Flower fairies, flying geese and a bit of faith

As promised in a previous post I have some of my daughter’s wonderful creativity to share with you today. She bought a wedding dress from a charity shop a while ago, meaning to turn it into a flower fairy outfit. As she has had a little more time on her hands at the moment due to being on furlough she has created this amazing piece of gorgeousness.

Flower fairy 1

The dress started life as something very similar to my friend’s dress that I added the lace to a while ago. She has added lots and lots of artificial flowers, lace applique and beading to transform it.She is so clever and so dedicated as it took forever to stitch.

I think it looks amazing and can’t wait to see it in real life. I think we need to do a photo shoot in the woods somewhere, she has discovered some very lovely ones near her house so that will be a project for the future.

The dress is to be worn with a flower crown and these gorgeous flower fairy shoes made from artificial leaves that her friend Charlotte has created for her.

Flower fairy 10

Flower fairy 11

Flower fairy 12

Flower fairy 13

I would have had some lovely Sawtooth Star blocks to share with you today but unfortunately they have proved very tricky, or rather the flying geese part has. I do remember having similar problems last time I tried this as well. I am persevering but so far have seam ripped the centre part of the block twice so am going to try again this afternoon.

As with everything you have to have a little faith, in yourself when tackling new things and generally, especially during difficult times.

Have faith pillow

I made this pillow for Ellen at Christmas to remind her to always have faith in herself and that any challenges can be overcome. I was going to post about it a while ago but lost the pictures so thanks to Ellen for this one. This is one of Jenny of Elfantz designs again.

I have also just finished the heart embroidery, again by Jenny. The picture below was the last work in progress shot.

Heart embroidery

I am pleased with this now as I think the flowers detract somewhat from the wobbly lines! I am not sure how I am going to use this, probably a pouch or a bag, I think it would look good with ric rac edging.

Heart embroidery 2

Heart embroidery 3

I need to order some more embroidery hoops before I can begin a new camper applique embroidery so I am going to do a smaller circle and hexagon with my new Millhouse threads while I wait for those to arrive.

Now it is back to trying to sort of those geese, wish me luck! Have a good week ahead, take care, keep safe and thanks for visiting.

An obsession with campers

I have always had an obsession with tents, at one stage I owned 7 of them, I have got rid of a couple and now only have a modest 5 ( all different sizes and one medieval one so I think that is justifiable). Since I started seriously planning for retirement, and my bones started getting so painful I have now switched my obsession to campers.

I think at the moment it is definitely a wish to get outdoors but also because I just love the cuteness of the retro campers and caravans and the sheer ingenuity of all those people who convert vans of all shapes and sizes into homes. I will always love camping but going away with my sister last year just made me really appreciate the joys of a camper van.

I love watching the videos on You Tube of the van tours and keep checking on Gumtree for the sort of camper that I want to buy eventually. There was the cutest one in my price range in a nearby town today. Such a pity that I can’t drive or I would have been so tempted just so I could have it and decorate it while I wait to be able to go away somewhere!

Once I have finished the current embroidery I am going to make another of the camper embroideries that I have just finished. I checked on Diary of a Quilter’s blog this evening to read the instructions for this week’s Riley Blake Block Challenge which is the Sawtoothย  Star Block. I have made these before but was looking at her examples and came across these cute little coasters that she had made. Picture from Amy’s web site.

Camper sawtooth-square-coaster

I thought I recognised the fabric and checked my previous blog posts and yes it is the Riley Blake ‘I’d rather be glamping’ fabric that I bought last year.So that is my plan for the weekend sorted, two Liberty Sawtooth Star blocks and a couple of these little cuties as well.

Campervan fabric

I am currently working on one of my Ebay puzzle purchases most evenings which is also fueling my camper love.It looks very much like a camp site Ellen and I stayed in a couple of years ago in the Lake District when we had a wonderful holiday.

Camping puzzle 3

I bought this as I loved the illustration and had to laugh when it arrived and I saw on the side of the box that it said, ‘before there were holidays to Spain, there was camping and everyone loves camping’.

Camping puzzle 2

Camping puzzle 1

Well I do love camping but I would also like to go to Spain to see my lovely Mum but will just have to be patient about that.

Meanwhile I will spend my time adding pictures to my newly created Pinterest board of cute retro camper designs. Look at these cute interiors! My van will definitely have bunting, lots and lots of bunting.

Cozy Little House camper

Retro cottage camper

I also found these very lovely cushions on this blog, this group of friends have all got vintage caravans and I love these embroidered cushions. They look wonderful with the grandmother’s garden quilt as well.Picture from the blog, stitched by Juli.

Retro camper van pillows

I can but dream, and make pretty things of course so that I when I do finally buy the camper then I will have lots to put in it ๐Ÿ™‚

I hope that you have some nice things planned for the weekend. My excitement starts with collecting my freshly baked bread tomorrow morning (yes I am going out of the house again!) and also a little walk on Sunday, weather permitting.

Take care, keep safe and thanks for visiting.

 

 

Week 9 – I am halfway to a lap quilt…..

Although this is only week 7 of the Riley Blake Block challenge I am on week 9 of working from home and have now, with the addition of the three blocks that I made last year as practise for doing quilt blocks,ย  got quite a nice little collection.

Those from last year are the very top right and the second and fourth from left on the bottom row. They were my ‘experimenting with very complex block patterns’ work. Some of which, as you may be able to see (as in the bottom row, fourth along Dutchman’s Puzzle block) have lost a lot of their points which is a pity.

Liberty blocks so far

I didn’t think that they would all work together and was concerned that some might be a little small but apart from one of the older ones that I think needs a wider border (top right block in particular)ย  I am happy with the way that they look. Mind you I am still tempted to do an all Liberty log cabin one but we shall see ๐Ÿ™‚

This week’s blocks were the Shoefly ones, I am a little behind now as I only had time on Sunday afternoon to make these due to a lovely weekend of walking and doing other things and we are now onto another block for this week. I used the tutorial from Polka Dot Chair for these.

Shoefly Block 1

They are very similar in construction to the nine patch block that I made last week, just using half square triangles instead of full patches. I think I have got the half square triangle construction sorted now, I still end up with some parts with more space at the edge than others but I think that is due to differences in seam allowances.

Shoefly Block 2

I have been adding to my sewing tools stash recently, I have bought a new, slimmer, quilting ruler which has been great as I now have a 12 inch by 1 and 1/2 inch which is much easier for quick cutting than the 18 inch by 4 inch one. I also bought a roleau loop turner.

I am thinking that one of the specialist feet 1/4 inch feet might be a good idea or maybe I could just trial the good old DIY version of putting tape next to my sewing machine foot.

On my wish list as well are a pressing ham and a tailor’s clapper. I really love all the handmade versions of the hams and sleeve rolls I have seen as most of the commercial ones just won’t go with my sewing room and everything has to co-ordinate of course ๐Ÿ™‚

This tutorial looks very good for making one and I love the way that she has decorated it with hand drawn illustrations. Picture from the web site as marked.

tailors ham

I just need to try and get some sawdust as that is the best thing to stuff it with. No doubt I can find it on Ebay which has been a lifesaver during lockdown.

I have not got much planned for the rest of this week craft wise as I am knee deep in marking and going to bed quite early most nights, I am so tired at the moment, must have been that very long walk on Friday! I am also enjoying watching some beautiful sunsets with a good book to read, I find it a very calming end to the day.

I hope that you all have a good week ahead, I have a catch up with Ellen planned for tomorrow and she is going to show me some of the amazing flower fairy dress she has been working on so I will get some pictures of that for you, the glimpses I have seen look brilliant. She is so creative.

I am now off to drink wine and work on my latest jigsaw puzzle as I have staring at a screen all day. I know it is a school night (for the wine) but since I am not going in to work again for at least the next four months normal rules just don’t apply ๐Ÿ™‚

Take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

A little adventure

It does not seem a week since the last post, luckily these weeks do seem to be going by quite fast, helped by the fact that I am so busy with work at the moment. I don’t think that things are going to change very much for us here in the UK, despite the long awaited announcement due this evening, certainly not for me as I expect to be working from home for a long time to come.

I did have great excitement this week though as after 7 weeks of not going into the village I took myself off for a little walk on the Bank Holiday Friday, which actually turned into a two and half hour walk as the weather was so good and I was so glad to be outside. I am spending too much of my life staring at a screen at the moment so am making a conscious effort to do lots of other things apart from be at a computer.

Marsden May walk 1

My route took me through the centre of the village which has the river running through it and out along the canal. This is where, in the summer, the pub next to the river has chairs outside and you can go down and paddle so hopefully, if some restrictions are lifted, we will be able to do that again.

Marsden May walk 2

There are some lovely old houses here, these two cottages are right in the centre of the village and I love the wisteria and the beautiful planting they have.

Marsden May walk 4

Marsden May walk 5

I love clematis, I had lots of it in my old garden and I have one in a pot now which always gets a couple of blooms on it. My neighbour across the road has some which is just blooming now and I was very happy to come across this one in a hedge. The views across the valley to the side where I live are also lovely.

Marsden May walk 6

Marsden May walk 7

Marsden May walk 8

I also went into one of the shops in the village, I have not been anywhere where there are other people (apart from dog walkers and runners up at the reservoir) so I was a bit confused about where to stand but it was good to have a bit of normality and see that life is still out there.

I also went to the local specialist bakers on Saturday to collect my own bread (last week my lovely friend Sharon got some for me). It has been such a treat to have fresh bread, I can eat small amounts of sourdough so am going to get some every week now that they have re-opened.

I have been working on some of my WIPs and found these two that needed finishing in a drawer when sorting things. The circle embroidery is another one of Jenny of Elefantz designs and it just needed the adding of a hexagon. This will be another pouch like the one I finished a few weeks ago.She no longer has this design in her Etsy shop but does have other lovely circle ones.

Circle embroidery 1

Circle embroidery 2

Circle embroidery 3

I had abandoned this one, again by Jenny, some time ago as I was unhappy with the wobbly stitching but decided to finish it and let the wobbly bits be part of its handmade charm.

Heart embroidery

I have just had this delivery from Mill House Designs of gorgeous hand dyed thread as I am planning to do lots more embroidery over the summer.

Millhouse threads 1

Millhouse threads

I have 7 weeks of leave left to use up before September as I don’t think I will be able to travel anywhere so there is going to be a lot of time to sit and stitch. I met Steph, who owns the business, years ago at one of my knitting groups and she makes the most gorgeous hand dyed yarn, thread and beautiful buttons and earrings.

Another delivery brought me some more lovely Liberty for my blocks.

Liberty order May 2

This is from Billow Fabrics and is a collection called Spring Classics. I love the compliments slip with the attached square of Liberty as well. I have lots of smaller pieces now from all of the off cuts from blocks so am going to be making mini hexis with these at some point.

Liberty order May 1

I have started this week’s Riley Blake challenge blocks so will post about them next week, as I intend to finish them this afternoon. Unfortunately it is raining so my plans to take a walk up to the reservoirs to see the rhododendrons will be on hold. Luckily I have lots of You Tube videos of other people’s adventures to watch while I sew.

I hope that you and your family are all well, stay safe, take care and thanks for visiting.

 

Keeping myself entertained

Good morning from a mainly sunny Yorkshire. It has been good weather the latter part of this week so I have had some nice walks, which has been a good antidote to hours in the Zoomisphere. I think I had 15 hours on Zoom this week so fresh air and a view of the hills is much appreciated.

Plus, I went past the houses of a couple of friends and was able to talk to three more human beings without a screen in the way ๐Ÿ™‚ย  It really is a case of appreciating the little things and seeing other people is a big part of that, at least seeing them from the neck down rather than a screen full of just heads!

As well as some embroidery and block making I have been keeping myself entertained with jigsaws. I normally do them on holiday in Spain and buy those from the charity shop there so just before lockdown I got a couple from our local charity shop. I chose ones that I thought would be too difficult for children so have been working on this for the last 6 weeks.

Jigsaw Altar 2

As you can see it is very slow going, I placed 7 pieces last week as the colours are all the same now with little to distinguish the shapes. I will keep going but don’t expect to complete it any time soon.

Jigsaw Altar 1

I have also been looking on Ebay for other puzzles and discovered the joy of Gibsons’ puzzles. They have a lot of vintage art designs and I was lucky enough to get this one delivered on Friday.

Jigsaw Gibsons 2

I have chosen puzzles that are themed to things that I love doing so am really enjoying this haberdashers’ shop. I am longing to be able to go back to my real life haberdashers and hope that they will be able to survive this situation.

Jigsaw Gibsons 1

This is my progress since Friday so you can see how much easier it is compared to the other one. I have another expected this week and am planning to buy some more but will have to ration myself to just an hour a day or I will run out of puzzles!

I have completed another block for last week’sย  Riley Blake Block Challenge as I thought a fussy cut Economy Block one would be nice. I have had this tea themed fabric in my stash for about 10 years and am going to make this into a mug rug with some hand quilting on it.

Economy Blocks 4

Economy Blocks 5

This week’s block is the Nine Patch and I used the tutorial from Diary of a Quilter. As I wanted to use different fabrics for each of the squares I opted for the cutting individual squares approach rather than strip piecing so was pleased at the matching of these seams.

Nine Patch Blocks 1

I am definitely finding it easier to piece during this challenge which is good. These blocks came together very quickly as well.There is always one block with less perfect matching but that won’t be so obvious from a distance ๐Ÿ™‚

I have also finished the embroidery on the little camper applique. I just have the backing to sew now.

Camper Van applique 1

I have trimmed the edges of the fabric and just glued them into the hoop with fabric glue and have stuck some white felt on the back which I am whip stitching to the fabric.

Camper Van applique 2

I really love how this turned out and would like to make another one for my future camper van. Especially the little flags, they are so cute!

Camper Van applique 3

Camper Van applique 4

The design is free from Flamingo Toes here. I have also discovered that she has lots of other free hoop art designs and free quilt designs for blog followers at her page here.

So-good-to-be-Home-Embroidery-Hoop

This one above is particularly appropriate for this current situation, I am very, very grateful for a lovely home to be able to stay in, safe, secure and comfortable, which is surrounded by beautiful countryside and with very good friends to support me.Photo from Flamingo Toes website.

I am still enjoying my online courses as well, this week’s ones have been on the history of textile mills and the history of the book. One of my retirement ambitions is to do more creative writing, and one of the themes I want to write about is about the mills around here, so once the doctoral rewrites are finished in June I am going to spend some of my staycation doing research for that.

I hope that you are all ok, not only in physical health but in mental health as well, as this situation and being in lockdown continues it is more important than ever that we can all stay focused on positive things and I hope that you are all finding things to do that bring you pleasure as well as help you fill hours or give you respite from work.

The irony of being a teacher working from home is that people sometimes assume that we are doing nothing, when actually I have never been so busy with all the additional meetings and student support. It is good to find off screen things that bring a sense of normal and both rest my eyes and stretch out the rest of me.

Take care as always, stay safe, stay positive and thanks for visiting.

 

Finding joy in the little things

It is a bit of an overused phrase sometimes but it has been very comforting to me to be able to go for walks and see that the world is still there, that things are still happening as normal.

As the weather has now been so lovely I have been going for a walk after work on a few days this week and have really enjoyed seeing the beautiful flowers everywhere and the cute little lambs.

Sheep 2

Sheep 3

Sheep 1

I know I have said this many times before but I am so thankful that I live here, it is my own mini Lake District at the top of the road and it only takes about ten minutes, even at my slow pace, for me to be here.

Butterley April 1

Butterley April 2

These pictures were taken at about 6pm last night, this is such a wonderful calming sight, it really is gorgeous here. This is the first of four reservoirs and I hoping to go on a longer walk in a while when the rhododendrons are in bloom as there are some beautiful ones along the second of these reservoirs.

It has been a tough week emotionally. I am personally fine, thanks to my wonderful friends I have company through the weekly Zoom version of Wool and Wine, and also met up with my work colleagues for a very lovely Zoom catch up last Saturday. My brilliant friend Sharon has just been to get my shopping from a click and collect some miles from here, as I have not been able to get an online delivery slot at all.

What has been tough is worrying about my students, having phone calls and Zoom tutorials with young people who are confused and worried, and in some cases trying to cope with a huge range of challenges and uncertainties. I have been a teacher for 33 years now, and have had difficult times before but this is the hardest ever as I just don’t know what to say to them. I know all teachers feel the same, my sister, who is a primary school teacher is so worried about her pupils as well.

That is why it is so important to have somewhere to go and free your mind of worries. It has also been good for me to go out more as being sat down all day makes the arthritis worse and I have been in a lot of pain this last week.

I have been enjoying some alternative crafting entertainment as well with the lovely Amy from Almond Rock. I discovered her Instagram a while ago and she has held an Instagram live with a sewing quiz and last night it was a You Tube live with sewing Pictionary with her sewing buddy Marie. That was great fun and I did really well, scoring a lot more that in the quiz.

I have also been really enjoying the last bit of my Royal fashion course, looking at theย  Windsors. One of the things I loved about watching The Crown recently was seeing all the gorgeous costumes.Picture below from Google.

Princess-Margaret costume

I loved Princess Margaret’s costumes and hairstyles and the series was so well done in terms of the way that they matched the actors to the characters, they looked so realistic. I would love to visit a costume exhibition from that series as well if I could one day. I have been lucky enough to see exhibitions from Downton Abbey, Wolf Hall, Victoria and Gentleman Jack over the years.

I have also been continuing with the Riley Blake Block Challenge, this week it has been the Economy Block, or Square in a Square, which is a very quick and easy block to do. I used this tutorial from Diary of a Quilter.

I think that the purple one may just be my favourite so far, I love these prints together and I am very pleased with the matching of the points on this one, the other one is not as good but will be ok at a distance ๐Ÿ™‚

Economy Blocks 1

Economy Blocks 2

Economy Blocks 3

I could not resist starting a new project last week after blogging about the camper van ideas so I put this together and have been happily stitching round it whilst watching The White Queen on Amazon. The free tutorial is available from Flamingo Toes here.

Retro camper 1

Next week is officially the last week of term so after that it is an intensive period of marking, and finishing the re-write of the doctorate. Fingers crossed the weather will stay lovely so that I can have lots more peaceful walks.

I hope that you are your family are all ok, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Armchair travel

Regular readers will know that my two biggest passions in life are crafting and travel. In a normal year I am lucky enough to have at least three holidays, mostly to Spain, but also to lovely places in the UK and lots of weekends away at re-enactment events, Steampunk and WW2 events and visiting places of interest that usually involve museums, historic houses and textiles in some form.

Obviously that is not possible at the moment and won’t be for the foreseeable future so I have been finding ways of satisfying my travel urges via the miracles of the internet. I have been watching many different ‘van life’ videos for a number of years now, partly as fact finding as I am hoping to learn to drive and buy my own little camper van in the future. However I just love watching the beautiful places that people travel to and have been watching some wonderful ones recently while sewing.

Tread the Globe are the couple who I have been following for a few years on You Tube and I am taking the opportunity to watch lots of videos that I have not seen before. They are currently in lockdown in Turkey as they arrived there just at the start of the pandemic but have been posting regularly and are coping well.They also have a very informative blog here which not only gives details of the trips but also of how much it costs them to travel which is very useful information.

Before that they had been visiting some beautiful places in France and Spain so I have been watching that to get some ideas for more places to go in future years. They recently visited Taragonna which has been on my wish list for a while as it looks so beautiful. Picture from Google.

Tarragona

I have been collecting ideas for camper van themed decor as well so that when I eventually do get my van I can decorate it. I have been very inspired by my sister who has just bought her fourth van. We went away last October in it and that really motivated me again as we had such a brilliant time. As I mentioned then I made her a VW camper van cushion some years ago and have been looking at other things to make for me as well.

I love this camper van quilt pattern by Amy Bradley designs, (picture from her site), especially the little people that the design comes with.

Camper Quilt Pattern 1

I think the camper vans are so cute and love the retro feel of this. We had many very happy holidays in larger static vans when we were children and I just love caravans of all shapes and sizes.

I found this one during one of my searches, this is a self drafted pattern using inspiration from the many different pictures of camper vans out there and I love the use of all kinds of different fabrics.

Caravan Quilt

This is from A Little Craft , (picture also from her site), and she makes all sorts of beautiful quilts in New Zealand. One day my sister and I are hoping to take a camper van tour of New Zealand when we are both retired, that would just be magical.

I have just found another version as well, this is much larger and has a tutorial with it as well and free templates for the caravan as well as a pattern you can buy for the quilt. It is by the Missouri Star Quilt Company and I have used their tutorials before.

Cute Camper quilt

I have also had this cute stitched version on to do list for a very long as well, it comes from the Flamingo Toes blog and has a detailed tutorial and a free pattern.It is machine embroidered which I am not very confident about doing but it may be a good chance to improve those skills like I have done my quilting ones.

Retro-Camper-Embroidery-Hoop-Art

There is also this very lovely camper van pot holder which is a free pattern from the Sewing for Free site here. Not only cute but a very useful make.

happy-camper-pot-holders

So I shall be keeping myself entertained with virtual travel for the moment, there are so many great tours of museums and exhibitions available at the moment as well which is interesting and can give me lots of ideas for places to go when I am retired. If all goes well I will be starting that process a year from now which is very exciting ๐Ÿ™‚ and keeps me inspired.

I hope that you have had a good weekend, some of it has been a bit dull, wet and cold here, so I have been snuggling up in the fleecy blanket making the most of a quiet weekend and watching The White Queen on Amazon. I hope everything is ok with you and your families, stay safe, take care and thanks for visiting.

 

 

 

A thing of beauty

I have recently re-subscribed to Today’s Quilter magazine, this was actually pre- pandemic and it has been lovely to have the delivery every month, plus some useful free gifts like templates.I had stopped as I seemed to have a lot of quilt magazines already but I will pass them on once the charity shops re-open so someone else can share the love.

April Quilt Mag

This month’s magazine had a special feature and a pattern by Sarah Fielke and when I looked at the picture of an amazing Liberty log cabin quilt I remembered that I had bought the book a while ago. I met Sarah when she was doing a European tour in July 2016, on my son’s graduation day actually, and ordered the book straight after that.

Sarah Fielke Book 1

The book, Old Quilts, New Life,ย  is a wonderful combination of a history of quilting book and interpretations of the quilts. There is a reproduction version and an interpretation one for each ofย  9 quilts from the American Folk Art Museum.Below are some of my favourites and I love the different interpretations like the two colour one that just uses one of the flower motifs from the older quilt.

The quilt that I spotted in the magazine is called Liberty Belle and it has to be one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. I finished another Liberty log cabin last weekend and so I now have two of these blocks.

Sarah Fielke Book 2

I was thinking that I might just put them with all of the other Liberty blocks but now that I have seen this I might be tempted to just do a quilt of all Liberty log cabins as it is so gorgeous.The nice thing about using Liberty is all of the fabrics look so good together.

Liberty log cabin final 1

These blocks are very different to the other blocks that I have made as there is no white in them so I was wondering if they would go. We shall see, it would mean I have to purchase some more Liberty, (oh dear ๐Ÿ™‚ย  ) ,as I have run out of longer pieces for the outer borders. However I may have a lot more time on my hands this summer and at least this keeps me amused as the blocks take me such a long time to complete.

Liberty log cabin final 2

I have found a new supplier of Liberty as well from the quilt magazine. Not that I really need a new supplier but I love the web site for Duck Egg Threads ย as it has such a fab design. I have so much Liberty that I don’t know the name of each fabric but this site has them organised by colour and names them so you can easily order the colour you need.

Duck Egg Threads site

I think I am going to have to order some from them just to thank them for that as a resource for us Liberty fans.They also have a Liberty monthly fabric club that they will be re-starting once they can do deliveries again so I might just have to subscribe to support a small business!

I have also made this week’s Riley Blake Block Challenge blocks, two Friendship Star blocks using this very useful tutorial, which shows you how to make them in multiple sizes. These are very quick to do and I am very pleased with the matching of the seams on these. I am clearly getting better at this compared to the last block challenge that we did five years ago where points and seams were all over the place!

Friendship Star block 1

Friendship Star block 4

Next week’s block is the Economy Block so I am going to make two of those as well.I am officially back at work now, (that just means sitting on the sofa with my computer rather than my needlework box!), as no-one is going anywhere soon in the UK unless they need to.

However, I am finishing work at 4pm each day, taking advantage of the lack of travel time which means I can start earlier, so am having a few hours of sewing each day which is lovely. I do miss my colleagues but realistically we would have been finishing term anyway in the next couple of weeks so life is not that different for me at the moment anyway.

In that respect I am very lucky as working from home is a peaceful activity unlike many of my colleagues who are trying to do it while homeschooling children, sharing workspace with partners and being interrupted by cats and dogs who wonder why their humans are suddenly around all of the time.

I hope you and your family are all ok, stay safe, take care and thanks for visiting. It is lovely to see my visitor stats each week and to have so many more people following me now. I am feeling very loved so thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

Spring has sprung

I hope that you have all had a lovely weekend, the weather here has been very good, up until last night when it rained and now it is a little cooler and more like normal Yorkshire Spring ๐Ÿ™‚ But the shed is looking very good, everything has been weeded and I am eagerly awaiting my delivery of bedding plants for my hanging baskets.

I went for a very nice walk on Sunday, to my favourite place here, the first of four reservoirs in the valley at the top of my road. I still can’t believe I am lucky enough to have this 10 minutes away and yesterday I walked around the other side of it. It will a lovely place for solo picnics in the summer.

butterley-1

I met some friends walking their dog on the way back and they commented that they were exploring places they had never been in the 18 years they had lived here. One very good thing that will come out of this is more people realising what is in their communities, be it open spaces, smaller businesses etc. and I hope that appreciation this will continue when things are back to ‘normal’.

I am loving having a milk delivery, something I was planning to organise after my holiday anyway to cut down on my use of plastic, and this week there was the great excitement of them delivering eggs, orange juice and yogurts as well!

Saturday was especially lovely, lots of the neighbours were outside enjoying the weather. I do love living in a terrace, we have an open back lane so you get a real sense of community and get to chat with everyone, from a safe distance of course. Saturday evening saw lots of people sitting outside their houses having a drink, like some kind of bizarre party where nobody wants to mingle with everyone about 20 feet away, waving to each other.

Although I can’t travel the Barbies have been busy, as being plastic they are immune from any nasty bugs ๐Ÿ™‚ Sophie enjoyed visiting some beautiful gardens in her new Spring dress. This is made from a shirt that I picked up from the charity shop just to re-purpose the fabric as I thought it was so pretty.

Barbie Spring Dress 5

Barbie Spring Dress 6

I used the same bodice pattern that I have used for the evening gowns I showed you previously, but made a pattern for a fuller skirt. This ended up being 3 rather than two panels to accommodate the back opening.

Barbie Spring Dress 2

Barbie Spring Dress 8

Barbie Spring Dress 7

I inter lined the bodice with some white cotton, I was going to do the same with the skirt but it became too bulky when gathered. One of the things that I am learning is how fine the fabric has to be for these very small scale dresses, anything thick just does not work with such tiny seams.

Barbie Spring Dress 4

Barbie Spring Dress 3

I used the tie that was on the original shirt and sewed the ric rac on it before sewing it on to the dress at the waistline. I love the contrast of the ric rac and ribbon colours here and am very pleased with my adaptation of the pattern.

Barbie Spring Dress 9

Lucinda wore her newest evening gown on a recent holiday to Italy.

Barbie - cream dress 2

This cream fabric is one of the oldest in my stash, it is scraps that came from a dress and head dress that I made for Ellen about 15 years ago.ย  I have had the beads about the same amount of time as well as I remember using them on cross stitch Christmas cards that I used to make pre- blog.The turquoise fabric is from an old blouse of mine as well.

Barbie - cream dress 3

Barbie - cream dress 1

This was all in the days before digital cameras so don’t have many pictures of those previous makes but I did realise that I have a photo of the outfit framed and on my wall so here is a picture of my very lovely children all dressed up at a banquet many years ago.

Re-enactment circa 2005

They are with their friend Lil, who is looking equally lovely. I made Ellen a green velvet over dress to go with the under dress, both of which you can see in this picture under the cloak. The head dress was embroidered and beaded over the flower motif on the fabric. Jake’s outfit was made from green brocade and the velvet hose came from a friend, I think it is the same fabric that Lil’s overdress is made from as well.

Over the years I made so many outfits for the children, most that are long gone as we gave them to others when they grew out of them and pre-blog so of course there are so few pictures of them. We are so lucky now to have so many of us in kit, taken by us and lots of other lovely people who share them on Facebook.

So today is another holiday, I seem to have been on holiday here forever which is great, I am liking these Groundhog Days where I get to sew all day ๐Ÿ™‚ Plans for today are some more Barbie dress making while watching the White Queen and the latest fashion competition with Heidi Klum, Making the Cut. I am, of course like the rest of the country, eagerly awaiting the new series of The Sewing Bee which starts late April!

Tomorrow is a new week for both the block challenge where we will be doing Friendship Blocks, and the fashion course.We are moving onto the Victorians this week, an era that I love and have done lots of research/drooling over for Steampunk.

I hope you and your families are all ok and you are all managing to find things to occupy yourselves. This will be a year in which we have never had such tidy gardens, decorated houses and clean cars judging by all the activity in my neighborhood. Stay safe, take care and thanks for visiting.

Be careful what you wish for …..

I mentioned to a colleague recently that a few weeks ago, before all of ‘this’ I came home late one night, cold and wet after waiting a long time for a bus that never arrived, tired and aching. I remember thinking at the time ‘I wish I could just stay here, not have to go out to work, just stay here and enjoy myself at home.’

So…. not that I think I caused this pandemic whole lock down thing but I did get my wish didn’t I? I have only left the house a few times since then for short walks and although it would be nice to be able to go somewhere I am enjoying the novelty of being in my house on leave.

I am usually away when I have leave so I have not spent this long in the house ever but am making the most of the enforced staycation. As I mentioned in the previous posts I am trying to get a good mix of sewing, reading, study on my online course and practical tasks done while I have the time.

My house has never been so clean and the garden has been done, I am just waiting for delivery of some bedding plants for my baskets, and today I painted the shed. I also got the garden table out in honour of what looks like a wonderful Bank Holiday ahead. Of course if we had been going to do a re-enactment event it would have been howling gales and packing up wet tents so we will all enjoy the fact that we are not doing that!

This week has been all about the Riley Blake block challenge for my sewing room time with a record five blocks completed up until today! You can see lots of lovely blocks over on their Instagram as we are now on Week 2. I have been using the Liberty stash as I want to add to my existing blocks, am going to eventually make these into a bed quilt.

The churn dash ones I was confident with and I am happy how they have turned out. I am using the same white on white print for most of these blocks, until it runs out, as I love the contrast between that and the Liberty.

Liberty churn dash block 3

This second block is the log cabin, a block I have never done before. Partly as I am not good at straight seams but I am pretty happy with the way that these have turned out. I used a tutorial from Citrus and Mint with very helpful diagrams.

Liberty log cabin blocks 1

I found it easier to cut 1.25″ wide strips from my length of fabric then cut them to size as I needed them as when doing the first block found that some of the pre-cut sizes that I had done were a little small.

The first two I used the white on white as a contrast row and then I did a more traditional layout with just three fabrics.The seams are not too wonky which is good!

Liberty log cabin blocks 7

Liberty log cabin blocks 8

Liberty log cabin blocks 9

I will make one more of these tomorrow, I am a little restricted for this type of block from Liberty as most of my stash is 5″ squares and the outer strips are around 6″ but do have a couple of pieces of longer fabric.My pin board for completed blocks is now looking very lovely ๐Ÿ™‚

Board with Liberty blocks

I am looking forward to next week’s block and to moving on to the next week of the fashion course. We have been looking at the Georgians this week, the embroidery on the men’s coats is amazing and I have been lucky enough to see lots of examples of these in museums, we saw some gorgeous examples on our recent trip to Liverpool. That was the weekend of the dreadful Storm Ciara, we really are having a challenging 2020 aren’t we?

I have recently discovered another historical costumer through You Tube and she does the most amazing Georgian garments. Go and have a look at the wonderful things on Sewstine’s blog, she writes really detailed step by step posts about her constructions and makes the most wonderful things. This is a reconstruction of a 1780s gown and she digitised all of the embroidery herself, made the gown and had a baby in the middle of all of this process, what a superwoman! Picture from her blog.

Georgian dress

So over the weekend I have plans for some more Liberty blocks, more Barbie dresses, another coat of paint on the shed and probably a walk. I am back at work on Tuesday so am going to really enjoy this extended time in the house. We are probably going to be on lock down for another four weeks or so and that gives me plenty of time for sewing.

I hope all is good with you and your families, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.