Sewing, stitching, baking, cooking, gardening, shopping and general homemaking.

Sunday, 28 February 2010

More Pincushions

Another 1950s style dress.  The skirt is almost full enough on this one, I'll keep going with them until I get it right.
I like this one, it does look somewhat 'primitive' but I'll never get that look because when I do the 'grunged' look I just don't like it, even though I like seeing other people's work.

Thursday, 25 February 2010


I think I've found a project that will keep me happy for another few weeks.
It's a dress form pincushion.  I've wanted to make one of these for quite a number of years now but it has taken a challenge in a group I'm in to get me going with it.  They are very quick to make and the only problem I'm having is finding something to use as the stand.  That is going to take a bit of thinking about.  Here's another one
I've got lots of ideas in my head of how I want to decorate them.  The first one I made has the darts in it as shown in the pattern.  The second one I didn't bother with the darts and it looks fine.  I also changed the size of the pattern and made it smaller for the second one.  Now I could do with a cabinet with glass doors to keep this sort of thing in, that way they would stay clean and dust free, instead of just putting them away and looking at them occasionally.  My craft room gets terribly dusty with all the cutting out etc, that goes on in there.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Machine Applique

I decided that I would use the pattern Melissa sent me to do some machine applique.  I haven't got the patience to sew the shapes by hand so I use the Bondaweb/Wunderunder method.  Apart from being less tiring on the hands and eyes, it's a lot quicker.  Here's another applique idea using this method.  You will see that you can do quite elaborate shapes like this.  Here's one I started (but haven't finished yet)
I don't know if I'll actually stitch this one, I might leave it just Bondawebbed, the stitching looks a bit too complicated for me!  I had decided that I would be doing more applique this year.  There are four appliqued wall hangings in the local church that I made, wish I'd taken pictures of them but at the time it didn't occur to me that I would want to put them on a blog.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

The Parlour

I can call our dining room the parlour now!!!  The sofa arrived yesterday and I'm so pleased with it.  I was worried that it would look too small and too cheap.  I ordered it on Sunday and it arrived Wednesday.  Not so long ago everything used to take weeks to arrive and not so long ago I would never have got this sofa for £139.  In the past, when I've made a purchase like this, I've woken up in the mornings feeling guilty and thinking that I'm being extravagant and that I've bought something we didn't really need but at that price I can enjoy it!!!
I was reading an article in the newspaper about a woman that started a cupcake making business and saved her family from bankruptcy.  I get a bit annoyed when I read articles like that.  Well done to the woman for taking the chance on doing this but I think there is more to it than just making the cakes, turning up and selling them.  These articles never tell the story of how they actually came up with their strategy, how they chose what venue to try.  I suppose I must feel a bit envious after my disappointing attempts last year, to sell my sewing at a fair that is put on regularly in a village near where I live.  I probably chose the wrong venue so this year, if I decide to have another go, I will try somewhere else.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Pattern Arrived

You may remember that Melissa was having a give-away recently.  Well, I was lucky enough to receive this fab pattern from her today!!!  I'm often short of ideas of what to sew (that's probably why I make several of one item).  This pattern is just what I needed to give me something entirely different to try.  I've made cloth dolls, cats, mice and chickens but I've never made a lion or a giraffe before.  Also included are embroidered quilts and a bird (think I'll make him first).  Thank you Melissa, you are a lovely blog friend!
Next I'll have to choose the fabric, this can be the difficult bit.  Here's a picture of one drawer of my fat-quarters, looks very messy doesn't it.  I like to keep things hidden away because my craft room would look very untidy if I had my fabric on shelves, not like this blog, where things are so neat and tidy.  I tell myself it's because my craft room is small and I have so much stuff that it never looks really nice, I still love it though and spend many hours here.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Spring Cleaning

There hasn't been any sewing or crafting going on here for a couple of days now.  I had a sudden, unexpected urge to do housework.  Now that is unusual these days I have to admit.  It wasn't the rush round with the vacuum and duster type housework either.  It was the 'I'm sick of the clutter' type housework.  I've got a big cabinet in my dining room that belonged to my grandmother.
It is crammed full of 'stuff', including video tapes of television programmes from the mid 1990s.  They will never be watched and I needed space for my DVDs, so the videos were thrown out.  What a satisfying feeling that was!
I also use my dining room to watch tv and have two small easy chairs in there that just do not match the other furniture.  They are going and I've ordered a small sofa that is more in keeping with the look I want, which is sort of Victorian, or at least eclectic Victorian/Edwardian/other.  I'd love it to look like a parlour.  The only time we really use this room for dining is when we have guests, which isn't very often these days, and I have a table in the kitchen that we can use.
I was discussing all this with two friends, one of whom was asking about stain removal.  If anyone has a way of removing a stain from carpet we'd love to hear.  It's one of those stains that has been cleaned but has left a discoloured patch that just will not come out.  I hate carpet and just have rugs in my house because of this reason.  When you have pets carpets are just not practical and I do love the look of wood floors with rugs.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Embroidery And My Sewing Machine

I've had my current sewing machine for about five years now and have never used it to it's full potential.  It has eighty five different stitches, as well as a button hole facility and an alphabet setting.  In the instruction manual it shows some ways to use the embroidery stitches that I just can't get the hang of.
You can see in the above, examples of using the memory to do a symetrical sequence of stitches.  There is a button that you push to do a mirror image of the chosen stitch but it just makes the stitch upside down.  So, this is going to take a bit of puzzling out.  I do have an idea that I came up with earlier and tomorrow I will try it out.
In the meantime I've just been doing a straight row of embroidery, it's nice but if my machine can do more I feel that I ought to be using all of it's capabilities.
Another project bag and accessory set.  This time I made a scissor pouch to go with it, I'm not entirely happy with it though.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Sewing Needles

Quite a while ago I did a post about my scissor 'collection'.  At the time I was doing one of my frequent tidying up and reorganizing sessions.  As well as getting my scissors together in one place, I put all my packets of needles all together in a box and I was surprised at how many packets I had.  I also have needles in several needle cases and pincushions.  How on earth did I accumulate this number of needles?  I think that when I originally started doing embroidery I tended to buy whatever speciality needle was stated in the chart.  Since then I've realised that I stick to my favourite needles for most jobs.  Plus, my working needles last a long time so I've ended up with all these packets with, mostly, just one needle used.  Well, if ever there is a needle shortage I know I'll be ok.  And this collection of needles doesn't include my sewing machine ones.
Nic asked me if the bad weather, that was keeping me indoors, was one of the reasons I was getting so much sewing done.  That is partly the reason but there is also the fact that I've got to get some of my stash used up (then I can buy more!) and another reason is because I use winter as my sewing machining season and summer my handstitching season.  The light in summer is much better for me to see what I'm doing, especially when we are at our caravan in Norfolk and I can't take my machine anyway.  Yet another reason for all this sewing is because I can't do a lot of physical things like I used to, due to my bad back.  I used to do a lot of decorating, gardening and DIY.  That's probably why my back went.  So my pursuits are much more ladylike these days!

Wednesday, 3 February 2010


Here is what I received from Lori in the heart swap I was talking about the other day.  I think Lori is just about the most prolific stitcher and swapper I know.  She just rattles out the cross-stitch and crazy-quilting.  Her crazy quilting is absolutely gorgeous.  Look at all the fab extras she sent me too.  The cross-stitched dove at the top left and the piece of fabric she sent me are so that I can make myself something up with them.
A tin of butterfly cakes, these won't be hanging around for long!

I won a give-away from Fiona, that's something to look forward to.  I'm still making my project bags, each time I make one something comes up and I have to send it to a new home.  I had been hoping to get a few stocked up so that I can send them out to my blog readers but it'll be a couple of weeks before that happens I think.  It's very motivating for me to have people to send my sewing to.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Baking Puzzle

I use the same recipe each time for my cupcakes.  It puzzles me as to why they always turn out differently.  Sometimes they are quite flat  and, like this time, they really rise up.  This batch have come up more than usual.  These will be 'butterfly cakes' this time, instead of piping the butter cream icing into a swirl on top I will cut out a disc from the tops of the cakes and spoon in the icing, then cut the disc in two and perch the two pieces at an angle on top.
Thanks to you all that gave me encouraging words about the jury duty.  If I had been younger I would have looked forward to it and probably have enjoyed it.  These days I just can't be bothered!  I feel that I've had quite a full life and, in the 1960s I served my country in the WRAF, so my patriotism isn't in question, it is just my desire for a quiet, uneventful life!!!