Finally, a Bee in my Bonnet Block!

I was visiting Lori’s gorgeous Bee in my Bonnet blog last week for my usual update on her lovely designs when I spotted a block in her sidebar from her Bloom quilt which she designed a few years ago. Lori very kindly keeps all of the tutorials on her blog so you can go back to them at any time.This is a beautiful quilt and one of my favourites of her designs.Picture from Lori’s blog.

Bloom quilt

I have not made any of her quilt blocks yet, partly as I don’t have the templates but then realised that I did have the shapes in my freebie set to make this block, and probably others.Picture is from Lori’s blog.

Bloom Block fifteen

Bloom block 1

I decided to make two flowers from Liberty as I thought the petals would look good in different fabrics and rather than make blocks to applique them straight onto the background fabric.

Bloom block 2

Lori uses a really good technique which is very clearly explained in all of her tutorials where you cut interfacing and the shape, sew them together and then turn inside out. You then glue them down onto the backing fabric and hand stitch. This gives a really nice raised look to the applique and is a lot better for getting neat shapes.

Bloom block 3

When I was machine stitching I used my clear foot which makes it a lot easier to see your lines of stitching.

Bloom block 4

The background fabric is linen from an old curtain that I must have had for at least 20 years, I only have a little bit left as I have used it for lots of pouches and baskets. I love using up old bits of fabric, makes me feel very thrifty!

Bloom block 5

Bloom block 6

I have made the stem a little smaller so that it can all fit on and my middle circle is smaller as well to show more of the Liberty. I am really pleased with how they have turned out and the hand stitching has been very nice and relaxing in the evenings.

I do like this time of year when I can light the candles, watch Netflix and stay in cosy in my house, as I was stitching these the rain was lashing down outside but I was nice and warm. I had new windows and doors fitted in my little house this summer so it is a lot warmer now, which will be very useful if we have another winter like last year!

I am halfway through making these into pouches for my Christmas present stock. I have at least another 4 pouches and a basket to make up as well so that will be my machine stitching for the next week and the Jenny stockings my hand stitching.

I have some time off next week 🙂 so will be pattern fitting and cutting out the black velvet for my next Steampunk jacket, wish me luck! I don’t really enjoy sewing with velvet, it is so slippery but I was gifted a large amount of the material so I am being thrifty and using that rather than but new.

I will post progress photos later next week, Have a good week whatever you are doing, take care and thanks for visiting.

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Gentle (or frantic!) domesticity

The lovely Jenny of Elefantz has a Facebook group as well as her web page, called Gentle Domesticity, partly inspired by the book, The Gentle Art of Domesticity by Jane Brocket. I love seeing all the things that people have made on that page and she also gives free designs away there as well, as she is not only very talented but very kind. It is a closed group so you have to ask to join.

One of her latest freebies is a set of monogram pincushions, she is uploading them weekly and they are on her blog and we have just had the letter D uploaded. These ones will be free until the 4th Oct so if you are interested please check them out soon. This is the picture of Jenny’s D one from her blog. I love it , it is so neat and the stitching either side really of the letter really sets it off and I think the little teapot pin is wonderful 🙂

ELEFANTZ d pincushion SAL main

Jenny writes a lot about homemaking and domesticity on her blog and I really enjoy her posts about recipes and things she has made for her home. I love cooking and have really enjoyed being at home more over the summer to cook.I have just made the most delicious spinach, feta and butternut squash loaf for work lunches, the recipe is here if you want to try it and mine did look very much like the picture below! I love Sainsburys magazine and always get lots of great recipes from there.

SPINACH,-FETA-AND-SQUASH-LOAF

Another one of my favorite sources of recipes is the Tasty website and I like the videos that they have,they come up on my Facebook feed a lot which is where I got this recipe for chilli with cornbread dumplings which uses my favourite cooking implement, my slow cooker.

Now that term has started it is back to more frantic than gentle domesticity and as I am not going to be able to get home early in the evenings due to a timetable change I have been trying to streamline the menu planning and shopping. I have not tried any of these recipes yet but this site, Creme de la Crumb , has some really good quick recipes which are much appreciated.

Having been a full time teacher as well as a mum since Jake started school I have always menu planned but I have spent some time this weekend creating a spreadsheet with all our favourite recipes in categories so that I can easily plan a month’s worth of menus at a time.

I love looking at other people’s menu planning for new ideas, I am secretly addicted to all those videos on Youtube about people’s bargain food shopping and the menu planning and organising for very large families. I find it fascinating having a glimpse into people’s lives and am always getting new ideas for making things more efficient.I truly would love to have more time to spend at home, that is why I am so looking forward to retirement so that I can spend far more of my life practising the domestic arts!

I have had a really lovely domestic weekend sorting lots of things out in preparation for the busy times ahead. I hope that you have a good week and I will be back soon. Thanks, as always for visiting.

Christmas gift stitching

I am working on a couple of Christmas presents at the moment, both using Jenny of Elefantz stitching designs.

The first one is a design from the Stitchery Club Nov 2016, this is another version of the one I stitched a few weeks ago while in Spain which I made into a pouch for me and I loved it so much I wanted to stitch it again.

Elefantanz flower circle 1

I have adapted the design to be a full circle of flowers by copying a couple of motifs from other parts of the circle.I can’t find the design for sale at present on Jenny’s site.

I used a Liberty fabric for the hexagon and my favourite Silk Mill threads for the stitching along with some of my new Caron Waterlilies variegated thread from Sew and Sew.

The other thing I am going to buy if I ever win the Lottery is the entire 700 thread set that is available from the Silk Mill, can you imagine having all of the colours!

This will be a pouch with some contrast Liberty at the bottom and denim for the back similar to the previous one below.

Bird and hexagon pouch 1

The other Jenny design is from the May 2018 Stitchery Club and as soon as I saw this design I knew I would stitch it straight away. It is so unusual and I am looking forward to practising some new stitches while doing it.

ELEFANTZ+stitch+sampler+cover

Picture above from Jenny’s Craftsy page where you can buy this design. This will become a project wallet to store embroidery.

At Jenny’s suggestion I trace my embroidery onto the fabric using a brown Zig Millennium pen. I bought three a few years ago from an online art supplier and they are still going strong.I am using a cotton fabric with a white on white background as I tend to do for most of my embroidery.

Elefantz embroidery sampler 3

The stitching covers up all trace of the pen as it is permanent.

Elefantz embroidery sampler 1

What about you, have you started your Christmas crafting yet? I already have 3 ornaments completed with one nearly finished and another 5 of the same design to make.

I hope that you have a lovely weekend ahead, Ellie is coming for a short visit until Saturday lunchtime and I am planning to spend most the rest of it in the craft room, my last weekend here for a while so I will make the most of it. Take care and thanks for visiting.

A bag in progress

I have finished the Liberty Churn Dash block with the Jenny of Elefantz stitching at the centre. It looks beautiful and now I just need to decide what sort of bag I am going to make it into. I think I want something more structured than the soft shoulder bag I made last year so will have to peruse the internet for ideas.

Churn dash and embroidery block 1

I am very pleased with the matching of the different elements on this block.

I want to use these lovely vintage lace bobbins as decoration on the top of the bag, I will probably just loop them round the handle.

Churn dash and embroidery block 6

I have also bought some lovely new Liberty fabric, this set is 5″ squares in two of my favourite designs, this is from ZuZus Crafts on Etsy.

Liberty fabric 1

This is Capel, I love the outline print on this design.

Liberty fabric 2

Liberty fabric 3

I think this one might be my favourite Liberty fabric ever, so ditsy and in my best colours. This is Phoebe.

Liberty fabric 4

I have finished stitching the headress for Kate so will get some pictures of that for you this weekend as we are doing a show at Ashby de la Zouche Castle. The weather is supposed to be very good so I am looking forward to another lovely event with my friends. This will be our first camping trip of the season so I am going to enjoy sitting round the campfire of an evening.

The frantic marking is still continuing so I have just got some very little works in progress for evenings, hemming a piece of linen to go with my new veil and a repeat of the last Jenny stitching that I did for a new pouch.

I have possibly got some time next weekend to get into the craft room so may have some more things to share with you then.

In the meantime have a lovely Bank Holiday weekend, thanks for visiting and see you soon.

My sanctuary

One of the podcasts I listened to at the weekend was talking about the creation of craft room, this one was outside and was named Shedquarters and you can find the details of this at this post.

The owner, Portia was talking about sewing as a way of rediscovering herself after having a baby and of the importance of time to sew for her own sanity. Like many people I can really relate to this as sewing, embroidery, knitting and all forms of textile crafts are really important in my life as a way of finding balance.

I sewed and knitted as a teenager and during my college years and when I had young children, loved doing cross stitch then and made lots of clothes for Barbie! Then I went back to studying for my Master’s degree and for a few years did very little in the way of creative things.

When I started again I gradually bought more and more equipment that ended up being stored all over the house in various drawers until I moved here and was lucky enough to have the space for a dedicated craft room. I have posted some pictures previously but not for ages so thought I would show you all my ultimate happy place in my little house.

Craft room 3

This is storage for all my patterns and magazines as well as some practical bits like tools, pins and lace. I have had that stack of rainbow fabric on top of the bookcase for about 4 years and pretty though it is am going to have to use it up before it starts fading along the fold lines!The cake stand on the left holds cross stitched ornaments from when I used to do lots of exchanges and some pincushions.

Craft room 4

Moving along to the ironing station on top of the cabinet storing all of my larger pieces of fabric, lots of this is material bought for re-enactment, some of which I really may never use!

Craft room 5

The important bit, my machine, a Pfaff quilting machine that I bought 2 years ago with a specially large additional extra support to enable me to do machine quilting that I have never used! One of my targets for this summer is to get that thing on the machine and actually use it! Area complete with very important cup of tea without which no project can be completed.

Craft room 6

My colour coded small fabric storage, this houses quilting fabric and the units next to it all have pull out fabric boxes full of specific fabric types such as silks, Christmas fabrics, linings and interfacing and wool. The top of these units are my cutting area and work in progress area plus storage for scissors, pens, glue etc. Also handy I Pad for checking tutorials and listening to Podcasts!

Craft room 9

The work in progress area, this is usually a bit of a jumble, at the moment we have some stitching, some churn dash blocks and the materials for a headress plus lovely Liberty fabric. At the back is English Paper Piecing Storage and a box to store completed but not yet allocated shapes.

Craft room 2

These drawers are for embroidery silks, buttons and charms storage with the plastic boxes containing Christmas ribbons, more interfacing, polystyrene shapes for ornaments and sewing patterns.On the left are my collection of Steampunk hats!

Craft room 7

I use the pin boards for storing blocks that need to be made into something and my lovely lace zips.

I have been here nearly 6 years now so it has been very much a work in progress, starting with furniture I already had and replacing it bit by bit. Like Portia and her shed most of my storage comes from Ikea with a few charity shop bargains and storage solutions from a local DIY store.

I love being here, even if I can’t spend much time here in a week I will just pop in, say hello and reassure the room I will be back as soon as I can :-). From a practical point of view it is great to leave projects out knowing that I can safely return to them as they are without having to pack them away and risk losing bits or forgetting about them.

It is just fab, possibly my favourite room in the house, though I do love the rest of it as well.

What about you, where do you go to craft, where is your special space?

I am busy this week with a headress for a friend so lots of hand sewing through buckram which is quite a challenge as it is so stiff. It is coming along well though so despite sore fingers I am enjoying the creation, it is a long time since I have made anything like this.

Have a good weekend ahead.Take care and thanks for visiting.

Fashion not on the ration

Ellie and I share an interest in lots of periods of history, not just medieval and we are particularly interested in WW1 and WW2, from lots of different aspects.

One of the birthday presents I bought her recently was the book Fashion on the Ration by Julie Summers which I intend to borrow from her once she has read it! We both love making and re-purposing garments and the ‘make do and mend’ that people did during WW2 is really fascinating.

A few weeks ago she invited me to take part in a WW1 event at Clumber which is happening next weekend called, ‘Bonnets to Breeches’, celebrating the work of the WW1 Land Army Girls.

I did a bit of research on the uniform as had only come across WW2 outfits before. This site was very helpful so I took my main inspiration from here and went charity shop searching. I was lucky to find most of what I wanted in one shop in town and then a nice hat and shoes in our local charity shop.

WW1-Womens-Land-Army-Recruitment-Poster-Art.IWM-PST-5489-c.1918

 

ww1_landswoman_cover

I also found some great images with a Google image search including this one of the armband that they wore.

WW1 Land girls 7 badge

I made my own version last night.It is a darker green than it looks in this picture.

WW1 Land girls 6

Today I have been working on other aspects of the costume. I bought some men’s wool trousers to adapt for the breeches.

WW1 Land girls 1

I cut the legs down to just below knee height then made a casing for elastic.

WW1 Land girls 2

WW1 Land girls 3

Here they are with and without the lovely knee high socks and my charity shop shoes.

WW1 Land girls 4

WW1 Land girls 5

I have been listening to podcasts as I have been sewing, I wrote about the Love to Sew podcast last week and today I have been listening to some more, including a very apt one all about refashioning garments.

There is a yearly challenge run by Portia from Makery blog  which involves doing this with a specific type of garment and I was very interested to hear her talk about all the ideas behind it.

I love making things from old finds but have not really considered using them to refashion clothes for me, apart from the Steampunk jacket in progress made from tablecloths, but I will definitely follow up this as an area for future makes. I would like to try some sewing of things for me to wear.

I have had a very productive weekend apart from this as well, more churn dashes as have become a little bit obsessed with them but am making some different ones, not just Liberty ones.

It is back to marking assignments tomorrow but I am hoping to get an early finish and sneak in a couple of hours in the craft room. Hope that you have all had a lovely weekend and thanks as always for visiting.

A little more quilty maths

I have spent a lovely afternoon experimenting in the craft room. I did say I was maybe going to make another Churn Dash block and I decided to do just that but with a bit of a difference.

I had a serendipitous moment earlier on in the week where I realised what I could do with some stitching that I had done a while back, (just checked back on the blog and it was Nov 2015!),designs by the lovely Jenny of Elefantz. I had ‘filed’ them meaning to quilt them into a hanging for my craft room but they were on the side next to a Churn Dash black waiting to be fettled when I suddenly thought I could combine the two.

I am working on an outfit for the Steampunk Asylum event in Lincoln in August and am making a jacket out of vintage embroidered tablecloths. I wanted a bag to go with it but wanted it to be sewing themed so thought that this motif would make an excellent design for the bag front , so very true for all us seamstresses despite the occasional stress when your bobbin thread runs out or the machine jams!

-elefantz-stitching-saves my mind

I have been using this tutorial from Crazy Mom to make a 4 and a half inch block but the centre was only 2 3/4 inch square and I needed it to be 4 inches to fit the stitching in. I did a quick search for bigger patterns but decided it was quicker to make my own so I cut it out of paper to check the dimensions.

Churn dash resizing 1

You possibly can read my scribbles but if not the measurements are –

Centre block – 4 inch square

Corner blocks – 2 1/2 inch square – two of these from background fabric and two from contrast to make the HSTs. Trim down to 2 1/4 inches once sewn

Scrappy strips – 1 1/4 inch by 4 inches – make 4 of these

Background strips – 1 1/4 inch by 4 inches – make 4 of these

The rest of the assembly is as Crazy Mom outlines. I have managed to get most of it done but had to stop to make tea so will finish next weekend.

Churn dash resizing 2

I may use the other two motifs below in the bag as well. I intend to add embellishments such as charms, a couple of old lace bobbins and some small wooden spools and decorate my purple top hat in a similar fashion to complete the outfit.

elefantz-stitching-make do and mend

elefantz-stitching-sewing machine

While sewing I was listening to a podcast from Love to Sew. I have been meaning to start using podcasts as well as music while sewing and this is a lovely one by two women from Canada who are a pattern designer and a fabric shop owner.

A very productive day and I am enjoying catching the last of the sunshine sitting by the open back door as I type. Back to work tomorrow, someone has got to fund the fabric stash but on Lottery this week I won a Lucky Dip for Weds so fingers crossed. If I do win the first thing I will by is a full set of rainbow colours of Liberty 🙂

Take care, have a nice week and thanks for visiting.