Because I have a few new projects in the pipeline, I have again been tackling my UFOs so that I can start the new ones with a clear conscience. This is a Hex Etui that I started about this time last year for a June birthday……….well it’s only a year late. I just hope that after waiting this long, it is well received!
These are very useful little sewing boxes and this is the fifth one that I have made.
I also promised to show you the lavender pouches that I have been making so here they are;
These were both made using a piece of lace made in the hoop of my embroidery machine, this was then stitched over a piece of satin and net. The net and satin were left open at the top, to enable filling with the lavender and this opening was hand stitched to close. I was pleased with the results and am now seriously thinking of selling some of my work on Etsy. This is a site for crafters who want to sell their products, I must do a little bit more research.
I am teaching at college again, a couple of days a week. The little group I have been working with, have a unit to complete, ‘Planning an Enterprise Activity’. After much discussion they have decided to hold a coffee morning and to make and sell lavender bags. Last Friday I took two of my sewing machines in to college, along with two big bags of fabric, ribbon, sewing tools and, of course, lavender. Well, what a day we had, the students worked so well together, all having a go at cutting out, machining, pressing, filling the little bags and finishing off with ribbons. These youngsters all have diverse learning difficulties, from Downs syndrome and hearing impairment to heart problems requiring oxygen. They were able to manage each ‘job’ with varying degrees of success, but all were very happy with their achievements. This week they have been doing literacy, numeracy and ICT exams, (at entry level) so Friday is going to be another fun day, making their lavender bags and winding down to their mid term break. Watch this space and I will post some pictures of their creations.
Have a great bank holiday weekend, if you are crafting, I’d love to know what you are doing.
Pop over to World War C if you get a chance, Maria has posted a new blog.
Last Friday I heard some sad news from an old friend who I hadn’t seen for a while, her daughter had been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma on Christmas eve.
I have known Maria since she was a little girl and, last year I had the pleasure of making a chocolate wedding cake for the celebration of her civil partnership with Juliet. They were both so happy to be taking this step and my heart goes out to them now, as they face this aweful invasion into their lives. Maria is having a series of chemotherapy sessions and will be, for a few more months. I am sharing this with you as I want you to know what a brave young woman Maria is. Does she feel sorry for herself? No, quite the reverse in fact. Maria, and a group of her friends, have set up a web site www.worldwarc.weebly.com and their aim is to raise money for the Macmillan Nurses who, in turn, are supporting Maria through her treatment. The group have been taking part in various activities, including a 10K run which Maria herself did three days after a chemotherapy session! They have already raised a considerable amount of money and have lots more fundraing events in the pipeline. Also on the web site, is Maria’s own blog, telling her story as her treatment unfolds…….I defy any of you to read it and still have a dry eye when you have finished, but you will also have an insight into the sheer courage and tenacity with which Maria is facing her demons.
The most poignant thing for me, in Maria’s blog, were the pictures and the account of having her hair cropped really short, as it was falling out due to the chemo. You see, I remember so well, the bright eyed little Maria, sitting in my kitchen, while I gave her a haircut, ready for school.
Please log on to World War C and give your support to a really worthwhile cause.
Maria……..we are all travelling your journey with you, stay strong !
I wonder how many of you, like me, are hooked on this BBC sewing programme. I have so enjoyed the first two in the series and I’m looking forward to the next two. I think it’s a shame that the BBC have only seen fit to give us four programmes in the series but, as the viewing figures have been good, hopefully they will make a second series which will be longer. The contestants have all been very good and, as much as I love sewing, I cannot begin to imagine what it must be like working under such pressure. My initial favourite was Tilly, she had such great ideas and creativity. I was disappointed that she went out in the second round. The remaining four contestants have all got their own individual style, it will be very interesting to see which two are eliminated tomorrow. If you are following the programme, do have a look at Tilly’s blog www.tillyandthebuttons.com
Tilly’s enthusiasm for sewing and encouraging others to sew, comes across on every page of her blog. Tilly has also designed two pattens, both of which can be downloaded from her site. I downloaded the skirt patten and made it for myself over the weekend.
Encouraged by the GBSB, I made the skirt in the way I was taught to sew when I was at school, taking measurements first, making sure the patten pieces were going to fit correctly, steam pressing as I worked, sewing the seams with a French seam etc. and the results were quite pleasing. I’m now going to download the blouse patten from Tilly’s site, so watch this space.
My other little foray into dressmaking recently, was to make an edge to edge jacket in some of the batik that I brought back from my holiday. It’s an unlined jacket and I thought it would be useful in the long hot summer that we are going to get (positive thinking now!). It will go well over T Shirts and jeans and be very easy to wear.
Thank you for reading my blog, it would be lovely to know if you are also following the Sewing Bee.
Till next time, a stitch in time…………….
At the moment we are spending a lot of time in the house where OH did most of his growing up so you can imagine the memories that have been stirred. It got me thinking about the smells and perfumes that instantly remind us of things that may have been long forgotten. We all have our favourite, memory evoking fragrances I’m sure. One of mine was brought very much to the fore this week; as a child I can remember sitting in church beside my dad, and realising that I hadn’t got a handkerchief. I nudged dad and indicated that I needed to wipe my nose and he immediately gave me the large, spotlessly clean, Persil white hankie from his pocket. It smelt deliciously of his favourite pipe tobacco, the pouch for which was also in his pocket. When I was emptying a drawer at F-I-Ls this week I came upon his old pipes and a well worn, leather tobacco pouch, all with the pungent smell of the same pipe tobacco that my darling dad smoked. I was immediately transported back to church with my dad. Such happy memories!
Another of my favourite smells is Max Factor Creme Puff, a face powder that mum always used, it had a perfume like no other make-up had. I’ll let you into a little secret, the last Max Factor Creme Puff that mum had now sits in my dressing table drawer and I often open it just to smell mum’s presence. It reminds me of mum getting dressed up for an evening out with dad, and anyone one who knew her would agree that she always went out looking good. Even in her nineties, mum never went out in clothes that weren’t colour co-ordinated, never a hair out of place, and of course the Creme Puff and her lippy!
Freshly baked bread, freshly mown grass and ground coffee are among my other favourite smells but this wasn’t always so. When I was pregnant with my first, I was working in Windsor and had to pass a coffee shop on my route from home to the hairdressing salon where I worked. I would be fine every morning until drawing level with this shop, it would immediately set me off in great waves of morning sickness. In the end I had to to take a considerably longer walk to work to avoid the smell of the coffee. I remember thinking I would never be able to face coffee again, but now it is one of my favourite smells, strange that.
I would love to know what smells evoke happy memories for you, please feel free to send me your thoughts.
Till next time, make some happy memories!
Sorry for the long gap since my last Blog, but everything is back to normal now, well almost. After the sad loss of my dad-in-law, we are now busy clearing his house which is quite a task as he had lived there for forty two years. We are coming across all sorts of things, including some lovely photographs of OH when he was a little boy, he’s dared me to show them to anyone, LOL.
We did take a week out for ourselves after Dad’s funeral, and went away for our long anticipated, previously cancelled, trip to Las Vegas. We had a very restful and relaxing time, which we both needed and enjoyed. We ate in some lovely restaurants, walked miles (not difficult in Las Vegas, you can walk a mile just from one end of a casino to the other), we shopped till we dropped, and soaked up some sunshine.
Much of our shopping was in craft, fabric and quilting shops, I am lucky to have a very patient husband who was happy to drive me to these wonderful shops. Just within Vegas itself there were at least a dozen such shops and the range of goodies was quite remarkable. OH also shopped for clothes and gadgets, both of which there were great choices. Suffice to say, we went out with one suitcase weighing 17 kilos and came home with two cases, each weighing 23 kilos!
Since coming home, I have had a little bit of ‘me time’ and have used this time in my craft room. Here is a bag I made using a patten and some fabric that I bought on holiday.
I think this is going to be a very useful bag over the Summer, if we get one that is! Would you believe we had snow again today, perhaps we are going to jump straight from Winter to Summer and miss out Spring altogether.
Another thing I have been trying this week is machine embroidery using Mylar. I was introduced to this by my lovely cyber friend Mabel, who showed some of this work on the Shortcuts to Sewing Forum. Mylar is a thin film that has an irredescance to it and can be used for all sorts of pretty crafts. I managed to buy some on ebay and started playing as soon as it arrived.
To use it for machine embroidery it is placed over a double layer of water soluable stabiliser that has been tightly hooped;
This is then placed on to the embroidery unit of the machine and the outine stitched out. Before continuing the hoop is removed and the excess Mylar cut away before replacing the hoop.
The embroidery design is then stitched out completely. Once finished it is removed from the hoop and the stabiliser cut away from around the design. The piece then needs to be soaked in warm water, this needs to be changed several times until all of the stabilser has dissolved and no residue left.
The pieces are then allowed to dry flat.
I hope you’ve enjoyed a look at this embroidery technique, I’ve certainly enjoyed sharing it with you.
Till next time,
This week we had two lovely thank you cards form nieces and their offsprings. I have to say, I think it is one of the nicest things, to get a thank you, especially from the younger generation (OMG am I really getting old?!!). I’ve also had texts, phone calls and ‘facebook’ messages with Christmas thank yous, all of which have been really appreciated. People complain about the youngsters and their lack of respect but, I have to say, it has been my good fortune to find this is rarely the case. The two nieces who took time to write to me this week, are both young mums of little ones and, like a lot of their peers, both work to help with the family income. Their children will grow up knowing that to say thank you costs nothing but is always appreciated, and they will be all the nicer for it.
Well, in answer to my own question, yes, it’s official, I am getting old! Last week OH took me to Westfield for some retail therapy, we got on a very packed tube train and nice man, about 30-ish, got up and gave me his seat!!! Can you believe that………there were quite a few other women standing but he obviously thought this little old lady needed a seat. I have never had this happen before but have always thought it nice to see, when a gentleman gives up his seat to an elderly or pregnant lady, I’ m certainly well beyond the second category but on a bright note, perhaps this is a courtesy I will get used to in future.
It was our first visit to Westfield and it is certainly a lovely shopping centre, especially if you are into designer goods. The best part of the day for me however, was not Westfield. Just around the corner we discovered Goldhawk Road and Shepherds Bush Market. Every other shop on the road was a fabric shop, and lots more fabric stalls in the market. I was in a state of euphoria, like an excited child in a sweet store. I bought all of my fabric for my Quilt Along (see previous post) and the prices were amazing, 100% cottons at under £2 per metre. I will certainly go back again.
On the subject of fabric, I’ve been playing with the new machine this week and made this cushion;
The fabric is a cotton print that I bought in John Lewis’ sale.
At Craft Club on Monday we were making squares of ‘log cabin’ patchwork and Helen and Mary showed us how to make a door stop from two of these squares. I fininshed the patchwork at home and turned it into this funky chicken doorstop. He is filled with rice to give the weight.
He’s quite fun isn’t he?
Thanks for reading my blog, do feel free to leave a comment, it’s always nice to hear from you.
The weather forcast isn’t very good for the next few days so keep warm and stay safe.
Well 2012 was a year of ups and downs. Lots of lovely celebrations, three family weddings, our sons (twice, in Cyprus and Cambridge), our niece Traceys and our nephew Mikes, we celebrated the 30th birthday of our lovely niece Tiffany, we welcomed a new baby in to the family, Kai. Two of the teenagers in the family went off to uni, Nathalie went to Portsmouth and Jack went to the Hague, both have settled well and are enjoying their courses. Tobie continues to do well in his music degree course at Cardiff.
The hi-light of the year for me was going to Colin and Allyson’s wedding in Cyprus. I had a wonderful week out there in the company of my darling niece, Boo. We had a fantastic time and I am so grateful that Boo talked me into going, Thank you Hun, you are the best!
I also paid my first visit to Walsingham in May this year. It is a shrine to our Blessed Lady and a place where my dear mum went every year for as long as I can remember. I always promised myself I would go on a pilgrimage to this lovely little Norfolk village, once I retired. It was a lovely long weekend in the company of my sister and brother-in-law and several other members of their parish. I found the whole experience very peaceful, but also very uplifting. I have to say that I very much felt as though my mum was with me the whole time I was there.
On the down side, my darling OH was very poorly when his appendix burst, but has completely ‘mended’ now. My sister was also very poorly and in hospital for a spell in November, she too is now on the mend and for that we are very grateful. We tragically lost a cousin to a heart attack in the spring, He was due to celebrate his 50th birthday in May. Another cousin also passed away in the summer. RIP Fergal and John.
So now we welcome 2013, we have more celebrations planned, including my sister and brother-in-law’s diamond wedding anniversary, yes DIAMOND, that’s SIXTY YEARS!!! My other sister will be eighty this year, great cause for celebration I think you’ll agree.
We have re-booked our holiday to Las Vegas (the one that was cancelled in September) and that is fast approaching. OH has put several addresses of quilting/fabric shops into the sat nav, all within a reasonable distance of Las Vegas, I can’t wait to build up my fabric stash. An empty suitcase is a must!!
On the subject of quilting and fabric, I have signed up for a ‘Quilt along on line’. The information was posted on a sewing forum by Dina aka ‘Bossymamma’ and it is an online group led by a lovely lady, Alyssa from Pile O’ Fabric www.pileofabric.com There will be monthly instructions for two different quilt blocks and when finished they will be pieced together to make a queen sized quilt, hopefully by Christmas 2013. I am very excited at the prospect of making a quilt as this is something I have been intendng to do for ages, this could be the ideal way of learning how to do it properly. Thanks for the info Dina. Now is a good time to start a quilt as I was once again thoroughly spoiled this Christmas, OH gave me an Elna Quilters 6600 sewing machine. I know what you are thinking, ‘why on earth do I need another machine?’, the truth is I don’t, but this will compliment my other machines as it does ‘different’ things. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!
OK, so thats my little, personal, review of 2012 and a little taste of what I am looking forward to in 2013. I wish you and all of your families a happy and healthy new year. I hope all your dreams come true and , if you are a crafter, baker and homemaker, I hope you have a year of successful projects.