It’s a tough job but someone has to do it!


Hello everyone

I started my week’s leave last Friday with a trip down to stay with Ellie in her new flat which is very smart and co-ordinated.

She is feeling very grown up as she has now got a full set of furniture all of her own since she moved into a totally unfurnished place and has gradually acquired everything she needs.

It was also a chance for me to see where she works, you may remember that she got a new job in November, still working for the National Trust at Clumber Park where she is Chapel and Collections Officer. Which means she is in charge of this beautiful place!

Clumber chapel 1

Clumber chapel 2

The setting is amazing, a drive in past the most gorgeous rhododendrons all in bloom, they are my very favourite plant and there were hundreds in the park.

Then into the stable block where her office is, right next to the clock tower and the courtyard with the café. Her office window is the one above the bay window in this picture.

Clumber office 1

Clumber park 1

She has a view down to the lake with the geese and swans. At the moment there are daises everywhere which makes a very pretty carpet.

Such a beautiful place to work and the chapel is stunning, especially as it was built as a private chapel in the late 1800s by the 7th Duke. It has ornate lamps and wonderful wood carvings of angels and saints.

We were there for the Requiem Mass for the Duke so got to participate in the full service with incense and candles as well!

The light coming in through the windows was beautiful.

Clumber chapel 11

Clumber chapel 12

I love all the little details as well such as this door lock.

Clumber chapel 13

There was also a bit of lovely ecclesiastical embroidery, an alter cloth and this banner as well as a couple of beautiful paintings. Apologies as the light was not very good in the side chapel for this picture.

Clumber chapel 14

The main house was demolished in the 1930s as it was too big to maintain, another one was due to be built but sadly due to the war and economic issues it never was so Ellie and her colleagues have been responsible for a new project this summer to try and recreate what the house would have looked like.

They have laid out ropes to make a floor plan and installed furniture, books, games, crockery and information signs telling people what the original rooms looked like and inviting them to come and make themselves at home.

It has been a great success, Clumber gets a lot of families visiting as there are great walks and bike rides and a camp site and it was brilliant to see everyone enjoying the installation.

We then went to Ashby de la Zouche castle for my first event of the season, it was lovely and sunny so got a little pink and had a great time catching up with everyone.

Will post some more pictures of that in another post. Meanwhile there is some work on my doctorate to do, started the research for real this weekend so am going to do some writing up!

Thanks for visiting and see you all soon.

Absolutely love it!

Hello everyone

Am very excited this week as the Splendid Sampler  people have not only released the most gorgeous paper-pieced block but also a great bonus idea of what to do with it.

The block was released on Thursday and is called Stitching Fashion and it was designed by Charise.

Charise stitching_fashion_pic_yellow -small

I have visited her blog before and love her designs. She has step by step instructions at this post and you can download the pattern from the Splendid Sampler here.

There is also a Periscope video here by Alyssa from Penguin and Fish.

It was obviously very popular as there have been so many beautiful blocks made since then. All pictures come from the Splendid Sampler site and the Facebook page and are by,  (in no particular order), Carrie, Debbie, Lydia, Maria, Maudy and Amanda, brilliant work ladies.

Charise also has an Etsy shop with many more gorgeous paper pieced things. I was looking at her Flickr group  as well and came across this fab idea made with one of her other patterns for a vintage dress that could just as easily be made with this one.

Barbie Doll Tidy

This is by Miss Ginny from England, you are a star and I love this!

As is that wasn’t enough excitement yesterday a bonus project for this block was released, this cute notions pouch available from Craftsy here. Charise also has her patterns for sale here as well including some lovely free vintage blocks.

SplendidNotionsPouch - medium

Don’t you think this would make a great make up bag gift as well without the spool , or storage for all those Barbie shoes and accessories. Makes me wish Ellie was little again as I used to love making things for her Barbie dolls.

We once spent the Easter holidays making an entire Barbie flat out of large cardboard boxes, with real carpet and wallpaper and all the furniture made out of cereal packets!

I am going to go back and look at some more of Charise’s patterns, have never done any paper piecing as have been put off by all the little bits but look at the cuteness of this that she made as a block a while ago. I also really enjoyed making the sewing machine cover and that was 33 pieces and 9 hours but great sense of achievement .Photo from her Flickr site.

Charise paper pieced sewing composite -small

Right am off to spend the rest of the weekend hand sewing braid while watching mindless television! Have been super busy at work including working the last two weekends as well so really looking forward to doing very little that needs a brain.

Have only about 10 feet of the braid left to go on Ellie’s coat and that needs to be finished for next weekend as we have an event at Ashby de la Zouche Castle. And I get to finally go and see her new flat and the chapel at Clumber Park 🙂

Have a lovely weekend and week ahead and thanks for visiting, oh and enjoy the Bank Holiday next Monday if you are in the UK, you never know it might even be sunny!

When I get a moment …..

Hello everyone, I hope that you have a had a good weekend. I have had a very productive one but sadly not in the crafty sense. Due to the inspectors being with us this week I have had to work this weekend to catch up so have spent most of it in work mode.

I have managed a bit of time stitching more braid on Ellie’s coat, there is about 30 feet of it to do so it will take a while but should be on track for my deadline which is for our next event in two weeks.

The rest of my time has spent storing up new projects for my to do list as I have at least had a little bit of blog browsing time late each evening.

First up is this very cute needlebook from Very Berry Handmade. Ali used to sell Liberty fabrics but has just stopped trading 😦 however she still has lots of lovely ideas on her blog.

Ali hexi needlebook 1

I love this, not only does it have my favourite hexis but I love the unusual shape and the quilting on the linen. Fabulous stuff.

As I told you in my last post I have just finished a sewing machine cover with a pieced design on the front and what should be today’s release for the Splendid Sampler  block but this lovely design.

Splendid Sampler May15_PatSloan_SewingMachine_Block

There have already been some beautiful blocks made like this one from Texas Quilting and I also love the one below with the cat from Bernice in Zimbabwe.

Sewing machine block 1

Sewing machine block 2

So I will be putting these on my, ‘to do very soon’ , list once normal crafting service is resumed.Hope that you all have a lovely week ahead with no interruptions to your ‘me’ time. Thanks for visiting and see you soon.


Spring resolutions

I don’t really make New Year’s resolutions. I have had the same one for the last 10 years now to do more fun stuff and less housework and boring stuff but have been inspired by the prospect of Spring and a bit more time and nicer weather to think about sorting and getting on with stuff.

I am not going to do this – that would be foolish and would not help support all those lovely  businesses run by hardworking women who share my passion for fabric.

Stash joke

So I am going to tackle the WIP pile! It is not very big but now that I am on a roll with the machine I am going to get the few projects that have been waiting for me to have some serious sewing time sorted.

I am not going to set a time frame for finishing everything but am going to try and complete one a month.

First one to be done is the cover for my new sewing machine. When I bought it in July I promised it a new cover and the poor thing has been languishing under its flimsy plastic one every since.

You may remember that I bought a lovely sewing machine themed spool rack last year and that my lovely children bought me the matching hook set for Christmas.

I found some great sewing machine panels that I thought would maybe look good as a hanging in the craft room and decided that one of those would make a pretty cover.

My chosen panel comes from the Snapshots Quilt Along  held last year by the Fat Quarter Shop blog. This is a great set of patterns and they raised money as well as for each download they suggested that you donate to a children’s hospital.

Here is a picture of the full quilt from Pat Sloan’s blog.

Snapshots quilt along quilt

The block is called Sew On and Sew On and there were some lovely versions made like these ones from the Flickr group by Pam Kitty Morning and Stamperville using the original colourway from the pattern.

Snapshots sewing machine - Flicker Pam Kitty Morning small

Snapshots sewing machine - Flicker  Stamperville small

I got as far as cutting this out last year and then the machine had a bit of wobbly, probably due to lack of nice cover so I had not had chance to sew it together.

So last Sunday I pulled all of the pieces out of the WIPs box and got them assembled.

sewing machine cover 1

The pattern suggests labelling each of the 32 pieces with Alphabitties, those little letter labels seen in the above photo but I don’t have any of those so used normal sticky labels cut into pieces which meant I could put dimensions as well as the pattern colour on to keep track while I sewed them together.

sewing machine cover 2

I found the video of how to sew the picture on the Fat Quarter shop blog very useful, it took a couple of hours but soon had this lovely picture.

sewing machine cover 3

I had thought I had enough fabric to do a single piece back as I had picked up some more of the turquoise print in a local craft shop a couple of months ago but when  I unfolded the fat quarter it had fade marks along all of the fold lines so I had to be creative.

I did a pieced back with some 1 inch patches from the rest of the scraps.

sewing machine cover 4

I just ended up quilting in the ditch, I know I did the machine quilting course a while ago but need a bit more practise before I ruin something I have spent hours on!

So here it is a back and front view over a chair and in situ, went for a simple side tied and bound finish with the last of the turquoise strips.

sewing machine cover 5

sewing machine cover 6

sewing machine cover 7

I am extraordinarily pleased with this, even though it took about 9 hours in total including hand stitching the binding it was well worth it and my machine is very happy!

I am counting this as another project for the Sewing Bucket List – number 11 a project from a PDF pattern.

I also love the camera block they designed for the backing.

Snapshots Camera block -small

Not much crafting will be going on here this weekend, we have Ofsted (government inspectors) due in on Monday at work so have been busy with prep for that and the things I didn’t get done this week I need to do tomorrow.

Roll on next weekend 🙂

Hope you have a nice rest of the weekend and week ahead and see you soon, thanks for visiting.


May miniature madness

Hello there, happy 1st of May.Hope that you are all having all had a good weekend, I am thoroughly enjoying the extended weekend here.

It is not feeling very Spring like yet but luckily all the snow has melted. Could not believe it when I woke up on Friday morning as it was all completely white. Bizarre even for Yorkshire.

I have always been drawn to making little things, whenever I craft it always seems to end up being a small project, mini hexagon patchwork, cross stitch so small you need a magnifier to do it, knitting little animal parts, I am always making tiny things. Ellie’s Barbie dolls used to be well kitted out with clothes 🙂

Maybe it is because I don’t have much time and like to get things finished, or maybe I was a pixie in a previous life but most of my projects seem to end up small. I take great inspiration from crafters like Amanda Jean of Crazy Mom Quilts  as she loves making things out of tiny scraps.

This weekend I excelled in making small things, I started with a basket (another!) and wanted to use up a small piece of the fusible foam that I had left. This became a basket which is only 3 inches high – so cute! I used Perle thread to topstitch which gives a great definition to the top edge.

bags may mini 3

Being a make do and mend sort of crafter I used the cut outs from the bottom of the bag again to make a pincushion only this time decided to add from my scrap drawer and use half square triangles so here is a very tiny pincushion.

Pictures show bag and front and I suppose it is a Bow Tie block.

bags may mini 4

This is only two inches across and I am very pleased with how neat my seams are, even the one underneath the button has great matching. I might crack this piecing lark after all.

bags may mini 6

There was a small piece left over from cutting as well so I thought a little needlebook would be nice, this is just less than two inches wide and is lined with batting and has a little bit of felt inside. Both pincushion and needlebook have detachable straps as well.

bags may mini 7

I am very pleased with everything even though it did take hours to make as most of it needed to be hand stitched as it was too small to machine. And look I am using stash less that a week after it arrived in the house, before it has time to go off 🙂

bags may mini 8

I did make a normal sized one as well, this is the very cute sheep fabric, look at that one knitting.

bags may mini 2

bags may mini 1

The pattern, Friends of the One Hour Basket by Kelby Sews, is very well written and easy to follow but I have made some adjustments to the process that I have detailed here in case they are useful.

  • When I cut out the squares from the bottom of the padded exterior section I tack the bottom and side seams flat, this seems to make it stand up easier without rocking.
  • I tack the handles into place before sewing the lining so that they stay still as I found the first couple slipped out of place when I pulled the lining up.
  • I hand stitch the lining inside at the top rather than topstitching, I am not the neatest machine sewer and like not having a line on the patterned fabric.
  • I iron the bag again at the end, both on the inside which makes the lining stick down to the other side of the fusible fleece and carefully around the outside, trying not to iron my hand as I hold it 😉

With my extra day tomorrow I am going to do something different and make something for my sewing room, something I have been meaning to do for a while, don’t know how far I will get but watch this space.

Hope you have a great Bank Holiday if you are in the UK and commiserations if it is just a normal Monday for you. Thanks for visiting and have a great week ahead.