Archive for category Arts and Crafts

Challenging Myself No. 1 – Waxed Cotton

As I’ve had a long break from blogging, and I haven’t been totally unproductive in the intervening months, I do have quite a few things to show you if only I can find the relevant photos, can remember what I made and how I made it and can motivate myself to write some posts without boring you to death,

So here’s my first attempt at bringing you (and myself) up to date with some of the things I’ve been doing

Much as I love making dresses and blouses I finally came to some conclusions:

  1.  I have far too many of both
  2.  Yet, I still fall for the ready to wear variety so seem to acquire more too regularly (especially as I now volunteer in a charity shop a couple of times a week and – staff discount 😏).
  3.  I feel I need to challenge myself a bit more in construction techniques
  4.  I want to spend more time and take more care over making things instead of just churning out easy to make stuff in relatively cheap fabric although I’m not promising I won’t be doing some of that too.

For my first ‘challenging’ make, I decided on an anorak which I thought would come in handy in the transitional months where it’s not too cold or rainy or hot (the last being the least likely in the U.K.).

I decided on the Kelly Anorak by Closet Core as I’ve used their patterns before and find them very good with useful online tutorials to watch.

I fancied making it with waxed cotton fabric – a challenge all of its own – and found a British company selling it by the metre at a reasonable price.  I chose an antique finish so that it would already look ‘pre-loved’ as if I’d actually been on some country walks (aka dragged through muddy puddles a few times by the dogs) and not just down from London on a weekend break in a clean Range Rover (we have a mud covered Ford that’s scratched to death caused by having to dive into hedgerows on a regular basis avoiding horses, cows, tractors and mad people doing more than 20mph on blind bends. Oh, and I might have taken the turn into our driveway a little too snugly on one occasion.).   Anyway, I digress.  My plan was to treat each stage of the make almost like a separate project or at least those parts of the project I’d never done before such as gusseted flap pockets, a separable zip, a hood, underlining, drawstring waist and, most terrifying of all as they would be done last and could ruin the whole thing, metal snaps – hundreds of them or so it seemed.

I’m pretty sure I took photos at each stage for your future delectation but who knows where they are in my complicated online filing system so I’m afraid that means that those of you who like to see the process (mostly Kate) will be disappointed.  Suffice it to say, I underlined it in ordinary cotton fabric which is not wax resistant so there might be a few grease stains in places (inside the hood is one),  I was inordinately proud of my gusseted flap pockets (tribute photo above), I wish I’d made the hood slightly less deep as I feel a bit like I’m wearing blinkers when I wear it up and I made Mr. Tialys come and keep me company when it was time to attach the snaps because I was terrified to be alone with them.  Perhaps I thought I could somehow blame him if something went wrong with them.

There you go – the highs and lows of the process in words instead of pictures.  I’ll try to do better next time.

Anyway, a bit wordy so here are some photos of the finished article.

I haven’t been drained of blood in this photo – that ghostly white vision is just the neck of my mannequin. (Just in case  you’re not wearing your reading glasses)

Even more snaps in the back view

Worn casually open when you just can’t be bothered to tackle both zip and 9 or 10 snaps.

and, finally, an anorak in windswept action.

Next time I grapple with some pin tucks.  Although that might be after I’ve shared the 2D felting of multiple mushrooms.  I imagine your excitement knows no bounds.

Hopefully see you then.





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Scraphappy Day April 2023

Happy to be back with Scraphappy and ready to show you the highs and lows of my efforts this month.
Firstly, I have to show off my beautiful new pink cutting mat bought at the recent crafting event I visited.  I also bought the heart shape there but already had the coordinating pink crochet hook which coincidentally makes this pic Instagram worthy fodder – or would do if I ever used my IG account so it’s just for you instead.

Had to buy a new mat after I did some ironing on my last one like a complete muppet

Years ago, inspired by some of my fellow sewing/patchwork bloggers, I started a ‘parts department’ and actually bothered to cut some fabric scraps into lots of different sized squares and put them into labelled poly bags.

Those were the days – now I just shove any scraps randomly into a box.

So, despite having a tailoring project that I started around 18 months ago still on the dress form as well as several other things on the go, I saw a project online and decided it had to be done without delay.  I think it’s called enthusiasm – or procrastination –  I am prone to both.
So, I spent the next couple of hours listening to music whilst randomly poking 2.5 inch squares of fabric into a polystyrene heart with a 3.25 crochet hook because why wouldn’t you?
I have seen some lovely versions using coordinating colours which, I might do in future but, in the spirit of Scraphappy Day, I just poked in any old colour as long as it was the right size (this latter requirement soon to change).

This is how it starts

Halfway up I realised my parts department didn’t have as many parts in it as I had fondly imagined.
In desperation I reached for the bag of 3 inch squares and just poked them in a bit deeper.  When they also ran out and I thought the 5 inch squares might be pushing the ‘size doesn’t matter’ theory too far, there followed a scrabbling through my random scraps box for pieces big enough to be cut into squares and all colour and accuracy caution was thrown to the wind in my rush to finish before all my Spotify playlists ran out.

It’s nothing if not random but I like it.

So, I feebly pressed a push pin into the wooden door of my sewing room and hung the finished wreath up in a rush to show you the results of my efforts.  Evidently I didn’t press hard enough.
**!!###** I think was the gist of my reaction.

They say pride comes before a fall and, in this case, it seems appropriate.

Tips and Tricks:
                                1. Use a circle instead of a heart – those points are vulnerable.
                              2.  Don’t be quite so determined to get those squares so close together.
                              3.  Maybe use an even smaller crochet hook.
                             4.  Don’t be a muppet and hang finished masterpiece on dodgy fixing.
Then you might not have to do this with parcel tape.  You’re welcome.
However, all was not lost as nobody will see the back and, as long as I take the time to put the proper fixings on, it might still be a keeper.  Hopefully for a bit longer than 10 minutes this time.

Scraphappy Day is organised by Kate & Gun for anybody who wants to make new things from scraps of any kind – doesn’t have to be fabric or yarn.  Here’s a list of participants – both regular and occasional – if you want to have a look at the sort of things you can do with scraps.

Contact Kate or Gun (first names on the list) if you want to join in.

Kate, Gun, EvaSue, Lynda, Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys, ClaireJeanJon, DawnJuleGwen, Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue LVera, Edith NanetteAnn,

Dawn 2, Carol, Preeti, DebbieroseNóilinVivKarrin, Amo, AlissaLynn(me)  Hannah and Tierney

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A Good Time To Start Again

On Thursday I dragged  invited Mr. Tialys to a ‘Craft4Crafters’ fair in Exeter which, now that we live in the West Country, is not too far to travel and would be the first time I’ve been to one of these events for years as they were fairly rare in rural France on such a scale.

Even so, I consider that I showed restraint and even managed to buy supplies only for crafts I already do and not be tempted down new alleyways of creativity for that way madness (and a lot of unwanted stuff in the sewing room) lies.

A pretty plaque to go on the outside of my sewing room door 

Most crafters I meet are lovely people but, I must confess, politeness and patience were sadly lacking in a few of the attendees.  Mr. Tialys is 6’4″ but was elbowed out of the way and glared at on occasion by fierce women half his size as he innocently stood by watching me spend money and woe betide the stallholder who had sold out of a desired item as they were given short shrift by many a disgruntled (and rude) customer. Still, by and large it was fun and I haven’t gone overdrawn.

A badger’s nose. I threw caution to the wind and bought two.

I’m behind in showing you what I’ve been making this past year or so but I do have my will to create lovely things back now and, considering that I’ve bought fresh supplies today, I’d better start blogging about some of the previous projects before I start on the new ones otherwise I’ll forget what I’ve done.

French knickers for a mouse just because.

Before I went to the event I researched who would be exhibiting and saw that Dawn Gill would have a stand displaying her lovely jewellery.  I was determined to drop by and say ‘hello’ as our paths have crossed in Blogland and it’s always special to meet a virtual friend in ‘real life’.  I think I introduced myself as ‘Tialys’ instead of ‘Lynn’ but, thankfully, when my husband wandered up I didn’t introduce him as ‘Mr. Tialys’ as that would just have been silly.

Thank you for your patience if you are still following my blog and I look forward to showing you my successes and failures in the sewing/knitting/felting/crocheting sense again and will probably go on about some other random stuff too.




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Sraphappy December 2021

I had to scurry around for this month’s scrap utilising day but, if my contribution is unexciting, at least it’s seasonal.

I had a kit to make a 2D needle felted picture and there was some roving and yarny bits left over.  When I thought about making a gnome or two, some of the curly pieces came to mind.

I needle felted a ball for the head/body, a little nose and a pointy bit for the hat then added the curls for a very unkempt beard – but that’s gnomes for you.

It took quite a long time so I had a go at doing the same thing with some scrap double knitting yarn but it took just as long and his hat isn’t as neat,

So, a new addition to the bauble box and some curly bits used up – I told you it wasn’t that exciting.

However, it is Christmassy and I wish you all a good one in case I don’t get chance to post again before the new year.

They will have company later just got to get last year’s baubles out of the garage.


Scraphappy Day is organised by Kate & Gun for anybody who wants to make new things from scraps of any kind – doesn’t have to be fabric or yarn.  Here’s a list of participants – both regular and occasional – if you want to have a look at the sort of things you can do with scraps.

Contact Kate or Gun (first names on the list) if you want to join in.

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynn(me), Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys,
ClaireJeanJon, DawnJuleGwen,
Bekki, Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue LVera,
NanetteAnn, Dawn 2, Bear, Carol,
Preeti, EdithDebbierose



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Making An Impression

As you probably know if you come here often, I do love a workshop and learning something new so I signed up for a metal stamping class.

It was only ‘down the road’ and not too expensive and it was promised you’d go home with three small projects.

The class was small – just five of us excluding the teacher – and it was held in a rather lovely café in the nearby town which doesn’t open to the public on a Saturday so we had it all to ourselves.

Before I start on the class, I have to give a shout out to this wallpaper in the café’s loo.

These were the tools provided for our class of complete beginners – all laid out on lovely tablecloths.

The thin square of aluminium was to practise our first faltering steps into metal stamping.  The blue box contained all the letters of the alphabet and the white box a sturdy metal block to absorb the hammer blows.

First we practised with the ‘I’ and the ‘Q’ and then our name.

It was at this point I realised I’d forgotten my reading glasses 🙄

Still, although I did briefly consider running across to the grocery shop to see if they had any ‘off the peg’ cheapo specs, I tried to manage without.

Using the masking tape helps to keep the letters in a straight line.  Or at least that’s the theory.

Our first project was a small heart.  My mind went blank – it doesn’t take long – and the only thing I could think of to stamp was the first three letters of Miss Tialys the Elder’s name.  I would say I didn’t hammer hard enough on the ‘M’ but I think I had a deformed punch as it came out weird each time I used it.

Still, Laura, our lovely teacher, gave us a jump ring, a chain and a little organza bag to put the heart in and I will be putting it inside the home made Christmas cracker destined to be pulled by Miss T. the Elder on Christmas day.

Next up, a Christmas tree bauble.  I chose a snowflake shape and decided on a family ‘in joke’ for the words.  Every year we watch ‘The Muppets’ Christmas Carol’ – it’s become a family tradition and we are all word perfect with both script and songs.  One of the songs sung by the (Muppet) Ghost of Christmas Present is called ‘It Feels Like Christmas’ and one of the little muppet mice sings the lines

‘It’s in the giving of a gift to another
A pair of mittens that were made by your mother’

so, for Miss Tialys the Younger’s Christmas tree…

You can emphasise the stamped letters by using a Sharpie over the letters then rubbing off the excess with a cloth moistened with a little nail polish remover.

The third project was to be a bookmark and, by this time, we’d had a lovely lunch and a chat and all felt more relaxed and confident so were hammering away with gay abandon on the long strip of metal provided.

That’s my favourite one and, although the odd letter is a bit skewiff, I don’t think it really matters in this font.

To get the slightly different finish seen here, you use one of those double sided, spongy nail files to gently sand the surface and then buff it up a bit with the smooth side.

Although I’m definitely not going to get into jewellery making, Mr. Tialys reminded me that we do have a set of letter punches lurking in the garage somewhere so, now I vaguely know what I’m doing, there might be the odd occasion when I might wield the chunky little hammer again.  Aluminium plant tags come to mind for instance.

Anyway, a really enjoyable day with a nice bunch of people, a patient teacher and a lovely lunch.  Plus three passable little gifts to take away at the end.  Who could ask for more?



And if you’ve never watched the Muppets’ Christmas Carol I highly recommend it and here’s a taster to get you in the festive mood.

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The Cat’s Pyjamas

As I mentioned in my Scraphappy Day post, since discovering (finally) the joys of the famous felt rabbit and her (mostly) woodland friends, I’ve been hand stitching felt, stuffing heads and limbs and making miniature clothes like a woman possessed.

Hand stitching? Toy stuffing? Fiddly sewing? Me? Well, you know I always say ‘never say never’ and the results are so cute I am enjoying myself against all expectations.

I’m especially enjoying the clothes making part. I made the badger some dungarees in case he has some heavy work to do on the sett before winter does its worst.

A crushed velvet dress for the fawn in case there’s a Christmas party in the forest coming up.

(note to self – never sew with crushed velvet again, it slips and frays and misbehaves in all sorts of ways)

In an attempt to bring myself back to reality I laid out some fabric the other day to make myself a dress and there was so much fabric and such large pattern pieces that I thought ‘nah, let’s get back to the small stuff’.

So I did

Then, I added a cat to the mix.  I gave her some unruly whiskers – horsehair I had previously begged from my horsey friend back in France which actually made the move with me unlike much of my craft stash  – and felted her eyes partly because I thought they would look good but partly (mostly) because I have run out of small black buttons.

Then I made her some pyjamas.

Which gave me a good title for this well overdue blog post that I only got round to as my workroom is, once again, stuffed full of furniture from the other room while we wait for the carpet fitter to do his stuff this afternoon.  Otherwise, that’s where I’d be.


Apologies for the variations in quality, lighting, etc. of the photos as they were all taken at different times, on different days and in different rooms.  Still – at least I’ve shown you what I’ve been up to and proved I’m still here – in case you were wondering.



Designs for animals and clothes are by CoolCrafting– in case you fancy having a go!

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Scraphappy Day November

A ‘real life’ friend of mine contacted me the other day as she had noticed I hadn’t been blogging recently and she was worried about me – thank you Mo 😘 – but I am here, safe and sound though seemingly missing my blogging mojo.  I’ve been reading and commenting on others’ blogs (for the most part) and, by the time I’ve done that, checked my Facebook groups, checked the BBC news headlines and my emails, I’ve sort of had enough of the screen and got bored of listening to Mr. Tialys and his meetings as his work station is right next to mine.

Anyway, I haven’t been idle in the workroom which is still a mess I’m afraid as the carpet fitter has gone sick and so there is still stuff stored in there which will eventually go back in the bedroom once he’s recovered enough to lay the carpet in there.  I have come very late to the Luna Lapin (felt rabbit) party and have been making her, her woodland friends and some of the miniature sized dresses, nighties, etc. that make up her wardrobe.  More of that another day – if I get round to a proper post but, for the moment, it’s Scraphappy Day and I was determined to get an entry in this time round.

So, after that little lot (and a fox partly completed), I had some spare felt.

So I made the peachy coloured rabbit a little baby.  Well you know what rabbits are like.

Those of you with kids, remember that weird way of standing with one hip stuck out with a baby or tot planted on the edge of it?

Wrong hip lady! That baby will slide right off.

Anyway, please note the scraps of Liberty fabric too.

So, in by the skin of my teeth again for November and, as it was Remembrance Sunday in the UK yesterday (today as I’m typing this), I’ll end with this which I made from scrap yarn and a vintage button.

Bad flash photo, sorry, but it gets dark here in the U.K. at some ridiculously early hour at the moment so needs must.

Scraphappy Day is organised by Kate & Gun for anybody who wants to make new things from scraps of any kind – doesn’t have to be fabric or yarn.  Here’s a list of participants – both regular and occasional – if you want to have a look at the sort of things you can do with scraps.

Contact Kate or Gun (first names on the list) if you want to join in.


KateGun, EvaSue, Lynn (me), Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys,
ClaireJeanJon, DawnJuleGwen,
Bekki, Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue LVera,
NanetteAnn, Dawn 2, Bear, Carol,
Preeti, EdithDebbierose and Esther

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Scraphappy Day October

We have had the plasterers in for the ceilings in two of our bedrooms which we are now painting and the carpet fitter arrives this afternoon.  Some of the furniture and all of the ‘stuff’ possible has been crammed into the third bedroom aka my workroom.

Which is why I haven’t got a Scraphappy post this month.

Spot the mattress but not a sewing machine in sight although it is there somewhere.

However, the following people might well do so have a browse through some of their blogs and maybe I’ll have something to show next time.

Scraphappy Day is organised by Kate & Gun for anybody who wants to make new things from scraps of any kind – doesn’t have to be fabric or yarn.  Here’s a list of participants – both regular and occasional – if you want to have a look at the sort of things you can do with scraps.

Contact Kate or Gun (first names on the list) if you want to join in.


KateGun, EvaSue, Lynn (me), Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys,
ClaireJeanJon, DawnJuleGwen,
Bekki, Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue LVera,
NanetteAnn, Dawn 2, Bear, Carol,
Preeti, EdithDebbierose and Esther


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Knit Two

Back at the beginning of May this year I told you I was having a knitfest and, in a reckless show of enthusiasm, showed you lots of things that were on my needles or just about to be.

There was the fisherman’s rib (😱) jumper which I finished under duress and showed you in a previous post, a blanket with squares knitted using various methods such as mosaic and cable which is still ‘on the go’, a jumper with a star in relief on the front which is knitted but not yet sewn up and  a boxy, oversized cardigan which – tadah – I finished the other day.

As promised by the pattern, worn here by its beautiful, delicate looking, teensy tiny designer, (Stephanie Jessica Lau), the Midtown Cardigan is indeed, oversized, relaxed and slouchy………

……..and worn here by me.

Being garter stitch it was perfect T.V./Netflix/Craft group knitting but every glitch in the stitches shows up in a rather unforgiving fashion

You can tell from the side and back views just how generously proportioned it is.

Dwindling from incredibly broad shoulders into teeny ankles – a feat achieved by a 5’3″ woman being photographed by a 6’4″ husband who forget to crouch down a bit.

Do you like our Japanese anemones by the way?

To ‘make it mine’ I made a couple of Dorset Buttons with the same yarn (King Cole’s Luxury Merino DK) and attached them to the pockets.

All in all, it came out as I expected and it is very warm and cosy and will come in very handy with the cooler days inevitably on their way.

I imagine it will be the star jumper I’ll be showing you next even though I keep putting off sewing up the seams – which is odd for somebody who does more sewing than knitting.

The blanket is still some way off.

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Scraphappy Day September 2021

I have somewhat reluctantly agreed to participate in a craft fair and will probably write more about how that came about in another post.

For now though, it is the day of the month where we try to do ‘stuff’ with scraps and, once again, I hand over to Mr. Tialys to step forward as I’ve been too busy getting more stock together so that I don’t show up with a practically empty table and have to pretend I’ve already sold loads of things even though it’s only ten minutes past the start time .

I have made more of my conical peg bags and also some reversible Japanese knot bags, both of which look better hanging than slumped on a table looking distinctly unimpressive and requiring an explanation of what they actually are.

So, a thick tree branch salvaged from the garden was sanded down and adorned with pieces of driftwood collected on our visits to the local beaches.  The branch is held steady in our functional rather than decorative Christmas tree holder which  I’ve wrapped in a hemp cloth and there you have it, ‘A Holder For Things That Look Better Hanging’.

It also serves to make more room for the other items I have on the table which, in this photo, is actually our dining table but as it’s the same size as the ones in the village hall I thought I’d drag it out into the garden and do a practise run so I’ll know what to put where on the day without faff.

The empty wooden frame will have cards with all the prices on when I eventually get round to it – I have until Saturday.

Not to be completely outdone I did make myself this brooch to wear at the craft fair which I feel identifies me as a ‘stallholder’ rather than a punter although, depending on your point of view, perhaps it identifies me as a person with questionable taste in accessories.  This was a whole tape measure but, having had half its length cut off, is now scrap but that doesn’t really count does it.  I’ll have to do something with the other half and post about it in a future scrappy post.

Anyway, as I’ve seen some of the amazing items other people will be selling at the fair there’s no way I won’t also be a punter and will almost certainly spend much more money than I make,


Scraphappy Day is organised by Kate & Gun for anybody who wants to make new things from scraps of any kind – doesn’t have to be fabric or yarn.  Here’s a list of participants – both regular and occasional – if you want to have a look at the sort of things you can do with scraps.

Contact Kate or Gun (first names on the list) if you want to join in.

Kate  Gun, EvaSue, Lynn  (me), Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys,
KerryClaireJeanJon, DawnJule,
Gwen, Bekki, Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue L,
Vera, NanetteAnn, Dawn 2, Bear,
Carol, Preeti, Edith and Debbierose





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