Ribbons and bows make the world a prettier place

I love ribbon. For years I have squirreled away bits of ribbon in a little box, for you never know when it may come in handy. But alas, my little ribbon box is starting to overflow, and much of the ribbon is not fulfilling it’s ribbon destiny of making the world a prettier place by being kept prisoner in my box. I couldn’t keep it shut away in the dark any more, no, I felt so cruel. It’s time that I set some of that ribbon free, and help them to fulfill their dreams. So I pondered a while, and I hmmmm’ed and I ahhhh’ed, when suddenly I cried out  “bows!”. Of course! I would turn those unfulfilled bits of ribbons in to bows, for they too make the world a happier and prettier place.

Be Happy print by LouisestArt on Etsy

I shall make bow broches, bow hair clips, bows for presents, bows for christmas trees, bows for pups, bowties, bows for jewelry, bows for toys, bows for, well, just about anything. I found some fabulous tutorials out there in blog land to help me on my bow making quest, and I thought I would share them with you, just in case you get in the bow making mood too.

Zipper Bow Tutorial by Funny Rabbit

Zipper Bow Tutorial via Handmade by Funny Rabbit

Medallion Bow by Martha Stewart (Click next on the webpage for the tutorial)

Medallion Bow via Martha Stewart (click “next” to see the tutorial)

Felt Bow Tutorial by The Moonlit Nest

Felt Bow Tutorial via The Moonlit Nest

DIY Splendid hair bow by Momtastic

DIY Splendid Hair Bow Tutorial via Momtastic

Bow Ring Tutorial by Elisa Mclaughlin design's

Bow Ring Tutorial by Elisa Mclaughlin design’s 

Bow Cuff Tutorial by I still Love You

Bow Cuff Tutorial by I still Love You 

Bow belt tutorial by Momtastic

 DIY Bow Belt Tutorial via Momtastic

Toddler Bow Tie Tutorial by Say Yes To Hoboken

 Toddler Bow Tie Tutorial by Say Yes To Hoboken

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After a brief interlude….

….normal service is to be resumed! Huzzah!

It’s been such a long time since my last post, I’m so sorry folks! Life had gotten just a smidge too busy after the yuletide season, and I was struggling to keep up! What with writing copious amounts of essays and completing projects for uni, working extra shifts in the evenings, and having a birthday (my birthday very rudely and inconsiderately interrupted me being in my 20’s, a decade a thoroughly enjoyed, and has now pushed me somewhat reluctantly in to my 30’s even though I kindly asked it not to, hurrumph!), my head has been in a bit of a spin and my mojo got a little lost 😦 My usually smiley face was replaced by a frowney, somewhat serious and at times pouty face. I don’t like essays, and I don’t like getting older, but after being a good girl and getting all my work done, my smile has pounced back on my face and kicked the frowney face clean off, yay!

Such a smiley soft drink lid

I found this little happy face peering up at me from Mr Sharps soft drink lid this morning, and it made me smile. It just looks so very happy! I felt quite mean when I had to put it in the bin….

My thoughts tend to go to sleep unless they and I wonder, and wonder they did thanks to my beloved Mr Sharp; for my birthday he whisked me away on a wonderful surprise holiday to Amsterdam for 5 glorious days of debaucherous giggle filled bliss to celebrate my 3rd decade of being. We had a most splendid time, a much needed holiday for us both. I have come back feeling revived and inspired. I love Amsterdam, it’s such a beautiful city.

Now that my Handmade Christmas has come to an end, I need a new project, and thanks to my favorite ever website, Ravelry, I have found one. Over the next few weeks, any free time that I have will be spent on making these little fellows:

Photo by Rachel Borello Carroll at Petite Purls.

Aren’t they just adorable? The pattern for these delightful little creatures, known as “Anything Animals” is available for free at Petite Purls. I plan on making a whole menagerie of different animals to give to the little people that I’m blessed to have in my life.

Photo by Rachel Borello Carroll at Petite Purls.

Off to my wool stash I go! It will be an excellent project for using up all my little scraps of left over wool. Excited much? Er, yes! Muchly! Happy knitting folks! xx

Happy Halloween!

A happy Halloween to one and all from Gizmo and Stitch towers!

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Hope you all have a spooktastic time!

If you are planning on carving a pumpkin for the evenings frivolities, Martha Stewart online is offering some amazing free pumpkin carving templates that look simply divine!

Beautiful! Click here to access the templates. There are loads to chose from, from very simple yet effective designs,  to beautifully intricate and ornate ones.

Once your pumpkin is carved, you can use the flesh to make these wonderfully delicious Pumpkin Passion Cupcakes:

Nom!

Ingredients:

  • 175ml sunflower oil
  • 175g light muscovado sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200g coarsely grated pumpkin or butternut squash flesh
  • 100g sultanas
  • grated zest 1 orange
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

For the frosting:

  • 200g tub full-fat cream cheese
  • 85g icing sugar
  • toasted chopped pecans to decorate (optional)
Method
  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Line a 12-hole muffin tray with paper cases. Pour the oil into a large bowl and add the sugar, eggs and vanilla. Beat together, then add the grated pumpkin, sultanas and orange zest.
  2. Stir in the cinnamon, flour and bicarbonate of soda, the mixture will be quite wet. Spoon into the cases. Bake for 25 mins until firm and springy to the touch and a skewer inserted in the centre of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack. At this stage you can freeze the cakes for 4 months.
  3. To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese and sugar together until smooth then spread on top of the cupcakes. Leave plain or decorate with toasted pecans. Store in the fridge, but return to room temperature to serve for the best flavour and texture.
Tip: If the flesh of your pumpkin is quite wet when grated, give it a good squeeze before using it.
Nom nom nom! Have fun folks! xx

Things I’d like to do this weekend

This weekend will be the first weekend in a very long time that we have absolutely no commitments, and we are very much looking forward to it. Mr Sharp and I are both extremely exhausted from our trip and busy work schedules, and so a weekend to be lazy, recharge our batteries and do the things we love is definitely needed. For Mr Sharp I imagine it will mostly involve lot’s of x-box  playing and sitting around in his pants, for me it will largely consist of making things.

I love compiling lists, in fact, I can’t function without them! All this week I have been jotting down the various things that I would like to do this weekend and growing increasingly excited with each passing day that took me closer to Friday. This is said list:

This weekend I would like to……

1. Remain in my pyjamas from the moment I get home from work this evening until Monday morning, and drink copious amounts of tea brewed in a tea-pot and drunk from a china tea-cup.

I love these rocket pyjamas by Zade Home on notonthehighstreet.com

2. Knit this little pug:

It’s another Barbara Prime pattern, and they are always fun to make. You can buy her patterns on Ravelry by clicking here. I would quite like to knit him some little dungarees instead of a coat though.

3. Stuff and sew these bunnies that I knitted months ago and completely forgot about. I think they will be little girl bunnies, I’m in the mood for knitting some little dresses.

4. Do a little bit of quilting. I was inspired by this quilt that featured on the blog andothersillythings. So beautiful! With a few of my friends expecting babies in the coming months it will make a perfect baby welcoming gift .

5. Now that I know just how much cats like to play with the knitted mice that came from the little blue knitting case, I’m going to create an army of knitted mice to help make cats up and down the country very happy kitties. I will be selling the mice for £2.50 each (plus £1 p&p) to raise money for the cat rescue charity from which we got our Rosie cat.

If you would like to order one of these little knitted mice to make your cat a very happy kittie, and to support a very worthy cause in the process, please leave a comment below or email me at gizmoandstitch@live.com to place your order. Please state what colour combination you would like – you can have any colour you like!

Have a happy weekend folks! I hope you have a good’un xx

Roadtrip!!

“Where shall we go on holiday this year?” asked Mr Sharp.

“Oooo”, pondered I somewhat briefly, “I’d love to go back to Sorrento in Italy”.

“Fabulous” replied Mr Sharp, “shall we drive there?”

“Ok” Said I.

So, 6 months of planning later, we board our vessel for the trip – our beloved and trusty Ford Focus named “Mo” (what? what’s so weird about naming a car?) – waved goodbye to London town, and set off on our rather epic 3300 mile road trip.

4 days into our trip and we have driven just over 800 miles through 4 different countries (France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Switzerland) and made 8 border crossings.

So far we have climbed 698 steps up two different towers (the Belfry of Brugge and Strasbourg Cathedral), drank beer that was 11.3% (yes, 11.3%! thats not a typo, it was actually that strong and tasted slightly like bananas), ate at a 2 star michelin restaurant, drank an £100 bottle of wine which despite my scoffing and “can you actually taste the difference?” remarks, it turns out that yes, you can taste the difference, and it was truly amazing.

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We took the worlds highest vertical ascent cable car up 2800 metres in just 20 minutes to the top of Aiguille du Midi, a mountain the the french Alps 3,842 m above sea level, and discovered that I have vertigo (who knew?? I certainly didn’t!!). I had to cuddle quite tightly into Mr Sharp and close my eyes while giving out little squeals of fright during the ascent in the cable car. The view from the top, however, was spectacular, totally worth me nearly pooping myself:

I can’t believe we have achieved so much in such a short space of time! I have to confess that some of the driving can be a little tedious – lot’s of boring motorways that need to be tackled to help us to cover so much ground in such a short space of time, but it is totally worth the effort. It is going to be a trip that will give us memories to last a life time, and many stories to tell. Best of all, I get to see all these wonderful sights, and have such magical experiences with my wonderful man by my side every step of the way. What an adventure. xxx

Dear Photograph

Whilst cruising around the blog world in search of a little inspiration, I stumbled across something that literally took my breath away.

www.dearphotograph.com

The websites description simply said: “take a picture of a picture from the past  in the present”

” The photos on http://www.DearPhotograph.com drag you across time and into the present, an unexpectedly fascinating way to sense time and space and the human connections that give them meaning.”These photos were so magical and touching that they left me speechless. I thought I would simply let you enjoy the pictures for yourself rather than have me rattling on about them. Such a wonderful concept. 

I highly recommend going to the website and having a look at the pictures for yourself, they are absolutely beautiful.

Been naughty……

Erm, been naughty……

I took a little stroll into Greenwich to buy a thank you card, and ended up buying a painting……

 

Oooooops! How did that happen???

I couldn’t help myself! I wandered into a fabulous little shop in Greenwich market called “The Home Front” (a shop full of wonderful delights and treats owned by a very lovely and helpful lady called Elaine – well worth popping in if you are in the area). The painting (well, print really) is by London artist James Brown. It is a limited edition (number 5 of 75 prints). I googled him this evening and found that he has a wonderful blog all about printmaking and the like:  generalpattern.bigcartel.com. He has an online store which could prove to be my siren song….. I would love to own this one too:

Although, this one might have to wait until I have managed to sell a kidney or something….. Mr Bank manager isn’t going to be very happy with me and my impulse buying!

A similar thing happened to me last year. I popped out for a pint of milk and bought 3 fashion illustration prints instead!! I wasn’t sure how that happened either, and I clearly haven’t learnt my lesson. The market must have some kind of voodoo over me! Damn you Greenwich Market and your seductive wares!!

Regardless of feeling quite guilty about spending money when I don’t actually have any, I love my new painting. I think its beautiful. I know exactly where it shall hang; it shall take pride of place on the wall of my sewing laboratory as that is quite literally the place where the magic happens.