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


‘Caravan’ Sewing Machine Cover


It’s finally finished – my caravan sewing machine cover!

To see more, just head on over to the post on the Minerva Crafts Bloggers Network. Here’s the link: Caravan Sewing Machine Cover

Hope it inspires you to make one of your own as everyone should have one!


Linen Look Cotton Tunic

This month’s Minerva Crafts blog post is finished!

Just click on the link to see all about the Linen Look Cotton Tunic.



Personalised Christmas Sacks – A Tutorial

In case you hadn’t noticed, Christmas is just around the corner – nine days, to be precise and I’ve got a great last-minute make for you; a personalised Christmas sack for that special little person in your life.

Christmas sacks2a



I’m not joking when I say last-minute as I made TWO personalised sacks yesterday afternoon, each one taking about two and a half hours from start to finish. They’d make great gifts, too, with a little something popped inside and they only cost £12.94 each to make so won’t break the bank.

This is the parcel that arrived from Minerva Crafts: –

P1060959For each sack you will need:

Trim your gingham fabric to the same size as the hessian – 39″ x 56″.

Put the offcuts to one side as you will use these for the tie and the fabric letters.

Draw a reindeer on a sheet of paper and cut out the individual elements separately.


Cut these out of the felt squares using the picture below as a guide.


Stitch the nose and eyes onto the felt face – I used free machine embroidery throughout to achieve a ‘scribble’ effect which works well on children’s gifts.


Fold your hessian in half and arrange the felt pieces in the centre as shown.


Hessian has an open weave which tends to move quite a lot, so either tack your appliqués on first or use LOTS of pins to keep them in place while you sew them on.

I loathe tacking so I opted for pin overkill instead.


With the reindeer face stitched securely in place, it’s time to move on to personalising your sack.

You can download a suitable font or just freehand it like I did onto thin card. As I was making two sacks I had both blue and red gingham offcuts to cut the letters from. I also decided to use some paper backed fusible web to secure the letters to the hessian before stitching them.


Arrange the letters evenly in a curve around the bottom of the reindeer, remove the paper backing and iron in place.


Two rounds of stitching on each letter gives a good effect.



When all your stitching is done, sew the top edge of the sack to the top edge of the lining with right sides together (sorry, no photo). Press the seam flat to create a crisp edge.

Then, lay your fabric out on a large table or on the floor and fold in half lengthwise, right sides together to create a ‘tube’.

Pin all the way around, leaving a gap in the lining where shown through which to turn. (I forgot to photograph this step on the first sack so the lining is shown in red).


Put pins at 8″ from the top edge and 9″ from the top edge – this will be a break in the stitching to provide a channel for the tie.



Sew all the way around the three sides with breaks in the stitching as described above.

Trim the corners and turn the sack through to the right side. Sew the lining closed at the gap through which it was turned. Press.


With a soft pencil or tailor’s chalk, mark two parallel lines all the way around at 8″ and 9″ from the top edge of the sack. Pin through both layers of fabric. Stitch along the lines.


For the tie, use your remaining offcuts of gingham to assemble a length that measures about 70″ x 2″.

Fold in and press 1/4″ at each short end.

Fold in and press 1/4″ along each long edge.


Bring the folded long edges together enclosing the raw edges.


Stitch close to the edge to finish your tie.


Use a safety pin to thread the tie through the channel in the gap left for this purpose.


And that’s it – finished!

Christmas sacks3a

A beautiful sack which any child would be delighted to have on Christmas Day to pop all their opened presents into.

Christmas sacksa

They’re huge, too, I would have added The Boys to the photo for scale except that the sacks are a surprise for them.

You’ve still got time, so who fancies whipping up a Christmas Sack for their little boy or girl?




More Projects For Comic Relief’s Crafternoon

It’s just seven days until the Big Comic Relief Crafternoon on Friday 13th March – well, six days until I host mine because it’s my birthday on Friday and I will be otherwise engaged:)

If you saw my earlier post about the samples I have been making from the official Red Nose Day magazine, you will remember that I’ve been giving a number of the free patterns a test run, so to speak, to see which projects can be made in the three hours of my Crafternoon event. I will then set up individual areas with all the materials needed for each project, together with the instruction sheets, for everyone attending to help themselves to.

If you haven’t got your magazine yet, they are only available to buy in Sainsburys, nowhere else, and they are being snapped up extremely quickly so get a move on!

£5.00 out of the cover price of £7.99 goes straight to Comic Relief which is fantastic. Comic Relief get your donation and you get something for your money – a fab “Mollie Makes” Red Nose Day Special magazine with a load of fab projects for you to make.

So, onto the latest additions to the party!

Well, I had to crochet the red nose, didn’t I?

red nose

crochet red nose

I loved making this Cloud Mobile – all hand stitched in less than three hours!

cloud mobile




I think this is my favourite make though…..

pin cushion

….a Pear Pin Cushion!

pear pin cushion

And when Ali (AKA Thimberlina) revealed her makeshift excuse for a pin cushion (sorry Ali!), I had the perfect reason to make the matching Apple shaped one. I snapped a couple of quick photos and sent it off that same afternoon.


I love the attention to detail that has gone into this particular design, especially the two pieces of contrasting felt rolled together to make the stem. Although this part was completely omitted from the instructions, it was easy enough to work out how it was done.


Ali has very generously sent me a bundle of supplies for my Crafternoon so it was lovely to be able to make her a little something off her wish list as a thank you. Just look at everything she donated!

crafternoon supplies

I still have room for a few more, so if you’re free next Thursday 12th March between 12pm and 3pm, please, PLEASE try to come along. I’d love to get a full house so that I can send off the maximum amount of money to Comic Relief.

I’m also thinking of either auctioning off all the bits I’ve made, or raffle them on the day so bring an extra couple of pounds – it’s for such a good cause!!

Here’s a reminder of all the details: –

Craftenoon event


Craft Progress For The Big Comic Relief Crafternoon

With four weeks to go before Comic Relief’s Big Crafternoon, I have been busy.

Busy making up samples of some of the things that will be available to make on the day, all of which feature in the Mollie Makes Red Nose Day special magazine, and I thought that people would probably like to see and feel examples of what the finished articles are like.




I’m planning on having a dedicated crafting table for each of the items that can be made, so that all the materials for each project are to hand and won’t get mixed up with materials needed for any of the other crafts.

Each area will have a copy of the magazine open at the relevant pages, a selection of fabrics/yarn from which to choose, together with all the sundry items required to complete their chosen item.




I’ve manged to source most of the sundry bits and pieces that will be needed, but NOT round lolly sticks – so I’ve substituted with a straw instead which works perfectly well!





Don’t forget to come along if you can!

A5 flyer with border


2nd Prize In Crochet Competition!

Remember this mystery WIP from last week that I entered into a competition?

crochet clock WIP

Well I won second prize!

For those of you who were intrigued as to what it might be (Caren), I can now reveal that is is a….


crochet clock5

Based on a design by Matt, I made it much simpler as my clock hands were too large to include many flowers which would obstruct the movement.

I crocheted the butterfly instead of using a wooden one and used a wire tie to create the antennae. I also glued on felt numerals instead of wooden ones.

crochet clock

Various sizes of brightly coloured flowers adorn the perimeter.

crochet clock7

The centre of each flower features a different button from my stash.

crochet clock8

Eight little ladybird buttons mark the hour.

crochet clock4

crochet clock3

Some of the ladybirds are peeking out from amongst the flowers!

crochet clock2

The best part for me is the rainbow – I just love all those bright colours!

crochet clock6

The plywood we had lying about was too thick for the clock movement so I used some mounting card which was substantial enough for the job.

crochet clock mechanism

And here’s my prize….

2nd prize

…..vouchers for Ottery Garden Centre which I have already spent part of on……………………………………………………………………………………………….

……………………you guessed it, another Santa!


Have you won any crafting competitions?


Sunday Sevens #11

I’ve had a busy week of making and haven’t had time to do much else really, so this week’s Sunday Sevens is a bit different. Instead of showing you things that I have made or done, I thought I’d showcase seven things I bought at a craft fair this week by other talented craftspeople. Hop over to Natalie at Threads and Bobbins to see what this link up is all about.

1. A beautiful felt poppy hairband which I am going convert to a brooch by removing the elastic and adding a pin. The beads in the centre really sparkle in the light and I love the inventive use of an old map as a means of presentation.


2. Simple wire hearts with a colourful bead by Helen Bagwell at Longfield Designs – these will look pretty on my Christmas tree.


3. Two painted, handcrafted wooden door wedges – so simple, but I love them.


4. A cute pair of wristwarmers in wonderfully soft yarn.


5. A brilliant reinvention of used carrier bags – knitted eco bags!  These were being made and sold for charity so I just had to buy one.


6. Admittedly I had intended to make something similar for No.3 son, but it’s such a fabulous set and entirely handmade for just £6.00 that I saved myself a task!


7. Anyone who has ever “owned” a cat will understand.


I’m chuffed with my purchases and pleased to support local crafters in a small way, although everything was totally underpriced for the hours that had gone into creating such unique items. I paid the grand sum of £23.50 for everything!

Have you bought anything from other crafters recently?


Jam, Flowers and WIP

Wow, we’ve got loads of blackberries this year! Sadly we won’t have as many next year because, whilst we were away, my son thoughtfully pruned the overhanging branches (quote – “Only the ones with no blackberries on”). He has unwittingly removed most of the growth that was going to produce next year’s fruit!! Hey ho, these things happen. blackberries

blackberryThe Girls eat as many as they can reach; it’s hilarious watching the way they flap with all their might in an effort to jump higher to get to the juicy, ripe ones which are just out of pecking distance!

hen eating blackberriesI am going to make as much blackberry and apple jam as I can this year in the hope that it will last longer. First two batches are in jars awaiting ‘hats’ and labels. I always give some away as Christmas presents paired with matching jars of homemade marmalade or another jam, so gingham hats and raffia ties are a must!

Jam making small

They look rather nice as homemade gifts go!

Homemade jam gift small

For our own use, I transfer jam from the jars into a lovely vintage jam pot. The lid was dropped onto the tiled floor and, unfortunately, didn’t survive, but I still love it.

vintage jam potsmall

Of course, there’s always a little bit left over that has to go through Quality Control….

Homemade jam small

If you let your hens free-range as we do, you’ll know that growing flowers in the garden is nearly impossible so my lovely husband brings home glorious blooms on a regular basis. Even so, the cheeky chickens still hop onto the coffee table to peck at the stamens! These should be safe though, as they’re well out of the way up on the dining table.

Vase of liliessmall


I know lilies are associated with funerals and many people don’t like them for that reason, but I absolutely love, love, LOVE them!

Stargazer Lilysmall

I wouldn’t dream of removing the stamens that stain everything a dark orange either; they’re just so pretty:)

Lily close upsmall

I wish I could paint – I would have my own watercolour floral masterpieces clinging to the walls like wallpaper….but alas my creative talents lie in a different direction.

Talking of which, here are a couple of WIPs – this one just waiting the addition of a few bits of hardware that are marked by eBay as ‘dispatched’…

Granny stripes smallGranny square flowers smallIncreasing base small

…and this one. In the words of Rolf Harris “Can you guess what it is yet?”.


And no, it’s not another basket. Intrigued? Watch this space….!

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Vintage Treasures and The Craft Revival!

Unless you’ve been asleep since 2006 (pre-recession), you can’t have failed to notice the revival of traditional crafts and the resurgence in popularity of all things vintage.  

Being a child of the seventies with no television(!), we had to find other ways to entertain ourselves in the long winter evenings after the dusk curfew. My grandmother taught me how to knit and crochet and my mother inspired me to learn how to sew – I have been making things since the age of five. During the eighties I was rarely seen without a garment I had made, whether it was a mohair jumper (itchy, but very trendy back then) or a tailored jacket with “power” shoulder pads (ridiculous on my diminutive 5’2″ stature!).

My house was filled with junk shop and auction “treasures”, and my furniture was comfortably dressed with home made quilts, cushions, curtains and anything else I could make myself. My baby daughter wore the most adorable sets of all-in-one, bonnet and even matching shoes, all lovingly and painstakingly made by hand and shown off with pride.

Then came the late nineties and millennium. Ikea and Primark reigned supreme with their cheap flat-pack furniture and throwaway clothes. Everyone could afford to buy new, discard when they fancied a change and repeat every twelve months (about the length of time the furniture was made to last – only a matter of weeks for the poorly made clothes.)

I was embarrassed to admit that I could knit, sew and crochet. I would let people assume that the ironically fashionable “distressed” furniture were new purchases, not the genuine article having acquired a gorgeous patina during the course of an interesting century or so of being.  I am ashamed to say that, with the end of a long relationship, I succumbed to change and donated twenty years of accumulated “memories” to various charity shops or sold at car boot sales for pennies.

Out went vintage kitchenalia, antique pine dressers and patchwork bedspreads. In came soulless Ikea bookshelves and acrylic throws.

And I hated it.

When the recession took hold I was in a new, happy relationship (we’re now married with two children), in a house we bought together and the need for change took hold of me again.

This time, I reverted to my true nature and gradually filled our home with things I loved, mainly eBay bargains (easier than auctions) or charity shop finds.  Sewing and crochet were still not cool, but I didn’t care and made new heirlooms to replace the ones that I’d foolishly given away.

Gradually “Knit ‘n’ Natter” groups became The Thing, vintage tea rooms popped up on every corner and everyone knew what a Granny Stripe was. Charity shops are the place to be. Second hand is no longer a dirty word and hand made is valued over mass produced.

I’m in my element and I couldn’t be happier about the change – which is the only good thing to come out of the recession!

I thought I’d share with you the lovely bounty of things I bought at our local St. Margaret’s Somerset Hospice this morning.  I spent £12.49 in total, a snip and far more beautiful than anything you can buy today.

This vintage pickle jar complete with fork for all my home made chutneys;


An utterly divine jam pot – I swear my Wild Damson and Port Jam will taste even nicer served up in this!


A tiny mint sauce boat – just perfect.


This table runner, not vintage, but so pretty – brand new and still in its original packing!



All this second hand loveliness for £12.49 – amazing!


Do you love vintage and hand made? Show me your second hand bargains and hand crafted masterpieces – I would love to see them!