Thursday, 12 January 2017

2017 - a year for some crafty challenges?


Firstly I want to thank you, Julie, Anja, Yve and Simone, for you kind and encouraging comments on my last post. Especially as I never get round to reciprocating on your blogs, though I do visit honestly! I love you guys! :o)

As always I/we start the new year full of intention and enthusiasm, which usually fizzles out by the end of January.  However I have not made resolutions this year but have signed up for a couple of challenges. I've already mentioned Minki Kim's 2017 Pincushion Sew-a-Long and have so far notched up at least one of each design. There's still a couple of weeks before the end of January when the SAL ends and I know I won't be able to resist a few more - yes they are addictive but what do you do with a mountain of pincushions!


Another challenge I've signed up for will last a bit longer - until the end of 2017 in fact.  Like me Carla Peicheff has a shelf of craft books full of wonderful projects seldom utilised. I have to admit I've at least twice as many volumes on my shelves (well at my great age I expect I've been collecting many more years than Carla!) all of which contain at least one project I've intended to make. So the challenge is to make at least one thing from a book on that shelf each month.


And guess what, I've already made two this month!!! It helps when I have some reason for making and I'd been asked to make for a new baby.  So I dipped into Amy Sinibaldi's lovely book Sweetly Stitched Handmades and made the cute teddy bear nursery cushion and a ruffled bib.  I know only that baby is a girl named Mia so do hope these will be to the parents' taste.


There is one more challenge signed up to and its one I've made for myself.  That is NOT to buy ANY fabric, yarn, or haberdashery in 2017. If you could see my sewing room you would have a fit (sorry - I'm certainly not going to share any photos of it here or anywhere else)! Something needs to be done! So unless I absolutely have to buy something, like plain linen or interfacing or something else absolutely necessary for a particular project, I'm not going to be beguiled into buying that oh-so-pretty fabric, that bargain price yarn or anything else I covet on someone's IG feed or blog or pinterest board.


In fact I started off well in December and made all my Christmas gifts from stuff I already had in my huge stash. These makeup brush travel rolls were made for my often travelling nieces and were created from pieces from my scrap bin and braid that was used to tie sets of teatowels I'd bought at Primark earlier in the year. I did however have to buy the wooden toggle buttons. This project is from another favourite book Sew Illustrated.

Now I've got the bug I'm looking for a couple more challenges to keep me busy.  Let me know if you see a good one.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Happy New Creative Year!


Wishing anyone who reads this a Happy, Creative, Peaceful and above all Safe 2017! Its been a pretty awful year for the world and it hasn't been too good for this blog either. I've toyed with the idea of closing it down but there's so much of my life over the past 8 years recorded here I'm lothed to do it. So I'm going to try a different tack in 2017 and write shorter posts but more of them.


I became infatuated with "sewing illustration" in the second half of 2016 and have even bought myself a new sewing machine for Christmas, one more suited to this style of machine embroidery (I just can't get on with free motion - I need more control!)  So to start off the new year, a new sew-a-long from the wonderful Minki Kim. Want to join in? Here's a link to the details: http://www.minkikim.com/pinchushion-2017-sewalong/

Back soon!

Sunday, 4 December 2016

November in the Garden


Well November passed in a flash! We had some gorgeous days and some wet ones but luckily I was able to rake up the leaves in front of my mother's house before they got too wet and soggy. As you can see there were rather a lot - this picture shows them during mid-rake. There seemed to be more than ever this year and believe me there were a lot more than shown here.


As well as the grass in front of the house there's the drive and the border to clear too. I did have company though - the birds really enjoyed mooching around picking out little tidbits as I raked and of course my most helpful companions were these two. Don't know what I'd do without them!


Blue plastic rake is much better at leaf raking than a metal one which just gets clogged up with the leaves, and Red snow scoop is her perfect partner.


Whilst I was raking a flash of gold caught the corner of my eye. When I went to investigate I found a beech leaf on the path caught in a ray of sunshine. It really did look like it was coated in gold leaf (no pun intended!!) November 2016 has certainly been a good one for catching autumn's beauty in the camera lens.


Can't resist sharing a few more photos.....





Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Supermoon Monday


Okay! We've had all our September family birthdays; we've had Halloween, and Bonfire Night; and this last week has seen Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday passing in their turn. Every year I get the feeling this is the right time to turn thoughts to the festive season and gift ideas. And tonight there was a supermoon which, apparently, was the largest since 1948, which just happens to be the year I was born!  I think its an omen! Tomorrow let the stitching begin!


I have made a start - I took some inspiration from Minki and Kristin's fabulous book Sew Illustrated and stitched a couple of coaster sets using patterns in the book.  Seeing photos on my Instagram account my sister ordered her Christmas gift and now I have a suspicion "coasters" will be written against quite a few names on my gift list this year! And they look so nice tied up with a matching gift tag don't you think!.


I chose some suitable images from my stamp collection and a piece of lovely red gingham for the Christmas coaster set. Its easy to transfer designs to the fabric by stamping them with a light neutral colour ink like grey or brown and machine stitching over the inked lines. However my preferred way to transfer the patterns is to use the images printed on the stamps' acetate holding sheet and trace them with an erasable pen. Use a light box if you have one or, in the traditional way, tape to a window. Outline stamps work best.


I've also made some bookmarks using stamps.  They are perfect little personal extras to slip in with a gift book - and who doesn't enjoy a new book at Christmas. Now, I need a little Pinterest browsing to fill up some of those other empty spaces on my 'to-make' gift list. Time is slipping past so quickly.... I thought I was writing this post at the beginning of the month but suddenly find its already half way through!!! Agh!!

Saturday, 1 October 2016

September's Song


September is ending and its been mostly sunny and warm here in North Wales. Its a month for gathering in what you can from garden and hedgerows and stashing the bounty away for winter. The ancient pear tree in my mother's garden still produces fruit but much of it looks uninviting as the skins are scabby and mottled but underneath the flesh is sweety and juicy. Perfect for a fruit crumble pudding or two.




As I mentioned in my August post, my little garden is being resurected and is now almost finished. Its rather bare of plants at the moment but I'm hoping next Spring perennials and bulbs I put in many years ago will stir into life and I will see exactly which patches of earth need filling.


There's slightly more paving than I would have planned myself (I let my handyman have a bit of a freehand as there was so much to do) but I have space for plenty of things in pots now! And I've a sunny spot for sitting with my crochet if weather and time permits. I'm joining in the 60 Million Trebles project and am currently on my third blanket.


I'm hoping that Mr Handyman will return next year to put up a bit of trellis along the boundary to make my space a bit more private and there's an old shed that could do with a bit of work!


I'm still enjoying the sewing illustration style of applique and recently stitched a small thankyou for Mr Handyman's birthday using Altenew's Garden Grow stamp set for inspriation. 



 And there have been a few more birthday gifts needed - September is a busy birthday month for our family!




Sunday, 28 August 2016

Sewing and Gardening in August


Does anyone else get excited by a new teatowel design at our local B&M Bargains shop? No, I thought not! But I do have my reasons - they are perfect for upcycling into these......


..... my teatowel bunnies, teddies and pussy cats. The fabric is perfect for these little toys as its soft, cuddly and of course made to be washable. They come in sets of three - one plain (usually with a bit of embroidery, though this one has a little applied printed panel), one patterned in gingham or check, and one waffle weave. All tied up with a nice piece of cotton braid and a bonus of length of jumbo ric-rac.


I unpick everything including the seams and put them in the wash, where they shrink slightly and form a tighter weave. To be honest the waffle weave towel is not suitable for toys - I've tried and it unravels itself too much for sewing good seams in such small items, but I have used it as backing for projects such as mug rugs, coasters and placemats. It also makes a reasonable substitute wadding for a small quilted project. You could of course just use it as a teatowel - in that case don't unpick!!!


As well as toy making, August has been all about sewing illustration still. I'm absolutely loving it and some may say have become slightly obsessed! I'm continually thinking of new images (including stamped images) to sew. These above have Welsh names with the English translation. It all started with my discovery of Minki Kim's blog. And then her newly published book which I purchased on its day of publication and stitched that little sewing machine pincushion on the same day!


August 2016 has also been the month my long long neglected and overgrown garden has come back to life with the aid of a very handy handyman friend. Ok, I admit he did 99% of the hard work! The other 1% has been me doing a bit of planting and weeding and the garden reviving itself. For instance these beautiful feverfew plants have grown completely by themselves from seeds lying dormant in the soil for years. Isn't nature miraculous!


Monday, 8 August 2016

First things............



First thing is to thank my lovely blog friends Simone, Lin and Mrs A for their so so kind comments on my last long overdue blog post. You are wonderful people!

And I don't know about you but my first thing most mornings (if I have time) is to try to catch up with everything on line - Facebook, Instagram, Email, Pinterest, Twitter, etc, etc, etc. This is combined with having my breakfast but in a twinkling of an eye a couple of hours whizzes past and its 10.00am already!


I'm not a coffee lover but I rather wish I was as apparently it gets one going for the rest of the day - and I need to get going!! Especially on a day that is meant for sewing/crafting. Today is a charity shop day and I'll be off in an hour or so but I'm making time for a blog post first.

I made the top coffee picture for my sister who is definitely a coffee addict and reaction on Instagram persuaded me to stitch a couple more to add to my gifty stock. I'm really loving this "sewing illustration" way of making fabric pictures. I recently bought a coffee themed stamp set from Altenew which is just right for stitching. I do hope a "tea set" is somewhere in the pipeline for release!


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