Thank you for visiting. I hope you like the posts and pictures here.

Can I show you my new website? Its called Project Warren and you can find it at projectwarren.com. I launched Project Warren in September and its about the things I really love, mainly gardening, refurbishing furniture and making things for the home.

Project Warren website

I won’t be posting here any more, so it would be lovely if you would come and visit my new blog. You can also find me on twitter @ProjectWarren.

Pop by and say hello!

Thank you x

VL

We have a luuurvely new camera, which is great for me because our old camera has caused me so much frustration when trying to take nice, clear pictures for this blog. Old camera was always temperamental, meaning pretty pictures were very hit and miss – well, mostly miss and mostly blurred. New camera gets it right every time.

wooden bunny

The novelty of new camera’s skills and talents has not yet worn off and for the past two days we’ve been snapping everything in sight.

So, will you indulge me whilst I show you practice-run snaps of things from around the house and garden, until I have something more craft-based to talk about?

blue glass bottle

Murphy washing

snowdrops

wedding photo 1963

stained glass

moss

russian dolls

spanish glass

plants in broken pot

patchwork blankets

sangria bottle

Murphy fluffy head

VL

Well this morning Claire, Hannah and I had planned to pop to Wollaton Park for a bit of fresh air and get away from work and the city. The past few days have been lovely, sunny and positively spring-like.

Wollaton Park

And then this happened outside my window…

Snow on the rooftopsWhich makes it less of a Wollaton Park day and more of a hot tea and muffins, soup and catching up with your blog day!

So, 2010 has brought craftiness into my family. Last month I had a lovely day with my 3 nieces showing them how to crochet, embroider and do a spot of French knitting too! I wish I had some photos of the things they made. I was so proud to see them crocheting colourful granny squares and stitch pretty embroideries. They picked it up much quicker than I did and they tell me they’re now completely addicted!

I made some handmade family gifts too. A Frankenstein’s Monster cushion for my nephew, just to show him we didn’t forget about him on our girlie crafting day, and a felt brooch for my mum. For some reason I didn’t take photos of those either. What was I thinking?

I do, however, have photos of the gifts I made for my big sister for her birthday. Patchwork cushions to match her bedroom with dragonfly embroideries. Dragonflies are her favourite.

Patchwork & embroidered cushions

Bedroom slippers to match

Lemon cotton slippers

And a case to keep them in

Cotton slipper case

There’s nothing nicer than sharing your craft love. Who do you share yours with?

VL

It’s almost a year to the day since I first set up this little blog. Back then it looked quite different and has undergone a few makeovers. If I tried to think about all of the other things that have happened in my life since then, I’m sure it would make my head spin! Although it’s been a roller coaster year going at full speed right up until the last minute I’m happy and thankful to say it seems to be drawing to an end peacefully.

I still have lots of good intentions for 2010, to keep learning techniques and finding out about textiles, colours and tools of the trade. Despite my hectic life this blog has been quiet recently, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t found time for some creativity.

Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show

Back in November the Textile Workshop organised a trip to the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show. Of course the Stitched Up ladies were there and we had a great time admiring the stunning artwork.

Applique and embroidery pictureVintage photo with machine embroidery

Knitted boat and sea creaturesEmbroidered wire portraits

I bought a few lovely things too, including some 1970s braid, vintage embroidery transfers, a few pieces of beautiful fabric (hopefully) destined to become skirts and not forgetting the amazing giant ric rac!

1970s braidVintage embroidery transfersBeautiful fabric and giant ric rac

I’d never been to the Harrogate International Centre before so it was a surprise to stumble across its Royal Hall. A beautiful theatre built in 1903, still shining and glittering from floor to ceiling.Harrogate Royal HallHarrogate Royal Hall ceiling

Discovering BurdaStyle

This was quite a biggie! The first thing I thought when I visited the BurdaStyle website was “why on earth haven’t I been here before?”. If like me you’re a bit slow off the mark and haven’t enjoyed BurdaStyle yet then go (www.burdastyle.com).

As they say, its ‘for people who sew‘. This site is for dressmakers and crafters of all abilities, where patterns are labelled from ‘novice’ to ‘amateur’. There’s way too much to say about BurdaStyle here so all I am going to say is that if you want to be inspired and whipped up into a sewing frenzy then that’s the place to go!

The Great Craft Room Clear Out

OK, so a clear out might not be strictly creative but it is absolutely necessary for me to have a clear brain. The craft room clear out was part of a bigger wave which started with us emptying the loft for new insulation and has carried on with a major tidy up of every room in the house. For me it’s better than therapy and along the way I found some things I’ll treasure for many more years to come.

Tiny ballet slippers

My first (and very tiny) ballet slippers.

Birthday cards

Birthday cards from when I was little and my very first ‘aunty’ card from my baby nephew.

Christmas Crafts

I have to admit I’m usually a bit grumpy at Christmas, this tends to be because I just don’t have the extra time it requires to fit everything in – but then who does?! This year though I decided I was going to make the effort to enjoy the build up, rather than treat it as a chore, by incorporating a little craft along the way.

For my close family I made little felt tree decoration Christmas cards. I was too rushed to take photos before I sent them but they were snowmen, gingerbread men and baby deer, a bit like this one.

Felt Christmas decoration

A few prezzies were hand made too, including a cotton apron for my great aunty, a crochet scarf for the lovely Hannah and a zip up purse for a welcomed home friend. I even did a bit of baking, which is unheard of, for my Dad and Norman (a very special fella). Plus this giant granny square blanket for my husband’s Nana. I never knew I could crochet so fast!

Large granny square blanket

I have to say that making these things didn’t ease the pressure of Christmas preparations at all but it did make it much mure fun.

Having lovely, thoughtful friends and family I was lucky enough to receive some truly beautiful handmade and crafty gifts:

This absolutely gorgeous patchwork quilt made from vintage 1970s fabric by the very talented Claire was such a fantastic surprise! Claire is one very busy lady and so I’m even more grateful that she found the time to make this for me.

Beautiful 70s patchwork quilt by Claire

Hannah knows me very well, spoiling me with more wonderful vintage goodies, including crafty books, the cutest bunny jelly mould and this adorable hand mirror which I love (I’ve been drooling over vintage hand mirrors for ages). It’s a bit like she read my mind too with the vintage Christmas card holders!

Vintage goodies from Hannah

My youngest neice gave me the sweetest sewing box which will be ideal for taking to sewing class and craft group and my in-laws treated me to books on dress making techniques and patterns, exactly what I need.

Sewing box from Beth

Dressmaking books

I know I’m a very fortunate girl indeed and I don’t take that lightly! Thank you everyone!!!!

How about you? What have you been doing these past couple of snowy months?

VL

This afternoon I had to take a trip into the city for a meeting. Whilst I was there I took the opportunity to visit the long anticipated Nottingham Contemporary.

Nottingham Contemporary Art Gallery

I’ve mentioned this new art gallery before in my ‘Blanket of Ideas’ post and I’d been looking forward to it opening since I heard about it. Not least because their very first exhibition is David Hockney which was not a disappointment, especially ‘A Bigger Splash‘.

Nottingham Contemporary

The other thing I was hoping to see was the Blanket of Ideas and sure enough it was there with my little shell stitch crochet square right in the middle! That put a grin on my face for the rest of the day I can tell you :) Lisa Anne Auerbach has a really good photo of it on her website ‘The Little Red Blog of Revolutionary Knitting‘.

Blanket of Ideas at Nottingham Contemporary

If you’re in Nottingham visit the gallery. I’m sure I’ll be spending lots more time there.
www.nottinghamcontemporary.org

VL

So, you’re familiar with the idea of writer’s block? Well I think I have a serious case of that, but with sewing.

I’ve just spent 3 hours discovering the wonderful world of BurdaStyle (which seems perfect for a beginner like me), I have shelves full of books, a head full of ideas, a cut out dress pattern from ‘making things from vintage patterns’ class and a thousand started-but-not-finished embroidery, sewing and crochet projects but can’t set myself to do any of them. Its a bit like standing at the bottom of an insurmountable mountain and I think I’m a bit overwhelmed by it all!

Craft and dressmaking materials waiting to be used

It seems that crafting and dressmaking requires a lot of patience and acceptance that you can’t expect to be able to do everything instantly. But I want to be able to do it all instantly and its frustrating! This is a bit of a diversion tactic. Instead of getting to it and just tackling something I’ll just write about it here instead. I never seem to get writer’s block with writing.

Can anyone help me shake off this feeling?

VL

That’s what I’ve been learning to do lately and will be doing through until February.

I’m sitting Claire’s weekly evening course ‘Making Things from Vintage Patterns’ at the Textile Workshop. The first thing we made was this 1950′s domestic goddess apron. The fabric for mine came from a really pretty duvet cover I bought in a charity shop ages ago.

Apron made from a vintage pattern

Then yesterday Claire and I sat Hannah’s one day vintage slippers class. How sweet are these? They’re from a 1940s pattern and will make a great gift so I can’t wait to get on with my next pair.

Slippers made from a vintage pattern

I really want to do some dressmaking for the next few weeks of the course so I have bought two dress patterns and one smock top one, 1970s of course. I’ll let you know how they go.

Vintage Dressmaking Pattern

Finally, yesterday we made this Halloween lantern from a home grown pumpkin. We liked the way that he looks too happy to be evil…

Halloween Pumpkin

VL

Nottingham Contemporary is going to be one of the largest contemporary art spaces in the UK, opening on 14th November. How lucky we are to have it in our Midlands city!

Nottingham Contemporary have been working with artist Lisa Anne Auerbach who uses knitwear as a way of provoking good-humoured political discussion. She has created a line of knitwear called ‘Take This Knitting Machine and Shove It‘ for Nottingham Contemporary showing various slogans, song lyrics and sayings.

Blanket of Ideas Crochet Square

Following on from this Nottingham Contemporary are planning to exhibit the ‘Blanket of Ideas‘, a huge red and black patchwork blanket with squares knitted and crocheted by Nottingham people, expressing their own political messages. Of course I couldn’t not get involved in this. My square is crocheted in shell stitch which represents a concern for the damage we’re doing to the world’s oceans through over fishing, climate change and pollution.

Crochet shell stitch scarf

I loved the shell stitch so much I decided to make something with it that I could keep, so here’s the beginnings of a new winter scarf. It’s getting pretty chilly here now so I’d best get cracking, I’ll need it very soon.

I was going to post a link to a ‘how to crochet shell stitch’ resource but when I started looking I realised that there are many different ways to create a shell stitch. Do a search on Google or YouTube and you’ll see what I mean!

VL

I’ve just posted a little article over at my other blog, Green Girls Global, on 5 tips for crafting green.

Lovely button stash

I’m sure more experienced crafters will have lots more gems on how to recycle and cut down waste when making, so please do share them. If you send me your green crafting tips (either here or at GGG) I’ll compile another list and publish it, with your tip credited to you of course :)

VL

Back in May when it was warm and sunny I taught myself how to make granny squares. Since then I’ve just been hooked!

Granny squares blanket

Well now its October, its cold and rainy and just in time for winter I’ve made a granny square blanket out of my little summer obsession.

Granny squares blanket

I sewed the squares together with black yarn in whip stitch but I think next time I shall either make one giant square the size of a blanket or crochet the small squares together as I go. In total it must have easily taken about 20 hours to sew it together and I was up until 4am this morning determined to get it finished. I think it was well worth it though :)

VL

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