Monday, 27 December 2010

End Of Year Blog

Well the end of 2010 is now approaching and time to reflect on the year and look forward to new challenges for the New Year.
I started the year with hopes and dreams of opening a shop with my friend and end it with that dream gone but replaced with dreams of new ventures but on a smaller scale.
The best thing i did at the beginning of the year was to sign up to the uk craft forum. Through that site over the past year i have learnt so much, passed on advice, attended new craft fairs and above all met some lovely new friends.
During the final month of the year i have been busy experimenting in some new fields of sewing.
My cousin asked me to make some draught excluders for her house. Not something i have made before although not something that is really difficult. She was really pleased with them and has asked if i will make her a bench cushion in the New Year.
Material was purchased from my favourite shop The Bramble Patch.

My favourite challenge for the month was to create a secret santa present for Silverthistle from the craft forum. I didn't manage to find out too much personal information about her other than 4 kids and living in Scotland and loves beads!!
So i put together this gingerbread man garland representing her and her husband in tartan clothes and their 4 children. I was chuffed with the final results especially with the red beads inbetween as they were my 1st experiment with fimo clay.

Stocking fillers were high on my list of makes this month also and i am really pleased with these pen/pencil cases i designed. They are so handy in your handbag and no more routing around in the bottom of your bag for a pen!
I am enjoying the idea of puting different patterned material together at the moment.
I will also be able to personalise these in the future as i seem to have mastered lettering on my sewing machine as you will discover further down the page.

Was rather choked when i opened my own secret santa present on christmas day from Samigail (alias Fiona) on the craft forum. She had taken the time to read my blog and make 3 presents representing my recent decorating of the bathroom, my love of teddies and the fact that i cook for a living.
So personal and will definately be hung with pride.
You can find more plaques on fionas website here .

And finally another twist on gingerbread men for this year.
As you know i work as a cook and for the week before christmas we have a 3 course christmas menu and usually serve around 350 customers. It's always the hardest week of the year so for a laugh this year i made the 10 main staff badges with nicknames.
I am so pleased i have now mastered lettering on my machine and it's definately a new direction for next year with many ideas for personalising my crafts.

So there we are, the end of yet another year.
Looking forward to next year with many new ventures and dreams to explore.
Happy New Year to you all and see you in 2011 xx

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

A Successful Event At Sywell

Last weekend saw the start of our 3 big christmas events that we have booked for this year.
This one was run by Penine Fairs and was at Sywell Aerodrome and was a 2 day event.
As usual it was well set up and it was lovely to meet up with lots of members of the craft forum that i am an active member of.
We did really well over the weekend and sold lots of the £3 items that i had made which i was pleased about. Unfortunately my new gingerbread men and ladies didnt do well but i have now listed on my folksy site so maybe i'll have better luck there. If you fancy having any of these lovely gingerbreads hanging on your tree this year then you can buy them here from my folksy shop.
My favourite item at this weekends craft fair were these wine bottle cheese boards
made by Aldridge Architectural Glass .
Unfortunately i had no one to buy this for as a christmas present but i did think they were brilliant and quite unique.
It was a real priviledge also this week to be opposite Cuckoo's Nest Pottery. Kate, from Cuckoos Nest, is another member of the UK craft forum and it was lovely to meet her and chat with her.
I also bought some toadstools off her for a christmas present.

Kate demonstrates at fairs and below are some of her pieces that she was working on.
She also runs her own handmade fairs in the Leicester area and i'm looking into booking with her next year.

A lovely weekend both socially and financially.
Until next time.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Fabric Flower Brooch

I am still using up all my material scraps and, this week, was asked by a lady at work if i could make her a fabric flower brooch for her new pink coat. She gave me one of the spare buttons so i could match colours but unfortuntely none of my scraps were the right colour. What a lovely excuse for a trip to my favourite fabric shop!!
If you have never been to The Bramble Patch in Weedon, Northants it's well worth a visit. For me it's one of those shops that i could stand in the middle of and drift off into my dreams, i love it. They also do many quilting classes in the rear of the building and the staff are so helpful.
So finally i picked 2 fat quarters of material that would match my button. And 2 totally extremes of design i think as well. The flowers look classy whilst the dots are a bit more mad and adventurous.
So i got to work as soon as i got home. If you recall ,from one of my earlier posts in the year, the tutorial for this brooch can be found on folksy tutorial page
and is really quite a simple but effective make.
Below are the final products and she decided to keep both. They match the coat colour well.

Until next time xx

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Holidays, Hikes And Makes

It is half term this week and, for a change, i have had 5 days holiday from work and have had my sister and nieces staying with me.
On Sunday we chose to go walking and picked a walk out of my "Country Walks In The Rugby Area" by Jim Watson. This is the 1st walk i have attempted from this book so was interested to know how good the directions would be and how easy they were to follow.
Our walk was entitled Braunston, Sawbridge and Wolfhampcote and was 4.5miles long.
We started from "The Boathouse" in Braunston and along the canal before treking across
many fields and seeing many different animals, much to the kids delight.
The photo below is the view half way round as we walked down a bridleway. As well as all the animals we came across we also collected berries and conkers. And below is a photo of a mushroom we came across that i found fascinating. We did try and research it when we got home to see if edible but to no avail. The photo came out well tho i think!
Today my family are returning home but, before they left, my niece begged me for one of my new butterflies. Unfortunately her favourite colour is pink and i havent as yet made pink yet so we sat together and went thru my scraps and put her own unique one together for her to wear with pride!


Monday, 18 October 2010

Creative Material Scraps

Dreamstar havent done many craft fairs this year but now the christmas season is approaching we have 3 big events booked so i'm now trying to think of some new ideas to add to our stock. I've always said we need some cheaper items, pocket money items, as some call it.
Whilst trying to think of ideas last week i realised just how much scrap material i have accumulated over the past couple of years. So i had a good look through my craft box and as well as all my cotton fabric i found a huge pile of felt and bags of keyrings, key fobs, and brooch clasps. The latter items were in sealed bags, i think they must have been there years.
So i had a look around the net, through books and a bit of people watching to see what was fashion nowadays and here is what i come up with.
All of them were easy and quick to make and i'm looking forward to seeing if they are a hit at the christmas fairs.
And for those people who need their needles keeping safe here are some lovely needle cases.


Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Bathroom ReVamp

As you know i moved house recently and it has taken me a while to settle in. It is a rented house so there is only so much i can do to the property but i really want it to feel like home.
So i decided, at the weekend, to begin to put my mark on things and i have begun with the bathroom.
As you can see from the 1st photo it was painted with a dark terracotta paint which made the room look small and dark. The curtain, kindly put up by the owner, was made from an old bedspread and looked like an old rag hanging at the window!
So where did i start? Well on a trip to Ikea last week i looked in the bargain basement and found this roman blind that was reduced due to ripped packaging. A bargain at £4.70! It was far too long but was easy to cut down and re hem.

And from under the bed i searched out this beach hut print that i bought in Cornwall during the summer.

The print wasnt framed so i looked at the local car boot for inspiration and i found this picture for 50p! I removed the picture from inside, found some dark green paint in my craft box and set to painting the wooden frame.

While the paint was drying i sought out some various green material scraps from my craft box and cut out some beach hut shapes and stuck them along the top of my blind

All the prep work done and i spent Sunday painting the bathroom with a lovely pale green paint . Once again a bargain as my friend had given me a half tin that she had left over from painting her sons room.
After 3 coats the wall was finally ready to hang my lovely new picture.

And finally my lovely beach hut blind, and on the windowsill a lovely candle and pebbles on a plate which i found in a charity shop for 99p!

I love it!

Monday, 13 September 2010

Finally I'm Back!

Well, as the title says, I'm back! It feels like forever since i have blogged and i have missed my normal daily routines of life but unfortunately life has had to come before craft and the computer for a while, but not any more!
Since i have been away i seem to have gained a few new faces following my blog so can i say a big thank you for joining me and WELCOME to Dreamstar Diary.
So what has kept me away from the computer?
First i moved into a bigger house so my boys could have their own rooms finally and we could all have just a little more space!
It's only a rented house but there is a lot to do to make it feel home.
This is the slightly over grown garden.

And this is the house from the front. Grubby nets still to be removed from the windows!

After moving house we went on holiday to Devon and Cornwall. Always active on our holidays. Here are the boys in a massive hole they dug on the beach. They were the envy of all the other children on the beach!

And here is my partner and I desperately trying to canoe and failing miserably!

My boys and I!

After returning home and to work for 3days i got a call to say an old family member that i hadn't seen for 20years had been diagnosed with cancer and i was so distraught i flew straight out to Las Palmas, where he lives,to see him. The 3 days i spent with him i will treasure always.

The rest of the summer was spent working extra hours at work to cover staff holidays and by the time the boys returned to school i was exhausted!

But then it was time to plan my youngest son's birthday. A teenager at last. I found the candles in a shop in Las Palmas and had to buy them as i haven't seen them in England. And the sparklers made the cake just a little more special.

And after all that it is time to return to normal life hopefully.
I have missed my crafts and hoping to get back to the work bench very soon with, hopefully, some new ideas for christmas.
Even though i haven't managed to create anything new myself can i just finish this post with a beautiful hanging plaque that i have received from Wendy at 1st
Unique Gifts
this week.
It was for my boyfriends daughters birthday as she loved seeing the campervans on our holiday.
Wendy added a few flowers on her normal campervan design, at my request
so that the plaque looked more hippyish.

And just a final note to say Olivia absolutely loved it when we gave it to her yesterday and you can order your own personalised plaques through the 1st Unique Gifts website.
And tell Wendy that Dreamstar sent you!!
Until Next time xx

Monday, 14 June 2010

A Busy Weekend

Only 3 weeks to go til we move house. What an exciting but busy time at the moment. Tonight i have painted all the skirting on the stairs only to find we have no turps in the house to clean my brush! Total frustration!
So i am now on a break before bed and thought i would just catch up on some diary notes.
This weekend ,on Saturday ,Dreamstar had a stall at a community fundraiser event at Daventry College. It was a lovely day weather wise with plenty of activities going on in and around the college campus. We were in a marquee on the field and was pleasantly suprised to be positioned next to Charlotte Hupfield Ceramics who i met through the craft forum a while ago and have often seen at various events in the county the past year.
It was a slow start to the day. Unfortunately at these events you tend to get people just browsing, just for something to do. As the afternoon events got going we were fortunate enough to make a few sales so our day wasnt totally wasted. Our table was free which was a bonus although i did receive a phonecall today from the organiser asking for a donation. A weird way of doing things i have to say!
On Sunday it was a great pleasure (and pain!) to once again take part in the Rugby & Coventry 10mile bikeathon in aid of leukaemia and lymphoma research. For my boys and i this is the 3rd year running that we have taken part, my boyfriend has done a couple more. There are 3 rides on the day and over 1000 entrants. You can either participate in 50, 26 or 10 mile ride and at the end there is a well deserved pig roast for all entrants. We are still at the 10 mile stage as we have a 10 year old in our party but my hope in the next couple of years is to attempt 26miles which for me would be a massive achievement. The ride takes you through all the country villages and on a day like Sunday it was an enjoyable family day out.
The photo below shows us with our medals at the finishing line an hour and a half after we started. According to the Coventry Telegraph organisers expect to raise £50,000 in this their 16th year of organising the event.

Friday, 28 May 2010

High Street Dreams

My partner has just started an Open University course in Business studies and, as part of the course, has been advised to watch a program on BBC 1 on a Monday night at 9pm called HIGH STREET DREAMS.
We have now watched this for 3 weeks and are totally enjoying the series.
In the program Jo Malone and Nick Leslau are helping 8 individuals to achieve their ambition to get their handmade products into a high street store.
This week inparticular i loved Beryl Ware who had knitted some beautiful scarves with the aid of her "nanas" knitting team. It was a lovely story behind the scenes and you watched how her mentor pulled apart the scarf and taught Beryl about fashion before putting her to pitch her goods infront of buyers for top fashion store Jigsaw.
After an agonising wait the viewer then watched in delight to see Beryl getting her first order.

If you haven't seen the program it's well worth a watch and this weeks episode is still available on BBC I Player for another 3 days.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Can i Introduce Diary of A Competitive Mum, And Other Ramblings

Once again i have had an absence from the blog. Apologies to all.
Life, at present, is manic with everything apart from crafts, which unfortunately are needing to take a back seat while other life issues are sorted.
My good news is that i am moving house in July and my new abode comes with a conservatory which i have lined up already as a sewing room. What a luxury not to have to spread out on the dining table anymore! And as soon as i am sorted i will definately start working on a website.
I finally plucked up courage to ask a florist to stock my wreaths but unfortunately i feel i was fobbed off with her reaction of "leave your number and i'll be intouch". But i wont give up and will try other shops.
So while my crafts and ventures are on the back burner i thought i might introduce you to my cousins blog.
I rarely get to see all my family very often, but on the odd occasion when we do meet up it's nice to catch up on what everyone is doing. This happened with my cousin at my nans funeral in November. We found a quiet spot for a chat and i explained all about my crafts and what i was doing and she explained how she wanted to write a book and was advised that the best thing to do was to start a blog. So she did.
I hadn't heard of blogs before so that night i sat down and read all of her posts and thought how well laid out they were, well written and interesting for all mums on a budget and an interest in creating something special.
So if you have time to pop along to The Diary Of A Competitive Mum please do and I hope you enjoy your visit.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Hi all.
A slight absence of posts from my blog this week. I've been feeling a little run down and weary so have just been lazing around after work each day rather than constantly on the computer. I even picked up a book this week and did some reading which i havent done for several months
Busy weekend ahead though. We are booked tomorrow at University Hospital, Coventry for a spring arts and crafts fayre. Will be tight going in the morning as we have been given an alloted time for unloading, to avoid everyone being in the same spot at the same time, and they have only allowed us 40mins to unload and set up!! No chance on that one, usually takes an hour. Table only 4ft tomorrow so not going with usual amount of stock.
After the fayre i have been invited to a pampered chef party in the evening which i am really looking forward to as i dont get invited out very often.
And then my OH and i are having a weekend away minus kids in sunnny Bournemouth. Well i'm hoping it will be sunny anyway!! I got a hotel-uk gift card for christmas so the hotel is already paid for which is lovely.
So that's me for this week. Looking forward to a relaxing weekend.
Lastly i would like to share with you my latest offering on craftjuice this week which has received 11 votes. My latest wreath in the collection made from some lovely shades of green. It was also picked to feature on Raicreations blog for craftjuice Tuesday this week which was certainly an honour and i thank Myra for that.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

A Masterpiece In The Toilet

At 17 i quit college as it didn't suit me and just by chance fell into a job that was to change my whole life.
In January 1986 i packed my bags and moved from Kent to Surrey to take up a full-time, living in position as a chambermaid in a beautiful hotel called Lythe Hill. I remember my dad being sooo disappointed that i had taken up "toilet cleaning" after having had a good education. Little did he know then that it would be the making of me as it led to me climbing the catering career ladder and loving the life it brought.
So anyway back to the toilets! Each day we would work in pairs to clean each room on our corridor. i took real pride in the bathrooms and i would polish the taps til they shone and the finishing touch was to fold the end of the toilet roll into a point.
So when i saw this piece of toilet roll artwork last night while on a blog crawl it took me back to those days and how i wish i had known how to do this then. Wouldn't the guests have been amazed!!

Today i demonstrated the art of "loo roll flower pot folding" to the cleaners where i work and they thought it was brill. If you fancy having a go follow this link to the tutorial and amaze your friends and family when they "spend a penny" at your house.

Many thanks to crafter-holic for discovering this tutorial and the many others that she features on her blog.

Monday, 3 May 2010

New Wreath As Promised

As i mentioned in my last post i am addicted to creating flowers that i saw on vintage inspired lovelies blog. I had a vision in my head that they would go well on one of my wreaths. And i think i was right! I made this yesterday, let me know what you think.
And then there were 3!!! My next teddy in the new collection made from red and white tilda fabric. I'm not so sure i made the right decision to use two different colours on the arms and legs but i will see what the public response is at our next craft fair.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Minkys Magic Flower Brooches

Pink/Star Teddy
Originally uploaded by dreamstar1904
I enjoy immensley being part of the community on the craft forum and last week i took great interest in a thread started by minky magic about flower brooches which had been made from a tutorial on folksy.
The brooches were lovely and you can see a photo of them here on vintage inspired lovelies blog. And if you fancy giving them a try then you can find the tutorial here on folksy.
So as i said i thought they were lovely and an idea came in my head to make a minature one and add to the 2nd teddy in my new collection.
And you will see the result in the photo on teddy's bow. I think it looks really effective.
Am now thinking of trying them on a wreath instead of my usual hearts.

Two New Pink Teddies

Two New Pink Teddies
Originally uploaded by dreamstar1904
And then there was two!!!

Friday, 23 April 2010

A slightly Better Picture!!

Pink Teddy
Originally uploaded by dreamstar1904
I just uploaded this to flickr and i think it looks slightly better to my previous photo!

Practice Makes Perfect

I woke up quite inspired today. It was my day off, the sun was shining and my intention was to spring clean from top to bottom. This feeling only lasted an hour when the lure of the new sewing machine was far too strong to resist!!
I spent quite a while programming different stitch patterns, then giving them a run through to see which combinations work best. I don't usually delve that deep into new equipment but I am slowly working my way through the instruction manual so that i use my machine to it's full potential.
But there's only so much learning that one person can do in a day so eventually i turned my attention back to a teddy pattern that i had cut out about a month ago and finally put it together.
And below is the finished product. I was quite pleased with how it turned out and think i may make a couple more in different colours and am contemplating maybe filling them with a fragrance?
Please excuse the photo, i really must master the art of a good picture of the end product!!
Below are 2 photos of my various stitch patterns i attempted to master. My favourite combination is at the bottom of the 1st photo. The 2 stitches work well together.
I still need to practice the letters more and also learn the technique of applique.
I am used to guiding the material through the machine by hand but with this machine there is an automatic feed system so i struggled manoeuvring around the heart when trying to do applique.

Hopefully practice will make perfect

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Birthday Pressies

Just a quickie tonight to say what a lovely birthday i had and LOOK what i got! My boyfriend bought me a sewing machine and what a lovely suprise. The past year i have used a tiny cheap machine to produce all my wares and have been looking round for a few months trying to decide what to replace it with. This model is a Janome 4100. There are 99 stitch combinations and it includes letters as well so i will be able to personalise items now. It also has a memory so i can do a row of 4 different stitches just by programming them in. I'm soo in heaven, it's gorgeous. Time now to get back on to some new designs maybe.
As well as the machine i got some other lovely bits and pieces.
Below is a photo of a pot lady and wheelbarrow that my best friend bought me. We came across these lovely garden ornaments at the Milton Keynes craft fair a few weeks ago. Just flowers to buy now!

And lastly my birthday cakes. A lady i work with made these. She has developed quite a talent hasn't she?