What to do with scraps?

I accumulate a lot of fabric scraps, and so I'm always trying to think of what best to use them for.  When making my handbags I end up with skinny strips so what better way to put them to good use than to make some new notepad covers.
I had already made some for the kids, who are already on week 3 of the summer holidays.  You can easily sew up all your scraps, no matter how small, to cover a notebook.  I'm hoping to get a little 'me' time during the holidays to write an easy tutorial for these covers.
Meanwhile if you don't fancy making these, they are available to purchase here.

How cute is this wee guy?  I was asked by a friend, who works at a local hotel, to make a rucksack for their Teddy.   It has to hold a notepad and pen, with the intention that the Teddy will spend the day with a young guest and any adventures can be noted in the pad.
Although essentially I was still making a bag, which I make rather a lot of, it was a refreshing change to come up with a new design, and figure out how best to put it together.  With the rucksack being a far smaller scale it's more fiddly than the size of handbags I usually sew.

And it was no surprise to me that after Master and Miss World saw the rucksack, I'm having to make another couple.  Just as well I made a template!!

I've set myself a Challenge to inject some 'Spring' into my home and to make the household chores a bit, well, cheerier.  The plan is to make new cushions and a pair of curtain tie backs for the living room.  A new apron for when I have my Chef hat on.  A peg bag to make me smile while hanging out the washing and lastly, and probably most challenging is a wall hanging for the utility room.  I've wanted to create a wall hanging for some time now and just don't know where or how to start.  

Oh and most importantly I do NOT want to buy anything new just simply use up what supplies I have, including those pieces that I love which I seem to be holding onto? - for what reason? I haven't figured out yet.
Now where to start?  I dug out a panel by Wendy Bentley for Timeless Treasures and decided in using this for my cushion.  I didn't use a pattern, just kept adding bits of fabric on until I had (roughly) a 16" square
 And here's my finished cushion.  Being a bit of a rebel I love bright clashing colours.  I remember from when I was little, my Mum saying "Red and Green should never be seen".  ... I'm so chuffed with the end result that I'm happily throwing the rule book out the window.

Making the most of the quiet hour...

I've finally stepped up a gear, I really don't know where the imaginary force field that sometimes holds me back comes from?  Most of the time I'm very organised, (Mr World may disagree here) other times I just drift along willy-nilly in Marice's World.  

I am most definitely a morning person but I tend to switch on the tele for the news and get far too distracted, if there's a newspaper or better still one of my crafty magazines lying around, I'll flick through it and time just disappears.  

This week I've been creeping down to my work space (which is still under the stairs but not for long!) and making the most out of the quiet time before Miss and Master World arise from their slumber.  Now that I'm writing this I know what is helping, it is having a clear idea of what I'll be creating tomorrow.  At bedtime I come up with a plan of what to make the next morning and visualise, even dream, about doing it!

I'm amazed at just how much I manage to accomplish in this quiet hour.  I've already doubled my production rate, which on paper seems impossible.  Secretly, I like to think time must stand still when it's still dark outside. So three cheers for the winter, productive mornings and cosy nights.  ;0)

Giving up Coffee!

Earlier this year I decided to stop drinking coffee.  Now I know there have been numerous debates as to whether caffeine is either good or bad for you.  New research from an Oslo University concluded that reducing your intake can lower the risk of heart disease and strokes.  I guess most of us find comfort in a cup of coffee, especially as the winter months creep in.  It's also an everyday social activity ... meeting for a coffee, inviting neighbours / friends round for a cup.  My reasoning was that the dark circles under my eyes weren't going away, and my energy levels, if I'm honest weren't great either.  Okay hands up here though... I have to admit I do burn the candle at both ends though not through partying, those days are well past me, it's from taking on too much and not saying 'No'.  I'm betting the majority of you can recognise yourself there too.  

Turquoise Coasters
As I got busier and busier, I'd drink more coffee.  My thinking was I'll stop for a coffee break, breaks are good for you, recharge the batteries etc etc although I never did stop, I just kept sipping on the go.  Lunch times wouldn't happen, because now I really was too busy to stop, in a few hours the kids would be home from school, I'd want to spend a little time with them, whilst having yet another cuppa,  before going into the kitchen to prepare dinner, and my 'things to do list' just seems to grow out of nowhere.

Something had to change, I'm creature of habit and although I am aware of the health benefits of drinking more water, especially as an asthmatic needing to keep hydrated,  it really didn't appeal to me.  I went for it, drank more water but I felt there was something missing.  I missed the comfort of holding a hot mug, so I turned to herbal teas.  Having tried lots of different flavours, it came as no surprise to me that I like the berry flavours the best.  At this time of year I'm drinking herbal tea with Echinacea, to decrease the odds of developing a cold this winter.  Having made the switch from coffee to decaf, and finally to herbal teas and water I felt my energy levels increase, and really quickly.  I didn't have to wait weeks for a result, thank goodness, or I would probably have given up!   Have the dark circles disappeared?  Well not completely but there's definitely a vast improvement, it can only keep getting better.

In the summer I made a little wallet to carry my teabags in, as most of the varieties I was buying weren't packaged in their own little envelope, like the posh ones do.  A few of my lovely friends were intrigued with my little tea wallet and yes, I made them some too.

The worst part about getting bags under your eyes is finding the shoes to match
Adrienne E. Gusoff

Return of the ... Pouch !

What I've been up to this week... making more DS Pouches.  The Pouches I create have never ever made it to my folksy shop.  They have been selling as soon as they've had their final stitch.

Over the past few months I've had custom orders for them, my favourite were the denim pouches made for twin boys.

If you would like to have one of these for yourself, then you can follow my tutorial or you can buy one from Marices World.

What have you been making this week?  

Something new...

Having lost my motivation, for what seems like an eternity, and with Life getting in the way of Art, I really longed to crawl my way out of reality and take a leap back head first into crafting.

Dichroic Glass Pendant

Desperate to get back into the flow of creativity I was very fortunate to find Speedcrafting.  The exquisite Joni and Kev from Hung, put together an exciting collection of crafts to experiment with.  I've dabbled in dichroic glass, lino printing, braiding, appliqué and fantasy film, to name a few.  Having never worked with glass before I have to say it was my favourite.

Braided Cufflet

Since the beginning of the year I've been saving up for a kiln, just a small one, for pure curiosity and to broaden my creative horizons.  However, since joining in the Speedcrafting fun, Joni has introduced me to an alternative option.  It's called the HotPot, it's for fusing glass and you put in the microwave!! 

  Knitted Art
Picking up a set of knitting needles brought back memories from school.  I surprised myself that I was able to cast on without knowing what i was doing, it just happened without me thinking and before I knew it I was clicking away with the needles.  It was really interesting trying different sized needles and wool, even managed a bit of Purl too.

 Recycled Plastic Bracelet
My bracelet was made out of an old milk bottle, and despite what you may think, the edge of the discs are not at all sharp, a great idea for kids to make.

Recycled scarf / necklace
Last but certainly not least is the necklace made from an old t-shirt.  Although I learnt lots of new techniques on the day, I had no idea that when you cut a t-shirt into strips and stretch them, the t-shirt becomes tubular - if that's the right way to describe it?  I was amazed at how effective it is.

So having tried some new crafts, did I get my crafting mojo back? ... I certainly did ... back to sewing and making, aah now that feels better.  Onwards and upwards!