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.

 

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Spanish rural life

A little further inland from La Marina there are lots of small towns and villages that have been mainly  untouched by the development that is common along the coast. There are still inland urbanizacions but there are also lots of farms and little fincas or smallholdings. The area is very rural and on my cycle rides I can often comes across people moving their sheep or a man with a donkey and cart.

One of the great things about this is that the markets in the area are packed full of fruit and veg sold very cheaply and all very fresh, I love going to market and plan to do most of my shopping there when I move full-time.

Mum has recently discovered a beautiful little museum in the countryside, it is next to a local school near a small village called Matola and is absolutely gorgeous. The school help look after the museum which is an absolutely brilliant idea. It is called Museo Escolar de Pusol  and was set up in 1969.

They have lots of displays of rural life and craft including pressing olives to make oil, making wine, weaving baskets and espadrille shoes and also displays of rooms as they would have been in the 1940s and 50s with my favourite museum things, lovely vintage artifacts and textiles!

Museo Escolar 1

Museo Escolar 2

Look at the vintage shelf edgings with lace in this glass cabinet.

Museo Escolar 3

The room also had a lace making pillow and a knitting bag.

Museo Escolar 4

Museo Escolar 5

I was interested to see a log cabin quilt on the bed, from what I can tell there is not a current quilting scene in Spain as there is in England and the USA, there are a couple of shops in the area that sell fabric but we have only found one quilting shop in a 100 km radius so it seems it did not become popular again as it did here.

The washstand and mirror is beautiful as well and there is a little fretwork shelf next to it with a towel and other toiletries.

There were lots of displays of tools and equipment including a cart workshop and this wooden cart and embroidered rug.

Museo Escolar 10

Museo Escolar 11

I also loved the recreation of a street in the local village with lots of shops as they would have looked in the 1950s and 60s, some of the toys and artifacts I remembered from my childhood.

Museo Escolar 12

I really liked the beautiful tins on display in the grocers.It was interesting to see the different sorts of advertising motifs on tins of biscuits and tortillas, bullfighters and lots of religious images as well as packaging I was familiar with.

Museo Escolar 13

There was haberdashery as well, buttons galore and some vintage punto de cruz, cross stitch, booklets.

Museo Escolar 14

Museo Escolar 15

Museo Escolar 16

The area is famous for its palm trees and one of the displays was of decorated hats.

Museo Escolar 17

Elche, the nearest large town, is famous for its palm weaving – there is lots more information and pictures of this amazing craft here at this blog post. Below is an image from Google of some of the palm weavings in the Palm Sunday parade.

Elche Palm weaving

I love the fact that all of this heritage has been preserved for the village and the children. I don’t think they get many visitors but do go if you are ever in the area, 3 euros very well spent and such a beautiful collection.

I have had a very busy week at work so far and am too tired to stitch anything tonight so I think that I will catch up on a few blogs and have an early night. We have had snow disruption again which meant getting home late last night and getting up very early this morning as the buses were not running at all yesterday evening so I needed to ensure I could get to work this morning. More snow is forecast for this evening and early mornings so fingers crossed I can get in ok tomorrow!

Will catch up with you all at the weekend, take care and have a nice rest of the week, thanks for visiting.

Happy times!

Although I have really enjoyed being in Spain I had a lovely afternoon yesterday as was back in my beloved craft room.Even though I have a huge workload this term and will have to work most weekends as well as long as I can have a couple of hours a day at the weekend in my respite care room I will be very happy.

I had said to the family not to buy me gifts for Christmas this year but to give money instead for the festival ticket that I am going to next August but my lovely Mum had already bought me this gorgeous bag of vintage lace and crochet from Spain. Look at all of that loveliness!

Crochet bag 1

I particularly like these and thought they would be ideal for using on pouches and bags so yesterday I got creative.

My sister in law Amanda also bought me these gorgeous little charms, I thought they would go really well on bags as well and remembered that I have some similar brass ones.

Sewing charms 1

Sewing charms 2

So this was the result of yesterday’s work, I have used recycled denim from some old jeans and the flowered material will be at the bottom of the bag so most of it will be hidden by the boxing out.

Stitching stuff bag WIP 1

I have lots of old buttons, my Aunt Maureen let me raid her button box when I was with her last year and I love the shiny pearly look of these.

I am just waiting on a delivery of some more flowery lace zips from Buddly Crafts and then I can finish this one next weekend hopefully. This will go towards my stash for either a Yarndale stall later in the year or other craft fairs/ gifts.

I am planning more creativity this afternoon after the tea has been prepared and put in the slow cooker, I love being able to sort everything out at lunchtime rather than have to stop and cook later on so use my slow cooker most winter weekends.

Have a good creative day yourselves and thanks for visiting.

Thinking ahead

I always like to have a little think at this time of year what I am going to try and get done next year craft wise. I did the same thing in early Jan last year when I had a little review of what I had made and the plans for the year ahead.

Some of it I have achieved like more pouches and bags of different sorts including how to make Dresdens. I have made some really lovely ones this year that I am very pleased with. Must do some more of these with crochet and vintage embroidery.

 

I have also done a lot of cross stitching in the last few months, still hoping to do more including some more lovely snowflake inspired things for next Christmas.At least if I start them in Jan I will not have the frantic finishing rush that I have had this year.

Progress with some of the larger items will be ongoing such as the hexagon quilt. I have made all 60 of the hexagons, am now on the slightly less glamorous job of removing all of the papers then I have to applique them to background squares and then hand quilt and put together.

Hexi stack 2

I need to finish the Steampunk jacket made from the vintage tablecloths which has been on hold, it is not needed until August but you know how time flies! There is the hat to decorate to go with that and I need some festival clothes for August as well.

There will have to be new stuff of course! I am still so tempted by all of Lori Holt’s lovely work and really want to make some applique things based on her designs. Probably not the full quilt but look at all the lovely things in her latest Bee Happy Quilt. I love that car and caravan!

Bee Happy Quilt

Then there are always Jenny’s designs. I did finish the sampler block this year, that just needs making into a hanging. I also have a couple of other ones of hers completed but not made into anything that I will share when finished.

I would love to do some more of her Christmas designs from this year’s Stitchery Club for next year. Picture from Jenny’s blog.

ELEFANTZ Christmas stitching

I also need to make some things from my birthday book, Happy Flower Quilts. I intended to include some of these designs for pouches but did not have time so would like to do some of these as gifts.

I would love to be able to paper piece as well like Charise does, she has some beautiful designs and it is just the sort of fiddly work that appeals to me. Isn’t this just gorgeous, picture from her blog.

Charise Apple bag

I am looking forward to the last weekend of stitching before Christmas, have still got one more ornament to make and then two to finish off before I can pack them all up to send off. Teaching has finished now so apart from a huge load of marking I can relax and get into the festive spirit.

Mum arrives this week then we will be going down to Ellie’s and then to meet my great niece Ava for the first time, really looking forward to that and to spending lots of time with Mum, my sister and the kids playing games and relaxing. We are going to be at Clumber a couple of times so will hopefully have some lovely pictures of that for you.

Will pop in next week to wish you all Merry Christmas, don’t forget to like this or any other post to enter my giveaway.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

 

 

 

 

 

Pain stops play :-(

I was hoping that I would have lots of lovely things to show you from my weekend and from the last few days as I have had the luxury of time not at work but sadly I have trapped a nerve in my shoulder and so have been doing very slow and steady stitching with not much of note to share.

It is very painful and I am miffed, not least as these were my two free weekends to get all of my Christmas ornaments sorted. I am working Saturdays again for the next couple of weeks so have limited free time until mid November.

Ho hum best laid plans as they say. At least I have lots of great TV to watch, I have been enjoying some Sci Fi, courtesy of friend’s recommendations. I have been watching the new Star Trek:Discovery and an X-files like Stranger Things, both of which I have really enjoyed.

I do have a finish to share with you from previous work, this is one of the lovely Jenny of Elefantz’s designs which I made as a, ‘thank ewe’ , present for my friend Sharon for all her help over the past few years with taking Jake to and from Uni. She likes sheep and we have plenty in Marsden so it seemed appropriate!

Thankewe 1

This is from Jenny’s Primitive Stitching series which was part of the Stitchery Club a while ago. I can’t find this pattern on her Craftsy page but there are many more other gorgeous ones there. I particularly love the little cotton reel.

She also has a free Block of the Month , this year based around the theme of home which you can find at the link. She is so generous with her free patterns and tutorials and all of her things are so pretty, I love visiting her blog!

I really need to stitch some more of her designs soon and I love these which are on vintage linen, pics from Jenny’s Craftsy page.These are both from this year’s Block of the Month.

ELEFANTZ BOM 2017 block 4 cover

ELEFANTZ+guard+your+heart+cover

I have a few quiet days this week as I am working from home, hopefully things will improve and I will be back to full capacity soon. Thank god for the internet, at least I can browse and look at all of the lovely things other people have been making as well.

Hope that you are all well and happy, take care and thanks for visiting.

Plus difficile? Pattern matching with a difference

So today I made a start on the Steampunk jacket. My intention was just to iron the pattern, a top tip from the Seamstress Squadron forum,  then cut the pieces out and have a little think about how I might lay them out.

However I have ended up with a jacket all cut out and so far I am very pleased 🙂

I was a little daunted when I opened the pattern, I hadn’t looked too carefully at it when I bought it as it was late at night and it was on sale and well… there may have been wine involved 😉 I just thought, ‘ooh how pretty’ , and clicked.

The back of the packet did not inspire confidence with its, ‘plus difficile’, rating and when I looked at the instructions it felt a bit complicated. But I managed to make the wedding jacket for Amanda from a similarly complicated pattern, with a lining, so as I sorted the pieces and worked out how it all goes together I felt a bit more confident.

I am intending to alter the pattern a bit though, what I did not realise was that the front panel which is in the contrast dark blue on the illustration is cut like a facing then folded back and stitched onto the main front.

I am also not making the back longer and there will not be a bow. And I wanted to use these three tablecloths to make it, kindly held up by Jake, excuse the lack of light it, it has been raining here all day.

Steampunk linen jacket 5 tablecloth

Steampunk linen jacket 6 tablecloth

Steampunk linen jacket 7 tablecloth

Add to that the fact that I am a bit spatially challenged anyway when it comes to layouts and what could possibly go wrong!

I tried all of the pattern pieces on all of the table cloths and eventually decided on a layout that I liked.

I could have left it there, it took me about two hours to pluck up the courage to cut into Amanda’s fabric but that was £40 a metre silk and the end of the roll and this was three tablecloths costing £12 in total so just thought why not go for it so I did.

Steampunk linen jacket 14 cut frontjpg

I am very pleased with the way it has turned out, there was plenty of fabric and I have managed to match motifs easily to the pieces. To my surprise the smallest tablecloth had enough for both front pieces.I will have to lose some of the design at the bottom though as it is too long at the moment but love the shoulder pieces.

Steampunk linen jacket 13 cut back

I am especially pleased with the back and the way I have been able to stagger the stitched motifs. Below is one of the sleeves, front and back piece. I like the trailing design for the arms.

Steampunk linen jacket 12 cut sleeves

I also love the way the three different designs go together, they have all been stitched with the same palette of threads and I think they work very well.

Steampunk linen jacket 15 cut layout

I was expecting less cohesion which would have been fine.

Steampunk linen jacket 16 cut layout closeup

The look I am going for is slightly bizarre anyway as this jacket will probably be accessorised with stitching charms etc and worn with the purple top hat but I think it is splendid so far.

Steampunk linen jacket 17 cut layout closeup 2

I will have to do some serious fitting though as had to cut out a size 24 to accommodate my generous bosom, luckily having made clothes from scratch before I know how strange the sizings can be and will have to do lots of cutting down of sleeves etc.

Will be a few days before I can do any more work on it and I need to underline it, have lots of cotton in my stash that I will use for that, some old curtains will do nicely!

I do really love the, ‘make do and mend’ attitude of the Seamstress Squadron, so many people making wonderful things out of old curtains and adapting charity shop clothes, it is perfect!

Until then take care and thanks for visiting.

The Seamstress and the Duchess

So I said I would share my costume musings with you and here I am. I did not really have much time this summer to make any costume for Steampunk due to making lots of bags and quite a bit of work stuff to do .

Anyway was a bit unsure of what I really wanted to make, what would really inspire me. The lace on the jacket and boots were a stopgap and both will be worn for everyday as well and the top hat has had plenty of wear since I made it.

I have been considering various options and have looked through all of my fabric stash and have finally decided on a make.

I have been inspired almost simultaneously by two sources, the Seamstress Squadron and a blog,  American Duchess and helped by a recent Ebay purchase or two as shown below!

 

 

Ebay tablecloth 1

Ebay tablecloth 2

Ebay tablecloth 3

The blog I discovered through Pinterest on the way to Ellie’s on the train and spent a happy hour looking at all the lfantastic costumes that they make.

I noticed that one of my costumed lovelies at Lincoln had a badge saying Seamstress Squadron which I thought was pretty cool, and was talking to the lovely lady Allison in the sewing themed dress later on and noticed that she had one too!

Seamstress Squadron patch

Turns out that this is a Facebook group of like minded people who share costume ideas and make wonderful things. They even had a couple of meet ups over the Lincoln weekend.Here is a picture of their sewing motif banner outside the cathedral.

Seamstress Squadron banner

I have joined the group and looking through all their lovely ideas made me realise that I do want to make something original, just for me rather than buy one of the many pretty outfits available.

So what would I make, what really sums up me and what I love fabric wise? Walking into my craft room the answer was obvious, I love vintage embroidery, linen , lace and crochet. Could I combine this into an outfit?

July bags and pouches 13

July extra pouches and bags 7

Once again Pinterest is my friend and inspiration here. I had thought of just putting patches on a garment like the lovely patches I have made for my bag below but then I remembered the tablecloths.

Vintage log cabin bag 1

I was going to cut out the motifs and use them for various things but actually think that there is enough fabric in these tablecloths to make shirt.It was Ellie that gave me the idea as I was talking about a black satin one and she suggested a white one to go with my new purple skirt.

Look at these gorgeous things, all made from tablecloths, doileys, lace and bits of crochet!

Tablecloth garment 1

Tablecloth garment 2

Tablecloth garment 3

Tablecloth garment 4

A quick Google search turned up this lovely pattern for a jacket and skirt set that can also be adapted to make a blouse, I got it half price in the sale as well 🙂 I think this may be the one Allison used to make her outfit as it does look similar.

Butterick pattern 1

Butterick pattern 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am very pleased with my musings, hopefully I will be able to make something lovely and unique as I realised the things I loved most this weekend were the very quirky and individual ones and I can make the most of this sewing themed outfit. I will be able to use up some of my sewing charms as well and will be decorating this purple hat to go with my theme and making a bag.

Farmer Phils 14- Purple hat

And the great thing is that if it all does go terribly wrong I can still cut it up and make patchwork!

I am going to start this adventure in fabric next week as soon as the tablecloths and pattern arrive. I know Lincoln is not until next year but we will probably go to a couple of other events in Nov and Feb and if I leave the project until next year it may well get forgotten about like the new peasant dress I keep meaning to make every season 😉

Wish me luck and I will keep you updated on the progress!

Thanks as always for visiting and for your lovely comments.