Category Archives: Crafting

Lavender Harvest

As the trees are starting to turn. I’m finally accepting that Summer has ended and Autumn has begun. As we’ve had a couple of fine days, I decided to harvest my lavender.

I know that lavender isn’t loved by all, but I can honestly say it’s one of my favourite plants. I love it because I find it incredibly useful; in different forms, I’ve eaten it, bathed with it, and used it when I’ve had a headache. Mark says he finds the smell really comforting. I’ve harvested from one of my plants for the last 3 years with fantastic results. All I do to dry it is put them in a paper bag and leave them in the airing cupboard.

I hope to use my harvest from last year to make lavender pillows to sell at my craft stall in November. I’ve found this lovely website with loads of lavender stuff called everything lavender.

Mr Bumblebee on my lavender plant

This year's harvest freshly cut

Last years harvest dried and ready for use

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Rivers Meet Craft Cafe Methley

After an incredibly busy bank holiday weekend, Mark, Holly and I visited Rivers Meet Craft Cafe (@RiversMeet1) in Methley for brunch. We’d originally heard about it through Twitter. I was eager to check it out being a bit of a craft fanatic and was very interested in some of the classes that they had advertised on their website.

The building had previously been a pub but, the owners have tastefully converted it into a cosy and comfortable cafe. There’s a quirkiness about it, which makes you feel that this is someone’s individual vision. We sat on a large comfortable leather sofa while we had our bacon and sausage scufflers which were delicious. The cafe source all of their produce locally. My Earl Grey tea was served in a beautiful vintage china cup and saucer. Vintage crockery was dotted around the cafe giving it a homely feel.

The ground floor is open plan but separated between eating and crafting. This worked beautifully as you could see people who had gone in for a cup of tea and a piece of cake and then booked a lesson after watching others craft.

The service was excellent. They were very friendly and also attentive to Holly, even asking what type of cup she would like to drink out of. The high chairs were spotless and readily available (it really does matter to parents). Children are warmly welcomed and the cafe offer kids craft sessions for children of all ages.

While we were there, I booked onto a beginners jewellery making class with a lady called Rachel Care who owns Tiggypig Beads, bead shop which is situated within the cafe. Once we got chatting I found out that Rachel was also a fellow quilter and blogger. She introduced me to the lady who teaches quilting in the cafe called Sarah Eliza who also teaches at the York quilting museum and has a rather lovely blog called Edward and the White Bear . Sarah is hoping to offer more quilting classes and was looking for people who are interested. It was wonderful to chat to other people who are also passionate about textiles. We swapped details and I’m looking forward to meeting up again in the future.

We loved the cafe and we’d highly recommend it to crafters and those who just fancy trying something a little bit different.

Every Little Girl Deserves a Pretty Dress – Update

I’m beyond proud today.  If you checked out my post Every Little Girl Deserves a Pretty Dress that I wrote in June, you will have read about the sewing project that I’ve been involved in.  I turned 7 pillow cases into dresses for children in the developing world ( Dress a girl around the world ) . Today I received a message from  Sew Scrumptious which included a photograph.

The little girl at the front is wearing the dress that I made

Pillow case dresses

Daisy dress

These children live in the Home of Hope orphanage in Malawi. I never dreamed that I was going to have the opportunity to see one of the dresses I made actually being worn. Such a heart warming experience, I’m so happy to have been involved in the project.

Quilting class: lesson four

If you’ve read my previous posts on quilting, you might realise that I’m missing lesson three. Well I learnt to applique in lesson three, but It’s now a Christmas present for my In-laws so I can’t spoil their little surprise by blogging about it.

During this lesson I made a tote bag. We were given the option of making a book back (long) or a shopping bag (wide). We learnt a technique called quilt as you go. I’ve found a website that has a lovely tutorial about this called “a cuppa and a catchup” 

This was one of my favourite classes It’s a quick way of quilting and you can easily make a cot or lap quilt in an afternoon using this method. It can also be used as a front panel of a cushion or throw pillow.

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Quilting class: lesson two

This post is very late, I hoped that I’d be able to blog about each class as I’d taken it. However, often I didn’t manage to finish my project during the class (I’m not very fast at sewing). Over the last few weeks, I’ve been trying to catch up.

This is my finished table runner from the second class “moving on”. It took me so long because it was my first attempt at machine quilting. It’s a bit rough and ready but I’m very pleased with my first attempt. I love the Ohio star pattern which is quite simple with very effective results.

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Every Little Girl Deserves a Pretty Dress

As briefly mentioned in the post “Bombay Stores – the fix for the fabric addict”, I’ve been involved in the Dress a girl around the world project. This venture provides dresses, often made from recycled materials, to girls in the developing world. I was originally encouraged by Becky, the author of a lovely blog that I read called Hazel and Blue.  The project  is very kindly being coordinated by Sew Scrumptious. I found the links from her blog incredibly helpful.

So, why did I take part? I have a gorgeous little girl. If you look in her wardrobe, you’ll see many beautiful clothes bought by us and her adoring relatives. Many of which are dresses. I must admit, I love to dress her up. I’m so proud when people make comments of how pretty she looks.

When I saw the project, I thought It’d be really lovely to be able to give other little girls their own pretty dresses. Originally, I couldn’t find any pillow cases which many of the dresses had been made out of so I bought some fabric.

However, I found some white pillow cases that I don’t use anymore and hand-dyed them using “Sunflower yellow” and “Bahama Blue” dye from Dylon. I was pleased with the results as I hadn’t used this product before. The instructions on the “Dress a girl around the world” website were so easy to follow, I added some pretty felt flowers to accessorise them.

I’m really pleased with the results and proud that I made the effort to make them. They’re far from perfect and a little wobbly in places (just like me). I hope that 7 little girls will  enjoy owning and wearing their very own pretty dresses.

I would like to say a very big thank you to my sister Bex Cooling who very kindly let me borrow her sewing machine when mine needed repairing and for the loan of her Sizzix machine to make the felt flowers.

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Bombay Stores – the fix for the fabric addict!

On a very rainy Bank Holiday Monday, I ventured out to find fabric. I was looking for a couple of reasons: firstly I wanted to add to my fabric stash (which is still in its infancy) for various quilting/sewing/applique projects that I have on the go; and secondly (and far more importantly) I’m taking part in the “Dress a girl around the world” campaign, that’s being coordinated through @sewscrumptious. The aim is to make a dress for a little girl in the developing world out of a pillow case. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a spare pillow case but still wanted to take part so I needed to buy some fabric for the dress.

Through my quilting contacts, I’ve been given some recommendations of places to explore. Bombay Stores in Bradford had been suggested at my last sewing class. I hadn’t visited in 15 years and was unsure of what to expect. The parking was quite tight. A gentleman who was visiting the mosque next door very kindly let me abandon my car behind his. However, I think that I visited at an exceptionally busy time.

The shop itself is a department store, and I was directed to the fabric section. I can only explain it as an Aladdin’s cave. I’ve never seen such a large selection of quilting fabrics before, ranging from plain cottons to American imports. I had to show serious restraint from buying excessively! There is also a large selection of dressmaking fabrics to choose from. Regrettably no photography is allowed in the store. However, I did bring home a selection of fat quarters for quilting. They were £2.99 each or three for £6.00. I also bought some pretty flowery fabric for the “Dress a girl around the world” project. Well worth a journey out, and I will definitely be visiting again.

My fabric stash

My fabric stash

My new fat quarters

My new fat quarters

The pretty "Dress a girl around the world" fabric

The pretty "Dress a girl around the world" fabric

By the way, if you can sew, please consider taking part in the above project. It’s such a fantastic cause.