Saturday, September 29, 2012

A way to use a jellyroll

This is very simple way to use a jellyroll. I've decided jellyrolls are one of my new favourite things. In case you don't know what a jellyroll is - it's a bundle of fabric cut into strips for you. They're very useful for using as borders in quilts. However, I decided to use them to make the main body of a quilt wall-hanging.

This was super easy to make! I just machined the strips together and added the border. Then I put this on top of some plain backing material with some fleece in the middle to act as wadding. Next, I hand-stitched simple lines in running stitch to quilt it.

It's not quite finished in these photos as I haven't sewn up the edges yet. That's because I moved to India before I was quite finished.

I think this is simple but effective. It's a great way of using a roll of beautiful fabrics.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Guest Post: Working with fabric when you can't sew

As I've briefly mentioned I'm off to India this week! (eek!). As I am busy cramming everything I own into two bags mrsmcindoe offered to write me a guest post. f you haven't seen her blog yet you should pop over and have a nose. She makes really beautiful paper-cuts and the most amazing lampshades. If I ever have a house I am so commissioning one.


I love fabric. Always have. Such fond memories of trips to Weekes department store in Tunbridge Wells to look at the haberdashery department, along with Barsleys in Paddock Wood and Beatties in Solihull. Mum made many of our clothes when we were little, along with various home furnishings - done as many mums at the time did, in order to save a few pennies. Seemed to me like all mums could make replacement seat pads and school pinafore dresses when I were a lass! Mum also made amazing wall hangings - these days they would be called mixed media installations I think! Fabric and ribbon and buttons and twigs and pine cones and shiny stuff all sewn onto a hessian backing. And of course all those other things that go with small children - kit bags, Indian headdresses, cowboy waistcoats, school play costumes, soft toys for the church fete, patches on knees, hems up, hems down!

So I think I just assumed that one day I would be able to sew. I managed the basics at primary school and even managed to sew a stuffed owl (although I did glue the eyes on). I only had one bad incident - when sewing Brownie badges ono my uniform, which I did on my lap, I managed to attach the badge to the uniform, but also to the skirt and tights I was wearing - many tears and much unpicking. When I was a bit older I had a go with Mums sewing machine. I managed to do a straight line, kind of, and a little bit of round the corner-ing. Forwards, backwards, even a zig zag! And I kind of thought that was it, I could sew. Dreams of doing all these wonderful things when I was a mum, just like mine did.

Then disaster. Mum upgraded her sewing machine and I was entrusted with the old one - its a really lovely thing - the soft glowing light, that special sewing machine smell, and the most fabulous 'singer blue' colour. And so I thought Wowzers, I can make all sorts of stuff now. The problem is, well, firstly it was that there was no instruction manual. I managed to find the original one online - some kind person out there had scanned in all the pages - how lovely of them! Didn't make any difference. Then the problem was the wrong thread. So I changed it all, re-wound all the bobbins and so on. Didn't help. Then it was the material - it was obviously too thin/thick/stretchy. Didn't help. Um... then needle - needs changing... and the machine needs oil. Didn't help. IT NEEDS A SERVICE! Yay, surely...... but no...

So I have unfinished cushion covers, a bag from John Lewis with a simple dress pattern lovely green material, zip and trim, still neatly wrapped up, a very odd looking mouse shape that looks more like a breast implant - I can't even remember what it was supposed to be! And the machine is tucked away in the spare bedroom, gathering dust. My love of fabric has to stay tucked away in the corner, and in the third draw down of the bureau (thesewing basket and the lovely fabrics, and the zips and buttons - plus the knitting needles and wool - a whole other story!)

It is all very sad. Sad that I can't sew, and sad that I don;t have the time (and not even the inclination really) to learn how.

So then it is all very odd- that I am now working with fabric! My lampshades are made out of fabric!! It does make me chuckle a little to myself every time I make a new shade - I can make things out of fabric without having to sew - how very delightfully wonderful! And I have plans.... plans that involve more fabric! But my involvement will have to be strictly limited to the design side, and I will employ someone else to do the sewing for me. So I will have fabric in my life, even if I can't sew!


Thank you mrsmcindoe!! I have to confess that somedays when I'm feeling particularly lazy I have been known to whip out the glue to finish something off rather than sewing it down. There are lots of things you can do with fabric rather than having to sew it.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Top 3 blogs in all of today

I may have spent a bit too much time this morning browsing the interwebs. But what else are rainy Monday mornings for?

I am kind of in love with the above yellow and blue combination at the moment. And yes I realise it looks like Ikea. But I like Ikea so all is good. 

I found three excellent new blogs. They're not new in a general sense, just new to me. All have now been added to my reader and I heartily recommend going and checking them out (so fun!).

1. A Beautiful Mess. This is an amazing blog. I can't believe I haven't come across it before. It's run by two lasses Elsie and Emma. It's a lifestyle blog "focused on creating a beautiful life". It's crammed full of wonderful photos and advice that make me yearn for nest-making.
2. Scientific Culture. A blog where science and cuteness have snuggled up together. Kate, who writes it, also runs a lovely etsy store selling cute science things she's made herself. A great blog that is full of inspiration and fun things. I look forward to reading more of this.
3. Skunkboy.  A lovely crafty lady writes about her projects and posts beautiful outfit posts.

So there you are. A good way to spend a few hours.

P.s. I made the above picture using PicMonkey.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Exhibition: The Quilter's Guild at Hever Castle

Last Saturday we went to Hever Castle. Hever Castle was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn (the second wife of Henry VIII). It's very beautiful.

Interesting when we arrived we discovered there was a country-side living special event on. There was wood carving! And chickens! (man I long for chickens). As part of this there was also a quilt exhibition run by a local chapter of the Quilter's Guild. I used to a member of this Guild when I was a child (Young Quilters go) so I always like seeing what groups are up to.

There were some cute things hanging in trees.

And on washing lines.

Inside the big tent were lots of quilts made by members.

These were quite nice but the beautiful grounds were too alluring and so we ended up zooming around this exhibit in favour of the outdoors.

We saw a snake!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A wall-hanging for a new-born

Technically I made this two years ago but thought I would share it here now. A good friend of mine was pregnant with her first child and as she was the first of our group of friends to have a child I wanted to make her something special to celebrate it. 

I contacted our friends and some of her old friends from school and university and asked everyone to make a square. 

Originally I was going to make a playmat but when I received some of the squares I decided it wouldn't be suitable for small hands (buttons!) so thought a wall-hanging would work better.

When I received enough squares I sewed them all together. By this point the baby had been born (I had to wait a while for some of the squares) so I was able to add his name to the top. Huzah!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

An ABC wall-hanging

When I went to the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham I saw a small quilt which had a black and white ABC on a red background. I loved it and so I bought a black and white charm pack and made my own. Mine is longer. I hurriedly whipped it up in a day because I was losing my sewing machine the next day (oh, moving countries has its downsides). This isn't quite finished as I need to put some binding tape around the edges but I think it's really effective. 

It was super easy too. I sketched the letters onto bondaweb (don't forget you need to do them backwards), ironed them onto the charm pack, cut out the letters and then ironed them onto the background fabric. Then I sewed around the letters on the sewing machine.

It is quilted. I used a piece of fleece for the middle, added backing fabric and machine quilted straight lines across it.

I think I might take this to India with me and use it in my lessons. Or something.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Packing the (craft) essentials

So I started to put things I wanted to take to India into my suitcase......

I seem to have no space for clothes....

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A jar of love in the post

Last week I received a jar of love in the post! Yay!

Rae sent me this wonderful package:

How cute is that! I love the red packing strips.

Inside was:

It's a jar of marshmallow fluff! So cute! Rae had stuffed the jar with toy stuffing. When I pulled it out I discovered all kinds of wonderful goodies.

I especially love the ring you can just see on the top right. 

Thank you Rae! I love it all!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A special felt birthday portrait

Last week it was my partner's birthday. As a present I made him the above portrait. Of himself. His eyes have come out a little evil-looking. I swear in real life he doesn't look this villainous. His eyes are a strange colour though - grey-like or green-like. So I used grey embroidery thread. But now he looks a bit strange. I may have to adjust it.
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