Thursday, 31 May 2012

The Thread Hand Gang

Every time I see a lonely old embroidery hoop in a charity shop I have to bring it home with me, as a result I've been amassing quite a collection.  Pinterest always has some great inspirational ideas of crafty things to do with them and I have a few on my to do list.  At the top was this little keepsake make and it was really quick and simple to do
Draw an outline of each member of your family's hand on some tracing paper
Transpose each hand print (I did each had individually to get the layout right and so's not to confuse myself whilst stitching) onto some fabric (I used a white cotton cot sheets used by both my children for added keepsakeability)
Embroider (I used back stitch) around each hand print in a different colour 
I used dark blue for Mr Right, dark pink for me, light blue for Buster and light pink for Missy 
I also embroidered the year as a finishing touch and here we are The Thread Hand Gang!
Linking up with #HandmadeThursday over on White Lily Green and Molly & The Princess
Inspire Me Beautiful

Lulastic Charity Shop Blog Hop - Hitchin

For as long as I can remember I've always loved a mooch round a little market town about 15 minutes drive from my house called Hitchin, I didn't really think much about it until my student days when a friend of mine remarked in a Peter Kay/Garlic Bread kind of way how odd the name Hitchin really is, hit-chin!  Besides having a funny name it also has a plethora of charity shops and it's my local go-to chazza shop destination town.

St Mary's Church, stunning
although has a rather unfortunate web address
(st mary shit
Lulastic blog is hosting a charity shop blog hop whereby she is linking all manner of blog posts about everything charity shop from the best item you've bought, funny charity shop story, an ode to your favourite charity shop or, as in this case, a well-worn charity shop route.
I always use the same route when I'm on the quest for the dead people of Hitchin's finest tat so I'll take you through it one stop at a time
1. British Heart Foundation (High Street)

Large selection of books, not much in the way of bric-a-brac plus I startled a woman with her top off in the back stair well last time I was there as she was trying on an item of clothing and sadly they are devoid of a changing area
2. Cancer Research (High Street)

Small shop, mostly clothes, small displays of books, bric-a-brac and kid's toys, although did get a rather gorgeous mini glass cake dome in there once so always worth a look-see.
Lurking Man #1
3. Garden House Hospice (Bancroft Road)

Large store, lots of bric-a-brac (although sometimes the prices are a little steep).  Volunteers wear branded tabards (classy) and they sell haberdashery (they have knitting needles out on display, this hardly ever happens!!), furniture, books and toys
Lurking Man #2
4. Sue Ryder (Bancroft Road)

Sue Ryder has a special place in my heart as my mum worked at the Sue Ryder home in Whitwell for many years, small shop but well stocked with bric-a-brac and the staff complemented me on my top so they get full marks in my book 
Lurking Man #3
5. Keech Hospice Shop (Churchyard)

Keech have a number of shops in the counties surrounding my hometown, all are well stocked and this one is no exception, this store always has a great window display and an abundance of wonderful vintage items including luggage and china.  Friendly staff who give the impression that they genuinely enjoy volunteering.
6. Save The Children (Churchyard)

This shop recently underwent a makeover and is much improved (ie it doesn't smell of mildew any longer, bonus!) and as a result has attracted a better standard of tat.  Not much in the way of bric-a-brac but plenty of toys and clothes and is all on ground floor now (great if you have a buggy!)
7. Oxfam (Churchyard)

Tiny store, not much in the way of bric-a-brac and a LOT of new stuff (which I'm not interested in at all)

8.  YMCA Vintage and Retro (Churchgate)

This shop focuses on the higher end of tat, furniture, bric-a-brac, vinyl, books.  It's a large store with lots to look at, like stepping back into the past and the prices aren't too scary either.

9. Age UK (Sun Street)

A lot of space but not too much in it, although they do sell electrical items (not many charity shops will take electricals as they have to have them tested at considerable expense)
10. Herts Women's Centre Charity Fayre (Bucklersbury)

This shop is a little off the beaten track and we've walked past it a couple of times not realising it's there.  Lots of women's and children's clothes, small amount of bric-a-brac and books
11. Salvation Army Care & Share (The Arcade)

Love this shop, not always open but when it is it's busy, busy, busy.  Love rummaging for yarn or haberdashery and the man on the till seems to pluck the prices out of the sky, all of which are very reasonable

There are a LOT of charity shops to peruse but there are other reasons to visit Hitchin, there's a thriving market complete with a haberdashery stall, fabric stall and craft stall (all of which I'm sadly lacking in my hometown) which on Fridays becomes a Vintage Market.  Also on the market site during the summer months there's a Saturday Craft and Farmers Market

Quite often when we're wandering around on a Saturday we find the hall next to St Mary's church hosts a jumble sale with tea, bacon sarnies and cakes.  

And finally there's the marvellous Rosita Lollipop, not really sure how to describe this little shop.  It's crammed with curiosities from vintage items to handmade tee shirts, rockabilly dresses and accessories and fun stuff for all ages.  My little description really doesn't do it justice.

If you don't know the town too well but find yourself at a loose end in Herts then here's a handy Google map of my route but do me a favour and leave some stuff for little old me! Plus if there are any shops I've missed then don't hesitate to let me know as I'm always happy to expand my charity shop horizons.

Other local towns worthy of a charity shop note, Harpenden, St Albans, Stony Stratford, Olney, Newport Pagnel and Bedford

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Garden Forks And Spoons

For those of you who regularly read my Junk Shop Jewels posts you might have noticed that I've been buying rather a lot of old spoons of late, well this is why

I've been making some plant markers out of them.  If you want to do the same here's what you have to do.
Take your spoon and hammer it flat using a rubber mallet
Then, using some metal letter punches, bash your desired word out onto the now flattened spoon
Scribble all over your punched word like a mental patient during an art therapy session with a wax crayon to bring out the detail
Buff off the excess and Percy Thrower's your uncle
Although with my gardening prowess I might have to make a load that bear the legend 'weeds'

Linking up with Lakota's Ta-Dah! Tuesday over at Faith, Hope And Charity Shopping

Monday, 28 May 2012

This Week's Junk Shop Jewels

Just a few items for you this week as I've been busy having a bit of a life laundry and donating to charity shops rather than purchasing from them (#declutter2012), firstly a couple of lovely old wooden cotton reels, don't see many of these about so I snapped them up for 20p each
Jaunty nautical tea towel 50p
Pretty rosebud cake plate £1
Linking up with Liz and #MagpieMonday over at Me And My Shadow

Me and My Shadow

Thursday, 24 May 2012


Remember these 4 napkins that I bought for the princely sum of 50p at the local church bric-a-brac sale last weekend?
I loved the cross stitch detailing and wanted to try and make some bunting out of them.  I worked out that I could just about squeeze 16 pennants out of the napkins, 12 plain and 4 with the cross stitched flowers and set to work with my rotary cutter and sewing machine, I even dragged the iron out for the seams and everyfink!  
I attached them all to some navy ribbon in an alternating pattern.
They're now happily hanging in my dining room, much better than being left in a drawer unloved

Monday, 21 May 2012

This Week's Junk Shop Jewels

A couple of weeks ago Mr Right and I were driving through a local village and spotted a banner advertising the church bric-a-brac sale on the village green so we made a note of the date and decided that if the weather was being kind we'd take a peek not being very hopeful of getting anything good, thankfully we were wrong.

Mr Right got a couple of books and I bagged the following bargains.

Firstly this tea set with pretty blue roses £2 the lot!!!!
Another set of six gorgeous teaspoons 50p
A pink and gold tea set £2!!
This funky 70s Encyclopedia of Knitting and Crochet £1
And finally these pretty cross stitched flower napkins 50p for all four!
I'm starting to think that jumble sales and car boot sales are the way forward, sadly my local charity shops are starting to look a little expensive by comparison.

Linking up with #MagpieMonday over on Me And My Shadow

Me and My Shadow

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Viewers Of A Sensitive Nature May Wish To Look Away Now

My love of crochet and of all things subversive collided spectacularly this week (thanks to a gentle shove in the right direction by Amanda from The Ana Mum Diary), I love a doily and I love an expletive so this was a match made in heaven.
I also had a prick about with making a doily that conveyed an image rather than text
I decided to keep it simple with an image that was made up from pixels anyway, making it easier to transpose into crochet form, and this little space invader was the perfect guinea pig.

My mind is racing with the possibilities, shame my hands can't keep up!

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Needle New Bangle?

As anyone who regularly reads my Junk Shop Jewels posts will know, I've had a bit of a thing recently for knitting needles.  I've mostly been purchasing the pastel coloured metal ones as I have crafty intentions in mind for them (more on that another time).  I have however ended up with a few pairs of the plastic variety, which are ideal for this speedy little transformation

Take your knitting needles
Soak them in some hot water until they become pliable and bend them into a bangle shape comme ca
Wear (apologies for my vampire skin, veins and general sturdiness)
Linking up with #HandmadeThursday over on White Lily Green 
Inspire Me Beautiful
and Ta-Dah! Tuesday over on Faith, Hope & Charity Shopping

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Doily Beloved

This month's issue of Mollie Makes dropped through my letterbox on Tuesday and I was doing my usual OCD thing of flicking through the magazine with my page marker Post Its at the ready so that I don't forget to add the makes I want to attempt to my MASSIVE craft to do list (I know it's anal but I thought we knew each other by now?!).

Anyway one of the makes hopped straight to the top of the list, LOOK!!!
Who knew you could actually write stuff in doily form?!  This was a revelation to me, oh the possibilities!  I really wanted to try an edgier word but thought that as this was my first attempt and as I didn't have the proper fine crochet cotton that I really could do without a giant expletive doily hanging around so I chose to make love (ahem).

It's basically the cross stitch of the crochet world.  You make your plan on graph paper in the same way and it's just a case of filling in boxes with crochet stitches to form the individual letters adding a fancy schmancy boarder to pretty the whole thing up.

I LOVE it!  It's my new favourite form of crochet and I'm even more chuffed as yet again it's something that I've taught myself (what on earth did we do before Google and YouTube?!).

Linking up with #HandmadeThursday over on White Lily Green
Inspire Me Beautiful

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