Monday, 27 December 2010

Christmas Crafts unveiled

Merry Christmas!

I hope you all had a lovely peaceful time with friends or family, the girls have had a present-tastic time and on the crafty side, I was very pleased to finish all the projects I started!

The above dolly was for my youngest, it's taken from the book 'Made by Me' by Jane Bull, which I have now bought as it's got lots of easy crafts for young girls (and their mums!) to try. It's a simple sleepy/awake dolly with knitted hat and simple dresses. I then made a simple cover, pillow and mattress from Ikea fabric and wadding to fill an old dolly bed/basket we picked up at a jumble sale.
The verdict? Was good, thankfully! I made a small drawstring bag and added in some extra dresses so she had fun dressing/undressing her. I made the neckline with elastic instead ribbon for easier changing and used pinking shears to cut as there were no hems in the pattern.

For my eldest I made the Lily doll and Pickle the panda from the Emma Thomson series of books, the were a bit fiddly, the patterns are available in two of the story books and worked up quite quickly.
The monkeys are from the Patons Colour Works Aran pattern book, I made one and my Mum made the other and it's really interesting to see the differences between our styles!  The sizes are different and the features make them really unique!
The last bunnies were not homemade, but came from the lovely stall at Vintage & Handmade by Donna Flower and have been loved and taken to bed already.

I also completed gifts for my family, but stupidly forgot to photograph them!  I'll see if I can a photo at the weekend.

So I was very happy to be able to stick to my pledge of homemade gifts and second-hand presents for the girls, as the majority were, eBay supplied a lot of the presents, marble run and more lego were a hit.
The new items were making kits like Hama beads...

Both the girls like these and they're a nice quiet activity!  This one is a mobile making kit, the youngest needs a bit of a hand but it should look good when it's finished.

Well, it takes ages to get ready for but quick as a flash Christmas is over!
Better start thinking about New Year resolutions now, the first will be more regular blogging I hope, I think I'll try to set a day of the week for a regular posting, perhaps I should take part in a challenge to keep me motivated?!

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Sunday, 5 December 2010

Christmas Fairs

Well here we are then, December!  The month where the days run away from you!
Time for a quick update on last weekend's visits....first on Saturday was the Handmade & Gorgeous Fair at Oxford Town Hall...after fighting through the shopping crowds (I remembered why I very rarely go into Oxford for shopping!), me & the girls got there and it was very quiet, there was no large adverts outside, so no real chance of passing trade I thought..
There were lots of stalls, but not as many as last years Handm@de Fair and there was a distinct lack of a 'buzz' when we got there, which to be fair was after lunch so we probably missed any rush.  The stalls were a mix of items, but in my opinion there was far too much jewellery, I am biased as I don't buy jewellery but it weakens the effect if there are too many competing vendors doing the same items I think.  The best stall I thought was Homespun, they had some lovely hand-sewn items, like bags, decorations & bookmark's, I can't seem to find any links for them at the moment..
I also got (another!) corsage, this time in a lovely dark mix, black & dark aubergine, again no info on the stall I'm afraid, the listing from the event wasn't very illuminating, lots of people didn't have web-sites to look them up later and most of the stalls didn't have any contacct info, like moo cards to take away.  I know they're an expense but they can be very useful, I know I always go back home and check out any web-sites and bookmark my favourites.
So after a shorter than expected mooch, we went round the corner to Darn it & Stitch, Oxford's slightly new and only sewing shop down on Blue Boar Street, which is a very small space (especially if you have small people and also not good for buggies as there are steps down inside the door, but it's quite quiet outside so you could leave it outside and keep and eye on it!) but it's crammed with loveliness, great selection of sewing & knitting supplies, I especially liked the giant ric-rack and the selection of quality fabrics.  They were having demonstrations upstairs of quilt-making, corset making & lace-making as they run all these and more as short courses, my eldest was fascinated by the lace-making and we had a lovely explanation of it as the sight of all those bobbins was quite off-putting, it actually seems quite methodical and logical the steps involved, a bit like plaiting/braiding.
I got some lovely cute animal retractable tape measure's for the girls stockings which hopefully they didn't see me purchase! 

Sunday, we we're up early in -4c weather and off to Chipping Sodbury for THE Vintage & Handmade Christmas Fair!  In stark contrast to the day before, it was absolutely heaving!!  I think we got there at about 11.30 and it was manic, lots of people and lots to look at, once you got to see the stalls!  There seemed to be more types of general shoppers on this occasion, not just vintage fans, which meant there were (in my opinion) too many large buggies and lots of 'other halfs' milling about which meant access to the stalls was a bit challenging!  The sheer amount of goodies on offer was hard for my small brain to take, it was like a small child being in a sweet shop!  Hence I completely forgot about taking pictures and only managed one!
There were the usual lovely sellers and also some new ones, such as The Devil Makes Work, with lovely applique items and the moving of the tea-room upstairs meant there was more room in the first room for more stalls.
The tea-room upstairs was a bit disorganised when we went to grab a well-deserved sit down!  There was only one poor girl serving and there was quite a queue, there was also stalls upstairs but as the queue was blocking the door I'm not sure a lot of people managed to get past and find the stalls at the back of the room, so a slightly different layout next time would be better.

I got some lovely fabric from Donna Flower and Sal's Snippets, I didn't get much Christmassy stuff, I think all the good stuff goes early!  The Vintage Magpie had the most gorgeous little elephant on her stall:

Lilac Elephant Needs a Home ...

Such a lovely soft lilac colour, she's still looking for a home on Etsy I believe, I so wished I had the cash to take her home with me to join my little Magpie bunny!

On the V&H site there's a great selection of photo's to browse through and hey, I think I recognise that lady  with the stripy arms?!!

I'll try and get some pics of my purchases once the sun comes may take a while!