Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Felt Strawberry Ta-Dah

I thought that this project was going to be quite a quick make but it's taken me just over a week and a half to complete. Do not fear though, you could make one much quicker, it's only taken me so long as my crating time is limited by the pacing program I follow in order to try and keep my illness on a even keel.

So what can I be making ? as I said last week, I know it all looks very Christmassy, but in fact I've been making a little felt strawberry or as I like to call them Strawbugs, yes summer time is on the way here at the Summerhouse by the Sea, I'm such a optimist !!!

I found Corrine Bradd's pattern for these adorable Strawberries lurking amongst the pages of February's edition of 'Craft Beautiful' magazine and it immediately made it to my future makes list. I downloaded the template stocked up on materials and I was ready for the off, to the strawberry making patch. First I cut out my felt.

Then following the pattern stitched my 16 rows of running stitch. Then join the Strawbug up with a seam stitched in back stitch.

I then cut out the leaves and Stalk from green felt, all from my comfy bed, look my foot has snuck into the shot.

Then it was time to stuff my Strawberry, I used fibre filling and gathered it all up at the top.

I then stitched the Stalk onto the top to hide the messy bit where I had gathered the top of the Strawbug and then it was time for a very important decision.......

Which ribbon to use !!!!!! the pattern called for a red gingham ribbon, but I already have a extensive ribbon collection, including a red gingham ribbon (that was too wide for this make) so I couldn't really justify buying any more ribbon, yet !! (well for now......)

In the end I decided to go with the red ribbon, I attached it to the top of the Strawberry, then stitch on the leaves, which I had decorated with contrasting green embroidery thread as per the pattern. I then decided to add some green seed beads, which are not in the original pattern. In the hope that they will look like little raindrops on the leaves. Then it was time to sew the flowers on, I added seed beads here to, on my version of the Strawbug.

And Ta-Dah my adorable little Strawberry was complete.

here's another shot, let me tell you I found it very tricky trying to get a usable photo of my little Strawbug, I used a glass, egg cups and a tea light holder to try and get a decent shot.

Here it is this afternoon hanging on my blossom tree I hope you love it as much as I do.

Happy Crafting

Clare x

Note to self I really must buy some Strawberries when we next do the online grocery shop yummy :0)

Monday, 29 April 2013

Out and About Sunday

Hello... today I thought I'd tell you all about my 'out and about Sunday', yes it was my birthday yesterday and sadly I didn't manage to make it on my much hoped for Bluebell woodland adventure It's just been to cold for the Bluebells this year.  It probably turned out for the best though as I really wasn't feeling that well yesterday, so hopefully I'll make it to the woods in a few weeks time.

So yesterday we all bundled into the car and off we drove, first stop a nearby garden centre for a look around and of course I purchased a little Birdie something, to add to my other Birdie things.

 Do you like it ? I think it'll fit right in at the Summerhouse.

I even managed to spot a little clump of Bluebells flowering amongst some trees at the edge of the garden centre car park, so I kinda got to see some bluebells, although I'm not sure if they are a native species. After the garden centre we went for lunch and then onto find some low energy scenery, which I decided was the best possible option, for a exhausted persons, low energy birthday activity.

So we went to  a nearby park and nature reserve, I've not been here for many years, but it was looking stunning yesterday in the Spring sunshine. All the rain over the last year has done wonders for this place as the last time I visited many years ago, we were in drought and the lakes and ponds were all dried up.

This more formal part of the park is based on Victorian garden designs, I love the little bridges they look almost oriental. If you look very closely you can see me there on the bridge, I fit right in with the Victorian feel of the place with my parasol. This is not a fashion statement mind but a necessity for me on a sunny day, as one of the treatments that I'm receiving makes be very allergic to sunlight. This is something that makes my life very difficult and some time I despair as I'd love to be able to sit in the sun, but hopefully one day it will all pay off and my health will improve.

This is the stunning view of the Lilly ponds from the bridge

and this the river Dour meandering away, the over side of the bridge.

There are matching bridges each end of the Lilly pond which must look stunning in Summer when the water lilies are out, but all this formal landscaping is all very well and good but I much prefer the wilder nature reserve end of the park, come lets go have a look.

My sister pushed me and my wheelchair along this little path passed the children's play area passed the little bunnies hoping about over a little wear bridge and we arrived here...........

To be greeted by this view of the lake at the end of the path  it made my heart Skipperdy Happy, so beautiful in the late afternoon light. Do you want to see a few more photos ?

I think this one is my favourite, although it looks such a wintry view, not like the end of April at all. I guess that's the kind of year we''ve been having, and if it weren't for all that rain, the lake wouldn't look half as lovely.  I would have loved to have escaped further into all this wonderful countryside, but the path had run out and the ground was far to soggy for the wheelchair so it was off home for a cuppa a rest and some birthday cake. Oh but how wonderful it all was, it would be lovely to go along on a another day with my paints and brushes.

I was very lucky and received some wonderful home made crafty gifts this year, so I thought I'd share them with you.

The lovely and very talented Lindy Laine, made me this lovely little box of birthday treats, and I mean she even made the box! how clever is that, Lindy has a wonderful blog that you can find here, inside the pretty pink box among other things was this

One of Lindy's fab wrist pin cushions, you can read about them here and yes she even made me a Birdie one.

Also in the box wrapped in tissue paper was this beautiful,original Lindy Laine designs Bluebell bracelet isn't it stunning, so in a way I did get my Birthday Bluebells so a huge thank you To Lindy for these wonderful gifts.

I also received another home made gift, from a very good friend, it's a fabric birdie but if you look inside it's...

a crochet hook holder and work bag, I really do have some talented friends. I've  been really very fortunate this birthday and received some wonderful gifts.

just look at all these new craft materials.

and not to forget these glorious flowers that I received as a gift, yellow roses and Iris my favourites. So a big thank you to everyone, for all the wonderful Birthday gifts

Happy Crafting

Clare xxxx

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Hope Springs

Hasn't the weather here in the UK been glorious over the pasted few days, it's leads me to hope a little, seeing all the trees in the garden springing into life and what am I hoping and wishing about, well believe it or not Bluebells.

It's been so cold and everything seems to be so far behind, but there is a little glimmer hope and possibility with this weeks warmer temperatures that I might get my wish, just maybe, might be. Just look at my old, I mean vintage Summerhouse bathed in dappled, sunlight with so much hope of Spring time.

Just seeing that our lovely horse chestnut has gone from being in bud to leaf burst in just a few days gives me hope. I took this picture on Sunday afternoon, when I was having a sit out in the garden, and today, I took this photo.

In just three days we now have tiny baby leaves opening up.  So let me tell you a little bit more about my wish.  Way back in January when I was really struggling health wise, I decided that for my birthday this year I wanted to go on a adventure to a Bluebell wood. Not just any wood as that would be impossible for me but a Wheelchair accessible wood.  So some on line research was done and a suitable bluebell wood found.

Job done we thought, plan in place, but mother nature had other plans, in sending us one of the coldest winter in the UK for so many years, meaning that all the plants are so far behind. My birthday is at the end of the week and so far, there are no bluebells out, white woodland anemones  yes!! which I'm sure are beautiful but no Bluebells.

I've been wishing and hoping so hard that I've even been drinking all my cups of tea from my lovely hand painted  Bluebell mug, sending out positive vibes to the universe.  Of course I realise that, all this hoping and wishing might not work.  Anyone who knows me, knows that my birthdays go famously wrong, but hopefully I've had my bad luck for this year, (nobody mention the cannelloni ).

There are so many positive signs out in the garden. Even the Cherry blossoms is out and I'm sure you've  notice how gorgeous the flowering currant, looks in the picture earlier in this post.

So please join in with me thinking positive thought for Bluebells and I might just get my wish.

 In other outside news with P's help, over several days, we've managed to sow these seeds in the wildlife strip at the bottom of the garden, wildflowers, meadow and field flower seed mixes I really hope they grown, as the bottom border of our garden is a tricky spot, so I'm hoping they will grow, in fact I can't wait to see them.

Before I go here's a quick sneaky peak at what I've been working on for the last few days, yes I know it all looks very much like a Christmas make, but rest assured it's not, quite the opposite in fact, think summertime !!!! and you'll be on the right tracks.

Any road I best be off.

Happy Hoping

Clare x

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Upcycled Storage Pot

Hello.... today's post is going to be  a 'here's one I made earlier' kinda thing. I made this storage pot last year, but I thought I'd share it with you as I've not been well enough for any crafty over the last few days and it's a quick, easy and thrifty make.

So this is how I went about making my storage pot, the first thing I did was line a tin can with some pretty paper, which I cut to size and stuck to the inside of the tin with double sided tape. I then needed to pad the can a little, so being green and thrifty. I found some foam sheeting, you the stuff that electrical goods comes wrapped in, (nothing that might come in handy is ever thrown away here at the summerhouse.) I measured the required length by rolling the tin along the form marking then cutting, then I stuck it to the outside of the can with the double sided tape. You could also used wadding to do this or iron on interfacing attached to the fabric.

I then used some of this lovely fabric to cover the tin, I bought this fabric square when I saw it in the local craft shop as I loved the blue colour so much I couldn't resist, it just jumped into my basket.

I measured the fabric then cut it to size and carefully attached it to the tin, with more double sided tape, I had to be careful doing this though as the fabric had a tendency to wrinkle.  You could  also used adhesive spray to do this, but it's a bit toxic for me. When that was done I used sticky satin ribbon in pinks and whites to cover the raw seams at the top and bottom of the can and down the seam at the back where the fabric joined. Then I stuck a oh so cute button on the front for decoration.

And Ta-Dah my super cute fabric covered pot was finished.

Materials used

Tin Can
Foaming sheeting
Double sided tape
Pretty paper 
Sticky Ribbons

Here it is today still in use, holding some art materials on my bedside table.

Happy Crafty

Clare xxx

Friday, 19 April 2013

April's :: Pick and Mix

Hello..... It's pick and mix time here at the Summerhouse again, just a post of all April's little bits and pieces of summerhouse life.

The view from the window.


I took this picture of the windmill earlier today, it's April view from the window shot. Today was a really sunning one here at the Summerhouse although it was blowing a gale, so much so I thought we might lose the washing off the line earlier, but the good thing about a windy days is that I get to see the windmill working. Oh yes, the sails were turning, much to my hearts delight, when I took this picture.

The weather has improved so much over the last couple of weeks really warming up, but the fields still look so far behind, usually by now the oil seed rape is in flower with it vibrant yellow. But maybe fingers crossed it's not the crop they planted this year, I can only hope as it does give me the most terrible hay fever. Guess you'll have to wait till next months 'view from the window' to know for sure.

Sweet peas

 Sweet peas are one of my favourites, so I always grow some every year, in fact this year they are the only seeds/peas I have planted. I just love the colours and well everything about them. This year I'm not even growing my usual tomato's plants after two poor summers I've given up, it all takes up to much energy for little reward, for the last two years I've only been able to start picking them, well into the Autumn, ripe Tomatoes in November, bonkers. I suppose this year we'll probably have a great summer, as I've decided not to plant any tomatoes courgettes or aubergines.

 Any road back to the sweet peas, about a week ago I planted this little lot. I chit the peas and then soaked them in water for about 30 minutes, before planting them. It doesn't say to do this on the packet but it's what my Dad and Grandad always used to do, so now I do it too.

It must work though as exactly one week later the first little seedlings popped there heads up above the soil. I really am a bit late in planting them, but it's been so cold this year, there seemed little point in planting when it was snowing.  I can't wait to see them flower.


It was craft club again this week and I handed in my Teeny Tiny Whale  and I spent a lovely couple of hours chatting and sewing. One of the great things about craft club being held in the local library is all crafting books.  I'm ashamed to say that I think my library card is in fact still a teen card, well I guess when you spend a lot of time housebound, you don't take out many library book. I saw this book however and borrowed it on the clubs card, I can't wait to have a look through, at all the things to make.  The only problem being that I already have such a long list of future makes.

Colouring Creations.

Over the weekend I managed to do two drawing to contribute towards a colouring book project being run by a creative group I'm a member of. It was actually lots of fun doing these drawing. I do love a good colouring book, they are a great low energy way of being creative. When I've been very ill in bed in relapse to ill with no energy for crafting, I have a fab colouring and doodling book that I can escape to for a while with my colouring pens.

So I was really happy to be able to contribute to this project, even if I'm not the best at drawing.

Out in the garden.

When I was out in the garden the other day, I took a few pics of all the flowers that are blooming, just a little bit of warm weather and the garden has really come to life,  the Peach blossom has just started to flower

and these lovely hyacinth, I love bulbs so much, coming a up year after year, low energy gardening at it's best.

Just look at this wonderful daffodil that is flowering in the summerhouse border.

and of course the pretty pale blue wisley's another one of my favourites, even the forget me nots are starting to flower, but were too tiny at the moment to get a good shot with the camera. Well worth using up some precious energy on a trip out to the garden to see them all.

Summerhouse songs.

I'm a bit nervous about this next bit, but I've been encourage to share this clip by some wonderful friends. I think I mentioned way back when I started this blog that I love folk and Americana music, and write my own material and play the guitar and mandolin badly. The following clip is of one my songs called 'The Sailors Bride' copyright Clare Banks 2010. This clip was recorded as a entry to a song writing competition last year and I have performed it several time at a local folk club. I hope you like it, please leave a comment if you do.

I really love going to my local folk club, but I am rarely well enough to go to the weekly session. In fact I've not managed to make it to one yet this year and only managed to go a few times last year.  Another thing that this illness has taken from me, if I were well enough over Easter I would have loved to have attended the 'Sore fingers' music camp. Maybe one year I'll make it there.

Well that's all for today, I hope you enjoyed Aprils pick and mix

Clare x