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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Lots more inspiration

I have not done a single stitch in anything since Monday. I have been so tired by the time I have got in from work and had tea that I have just looked at a few blogs and gone to bed with a good book, on Weds that was at half past 8 as I couldn’t stay up any longer! I have done lots of nice reading though.

So there will be nothing to show you this weekend. I am going to make another doll sometime soon as my cousin saw the pictures I posted on Facebook and said her daughter would like one so I will be working on that for her birthday.

I have been getting lots more lovely ideas though and the very talented Lori Holt of Bee in my Bonnet never fails to disappoint. Her new pattern and sew along has just started and it is even more cute than the last one! All pictures are from Lori’s site.

Bake Sale 2 Quilt small-01

This one is called Let’s Bake and it is just gorgeous! I love baking, last Sunday I made some really yummy cranberry, apricot and white chocolate cookies and I am going to make some more this weekend as they lasted about 3 days, well we had to eat them before they went hard 😉  So I really love all the block designs here.

You can download the pattern guide from here and it is really detailed. It does use a set of shapes which are a bit difficult to get in the UK but I think you could work it out from the diagrams if you don’t have them. There is some great embroidery on the blocks as well.

This is one of my favourites so far, it would make a great design for a mixer cover wouldn’t it?

Mixer block

I love these little gingham cross stitch squares that edge the quilt.

Let's Bake cross stitch

The new fabric collection is called Bake sale 2 and is really nice, I especially like the cake stand design and the text fabric but am being good and not buying random fabric just because I like it.

Bake Sale fabric

She also has lots of other side projects, such as this pie tin pincushion and these lovely pot holders with crochet on, both would make great gifts if you are building up a gift stash.

Lori Holt Pincushion

Bake Sale pot holders

Jenny of Elefantz has been having a discussion about aprons on her Gentle Domesticity Facebook page and has recently been making some new ones and I think some of these designs would look beautiful on an apron so I really should make myself a nice one. Most of mine are very plain and boring and very stained now so I would love a new pretty one.

Ellie and Kerry are due for a quick visit tomorrow which will make a nice break from marking. I am hoping to get a couple of free hours later on Sunday to at least choose the fabrics for the new doll and maybe get a bit of cutting out done.

Hope that you all have a nice relaxing weekend 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.

 

 

 

 

 

The last of the flock… for now!

I have just finished the very final pouch for Yarndale and so will be packing everything up this week for Sarah to take with her. It isn’t until the 23rd of Sept but it is nice to be ready well in advance and I am hoping to go if I have time.

Yarndale sheep bags 1

 

The sheep bags have had good reactions from my friends at knitting so I think that I will be making some more of them.I think they are very cute and am hoping they will be popular.

I have really enjoyed doing them and the sewing themed ones so will carry on making them in between other things. Got to make a start on the Xmas ornaments for this year soon 😉

I have also made a few more of the bags, these are from the fabric I had last year.

Yarndake bags Sept 1

Yarndake bags Sept 2

Yarndake bags Sept 3

I have made pincushions for most of the bags and tried to make them all individual in design and thought that this one would look pretty with lace attaching it.

Yarndake bags Sept 5

I love the sewing motifs and was really pleased to get some more in a similar design at the Steampunk market at Lincoln.

Yarndale new fabric 1

Yarndale new fabric 2

Yarndale new fabric 3

I shall be away next weekend at our last event at Caldicot Castle in South Wales. Really looking forward to seeing everyone before the season ends. Term starts next week so it will be back to long days and snuggling under the fleece with candles lit in the evenings 🙂

I have not made any more progress on the jacket yet but had some really nice comments on it from the Seamstress Squadron page and some very helpful tips and pictures from people who have already made the pattern. I will be concentrating on that in a couple of weeks once I have a free weekend.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Rainbow brights

One of the good side effects of rain and sun together is of course when we get rainbows. Though this weekend had a mix of weather I didn’t see any rainbows but had one in the craft room anyway.

Inspired by the rainbow Dresdens on my Pinterest such as this one below I decided to make a rainbow Dresden one a few weeks ago and finished it into a pouch today.

Rainbow Dresden

I have not got much yellow or red fabric so struggled a bit with anything patterned.I have photographed this next to a gorgeous stack of rainbow solids that I have had for a couple of years and not cut into yet. They just look too pretty all tied up!

Rainbow pouch 1

The lovely yellow with red flowers is a a magazine freebie from a while ago and I really like pop of colour among the plain fabrics.

The middle looks far more wonky here than it does in real life. I appliqued the Dresden onto the blue fabric for the pouch then added the middle bit with applique as well. At least you can’t see any of the stitches!

This is a pencil pouch which is a present for a friend’s little girl so I have put some things in it for her, the lining is a plain red from my stash. Pouch tutorial from Jedi Craft Girl as before.

Rainbow pouch 6

I also made a lovely bright mini Dresden before I went to Spain which is destined for the top of a pin cushion, this is the smallest one I have made so far at 3 inches across.

Mini bright Dresden 1

The fabric is from a mini charm pack from a while ago and I have used one of the lovely lacy circles gifted from a friend that I have put on other pincushions and bags.Just perfect for a little contrast.

Mini bright Dresden 2

I have had a very perfect Sunday and finished it with a little bit of fabric playing. I know I said I wasn’t going to start anything new before finishing making up all the pouches and bags but I was just having a cup of tea and a Pinterest browse mid craft and came across this picture from Hen House. Hen’s is one of my very favourite blogs, I love all her vintage makes.

Vintage log cabin with Liberty

Well before you knew it the vintage cloth stash and the Liberty had come out and I was making log cabin blocks. Not enough has been completed to show you yet but I am very pleased with the results so far.

Hope that you have all had a good day as well and thanks for visiting.

Fabric Serendipity

You know when you have some fabric that has been in your stash for ages, maybe 7 years say, and it is really beautiful and every so often you take it out, look at it in its perfect stack and then put it away as it is not quite right for the project you have in mind and you don’t want to waste it?

Tea cup theme fabric 7

And maybe it is just the wrong colour, or the print is too large or too small or the theme is just all wrong. But one day when you are looking for something completely different for a project and you come across this fabric and something just says to you, ‘I now know what to make with this beautiful stuff!’

Well that my friends is fabric serendipity, one of my favourite words which means happy accident, and it happened to me at the weekend. I was actually looking for some lining fabric for the spool design pouch at the end of this post that I had finished stitching when I came across this gorgeous tea themed motifs and tea cup fabric.

I remember ordering it from Simply Solids when they first set up as I loved it and bought both the graphics print in several colourways and the very lovely tea cup print on both blue and cream backgrounds.

It nearly got used last year when Ellie was considering a tea theme for her Steampunk outfit so I gave it to her, and she gave it back a few weeks later.

I have just completed a mug rug for my Mum which is below, inspired by the Sew Illustrated book again and have used their motif but added a fabric band in Flurry from my scrap stash and buttons. I was very pleased with this and as I was searching through the stash for a blue lining for the spool pouch suddenly thought, ‘tea themed mug rugs…….. what a good idea!’

So here it is, I am using the individual tea cup motifs appliqued on with zig zag machine stitch, they are also stuck on with Steam – a – Seam fusible double sided web for extra staying power.

Tea mug rug 1

The linen is some I have just ordered from this Ebay supplier Ainsbury  , it is a beautiful quality and excellent value at £7.99 a metre. It  was a bit too beige for the Dresdens I have made but knew it would come in handy!

Very happy, loving the co-ordination and the crochet lace and the little vintage buttons! Now got to get back to what I was doing and finish the other pouches that I have embroidered. Is it any wonder that I have so many WIPs?

I did finish the spool pouch though and this one is mine all mine, love it and am taking it to knitting group tonight to show off!

Sew Ilustrated spool pouch 5

How very apt is that stitchery! At least this week I have had lots of crafting time as I have been getting up very early to do my marking so I can finish early and have a couple of hours each afternoon in my lovely sunny craft room 🙂

I am leaving for Spain on Saturday for two whole weeks with my lovely Mum and aunt and will have lots of time for reading and crafting and just general relaxing. Even though I holiday a lot I still get very excited at the thought of being away so shall be , as we say in the UK,  a giddy kipper for the rest of the week!

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

Angle experiments

I have had a lovely time playing with Dresdens in my craft room over the last weekend. I have learnt a lot and made some pretty things.I am very much an experimenter when it comes to my crafting and am trying to expand my techniques. I never like to follow patterns or ideas directly and prefer using these as basis for a bit of creativity.

This is why I have ended up with such a variety of sizes, rather than actually following any instructions I just kept thinking, ‘what if I do this….?’

Which explains the giant Dresden, this measures 17 inches across and is a result of seeing what happens when you use the other end of the new Dresden ruler! I am not sure what this is going to be, was thinking bag but maybe a cushion cover with a large crochet piece in the centre from my stash and even a few Suffolk Puffs!

Large pink Dresden 1

This is the first one, the blades are 3 inches in length with the narrow end of my new ruler, worked out that you need 20 of these to complete the design so just kept adding fabric.

Medium Pink Dresden 1

Medium Pink Dresden 2

And this one is the, ‘what if I make it wider at the top’, experiment. done with a 2 length inch blade but wider at the top so only 12 were needed. I am not sure about the linen blades here, loved them but have now decided to applique this onto a linen pouch so may need to swap them out for a contrast fabric.

Doesn’t it look lovely with a bit of my vintage crochet in the centre?

Small Pink Dresden 1

One of the reasons I have been able to just play and add blades as needed is that I have been very naughty and bought new fabric, sush don’t tell the kids 😉

I bought two beautiful packs from a new supplier of ditsy florals that I found a while ago, Always Knitting and Sewing.

At the time I posted this wish list pic from the web site, and though I didn’t realise it when I ordered this it mostly what I bought.

bundle-10-fat-quarters-cream-floral-Always Knitting and Sewing

They came as two bundles, with ten 10 inch squares of beautiful quality fabric in each bundle,  very good value at £5.99 each. There is lots of choice of other colours as well. I ordered one cream and one pink bundle which has given me lots of beautiful things to play with. Aren’t they just absolutely gorgeous 🙂

This is one of my very favourite ones and as I need a new make up bag and have some more linen coming think I will save this for me!

Dresen Rose and Hubble fabrics 5

Most of their stock seems to be Rose and Hubble and Moda and I love all of it. I am very tempted by this beautiful colourway.

Red fabrics - wish list

I have also started another Sew Illustrated project, this one using one of the sewing motifs from the book and one of my favourite sayings, ‘Sew many projects, sew little time!’ This will be a pouch, again either for me to keep or a gift.

Sew Ilustrated spool pouch 1

Love using up my Liberty scraps on these and hope that they do look like spools.

Sew Ilustrated spool pouch 4

I do really love this time of year! I am able to go to work and come home in the light, the rhododendrons are just about to bloom and it is nearly time to go to Spain again 🙂

Also with my new role most of my teaching finishes next week, that means lots of marking for the next couple of months but that can mostly be done from the comfort of my sofa.

Then I have to do some serious work on my doctorate over the summer, but that still leaves plenty of time for crafting in the late afternoons, so along with the plan for my doctorate I have written a crafting plan for the summer.

So I am a very happy bunny. Hope that you are all having a nice Spring (or Autumn), take care and thanks for visiting.