Happy Creative New Year!

2018 is here, and I’m feeling smug because I’ve already managed to tick off two items from my big plan 😀 I’ve come into this year feeling fresh, bursting with ideas and excited about what is yet to come, so naturally I couldn’t wait to get started on my goals. This year I am trying to be more organised, tidy and methodical and to keep better records, so what better way to start than with a couple of “useful” items!?

First up was an Emmaline Retreat Bag which I’ve been planning to do for an age and never gotten round to. I bought a couple of sets of frames about a year ago and have had the perfect fabric waiting almost as long. And here it is!

It’s the perfect place for all my scissors, rotary cutters and associated bits and bobs, and I love the structure that the internal wire frame provides. Will definitely find a use for my spare set of frames, in fact, the Big One has requested one for all his pens 😂

Next up was a Little Moo Turnabout Pouch, another pattern that I have been desperate to try and I am so glad I did!

This one is home to my “bullet journaling” supplies, although I feel I should use that term loosely as I am not using it to plan anything other that craft projects – little or no real life stuff in there I’m afraid! This is such a stylish wee pouch, and it makes me smile every time I see that rainbow. The zip is a tricky little devil though and prompted one or two bad words from my sewing space….

The British Bag Makers group on Facebook (come join!) is hosting its own January challenge again this year – New Year New Bag Pattern, in which you have to make something you haven’t done before. Therefore, both of these count as contributions from me, bonus!

One of my other goals was to try to make some zipper charms for my bags using polymer clay that Santa/Dear Hubby brought me for Christmas. Since it appears that I need one or two tools to do the more fancy stuff (and I’ve blown this months craft supply budget), I thought I’d start simple and have a go at some swirled lentil beads taking inspiration from YouTube. I was going for galaxy effect, but alas I wasn’t totally successful. However, I got a couple of usable beads that I think are stunning, and I can’t wait to try more.

Now though, I have so many ideas that I’m on the verge of becoming “paralysed by possibility”, so I’m needing a wee kick up the bum to get going on something. I had already decided on three top patterns I fancied trying but was feeling indecisive about fabric, so tonight I just made a snap decision and went for it. Garment number  one for 2018 is in progress, and I can’t wait to get it finished!


Onwards and upwards, m’dears,

Love Mrs B x

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#2018PlanningParty

As the end of the year draws near, I’m still reflecting on what I’ve done in the last year and looking ahead to what I would like to do. Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl is hosting a linky planning party on her blog so I thought I would get in on the action and get some goals down in writing in the hopes that it gives me the push to keep up with them!

First a final look at 2017

In Quilty stuff:

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  • I started and completed my first quilt following the Sew Fresh Quilts Have a Jolly Little Christmas quilt along
  • I also participated in the Honey Pot Bee hosted by the glittering Molli Sparkles
  • I have yet to complete my Honey Pot Bee quilt as I need to construct the top, but all the blocks are sewn and awaiting my attention
  • Through the Honey Pot Bee I have developed a bit of a thing about paper piecing, but both quilt alongs have taught me tonnes about what I’m good at and what I need to work on (accurate seam allowances mostly 😀)

In bag type stuff:< img src=”https://mrsbcreatesblog.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/img_1767.jpg&#8221; class=”alignnone wp-image-644 size-full” height=”2049″ alt=”img_1767″ width=”1537″>

  • I’ve made quite a number of purses and bags, small and large, but accumulated even more patterns (almost 80 at last count 😳)
  • I’ve branched out materials wise, and tried my hand at faux leather, vinyl, Kraftex, oilcloth, glitter fabric and cork on top of the usual cotton.

In clothes:

  • Despite saying not that long ago that I had no interest in making clothes, I dived in and gave it a go
  • I have made 8 items of clothing for myself and one each for my two sons, mostly from two pattern companies, Patterns for Pirates and Made for Mermaids. I love their style, and the sizing and fit is perfect for me
  • I invested in my first overlocker, which is currently scaring the life out of me 😂

But the important part of this planning party is setting out what I’m going to do in 2018, so here goes!In Quilty Stuff:img_4107

  • Finish the Honey Pot Bee Quilt – need to complete the construction of the top, sandwich, quilt and bind
  • Use up orphan blocks from Honey Pot Bee – some block tutorials produced more that one block and I know that some of the larger duplicates won’t make it into the final quilt as they might throw my colour balance. I would like to use these up, even if it’s only for an odd cushion cover or a panel in a bag
  • I received the fabulous Animal Quilts book by Juliet van der Heijden (aka the Tartan Kiwi) for Christmas and I want to complete one project from the book – and I mean complete and turn into something, not just make the animal block!
  • The town I live in has an annual Horticultural and Craft show, so I would like to complete the patchwork cushion cover I started this year and actually enter it in to the competition for 2018!

In bag type stuff:I would like to further develop my bag making skills (but also make a couple of useful things for myself) with the following patterns being top of my list

Little Moo Turnabout Pouch

Little Moo Craftinator Project Pouch

Swoon Annette

Blue Calla Lotus

Emkie Designs Midsummers Night Traveller

Emmaline Bags Retreat Bag

  • I want to use the FIMO polymer clay that I also got for Christmas to make some cute beads for zipper pulls on my bags

In clothes:

  • I want to make at least another 6 items of clothing, including one pair of trousers and one dress

So 6 bags and 6 items of clothing plus my quilts to start/finish adds up to a minimum of one project per month – achievable, right!?! To keep me on track I have some beautiful swanky new notebooks for my bullet journal adventures and I can’t wait to get started!

See you in the New Year!

Love Mrs B x

Ernie’s Last Week 2018

As the excitement of Christmas hit the household, and we are all starting to get back to full health, Ernie upped his game a little 😀

Day 16 – Ernie donned his tin foil space suit for a trip to the stars

Day 17 – PlayStation time with Teddy

Day 18 – Last year, Ernie toilet papered the Christmas tree, this year him and his dinosaur friend picked the TV!

Day 19 – I really wish everyone in my house would just leave stickers alone 😂

Day 20 – Ernie’s favourite area of mischief got it again, removing all the baubles from the Christmas tree…

Day 21 – Ernie brought gingerbread houses for the boys to build and decorate

Day 22 – Ernie’s Last day before hitching a ride back to the North Pole with Santa, so he brought a fizzy bath bomb, new cosy pj’s and popcorn to eat with the Christmas film he brought on arrival day.

Farewell Ernie, we’ll see you next year!

Love Mrs B x

Week 2 2017 with Ernie the Elf

This week, the dreaded sickness bug hit our house, leaving all four (five including Ernie) feeling rather under the weather. Needless to say, Ernie has been a little more sedate in his antics….

Day 9 – Ernie wasn’t feeling too good like the rest of us so had a night on the sofa

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Day 10 – Super Ernie is feeling a little better and loves a bit of climbing!

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Day 11 – Ernie brought return letters from Santa 😀

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Day 12 – One of Ernie’s favourite stunts from last year was drawing on photos and he’s been at it again!

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Day 13 – Toy story time 😀

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Day 14 – Band practice with monkey

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Day 15 – Ernie brought Christmas books and DVDs

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Fingers crossed the last week and a bit before Christmas is a little “healthier”! Thinking caps on for me 😉

Love Mrs B x

Week 1 2017 with Ernie the Elf 😀

So Ernie has returned, and look what goodies he brought for his North Pole Breakfast arrival day! That’s him, naughty wee soul, in the little Christmas tree 😂

Last year he brought tonnes of lovely home baked cookies and brownies and made strawberry santa’s but the boys just wanted cereal so that’s what they got this year along with scotch pancakes, toast and milkshake straws. Mini crackers, a new Christmas DVD and a little Kinder gift completed the set up!

Day 2 – Naughty Ernie has his wrapping paper stilts on to steal chocolate from the advent calendars.

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Day 3 – This Elf just can’t help himself where the Christmas tree is concerned! The last two years he toilet papered it, but this year he went for pants as a new decoration!

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Day 4 – Ernie has obviously annoyed one of the other toys….

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Day 5 – one of The Big One’s most vivid memories from last year was of Ernie’s marshmallow bath, so obviously he had to repeat the experience, but with a few sweeties thrown in for good measure. The Elf version of bath bombs, no doubt 😂

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Day 6 – Ernie loves animals, and this wee pup was happy to take him for a ride!

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Day 7 – After a few naughty antics during the week, Ernie brought the boys some Lego mini figures to make up for it. What a kind soul!

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Day 8 – Ernie is a terrible driver, as you can see….

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I wonder what the next week will bring with our festive visitor!?

Love Mrs B x

Honey Pot Bee Progress and Sunday Stash

My year long journey of quilting discovery is nearing the end, as the Honey Pot Bee wraps up next month. At the end of October I finally got myself up to date and completed everything ready for the challenge of November, and what a month November is! I have completed one block already but am mulling over my fabric choices for the other. Having rifled through my blocks a few months ago I was worried that my colour balance might be off as it all felt a bit green heavy, so I set myself the task this month of looking at them all together to decide how the last few blocks should go in terms of colour. Here they are!

I’ve removed a few duplicate blocks (which are mostly green and would definitely upset the balance) and am loving how all my colours come together. I also took this picture twice because I realised I’d missed two blocks, then after taking this one I found another missing block. Never mind, you’ll see that in the finished quilt 😉

I had no plan at all on starting this challenge other than for it to be a “scrappy” project, but early on I realised that pink, blue and green are obviously rather abundant in my fabric stash 😀 I decided to embrace this, run with it, and add hints here and there of pale yellow to calm, and black to really “pop”. I have to admit though that I have absolutely no idea how I’m going to put all of these together, but that’s something to think about once all the blocks are done. I suspect it may be a little mathematical challenge for me 😀

Anyhow, since every Sunday morning I lie in bed reading a glittering email from Mr Molli Sparkles himself showing the world his most recent additions to his fabric stash, I though I’d show you mine – look at these luscious beauties from Art Gallery Fabrics Spice Fusion line.

The lovely Janet at A Rainbow of Stitches is turning into a bit of an enabler by expanding her Art Gallery line – bad Janet! And if I hadn’t already blown my craft budget for this month there are a few things in her shop that I’m itching to buy…..

Must dash, I hear my fabric calling my name 😂

Love Mrs B x

Linking up with Molli Sparkles Sunday Stash

Bullet Journals

As a child I was a stationary addict – pens, pencils, paper, everything in between, I loved it all. Those tendencies have stuck around, but fabric addiction is stronger! However, lately I’ve been finding myself drawn to pens and paper again, and all because of sewing.

A few weeks ago, I was browsing one of the many sewing groups I’m a member of on Facebook looking for inspiration for my next make, when I came across a post from another member about how she tracks her patterns. She has a journal and in it she has listed all of the patterns she has, with a small cut out illustration of each, a note as to the designer, and some details about the type and amount of fabric needed for each. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Genius idea, and would be fantastic for someone like me who has about a million patterns spanning several categories – clothing, bags, other accessories, quilts blocks, crochet patterns, cross stitch charts….. You get the picture, right!? I just had to do it and I needed to come up with a great way of dealing with the variety, but I also want to keep notes on the things I make to look back on.

Pinterest called my name at this point… I started searching for things like craft journal ideas, creative journals, etc, but time and time again pins came up about bullet journals. I honestly had no idea what on earth this meant. The Bullet Journal was created by Ryder Carroll (Bulletjournal.com) and is labelled “the analog system for the digital age”. It is based around a principle of “Rapid Logging” – getting things down quickly in bullet format, to ensure that you utilise your journal to best effect. There is a defined structure and a method of organisation using symbols to denote whether something is an activity, event, idea or note, and whether it is complete, cancelled, scheduled or migrated (ie moved to another month/week’s to do list). I think I am a person who is quite organised so this appeals to me, although I really don’t feel the need to organise my entire life this way.

The original bullet journal concept, like all great ideas, has taken on a bit of a life of it’s own and is now used in a myriad of different ways. A look at Pinterest will show you thousands of pins with beautiful artistic spreads that undoubtedly took hours to achieve – this doesn’t strictly fit with the original somewhat minimalist principles but is a fantastic way for those with a creative streak to express themselves. And people use their journals to log so many different things – movie watch lists, mood trackers, spending, medical conditions, you name it’s there somewhere. Surely, I thought, there’s something here for me?

So I set about starting my first bullet journal inspired craft journal. I got myself a cute notebook on a trip to the zoo, bought some new pens and just went for it. From what I’d read, I knew that this was going to be a bit of a process of discovery for a few months at least and that I would have to figure out what I need and the format in which it works for me. Hurdle 1 to deal with – pen thieves! The Big One has just started primary school and is learning to write. He’s doing really well and in just half a term he’s come a long way, but he kept stealing my new pens. Cue me staying up late one night to make two new pencil cases (because obviously I can’t leave the little one out!) from the same pattern and going out to buy an extra set of pens to keep them away from mine 😂

These little pencil cases are technically make up bags…. It’s the Pixie Beauty Bag pattern by XOXO Lauren and I love it – it’s a really quick sew, doesn’t need a lot of fabric and is a perfect size and shape.

Hurdle 2 – I hated the way I set up for October. I started with only 2 weeks of October remaining so I didn’t’t set out to do much, just start getting into the habit of writing things down. So my first page (after my index, of course) was a kind of title page where I listed my goals for the remainder of the month, and started to keep a tally of my craft supply purchases. And then I thought I would simply log my creative activities in a kind of diary format, dated and using a little colour to highlight specific patterns. It is so messy!

So now I know what I definitely don’t want to do again….

November has now hit us, and I thought I would try organising all of this a bit better. So firstly I’ve set up a calendar view that I can add to as the month progresses. If I’m honest, I’m not sure if this is really going to work for me since i’m not planning my whole life here, just crafts, but I figured I would give it a shot. After that I have a page each dedicated to November Goals, Blog Ideas and Supply Purchases where I can list anything significant for the month.

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I’ve decided to adopt a project based approach to entries rather than dating my work since the date really isn’t important and I figured it would be easier to index doing it my way. Now I just need to give it some time and see how it feels or if anything needs to be improved.

Thankfully, this is a kind of tester journal that I can mess up and play about with, and I plan to start 2018 afresh in a beautiful new notebook with my layout all worked out (nudge nudge, dear hubby, check my Amazon santa wish list 😀). I have my notebook picked out, I have ordered some stencils to help tidy up my presentation (since although I may have a creative streak I really cannot draw), and i’m eyeing up some swish new pens. The bullet journal aficionados have pet favourites for all these things so I thought I would give some of them a go. A few things I’ve already invested in are washi tape, some cute paper clips, and some Tombow brush pens.

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Washi tape I love, and I plan to use it to mark the edges of index pages to ease of use and potentially for dividing sections of pages off. Paper clips are useful as book marks, but the Tombow pens I’m just not sure about at the moment. They are meant for drawing and can be used as watercolours if you apply a little water to the ink on the page. I was hoping that they would be good for some nice lettering but i’m not really getting it. Maybe I’m doing something wrong though! A lot of people who don’t draw go sticker mad in their journals, but I’m not sure this is my style. Maybe I’ll stick swatches of fabric I love in instead 😀

Looking ahead to 2018 I have decided on a few things, I think. May still change my mind in the next few months!

  • An index, essential for all journals
  • A two page year planner, divided by month to jot down important birthdays, craft fairs, deadlines etc
  • An inventory of my clothing patterns noting type of pattern, designer and whether I’ve tried it
  • An inventory of bag patterns, much the same as the clothing list
  • An inventory of other patterns/recipes/other to encompass cross stitch, crochet, other sewing, cooking, whatever!
  • An idea log – really just a spread to allow me to jot down brief bonkers ideas when they occur to me so that even if I don’t plan to do something with them immediately, I don’t forget them

I think one of the important things to remember about journals though, is that they are meant to help, not stress you out. So I’m going to try to be relaxed about it and enjoy the process and the organisation I’m hoping it will bring to me. And the stationary, got to love the stationary 😀 But if it ever feels like a chore, it’s out!

And now I’d best get back to ticking things off my November to do list and playing with my Tombow pens.

Love Mrs B x

PS – one of my goals for this month is to write 3 blogs posts, so this gives me a tick in one little box 😉

Quiet but still busy!

I’ve been quiet in Blogland for the last few weeks, but don’t think that means I haven’t been busy! It’s just that I have had a few “Secret Squirrel” projects on the go. This week I’m visiting my family back home and I wanted to whip up a couple of things for my mum for Christmas and her birthday, so I couldn’t post them until they had been gifted. On top of that was a lot of slogging away in the kitchen making sugar laden goodies for a Macmillan Coffee morning on 29th September.

First up, was this cute zipper pouch. I’ve been seeing little tea cup pouches all over Pinterest, but closer inspection of the pattern reveals that it has a big personal use only label all over it, and it was quite expensive for something fairly simple. Now I don’t plan to sell these, but that kind of thing just rubs me up the wrong way. However, I had the Emmaline Bags Manhattan Zipper Case pattern (a freebie if you are interested 😀) that I figured would be a perfect base if I added a little handle. And so my own tea cup pouch was born 😀 These would make fantastic gifts especially if paired with a nice mug rug, some posh tea and a packet of biscuits. The bonus is this ticks off my patchwork challenge for British Bag Makers and trying out a cute small thing from my previous post about Creative Overload! I put a sweet little Nanny keyring in this one for my boys to give to my Mum.

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Next up was this cardigan. We lost my Nan almost 5 years ago and she was a crafty type too, but her thing was wool. She knitted/crocheted outfits for me as a really small child, my school cardigans when I was older, blankets and clothes for The Big One when he was born, and whatever else anyone requested. My mum always liked her to make Aran cardigans and has been on the hunt for one recently. These are not easy to find unless you have a knitter in the family – a look on Etsy revealed that you can have one hand knitted for the bargain sum of £175, if you’re feeling that way inclined…. Anyhow, I cannot knit. I have tried and I’m terrible at it. But I can crochet and when my mum mentioned wanting a cardigan it jogged a memory of a Facebook post I had seen just a few days before. I screenshotted it and sent it to her with the offer of making one, and she said that she thought it looked lovely. However, having not had chance to go wool shopping yet, I had a shuffle about through the bits and pieces I had of my Nan’s and found a few full balls of a fawn coloured Aran wool. I also dredged ap another cardigan pattern (http://www.lionbrand.com/fisher-s-island-cardigan.html) and decided to give it a go as a surprise. I love how this came out. And obviously having tried it on it is so comfy and cuddly. I still plan to go wool shopping and make the original cardigan I suggested though, I just need a little break from my hook right now after turning this one out in just a week 😂

And finally, another tick off the Creative Overload list was this Sew Da Kine Triple Zip Crossbody bag. I deviated here from my normal tendencies towards loud, colourful or bonkers fabrics and went a bit low key and business. If you would please politely ignore my rubbish topstitching, look how fab this bag is! It’s not fancy or anything, but is perfectly sized and I do love a pocket or too. I see more of these in my future, but with loud fabrics 😂

Love Mrs B x

Apple and Cinnamon Muffin Recipe

A wee recipe for you today. My boys love to “help out” in the kitchen, as I suppose most kids do! So at the moment, I am trying to make a concerted effort to cook more with them, with the focus on things that are portable so that The Big One can take them in his school bag for his snack. Last week, I made flapjacks alone, but this week I thought it would be good to make some apple and cinnamon muffins with their help, especially since it is a holiday here and The Big One is home today. However, since the boys are 5 and 2 and fight over absolutely everything, that meant making two batches so that they could each have a bowl to mix. You can imagine the mess, right?

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We used a recipe that I dredged up on Pinterest for a basic muffin that you can add to in order to make your perfect treat. It’s ideal as it uses cups rather than weights making it extra child friendly. The Big One is going through a mad cinnamon obsessive phase at the moment so I decided that apple and cinnamon was the treat of choice today. The boys each made their own version – The Big One added some crumble topping I have stashed in my freezer for when I make Thomas Keller’s carrot muffins from his Bouchon Bakery book (to die for, by the way!),  but The Little one skipped the crumble and added raisins to his.

Anyway, here is the basic recipe – add raisins or crumble topping if you wish! These aren’t overly sweet, so if you have an extra sweet tooth you may want to consider increasing the amount of sugar. If apple and cinnamon isn’t your thing, leave them out and add whatever floats your boat 🙂

Apple and Cinnamon Muffins

2 cups plain flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 grated eating apple (no need to peel)

1/2 cup caster sugar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 cup milk

1 large egg

 

Preheat your oven to Gas Mark 6/200°C and fill a muffin tin with paper cases. Mix together the flour, salt, baking powder ad cinnamon in a large bowl. Grate the apple into the bowl of dry ingredients. Put the sugar, milk, oil and egg in a separate bowl, whisking together, then pour this mix into the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined (it will still look a little lumpy but that is totally ok). Spoon into paper cases and bake for 20-25 minutes until risen, brown and a toothpick stuck into them comes out clean. Enjoy!

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Love Mrs B x

 

Creative Overload

Something annoyed me at work today, and my normal go to method of stress relief is sewing. But I’m stuck – there are so many things I want to do that they are all jostling for attention in my head and I can’t form any of them into a clear enough picture to do anything about. This wee pic from the Riley Blake Facebook page just about sums it up…

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On Thursday night, the ideas kept me from going to sleep for quite a while and I almost wrote this post at 1am 😂 However, here are all the things I’m thinking about, maybe this will help clarify them for me!

1. British Bag Makers autumn challenge

I’m a member of a group on Facebook called British Bag Makers. It’s a wonderful, helpful and supportive group for UK based bag sewing fanatics with a mix of hobby makers like me and people who actually make a living from it. The owner of the group, the lovely Samantha Hussey from Sewing Patterns by Mrs H, proposed an autumn challenge this week to make a patchwork bag. You have total freedom to choose your pattern and your patchwork style and I’m really excited about giving it a go. You see I entered their January Upcycling challenge at the beginning of this year and won with a patchwork bag of all things! However, that challenge involved a specific bag pattern that everyone had to make, putting their own spin on it from the use of as many upcycled materials as possible. The open nature of the current task is what is causing me issues – part of me wants to opt for a big tote bag sort of thing so that I can really go for it with big patchwork panels, and part of me wants to make something small and dainty but maybe more novel/unusual with some simple patchwork. And then for the large option is the choice between doing something using traditional piecing methods in a geometric style, or doing some foundation paper piecing which I have recently discovered that I love! For the small option, there is again a choice between traditional simple piecing, but I would also love to have a go at a Dresden plate appliqué.

2. Sew Da Kine Triple Zip Bag

Yet another bag designer on my radar is Jessica Cruzan, of Sew Da Kine. Jessica is well known in the US for supplying beautiful cork and handmade bags, purses and wallets made from cork. However, she does have a number of PDF sewing patterns listed on her website, including this week’s new release, the Triple Zip Crossbody Bag. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to have it. I love a crossbody bag and this one has so much potential, so many options, I can’t wait to make it. But should my first one be made from the luscious blue faux leather I have about 3 metres of, should I go bonkers and make it from glitter/gloss vinyl in a myriad of colours, should I use the lovely remnants of French jacquard fabric I got from eBay for an absolute steal, should I use up some of my precious cork supplies and make one oh so classy and unusual, or should I just raid the fabric pile and see what happens?

3. More clothes for me!

I made a totally lush Cocoon Cardigan (more Patterns for Pirates!) a few weeks ago and am desperate to make more….

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I have some teal French terry and leftover teal floral from the cardigan earmarked for a top of some sort, but can’t decide what I want. So far I’ve made a Relaxed Raglan, a Slim Fit Raglan and Favorite Tee (all P4P again) and I like different things about them all. But I also bought a couple of Made For Mermaids patterns that I fancy trying. Need to mull it over a bit longer….

4. Everything else in between

I have a bunch of other small ideas rattling about too, like to make a bunch of little coin purses from scraps for handy wee gifts if needed or to donate to raise money for charity or whatever, to get working on my other quilt project, and to make myself an all vinyl bag suitable for the Scottish winter. Maybe my triple Zip crossbody when I finally decide on it will fit the bill here though!

Enough rambling, and back to my giant crochet blanket and Chicago Fire. Maybe the fog is beginning to lift now it’s all written down….

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Love Mrs B x