Monday, 28 April 2014

Little Yellow Duck Project

 Have you heard about The Little Yellow Duck Project?  Handmade yellow ducks are left in public to be found and taken home, with a little label directing their new owners to the website.  They can add to the duck map where they've found their duck and find out more about what the project is all about.  It is to raise awareness of the need for people to become donors, how this simple act can transform and save lives.

I personally donated blood for years before falling into the "you can no longer donate" category.  I'm on the organ donor list too, and more importantly, I've made it very clear to my family that if parts are usable after my demise, then I want them used.  In the UK, next of kin can still override the decision to donate or not.

On to the fun part - the ducks!  There are free patterns on The Little Yellow Duck Project website.  Alan Dart has designed a knitted duck, Lisa van Klaveren has a crocheted duck and Jessica George offers a sewn duckling.  All the patterns are easy to make and take very little supplies and time.  I set myself a target of 6 ducks to release - 2 each of knitted, sewn and crocheted.

I used the patterns on the website for the crochet and fabric ducks.  My fabric ones have rather interesting head shapes, but I'm happy enough with them!  I made two of the crocheted ducks, and I prefer the size of the larger one, hooked with DK yarn held doubled and a 4mm hook.

The knitted ducks were made using this free pattern from Susan B Anderson.  Because they're knitted in the round, there's no seaming.  I modified the pattern to just knit the duck with a flat bottom:

CO 6, divide onto dpns -3 stitches on each needle. 
Increase into last stitch on each needle (kfb) on every round until there are 27 stitches. Continue as pattern is written.

Finally, I tied labels on with ribbon.  There are cute free labels on the website to print off and use.  I wanted ones that also said "not suitable for children under 36 months" as they all have beads for eyes.  I thought it would be fun to add a QR code too, which links directly to the Little Yellow Duck website.  

My labels print 6 to an A4 page, and if you want to use my labels too, here's the pdf (long pause whilst I try to work out how to get it in this post.....):

Labels for ZoeJC, with "made with acrylic yarn and polyester fill" added Zoe Duck Labels pdf

I just need to find some courage to leave them in public places now!  Update: All my ducks are now wild!

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Button Jar

Another bit of playtime with the Sewing Jar digi stamp from Birdie Brown!  This time I thought it would be fun to turn it into a decorative lid for a jar of buttons.  I love having a big selection of buttons to chose from for craft projects and its one of my weaknesses when I go craft shopping - there's such a huge selection to chose from!  Modern, vintage, handmade, plastic, wood, fabric...I adore them all.  And they look wonderful stored in jars to admire, rattle and rummage through!

I used shades of purple Promarkers to colour the digi stamp, again with paper glaze to make the pins and glass shine.  I mounted the cut out digi stamp onto a die cut circle, glued lace and ribbon around the jar lid and glued the topper on.

As Mother's Day is on the 10th March in the UK, I'd better get busy making a card and present for my wonderful mum!

Popping in!

So, I got a bit bogged down with Christmas, hence the lack of posts and the start of 2013 has just whizzed by!  I did finally finish those socks for Dad - and the picture represents how December went (in a blur!)

Look at how close to finishing the toes I was before running out of yarn!  My frugal streak kicked in, and I finished off with a different grey sock yarn rather than buying another ball.  Sorry, Dad!  I do love this herringbone pattern as they look really smart on but you need to be a little watchful as it drastically reduces the socks ability to stretch.  They fit beautifully once they're on, but they do put up a little bit of a fight going over Dad's heels.

There are quite a few more Christmas projects to share, but for now I'm going to skip straight on to "now"!  Namely, playing with the great free digi stamp offered by Torico at Birdie Brown.  It's sewing themed and gorgeous!  This is what I made with it first....

I coloured the digi stamp with Promarkers in all the brown shades I own - the foxy brown I would love to find in a yarn to match, but that's another story!  I added paper glaze to the pins and the "glass" to give it some depth.  I used some free sewing themed papers from a craft magazine for the background and used my new Grand Calibur and dies (squee!).  I coloured some dressmakers pins and pearl hearts to match and used a tiny bit of haberdashery ribbon from The Fabric House embellished with a very special button that my father made for me from a Rowan branch, tied on with 2mm ribbon.  I really love how this card has turned out and am sorely tempted to send it to myself for my next birthday!

Entering into the following challenges:

Birdie Brown February Challenge with huge thanks for this lovely stamp!
I Love Promarkers Lace and Pearl Challenge
Crafty Catz Weekly Challenges - Dies and Punches

I have another project to share using this digi stamp, which I'll post once I've answered DS's call for food!

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Cactus Procrastination

Firstly, thank you so much for all the lovely comments recently - I really do appreciate reading them and cherish the smiles they bring.

I'm still plugging away at the socks, but allowing myself to get easily distracted!  I'm justifying it by making other Christmas projects on the list - there's lots to do and not much time to do it in!  If I haven't posted on here with soggy sock blocking pictures, start nagging me to finish them...

So back to the distraction - a money card for my nephew.  He's at the age where money is the ultimate present, which makes it a little impersonal so I've created a card to pop it in.

He loves cacti, and has nagged me in the past to grow some from seed for him.  I didn't oblige, but I did knit him one - that counts, right?  When I saw Doodle Pantry were generously offering a free Christmas Cactus digikit for entering their November challenge, I couldn't resist - it's perfect, isn't it?

I've coloured the image with promarkers, and added glitter and glaze to the baubles.  The backing papers and sentiment are from the same kit.  I used distress inks in frayed burlap, faded denim and peeled paint on just about everything(!)

The parcel tag has a little pouch for the money and is embellished with more backing papers, card candi, ribbon and garden string.  

I just need to replace those tatty notes with nice crisp ones and its good to go!

Entering into the following challenges:

Distressing - Passion for Promarkers
Sparkle, Sparkle, Sparkle - Cupcake Crafting
Anything Goes - I love Promarkers
Ribbon or Trim - Crafts & Me
Numbers (um...on the money - is that allowed?) - Nutcrafters
Flowers - Sweet Stampin'

Time for a few more rounds of sock knitting; two at a time, top down...halfway across sole - not much further now!

Monday, 26 November 2012

More Handmade Christmas

This isn't the first time I've knitted a strawberry clock, but this is the most flamboyant yet!  (See the other two here)

It's for my mother.  Since she retired, she's taken up watercolours and has the most gorgeous garden studio to play in.  It's painted the prettiest shade of duck egg blue, full of natural light with a glass desk and a wonderfully soft rocker in the corner to curl up in.  Surrounded by the garden with its flowers and feathery visitors, it's a heavenly place to be.

To be honest, it's not a place where time matters, but she's loved my previous knitted clocks so it's time for one of her own.

I've knitted it in sumptuous yarns - angora, alpaca and crocheted flowers in pure wool.  The white strawberry flowers are cotton just for a little ping.  Ribbons and diamante butterflies fill the gaps and add a little more interest.

So easy to make this with love.  The whole process is a joy.  The socks I'm currently knitting for my father take more willpower to weave happy thoughts into - thin yarn, tiny needles and endless repetitive rows!

Entering into the Faux or Real Stitching challenge - Anything Challenge Blog

I've also made started out destined to be a tag, but I actually rather like it on its little easel as just a Christmas decoration.  My starting point was the Kraft challenge - I've not tried using promarkers on this medium before.  I've used the most basic of Kraft products, the humble brown paper packaging.  The beauty of using this meant I could cut a sheet of it to go through my printer.  As I have an Epsom, it naturally objected to this and I had to stick it to a sheet of copier paper to get it to run through.

The Angel caroller digi stamp is from Dearie Dolls, coloured with promarkers and a white pencil.  I added papers printed from various Serif digikits, a wooden snowflake, ticket sentiment and a string and ribbon bow.  There's distress inked edges on more or less everything - I love the stuff!  Marvel at my restrain of not adding feathers this time - it was hard, I do have some pale brown ones....

Entering into the following challenges:

Colouring on Kraft - Passion for Promarkers
Don't be a square - Totally Gorjuss
Singing/and or Dancing - I love Promarkers
Use 2 or more Patterned Papers - Divas By Design
Snowflakes-Stars-Sentiment - Crafty Catz

Now...back to those socks!

Monday, 19 November 2012

Christmas Geeky Gift Making

I do like to make presents, which is a good thing as everyone now expects them from me!  Sometimes the inspiration comes from snippets of remembered conversations with the recipients and others are a direct request - like "More Socks!!" from Dad :)

Whilst being gifted 'that giraffe', Kay was hunting for a slimline diary for next year.  Her requirements were geeky...batman...or Doctor Who and "not cute".  She failed in her hunt, so I promised to take care of it for Christmas.  I picked up a bland slimline diary and got to work...

I used printable fabric from Card Creations, and set about designing my own backing fabric.  I was inspired by this tardis fabric and used Serif to create my own.  The printable fabric wasn't cheap and does print beautifully but the quality of the cotton itself is quite shameful.  It's full of slubs, some of which are quite dark and is a perfect example of the cheapest cotton fabric available - meh.  The strength of the glue used to adhere the fabric to the carrier sheet also makes the fabric quite crunchy and not particularly pleasant to sew with.

I added printable seam binding with her name on, ribbons and bells(!) and made and appliqued a felt batman logo.  Doctor Who meets Batman...why not?

You can just see the lining peeking out in this picture - I chose a dotty fabric to tie in with her character!

And of course, a handmade gift needs a handmade box:

I used Snowy Day from Birdie Brown (Torico, if you're reading this, the offer of sending you the box I made last time I was playing with your digi stamps still stands!), coloured it with Promarkers and layered it up on the box top.  No need to glue things onto a badly blended hat on this one!  Woo!  I stuck to a purple/lavender colour palette to match the diary.  The box itself is made from the reverse side of Centura Pearl card stock, that I ran through the printer.

There are glitter and glossy accents on the digi stamp and tag, along with a ribbon "belt" using a diamante buckle that was in with some craft supplies a colleague gave to me in exchange for altering a top for her.

I still have a lot of presents to make, but boy does it feel good to get one under my belt!  I have a strange urge to wrap this up in wrapping paper as well...anyone else get that?

Entering into the following challenges:

November Challenge - Birdie Brown 
A Christmas Present - Nutcrafters
Plain & Simple - Totally Gorjuss
November Colour Challenge - Ribbon Girls
Christmas Trees - I Love Promarkers
Moon & Stars - Passion for Promarkers
Snow People - Sweet Stampin'

Friday, 16 November 2012


I found the most wonderful digi stamp at Doodle Pantry - it would be great for lots of different occasions throughout the year, but as the need for Christmas cards is at its greatest right now, that's what I went with.  I coloured the image with Promarkers and made the little birds into robins. Following on from the "include *everything*" mentality that the giraffe card caused, this is also an over-the-top card too :)

(I love how this picture looks like the finished card will be somehow elegant and tasteful...fooled you!)

Paper flowers, glitter, feathers, gems, stitching, beads, quilling, lace, ribbons, pearlescent printed card stock....

There is a complete childish glee in making this card.  The little voice at my shoulder whispering, then screaming "LESS IS MORE!!" and the responsive blowing of a big fat raspberry as something else gets glued or stitched on!  

Entering into the following challenges:

Use a Doodle Pantry Image DPDC29 - Doodle Pantry Blog
Untraditional Christmas Colours - Crafts and Me Challenge Blog
Shaped Cards - Sweet 'n Sassy 
Anything Goes - Divas By Design
Lets Have Sparkle - Crafty Catz
Christmas Anything Goes - Crafty Bloggers Network
Stitching Real or Faux - Anything Goes Challenge Blog

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Unintentional Mouse Theme!

The last two papercraft projects of the weekend before the sewing machine comes out!

First is a snowy mice digistamp from Dearie Dolls.  It's a really cute image - I love the hanging hearts and the oversized button :)  Coloured with Promarkers on Centura Pearl cardstock and mounted onto Kanban and ancient Sizzix Sizzles card/paperstock.  The red star gems I bought recently - I clearly didn't look at them because the quality is awful; they're incredibly plastic-y, but I think you can get away with it on cards for distant relatives you haven't seen in decades...

Entering it into the Reds Challenge at Crafts and Me blog.

Secondly, a Thanksgiving inspired recipe - Pumpkin Pie.  We don't celebrate Thanksgiving in England, but we do like pie ;)  Honestly, with Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year I don't know how you do so many holiday preps so close together! I can't find the link for the image used - apologies if its yours.  I don't have a pie coloured promarker...or a pumpkin coloured one either for that matter, so I've used blends to approximate them - love how you can layer them up!

Entering this into the Thanksgiving challenge at Sweet 'n Sassy

Warning...Ultimate Christmas Ornament Below...

Earlier this week, I met up with a wonderful friend for a breakfast date, full of milky coffee, bacon and egg butties and a good old gossip.  And she bought me an early Christmas present.  I feel I need to give a little history to our gift giving before proceeding, just to set the tone...

For my birthday this year, she got me a resin life size guinea pig for my garden.  It's very realistic and I lovingly refer to it as the dead guinea pig - it freaked me out when I opened it (much to her delight) and it still freaks me out when I catch sight of it outside (much to her continued delight).  For her birthday, and following a conversation where she declared that the best job in the world had to be a Penguin Feeder, I made her this:

And when I borrowed her spade to bury my beloved Catalpa earlier this year and plant a tree over him, I made this for the spade to say "thank you".

Then there was the eye-wateringly coloured tourist dish she bought me back from holiday and the torn off cardboard box end and biro Christmas card she made me...

So back to breakfast, and she is suspiciously gleeful at announcing she's got me a present, and hands over a gift bag, declaring that I will love it.  I nervously ask if it's another dead animal and she looks a bit shifty.  She tells me that it's the ultimate Christmas decoration; that it is everything associated with Christmas all in one marvellous little package.

I'm thinking holly...santa...presents...a tree...baubles...Christmas Pud...oh God, a Turkey...

I. was. wrong.

Ready?  You might want to sit down...


Yes!  Yes, this is a Giraffe!  With pink fluff!  And pearls!  And a glittered bow!  And a beaded tutu!  And ballet shoes..en pointe!  And....white ankle socks!

It's hideous and gorgeous at the same time.  I hate it and love it with equal measure.  Most of all, it makes me grin like a loon.

It has, of course, been inspiration, for my Christmas card for Kay this year.  But in blue, because I've faced pink enough in the last week!

And yes, this is a deliberately over the top card - it had to be.  The digi stamp is a freebie from Starry Nights Studio, printed onto Centura Pearl card stock (Yes!  I've found a way to make the Epsom take it!), coloured with Promarkers and backing card from Kanban. It took far too long to hand stitch beads and tiny buttons onto a ribbon tutu, but I love the effect.  Then there is lace, more hand stitching, glitter, feathers, more buttons, felt snowflakes, gems, pearls, glossy accents, distress inks and a sparkly pom pom tail.  She'll love it.

Entering it into the Pastel Christmas challenge at Totally Gorjuss, the Lets Get Cute challenge at Divas By Design, the Anything Goes challenge at Crafty Catz, Add Sparkle challenge at Ribbon Girls and the Christmas Anything Goes at Crafty Bloggers Network :)

I have a couple more cards on the craft table that I need to finish off, then I really need to make a start on presents.  If you have any great projects for handmade gift giving, please shout out - any craft...if I don't dabble in it already, it might inspire me to give it a go!

Saturday, 10 November 2012

In the Pink

As I mentioned last time, pink is not a colour I am drawn towards.  My Promarker collection reflects this - I have a grand total of four pinks - pastel pink, magenta, pink mittens and wild cranberry.  Blending is a challenge - the tones aren't that close to each other!  I've used a digi stamp from Dearie Dolls printed onto Centura Pearl card stock (and the only time I've successfully got my Epsom to accept it!)

I used winter berry and a couple of greys to overlay to give me a broader range, but she's still ended up looking a little like she got dressed in the dark (my son's reaction was "Argh!  Why has she ripped the snowman's head off?!", so perhaps she deserves a wardrobe malfunction...!)

I've added glaze to the snowflakes, the carrot, their eyes and her shoes.  The backing papers are all from Nitwits and came free with a magazine.  I've cut into the argyle-y one to frame the bottom of the digistamp.  The pink crystals come from a candle making set from the early 90s - I can't bear to throw anything out, even if I can't see how I'll ever use it!  The snowflake is a wooden lazercut, painted with white acrylic and decorated with glitter and a little button.  And there you have it - one, out of character, pink card!

Entering into the following challenges:  Paper Cupcake Pretty In Pink and I Love Promarkers Pretty In Pink.

Despite my protests, this was an enjoyable card to make and it's good to do something a little different to the norm.