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.

some like it hot…

Some like it hot…and some don’t. I am one of the latter. Don’t get me wrong, I like sunshine as much as the next (wo)man; I just don’t like it hot. Give me a cold, icy day with blue skies and sunshine and long Winter shadows and I am as happy as a pig in  muck. Once the temperature gets much above 20C, I start to wilt and with temperatures at the moment closer to 30C, I turn in to the wicked witch of the west country – bad attitude and cries of “I’m melting, I’m melting!”

Everything is taking me longer than usual, but I have been surprised to find that keeping making things takes my mind off the far too hot weather and reduces my whingeing. So I have been quite busy…

1) a herd of seahorses. Actually, ‘herd’ is far too dull a word for seahorses. I understand they move through water through the undulation of their dorsal fin, so I reckon the collective noun should be an undulation of seahorses. What do you think?

an undulation of seahorses
an undulation of seahorses

I think I will add ribbon loops to the seahorses so they can be hung in wardrobes or from doorhandles. Good idea?

2) I have also returned to the granny’s flower garden patchwork we did with Scrapiana at the Bath WI craft workshop. I sew the little hexagons made from Liberty of London lawn by hand which means I can sit in the living room with Mark and nod and smile as he tells me what England has to do to beat Australia at cricket (I understand cricket about as well as I understand Mandarin). At the workshop we sewed together seven hexagons (I used some of Scrapiana’s Kaffe Fassett fabric) which back home I turned in to a pincushion. I use it all the time, and thought it might be something other people might like too. This one I backed with my favourite sage green cotton with white polka dots (it came from a Bath pop-up shop, and I will be very sad once it has all been used up).

Liberty lawn granny's flower garden pincushion
Liberty lawn granny’s flower garden pincushion

3) while I had the Liberty fabric to hand, I decided to make a little pencil case too…

Liberty lawn pencil case
Liberty lawn pencil case

 

4) …and to add another piece of granny’s flower garden patchwork to a larger bag (for make-up or, in my case, sewing machine bobbins). I love this purple fabric, printed with script and highlights of twinkling gold. Don’t try telling me that ‘all that glisters is not gold’, I am a total magpie for anything sparkly.

granny's flower garden make-up purse
granny’s flower garden make-up purse

 

Determined to open my shop this week

Now then, I am determined to sew my heart out Monday and Tuesday and then spend Wednesday and Thursday (and maybe Friday) working out prices and postage and taking product photos so I can open an Etsy.com shop at the end of the week! I think it only right to celebrate with a giveaway; just need to decide what…

 

finishing touches

I decided my bags and purses needed a little extra je ne sais quoi and ordered these fab little labels from Able Labels. I am very happy with themand will be stitching them in to everything from now on.

 

seaside shopper

I received them very quickly, but had already made this little seaside shopping bag…what is it about bunting that is so irresistable? I want to put miniature bunting on everything now!

seaside shopper
seaside shopper

 

greetings cards

Although I plan to mainly fill my Etsy shop (which I hope to open the week after next!) with sewn goodies, I also decided to get a few of my photos printed up as cards…here’s a few and I will put some more in the photos gallery.

seaside/countryside
seaside/countryside
birds
birds
bees
bees
butterflies
butterflies

 

strawberry gin

The strawberry gin is ready! I don’t quite understand how 70cl of gin, when left to stand with sugar and strawberries can now fill two 35cl bottles and still have enough left over to fill another small jar plus a good measure for the cook. I guess the strawberries must just have been very juicy.

I did find myself pinching the leftover gin-soaked strawberries as I cooked (mushroom and stilton pie) until I realised I was fast becoming a gin-soaked strawberry blonde!

gin-soaked strawberry blonde
gin-soaked strawberry blonde
strawberry gin
strawberry gin

 

and finally…

Last Saturday was the Flavours of the South West food festival in Bath and my cake won the WI Queen of Cakes title! It was a bit of a rush tracing the logo and filling it out with melted chocolate, and I managed to squish the icing while transporting it – I even forgot to take a photo (this was one the ladies (wo)manning the table took). I didn’t know there was a competition, but it’s very nice to win!

Bath WI cake
Bath WI cake