Friday, 28 February 2014

21st Century Girl

New phone delivered, charged, backed up and working!!!


Now I can show you the results of speed dating the Essential Irish blocks at mum's last Monday:

Now all pinned and ready to stitch

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Technology Troubles

Sorry, no sewing update, no rambling and no pictures, just a shed load of excuses based on my phone playing silly games needing a factory reset. Having reset it (so I have no contact details, no emails, no easy access to other people's blogs, no photos) I STILL have the problem.

They are sending me a new phone, but in the meantime I feel I am living in the dark ages.

I'll be back in the 21st century when my new phone arrives, possibly Monday :-(

Monday, 24 February 2014

Mental Gymnastics

Jackie snd I spend a day first pulling batiks from her stash, then cutting them with the tessellating sizzix die 

Then stitching about half of them into random pairs , she stitching , me pressing, and trying to fit those pairs into a tessellating design

After we'd used the two unit blocks we continued with single pieces , it really was difficult to fit them together after they'd been joined.

We did end up with this lovely arrangement 

Not bad for a day's play!!!!

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Plenty of Pin Cushions

Yesterday was Chertsey Museum and Fun With Fabric.  This time it was a bit of a free for all, (nothing to do with me not having done much planning). I took along some pin cushions I'd made or been given, and all the usual resources, and they set to making pin cushions

Turtles (instructions below)


Thumb pin cushions

And a pin cushion fish with added needle case in the tail

We also had our usual Show & Tell: two scarves which I didn't photograph, and a button necklace

Turtle Instructions

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Packing Priorities

Going away, need to pack.

One hand sewing project

Another hand sewing project

Stuff for Jackie

Ooops, better pack some clothes too!!

That'll teach me!

I spent my Wednesday teaching what I thought was a well paid workshop - taking fleece scarves and adding buttons, appliqué, ribbons etc to jazz them up.  

I've obviously been lulled into a false sense of security by the lovely children I work with at school, and had forgotten what little ess-aitch-one-tees children from "hard to reach" families can be. 

The organisers gave each child a sheet with all the stall holders listed (me, the local museum, army cadets, children's centre, face painting: a dozen in all) and if they got a stamp from each of us they could enter a draw for a food hamper.

The kids came to me asking for a stamp, but I said the stamps were only issued after they'd made a scarf, so they sat downn to join me

These kids, mostly about 8 to 12, spent their time telling me they can't f-ing do it, telling their friends to b.. off, telling themselves their scarf is s**t or cr@p. Resources were dropped to the floor when they were finished with, others were chucked around (buttons were thrown at people) lids were left off the fabric pens, ribbons were cut into shreds just 'because', and a pin cushion was stolen!!!  

But on the plus side - 28 of them DID decorate a scarf, the one who shouted "I can't f-ing do this" through tears, (and may well have been on the autistic spectrum, I wish people would tell me) COULD f-ing do it by the end of the session, one girl spent nearly 2 hours working on her scarf, others started just to get their stamp, but got quite engrossed sewing on buttons and fabric scraps and cutting tiny holes and weaving ribbons.

And as I drove home wondering why in earth I had said yes, I drove past mr I can't f-ing do this, and mr chucking buttons at the back of my mate's head, wearing their scarves, and I realised THAT'S why I do it, they did something creative, they did it because they wanted to and they liked it enough to wear it rather than throw it in the first bin!

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Ireland Indeed

Not only am I off to visit Jackie in Ireland* on Friday (YIPPEE) but I've also finished making the 9 patch blocks for my Essential Irish quilt.  The next stage is taking them to mum's so we can speed date the blocks on her thankfully uncluttered floor (unlike mine) and work out how to best arrange them.

I have temporarily mislaid the sketch of the layout, so I hope I have the right number of all darks, 6 darks and 4 darks, but I do have 130 blocks made and pressed

(*baddies need not bother trying to establish my address: the rest of the family are staying home and the police, military and other emergency services are camped in the village repairing the flood damage - this must be the safest three square miles in the south east of England!!!!!)

Monday, 17 February 2014

Selfish Sewing, and So Long, School Sewing

I have stitched another 30 nine-patch blocks for my essential Irish quilt, just 20 left to stitch. I'm really loving it - this one is just for me!
The Wednesday night sewing club at school has now come to an end, but I thought I'd show you some of the projects the ladies will continue to work on
Tara did some work on this bucket for her knitting

And Tracey brought in some fabrics she created some years ago for A'level textiles. She took them all off the display board and we fitted them together

I especially liked these steam punk wheel prints
and these hand prints
Sadly the course is finished, but I hope they will keep in touch and let me know how their projects finish

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Time Travel

This post was written a while ago, but I couldn't publish it as my mum reads my blog, and it's about a present for her.

A *very* long time ago ( 1918) her grandfather bought her father a postcard, and posted it - it didn't arrive until somewhere round about 1925, but that was to be expected.

The sale of the postcard, and others like it, was to raise money for the Roald Amundsen's North Pole polar drift expedition that was planned to depart in a ship called Fram in 1918.  The money would help pay for the trip and the postcards would be carried on the voyage, " . . . across the Polar Sea and afterwards conveyed by post to the addressee".

Although Amunsen originally planned to use Fram, it became clear that the Fram was no longer suitable for an arctic expedition, so Amundsen decided to use a new ship called the Maud.  The Fram postcards and the subsequently printed Maud postcards all made the journey with Amundsen.

My grandfather's was one of the first batch; with details of the Fram ship:

(sorry, just cannot get it turned the right way)

I guess my great granddad was confident that they wouldn't move in the following seven years!

My mum had the postcard for many years, but then passed it on to my brother.  I got him to send me a photo, and I then did a bit of playing at Spoonflower (do you know the site? you can get almost anything printed onto all sorts of fabrics) and then clicked on the [place order] button.

A few weeks later this arrived:

 And all I had to do was cut the images apart, and hem them,

and I had four of these:

One has been given to mum, another is being posted to Australia to my brother, I have kept one, and the last one will probably go to my Great Aunt in Norway - Although at least one of her 4 brothers obviously had a postcard, (and the other three probably did too,) I don't suppose she had one, as she wasn't born until 1919!

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Community Creating

Our two villages have had a stressful week - we've been hit by the rains and storms that the rest of the UK has experienced, and also been hit by the threat of, (and in some cases the reality of) flooding and evacuation.  Add to this the work so many have put in manning the help desk phones, coordinating the army, the police, the fire & rescue staff, the RNLI crews and the village volunteers, and volunteering to man road blocks, cook meals for the volunteers and make endless cups of tea and coffee.

Stressful indeed!

So I hoped that it would be fun for them to come to Kids' Crafty Church for a bit of making this afternoon.

I think it was:  We had 10 families, 19 children, and lots of making.  The children particularly enjoyed making Thank You cards for the soldiers and other volunteers who "saved our village"

Who not go and see all the photos on the Fun With Fabric blog

"Without ART, EARTH is just EH"

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Prototype Pillowcase bag #1

I needed to make a prototype for a bag I'm teaching next month, and I've taken stage photos and though this might be a good place to save the instructions!

It's loosely based on my slouch bag, but is more of a green version as it takes just two unwanted pillowcases rather than new fabric.

So: get two unwanted pillowcases of a similar size

Fold them together, lengthwise so the openings are at the top and the fold is along the left side

Eyeball half way up the left side, and 1/3rd in from the top edge: draw a curved line linking these, repeat on the right side

Cut along these lines

The pillowcases should open out looking like a vest top

Continuing the idea of a vest top, pin a 'neck' of one to a neck of the other RST (right sides together) and then pin the other two necklines together the same way. Stitch along each neck, including the straps that lead to and from the neck

Now pin the 'armhole' of one to the arm hole of the other, RST.  Repeat, but (IMPORTANT) on one only stitch half way towards to top of the strappy bit. 

Sort it out so you can see the bag shape

This next stage is referred to a 'birthing' and at some stage you will realise why.  Put your fingers into the gap at the strap that wasn't fully stitched.  Reach in as far as you can, and grab, (if you can) one of the bottom corners of the bag, and start to put it through the gap.  Wiggle, twist, tug, just keep going until the whole lot has some through.  Sort it out again so the bag shape is clear.

Slip stitch or top stitch the open strap so it matches the others.

Decide whether you prefer the straps to be joined left to right, or back to front.  (I prefer L to R).  Join the straps however you prefer (fold and slip stitch, overlap, overlap and button, etc) and you now have a reversible bag.

Ideal for sewing projects, shopping, library books, anything really; it's comfy in your hand or on your shoulder, holds loads, is strong enough to carry quite a bit, and in this case cost nothing other than thread and electricity!!!  I always seem to have orphan pillowcases (how does that happen) and at least I know this bag is fully washable!!!!


Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Gorgeous Gifts

With all the flooding around here, and Mother-in-Law breaking her hip (they replaced it yesterday, and she was up walking with the physio today!!!!!) I completely forgot to to tell you my mum is now back from her seven week trip to see my brother in Oz, and she came bearing gifts!

Belated birthday pressies from Brother & S-i-L:

And a 150 piece charm pack from mummy, all near solids from Jenny Beyer.
Both fabric packs are at the stroking-and-fondling stage at the moment - the button box has a whole load of small crafty bits in it

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Sorbet Squares Extra

A while ago I made a flimsy that I called sorbet squares.  It looks lovely from a distance, but I'm not very pleased with the points: I used too big a stitch and some seams are pulling open.

So today, in between manning the road to slow down nutters driving through floods, and answering work emails (I worked out how to hack into the system from home), I had a little  play with my embroidery software:

I created this flower applique, and used some of the left over sorbet squares to experiment with adding some flowers which coincidentally hide the dodgy seams

I really like these!  So now I'm ready to finish the quilt, AND make a cushion to go with it

Another day!

(I think I may have to go back to work tomorrow: the floods levels are dropping in my village even though you are probably seeing lots of Wraysbury on the news still - and we did get a visit from some very nice (young) army lads checking up on all the residents, they must have wondered what the fuss was about - in the sunshine, walking on practically a dry road!!!!)

Monday, 10 February 2014

Finishing Felt & Floods

Last summer Jackie and I went on a felting course, and made these

I never really felt the love for my, um, creation, (the red one) but loved the finish of Jackie's (the pink one)

I eventually snipped some holes in the top of mine, and pulled them about a bit, but it was still a strange shape:

(excuse the after photo posing as a before photo!)

So I took a deep breath and cut it in half, leaving me with (as best I can describe them) a fez and a crown.

Now I have stitched a circle of red felt onto the 'crown' 

and its now a bowl I'm delighted with

And I'm left with a fez.  I may be snipping holes in that too in the summer (it involves water too, and is best done in the garden!) but at the moment it's great for empty cotton reels!

Admittedly, it wasn't ON my to-do list but at least it's half finished!

PS Just thought you might like to see my attempted journey to work today,
That blue dot was me, an hour from home, and a mile from home!  Heading for the *bad* traffic - so I turned round and came home

and joined some neighbours on traffic control on the main road at the end of my lane ... 

SatNavs were still telling people to go through our village to get to Datchet (2.5 miles away), despite the BBC showing that Datchet had become one big village pond, so people weren't going to get there