DIY: Something for my girls

At first I wasn’t going to have any bridesmaids, but the further we got in the wedding planning, the more I felt I wanted to have my girls beside me. But in the end having my best friends beside me on one of the most important days in my life trumped the cost implication of three dresses, three pairs of shoes, three hairs and makeups.

Bridesmaid cardSo having decided we would both have three friends I ended up getting drunk and asking the girls to be my bridemaids. They were thrilled and I was delighted they said yes, but I did feel bad about the way in which I asked them. Then my abosolute favourite wedding blog, One Fab Day did a post on Popping the question… to the Bridesmaids, where they featured lots of ways you can ask your friends.

Bridesmaid cardI decided that because I’d been a drunken boob (in fairness, we were all fairly pissed that night) that I would make and send them a thank you card, similar to some of the ones. I found a font online that I liked and downloaded and installed it. It took me a while to visualise where on my A4 page the text should go (on the lower half of the page!), then downloaded a squiggly clip art from the Microsoft website. On the inside of the card I included “Thanks you for being my bridesmaid” rather than “will you by my bridesmaid”. Finally I coloured it all in purple, as this is the colour theme for the wedding, and printed it out onto card.

Bridesmaid card envelopeThen I had to find a suitable envelope, so downloaded a C5 template, and printed it onto stiff silvery paper. I hope the girls love then as much as I do.

Bridesmaid card

DIY: Cute as a button

Pinterest has a lot to answer for. Once again I spotted a crafty tutorial I just knew I had to try. American Craft Studio posted a tutorial for an Element Monogram. A friend of mine had a baby recently so in her honour I decided to create a H.

I used:

  • Printer, scissors, paper, pencil, glue, double sided tape
  • A photo frame, without the glass (I’m using more Ribba from Ikea)
  • Card large enough to fit the photo frame (I’m using some lovely shimmery grey card to go with the white frame)
  • Buttons, lots and lots of buttons and beads (I used some from my stash, was donated some and bought some from eBay)

The original tutorial suggests printing out a letter, cutting around it and using this as a template. I really wanted a nice curly letter but it took a bit of time to find one that was chunky enough to allow for larger buttons. Eventually I settled on Angel Tears in size 850. When cutting out the letter I made it a bit chunkier again. Although I can see the logic in tracing around a letter with straight edges, I think if you are doing something a bit curvier freehand would be ok.

You then start sticking down the buttons, starting with the larger ones and then filling in the gaps with smaller ones, and layering them up. I used beads when I needed to fill smaller gaps.

I may have gone a bit overboard with the chunkyness and curlyness because Rossa looked over my shoulder and said “Oh, that’s beautiful” but identified it as a bird. I realised too late you also need to keep it simple, as something that is too curvy can become unrecognisable (my bird!)

I ended up cutting around the buttons I had glued so I could make the shape more recognisable, which is not an ideal solution. But now it looks more like a H than a bird so I’m happy. The buttons are quite heavy so I used double sided tape to stick the card first to the backing board and then to the mount before fitting it into the glass-less frame.

Knitting and I

I mentioned in a recent post that my recent love of knitting was inspired by watching Mastercrafts on BBC last year.

I think I was in a bit of a rut. I used to make jewellery and absolutely love photography, but without even really noticing I had let both these (and probably other hobbies) slide. Rossa kept pushing me to get the creative juices flowing again, to *do* something. He may now be regretting this.

knitting bagI felt energised watching the crafters on TV creating such beautiful fabric on their looms. Something in this particular program spoke to me, tickled a memory somewhere in the back of my mind. I knew that weaving was a step too far, but knitting slowly appeared in my mind and I grabbed it.

I first learned to knit in primary school. I remember knitting a hairband. In a slightly sickly blue colour. It had holes everywhere. It did not have a straight edge by any stretch of the imagination. My best friends Hazel got her mum help her to knit hers. It was red. And it was perfect. But my one was mine, I had knitted it myself and I loved it. I was *so* proud.

My first ever scarf

My first ever scarf

The two greatest female influences in my life, my mother and my grandmother, both knit. My nanny died when I was in 6th class, about 12, and I was devastated. I still miss her to this day even though I only knew her as a child. My mum, told me only recently that nanny used to machine knit garments to earn extra income for the family. She also tells stories of winding hanks of yarn for pocket money. I can imagine her as a girl in my nanny’s kitchen winding the wool.

My mum, despite her foibles that have become clearer to me as I get older, is the most inspirational person to me. I remember my mum knitting in the 80s before she went back to work. She made us the most amazing jumpers (a Mr. Happy jumper and aran style jumper knit in cotton come to mind), she knitted cuddly toys and clothes for my dolls. I feel so proud to have re-introduced her to the craft, although I’m still working on convincing her that the more luxury yarns are worth the extra cost. This is a common battle ground between us.

I remember going into Springwools in Nutgrove (now long gone) as a child. I was mesmerised then, as I am now, by the colours and textures. By the floor to ceiling shelves full of yarn. By the books of patterns to leaf through. By the rows of tubes of buttons.

Yarn Tasting SamplesSo I bought my needles and yarn and set to knitting some swatches. Then I discovered a shop called This Is Knit and a true knitter was born.

I consider myself to be a very tactile person, I love to touch and squish and feel. I also love colour. I thought I had died and gone to heaven when I entered This Is Knit. I cannot say enough good things about Lisa, Jackie and their staff, they are passionate, helpful and knowledgeable. They and the other knitters I have met accepted me without question into a community that, up until then, I didn’t even know existed.

blanketSo for those people who are confused by what they see as an old-fashioned pastime: I love knitting because of the textures, the colours, the joy of creating something, of seeing it grow in your hands. I love the generosity of the community I have discovered. I love the possibilities of using a pattern as a starting point but not necessarily an end point. I love wearing a cowl or scarf that *I* created. I love giving gifts that I made with that person in mind. I love the fibres that I never knew existed (mmmm alpaca). I love crafting something both beautiful and practical. I love using my hands to create. I love that my mistakes become a feature that make an item unique. I love the link to my past, to my nanny and to my mum.

I love knitting.