Archive for December, 2010

New Year, New Sewing Machine

It’s arrived!  I got my new sewing machine today.  Happy Christmas to me!  I intend to spend all of tomorrow sewing (possibly with a mild hangover…)


I just had to share my excitement with you. 

I am now off to a new year’s eve party so I’d like to take this opportunity to wish all of my readers and podcast listeners a happy new year.  I hope 2011 is a good one for you.  For my part, I have lots of plans and intend to unveil a few in the first iMake podcast next year.  Thanks for your friendship and support over 2010.  I am now going to fix myself a gin and tonic to toast your health!  TTFN.


Gift and Product Packaging

If you follow me on Pinterest you will know that I love quirky packaging and wrapping.  Even if you aren’t on Pinterest you can check out my ‘Packaging and Wrapping’ board here to get an idea of what I mean.

This Christmas my sister-in-law gave me some handmade goodies for Christmas (hooray – ironically I don’t seem to receive many handmade gifts!)  She gave me jam, biscuits and some spice rubs, and they were all wrapped up in cellophane.  They looked fab.  Inspired, I went out yesterday to buy some cellophane and started wrapping my handmade candles.  Now I know florists have been doing this for years so I am not claiming to have found out anything new, but I was so excited with the results I had to post some pictures.

This is the finished unwrapped candle.  I made these a few days ago using pots that used to contain a Marks and Spencer pudding!   I know the button is a little bit of ‘iMake overkill’ – I’ll replace them with plain wooden buttons later I think.  The candles are scented with a blend of essential oils called Summer Rain:

This is the wrapped version, complete with mini card from Moo:

Here is a wrapped tea cup candle:

Sock Yarn Scrap Shawl – Progress

I just wanted to share 2 progress photos of my sock yarn scrap shawl.

This project is just so much fun and I love the element of ‘swapping’ yarn to make it.  I am keeping in contact with everyone who donates yarn or swaps with me so it is becoming something of a ‘friendship shawl’.

If anyone is interested in donating very small amounts of sock yarn for the project please email  Anything you send will be shared out between other sock yarn blanket/shawl-makers that I am in contact with.  If you are interested in completing a similar project you can also drop me a line to find out how to get involved.  Sock yarn swappers can also join the thread on the iMake Podcast Ravelry forum.

Homemade Lip Balm Tutorial

Following my candle making success I thought I’d have a try at lip balm (my obsession with all things ‘wax’ continues).

So this is what I did…


The basic ratio I worked with is as follows:

  • 40% cosmetic grade oil which is liquid at room temperature (such as sweet almond, olive, apricot kernel etc)
  • 25% cosmetic grade oil which is solid at room temperature (such as coconut, palm, lanolin etc)
  • 20% cosmetic grade beeswax (white or yellow, pellets or solid block)
  • 15% cosmetic grade oil which is brittle at room temperature (cocoa butter, palm kernel etc)
  • Plus essential oils for fragrance/flavour

To make 10 small tins of lip balm (15ml tins like these) with a little left over, I used:

  • 40ml organic sweet almond oil
  • 40ml organic jojoba oil
  • 50g organic coconut oil (solid)
  • 40g organic yellow beeswax pellets
  • 30g organic cocoa butter (solid)
  • Approximately 2ml organic peppermint oil

You will also need:

  • 10 small containers (approximately 15ml each) for your lip balm.  You can purchase these online or recycle old cosmetic containers.  Either way, the containers should be sterilised
  • A saucepan
  • A heatproof container to melt your ingredients (ideally a jug)
  • Stickers to label your lip balm containers – available online

This is what I did…

Place your containers on some newspaper or a tea towel on a tray.  Your containers should be sterile.

Melt all ingredients together (except the peppermint oil – this is added later).  It is recommended that you melt everything in a ‘double boiler’.  To do this, I use an old, but very clean, metal jug that I don’t use in the kitchen any more (it is reserved for projects like this).  Any heatproof vessel will be fine but a jug is useful for pouring.

I place the ingredients in the jug then place the jug in a pan of kettle boiled water.  The pan does not need to be full – just a third full is fine.  Then pop the pan (with the jug in it) on a medium heat and gently boil the water which will melt the ingredients together.

Keep your eye on the contents of your jug as everything melts fairly quickly!

Ingredients before heating:

Once your ingredients are totally melted, add the peppermint oil and stir in.  I used a wooden skewer to stir the mixture.  How much peppermint oil you use is really up to you – I added a bit at a time and when it smelt quite minty I stopped.  I used roughly 2ml.  There is a little trial and error involved here…!

Pour the liquid into the prepared lip balm containers.  The liquid solidifies quickly so I poured liquid into each tin so it was nearly full, and then did a second pour to fill them right to the top.

Carefully place your lip balms in the fridge, leaving the lids off.  I let them solidify a little before I carried them to the fridge so I didn’t spill any.  Only put the lids on when the lip balm is totally cool and solid.

Your finished lip balm should look something like this:

The finishing touch is a label (I put one on the top and an ingredients label on the bottom).


Enjoy!  Please let me know if you give this a try.

Time to Celebrate!

At last…  Cerus Scarf is complete.  I finished it last night.  It probably wasn’t was wide as it could have been, and I managed to cast it off pretty badly (I was so desperate to get it off my needles!)  I should have cast off in pattern but didn’t – rookie mistake.  Nevertheless the finished article really is quite beautiful. Here is a slideshow of images:

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Now I can focus on my sock, which is getting longer and my sock yarn shawl.  I cannot wait.  I suspect I will spend all of Christmas day knitting…

All that remains to be said is Happy Christmas to all my readers that celebrate the big day.  I’ll wish ‘Happy Holidays’ to those who don’t.  I think that, regardless of faith, this is quite an exciting time of year – the end of the old one and the start of the new.  I certainly look at it as a time for new challenges and that excites me a great deal.

I won’t get a chance to blog tomorrow but hopefully I’ll have a little time to post before the new year hits.  Thank you to all my blog readers and podcast listeners for their continued support, it is really appreciated.

Sock Knitting Adventure

Watch me now try and justify the fact that I have cast on my first sock today (very exciting) and have not yet finished my final Christmas project…

It’s not as bad as it sounds, honestly. Today I spent the day with a dear knitter friend, Kate, and we decided it was time to try a sock. So armed with pointy sticks and some excellent You Tube videos, we managed a toe each!

My toe:

Kate’s toe:

We were extremely excited about this progress.

The problem is now that I need to finish my final Christmas knitting project tonight but all I want to do is knit my sock!  I am going to be good though – I really only have another inch to put on the scarf, and then it will be cast off.  So tonight is the night – I will finish Cerus scarf (despite claiming on Twitter a few nights back that I was going to stay up knitting it all night if I had too…)  Then I can knit socks to my heart’s content.   Watch this space for photographic evidence.

Roasted Chestnuts and Sock Yarn Swapping

An unlikely combination, but a good one!

I have this afternoon to myself.  I am off work (love my job) and hubby is out on a Christmas lunch.  So I have stuck a chick flick on the TV (500 Days of Summer), roasted some chestnuts and I am in the process of bagging up my sock yarn donations.  To top it all off I have the iMake Christmas Stitch n’ Bitch tonight – can’t wait.

I had no idea it was so easy to make delicious roasted chestnuts actually.  Just grab a handful of chestnuts, wipe them, cut a cross in the shell of each chestnut with a sharp knife and roast in the oven at 200 degrees centigrade for 30 minutes.  Simple and yummy…

As for the sock yarn, people have been so generous in donating their scraps.  I have received 3 parcels already – one from Ceri in London, one from Jesse in New Zealand and one from Barbara in Philadelphia.  I know there are more on the way too – people are so generous.  Because Jesse is also making a sock yarn blanket I have bagged up my donations in such a way that I can let Jesse have some of the yarn that other people are donating to me.  It also means that if anyone else wants to do ‘swaps’ I can make sure that they do not end up getting their own yarn back.  Something of a ‘sock yarn swap’ system.  It’s all terribly organised!

Here are photos of the yarn I have received so far.  Thanks ladies.  I am so desperate to start using it but MUST finish the Christmas knitting…

From Ceri:

From Jesse:

From Barbara:


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Guernsey girl, maker of stuff, teacher, knitter, blogger, podcaster, tweeter, lover of stationery, geek, crocheter, jewellery maker, domestic goddess (sort of), paper crafter, g&t drinker, artist, singer and reluctant sports person.


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