Monthly Photo Challenge

It’s the first Tuesday in the month so it’s time for Wild Daffodil’s photo challenge, this month the theme is Glitz so lots of sparkle and glitter (well maybe not glitter!)…On the whole I’m not a very glitzy person, but at Christmas I do like a bit of sparkle, however glitter and tinsel are not allowed in the house and I had to smile the other day when I got a message from my daughter at uni, ‘I can see why you banned glitter…’ a photo showed it all over their flat, trodden into the carpet!

This is my bare Christmas tree, it’s a twisted hazel from the garden, it’s not very big, probably about 2′ tall. I got the idea visiting Castle Howard a couple of years ago, where as it happens I am visiting again today! I just have gold and silver decorations with simple white lights, it looks ever so pretty. It sits in the conservatory where it’s a bit cooler.

My Christmas fairy had a make-over a couple of years ago, she now has an embroidered, mirrored golden skirt with sparkly beads, golden wings and a shiny silver buckle!

Mistletoe Humbug, gorgeous cross-stitch Christmas decoration.

This was the first Faby Reilly humbug I made, it’s a very pretty design of mistletoe and sparkly gold ribbon, last year I made the holly one to go with it. This year of course I’ve been following Faby’s Christie SAL and made three gorgeous sparkly decorations. The pattern for the last one has just been released!

This is an embroidery from the first round of Travelling Sketchbooks we did at my Embroiderers Guild. I had to do an embroidery on the theme of astronomy, so I used shisha mirrors, sparkly beads and silver thread to make a stylized night sky.

Just to prove I do occasionally wear sparkle and glitz!!This is the sort of impulse buy you make when you go fabric shopping with a 20 year old in the Birmingham Rag Market…’it’ll be great for Christmas’ she said! Well it didn’t quite make Christmas but it did make a perfect dress for a charity ball I went to with work colleagues. I was picking up sequins for weeks (and so were some of my friends as I sewed round there too!!)

This is probably my oldest make that is still occasionally in use!! I made it about 30 years ago and whenever there’s a glitzy do it comes out, this time it was for a 1920’s evening. The advantage of a cape is that it fits all sizes! It’s probably the most glamourous garment I have, it’s always admired whenever I where it!  It’s made from a beautiful midnight blue velvet which was made up at Denholme Mills, not far from here, I bought it at their factory shop. It’s lined with a turquoise satin which looks gorgeous but was a complete nightmare to stitch in! The finishing touch is a single huge sparkly button. Even now it’s the most expensive button I have ever bought!! It was from Duttons for Buttons and cost me £10 all those years ago…but just look at that sparkle!!

This photo challenge is organised by Wild Daffodil, it’s been great fun to take part each month, so thank you, Next year the format is changing slightly, the theme is going to be windows for the whole year, so if you fancy joining in just pop over to her website, there’ll be lots of sparkle and glitz there too.

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A Pair of Christmas Smalls

I’ve just finished the third of the Christmas cross-stitch designs from Faby Reilly’s Christie stitch-a-long. These were the first two…

Christie SAL Faby Reilly
Faby Reilly Christie SAL

This time the design was a gorgeous Christmas tree. Faby’s designs are using soft muted colours (the star above is in the proper colours) I’m pretty traditional at Christmas with lots of green and red, together with just a little sparkle. I used a variegated green floss and a lighter one for the leaves. I love it, it makes such a difference when all the red and gold beads are stitched on. The rice stitch in ivory and gold is a lovely finishing touch.

Christie SAL by Faby Reilly. Stitched by thecraftycreek

To finish it I decided to make it more long and thin, I liked the way the first one had worked out so I used the same fabric for this one. I cut it to include the green stripe so it made an extra border. The gold cord is one I made when I first got my cordmaker. It looks great but so far it’s just been too much sparkle to go around these decorations. I decided a single length across the red would look OK. I embroidered three sequin stars to echo the ones on the design, added a red check back and made a red and green cord to go around it and make a hanger.

Christie SAL by Faby Reilly. Stitched by thecraftycreek

I love it and I’ve already decided where it will go, hanging off the key on our old bureau. The final design from Faby is a gorgeous Christmas heart, perfect for a card for my OH.

Last year I made a little cross-stitch decoration for my two children, James had just got a pug called Eddie so I found a pug Christmas cross-stitch…

A Christmas dachshund and a cute pug in cross-stitch

Well I spotted another one! It’s only tiny, so it didn’t take long to stitch up at all – the actual design is only about 1.5 x 2″. It’s a design by Mouseloft which I bought on ebay. He doesn’t look too impressed with his Santa hat 🙂

Santa's Pug by Mouseloft; stitched by the crafty creek

Finishing it was pretty quick too. I used my red check fabric to add borders to make it a reasonable size, stitched on a backing and then trimmed round with some mini red pompom fabric. All that was needed then was a length of cord to make a hanging loop.

Santa's Pug by Mouseloft; stitched by the crafty creek

I’ll take it round as a surprise once I know their tree is up!

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Monday’s Meander Round the Garden

Yesterday I had a good mooch round the garden collecting foliage for my Advent Ring, it was the first Sunday in Advent yesterday so I made it just in time!

Over the years in the garden I’ve managed to get a reasonable collection of evergreen foliage which is good for simple flower arrangements, they are all big enough now to cope with a bit of pruning at Christmas time!  I’ve also learnt which shrubs to avoid, like Choisya Ternata, it is a beautiful golden colour but it smells like cat pee! Ceanothus also looks pretty, but it doesn’t last well enough.

Instead of holly I usually use osmanthus in small arrangements, it has leaves like a holly but they don’t feel quite as prickly and they are clustered together in a way I find more useful. It grows well in my heavy clay soil so I have three different ones, plain, and two variegated ones.

Box is a useful filler, I also like to use herbs such as purple sage and rosemary as it gives a nice scent to the arrangement. My herbs were new shrubs this year so I just snipped a little rosemary. I also managed a little snip of a pretty little purple hebe I planted in the spring, it adds a touch of colour.

Eunonymous is another good tough variegated shrub which is happy to lose a few sprigs at this time of year. I’ve a prostrate juniper in the front garden too which is mainly gree with just the odd wisp of cream.

I usually have a little wander up the back lane as there is a lovely big tree ivy which has wonderful seedheads, next to it is the usual creeping ivy which I usually manage to find a few strands with nice little leaves. By the end of my forage I usually have a good basket of foliage.

For the last few years I’ve used a candelabra for my Advent ring, I got it cheap on Otley market and it just nicely holds an 8″ ring of oasis. Oasis is quite rightly getting some bad press at the moment as it is not biodegradable, they’ve come up with an alternative which is half biodegradable but what use is that!! Hopefully the flower arranging community will come up with a better plan soon.

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I’m no flower arranger, my usual method is just to go round the oasis with four sprigs of this, four sprigs of that until I can’t see the oasis anymore! I put my daily Advent candle in the middle and surround it with the four candles for the four Sundays in Advent. I managed to break one of the candles when I was trying to secure it in the candle holders, they were a set of four I found at my mum’s house so I wasn’t going to go out and buy another four! I managed to stick it back together by melting a bit of the wax, unfortunately that left a big sooty mark on the candle, although it’s not as bad as it looks in the photo!! I’ve decided to use that one first so it will burn down the furthest and hopefully pass the smudge!

My finishing touch is a length of tiny LED lights, these make it pretty even when the candles aren’t lit. Every Sunday we light one more candle so on the Sunday before Christmas we will light all four candles as well as the central one. Christmas will soon be here!

Advent Ring
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Tall Year Square Etui SAL

It’s three weeks since I last showed you my progress on this Betsy Morgan project, I’ve been busy with Christmas makes but I have managed a bit of stitching. Three weeks ago I was here…

I’d just started the lid to my etui box. This side is in the winter colours. I’ve had to study the colours I’ve used to try and get them to match the sides as much as possible.

I’ve made a fair bit of progress as autumn and summer are now complete and I’m half way through spring. I’ve had to change some of the colours as I no longer had one or two of the variegated flosses and I’ve no idea where they came from. Hopefully they blend in enough.

This is where I am now…

I’ve a little more outline stitching to do and the rest of the spring borders, it shouldn’t take me too long. Next to be stitched is a few rows on the inside pockets and then I start the somewhat scary bit of putting it all together!

This stitch-a-long is organised by Avis from Stitching by the Sea, we post every three weeks on our own choice of projects, it’s a great way to keep motivated! If you would like to join us please contact Avis. Please follow the links to check everyone elses progress, there’s some beautiful projects to see

 AvisClaireGunCaroleLucyAnnKateJessSueConstanzeDebbieroseChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHelenStephLindaHeidiJackieSunnyHayleyTonyMeganCatherineDeborahConnieClare

I’ll also be linking up with Kathy’s Quilts for Slow Stitching Sunday, please follow the link for more hand stitched inspiration.

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Christmas Snowflake

Last month I needed to make something for the Christmas Decoration Swap organised by Deborah of Sweet Fallen Angels, it had to be a surprise so hence no spoilers on here! It took me a while to think what to do, it needed to be fairly quick to sew, like two or three evenings, which ruled out cross-stitch, but I wanted it to look good. I turned to Pinterest for a bit of inspiration and finally decided to embroider a snowflake, well a snowflake with artistic license as mine has eight points to it instead of six!

I looked through my scrap box and found some lovely dark blue Liberty lawn left over from a dress I made in the summer. It was perfect for a midnight blue sky colour. It’s fairly fine cotton so I laid some calico behind to give it a bit of strength. I wanted to mark the eight points on the fabric to try and keep it neat and even. I thought about pencil but I decided to use my hera marker, I’ve only used it for making bias binding before. I was amazed how sharp and visible a line it made.This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is dsc_0002-1.jpg

I embroidered a ‘baseline’ snowflake pattern in a variegated DMC thread in very light greys and blues using back stitch and fly stitch. I decided to add a bit of sparkle – Christmas decs always need a bit of sparkle! I used an Anchor Lame silver thread, it’s the only metallic thread I’ve found that I actually enjoy stitching with! I stitched a clear sequin in the centre and used the silver thread to make a star shape around it. 

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I then started embellishing it with beads and sequins and adding further silver stitches to echo the original fly stitches…

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… The bit I found difficult was knowing when to stop! I started to add further fly stitches in silver but I decided it detracted from the design.

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I embroidered the snowflake in the little 4″ hoop because that’s how I wanted to present it, I seem to have acquired half a dozen of this size hoop. I’m never quite sure how to finish a hoop embroidery at the back so I sort of made it up as I went a long! I place a circle of fleece and a circle of card in the back, trimmed the calico as short as I could and the Liberty lawn to about half an inch. I then dabbled with glue to stick it to the inside rim of the hoop. A final circle of felt neatened it all off. I made a length of cord to hang it with and my decoration was ready.

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I’m really pleased with my snowflake, I’m almost tempted to make one for myself as well!

Embroidered Snowflake by thecraftycreek
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Friday Photo Challenge

After last weeks pickle I’m pleased to say I’ve got the right day and the right challenge – I think!

Today’s photo challenge by Postcard from Gibraltar is Wild, so I think I feel some more walking photos coming on!

Kirkstone Pass

This is Kirkstone Pass up in the Lake District, it runs from Ambleside at the top end of Windermere (which you can just see) over the bleak tops to Ullswater, it’s a fantastic drive but it is pretty wild up there if the weather turns.

This is a fairly flat bit in the Yorkshire Dales, we were walking the western half of the Bay2Bay walk, Grassington to Barrow in Furness, I think it’s around the Settle area….

…a bit higher on the same walk, this is typical Dales scenery, dry stone walls (there’s no mortar, they are just built by skillful positioning of the irregular stones) moors and limestone outcrops and pavements.

This is The Strid, where the River Wharfe goes from a fairly wide river to a wild torrent as it travels through a chasm not much wider than a stride, hence the name. Unfortunately many people have lost their lives over the centuries, believing they could jump across.

Wild sorghum in stitches from my Flower Lattice embroidery.

More dry stone walls from our Bay2Bay walk. The skill and stamina required to build these walls always amazes me, these walls will be 100’s of years old. This hill is as steep and long as it looks,we’d just hauled ourselves up it! It is straight as a die as far as the eye can see.

One of the joys of walking in late spring or early summer is wild bluebells flowering in ancient woodland. The scent is heavenly and travels quite a distance. You catch a scent and then you see a sea of blue.

I will finish with the video I put on youtube of the view from Wideopen Hill on St Cuthberts Way when we walked it in September, just in case anyone missed it last time! We pretty much walked for a week in countryside like this, we didn’t appreciate just how much we had got used to the quiet and the solitude until we reached Lindisfarne, a tiny island off the Northumberland coast. The coachloads of tourists were really quite overwhelming at first. It surprised us as this is the sixth long distance walk we’ve done, but this is the first time we experience that feeling of bewilderment when we ‘rejoined’ society.

 

 

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Damsons and Plums

Purple is one of my favourite colours, so I do have a fair bit of the colour in my stash, in all hues and shades. When I started rearranging my sewing room recently my stash storage space was reduced somewhat, so I’m trying to sew according to lengths that are bulky and therefore take up a lot of space in my cupboard! I’ve made two things in the last couple of weeks or so, both shades of purple, in fact I used up three lengths from my stash!

My first make was a cardigan, it’s getting cold over here and my cardies are looking past their best. I used Butterick 6258 which is my go to pattern for an everyday cardigan, in fact I think this was the seventh time I’ve made it.

The fabric is what I would call a waffle jersey, sort of textured, I’ve no idea where or when I bought it but it is a nice shade of purple!  My plan was to make it on my overlocker however we had a major falling out! I spent over an hour cleaning and rethreading it several times, testing it, I went from a four thread OK stitch, cleaned it (it was very dusty) to a very poor 3 thread stitch, rethreaded, cleaned more, improved to an OK 3 thread stitch, tried on my actual garment and it nicely trimmed the seam but made absolutely no effort to sew! It is now visiting the mechanic for it’s last chance!!!This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is dsc_00072.jpg

In the end I made the cardigan on my standard machine with a double seam in a slight zig-zag, I didn’t think to use my walking foot until near the end. The seams haven’t come out as flat as I would have liked but it’s fine for everyday pottering round cardi. I made it a longer length as one of my favourite ones is longer. Somehow with this one it didn’t look quite right, so I put big patch pockets on the front which seems to help and I do like a cardigan with pockets.

All in all, not my most successful make but OK for everyday, I’ve certainly worn it a fair bit so far , this is me doing a talk at my Embroiderers Guild…Image may contain: one or more people and people standing

My second make was a coat, as you can imagine a coat length takes up quite a lot of space! I bought this wool on one of my trips to Goldhawk Road in London. It’s a gorgeous loose woven Herringbone Tweed, when I first pulled it out I thought it was going to be a bit stripy, but then I noticed the other side was much more muted, I think this is the right side as it was on the inside of the fold which is the traditional way to fold wool.This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is dsc_0001-1-e1543594357572.jpg

When I say it’s loose woven, you only need to look at it and it frays, the issue being that it is also quite a coarse wool (though soft to feel) so if two threads fray you seem to lose 5mm. If I’d realised before I started how much it would fray I might have used a fine interfacing all over. It didn’t help that I also used my Coatigan pattern and the seam allowance is only 1cm!

I used a taffeta lining (from my stash) which has a diamond pintuck pattern, I seem to recall I bought this at Bombay Stores at one of the shows. I’ve no idea what I was thinking of making with it as I think to make a garment the tucks would make it quite difficult to get neat. For a coat lining it’s perfect, a bit of inside interest and somehow the tucks make it feel nice and chunky and cuddly.

I’ve used the Coatigan Sylvia pattern by Schnittchen a couple of times too, it’s a comfortable, everyday, throw it on sort of coat…

Despite the fraying, it actually went together pretty well. I managed to line the ‘stripes’ up on the front and back and also across the sleeve.

The Coatigan instructions are pretty minimalist, there’s no pictures though apparently there is an on line tutorial. In the instructions the lining is ‘bagged’, stitched all round to the coat and then turned through a hole left in the sleeve lining!! I still can’t quite follow this so I stitch facings and collar and then hand stitch the hem and sleeve ends. The actual hems were machine stitched, which is not my norm, I usually hand-stitch them up with a herringbone stitch. I was still concerned about the fraying though and decided there was less likely to be movement and therefore potentially fraying if it was just machine stitched up. It does make the line more visible but I can live with that.This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is dsc_00132.jpg

Having worn the coat for several days I still haven’t quite decided on the closure, the pattern has nothing or a single button. This looks fine but I know from experience that there is no way I’ll get the facing under my buttonhole foot. I have bought a black leather toggle which I think I will try first, hand stitch it on to see how it goes. I cold use a popper but for such a big coat I’d need quite a big one and I’m not sure it would suit the style.

I’ve worn my new coat several times this week and it’s lovely and warm and comfortable too. A success 🙂DSC_0011

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Christmas Swaps

A couple of months ago Deborah from Sweet Fallen Angels suggested a Christmas tree decoration swap. I thought it was a great idea, I make a handmade Christmas decoration for someone whilst someone else is making one for me! I love Christmas and especially a handmade Christmas. I signed up immediately.

I’ve been secretly sewing  away my present which I will show you in the next couple of days. We had to have them in the post by the end of November as it was an international swap. So I’ve also been eagerly anticipating an arrival of a parcel from somewhere!

I was very surprised yesterday when not one but two little parcels arrived!

The first parcel I opened was from Linda of Linda’s Cr8tions, all the way from America. She has been secretly knitting a gorgeous gnome for me, isn’t he cute! I love his cheeky little round nose poking out above his woolly beard. It’s such fine knitting too, it’s lovely to have a knitted decoration as it’s something I never do, I have knitted years ago but I’m really not very good and it takes me FOREVER so I do admire beautiful knitting. I know just where he’s going to go at Christmas, he will look great on our mantelpiece next to the Santa’s and the reindeer! Thank you Linda 🙂DSC_0001 (1)

The second was a complete surprise, a lovely peg doll angel from Deborah as a thank you for taking part. She’s beautifully made with hand embroidery and beading, she’s all dressed up for Christmas with a silk skirt, a glitzy top, a little beaded necklace and of course a pair of gold wings. I can even move her legs and arms so she’s dancing! She will look lovely on our Christmas tree, skipping across the branches. To add to this, she was wrapped in a square of pretty quilting cotton which goes nicely with the collection I’ve just put together for my next Sarah Fielke quilt.DSC_0002

So thank you to Deborah for organising the swap, and especially for my little angel, it’s been a lovely start to Christmas.

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Friday Photo Challenge

OK, I’ve checked and the photo challenge from Postcard from Gibraltar for yesterday is definitely  Climb, so here’s another collection of photos !

As most of you know, my favourite fell to climb is Catbells, it’s only little at 1480 feet but it’s quite a pull to get to the summit, and there’s glorious views all along the way up to distract you for a rest!

Catbells

I’ve stitched various pictures of Catbells, this one is my most recent. It’s a for a quilt to be auctioned for an Ovarian Cancer charity, Kate from Tall Tales from Chiconia organises one each year and puts it all together. This year it’s called Teal it on the Mountain, so I could do another picture of Catbells.View over Derwentwater from Catbells

This is the view as you’re just starting to come down from the summit towards Grange (for a nice cup of tea!) looking over Derwentwater towards Skiddaw on the left and Blencathra in the distance, the town of Keswick is nestled  at the bottom.

Looking over to Borrowdale from the top. This was my 50th birthday walk and my two partners in crime are enjoying their lunch. We had a fabulous day!

Catbells from Keswick, taken from our hotel on the Heads.

This was my entry for the Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook. The inchies on the left represent different aspects of the walk such as the launch across Derwentwater and the field patterns you can see in Newlands Valley on the far side of Catbells.

This was a little workshop we did at Embroiderers Guild called Rolling Landscapes, a long thin embroidery depicting Catbells and the nearby fells.

One of my early images of Catbells, this is the front cover of my Travelling Sketchbook on the theme of mountains. It is now filled with embroideries from my friends in my Embroiderers Guild.

My sister, me and Wags the dog on Catbells

A cute photo to finish, though it’s quite scary to think this was half a century ago!!! This is me near the top of Catbells with my elder sister and our dog Wags. As you can see I am very suitably dressed for walking in a little white dress and red shoes!! I’m not sure how much I walked that day but family lore says I climbed up Catbells under my own steam aged 4, bribed with squares of Kendal Mint Cake!

For more images of Climbs, please follow the link to Postcard from Gibraltar.

 

 

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Friday Photo Challenge

Editors note; I’ve just realised I’m completely out with my timing, I seem to have missed a couple  of weeks somewhere, but having written the post I thought I may as well show you!

OK, I’m a day late, (or maybe more!!) but as I seem to have missed last weeks as well I thought I’d choose a few photos for this weeks theme, storm. Having done a fair bit of walking over the years I’ve a few storms to show you, although they’re only little storms as we’re fair weather walkers really! Our storms here in the UK also are usually a lot milder than other parts of the world we here about. It says it all that we still talk about the 1987 hurricane!!

The first one is a photo I think my daughter took of heavy rain in our garden, taken from the comfort of her bedroom !DSC_0005

This one isn’t actually a storm, but it looks quite dramatic! It’s a lunar eclipse from a couple of years ago.

So how would you knit a storm? This is the tornado in Wizard of Oz that whipped up poor Dorothy and Toto, it was knitted for the Tea and Tents WI camping festival as we always have a knitting theme. In case you haven’t sussed it it was wrapped around a rotary clothes line – brilliant idea!

We don’t get snow falls like we used to do, I remember building igloos when I was a child! The garden still looks pretty after a night of snow.

A Snowy Garden

I love seeing the weather forming across the valley, seeing the rain coming nearer (so long as I have all my wet weather gear!) This is Ullswater up in the Lake District. I always presumed everyone could recognise rain in the distance as being brought up walking alot it was something we always did. It was only when I was at work one day looking out of the window and I commented to a colleague that someone was copping a load of rain, she ( a self confessed townie!) didn’t have a clue what I was looking at, I then realised it’s a skill you learn from being outside in the countryside.

Two old ladies enjoying the snow!!

Another photo of the weather coming across the hills, this was from our last walk, St Cuthberts Way. We were really lucky on the whole as we kept seeing the rain coming across but it would go down the other side of the hill, though I think the one in the photo did make us rather wet!DSC_0223

I’m sure there will be much more dramatic photos of storms over on Postcard from Gibraltar, so follow the link to have a look.

 

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