Monthly Archives: June 2014

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A tale of two cat bags…

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Recently our two year old God-Daughter had to go into hospital for an operation and I found myself pondering what I could create to make her smile.

Whilst racking my brains, it struck me that I hadn’t seen her carrying a bag of her own around.

Now pretty much every toddler girl (and pre-school girl, and school girl…) that I know loves a good bag. This particular little girl loves cats and so it was clear that if a bag was going to capture her heart then it would need to have a cat of her own as part of the design.

Now I’ll be the first person to admit that I don’t always get my projects right first time. Planning ahead is not my strong point, but I like to think that I make up for it in enthusiasm.

And I charged so quickly into the creative process that I didn’t consider running off a mock up version before officially committing needle and thread to fabric.

In fact, I was so focused beavering away in my evenings that I really failed to step back and consider the bag as a whole.

Otherwise I might have noticed that the bag was coming up a little small for a two year old and all the fun treasures that she would want to carry.

But I didn’t and so, last stitch sewn, ends tidied up and tools put down… it slowly dawned on me that things had gone a tad awry. To put it bluntly, the bag was too small. It needed to be significantly bigger to carry all of her treasures.

And so I scratched my head, stomped around the house with frustration and eventually picked myself up, and started again. I wasn’t going to be beaten!

And after slightly more preparation than was given to my first attempt, I decided that a toddler messenger bag was clearly in order.

There are a whole raft of tutorials out there on how to make messenger bags suitable for the short of stature. I must apologise that I didn’t have the time to take photos of the bag making process myself but time was of the essence.

I was, however, pleased with the original cat design and decided to applique it onto the front of this second bag.
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I used a fusible webbing and then secured the design firmly in place with hand stitches around the edges.

In case you too are in need of a friendly cat to cheer up a bag, or skirt or other such item, then here is my pattern ready to resize and roll out to suit your needs. There’s also an alternate version to allow you to play around with the pattern and make it your own.

Here you go!

And if that’s not enough then try using buttons for the eyes, a few characterful whiskers or push the boat out completely (and the applique idea overboard) and embroider the outlines instead.

Perhaps some whipped backstitch and a bit of satin stitch for the pupils or nose?

And it’s not all bad news; Little Pumpkin has adopted the original bag which, it turns out, is a remarkably suitable size for a just turned one year old with a penchant for her brother’s metal cars.
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Even More Super Cute Scandi Embroidery!

A while ago I took part in a blog-world link up adventure. To cut a long story short, a handful of lovely bloggers shared tutorials for an array of flowery items.

My contribution was a scandi style embroidery pattern that I sewed onto a cushion but which I had designed to be easily adapted for a whole plethora of scandi-fied projects.

In keeping with the floral theme, I provided the patterns for the flower designs.

There were, however, a pair of little scandi style birds that snuck their way onto my cushion and which turned out to be a surprise hit.
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And now, after a frankly inexcusable delay, I am proud to share the pattern for these little guys.

scandi bird pattern

For my little bird, I used backstitch and whipped backstitch for the main part of this design.

You’ll notice that the pattern doesn’t direct you on how to fill the wings in. You could simply choose to sew the outlines in backstitch, as the pattern suggests.

I chose to fill the wings with satin stitch and you’re more than welcome to do the same. Or how about a bit of applique to add a twist to the design?

However you sew these little guys, I hope that you like them as much as I do and that you manage to find a place for them in your hearts and your homes.

Poorly Pumpkin

It’s been a subdued week in the Hoogally household as Little Pumpkin has been quite poorly,

all-not-feeling-happy
not-knowing-what-to-do-with-herself
couldn’t-even-manage-Cheerios-or-flapjack-sort-of-ill.

And I’ve gone from writing about how quickly Little Pumpkin is growing up to a week of having my baby back in my arms.

Thankfully she’s turned a corner and seems to be on the mend. Her smiles are returning and, when our backs were turned she managed to cram her mouth with Cheerios and raisins.

Unfortunately it’s now the Monkey who is curled up on the sofa, but he seems to be faring a little better and is being very brave.

So, in the meantime, I thought I’d share the results of a fun afternoon’s crafting with a friend.

Take some cardboard rolls. Add a few bits and pieces.

And a whole lot of imagination.
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And ta da! A pair of slithery snakes.
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And the lesser known toilet roll octopus – with the optional snazzy glasses upgrade.
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I love how the Monkey sees the potential in bits of rubbish that I would discard – in this case the leftover sticky bits from a sheet of googley eyes.

Stitching Memories – The Sequel

So, as promised here we go with my second post on sewing drawings, and this time its a very special bit of embroidery, possibly my most important piece of work yet.

So, what makes an item deserve such an accolade?

Is it the materials, the best that money can buy? Or the design, cutting edge and on trend? Or is it fiendishly difficult in its complexity?

Well it’s none of those things, just a simple design in simple stitches on a simple pillowcase.

No bells. No whistles.

But if you look closely, intertwined with those threads is as much love as I could weave in.

Because this particular creation had a very important job to do; for one night this pillowcase needed to be my love, my snuggly hug, my kiss goodnight and bedtime prayer for my little boy.
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You see, we knew the date that Little Pumpkin would arrive and some lovely friends offered to have the Monkey stay over with them.

This was a massive blessing as it allowed the Monkey’s daddy to stay late at the hospital enjoying those first few precious hours being Little Pumpkin’s daddy too.

But I wanted the Monkey to know that he was still very much in our hearts that night and so I hatched a plan and got him to draw some pictures of his family. I then transferred and sewed his beautiful drawings onto a pillow case to take with him on his first night away from home.
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And when we dropped him off with our friends the Monkey walked in, proudly carrying his pillow, and carefully placing it on his bed before kissing us goodbye and running off to play.

As we drove to the hospital, I had tears in my eyes with pride at the beautiful brave boy we had and the brilliant big brother that he was about to become, comforted in the knowledge that he would still have his family with him as he rested his head on his pillow to go to sleep.

Stitching Memories

If you have children in your life at all, then you’ll have a sense of the breakneck speed that they grow up at.

Take Little Pumpkin, for example.

A month ago she had just turned one, still very much our little baby. All of a sudden she is cruising around her world with frankly terrifying, and dangerous, levels of confidence.

She puts phones to her ear and chatters “hiya”, blows kisses at cars driving past our house, waves goodnight as we carry her up the stairs to bed.

If there’s a good tune on the radio, the odds are that she will be wiggling away to it or clapping her hands.

I turn around and she’s crawled to a misplaced remote control and is sitting there pressing buttons while expectantly looking at the television.
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She just “gets” her world so much more. I can barely catch my breath.

And this pace of growth isn’t limited to the Pumpkin. The Monkey marches on with a year at a school having left him virtually unrecognisable from our little boy a summer ago.

If he isn’t reading away (a mixture of surprise and pride on his face as he decodes a juice carton) then he’s telling me about the life cycle of a frog (did you know that a young frog is called a “froglet”?) or working out the largest number that he can possibly imagine (currently a trillion and twenty three).

And his drawings contain a noticeable increase in skeletons.

But before all of this his world was much more limited to his family, his home and his back garden. Which probably explains the previous lack of skeletons.

And so I thought I’d share with you how I’ve recorded some of these pre-school drawings.

(The skeletons are a little more challenging to display).

I don’t know about you, but I’ve found that the amount of art produced can at times be overwhelming. Its so easy for these precious creations to fall behind the bookcase and lie there forgotten, gathering dust.

But these works of art can so often be a unique snapshot of a window into their minds,
their dreams,
the world as they see it.

And so a while ago I decided to record some of the Monkey’s drawings through very simple embroidery. In this case, on a cushion for the Monkey’s aunt.
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So here they are, a caterpillar, ladybird, urchin, and, my favourite, the snail.
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The stitches aren’t fancy, just a mix of backstitch, whipped backstitch and chain stitch.

But I don’t think the stitches should be fancy – it’s all about the drawings rather than the sewing.

I’ll be back in a few days with part two of this post and a very special bit of sewing, probably my most important piece of sewing yet.

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