Saturday, 31 December 2011

Biting the bullet........

Well, with a New Year and a new start ahead, myself and my friend Clare have decided to bite the bullet and try and flog our wares at a local Artisan market....

I'm planning on making some felt flowers and a few crochet accessories.....I'll put them on here when they are made.  I'm looking into this Folksy business too...If you don't shoot for the moon and all......

Friday, 30 December 2011


Here are a few of the bits I made as presents for my nearest and dearest.......

First up is the crochet lapgan that I made for should have looked like this....

but I just couldn't get the hang of the zig zag thing in time; and so, it looked like this.....

Then there were upcycled cashmere mittens for my Sister in law....

These are super peasy to make..
....just draw round your hand with your thumb stuck out..cut out 4 identical pieces from a mistakenly felted cashmere jumper.( if you line up the pieces at the bottom of the jumper, you get a nice ribbed cuff)

......add an inch all round for seam allowance and with right sides together, stitch around with thick thread.....
......trim back the seams to 1/8 inch and turn right side out..and bobs your uncle!

A felty monster pirate for little J

Aga covers for Mother in Law

A pencil roll for my step nephew

A wine bottle cover for Father in Law

An infinity scarf for sister in law...
I have decided this year that ALL my gifting will be handmade. I am fed up with getting people things that they do not need.... and instead, want to give them something that is as one of a kind and original as they are!

Happy New Year everyone and here's to a creatively crafty new year!

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Universal Craft Blog Directory!

Rie over at Craftyrie is putting together a Directory of Craft Bloggers so all us lovely peeps can be kept organised in one place! What a wonderful idea!  It basically works by word of mouth.  Click on the button, add your URL and post the button on your blog.  Make sure you do a wordy bit to say what its all about and there you go....Job done!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

My Year........

As the conveyor belt to Christmas chugs along I thought it time to sum up my year. Mainly for my own benefit really....kind of like a baring of the soul.

The main event...Little J starting school. My how time does fly, next thing I know he will be off to University and far too tall for his own good.  So many people said to me, "Oh you will have so much more time to yourself". Well, that is indeed a LIE. I just manage to fill it with waiting for J to get home!!!

This was the year I lost 10% of me!! I joined Slimming World and lost 2 stone. I have to say, it's a life changer.

I also joined the WI....not all jam and Jerusalem. I joined the Golden Triangle Girls and found myself to be one of the OLDER can see what we have been up to here .
Jecca and the girls recently entered a fantastic dress ( made of video tape) into the Little Black Dress competition in London. You can see the pics on the facebook page.

Thanks to Caroline, I enrolled in a dressmaking class. I learnt some important lessons about patience and doing it the right way! We have enrolled again for next term, so you never know, I might even get a garment finished :)

We also started a Friday Crafternoon group, which I hope to expand next year. So far, it is just a few of us school mums meeting for Coffee, Cake and Craft in our houses, but maybe it can become something bigger...who knows?

2011 was also the year I shaved my head...yes, indeed, you read correctly. I SHAVED MY HEAD. At the age of 34, it is not really a look I could keep ( despite Little J's pleading).  The reason for this insanity: To raise money for a very good cause Macmillan Cancer Support.  I am sad to say that Cancer has been a big part of my life this year.

I have lost 2 of my relatives and a 3rd is losing his battle as I type. It is indeed a very sad thing, but I want to take something positive from it and make sure I have no regrets in the future.

On a positive note: despite being diagnosed with Hodgkin's my AMAZING friend, has just been given the great news that SHE IS IN REMISSION!!!!!!!!! They have also said, that the chances of it coming back are very slim.  She is a fantastic person who has smiled through it all and with such a strong will, the Cancer never stood a chance.

Wow this has been a Mammoth post and I hope you managed to stay with me until the end? Given the madness of Christmas that has descended on the Ellis household...I don't think I will be back until the New Year.

Have a great one and here's to a Crafty 2012!!!!!!

Saturday, 3 December 2011


This is our Christmas Tree this year.....

Now, as you can see, it's not the usual sort of tree. The reasons for this are many and it has also become somewhat of a tradition in our household.

With the demise of our "fake" tree 3 years ago, I set about looking for a replacement. On a trip to John Lewis ( A big department store here) I spied a "tree", but it wasn't the normal green and leafy variety. It was bare branches, made from wire and tape and painted tree colour with snow on it. It was also £90!

Being the frugal being that I am, I thought ...I CAN MAKE THAT!

It transpired that year that nature decided to help me out as we had a particularly windy winter, which brought down a LOT of branches...and there was my lightbulb moment!

Little J is a made crazy nature lover and collector of sticks, stones and leaves, so it gives him a great deal of pleasure to "choose" or tree - and so a tradition was formed.

The many reasons why I like this particular tradition?

It doesn't shed, it's 100% recyclable ( we burn it in January) and it allows us to see the rather lovely decorations that we make together this time of year. Enough said really!!

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Dulton and the economy of spending a bit more...

Hmmm..that was a funny title and I was going to rewrite it, but I think I'll keep it..Are you still with me.. tee hee hee?

This is my dustpan and brush.
His name is Dulton..see

and..he has a weird brush.

Anyway, I was having a conversation with Caroline ( gran plumley. is her other incarnation) at our weekly sewing class, about the merits of spending a bit more on stuff.  Dulton here, is a prime example. He cost me £12 in a sale about 10 years ago and has outlasted 6 of his plastic counterparts- and has kept that glorious smile throughout.

He has shovelled snow, scraped paint,stripped wallpaper and even banged in nails. He has cleared up many unsavoury things as well as, on the odd occasion been used as a dustpan and brush.

A conversation that started with me boasting of his underlay scraping duties and the fact that his plastic relatives would never last the course, got me thinking about the economies of spending more. ( and I promised Caroline that I would put him on my blog!)

I come from a family who are always looking for the cheapest way to do things and it has come hard to me to get out of that mind set.  As I have become older, I now ask myself "should I spend that little bit more?"
Especially if it is something I will use everyday and I want to last a long time, like Dulton.  It is often false economy to by the cheapest, or the most for your money or "not quite the thing you are looking for" because it is cheaper.

It is also the reason why I buy secondhand. That way I don't have to compromise on quality over price.  A great example of this is my handbag. It is leather, it is from Hobbs and it was brand new....£120 I hear you say? Nope £6 from Marie Curie!

Zoe, over at So, Zo...What do you know has written a great post called "how I consume" which is certainly food for thought. I feel quite proud of the fact that I buy secondhand and reuse whenever possible and also understand that sometimes it is worth paying that little bit more....


I LOVE things...especially OLD are my recent EBay purchases

A mattress needle and button hooks
My lovely scissors, a "stiletto" and teeny tiny bone handle crochet hook
 Button hooks were used mainly in the Victorian era as they had so many buttons on boots and gloves that it would have taken hours to do them all up without these little implements.  They are now mainly used by the disabled or elderly.  A couple of these have advertising slogans on for Dr Lovelace soap and the other for Wood Milne shoe shine.  I would like to have met Dr Lovelace, I imagine he had the nurses swooning!

I need to investigate further on the black handled one as it may be made from something called "BOG OAK" hmmmmm...interesting.  

The scissors on the photo to the right were the main thing that attracted me to the listing as they have really pretty handles.  the blue object to the far side is a Stiletto or point turner. It may be Bakelite or modern plastic, I'm not really sure how to tell. It is pretty AND useful anyhow, so I shall keep it.
I think the hook at the bottom is a lace making hook, rather than a crochet hook as it is teeny tiny. I need to look more into the difference between bone and ivory as I am not sure which this is.

Pretty handles
Metal crochet hook, bone crochet hook, "travel" crochet hook and a bone bookmark

Tape measure
 I was hoping that one of these may be a size 4 crochet hook but the only contender is the bone one second from the left. It has a nice barley twist to the end and time will tell what size it is when I start using it!

The tape measure is unusual in that it has the brass stiffener on the first few inches.I have searched around on the Internet to find out why, but to no avail...
UPDATE: I have since been told by my mother in law that the brass section of the tape was used to measure the inside leg for gentlemens suits so that tailors did not have to put their hand up another chaps crotch!!

Some of these may find their way back onto eBay at some point, but if they don't sell, there is a box frame waiting for them!

Sunday, 6 November 2011


Wow, there are so many projects that I want to do right now.

Unfortunately, as I have a household of poorly people needing constant nursing, I haven't been able to do any sewing but I have been able to do a bit of hookery. I made a pair of these slippers.....

Inspired by  the pattern from Zoom Mommy's blog, which can be found here

I have been checking out Ravelry again and have found a free hooky pattern for the Apiary Puff (find it here)by Valarie Lawson,inspired by Tiny Owl Knits, Beekepers quilt.  Now, as a non knitter, I was a bit envious when I found the Tiny Owl pattern, but then my envy turned to joy at finding a hooky version!!!

Now the question is, do I start ANOTHER project..or must I really finish up some of my UFOs.??????

I have made SOME progress on the UFO front.

I've managed to attach all the poms onto a new backing and I now just need to put the pretty base fabric and edging on. I don't think it will be something I can use the machine for as the edging is rather hefty and my machine is a little ancient! I have got a mattress needle ( a curved thick needle) from a thrifted sewing box that I bought in the sunnier days of car boot.  My best advice on this project is too use proper rug backing, rather than try and use hessian backing as I pays to use the right stuff!

The Lady Grey.
I have bitten the bullet and cut out the main fabric for the jacket. It is a black wool cashmere mix and given the choice again, I wouldn't choose that one, but I believe in learning from my mistakes! I shall be making it again for the spring, in a red or purple lightweight fabric and I will be VERY careful with my fabric choice! I am hoping to be able to make it in a size smaller by then :)!

The Lapgan
Again another learning curve here...the lesson this time is one of patience. I have had to unravel 3 rows because I went too fast! It is progressing though and I will have it done by Christmas ( fingers crossed).

The Peony
I find it impossible to do only on sewing project at a time and so, I have cut out the fabric for my Peony.  I am popping into town today to get my 22inc concealed zip and then I just need to figure out how to put it in.  Funny enough, that is the next tutorial at my sewing class, but as I was hoping to finish it to wear at my Aunts funeral on Thursday, I am going to have to wing it myself. If I manage it, I will post some details on here.

Well, as today is my birthday, I am heading off to do a bit of cheeky shopping. Tara for now xx

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Its been a funny old week....

I've had the strangest of weeks and very little time to sew. My brave Aunt lost her battle with cancer last night and it has made me reflect on my own life.

I can either let depression overwhelm me and live a life of "could haves" or I can grasp life by the horns and keep on trucking!  I am going to attempt the later and make my Aunty B proud.

Lets start with my crafty "to do " list.

Things in the UFO pile:

1) The Lady Grey...its my project for my sewing class and I WILL have it done by Christmas.
2) The Pom Pom rug. I ran out of materials, but with a lucky car boot find, I can now get it finished.
3) Mums Ripple Lapgan..My first real hooky project - I really hope that she likes it.

4) My ripple blanket..A long term project I think.
5) The bits of refashion from SSS11..they got put on the back burner when my ear went squiffy!

New stuff to do!

1) My friend has asked me to make her dress into a skirt. Hopefully it will be easy but from experience it won't!!
2) The Peony dress from Colette Patterns ( my bro bought me the pattern for my birthday)
3) A holdall for my dads table to keep the tele remote from going astray. It really annoys me that he can never find it.
4) Lots of storage bags for Little J's various toys sets. Maybe, just maybe, it might help him put his toys away???
5) Some Christmas Prezzies for the family of course..but more on that later.
6) A hooky advent garland ..just like Lucy's at Attic 24

And where to start,....well I may do some Poming this evening and go from there!

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Monster Hat

As it is nearly Halloween and we were off to the Real Halloween event, I spent a great deal of last night crocheting a monser hat for Little J.  It took me around 4 hours off and on and I was really pleased with it as I had no pattern to follow.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Selling on Ebay....

Well, I have bitten the bullet and put my first me made on Ebay.

You can see it here

As a stay at home mum, I really need to do something to fund my crafty habit and this seems like a good way to earn some "pin money".  The only problem is..I need to sell something!!!

Hopefully once I get hold of some cheap stock, I may branch out and try and put some "refashions" on ebay and see how that goes....Im not brave enough to sell on Etsy yet...its unknown water to me!

Monday, 24 October 2011

Isn't Autumn Lovely?

Hello again.. Isn't autumn lovely? I'm hoping to fill this week ( being half term) with lots of leaf and conker collecting, pumpkin carving, Halloween crafting and general autumn playing! This, of course means very little sewing time.

I must say that I am struggling somewhat with my Lady Grey coat. It is the first time I have ever inserted a sleeve, which I guess I really should have practiced BEFORE embarking on a project like Lady Grey. Well, the material has been bought and I have invested a LOT of time in drafting my Toile, so I am not going to give up now.....I shall invest some time in reading Gertie's sew along and do a bit more net research to see if it makes anymore sense.

It is my birthday next month and I have requested Peony from Collette patterns for my birthday..I am SO excited. I have the fabric ready and waiting and I have a feeling I shall be making more than one.  I also have Colette patterns book on preorder at Amazon, so that gives me something to look forward too in the darker months.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Another one bites the dust...

At last "The owl dress" is finished.

This was my first attempt at bias binding on a neckline. It took a couple of attempts. I found the tutorial on Colette patterns really can find out how to make your own bias tape HERE and how to fix it on HERE.

I have some of the fabric left over, so at a later date I would like to add a patch pocket. I do LOVE pockets.

I have also made a start on Lady Grey. I have made a toile out of an old curtain. I am not sure about the fit under the arms, but I imagine it requires a lot of ease to accommodate jumpers and the like.

It does seem to be a good fit otherwise, so I may be lucky and can get away without altering the pattern.  I will be able to get a better idea once I have attached the sleeves.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

And there I was.....

..thinking all was well, and then I had a relapse. Oh well, not to mind, I'm back again. So, what have I been doing?

Self Stitched September unfortunately passed me by, but I have definitely increased my sewing over the last month, so that is an achievement in itself.

I have spent the last week trying to finish up some of my UFOs.  Tonight I have partially finished my Maize Hutton inspired pom pom rug. I say partially because I need substantially more poms to make it bigger. Its kinda bath mat sized at the moment and I would like it to be a bit more!  This morning I finished Little J's arigarumi Crobot, Baby Bot:. Little J's opinion was that it is no good because I have put screws in instead of bolts.  It's nice to be appreciated !?!?

I have two main UFOs left; a liberty print sewing bag and The Owl dress.

I had hoped to get the sewing bag finished before last weeks Friday sewing class, but alas, even a horrendously late night didn't achieve that.  I just need to sew press fasteners on the inner pockets ( made from preloved strawberry napkins) and to sew more press fasteners on the closure.  I may have to add sides to it too: I will see what happens.

The linen maternity dress that is the basis of my owl dress
The Owl dress is about half way. So far I have taken out the centre panel and added the owl print fabric, added back, bust and front darts and started on the bias. I need to finish the bias and take the skirt in at the side and then it will be finished.

Then, it will be on to Lady Grey!

Twit Twoo!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Back on track and ready to sew...

Thank goodness that is over and done with... now waiting for a hospital referral, but that's another long story!
With Little J going to school every morning next week, and the start of my sewing class on Friday, I hope to be doing LOTS of sewing!!!!!

I have found the camera lead too, so lots of pictures to come.

Little J and I took a trip to the fabric shop yesterday, in the main to look for fabric for my Lady Grey coat.  I didn't find anything useful for that, but returned with some cute owl fabric for my linen dress refashion.   Little J found a camo remnant ( with which he tells me he is going to make a whole army outfit) and the local Oxfam yielded a large piece of Purple cotton drill for the grand sum of £2.49. All in all a successful trip.

Friday, 9 September 2011


Hey, unfortunatly I have been floored by a hideous ear condition, not disimilar to being very drunk :( Normal updates will resume once I can function!

Sunday, 4 September 2011


I have managed to get some pics from my phone camera card.

Check Trousers: These are a peculiar fit and show all the lumps and bumps in the wrong places. I have decided to turn them into a skirt.  I have already made a start on this one.  I unpicked the inside leg of the trousers and then placed them on Maddy  ( my taylors dummy) inside out. I pinned the legs together to form the skirt and cut off the excess crotch fabric to form a smooth seam at the front and back.  All I need to do is to machine stitch the seams and turn up the hem and then Ta da! a new winter skirt.

Friday, 2 September 2011

My biggest Self stitched challenge

My biggest self stitched challenge is going to be The Lady Grey coat by Colette patterns...

I adore their patterns and would be happy to make any of them. I am waiting in great anticipation for the pattern to arrive.
I think I will go for either a red or a purple fabric, and I need to find something spectacular as a lining.  I have never attempted tailoring from scratch so this is going to be a huge challange for me. I am going to be doing a sewing class in September, so hopefully, with professional assitance, I will be ok.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Funky Knickers

Day TWO:  I have made some knickers out of a stretch Jersey fabric and they actually fit rather well! I havent had to put any elastic in them as the quality if the fabric makes them very springy :)

The fabric was from a thrifted childs skirt. I loved the pattern and had intended to make it into a pillow case, but it was destined for higher things. One thing I have learned from this, jersey slip slides everywhere under the needle. I must do a bit more research on sewing with knits as it isn't something I have ever done.

Again, I didn't use a pattern for this. I just cut around an pair of my existing knickers, cut out a seperate gusset and then zig zag stitched them all together. I havent got as far as hemming the edges..hopefully Little J will let me do that in the morning!

Self Stitched September - Day one

September 1st - Today, I am wearing my first ever, made from scratch dress. It was made from a thrifted duvet cover with no pattern. It was, in the making of this dress, that I realised that I have a sway back and a doweger hump! Hence, it gapes at the back - nothing a belt won't cover though. I don't have a picture as yet; my camera phone is broken - but a soon as hubby brings the camera from work I will get some pictures sorted.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Refashion with a passion

I think that part of the ethos behind Self Stitched September for me, is to use the materials that I have around me and to try not to throw things away that can be used. I have a fair few clothes that I don't wear as they are "not quite right". I am going to used SSS to make them right.

Item One: A linen maternity dress. I like the style but obviously it is WAY to big. I'm not sure what I am going to do with it as yet, except make it more fitted, I may cut out the elasticised piece and add and empire line and make the skirt more fitted.

Item Two: A Linen Jacket. It is cropped, has three quarter sleeves and BIG buttons. Again it is too big and needs streamlining. I think I am going to have to do some net research for inspiration on this one.

Item Three: Floral, empire line strapless dress. I really like the fabric, but the gathered skirt does my ample bottom no favours whatsoever. I may just cut the dress up entirely and rework it into something else.

Item Four: White linen shirt. Bought Pre weightloss and again is now too big...waiting for inspiration to strike on that one!

I am sure there will be more to follow ( and pictures too!)

Pillowcase Pants

Project Number one : Collette Patterns free bloomer pattern. I used two old pillowcases as I really liked the fabric.  They are not going to appear on here because they are HUGE!

Once I had cut them out, I was amazed at the size of them. I think I will wear them as pajama pants when they are finished, but in the mean time I am using them as an exercise in proper finishing- or actually finishing! I have finished the seams with bias and will look at adding some extra details when they are completed.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Self Stitched September

Well, I have decided to participate in Self Stitched September, and I hope to record my progress here. Here is my pledge :

"I, Emilylovesbagpuss, sign up as a participant of Self-Stitched-Sept '11. I endeavour to wear one me made item per day each day for the duration of September 2011'

I will include accessories and upcycled as well as I am only just getting the me time to make clothing...but at least this will give me the inspiration!"

It will be interesting as I only have a couple of completed "me made" garments but at least it will push me on to really get to grips with sewing. Roll on September!