Tuesday, 30 December 2014

An Eclectic Elements Blog Hop

Hi everyone,
I feel its time for a new blog hop as I haven't hosted one for a couple of years now.

I thought it would be fitting to do a blog hop with the fabulous Eclectic Elements range from Tim Holtz - so do you fancy joining me???

Don't worry you don't have to be a sewer to use the fabrics - it could be something simple such as a fabric brooch:

or a card:

both of the above use the fabrics cut out with sizzix dies - see you can use your sizzix dies in such a variety of ways when you start incorporating fabrics with paper - such fun!

Or you could sew something fabulous (and complicated!) with the fabrics, such as a quilt:

The blog hop will run from Monday 9th February 2015 - the exact date will depend upon how many participants join in.

Sew if you would like to join in this is the information I will need from you:

for the Subject line use " ECLECTIC ELEMENTS BLOG HOP"
in the message please let me know your name and your blog name URL - if you do not have one don't worry as I can host for you, sew this hop really is open to all!  I will then be in touch with your scheduled showcase day.

Anyone and everyone can participate as long as you use some Eclectic Elements fabric somewhere on your project - even if you don't have a blog you can take part as you will just need to email pictures and text to me and I will publish your project on my blog on your showcase day.

If you could add the Eclectic Elements button to your blog I would be grateful - the more people that see this hop the more will hopefully take part. 

For a better viewing of the Eclectic Elements range 1 pop over to Tim's blog here or view the second range here

I look foward to hopping with you in February!

Thanks for looking - feeling eclectic from Solihull.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Whoopedy Whoop - don't you just love Christmas Eve!  Have had a lovely morning watching Arthur Christmas and playing on the xbox with the little one, who is sooooo excited (but then so am I!) - he is hoping for Skylanders Trap Team from Santa so fingers crossed for him everyone!

I have now laid my table, nice and simple this year:

just cutlery and glasses to add now.  It's always at Christmas I realise just how much handmade stuff I have in my collection - I counted 19 Christmas items in my lounge and this only included one count for all the knitted items on my tree and such like - and look at my table all handmade apart from the lazy Susan, white tablecloth (even I don't have that much patience!) and the serviettes (thanks Ikea!).  The table runner, placemats and turkey were all made last year but I haven't felt like making much in the sewing department recently - not even the Christmas quilt has been finished and that was started last year too! Oh well I am sure the sewing bug will return soon when I get bored of knitting socks!

I have made this new this year though:

the image was preprinted on the fabric and I just stitched around it all using a backstitch - very therapeutic - I can see me doing more of these in the future!  I bought the redwork at the Malvern Quilt Show in October and finished it within a week of buying it however it took me until Monday to actually finish it off by adding the fabric sides and back - also I haven't quilted it yet, I might go for a holly leaf pattern around the edges one day - we shall see!

And then my table settings for this year are again very simple but oh so cute:

I got the idea from a craft fayre I went to in November and just knew that they would be adorning my Christmas table!  Bit of a disaster as I bought 8 kit kats a couple of weeks ago and they all mysteriously disappeared! Those darn pixes - I have since bought more and given these out as presents and also have a sneaky spare one just waiting for Mrs Claus tonight when the children have gone to bed! I don't see why Mr Claus should have all the fun with the whisky and mince pie, do you?

Anyway thank you everyone for all your support this year although mine hasn't been as particularly crafty as my last few years but its still all been very good fun and a great journey.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year - that's me signing off for now and off to sit in front of the telly.

Thanks for looking - Ready for Christmas from Solihull

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Keeping warm

Hi everyone,

I have been really busy this past week catching up on all the Christmas excitement, this morning I have been busy finishing off the last of my little handmade gifts and Christmas cards - all good fun - and last week we were busy celebrating my eldest's 14th Birthday.

I have also been busy in front of the tv catching up with Greys Anatomy - I am now on series 8 (so no spoilers please!) but box office sets are very addictive aren't they - as soon as you finish one episode you play the next one just to see what happens next! thank goodness they are only 40 mins long! Anyway whilst viewing I have been busy making these:

aren't they fabulous!  My first pair of knitted socks - quite a challenge when you get to the toe part particularly when you haven't got any double pointed needles in the right size!  Oh well I managed - the socks are knitted on a 2.25 circular needle which you can use throughout but I found it tough going at the toe so switched to four normal needles which I then had to keep swapping stitches over as they weren't double pointed so was a lot more time consuming, but thankfully saved me the expense of buying even more knitting needles when I already have hundreds!  The wool is again Bergere de France which I got from the fabulous Stitch Solihull and I am not sure if its 4ply or double knit as I don't speak French!

Am now busy on my second pair which I am going to make a little bit longer - again I am just doing a simple stocking stitch until I find a nice cable pattern for my next pair (seems knitting socks is very addictive too!).

Thanks for looking - going round in circles from Solihull

Friday, 5 December 2014

Something to keep me warm this winter

Have finally finished my crocheted blanket!

It's 11 hexagons in length and 7 in width - I would have preferred it a bit wider but didn't want to go out and buy more wool - this took 16 balls so wasn't too expensive but I could have just kept going and going until it filled my lounge as it was such fun to make and the wool - Bergere de France Magic - was a pleasure to crochet with.  I still have enough dark grey wool to do another round around the edge but haven't decided whether to or not yet.

Hope you are all enjoying this busy time of year I am almost ready for the visit from the big man in 20 days which is always a bit of a relief isn't it!  Am now busy spending my time knitting socks (such fun!) and catching up with Grey's Anatomy which I only discovered a few weeks ago and have managed to watch all the way through to series 7 so far - gotta love Sky box sets.

Thanks for looking - having a socking good time from Solihull

Wednesday, 12 November 2014


Thought I would join in again with the nosy peek around the world of creative desks this week.

This is mine:

The material to the left is to finish off a Christmas quilt I started last year, I have just cut out the pieces to make the back the same size as the front which is why my cutting mat is out (I bought a new A1 mat at Malvern the other week but haven't used that one yet - its a whopper though and will make cutting out large quilt fabric sew much easier! at least I hope it will!).  The redwork in the middle is something new I fancied trying - again I bought the pattern at Malvern and have already finished all the stitching - very relaxing to sit and do in front of the telly at night - the red and green fabric to the right will be used to frame it and make it into a wall hanging.  As you can see I had a trip to Ikea at the weekend and have treated myself to their big set of wooden drawers and they are just left on the table from when I bought them ready to be pimped up big style - and yes I still have the middle sized wooden box that I bought a few years ago still half pimped but hey ho they will get done someday!

The large books at the back of the table are to do with my reading frenzy, they are all large print scandanvian/Icelandic crime novels and what possessed me to get four hardbacks from the library at once and walk home with them in my backpack I am not sure but I did!

Sizzix machine there because it lives there and that little bit of wicker sticking out behind the box is actually a wreath I bought from a lovely place called Willows and Wetlands in Somerset in the half term to make a fabulous seasonal wreath each season for my front door - thats the plan anyway!

That's my crafting life on my desk this week (the lounge has even more stash in it as I am on a bit of a crochet/sewing thing at the moment) so come join in the fun over at Julias and show us yours.

Quickly edited to add:  Completely forgot that I did take myself off to Hobbycrafts at the NEC last minute on Sunday (I only live 10 mins away from the NEC so I thought it rude not to!) and bought these goodies to have a play with:

Most bits and bobs were in a sale but I couldn't resist that Banksy stamp - no idea what to do with it yet which isn't like me I usually look at something and conjure up an image of what I am going to do with it before buying - I do think that those raindrops and Tim stamps have lots of potential though!  I also bought two balls of beautiful alpaca wool to make a bat and an orangutan of all of things!

Have also updated my blog to include my YouTube tutorials.  Another new venture of mine.

Thanks for looking - Measuring up from Solihull

Friday, 7 November 2014

A cute little rabbit

Am still trying to get back into the habit of blogging - after such a long break I seem to have lost the knack!

As promised though I will try and update more regularly on a few projects I have in the pipeline, I completed this little cutie a couple of weeks ago:

I was going to call him Benjamin Bunny but as my youngest (Benjamin) has decided to have him for himself I can't so I am waiting for him to name him.  He was made from a kit I bought at the May Malvern Quilt show and I also have a lovely waistcoat, trouser and shirt kit to dress him in, although that's still in the pack at the moment!

Here is a closeup of his face:

He was made using a lovely grey felt and bits of Liberty fabric for the ears and feet.  There was another piece of the same fabric in the kit along with a pattern to make a dress but as mine is a boy I gave the material away and will not be making the dress - Benjamin wouldn't be impressed!

That's all from sunny Solihull at the moment.

Thanks for looking - Happily sewing from Solihull

Friday, 31 October 2014

Happy Halloween!

I love this time of year and the Halloween season although I have to admit I haven't made anything at all this year to celebrate Autumn or Halloween!  I did cut out a load of leaves to colour a couple of weeks ago but they are still in a bag somewhere! Oh well, I am still enjoying running through the leaves and throwing them about with my youngest - there are some things you never get too old for aren't there!

The children are still enjoying taking sweets from this gravestone that I made a couple of years ago, so I thought I would reshare it:



Hope you are all enjoying the half term as much as we are in our house!

Thanks for looking - Feeling slightly spooky from Solihull

Monday, 27 October 2014

Back to blogging

Thought I would get myself back into the habit of blogging again - I have been doing lots of crafty stuff recently but just haven't been turning on the pc which has actually saved me such a lot of time to spend doing other things, particulary reading! think I have read 17 books since and during the summer holidays!, but now the weather is turning I have decided to get back into the online community and be a bit more social!

Way back in July Bernice and I attended a lovely fabric tag class at Bramble Patch and these are the tags I made:

They were all going to have eyelets set in them but I struggled putting the first two in and decided life was too short to carry on and do all 7 so I used Tim's hangers instead 

I was also going to ink all the edges but I am unsure of the middle one that I have inked so have left the others as is  - they now all hang on my birdcage in the craft room for inspiration.  We were taught by the lovely Angie Hughes and had a fabulous day out - I recommend Bramble Patch for classes to you all, this is my third one there and I have enjoyed everyone (even when I managed to somehow sew my machine foot to Santa's pants! could only happen to me eh!).

In September my lovely Mom turned 70 and we had a big do.  She wanted no presents but I obviously couldn't do that so I made her this quilt:

she was delighted with it and it now has pride of place on the back of the lounge settee!  Talking of which I now have managed to source the last three balls of wool needed for my crocheted blanket for in my lounge so I am busy getting on with that at the moment.  I also went to the Malvern Quilt Show on Friday where I purchased two lots of material to finish off my sons Rocket Age quilt and a Christmas quilt and I am also trying my hand at a Christmas redwork picture (needed a new hobby!) which I started immediately on Friday and am already about a fifth of the way through.

See its still all go here, have done lots more too but don't want to overdo the blog post!

Thanks for looking - in a Stitching frenzy from Solihull

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

woyww 278

Thought I would join in again this week as I have finally done some papercrafting!  This was done yesterday and this is still the state of my craft room this morning:

The advent box is going to be a class at my next crop and is the first bit of papercrafting I have done for a few weeks as I am so busy crocheting at the moment.  The little snowman is to go on top of the box too but he was just precariously balanced there against the paints whilst his glue dried!

If you would like to go and have a nosey at lots of crafters desks to see what others have been up to - its a very sociable and inspiring pastime! - then pop over to Julias and join in the fun.

Thanks for looking - still got glue on my fingers from Solihull

Sunday, 7 September 2014


I have started crocheting a blanket to drape over my sofa!  Always wanted one.

I wasn't sure whether to go with a whole mix of colours using up all my spare wools or for a trendy tonal one.  Of course then I couldn't decide between blue (my go to colour) or brown (would go with my sofa) and then when I walked into Stitch Solihull last Thursday and saw these colours all sitting together I knew they were the ones.

I got the pattern from http://attic24.typepad.com/weblog/hexagon-howto.html and it really is very easy (I only taught myself to crochet last year and I am managing just fine and am even joining them as I go to have minimal stitching upon completion! get me!).

Just in case you can't tell the blanket is actually made up of hexagons - here is my sample one:

I only bought the wool Friday lunchtime and I have done all this since then and believe me I haven't just been sitting crocheting but I did have a busy Saturday - lunch out with Mom and Dad (to celebrate their 50th Wedding Anniversary!) plus shopping for an, erm, new sofa that hopefully this new blanket will still go with! (being grey I think it will be ok) and also reading the very first Wallander book - see as usual it's all go here!

If you would like to make your own I recommend both the instructions and the lovely Bergere De France Aran wool - if you are quick it's on offer at Stitch Solihull for £3.50 a ball during all of September - I bought 10 balls which hopefully should be enough.  Anyway that's it for now I am off to make another hexagon and then start the second Wallander.

Thanks for looking - hexagonally happy from Solihull

Wednesday, 3 September 2014


Hello everyone, Gosh it seems such an age since I joined in with the weekly snoop at crafters desks over a Julia's.  Probably because it is really - I seemed to be spending far too much time online looking at blogs, pinning or gaming that I took the decision to drastically reduce my pc time as I wasn't getting anything else done!  However after a nice long break I am back and raring to go!

Here is my desk as of last night:

Not the most exciting but I wanted to join in and it is what it is eh!  The cards on the left are table settings for my Mom's 70th Birthday lunch next week which are plain and simple but as today is another day they will probably be all inked up by lunchtime!

Anyway that's it for me now, thanks for visiting and I will hopefully be round to visit you today too.

Back into Cardmaking from Solihull.

Ooooh I have just looked and the last time I joined in was week 204! where on earth has 70 weeks gone??

Monday, 1 September 2014

I'm back!

Hello everyone, and thanks for bearing with me.  Have had a big break from blogging and have been spending the last few weeks catching up with friends and family and just generally having a very social time!

I have been doing quite a bit of crafting still with lots of sewing projects getting completed (and started), some knitting projects done (mainly blankets for the homeless this winter) and I have also tried to teach myself to water colour with re-inkers to no avail so I will be sticking to using distress inks and promarkers from now on instead!

I have also been busy making some you tube videos so if you want to have a look they are here: https://www.youtube.com/user/SunshineGirlNicola I would be grateful for any feedback.  There are just three beginners videos at the moment although I do have some more indepth ones lined up once the children go back to school tomorrow.

Hope you are all well and thank you for visiting - relaxed from Solihull.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Collage composition week 2

Week 2 of Claudine's Composition for Collages workshop was all about horizons - I was still having printer issues but obviously wanted to play along asap so I knocked out these three pieces - all 7"x5" so I can mount them onto cards if I want to at a later date - they really didn't take me long at all but its more the process of understanding horizons rather than spending hours creating (like I usually do!) - hope you like them:

Yes I know the car is far too big but I wanted to use it!

Simple inked bird on a branch - brick wall is Tims die matted over a tea dye inked strip - the Happy Birthday banner is just to break up the wall and isn't actually stuck down at the moment! If I use it for a card then that will probably be done in a different coloured ink.

Yet another Christmas scene - never too early to start Christmas stuff in my opinion!  Loving my new Victorian Carollers die (can you tell!).  Just wish I had placed her a bit further in before sticking!

Have now sorted out printer issues so hopefully my new few pieces might actually be collages!

Thanks for looking - off to teach a scrapbooking class at Hobbycraft - whoo hoo - from Solihull

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Composition for Collage

After hearing the rave review for this class over on Jenny's blog I thought I would give it a try to see if it got me inspired to do a bit of papercrafting (am so worn out from knitting/crocheting flowers at the moment!) - I thought I wouldn't be able to as the registration date had expired but I clicked buy and it all worked ok.

Have watched the first two weeks lessons this afternoon and managed to knock out this pretty quickly:

Don't ask me why I did a winter composition in summer as I really don't know!  The class has lots of pictures to print out but I am having printer issues at the moment so just used some bits and pieces I had to hand - I have to admit that this is the first time I have actually used all the stamps apart from the santa sleigh, same goes for the Tim Victorian Carollers die and distress markers! oh well I knew they would get used eventually!

I so enjoyed putting all this together just for the fun of it that I then knocked out this composition in about a further 20 minutes:

Whoo hoo - looks like my mojo has finally returned!  I think that the lamp post could do with a bit of something either flowers or stamped images so I might change it later.  Am now off to do week two.....

Thanks for looking - busy compositioning from Solihull

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Solihull In Bloom

Solihull got yarn bombed this morning:

Lots of trees covered in all sorts of flowers and blankets all down the High Street - pop in and have a look if you can!  Also some lovely stuff to see in Drury Lane, John Lewis and Touchwood.

Thanks for looking - A knitter with sore fingers from Solihull

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Tims May Tag

Had a bit of free time on Thursday so I have joined in with the May Tag Challenge - details here:

Background of the tag was done with Scattered Straw paint, Antique Linen and Iced Spruce stains and the edges were inked with Vintage Photo.  The papers I used were from the Lost and Found paper stack and all edges were inked with Pumice Stone.  For the tiles I used kraft cardstock.  I decorated the tiles with various bits of metal (yes I have a few bits stashed away!) and the cameo is made using mod melts (fabulous stuff that you melt through your glue gun - almost as much fun as the melting pot!) - I first painted the frame in Broken China but it was a bit too bright so I repainted it with Pumice Stone and then inked it gently with a blue Treasure Gold - I left the cameo as is.

I haven't got a Shadowpress word yet so I used my umbrella man embossing folder on kraft cardstock and inked with Vintage Photo - I only drew around the man with a sharpie when the tag was all stuck together (very brave I know!) so thankfully he turned out ok and I didn't have to redo him!

I finished the tag with chit chat stickers and ribbon inked with Pumice Stone to tie it all together.

Thanks for looking - hoping to get inky during half term from Solihull :)

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

A bit of sewing

Had a lovely day out at the Malvern Quilt Show last Thursday, sew much sew, I have already sewn up some of the fabrics!  Sorry for the rubbish picture but here are two bags I put together this weekend:

they are quite big 10"h x 13"w x 10"d and as you can see one is already full from all the crocheted flowers I have been busy making for another project I am working on.

Am very pleased with my crocheting skills now and have even joined a couple of local knitting groups - isn't it lovely how knitting and crocheting is making a big comeback at the moment - its a hobby I find very relaxing and rewarding.

Thanks for looking - busy making flowers in Solihull

Monday, 5 May 2014

National Scrapbooking Day

I haven't scrapped any photos for quite a while now - apart from about five layouts I did earlier in the year which were all very simple but I thought I couldn't let National Scrapbooking Day (and also National Yarn Day) go past without making something.  So I had a lovely little play with some new cardstock - a beautiful white kraft cardstock I have and I made a tag book to use as my new birthday book.  I also had a play with the new painting technique that I used last month on Tims April tag and made a lovely card suitable for a man.

Both of these I will be teaching as classes at Hobbycraft during June - please let me know if you are interested.  Also a big toot here as I tweeted this picture to Ranger and they retweeted it and I also got a lovely comment and favourite from Tim too! Very exciting!

Thanks for looking - enjoying the bank holiday in Solihull

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

April 2014 Tag

It's me again! two posts in a week - whoo hoo - told you my mojo had returned!

I have decided to play along with Tims April 2014 tag and here is my take:

Background was done with Scattered Straw paint:

and I used Broken China paint and Vintage Photo ink on the hexagon grungepaper.  I do have the one Tim used but decided to go with hexagons instead.  The flowers, again although I do have the pinecone die (as you can see from the leaves), I decided to use 3d tattered flowers instead which I made up of three diecuts cut into five pieces and then twiddled around a pokey tool to make 3d flowers - I inked them with Broken China and Spiced Marmalade and stamped each piece with a script stamp before twiddling.  To finish them off I dipped them in my melt pot so they are lovely and shiny.

I did the ribbon the same as Tim but didn't like it wrapped around the bottom as my flowers are a lot bigger than the pinecone ones so I used it as the topper string instead.  To finish I used a Tim banner inked with Scattered Straw and Vintage Photo and a butterfly inked the same, stamped with a script and finished with twine and rock candy stickles.

All tissue tape and papers are Tims too.

Thanks for looking - Enjoying Life in Sunny Solihull

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Another Tim quilt!

Last October I went to the Malvern Quilt Show and bought some lovely Tim Holtz Eclectic Elements fabrics from the lovely Lady Sew And Sew - I got a ready prepared bundle of eight fat quarters as I couldn't choose between all the fabulous designs!

The fabrics sat in my fabric stash until January as I was so busy leading up to Christmas selling all my wares at the Handmade Boutique - but come January it was time to get making things for me again.  I spent a couple of weeks pondering what to do as the materials just kept crying out cogs to me and as I had already made a cog quilt (entered into the January 2013 bloghop over at Sew We Quilt and also published in last Septembers issue of Sewing World - link here) I didn't want to do another one.  But you know what it's like when you get an idea in your head of the perfect quilt you just can't get another to be as interesting so I decided to make the same quilt again using these perfect fabrics and this time a lot bigger.

I made the cogs in January, then pondered a while again whilst I decided what to do for the back of the quilt. February I went to my local quilting shop Cotton Patch and bought three more fat quarters (the ones with all the red on) and half a metre of the binding stripe.  I then pieced together all of the back using simple 51/2" squares:

and then in March I got around to sewing all the cogs on the front, along with the wadding and backing too.   Then it sat there for another few weeks (Easter holidays and everything slowing me down!) and then, joy of joys, this last Thursday the children wanted a stay at home day, and who was I to argue? So I finally managed to quilt all the tiny cogs on it.  You can't see them very well on the front picture as I have done them in black:

so here is a closeup of the back too:

The pattern is made up from using Tims cog die and freezer paper and then ironing them on in small formations all over the plain black areas of the quilt - I then free motion quilted them in small chunks, building them up so that the whole of the black area was covered.

Am so pleased it is finally done, I never thought I would ever make two quilts basically the same but I am so glad I did!

Also I can't believe this is my first crafty blog post since 4th March!  I have been really busy making things but just not finishing off, for example I now have a huge pile of crocheted flowers and leaves (yes even more than I had before!), a mountain of handmade paper flowers and lots of little bits and pieces from moulds and such like.  I have enjoyed making everything but have not found the inspiration to just finish them off and use them to make a 'proper' project.  Saying that now that I have finished this quilt I suddenly found myself getting up this morning and starting Tims April tag challenge - first one this year so hopefully my mojo and inspiration are now fully restored!  I also have a lovely pile of handmade stash to keep me going for a while for when the inspiration does strike so it's good here!

Thanks for looking and sticking with me during my blogless days!  Itching to finish something else from Solihull