Tag Archives: craft

Mosaics : a new challenge

10 Feb

I’ve always liked mosaics, the more inventive and colourful the better. I dream of having loads of colourful mosaics in my garden and took a lot of inspiration from my trip to Barcelona back in October.

My trip also made me just get on a book a workshop I had been pondering doing for some time, so the same day I got back from my holiday I booked a workshop with Lily Mosaics & attended a day later!

It was a lovely relaxed day, I loved picking out colours and seeing all the different mosaic bits n bobs on offer to work with. I went with the intention of making a small plaque of an owl/bird, that I might have hung in my bathroom, but then on a whim started creating a bold geometric design on a small tray.

It is quite a time consuming activity, (well it is when you do something far from simple as a beginner), I found it very relaxing cutting and playing around with different pieces. I got most of my larger motifs done in the workshop and then took a few spare bits to continue at home. I had already acquired several mosaic tiles myself and I ended up incorporating several of these into my patterns at home, as my design evolved.

I had originally planned to do a grey background, however a went for a lighter white, as I thought it’d make the colourful tiles standout more and match the already white tray.

I rather like my finish tray and found the grouting less arduous than I expected, though some of the really tiny pieces I used were a pain in the bum (lesson learnt).

mosaic tray - nettynot blog

mosaic tray close up - nettynot blog

I have since covered a simple picture frame, I’m not a huge fan of the finished result, I didn’t think enough about the edge where the tiles meet, but it looks alright in situ and still an improvement on the boring pine (fortunately I’m not too much of a perfectionist)!

I also made a set of Rennie Macintosh inspired coasters for part of my parents Christmas present. I really enjoyed making them. It was one of those rare occasions where the idea in my head worked out exactly as I imagined!

macintosh ungrouted - nettynot blog
macintosh grouted coasters - nettynot blog
The only thing I’ve not figured out, is what’s the best way to seal them, I didn’t want to make the lovely matte tiles shiny, but equally don’t want them to end up tea stained. I gifted them as they are, but keep meaning to do further research, does anyone what any suggestions?


I’m eager to do more now & started collecting ideas on a mosaic & garden board on Pinterest. Just need some warmer drier weather now.

Thanks for reading!



12 Dec

I like all my crafty pursuits to have a purpose, I like to have some thing tangible to show for the time spent creating something, which is one of many reasons why I love knitting. I can appreciate why others colour-in or scrapbook for relaxation, but I’ve always felt it’s not my cup of tea.

That said, many years ago when I went on the Amy Butler colour workshop at the festival of quilts (bought as a 30th birthday gift by my wonderful friends). I found it fascinating to see how her themes develop and they mostly start off with a trip, photos and then collages, from which she picks out colours, which then inform the pallet for her new range. I found her talk inspiring and actually really enjoyed making the collage we created on the day (something that has no real practical use). I have actually framed it and hung it in my spare room (which doubles as my sewing room).

When I was feeling a little uninspired recently, I’ve had a tea leaf of an idea brewing away in brain for a little while and sometimes when I have a vision for something I’m quite apprehensive to get it started in case in turns out terribly. However I found collating a few things, ripped out of old magazines and creating a collage helped with the idea brew further and I’m feeling more confident to see it through.

My collage just focused entirely on colour, I found it very therapeutic and I now have a great colour palette of my own to inform my projects.

This was very therapeutic to do, helped with my creative though processes, and I cleared out a loaf of old magazines too (a whole shelf’s worth)!


23 May

I have collected over the past few years several tins with the intention of decorating them to make attractive storage in my little craft room. I had thought I would do some sort of collage, but I just haven’t got around to in. So the tins have been used to store various crafting paraphernalia in their naked state for a long time, (8 years in the case of the cigar tin – a great sized tin I acquired while working in a pub as a student).

Making - tins makeover

A week or so ago I saw my friend, Emma’s blog post ‘Decorated Tin Cans’ and immediately thought of my sorry looking tins and it inspired me to give them the makeover they’ve been waiting for!

I read Emma’s blog post and acquired the appropriate supplies and last weekend gave my tins a good spraying. I must admit I’m not very good at the slow and steady approach of spraying at a sensible distance, I went for a faster and too close approach, so my tins are a little blotchy and bubbly in places but absolutely fine for my purpose (I would recommend going for the former approach if you have a go yourself).

Painting first coat - Nettynot Blog
I did have to give them two more light sprayings to completely cover them, particularly with the text on the cigar.

painted tins - Nettynot Blog

What I really liked about this little project was it gave me an excuse to buy some Washi tape, something until now I have somehow avoided. I love it, I found it very satisfying to use as it’s so easy and gives instant neat results.

Finished four Tins - Nettynot Blog

And they’re done! I’m really please with the end results (don’t look too closely) I think the tins look pretty good in their new clothes! Thanks Emma for the inspiration.

You can read Emma’s blog post here and visit her lovely website here!
Thank for reading!

Foxy Cushion & a new small challenge!

30 Apr

A little while ago I stumbled across this gem of a fabric, called Dapper Foxes designed by Andie Hanna, on the Eclectic Maker website and as you can see they really are dapper! I showed my boyfriend who commented ‘My mum would like that’ and so I decided to buy some to create a cushion for her Birthday, I also had to buy a bit extra just for me, as you do!
Dappa foxes - Nettynot Blog
I’ve had the fabric sat waiting for me to create the cushion for a couple of months, so I’ve had plenty of time to ponder about what to do. Having recently created a cushion for my sister that was a bit of a challenge though I really enjoyed making it (you can see the post here). I thought I would set myself a new challenge and add a feature I’ve never done before – Piping!

I did a little research accumulating in a few links added to my “Sewing and Dressmaking” Pinterest board. I wrote myself a little shopping list and grabbed supplies. I had decided to have the fox fabric on the front of the cushion, plain grey (slightly darker fabric on the back) and black contrasting piping, to compliment the black details on the fox designs.  Since I’d decided on black piping, I thought I may have been able to buy it ready made, however my local Haberdashers (Pikes in Nottingham’s Victoria Market – which is brilliant) had plenty of piping (in various diameters) but none ready made, but I wasn’t disappointed, it meant I could set myself another small challenge of making my own piping!

The two really helpful tutorials I found were “How to Sew piping into a pillow” on the craftsy blog – seeing how to pin the piping to the fabric, snipping the corners and sewing all the layers together all looked straight forward and all the photos were very clear. I wasn’t such a fan of the way the piping was joined at the bottom on this tutorial, so a little further  internet searching turned up another great blog post, from Punkin Patterns, “How to sew in Piping”, this post showed a clever and neat way to join the piping together.

So off I set, I made my own bias binding first using some black polycotton and then sewed in the piping cord. I really didn’t have the best foot for my sewing machine but I managed the best I could with the standard foot and got as close as I could to the piping edge.
Making my own Bias binding for piping - Nettynot blog
I prepared the back of the cushion next, as I wanted to add in a zip across the centre. I cut one half of the back pieces a little longer than needed so that I could fold over and hide the zip with a small flap of fabric.

A flap for my zip - Nettynot blog

Concealed Zip - Nettynot blog
Then I pinned the piping to the fox fabric, sniping the edges on the corners to help the curve and joining the piping and sewed it in to place. Then I sewed the back to the front using my line of stitching on the front as a guide.

Pinning the piping - Nettynot blog

Once I stuffed the cushion inside the cover I was really impressed with the result, even if I do say so myself.

Finished Foxy Cushion - Nettynot blog
Usually when I tackle a project like this I do a lot of dawdling and over thinking and inevitably trying something for the first time it doesn’t go to plan. However this time I got myself well and truly stuck in and completed the whole thing in a few hours and surprised myself at how well everything came together –  I do love it when what you actually create is exactly what you had in your mind, Something I rarely do! I think I can credit that to the reassurance and confidence I gained from looking at tutorials mentioned above – they gave me that little shove in the right direction you so often need when embarking on a new challenge.
Foxy cushion - Nettynot Blog
What wonderful sewing tutorials have you discovered that have filled you with confidence and got your sewing machine buzzing?

Quilting an Heirloom

24 Mar

There has been a major project under wraps in my house recently, which for the past few months has absorbed my time and took over the living room. This endeavor is the beginning of the end of a family heirloom.

To put into context I have always been interested in sewing and making things. I have a vague memory of trying to make an outfit for a Barbie with a scrap of fabric and some elastic – it wasn’t terribly successful but it sparked something an interest in sewing and I’ve continued to dabble ever since. Some projects have been successful, others not so – but I’ve learnt a lot along the way.

I have also become a fabric magpie too – I have SO much fabric, it is a little ridiculous, some pieces I’ve bought on a whim because I loved a pattern, other bits were bargains from remnant sales, car boots and vintage fairs. A lot I have acquired over many years, from friends, my Gran and a few select bits from my Mum.

The stars starting to stack up.

The stars starting to stack up.

Amongst the bits I found in my Mum’s stash of fabric was be the beginnings of an English paper piece patchwork item. There were lots of diamond shapes, some already sewn into stars. I first discovered them about 15 years ago rummaging through my mum’s wonderful trunk of crafty items.

Along with the colourful stars were loads of navy ones - I made the assumption they were intended to fill the gaps between the stars and went for it.

Along with the colourful stars were loads of navy ones – I made the assumption they were intended to fill the gaps between the stars and went for it.

Having collected up all the diamonds and stars they sat amongst my collection of fabric with the vague idea of continuing with the stars and turning them into a quilt some day. They stayed in my collection until several years ago, when a few of my knitting friends and I decided to also have regular sewing meet ups. I thought this would give me the perfect opportunity to continue with it.

The coming together of all the diamonds.

The coming together of all the diamonds.

For the past few years I’ve been making slow and steady progress until I decided about a year ago that it’d be a lovely idea to finish the quilt and give it back to my mum as a gift on her 60th Birthday this year, which happened last weekend.

The finished patchwork top - painstakingly all hand sewn - but well worth it - this photo makes be very happy!

The finished patchwork top – painstakingly all hand sewn – but well worth it – this photo makes be very happy!

I have been dying to write a blog post or two about the quilt as I’ve been making it but I also wanted it to be a surprise and my Mum reads my blog (Ello Mum)! So now I can shout all about it! I did underestimate the amount of time that it would take it complete and even thought I have spent almost all my spare time working on it for two months I didn’t complete it in time. However I wrapped it up in its unfinished state and gave to her. It has almost become a trademark of mine to give my family unfinished gift and it did raise a laugh as I announced it wasn’t finished yet.

The home stretch - I just have to finish the actual quilting - which fortunately I am able to do on my sewing machine, then edging.

The home stretch – I just have to finish the actual quilting – which fortunately I am able to do on my sewing machine, then edging.

I think I will enjoy working on it more now, without a looming deadline. It will also give me a chance to improve my quilting skills (I’m not convinced what I’ve done so far it that great). I much prefer the patchwork part of a quilt but I appreciate the overall effect of a finished quilt so I know it will be worth all the effort.

Colour Affection

24 Feb

I mentioned in a blog post in January that I was very close to finishing my Colour Affection shawl. I have now finished – I actually finished and blocked it last week, however I’ve only just had the chance to photograph it. I was very disciplined and didn’t knit anything else until it was finished. I have already got going on my jumper though and am enjoying how fast it is knitting up.

I had admired this pattern and the finished results of other knitters for a while and after seeing this blog post by Move Eat Create, quite some time ago (I love the colours used) I decided it was definitely going into my Ravelry queue.

Colour Affection close up
I chose colours I knew would go with the colours I wear, even though I was tempted to go down the bright and bold route. You can see what the exact yarns I went for in my ravelry projects.

I have to admit that my relationship with this shawl have been a little up and down at times. I think I’m suffering the same kind of disappointment that you get when someone tells you a film is amazing and you watch it eagerly anticipating great things and it turns out it was just ‘ok’. This is how I feel about this pattern, I expected wonderful things – after all over 11,000 ravelry members have knitted it, bit I think it may have just been over hyped for me.

Colour Affection - blocking

Stretched out it is pretty long, it hung over the end of a double bed!

Don’t get me wrong though – I think the pattern is rather clever and I love the overall effect, I just found the long rows towards the end a little tedious. I was very conscious of keeping my colour changes at the end of the rows quite loose, however I had a horrible sinking feeling after I cast off that it was all too tight and curly. However a good blocking sorted it out; I stretched the edge of the shawl until I thought it might break, then pinned the life out of it and left  it to dry.

finished colour affection

I must admit I strayed from the pattern slightly (& unintentionally). On the short row section I miss-read “k 3 past the previous wrapped st” and ended up including the wrapped stitch in the 3 stitches which mean I ended up knitting more short row than were intended, I realised when re-reading the pattern (after the project was hibernated so I could knit my Mum’s Christmas jumper) but at that point I’d done too many rows wrongly that I decided to continue as I had been doing. I also kept loosing track of the number of the double increase rows while doing the short rows, so I just abandoned them, it made keeping track of the pattern far easier and neither error had a detrimental effect on the finished article so it was alright in the end.

I've found I tend to wear it more like a scarf. I knotting it in 4ply so I can get away with this with out it being too bulky.

I’ve found I tend to wear it more like a scarf. I knitted it in 4ply so I can get away with wearing like this with out it being too bulky.

Overall I’m quite pleased with the end result despite my hic-ups. Now I can get stuck back into my jumper… it’s not grown much so far, but I’ve only been knitting once a week at knit group in the last couple of weeks as I’ve been busy with (what feels like) a million other projects.

I hope to be able to have it finisihed and wearing it before the end of winter....we'll see!

I hope to be able to have it finished and wearing it before the end of winter….we’ll see!

Appliqué Bunny Bag

12 Feb

I like to give my friends handmade gifts, but when they’re all very creative and crafty themselves  it can be tricky to think of original and personal gifts. So I had the idea before Christmas to make personalised tote bags – straight forward and practical. I have a habit of over complicating things; I initially thought I would make the basic bag myself as well as decorating them however trying to keep things simple I actually decided to buy some plain ready-made bags (it did feel a little like cheating, but I have learnt the hard way – sometimes you have to make some short cuts to make things feasible, especially given how busy the run up to Christmas can be). 

I decided appliqué shapes and animals would work well, something that I’ve not done a lot of before, but I figured I had everything I needed to give it a go, bags, fabric, sewing machine, thread and fusible interfacing.

I made quite a few different designs to suit the different people. I made stars, cats, dinosaurs and giraffes for Christmas presents and recently for a friend’s birthday I made a bunny bag (she has two cute n fluffy bunnies herself) so it seemed very appropriate.

Bunny drawing ready for template
I like the drawing process; it’s always very sketchy before I actually cut out the design.

Bunny Templete
I roughly cut out the basic shape from interfacing, iron onto the back of the fabric, then draw the template out and cut out the fabric.

Cutting out the bunny using my template

I then positioned the bunny on the bag and ironed it into place.

Positioning on fabric

I did a basic zig-zag stitch all the way around the edge (it’s not the neatest close up – sorry – ears are tricky)!

bunny applique ears
applique bunny
Bunny button and stitching
I selected a complimentary button to go with my lovely Liberty print fabric and it was finished!

Finished bunny bag

I’ve liked making these for my friends they seem to have been received well and I enjoyed seeing one of my friends using it weekly for knitting group. I will definitely be making more!

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One girl's creative adventure.


making things.


Exploits of an art fair kid, all grown up.


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