Monthly Archives: October 2018

Bottle Banks

Whilst I was on honeymoon in Skye I came across a rather lovely cloudy apple and rhubarb drink by Franklin & Sons Ltd.    I’d never heard of them before but have since discovered they make all sorts of wonderful drinks like Sicilian lemonade with elderflower and juniper, or wild strawberry with Scottish raspberry and black pepper.  We were in Portree at the time, at the wonderful Cafe Arriba.  As well as the drink being just what I needed on a scorching hot day, the bottles were really decorative – so I decided to bring two of them home (I did ask first just in case!)  They’ve been stood on my dressing table since July just waiting for me to work out what to do with them but I just couldn’t make my mind up.  The only thing I knew for certain was that I didn’t want to cover them as I wanted the gorgeous embossed lettering to be visible.  So, I decided to go for the simple approach – always a good first option – and turn the bottles into mini bottle banks for saving all those 5ps that seem to hide at the bottom of your purse.  I had 2 bottles so the obvious thing was to make one for each of my 2 grandsons, Noah and Reuben.

I started out by unscrewing the tops and cutting off the metal rings left on the bottle neck.  I then soaked the bottles to remove the labels and popped them in the oven on a very low heat for half an hour just to dry them out thoroughly.

 

Next I dug out my stash of jewellery making bits and bobs that I’ve accumulated over the years as I needed wire and beads.  Some of the wire had gone rusty so I had to get rid of that, but I found a lovely coil of memory wire just perfect for the job.

Using my pliers I snipped off 2 pieces that were long enough to hang loosely around the neck of the bottle with a bit left over (about 5cm) that I could bend to make a catch.

 

Then came the fun part!  Both of my grandsons love sea creatures and I managed to find some suitable charms in one of the jam jars.  I also found some lovely ‘sea’ coloured beads and set about threading them through the wire, experimenting with different arrangements of charms and beads until I was happy with how it looked.

Once I was happy with the result, it was simply a case of bending over the two ends of the wire so that I could link them together to stop the beads falling off.  Once popped over the bottle neck gravity works its magic so there’s no need to put any kind of stopper on either end of the beads.

 

I’m so pleased to have found a purpose for these lovely bottles now.

I’m hoping that as they fill up, the embossed lettering will show up more clearly too, although I think that may take a while!

Random Acts of Kindness

If you’ve read my August blog post about the flower printed paper, you’ll remember that I still have quite a bit left!  I was looking at it the other day and thought it would make some lovely bookmarks.  That got me thinking about all the books I have in the house, and that in turn reminded me of an article I’d just read in Positive News magazine.

Now, I’d never heard of Positive News until my recent Yarndale trip.  While I was busy in my workshops and generally having a wonderful woolly day, Mr HoneyB spent the time exploring the local area, and taking in the odd cafe or two along the way!  When we met up he told me all about this really interesting magazine he’d spotted in one of the cafes.  It calls itself ‘the inspiring current affairs magazine’ and it’s full of well written, thought-provoking articles, with none of the negativity and fear-mongering that seems to pervade most of our mainstream media at the moment.  We’ve taken out a subscription and it really is a breath of fresh air.

 

The cover feature in the current edition is entitled ‘Do Small Acts of Kindness Add Up?’  and it’s something I’m really interested in.  Action for Happiness is another organisation that often post random acts of kindness ideas too (they usually have a great advent calendar packed with lovely, free ways to make a difference so I’ll be keeping an eye out for that appearing shortly :))

Anyway, one of the ideas in the Positive News article was to pass on books.  Rather than actually handing a book to a friend to read though, the article suggests leaving the book somewhere so that a stranger would come across it unexpectedly which I thought was a lovely idea.  With this in mind I set about choosing 2 books and made a couple of bookmarks to go with them.  I kept it nice and simple, and just trimmed the paper to size, made a hole at one end with a hole punch, and threaded through a piece of cream ribbon (this was actually the ribbon hoops that I’d cut off the inside of my wedding dress – you know the ones I mean, clothes always seem to come with a long loop of narrow ribbon sewn on the inside of the shoulder seam to help them hang properly on hangers when they’re displayed in the shop).  I always cut these bits of ribbon off and keep them – you just never know when they might come in handy!

Next I set to work making tags for the books.  A quick Google search came up with lots of lovely book related quotes and I chose these two:

“I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book.” (J K Rowling)

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.” (Stephen King)

I typed them up on some nice cream paper, added a little note just so folk would realise the books were a  free gift, then put a little gold border around them just to finish them off.

I wondered about actually wrapping the books up, but thought this might put people off opening them, so I just wrapped some twine around them and added the tag.

 

And there you have it!  These 2 parcels of joy are out there now awaiting new homes.  They didn’t cost me a penny, and hopefully they might just put a smile on someone’s face which would be wonderful 🙂

It’s A Hard Life!

Well, after saying in my last post that I wanted my ’52’ project to be enjoyable, and not stressful at all, I managed to delete every single one of the photographs that I’d taken on my phone over the last 6 months with one press of a button!  Obviously that included all of the step by step pictures I’d taken for this particular project too – I can’t tell you how sad I was when I realised they weren’t backed up 🙁

My latest project was a revamp of Coco the Chihuahua’s basket.  When this little cutie is not sitting on my lap, she likes to curl up in her bed by the radiator and snooze the day away – it’s such a hard life!

 

 

 

The photo I took of the old basket was deleted unfortunately, but the picture to the right shows the tartan fabric it was lined with along with the old crocheted blanket that I’d managed to felt by washing it in water that was too hot!

 

The basket was lined and had a thin pad inside for comfort.  When I removed the pad, I could see that the lining was simply attached by sewing through the fabric and the wicker of the basket with white thread just under the rim.  I carefully unpicked the thread, and used the old lining as a template to help me cut out the new one.  I’d already chosen a lovely bright green Liberty cotton print from my stash for the job.  Before cutting it out however, I drew around the pad onto greaseproof paper and then laid both templates – the pad and the lining – on the fabric to make sure I would have enough for both pieces before I started cutting.  With a little bit of rearranging I just managed to get them both on with a little bit of fabric left over.

There was no preparation as such needed for the lining.  I just folded the top edge over to the wrong side of the fabric a couple of centimetres to ensure there was a nice neat edge at the top.  It was a little fiddly sometimes getting the needle through the wicker but I just took it slowly and worked my way around the rim, making sure that the fabric (right side towards me) was hanging down nice and flat and I wasn’t sewing in any tucks without realising.  I then put in a line of stitches to secure the lining to the base of the basket which hopefully you can see in the photo below.

Once the lining was secure, I set about the task of covering the pad.  This was simply a case of cutting out 2 identical pieces of fabric with a small seam allowance.  With the wrong sides together, I sewed almost all the way around but left a 12 cm gap for turning the fabric back to the right side and inserting the pad.  Before doing this however, I cut out tiny triangles of fabric in the seam allowance along the curved edges which meant that the finished piece would lie nice and flat.  Finally I hand sewed the 12 cm gap that I’d left using small, neat stitches.

All that was needed now was a new blanket!  In the end I decided on a Corner to Corner (C2C) crochet design as I’d been doing a few C2C workshops and really enjoyed the technique.  It produces a lovely dense texture, and if you can crochet a Granny Square then you can easily turn your trebles into this interesting pattern.  I opted for 3 different colours, but if you choose one of the gorgeous self-patterning yarns available you wouldn’t even have to change colour and you’d have no ends to sew in either!  If you fancy having a go at C2C, I can highly recommend this Bella Coco tutorial, but let me know if you have any problems 🙂

   

And here’s the final result!  It’s really hard to take decent photos of Coco, but I think she approves! 🙂

Week 21 Update – Onwards and Upwards!

Wow, where has all the time gone!  I’m coming up to half way through my 52 project and realise that I’m woefully behind 🙁

The wedding took my eye off the ball for a few weeks (understandably!) and I managed to almost get back on track again, but I’ve had a bout of extreme tiredness which hits me from time to time and this has taken its toll.  I really wanted this project to be something I would enjoy, and definitely didn’t want it to become stressful at all.  I was reminded of the wonderfully therapeutic benefits of crafting when a friend sent me the beautiful quote in the photo below.  So, rather than thinking about how far behind I am, I’m going to focus on what I’ve achieved so far!  To date I’ve had great fun making 11 projects:

  • 2 crochet mice (Knit and Purl) to sit on my wedding cake
  • A paper ‘map’ box for my wedding rings
  • 24 decoupage jars for wedding flowers
  • A Proggy heart (this is a work in progress, but getting there!)
  • A pair of socks for Mum knitted on honeymoon
  • Some lovely pot pourri made from my wedding bouquet
  • A Liberty project bag
  • A poem picture made from flower printed paper
  • Crochet face pads and soap bag
  • A Memory tray
  • Coco’s revamped basket (watch out for this post tomorrow!)

 

I started with £52 and have managed to only spend £4.94 up to now (ribbon for my project bag, essential oil for the pot pourri and a darning needle to sew up Mum’s socks), so there’s still money for future projects if needed, although I’m really keen to spend as little as possible.

I still have the wedding wishes tags to make into bunting, and I have a list of ideas for future projects so, without further ado (and my crafting mojo back)  I’d better get started!

Thank you for sharing my journey so far 🙂