Sunday, 25 January 2015

Grow Your Blog

This year I am taking part in "Grow Your Blog" - I took quite a long time out of blogging last year so I feel that this is a good way to get back in the swing so to speak.  The blog hop is being organised by Vicki.

My name is Nicola and I live in Solihull, England.  I have been crafting and blogging for years sometimes in fits and starts, sometimes every day depending upon what is going on at home and how creative I am feeling.

I love most types of crafts, at present I am into hand sewing - for some strange reason hexagons are my latest passion and I am often sitting on the settee at night sewing up little hexagons for some project or another.  If I am not hand sewing in front of the tv I am knitting and my current passion for that is socks.

This is my favourite hexagon project so far:

it was done for a blog hop that I took part in August 2013.

My two main passions that I always return to though are papercrafting, for which I make items such as:

both of these are classes that I taught last year at my local Hobbycraft store.

I also love to sew and I hand/machine sew anything from quilts to bags to pin cushions to placemats, basically whatever I fancy making at the time!  Mostly I design all my own stuff but sometimes I do buy kits for the simplicity of sewing without too much thinking!  I love to take part in blog hops as I find this a great way to gain lots of inspiration and also showcase my own work.

This is one of my favourite quilts that I made last year, its big enough to fit on a double bed:

I can't blog any projects that I am currently working on as I am hosting an Eclectic Elements (that's the fabric used in the cog quilt above) blog hop in a couple of weeks time and I can't showcase my items early!

I have had various items published in scrapbooking, stamping and sewing magazines over the years and am lucky enough to have had everything that I have put forward to any publication published. An achievement I am very proud of!

I have recently started to make some YouTube videos, three of which are on my sidebar - in them I show you how to create an inked tag, take it a step further with stamping and also how to make 3d flowers.  I will be making some more videos in the near future too.

Here's a picture of me:

this was taken back in September 2012 and the reason I have a big cheesy grin on my face is because I am actually holding an olympic torch at my son's school! saying that I do usually have a cheesy grin on my face anyway!

Anyway that's enough about me for the moment, I am trying to keep this fairly short and sweet as I know we are all going to be reading a lot of blogs in the next few days!

Thanks for looking - patiently waiting for snow from Solihull

Wednesday, 14 January 2015


Happy New Year everyone!  Thought I would join in as I am inbetween projects - this is my desk as of 6am this morning (left this way from yesterday) and there are no prizes for guessing what I have been up to!

I am organising an Eclectic Elements blog hop next month (details on post below if you fancy joining in but you will have to be quick as its only three weeks away) so I have done a project for that which I finished yesterday and then today I am going to put all this away (well the sewing machine and pin cushion basket at least) and hopefully get inky and messy - something I haven't really been in the mood to do for a while but I am starting to get the itch again now - all very exciting!  Although knowing me I will just get on with knitting my next pair of socks which have been my latest addiction for a while now.

If  you want to know why I am showing my messy desk to the world the pop over to Julia's and see lots of others too and even join in if you fancy.  There is something quite nice about revealing the state of the desk to the world and realising that so many others out there live in the same chaos too!

Thanks for looking - one project sewn up and two to go from Solihull

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

An Eclectic Elements Blog Hop

Hi everyone,
I feel its time for a new blog hop as I haven't hosted one for a couple of years now.

I thought it would be fitting to do a blog hop with the fabulous Eclectic Elements range from Tim Holtz - so do you fancy joining me???

Don't worry you don't have to be a sewer to use the fabrics - it could be something simple such as a fabric brooch:

or a card:

both of the above use the fabrics cut out with sizzix dies - see you can use your sizzix dies in such a variety of ways when you start incorporating fabrics with paper - such fun!

Or you could sew something fabulous (and complicated!) with the fabrics, such as a quilt:

The blog hop will run from Monday 9th February 2015 - the exact date will depend upon how many participants join in.

Sew if you would like to join in this is the information I will need from you:

for the Subject line use " ECLECTIC ELEMENTS BLOG HOP"
in the message please let me know your name and your blog name URL - if you do not have one don't worry as I can host for you, sew this hop really is open to all!  I will then be in touch with your scheduled showcase day.

Anyone and everyone can participate as long as you use some Eclectic Elements fabric somewhere on your project - even if you don't have a blog you can take part as you will just need to email pictures and text to me and I will publish your project on my blog on your showcase day.

If you could add the Eclectic Elements button to your blog I would be grateful - the more people that see this hop the more will hopefully take part. 

For a better viewing of the Eclectic Elements range 1 pop over to Tim's blog here or view the second range here

I look foward to hopping with you in February!

Thanks for looking - feeling eclectic from Solihull.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Whoopedy Whoop - don't you just love Christmas Eve!  Have had a lovely morning watching Arthur Christmas and playing on the xbox with the little one, who is sooooo excited (but then so am I!) - he is hoping for Skylanders Trap Team from Santa so fingers crossed for him everyone!

I have now laid my table, nice and simple this year:

just cutlery and glasses to add now.  It's always at Christmas I realise just how much handmade stuff I have in my collection - I counted 19 Christmas items in my lounge and this only included one count for all the knitted items on my tree and such like - and look at my table all handmade apart from the lazy Susan, white tablecloth (even I don't have that much patience!) and the serviettes (thanks Ikea!).  The table runner, placemats and turkey were all made last year but I haven't felt like making much in the sewing department recently - not even the Christmas quilt has been finished and that was started last year too! Oh well I am sure the sewing bug will return soon when I get bored of knitting socks!

I have made this new this year though:

the image was preprinted on the fabric and I just stitched around it all using a backstitch - very therapeutic - I can see me doing more of these in the future!  I bought the redwork at the Malvern Quilt Show in October and finished it within a week of buying it however it took me until Monday to actually finish it off by adding the fabric sides and back - also I haven't quilted it yet, I might go for a holly leaf pattern around the edges one day - we shall see!

And then my table settings for this year are again very simple but oh so cute:

I got the idea from a craft fayre I went to in November and just knew that they would be adorning my Christmas table!  Bit of a disaster as I bought 8 kit kats a couple of weeks ago and they all mysteriously disappeared! Those darn pixes - I have since bought more and given these out as presents and also have a sneaky spare one just waiting for Mrs Claus tonight when the children have gone to bed! I don't see why Mr Claus should have all the fun with the whisky and mince pie, do you?

Anyway thank you everyone for all your support this year although mine hasn't been as particularly crafty as my last few years but its still all been very good fun and a great journey.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year - that's me signing off for now and off to sit in front of the telly.

Thanks for looking - Ready for Christmas from Solihull

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Keeping warm

Hi everyone,

I have been really busy this past week catching up on all the Christmas excitement, this morning I have been busy finishing off the last of my little handmade gifts and Christmas cards - all good fun - and last week we were busy celebrating my eldest's 14th Birthday.

I have also been busy in front of the tv catching up with Greys Anatomy - I am now on series 8 (so no spoilers please!) but box office sets are very addictive aren't they - as soon as you finish one episode you play the next one just to see what happens next! thank goodness they are only 40 mins long! Anyway whilst viewing I have been busy making these:

aren't they fabulous!  My first pair of knitted socks - quite a challenge when you get to the toe part particularly when you haven't got any double pointed needles in the right size!  Oh well I managed - the socks are knitted on a 2.25 circular needle which you can use throughout but I found it tough going at the toe so switched to four normal needles which I then had to keep swapping stitches over as they weren't double pointed so was a lot more time consuming, but thankfully saved me the expense of buying even more knitting needles when I already have hundreds!  The wool is again Bergere de France which I got from the fabulous Stitch Solihull and I am not sure if its 4ply or double knit as I don't speak French!

Am now busy on my second pair which I am going to make a little bit longer - again I am just doing a simple stocking stitch until I find a nice cable pattern for my next pair (seems knitting socks is very addictive too!).

Thanks for looking - going round in circles from Solihull

Friday, 5 December 2014

Something to keep me warm this winter

Have finally finished my crocheted blanket!

It's 11 hexagons in length and 7 in width - I would have preferred it a bit wider but didn't want to go out and buy more wool - this took 16 balls so wasn't too expensive but I could have just kept going and going until it filled my lounge as it was such fun to make and the wool - Bergere de France Magic - was a pleasure to crochet with.  I still have enough dark grey wool to do another round around the edge but haven't decided whether to or not yet.

Hope you are all enjoying this busy time of year I am almost ready for the visit from the big man in 20 days which is always a bit of a relief isn't it!  Am now busy spending my time knitting socks (such fun!) and catching up with Grey's Anatomy which I only discovered a few weeks ago and have managed to watch all the way through to series 7 so far - gotta love Sky box sets.

Thanks for looking - having a socking good time from Solihull

Wednesday, 12 November 2014


Thought I would join in again with the nosy peek around the world of creative desks this week.

This is mine:

The material to the left is to finish off a Christmas quilt I started last year, I have just cut out the pieces to make the back the same size as the front which is why my cutting mat is out (I bought a new A1 mat at Malvern the other week but haven't used that one yet - its a whopper though and will make cutting out large quilt fabric sew much easier! at least I hope it will!).  The redwork in the middle is something new I fancied trying - again I bought the pattern at Malvern and have already finished all the stitching - very relaxing to sit and do in front of the telly at night - the red and green fabric to the right will be used to frame it and make it into a wall hanging.  As you can see I had a trip to Ikea at the weekend and have treated myself to their big set of wooden drawers and they are just left on the table from when I bought them ready to be pimped up big style - and yes I still have the middle sized wooden box that I bought a few years ago still half pimped but hey ho they will get done someday!

The large books at the back of the table are to do with my reading frenzy, they are all large print scandanvian/Icelandic crime novels and what possessed me to get four hardbacks from the library at once and walk home with them in my backpack I am not sure but I did!

Sizzix machine there because it lives there and that little bit of wicker sticking out behind the box is actually a wreath I bought from a lovely place called Willows and Wetlands in Somerset in the half term to make a fabulous seasonal wreath each season for my front door - thats the plan anyway!

That's my crafting life on my desk this week (the lounge has even more stash in it as I am on a bit of a crochet/sewing thing at the moment) so come join in the fun over at Julias and show us yours.

Quickly edited to add:  Completely forgot that I did take myself off to Hobbycrafts at the NEC last minute on Sunday (I only live 10 mins away from the NEC so I thought it rude not to!) and bought these goodies to have a play with:

Most bits and bobs were in a sale but I couldn't resist that Banksy stamp - no idea what to do with it yet which isn't like me I usually look at something and conjure up an image of what I am going to do with it before buying - I do think that those raindrops and Tim stamps have lots of potential though!  I also bought two balls of beautiful alpaca wool to make a bat and an orangutan of all of things!

Have also updated my blog to include my YouTube tutorials.  Another new venture of mine.

Thanks for looking - Measuring up from Solihull