Category: Art

Lanys Linkage: Craft TV

by Lany

I like reality television shows, but my preferred ones are craft based shows, where talent and skills are shown off and creativity is allowed flourish. Unfortunately there aren’t many, and my two favourites are the only ones I think are worth mentioning. Regrettably both shows are sewing and garment based but I guess it would be rather difficult to make a show where you watch someone knit or crochet for several hours at a time!!

I have watched Project Runway for years now, and I love the exposure to high concept very highly skilled couture sewing skills are shown every week, I love the ‘bizarre’ challenges and the absolutely fabulousness of the show. I also enjoy the (very) American dramatics that accompany the show too! The outfits created are always creative, sometimes pushing the envelope on what fashion can be and I love how innovative and startling some creations can be, it’s always a treat sitting down to catch up with this show.
It’s in it’s eleventh season now, but I am slowly working my way through them as (ssssh) the series aren’t available very easily on this side of the Atlantic! I adore Tim Gunn, I just wish that there was a LOT more of him in the show.
I decided to try and limit myself to mentioning only three designers that I loved (but might not have won!) throughout the first nine seasons and the first season of the Canadian version of the show.
Austin Scarlett is the designer who made me fall in love with Project Runway, I loooved his designs and am so jealous of his vision and skills! Leanna Marshall and her intricate and stunningly beautiful work makes me want to try and become a better sewer, and what higher praise can you give someone other than they are an inspiration? My third favourite is so difficult to chose as there have been so many amazing designers, and certainly I have liked at least some of a designers work in one show or another. I think I would have to go with a woman who took part in the first season of Project Runway Canada, Marie Geneviève, I think her work that reflected her own personality and fun style really captured what I would love to have the skills to design and make some day.

The most recent show in this vein that I have gotten into is The Great British Sewing Bee, quite simply, I LOVE this show.
Wearable articles of clothing, beautiful execution (that make me wish I was as talented and amazing as the people who took part), and the beautiful atmosphere of gentle competition makes this my standout favourite (for all reality shows, nevermind craft based shows). It also makes me feel  that this skill level is attainable, that I can do it!
It aired in the last few weeks in the UK on BBC, and I think it was the sublime down-to-earth attitude that drew me to this show. The pieces created are ones I can imagine (and hopefully one day will get around to), sewing and wearing. The people who took part were all relatable, yet the drama was not projected onto other contestants nor was a make believe drama created to add interest to the show. The contestants had strong personalities that shone through in their work.
I also was very taken by the style of presentation and judging that was adopted by this show, the judges saw the work being carried out on the garments, the presenter, Claudia Winkleman, had genuine relationships with the participants and the very subtle British/Irish style of humour and comradeship  made me really fall in love with this show. It also helps that the tailor Patrick Grant (he took over Norton and Son when the business was flailing and resurrected the company) is so well dressed that you cannot help but fall a little bit in love with him (or is it his clothes I’m falling for? Who knows! All I know is it’s love!), I also have a super soft spot for May Martins approach, and her constructive criticism. (I also may want to try to sneak into Ann’s home and force her to teach me everything she knows!)
Oh and how can I not mention the room the show is based in, that haberdashery selection, the fabrics, the trims, the buttons, everything just makes my mouth water!
I had read criticism from a lot of British TV reviewers, complaining that the show was boring or a waste of time, I just think that it’s glaringly obvious that they really don’t understand the workmanship that goes into sewing and they cannot appreciate the effort and satisfaction of producing something that you’ve made yourself. I really hope this show comes back for a second season!! I would also love to dream about a spin-off of this show, where sewing classes are taught and simple projects worked through by like a Delia of sewing, that really would be the icing on  the cake for me.

What do you guys think? What TV shows do you think highlight genuine talent and skills? Have you any recommendations?

All the best,


A very, very late Christmas knitting post

by Sophie

Hi guys,

So I did a lot of knitting over Christmas to make presents for my friends and family. I ended up starting all of my knitting in October so I would be able to get it all done in time. I was still stuck for time close to the end but everyone who got presents seemed to be really happy with them.

So here’s what I made!


I made this cowl for my granny. Lany made a similar one for a friend of hers. It came out really nice and I think my Granny liked it.

The pattern is here


I made the Dudester scarf. One for my Dad and one for my brother. I liked how these came out because they’re not very girly scarves. I used Malabrigo Yarn Rios for this one.

The pattern is here


This is Oscar. I made him for Lany. He came out about 3 times bigger then the original pattern said he would however I really like how he came out. He also looks like he’s blazed 100% of the time. I made a mini Oscar for another friend of mine but I forgot to take a picture of him =(

Pattern is here


I made these gloves for my mum. I had never made gloves before nor had I used double pointed needles before. It took quite some time to get used to but it was worth it in the end. I’m really happy with how they came out.

Pattern is here


This was the Dudester scarf I made for my Dad. I made his one in grey because I felt he wouldn’t be able to wear the bright red one to work. The grey wool was super soft and I was really happy with how it came out.


Gin sat with me while I knit quite a lot.


Here’s a picture of the Dudester scarf when it was finally finished it. I finished it at lany’s house, thus the fab table cloth!


I also made Chutney for my Dad, my aunt and Sachas parents. It was apple and cranberry and was very tasty. It was really easy to make as well.

I painted a watercolour of the Ha’penny bridge for my mother as well. It didn’t come out quite how I wanted it to but I still was quite happy with it, especially as I hadn’t painted in quite some time.


My SO’s family had a tradition of making homemade mince pies so I made my own for my SO as a surprise. There was enough that there were plenty to go around to my family as well. They had quite a lot of cranberries in then and they came out really tasty!


I crocheted a Lobsty for Selene. Lobsty has been a character of ours since we were 14 so he’s quite special to us. I had never made a plush toy before so I think he came out pretty cute.


This is a picture of all of the presents wrapped up. As with every year I think I may have gone a bit overboard on the present giving.


Gin was exhaused after all the help he gave me.

So those were my handmade Christmas presents to people. I’ll no doubt be making birthday presents soon enough so I’m enjoying my knitting time to myself.

Lots of love,



Lanys Linkage: Mothers Day Ideas 2013

by Lany

Mothers day is around the corner (10th March 2013 FYI) I decided I’d do a round up of some great gift ideas!

  • Get together with some siblings, friends etc, and create a craft gift basket for you mum(/aunt/grandmum etc!) you could get her more supplies (a stash boost is ALWAYS appreciated!). Or increase her library of patterns? You could get together some patterns you’d think she’d love on Ravelry (you have to join to view, but a lot of patterns are free, and those that are there to be bought are at very reasonable prices!) and print them off and present them in a pretty folder! 🙂
  • Charitable donation to a cause close to your mothers heart, some great suggestions include Cancer Research Society, Bernardos, ISCPA, Trocaire, Irish guide Dog Association…the list is as endless as the causes these charities help.
  • You could get the book loving lady in your life a set of new books, an ereader or even a voucher (for when you’re unsure of what books she has bought recently!) to further her bookophile ways! Historical, biographies, fiction, thriller, crime, travel books, craft books, the list is endless!
  • Tickets to a play or concert! Always a nice gift idea, just make sure to subtly hint before hand to see if she’s busy that date!
  • A playlist! Making her a playlist of your/her favourite songs or even just a mix of music that reminds you of her is a great idea and would make a lovely thoughtful present!
  • Doing something for her, if its something small like doing the chore she hates doing the most, or helping with the weekly shopping, just doing something to show that you know how much she does and how much you appreciate it will mean a lot.
  • Make a card! Store bought cards are all well and good, but the effort of making a card will not go unnoticed 🙂 (this applies for all occasions!)

Besides all the presents you can buy or make, I really think the most important thing you can do on Mothers Day is spend some time with your mum, it could be a video call if you’re living abroad (and many are in these days of emigration), a long phone conversation if you’re unable to take time off work, or just calling round for a cup of tea and a chat!

I hope you all have a good mothers day, if that’s visiting or remembering your mum/aunt/grandmother/whomever you want to honour, til the next post, stay safe and take care.

Christmas Craft Bonanza (Part I)

by Lany

It’s finally safe to post pictures of most of the gifts I made this year!
Some still haven’t been given to my friends, the few I haven’t managed to meet up with during the holidays so I won’t post those just yet, I’ll put them in a part II (at some point)!

I crocheted most of my handmade presents this year, as it’s probably my favourite craft- so fast and the results are usually passable 🙂

This cowl was a present for a very good friend, Lisa, and I hope I picked colours she will wear!
The cowl was worked using two balls of Sirdar Softspun in the Smokey Green and the grey “Frostie” colours that are kinda shimmery, with a strand of each colour held together to form the working yarn. The pattern is a catherine wheel one found via ravelry on People Webs (the comments on this pattern are invaluable).
The pattern calls for 131 stitches in the foundation chain to form a 60inch cowl, I crochet quite tightly but not overly so and used about 161 to get a roughly 45 inch cowl. I suppose it depends on what yarn you’re using and how tight/loose you crochet. In the comments however a lot of people only achieved a 40inch cowl from 131 stitches, the author suggested adding on ten extra stitches until desired length is achieved, hence my extra thirty stitches.

The pattern has been reproduced by other blogs claiming it as their own but as best as I can determine Peoples Web is the blog it originated from!



I hope Lisa liked and enjoys the cowl!

Roisin is another very good friend of mine and I decided that sparkly arm warmers were in order!


I just used a chevron stripe, and I was going to use it around the wrist, but I hated starting/ending on a non-straight edge, I didn’t think it looked right and  I knew that if I had them they would drive me crazy if the edges weren’t straight. So instead I just turned my chevron on its side and sewed the beginning stripe to my final stripe, leaving a gap where the thumb can go.

The wool I used is King Cole Galaxy in Saturn and Red, the sequins are already dispersed throughout the wool and its super soft!

They ended up looking a lot more Christmassy than I had anticipated!

I hope Roisin (of Random Descent) gets some use out of them.

Paula is another unfortunate victim, I mean friend that got a homemade present this year!
I made her a hat using Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran in cream and dark grey.


The wool is so soft and a delight to work with as it drapes wonderfully.

I just did a normal treble hat with double crochet edging to make it fit tighter around the brim. It was finished off with four rows of double crochet (single in US terms) alternating belwteen the cream and grey.

I carried the cream around the inside as you would for fair isle crochet/knitting and it seemed to work well. The picture below is what the side looked like! A bit messy but you get the idea!


I hope Paula liked it and that she gets some use out of the hat!

Last for this post is Sophies homemade present!
I wanted to make her socks, but since I decided too late about the sock making I didn’t have time to practise knitting and get the hang of double pointed needles, I attempted crocheting socks instead! They turned out a bit big but they will do as comfy around the house socks I hope! 😀
I cannot remember what wool I used (if anyone can recognise it form the striping pattern please don’t hesitate to let me know!)  but it was a self striping sock yarn.

Apologies the photo isn’t the best, the lighting situation was far from ideal, it’s a blue/green/white combo!

I used this pattern that I found on ravelry, it’s from South Bay Crochet and is a toe up pattern. The heels were a bit tough to figure out until I got the first one finished, the second was much simpler to approach.

I finished the socks off with a simple scalloped edge, because I didn’t think they looked completed without it!


I know they’re too big to wear as everyday socks but maybe she will be able to get some use of them as “round the house too lazy to put on shoes” socks!! xD

Anyways I hope you all had peaceful holidays and that getting back to the grind isn’t too taxing.
Did you receive any home made gifts? Any baked goods? Any handmade cards?
Oh and if you have any pattern suggestions drop me a line in the comments!

All the best, and hopefully once I have delivered the other gifts there will be a part II up soon!
Until the next post,
Keep well,

Lanys Linkage: DIY Christmas Present Tutorials! (Also totally a last minute present idea list)

by Lany


WOW I cannot believe Christmas is so so close!!!
Only four more sleeps!

I’ve gotten a lot of my homemade presents done, but if like me you still like to see some cool tutorials for quick but thoughtful gifts I’ve rounded up some of the best that I’ve seen in the past while, and that have been haunting my bookmarks!

  • This pillow with an INGENIOUS way of closing the back, I am literally like “Duuuh why didn’t I think of that”! Thankfully they’ve already thought of this over on Verhext.
  • Papier Mache Teacup for those of you with a day or two spare to let it dry before and after painting! Super cute and one for a friend who loves trinket holder and/or tea will love! Ann Wood, Thank you!
  • If the person loves nice mugs and a nice cup of something warm, I think adding some good hot chocolate mix or some chai spices (if the person is like me, in lust with chai tea/lattes) and some marshmallows (remember to get vegan marshmallows if they’re veggie/vegan!) and possible a mini milk frother wrapped up cutely with a bow would be a great present!
  • Bunny bowling is adorably awesome and a great present! I can imagine pulling this out at parties and having a laugh, credit due to The Long Thread
  • Light Up Letters spelling their name, their home place, their favourite word, their childs name whatever you know they’ll love! I imagine it’d be easier get those battery operated LED lights in bargain shops this time of year rather than any other time, stock up and make birthday or party signs! Oh Happy Day blog is the source of this brilliant tutorial.
  • Sew a cute backpack with the easy to follow instructions over on Hart & Sew in their favourite colours/patterns and you’ll have a super happy giftee! (is giftee a word?)
  • An origami kitten bookmark would be a really cute addition to a book gift to a cat lover,
    YouTube user Jo Nakashima uploaded that amazing tutorial.
  • A tote bag is a really versatile present (and stash buster) especially when stuffed with (not necessarily expensive) treats and/or snacks/presents etc, The Purl Bee created that super tutorial.
  • A calender with tassels/pompoms and personal photos is always a great addition to someones life, great idea by ImBreannaRose
  • THIS marvellous sweater inspired two tutorials on Honestly WTF and Stripes & Sequins which are both amazing, would make amazing presents for friends/siblings/funky relations!
  • Giving someone a pinata never occurred to me before and I don’t know why, TOTALLY AMAZING IDEA, as a decoration or an actual sweet filled pinata (totally easy way to dress up a box of sweets from nice gift level to amazing gift level) Oh Happy Day is again responsible for this gem of an idea!
  • Red Riding Hood stuffie for a fan of fairy tales or for a young friend (you could totally make a stuffed wolf/grandma/house/woodcutter set) the tutorial is from The Long Thread!
  • Reusable shopping bag may seeeem boring until you show that it converts into a STRAWBERRY! How cute! I have an aunt for whom this would be a perfect present, thanks Craft Passion
  • Decorate a Mug with help from Design Sponge, you can create a super personal mug to remind someone of the fun you have together!
  • Hot Air Balloon Mobile I would totally love to receive something this awesome and I can’t be the only one! How Joyful has a tutorial up suggesting it for nursery mobiles, but it’s so cute I can imagine hanging it in my living room no problem!
  • This christmas card will be popping up on several of my friends mantlepieces this holiday after I saw the tutorial on How About Orange
  • The Paper Bow tutorial from Helen Made will pretty up your presents in a cute eco-conscious manner! I’m off to finish up some last minute presents and hopefully have everything done by Christmas day!

Happy holidays, stay safe and have an absolute blast!

Lanys Home: Happy Manly Switches!

by Lany

I called this Lanys home as I moved a few months ago and the house we moved to is starting to finally feel like our home, we can’t paint the house or make DIY installations etc, but we are allowed display art on the walls and stick up posters etc using blu-tack.

My significant other arrived home with some supplies for his Youtube Let’s Play video and suddenly an idea was born!

This is what arrived at the house:

And this is how I cheered up our sad little light switches and made them SUPER MANLY LIGHT SWITCHES!

If only I could get this song out of my head everytime I turn on or off a light everything would be great! 😀

I know it’s simple, and someone has probably done it before, but it’s just so cute looking that I had to share xD
…my laptop might also be sporting the rather fetching magician facial hair!! >.<

Sorry this is a short post but I moustache!
I’m so sorry, I apologise most profusely but pun are fanTASHtic…..

Ok Ok I’m leaving!
Don’t lie, you loved it!

Moustachios out!

Autumn – I Could Fall For You

by Lany

It’s only started properly feeling like autumn a few weeks ago, the summer here was so awful, nothing but rain, that autumn kind of snuck up on me!

I love love love colourful leaves, and this year the trees at my family home have put on quite a show!

Ninja cat hides in foliage!

I am super excited for halloween – not for fireworks and bangers though, the poor cats, dogs and other pets- this year will be the first year I’ll be living somewhere with kids who will be trick or treating!

This season of change always brings to mind school and college semesters, bringing out out scarves and gloves from the back of the college, breaking in winter boots, curling up with a good book by a wood fire in the evening….

Autumn always feels like a season of change, a lot of things seem to happen around this time of the year, a lot of adventures begin or end, a lot of decisions need to be made and it always feels like the time of transition.
I tend to revaluate things at this time of the year, I like to go outside and walk in the crisp evenings with the cold but not icy air blowing about and dashing for the shelter of trees to avoid the all too common short and heavy showers!

Autumn rocks.

Soon…Christmas!!! *runs and hides*

Wherever you go, may your leaves be crunchy underfoot!

Lanys Linkage: Craft Books

by Lany

I came across some amazing looking craft books recently…no hints or anything now!

  • Making Handmade Books by Alisa Golden: This book looks scrumptious!
  • Everything Oz by Hannah Read-Baldrey: We’re off to see the wizaaaard….I really want to see what this book is like…anyone read it?
  • Made in France Cross Stitch Samplers by Majorie Massey: This book has really pretty projects!
  • Sunday Morning Quilts by Amanda Jean Nyberg: Amazing quilts, want to be able to lust over them in the privacy of my own home!! 😀
  • Push Print by Jamie Berger: Looks like a really gorgeous collection of some contemporary printmakers work.
  • Learn to Knit, Love to Knit by Anna Wilkinson: Sophie made me want to knit when I saw how her cardigan is coming along…..
  • Sewing by Alison Smith: I own this book, thoroughly recommend it!
  • How to Build a Robot With Your Dad by Aubery Smith: Looks like a fun book to get stuck into with a kid (or not-so-little-kid)
  • Quilts from the Home of Tula Pink by Tula Pink: I love this womans work!
  • Cute Creatures to Knit and Crochet: I have some other books by this publisher, really big fan of the photography…
  • Zakka Style by Rashida Coleman Hale: looks super interesting!
  • You Can Crochet Socks by Kim Kotary: Want Need crochet socks right now….
  • Carry Me by Yuka Koshizen: Fabulous bags, be on my shoulder….
  • Doodle Stitching Motif Collection by Aimee Ray: I have her other book “Doodle Stitching” which I LOVE to look at, this is definitely on my wish list!
  • The New Artisans by Olivier Dupon: A  collection of artists work ranging from ceramics, glasswork, jewellery etc. Really want to  have this book on my bookcase to browse through of an evening!
  • Cross Stitch Art Nouveau by Barbara Hammet: Love Art Nouveau and cross stitch…LOVE this mix of the two.
  • Knit, Swirl! by Sandra McIver: I really need to learn how to knit! I have to make at least all of these patterns!
  • Sew What! Skirts by Francesca Denhartog: This book makes me want to make and wear skirts in every colour!
  • Zentagle Basics by Suzanne McNeill: Zentangles are really cool doodles, dunno if you need a book to figure out how to draw them, but the pictures are so pretty…

Has anybody gotten any of these books? Any recommendations for good craft books?

Apologies for the irregular updates, I have no internet at home yet!

Sparkles and sewing kits,

Lanys Linkage ~ Tutorials I Wanna Try

by Lany

The past week has been super busy, can I say hyper-busy?
I sat down and made a list of everything that I need to do, and want to do.
Then I went and found these amazing tutorials that I want to make too, thus messing up my plans….oh well back to making plans….which to be honest is my favourite part about plans….the planning stage!

Have a look at these great tutorials and see if you can resist temptation!!

This tutorial by Sew Kate Sew has me salivating at the thought of such a cute suitcase chair!! Maybe if I find a really fab old suitcase…..

This tutorial for washable glitter glasses, from Inspire,Design&Create makes me want to GLITTER ALL THE GLASSES….ahem….

This rainbow street art makes me want to learn how to make these origami shapes!! More pictures on the creators Mademoiselle Maurice website (click the hyperlink!).

No sew lace bow hair clip, looks like a cheap quick and really cute tutorial over at Shanty-2-chic!

This awesome tutorial on a chalkboard interior to a bathroom cabinet on InspireDesign&Create has me wishing that I had a really nice wooden bathroom cabinet to try this out on!

This super cute and ultra simple looking tutorial for updating shoes with funky colours on Follow na Moda has me considering which pair of heel have run their course in their present state!!

More glass art! This time nail varnish is used to give an amazing marble bottom to some hi-ball glasses, the tutorial is really clear and the results stunning over at honestlywtf!

Apartment Therapy shows us how to make wax free orange candles!! I am so on this!! Love the smell of oranges, I hope these candles don’t smell more like burning than of refreshing orange!

(If anyone wants to to take down the pictures please just let me know, I included pictures because they are what sold me on most of these projects!!)

Let me know if you make any of these!! 😀

I hope to try some of them soon!


Lanys Links ~ Etsy Mug Edition!

by Lany

I love tea! I love coffee!
I am currently really hyper from too much coffee!!
This post is a collection of the coolest mugs I saw on Etsy recently and really really wish I could have…
If anyone feels like a they would like to surprise me…go right ahead ;D

  • If I had 65 dollars to spare for a mug…I  would totally splurge on this ceramic Cat Mug by houseofharriet
  • Arrested Development is one of the funniest shows! Show your love for Tobias with the help of PeachyApricot
  • Oh gosh, this one had me laughing, and since I’m easily amused probably will amuse me everytime I see it! Lionel by LennyMud

I’m off for another coffee! 😀

Hyper caffeine hugs!