Sunday, 31 August 2014

Home is where the Heart is!

Hello! It's certainly been a while since I last blogged and what an exciting journey I have been on during that time. I'm not a big fan of change, in fact I hate it but as they say 'nothing endures but change' so I took it all in my stride.

Back in January I moved (again!) to a lovely little place nestled amongst the Shropshire countryside. I didn't move far, I'm still in the same village but it's more rural and far more prettier. I wake up to such an amazing view every morning. I'm so lucky. I'm definitely a home bird and a country bumpkin!

The view from my garden

However our little place needed a lot of repairs and work carrying out. Armed with piles of home magazines I browsed the pages for inspiration. We new we wanted our new home to be free of clutter and also fresh and bright but also keeping in style with the surrounding countryside. We were very quick to decide on a colour theme. We went for cream and charcoal grey in the end with lots of wooden (pine) furniture.

The kitchen was the first room to be sorted. When we moved in the kitchen was not the heart of the home. Brown wooden effect panels adhered to the walls, mixed with a pink and white patterned tile. The dark brown units were well used and hanging off the walls and the space for the washing machine was in a silly place. The cooker was right opposite, leaving a few inch gap to squeeze in to put the laundry in and out of the machine. 

I already knew exactly what I wanted for the kitchen and I was so pleased with the finished results. I chose ivory cupboards with light wooden work tops and a beautiful mini range in cream. The new layout of the kitchen made more sense and was practical and now it really does feel the heart of my home! 
I love my new kitchen!  

I enjoy spending time in the kitchen now and last week I made blackberry cordial and elderberry syrup after I came home with an abundance from the fields.

The bathroom was next on the list and very outdated. Also we discovered a slow leak which was located behind the wall of the shower. It had obviously been leaking for some time but it needed fixing. At the same time we decided to have a white bathroom suite fitted replacing the avocado one. I really enjoyed shopping online for a new roman blinds (cream) and bathroom furniture. I wanted storage for all my lotion and potions so I was thinking of space saving furniture like a cupboard that fitted around the basin. 

Next job was something that we had wanted to do for a while but needed to wait until the spring. Our garden had no lawn. It was just patio and not suitable for our dog, guinea pigs and rabbit. The garden looked awful as the slabs were lifted and taken away revealing a large muddy patch! The patch was raked over and rolls of turf were laid. We thought about using grass seed but it would have been impossible to keep our dog off it. As it was he lay on our new lawn straight away! 

Flowers beds were created, plants and shrubs planted (I brought everything with me from my previous garden!) and a rose arch constructed. As of now my climbing roses are almost reaching the top of the frame! 

The garden now looks like an outdoor sanctuary and it's been lovely to enjoy sitting in it this summer. The chiminea has been lit on cooler nights and the sunsets over the fields have been breath taking!




A more recent job has been watching a frosted window between the kitchen and lounge being taken out! I have to say I was delighted because it meant we could have French doors! Rob did all the work himself (with some help from a neighbour) and wow, what a different it has made! Obviously the new doors made the rest of the doors look awful so naturally these needed replacing. We currently have three more doors left to do. Not only has Rob replaced and fitted the doors, he replaced the door linings and architrave with beautiful pine ones.

Before and after pictures. Rob has had replaster the walls and prep them for being painted


More importantly (and exciting!) Rob and I got married in July! After a very long engagement (7 years!) we finally booked the ceremony and venue 10 weeks before our chosen date. It was a beautiful day and one I shall treasure forever. 



Needless to say my sewing machine has been rather neglected this year. I have been finding time to knit and crochet in the evenings, especially now as the nights are drawing in. I've got my fingers crossed for an Indian summer! (Wouldn't that be lovely?!) 




Crochet blanket that I started back in the spring. Its finished now!






Thanks for taking the time to read my little blog again. I've missed blogging, even if I'm only writing to myself! 

Love Nikki   

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Crafty Creative Box 13

I was lucky enough to receive a Crafty Creative box as part of there birthday celebrations. As soon as I found out I had been selected, I couldn't wait for box 13 to arrive.

Box 13 was my first ever Crafty Creative box and I was not sure what to expect. A few of my Instagram friends subscribe and I always enough looking at photographs to see what goodies the box contained.

I love receiving mail that is not a bill, so I actually squealed when my postman knocked the door with a package addressed to me. At first I was a little surprised to see how small the package was, but do not let this put you off. It is crammed full of wonderful goodies!

Lots of goodies!


The box was packaged beautifully and I could not believe my eyes when I saw the contents. It was explained to me that box 13 was a little different to the other boxes as this was a special birthday box. Usually you will receive lots of different crafty bits and one or two kits. However this box was kit based, complete with full instructions and I couldn't wait to get started!













As you can see I had lots of wonderful goodies
 
 
Following the full detailed instructions provided here are a couple of things I made
 
 Rose hair slide

I really enjoyed receiving my box. I still have lots more to make and is extremely good value for money.

Each box is based on a theme. Previous themes have been floral, nautical, oriental, nostalgia, icy, woodland, spots, stripes, steampunk, blues, glamour and the treat box.

The Founders of Crafty Creatives are two lovely sisters Claire and Isobel who have been running the business from Glasgow since it all began in July 2012. The boxes cost £10 + £2.95p&p per month with gift options available. These boxes would make a fantastic Christmas present! You can cancel your subscription at any time. At the moment it is open to UK customers only but do have plans to ship within EU countries soon.

Crafty Creatives boxes can be found here

Crafty Creatives are giving the first 10 of my readers an exclusive 25% discount off your first box! Just use the code CRAFTYTAILS at the checkout. Please note UK shipping only at the moment.

I received Crafty Creatives 13 box free of charge as part of their birthday celebrations. However the review is my own honest opinion.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Little Deer

Hope all my UK friends had a lovely bank holiday weekend. The sun was shining and it was warm! It felt great to finally be out of winter jumpers and into pretty summer clothes. However the weather has turned cold again and it's been raining all day!



I treated myself to the latest issue of Craftseller magazine over the weekend and couldn't wait to get started on my own version of the adorable deer featured on the front cover. The deer in the magazine was made out of felt but I had some pretty fabric in mind that I thought would look great. I adapted the pattern so I could sew the fabric right sides together to hide the stitches and keep the edges looking neat. 

Just needs a head

I didn't want to add the hat, stars and feather like the one in the magazine so I left those out. However I did add a cute bow around the deer's neck. 

Ready for the tail!
The finished Deer




I really enjoyed making this and already have more fabric choices planned. You can buy the deer from my shop on folksy here


Friday, 17 May 2013

Handy Size Box Bags

With Father's day quickly approaching in the UK I thought it would be nice to make gifts for my Dad instead of buying something which can sometimes be difficult and impersonal. My Dad is so hard to buy for as he always tells my sister and I that he has everything he could wish for. That may be such a beautiful thing to say but it really doesn't help us out finding a suitable gift.

I find it is hard to make things for men. I have so many ideas that are more suited to woman and I do love pretty fabrics. Over the years I have made my dad little gifts, such as a tiny cross stitch pillow and a patchwork cushion featuring a photo of our beloved dog Ben.

The patchwork cushion I made my Dad for Christmas 2012

I came up with the idea of little box shaped bags, that could be useful for keeping bits and pieces in. I bought some fabric that was more suited for men (I resisted the urge to buy pretty floral's!) and sketched out some rough designs.

I made one for my fiance to test out for me and he was very impressed with how roomy the little bag is. It holds his keys, loose change and phone, keeping them together in one place. It is also very useful for storing dog bags in as we never leave the house with out them. (Even when our dog is not with us! It has become a habit)





I had to make some more in pretty fabric as the bags are just the right size to keep make up in a handbag.



I am working on a design for making these bags in a larger size for travel wash bags. I always like having a new wash bag when I go on holiday and can see these bags being very useful. As the bag has boxed corners it's quite surprising how much can fit in them. Perfect for all my lip glosses!

I have more ideas for father day gifts, so I shall blog about them soon!

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Pretty Flowers All in a Row Swap

A while ago a friend of mine, Sarah organised a swap on Instagram and I jumped at the chance to take part. I met Sarah over a year ago on Twitter and I was seriously impressed with the things she makes. I took part in another swap with Sarah a while ago and along with some lovely gifts I was thrilled to receive one of her bags and cards. Designs by Sazy B can be found here. It's well worth taking a look.

A Designs by Sazy B bag

Sarah's swap was called Pretty Flowers all in a Row and I was pretty excited to start it. I was very lucky to be paired with another lovely friend of mine, Vicky, whom I also met on Twitter. I've taken part in a few swaps and really enjoy them.

Parcels from Vicky 

Vicky put such thought into her swap parcels. I love the heart she knitted especially for this swap and its in two of my favourite colours, cream and pink. 


Here it is hanging up on my sideboard in the dining room. 

Lovely gifts from Vicky
 (I also had chocolates but I ate them before I could take a photo - oops!)

I forgot to take a photo of the swap gifts I sent to Vicky. I sent her a shopping bag with flowers on, a packet of seeds, a pretty box of long matches for candles and a phone case I made out of floral fabric. 


Thanks Sarah for organising such a lovely swap and thank you Vicky for being a great swap partner.








Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Spring/Summer Cushion Covers

Summer is finally here! Well two days of lovely hot sunshine that is. Temperatures reached 22 degrees today but looking at the forecast it's rain for the rest of the week and will feel much cooler. I am terribly British to start a post speaking of the weather! It has been beautiful and it's lovely to see the garden come alive again. The scent from various flowers and herbs are glorious in the evenings. My greenhouse is almost full, my beans have been planted and my peas are just starting to poke through the soil. I am really looking forward to shelling peas and having runner beans for dinner.


My greenhouse

I've been busy lately designing and making cushion covers. An idea popped into my head one evening and before I knew it I was surrounded by fabric, cutting out shapes and piecing them together. One of my initial sketches included a scene featuring a dog in a garden, standing next to a shed with some flowers in the foreground. One I had cut shapes from fabric and laid them out I couldn't help but think it looked too messy so I simplified the design and came up with this;


 How cute are the little dogs?!


Anyway, I loved this design so much that I want it to feature in more of my work. As you may know I do many other crafts besides sewing and find zipped pouches/bags really useful to store my bits and pieces in. I made myself one to keep my knitting notions tidy.


I can't help but love the red. It's bold and bright, perfect for summer. 


Another cushion cover I made was one just for myself. I thought personalised covers would be a nice touch and made a 'N' one as my name is Nicola. I tried to keep the design feminine and added machine embroidery details to soften the harsh shape of the 'N'.




Today's cushion design is a pretty patchwork cover. I appliqued hearts onto each square with bondaweb and then used a tight zig zag stitch all around the edges. I really like this cushion and have cut out squares and hearts in other fabric combos to make more.



So what else has been happening lately? Well I finally finished another WIP! I'm doing quite well this year finishing off various projects. In my last post I spoke of my first ever evenweave cross stitch, well I finished it and I'm thrilled to bits with it. I turned it into a little cushion for my rocking chair. It really is going to be something I treasure forever.



I'm working on knitting a summer top using a lovely shade of cotton. I've completed the back and about half way through working on the front. The cotton feels lovely and I really hope it's wearable once it's finished. I shall let you know!


I hope all my UK followers had a lovely bank holiday and enjoyed the sun shine. What are you working on at the moment? I would love to see


Until my next post, take care xx

Sunday, 20 January 2013

WIP'S!

For those of you who follow me on Instagram you will know that my WIP'S (works in progress) have been bothering me lately. Just after Christmas I sat down and wrote all my unfinished projects in a notebook and was a little shocked to discover I have 16 on the go! Oops. I really wanted to start work on a patchwork throw for the bed but I couldn't shake off that niggling feeling that I really should finish off some of my projects that were now finding themselves into corners of every room.

Shadow wanted to 'help' and after diving into my wool stash he decided to make himself quite comfortable on the sofa!




 I decided to work on a crochet blanket that I began way back during the late summer months as it was almost finished. I needed 36 more blocks before the joining could begin. With the weather turning colder and frosty it was the perfect project to snuggle up on the sofa with. 


A few more squares to go!

At this point I was really excited to see the finished blanket. I couldn't wait to begin joining up the little squares and I was even looking forward to weaving in all the ends!

Finally finished!

I was so pleased to tick off a WIP off my list in my notebook and this has encouraged me to work on others. The blanket is so cosy and warm and so far I've managed to keep Shadow from pinching it! I'm keeping a look out in the local antique shop for a small rocking chair to display my crochet blanket and I was thinking of making some cushions for it as well. 

The next WIP on my list to have some attention is a cross stitch from Cross Stitcher Homestyle magazine that I started way back in the autumn. It's my first cross stitch on evenweave but I love the effect and will definately be using more of it in the future. 

Progress so far

I find taking pictures before I put it away really helps me to see how much I've done and I'm enjoying working on this so much I can't believe it's been left in a bag for all these months!
I haven't been working entirely on WIP's, I have actually started (and finished!) a few mini projects in between. 



I made this hot water bottle cover using chunky wool and made the flowers from scrap bits of yarn I had in my stash. It only took a couple of hours to complete and it's been keeping me warm while I work on those WIP's!



I also found time to make up a few yarn holders. I had the idea way back in January 2012 and even bought the eyelets for them. However I get easily distracted with new projects and put the idea in the back of my mind. It took me quite a few attempts and lots of scribbling out and note making but I finally got the pattern right and now my ball of wool sits inside the yarn holder and keeps it clean and tangled free! 

Off to do some more stitching to the cross stitch I'm working on. It's been snowing here all day so I shall light the fire and candles and find something nice to watch on the television. 

Hope your all keeping warm and well. I would love to hear about any of your WIP's and any tips to help get the finished xx