Friday, 23 December 2011

A new Felted bag and good news on the Orla Kiely mugs

This is a bag I have been working on for many months. I lost interest in it and then suddenly got going and it's almost done. I just have to make the handles and an inside pocket.

This is before felting in the washing machine

Front view

I needle felted some small flowers onto the back, just to give it a different detail to the front.

I bought some felting wool in a colour that is quite close to the deep aqua to make the handles with. You can see a little chain of it I tried out next to the needle felted flower.   I should have it finished in the New Year.

Orla Kiely mugs update

I am delighted to report that my mugs have been replaced (see my allotment blog for full details)  and that apparently the company that make the mugs for Orla Kiely had a batch that weren't glazed properly, so I guess mine were from that batch.  That makes sense of the fact that the latest one bought from John Lewis recently hasn't stained at all, but the ones bought earlier in the year elsewhere had. The mug company were so generous as I got more than I already had replaced.  Fantastic customer service ! I am so pleased.


Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Does anyone have a problem with Orla Kiely mugs?

This is a copy of the post from my Allotment blog as I know some readers only see this blog, so I wanted to put it here too, apologies to anyone that reads the other blog and sees this again.

I have just e-mailed Orla Kiely customer services as I can't be the only one who has a problem with their beautiful and very expensive mugs ! the problem is the quality of the bone china mugs they use. Let me explain ! they stain so badly and even the dishwasher doesn't move the stains. I have resorted to using a kitchen spray that has added bleach, which I know wont be doing any good whatsoever to the long term life of the mugs, but I'm desperate. I have even used a teapot rather than putting the teabag directly in the mugs, but that didn't work either.

I have other bone china mugs that cost half the price and they never stain, so this is very annoying especially as they cost £8.50 each. What an expensive mistake !! I realise that you pay for the design, but I expect quality as well for that money !! OK moan over, and I am waiting for their reply. In the meantime does anyone else have these mugs ?? and do you have the same problem.

I feel better now I've aired that !  If we don't complain about these things to companies they get away with rubbish goods ! and we mugs ( pun intended) pay the price !

M x

Friday, 11 November 2011

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Last few days to enter the book giveaway

We now have 17 names down for the giveaway, so I thought that seeing as I did say that as soon as I have enough interest that I'd do the draw. So I am going to get a friend to pick a name on Friday and the winner will be announced on Friday evening. So you still have a few more days to leave your comment.

Visit my allotment blog to enter your comment and link

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

A fantastic book giveway

I am doing a giveaway for a beautiful and very different Cookery book, so if you like cooking and photography (the book has some lovely photographs) please visit my Allotment blog for all the details. here is the link.

and if you decide to enter Good Luck !

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

New Bag and I'm now Taking orders

Here is the latest bag. What do you think of the colour ? If anyone is interested I have now decided to take orders for the bags. I love making them, but have decided that four bags is quite enough for me to own, so I may as well sell them (hopefully). The only downside is that they are expensive to make  and of course as I have to knit them and then felt them in the wash it's time consuming as any knitter/craftsperson knows. So I have to charge for my time as well as making costs. If anyone is interested please let me know and I will reveal the cost.

This is a new detail that I have added on the back of the bags. I have needle felted a small flower onto the actual bag, whereas on the front the flowers are on brooch pins so can be removed.

All the bags now have a roomy and fairly deep inside pocket, to take a mobile phone keys etc.

I really like this colour and have another gorgeous colour ready to start the next bag. It's in yummy lime, aqua and browns.
Here is a reminder of the last three bags. Varied sizes and all Very individual. These are made from my own pattern, so are really different.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

A recipe to die for ( if you like your puddings sweet !!)

At last I got to use my new pie dish but for a very sweet and tasty pudding. I got the recipe from 'Country Living' magazine they have some good recipes in there which I am always cutting out and keeping, although not always trying ! anyway this one is called  'Raspberry Shortbread' and is extracted from a book called 'At Elizabeth's Table' by Elizabeth David ( and no I'm not reviewing it sadly ! as it sounds good)
Here is the dish just out of the oven

I wondered why it was called 'Raspberry Shortbread' as apart from a few different ingredients it seemed just like any old crumble recipe. However when I tasted it, sure enough it has a shortbready taste and is sooo delicious especially with custard.


YUMMY  !! I expect you'd like the recipe ? so here it is

Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking: 25 mins
Serves 4 
* 500g raspberries  ( I used frozen from my freezer, home grown of course !)
* a little white sugar   ( my sugar is organic unbleached granulated , so not white ! I used about a     dessertspoonful)
* 60g butter
* 175g flour
* 120g muscovado sugar ( which I didn't have so I used Dark brown soft sugar which I guess is similar)
* half teaspoon ground ginger
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
1) Put the raspberries into a fairly large, shallow pie dish and sprinkle with white sugar. Cut the butter into small pieces and crumble it with the flour until thoroughly blended ( funny description! my version is rub together to resemble fine breadcrumbs !).
2) Add the muscovado sugar, ginger, and baking powder, mix thoroughly. Spread the mixture over the raspberries and smooth it out evenly, do not press down.
3) Bake in the centre of a medium oven at 180 C (160 C fan oven) gas mark 4 and bake for 25 mins.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

CSN Stores UK - Review

I have received the items I chose to review from CSN Stores UK and now I will give you my honest opinion of their online shopping experience.

First of all I would like to say that from ordering to delivery was a couple of days. I ordered on the 16th of March and had both of my goods delivered by the 18th March, so very speedy and ordering online was easy and they take all manner of credit/debit cards and even PayPal, so very straight forward.

CSN state that they are the cheapest online, so I shopped around and sure enough they were for the items I chose, even cheaper than Amazon and John Lewis.
Here are the two Items I chose:

A beautiful 'Raymond Blanc' by Anolon, top range, saute pan and it's just beautiful and so lovely to use.

The second item I chose is a French ' Emile Henry' Pie dish. I have always meant to buy a proper pie dish and this one is so lovely and will be well used.

I did look at all the Saucepan Sets in the store, but decide on the saute pan as it's something I probably wouldn't have bought for myself if I wasn't doing the Review for CSN, so a big thank you to them.

My honest opinion then is that I would shop with them again and would definitely recommend them to family and friends. They have a vast amount of goods ranging from an egg whisk to large items of furniture not all cheap, but definately competitive on prices and lot's of unusual things.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

CSN Stores UK

CSN Stores UK

I have been looking at a shopping site called CSN Stores UK, you may have heard of it as I know other bloggers who have reviewed their products. Seeing as I have two wedding to attend this year one being in Italy, YEAH !! this shopping site is an Aladdin's cave of wonderful gift ideas to suit all pockets and tastes. Their cookware and especially the selection of  Saucepans are fantastic. So not only have I been looking for wedding presents, but I am going to review something for them from the store, which I will blog about soon.

If your looking to treat yourself or have a special present to buy take a look at their website.

Apart from browsing the CSN store I have also started on another bag YES !! another bag !! this time in lovely shades of pink, blues, and ?? not sure really I will have to see how it knits up.  I am going to sell them, I have decided , as I have already been asked if I do by a couple of people whilst out and about with mine

I hope you are all having a good week and lots of crafting done.
M x

Friday, 4 March 2011

Bag number Three finished at last

I have finished the third bag and I have to say I like this one the best. I crocheted and felted the handles and even managed to crochet, felt and sew in an inside pocket for my mobile phone.
I don't think I should make any more for a while as it's costing me too much. Trouble is I've seen a gorgeous new colour that has just come into the shop, it's shades of cerise, turquoise, blues and lilacs really lovely.  Anyway here is the finished bag.  I promise not to bore you any more with bags for a while.

I think it's time I finished my crocheted cushion cover.  The colours aren't great in these pics as I took them in a bad light this evening, plus I hadn't sewn the handles and button loop on (I have now) so excuse the pin's that are visable.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Bag number three !! I am well and truly addicted.

Here is the finished (well knitted stage anyway) of bag number three.  I made it the biggest so far, but it has now been felted and it isn't as big as I wanted it to be, so back to the drawing board and re-access my pattern which incidentally has been made up out of my head. The colours here have felted together to make a more subtle shade and I was disappointed that the bands of green in the main body aren't as outstanding as when I was knitting it up. But having said that it looks fab. I will show the results in my next post as I am crocheting the handles this time (again no pattern and made up as I go along !!! silly me )

Friday, 25 February 2011

Bag number Two

I have just completed bag number two which is going to be a present for my daughters Birthday. Here it is almost finished and ready to felt.  I did a contrasting deep green top and the bottom is the same colour. It's also a bit bigger than my first bag.

Sown up and felted :
This time I washed it on a 40 degrees cotton wash as it has more agitation and throws the bag around enough to felt it properly first time and it actually came out thicker than my first bag. Spin speed was set to 400.

Handles on and button and loop sown on. I haven't decided whether or not to line it with some pretty cotton purple dotty fabric which goes very well with the colour of the bag.

I needle felted the flower to go on the bag and put a brooch pin at the back so it can come off  if the bag needs washing, or perhaps be moved to another part of the bag or even left off is desired.

I am now starting on another one in lovely shades of rust, greens, and lilacs.  I intend making it larger and perhaps different handles, maybe thick felted ones which will be cheaper than the plaited ones.

 I am loving making the bags and think I will have to start selling them as I can't keep them all.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Ta Da ... The Finished Bag

Well here it is all finished and I have to say i am pleased with it and have already started another.
I may well line it later on with some cotton fabric to preserve the inside and also so I can have some pockets for my mobile and keys.  If I do decide to line it I will post a photo.
SO FROM THIS   :-------- TO .........

TO THIS :--------

I have my Orla Kiely bag at last!  our local Tesco has been made larger and is now an amazing Tesco Extra store and has just had a delivery of the fabulous bags YEAH !!!!! I love it

Monday, 14 February 2011

Knit and Felt Bag - second stage

I have completed the body of my bag and felted it in the washing machine. As I have never done this before I wasn't sure what cycle to use, I knew I had to wash it at 40 degrees and use a low spin speed (I used the 400) so I popped it in the wash with a minuscule amount of liquid soap (for colours) and off it went. I had used the wool wash but that was because Fiona (who owns the wool shop) said not a cotton one as it would get thrown around too much. However I now think that the cotton wash at 40degrees would have been better, as I had to do the same wash 3 times over to get the bag to felt as I wanted it.

I am delighted with the end result and it it now drying slowly (don't tumble dry) with baked bean cans in a plastic bag (so the labels don't get soggy and fall off) this is to keep the bottom gusset shape whilst it dries.

The felt is lovely and thick and firm, but I think I will line it with a lovely fabric so that I can make some little handy pockets. And of course I have yet to decide on my fastening and Handles.  Maybe a beautiful BIG button, they have some fab ones in the wool shop, or other possibility is a felted bobble button.  It could have plaited leather short handles (they sell those for around £6) or a long crocheted and felted strap. So decisions yet to be made for the end completion. I will post photo's when I finish it completely.

My needle felted flower is a perfect match. I just pinned it on to see how it looks so that might not be the place it ends up in.   I am so happy with this method of felting and I know I'll be making more bags in the other fabulous colours the shop sell.  Because I didn't have a pattern I wrote down everything I did as I went along to keep for next time.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

I have the Felting bug ! knit and Felt first attempt

I am well and truly addicted to this Felting lark. So far Ive tried wet felting and love it, then in the last week or so I'Ve dabbled with needle felting.  Now I'm trying knit and felt.  So far I am half way through the knitting of a bag, when it's finished and sewn up I then have to machine wash it at 40  degrees and it will come out smaller and felted !!!  WELL that's the plan anyway, so here is the plan so far. Wish me luck.

First I bought this very yummy pure wool, especially for felting. The colours in stock are so lovely I wanted them all.  I am knitting it with size 6 needles and using garter stitch.  When it's felted the stitches wont show so it's not really worth doing a fancy pattern. Speaking of patterns !! I did my usual thing of being impatient to get going. I have no pattern and don't even know how many stitches I have on the needle ( must count them tomorrow) I just thought that taking away the 3rd shrinkage it look enough. Oh I am such a risk taker ha ha. I may not be laughing if  it doesn't all go to plan !! and it will be an expensive mistake it all goes pear shaped as the wool is £4.20 a ball.

Above is the latest larger needle felted flower I made. I hadn't seen or bought the wool before I made it, so it's amazing that it's a perfect shade for the intended bag.

I will post a photo of the finished bag when it's finished.
So fingers crossed.