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Monday, October 31

Note Book Upcycling!

I've been busy making some notebook covers for a craft fair I am doing on December 3rd at The Methodist Church, High Street, Lincoln. It's on the same day as the Lincoln Christmas Fair - if you've never been, I highly recommend it. If you are able to, take the long walk up Steep Hill, many of the shops and houses sell mulled wine and hot chocolate laced with brandy to make the climb up the cobbled hill more bearable! Hopefully, the beautiful vintage carousel will still be there too.
Anyway... back to the notebooks...
You will need:
  • A hardback notebook
  • Fabric remnants - (I've covered some in vintage embroidered napkins, tablecloths, curtains, shirts etc. Cotton is probably the easiest to work with as it is not too bulky)
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine or willing hands!
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Rule
  • Buttons, card toppers, stickers, jewellery etc to embellish

Take your notebook and lay it flat onto two pieces of fabric. 
Measure a rectangle around the book, allowing for a 1cm seam allowance all the way around and then also add on 5cms for each flap that will fold in to hold the notebook in place.
Save the trimming scraps, either to make a decoration for the front of your notebook holder or for stuffing another project.
Cut the two pieces of fabric, place their right sides together and pin them together.
Using either your sewing machine or hand stitch them together, leaving a gap in the middle, on the bottom edge of about 6cms.  

Turn the fabric right side out and press with an iron. Trim off any excess fabric and use chopsticks or a pencil to push the corners right out to get a nice sharp, crisp corner. Hand stitch the gap together. 

Place the notebook in the centre of the fabric, and fold both flaps in. Make sure that you leave a little space for the book to "breathe", by closing the notebook and checking that the fabric is not too tight.

Pin each flap to secure, and carefully remove the notebook.
Sew the flaps at the top and bottom of the cover. Y0ou can either do this by hand as in the picture below or stitch on the machine around the rectangular shape as close to the edge as possible (the brown ones at the top of this post, are made in this way).

Now comes the fun part! Raid your button tin and hunt out some buttons of similar or contrasting colours to your fabric.

Have a play! Try out some different designs with your buttons/buckles/charms/ribbons/beads etc, until you are happy with the design and stitch or glue in place.

  1. Pop the cover over your notebook and you're done!
The possibilities with this project are endless. Experiment with different fabrics: silks, tweeds, shrunken jumpers, sacking etc... etc... Add personalised embellishments such as charms, buttons, badges, etc and create a unique personalised gift for someone.

Sunday, October 30

Christmas on a shoestring!

Since resigning from work, money has been tight... so this year family and friends will be getting more than their usual amount of hand crafted gifts from us!

This year it's Christmas on a shoestring ... and Christmas just wouldn't be the same without Aunties Homemade Choca Vodka ... deliciously wicked and a favourite with young and old...

Chocolate Vodka is soooooooooo easy to make!

You will need
  • A half bottle of vodka, (You can use cheap brand vodka for this as it is soooooooooo chocolaty, you wont notice!)
  • 5 Mars Bars (Or other chocolate of your choice - as long as it isn't biscuit based, Mint Aero and Bounty make good alternatives),
  • a dishwasher (or a saucepan of hot water).
Chop the chocolate bars into small blocks and add to the bottle of vodka, (you will need to remove some of the vodka). Screw the lid back on tightly and put through the hottest cycle on your dishwasher. The heat will melt the chocolate.

If you don't have a dishwasher, then put the chopped chocolate bars onto a plate over a pan of boiling water and melt. Then add to the vodka. Give it a good shake and store in the fridge.
Decorate with your own hand made labels and pretty ribbons for a very personal touch.

Thursday, October 20

Top Dog Dickie Bow Ties for dogs...whatever next

Mr Harry Grimwood and I have been to the woods. I thought we were going to collect kindling. He thought we were going to chase pheasants and snuffle.
So, collecting the kindling was left to me. I always feel so at home in the woods, whatever the season, I love the smells and sounds, (almost as much as Mr Grimwood!) and can walk for ages just breathing it all in.
When I young, I found a small copse, off Well Lane - I never saw anyone else there and used to believe that no one else knew about it. I used to lie down on the bluebells and look at the sky through the leaves. It's probably housing now - but I try not to think about that.

It was nippy today, there was a light Autumnal bite in the air and I was glad I'd got the wood burner going that morning, for our return. I spent the rest of the day sewing things for a Christmas Craft fair I'm doing in December

I've had a few orders for my "doggie dickies" and Harry has been kind enough to model them for me.

Seems odd not to be sitting in an office anymore - but since I've been off work, I've been keeping myself busy with my crafts. My "office" nowadays is the kitchen table and has a much more comfortable atmosphere! Plus chocolate cookies are close to hand :-)