Sewing, crochet, crafts, accessories, baking, tutorials,


How To Make Wellington Boot Bags

Remember these socks?

And these wellies?

Well now they have a welly boot bag to keep them in – click on the link to see the full blog post over at Minerva Crafts.

Tutorial: how to make welly wellington boot gumboot bag free pattern


Sunday Sevens #142

Late with my Sunday Sevens this week – seven or so photos showing my week outside the blog.

1. Blue skies aplenty this past week meant getting out and about a fair bit. It has turned chilly enough for Fifi to need her coat on walks now.

2. We popped over to Frome for a couple of hours to check out Catherine Hill. Marmalade Yarns had a very inviting door don’t you think?

3. Inside, Mr H-L sat patiently whilst I stroked some skeins of hand dyed yarn.

4. I bought a skein of ‘Sparkling Cyanide’ to make some socks for myself in the New Year. Quite an apt purchase after our visit to the cinema last week to see ‘Murder On The Orient Express’ on its opening night.

5. These six balls of yarn from my stash are set to become a handmade gift for my yarn partner in this year’s Stitching Santa.

6. Here’s how it’s shaping up so far – a stack of Granny squares!

7. Another little handmade gift for my sewing partner, too. Just a glimpse here – more to follow in a separate blog post.

8. A handy charity shop purchase, brand new and unopened. It will be worn out by the second of January, no doubt…..!

9. Coffee with The Dogs in At The Chapel, Bruton, after a walk locally. Fifi shivers if she sits on a tiled or stone floor, so she inevitably ends up cosied up on my lap:)

10. A friend and I spent Friday morning visiting a few craft/vintage fairs. We popped into FMLY where they were doing ‘Fizz Friday’ and had a glass of Prosecco thrust in our hands no sooner than walking through the door!

11. We had a fab lunch afterwards at the Roth Bar And Grill in Hauser and Wirth.

12. I ran the refreshments stand at our village Christmas Craft Fair on Saturday. Lots of festive stalls to enjoy.

13. This lovely lady who lives in our village sells wool from her small flock of Zwartbles sheep. Their fleece is chocolate brown so remains undyed and in its natural state.

14. Of course I HAD to buy a skein for my Stitching Santa yarn partner! That’s most of my budget spent so I will have to be creative in order to put together a decent parcel now.

15. After the craft fair, my sister and I dashed down to Southampton where my niece is at University. It was her birthday so we went out for a meal and stayed overnight in local accommodation. It was 2am before we knew it – unheard of for us country folk where the pubs shut at eleven!

16. Sunday was spent Christmas shopping in Southampton with my sister, followed by a pub supper on the way home by which time the late night had caught up with us and we were seriously flagging.

17. Hubby sent me this lovely photo of No.3 Son being treated to breakfast out whilst I was away. He ate the lot!!

18. The biggest and best news of the week though, has to be that my dear little Fifi made it to her fifteenth birthday on Thursday. A milestone we never expected her to reach as she has had several touch-and-go moments over the last twelve months.

Happy Birthday Fifi, and here’s to the next one!


Stitching Santa Gift – Handmade Sewing Kit

So, before I even knew who I would be sending a parcel to for this year’s Stitching Santa, I made this not-so-little sewing kit. Well, what needlewoman couldn’t do with a new sewing kit?

Tilda's Sewing Kit handmade needlecase

Made entirely with fabric offcuts from my collection, the pattern comes from Tilda’s Toy Box, although you could easily copy mine just from the photos as it is pretty straightforward.

Tilda's Toy Box

Hopefully, you can recognise the shape of a house with its front door and a pot plant under the window.

A little robin perches on the sign above the door which, instead of the house name, says “Sewing Kit”.

The whole thing is quilted with a layer of wadding to add support.

Inside, there is a heart shaped pin cushion and two little pockets…..

…..a place to store hand sewing needles and embroidery scissors.

I’m adding my new labels to my handmade things now.

Including some “Handmade With Love” labels, buttons, pins and needles (all from my own supplies) will make the sewing kit more complete.

I haven’t included any scissors though, as I think I’m going to spend the whole budget on some fabric – a good pair of embroidery scissors could use it all up!

handmade sewing kit needlecase

handmade sewing kit needlecase

How are you getting on with your handmade gifts this year?


Sunday Sevens #141

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series showing a glimpse of your life outside the blog. 

1. One misty morning earlier this week, we spotted these three deer grazing in the field directly behind our house. They don’t normally venture quite this close, so it was a treat to see them.

2. Pumpkins were everywhere on Hallowe’en.

3. Midweek, we took No.2 Son shopping for his birthday. He’s got to ‘that age’ where he only wants money or clothes. And they can only be black or grey. 

4. Fifi started flagging after two miles, so it was just as well we took her carrier on this particular walk.
5. This is her dog’s-eye view. Not bad really, and she’s quite happy to travel this way.

6. Big breakfast for our big boy on the morning of his 12th birthday.

7. In the evening we all went to see ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ at the cinema. Beforehand, we had a fabulous meal at Caribbean Corner in Yeovil, where Ava, the owner, smothered the birthday boy in kisses!

8. No.3 Son picked up his certificates and medals after his Latin and Ballroom dancing class.

9. Whilst No.2 Son was playing football in Poole, I took his little brother out for a smoothie in nearby Bournemouth where the counter was covered with foreign currency notes. 

10. He was fascinated to find a $750,000 note from Zimbabwe!

11. We had a couple of hours before No.1 Son had to go back to school after a two week half term, so we tried The Real Greek in Bournemouth which was delicious. Sharing mezés proved ideal so we could have a bit of everything.

12. Crafting wise, the third and penultimate row has been added to my Eastern Jewels blanket, although I’m tempted to add an extra row to make it bigger.

13. I couldn’t resist this small remnant of fabric in a charity shop featuring a Black Lab called “Rover”.

14. The last metre of pink faux sheepskin on the shop roll found its way into my bag and I made another tote. I’ll probably put his one in my Folksy shop.

That’s it for this week. Tomorrow will be spent drawing Stitching Santa partners out of a hat which will be followed, I suspect, by lots of blog stalking and consequent making/gathering of things to include in the parcels – and I can’t wait!


Tutorial: How To Make A Faux Sheepskin Bag / Tote


No, your eyes don’t deceive you, this IS yet another post featuring the lilac faux sheepskin fabric I bought last month. It really has been the fabric that keeps on giving as I have made not only a full length coat and two pairs of mittens, but also TWO tote bags!

If you would like to make your own, either from similar fabric or from a thick fleecy fabric, here’s a quick tutorial on how I did it.

Materials: Approx. 3/4yd of 45″ wide Faux Sheepskin or fleece

2 Magnetic Snaps

Cut pieces from your fabric following the diagram below (which is NOT to scale). If your fabric has a nap or a directional pattern, be sure to take this into account when cutting out.

You may have to adjust the size of the pocket to suit your particular ‘phone – this pocket is the perfect size for a normal (not ‘plus’) iPhone and you may well have to make it larger for a Samsung Galaxy or similar.

Sheepskin Tote Pattern

This photo shows the main pieces; front and back, gusset and interior mobile ‘phone pocket.


Seam allowances are 1/4″ throughout.

All raw edges are left unfinished and the seams are constructed with WRONG sides together, making a feature of them.

If you have your own labels, sew them to all pieces before any construction takes place. This avoids any fiddly sewing later on.


Sew your pocket to the inside of the BACK section of the bag around three sides only, leaving the top open.


Apply the magnetic tabs according to the manufacturer’s instructions, using the photos as a guideline for placement.



Pin a tab to the top centre of the front and back sections.


Sew in place.


Pin the gusset to the back section with WRONG sides together. There will be surplus fabric to cut off later.


Stitch with 1/4″ seam allowance, being careful not to get any puckers as you sew around the corners.


Pin the front to the remaining long edge of the gusset and stitch as before.


Trim the corners off the front and back sections to give a rounded finish.


Onto the handles.

Fold in half lengthways with WRONG sides facing in.


Stitch close to the raw edges.


Pin handles about 3″ in from the sides of the bag, on the INSIDE.


BASTE loosely in place if necessary, although I just pinned them.


Take your 4 little squares – these will cover the ends of the handles to lend a neat finish on the inside of the bag.


You will need to remove as much of the pile on the reverse side of the fabric as possible. This will reduce the bulk and leave a flatter surface.


Pin each square over the raw edge of a handle and stitch in place, crossing your stitching to strengthen the base of the handles as shown below.



And that’s all there is to it!

This is the first one I made.



I even managed to make a second one using the rest of the scraps. There wasn’t enough to cut the main sections out in one piece, so I had to make a seam for the centre front and back, and I actually prefer this version.


I added my label in a slightly different position and it looks just as good.


The inside is nice and roomy with the all-important interior pocket to keep your ‘phone easily accessible.


The magnetic tabs give an element of security and stop the bag falling open.


As always, your own label adds a professional touch both inside and out.


The handles are short enough not to have the bag dragging on the floor (if you’re around the 5″ mark like me!), but also long enough for you to carry over your shoulder if that is your preference.


One of these is to be a Christmas gift for family and the other one may well end up in my Stitching Santa parcel, depending on who I get in the draw.

Which is your favourite?


Sunday Sevens #140

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series showing seven(ish) photos of your week outside the blog. Anyone can join in at any time.

1. Half term started well, with lazy mornings allowing plenty of time for a leisurely cooked breakfast every day.

2. My mother and sister came to visit for a couple of days, one of which was spent doing art and craft type things. We visited Ilminster Arts Centre and enjoyed a couple of hours at the current exhibition, together with tea and cake in the café and some time browsing in the shop.

3. I gave in to temptation and bought some handmade ceramic buttons. I don’t have a plan for them as yet, but they’re sure to be the perfect finishing touch to a future make.

4. On the way back home we made a short detour so we could try this Railway Carriage Café, as recommended by a friend a while back.

5. It was lovely inside, full of original character and a great choice of gluten free options on the menu.

6. Later that evening, my mum and sister both got their sketching pencils and paints out and had fun with a squash.

7. Next day, The Boys had two brothers around to play for the day whilst their mother went to work. No technology allowed (my rules!) so they were all worn out by the end of the day with ‘real’ playing.

8. To wind down after their friends had gone, I let The Boys watch a film. They loved it and were totally engrossed, as you can see from this photo. The film?

9. Snow White, the original animation from 1937!

10. Christmas has taken over our local garden centre and the singing reindeer were back for a second year.

11. A family friend came to stay for the weekend and we went to Bath for the day, starting off with breakfast. You can just see the trio in the background who played some wonderful classical music whilst we ate.

12. A few hours later and we stopped to eat again, this time at Yo! Sushi, The Boy’s favourite treat.

13. Crafty things still happened over the course of the week. Progress is good on my Eastern Jewels blanket.

14. I’ve included my new labels on a couple of things I’ve made for this year’s Stitching Santa parcel.

15. Yes, yet more made from the leftover lilac faux sheepskin – it’s the fabric that just keeps giving! I will reveal all in a future blog post.

No.2 Son is at home for a second week of half term, but his little brother goes back to school tomorrow, so I’m looking forward to some time together before he goes back to boarding school. I hope your half term is going well, too!


Stitching Santa – How To Make Faux Sheepskin Mittens

Remember the faux sheepskin coat I made a couple of weeks ago?


Well, despite messing up the sleeves and having to re-cut them, I still had some largish scraps of fabric left and started looking for ways to use them up, preferably for Christmas presents or for something to add to my Stitching Santa parcel. The first and most obvious thing that came to mind was to make a pair of mittens.

Having trawled the internet for a pattern, I discovered that it would probably be just as easy to design my own based on a few that I’d seen, so I gave it a go and this is the result.


They turned out better than I imagined and only took a couple of hours, most of which was taken up hand-sewing the thumb in place.

Boosted by my success, I thought I’d do a quick tutorial as these would make a great handmade Christmas gift. They would be great in a fleecy fabric, too, as the raw edges can just be left as they are without fraying.

There are just two simple pattern pieces to this pair of mittens; click on the links below to download and print.

Printable Mitten Template

Mitten pattern

Printable Thumb Template

Thumb pattern

Cut out the pieces as below for each mitten, reversing the template for the second mitten.

You will notice that the TOP of the mitten has been cut out WITHOUT the curve. To do this, simply draw a straight line connecting points D+E on the MITTENS template.


Make sure that any stretch in the fabric goes ACROSS the hand width – you can see where I am pulling the fabric to find the stretch in the photo below.


You may also spot in the photo above that the first draft was one piece folded in half. I later adapted this to make two separate pieces so that there would be a seam all the way around.

Pin the top of the mitten (no curve) to the bottom (with curve) with WRONG sides together. You may find this easier with quilting clips if the fabric is thick like mine.


With 1/4″ seam allowance, sew from A to D and from B to E, leaving an opening for the thumb.



With WRONG sides together and 1/4″ seam allowance, fold the thumb in half and sew from C to D.


Pin the thumb in place.


Hand-sew the thumb to the body of the mitten with a BACKSTITCH, 1/4″ from the raw edges.



You can trim any excess fur from the seams if you like, to tidy them up, but that’s it – finished.

How simple?



They really are lovely and cosy and much more pliable than real sheepskin, so are much more comfortable to wear.

I managed to get a second pair of mittens out of the scraps, so I am going to put one pair in my Stitching Santa parcel and the other will be a Christmas gift for someone in the family.


Talking of Stitching Santa the deadline is 31st October – have YOU signed up yet?