Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

This year I would like to give thanks for ...
... a new little bunny will be joining the Rachael Rabbit workshop in March next year! ;-)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Tutorial: Simple Hot Water Bottle Cover #1

Last year, towards the end of winter, my trusty hot water bottle gave in and developed something of a fatal leak. I'm rather partial to a nice hot water bottle - especially for thawing icy toes or to soothe that tummy ache that won't go away.

Imagine my horror when I tried to shop for a new hot water bottle in NY and was met with many confused looks. To begin with asking for 'a hot water bottle' in my quiet English accent only confirmed (apparently) that I speak a foreign language - once I had entered into a detailed description of what a hot water bottle was - the shop assistants just led me to those air activated heat patches!

So during my recent trip back home to the UK my mother was very kind and gave me her spare hot water bottle. It turns out I'm quite fussy about hot water bottles (sorry Mummy!) I only like the traditional rubber sort. On an afternoon wander we popped into Superdrug ... where I found some small (1L) rubber hot water bottles ... I couldn't resist and purchased three thinking about the perfect stocking stuffers I would now be able to create.

So here is my first tutorial/idea of how to make a simple hot water bottle cover from a old felted sweater. The following instructions will work for either a full sized (2L) or small sized (1L) hot water bottle.

Simple Hot Water Bottle Cover #1
You will need:
- hot water bottle
- paper for pattern & pen for scribbles
- old felted sweater
- contrasting yarn
- needle, ruler, scissors etc
- button for decoration

1) Make your pattern first. Draw a line around your hot water bottle ...
... then mark another line 3/8" outside the original line. This will be your cutting line.
Measure the hot water bottle shape from the base of the bottle to the bottom the bottle neck. Then mark a line 1/4 down the bottle shape (line A) and another line 3/8 down the bottle shape (line B).
There are 3 pieces to this pattern - your bottle shape (piece C), the top of the bottle shape (piece A) and the bottom of the bottle shape (piece B).2. Cut these three pattern pieces out of your old sweater. If your sweater is patterned - consider this when cutting - especially if you want the pattern to line up.
3) Sew across the bottom of piece A and the top of piece B using a contrasting yarn in blanket stitch.
4) Begin to pin your pieces together. First pin piece B to piece C.
Then pin piece A to piece C.
Piece A should overlap piece B a little and this overlap will make a pillow case opening for your hot water bottle.
5. Sew around the entire bottle shape with the contrasting yarn in blanket stitch. If your sweater is patterned you might want to check that the pattern lines up before you begin to sew.Weave in any loose yarn ends.
6. Embelish your hot water bottle cover. I attached a bright red button and a loop of braided yarn - but you could use ribbon, pom poms, perhaps even applique a design at step 3. The options are endless.

Finally you will need to find a willing participant to test out your new hot water bottle cover - luckily Big Bunny was looking a little chilly and seemed quite happy to be today's model.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Secret Lives of Snowmen

I'm not a big cartoon fan - but I am quite a fan of Calvin and Hobbes. Perhaps it is the fact that I can quite happily talk for endless hours to my beloved pet - so I am more than able to understand the close and secret bond between Calvin and his dear Hobbes. Although - in my humble opinion - the funniest Calvin and Hobbes cartoons are those of the snowmen that Calvin builds.

Snowmen are so fun. One year at primary school I remember clearly the overwhelming excitement when it actually snowed properly - each class went out onto the playing field were we all competed in a snowman building competition. It hardly ever snows properly in the UK - so this happened all of once! But I remember it quite clearly. Now living here in the US - every year my husband is still surprised at my endless delight when it snows.

My latest Christmas tree skirt has been dedicated to my dear snowmen friends. Giving us all a little insight into the lives of snowmen!!
Did you know that snowmen like to give each other presents?? ...
... that families of snowmen like to gather around and decorate Christmas trees?? ...
... that snowmen like to sneak the odd kiss under the mistletoe too?? ...
... but most of all Snowmen love to sing carols!!!
What carol do you think would be a snowman's favorite? 'See Amid the Winters Snow' or perhaps just 'Let it Snow'?