Let’s get ready to celebrate!

Hey everybody! Hope you had a lovely Easter. I was very excited to hear the Queens speech this year: yes indeed, Easter has not been canceled!

A lot of people have been telling me that it is such as shame that our cafe is closed right now. Yes, I know we only opened recently, but we still feel very very lucky because of all the support we have had since then. We are serving a need in the community and that means huge success to us! And I know for some of you these uncertain times are so so hard. I heard lots of sad stories around how some of you are not well, feeling lonely, really bored with monotonous daily routine. I hear you and we really want to help!

When I was in labour with my first (sorry that I am sharing my labour story here), I did not know when my pain would end. It was over several days and I was loosing my hope. I did not know when my suffering would be over and what really helped is to focus on the end. Or more like prepare for the end. The midwife I had by that time (when I was loosing my hope) was very good with shifting that focus. She kept saying “shall we get the bed ready for the baby?” and “should we make sure all the notes are done?”. These were only small, unessential questions. It’s not like it would take a long time to prep the bed for the baby once it arrives. But it really really helped to set my mind on the time when I can just celebrate!

I feel the same applies here. Currently we are in some sort of labour. It does not depend on you, but you are so tired of waiting! Waiting to resume to your normal life! So shall we work together and maybe shift this focus to something more positive? We decided to get ready for our second re-opening, and as a community focused cafe we would like to involve you too! So can you help?

A few weeks ago, Suzannah (one of our team at the cafe) suggested we re open the cafe in craft fair style. “Everyone will be making, so definitely will want a place where they could sell their produce” she said. And I must admit we fell in love with this idea! We elaborated a little, this could be so much more! This could almost be like a fun fair, but indoors! Lots of bunting came to my mind when I tried imagining all this!

So how can you help you may ask? Well, we thought wouldn’t it be lovely if we made gigantic bunting for this event! As it gets made, flag by flag, it could be displayed at the window to hopefully cheer you up as you walk by. Eventually it could cover the whole ceiling!

So the idea right now is for everybody to make up some bunting flags that we could join together to make it longer one as we go along. We have a bit of bunting in already, but would it be not great if every triangle flag is unique and and has a personal touch? Any material is welcome, as long as it is strong enough to be stitched together into a binding. It can be made of paper, fabric, yarn. Whatever suits your craft skill! It can be painted, dyed, embroidered etc to make your mark.

We are new to this idea still, so any suggestions are welcome. There are two rules to begin with so this project works as a one:

  1. The flags need to be rainbow coloured. We felt it is essential this project is as cheerful as it can be. Plus, rainbow means hope, and thats what we need right now!
  2. To keep all uniform we thought it would be good idea to keep all the flags the same size. Each side should be approximately 15cm/6inch long.

As I already mentioned, this is still a new idea and currently we are trying to get all the vibes from you. How do you feel about it? Would it help?

Once we see if this works we will post more details on logistics such as where to post the flags. Also we can then give you some suggestions on how to knit a flag for example or a few embroidery tutorials perhaps.

Excited to hear what you think!

Rasa xoxo

A year to find my style again: Renewed clothes

Just because I have not been blogging much about this 2019 goal, that does not mean I have not made progress. Truth to be told I have not been blogging much in general this year, but I detoxed my wardrobe quite a few times in preparation to finding my style and I am very close to completing my goal. I did not have much time to make any clothes however as planned, but I will get into that once our cafe project is under control.

Today I am going to share what I do with clothes that I love, but which either don’t look right or they look too boring. If it is only small fix I don’t rush to throw it away.

By quick fix, I mean like shortening the length or inserting extra pockets for practicality. I will however show you how I do shorten my clothes. I had quite a few tops and dresses that were too long for my liking.

I simply used iron-on adhesive tape to do the hems. Was super quick! However I must warn you! The hems done this way are slightly heavier and not good with clothes that are constantly getting washed. I mean everything needs to be washed sometimes. But I think this method of hemming suits best something like formalwear (where you don’t want to see stitched hem) or coats (that does not get washed that often).

If you still want to try using iron-on adhesive tape then please be aware that I used HeatnBond one. I cut each garment to the length I wanted (plus 3cm extra for the hem folding). Then I simply folded hem once, iron press, folded second time, inserted the tape, and final iron press.

If you are more interested in doing hems the traditional way. By all means, Google it! There are lots of tutorials out there.

Now a little bit about what I do with clothes that need a bit of spicing up ;-). I often use either some sort of embellishment or embroidery. In the past I blogged about how I inserted lace into a neckline and recently I did embroidery on this t-shirt that had a pocket.

To do this embroidery I positioned the pocket in the embroidery hook and then sketched a design on it using pencil. You can use any sort of pencil, but don’t use anything inky or a biro as you may not be able to wash it out. To get you started on embroidery here are a few of my favourite stitches styles I learned over the years.

Hope you found this inspiring!

Rasa xoxo

Ways to use up your yarn scraps

How to use up yarn scraps: projects and tips So the thing is that since I organised my yarn and saved it from moth infestation I realised I had lots and lots of scraps. If you been crafting for many years, than you will understand it’s never a good idea to let your small amounts of yarn just keep piling up. It takes up a lot of space and then you may worry about moths possibly attacking it again. No, thanks! So what do you do with all those little bits of yarn that are leftover after your knitting and crocheting projects? I thought of few ways…
1. Small projects, first comes to my mind. With winter coming over I have been knitting socks and hoping to knit some gloves and maybe hats. These are fit to become Christmas gift too!How to use up yarn scraps: projects and tips While there are plenty of small projects out there I find knitting socks is my favourite item to knit (that magical heal turn gets me every time!).  If you feel the same then click here for basic kids socks. Or if you prefer to knit this pretty baby hat then the tutorial for it hides here :D.How to use up yarn scraps: projects and tipsIf you are after for a very teeny weeny project then you should check out this crochet triangle pattern tutorial. It makes a very cute garland for Christmas tree perhaps??!How to use up yarn scraps: projects and tips 2. Making big multicolour rugs or blankets is another good way to use up yarn scraps. Few years ago I started making this never ending, upcycled crochet rug that sadly did not continue (because it did not fit our new home style). But the point I am trying to make here, this is very good project to do to use up all those itsy bitsy bits of yarn. How to use up yarn scraps: projects and tipsOr this giant blanket, very popular way to use up all that scrap yarn. I know, I know, I made it in one plain colour, but trust me, it looks good in multi colours too!How to use up yarn scraps: projects and tips3. Using up scrap yarn can mean using it in patterns or trims. Here is one example, but there are plenty projects out there with pretty patterns ;-).
How to use up yarn scraps: projects and tips 4. Did you know that you can use leftover yarn for embroidery and cross stitch? Here is my laptop cover that I made few years ago. It is still one of my favourite items that I made :).How to use up yarn scraps: projects and tips Finally, here are the socks I recently made for Lukas. I could not be more proud :).How to use up yarn scraps: projects and tips How to use up yarn scraps: projects and tipsHope you got inspired 😉
Rasa xx

Water colour and embroidery wall art idea

Embroidery and watercolour art DIY I love love love (and still falling in love further) with water colour! I did some watercolour last month and this month I decided to incorporate some embroidery in it. This is why I thought to try to paint on the fabric and let me tell you it totally works!!! It felt almost the same as painting on paper, if not easer. I think fabric soaks up more water, so the results can be even more dramatic for all those dreamy watercolour blurs… ahh. Will tell you more in the minute….
But first I would like to make a little confession. You see I am not 100% sure if this artwork I made goes where I intended to go over our bed (yes, it happens to me too when my vision don’t match with the results). Which makes me feel a little embarrassed that I did not think it through. I am now realising that the artwork over the bed should be more dramatic and definitely more geometric. When I was thinking what artwork I would like to put over our new refurbished headboard, I was imagining something round and thats when I thought of idea using an embroidery hook (and embroidery). Which works fine here, but my painting has to change. Will let you know what I come up with :-).
Embroidery and watercolour art DIY Although the artwork did not suit the interior of our room, I still liked it and I definitely enjoyed the process of making it! So I thought to share my experience of watercolour on fabric anyways.
To prepare I cut out some pieces of cotton fabric (I used old bed sheet) and stuck it onto large piece of paper. I used plain wallpaper roll and stuck few fabric pieces next to each other. That way I could practice and have few goes at it. I had a cup of water and paintbrushes lined up as you would normally when you use water colour paint. Embroidery and watercolour art DIY I started with the most common water colour technique. I brushed the whole fabric with water to achieve this classic blurry water colour look. Embroidery and watercolour art DIY I also tried watercolour with less water so I could paint in more detail. I loved that I could just add more water and make some parts more blurry then others.Embroidery and watercolour art DIY Embroidery and watercolour art DIY Once the painting dried I chose the colours for the embroidery. If you need more inspiration on embroidery stitches then you should definitely check out this postEmbroidery and watercolour art DIY Embroidery and watercolour art DIY Embroidery and watercolour art DIY To tidy up your artwork simply stitch a round piece on the back so you can tuck in all the raw edges of the fabric. Embroidery and watercolour art DIY Embroidery and watercolour art DIYHope I inspired you 😉
Rasa xoox

IKEA hack: custom laundry baskets

Ikea hack: custom laundry basketsWell…. hello here looking through my never ending laundry pics. I never quite manage to have all baskets empty completely! This is why I was looking for ways to organise my dirty clothes while I work my way through it if you know what I mean. I thought under the sink in the bathroom would be the most convenient for them since this is where we get undressed and changed most often. Except I struggled for a while to find a right size baskets…. until one day it occurred to me that the storage boxes from Ikea we already have fit perfectly! I know I know, they are storage boxes, not a laundry baskets, but I saw a vision how I could alter them a little. All it needed are some handles, a little bit of lettering embroidery and its done! Yey!Ikea hack: custom laundry baskets Ikea hack: custom laundry baskets So this is how I did it. I purchased some fabric storage from Ikea. I know I know I said I had them already, but wanted in different colour and it’s not like £2.50 breaks the bank! Then I found my fabric pencil, embroidery tread & needle + some ribbon to match. Ikea hack: custom laundry basketsFirst I marked the writing I wanted to embroider. You don’t have to use special pencil for it, but it helps since you can rub it off if you make mistake. Otherwise regular pen mark would be hidden behind the stitches (I have gone this risky route too many times before).Ikea hack: custom laundry basketsFor embroidery I chose my favourite stitch which is the chain stitch. You can get more inspiration for your embroidery here.Ikea hack: custom laundry baskets Next I stitched the handles. I folded the ribbon at the ends so it does not fray ;-).Ikea hack: custom laundry baskets Ikea hack: custom laundry baskets Ikea hack: custom laundry baskets Ikea hack: custom laundry baskets Ikea hack: custom laundry basketsHope you found this inspiring
Rasa xoxo

Make your own personalised cosmetic bag

Personalised cosmetic bagI think there can never be enough cosmetic bags! I just love to keep everything organised, even if I don’t keep many actual cosmetics(if you know what I mean). Last week we celebrated my sister in law’s birthday and since I was giving her some cosmetics I thought why not make this simple customised pouch bag. What do you think?…Personalised Cosmetic Bag DIYPersonalised Cosmetic Bag DIYLike it? If you fancy making it than here is a link ;-).http://friendlynettle.com/portfolio-items/personalised-cosmetic-bag/Enjoy sewing it!
Rasa xoxo

Cushion cover inspired by Liz Payne work

Embroidery inspired by Liz Payne artworkI loved Liz Payne’s work for quite some time now. I first came across it on Pinterest and I was completely mesmerised for it. Only recently I have decided to make something that is inspired by her work. Ok, not exactly in same colours, but still used similar technique! Easy removable cushion cover DIYTo make this cushion cover I first cut out the pattern needed and then painted it over with some oil based fabric paint (you can use any other fabric paint, but since I did it on dark fabric I wanted the paint colour to really stand out).Embroidery inspired by Liz Payne artworkThen I picked 3 thread colours to match the paint and started embroidering all over mostly using straight/basic stitch. I wanted to do other stitches such as fly stitch or even french knot stitch but realised that it would have taken up a lot of time (Liz Payne must really have a lot of patience!).Embroidery inspired by Liz Payne artwork Embroidery inspired by Liz Payne artworkEmbroidery inspired by Liz Payne artwork Embroidery inspired by Liz Payne artworkEmbroidery inspired by Liz Payne artworkThere you go, my finished cushion cover! For full DIY click here.Easy removable cushion cover DIYI hope you feel inspired too x
Rasa

Embroidery stitches

After talking how fun it is to do hand stitching (rather than using sewing machine) I thought I will share what I know about embroidery (hand stitching and hand sewing kind of go hand in hand). You might find that some of the hand stitches that you learned with hand sewing are very similar to embroidery stitches. In fact majority of embroidery stitches are based on regular hand stitches, but are more creative and freestyle. For instance, lets take the running stitch, it is identical to basic/ straight stitch! Or a button hole stitch, it’s like blanket stitch that comes in many pretty variations. My favourite is basic/straight stitch that I used to create pretty cross or dash patterns on these hanging bird decorations.

The ​straight/basic stitch hardly requires an explanation, because it is as simple as bringing the needle up through the fabric and then going back down. But it’s worth exploring the many uses for this building block embroidery stitch.

Use the straight stitch to form crosses, zigzags, scattered fills, textures and more. Practice length and placement so you can work this versatile stitch into your work.

Split stitch is very similar to the straight stitch, except it makes a continuous line.

To make a split stitch take a single stitch along the line you are working. Come up again, bringing the needle through the first stitch, splitting the fibers.

My other favourite is chain stitch. I used chain stitch to “draw” those advent date numbers on these hanging felt stars. Chain stitch is so useful for outlining and filling!

To work the basic chain stitch, complete the following:

  1. Bring the needle up through the fabric at your starting point and insert it back down again close by.
  2. Bring the tip up through the fabric a short distance away and place the working thread behind the needle, and pull the needle through the loop.

Once you mastered straight chain stitch then you should try other variations such as flower chain stitch, circular chain stitch or filling.

I must admit I don’t use much of button hole stitch myself, but it can be a very useful stitch for things like borders, as an edge for applique or a filling with a nice smooth edge.

Start button hole stitch 5mm or so below the edge desired and bring the needle up to the edge. Notice that the thread should be under the needle!

French knot stitch is new to me and I am falling with it already!

To work a french knot stitch, do the following:

  1. Wrap the tread around the needle (at least three times).
  2. Direct the needle back down into the fabric as close as possible to the starting point.

Hand stitched fridge magnetsAnd when it comes to slightly more complicated stitches I do loooove fly stitch! It’s so pretty isn’t it?

To work a fly stitch, complete the following:

  1. Bring the needle up through the fabric and then down a short distance away (width of the fly), leaving a loop on the surface of the fabric.
  2. Bring the needle up through the fabric again, just below (or above) the center of the loop you just made. As you bring the needle up through the loop, pull the thread until the loop becomes taut, forming a V.

Fly stitch variationsAnd last but not least, there is always satin stitch for all those filling works.

To work the basic satin stitch, bring the needle up through the fabric at your starting point. Insert the needle again across from your original entry point, on the opposite side of the shape you are filling. Continue till the shape is filled.

I hope you find this inspiring!

Rasa xoxo

Something old, something new: my diaries

My new fabric covered "Dear Diary" book DIYSince getting back from Lithuania I have been thinking how to have more organised in 2015. Getting a new diary is one of my methods (actually 2015 diary was a Christmas gift from Aunty Pam and I am very grateful for that!!). I loved how my fabric covered diary turned out last year so I thought I will do something similar this year. My new fabric covered "Dear Diary" book DIYLast year I crossed stitched my diary with “2014” and it was a nice book to keep. Even though it did not always fit into my handbag I liked that it had a lot of space for writing my to do lists, recording appointments and other schedules. My new fabric covered "Dear Diary" book DIYThis year I sacrificed the space for the convenience of being able to have my diary with me at all times (well, almost). I thought “Dear Diary” cross stitch embroidery is very appropriate for my diary. You see I love scribbling in my diary so much that Vicki once thought that I actually have little “conversations” with the diary itself. To be honest, I just love my to do lists. It feels so good to be able to cross them out!My new fabric covered "Dear Diary" book DIYClick here for this very useful fabric covered book project!My new fabric covered "Dear Diary" book DIYWishing you organised 2015!
Rasa xoxo

Instructions for Christmas craft kits!

Make your own hanging birdie decorationMissed your chance to order Christmas craft kits? Well here is your chance to make your own hanging decorations with the materials you have. We have updated the original instructions and now they are exactly the same as you would have found in the Friendly Nettle craft kits. If you fancy making hanging birdie deco then click here or if you prefer to crochet then hanging star may be your thing ;-).make your own crochet star hanging decoAlternatively if you learn this triangle crochet pattern, you could make these super cute mini buntings!crochet your own mini buntingHappy Christmas waiting!
Rasa xoxo