Remembrance Poppies

I have loads of things on the go at the moment and nothing finished.  It is getting frustrating!  I was badly in need of a quick win when a work colleague admired the beautiful crocheted Poppy that Boffin had bought me.  As they had to be pre-ordered I knew of no way to get her one in time for the 11th November.

Remembrance Poppy FInal

I turned to the internet and found this lovely pattern.  Some scraps of wool and an hour later I had made her a Poppy.  I was thrilled because something was finished, she was thrilled because she had a lovely hand made Poppy to wear! She is going to make a donation to the Poppy appeal for this one.

Spooky Sweeties for Halloween

We’re not much for celebrating Halloween in our house.  We no longer have small children and my husband and I never “Trick or Treated” as kids (him because he lived in the middle of nowhere and me because I lived in a big city where the process turned VERY nasty).

We now live in a medium /large village where “Trick or Treating” is done beautifully. Parents accompany their kids, it is about sweets and treat (not money) and they never call at a house unless you have a carved Pumpkin outside your front door.  Because to this I wanted to get more in the spirit this year.

I saw a tutorial on “A Beautiful Mess” a couple of weeks ago for Lollipops made to look like ghosties that was really sweet (If you haven’t had a roam around “ABM” take a look, it is my all time favourite blog, completely inspiring and very beautiful!)

Halloween Ghosties-1

I  decided  to tweak the idea a bit for some cute things to give to our little visitors on the 31st .  Using fabric felt a bit wasteful as it would be discarded by the little cherubs in thirty seconds flat and little hands would struggle with undoing knots.

Underneath are lollipops.  I used tissues, half a pipe cleaner wrapped around and bent into reaching “arms” and a felt tip pen for the faces.

Can’t wait for Halloween to give them out!

Home Made Planner Dividers – Getting Organised Step One

Home Made Planner Dividers

I’ve been slowly chipping away at getting organised. and one of the things I am doing is putting together my own diary for next year.  I have purchased a “Dodo PersonalPOD” folder that is the same size as a personal filofax.

Home Made Planner Dividers

I am in the process of working out what sections I want the planner to have but I have settled a few things already;

  • Separate sections for each month with a monthly planner in.
  • More detailed pages for each month that can be put in and removed so that there are no more than three months in there in detail.
  • Bright, cheerful and inspiring.
  • Hard-wearing.

Home Made Planner Dividers

“Molly Makes” issue number 45 had some really lovely free papers in it and I had seen to pictures of American planners that had a lot of inspirational quotes in them (I’m a sucker for a prettily presented inspiring quote) and I wanted to copy that.

I decided to make my own monthly dividers with pretty backgrounds that I would find cheerful and inspiring.  I found some inspirational quotes on Pinterest and printed them out onto photo paper.

I used a computer graphics programme to draw out simple divider shapes and I used a font that I liked to write in the name of the months.  I then cut the papers to fit my printer and printed straight onto them.

Home Made Planner Dividers

Gluing the quotes onto the front, cutting the dividers out, laminating them and hole punching them gave me tough and cheerful dividers.  The whole process took about three hours and I now have a computer file for the dividers that I can use to make dividers for other areas of the planner.

A win/win in my book ;-)  Mollie Makes #46 is out now with more free papers.  Time to get my thinking cap on!

The 10 Best Things About The Handmade Fair 2014

As regular readers will know I spent last weekend as a volunteer at the first ever “Handmade Fair”.  The idea was to offer a huge crafty “get together” for crafters and non-crafters alike to learn from each other, share ideas and embrace the amazing feeling that crafting gives you.

What were the best things about this amazing event? It is very hard to even know where to start. In no particular order…

(Please excuse the photo quality but the iPhone was the most practical thing to carry with me as I dashed around!)

#One – The People

There were the most amazing people in attendance.  I was manning the information point inside the front gate for most of the weekend and people were (almost without exception) lovely.  Easy to talk to, friendly and interested.  The staff from the events company (Brand Events), the exhibitors and teachers, everyone.


The queue eagerly waiting to get in on the final morning.

As for my fellow volunteers… words fail me.  They were an AMAZING bunch.  Hugely talented, great fun and we were all united by the sisterhood of the Pink Hi-Vis Vest!

The prestigious Hi-Vis Vest!

The prestigious Hi-Vis Vest!

 #Two – All Crafts Were Embraced

There were workshops on cake decorating, sewing, needle felting, furniture upcycling, crochet, origami, printing, jewellery making, calligraphy, decoupage, knitting, embroidery, making bath salts, gift wrapping, the list goes on… (No wonder Il Magpie loved it!)

Chalk Paint Workshop with Annie Sloane

Chalk Paint Workshop with Annie Sloane

#Three- The Food

There were loads of amazing food vendors to suit almost every taste.  French, Indian, Gluten Free, Mexican, I could go on and on!  There were amazing mobile bars with clever mixologists and to put the icing on the cake they all seemed to have the most amazingly cute transport!

Cake bar anyone?!

Cake bar anyone?!

A touch of Gallic charm.

A touch of Gallic charm.

#Four – The Venue

Where else can you come to work in the morning and be greeted by two bewigged gentleman taking the morning air, or make a new avian friend on the way home?  Hampton Court was a truly beautiful and inspiring.

Hampton Court in all it's glory.

Hampton Court in all it’s glory.

A morning constitutional!

A morning constitutional!

My new friend.

My new friend.

#Five – The Decor

There was bunting galore,

Custom made, beautiful bunting.

Custom made, beautiful bunting.

There was washi tape,

Washi tape cutting table

Washi tape cutting table

And there was origami!

Origami door curtain.

Origami door curtain.

They even thought about how to divide up work stations and protect the surfaces (brown paper and butcher’s twine anyone?!)

One of the "Grand Make" tents ready for action.

One of the “Grand Make” tents ready for action.

#Six – Kirstie Allsopp

The amazing Ms Allsopp was around all weekend.  She was warm, funny, friendly and inspirational.  She always had enough time for people (much to her assistant’s dismay at times!) and may have the world record for the most number of “selfies” taken with her in one weekend.

She hosted the “Super Theatre” all weekend in conversation with many famous crafters (Annie Sloane, Cath Kidston and Kaffe Fassett amongst others) and  refereeing “mash ups” where different crafts competed for supremacy.

Despite this busy schedule she still managed pop up everywhere and even ran a surprise workshop (which I happened to be taking as one of my “perks” for volunteering!)

Kirstie's Surprise Glitter Bauble Workshop.

Kirstie’s Surprise Glitter Bauble Workshop.

Me getting in on the act, photo by Sheree Green - Molloy

Me getting in on the act, photo by Sheree Green – Molloy

#Seven – The Exhibitors and Shopping

There were the most amazing range of exhibitors in the “Shopping Villages”.  Etsy were there and even ran some craft entrepreneur workshops.  There were craft supplies of almost every type and a huge range of very talented crafter selling amazing works that took your breath away.

The thing that impressed me most for a show with the motto “Everyone has a craft they can do”, there were lots of crafters who had made up kits of their designs for those just starting out to buy and follow instructions until they got comfortable with their own crafting “skin”.

#Eight – The “Annual”

As I was selling show guides (or “Annuals”) I was really relieved that they were a publication I could really endorse.

They were half show guide, half “Molly Makes” magazine.  There were the usual maps but I really liked the alphabetical list of exhibitors (with their contact details) which meant I could put a star by the ones I wanted to get Christmas presents from and not have to carry lots of things!

The cutest "Annuals" ever!

The cutest “Annuals” ever!

Not only was there that but there were some very stylish “makes” in there.  A knitting pattern, a cross stitch chart, a paper craft mobile and other items.  There was something worth taking away and keeping to remember the day by.

#Nine – The Experts

Almost all my heroes were there; Annie Sloane, Zeena Shah, Mr X Stitch, Kaffe Fassett, Jane Means.  I even got to meet some of them they were generous with their time and expertise, many of them even ran workshops to let you into some of their secrets!

Experts pitching in and sharing their secrets.

Experts pitching in and sharing their secrets.

#Ten – World Pomination!

The event saw a world record attempt for the most woolly Pom Poms strung together in a continuous row.

They were everywhere all weekend and you couldn’t help but smile as you saw them.  It was even fun being part of the the team sewing them all into one long string.

Sewing up the Pom Poms, does that make me the Pominator?

Sewing up the Pom Poms, does that make me the Pominator?

I was one of a two person team counting them with another amazing volunteer because we were “independent” (i.e. not employed by the organisers) and we counted THOUSANDS of them!

Ready for count off!

Ready for count off!

One, Two, Three...

One, Two, Three…

and because I cannot resist…

#Eleven – The Atmosphere

The whole weekend was so inspirational, positive and buzzing! I made crafty friends I hope to keep for life. I got to experience many new things, see how a large show like this works behind the scenes.  I had more fun than I have had in ages and even better I got to craft!



Exciting News!…The Handmade Fair

My week went a little off course in the most amazing way this week when Boffin drew my attention to an appeal by Kirstie Allsopp via Facebook for volunteers to help with her project “The Handmade Fair” at Hampton Court Palace.

I applied on Thursday Evening and by Friday teatime I had a place to help on all three days!


Excited does not even begin to cover it!

The motto of the event is:


Join us for a day of making beautiful things
Indulge yourself in our craft banquet workshops
Learn from Britain’s best artisans
Shop from hand-picked craft sellers

This is a credo I can get behind and not only is the UK’s favourite celebrity crafter Kirstie Allsopp going to be there but there are workshops and talks by people like Annie Sloane, Cath Kidston and Kaffe Fassett, to name a few!

I get my assignment on Monday (where I will being working, what workshops I will be helping with) and I can’t wait! (And I get to wear a PINK Hi Vis vest!).


Review: Heat ‘N’ Bond Iron On Vinyl

I had the fabric I wanted to use to make a cushion for our kitchen pew but I really wanted to make it durable and easy to clean so I chose to buy some of Heat ‘N’ Bond’s Iron On Transparent Vinyl (I bought it in gloss. It is available in matte as well but I couldn’t find it in a local stockist at the time).

Heat 'N' Bond Iron On Vinyl Review - 6

As it was my first time using it I thought you might like to hear my thoughts.  I would like to point out that I paid for all the materials in this post and it is not sponsored in any way.

The product is supposed to provide an alternative to store bought Oil Cloths and PVC Coated Fabrics so that you can have the convenience of a permanent wipe clean and waterproof finish on your choice of fabric.  The packaging says that it is sewable with either a non-stick foot or a normal one on your sewing machine.

At £10.00 – £13.00 for 1.8m (2 yards) it isn’t cheap.  I bought mine from my local Hobbycraft but I notice that you can get it through Amazon now.  I would also by it in Matte if I was to buy it again (personal preference) but that wasn’t available to me at the time.

I was a bit ambitious for my first project using it as my cushion was 1.6m long and I had a LOT of scope for disaster.  However I was pleasantly surprised.

The instructions are very simple and clear.  There is also a downloadable PDF on Thermoweb’s internet site if you feel the need to double check it.I followed the instructions to the letter apart from one thing.

Because I was using such a long piece I didn’t have any on the backing paper to place in between the iron and the vinyl at first so I tried to use a clean dry tea towel.  It didn’t work brilliantly so at the first opportunity I cut some of the backing paper free and used that – MUCH better!

I would really like it if they put a spare piece of backing paper into the package so that you could use it for ironing if you were using the whole roll.

Definitely don’t skip the ironing both sides of the piece stage to secure the adhesive as adhesion can be patchy up until this point.

I thought I would have a nightmare getting the backing sheet off of the vinyl without creases and bubble (any body else spent forever getting “sticky backed plastic” on without these problems?!) but I spread the fabric width ways over my ironing board and started by rolling back the backing paper about 3 inches all the way across. I positioned it and then continued slowly and steadily from there.

Not a crease or a bubble!  I was amazingly easy.  It could have been beginners luck but I was impressed.

Heat 'N'Bond Iron On Vinyl Review-4

When it came to pinning up and getting ready for sewing the fabric was slightly stiffer than ordinary Oil Cloth but it didn’t make it awkward to manipulate for what I was doing.  I was pretty much only sewing straight lines but the box corners were no harder than normal because of the vinyl.

I only put vinyl on the one side because I wanted to have a “posh” side for when we have company so there is the possibility that having both sides coated would have made it trickier as well.

I used a normal (and not even new) machine needle to sew it (and my normal sewing machine foot) and it went through just as if it was normal fabric.  Even when putting the zip in it did not make it any more awkward and my normal zipper foot worked perfectly.

I used normal dressmaking sewing thread (a polyester one) which seems to hold up just fine.

At the end of the making process the vinyl was still securely adhered to it’s surface and it had gained no nasty scratches or creases.  It has stood up similarly well to it’s first few days of wear and tear but only time will tell.

Heat 'N'Bond Iron On Vinyl Review-2

All in all I am definitely planning to use this product again and would definitely recommend it.  The pro’s outweigh the con’s by a long way and as long as it wears well I cannot see the down side.

The Creative Blog Hop Post

A couple of weeks ago I was approached by my friend, ex-colleague and fellow blogger Janet of “Fairy Thoughts” to take part in the Creative Blog Hop. This is my entry into that distinguished company and I hope it lives up to it’s pedigree as I have spent the last couple of weeks being torn between being insanely excited and flattered and absolutely terrified!

What is the Creative Blog Hop?

Well it is a way of being introduced lots of creative bloggers that you might not have heard of and possibly finding more kindred spirits, sharing inspiration and creativity.  We get given questions we have to answer so you can get to know us better and I have actually found that answering them has made a few things clearer in my own head as well (bonus!)

Anyway, on with the show…

Magpie Logo

Hi to any newbies,  I’m Nicki, and I blog here at “Il Magpie Miscellanea Di S” ( The Magpie’s Miscellany) – Like my “frock”?!


I love to craft and have never limited myself to one type of craft, I couldn’t if I tried (hence nicknaming myself “The Magpie”)! I use my blog to share my crafting adventures with anyone who is interested and to remind me to enjoy my life and creativity.

What am I working on now?

Like any crafter worth their salt I have many UFO’s (Un-Finished Objects) lying around.  They currently include a bench from two dining room chairs and pallet wood….

Two Chair Pallet Garden Bench-2

Crocheted seat covers for my kitchen chairs (Which may never be finished as they have discontinued the yarn colour I was using for my main colour and I can’t find any stock anywhere!)…


A cushion for our kitchen pew…


(Notice a theme emerging here?)

Up-cycling some wall sconces that I found in a French Flea Market whilst on holiday…

Wall Sconces-2

I could go on but it would probably get boring quite quickly!

How does my work differ from others in my genre?…

Probably in that I don’t consider myself a master of any one craft.  I sew, knit, crochet, cut, hammer, drill, fold, glue, print, mould, and probably quite a few other things I haven’t thought of!

The second point in which I differ is that I love to encourage people to try anything they like the look of.  I love to share what I know and have knowledge shared with me. If I can save anyone some heartache or frustration through sharing what I have done right or wrong that makes me happy!

I love doing this so much that recently I have gathered my courage and am hosting some crafting evenings locally where people can come along and try new things.  The first is happening in mid October and I am excited and terrified at the same time!

Why do I create what I do?

If I’m honest, often because I need or want it.  Despite moving into our house nearly ten years ago we hadn’t done much in the way of DIY or decorating until fairly recently, mainly because I used to be a teacher and every spare bit of time and energy went into that.

I love the William Morris quote “Have nothing in your home that you do know know to be useful or believe to be beautiful”.  That’s what I want for my home.

Beautiful doesn’t mean “new” to me.  It took me a long time to figure out what was “me” and now I try to embrace it. If I see something I love I will re-paint, polish or do what ever I can to bring it to life.  Some things are still beyond me (welding?!) but I hope one day to be able to take on any challenge for something I love.

How does my creative process work?

I collect fragments of ideas from all over the place, magazines, Pinterest, life and merge them together to fulfil a need or a desire.  That’s another reason I consider myself a magpie.  Sometimes I change ideas a little, sometimes a lot.  If I don’t know how to do something I find the answer somehow and that was another reason I was drawn to blogging and the communities that form here.

Sometimes I sketch things out, sometimes I build little “mock ups” to test bits and pieces and sometimes I have to confess to “winging it” (I do work full time as well and time is at a premium!).  I just love to create and most of the time the ideas pop in (unless I am too tired, you wouldn’t like me when I’m tired, I don’t do it well!).

Well, that’s a little about me.  If you are interested in learning more or becoming a Magpie too you can find out more about me, get in touch or check out some of my favourite posts;

Passing the Flame…

I am passing on the baton to two very talented, crafty ladies who I have been lucky enough to get to know recently

First Up is Justine from Little Dove Creations, here is what she has to say about herself:-

Justine - Little Dove Creations

“I was born and raised in Surf City, USA; otherwise known as Huntington Beach, California… and yada yada, a lot of events happened in my life and I got married in 2007 at the ripe old age of 21 to a man I’d known for less than a year that I met on a blind date, no less. And it’s been WONDERFUL, seriously, I consider myself very blessed.

When our first child was born in 2010 (our son and little dove, hence my blog’s name) it really inspired my crafting to take off. Clothes, blankets, toys… you name it and I probably tried it. It began as a place where I shared (and sometimes sold) the creations I made for my little man, but has since become a place where I share all things crafty and D.I.Y., everything that helps make my house into my home. My husband Mike and I have since added two more kiddos to the mix, our little miss and our little lady. Chasing after three kids, remodelling our 1980’s home, and trying to find other creative outlets to help keep me sane can be challenging, but I can’t complain, life is good! :)”

My second gorgeous nominee is Anne Marie from Crunchy, Crafty and Highly Caffeinated (an not just because we have similar haircuts ;-) ).

Anne Marie- Crunchy Crafty

“HI! I’m Anne Marie from Crunchy, Crafty, and Highly Caffeinated. I blog about my crafting adventures, different recipes that I try, reviews of different companies and services that I love, and whatever strikes my caffeinated self!

I have always been a creative person. I would read, write, and doodle all the time as a kid, but it wasn’t until college when I discovered my love of creating things. I was a theatre major and a sorority girl so I spent a lot of time creating set pieces, props, and gifts for all sorts for my sisters.

My love of cooking and my foodie wannabe status came much later on. I found myself a stay at home mom with two little kids and an even littler budget, so I started seeking out and creating new recipes. It was so rewarding to make rolls, or pie, or the Thanksgiving turkey and find them well received. Now that I am a Full Time Working Mom of 3 kids I try to cooke more meals that can be transported to the office for my lunches, though I still love pie…and cupcakes. Who doesn’t love cupcakes?!

Everything I do is fueled with caffeine. With a full time job, blog, 2 podcasts, 3 kids and a husband the caffeine is a requirement. I enjoy the whole spectrum (coffee, Red Bull, tea) it all just depends on my mood. However, I do live and die by the Pumpkin Spice Latte! Every year they come out around my birthday and I consider them a birthday present to me from Starbucks ;-)”.

Good Luck Ladies, I can’t wait to read your entries! xxx