Posts Tagged ‘made in the UK’

I’ve been a bit naughty recently! Another reason for not blogging that often…….

I’ve discovered a more subversive side of me that I thought I’d grown out of years ago…. and suddenly become the Bramley & District Methodist’s Potty Mouth of the Month. Allow me to explain…….

My favourite answer to ANYTHING!!!!

My favourite answer to ANYTHING!!!!

No! I’m not going out of my way to be rude – It’s just one of the things that’s been keeping me quiet recently – Naughty Cushions!!!!!

Remember Jane Wynn? The clever lady responsible for ‘The Handmade Alternative’ pop-up shop in Bradford earlier this year and the designer/maker of marvellous beaded creations and gothic gorgeousness that is ‘Wildheart’…… Well it’s all her fault!!!

She posted up a picture of some naughty cushions and bunting on Facebook saying how she wished someone local to her would be daring enough to make some…. Cue the ever up for having a go, crafting whirlwind that is me……. and see what happens. And, as usual, it’s been a case of lighting the blue touch paper, standing well back and holding on for dear life to your sensibilities….. again!

I'm on the search for some suitably kitsch squirrel and badger themed fabric if anyone knows of any..... I want to make 'Badgers Rock' and 'Squirrels Are Nuts' versions for a little 'Woodland' themed trio of cushions.

I’m on the search for some suitably kitsch squirrel and badger themed fabric if anyone knows of any….. I want to make ‘Badgers Rock’ and ‘Squirrels Are Nuts’ versions for a little ‘Woodland’ themed trio of cushions.

Now I’m certain you all know that I’m trying hard to make sure ย I don’t offend you lovely folks out there in Blogland by selecting only the tamer options to share with you – But I think you possibly know that there’s a few shockers in the mix; Let’s just say that I definitely wouldn’t let the Vicar come for tea without maybe moving a few out of his general view!



Ooooh, Errrrh! They are a bit naughty aren’t they? Suffice to say they’ve gone down a storm!!!!

The ‘Bite Me’ cushion has proved to be the most popular thus far, closely followed by my homage to a long dead, Danish king that tried to stop the tide from coming in……. well that’s the politest way I can describe the design without posting a picture that leaves little to the imagination, lol


That’s quite enough of that!

Or is it?

Well, I did mention bunting too – And that’s coming along quite nicely thank you very much…………. No piccies yet though ๐Ÿ˜‰

There’s just one more thing I need to share with you whilst on the subject of all things potty mouthed; Subversive cross stitch. Google it and you’ll come up with some marvellous examples – I’ve been making a few of my own to complement the assorted cushion designs. Just very small and simple, innocent looking items that maybe make you look twice once spotted from the corner of a beady eye.

Shhhhh! Don't tell the Vicar!

Shhhhh! Don’t tell the Vicar!

Heh Heh! I love the little ornate frame and the fact that you’d expect some pious words of wisdom to be stitched and displayed therein……..

Erm, yes!

Want to have a go yourself? Here’s the chart I made for it; It takes no time at all to create and uses only whole cross stitches and two colours of thread; Perfect for beginners or seasoned cross stitchers alike.

Free to use etc but please remember to acknowledge the designer, blah, blah, blah ;)

Free to use etc but please remember to acknowledge the designer, blah, blah, blah ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’m off to create a few more now and practise my cussing!

Happy Crafting Folks!!!!!

Well, The temperature has fallen…….. and so has my Mum! Thankfully, she’s managed to come away fairly unscathed with just a few bruises and a swollen knee but it’s a worry to say the least – and even more so when a reprimand for deciding to brave the severe elements alone rather than ask for help seemingly goes unheeded. What do we do with her? And when will she slow down? I fret about her more than the kids!

Anyway, snow, ice and tumbling elderly parents aside, I have been fairly busy once more. No more tapestry stitching for the moment but a nice little batch of my stacked felt hearts is currently underway……

Stacked Felt Hearts - Rich, Deep Colours To Raise The Temperature And Inflame Your Passion ;)......

Stacked Felt Hearts – Rich, Deep Colours To Raise The Temperature And Inflame Your Passion ;)……

The ones pictured above have all been made into little brooches with the simple addition of a pin back to them; The next batch will be made into keyrings – ย just in time for Valentine’s Day.

I could make these ALL day!

I could make these ALL day!

And there’s been more time spent at the whizzy new sewing machine honing my skills with free motion embroidery……

The bare bones of a flower corsage.

The bare bones of a flower corsage.






I can’t decide which of these flowers I like the most. These particular ones are destined to end up as corsage brooches but I’ve already come up with ideas to use them for a few Mother’s Day Gifts too………… more of that in future posts no doubt ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here’s a sneaky peek at a finished brooch………

Spring has Sprung!

Spring has Sprung!

Do you recognise the basic flower shape? It’s the same one I used last year in my hand stitched keyring tutorial – Just a different use of fabrics and the basic methods of putting them together, a tweek on the actual finishing ย and the addition of some embellishments; It gives a completely different look to the finished work.

Wonky lines AND frayed edges; I’m adapting rather nicely to this way of doing things ๐Ÿ˜‰

Right! Time to make a quick phonecall to check on that errant mother of mine and see if she needs anything before I get back to the machine and finish those flowers. Busy, busy, BUSY – Must dash!

Last week I said I planned to make something nice to show off the new stitches I’ve been practising – but I’m so completely enamoured with feather stitch that I haven’t had time to attempt anything else!

My aim for this week was to replicate the heart featured in this great tutorial from A Simple Quilter:

But once I’d sat down and started I decided that I had to make a few changes to my original plan as the very first line of turquoise feather stitch immediately reminded me of Sally in a Nightmare Before Christmas……

Sally Finkelstein – Seamstress extraordinaire.

I think it’s the patchwork that did it. At any rate I decided not to opt for additional stitches or seed bead details but instead plumped for feather stitch to delineate the patchwork sections and blanket stitch to edge the outline of the heart. To finish, I chose to use a die cut pleatherette flower, assorted loops of ribbon and a flower shaped mother of pearl button. I’ve also included a ribbon loop for hanging and filled it with micro aroma beads which I’ve fragranced with ‘Baby Powder’. Here’s the results:

‘Sally’ heart by Big Blue Bully Bus ๐Ÿ™‚

So, it’s another week of me feeling very pleased with myself; It’s also been a very productive process as it’s given me lots of inspiration for how I could adapt the idea further to incorporate different fabrics other than felt to create the newest addition to my repetoire – ‘The Sally Heart’.

I think that both her and my Gran would heartily approve of my efforts ๐Ÿ˜‰

Officially, it was a 100 days until Christmas 2012 yesterday – So let the nightmare begin!!!!!

I’m feeling more than a bit perturbed that an entire month has seemingly passed without my noticing! Who stole August? Give it back IMMEDIATELY!!!!!

Inevitably, we’re hurtling towards the silly season (but I’ll try not to use the ‘C’ word just yet); various magazines are beginning to focus on all things festive and I’ve even noticed little packs of cards and wrapping paper appearing in the local shops and supermarkets. It’s not time to panic at the moment but I feel the pressure is now well and truly on to start getting creative ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

So, on this penultimate day of the month I’m going to take a quick look at some fibre based fun that may inspire you to have a go at making some early presents for that special day in December and also give you a few links to places you might like to visit from the comfort of your own armchair for some essential stocking filler purchases that’ll help you avoid the usual rush of shoppers as the date draws ever near ๐Ÿ˜‰

I was thrilled at how my first ever attempt at needle felting in 3D turned out!

Have you tried needle felting? It’s great fun! Although I’ve used it many times as a technique for embellishing flat surfaces in the past, I resolved to have a go at making something in 3D for the first time way back in January; It was surprisingly easy and I was delighted with the finished results considering it was my first ever attempt at it……

Needle felted bear – Such a cutie!

For a little bit of an introduction to the art of needle felting I suggest that you follow this link:

A general search on Google will reveal further resources ๐Ÿ˜‰

But if it’s needle felted goodies with a difference that you’re after I would urge you to pay a visit to my good friend Emma Dolan:ย

A friend since High School, she cleverly uses techniques such as machine needle felting to recreate classic ceramic designs with a modern twist in her fascinating Harris Tweed creations and has given me a boost on more than one occasion when my confidence has flagged slightly. She also loves camper vans; I can’t praise her highly enough ๐Ÿ˜‰

Seventies Inspired Heaven!

Hornsea Pottery inspired Harris Tweed lampshades – Emma Dolan at Weetwood Studios.

Still on the subject of felting fun…….. How about making felted fabric for yourself?

The humble washing machine can be a great help in this task…….

There were plenty of tears and a huge hissy fit when I accidentally turned my Favourite BODEN sweater in to a piece of felt in a washing machine hiccup ๐Ÿ˜‰

……Just make sure that what you’re doing is intentional – the above plush heart was crafted from felt that I’d inadvertantly made after a bit of an accidental laundry incident. Good job it turned out OK in the end…….

Wash day disasters aside, making felted fabric by placing a knitted item (you need to have used pure wool rather than a man made yarn) in a hot wash is a fascinating form of crafting alchemy I’d heartily recommend you have a go at trying for yourself……

Hand knitted bags which have been felted by placing on a hot wash cycle.

The resulting felted fabric looks fabulous!

Then there’s the more traditional way of wet felting……

My friend Lucy Bowring has made a great little tutorial on how to do this:

She makes the most gorgeous things – It’s well worth taking a look at the rest of her website if you have a spare moment or don’t fancy trying wet felting for yourself but would love to buy some ready made goodies instead.

Lucy Bowring at The Plum Tree.

Alternatively, you could take a peek here:ย

Another local feltmaker that makes many wonderful things and also produces some fabulous little crafting kits that would make great gifts for your loved ones…..

Corinne Lapierre – At Weetwood Studios, 2011

Plenty of gift ideas for lovely little stocking fillers.

Phew! That lot should keep you busy for a while whilst I get on with a few of my latest projects……..

Hand knitted headband – A great little gift for a newborn now that Summer’s coming to an end but it’s still too warm for a hat.

Hand Crocheted Barefoot Sandals/Foot Thongs – Perfect for beach weddings, dance, yoga, festivals etc…. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Plenty of stuff to keep me busy too. Mmmmmmmnnnnnnn…….. But a note to self – Must probably stop using zombie feet and skulls as photo props and resolve to find something more mainstream and slightly less disturbing instead …… ๐Ÿ˜‰

Oh well! Next week see the start of a new month and a new theme; Until then, Happy Crafting Folks!

It’s the time of year I kind of like the most…….. the annual VW show that’s right on our doorstep; Leeds VW Festival at Harewood House – just six miles away from home.

Billy the Bulli and Vince Bully Bus have both been prepped; Ale has been purchased in sinful amounts and nibbles are ready to be consumed by the countless friends that pop by to say, ‘HELLO!’ Come what may, we’ll be setting up camp tomorrow afternoon and hopefully updating the blog over the weekend at regular intervals……. fingers crossed……

The weather forecast says that there might be rain over the weekend – it’s been kind of a tradition with LVW Fest over the last seven years…… But this is the first time it’s scheduled to run as a full weekend event though. I hope there’s no mud! Regardless, I think it’ll be a good weekend at Camp Big Blue whether the sun shines or not……. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Will there be evidence of fibre related goodies? You bet yer life there will! Lots of hand knitted and crocheted daftness, plus some rather gorgeous vintage glamping essentials and a few tea trolleys added in for good measure……. and that’s just in our tent ๐Ÿ˜‰

A sneaky peek?

Festival Owl Hat: Pattern courtesy of the very talented mamachee on Etsy ๐Ÿ˜‰

Owls are a bit of a Leeds thing; They’re also set to be the uber cool theme in accessories (Again!!!!!) this Autumn.

You know what they say………. Get ahead; Get a hat!

And I know of a nice little trade tent in the heart of Yorkshire where they’ll sort you out just right…. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Check out the website:ย

or come and say ‘Hello’ at Camp Big Blue ; You’ll be very welcome ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’ve not been very good at keeping up to my weekly blog posts recently; in fact I’ve been quite bad ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Many apologies for my recent lengthy absence – I’ve been sat mooning around, banned from attempting any type of crafting due to chronic carpal tunnel syndrome and a strapped up wrist. I’m going stir crazy!

Hopefully a visit to the doctors later this week should reveal if I’m fit enough to take up the creative baton once more. Fingers crossed that all goes well…… ๐Ÿ˜‰

Stitched and beaded floral plush heart detail – Fingers crossed that I can get back to making little treasures like this VERY, VERY soon!

A very quick post this week again I’m afraid……….

This month’s theme is sewing; my machine has gone into overdrive recently with assorted strings of bunting, cushions, bags, patchwork etc flying out at a rate of knots. It’s been manic!

Here’s a few of my favourite makes of the moment…….

Felt Union Jack Cushion

Floral Micro Bunting – Perfect for decorating your favourite ride….

Patchwork Bags – Tanglewood Style

I love this! It’s called the ‘Tanglewood’ bag and the pattern and full making up instructions are available to purchase from here –ย

‘It’s a little bit hippie, a little bit preppy. It’s a little bit country and a little bit Liberty. It’s embroidered yokes and dangly earrings. It’s blackberry crumble, balmy nights, and piccolo solos. It’s picnic quilts spread out, corner-to-corner on the concert lawn. Bring on starlight: You’ve got the perfect bag for it now, honeygirl.’ย  Alicia Paulson – Posie, Rosy Little Things Blog.

Machine patchwork – Cool!

Tanglewood Bag Detail

Phew! I said it’d be a quick post didn’t I? It’s back to the sewing machine for me I’m afraid – no rest for the wicked! I’m destined to end up like this young man if I’m not careful….. I certainly know the feeling!

Banksy’s ‘comment’ on the use of child sweatshop labour currently being exploited in the name of the Golden Jubilee and Olympic celebrations – something a lot of us handmade in the UK crowd have been pointing out for the last few months……

It’s been a better week; No more bad news at any rate!

Recent events mean that I’ve been put back a little bit with projects that I’ve been working on, so over the last couple of days I’ve had to get my head down and do some serious catching up.

And with the weather continuing to be fairly vile I’ve also decided that it’s probably not a good idea to take myself off somewhere in the camper van. So, for the moment, I’ve put my gastronomic travel plans on hold until the torrential rain decides to stop – apparently the weather forecast predicts at least another week before the sun puts in an appearance and we finally start to dry out! What a pain ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

I have still been busy cooking up my own little storm though – so I thought I’d share some of my recent makes for this week’s blog….

Cute, crocheted, calorie-free cupcakes.

I’ve been making these delightful little treats for a while now –ย They’re very easy to make if you can crochet, and I like the fact that you can let your imagination run riot when it comes to the myriad ways of ‘decorating’ them.

Easier than it looks!

Here’s a very basic pattern to get you started (please note that it does not include details for creating the toppings, fluted edging etc):

Round 1: Use the magic ring method to form a loop, working 6 dc into the centre of the ring (6 sts). Join with a sl st to the first dc. Make 1 ch.

Round 2: 2 dc in every stitch (12 sts), join, 1 ch.

Round 3: (1 dc, 2dc in next st) six times (18 sts), join, 1 ch.

Round 4: (1 dc, 1 dc, 2 dc in next st) six times (24 sts), join, 1 ch.

Round 5: (1 dc, 1 dc, 1 dc, 2 dc in next st six times (30 sts), join, 1 ch.

Rounds 6-7: 1 dc in every st (30 sts), join, 1 c.

Round 8: (1 dc, 1 dc, 1 dc, 1 dc, 2 dc in next st) six times (36 sts), join, 1 ch.

Rounds 9-11: 1 dc in every st (36 sts), join with a sl st to first dc, 1 ch.

Round 12: (1 dc, 1 dc, 1 dc, 1 dc, dc2tog) six times (30 sts), join, 1 ch.

Round 13: 1 dc in every st (30 sts), join, 1 ch.

Round 14: (1 dc, 1 dc, 1 dc, dc2tog) six times (24 sts), join, 1 ch.

Round 15-18: 1 dc in every st (24 sts), join, 1 ch.

Round 19: Work in back loops only – (1 dc, 1 dc, dc2tog) six times (18 sts), join, 1 ch.

Before continuing, trim off and tie in any loose ends. Stuff with a BS standard toy filling.

Round 20: (1 dc, dc2tog) six times (12 sts), join, 1 ch.

Round 21: (dc 2tog) six times (6 sts), join, 1 ch.

Cut the yarn leaving a 15 cm tail and pull the end through the stitch on the hook. Pull tight to fasten off. Thread the yarn end through a darning needle and gather up the final six stitches to close up the hole. Weave in loose ends.

Add toppings, beads sequins etc as desired…….

The finished item looking good enough to eat – Perfect to offer to the Vicar when he next comes for tea ๐Ÿ˜‰

They look great when arranged together on a vintage cake plate!

Crocheted cupcakes and knitted Battenburg – Yummy!

Next week sees the start of another month and a new theme – Sewing! I’ll be starting off with a simple, hand sewn item that you can use as either a keyring or bag charm. Until then, Happy Crafting!

There’s something very soothing and lovely about a nice cup of tea; Particularly one that’s made using a teapot and some proper loose leaf as opposed to a couple of teabags.

A good cup of Rosey Lee is one of my vices, and whether I’m at home or on the road, a teapot is an absolute necessity; That, and an accompanying cozy of course – as it helps to keep the pot warm and prolongs the whole tea guzzling experience just that little bit longer ๐Ÿ˜‰

I spotted this rather lovely example on the telly the other week……

How marvellous!

………And tracked it down as available to purchase from Debenhams; It looked like a must-have buy……….

However, on closer inspection I found that it’s part of a larger range of patriotic themed wares that go by the name of ‘Street Party’ and has been made to fit one particular teapot that’s shaped differently to mine. The label also reveals that it’s been made in China and imported in to the country – therefore not really flying the British flag and supporting the UK economy ๐Ÿ˜ฆ It was with a heavy heart that I kept my money in my pocket and walked away empty handed.

Never fear, thought I………I’ll make my own version – based on classic English design and using locally produced materials that boast bonafide British credentials.

So I dug out an old crafting pamphlet that had been produced in the seventies by a local company just up the road from me called ‘Robin’s’ (based in Guiseley, Leeds) and also selected a few balls of DK weight acrylic yarn made by Woolcraft (spun by Yorkshire craftsmen based over the valley in nearby Bradford). Game on!

21 classic knitting and crochet patterns using odd ounces of wool

The pattern I chose produces a fairly easy and quick to make piece of crochet – it’s pictured at the bottom of the front cover in a striped pink colourway with four matching egg cozies. I adapted it slightly to suit my own tension and also to fit my teapot properly; And I made further changes by choosing to continue the striped pattern from beginning to end, using just double crochet stitches throughout as opposed to a mix of double and half double stitches as indicated in the original pattern.

Quick to make and an easy to follow pattern using single crochet stitches.

The adapted pattern is as follows:
3 balls double knitting yarn in Red, White & Blue
3.75 mm crochet hook
Make two pieces:
With 3.75mm hook and Blue make 37 ch. Work 1 dc into 2nd ch from hook, 1 dc into each ch to end, turn with 1 ch.
Work in dc to end, turn, break the Blue and join in White, 1 ch then work in dc to end, turn with 1 ch.
Work in dc to end. Turn, break White join in Red, 1 ch then work in dc to end, turn with 1 ch.
Work in dc to end, turn, break Red and join Blue, 1 ch then work in dc to end, turn with 1 ch.
Continue with striped patternย to 5 ins from beg.
Next row,ย working in dc, and continuing with striped pattern, dec 7 sts evenly over the next and each of the following 3 alternate rows.
Work 1 row. Take 2tog to end of row, fasten off.
Join both pieces together leaving openings for the handle and spout.
Press lightly on wrong side using a warm iron over a damp cloth.
PLEASE NOTE that permission has been granted to share this pattern and no copyright has been breached.

A BBBB design originally intended for use with a bead loom but also works well for cross stitch.

For a special finishing touch I used the Union Jack chart I published in ‘Adventures with an Indian Bead Loom‘ to create a small piece of cross stitch that I layered up with a few squares of felt and then hand stitched in place with a double edge of clear seed beads. And it’s all finished off with a coordinating pom pom (please see last week’s blog for instructions on how to make one).
I think it looks lovely! And a perfect fit for my teapot; a fine example of retro kitsch.
Must be time for a well deserved cuppa now…………
Next week sees my final delve into retro crafts before entering a new theme and a new month – time for a look at one more gadget methinks. Until then, Happy Crafting!