Hope & Gloria - Sewing Inspiration for Children

Hope & Gloria - Sewing Inspiration for Children
Happy Mother's Day UK

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Last Minute Christmas Makes

We had a lovely Christmas full of family visits, food  and fun. I hope yours' was too.

In the hectic run up to Christmas I didn't have time to share my final last minute makes which formed part of our Christmas celebrations, so I thought I'd post about them now rather than leave them to the run up to Christmas 2016!

Christmas jumpers were massive this year. There were loads to choose from in the shops. We had a pre-Christmas family get-together at our house with my Mum, sisters and their families and the dress code was Christmas Jumpers and everyone looked fabulously festive. In the UK this year 18th December was official Christmas Jumper day to tie-in with the Text Santa TV charity fundraiser. So inspired by all of the above I made a set of three embroidery hoops featuring my own designs for Christmas jumpers.

A Cute Snowman

A Delicious Christmas Pud

A Nordic Inspired Stocking

Each of the hoops were embroidered with the lyrics to that old favourite festive song "Let It Snow!" - if only it had this Christmas... 

They are currently hanging on the walls of the hallway by the boys rooms and add a lovely splash of festive cheer. Embroidered hoops are definitely on my list of favourite sewing projects and are top of my list for next year's handmade Christmas decorations.

Taking a momentary departure from sewing and knitting I found myself in a pottery painting studio in the week before Christmas. This year I took the Hope & Gloria Team to Genevieve's Gallery in Englefield Green for our Christmas get-together. I have to admit to feeling slightly nervous about creating with paint and brushes instead of a needle and thread, but we had the loveliest morning and it was brilliant to try a new creative craft.

The staff at Genevieve's were brilliant and gave much appreciated helpful guidance, tips and hints. Lots of lovely creations were made whilst having a good old natter with a coffee and mince pie. I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone looking to take a break from the chaos that is the run up to Christmas.

My Happy Holly Plate!

I chose to make a serving plate and added a holly design. It is amazing how quickly a two hour workshop can fly by and I was relieved to get it finished in this time ready to be fired.

When I collected the plate a few days later I was delighted with the results. Here it is along with the Christmas cake we made as a family. There's still plenty of cake left and I am looking forward to polishing it off with friends at our New Year's Eve party tonight!

Happy New Year Everyone!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Wonderful Woolly Christmas

 This year I have seriously re-ignited my passion for knitting. I first picked up my knitting needles in February following a long long break. We launched our first knitting club after Easter, so I began working on simple projects for this.

It really didn't take very long for the knitting bug to take over and I have been knitting ever since amongst the many sewing projects I have worked on this year.

Knitting is great because it is so portable. It's really easy to sit and knit whilst watching television of an evening and this is when most of my knitted projects take shape as most of my daytime is spent designing sewing projects or running the business/family.

I have had tonnes of fun in the run up to Christmas making decorations to sell at our charity knit and natter event. Our whole family fell in love with the knitted decorations and couldn't help feeling slightly sad as they were sold to make money for The Big Issue Foundation, so since the end of November I have been in a knitting frenzy to make more knitted creations for our home.

Here are some of the decorations that I have made over the past month. If you fancy making some, I'd recommend an online search as there are plenty of free Christmas patterns to be found. My decorations are now hanging on a white twig tree in my workroom. They look super-cute and I can't wait to make more of them next year!

A cute little tree!


Boots For An Elf

Christmas Pud

Mittens For Santa - He'll need them tonight!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Super Santas! - Sewing Club Festive Makes Christmas 2016

The Christmas Half Term is always one of my favourite's at Hope & Gloria Sewing Clubs. You can feel the excitement grow as we reach the end of term and everyone - sewing club leaders and club members alike look forward to the big day.

This half term has been a fabulous one. With my Santa designs the challenge set for our lovely club members was to sew decorative and small, neat stitches in order to successfully complete their projects. As always our amazing club members rose to the challenge brilliantly working hard to make their stitches as neat as possible and to bravely learn new sewing techniques to give a decorative feel to their Santas.

The results were brilliant across all of the clubs - it's worth mentioning that many of our club members are in year 3 and are therefore new to sewing. So their first Christmas projects are very special indeed.

It's time to wish all of our club members the Very Merriest Christmas and say a huge "Well Done" for all of their brilliant work this half term.

Here are some of the fabulous Super-Santas in the Ho! Ho! Hope & Gloria Festive Gallery....

Crowthorne Primary

Holy Trinity, West End

Oaklands Junior School

St Ann's Heath

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Decking The Walls....

Wow! What a busy few weeks it's been.

I can't believe it's only ten days until Christmas and I am in a major panic about last minute present shopping as well as food shopping, wrapping presents and so on and so forth like everyone at this time of the year.

As usual in November/December I have had to severely curtail my plans for Christmas makes, both in terms of making gifts and also decorations for our home. This year my note to self is to begin making for Christmas in September (at least),  if I want everything to come together as planned and for now many if my Christmas project ideas will remain as ideas for the foreseeable future. 

However, this fabric wall hanging is one project that I can proudly tick of my list and is now adorning the wall in our hallway.

Back in the Summer I made this quilted cushion to exhibit at the Egham and Chertsey Shows.

I loved the fabric and held on to the few leftover pieces in case they came in handy for future projects. My Christmas Tree wall-hanging was inspired by one that I saw on the front cover of issue 37 of Homemaker Magazine and as soon as I saw it I knew that this was the perfect project to put my cushion leftovers to use. 

There was just enough fabric left to make the required twenty eight padded triangles and I was relieved to find just enough red buttons in my mix and match button box to sew them all together. 

The star on the top was from a set of Nordic wooden buttons that I bought last year that I was delighted to find in the bottom of a drawer - I knew they would come in handy one day!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Knitting & Nattering

As well as getting our Christmas Sewing Club projects under way, over the past two weeks my thoughts have turned once again to another of my passions - knitting. This time with a good cause in mind.

Tomorrow will see the first ever Hope & Gloria Charity Coffee Morning where the Hope & Gloria Team and I will be raising money to support The Big Issue Foundation's Annual Knitathon which runs every November.

The Big Issue Foundation is a brilliant and inspiring UK charity that works tirelessly to help homeless people off the streets and back in to the workplace thus empowering them and leading to a complete change of life. I feel very proud to be supporting this brilliant charity.

Tomorrow morning along with Clare and Allison from the Hope & Gloria Team, I'll be offering beginners and improvers one hour knitting lessons in return for a £3 donation. We'll also be selling refreshments and knitted gifts plus a raffle.

As it's the first event of its kind that we have run, we have no idea how it will go but we are all keeping our fingers crossed for a good turnout. Either way, it has been lots of fun making knitted decorations and accessories to sell - here are just a few of them....

If you happen to be in the SL5 area in the morning we'd love you to join us for a cuppa and a celebration of all things woolly!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Knitted Halloween Part 2!

I can't decide if these knitted eyeballs are cute or creepy, but they definitely make a fun Halloween decoration when you put a few of them in a jar. They are incredibly quick and easy to make - here's the simple pattern if you fancy making a few to decorate the house at Halloween.

Using 4mm needles and DK white yarn cast on 8 stitches

Row1: purl

Row2: (kfb,k1) x 4 12sts

Row3: p

Row4: (kfb,k1) x6 18sts

Row5: p

Row6: (kfb, k2) x 6 24sts

Row7: p

Row8: k

Row 9: p

Row10: k

Row11: p

Row12: (K2tog, k2) x6 18sts

Row13: p

Row14: (K2tog, k1) x6 12sts

Cut the yarn leaving a long tail. Thread large needle with yarn and using the needle pull the yarn back through the remaining stitches. Pull tight to gather and secure with a knot. Do not cut the yarn as you will use it to sew up the edges of the eyeball.

Decorate the front of your eyeball. I used two buttons but you could also use coloured yarn or thread to embroider an iris and pupil.

Using the yarn tail that you have left, sew along the straight edges of the eyeball. Next sew small running stitches around the top edge and pull to gather. Secure with a knot and cut the yarn.

Your frightfully cool knitted decoration is now complete. Time to make another one before 31st October!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Sewing Club Gallery - Autumn 2015

I love it when we reach the end of the half term and all of our school sewing club projects are completed and ready to be taken home by our smiling sewing club members!

This half term all of Team H&G have been delighted with the results of our creature cushion projects. Both beginners and experienced sewing enthusiasts alike have produced beautiful cushions which should take pride of place in the home.

An enormous well done to everyone who has joined us this half term - you have been amazing and we look forward to seeing you again next half term. Here are some of the lovely cushions that have been created by our talented club members...

The Royal School, Windsor

St Ann's Heath

Knitted Halloween!

I love the folklore behind our traditions and having recently bought our pumpkins to carve in to Jack O' Lanterns and place on the porch for Halloween I have been wondering where the tradition comes from.

The story of Jack O' Lantern is found in many cultures and basically involves a no good character called Jack who tries to trick the devil in to not taking his soul. The devil agrees and when Jack eventually dies he is not taken to hell. However, as he doesn't have a good Christian soul, he cannot go to heaven and his spirit is doomed to wander the earth. When he asks the devil how he will see where he is going the devil tosses him a burning ember from the depths of hell. Jack carves out a turnip and places the burning ember inside, Voila! The first Jack O'Lantern is made!

In the UK we often assume that the tradition of the Jack O' Lantern reached our shore from the US. However, turnips and gourds were carved in to grotesque faces/masks in the UK in the 19th century where they were believed to ward off evil spirits during the celtic festival of Samhain which fell at the same time of the year as our Halloween.

This year I have adopted a more woolly approach to Halloween and have made these super cute knitted pumpkins. They are made following exactly the same pattern as the fabric pumpkins in the tutorial I shared last October.

Click here to go to the tutorial.

To make this year's design you will need to knit your fabric in a fun shade of orange first. I used double knit wool and 4mm needles. They are incredibly easy to make and the knitted texture looks fab. I've only had time to make a couple using garter stitch but they would look brilliant made from a rib knit, or moss stitch. You could also embroider a Jack O' Lantern face on the front using black wool.

With just six days to go there's still time to make a few before All Hallows Eve - Happy Knitting!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Terrific Toadstool Pin Cushions

These cute toadstool pin cushions have been a huge hit with our sewing club members this half term and have certainly encouraged them to keep their pins neat and tidy which is great news. T

They are a quick and easy seasonal make and ideal for using up scraps of fabric. Here's how to make them:

You will need:

1 large circle of felt (12cm in diameter), 1 smaller circle of white felt, small circles of white felt to decorate.

Step one: 

Decorate the red circle. For this toadstool I used small circles of white felt but you could also sew on buttons to give the same "spotty" effect.

Step two:

Sew small running stitches all around the outside edge of the white circle but do not finish off with a knot.

Step three:

Pull the thread so that the felt gathers in to a ball shape.

Step four:

Pack with stuffing and secure with a finishing knot. You can also sew a few stitches around the edge to make sure it doesn't come undone.

Step five: 

Repeat the same process with the red felt circle.

Finally,  place the white ball under the red one with the two open edges facing. Using an overstitch sew the two balls together securely.

Your pin cushion is now complete and ready to use - hooray!

They also look fabulous as hanging Christmas decorations. Just sew a loop of thread through the top and they will add  a fun, kitsch touch to your tree during the festive season - not long to go now....!