Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Four Happy Things

Short announcement to say I've added a page listing all the Four Happy Things swappee partners. Find your partner and off you go. Happy Swapping.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Old Bag

When I first set up Bobo Bun (the selling Bobo Bun came before the Bloggy bit) I made all sorts of bags from messenger to bucket bags; I appliqued childrens t-shirts with cowboys and butterflies and knitted animal beanie hats with floppy ears. This all seems a long time ago, as the Bun's have grown up so the things I make have grown with them.

I enjoy making bags mind you and still make a few every now and again. I do love wearing a splash of a bright print every day, having a bag in a jolly print sorts me out if there's nothing ready in the cupboard to wear.


I bought the French fabric from Pomme de Jour recently with the plan to make up a new everyday messenger bag. On Saturday I thought I might have a fighting chance of whipping up a bag before I took Miss Rosey to the hairdresser. I'd no clue where the old patterns I made up were so I used Jane's great design in Mollie Makes.


I chose the green Les Anenomes for the main fabric and the floral splash for the lining. I lined the front pocket and then stitched down the middle to make two separate pockets. The white lace trim is the strap of an Edwardian slip.


For a Bobo Bun label I used the lining fabric trimmed with pink and a monogrammed B which is also from France. Seems to be a very Gallic bag this one. Not too sure of the provenance of the yellow button bought from Diane the fabulous button seller.


To secure the strap I used a brass buckle from an old completely trashed CK bag strap and added an elderly plastic buckle. I used to have loads of these buckles, but sold them at market years ago. I now kick myself everytime I think of this, just as I do when I remember the two Rosa pink coffee jugs I said goodbye to too.


In reality the bag took until Sunday to finish as Saturday afternoon disappeared. Miss Rosey wanted her long hair cut back into a bob, so we were in the hairdressers a long old time. I've now caught up fully on OK and Hello which was strange as I had little idea of who most of the people in it were. After breakfast I stitched at my machine, Mr Bun sat opposite planning work, Miss Rosey attacked her homework. Maths first (she knows there's no point asking us for help as our brains go stupidly blank with numbers) and then her art homework (we got interested again), Little Bun went off to sit in her new weekend home. All in all a very lovely Sunday morning.


By lunchtime the bag was finished. Little Bun kindly took a picture of me in full bag wearing mode and then I went off to pack it for the week ahead.


Not long after this Little Bun retired back to her den. I went off to whip up Butternut Squash Soup, choccy chip buns and a leek and dolcelatte tart for the evening. After two weeks of hideous toothache I think I can finally enjoy eating again. My temporary crown moved the nerve and so I ended up with a root filling on Friday. Now two more dentist trips to go. Bloody teef. 
 

Now then on to the Four Happy Things Swap. Thank you so much each and everyone of you who has decided to take part. Doors are officially shut now. I've sat here with my notebook and pen this evening and paired you all up as best I can. I'm going to add a page where I'll list all the pairings up. About to go off and write that very soon. 

Lastly, before I head off. Hello to the new followers who have popped by and found me. Thank you so much for stopping by.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Fair Isles

This has most definately been a time of trying new things. Whilst it's been snowing outside and slowing our lives down I sat awhile and tackled not only machine quilting, but jumped in and had a go at fairisle knitting. I've wanted to make something in a fairisle knit for such a long time now. I really really, really want to knit up a fairisle cardi with a patterned yoke. The only problem is I can't settle on the main colour. Sometimes I think apple green, then I move on to rose pink and from there to palest cream or slate grey. Until I can make my mind up the cardi will have to stay as a one day desire.

Now hats are a different matter altogether. They don't use up as much yarn or take as much time so I thought a hat would be a great place to start. It's also blinking stinking freezin' at the moment and as Little Bun lost her favourite tam with a bobble on top I thought she needed a new one.  I picked her favourite colour purple and matched it up with a grey and green before starting on a pattern I fancied from Mel Clark's Knitting Everyday Finery


I do enjoy knitting in the round so that made this pattern even better. I get bored quickly knitting up and down, row upon row, but somehow going round and round chasing the yarn tail is soothing to me.


Over the weekend a pattern has slowly emerged. My knitting doesn't have any noticeable holes in it so I must be winding it along ok in a fairisle kind of way. The first things I ever knitted were in intarsia (pictures if you're not a knitter) as I couldn't face knitting rows in the same colour. I knitted a wee pink cardi for Miss Rosey with white ducks and then an ambitious cardi with butterflies and flowers all over it. That's when I learnt that you really should hide knitting from two year olds. Mr Bun broke the news to me that Miss Rosey had found and unwound the nearly finished back of the cardi. I can only guess that seeing all those birds, butterflies and flowers melt away into bits of colourful yarn was very exciting to her. I wasn't as calm and understanding as this at the time mind you.


Now here I am again wrapping different threads, learning a new technique and loving it. Looking at this picture I'm probably pulling the thread along too tightly, but hey ho, I'm pleased and as long as it fits a head I'll be pleased.


I'm enjoying knitting this pattern so much already that I've bought some more to make another one. Why don't I ever just think about the thing I'm doing right now?


I made sure I found time for a few more rows either side of the yet another day off school entertainment. We had a snowball fight planned with kids in the village which seemed a grand way to kick off the week. When we got home there was a package with an Aussie postmark sticking out of our postbox. How very exciting is that to have belated birthday gifts arrive the same day you find out that same wonderful mate is making it back to this wee island this summertime. 


Oh how I've loved this slowed up time we've had ending with a gift before we headed back to the usual routines. 

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Patchy Passion

A few years ago I decided I wanted to give this patchwork lark a go. I bought a few books, asked people who might know a few questions and then got on with it. That pretty much sums up my approach to anything new that I want to learn. The interesting thing with learning new skills is the fact that you never actually stop learning. There is always more to try, more to think about and more to get excited about.

The first patchy thing I made was a trivet. It wasn't this one actually. The one I made is in a beautiful 1950's rose fabric and is still being used every day. My mum loved it so and asked me to make one for her too. This is hers, so that makes this my second ever patchy make. 


If you're new to patchwork I'd say starting small like this is a pretty good place to start. I tried out most of the things I needed to know without me running the risk of screwing up loads of fabric.

Then I moved on to other useful things that weren't too time consumming.  I made a fair few patchy cushions handcutting all the pieces. I've never got my head around a rotary cutter and a big measuring square thing. This is a thing to be tackled this year. I'm wasting a lot of time now my patching dreams are getting bigger and grander. 


As I got a wee bit more confident patching simple squares on the machine my head turned to thinking of different shapes. Then I saw a mini hex made as a patch and knew I had to have a go. I grabbed my jeans with the huge knee rip and got going with learning about paper piecing and the difficulties of cutting the perfect hexaganol shape.


As I started to get more confident with patchwork I began making it my own. I added rows of colourful running stitch to add extra zing to the patterns. I stripped thin slivers of polka dot fabric and handstitched that between the odd row of squaress.


Finally I felt brave enough to have a go at my first ever quilt. I chopped up as many of Little Bun's old dresses and favourite images as I could into large squares, stitched them all together and then found it wasn't quite big enough. To save the situation I added a white border before making my first quilt sandwich. I didn't know then that there are different types of wadding so this is a squodgy quilt as I used synthetic rather than cotton which is thinner.  Once I'd pinned all three layers together I wimped out of sewing through them. I chose to thread through handties of red floss.


Next up I made my first ever proper quilt. I'd learnt quite a lot from what I'd done wrong before. I always find I learn more from going over all that I've done wrong more than I do from what I've done right. This is the teacher in me, we're taught to constantly reflect on our practice and so you can't blame me for doing this in my making too.

Miss Rosey's quilt took an age as I chose to handstitch the entire thing. One reason was because I prefer the look of handstitching. I love all the colourful rows running in different patterns and pressing the fabric down far more softly than machine stitching does. The other reason was because I'm not as neat with a sewing machine and I didn't want to risk cocking up all my hard work. 


In between times I stitched yet more cushions to sell at market and gibe my pitch a colouful backdrop. These two are now owned by my friend Ruth who swapped them for her car when we needed it.


Now both the Bun's had quilts of their own I wanted one for our bed so I started chopping again. I went for oblongs laid out like bricks so I didn't have to worry too much about all the corners lining up. I really like this stage where I have all the pieces cut and then I can lay them out moving them up and down until it all looks right to my eye.



Alongside working on this quilt I started on a larger project (one I wonder if I'll ever finish). I was so taken with an image on Mary's blog that I couldn't get it out of my head. In the end I drew up my own plan and got going with my own large hexie plates. This one's good for taking out with me to work on so perhaps one day it'll be a quilt as well.



I'm sure you'll remember my most recent quilt? The one I made for my mum for Christmas. My most ambitious yet working to a nine square pattern. The diagonal stitching is my favourite thing about this one. Without it I don't think it would have worked so well for me,


Now an absolute age before I started the Christmas Lap Quilt I'd cut and sewn up a quilt made from tons of triangular flag shapes. I had to forget all about it so I could get mum's made in time for the 25th.

This Playday Flags Quilt is my biggest yet. It was too large for any of the sheets I had to back it with and so it just lingered in a basket until a friend, who makes great things, passed a good idea on to me. The tip was to use a blanket to replace the wadding and backing. Last Friday I pinned the two layers together with my proper curved quilty pins and then put it aside to be handstitched over the next few weeks. 

Then it got really snowy cold. This Friday we all had a home day. School was cancelled, Mr is self-employed and set up his office by the woodburner and I had the day off anyway, but had no school run to dictate my sewing hours by.


I woke up thinking we need that really big quilt now and so I decided to machine quilt for the first time ever. Handstitching is all very well if you don't need the quilt in a hurry. I set up the walking foot on my machine (I think that's what it is?) a bit fell off, but it still worked and off I went stitching in the ditches.


Later on we cosied by the fire, me under the blankie quilt while I handstitched the binding along the edges. I had already started handstitching this one so it does have four rows to jolly it up.



Last night Little Bun piled it on top of the first quilt I ever made and snuggled down for a cosy night.


I'm now officially hooked to this patchy lark and fancy trying out all sorts of patterns. I've sorted myself out with a decent rotary cutter as I don't think I can face handcutting hundreds more mis-matching squares. Pretty much all the way along I've followed advice when I couldn't work something out or I've just had a go at doing my own way. My quilts aren't at all perfect, but then my mum did tell me they weren't going in for a competition when I was coming over all critical. The only question left then is what will we do with all of these quilts if I get obsessed?

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Stolen Time

All the school's around us, including Little Bun's school were closed today. Miss Rosey's was open, but there was no way I was driving there after the hideous journey home yesterday. Ironically all the buses in Norwich were cancelled, apart from our wee village bus which only runs twice a day, so Mr Bun hopped onto that in a manly fashion. I took the brave option of staying home with the girlies. 

After making sure all the furries were alive (it was -8 last night so I was a bit worried about a stiff rabbit or hens) I lit an early morning fire and snuggled for a while with my crochet. I can't believe that with no heating we're still managing ok with two heaters and two fires, but we are.


I have big expectations of finishing this project before all this coldness has gone so I get the benefit. I got the pattern for this cowl scarf from a new to me crochet magazine. I had gone to look for Simply Crochet, but I wasn't too interested in it to be honest. The patterns and colours they used were for the kind of crochet I don't like. I'll keep an open mind as I might like future copies, but for £4.99 it needs to be worth it. Inside Crochet had lots of articles that interested me alongside tons of patterns that I know I will be having a go at so that's money well spent as far as I'm concerned.  

The yarn I'm using is Sirdar Big Softie which I got for half price. The place I went to buy it from was sadly closing down so I was pleased with my saving, but felt sad at seeing yet another shop close down. 


I really like how they've styled the photos in this magazine too. I've never been too keen on the thought of a crocheted jumper and as for a skirt, well I don't think that'll be happening any time ever, but this jumper has a cute 50's style to it that I really like.


Then there are these super-soft slippers which I know the Bun's would love and a bag made from that new spaghetti yarn (wrong spelling I know) which I'd love to try out.

How can I ever really keep my head down to just one make at a time when there are so many fabulous things out there that keep tempting me with their delights?

As time ticked on I found we had no bread and hardly any milk so a snowy walk down to the village shop was called for. Just a few paces down from our cottage is this idyllic field. In the spring we see ducks waddling along or a bunny stopping to watch the world go by. This morning all was still and quiet.


Then the peace was shattered by a snowball flying through the air and Miss Rosey shrieking as she was hit.


Once we'd filled our bags with goodies from the village emporium we headed home to knock up a couple of snowmen. We have Wee Percy and Big Momma to keep him company.


The ladies watched our shenanigins, but stayed put waiting for Maggie to finish in the henhouse.


Finally I was allowed back in. Before you could blink, the kettle was on and a moment later there was a mocha coffee for me and two creamy hot chocs with crumpets for the Bun's.


After lunch I faniced a spot of fabric chopping. I've started hand-sewing the flag quilt which I'll show you another day, but I've had in my mind a while now a spring flower quilt made of simple squares with the stitching running from corner to corner.


I got out my cutting mat and the rotary blade to cut my squares properly only to find the blade was blunt. Just when I fancied jumping into something new. Back to the scissors for now then. I managed a fair few squares before we had to get on with nasty maths homework and then on to cook the next blinking meal. I find when the Bun's are off the whole day seems taken up with sorting out meals. Musn't grumble though because this stolen day has been lovely.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Nasty Stuff

The awful white stuff turned up on Monday evening as promised. Through the window it all looked fairly pleasant. The Bun's wished and wished their schools would be closed the next day. They had plans for a big snowball fight, but the next day it was business as usual. Snow is only fun at the weekend.


By midday it snowed so heavily that I sent my students home and grabbed Mr Bun from his classroom so we could get home before it got any worse. I stupidly thought we'd be at Miss Rosey's school in 30 mins and then on our way to get Little Bun before the cosiness of home. What a dim dim I was, everyone else had the same plan. In the end I had to phone someone else to collect Little Bun. She had a marvellous afternoon with friends throwing snowballs and making snow angels and Mr Bun and I had a lovely afternoon chatting uninterrupted in the car. Over four hours later, after pushing cars up hills, milkfloats across the road and generally watching how great some people are and how incredibly selfish and stupid others are, we rolled into our driveway.


This is why I hate weekday snow, it's scary to be out in; makes it impossible to plan much; you have to go out in it rather than snuggle at home and ignore it and the kids don't get a whole day off sledging.



They've now gone to bed believing tommorow is definately a stay at home day. I hope so too as I can't face another long icy drive like that. I also need to do some hen and rabbit fussing. The hens like their warm porridge on a wintery morning and usually need carrying across the snow to the patio. Then there's sitting by the fire catching up on all those yarny projects once I've done the obligatory outside snow stuff with the Bun's (can you guess I prefer the indoor stuff?). I'm going to cross my fingers too I think.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Baby it's Cold Outside

While we're waiting for England to turn white under a snowy blanket, I've been immersing myself in as much colour as I can. I've so many ideas bubbling around in my head of things I want to make. First I needed a good old fashioned sort out. That way I do a look over all the bits and bobs I have and gather some more ideas as I go along. 


At the weekend I wound my remaining threads onto wooden pegs. I'd seen this here and there and thought they look so pretty as well as being useful. I needed the threads to finish off a quick project I'd started the weekend before.


Before I got on with that I decided the yarn situation needed taking in hand. Baskets with unfinished things in them are breeding at an alarming rate and I needed to get a bit firmer with myself. I have to admit there are other bags of yarn and more still in our large school-room cupboard. By the end of my sort out I'd filled two bags with mixed yarn that I think Little Bun's school will make more use of than me. I feel a bit more on top of things now (although I have to admit I started a crochet cowl from a new magazine and a knitted beret not long after this). It's so addictive watching the new shapes, colours and textures take shape. I've just got to learn to be a better finisher up of things.


Late last night I did manage tofinish up my quick project. I loved the jolly colours and embroidery of these wee knitted coasters from 30 minute Knits when I saw the picture of them. Now they're done it's the blue with rosebuds that I like the best.


Around my sorting there was a lot of swimming this weekend. A swim party was on the cards and neither of our girls are confident swimmers even though they're really good. Mr ended up taking them a couple of times, while my part was to sit for a couple of hours on Saturday night by a pool. Better warm and dry say I. By Sunday Little Bun and Miss Rosey just wanted to snuggle up. Alfie climbed on board as snuggling is his most favourite thing in the world. I joined them for a snuggle once Blandings was on. I'm so glad they loved it too as I can't think of anything better for a Sunday evening than being cosy and enjoying English eccentricity at it's best.


Meanly around this there was far too much homework to be done and an 11+ exam to prepare for. Next Saturday Little Bun sits the entrance exam for Miss Rosey's high school.  I'll be so glad for her when it's over and done with and we know what will be. 


All too suddenly the weekend was over. It was dark, far too early and Miss Rosey was yelling at me to get up. When I arrived home after chauffeur duty I found a parcel from Pomme de Jour that I'd been eagerly waiting for. In her etsy shop are far too many delights and temptations.


I settled on three very different vibrant fabrics that I wanted very badly. I probably have far more plans in my head for the green anenome fabric than there is yardage. That's part of the excitement of buying old I think. The amount of something can also determine what you actually make with it so a piece of fabric that was once a bedspread has now been cut to become bags and cushions say. Whatever it becomes I'm just enjoying looking at them all for now.