Hillary’s 2015 Crafting Competition

I so enjoyed the challenge of last year’s Hillary’s Blinds craft competition that when I was emailed about taking part again this year, I jumped at the chance! I was given the choice of a metre of any of these fabrics:

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I think all four are lovely and was particularly tempted by Rayna Apple, but the lovely colour and foliage print of Safi Turquoise won me over. As anyone who reads my blog cannot have escaped noticing, I love bugs and bees and wildlife so I decided to use freemotion embroidery to add a few bugs to the fabric and then to use it to make a shoulder tote. I almost always make things for other people and decided this one is for me!

One of the nice things about upholstery or curtain fabric is that it is more substantial than a quilting cotton and is a good base for free-motion embroidery. Mind you, to be sure there would be no puckering, I added a stitch and tear stabiliser to the back of the fabric before I began stitching. Free-motion embroidery is rather like drawing by moving the paper instead of the pencil. I love it; totally addictive.

Once the free-motion embroidery bee, dragonfly and ladybird were complete I could tear away the stabilising fabric.

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The other benefit of upholstery fabric is that it holds its shape and does not necessarily need lining. I am a big fan of French seams – stitched once with wrong sides together, trimmed, turned inside out and stitched again, so all the raw edges are enclosed within the seam.

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Once the body of the bag was complete I turned over the top edge twice and machine stitched two neat rows of stitches. The bag is finished with long handles, so the bag can be worn on the shoulder. I used two narrow lengths of fabric for each handle, ironing the raw edges to the centre and sewing the two pieces together with the raw edges tucked neatly away in the middle of the fabric ‘sandwich’. The handles are sewn to the bag with two layers of stitching for strength…and ta da!

This is a really simple way to make a bag – if you have a sewing machine you haven’t really tried using, a big like this is a great way to start sewing. In fact this is a method I teach at Grownups Playgroup, as it is great for beginners to take home something they can use and be proud of. I am keeping this bag, but feel inspired to embroider more bugs and beasties on bags and zip pouches in the coming weeks.

I have loved seeing how differently everyone approaches this challenge; have a look for yourself on the competition’s Pinterest board: Hillary’s Craft Competition 2015

[Oh and I just realised, this is my 100th post since I switched to WordPress…may push the boat out with a celebratory alcohol free lager…all that’s in the fridge]

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” ― Cicero

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”
― Cicero

Well I have a garden and few bookcases and a Kindle, so it is looking good – what’s more I got to spend Saturday in Bath central library! The really cool thing was that when I got there I found I had been allocated the table smack in front of everyone coming to the library’s craft market. It brought back so many memories of the library in Loughborough when I was little and would be taken to change my books. I remember the parquet flooring and how clean and shiny it was and sometimes there would be someone reading stories to the children and most of all I remember a book. A book with an illustration of a long table covered with tall, elegant jellies. Some things never change!

I do have wonderful book childhood book memories – my dad reading me Alison Uttley’s Sam Pig stories at bedtime, my sister reading Alan Garner books to me, sitting on the windowsill in her bedroom, and reading Watership Down myself one of the Summers I was sent to stay with my great aunt in Cornwall…I spent the whole Summer digging rabbit warrens in the sand.

Anyway, I digress. The craft market was not as financially successful as some, but was still profitable and I came away with some custom orders and I met ever so many nice people (and I think recruited a few to the Bath WI), lots signed up for the Deerey Me newsletter and I heard about people’s vintage patterns and button collections, saw photos of beautiful crocheted shawls and gave little dog stickers to lots of kids (and only one cried). It was fun.

Bath library craft market

I wanted to have a few bits and pieces appropriate to a library, so made some book bags – classics as I am not sure about copyright and whether I can use the name of the book (I queried whether I could use Harry Potter titles and the nice people handling copyright for JK Rowling were really helpful and replied the same day and explained that the HP copyrights are now with Warner Brothers. Warner Brothers have not yet responded…but I will stick at it!)

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I also put my new found crochet skills to good use and made some pocket money friendly bookmarks – my fist sale was one of these to a cute little girl who wanted to use it in her library books.

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I know it is hard to believe, but on Sunday I was somewhat tired and grumpilicious, so Mark took me to the Kaffe Fassett exhibition at the American Museum in Britain (at Claverton on the outskirts of Bath). Nobody could be grumpilicious in the face of such colours!

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(More photos in Deere Diary, if you are interested)

Became even less grumpilicious strolling (well limping a bit) around the beautiful gardens before sipping lemon and ginger tea on the terrace.

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After all this, I can only conclude that Cicero was right…If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.


(Well…and a nice chap to help you unpack and pack your stock at the craft fair, carry your camera bag and lenses, wait patiently while you take even more photos of bees and has a pot of tea waiting for you when you’re finished)






10 (random) things I love…

One of my favourite blogs is Knitsofacto, and Annie has been sharing 10 (rather wonderful) random things. In addition, with my Bath WI hat on (a virtual hat…although I rather like the idea of us all wearing hats!), I have been researching local artists and crafty people to run workshops for us. It has been, and continues to be,  lovely and fascinating seeing what people make and how they market themselves and I love reading their blogs, Facebook pages and Twitter feeds. It gives me a warm squishy feeling that the world is full of such nice people. One of the creative types I have signed up for a Bath WI workshop is Sami of ‘Made by Sami‘ and I have been enjoying her blog posts about 10 things she loves…do have a look at her Little Red Button blog.

These two ladies have inspired me to think about 10 things I love (in a random sort of a way):

1. Mark. He is mischievous and troublesome but he has sparkly blue eyes, a kind heart and an indefatigable sense of humour – and he puts up with me even when I am, as he describes it, grumpilicious.


(oh and his work colleagues are going to love this photo!)

2. Cats. Our two cats in particular. They are brothers from the same litter, but Max is long-haired and of a generous stature, while his brother Rio is short-haired and of a more athletic build. They are affectionate and loving…and only dribble a little bit.

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3. Sewing. Everything to do with it – fabric, haberdashery, designing, making…even unpicking, as long as it is not too often.


4. Baking.

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5. Stately homes and gardens

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6. The City of Bath


7. The seaside.


8. Friends and family

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9. Bees

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10.  Afternoon tea (and teapots)
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I would love to know what your favourite things are!!





Be my Valentine…?

I don’t know where this week has gone. I seem to have been busy every waking moment and yet so many ideas have yet to be realised. I am now starting to turn to ideas for Valentines Day – for the shop, not for Mark and me! At best we are likely to have something nice for tea, although the last couple of years when we agreed not to get each other gifts, Mark has come home with a large bouquet of red roses anyway.

First things first though; I have framed the Little Red Riding Hood piece. What do you think?

Little Red Riding Hood, framed
Little Red Riding Hood, framed

Also, while my mind was full of woodland farytales, I made a batch of mushroom/toadstool pincushions – so much fun to make.

I think my next fairytale will be the Princess and the Pea – I can picture it very clearly in my mind.

So now to Valentines. I have a load of ideas and started working out some free-motion/applique cards. I hadn’t tried much free-motion writing until this week and have been pleasantly surprised with the results (although I think you can see the difference between the beginning and end of the week). These will be in my shop next week, once the packaging arrives.

Firstly, my love of bees could not be contained:

bee mine!
bee mine!

Secondly, I am a big fan of Peter Pan and love the idea of Wendy giving Peter a thimble, when she offers him a kiss – as he does not know what a kiss is (of course, having no concept of what a kiss is terribly sad). I am hoping that the thimble/kiss reference is not too cryptic.

Wendy's 'kiss'
Wendy’s ‘kiss’

Lastly (so far), as a resident of Bath, I felt I needed a little Jane Austen.

Mr Darcy to Lizzie Bennett
Mr Darcy to Lizzie Bennett

In the coming week I will make some more of these, along with some ‘You are my Mr Darcy’, ‘Fly me to the moon’ with some gorgeous space/planets fabric I have, and maybe even some straight forward ‘be my valentine’. I also want to use some of these ideas to make zipper pouches, bunting and lavender bags. Oh and I picked up a pack of 50 small tobacco tins I am going to decorate and fill…along with planting the raspberry plants, sorting out potential crafty nights out for the Bath WI, a bit of mending (I am putting off replacing the zip in a pair of Mark’s trousers, but I need to be brave and get it done!) and of course some guitar practice!

bags of bags

The zipper pouch bags seem to be a bit of a hit and are selling fast, so I thought I had better make a few more…now in my shop http://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/DeereyMe

I love bees – do my best to plant my garden to attract them and am forever taking photos of them – so when I saw this bee fabric in Country Threads in Bath I just couldn’t resist. The bag seemed to be calling out for a daisy and I remembered a tutorial I pinned on Pinterest and made my first Kanzashi flower; certainly not my last as they are so much fun to make!

bee garden pouch with kanzashi daisy
bee garden zipper pouch bag


Years back I treated myself to a bundle of seaside fabrics and you know how it is, some fabrics are so pretty it seems a shame to cut in to them, but finally I decided that this one needed to fulfill its destiny. I love it…and have enough to make another one.

large seaside zipper pouch bag
large seaside zipper pouch bag

I made a pincushion as a gift with some of this cute Westie fabric but had some left and thought it would make a nice little bag for a dog lover, and was the perfect opportunity to use one of the dog buttons I stumbled across.

Westie dog zipper pouch with shaggy dog zip pull
button detail

Now the new bags have been added to the shop I had better get on with some more sewing – a contemporary apron and then I need to get out the fabric paints to create a couple of Beauty and the Beast panels…eh Karin? Mark has a day off so I might finish early today and get him to help me pick crab apples – the jams and jelly season is with us, and spiced crab apple jelly is my favourite!