pretty lace, and the pattern pieces to cut them out.

After cutting out the tulle pieces, I stitched together the shoulder seams, then trimmed and pressed.

Next was to stitch the joined pieces together (fronts and backs) in order to give the finished shapes for each, trimming and clipping into the seams as necessary so that they would lie flat when pressed.

Finally I turned them out to the right side, and then pressed them so that they are nice and neat & flat, ready to have the lace appliqué stitched on to them when I'm back in work on Thursday.

Day 151 - Monday 31st May 2021

Today I was working on my cwtchy blanket. I crocheted the last row of single crochet, and technically, I've arrived at the point where I said I would put some scalloped rows on to finish it off.

However, I have so much of the red and green yarn left, that I think I'm going to do a few rows of single crochet in alternating red and green, just to add a bit more to the border, make it that much bigger so that's it's extra cwtchy, and to add a bit more weight to help flatten out the bit where I did a slip stitch for the blue to save yarn, and is still curling a little at the moment.

So, by my reckoning, it's going to be a few more weeks before it's finished and we get to actually cwtch under the cwtchy blanket!

Day 150 - Sunday 30th May 2021

Some more work on my cross stitch towel borders. The butterflies are finished now, and I've made a good start on the trailing periwinkles.

Day 149 - Saturday 29th May 2021

A plain white painted wall. That is all!

Day 148 - Friday 28th May 2021

Today I finished the crocheting part of my last WIP cushion. I popped a single crochet row around each the front and the back using the new contrast I found in my stash, then crocheted both parts together and finally added a scalloped edging around the whole thing.

Now I need to make up a cushion pad for it, put that inside and crochet or stitch it closed, then add the butterfly and flower crocheted appliqués I have for it.

Day 147 - Thursday 27th May 2021

The customisation sample straps I've been working on today are very simple, but quite effective.

For each strap, we use a strip of diamanté and stitch it along a plain georgette strap.

The result is a sparkly, elegant strap which can be added to either a plain gown to give it a bit of sparkle, or a gown with existing gems, in order to enhance what's already there. Lovely.

Day 146 - Wednesday 26th May 2021

I've been through my stash and found some more green yarn for the tones of green cushion cover.

Before I use it to crochet the back and front together, I'll put a row of single crochet around each, just so that there's more yarn than just the crocheting together, so it's not quite so random! I think there might also be enough to put some scallops or picot edging around the whole cover when it's done.

Day 145 - Tuesday 25th May 2021

Today I've been making some pretty Chantilly lace sleeves for our customisation kit boxes.

These sleeves are one of my favourites - they are so feminine and floaty. I love them.

To make these we start by cutting out the pieces - lace for the main sleeves, and georgette for the straps to go over the shoulders.

Then we trim the edge of the lace to reveal the lovely eyelash fringing along the scalloped edges.

Then the lace is gathered along the straight edge, and evened out to fit along the long edge of the strap. They are pinned, and then stitched together, and top-stitch closed neatly.

After this we add one of our woven labels, with the unique code for ordering.

The sleeves are then ready to put into the customisation kit boxes, ready for our stockists to demonstrate them to brides when choosing their gowns.

These sleeves look particularly effective when added to a plain strapless gown. They can be stitched in permanently, or poppered in for adding sleeves for the wedding day but with the option of removing them again for the evening party. In this picture they are modelled beautifully by our dressmaking mannequins!

Day 144 - Monday 24th May 2021

More strap samples for our customisation kit boxes.

This particular strap is one of my favourites - the divided strap. It's made by stitching motifs and diamantés onto two separate georgette straps which run parallel to each other and join at the shoulder.

We start by isolating and cutting smaller elements from a large motif, then trimming around them closely and securing any beadwork.

Next we re-assemble the small parts into a new motif shape.

Two georgette straps are joined together at the centre and the new motifs are stitched into place, forming a decorative focal point which will sit on the shoulder of the bride.

Diamanté strips are then stitched along the length of each of the 'legs' formed by the separated parts of the straps. Although for the sample, we only stitch the diamantés along the back 'legs', the bride can choose to have them along both the front and the back or just the front/back, or none at all if that's what she wants.

Finally we stitch one of our woven labels with the allocated code number on to each sample, and they're ready to go.

Day 143 - Sunday 23rd May 2021

I've crocheted the back for the green two-tone cushion, which is the last of my cushion WIPs. I need to crochet the two parts together now, but I'll need to find a small amount of a different green, as I don't quite have enough left of what I've used for the back. I shall have a look through my stash when I get home from work tomorrow.

Day 142 - Saturday 22nd May 2021

I'm in the process of making up some cushions using the crocheted butterfly panel and the cross stitched flowers panels which I've recently finished from my WIPs.

There's not a lot to see at the moment, so I thought I would share some of the inspiration pictures I've gathered for these cushions.

I basically want to put the crochet/cross stitched panels in the centres of the cushions, and then surround them with pretty fabrics, lace, braid, ribbon and other trims to make them as feminine and 'vintage/shabby chic' as possible. Very similar to the ideas in this collage of pictures. I love the combination of a centre panel and printed fabrics.

I love this idea of more than one layer of gathered lace, and additional trims on the corners of the cushion.

I think this might look quite nice on one or even both of the cross-stitched panel cushions.

I love lace insertion - I have fond memories of my Mam making me dresses with lace insertion around a square yoked neckline when I was a child!

The cushion I'm making with the crochet butterfly panel would suit this very well. The panel is filet crochet, which has a sort of mesh base, which would provide the holes for threading the ribbon through, without using actual lace.

So there you have it - these are the pictures I've been inspired by, and I'll use these to influence my finished makes. I usually start a craft project with some kind of inspiration.....it can come from anywhere - something I've seen on T.V. or in a shop, something from nature, a poem or story, etc.

I then like to find pictures of what I have in mind, and take it from there. I find Pinterest to be a very valuable source of images and I use it often!

Day 141 - Friday 21st May 2021

Some more sample pieces for our customisation kits today. This time I was working on some particularly pretty straps.

The straps are made up by attaching lace motifs (some beaded and some unbeaded) to plain georgette straps.

So I began by gathering all the components together, then cutting the motifs away from their tulle backing (where needed) and securing any beading which may have come adrift during this process.

Next I carefully pinned and then stitched each motif to each strap, and finished off by adding one of our woven labels. Each sample has an unique number so that our stockists can be sure they are ordering the correct sample style for the bride.

And there we have it - two different styles of pretty lace straps, ready to go into our customisation kit boxes and wing their way to our stockists, so that brides can choose something a little bit different to enhance their chosen gowns.

Day 140 - Thursday 20th May 2021

Today in work it was all about the buttons!

One of the customisations which we offer to brides is an addition or change of buttons.

Basically, when a bride has chosen one of our gowns, she can choose from six different styles of buttons which we offer to carry out one of the following customisations:

  • Add buttons to a gown which currently doesn't have any.
  • Change existing buttons on a gown to different ones.
  • Extend how many buttons are currently on the gown....for example, if buttons are only used from the neckline to the bottom of the zip, and the bride feels she would like to extend them down to the hem or to where the skirt flares out.

Our six button designs include simple covered buttons in satin or tulle, pearl-effect buttons, dainty three-layered buttons, and sparkly buttons in either cut glass or Swarovski crystal, which catch the light and gently reflect colours like tiny prisms!

Today I've been making up strips of buttons to use as samples in our customisation kit boxes.

For this I cut out strips of tulle, then fold and stitch them along the longest edge to form a three-layer strip. I then trim them so they are neat and give them a press.

Next, I stitch nine buttons along the strip, using a printed paper guide so that they are evenly spaced, tearing the paper away when the row is complete.

I finish off by stitching one of our woven labels to the top of the strip.

A strip of each button design is then put into each kit box, so that the retailer can use the strips to hold against a gown, in order that the bride will have an idea of what the buttons will look like on her chosen gown.

Tomorrow I'll be working on some strap samples, so watch this space!

Day 139 - Wednesday 19th May 2021

I've had a bit of a dilemma with my cwtchy blanket. I've been doing single crochet rounds as part of the border, and to use up yarns. However, when it came to the blue yarn, I ran out of it with about a third of one side to do!

I bought the yarn quite a few years ago at Hobbycraft, as part of a pack, so no hope of getting any more there. I've checked out all the local yarn stockists, and looked online but there is nothing which is near enough to the colour. I was thinking that I would have to undo the whole round, and miss that colour out of the final rounds before I scallop, which was an annoying thought!

Then I had a brainwave - to undo the round, then use a smaller hook to go around, which should take less yarn. Nope, that didn't work!

Then I had another brainwave - I went around using a slip stitch instead of a single crochet. I had enough yarn, and it's ok. The round is obviously slightly narrower than the single crochet ones, but you can still see the colour, so that's ok - at least the colour's there. It's not ideal, but it will do.

The only thing I'm finding now is that the edge is curling slightly, but I'm hoping that this will sort itself out once I've completed the two remaining single crochet colours, and have put the scallops on the edge. Also a good steam will help. Fingers crossed!

Day 138 - Tuesday 18th May 2021

Today I finished the cream crochet cushion with pink flowers.

I crocheted it together to close it, and then found some lovely vintage buttons in my stash to use as flower centres. I'm so pleased with it!

Day 137 - Monday 17th May 2021

I've been working on a fairly simple customisation. The bride has purchased a gown with no embellishments, and wants to add a bit of bling, so has asked for some sparkly straps.

We have a strap in our customisation kit which is a georgette base, with a row of sparkly diamantés stitched along the length. This is perfect to add just a little bit of glamour.

I started by pinning the strap base to the gown on each side to determine the placement of them when they will be attached.

Then popped a tailor's tack on each end of each strap to mark this properly.

Next I stitched the row of diamantés carefully along the strap, put male halves of poppers on each end of the straps, and corresponding female halves inside the gown where they will attach.

Finally I hand stitched four little chain bars inside the gown near the top, in order to anchor the straps in place, so that they don't wobble around.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photograph of the finished straps on the gown! So you'll just have to take my word for it, that they looked fab!

Day 136 - Sunday 16th May 2021

Another of the WIP cushions finished. All I needed to do was hand stitch the top seam closed, and stitch the crocheted motif on the front, which I did today in the sunshine up at Craig-y-Nos Country Park.

Day 135 - Saturday 15th May 2021

I've been sewing today and working on the cushion with the filet crochet butterfly panel.

I started by gathering all the materials I need together. I went through my lace stash for something pretty to put around the edge as a frill. I knew I had some butterfly lace, and I do, but I don't have enough for this project, so I'll save it for another butterfly-themed project, and I've found some wide, pretty pink/grey lace which I can use instead.

First step was to thread some narrow pink ribbon around the edge of the butterfly panel. The holes in the mesh of filet crochet lend themselves well to this. It reminds me of the old-fashioned lace insertion technique.

So I threaded the ribbon in and out of the outermost set of holes......

......taking care to fold the ribbon neatly at each corner so that it sits nicely.

For now I've pinned the ends in place, but when the cushion is finished I'll adjust the ribbon to fit properly and then stitch down the ends. I'll probably also trim each corner with a small bow or a butterfly charm.

Next I needed to pin the panel in place on the pink fabric.

For now, I've cut the pink panel larger than I need, because I'm aware that because of the nature of the crochet, it is likely to stretch to its full size when I'm stitching it into place......

......so really the pinning is just a guide at this stage.

Now the next step is to stitch the panel in place which I will do over the next couple of days.

Day 134 - Friday 14th May 2021

At work today I was working on a customisation. The bride wants to change the straps on her gown from the strap in the first picture to the strap in the second picture.

I got as far as taking the old straps out, and stitching in the new ones. I need to do all the finishing off, which I'll do on Monday!

Day 133 - Thursday 13th May 2021

Just a simple appreciation of the deliciousness of the skirt with the sparkly layer, draped over my table as I was finishing it off. I just love the folds of the drape, and the sparkle of the fabric. That is all - no more, no less.

Day 132 - Wednesday 12th May 2021

A little bit of cross stitching today.

I've finished the wings of the butterflies for my towels borders, and just have the bodies and antennae to do, before starting on the trailing periwinkles either side.

Day 131 - Tuesday 11th May 2021

A bit of work on the cream crochet cushion with pink flowers.

I made a cushion pad for it, using some of the fabric from the pink duvet cover. That 50 pence bargain is going a long way! Haha.

Then I popped the cushion pad inside it, and have pinned it together ready for me to crochet it closed. I also need to find some pretty buttons or beads to go into the centres of the flowers.

Day 130 - Monday 10th May 2021

Another cushion WIP finished - one of the red & green colourway ones.

I added some black beads to the butterfly for a body, and some black buttons and clear beads to the flower centres

Because the large beads are partly stitched and partly glued, I couldn't get them to sit quite flat and straight.... but it's ok - I have it on good authority from the fairies that all the best butterflies have wibbly bodies!

Day 129 - Sunday 9th May 2021

One of the cushion WIPs which I have been making in the red and green theme.

I decided to make a plain green cushion from some lovely cotton twill and stitch the hexagonal crochet panel - centred - onto the surface.

So today I've been making up the green cover for a ready-made cushion pad and pinning it closed along the top edge......

......ready to be stitched closed neatly by hand, before stitching the motif onto the front. If I was putting an entire crochet cover over the top, I would just machine (top stitch) the opening closed, but since the green fabric is forming the main cover, I want the closure to be as inconspicuous as possible, hence the hand-stitching.

Day 128 - Saturday 8th May 2021

Back to the cross stitched towel borders.

The butterflies are now starting to resemble........well, butterflies!

Day 127 - Friday 7th May 2021

Even more sewing preparation!

This time it's the lovely tulip cross stitched panel, which has been washed and is ready to be made into a cushion.

I'll be using the pink duvet cover fabric for the front of the cushion......

......and the leaf design fabric for the back.

I'll finish off by edging the tulip panel with this lovely braid if I have enough, or something similar to it, if not.

Day 126 - Thursday 6th May 2021

More sewing preparation.

I've now washed this lovely cross stitched roses panel and can make a pretty cushion from it.

I'll be using the pink and white candy stripe fabric to mount the panel on for the front of the cushion.

I haven't decided yet whether I will use the floral fabric or the mini print leaves fabric for the back of the cushion, but at the moment I am leaning towards the green leaves.

To avoid any raw edges from the Aida fabric which the roses are stitched on to, I'll use some ribbon and lace, or some braid to edge the panel...similar to the ones in the photographs, but I'll probably need to buy some new, as I only have short lengths in my stash.

As with the butterfly cushion, I now need to wash the fabrics, which are new, to allow for any shrinkage, before I use them to make up the cushion. It'll be really nice to see this as a finished cushion after it being in cross stitch form for so long!

Day 125 - Wednesday 5th May 2021

Some sewing preparation.

I made this filet crochet butterfly panel a few years ago and now I want to make it into a pretty cushion, so I've been looking for suitable fabrics.

I'll make the front of it from the plain pink fabric, which is in fact a single duvet cover which I recently bought at a bootsale for 50 pence! I think the colour shows through the panel fabulously.

To finish it off nicely I'll thread some narrow pink ribbon through the edge of the panel - a bit like the old-fashioned lace insertion idea. I like the colour of this one, but I only have a short length of it, so will try and get some in the same colour at some point over the next few days.

Now I need to wash the butterfly fabric because it is a new piece - part of a 'fat quarter' set I bought a while ago - to allow for any shrinkage, and wash the duvet cover just to freshen it up, before I work with the fabrics to make up the cushion.

Day 124 - Tuesday 4th May 2021

A yummy fabric day at work!

I've customised quite a few gowns lately by adding a layer of sparkly tulle under the top layer of the gown, and they always look so lovely when they're finished.

I haven't used this particular sparkly tulle before, and it is so nice!

Unfortunately it does shed glitter quite a bit, so I've been leaving a sparkly trail.....on my desk....on Martha my trusty sewing machine.... and on myself so that it comes around the building with me, and of course comes home with me at the end of the day! Haha. It's fun to feel like a sparkly fairy! Oh, and it's ok - there's still more than enough sparkle left on the fabric, so the bride can feel like a fairy too.

Day 123 - Monday 3rd May 2021

More website housekeeping creativity.

This time to archive the 365 Days Of Creativity posts for April. Usual stuff - I set up the page, moved the posts across from the main creativity page, changed the blurbs, gave the April page some suitable April showers & rainbows images, and made a collage picture for the top of the projects completed during April.

Then I linked it all up so that it's accessible from the main creativity page, and that's that!

Day 122 - Sunday 2nd May 2021

Cushions! Well, there's a surprise! Haha.

Just as I think I'm at the end of the cushions WIPs, another one turns up. This is just a plain cream cushion cover, made up of small granny squares, and I just added some crocheted flowers and leaves to it, made from oddments. I need to find a few beads now to go into the centres of the flowers, and then find or make a cushion pad to put it on.

This is the flower-embellished cushion which accompanies the one with the butterfly on. I have embellished the butterfly on the other cushion with black beads, but because the beads have holes only one end to stitch them on, I need to secure them down with some fabric glue, so I'll do that in the next couple of days and then post a picture of it.

In the meantime, I've added buttons and beads to the flowers on this smaller one......

......and here are the flowers close up.

Day 121 - Saturday 1st May 2021

Some website housekeeping creativity today.

I've now archived the blog for March and April. I've done them on a combined page, because there were a couple of weeks at the end of March and the beginning of April that I had got behind with the blogging and did one catch up blog combining and covering all those days.

So I've set up the new page, moving all the relevant posts over to it from the main blog page......put a new banner picture at the top of it, given it a lovely spring background, some daffodils at the top and some spring flowers along the bottom, and have written a blurb about the two months.

Back at the main blog page, I've changed the blurb at the top, put some May time style flowers across the bottom border, and added a link to the new archived page. The main blog page now has only the current month on it, which should cut down loading times for anyone who goes there. From here on in I'll archive each month as it comes to an end.

Up, up and away......

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