Tuesday 24 December 2019

Happy Christmas (and tiny houses)!

 I was cutting it a bit fine for a last minute Christmas make, but wanted to make something with the teeny tiny buttons that I'd ordered after seeing Julia Gahagan's use of them.

I finished up with these four snow capped (well, almost) houses and Christmas trees.
  I started with a strip of starry background and snowy foreground.  Added in my shapes, covered them with netting, quilted around them...
 .... decided to try and add snow to the roofs (not completely successfully, ahem), and machine embroidery for the house details, then cut them apart.

Then I tried to edge them neatly with a small satin stitch.  Quite why it didn't occur to me to stick a layer of buckram in to stiffen them at this point I don't know.  It would have made so much sense!  I'm writing this now in case I what to make something similar in the future.  Perhaps it will help me to remember!
The last thing I did was to hand stitch the buttons on (see top photo again).  I will add a hanging loop to make them into tree decorations, I think.  Just over 2" squareish.  Next time I'll try for stiffer and smaller and make brooches!

Hope that you've found some crafting time too.  Seasonal greetings to you all!

Wednesday 18 December 2019

Another Winter Quilt

This was another pattern that the generous Julia Gahagan shared at the workshop I took almost a fortnight ago.

I thought that I'd make it the same size as the winter scene that I showed last week - so they are both just under A4 size.

I think that I'd call this one a small quilt rather than a miniature.  The pieces are small, but not tiny!

My baubles might be slightly lumpy, but I had a lot of fun making this and adding the machine stitching.

Time to hang them both, alongside my other Christmas quilts.

Wednesday 11 December 2019

Wonderland from a Workshop

I went to a quilting workshop with Julia Gahagan last week, where I made this miniature quilt (apart from the binding which I added once I got home).

It was a fun workshop learning this quick pictorial technique which uses a layer of netting over the top of fabric that you've temporarily held in place with fabric glue before quilting everything into place.

Fast, fun, and you manage to maintain sharp points in a way that I can't always manage with needle turn applique, or even fused applique if I've over sewn it.

Nice to come out with an almost finished snow scene, just before I put my Christmas quilts up!

Wednesday 4 December 2019

Dino-tastic Christmas

Many thanks, Pintrest, for this dinosaur tilt on a Scandi inspired strip layout.

Used here in cross stitch to make a fun card for a young dinosaur enthusiast.

Life is all about finding the fun in small things, isn't it?

So, this is it for me this week.  Small sewing, but fun sewing!

Welcome to December!

Tuesday 26 November 2019

What 3 Words Quilt

 Have you heard about What3Words?

It has 'addressed the world' by splitting the world into 3m squares and giving each a unique identifier of three words in a particular order.

As one of my favourite colours is purple, how happy was I to find that part of my living room has this identifier?
Admittedly, not as much use as when you are trying to find someone lost on a moor, or even finding someone in a festival or park, but it entertains me!

My first foray into words, I tried to match the style of the word look right for the word that they were.  I know that there is a special name to describe that, but can't think of it right now!

I'm happy with the busy batik for the background,  It was a fun to make!

Wednesday 20 November 2019

Itty Bitty Backpacks!

 Gotta love the internet - where you can see a designer in Australia making doll sized back packs (they finish at about 4" high) and for not very much money at all, get the pattern down loaded onto your computer in a moment!

So, thank you Jodie at RicRac!  You can find the pattern in her Etsy shop here.

I started with one, spent some time looking for a missing bag of zips (still MIA).  I wonder why my zips are missing, my DD2 wonders who would ever have a bag of zips.....

I sigh, and order more zips.
Another five back packs (they are cute and will be great at Christmas!  These ones are - mostly - personalised), and another order of zips, this time in green and red.....  The magic that usually ensures that you find the missing items just after you order replacements has failed me this time!

I don't do heaps of festive sewing, but these are too fun not to make in a seasonal fabric or two!

Tuesday 12 November 2019

Anne Kelly Workshop Fun

On Sunday I went to a workshop with Anne Kelly, organised by Richmond and Kew Quilters.

Anne encouraged us to use vintage textiles, such as embroidered tableclothes or tray cloths, which are unlikely to be used in their current form, and add to them.

We block printed.  We coloured our prints with Sharpies.  We cut out floral motifs.  We added 'middle ground' pieces.  This is shown in this first photo.

I 'broke the rules' and extended mine to meet the criteria for a group quilting challenge (making a suitable background for a blackbird pin - you can see it below).

After a six hour workshop and a further 2/5 hours at home, I'm thrilled to present my cottage garden piece, which is slightly over A3 size.

The central 'heart' will be a place to put badges or pins as I choose.  I quite like the idea of something rude about the concept of Brexit but in the same style as the garden....but there are other contenders, and my 'Enthusiast' pin is a good place marker for the moment.

Anne was a great tutor - encouraging us all to follow our own whims.  It will be lovely to see the other pieces of work started at the workshop as they are finished and shown at our group meetings.

Wednesday 30 October 2019

Ready with Wraps

 Too early to be talking about Christmas?  Emphatically yes!  Although not too early to be preparing for it, in my world!

These are the four sets of fabric wraps and bags and tags that I have made for me and my immediate family.

I get to keep the fabric with the penguins on - maker's perks (a bit like cook's perks in the kitchen, when you get to taste things early, or lick the cake bowl!).
 Actually, it's not just maker's perks.  I also bought extra fabric and made extra bags within my set.  Mother's perks, perhaps?
Of course, it wasn't just the four of us that needed sustainable wrapping for Christmas.  So here is a photo of nine of the eleven sets that I've made! 

Its been quite a lot of work, but worth it to know that we will have a foldable delight of wrapping under the tree this year, and for every Christmas to come!

If you don't want to sew your own, but want to buy some bags or wraps to share with the special people in your life, then you can always buy them from Georgie at FabWraps, of course!

Too early, I know, but fun to be prepared!

Thursday 24 October 2019

So Proud!

 I'm so proud to see Georgie's FabWraps on Twickenham High Street!

This article by Susie Kellie in the Richmond and Twickenham Times caught the attention of The People Hive, who invited Georgie to meet with them.

The outcome?  Her FabWraps products in their store!  Thank you Samantha and George!

We hope that sales are brisk and that both FabWraps and The People Hive (who are the front door to a charity who help adults with learning difficulties) benefit from the relationship.

Good luck!

Of course, if you can't get to Twickenham to fondle the fabric and buy goods (Tues to Sat, 10 - 4.30), you can still find FabWraps via Etsy or Georgie's web site, Fabwraps.co.uk

Wednesday 16 October 2019

Fun Stuff

 My only hand sewing this week was this (almost finished!) felt decoration.  Brighter than the colours are showing here, it's just a bit of fun that needs a little stuffing and for the last side to be closed.
 I was lucky enough, however, to be given a much better make!

This mini cutting mat would have been a lovely gift just by itself - so much easier to transport than a large mat.
But true loveliness of the gift was revealed when I turned it over, and there is a beautiful firm padded ironing surface!

The ever lovely Benta had made this for me.  Perfect for using for tiny quilt blocks, as she knew that I'd been talking about making more teeny blocks.

It's clever and it's perfect!  Thank you so much!

Wednesday 9 October 2019

Card Fun

 I thought that it would be fun to layer up a small cross stitch piece with some papers to frame it, and secure them with a brad (like a paper fastener) or two.

This was my first one.  Fine, and just needs a greeting to be added at the bottom of the card to complete it, but not really exciting.
 Then I went for a slightly quirkier approach, and twisted the middle paper.  I like this effect!
Lastly I went 'total free style' and used a scatter of cross stitches for the stitching element.  As these corrugated cards were thicker, I didn't add a brad as I thought it would make the whole thing too bulky.

Fun stitching!  Thank you Pintrest for the penguin and hedgehog patterns.

Tuesday 1 October 2019

Busy busy!

The recently made bunting got it's first run out, and Georgie's FabWraps (eco friendly, zero waste, 100% cotton gift wrapping) stall was set up and ready to go!

Really hard not to make it look cluttered, whilst still being able to display stock and show how it can be used.  I'm sure that Georgie will get slicker at the set up the more that she does 'live' selling like this.

I'm going to carry on working on my own fabric bags and wraps for the family to use at Christmas now, before getting back to quilting once I have more energy again.  It's been a tiring summer and autumn so far, even if fun!

Wednesday 25 September 2019

Another Small Project

 I wanted a hand sewing project recently, wanted to use this 'Creativity takes courage' quote by Henri Matisse (and shared with my by my lovely cousin, when I was telling him how hard I found it to cut into the story book that I'd been embellishing), and wanted to make something for Benta.
It all came together in this simple pouch which is large enough to take A4 sheets. 

I wasn't sure about the Riley Blake zig zag for the inside and lining (its bold!), but I really struggled to find something that would even half-way go with the batik on the outside.

Hope that you like it, Benta!

Wednesday 18 September 2019

More Bunting

 I'm sure that only a few weeks ago I declared that I'd never make any more bunting!

Hard to believe that I'm already making it again!
 My daughter has set up a business to sell reusable fabric gift bags and gift wraps - based on the Japanese idea of furoshiki.  She has her own web site FabWraps.co.uk but on Sunday 29th September will have her first real life stall at a Pamper Evening in Twickenham.  If you live locally (and are 18+ and female) please do come along - it's free to come in and should be fun.
She wanted to have bunting for her stall, so asked for my help in making it.  The fabrics are all from her business stash - beautiful, aren't they?

I'm sure to come back to tell you more about this, as I'm so proud of the ideas behind her business and how she's getting on with it.  In the meantime I hope that she has a lot of fun running the stall on the 29th!

Wednesday 11 September 2019

Back to School Project

 A couple of fast projects this week.  With my DD's going back to school / off to college, packed lunches once more became part of our regular routine.

It was time for me to step up and reduce our single use plastic by making re-usable sandwich wrappers.
 I used a square of fabric 12" square, and lined it with an 11.5" square of iron on vinyl. 

Then I turned the hemmed the edge.  On one wrap I turned it over twice, but the corners were very bulky.  One the second one I used a pinking cutter along the edges and then just turned it over once.  Time will tell which is the most robust!

Then I added velcro - the soft strip across the outside fabric, and the hook strip down the inside of the opposite corner.
The result is a sandwich wrapper with enough variation allowed to accept a close wrap on lots of different bread sizes.

We've used them twice now and the girls seem happy with them.

Next we need to decide how to tackle wrapping a couple of biscuits or a peice of cake, which are also a frequent part of their lunches....!

Wednesday 4 September 2019

Final story book embellishment

 I went back to this page - knowing that it needed something else - and added the stitched rainbow shape.  Such a simple thing, but I really feel that the page is improved by it.
 This page has metallic finish card with buttonhole stitch (double on the final cloud) secured with beads.

Then I added a line of chain stitch in the squishy mud....
The final page!
A paper circle with sunrays of stitching both on the circle and outside it.

At the bottom of the page beaded lines showing the puddles getting smaller and smaller.

I didn't extend the story.  I didn't change the story.  I did have to find my courage in order to cut and stitch into a perfectly reasonable book.

It was an adventure.  I'm 'sorry not sorry' that it's finished!

On to other projects now!

Wednesday 28 August 2019

Tangled tape or Bundles of Bunting?

 I've been doing a lot of non-quilting sewing recently, it seems.

This array of green fabrics is a tangle of mini bunting.

This string was based on a 6" x 4" rectangle cut to an  isosceles triangle shape.
 This is the same string once it had all been folded together.  Much neater!
Then there were another two strings of bunting based on a 9" x 6" rectangle.  Still smaller than my usual size, which is typically based on a sheet of A4, so roughly 12" x 8".

This is destined to be used at a charity stall.  If you are in the Kingston upon Thames area why not go along to their carnival, this Saturday, 1st September?  It sounds like fun!

Look for the Dose of Nature  stall and you might even spot some of this bunting!

Wednesday 21 August 2019

Something a little different 2.

 Making puddles with cut outs here - as well as a stitched rain drop higher up the page.

Mix of running stitch, straight stitch, chain stitch and button hole stitch.
 Hopping here, with each punched circle raised from the page with a bead, as well as having a bead on top.  I love the dimension that this style gives.

More card embellishments with cross stitches both for embellishment and for holding the shapes to the page.
 A sideways shot so that you can see the bead - card - bead layering.
 A simple page this one.  A string of beads showing the rain trickling, a raindrop shape (same shape and place as the previous two pages) and a little stitching highlight for the worm tunnel.
Finally (for the moment!  The rest are still only ideas in my head!) a page that uses the cut outs from earlier pages in the book.

I'm not sure that I'm happy with this page, and I have a feeling that it may need something extra to lift it.  I just need to let it drift around my head until I have a lightbulb moment!

I still have several video lessons from my Karen Ruane course to watch so perhaps the right answer or an idea that will help me will be found in them!

Hope that you are enjoying some stitching time too!

Monday 12 August 2019

Something a little different 1.

 Over the last couple of weeks when we've been enjoying our holidays I've been trying something a little different - hand stitching into a paper story book.

I've been following an 8 week online course with Karen Ruane called 'Stitching Stories', and whilst my work is very different, as you'd expect, it's been seeded and drawn along by her suggestions and what she has been doing in two books.

This first page shows two cut outs with blanket stitch and running stitch around them, and three stitch emellished additions.
 The second page has another cut out, this time filled with my take on 'wispy mist', the ladder (from the motion drawing of the propeller) and five shiny beads for the water drops - the text and illustration clearly informing my choices.

If I had my time (and a pristine book!) again I'd put the stitch orientation of those holding the beads vertical instead of horizontal.
 Here is a button stitch emellished 'heavy' drop, with the remains of it (blue and pink mirror card circles) tumbling down.

A few more embellished shapes on the left.  One of the best things that I learned was to think about how to attach items to the page so they were neat and relevent from the front, but workman like without being messy from the back.
 This was a fun page to work on, as it had 'hide' in the text, so I created some hidding spots.

Punched holes in the covering, with button hole stitch around them again, and beads over one of the background holes.
You have to gently move them forward to reveal the text, which is just glimpsed though one of the holes when the screening pieces are in repose.

It isn't fast work - much slower than stitching through fabric - but it's a really enjoyable thing to do as a change.

More pages to be shown next week, I hope!

Wednesday 24 July 2019

Hidden Wells Start

 I've been seeing 'Hidden Wells' quilt blocks everywhere recently.

I decided to join in and cut some strips - a mix of grey and aqua prints.
 Sewed them into strip sets.  Joined one more time after this shot.
 Then sliced into squares

Then two squares facing each other at ninety degrees to each other.

Then sewn around on all four sides.
 Then the fun bit of cutting them on the diagonals, so that you can open them out to see what you have.
 Opened out my blocks looked like this.
 A little re-arrangement and this was the layout that I chose.
Repeat until the blocks are all made, and I've ended up with this.

From six 2.5" wof strips of four colours, I've ended up with a flimsy that is 50" x 30".

I need to decide whether to keep the top this size, add borders to it, or make more blocks.

Thought required!