Monday, 24 November 2014

Stir Up Sunday

Traditionally the last Sunday before advent is known as stir up Sunday when xmas puddings and the like are made. Now having no oven I didn't think I'd be able to cook anything for Xmas but I then realised puddings were boiled (for hours and hours and hours it turns out) and I have a working hob so a perfect excuse to make Xmas pudding.

I would love to be able to say they tasted fantastic, but I'll have to wait a while before I get to try them out! Though I haven't met a Xmas pudding I didn't like!

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Frustrating Friday Night Sew In

Well I had a plan for this evening to work on some cushions for my lounge, this would involve me trying to learn how to sew in a zip (zipper).  So I set up my sewing space, cut up the first squares of fabric and then found out that not only did I not have a zip foot I didn't have a normal foot either.  This seemed a little odd and was destined to end my sewing before it started when I finally remembered a little drawer...feet found.

Next step was to baste together the zip opening ( as explained in the wonderful tutorial courtesy of Grace Bonney at Design Sponge), at which point my machine started skipping stitches and unthreading itself in a most annoying fashion.  A serious cleaning session and some perseverance later I finally got round to sewing in the zip...

That actually wasn't too tricky (maybe the luck of the uninformed) and the rest of the project passed off uneventfully (ignoring the point where I realised why the zip opening was unbasted prior to sewing up the sides!).

Just a couple of little threads to tidy up, but otherwise I'm really pleased with the outcome and have another to make (and possibly a good few more in my future!).

Hope everyone else had a good FNSI.

Sunday, 19 October 2014


In the midst of my disjointed house renovations I find myself left with a surplus chest of drawers.  It a cheap chest but very handy as it has lots of drawers so I think I'll move it to my teeny, tiny sewing room. Unfortunately I'm no longer keen on the waxed pine look and I think it won't be great in my dark, teeny, tiny sewing room (I'm just glad to have one!).  So what's a girl to do but get out the paint brushes...

From this

Via this

To this...

Hopefully I've made it so that I can use the top of the drawers as a pressing surface eventually. I'm really pleased with this and it has worked out as I planned.  I'm also going to paint the matching large bookcase to match, but this time I'm going to use a roller!

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Malvern Autumn Show

Last weekend saw my first ever visit to the Malvern Autumn Show organised by the Royal Horticultural Society.  Unfortunately the specific exhibitor I wanted to see didn't turn up but I had a lovely day anyway.  I browsed all the commercial stands, watched the dog agility competition and entertained my inner engineer with the steam powered engines.  I even strayed into the flower and competition pavilion.

There were beautiful growers' displays...

Exquisite floral competition entries...

And amazing produce entries...

These were the entries for the largest in the class, the woman sneaking into the bottom is an adult.  I don't know if growing over large and probably inedible veg is a British thing?

Saturday, 20 September 2014

FNSI results

A little late posting this but I did achieve something during yesterday's FNSI.

I finally got the binding onto my cousin's daughter's quilt.  Took longer than I'd expected, but pleased with it.

I followed a binding tutorial from the Missouri Star Quilt Co and it has definitely improved the look of my binding.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Now for something slightly different...

Over the summer I ended up going to one of those ceramics painting place that I always thought were just for kids...

...I was wrong.  After painting the first mug at the beginning of August I took my sister to another pottery painting place at the end of the month and painted the blue mug.

Barring my inability to paint a steady straight line round the rim or base I really enjoyed painting these and may find an excuse to go again in the near future!

Friday, 5 September 2014

Wedding Banner - In Use

Well I didn't manage to quilt the banner for the big day, but they were able to use it as a banner.

I'm really loving how it's turning out.

(Picture taken by Paul Pickard -

Monday, 18 August 2014

Still growing my own...

Despite my laid back approach to gardening and fairly long periods without watering my veggie plants are doing their utmost to produce something edible (they've also produced a ridiculous amount of leaves and are slowly taking over my yard!).


Teeny tiny green tomato

Baby butternut squash

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Wedding Banner Quilt - Part 2

And the work on the quilt for my brother's wedding goes on.  Nothing like an end of the month deadline to get you moving on a king size quilt!

A large proportion of the 900+ 2.5 inch squares destined for the border

Two of the letters - one appliquéd, one not

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Festival of Quilts - The Shopping

So the Festival of Quilts wasn't just about the amazing quilts, there were also loads of vendors stands some of which I couldn't resist...

The little item with the hearts on is a needle case I won in a lucky dip.  This was especially lucky as for the past 15 years I've been using a little scrap of felt to hold my needles.  The needle case is going to seem like luxury after that!

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Festival of Quilts 2014 - The Quilts

Warning picture heavy...

My sister and I visited the Festival of Quilts at the NEC in Birmingham today and were amazed by the stunning quilts on display.  Here's a small selection which caught my eye...

Fire and Ice - Claudia Pfeil

Skull Optics - Paula Rafferty

Mum's a Star - Michele Clarke and Margaret Routledge

Fish at Sea - Pam Stanier and Quilter's Trading Post

The Brightness - Kazue Iwahashi ... Hand quilted!

Autumn Gold - Heather Bentley ... a close up of one of the log cabin blocks

Paris - Anna-Karin Andermo

David - Gillian Theokritoff

Harlequin Star - Jess Williams

And finally, a full size, actually working, quilted Grandfather Clock by Kate Crossley

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Wedding Banner Quilt - Part 1

Well I've finally bit the bullet and made a serious start on the banner/quilt for my brother's wedding...which is taking place on 23 Aug this year!!!!!

I've had the fabric since April and started drafting the letters in July.  With a few hours effort I now have slightly more to show...

The drafted letters...

Transferred to bonda web type stuff...

Ironed onto the fabrics and cut out.

I'm feeling so much more enthusiastic and confident about this quilt now I've really started. Love how the letters look.  Need a few more fat quarters but it's definitely looking promising.

Monday, 4 August 2014

4th August

"The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime" 
  - Sir Edward Grey, British Foreign Minister, 4th August 1914

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Friday-ish Night Sew-ish In

Well after the two hour commute home last night I was just too tired to sew, FNSI or not.  So I postponed my FNSI efforts until tonight (Saturday).

To tell the truth no sewing happened on Saturday either.  I decided that my most pressing project was the quilt/banner for my brother's wedding. So I spent the majority of my evening designing templates for the appliqué letters whilst watching Hunger Games.

I never realised how tricky designing these letters would be, although I think I've pretty much got the simple letters sorted.  The letter G is flummoxing me a little, and I'm trying to avoid thinking about &!

I also squeezed in a few slow rows of knitting...

May actually get a sock finished this year!

So not a traditional FNSI but a very productive one in its way.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

FNSI approaches...

This blog has been a lot quieter than I intended this month.  I haven't been busy crafting though, it seems as though I have so much I should be doing (including non crafty stuff) that I have no idea where to start.  Hopefully FNSI will give me the kick I need!

If you want to sign up too there's still time, just pop round to see Wendy at Sugarlane Quilts ... here

Monday, 9 June 2014

Double slice layer cake flimsy

I might actually get a baby quilt finished in time for the baby's birth (rather than it's fifth birthday!).

This flimsy is made using the Double Slice Layer Cake pattern and ABC Menagerie by Moda.  It makes for a very lively quilt top.  I was going to back it with the remaining blocks but I think that'll end up looking too busy, so my next (very unpleasant (!)) job is to go to the LQS which stocks Moda fabrics and find something suitable for the backing and binding.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Grow your own...

I had planned to spend all weekend sewing, however like all plans it hasn't worked that way. I have got a little sewing done which I will finish this evening but as the weather was nice this afternoon I mustered the enthusiasm to do some pottering in the garden.

My new house has, what seems to me, a huge garden which hasn't been loved by the previous owner and has been neglected by me in the months I've lived here. I have been doing bits and pieces, clearing a couple of borders, figuring out how a lawnmower works, and as of today waging war on the major weeds which seem to love my soil!

As well as the boring stuff I have given growing fruit and veg a go on a small scale this year.

The tomatoes are doing well (as a novice gardener I count anything that is growing as doing well!)

The strawberries and blackcurrant bush seem to be happy, and I'm almost winning vs the weeds in this patch.

Unfortunately their neighbours the butternut squash/courgettes (I planted squash and courgette seeds in the same seed tray but forgot to label which was which!) have totally disappeared.

Luckily I didn't plant out all the seedlings, so I'm now trying to grow them in some enormous pots.  Fingers crossed this plan works.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Loopy sock knitting

It seems that many crafters have a small portable project for when they're out and about.  I've found that sock knitting is often my portable project, especially now I've got a climbing chalk bag to carry it round in.

My current project is a plain pair of socks but for the first time I'm using the magic loop technique.

It took a while to get used to it and I'm still finding managing the loops tricky but I think it may be something I will use again.  Although all I've managed to find so far on the internet are basic sock patterns using the magic loop technique, I know it's probably possible to adapt any pattern to this technique eventually but I'm not sure I'm ready for that yet.  If there are any other sock knitters out there can you recommend any sources of magic loop sock patterns?  I always enjoy practising my new tricks a few times.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

How I Make A Kindle Cover...

Looking back through my posts I, apparently, learnt how to make a Kindle cover from a tutorial I found on Junie Moon's blog.  I say apparently as there is no sign of the tutorial on the blog anymore.  In the last few years I have made several Kindle covers using the same design and making it up as I go from memory.  When I made my last cover I decided to record the steps so I could post them here and then next time I make a cover I won't have to spend half a day figuring out the maths and details.  

(Please note this is still a bit of a work in progress and will probably be tweaked in coming months for my own sanity and to ensure every step works, but I need the basics recorded somewhere!)

So here goes....

A kindle cover needs outer fabric, lining fabric, thin wadding, velcro and a button

Cut the following pieces for a Kindle measuring 7 x 5 inches: 
    1 lining 7.75 x 5.75 (3/4 inch longer and wider than kindle)
    1 lining 9.75 x 5.75
    1 outer and 1 wadding 8 x 6 (1 inch longer and wider than kindle)
    1 outer and 1 wadding 10 x 6

Layer the longer piece of wadding, longer outer fabric face up and the longer lining face down (if it has a face).  Top edges should all be lined up.  Place a pin 2 inches down from the top on either side this will create the flap for your kindle.

Sew round the top, between the two pins, using a 1/4 inch allowance.

Clip corners and turn right side out.  This is the back.

Layer the three remaining pieces of fabric - wadding, outer face up, lining face down - with top edges lined up.  With a 1/4 inch seam sew along the top.  This is the front.

Tricky bit to up the front and back so that the lining is on its own at the top and the wadding and outer are at the bottom.  Place the front on top of the back so that the right sides of the outers and the linings meet, the wadding is on the outside and the flap is sandwiched in the middle.  Make sure the bottom of the outers and waddings meet up (yet to figure out why the linings don't).  Sew almost all the way around using a 1/4 inch seam.  Leave a gap in the lining for turning.

Turn right way round and try and remember to sew up hole in the lining!

Finally, sew velcro under the flap and a decorative button on the outside.