#Bagchallenge Bag 2 (and 2a!)

After my start with sewing all 12 bags from Lisa Lam’s new book ‘A Bag For All Reasons‘, I chose the Pleated Purse-Frame Purse as my next make.

A long time ago, I bought a purse frame, some glue and the U-Handbag Easy Peasy Purse pattern.   They have sat in my stash, mainly because of tales of people’s disasters with the glue which put me off.   However, knowing I was going to be attempting the Pleated Purse-Frame Purse, I thought I’d attempt the Easy Peasy Purse.   It’s Easy Peasy – what could go wrong?

As it turns out – nothing!

I was so pleased with how this turned out.   The instructions were simple to follow, the glue didn’t get everywhere, and my purse looks great.   My chief weapon was an old metal nail file which was perfect for stuffing the fabric into the frame.

With this success behind me, and having read the lovely comments from some of my twitter followers, I got straight into cutting out the fabric for my Pleated Purse-Frame Purse.

This was as easy as the the Easy Peasy Purse.   The only problem I had was stuffing the frame with the cord around the pleats.   A bit of brute force with the nail file and it was done.


I think I prefer the shape of the Easy Peasy Purse and will definitely have a play around with more purse frames, especially as there are so many varieties to try!

Not sure what bag 3 will be as Guide camp is just round the corner.   It’ll be something great I’m sure!

#Bagchallenge Bag 1

In a previous blog post, I mentioned my personal bag making challenge based on Lisa Lam’s new book, ‘A bag for all reasons’.   After a bit of a gap, I have made my first bag: the Compact Groceries Tote.

Here is my bag.   It’s a bit creased as it was used on the supermarket run this morning.

It rolls up really small, has a handy trigger hook for clipping it onto wherever you need, and is also reversible, should you need to match it to your outfit for the day.

I used burgundy and cream floral fabrics which I picked up from my local haberdashery because I thought they might come in handy one day (as you do – you do, don’t you?).   The handles, trigger loop and wraparound strap have come from a small remnant from the same shop that I’ve had for ages.

The pattern in the book is really clear.   There is a description of the bag with emphasis on it’s key features, suggestions on fabrics, a list of all the bits you’ll need, and the sizes of fabric you need.   There are also tips for varying the method or pattern to “make it mine” as Lisa puts it.   I only varied from the instructions by using a sew in popper rather than a popper snap as I had some already.

This bag has one pattern piece for the handle which is traceable from the patterns in the back of the book.   The other pieces are simple rectangles.   The instructions have helpful photos and are clear to follow.   I cut the fabric out on Monday night and sewed it on Tuesday.

My major problems were:

1. Choosing the fabrics and getting the scissors out to commit to cutting it.

2. Finding the time to do it.

3. Retrieving a pin I’d sewn into the lining and forgotten about!

In other words, I thought it was great and can’t wait to start my next project.   I’m going to practice on my Easy Peasy Purse pattern which I bought from Lisa’s website, www.u-handbag.com yonks ago, and then progress to the Pleated Purse-Frame Purse.   Wish me luck!

Skulls and Ponies Make Something Swap

A little while ago I saw @sewrayme post a picture of some hand knitted socks she’d received in the Skulls and Ponies Make Something swap.   This varies slightly from the Popular Crafts swap in that, rather than surprising your swap partner with a swap, you email each other, discuss talents, and choose what you would like to receive.

I was partnered with the fantastic Katie @teaandcaketime who blogs as Hook, Line and Sink Her.   One of her many talents is cross stitch.   I found it very difficult to ask for something.   Perhaps it’s because I love the surprise of getting something I know nothing about, or more likely, I feel greedy asking someone to put themselves out for me (I am getting treatment!).

After being ill, being busy, and exchanging a few emails, we decided that Katie would make me a sewing themed cross stitch, and I would make her oven mitts.

I was gobsmacked when I got my parcel. (apologies for the terrible photos)

Beautifully wrapped up and actually framed so I could use it straight away.

Isn’t it gorgeous!   I do love sewing.   It’s such an imaginative design and I absolutely love it.   It’s going in my craft room for inspiration.   Katie has better pics on her blog post here.

I collected and prepared all the bits for my swap, but life, the universe, and everything got in the way of making (as usual!).   Eventually I got sewing.   I made a version of the ones on the website – slightly bigger and quilted.

Katie said she liked Cath Kidston fabric and I have that in (far too) great quantities.   It was a close call making Batman themed gloves instead, but pretty prevailed!

Katie’s blog is here.   I’m really flattered by her comments.

Thanks so much to Fran @skullsandponies for organising the swap.

Union Jack Swap – My Make

After changing my mind so many times about what to make for my Popular Crafts swap, I eventually decided on a Sugarloaf Pouch using my U-Handbag pattern and some lovely London themed fabric I found in Hobbycraft.


It’s not easy to see, but the lining is London themed too.

As part of the swap, I also needed to buy a treat.

I found these felted hemispheres in some of Maxine’s favourite colours.   Hopefully she can use them to embellish some of her projects.

Next stop, my polka dot swap.   Fabric and treat already bought.   Just need the time to make it!!!!

Union Jack Swap

I am a very bad blogger and swapper.   I received my Popular Crafts Union Jack Swap ages ago and I’m only just blogging about it. I also haven’t sent my swap off yet either. Slapped wrists all round!

I was partnered with Maxine Owen who produced this amazing little bag.

Look at the work that has gone into it. Lovely!

My treats are lovely too.

I love green and she got me a lovely polka dot butterfly.   I’m also a Tatty Teddy fan and a card maker and I’ve now got this lovely pack to play with.

I really recommend people to join in with swaps.   It encourages you to try something new, you ‘meet’ lovely people, and you don’t need to be a professional crafter.   Next stop, polka dots!

A Bag For All Reasons Challenge

This week I bought Lisa Lam’s new book – A bag for all reasons.   I have her first book too, The bag making bible, but have just flicked through it and not actually made any of the bags.   This is what happens with most of my craft and recipe books.   I hear about them, buy them, flick through them, plan to make loads of new projects, and then put them on the shelf.

Recently, I’ve started the weekly bake off which has introduced me to actually making things that I wouldn’t necessarily have tried before.   I blogged about that a few days ago.   This week’s cherry cake was a failure of epic proportions; tasty but not pretty!


During my last, particularly slow, craft fair, I thought of transferring the idea over to a craft book.   I’ve decided that A bag for all reasons will be my challenge.   Last night during the Eurovision scoring I ordered loads of fastenings and clips etc. so I can start my journey.   I’ve not set myself a time limit as life still goes on around me and it’s meant to be fun!

I had a quick practice with a Lisa Lam pattern I’d bought and downloaded from her website for a Sugar Loaf Pouch.   Once again I’d loved it, bought it, and not made it.   I still don’t have a use for it but I made it just the same!

I also made my daughter a hair clip tidy that I’d put off for no reason whatsoever.   It’ll make getting her ready for school a bit quicker every morning.   Procrastination is dead!

Looking through the new book, a lot of the techniques are lifted from the first one.   However, the patterns are new.

1. Geek Chic iPad Case
2. Compact Groceries Tote
3. Access All-Areas Pouch
4. Toddler-Friendly Backpack
5. Too Cool for School Satchel
6. Pleated Purse-Frame Purse
7. All-Sorted Laundry Bag
8. Fashionista Baby Bag, Changing Mat and Shoulder Strap Pad
9.  Bicycle Double-Pannier Bag
10. 3-1 Convertible Backpack
11. Terrific Tri-Fold Wallet
12. Train-Style Vanity Case

I’ll be starting on the Compact Groceries Tote as I’ve got all the bits I need to start that already.   Look out for my #bagchallenge on twitter, and feel free to join in!

Weekly Bake Off

Recently I found @weeklybakeoff on twitter.   Amy tweets every week with one of the recipes from Mary Berry’s 100 Cake and Bakes.   Once announced on Monday, anyone who wants to join in can bake the recipe and then post their pics by Sunday.   All entries are posted on the Weekly Bake Off blog  and a guest judge selects the star baker.

I don’t have the 100 Cakes and Bakes book, but the recipes seem to be in Mary Berry’s Baking Bible which I do have.   I thought it was a brilliant idea as I tend to get a recipe book and just stick with a few recipes.   This would make me actually try things I wouldn’t normally.

My first week was 3 weeks ago for the American Chocolate Ripple Cheesecake.

I would never have tried this before.   I did vary from the recipe by making it gluten free as my husband is gluten intolerant, and it would’ve been too much for me and the Craftyguidelets to eat on our own.   It was delicious but incredibly rich.   It’s not greatly rippled as my 3 year old helped me make it and she doesn’t do subtle marbling!

The following week was chocolate and walnut brownies which I didn’t make as the only nut eater in our house is the gluten intolerant hubby!   I could’ve adjusted it, but I thought it defeated one of the main reasons for making the cake in the first place.   Instead I made the Lemon Drizzle Tray Bake which Amy has made before and recommended.   I had some lemons to use up so thought it was a good idea.

By the time I photographed them, a lot had gone.   This is the best recipe for Lemon Drizzle cake I’ve ever tasted.   Gorgeous!   Definitely one to try again.

I did try the madeira cake last week.   Another bake I would’ve overlooked as I always thought it was a plain cake.

Such a light, yummy cake with a hint of lemon.   Lovely!

I’ve also dallied with Mary’s Blueberry muffins as I had loads of squishy blueberries in my last shopping delivery, and her Mincemeat Loaf Cake as I’ve got lots of homemade mincemeat to use up.   Hubby has benefited from some gluten free chocolate fudge muffins which were in April’s BBC Good Food magazine.   You wouldn’t realise they were gluten free.

This week is Cherry cake.   My book lists it as English Cherry Cake so the lovely Amy checked my recipe to see if it was the right one.   The quantities are different but the recipe is the same, so I’m heading to Sainsburys tomorrow for ingredients.

This is rubbish for my waistline but so much fun!

Spring Swap Parcel

This morning I received some lovely post, the loveliest being my Popular Crafts Magazine Spring Swap from the talented @Gemma_Winter.

Isn’t this gorgeous?

The amount of work that must have gone into this.   It’s fabulous.

And my treat was great too.

Some gorgeous glitter in my favourite colours and some adhesive lace which I’d been thinking about buying recently.   Gemma is a mind reader!

If you haven’t signed up for a Popular Crafts swap, do it now!   The next one is Union Jack themed.   I’ve had some brilliant swaps and it encourages me to get creative and try new things.   Have a look at my blog post to see what I sent Gemma.

Spring Swap

After all the fun I had with the Popular Crafts swaps before, of course I was going to enter the next one.   Unlike the button, owl and heart swaps, Spring wasn’t that obvious at first.   Added to that, a bad back stopped me from doing anything creative for some time.

I was paired with @Gemma_Winter whose likes included sparkly things, unusual things and kitsch.   Having changed my mind several times about what to make, I had a snoop on Gemma’s twitter profile and saw that as well as her love of fabrics and patchwork, she also loves baking.   I’ve had some insulbright insulated wadding in my stash for some time so I thought I’d have a go at making an oven mitt.

On one of my many browses through the fabrics online, I happened upon this lovely fabric from Fabric Rehab.   The flowers and birds said ‘spring’ to me, and I thought the pattern was fairly retro and kitsch.

And here is my oven mitt.


I was so pleased with how it came out, I’ve already cut more out to put on my website.

I also needed a treat so I went sparkly and unusual with an applique flower and some sea themed charms.

The birdcage picture is one of my hand-stamped images that I send out with my Craftyguider purchases as a compliment slip.

I can’t wait for Gemma’s parcel to arrive!

Next swap is a Union Jack theme.   Thinking cap on.

Nothing to see here!

Yes, nothing at all for too long.

I have neglected my blog and the website for ages.   The main reason is my bad luck with my health.   There was I, minding my own business, blogging and crafting as I should when I was brought down by sciatica.   No warning, no reason, just the proverbial pain in the derriere.   This was accompanied by pains in most other places which made it impossible to sit at a sewing machine.   Or anywhere else!

I was just recovering after weeks of pain when a visit to my chiropractor made things flare up again.   Cue another enforced recovery period.

And then just as it’s become bearable again, I was struck down by a virus which meant more than 2 minutes of activity absolutely floored me.   This was not 2 minutes of vigorous exercise or even housework.   The 2 minutes could be chatting to someone while I was sitting down.   I even missed my first Guide meeting as a leader due to illness.   Husband has been a hero with childcare, school runs and looking after me.   Luckily my tweeting thumb was unaffected, and I’m now a Draw Something addict (user name craftyguider for anyone interested!)

I’m now on the mend and even did some sewing this week.   I’m still shattered, so if anyone is at GirlGuiding’s Big Gig on Saturday, I’ll be the one snoring during Olly Murs and The Saturdays.

And have a look at my twitter profile page.   I’ve updated my background with my new logo and QR code.

Something to see soon!!!!!!