Month: March 2013

Plan B… Quick Flower Fix

origami flowers, paper tulips, make your own tulips
A few months ago I planted some tulips. I love’em – they’re one of my fave flowers and I was hoping that by now, the time of year when it’s usually beginning to warm up , that my (very bare) mantelpieces would be graced with little jars of home-grown Tulips. OH, NO, not a chance. It’s currently 2 degrees out there and it snowed practically all day yesterday. It’s almost April, British summertime begins next weekend and it’s fffreezing. MY poor ol’ Tulips aint having any of it. Well, ok, whatever…but I was determined to have flowers so….plan B (take note Mr Osbourne). 
I thought about knitted or crocheted flowers but I fancied a bit of a change and perhaps something I could do with the little one, a bit of origami perhaps? This is not something I normally do, so I needed instructions- and it had to be seriously easy….and seriously easy it was. I found a nice little tutorial online and, well, you can see I now have flowers. I think they look great.
What’s more, the Easter hols are coming up next week – would make a good project to do with the kids.

Keep ’em Cosy…Girls Legwarmers

girls legwarmer, young girls legwarmer pattern, free girls legwarmer pattern, girls legwarmer knitting pattern

Okay, so it’s March, and great – yes, spring is definitely on it’s way, but here in the UK that doesn’t really mean too much weatherwise. It can still be really quite cold. Just last Tuesday we had a corker of a day. Beautiful sunshine – a real teaser of summer days to come. It was great..everyone was out…off to the park, tidying up their front gadens. Those of you who live in my lovely East London neighbourhood, that strange woman you saw skipping down the street – that was me. That’s how chuffed I was to see the sun. …..But, and it’s a big but, I did say it was a teaser. It’s now damp and drizzly…and cold…we’ve had snow this week, and it’s not forecast to warm up any time soon. Argggghhh. Just when you thought it was time to cast off those woollies. Stop right there – what were you thinking?
Even more keen to embrace the shedding of the clothes are our little ones. Now they’ve had a taste of that sunshine, they don’t want to wear their boots anymore. There’s no point replacing the tights they’ve already grown out of because they’re not going to fit next year either. So here’s a simple free pattern to cover that gap between legging and socks and to keep their little ankles cosy. Kiddies legwarmers. The simplest of patterns – knits up quickly in any DK yarn, looks great, and is a good pattern for beginners. Can be knitted on normal or circular needles – whichever you choose. The number of rows and stitches are the same – only diiference is a seam to sew up at the end, which is pretty straightforward. The pattern is to fit a 3-5 or a 6-8 yr old. See pattern for details.
 Pictured here in one of my current favourite funky fluoros.  Those colours are here to stay for a while so use ’em and abuse ’em.

free kids legwarmer pattern, knitted kids legwarmer, small girls legwarmer
This style is knitted in New Fashion DK by Woolcraft in shade ‘Melon’.

A Quick Trick…..Button Makeover

button trick, painting buttons, make buttons match
I have, in my come-in-handy store, a box of buttons – all shapes and sizes and colours. Some of them I’ve had for years – lots that I just haven’t been able to use because the colours are, let’s face it, pretty awful. I can’t just throw them away, it  feels so wasteful. Buttons can be difficult to get hold of, and you can’t buy them for a few pence any more. Then there’s finding the right colour – much harder than you always think it will be.

In my humble opinon details are important and a good button can make all the difference to the finish of a lovely handmade piece. There’s nothing worse than having spent hours of your precious time making something beautiful, only to go and spoil it with a a trim that just doesn’t do it justice

If I can’t find buttons to match or tone, I’ve found a nice simple way of getting what I need.
Unsurprisingly in my stash I also have a box of nail varnishes. From back in my ‘girl about town’ days when I had time on my hands to apply it, when I didn’t wash half as many dishes as I do now and it didn’t chip after five minutes.
There they sit in the hope that, one day, I’ll  have the time to use them before they go all thick and gloopy.
However… Ive found another way to use those lovely little bottles of colour. Yep, you guessed right – buttons. Nail Varnish is as good for colouring buttons as it is your fingernails. There are so many different shades out there these days – if you don’t have the colour you need it’s bound to be in the shops somewhere and most of them are really not expensive.
Here’s what you do:-
All you need are your buttons, a bottle of nail varnish in or matching the colour of your choice, and some double-sided sticky tape.
Peel off a legth of the double-sided tape – enough to easily fit all of your button on, and stick them down firmly with the right side facing up. These keeps them firmly in place.
Paint the buttons carefully with the nail varnish, not forgetting the sides of the buttons. Being stuck to the tape allows the to be manoevered around easily. You may need to apply two or more coats, depending on the colour and thickness of the varnish.
Allow to dry for several hours, preferably overnight, so that the nail varnish has dried to a nice hard finish.

Lift off from the tape, and there you have your new matching buttons…..ready to sew onto your garment.
Very Inportant – Make sure the buttons are completely dry before you use them. Nail varnish is hard to remove, particularly from fibres.
Silver buttons, make your buttons match,
 Tadaaahhh!
It really is that simple. Yes, and so obvious. I’ve been doing it for years. It wears pretty well too as buttons really don’t get anywhere near as much action as your fingertips, so the varnish dries nice and hard and doesn’t chip.
button makeover trick, colour your buttons, neon buttons, hot pink button, acid yellow button
…And there are some some great options here. You can have pearlescent, two-tone, smooth and glitter finishes – and my current favourites fluoro seen above after having painted a couple of pretty awful plastic buttons. Aren’t they fab – they look geat as a contrast on a neutral background. These colour buttons are pretty hard to get hold of, particularly in small packs of the same size – believe me, I’ve tried. 
This is a great little upcycling project. By doing this not only will you be saving money, you’ll be using what you would have otherwise probably thrown away, and best af all you’ll be getting something unique that looks great.

Yo Mums!

Knit flowers, Crochet flowers Yarn flowers, Yarn Bouquet
Just couldn’t let this weekend go by without a big shout out to all you mums out there. It’s the most imprtant job in the world – don’t you forget it …..and if you ask me, it can be damn hard work sometimes. 
Happy Mothers Day ladies. Hope you enjoy your weekend.
‘Yarn Bouquet'(pictured above) made with Stylecraft Special and King Cole Big value DK.
Poppy, Pelargonium and Lavender flower patterns from ‘100 Flowers to Knit and Crochet’ by Lesley Stanfield.
Poppy Leaf, Pelargonium Leaf and Lavender Leaf patterns by thredHED©. 
For information contact ThredHED