It was the last few days before Christmas ….

And all through the house there was lots of activity, making the last minute baubles, finishing off a cross stitched ornament and lots and lots of cooking!

I think I am done now. I am now making a few more baubles just to experiment with ribbon, some may be gifted next year as I think I am going to give these again for 2019, (nothing like getting ahead is there, though I may well find something new to make before then.)

Xmas ribbon baubles 1

I do love the way these ribbon ones have turned out, they are a lot quicker to do than the fabric ones as I have used less layers but they still look lovely. Some of the decoration at the ribbon intersections is pins and some little metal balls pinned on.

Xmas ribbon baubles 2

Xmas ribbon baubles 3

Xmas ribbon baubles 5

Xmas ribbon baubles 4

Earlier in the year you may remember I had a churn dash block craze and I made these two ornaments for my cousins then, I love the way that they have come out but didn’t realise until taking the pictures that the red fabric for the backing is on sideways – oops! The little charms are from Ebay here.

Xmas churn dash ornies 1

Xmas churn dash ornies 2

Xmas churn dash ornies 3

I did not get chance to make lots of other things this week as I have had a lot of marking to do so still have some pouches to stitch together after Christmas but luckily not everything sold at Yarndale so I have enough things for gifts.

I did manage a little apron for Ava my nearly two year old great niece. I have made similar ones from this tutorial here before.

 

I used the same fabric back and front to make it so it is reversible, the tutorial pattern has a pocket included but though I cut one out, (you use the armhole cutouts for the pockets), it covered up too much of the cute elephants on the design so it left it off. All of this came from stash and I think I have had the fabric for about 5 years, it came from my last trip to China!

I have made lots of delicious focaccia for the festive season along with a gluten free chocolate, ginger and orange cheesecake and some mincemeat blondies which are our new favourite thing here, they are like a very squidgy soft version of Christmas cake and will be delicious with the rum clotted cream that I am going to make 🙂

Our Christmas will be a little fragmented this year as Ellen is working tomorrow and Christmas Day and Jake is working Christmas Eve and Boxing Day so wonderful Kerry is coming tomorrow to take me to Ellen’s for two days and three church services, (two at beautiful Clumber Chapel), then Ellen and I are driving back here on Christmas Day after church to spend the rest of it with Jake. At least we will be together for a little bit. I am then off to Spain for two weeks.

So I shall say Happy Christmas to you all now as I won’t be around again until mid Jan, hope that you all have a very good festive season and a great New Year’s Eve. I will be at the Chinese restaurant in La Marina as usual, dancing and watching fireworks.

Take care and thanks for visiting and see you in 2019!

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Sorting out the stock

We had a lovely last event at Caldicot Castle, the weather was mostly very good which always helps and it was great to see everyone one last time before the end of the season. As always I am sad in one way but with the colder weather on its way am looking forward to cosy nights in with the candles lit and lots of stitching!

We visited Gloucester Cathedral on the way home so have a lot of beautiful pictures from there to sort for you, lots more inspiration for embroidery designs.

Glos cathedral 1

I have spent part of the morning labeling all of the stock for Yarndale, I finished the last two pouches this week. As last year I have used a lot of Liberty but tried to do something different this year in case I have customers coming back who have bought in previous years.

Yarndale Stock 3

Yarndale Stock 2

This year’s new stock has been quilting themed with pouches and baskets with blocks and hexagons on.

Yarndale Stock 5

Yarndale Stock 4

I still have some things left from last year like these sheep themed knitting pouches as well so have a nice bag of goodies on its way to Sarah.

yarndale-sheep-bags-1

These pouches below all use recycled denim from old jeans and the lovely Liberty hexagon fabric for the bases.

Yarndale Stock 6

Yarndale Stock 7

The pretty flower zips are from Buddly Crafts and I need to order more stock as have now run out of coloured ones.

I have finished the large stitches sampler from Jenny of Elefantz that I was working on and have just started two smaller circle monogram designs of hers from last month’s Stitchery Club. You can buy just this design from her Craftsy page here and I am going to the finished stitching into pouches for Christmas presents. Picture from Jenny’s Craftsy page.

ELEFANTZ+monogram+circlet+cover.jpg

She has so many beautiful designs and I have just had a sneak peak at the Christmas stuff she is doing for next month. It is gorgeous and I am really looking forward to stitching them.

Term has started and I have had a very busy and very nice week getting to know all of the new first year students. It is so exciting for them and I really love this time of year, despite the very wet and windy weather, the trees look gorgeous and I have lots of nice things to look forward to in the next few months. Oh and I have just booked my flights for Spain for New Year so I am very pleased about that.

I am planning lots of stitching on the sofa this weekend while watching Netflix. I am currently enjoying watching Star Trek Voyager again, our outfits for Steampunks in Space in November are going to be based on the uniforms from this series so we have been busy collecting things for those.

Hope that you have a lovely weekend, take care and thanks for visiting.

I do like a good freebie!

I recently treated myself to a quilt magazine, I used to have subscriptions to three magazines but stopped as I had so many lovely ideas that I didn’t ever get time to make but bought this one because of the free gift of quilter’s graph paper.

Quilt mag

As you know I have been resizing blocks and thought this would help me. It is great as unlike ordinary graph paper it comes in one inch sizing with the option to use different scales. There was also a useful article on how to resize and add the all important seam allowances.

Quilt graph paper 1

I was just going to make some more churn dash blocks but there was an illustration of a Philadelphia block and I thought that looked pretty if quite fiddly in smaller scale. You do know how I love to make tiny things though so I worked out the measurements using my graph paper for a 5″ finished size block.

Quilt graph paper 2

Quilt graph paper 3

Philadelphia block 1

I completed it yesterday and am very pleased, most of the pieces match really well, not easy when some are only 1/2 ” across. This is on the pile of blocks to make into pouches and bags for gifts and Yarndale.

Philadelphia block 2

I am on with another couple of blocks today from one of my books. I have also just discovered this site with free Block of the Day cutting instructions so that  should keep me amused for a while!

I decided to have the complete weekend off work despite being away for the last two weekends as well. I have marked 142 assignments in the last 5 weeks and have 22 more to go but am feeling a little brain dead so thought a weekend in the craft room would be good for me. The weather is lovely today so we are making plans for our 6th BBQ of the year!

I have a quiet week ahead with just a few meetings and the marking to finish off so am looking forward to getting that done and then spending some serious time on my doctorate, after I come back from my holiday in Spain 🙂

I do love this time of year, the rhododendrons are in bloom and the sunshine makes everything look lovely. Hope that you are having nice weather where you are.

Take care, see you soon 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.

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.

 

More of the same but different

I am having a very good Bank Holiday weekend, it is a bit like the very best version of a Groundhog Day. The weather has been so beautiful here, glorious sunshine three days in a row in Yorkshire! This is a minor miracle so people have been going a bit giddy and there are folk out in summer clothes and a fair few cases of sunburn.

We have had two BBQs already, we are making the most of it as we didn’t manage to have even one at home last year. In fact our old BBQ had rusted so badly it was no longer safe to cook on so we have not replaced it and are using one of our little portable camping ones instead which cooks really well.The chairs are showing signs of wear as well so if we do get a decent summer it may be time for new ones 🙂

May BBQ1

Jake and I spent a few hours getting rid of all the dead plants in our pots that have not survived the five months of snow and I bought a few replacements locally but need many more. It was so beautiful outside with the hills looking beautiful in the evening sun. It makes such a difference to have good weather.

May BBQ2

I have been busy in the craft room as well, making more pouches with the Liberty. I have made another Churn Dash block and used the new Liberty hexagon print as well. I make sure that every bag or pouch is different in some way so that they are all truly unique and love playing around with different fabrics.The larger pouch has an ordinary zip and is made with this tutorial from Jedi Craft Girl  and the lace zip one is from a tutorial at Emkie Designs.

May pouches 1

These are made using recyled denim for the main body as well as I like to reuse where I can. That offsets the fact that I may just have bought a little more Liberty this week. Well it is so pretty I just couldn’t resist.

cat-sewing

I really like the way that the hexagon print works in this bag and am very glad I bought it, I first saw it last year so have been really restrained only getting it now 🙂

As well as being unique my creations are sometimes imperfect, I didn’t notice until I had completed the block that there was a bit of a mismatch on one of the corners of the block but by that stage it would have been really difficult to alter it. Hopefully the pretty fabric will distract the recipient of this gift  from noticing.

Someone once told me that Islamic carpet makers always weave an imperfection into their work as only God is perfect. I don’t know if this is true but I think it is a nice way to think about those little imperfections that are part of hand made things.

I am looking forward to the rest of my last day of the three with more of the same crafting, may make another Churn Dash block this afternoon or may experiment with something else. I am also going to have more washing drying outside, my 5th load this weekend! That may not sound exciting to some people but it is a bit of a miracle here.

Then we will round it off with more BBQing. We have to make the most of it as the forecast is rain and low temperatures for the end of the week but Jake has set us a target of having 20 at home BBQs this summer. We shall see how plan works out!

I hope you are having a lovely weekend as well and have a great week ahead, take care and thanks for visiting.

A significant amount of crafting

After the comparative wilderness of the last few months where it seemed that all I posted about was how little I had done I seem to have completed a huge amount in the last two weeks.

I have shared the scrappy churn dash blocks with you briefly in a previous post but wanted to share all of the photos here and give you the link to the tutorial on Crazy Mom’s blog.

This is the first one I made which I turned into a bag.

Churn dash bag 1

I have not had much success with many of the bigger quilt blocks I have done as often the points don’t match but am doing ok on these with  few minor errors. Really love the colours and how quick and easy they are to do given their tiny size and complexity.

Scrappy churn dash 1

I am adding the hexagons to the middle of the blocks as they seemed a bit bare without them.

I have just had a delivery of some new Liberty from Billow Fabrics as I was short of longer pieces and found this beautiful print of hexagons.

Liberty hexagon fabric 1

I am planning to make some bags with a hexagon flower on linen and this on the bottom. Sarah has had her stall confirmed for Yarndale so I will be making things for that again.

Liberty hexagon fabric 2

I have also got this lovely bundle of fabric.

I have just finished a pouch made from some stitching I did in Spain, those long coach journeys came in handy for completing this beautiful design from Jenny of Elefantz. This is from her November 2017 Stitchery Club and I have used Cottage Garden Variegated threads. This one is for me to store all my chargers in when I go away.

Bird and hexagon pouch 1

The Cottage Garden threads are difficult to get in the UK and I am running out so I have bought some Caron Waterlillies from Sew and Sew to stitch this design again. It is so pretty and the thread colours are beautiful.

Caron Waterlilies 1

Caron Waterlilies 2

I am going to be spending a very happy day tomorrow working on all of these projects with some watching of the brilliant , ‘Under the Dome’, based on a Stephen King novel, a very exciting series on my Amazon Prime. The best sort of weekends!

Hope that you are having fun as well, take care and thanks for visiting.