The Handmade Fair, WOW

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Well I think The Handmade Fair is my new happy place! Everyone was so friendly and happy and the atmosphere was amazing even though it was a bit of a cold grey day (not as bad as the Friday!).

I was lucky enough to win entry only tickets (from the lovely Kate Essam a super amazing Textile Artist) and took along a fellow crafting friend on the Saturday. Being OCD prepared I had a list of all the workshops we wanted to do and on getting to the fair as it opened we went straight to the workshop booking hut but unfortunately all the ones we wanted to do were fully booked. A little disappointed we headed straight to one of shopping tents and within minutes our mood was sky high again!

All the pretty bunting.

I’ve got to say all the exhibitors were so so so friendly and the enthusiasm they had in their creations was so inspiring.
We then discovered the food and drink tent and wow all the samples were so yummy that we weren’t that hungry when it came to lunch time! However, we did manage to squeeze in a panini! There was so much choice we were spoilt. We did go back for some chips late afternoon before the journey home, any excuse!
The Mollie Makes Cafe was next to the food stalls so we popped over and I signed up to both the Mollie Makes and Simple Sewing magazines. I love both of these magazines and with an offer of three issues for £3 plus the current issue all in a tote bag who wouldn’t sign up!

So colourful!

We then came across the DMC tent offering free workshops and luckily managed to get the last spaces to embroider a bag. Woo Hoo! Although we were having loads of fun it was nice to be able to do some crafting along with lots of other crafters. This wasn’t until a bit later in the day so off we went to to other shopping tent.
By this time it was a lot busier but we managed to squeeze our way round and look at all the lovely stands. I must say I am very proud of myself for not buying any fabric! I did touch a lot of it though! Again so many lovely exhibitors and my favourite, Tilly of Tilly and the Buttons. I got a cheeky photo wearing my new Megan dress I had made for the fair.

Tilly and my cat Megan dress 🐱

To end the day we went to the DMC workshop. One of the workshops I had on my list at the beginning of the day was the DMC Boobilicious one with Mr X Stitch and I was very pleased when he turned up and ran this workshop. We each had a canvas drawstring bag to personalise with wording. We got to use DMCs product Custom by Me magic sheets as a template for the wording. They are preprinted self adhesive sheets that once you have sewn your design you rinse under hot water and the sheet dissolves leaving your beautiful stitching. I don’t know why but I decided to write “lost property” on mine!

Mr X Stitch workshop

Mr X Stitch was very funny and even shared his chips with us! (I told you I would write something nice!) Im now waiting for his workshops in Bedford he said he will restart as, small world, he lives in a village just down the road from me!
Over all the day was amazing and I will definitely be going back. My Christmas list is now filled with needlework kits (Floss and Mischief and Hawthorn Handmade) and an amazing wire skull piece of framed art by Lucy Elisabeth. I did make a few purchases including some stencils from Nicolette Tabram after being amazed by the transformation of an IKEA stool. We even got to have a practice so I’m sure I can upcycle a nest of tables I want to get for the living room. An owl print from Zeena and a glass robin (sorry I can’t remember the name of the lovely lady I got this from).

Cant wait to get stencilling .
Another owl print to add to my collection.
Fav magazines.

I could have been so tempted to take up so many new crafts but I’m a firm believer in concentrating on a few crafts and becoming really good at them rather than being ok at a wide range of crafts. I’m a sewer and crocheter kinda crafter. I love my sewing machine and have started making clothes in the last 18 months and I can’t see myself stopping anytime soon. It’s so addictive once you get started and I love having clothes that no one else does. I have also been hand sewing a giant mimi hexagon patchwork quilt and have just started another one! When I was a child I did a lot of cross stitching and seeing all the modernised designs at The Handmade Fair has inspired me to get back into this, hence the kits of the Christmas list! Its an ideal craft to do I’m the evenings on the sofa as the sewing machine and television don’t really mix!

My other love is crocheting. I love making blankets but there are only so many blankets anyone needs! However next on my blanket list is one for the bedroom. I just need to work out the colours and pattern then I will get crocheting. I also want to have a go at crocheting some socks and a cardigan or jumper.
Did you go to The Handmade Hair? What exhibitors inspired you?

Oh and always remeber where you parked!

My First Photowalk 

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I have always loved the idea of going on a photo walk after seeing the pictures from the Blogtacular photowalk and the walks organised by Emily Quinton. I LOVE Instagram and taking photographs and last weekend I went on my first ever photowalk. It was organised by the super lovely Claire of Claireabellemakes and the super smiley Jo from Hello Sunshine.
The weather all week was lovely sunshine apart from Saturday where heavy showers were forecast on and off all day and that’s exactly what happened! However, everyone still dressed very colourfully and bought along brightly coloured rain stoping umbrellas.

 

Me and Claire with our blue skies and rainbows.

 

Claire and Jo had planned a walk around Cambridge which included cute little houses, cows (mega scary), the river, the lido and ice cream.

So different but equally as amazing.

 

My boat! I wish!

 

 

Too busy taking photos of the metal baskets I didnt get one of the Lido!

 

I admit I was a bit scared about going on the photo walk as I didn’t know anyone and everyone going has amazing Instagram accounts with loads of followers. I felt that my photos wouldn’t be up to the same standards as everyone else. I was very please when Sara, from Kookymagpie, who I stumbled across during a Make Light course and it also happens we have been on the same sewing course and live in the same town!, messaged me and asked if I would like to go on the photowalk, yay! I straightaway said yes and so glad I did even though I had never met Sara! Just by turning up with someone put me at ease and we are now planning a Bedford photo walk!
I love taking photographs and Mr C is very good at standing, nearbyish, whilst I take numerous photographs making sure I capture the perfect shot but it was so nice being out with a group of people who also wanted to take photos of yellow front doors, pretty flowers and iron work on the pavements.

 

Front door goals.

 

Flowers in the rain.

 

Look down.

 

I was really happy with how my photos from the day turned out and will definitely be going on more photowalks. I will always be nervous about meeting a group of people I have never met but when we all have the same interests there is always something to talk about. I also made a very brightly coloured dress covered I’m cats for the walk which was a good conversation starter! Oh and handing out mini button goodie bags from my new little button shop, Buttons in the Garden, got a smile from everyone because who doesn’t love buttons!

 

Co-ordination!

 

You can see everyone’s photos at #cambridgecreativesphotowalk on Instagram.

 

And of course the walk was finished off with ice cream!

 

Have you ever been on a photo walk? Where have you been?

Buttons in the Garden

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Sew… My names Georgina and I am addicted to buttons! I don’t know what it is about them but I could just look at my button collection all day long, they are so mesmerising. The different colours and shapes and sizes and materials means that I can happily spend hours sorting and organising and resorting and reorganising them.  

A selection of my wooden animal buttons.
 
My collection isn’t made up of expensive antique buttons but just ones I have collected over the years. 

I do have my great grandmas buttons which I have kept separate. Unfortunately they are no longer in the original tin as I’m forever changing how I organise them. They are in a Cath Kidston button bag at the moment, however I keep meaning to see if I have a tin, I used to collect them when I was a child, to put them in as the bag isn’t really big enough.

 

My great grandmas buttons.
 
 
A rainbow selection of my great grandmas buttons.
 

The rest of my buttons are currently arranged by colour in a very unexciting plastic storage box. I don’t use these button for anything other than staring at!

My button and bead collects organside by colour.

In this container are the ones I use for crafting. I make lots of cards with them which I sell in a little local cafe, Chiff Chaff Cafe, and to use myself rather than buying them. I have also has a go at free motion embroidery and added them to this picture I made for my mum. 

Craft supplies.

Card making.
 
Adding buttons to my first attempt at free motion embroidery.
 
Because of my love of buttons I have opened up a little button shop over on Facebook called Buttons in the Garden. I also have an Instagram page just for buttons @buttonsinthegarden. If you love buttons please come and have a look and feel free to spread the word to any other button lovers you know! 

I would love to see your button collections and what you use them for so please tag me in them @buttonsinthegarden.

Happy Button Collecting. 

  

Tilly, Megan, Lilou and Bettine.

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Sew… This post was written at the beginning of the month but time has just flown by and I completely forgot about posting it. So here it finally is.

I want to share with you my sewing achievements for June. I’ve made four dresses and a tie. I’m new to clothes sewing and seeing everyone’s #MMMay on Instagram and watching The Great British Sewing Bee I have been really inspired to make more clothes.

I had signed up to the lovely Kitchen Table Sewing Megan dress course which started in May. Over four weeks, 2 hours a week, Janet taught us to make the dress. First we made a toile. I’m so glad we spent the time doing this as I always struggle to get dresses to fit me properly. I only had to make a few adjustments but they were definitely worth it. I lengthened the bodice by 7cm and lowered the bust darts by 1cm. My big boobs mean that bodices are never long enough to sit under my bust. I also shortened the skirt by 7cm as it came to below my knee which I wasn’t a fan of.

 

I would definitly recommend making a toile.

 

With Janet’s guidance we followed Tilys instructions in Love at First Stitch. Tilys instructions are so clear and easy to follow. The more detailed sections about inserting sleeves and invisible zips were great as I had never sewn either of these techniques before and they worked first time!

The fabric I used was from a fabric swap and I have no idea where it is from but as soon as I saw it I knew I wanted to make it into a dress. The scenery detail along the selvedge edge has made a perfect hem line. I didn’t have enough of the daisy print to make the sleeves but I actually really like the scenery detail in the sleeve. I also had to completely line the dress as it was slightly see through. I was worried about doing this as this was the first dress I had made but glad that I had Janet to guide me though and now I feel I would be able to line future projects should they need.

Edit

I love the detail on the hem line.

 

So pleased with the lining and sleeves.

 

Teeny tiny hand stitching.

 

Finished off with a personalised label.

 

I have worn the dress a lot since finishing it at the beginning of June and will definitely be make more Megan dresses, I may have already bought fabric to make the next one!

 

Front.

 

Back.

Feeling confident about sewing after completing my first dress I had a rare day off with no plans so I decided to make the Tilly and the Buttons Bettine dress. I already had some washed fabric that was just about big enough to make the version with no pockets. I didn’t make a toile this time as it is a loose fitting style. I did add 7cm to the length of the top as I would rather this be extra loose over the bust than tight. The skirt was also shortened due to the amount of fabric I had but this was fine as I would have had to shorten it anyway.

 

Flowers not leopard print.

 

Again another brilliant easy to follow pattern by Tily. I finished the dress in a day and it fits! This is another dress I have worn lots in June and will keep wearing it and most likely make more of. I do need to get some lighter weight interfacing as I think the one I used is a bit heavy but it still looks and hangs fine.

 

Im not very photogenic.

 

…and another one.

 

Wonky leg!

 

I had planned on making the Lilou dress for a wedding we are going to in July (this weekend, see I wrote it so long ago the times are out of sink!) but I was lucky enough to win tickets to Royal Ascot and decided five days before we were going to make the dress now! I did make a toile for this, well part made as I was running out of time. I had read in Love at First Stitch about wearable toiles so thought I would give it a go. I had kept my old bedding to practice sewing with and then it doesn’t matter if it isn’t wearable as I hadn’t spent money on fabric to go in the bin. As I had already made two of Tilys dresses I traced the bodice pieces and added on the 7cm in length and lowered the bust dart by 1cm. After sewing this together and pinning it on it filtered fine. I then made the skirt to practice at pleats, another the new skill learnt using more amazing instructions from Tily.

 

I love pleats! Will definitly be making more pleated items!

 

After attaching the bodice to the skirt and trying it on it didn’t fit! We pinned and unpinned and repinned but no it was too small across my lower back on the bodice. I unpicked the bodice and skirt, cut the added 7cm off of the bodice and sewed them together. I don’t know what made me do this but I just kept thinking where am I going to find a dress for Saturday! I tried it on again and it fit perfect! I didn’t need the added 7cm and for some reason adding it made the proportions wrong. Thank god for toiles! Due to running out of time I didn’t finish the toile and got stuck into making the actual dress!
I used amazing Liberty Tana Lawn from Alice Caroline.

 

So scary cutting into this.

 

Although the top is lined I also lined the skirt to give it some body. I asked Janet for some advice and she said to treat the skirt pieces and lining as one and not make a separate. This also saved me loads of time. Janet also provided me with the pattern and wadding for the tie. She is super. After finally plucking up the courage to cut into the amazing fabric I soon finished the dress. I loved the method for lining the bodice and I was so pleased with my invisible zip.

I had also decided to make Mr C a matching tie, why do I do this to myself when I am a beginner sewer with not much time! On the Friday night with 12 hours to go I made the tie. I expected this to be a bit of a challenge as I remember of the Sewing Bee a few years ago they struggled with this but I found it quite straight forward. I used the pattern and instructions from a Sew Over It tie kit I borrowed from Janet, how would I survive without her!

 

Matching.

 

We had a great day at Royal Ascot, although I was a bit dissappointed that Gok didn’t ask me where my one off dress was from and Mr C decided that the tie didn’t match his suit so didn’t wear it!

 

Pretty in pink.

 

The dress.

 

How well do these shoes match?

 

Repeating myself again but another super dooper pattern from Tily. More will be sewn in the coming months. Oh and yes I did finish the wearable toile and it is definitely wearable! Sorry haven’t had a chance to take a photograph.

I am now truly addicted to making clothes. There are so many patterns I want to try, however I have decided I am not going to make any more clothes until I have an overlocker. Role on Julys payday, which is now tomorrow!

Can anyone recommend a good pattern for a tshirt and a pleated skirt?

Happy Sewing.

Time to get picking 

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Sow… The vegetable patch is finally thriving.
The runner beans are reaching to the sky and have lots of lovely red and white flowers, I have two varieties growing. The pumpkin and butternut squash now have plenty of room to trail around. The French beans are being picked daily. The sunflowers are standing as tall as me. The peas and mange tout are producing like crazy. The shallot and carrots appear to be growing in harmony, even though they the quite close together. The tomatoes are a bit wild as I may have forgot to pinch them out in all the rain but there are tomatoes growing. The cucumber is trailing on the gravel as I can’t seem to get it to cling to anything to grow upwards. The lettuce was growing well and then one night the slugs and snails had a midnight feast and ate the lot. Blueberries are going blue. The courgettes aren’t doing as well as they normally do but we have picked this gigantic round one.

 

Busy busy busy.

Unfortunately the suede and sprouting broccoli seedlings were neglected so I am going to sow some directly into the ground and see what happens.

The lettuce trough is going to be turned into a succulent bed as I’ve tried growing lettuce a few times with no luck.
The flower beds are also growing nicely and we are making a little seating area by the shed.
What have you been busy doing in the garden?

It’s all starting to grow.

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Sow… This weekend I managed to get a few very productive hours in the garden.

The first job was planting out the runner beans and French beans that were big enough. I need to secure the canes but didn’t have time and thought it more important I got everything planted out.

runner beans
french beans

I still have some more to plant out but they are too small at the moment.

I planted out another row of peas and mange tout as the first row are now about 5inches tall.

mange tout

The carrots and beetroot I planted a while ago haven’t done anything but maybe this is because of the crazy weather we have been having here and the unexpected frosts. I planted out two more rows of carrots to see what happens. I also found some shallots. Due to running out of room I have planted these in between the rows of carrots. I don’t know if this will or won’t work but I’m sure I’m read somewhere about planting onions and leeks between carrots to stop carrot fly.

I also found three packets of lettuce and salad leaf seeds so I have planted a trough of these. I rescued the trough, well three of them, from a neighbour skip a few years ago. One of the others is used for herbs and the other I want to make into a succulent bed.

lettuce

I also managed to sow some swede and sprouting broccoli seeds. I got these from the Edible Garden Show. I’ve never grown them before but wanted to have a go at growing something over the winter. I have started these off in biodegradable pots, another Sainsburys purchase!, so that they can be planted straight out when they are big enough. I have no idea if I am doing the right thing or not but I don’t have room to plant them straight into the ground at the moment.

swede and broccoli

I also tidied up the herb trough and sowed some corriander, basil and thyme into pots. Oh and I’ve sown some leek seeds into a large pot to get them started.

A very quick update but as I’ve been very quiet on the blog writing I didn’t want you all to think I haven’t been busy in the vegetable patch!

Happy growing everyone!

Carrots and Beetroot

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Sow… I finally got round to spending some time with the vegetable patch. I started off checking which seeds were ready for sowing outside. I have grown carrots and beetroot a few years ago but didn’t have great results. I think that was mainly due to not thinning out the seedlings as I thought it was a waste of potential crop!

Getting organised.

To try and improve this years attempt at carrots and beetroot I started off sieving the soil that they would be growing in. I made my raised vegetable patch and it is filled with rotted down compost from my compost bins and what my mum and grandparents have donated from their compost bins. The soil is lovely but there are a few lumpy bits in there, mainly tea bags and fruit stones. I’ve requested that these aren’t put in the compost bins in future to save sieving time!

I picked up the sieve from Sainsburys for a bargain price of £1.50! I meant to buy one from the garden centre but completely forgot and happened to walk down the gardening isle in Sainsburys when I spotted it. Although it is made from plastic it was perfect for the job and I had no problems with it. I also picked up some other gardening supplies as they were so reasonably priced.

 

Lovely sifted soil.

 

Once sieved I then dug in half a bag of shape sand. I’m sure I read somewhere that this helps when growing carrots. I think it’s something to do with making it easier for them to grow. I’m not fussed about having perfectly straight carrots but would just like them to love where they are growing. I had half a bag of sand just sitting in the shed to thought it was worth trying.

 

Digging in sand.

 

The carrot and beetroot seeds were given to me by a friend and are on seed tapes. I never even new such a thing existed until I opened the packet. The seeds are pre-spaced out in the biodegradable tape so less thinning out is required. Perfect!
I marked out the rows using string, to save wonky rows and to help with knowing where the seedlings will be and what’s most likely to be weeds. I then made a grove, rolled out the tape, covered over and watered.

 

Seed tape.

 

The seeds are from De Ree. The carrots are “Early Nantes” which are fast maturing, approx 9 weeks, and the beetroot are “Detroit” which produces high yield and suitable for successional sowing.
I have some other carrot seeds to sow but am going to wait until these ones have started growing so I don’t end up with all the carrots ready in one go.
How do you grow your carrots and beetroot?

The Patch Plan

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Sow… I finally got round to making a plan for the vegetable patch yesterday. I’ve never done one before but seeing everyone else’s start to appear on Instagram I thought I would. Hopefully it will mean I get more out of the patch rather than running out of room or it being a jumbled mess.

This is the fourth year I have been growing in the patch. It’s a raised bed measuring approx 6.25 X 1.3 meters. It has railway sleeper edging and is filled with rotted down compost. My family donate all their rotted down compost to the patch!

The empty patch a few weeks ago.

I buy all my seeds from Lidl as they are so cheap and I’ve never had any problems with germination or small harvests. I saw them in Lidl a few weeks ago so grabbed everything I wanted. I should have really checked what I already had as I still had a lot left from last year and had been given some from friends as well! Last years are still in date so will use those up first.

 

Seed supply.

 

Here is the plan…

Patch plan.

I’ve also made a colour coded list of what needs to be sown when. It’s still getting a bit frosty here and I don’t have a green house, apart from a mini IKEA one which is amazing – might have to get another one at the weekend, so will wait until nearer the end of the month before I start sowing.

 

Sowing guide.

 

I completely forgot to think about rotation until I had finished drawing and colouring but nothing is going to be planted in the same place as last year so I think I’ll just give it a go and keep my fingers crossed.

I have two wooden troughs which I got out of a skip. One currently has herbs in it but am going to put those into pots and have lettuce growing in both. There will also be lots of tomatoes and cucumbers plants which my friends mum gives me when they are OK to go outside.

The two blueberry bushes where given to me by my mum as Dylan (the dog) used to eat them before she had a chance to pick them!

 

Dylan in the strawberries. He was too quick to catch eating the blueberries!

 

The plan may have been drawn too soon though as I’m off to the Edible Garden Show tomorrow so I may come back with a million and one ideas and need to to completely re draw it!

I want to start thinking about what I can grow over the winter months as I don’t like seeing the patch empty. Does anyone have any ideas what I can grow?

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram for daily photo updates @sewinthegarden.

Makelight ~ Emily Quinton

Two weeks ago I came across a sponsored ad on my Instagram feed which caught my attention. It was a beautiful photograph by Emily Quinton advertising the Makelight taster course on how to take beautiful photographs. I clicked on Emily’s profile and my screen was instantly filled with wonderful images. I knew straight away I was signing up to the course.

Everyday over five days you get an email with a link to the lesson. The lessons can be completed when it’s convenient for you and include videos and written contents. There are tasks for you to complete and questions for you to think about. I’m not going to go into detail about each lesson as I really recommend you sign up to the free course and complete the tasks yourself to get the most out of it.

Since I have completed the course I feel that my eyes are constantly searching for beautiful images to capture. I used to just have one Instagram feed, @georgina8055, but this was a jumble of personal pictures, regrams and my hobbies. I have kept this account but have also set up an account for my blog which will focus on crafting and gardening, you can find me at @sewinthegarden.

 

Before Makelight.

 

 

After Makelight.

 

I have since signed up to Emily’s Beautify Your Instagram course which starts on March 14th so keep checking my Instagram to see all my photographs and I’ll update you all on here as to how I got on. Emily’s website, Makelight, is filled with all the details of the courses she runs both online and at her studio. There is also a very inspiring blog section you must read.

See you on Instagram and don’t forget to sign up to the taster course.

My First Satchel

Sew… I finished my four week sewing course with Kitchen Table Sewing this week and now have a satchel to show for it. The course was brilliant but this is probably the most untidy sewing I have ever done. It is entirely my doing and not that of the lovely Janet or the pattern but my fabric choices.

 

The finished satchel.

 

I used a star print duck cotton from Fabric World. It seemed to have a different feel to it than the Cath Kidston duck cotton I have used for sewing in the past. It seemed a lot softer and frayed a lot. Due to the fraying I remade my tabs. I decided to do this in a contrasting colour, as suggested by Mr C. Being lazy I used some fabric I already had in my stash. The tabs were a lot better than the first attempt, however when it came to sewing them onto the front pocket I struggled due to the thickness as this fabric was a lot thicker than the stars. I was going though 5 layers of fabric plus three lots of interfacing which meant that I was unable to sew as close to the edge as I needed and therefore the tabs lift at the edges. However the contrast looked brilliant.

The contrasting tab.

 

I used the contrasting fabric for the gussets (I can heard Janet giggling at the mention of the word gusset!), again advice of Mr C. This again looked brilliant but due to the thickness made sewing the rounded corners tricky. The corners also proved difficult because I had to undo some stitching which caused the star fabric to fray quite a lot which meant the corners weren’t as rounded as they should have been.

Wonky corners and a neat strap.

 

The strap was probably the best bit of sewing! Instead of using the cream tabs for the bag straps I used the star fabric as it made them stand out on the cream gusset (hehe) and followed the line of the strap.

Contrasting gussets and matching strap tabs.

 

Oh and the inside pocket is an extra that Janet added in and is definitely a must for a bag.

The very useful internal pocket.

 

I will definitely be making another satchel and would recommend making one. The tabs are the fiddliest bit but making them in one go at the beginning meant that the constructing of the bag was reasonably straight forward.

I have given myself until the end of the month to make another one. Watch this space. It has also given me the idea to go rummaging around charity shops looking for old bags which I can take apart for the metal work!

Have you ever made a satchel? How did you get on with the fiddly sewing? I would love to see your pictures of them, feel free to share them with me on Instagram @sewinthegarden.