Wednesday, 21 December 2011


The boys wanted to do some cutting and I got a bit carried away! I had forgotten how much fun it is to cut folded paper and gently unfold it to reveal the design. An idea for cards another time? We'll certainly be doing it again.

For patterns in a row, fold like a corrcetina and make sure to leave at least one but ideally two joins on either side of the folded wad of paper. Apart from that, cut as adventurously as you like.
For circular patterns, fold a square in half, then again and again. Once more, when cutting be sure to leave joins on both sides. If you want to do snowflakes you need to fold in half, then one third in and then another third in.

Posting from my phone for the first time!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Christmas Bunting

A very quick bunting post...Thea is waiting with her fabric and scissors ready to go...I made this bunting to go above the table in my dining room for Christmas. In the picture are just half of the 120 flags that I got from 2m of fabric. This way of cutting and sewing bunting is very time-efficient (you sew all of your flags from each fabric at the same time) and also almost totally fabric waste free.
What you need:
  • Fabric (the next post will explain how to work out how much you'll need, it depends on how big you want your flags and how long a piece of bunting you need)
  • Bias tape
  • Tailors chalk
  • Scissors
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Chop stick and some tweezers
If you have it:
  • Cutting mat marked out with inches

First of all, iron your fabric.

Next, fold your first fabric in half with the rs facing each other. If the pattern of the fabric is such that it needs to be a certain way up then cut your fabric in half and place the two halves together with the pattern up the right way.**

**Correction here! Thanks Shonika for pointing this out. If you cut the fabric in half to make your flags, the patterns will be the same way up on both sides but will still result in half of your flags having the pattern the right way up and half having the pattern upside down. If you just fold your fabric in half then all of your flags will have the pattern the right way up on one side and the wrong way up on the other side. If your fabric doesn't have a right way up you don't need to worry about this bit at all. Sorry for incorrect original instructions!

Now lay your fabric out and get your ruler and chalk ready to start marking out the grid for the flags.
To make flags about 3.5 inches across and 4.5 inches down you need to mark along the length of the fabric every 4 inches (this is very easily done if you happen to have an inch marked cutting board as shown in the photo).

Next measure 5 inches down and draw a line the length of your fabric (this line is just so you know where to make the next lot of marks.) So now, make dashes along this line. The first is 2 inches from the end and then after that every 4 inches. So this second row of marks should be in the centre of the row of marks above.

Then measure the depth of your flag again (5 inches) and mark out every 4 inches from the end (these marks are in line with the top marks). You keep repeating this depending on how many flags you want to get from your fabric.

You then join them up by using chalk and your ruler...You should have lots of triangles now.

Next pin your fabrics in a few places, particularly if you used two separate pieces rather than one folded piece. This is to hold the fabric in place while you sew. No cutting yet!

Thread your machine and start running straight lines all the way from top to bottom of the fabric either side of the chalked line. You need to leave enough of a gap between your two rows of stitches that will allow you to cut between the lines without getting too close to the stitches. About 1cm should be fine. To make this fast I tended to do one row of stitches and then for doing the second row you line the first stitches up with something on the machine and just keep it straight from there. 
Do all the chalked diagonal lines but not any horizontal ones (These were just so you knew where to make  your 4 inch marks). It should end up looking like this all over...
Next you are going to cut between the stitches and you will see your flags begin to take shape. If you have some diamonds, cut them in half.
At the end all that you should be left with is a couple of bits like this piece below...and lots and lots of flags.
Next cut the tips from all your triangles as you are now going to turn them right side out.
Use a chopstick to push the bottom of the triangle to a point and tweezers from the outside to pull it gently out if it gets a bit twisted in there.

Follow the instructions above for your other fabrics and then iron all your little triangles. You are ready to start putting your bunting together.

Next lay your triangles in their different piles out near your machine. Take your bias tape, fold in half and sew the first bit (the tying end). Next take your first triangle, insert and sew. I did all of these flags without a gap but a small gap also looks nice. If you do decide to do a gap, rather than measuring it each time, just make it a distance on your machine. e.g. when the previous flag gets to the back, insert the next one.
et voila...

Future posts on the topic of bunting will include...
  • How to work out the amount of material you'll need
  • How to work out how much bias tape you'll need
  • Quicker, garden or party bunting
  • Applique bunting with names or pictures
Watch this space (but don't hold your breath whilst watching it!)

Nix X

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Little makes...

So much to do, so little I have been making some little things to keep me crafty (=happy).  Both of these ideas came from Pinterest...where else!
The comb took about 10 mins to make and it doesn't really need explaining...get thread, buy comb and wrap...really simple but I like the effect. The idea came from here via Pinterest.

The scarf took about an hour and a half. The pattern is free from this blog. The pattern is in American terminology so translate as follows:
single = double
double = treble
half double = half treble
I did repeat row 2 to make it slightly wider. I also kind of did my own thing at the end to make it a bit neater. I sort of went around the bottom with a scallop if you know what I mean!
Bye for now, Nix!

Monday, 5 September 2011

Links galore...

Hi, I've been having a bit of a summer that I mean running around with my kids and not managing much else. It's been fun...some photos will follow.
I have managed to look at Pinterest and today I found a link to a great blog: nice lady has trawled the Internet and linked to so many great tutorials such as best adult clothing tutorials and best kids clothing tutorials...In fact there are so many tutorials on here, many with print-out-able PDFs that it's slightly overwhelming!
Bye for now, Nix!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Story stones from Red Bird Crafts...

I finally got to make some decorated stones with Gabe was great fun. Makes a nice change from colouring and stickers and less messy than painting (honestly!). I did the cutting, he did the gluing and placed some of the fabric, he also decided what we were making. I think little girls could especially get into this!
The site that the idea and the instructions came from is here but you don't have to use Mod Podge (it's not widely available in the UK so will end up costing you around £10). I just used watered down PVA. I will need to put another layer on once this layer has dried as some of my fabrics were quite thick...a good idea to soak thicker fabrics in the glue mix if you can, or at least paint some glue on the back of the fabric, as well as the front and on the stone.

Happy rainy August days! Nix! 

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Pinterest - ideas central - be warned - highly addictive!

As if I needed any more things to add to my must do/try/make list/board/book!!
This site is the place to just stick up pictures (and links) of the things you like...and you don't have to look far for those because loads of people who like art, craft, interiors, fashion, inspirational words, beauty, kids and food are already pinning what they like. It is also full of loads of links to interesting blogs...
Here are a few links that made me think of my friends...
Nici - I'm sure you already know how (as you own the tools) but when I saw this tutorial I remembered you saying how you wanted to do I want to do it with you...
Wendy and Rhian - This made me think of you both. Rhian - I heard you are doing some lovely patchwork bags and Wendy - we both admired Jenny's cushion - not sure if you managed to create one yet.
Alex - Some beautiful bridal and kids shots on here, always worth a peek at what other people are doing when you are in that some of your gorgeous work up there.
Jenny and Anna - Interior inspiration...cancel your subscriptions...this place has it all...such lovely and interesting home ideas.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011


These are really good biscuits. They should be. They have a lot of sugar in them. But then, sometimes you just really want a sweet buttery biscuit.

4oz Oats
1tblsp Plain flour sifted
6oz Caster sugar
4oz Butter
1 egg beaten
Vanilla essence
Line several baking sheets with baking paper.
Heat oven to Gas mark 3.

Mix oats, flour and sugar together.
Melt the butter and while hot pour it over the dry ingredients.
Stir well until mixed.
Make a well in the centre.
Add the beaten egg and vanilla essence.
Mix thoroughly.
Drop teaspoons of mix on to the baking sheets well spaced out.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes (my oven not very good so I did mine for 20 mins - they need to be turning golden at the edges)


Saturday, 6 August 2011

Camping in the New Forest...Yesterday

Brilliant online shopping

I have been told about this online store by a few friends over the last year, however, I managed to restrain myself and not look. It sounded too good and at the moment we are on 'paying builders' vibe with any cash that might be lying about. Well, what did I know... Jeezum crow! I WANT so much stuff from there now. If you are looking for anything in your house: art, lighting, fixtures and fittings or for gifts then you should really look here.

Monday, 1 August 2011

50 Fab Days Out for Families - Winchester Area

The Mum's at a local primary school, Compton All Saints, got together to create this brilliant book. A must have handbook for school holidays all year round but especially the summer ...which has arrived at last!!! Woo hoo!
You can get hold of a copy for £5

It's full of days out and also shorter trips that the children will love, all them inexpensive or free. Most are outdoors and they include beach days out, new forest adventures, paddling spots, best bike rides for children. It's great if, like me, you didn't grow up in the area and don't have the benefit of local knowledge.
It's really well laid out with sections for parents tips and kids tips. It also helpfully reminds you what not to forget, e.g. swimming stuff / wellies for paddling. Lastly, all profits from the book go to the school.

Thanks, Nix!

Friday, 29 July 2011

Mary Mary...your allotment is gorgeous!

Mary is my Mum in Law, who from now on will be just known as Mary or L.M.I.L (Lovely Mum In Law). She has a small allotment close to her home in central Winchester. She wanted to make it work for itself and produce things she and the family are some pictures from the allotment and the produce. It really is an idyllic setting with Winchester Cathedral right behind it.  You have to collect water in a bucket dangled from the bridge over a stream which runs along the bottom of the allotment. That is part of the reason that she grew things that would put roots down and not need too much attention. If I ever had an allotment that is exactly what I would trees, pear trees, plum trees, raspberries, blackberries, gooseberries, rhubarb, roses and sweet peas for cutting, fresh mint, rosemary. Lovely!
Her garden is amazing too but I missed the first roses of the year so I am waiting for the next lot to bloom before I take some pictures. They are beautiful.
Nix x

Kim's Game

I was clearing out our garage the other day and I found a box of some of my favourite childhood trinkets, or as my lovely Granny used to call them, nic nacs. Sometimes she used to take me to a little shop in Maidenhead to get a new nic nac. Often it was some sort of box or tin as I loved those and had loads, each with some tiny, different, thing inside. I also collected tiny china animals, shiny buttons, semi precious stones, bits of rejected jewellery. I expect most girls did that kind of thing...right?
Anyhoo, the point of all this reminiscing is that this box of old nic nacs gave me an idea for a good game that could fit in your handbag, bottom of pushchair, car glove box etc and could make those 'waiting' moments (waiting for lunch, waiting at the Doctors surgery, waiting for the bus) much more pleasant.
I didn't realise, this game has a name. Kim's Game. You probably all know that, but I didn't. I was a brownie but apparently not a very good one.
So, if you don't know the game, it goes like this. You lay a number of items out in front of you. Study them for a minute and then someone removes one and the other player or players have to guess which one. You can make it easier for children by having less to start with and you can also take away more than one item which makes it a bit easier to guess. It's harder than it looks but that's good as it means the children can play against adults and really enjoy making them guess. You can change the items around as everyone starts to remember them and you don't need to have a giant box of nic nacs to delve into. Anything small will do. A paperclip, a stone, a badge etc...
I also made this little bag to hold it all in. 
There are many patterns for lined drawstring pouches on the web but I used this one from Martha Stewart's book, which is also available for free on her!
What would be really good, which I thought of afterwards, would be a pouch that opens out into a flat circle so that you can use that to lay all the things on.
Thanks, Nix!

Purses for teachers...

I decided to make some pencil cases/purses for my son’s teachers as a leaving present. It was his last day at pre-school on Wednesday and so typically I ended up slightly panicked on Tuesday. I already had the material and I had made some similar ones previously after searching for ‘zipped lined pouch’ on the web.
This time I used this tutorial over at flossieteacakes, because I like the zip end covers and it also looked beautifully clear and nicely photographed.
My stitches are not as neat as hers though...
How do you sew two perfectly straight lines over a bumpy zip anyway? And even though the instructions very clearly stated that the zip should be exactly 8 inches, I managed to miss-measure and ended up with a zip too long for my nicely cut out pieces of fabric. 
On the right is the fabric cut to the tutorial measurements and on the left the fabric cut to the zip length! I put these 8 inch pieces to one side to make more smaller purses at a later stage.
I also only had iron-on interfacing instead of sew-on interfacing and I feel that left my fabric looking slightly wrinkled even after a good ironing. I think the iron on stuff I used was a bit dodgy as that didn’t happen last time I made one...Really I think I should have used sew-in...If Flossie says use sew-in then do it!
All in all, my purses turned out okay and in fact after the zip fiasco I think the longer purses look more like pencil cases which is probably a more useful shape. The teachers really liked them. 

Also measure twice, cut once, the golden rule for EVERYTHING! should have been followed. However, I do think that the best way to make these pouches is to buy the zip that looks the right length for what you want to do and then work out the rest of the dimensions from there.
Now I have picked up some pretty pink 8 inch zips and already have the fabric cut out with interfacing stuck on so it shouldn’t take me more than an hour to knock up a couple more. I may even keep one for myself!
Thanks, Nix!

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Wraps...I can't get enough of them!

My friend Nicky Leader got me started on these...She made me one for lunch the other day and now I can't stop. It's not like I had never had a wrap before but somehow these are different and much tastier. I think it's the fresh herbs which happen to be growing like mad in my kitchen due to the new light since we had our extension...and the proximity to the kitchen tap. It really would be remiss not to water them when I see them every time I make a cup of tea.
So, I have made wraps with lots of different fillings over the last couple of weeks. Here are a few of my favourites.
This one is hummus, avocado, cheese, tomato, basil, mint, then finished with some freshly snipped lettuce, a drizzle of balsamic and a little salt and pepper.
I had a friend coming yesterday so I roasted some peppers, red onions and tomatoes, all covered in 'evoo' (just heard that the other day - extra virgin olive oil!) and a little salt and pepper. In the oven on high for 40 mins, then low for an hour or so, then off and leave in oven.
Before and...
after (we had eaten half of the tray!)

So these wraps had similar ingredients...but also some nice ham and lots of roasted vegetables.
Also very good with smoked, peppered mackerel. 
Honestly. So delicious. 
Nix X