Projects

My Make Updates

Hello to you! I hope you are having a lovely Easter weekend and are looking forward to a leisurely Bank Holiday.

I was determined to use this time to get my bag finished (I talked about beginning this project in this post) and as I’m am still learning to sew properly, I was prepared that each stage was going to take much longer than anticipated – which it did, oh yes.

The first priority, was to clear a space on my table so that I wasn’t going to knock pots of pins, scissors or anything else off the edge. I learnt this lesson from a little accident that I had earlier on in the week. Picking up pins? Not fun!

Dorset Finca workspace

I was quite impressed that the hound didn’t pay any attention whatsoever to the sewing machine. He usually wants to seek out and attack anything that makes a mechanical metal whirring noise. We’ve managed to get past the ironing board issue (massive sigh of relief) – creeping upstairs to do some secret ironing when he was having a sleep seemed a little ridiculous! The hoover, let’s not even talk about that and the rotary washing line is now living in the shed as Young Sir thought that it was only there to upset him. Obvs.

Sorry, I digress. Anyway – good boy for loving the sewing machine. I spent a few days pinning, pressing, tacking and sewing, which finally resulted in:

Dorset Finca Bag

A finished bag, complete with pocket.

Yay! I’m so pleased with it! The pattern and instructions are from Lauren Guthrie’s book, which you can find here. The main fabric I bought from Hansons Fabrics and the fabric I used for the bias binding, I had in my stash. It has cute little flowers on it, which I felt really worked with the feel of the large pattern of the main bag.

I chose to leave out the button fastening on the front pocket. Yes, I was a bit scared of attempting my first buttonhole but the main reason was that the fabric was quite thick at this point with all of the hemming and binding. I was sure that I was going to make a complete mess trying to get through all of those layers.

I’m hoping that I’ll find lots of good uses for this bag, especially as I am planning to make another one (possibly without a pocket), but enough bags for now… my next project will be cushions. Gulp.

What is currently on your making table? x

 

 

Home · Projects

Making Way For A New Creative Obsession

Hello my lovely friends! How are you? I hope you’ve been able to spend time outside in the recent beautiful sunshine.

I had a wonderful plan of getting some crochet and crafty bits done outside with a pot of tea, but unfortunately there was a bit of a wind and my yarn, needles and everything else kept being swept up – which spoilt my romantic vision slightly!

As you know, the Finca has been a hive of creative, crochet activities for a few months and I have been loving getting stuck into commissions and designing new bits for the Etsy shop.  Alongside this, my need to explore other creative avenues has been fired up again… I think it got to a point where I realised I had been doing nothing but feverishly crocheting for weeks and weeks, without any sort of balance.

Once I realised this, I began hunting around for other projects that I could have a go at. Yesterday, I put the finishing touches on an old family ottoman seat that I now have in the bedroom and loved every minute of the renovation.

My other new obsession, which I have been dabbling in is…

First StepsIntoSewing

… sewing!

I know that I have made things before, but to be perfectly honest, there was never any finesse to my end results. It was more of a trial and error kind of thing.  There are so many possibilities for homewares and dressmaking that I just can’t achieve with crochet. I was getting down about not being able to make certain things until I gave myself a shake and told myself that I could learn!

My dreams are now currently filled with stunning fabrics, bags, cushions, quilts, A-line skirts and broderie tops and I am being very tough on myself and ensuring that I learn all of the skills step-by-step, practising them until I have got them just right.

learn to sew by Lauren Guthrie

One of the things that I have realised is that I learn best when I have time to mull things over at my own pace and after a lot of research I decided to buy Lauren’s book above. Apart from a selection of progressive projects that all looked appealing, I liked the way Lauren set out the skills sections. There are clear images and every step has been clearly explained. Her approach is much more welcoming than daunting – which I really appreciated!

Today, I’m hoping to finish making the pocket of a bag (which is one of her first suggested beginner’s projects) and I hope to have the whole thing finished in a day or two. I already have my eye on a few Sew Over It patterns… but I better not get too carried away!

I’d be very grateful if you have any great sewing suggestions: patterns, books, fabric shops – I’d love to hear!

Have a great rest of the weekend. x

 

Crochet

Autumn Inspired Decorating

Although it felt as if Autumn was holding out on us for a while in September, there is no doubt that we are now starting to experience orange falling leaves, colder winds and the desperate need to drink more hot chocolate.

I adore this time of year as it’s generally mild enough to spend lots of time outdoors but even so, you look forward to coming inside in the late afternoon and getting cosy. The garden at the Finca is still quite new; lots of plants have only had a few months to begin to become established and even though I’m desperate to cut bits off to put in vases, I am trying to resist to give the plants time to settle.

autumn crochet leaves

While I was browsing Autumn-inspired loveliness on Pinterest and perusing some of my favourite blogs, I re-discovered the Autumn crochet wreath from Attic24.

This became the perfect solution to my Autumn-decorating-dilemma!

Over the last week or so, I’ve been busily crocheting little leaves, oak leaves, multi-coloured leaves, little berries and toadstools. Today’s task is to start to make some small acorns that will be scattered throughout the wreath design.

crochet oak-leaf

I’m so excited to get it finished and to have it hung up in the Finca kitchen – hopefully it’ll bring a bit more cosy to the space as the days start to get shorter.  If you haven’t seen it already, the finished wreath on Attic24 is utterly gorgeous – you must take a look!  I’m making mine slightly differently but I hope that it will be even half as good!

Also, if you feel like you fancy a bit more Autumn inspiration, take a look at my Autumn Pinterest board here – it’s not all crochet, I promise!

Speak soon x

 

Projects · The Garden

Hang It Up :: Autumn Hanging Baskets

I’ve always been one to shy away from the concept of hanging baskets.  I’m not sure whether it was the fact that I hadn’t stumbled across many that I loved or that the thought of something heavy, dangled above your head seemed a little dangerous.  Whatever my earlier views were, I can now say that I am seriously digging them!

These aerial gardens are perfect for spaces where lower pots or flower beds would otherwise be obscured and not enjoyed;  by having the plants lifted to head height allows you to create 360 degree designs that flow and trail.

autumn hanging basket close up

… autumn flowering pansies with a heather backdrop …

{As it was a typical September morning, the sun was streaming through slightly misty air, creating a very romantic light for the photos! I would have re-shot them later on, without the sunburst bits, but I came to really love the feel of them}.

I had to run a few of my potential designs past quality control (Mr D-F) before I was allowed to run free in the garden centre (picture here, slightly gangly woman running through the rows of potted plants, slalom-ing around the other eye-rolling customers, pushing an enormous trolley in search for the right plants, while muttering to herself).

We finally decided on a purple and silver theme for our first basket.

autumn-hanging-basket-3

… I was careful to choose different textures and heights …

The basket frame that I chose came with a coconut husk liner and as I had already blown my budget, I decided that it would be best to leave the sphagnum moss (my preferred liner) for when I re-do my basket in the spring.

After a bit of a jiggle on the trolley, placing plants next to each other, changing my mind a few times and then sitting back to look at them, I ended up choosing:

  • Pink heather
  • Autumn flowering pansies
  • Autumn flowering violas
  • Silver variegated ivy
  • Cineria silverdust

I also bought some hanging basket compost and the mechanics of my basket itself which was about 12 inches in diameter.

After covering the bottom of the basket with the compost, I began by underplanting with violas, ivy and the cineria (I had to cut holes in the liner for this) before filling up with a bit more compost. By using the heather as the height for the centre, I was able to fill up the top of the basket with a variety of pansies, ivy and cineria. Checking all the time that it wasn’t too symmetrical but had more of a natural feel.

autumn-hanging-basket-2

… ta dah …

Although it looks very new and ‘gappy’, I’m hoping that the ivy will start to spread and the plants will begin to dangle over the sides to create an all-round design.

Have you seen any wonderful hanging baskets recently? Please let me know as I’ve already spotted a little place on the Finca that’s perfect for another one!

x

Crochet

Making Everyday Essentials A Little More Glamorous

Hello there! So nice to see you. Please sit down with a cup of tea and let me tell you about my newest thoughts…

There are somethings that you have to keep around the house that are essential to day-to-day life but boy, aren’t pretty.  Dog poop bags are my case in point for the day.  They need to be handy at every available exit from the house shouting “Don’t forget me, I’m vitally important! No, a 10 year old supermarket plastic bag is not the same – they have holes.” (You can only imagine how I have learnt this valuable lesson)!

So, drawing on a lovely review that a customer left in my Etsy shop the other day ‘Love that there is NOTHING that cannot be crocheted! ‘ I decided to crochet my way out of this situation.

crochet poop bag pod

… my crochet solution …

Meet the poop bag pod! A little cocoon that you stuff with bags so that it can act like a dispenser and remind you to grab one every time you leave the house.  I made one up yesterday and strategically placed it at the back door thinking that if it was successful, I would make one for the front door too.

Well, it must have had the seal of approval because it reminded Mr D-F to take a bag out first thing in the morning, instead of me having to do lawn-clean-up-duty later on in the day. Yuk!

poop bag pod in action

… the poop bag pod in action …

By now, some of you might be thinking that this would be a great April’s Fool post. Ha ha, who in their right mind would make something like this?!

Well, I’m afraid friends. My life has got to this point and I have made this for real…

… and it’s the business!

It’s time more everyday, boring essentials got a facelift. Don’t you think?!

xx Speak soon

baking

Adventure Comfort Food

Picture the scene:

You’re out on an adventure.  You might be on a long family walk or a boat trip or camping.  It’s fun and you’re really enjoying being outside, but it’s a bit windy and damp.  Your mind starts to think about the snacks that you have brought with you…

…this is usually our scene. Before we have even parked the car and begun the journey, the cry for ‘I hope you brought snacks‘ is let loose and somehow, it’s my fault if I’ve forgotten, or the snack choice (a slightly browning banana) is not up to par.  I’ve also been in that awful situation where you think you’ve been ever-so-well prepared and you whip out your thermos with a flourish only to find that the tea you made earlier tastes of plastic and something you can’t quite put a name to.

This Autumn, this situation is all going to change my friends. This time, I will come prepared. This is the year of the adventure comfort food.

cheese straws detail shot

… cheese straws – the perfect first step …

This first round of adventure comfort food was inspired by cheese.  I was kind enough to be sent some cheese from Wyke Farms to try.  When I took a sniff of their mature cheddar, soft, melty cheese straws came flooding into my mind. I am pretty certain that if a tub of cheese straws was produced at just the right moment during an outside excursion, the exclamations of joy from all around would be enormous. (Why don’t you try – let’s see who can get the loudest whoops)?

I used an easy recipe from BBC Good Food, but I left out the mustard powder and substituted it with a little black pepper.

wyke farm extra mature… Wyke Farm Extra Mature Cheddar …

cheese straws

… this snack will surely keep you out of jeopardy during extreme outdoorsing …

So next time I have to pack some sustenance for some serious outside activity, these are going to be the first thing that I prepare and take.  I wonder if there is a good dip or sauce that goes well with cheese straws?

I now need to think about what else to bring.  What are the best uses for a thermos, for example, as tea definitely doesn’t seem to suit one?! I’d love to hear your ideas…

Speak soon x