Tuesday, 18 November 2014

New Beginnings

After a very long, very trying, and ultimately very frustrating year, I have made the decision to leave my job.  Not forever, but with 3 children and a house that is still not quite finished, we were running short of time.  Time for the family, time to relax and time to be ourselves.  I had become lost in trying to keep up with everything that needed to be done, my family and I were struggling in everyday life, and we all felt that we had lost a little bit of the glue that sticks us together.  After a very busy period at work, that was showing no signs of relenting, I eventually decided to give up something that had been very important to me.

I have been training or working in engineering consultancy for half my life, which makes it a very hard decision.  I had reached the point where I had become defined by my job, and had lost a great deal of what makes me, me.  I am eternally grateful that my husband agreed with me, and together we are starting this new chapter in our lives.

So, here I am - back to blogging.  This is one of the things that I have definitely missed doing - writing about my crafting, home experiments and running.  And of course, the ever long battle against the custard creams!  I hope you would like to join me on my journey and see where I go with being a stay at home parent, while we create a new normal for our family.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Memory Cushions

Having had a manic week at week (nothing new there, however...), I've had a lovely day off today making a custom item for a good friend. She wanted something incorporating some of her daughter's old baby clothes - and this is what I made.

The spotty fabric is Cath Kidston, with a plain cream centre. The babygros have been backed with lightweight interfacing to help with cutting and attaching the individual pieces, and the back of the cushion is a simple envelope style. It's been made to fit a 14"x14" cushion pad - I've found that to make the cover fit snugly without loose bits at the corners, it's best to make it slightly small - this cover is actually 13.5"x13.5" and it fits perfectly :-)

She loved it so much, I've had a request for 2 more - twins due in the next couple of weeks, so fingers crossed for her on that one!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Attack of the mad ruffles!

Well, I have been a busy bunny since my last post - the new workroom has stalled somewhat due to many things.  As I often say, why procrastinate today when you can procrastinate tomorrow?!?

I purchased a lovely FQ bundle from Cath Kidston, 8 pieces, and used them to make a log cabin quilt for a friend who will be having twins in the next few weeks.  The front piece came out beautifully

The actual dimensions of this quilt are 28" x 28" (71cm x 71cm), and it was a joy to put together with my 1/4" foot - another recent purchase...

I've just ordered some polka dot pink fabric for the backing and will quilt it over the weekend.  I am also planning to attempt to self bind the edge rather than use commercial bias binding - watch this space for an update on how that went.  I've found a couple of tutorials with the basics, so I should be able to have a reasonable stab at it.  After all, who needs clean clothes, or food or a clean house - sewing is waaaay more fun than housework!

So, once the log cabin quilt was finished, I had a fair few strips left over, and one whole FQ that I hadn't cut into at all.  Obviously, something had to be done!  And this was it - a 20" x 20" (50cm x 50cm) cushion cover - shown here not made up, but I made it up with an envelope style back in a pale blue star pattern fabric, also by Cath Kidston.

As you can see, I was starting to run out of long strips by this point, so the cover has taken on a more patchwork appearance.  But wait - there is still fabric left over - these FQ bundles really are a lot of fabric, although they don't always look it at first glance...

My final make with the bundle involves my recent birthday.  My lovely husband bought me a ruffler foot for my sewing machine, and I've been itching to do something with it - and this was the result.  This is a scrappy patchwork ruffle skirt for my 4 year old daughter, in various stages of development.  I had to cheat very slightly and use a couple of strips from another FQ, but I did very very nearly get all of these projects from one bundle - I needed 3 x 2 1/2" strips to complete...

The waistband is flat at the front and elasticated at the back, using 1" elastic.  The flat front is interfaced to give it a bit of stiffness, and the first tier is not ruffled at all.  The following five tiers are all slightly ruffled - but it is a proper sticky out skirt, perfect for flouncing and huffing in.  Which 4 year olds do a LOT!

I am very impressed with both my creative frenzy and the sheer amount of fabric you get in a FQ bundle.  Anyone else with lovely FQ projects out there?  And anyone else been overtaken by an attack of the mad ruffles?  They are a seriously cool piece of kit, and the engineer in me just marvels at the lovely clicking ratchets doing their work...

Next project is to get my workspace done!  Onwards and upwards...

Monday, 30 January 2012

My New Workspace!

Finally - the day has come! The (very, very slow) carpet fitter has been, and our new loft is ready for occupation!

We knew when we bought our house that, basically, the roof was knackered. But given the ample loft space, when we finally bit the bullet and decides to have to roof done, it was a no-brainer to get the loft converted as well. It would create 2 new double bedrooms, and given that we don't (yet) have enough children to fill them, one was earmarked for a study / sewing space.

And today, it is done. The builder started at the beginning of October last year, but to save money we did the decorating ourselves. Also very, very slowly, as it turns out! But now I can start shifting my sewing machine, my stash and all my bits and bobs to somewhere where my darling, inquisitive children can't get at it!

And I'm really hoping that this will mark a new creative stage in my life, I'm brimful of ideas for projects and I'm about to take the plunge into writing a tutorial to blog about. Watch this space...

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Creativity Returns!

After a long period of zero inspiration and motivation, I have finally found my creative juices flowing again. With a busy period at work and a slight misunderstanding about what the phrase "I don't mind helping out a bit if you need some help" ACTUALLY means, time has run away with me somewhat.

Anyway, a lovely friend of mine who is a florist offered to make me a Christmas wreath for my house in return for a 'crayon snug'. Apparently these are a small fabric pouch that you can store crayons in so when you are out with small children, you have something to entertain them with. All well and good, but I got to thinking about how to improve the concept - that's the engineer in me coming out! And of course, the first thing I though was - what about the paper?!? No use having crayons if you don't have any paper... So this is what I came up with.. All the pieces are oilcloth, so it's wipe clean - and said lovely friend is a fan of Cath Kidston, so here we have it!
Folded up, ready to travel
Folded out, ready to play!  Crayon pocket flips up while in use...
View from top while folded - just right to fit in a large handbag...
Sized to take an A5 writing pad, and a packet of crayons
For scale...

Saturday, 10 September 2011


While having a mosey around the internet, I came across this article on the Daily Mail online.  Now normally the Daily Mail is not somewhere that I hang out, I find their politics not to my taste and it's actually pretty poorly written most of the time.  Not that I can talk, but nobody is paying me to write!  But this article really caught my eye, and I thought I would share it.  Here goes with the linky....


How cool are these!  I am in awe of the talent and dedication that has gone into these, I'm very much more a quick project kinda gal, and anything that took that long to complete would lose my interest before it was complete.  This is something that I do need to work on, but more of that later.  There is also a Facebook group dedicated to yarnbombing, with some more cool photos, so have hopped over and 'liked' that.


So, who has been eyeing up the lamposts outside their house?  Or in my case, the particularly drab looking bus stop directly opposite my front door?  I live in a small village with an excellent bus service (I know, it's not usual!), so a lot of people use that bus stop to commute, often early in the morning looking half asleep.  I am hatching grand plans to lighten their mornings, but I fear it will come to nothing much due to lack of time, energy, sleep etc.  But in my mind's eye, I can see a perfect woolly bus shelter, and I would love to make it happen!


Tuesday, 6 September 2011

These are a few of my favourite things

Or not things, so much, as fabrics. I have a VERY large stash, my husband jokes that it is starting to generate it's own gravitational field... Sort of like a very colourful black hole....

Anyway, I thought I'd share a few of my very favourites with you - and a couple of things I've made out of them as well.

First on my list is Amy Butler - I know she's very popular at the moment, but obviously for good reason. It's the colours! And the patterns! And it coordinates! And looks fab with EVERYTHING...

My work handbag is made with Amy Butler fabric - this one...


And here are the photos of it. I have to look vaguely respectable at work, so I made the outside rather sober and proper-office-type, but then lined it with my gorgeous-fell-in-love fabric.

The bag was made using this pattern


I carry a fair amount of rubbish vital equipment around with me and this bag is perfect.

The second designer I'm loving at the moment is Dan Bennett


I just love the quirky florals, and the bright colours (sensing a theme here, anyone?). My make with this one is a clutch bag I made for a friends birthday present, using the Bellflower fabric in orange.

And the pattern for this one is


So, that's my favourites. What are yours? Colourful? Pastel? Stripes? Spots? The amount of different fabrics out there is both exhilarating and overwhelming, one of my favourite evening activities is mooching around fabric websites and eBay to see what I can add to the stash! Step away from the credit card...