Friday, 30 November 2012

Zip accessories

So… by now you'll know that I'm a tad slapdash when it comes to crafting – and that is how I like it, thank you very much. I also really really like crafting with bits and bobs you can get from the hardware shop, or doing things you wouldn't normally do to bits and bobs.

Zips, spikes and hardware in general are big this winter, and so I wanted to have a play with zips and see what I could do. Check out these earrings, and if you ant to know how to make them – or a ring version (or indeed,a brooch version), then check out this week's Gathered on sale today!

[caption id="attachment_186" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Zippy zippy earring[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_185" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Zip earring[/caption]

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Red velvet and gold Christmas wreath

[caption id="attachment_181" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Trad wreath[/caption]

My first ever wreath and it was easy peasy. Small wreath, velvet and gold ribbon from good old Hobbycraft. Bit of hot glue to get me going, and done! Bit trad, but we all like a bit of trad at Christmas.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Venice

[caption id="attachment_169" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Obligatory Grand Canal shot[/caption]

Went to Venice in September - perfect time to go as the weather was still gorgeous, the canal wasn't smelly and it wasn't (too) busy. We went just as the Venice Film Fest was winding down, and rumours that Clooney's boat had moored off ones of the islands kept us (OK, me) rather excited – not because I fancy the Cloon, more because he's famous, m'kay?

We loved Venice. It was a bit like being in a Terry Gilliam film, where – at every corner turned – we expected to see some sinister, quirky figure, all moustachioed twirling his cape. It's also exactly like being in the film Labyrinth, where Sarah tries the most local path somewhere only for it to take her right back to the beginning. Very early on, we realised that just because we could see where we wanted to get to, it didn't mean we could walk around the corner and get there. It would usually involve going back on ourselves, over a few bridges and then doubling back yet again. But we'd get there in the end…!

We also found a gorgeous vintage shop called Carpe Diem. Budget didn't allow a proper rummage, so we settled on drooling and taking lots of photos instead.

[slideshow]

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Obligatory cat post

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If you follow me on Instagram (I'm monty_rose - feel free to add me) it means you're a) already sick of seeing photos of my cat, Rosie, have stopped following me and are plotting my downfall b) Quite like cats, especially rather pretty torties like her c) more of a dog person, actually, but are way too lazy to do anything about it.

Apologies if you're in category a) or c)

We adopted Rosie from the RSPCA rescue centre in Bath (otherwise known as Bath Cats & Dogs home - although god knows why as they do rabbits, guinea pigs and loads of other small animals, but hey ho; who am I to argue?) in April(ish) 2011. She was 2. Her name was Rozene, but we changed it to Rosie as it sounds a helluva lot less like window cleaner…

Her pen was on the same side as the dog pens, and so she spent most of her days listening to a LOT of barking. I think this is why she isn't massively fussed about firework night.

When we first met her we were warned that she doesn't get on well with other cats, but she seemed friendly enough to us (if a little cautious). Sure enough, we regularly hear her kicking ass at the neighbourhood cats of an evening. And when we have friends over, she is as flirty as Jerry Hall after a particularly bad dance-off. Or something. (I hope that reference works - I wasn't even watching Strictly back then).

Rosie has surprised us since her arrival with her 'gifting'. One time she managed to drag a huge, live bird through the catflap (she's still the size of an older kitten). Another time - a massive rat. We're awaiting an aforementioned neighbourhood feline any day now…

Anyway, she gives the best cuddles, is incredibly clever, chirpy, polite and loving. You know she loves you if she starts licking your hair.

Oh, and she has a two-tone bum. She rocks.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Brooch bouquet

[caption id="attachment_133" align="aligncenter" width="225"] Finished brooch with portrait of Dad…[/caption]

I had wanted to make a brooch bouquet for our wedding for a long time. But my mum pooh-poohed the idea, and so we had several meetings with a florist, many of which were spent with me going on and on about how flowers die, so technically it was a massive waste of money and so I didn't want to have too many flowers. To a florist. I know.

Two or three weeks before the wedding, we started working on an extra wedding magazine at work to run alongside that issue. It's probably the worst thing to be doing a few weeks before your bash – immersed in other people's stunning, personal, highly individualised weddings. I started to get panicky that ours would be… not right. Not "us" anyway. And so "Fuck it, I'm having a bloody brooch bouquet!" It was very important for me to have a photo of my dad, so he could come down the aisle with me. Searching for a small frame that could dangle off the stems was tricky as they seemed to be sold only in bulk. Weirdly, a week before the wedding, I was going thru some of Dad's things, and found a small frame in which he used to keep a photo of me. Perfect.

Obviously I didn't have time to scour and collect meaningful bits and bobs slowly, like you're 'meant' to, but it actually helped with costs to run into the high street shops for gems – and meant I didn't feel too bad about tearing them apart. I did take two special bits for the bouquet. My dad gave me a gold-coloured rose brooch that belonged to me grandma (I collect Roses), and then I also used a butterfly brooch from Topshop that I've had pinned to my pin-board at work since I started and has followed me around all the magazines on which I've worked. It's kept me company so far, so I thought it would be nice to take it with me down the aisle.

I love crafts that are a bit slapdash and don't require specific, careful detail(which is why me a papercrafting will never be friends), so this was right up my street. I made enough flowers over the evenings on the run up to the wedding to use among real flowers in mine and my bridesmaids bouquets. Surprisingly fast (and addictive) to do. Every trinket is different, so it's all about working out how you're going to attach your wire. Then wrap green garden tape around each stem. Luckily, my florist took the flowers from me and incorporated them into my bouquet – so I didn't have to worry about that side of things. But it seems pretty simple, and now it's all dried, I might just take the trinket flowers and make them into a permanent posey.

[caption id="attachment_132" align="aligncenter" width="225"] Wind garden wire around your trinket…[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_131" align="aligncenter" width="244"] Lovely cluster of brooch flowers[/caption]

Friday, 23 November 2012

Yarn-wrapped letter

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When we featured Cranny + B's yarn-wrapped letter M in issue 20's Trends, I knew just had to have a go.

But before I got started, I had to purchase the Best Craft Gadget Ever So Far™ - a hot glue gun. I hadn't used one since year 6 design and tech but, screw that, I have yarn to wrap dagnammit!

Quite proud of how my first one turned out - Cranny's instructions are really clear and she made me feel rather confident (dare I say gung ho?) about tackling something that did seem a teeny bit daunting initially.

Yes, I think there might be a few of these personalised pressies given this year - look out our F&F! The fact that the Monty household is now a cobweb of strange stringy glue stuff, and the TV remote is attached to the cushion, is mere coincidence. Ahem.

Appliqué hearts

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As I've said before, my style of crafting has never been neat. Which is why I kick ass at applique – well, this a-seven-year-old-did-it-so-lets-pretend-it's-good style of applique anyway. Framed up, they'll work as nice little Christmas pressies (can you tell we're having a thrifty Christmas in the Monty household this year?) and obviously they work wonders for using up your scraps.

I am rather addicted to this sort of thing right now… and can see here and here and here

Thrifted finds

A few months ago some of the Mollie Makes girls went to one of the many vintage fairs that happen on our doorstep (would be rude not to right?). At first I was determined to be good, save my pennies and not buy anything… But as you'll see, that went totally out of the window…

[slideshow]

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Knitted bow take two: moss stitch

So I think we'll all agree that my first attempt at a knitted bow was a little… floppy? Yuh. OK, let's pretend we never saw that (and we'll quietly fume and blame the evil crochet anyway). While I'm a crocheter-in-training, let's continue with another knitted bow, this time modified a little and in moss stitch, for extra sturdiness. Much better… Also, apologies for my chipped nails. Promise to be fully mani'd next time. Ahem.

[caption id="attachment_97" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Knit, purl, knit, purl… etc[/caption]

I used aran yarn and size 6mm (UK 4, US 10) needles
Cast on 37 stitches (more if you want your bow to be wider, but this may make it floppier).
Row 1: Moss stitch (k1, p1) to end.
Row 2: Moss stitch (k1, p1) to end.
Continue for eight rows (again more if you want a bigger bow) then cast off, and sew in your ends. You should be left with a rectangle of moss stitch.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Moss stitched rectangle[/caption]

Create a loop and sew.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Looped…[/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="230"] Looped. Again…[/caption]

Now wind some yarn around the middle, pulling tightly to cinch in the bow. Knot at the back.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="225"] Yay, done! Easiest knitted bow ever[/caption]

Attach a hair clip (or brooch pin) and you're done :D



Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Appliqué cat

[caption id="attachment_85" align="aligncenter" width="604"] Mieow[/caption]

More appliqué, this time a cat – a rather pompous-looking cat at that. A pompuss… Sorry.

I tried to get the stitches around his feet to look like claws, and had great fun experimenting with various stitch tequniques (some I might have made up on my own, not sure) for his markings. Think a ginger one will work well in future too.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Knitted bow

[caption id="attachment_86" align="aligncenter" width="612"] Knitting - better than crochet, right?[/caption]

Time to dig out the needles (my trusted bamboo lovelies) for a swift knitted bow. Yes, it's floppy and would be much sturdier if crocheted – but I can't crochet **sad face** No matter how many times I've tried to teach myself, or others have sat patiently with me, or YouTube videos watched, I just can't seem to get my head around it. I think my main issue is that I can't see the stitches – not like I can with knitting anyway. Also it doesn't help that everyone who **can** crochet always comes out with the same, "Oh, but it's eeeeeeeasy," shenanigans. It's not feckin' easy, it's really really difficult, m'kay? I am giving crochet one last chance. We have a really cool cover project coming up – basically, if I can't learn to crochet with it, I'm never going to. It's do or die for you and me, Crochet – do or die!

So anyway. This knitted bow. Perfectly wondrous in its un-crochetedness, dammit.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Gathered by Mollie Makes




It's technically off-sale now – but then when is a digital magazine not on sale, huh? – but I totally should mention that one of my projects features in issue 4 of our sister magazine for iPad, Gathered by Mollie Makes. Utterly proud to be in there, as it's my first ever published project. Having worked on crafting magazines (on and off) since 2005, I've been dabbling, doing my own thang for a bit (as you'll see). All very slap dash and not really what you'd call conventional.


I've never been asked to do anything as far as freelancing goes – I'm not massively confident for one thing, and so I was rather thrilled to be asked to see if I could do some bow clips. Looked pretty simple to me, so I gave it a go and – tah dah! They're uber-simple and really effective.


As you can imagine, I'm a much more confident crafter now, so much so that you'll see a couple of my other projects coming up in Gathered soon.


Very proud to have this little tag:


Gathered by Mollie Makes



It's technically off-sale now – but then when is a digital magazine not on sale, huh? – but I totally should mention that one of my projects features in issue 4 of our sister magazine for iPad, Gathered by Mollie Makes. Utterly proud to be in there, as it's my first ever published project. Having worked on crafting magazines (on and off) since 2005, I've been dabbling, doing my own thang for a bit (as you'll see). All very slap dash and not really what you'd call conventional. 

I've never been asked to do anything as far as freelancing goes – I'm not massively confident for one thing, and so I was rather thrilled to be asked to see if I could do some bow clips. Looked pretty simple to me, so I gave it a go and – tah dah! They're uber-simple and really effective. 

As you can imagine, I'm a much more confident crafter now, so much so that you'll see a couple of my other projects coming up in Gathered soon. 

Very proud to have this little tag:


Friday, 16 November 2012



The last time I wore this jumper, I was bald.

You can read more about that little adventure over here. In the mean time, it's November 16th, which is historically Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Day – which has changed in recent years to Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. Somewhat unfortunately, it's November, and which charity do most people think of when they think of November? Movember, yup, exactly.

Hey ho, I'm sure there's room for all of us and all that. Today I wear this jumper that is deeply symbolic for me. It's been two years since the headshave and we have raised money far beyond our expectations. But we are almost at 8K and my OCD will twitch until we get there. So if you fancy dropping us a tenner, you can do so here.


The last time I wore this jumper, I was bald.

You can read more about that little adventure over here. In the mean time, it's November 16th, which is historically Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Day – which has changed in recent years to Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. Somewhat unfortunately, it's November, and which charity do most people think of when they think of November? Movember, yup, exactly.

Hey ho, I'm sure there's room for all of us and all that. Today I wear this jumper that is deeply symbolic for me. It's been two years since the headshave and we have raised money far beyond our expectations. But we are almost at 8K and my OCD will twitch until we get there. So if you fancy dropping us a tenner, you can do so here.

Etsy purples for Pancreatic Cancer











Etsy purples for Pancreatic Cancer