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.

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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.

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.

Happiness is …..

Not having to work on a Sunday for the first time in quite a while, especially when you had to work on the Saturday and there was snow again and all the buses stopped! By that point luckily I was safely home, it was very bad visibility on the way home but the roads were not too bad and I made it home to my lovely warm house where I could watch the snow fall down knowing I did not have to venture out.

We have had another foot of snow here and so I was very, very glad to be snuggled up under a fleece all yesterday afternoon finishing the dolls off. I spent the morning making skirts and then the afternoon doing the hand sewing.

Dolls 1

I only managed to make 2 skirts each but that is fine, at least they are all finished ready to take with me on Saturday.

Dolls 6

I made the arms a little wider this time and changed the eyes. I made them slightly bigger and used a fabric dye pen to fill them in which I think works well.

Dolls 3

Dolls 4

Dolls 5

I hand sewed all of the bodies up as well this time which gave me more control and didn’t loose any arms in the process this time 🙂 Original pattern details are in this post here.Everything came from stash apart from some elastic and the hair ribbons.

Dolls 2

I am very pleased with the way that they have all turned out, the ‘twins’ are for Anna-Mae and Alice and the pink one is for Avive. I will be seeing all of them over the time that I am in Spain which will be brilliant. I saw Anna-Mae and Alice in August but have not seen Avive since last Feb.

I will be away for just over two weeks so I hope that you all have a lovely Easter break. We are going to Lorca for Good Friday to see the Easter parades and finally see in action all that stunning goldwork we saw on our trip there a few years ago.

Then the following week we have our mini break, can’t wait, I know I have only just got back from Budapest but am so looking forward to being warm!

Take care, thanks for visiting and see you when I get back.

The work / life balance is slowly being restored!

It has been such a busy term so far, I have been breaking my rule of not working weekends ever since I came back from Spain and January has flown by with very little me time. Happily we have a bit of a lull now at least for a couple of weeks then things get really busy again.

I am doing well with the next batch of dolls for the little girls in the family, I cut out three sets of pieces last Sunday afternoon and have already got a pile of completed legs. I am working on stitching the faces at the moment which will take some time.

Doll legs

I was working from home last week for a couple of days and having done a lot of marking over the weekend was able to finish early on Tues afternoon and get in the craft room for a little play and then finished it all up yesterday.

I was planning to make a cushion for my sister for Christmas but then we decided not to do presents for each other. I was very thankful about this due to my poorly arm but I still wanted to make her this one as I have seen so many cute versions on Pinterest.

She has a camper van, which is not a VW,  but we both love them so I made her this cushion for use in her van when she goes to festivals.

VW Cushion 1

I looked for a pattern but most seemed to be ready made or kits so ended up drawing my own. I drafted it out then traced over and cut out the pattern pieces. I put iron on bonding on the fabric before cutting out then assembled it before zig zagging round the applique.

VW Cushion 6

I am so pleased with it, it looks so cute. I bought some fab backing fabric as well. Yes I know I said I was not buying anything else but did not have anything suitable in stash that was large enough and it was only £2 for a fat quarter from Oh Sew Crafty on Ebay. They have lots of other colours as well, pictures from the shop’s site.

VW van fabric

 

VW van fabric 2

All the rest was from stash, Ellie very kindly gifted me a jelly roll so I used some of that for the windows and tyres and the white spot fabric backing is a piece she bought for the same quilt about 6 years ago and has never made so she thought I might make good use of it. I still have lots more lovely strips including beautiful flowery ones so will share those with Mum.

The yellow is some Dashwood from Simply Solids and the green flower and square design on the panels is some fab vintage fabric that someone must have given me as I don’t remember buying it. Buttons courtesy of my Mum for Christmas. The back is a simple envelope closure and I added poppers as well.

VW Cushion 7

I love it and I hope my sister will like it, then again if she doesn’t it will be a lovely new cushion for me! I have also found some very lovely caravan ideas, I think this would make a nice pouch.This is a free tutorial and pattern from Bev at Flamingo Toes. I would dearly love to own a vintage caravan, they are so lovely but not practical for me really.

Camper Embroidery

Hope that you have all had a nice week ahead . My Mum arrives on Thursday and we are off to Budapest on Saturday for a few days so I am really looking forward to that. I may just be taking a few pictures of lovely buildings! See you when I get back and thanks for visiting.

 

Teeny tiny stitching

I have decided to carry on with the Christmas cross stitching, my aim is to do one a month and then by next December I will have all twelve I need and it won’t matter if I hurt my arm or am really busy!

They are mostly very relaxing stitches but the one I am working on at the moment is quite a challenge as it is so very tiny.

Plum Pudding Cross Stitch 1

I am stitching this on evenweave linen so I don’t know exactly what count it is but here is my little finger for size comparison.

Plum Pudding Cross Stitch 3

I have stitched this one before and it is lovely if a little fiddly to do, especially the white topping to the pudding which is difficult to see in the evenings, am just onto that bit with a second one now.

Plum Pudding Cross Stitch 2

Plum Pudding Cross Stitch 4

It is a JBW Design called Plum Pudding and I don’t know if I will carry on and make 6 in total for the friends who I give to as I group or stick to two or three, we shall see.

I have also been doing some not so tiny stitching with another of their designs which I have not done before, a snowglobe one.

Snow Globe Cross Stitch 2

That is a much more manageable size, here is another shot with the little finger for comparison and it is stitched on sparkly aida for extra festiveness.

Snow Globe Cross Stitch 3

Snow Globe Cross Stitch 1

It still features the same lovely little motifs as well as part of the design which make them really special. I usually buy these designs from Sew and Sew , who have a sale on at the moment but Wye Needlecraft also have a good selection including this one.

In other exciting news Mum and I have booked a mini break to Seville for when I am in Spain at Easter. I has been on my wish list for a long time and can’t wait to go, it looks amazing! Pictures from Google.

Alcazar-of-Seville

Seville-ES

I have been writing a chapter of a book for work this weekend so have not had much time to sew but here is a sneak peek of what I have been working on, a new venture for me, a little doll for a special little girl who will be one next week.

Doll in progress 1

More on this when she is already to meet the world.I hope that you have had a nice week and a relaxing weekend, take care and thanks for visiting.

 

 

 

 

 

Gift ideas

I am thinking ahead for this year with things that I can make for various birthdays as I think it is a great idea to have a supply of gifts at hand.

Jenny of Elefantz recently posted some really good ideas for things to make for a gift stash. I love her ideas for bookmarks and these lovely soup bowl cosies with the free pattern from this link, the pictures of bookmarks are from Jenny’s web site. She has some gorgeous motifs in her patterns for use on book marks and who doesn’t love a good read?

ELEFANTZ simple pleasures bookmarks 1

soup bowl cozy

I know that pouches are always useful for people so will be making some more of those and will also make some more stitching related goodies. Jenny’s designs come in handy for bags as well.

My recent giveaway winner,Daisy Debs, said she liked Liberty and vintage embroidery so I made her a needlecase with both on. I have done this design before on pouches and bags but not on needlecases so will make more of those.

Giveaway Liberty needlebook 1

Giveaway Liberty needlebook 2

Giveaway Liberty needlebook 3

Aprons for kids are a lovely gift, I made four a few years ago using the tutorial from this site. The picture is from the tutorial.

Child's Apron Tutorial

One thing I have been collecting ideas for but not done yet is quiet books, there are so many lovely ideas out there, this is my Pinterest page for them. Ava is one next month so a little young for one yet but I am thinking a bit later one of these might be good. Not sure where this originally comes from but have seen it on lots of Pinterest pages. Isn’t it gorgeous?

Quiet book

I only managed to sneak in a couple of hours crafting this weekend due to having to work the rest but finished off the stitching things pouch so that will go in the stash for Yarndale. I have a nice stash of zips now so am hoping to do lots of pouches over the coming months.

Have been doing cross stitching in between other things, still working on Christmas ornaments! Thought I had better get ahead just in case of injury next Autumn have already completed a couple for this year’s collection which I will share with you in the next post.

Happy crafting, hope the work week goes well and see you at the weekend! Thanks for visiting.