Category Archives: Review

LOLA LOVES GIVEAWAYS… WIN your ‘Queen of Crafts’ book now!

Queen of Crafts, by Jazz Domino Holly

Queen of Crafts, by Jazz Domino Holly

Win your hardback copy of ‘Queen of Crafts: The Modern Girls’ Guide to Knitting, Sewing, Quilting, Baking, Preserving & Kitchen Gardening’ 

RRP £16.99

This beautiful book for modern crafters teaches a number of crafting techniques from knitting to patch-working and kitchen gardening to preserving.

Illustrated with beautiful and inspiring photos, the book also gives you plenty of ideas and clear instructions for your own projects.  A knitted bow headband, peppermint foot scrub, or button-shaped biscuit, anyone?

Queen of Crafts is great for those new to a craft, wanting to recap, or needing some sweet inspiration.

Author, Jazz Domino Holly, is the daughter of the Clash’s Joe Strummer. She heads the Shoreditch Sister’s WI and has a craft column in Company magazine.

 For your chance to win, all you have to do is follow my blog and my Twitter account (LolaLovesCraft) and retweet by competition message (which is my last Tweet). Good Luck! x


Lola’s finding… Vintage storage solutions for embroidery threads

This isn’t a ‘make’ exactly, but I thought I’d share this idea with you because I’ve found it so useful. Lo and behold – vintage tins make great storage solutions for your sewing bits! I regularly sew during my long commute and as I’ve been too busy to make any kind of storage or sewing roll, I’ve just been throwing all of my craft ingredients into a plastic bag. Not good.

My solution? Vintage tobacco tins! I found these two in a local charity shop (admittedly it was on the first day of my pledge to stay away from said charity shops for a whole month. Naughty, eh?) These tins were very common in their heyday, so they pop up all over the place and I recommend keeping an eye out for them.

Vintage tobacco tins - great storage for your embroidery bits

Vintage tobacco tins – a travel kit for your embroidery bits!

Vintage tins - A perfect fit for your skeins

 A perfect fit for your skeins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not only are they very pretty but the larger is the perfect length for embroidery skeins. I have a few, some for tobacco, some for sweets, but the large ones are all the same length and width. There is also enough room for your essential scissors and needles.

They took a bit of cleaning and I lined them with tissue paper as the insides had become a little rusty, but at just £1 for the small and £3 for the large one, I think I’ll be heading to the charity shops more often!

 

 

 

 


Lola loves… her fabric luggage tag

Mollie Makes cowgirl luggage tag

Mollie Makes cowgirl luggage tag

Hey blogger peeps, just a quick post today to show you my most recent make, this luggage tag, which was courtesy of Mollie Makes magazine.

Oh, how I heart this fabric! You may not be able to see it too clearly but it features some great retro style cowgirls.

Both the instructions and the fabric came in the last issue of Mollie Makes. (Sorry guys, you will have to order online or run to the shop super quick to get yours as the latest issue is about to hit the shops).

I know, what’s the point in a luggage tag without your name and address in it? I need to finish that bit but I’m reluctant to cover the lovely fabric! I thought for a bit of extra fun, I might sew my details instead of writing them.

I’ll be travelling to Rome in September so I’ll have a to wait a whole month to use it properly but here’s my handbag modelling said item. Oh, she is such a show-off, is handbag! 

And here's the back of the luggage tag, check out the cowgirls!

And here’s the back of the luggage tag, check out the cowgirls!

Handbag just can't get enough of the camera, the lush!

Handbag just can’t get enough of the camera, the lush!


Lola loves… making easy table decorations

Glass jar tea light

Glass jar tea light

How’s this for a sweet table decoration? I love a cheap project and this one didn’t cost a thing!

 
I washed and reused an old coffee jar and tied on some cheap garden string I had lying around. I then cut a cute paper bag into a strip, cut out a heart and popped in a spare tea light.

This took all of five minutes but I think it looks great and may make some more for Christmas decorations. I love stags and raindeer so may go with those as a design.

I’ve seen it on Pinterest using a page from a book but newspaper or wrapping paper would also work well.


Lola loves… making felt roses

I promised you a picture of and ‘how to’ of these felt roses. I’m a day late (apologies), but here goes!

As I said in my last post, I got the ‘how to’ from Gertie’s Blog For better Sewing (are you super excited about her new book, out soon? I can’t wait to get my mitts on a copy!).

Felt roses, great for so many craft projects!

Felt roses, great for so many craft projects!

All you need to make these is a strip of felt and a needle and thread.

Have a look at Gertie’s instructions as they’re very clear. I found the trick to folding these is to bend the strip of felt down a 90 degrees angle before continuing to wrap it round.

It has to be said, Gertie’s are better but a) she is Gertie and b) this was a first attempt. I think the effect works much better when using a longer, wider strip, making larger roses. I’m sure I’ll soon post again having made larger roses to prove my point!

Once it’s been made and it’s time to sew it in place, I found that sticking in a few pins helped it keep together — essential if you’ve forgotten to thread your needle already! Gertie’s tip to ‘stab stitch’ is also great one I’ll use again.

I can see endless opportunities for these little pretties. I sewed these on to hair clips but I’ll make more to decorate a fascinator and can also see them being used to prettify presents.


Lola Loves… Making a reversible and detachable collar

I love weekends. I almost always manage to finish a project at the weekend, meaning I end up with a lovely new something without even having to venture to the shops! Last weekend it was this Peter Pan collar, which I made from a pattern in Mollie Makes (issue 15), you find the template here.

Reversible detachable collar - a quick and easy make!

Reversible detachable collar – a quick and easy make!

Reversible and detachable collars: A great way to jazz up and outfit

Reversible and detachable collars: A great way to jazz up and outfit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I found a fab pillowcase from a near-by charity shop for 50p, I love the subtle lace print on it and thought it was perfect for a collar.

I decided to back the collar in a contrasting colour, making it reversible. I chose dark grey felt to add a bit of substance and thickness, as well as an interesting texture.

I also added a number of pearlised and pale buttons to the felt to add a bit more interest.

I fastened it with a hook and eye fastener.

I’ve already worn it and already thought of  making another (a red and white polka dot one  to jazz-up my LBD, perhaps?)

They’re very quick and easy. Just mark, cut and pin the fabric (the template is in two pieces). Sew all but the shortest side, which is the join at the back. Turn inside out, sew the two pieces together at the join and add a fastener. The Mollie Makes version is sequined, which is more time-consuming, but fabulous.

So what next? This issue of Mollie Makes came with the instructions and material to make a retro luggage case, so guess what I’ll be doing come Sunday!


Lola loves… painting pottery

Have you ever tried painting your own pottery? I’ve noticed quite a few ‘paint your own’ places springing up across England and I can see why they’re a success. Not only is it very relaxing, it’s good for all ages and abilities.

I finally had a go during a trip to Birmingham where I was visiting a good friend of mine, Abi. We took her nine-year-old step-daughter, Orla, and honestly, I don’t know who enjoyed it most.

Coincidently, the place (All Fired Arts) is run by another friend of mine, Annie, who I know from living in Brum for a few years. It was great to see her doing something so fun and creative – although she has always been that kind of gal.

A painted Optimus, before he was fired and glossed

It can be a bit expensive (especially if you take little ones who are both enthusiastic and quick at painting!) I also wanted to paint everything – especially the cute cups and saucers and the ceramic slices of cake, but I opted for Optimus Prime for my fella because he says I never make him anything (he fibs).

The trick to this is to paint at least three layers and in fairness to the lovely ladies who work there, I was told! Somehow – with all the girl chat and concern that I was getting Optimus’ colours wrong (Mr. Lola is a bit of a geek so would certainly notice) – it took two hours just to do one thick coat. So, it’s a little patchy but I like that it doesn’t look shop bought.

The most painful thing is waiting for the thing to be fired and handed back – especially when you don’t live anywhere near the shop! But I now have him and he’s happy sitting next to the geek-porn books on our shelves. Here he is…

 

Optimus Prime in pottery and badly painted form!

Optimus Prime in pottery and badly painted form!


Lola Loves… A good old handmade wedding

There have been weddings galore within my circle of friends recently. We’re at the age that we’ve started, couple by couple, to realise we’re now adults and should grow up accordingly.

The latest wedding belonged to a couple I’ve already blogged about. They had a formal wedding earlier in the year (remember, I made this blanket for them?). This time they had a pagan wedding blessing festival for friends – and flipping amazing it was too. Here’s a pic of the lovely couple.

The happy couple at their crafty wedding

The happy couple at their crafty wedding

It was a very crafty affair. Claire, the brains and beauty behind the pretty vintage dress company, Prince Lilly, refashioned the bride’s dress into something even more stunning than it already was (the fur stole became a trim at the base of the dress and she added tiny handmade fabric roses and feather tufts).

Two other slices of genius in female form, Margarida and Elsbeth, made some of the most special cupcakes I’ve ever seen (my boyfriend got so excited about these that he stole a ‘midnight-snack stash’ and smuggled them to our room in a tea towel. Don’t worry, I told him off for it – before snaffling two in a row!).

The theme of the wedding was a suitable pagan ‘four elements’, so Margarita and Elsbeth made four types of cake, my faves were the carrot cupcakes, which were decorated with icing sugar foliage and bugs representing earth and chilli-chocolate cupcakes, adorned with fire-breathing dragons.

The bride spent hours making  amazing four elements masks, which everyone wore during the ceremony.

The fur stole was sewn onto the trim of the wedding dress to make a trail

The fur stole was sewn onto the trim of the wedding dress to make a trail

One of the amazing masks, which the Bride hand-crafted

One of the amazing masks, which the Bride hand-crafted

Two of the delicious homemade cupcakes

Two of the delicious homemade cupcakes

Obviously, I didn’t want to be left out of the craft fun. I did my bit during the day by styling the bride’s hair (why she let me, I still don’t know) but beforehand I made these crafty gifts. I gave the bride a dual-pendant necklace, the groom a pair of cufflinks, and each of them a keyring. They are really just a bit of fun and a memento of their first and official wedding, when they chose 80s comic book character, Lion-O, and Star Wars’ Princess Leia as wedding cake toppers.

The bride and groom's first wedding cake and toppers

The bride and groom’s first wedding cake and toppers

Crafty handmade cufflinks using polymer clay and resin

Crafty handmade cufflinks using polymer clay

Lion-O and Leia pendants made with polymer clay and resin

Lion-O and Leia pendants made with polymer clay and resin

Handmade and personalised keyrings made with polymer clay and resin

Handmade and personalised keyrings made with polymer clay and resin

Handmade gift boxes

Handmade gift boxes

Cross stitched personalised sampler wedding card

Cross stitched personalised sampler wedding card

I also handmade the card boxes using a template I found here. I secured it with a bit of garden sting and some oh-so-cute ribbon that was free on the cover of Mollie Makes (issue 15).  I also stitched a wedding sampler and made it into a wedding card

Tomorrow, I’ll post on the fascinator I made for the wedding day. And in the meantime, I’ll think of what to make for the wedding next month – any ideas?


Lola loves… Learning how to quilt a baby blanket

Here’s my first foray into quilt-making! It’s obviously a beginners’ job but I’m still pretty pleased with it. I made it for my little god-daughter, who is still tiny so thankfully I didn’t have to make it any larger! Still, I had a lot of fun doing it and I’m already thinking ‘king-size double’.

So, here’s how I did it….

I chose medium-weight plain pink organic cotton to embroider on and chose iron-on designs from Sublime Stitching: Hundreds of Hip Embroideries and How-to (a book I reviewed here), it has a lot of cute baby designs like the crib, rattle and stork I used.

I divided the pink fabric into six sections giving plenty of room for seam allowance. (I recommend not cutting the fabric before embroidering because it may not fit in your embroidery hoop!) I then ironed on the designs and started to embroider over them using as much variation in stitch types as I could muster, plus a bit of applique.

 

 

Once I’d embroidered all the designs I made a card frame two centimetres thick as a template.

I laid this on the fabric and marked round the inside and outside with chalk to create a cutting line and sewing line with 2 centimetres seam allowance.

I then did the same with two pieces of red and white checked fabric and with four pieces of patchwork print fabric, which added to the patch effect. I arranged the squares how I wanted them, pinned a row in place and machine-sewed them one row at a time.

Then, I sewed the rows together, turned them over and ironed the seams down flat. I then had my top sheet. (I made a major boo-boo here and placed the milk bottle and moon up-side down. I think I must have been a bit over-excited because I didn’t notice until I’d finished. I tell myself it means some are facing baby and mummy!)

I backed the top sheet with a natural, antimicrobial soya-cotton blend quilt wadding (a little wobbly as you’ll see) and trimmed it with pink checked ribbon. Then it was done!

The blanket went down a treat and will hopefully be a nice momento for mum, dad and baba. Picking something small was greater for an introduction to quilting but I’d love to get really good at this. So, if anyone out there has any tips or tricks please let me know!


Lola Loves… Rosie Music’s Shy Boy embroidery pattern

Yay! I love completing a project and am really happy that I’ve finished this Shy Boy embroidery pattern, which was designed by Rosie Music and is available at Sublime Stitching. The best bit is that I still have the matching ‘Shy Girl’ to complete (the ‘doing’ is just as fun as the ‘having done’).

I love this design – there’s something very quirky, modern and intriguing about it.

I tend to sew on my commute (though I do get a few stares) and this was a great commute project, which I completed in no time at all. All I used was simple back stitch, stem stitch and a few french knots.

 

 

In my haste to get it up on the wall, I decided not to iron it and convinced myself that the few wrinkles would drop out — so apologies for the slightly shabby state.

Next up I’ll try these Ryan Berkley designs (above) – I’m going for a ‘gallery’ wall of embroidered portraits. After that I’ll start on some ‘family portraits’ of the fella, myself and our cat.

I’ll also frame printed fabric in embroidery hoops and will start with this beauty by Melody Miller (Ruby Star Rising). Her fabric is gorgeous and I can’t wait to make a phone case and travel card wallet with the left overs!

 

 

 


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