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.

Flippin fabulous felt

I have been terrible slack at posting…sorry! Between our holiday in Guernsey…

Guernsey June 2014 - 381

(More photos in Deere Diary)

..and the Bath WI and our garden party…

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…my work has suffered. This week I will be getting back on track, ready for my stall at Yatton Keynell next Saturday. I am also going to be adding custom-made luggage tags to my repertoire after having made one for Mark:

tag back tag

…and I am going to put a felt flower tutorial in my next newsletter, after receiving such nice comments on the name badges I made the Bath WI committee members:

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Just a quick note on felt – it should be wool; it should feel thick and strong and luscious; it should not be shiny and artificial. There are lost of suppliers around, but now only buy from Cloud Craft as the quality is so good, Nicole provides a EN71-3 certificate which means it is good for noses for toy mice and Nicole also posts it so quickly you can get right on with your project.

cards, cake and crafty nights out

 Very Berry Handmade artist trading card swap

Last year in my sewing exploration I stumbled upon artist trading cards (ATCs) through a swap organised by Ali at Very Berry Handmade (brilliant for all things fabric and sewing – lots of excellent tutorials). I have posted photos of my secret garden card, and here is Alix’s gorgeous Pride and Prejudice card I was lucky enough to receive.

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Pride and Prejudice ATC by Alix at Used-To-Bees

I am such a fan of Jane Austen and the card is so beautifully made, I was over the moon when it arrived. Alix writes a blog at Used-to-Bees, which is full of lovely things and well worth a look (I subscribe to her posts as I don’t want to miss anything!).

 

diamond anniversary cake

Anyone who has read my blog for any length of time will have realised by now that, as well as sewing, I like to bake. Friends and family often ask me to make celebration cakes and this week I was asked to make a Diamond Wedding Anniversary cake…with two cats on it. It could have been a problem as I knew it was 60 years, but had it in mind that 60 was a ruby anniversary…eek. However, I checked first and switched from a sparkly red 60 to a sparkly white 60.

Hilary the Hippo wanted to help…

hippo baking - 3
Hilary the Hippo, “can I lick the bowl?”
hippo baking - 2
mmmm….springy and coming away from the sides
victoria sponge with vanilla butter cream and raspberry jam
victoria sponge with vanilla butter cream and raspberry jam
cat cake - 1366
black cat anniversary cake
cat cake - 8
diamond anniversary cake

 

 

the Bath WI crafty night out

I quite recently took over organising craft workshops for the Bath WI – what we like to call our ‘crafty nights out’. Yesterday lovely Eirlys at Scrapiana came over (with lemon drizzle cake) to show us how to make scalloped bunting. There is something so sociable and relaxing about sewing with friends. We talked non stop, ate lemon cake and flapjacks and even did some sewing. It was just a really good evening…can’t wait for the next one!

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Eirlys shows us what we are aiming to make
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you can almost hear the concentration!
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I really covet Eirlys’ Singer Featherweight sewing machine…sigh…
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can you tell we were having a good time?
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Look at this teeny weeny sewing machine!
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lemon drizzle cake and apricot flapjacks and earl grey tea
bunting making - 13
Sheila’s perfectly sewn bunting waiting to be sewn on to tape
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Trish’s almost completed bunting
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Kitty wanted pointy bunting and Eirlys was happy to oblige…and it looks fab!
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love seeing everyone’s choice of fabric

I chatted far too much and didn’t actually sew my bunting until today…ta da!

my bright bunting
my bright bunting

 

Molly the mannequin? Delia the dummy?

You may have spotted a tailor’s dummy in the bunting photos – it is another early birthday present (this time from Mark’s mum and dad). I see her as a Delia…must be the apron!

Molly the mannequin? Delia the dummy?
Molly the mannequin? Delia the dummy?

 

And finally…

The cats have been as cute as ever…Max took a particular liking to a new shoe box, but it really wasn’t big enough!

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brotherly love

 

 

 

 

 

Max shoe box - 1
Max in a shoe box
Max shoe box - 2
cute or what!
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you could do with a bigger box Max!
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I did warn you…

 

 

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!