Sunday, 19 July 2009

My Treasure Chest

This past week has seen a number of coincidences in my life. My husband and I were talking about the price of petrol and how our little jaunts out are now more infrequent because of it when I suddenly realised that my (paternal) nan died 10 years ago this year. A couple of days later I received, quite out of the blue, a reply to a query that I placed on a message board years ago. An elderly gentleman, although he didn't know him personally, was part of the same operation(s) thus able to tell me of the events and incident causing my grandfathers loss of life during WW2. I had to get the wooden box out to confirm some details .....................

Now I'm not the type to ask for things nor accept things readily when offered but when nan died I did ask if I could have the box under her bed. Not for any material value but for what it was - her "Treasure Chest". Having delved into it numerous times during my childhood I knew what was in it - all the important stuff - her marriage certificate, notification of my grandfather's presumed death from the MoD and a number of other bits and pieces. I've been researching my family history for 20 years now so the bits left have a good home. I'm rather ashamed to say that it was 10 years ago that I vowed to rejuvinate the inside of the box with some embroidered panels .............. perhaps it's time that I did something about it!

Anybody that saw "Coast" on tv the other night will have seen the old railway on the beach in Brighton. Though we've visited the area a few times, we hadn't known about this before - it was very interesting. There is an old sheet of newspaper lining the box and when I took it out to see if there was anything worth noting of a family history value (it appears to be just a random newsheet published in 1934 not long after nan's marriage) there was a photograph of the railway!

Back to textile things, I've been making a little decorative embroidered horse from my scraps but I really don't like how it's turning out so I think it's best if I put it in the bin later and move on. From the beginning it never had that "can't wait to get out of bed and work on it" feeling - that should have told me something! I did, however, make a little case for the camera from this tutorial

I chose a pretty fabric to pull out of my handbag. My husband said "I will look pretty with that won't I?" I forgot we share things lol!

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

More Texture

Continuing with my textural cushions theme, I've achieved the effecct I wanted but it's scruffy! After 3 or 4 stitches, the fabric starts to twist and fold haphazardly under the stitching and it's noticeable. Does it matter? Controlled scruffiness it ok but I don't think I can do scruffy! Perhaps a more loosely woven fabric would be better?

To get away from stressing over that, I decided to do something "quick & easy" from my scrapbag. I found the pattern for the pig here

It wasn't particulary easy - I had some trouble matching up the gusset to the body parts due to the darts at the tops of the legs - nor was it very quick but that was me! Personally, I would prefer a more elongated body for a pig and the ears could do with folding forwards a bit - they're a bit long aren't they? I widened the ears in the pattern to make turning easier and folded them in a bit when stitching to the body.

In answer to Chris's comment, I don't have a very large stash of fabrics but what I do have is mostly bright .........

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Enough Birds I Think ........

These bits only really came about this week due to me looking through my bags of scraps to see how I could minimalise it a bit and found two partially cut out birds (again from Nellie's pattern ) .....

and enough strips left over from bowls to make some mini ones (handy to keep by the sewing machine) ,,,,,,,

My husband seems to think that it would be a good idea to make more of these to keep handy around the house for dropping threads into rather than them falling to the floor - good idea in theory maybe but in practise ................... !
Thankyou for your lovely comments about the bag in the last post - am really pleased with it.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009


My parents called in at the weekend and mum said "Ooh, you've made another chicken". Chicken? Who said anything about chicken?

Mum grew up surrounded by pigeon fanciers (grandfather & uncles) so the (rather loose it would seem) significance of the coloured head and rings on the legs. The ringlet on top of the head well here's a picture of me as a baby ............

Her dad was a "Simpsons" fan so rather than a "Homing" pigeon, I called it "Homer". Thought I'd explained this - perhaps I hadn't? Sorting through my bag of scraps earlier I found pieces for two more "chickens" that I'd cut out but scrapped so decided to make them up too - will post pics when they're done.

I've finished the bag ..............

Thankyou for your comments. I managed to stitch the handle in on the machine albeit breaking a needle in the process but it's probably time it was changed anyway. I've thought of another type of bag that would suit the handle but wouldn't know how to make the bag - thinking cap time!

I changed (covered) the blue silk binding in the end - not because I didn't like it but for ease of finishing. The bias part at the top was part of the seam allowance which I decided not to trim off due to the bulk hence the bias wasn't really wide enough neither did the blue silk lining have enough turning at the top now that there was the extra height so I went with the cotton and a cotton lining - it was easier to work! I think I've achieved what I set out to do so it satisfies a whim!

The reverse - ruffled up with my fingers ..............

The colours in these pics are somewhat different to those the other day - I think the true colour is somewhere between the two.

I always find the differing between peoples tastes and preferences very interesting. Mum loved the cream cushions I made recently but didn't give my bag a second glance!

Saturday, 20 June 2009

In a Quandry ............

I had an idea to make a little bag for myself - quite simple I thought .......... wrong!

The idea is that there were to be (I shall call them) beads - like above but plain blue velvet - where the handle meets the bag. These were placed over the end of the fabric so that there was only the rope to actually attach to the bag itself. I had them all attached but the handle just wouldn't sit right when stitched to the inside of the bag so I've removed them. It might not help that the rope wasn't in the centre of the fabric handle so I've taken that out ...............

The handles at a good half inch diameter are much too bulky to be stitched as they are so I thought about stitching them and removing as much bulk as possible but planning that out it just doesn't look right - maybe the silk binding at the top of the bag is creating too much of a divide?

Perhaps it looks better with matching binding? I like the body (incidentally it's not so elongated as it looks in the photo - must have been the angle I took the pic. from), I like the handle but maybe they are never going to sit together happily. Any comments/criticism welcome ....................

Tuesday, 16 June 2009


It's finished and I love it!

This is me or at least I think it is - texture, dimension, a favourite colour combination and the sea. Now to try get on with some of the more mundane things in life, time management is not my forte, drizzle stitch is much more exciting!


I've been using a laptop of late so find it difficult to see if the colours are accurate but I think this one is ok.

Sunday, 14 June 2009


Thankyou for all your lovely comments everyone - they are very encouraging. I have curtains to alter, a garden to weed and numerous other jobs around the house but sometimes it's good to do something fun.

Snippets of lightweight fabrics on a cotton background with the outside ring of a hoop beneath .......

Clingfilm carefully laid over and the inside of the hoop fitted all ready for some machine embroidery to hold the snippets in place ...............

Machine embroidered, ironed beneath baking parchment and fitted into a small hoop ready for some embellishment ................

to fit inside this hand dyed silk "cup"

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Another Bird

Someone was disappointed when "Homer" went walkabouts on Mothers Day so I promised to make a similar one. Started back in March and, again, using Nellie's pattern, I have today finished "Homin'" ...........

The wire tail and headress caused some balancing problems with his legs being a bit spindly so I have shortened them a little ............

Monday, 8 June 2009


More texture with stuffed tucks ...............

Teenage daughter, thinking it was "a bit pink" said it looked like a Flamingo. I turned it over ..........

She was lost for words! I'm still in love with this fabric so what better than to have it somewhere I can look at it as much as I want!

Sunday, 7 June 2009

The Roses .............

For my husband ....................

Having spent the best part of a week on this I'm in no hurry to make another but my husband likes it so that's all that matters because I've kept to my word of making him one albeit not quite the same as what we saw in the shop. I think my version is more in keeping with my beach/sea theme and the "Beach Hut" chenille quilted cushions - at least I like to think it is! Perhaps I'll call it "Sea Urchin". I washed the appliqued panel in the machine before making up to get "the look".
I recently came across Judy's Art Dolls blog and found it totally enchanting - do go take a look if you haven't already seen it - there's some wonderful delights to be seen!

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Another One Finished ....................

The brief (my own of course) was to create some cushions for everday use which will withstand laundering well ie. still look good this time next year. I've learnt that tassels, beads etc. on cushions in this house don't wear too well!

There is a secondary purpose for the ones I am doing at the moment too - a relative of my husband always says to me "I only have my old industrial machine which doesn't do anything fancy like zig zag so I only do ordinary sewing". I don't know if her machine has the ability to do FME but I hope to show her that there are other things she can do with straight stitch,

I am continuing with the roses. I took the following pic the other day so I have done more now - 30 to be precise. I need to do 64 and that's without the little filling in ones!

Is it fun to do? I'm not sure. It requires a high level of concentration so can be quite tiring. It is a fiddle. I'm not really sure what is best but I am using the open toe embroidery foot so at least I can see where I'm going.and the mini screwdriver to poke fabric out of the way.

Like the chenille, this technique does use a lot of fabric but these three cream cushions have been created from the back (plain cotton for the chenille and roses) and front (for the backing fabric) of a little used quilt cover acquired when my parents changed one of their spare bedrooms into a living space a few years ago. I had intended to cut it down to a single size which would have been a good deal quicker but just never got round to it so, for me, they have been economical and the ready made buttonholes and pearl buttons have been useful too .....................

Friday, 29 May 2009

Playing with Roses

I have two more cushions underway - the front panel of one is just about to go in the washing machine before being tumbled - it should have been in there already but after going around the house gathering up some whites to go in with it - I left it out!

I'm a bit stuck with the other until the postman brings me some more Italian Quilting wool. I was hoping that the little shop where the wool came from originally still stocked it but it wasn't to be - still who can be surprised - things do change during the course of 2 decades! Just hope the Anchor stuff is similar to what I've been using - I have no idea what brand it was.

Some weeks back we saw these cushions in one of the major high street chains but at £30 a piece they were beyond our budget.

I had a good look to see how they were constructed and continuing with the textural theme ..............

My little sample is about 2" wide so I can see that I'm going to need very long strips to get to a decent size flower without a break - not sure where I'm going with that as I'm supposed to be using whatever I have in my stash and I have a feeling that too many compact little roses might look more like a bridal accessory ............... we shall see!

Tuesday, 26 May 2009


The dust and paint fumes got to my respiratory system and caused havoc for the best part of a month. However, this past week I have started to feel better so it's time to get on with some accessories for the living room. Here is the first cushion .............

I love the texture and shabby chic essence of faux chenille quilting even if cutting the channels through all those layers is rather hard going on the fingers.

Another coiled fabric bowl - this one's for keeps!

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Not Much Going On ................

There isn't any textile stuff going on here at the moment. Over Easter our son and nephew knocked down the chimney breast in the living room and whilst it's all plastered now there is quite a bit of sanding and lots of painting to be done which will have to wait a while now as my husband has had an operation on his nose since - paint fumes won't be a good idea! Will just have to be patient until we are a bit more sorted.

Whilst I don't have anything current to show, I like to look at the pics in other people's blogs so here's one of some scrumbles that I started back in January. I got this far but then got sidetracked when the book arrived. Not sure what I was expecting really but was quite disappointed. More a booklet than a book and nothing much in it that I hadn't worked out for myself and I'm still going to have to work out what to use for a base and how to shape a bag unless I buy one of the recommended pre-formed thingys. Lovely eye candy though!

PS The PC is currently housed in teenage daughters bedroom so I only have limited access lol!

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Seam Treatments

All the seams now have the beginnings of some stitch on them. I've not used silk velvet in any type of crazy patchwork/quilting before and probably wouldn't do so again if I remember (it would appear to have a mind of it's own) and find something else for contrast texture instead!

Elegant - yes the jacket pattern is Gina but I'm not sure "I do" elegant these days lol! I was aiming for the look of the brown view so will have to rethink fabrics having bought some silk over the net which turns out to be totally the wrong colours from what I wanted!

Friday, 27 March 2009

Vogue 7907

Amongst my Christmas presents (chosen by myself) was this pattern ..........

I've done a mock-up with an old duvet cover and have to confess that I'd actually wear this (pity about the random stripe lol!) - very shabby chic! Both views use exactly the same pattern pieces - the look depending on the fabric used ....................

Only problem is, the slightest breeze or much movement and the folds in the collar/frontspiece are all over the place. I could use a single fastening in the centre but I have a feeling that the collar is too big and floppy for that to be very effective ..............

Maybe no fastenings at all but a few invisible stitches to hold the folds in place ????

Monday, 23 March 2009

Crazy Patchwork

Looking at the fabrics that I had out for the elephant the other week, I thought they might make a nice cushion so on Saturday thought I'd spend an hour roughly patching them together before getting out of my nightclothes - it took 8 (minus minimal breaks for refreshments)!

It's something to do in the evenings and is going to use a large chunk of my hand dyed threads. Now all I need is a volunteer to sand the edges of some Shisha mirrors! I'm really, really pleased with this photo - taken outside on an overcast day - I'm learning all the time!

Friday, 20 March 2009

Meet "Homer"

Injecting some colour into this urban madness ..................

20# wire was much more manageable though perhaps a touch flimsy if the legs are too long - his are a little shorter. See Nellie's blog for her free bird pattern.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

The Journal

I have photographed this outside in the sun, outside in the shade, inside, used two different cameras and still the painted surfaces won't show anywhere near their true colour - it is more raspberry and a deep violet and the cords do match!

The back ...................... my husand helped cutting the hole for the first eyelet and we now have a little hole (yes a nice round hole) in the kitchen worktop!

It's not got any pages yet as I can't find the hole punch - it's not in it's usual place but nobody has seen or had it! Not sure what I'm going to do with it yet - probably not it's intended purpose as the colours are a little moved from what I originally planned.

Thankyou for all your lovely comments about "Flitty" in the last post. Judith, I wasn't quite sure if "Flitty" was a he or a she ............ I was thinking that it is male birds that tend to be more ornate?
Nellie, I used 18# paper covered cake decorating wire (painted with acrylic and covered with free machine zig zag) because it's what I had to hand but it was a little too rigid to bend around the feet successfully. 24# is much too fine but I might try a 20#.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Flitting About!

Before Christmas I spent some time looking at handbag patterns and bought this glorious piece of fabric with the intention of using it as one of the fabrics in a bag until my teenage daughter made it qute clear that she wouldn't welcome anything I'd made. On reflection, perhaps if I'd been a little more discreet and included a faux "Primark" label then things might have been different!

Anyway, during that trawl I found a free online pattern for a little bird purse/bag which looked fun, if a little basic and I then found Nellie's Needles stuffed bird tutorial (moving away from bags here). Catching up with blog reading the other day, I noticed Jackie's "Tweets" and remembered Nellie's Tutorial in my favourites hence a lesson in how to waste fabric with the placement of pattern pieces to achieve the desired effect and I now have my own little bird ..............

The other side ...................

"Flitty" was great fun to do even though being able to stand unaided required lots and lots of encouragement!

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Back to Bowls & Pots

I hadn't planned to do another post about the coiled vessels right now but on catching up with all the blog reading have just noticed a comment from Bethel of Bethnia posted back in November! It has also come to light that I am not getting all the email notifications for comments so can only guess that our provider is filtering them out as spam.

Here's another one made before Christmas which I still have (there were some that I forgot to photograph before they were given as gifts) ..........

In reply to your comment Bethel .............

Yes, mum did like! She said that my brother had admired it too so asked me to make him one for Christmas which I did - not purple with "flowers" though!
I haven't had any problem with the tension at all. Here is the type of polyester washing line that I use together with a picture of the first bowl that I did. I try to keep the coils snugly fitting as I stitch and try to hold the bowl at the same angle for each complete turn (I just use a pin on the inside to mark the start point). I realise that's it's some time since you commented on these but if you have any further questions then do please ask - only to happy to help!

Friday, 13 March 2009

All Painted

I actually quite liked the lilac and pink in the first one but seeing as the purpose of the exercise is to add layers of thinned paint to get depth ................ . In addition to the paints selected yesterday, I used a raspberry acrylic and a little glitter glaze (which doesn't show in the photo).