2016: A Year in Thread

Between my day job, wedding and birthday cakes and general life, 2016 was not my most productive year…threadwise. However, it was a year in which I feel my freemotion embroidery skills took a step forward and I found my own style.

The year started with some seasonal appliqué.

Then there were the days I woke up with an idea in my head and couldn’t wait to put it on fabric.

Miniatures inspired by the Very Berry ATC (artist trading card) and mini hoop swaps.

Much of my time…and my heart…has been invested in portraits of pets and wild creatures.

I am still in love with the beautiful city of Bath, and want to many more cityscape and landscape embroideries in 2017.

embroidery-2016-41

 

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:

Screen Shot 2015-06-19 at 19.15.46

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.

hilarys blinds 201504

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.

hilarys blinds 201510

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]

Fun with Freemotion!

beach huts hoop

Last weekend I ran a Fun with Freemotion workshop with Grownups Playgroup – it was so much fun! We started with tea and homemade biscuits (of course) while I chatted about the basics of freemotion applique and embroidery and we had a bit of practice with paper and pencil, to get used to moving the paper rather the pencil. Then it was time to move on to a calico doodle sheet…one of the most fun things to do with your clothes on! Seriously, just let your imagination run wild and sew whatever shapes and squiggles and pictures pop in to your head, making use of fabric flowers I had spent an evening cutting out in preparation.

 

Once everyone was comfortable with whooshing the fabric about under their needle and darning foot, we moved on to the pieces to be finished in an embroidery hoop. I had provided some applique templates in case anyone was short of ideas and it was so nice that everyone had their own designs in their heads…and they completed them beautifully! Moose, robin and dog.

It was just a half day workshop, but it seemed nice to finish with a tasty, veggie-friendly meal…lots of chat, and afterwards we had a tour of Su’s garden and admired her tadpoles (and willow work, of course!)

Finally, don’t forget to come along and say hello at the Larkhall Festival craft market (New Oriel Hall, Saturday 2nd May, 12.00 to 17.00)! Su and I will also be in Alice Park on Monday 4th May…being willowy!

final-front-cover

Ahoy me hearties!

Just at the moment it is a bit of a struggle fitting everything in to the day. All things I enjoy, but I am being pulled in so many different directions….having to ration cups of tea with friends at the moment as I just don’t have time. If that means you, I am really sorry!

Anyway, I am trying to organise my days so I can fit in a wee bit of sewing first thing, followed by paperwork and by lunch time make sure I am stripping wallpaper in the front bedroom.

There are some achievements from my efforts, for example my very organised fabric stash (I won’t show you my haberdashery and art supplies drawers, as a lady should not post photos of her drawers!)

paper boat and bugs - 09
workroom/dining room all tidied up

I have cleared out a load of craft books and magazines I am hoping the WI ladies will take away with them at the next Crafty Night In and made some shelf space. However, there is one spot I am going to have to leave empty for Max the cat!

cat on a shelf
cat on a shelf

In addition, yesterday I had one of those wonderful days when you get to realise a project you had only ever seen in your mind. I popped in to the Plush Addict website to get some more linen look cotton (great for book bags) and stumbled across some fabric with a newspaper print. It called to me…“Sue, Sue, buy me and turn me in to a paper boat made from fabric..!”. Yesterday I did just that.

I made a paper version first to get the right size rectangle to start with and used it as a pattern (plus seam allowance) to cut two pieces of the fabric and one of interfacing. Ironed the interfacing to one of the fabric pieces then sewed the two fabric pieces right sides together, turned it inside out, ironed it and top stitched around the outside. Then I just made up the paper boat, ironing at every stage and hand sewing a few stages to help it keep it’s shape. I know I should be modest, but I confess I am a wee bit chuffed at how it turned out!

paper boat and bugs - 11
‘paper’ boat
paper boat and bugs - 10
ship ahoy!

In addition, last week I had a short telephone interview about crafting and well-being; the way having something to create and to focus on helps deal with anxiety and depression. It is all the more pertinent with the sad news of Robin Williams’ suicide. I am very fortunate and haven’t had much trouble at all with anxiety or depression over the last couple of years, but I am aware of how it lurks in the shadows looking for an opportunity to creep back. One of the reasons I wanted to do the interview is that I believe we should talk about how we feel. Anxiety and depression are not signs of failure, just of being human, and talking about it helps us know we are not alone and that there is always the choice to keep on living…the darkness will pass. It is so sad that the world has lost someone who brought so much to people’s lives through his work.

As the interview was by telephone I had to provide a photo...a selfie of me and my sewing machine.
As the interview was by telephone I had to provide a photo…a selfie of me and my sewing machine.

beach huts, gardens and a wee bit of free-motion quilting

This is less of a tutorial than a nudge to give free-motion machine sewing a go – whether it is embroidery, applique or quilting. If you are like me, you may have put off dropping your feed dogs and going for it, and I am here to tell you it is easier than you might think. All you need is a sewing machine that allows you to drop the feed dogs (usually a switch at the back of the machine’s table somewhere) and although not absolutely necessary, I do prefer to use a darning foot. I have heard of people taping thin card over the feed dogs if they cannot be dropped.

11 may 2014 - 03
using a darning foot

Most of the feet for my machine are changed by pushing the release at the back of the foot and reattach just by pushing them back on, but I think a lot of darning feet are like the one in the photo and you have to undo the screw at the side…I am embarrassed to admit that took my a little while to work out! You can free-motion sew without a foot at all, but please do watch your fingers as there is nothing to stop you stitching through more than just the fabric.

To stop the fabric getting out of shape as you sew you either need to hold it firm with an embroidery hoop or – as my lovely friend Karen pointed out to me – you can use a fabric stabiliser. I use stitch-and-tear, which I iron on to the back of the fabric. It gives you more to sew through and you can tear it away when you have finished. You can also get stabilisers that wash away.

I suggest setting up your sewing machine, ironing some stabiliser to a scrap of fabric and just having a play. I was really surprised how quickly I started to get the hang of it.

I find I end up sewing over my starting thread and the criss-cross stitches hold the thread in place, so it is not necessary to pull the thread tail through to the back and tie it or anything – just trim it close. If you are writing with the machine or sewing discrete areas with the same colour thread, just raise the needle and the foot and pull the fabric away from you to give yourself a loop of thread, so it doesn’t pull when you go on to the next bit of stitching. You can trim all the loops at the end – it saves time, rather than trimming each bit before you move on.

11 may 2014 - 01
loose ends before trimming

Free-motion applique is a really quick and easy way to applique. It leaves a raw edge to the fabric pieces, but I rather like that effect. You can either cut a shape and sew around the edges or use a piece of fabric, sew your outline and then trim away excess fabric. I usually use the first way, as I like to get an idea of how the finished piece will look, but the second way may be a little quicker. (One little hint: if your sewn line goes a bit wobbly, just sew over it again as somehow two slightly wobbly lines together look like they are meant to be like that). You could pin or tack applique pieces in place, but I find it far easier to use a fabric glue stick. They are designed to be suitable to sew through without getting your needle all gummed up.

11 may 2014 - 51
finished beach-hut cards
garden card
garden card

I am now practiced at changing to and from the darning foot (and keep a small Phillips screwdriver in my sewing kit), but still find myself choosing to do all my free-motion projects at the same time rather than switching between feet too often. Today, I decided to do a little (very basic) free-motion quilting, making an ivory satin dolly bag.

11 may 2014 - 20
little bag of love
11 may 2014 - 18
cone flower and bee quilting
11 may 2014 - 06
love
11 may 2014 - 04
happiness and marriage

 

 

I had thought I might do some gardening today rather than sewing, but the sunshine kept making way for Spring showers. However late afternoon, the lure of sunshine in the garden was too much for me.

11 may 2014 - 09
first clematis flower of the year
11 may 2014 - 29
I have a love hate relationship with dandelions
11 may 2014 - 24
the wisteria is the best I have ever seen it
11 may 2014 - 22
the garden
11 may 2014 - 17
the azalea my mum gave us as a low-calorie alternative to a chocolate Easter egg
11 may 2014 - 27
bleeding heart and little white alliums
11 may 2014 - 46
aquilegia in the shade of the cherry tree
11 may 2014 - 40
poppies adding a splash of colour
11 may 2014 - 21
poppies like drops of sunshine

Before I go (sorry but Philadelphia is on tv and I am a big fan of Denzel Washington!) I just have a special photo I would like to share – especially for Shellie and Christina! 😉

man and cat in perfect harmony
man and cat in perfect harmony

 

 

 

 

 

 

my workroom…and dining room

I feel I have not achieved much this week. I just got to the point I needed to do some sorting out in order to work more efficiently and to remind myself of the materials I have to hand. My workroom is also our dining room so I have to be able to operate a clear desk policy when dinner is ready. As I look at my orderly shelves and drawers, I know it has been a good deal of work and it is worthwhile, but it is not…yet…something I can put in my Etsy shop (and tomorrow I am spending the day with mentor Karen and little James, so no sewing tomorrow). I guess I will just have to do some work at the weekend to make up for it – I haven’t seen Karen in ages and refuse to feel guilty about it (at least not tomorrow anyway).

So would you like to see my workroom? I can’t hear you? I am going to assume that people around the world are jumping up and down with anticipation, and show you anyway…like it or not. It will remind me to keep it orderly and tidy.

I started with my sewing box – it is actually an antique Indian writing box from Artique, our favourite Tetbury shop. It is far larger than most sewing boxes, but is still far too small for the reels of cotton I have (kindly augmented with a donation by our next door neighbour…gorgeous wooden spools rather than the modern plastic ones, but mainly for hand sewing). I am still a newby yarnstress, so my yarn collection fits nicely in the ‘basement’ of my sewing box.

sewing box
antique Indian writing box, used as a sewing box

I bought a wooden cotton reel rack last year, only to find it was the type you fix to the wall so, always fond of a fudge, I leaned it against the mirror over the large chest of drawers for many months. It was still not large enough for my thread collection, so this week I did actually fix it to the wall and treated myself to an additional free-standing thread rack, that can stand by my sewing machine but can also be moved to sit on my sewing box when the table needs to be laid for dinner. (Note also my thread cone stand as the glow in the dark thread was not small enough to use directly on my sewing machine – and the cute little box of bobbins).

thread rack
wall mounted cotton reel rack

…and there is still not space for my box of rainbow threads that have to live in their box.

rainbow threads
rainbow threads

Am I the only one who loves pencils? Seeing them in this Baker and Maker mug makes me want to just sit and sharpen them…!

pencil mug

I keep most of my buttons in an old carousel herb rack, sorted by colour of course. Needless to say I have more than will fit  in one spice rack, and next week will get a wee Ikea filing drawer thing on casters…in red…too, for easy access to beads, button overflow and trim. I also have a weakness for teapots (one day I will show you the shelves of them in the living room…something to look forward to, eh?) and this one came from Scrapiana, sewing and mending guru and vintage teapot temptress,

button carousel

Every sewing room needs an ironing board – sometimes Max likes to sleep on it too.

ironing board (and elephant teapot and fab Helen Campbell painting)

Whenever Mark and I go to Dorset, we have to ‘do’ the antique shops in Bridport…this 1907ish sewing machine is the result of one such mooch around.

vintage sewing machine
additional light very necessary

I have sorted my fabric by both use and size. Contrary to popular belief, size does matter!

shelves: fabric and books
cookery books and ribbons
vintage suitcase Mark bought for me on my birthday last year (in a Bridport antique shop)
Ikea Billy bookcases…what else?
print (large pieces), polka dot, plains and felt
more shelves
cards, wicker basket of ribbons and trims, tins of zips, lavender bags and brooches, magazines, EN71-3 compliant fabric for toys, packaging…and yet more books
sock cat and dog

I know it’s rather sad and possibly not common in creative types, but I find calm and contentment in order. I do enjoy a bit of a Spring clean.

Let me end with a photo of a gift that keeps on giving – the box my Valentine’s roses came in is much appreciated by Rio the cat (and has lasted far longer than the roses…my beloved will not be buying from Moonpig again!…although the chocolate heart and champagne were lovely).

Rio the cat in the Valentine's roses box
Rio the cat in the Valentine’s roses box

a few of my favourite things…makers, suppliers and bloggers

I usually have a list of New Year’s resolutions as long as my arm, but this year I am resolving to let go of the lists. At least the ones at the beginning of the year – at the end of the year perhaps I will make a list of all I have achieved rather than berating myself for the things not ticked off. Mind you there was one or two things I did decide to do:

1) restring my guitar

2) move my focus outward

Now here I can polish my halo with number 1), as I did restring my guitar on New Year’s Day. The top E broke at least 18 months ago and I do not want another year of not playing the guitar. I play classical guitar (although can sometimes be found singing Ralph McTell or now, thanks to a Christmas present from Mark’s parents, accompanying myself as I sing from the Les Miserables songbook), but I am self-taught and very amateur, however it never fails to calm and energise me.

Number 2) is a bit less specific, but I am aware that I do tend to focus on myself. I want to worry less about what others think of me, about whether I say something stupid (the more I focus on that one the more likely I am actually to say something stupid so it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy). I want to listen better to others’ conversation rather than miss the point because I am trying to think of something to say (that won’t make me look stupid!). It would be rather foolish not to talk in my craft blog about the things I make, but it doesn’t only need to be about me. I just need to accept who I am, go with the flow a bit more and make the most of the fascinating people in my life. Since I set sail on this artisan adventure I have discovered so many interesting, talented and really nice people, along with suppliers who have a real eye for fabric, haberdashery and the like and who offer a really high level of customer service, not to mention bloggers who’s creativity is matched only by their eloquence. There is more than I can fit in to a single post, but I would like to make a start…

Makers (and teachers):

Lilla Lotta: a wonderful illustrator who reproduces some of her work on cotton tape. Her shop is closed for a little while, but you can see some of her work on her facebook page.

Mister Finch: this chap makes totally awesome over-sized moths, toadstools and other pieces, often from vintage pieces of embroidered textiles. He has a following almost as big as his imagination.

Very Berry Handmade: an amazing lady who not only makes beautiful pieces and sells Liberty fabrics (including pre-cut in to hexagons for paper piecing) but is also generous enough to share tutorials so others can make their own pieces. She also organised the artist trading card swap I took part in, which introduced me to a lot more oh so talented people!

Scrapiana: I am not sure where to put Scrapiana as she is so multi-talented. She has taught a couple of workshops for the Bath WI and generously shares her knowledge about mending and darning and also sells sewing bits and pieces and some vintage pieces…I think of her as the teapot temptress!

Jo Lucksted: brilliant local ceramacist; I have bought buttons from her but drool longingly over her bowls and hanging planters too (and that daisy necklace that has been in my favourites for so long). She also has a vintage shop ‘the love fleas’ where I bought a vintage flower press that I totally love.

Sewn by Sam: a textile artist who creates the most beautiful fabric and embroidery pictures. I stumbled upon her page when Mister Finch encouraged people to post links to their own work on his facebook page – see what I mean; crafters/artisans/artists are lovely people!

Rebbecca Bourne Textile Artist: as I type this I am looking at a framed card I won from Rebecca in a giveaway; a sewing machine and cotton reels surrounded by cheerful bunting. She combines free-motion embroidery with paint (along with a good dose of imagination and more than a pinch of humour).

Printmeneer: quirky and unusual cookie cutters; I couldn’t resist the Mr Darcy and Lizzie Bennett cutters along with some clouds…and I just spotted Alice in Wonderland ones!

Handmade and Heritage: I love this handprinted wrapping paper and tags; particularly the bird prints. I used it to line my vintage suitcase.

Stokes Croft Stitching: I was lucky enough to receive an amazing artist trading card from Marie as part of the very berry handmade ATC swap and have since been admiring her work in her blog – I am not sure whether she belongs here or under blogging, but as she is a wonderful maker I decided to put her here.

Sally Prendergast Art: beautiful little paintings, mainly of bunnies….so cute!

Tuliya: very reasonably priced, beautiful gold earrings – never make my ears sore, so I have gone back to buy more.

Betz White: great sewing tutorials – really professional stuff.

Suppliers:

Cloud Craft: suppliers of fantastic felt (I don’t buy felt anywhere else now) and trimmings, run by a lovely lady who always ships really quickly and offers excellent customer service.

Plush Addict: great selection of fabrics, including fleece and brushed cotton and waterproof (they usually include a lollipop in the order too so even Mark likes this supplier, as he get the lolly). Particularly useful as they include EN71 info for toy makers.

Cotton patch: excellent selection of fabrics and quilting/sewing supplies.

Viva la Frida: brilliant bright oilcloths and vinyl fabrics – a total ray of sunshine on a grey day (and they provide advice on working with oilcloth).

Quilt Backs UK: really good value extra wide fabric.

For anyone in the Bath area, I also love to hang out at  Wool and Country Threads and Sew ‘n’ Sew (Bath Guild Hall Market) in Bath and Midsomer Quilting in Chilcompton.

 

Bloggers:

Many of the makers and suppliers above also have excellent blogs, but here are some additional blogs I follow.

vastgotaspets och tradgard: two points here; firstly I have to confess a bias as this blog is written by one of my closest friends (although sadly not so close geographically) and secondly it is written mainly in Swedish. I do not speak Swedish but find that Google-translate adds an extra element of enjoyment to the blog, as the translation is often…interesting. The blog is full of beautiful photos, crafts, garden stuff and of course a very handsome Swedish Vallhund called Hampus. It is written with wit and intelligence and brightens my day – so please don’t be put off by it being in Swedish!

Knitsofacto: again beautiful photos and crafts and written with insight and eloquence. My learning to crochet was due almost as much to yarn envy created by Knitsofacto as to the Bath WI #craftynightout where ‘Wool” in Bath took us on those first steps to getting hooked (now I just need to learn to knit!).

Lizzie Lenard – Vintage Sewing: I discovered Muv’s blog when trying to find out more about the 1907 sewing machine I picked up in a Dorset antique/junk shop – really useful tutorials on maintaining and using vintage sewing machines. She also is another talented photographer and her free motion quilting is amazing…a very talented lady, who is so generous with her knowledge.

Quiltar och Silver: another Swedish blog (also written by one of my friends) – some of the most beautiful quilts I have ever seen and jewellery that deserves to be shown off in the best boutique jewellery shops.

Butcher, Baker: gorgeous blog, predominantly baking and cookery-based – one of those ones where the writer feels instantly like an old friend.

There are many more makers. suppliers and bloggers I admire, but I am going to stop now so I have some to share later in the year. If you know of (or are yourself) a maker, supplier or blogger please do add a comment with a link to your site, as I would love to have a look!

December already? Are you sure???

Well I have opened the first door on my advent calendar (a rather nice mug of hot chocolate) and the drawers on Mark’s wooden advent train are filled with gifts and chocolates (48 going on 10), so I guess it really must be December… The house is overflowing with stock and my oldest friend (in terms of years we have been friends…35 years to be precise), Karen, is here for the weekend and helped Tamsin and me post WI Christmas Fair flyers through the doors of huge and lovely houses on Bathwick Hill, so all that is left is to add price labels and make up an album of past makes and a pile of custom order forms…oh and to dig out the Christmas lights. I am so looking forward to the Christmas fair on Wednesday evening; it’s no secret how big a fan I am of the Bath WI (it’s like a trifle with layers of creativity, intelligence and knowledge, topped with dollops of loveliness). If you are local, do come to the fair – there are going to be fantastic stalls, mulled wine and edibles.

I have also had some more sales – it is so comforting to now be selling to people I don’t know, so I can be sure it’s not just the sympathy purchases of kindly friends. My favourite Harry Potter bag is off to Paris (which makes me rather warm and happy inside as I have long had a love of all things French), one of the sewing kit jars went off to Oxford and the apron models worked their magic and one of my aprons is off to London in the morning.

Karen and I managed several pots of Christmas tea at the Bath Tea House Emporium as well as leafleting and spent Friday evening at the Theatre Royal watching Fiddler on the Roof – fab! Strange to think of the crush I had on Paul Michael Glaser as Starsky when I was 10 years old and now here he is in Bath as Tevye (and very good he is too!).

Yesterday we spent the day at the West Country Quilt Show, before coming home via Midsomer Quilting to an awesome dinner out at the Bathwick Boatman. Lovely day.

The quilt show was much quieter than I expected. Great for being able to browse the stands comfortably (and perfect for someone who hates crowds and tends to panic when surrounded by people), but I do hope it was still worthwhile for the businesses with stands.

but where are all the people?
but where are all the people?
plenty to tempt fabricoholics
plenty to tempt fabricoholics

Too many quilts to photograph them all, but here are some I particularly liked:

Tula Pink - love the colours and techniques
Tula Pink – love the colours and techniques
particularly like this Moda French General fabric (have added it to my fabric wishlist Pinterest board)
particularly like this Moda French General fabric (have added it to my fabric wishlist Pinterest board)
woof woof
woof woof
love the crispness of this stained glass window quilt
love the crispness of this stained glass window quilt

I gave myself a cash budget and stuck within it, checking out everything once before allowing myself to go back and buy a ‘few’ things…

additions to my stash...watch this space to see how I use them
additions to my stash…watch this space to see how I use them

I think my favourite, on grounds of cleverness/silliness, is the cat among the pigeons fabric!

set the cat among the pigeons
set the cat among the pigeons

Right then it is disgracefully late for my other half to be sleeping…will wake him up with a cup of coffee and drag him off to Dyrham Park!

quilting therapy

Is it just me, or do other people find a sense of calm from quilting? Perhaps it’s the warm cosiness of just having the layers of fabric and wadding resting on your knees as you sew, or knowing that people have been making quilts for hundreds of years, or the repetitive stitches – but I love quilts and quilting. I am still a relative beginner and usually tend towards some sort of quirky applique number, but I like to think my latest quilt is an homage to the simplicity of Scandinavian style. I fell in love with this Moda ‘Winter’s Lane’ fabric and will be sad to see it go…but it is in my shop now: tied patchwork quilt

I discovered a new (to me) online fabric shop specialising in extra wide fabric for quilt backs and upholstery; gorgeous stuff and half the price of most of the fabric I have found. So, if you are in the uk and need very reasonably priced extra wide fabric, I can recommend Quiltbacks UK.

Photos of the quilt on our sofa and on our rotary dryer in the garden just didn’t look right, so my lovely neighbour let me use her washing line (so it seems only right to include a photo with her in it too):

my next door neighbour helping control the quilt
my next door neighbour helping control the quilt
Deerey Me tied patchwork quilt
Deerey Me tied patchwork quilt
Moda's Winter's Lane
Moda’s Winter’s Lane
newly finished quilt blowing in the breeze

As you can see from the quilt photos, it has been a beautiful day today – good light to show off the gorgeous artist trading card I received from Marie at Stokes Croft Stitching. You can see how clever it is with the light behind it (mounting it on acetate was a genius idea); a very clever lady!

Stokes Croft Stitching ATC
Stokes Croft Stitching ATC
ATC from Marie
ATC from Marie
co-ordinated note and ATC

And finally…I love Pinterest! I have been making little snow scenes in bottles and jars and, as is so strangely often the case, mini trees in their natural bottle brush state are far more expensive than ones dyed green, but thanks to Pinterest I saw that it should (theoretically) be possible to bleach green trees. They are not pure white, but a rather nice vintage cream – now ready to be re-glittered!

bleached mini Christmas trees
bleached mini Christmas trees

 

 

 

 

bring on the fabric!

Mark and I spent last week at our little flat in Dorset (loads of photos in DeereDiary)

West Bay, Dorset
West Bay, Dorset

Back home, and the sewing was never far from my thoughts. My ideas notebook continued to fill (oilcloth Christmas stocking welles!!) and we did pop in to a couple of fabric shops. I hear there are women whose husbands/partners do not appreciate their women’s fabric habits, but I am happy to say I am not one of them. Mark is a football-loving blokey sort of a fellow, but he really knows me. Half the fabric I bought was stuff he unearthed because he knows what I am going to like.

It has been a while since I popped in to Livingstone Textiles in Bridport and they have extended their range and have such lovely things! Really nice staff – attentive without being pushy. Each of these pieces was picked for a particular project and it was only when I got home I realised how lovely they look as a group.

fabric and ribbons from Livingstone Textiles
fabric and ribbons from Livingstone Textiles

Our route to and from Dorset goes almost past Midsomer Quilting, so it would have been rude not to pop in! I did resist the free coffee and chocolate biscuits and was delighted when the owner pointed out the new room of extra fabric. A nice little mixture of festive and floral.

fabric from Midsomer Quilting
fabric from Midsomer Quilting

This week I am going to concentrate on getting all my custom orders finished and in the post before I start on the fun Christmas stuff.