Goodbye 2017

Well, that was 2017.   Apart from this post, it’s been completely blog free and I’m OK with that.   Instead of worrying about keeping up with other people and joining in with every craft-along or instagram photo-a-day, I’ve done my own thing.

I managed to read 20 books and exceeded my target of 18.   Admittedly it was mostly chick lit and Harry Potter short stories, but I made time for reading and enjoyed it, which is what reading is supposed to be.

I have been crafting.   I’ve caught up on some craft projects that were years old, and some craft kits that were only hours old.   I still need to get lots of things completed (or started having bought all the stuff in preparation!), and I’ll try and make time for those in 2018.   I also need to make huge inroads into my scrapbooking, and my Trefoil Guild Bronze award must be finished soon.   Just one clause to go.

One thing that has held back my creativity is the amount of stuff I have.   The clutter means that I don’t have room to create to use up the stuff that is taking up all the room!   I have made an effort to declutter and I’ll carry on.   I just need to figure out what I can do with everything I’m getting rid of.   I’m not going to attempt to Kon Mari my life.   My aim for 2018 is to gain sole control of the office as my craft room, and to be able to contain all the craft materials spread all over the house in there.

My volunteering has expanded this year.   As well as my Guide unit and WI committee responsibilities, I’ve also opened a Brownie Pack.   Towards the end of the year, I was just snowed under with paperwork, running workshops, organising meetings and everything else life threw at me.    I need to get that under control and stop over-committing.

Further changes in 2018 need to be to waste less and accumulate less.   Can I lose weight and get healthy too?

Wishing everyone a fabulous 2018!

Craftingspiration – Craft Books

Craft and recipe booksI love craft and cooking books.   They give me inspiration, techniques, ideas, instruction, patterns, recipes, hints and tips.   Some have been recommended to me.   Some are from TV series I’ve enjoyed.   Some are gifts.   Some are swaps.   Some are prizes.   Once they are in the house, I won’t let them go.

I’ve found that I either just use the same couple of pages over and over again, or don’t use them at all after the initial look through when they first come to me.   Looking at some of these afresh, I am determined to use them, and in doing so, I might clear some of my crafty stash as well.

I’ve decided to start with cake.   Ingredients are ordered.   Ready, set, bake!

Are any of these on your shelf?

Dog Under My Desk – Zip and Go Bag

Dog Under My DeskThe VATMOSS fiasco has now come into EU law, and although the UK government has offered some concessions, many producers of digital patterns have simply stopped supplying them.

I had a mini spend up just before the 1st January deadline and picked up a few patterns which I’ll use during the next few months.   However one supplier that I’ve used in the past is still supplying downloadable PDF’s at time of writing.   Dog Under My Desk designs fabulous, practical bags.   Her site is full of free tutorials as well as her PDF pattern shop.Dog Under My Desk Zip and Go Bag PatternWhen you buy a pattern, you get a PDF to download giving very detailed, illustrated instructions, plus the pattern pieces.   I’ve had the Zip and Go Bag pattern for some time now, and I made a Frozen themed bag for youngest Craftyguidelet as well as a more grown up version for a friend’s daughter.   Of course, eldest Craftyguidelet wanted a Frozen bag too, so I finally got round to knocking it off of my WIP list.Dog Under My Desk Zip and Go Bag FrozenThe pattern is very easy to follow, and don’t be scared of the zips.   They are a cinch to put in.   I do end up talking to myself to triple check which order the pieces go together though.   Read three times, measure twice, cut once!

The fabric needs to be cut in a certain way along the grain so it doesn’t stretch which is all dealt with in the instructions.   I’m a bit stingy with fabric so I didn’t fussy cut the bag to give a perfect Elsa orientation in the centre of the bag.   I knew the girls wouldn’t mind as long as someone’s face appears somewhere.   Perhaps next time I’ll get to make one for me, although I don’t think pink is my colour.

Have you got a long list of things to get made this year?

Craftingspiration: Craft Kits

craft kits keyringI am addicted to magazines, especially craft ones.   There are always new things to learn and people to be inspired by.   I can’t pass by a WH Smith or a supermarket magazine display without trying to find an excuse to buy something.   This is on top of the titles I subscribe to that handily pop through the letterbox every month.   I love the ‘thump’ they make on the doormat. I could get the electronic versions posted to my tablet, but then I’d miss the free kits that are usually attached to the front and I’d feel cheated. christmas cross stitch housesSometimes the kits stay in the storage box (erm, read boxes) for some time.   These Christmas themed houses were from a Cross Stitcher Magazine kit a few years ago. My box of kits is where I go when I need a small portable craft for a trip.   Much as I’d like to take my sewing machine with me everywhere I go, it’s hardly practical (and I think husband would protest a bit too), however a small envelope containing thread, a needle and a bit of aida is easy to pop in a bag.   Just remember to stick the instructions in as well!travelcard holder Kits are also good if you want to achieve something quickly.   This travelcard holder from Mollie Makes (again over a year old!) was knocked up in less than 30 minutes on the morning I went into London on the train.   It was the crafty hit I needed in the middle of the school holidays.   A bit of time for me.
keyringSometimes it’s nice to try something new.   Having a kit on the front of a magazine has shown me the basics of how to make these keyrings without having to source all the bits.
cake cross stitchNot all the kits I collect* (*hoard) are from magazines.   I subscribe to the Crafty Creatives boxes and this cupcake cross stitch was a quick, sit-in-front-of-the-TV-and-craft project finished in an evening.
kumihimo braceletAnother Crafty Creatives kit.   I wouldn’t have tried kumihimo if it wasn’t included in one of the boxes.   But didn’t this used to be called Looby Loos when I was a kid?   Albeit with plastic strands instead of fabric ones!

What do you do with your craft kits?   Are you a hoarder or do you get them done before the next issue comes out?decoupage kit tree stagdecoupage tree stag