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UFOs

Because I have a few new projects in the pipeline, I have again been tackling my UFOs so that I can start the new ones with a clear conscience.  This is a Hex Etui that I started about this time last year for a June birthday……….well it’s only a year late. I just hope that after waiting this long, it is well received!

Hex etui, a UFO that is finished at last!

Hex etui, a UFO that is finished at last!

hex etui 2

Hex etui, closed

These are very useful little sewing boxes and this is the fifth one that I have made.

I also promised to show you the lavender pouches that I have been making so here they are;

Lavender pouch

These were both made using a piece of lace made in the hoop of my embroidery machine, this was then stitched over a piece of satin and net. The net and satin were left open at the top, to enable filling with the lavender and this opening was hand stitched to close. I was pleased with the results and am now seriously thinking of selling some of my work on Etsy. This is a site for crafters who want to sell their products, I must do a little bit more research.

I am  teaching at college again, a couple of days a week.  The little group I have been working with, have a unit to complete, ‘Planning an Enterprise Activity’.  After much discussion they have decided to hold a coffee morning and to make and sell lavender bags. Last Friday I took two of my sewing machines in to college, along with two big bags of fabric, ribbon, sewing tools and, of course, lavender. Well, what a day we had, the students worked so well together, all having a go at cutting out, machining, pressing, filling the little bags and finishing off with ribbons. These youngsters all have diverse learning difficulties, from Downs syndrome and hearing impairment to heart problems requiring oxygen. They were able to manage each ‘job’ with varying degrees of success, but all were very happy with their achievements. This week they have been doing literacy, numeracy and ICT exams, (at entry level) so Friday is going to be another fun day, making their lavender bags and winding down to their mid term break. Watch this space and I will post some pictures of their creations.

Have a great bank holiday weekend, if you are crafting, I’d love to know what you are doing.

Pop over to World War C if you get a chance, Maria has posted a new blog.

Jenny xxx

 

 

World War C again!

Sorry everyone, I made a mistake in the web address for Maria’s site. It is www.worldwarc.weebly.com.  Please take a look

Jenny xxx

World War C

Last Friday I heard some sad news from an old friend who I hadn’t seen for a while, her daughter had been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma on Christmas eve.

I have known Maria since she was a little girl and, last year I had the pleasure of making a chocolate wedding cake for the celebration of her civil partnership with Juliet. They were both so happy to be taking this step and my heart goes out to them now, as they face this aweful invasion into their lives.  Maria is having a series of chemotherapy sessions and will be, for a few more months. I am sharing this with you as I want you to know what a brave young woman Maria is. Does she feel sorry for herself? No, quite the reverse in fact. Maria, and a group of her friends, have set up a web site www.worldwarc.weebly.com and their aim is to raise money for the Macmillan Nurses who, in turn, are supporting Maria through her treatment. The group have been taking part in various activities, including a 10K run which Maria herself did three days after a chemotherapy session! They have already raised a considerable amount of money and have lots more fundraing events in the pipeline. Also on the web site, is Maria’s own blog, telling her story as her treatment unfolds…….I defy any of you to read it and still have a dry eye when you have finished, but you will also have an insight into the sheer courage and tenacity with which Maria is facing her demons.

The most poignant thing for me, in Maria’s blog, were the pictures and the account of having her hair cropped really short, as it was falling out due to the chemo. You see, I remember so well, the bright eyed little Maria, sitting in my kitchen, while I gave her a haircut, ready for school.

Please log on to World War C and give your support to a really worthwhile cause.

Maria……..we are all travelling your journey with you, stay strong !

Jenny xxx

Hello agian……

Hello one and all. I hope you have enjoyed the little bit of sunshine that welcomed May, but now seems to have disappeared again! It was very nice to be able to sit on the patio with a glass of ice cold coke watching OH cut the grass, it just didn’t last long enough though. Today has been a day of dodging showers while trying to get the washing dry, oh well, at least if it doesn’t get dry, I wont have to iron it, ha, ha.

We’ve had another busy week at dad-in-laws, a six yard skip was delivered on Tuesday morning and, by teatime we had almost filled it, having cleared two sheds (and demolished one of them). We had some help from Pat and Alan, which was much appreciated, but we were all exhausted by the end of the day. On Wednesday OH and myself were back over there by 8 a.m. and this time we were taking the remaining furniture to the local hospice furniture mart. Seven trips……..each time with the Meriva crammed full. They seemed very pleased to accept our offerings, some things being sold as we were still taking things to them! Dad would have been happy to know everything was going to a good cause. I don’t think Pickfords need to worry, I never wan’t to help carry wardrobes and beds down stairs again, especially stairs that change direction half way down! The house is now completely clear but does look very sad, still we have to move on and we still have our memories, my only hope is that it  becomes a nice family home once more.

While turning out an ottoman at dad’s, I found a bag right at the bottom, in it was a metre of a pretty cotton fabric, a metre of lightweight batting and some bias binding. Now, mum-in law passed away many years ago, but she did like to sew. At this point I am going to digress and tell you that a couple of weeks ago we came across mum’s vintage Singer sewing machine, she had it when she was first married so we think it must be at least sixty years old, it still works beautifully and, as my sister-in-law didn’t want it, I am now the proud owner. It’s a lovely machine, so well made but very heavy. Anyway back to the fabric, I feel I should be making something a bit special with it but I’m in a quandary to know exactly what, like I said there is only a metre but any ideas anyone has would be gratefully received. I’d love to know what mum was going to do with it but sadly, that’s not going to happen.

This is the fabric

This is the fabric

And this is the detail, it's a very pale lemon background.

And this is the detail, it’s a very pale lemon background.

While I’m sitting her writing my blog, my embroidery machine is chugging away, working on a beautiful piece of lace that is going to be made into a lavender pouch. I’ll post a picture on here when it’s finished.

Below are a couple of bits of sewing that I have completed since my last blog, thought you’d like to see that life hasn’t been all work and no play, I’ve enjoyed these projects. The blouse was another ‘Tilly’ (of GBSB fame) pattern and the cushion was a UFO (unfinished object) that I had started ages ago and never got round to finishing. Hope you like them.

 

My pin-tucked blouse

My pin-tucked blouse

The button back detail

The button back detail

applique cushion

A cushion for my garden chair.

Thank you for reading my blog, please feel free to comment, and if you have any ideas for mum’s fabric, let me know.

Jenny xxx

 

 

The Great British Sewing Bee

I wonder how many of you, like me,  are hooked on this BBC sewing programme. I have so enjoyed the first two in the series and I’m looking forward to the next two. I think it’s a shame that the BBC have only seen fit to give us four programmes in the series but, as the viewing figures have been good, hopefully they will make a second series which will be longer. The contestants have all been very good and, as much as I love sewing, I cannot begin to imagine what it must be like working under such pressure. My initial favourite was Tilly, she had such great ideas and creativity. I was disappointed that she went out in the second round. The remaining four contestants have all got their own individual style, it will be very interesting to see which two are eliminated tomorrow. If you are following the programme, do have a look at Tilly’s blog www.tillyandthebuttons.com

Tilly’s enthusiasm for sewing and encouraging others to sew, comes across on every page of her blog. Tilly has also designed two pattens, both of which can be downloaded from her site. I downloaded the skirt patten and made it for myself over the weekend.

Miette skirt designed by Tilly

 

Encouraged by the GBSB, I made the skirt in the way I was taught to sew when I was at school, taking measurements first,  making sure the patten pieces were going to fit correctly, steam pressing as I worked, sewing the seams with a French seam etc. and the results were quite pleasing.  I’m now going to download the blouse patten from Tilly’s site, so watch this space.

My other little foray into dressmaking recently, was to make an edge to edge jacket in some of the batik that I brought back from my holiday. It’s an unlined jacket and I thought it would be useful in the long hot summer that we are going to get (positive thinking now!). It will go well over T Shirts and jeans and be very easy to wear.

Edge to edge jacket

Thank you for reading my blog, it would be lovely to know if you are also following the Sewing Bee.

Till next time, a stitch in time…………….

Jenny xxx

 

I’m Back!

Sorry for the long gap since my last Blog, but everything is back to normal now, well almost. After the sad loss of my dad-in-law, we are now busy clearing his house which is quite a task as he had lived there for forty two years. We are coming across all sorts of things, including some lovely photographs of OH when he was a little boy, he’s dared me to show them to anyone, LOL.

We did take a week out for ourselves after Dad’s funeral, and went away for our long anticipated, previously cancelled, trip to Las Vegas. We had a very restful and relaxing time, which we both needed and enjoyed. We ate in some lovely restaurants, walked miles (not difficult in Las Vegas, you can walk a mile just from one end of a casino to the other), we shopped till we dropped, and soaked up some sunshine.

Much of our shopping was in craft,  fabric and quilting shops, I am lucky to have a very patient husband who was happy to drive me to these wonderful shops. Just within Vegas itself there were at least a dozen such shops and the range of goodies was quite remarkable.  OH also shopped for clothes and gadgets, both of which there were great choices. Suffice to say, we went out with one suitcase weighing 17 kilos and came home with two cases, each weighing 23 kilos!

Since coming home, I have had a little bit of ‘me time’ and have used this time in my craft room. Here is a bag I made using a patten and some fabric that I bought on holiday.

Lots of lovely pockets inside.

 

I think this is going to be a very useful bag over the Summer, if we get one that is! Would you believe we had snow again today, perhaps we are going to jump straight from Winter to Summer and miss out Spring altogether.

Another thing I have been trying this week is machine embroidery using Mylar. I was introduced to this by my lovely cyber friend Mabel, who showed some of this work on the Shortcuts to Sewing Forum. Mylar is a thin film that has an irredescance to it and can be used for all sorts of pretty crafts. I managed to buy some on ebay and started playing as soon as it arrived.

To use it for machine embroidery it is placed over a double layer of water soluable stabiliser that has been tightly hooped;

Mylar placed over stabiliser, ready to sew

This is then placed on to the embroidery unit of the machine and the outine stitched out. Before continuing the hoop is removed and the excess Mylar cut away before replacing the hoop.

Patten being stitched out.

Patten being stitched out.

The embroidery design is then stitched out completely. Once finished it is removed from the hoop and the stabiliser cut away from around the design. The piece then needs to be soaked in warm water, this needs to be changed several times until all of the stabilser has dissolved and no residue left.

Two pieces soaking to remove stabiliser.

Two pieces soaking to remove stabiliser.

The pieces are then allowed to dry flat.

Completed angel

Completed angele

I hope you’ve enjoyed a look at this embroidery technique, I’ve certainly enjoyed sharing it with you.

Till next time,

Jenny xxx

 

Thank you!

This week we had two lovely thank you cards form nieces and their offsprings. I have to say, I think it is one of the nicest things, to get a thank you, especially from the younger generation (OMG am I really getting old?!!). I’ve also had texts, phone calls and ‘facebook’ messages with Christmas thank yous, all of which have been really appreciated. People complain about the youngsters and their lack of respect but, I have to say, it has been my good fortune to find this is rarely the case. The two nieces who took time to write to me this week, are both young mums of little ones and, like a lot of their peers, both work to help with the family income. Their children will grow up knowing that to say thank you costs nothing but is always appreciated, and they will be all the nicer for it.

Well, in answer to my own question, yes, it’s official, I am getting old! Last week OH took me to Westfield for some retail therapy, we got on a very packed tube train and nice man, about 30-ish, got up and gave me his seat!!! Can you believe that………there were quite a few other women standing but he obviously thought this little old lady needed a seat.  I have never had this happen before but have always thought it nice to see, when a gentleman gives up his seat to an elderly or pregnant lady, I’ m certainly well beyond the second category but on a bright note, perhaps this is a courtesy I will get used to in future.

It was our first visit to Westfield and it is certainly a lovely shopping centre, especially if you are into designer goods. The best part of the day for me however, was not Westfield. Just around the corner we discovered Goldhawk Road and Shepherds Bush Market.  Every other shop on the road was a fabric shop, and lots more fabric stalls in the market. I was in a state of euphoria, like an excited child in a sweet store. I bought all of my fabric for my Quilt Along (see previous post) and the prices were amazing, 100% cottons at under £2 per metre. I will certainly go back again.

On the subject of fabric, I’ve been playing with the new machine this week and made this cushion;

 

Frilled cushion.

The fabric is a cotton print that I bought in John Lewis’ sale.

At Craft Club on Monday we were making squares of ‘log cabin’ patchwork and Helen and Mary showed us how to make a door stop from two of these squares. I fininshed the patchwork at home and turned it into this funky chicken doorstop. He is filled with rice to give the weight.

Funky chicken

Funky chicken

He’s quite fun isn’t he?

Thanks for reading my blog, do feel free to leave a comment, it’s always nice to hear from you.

The weather forcast isn’t very good for the next few days so keep warm and stay safe.

Jenny xxx

 

Another step closer to Christmas.

Well, it’s been a busy week but a very productive one. Starting with a Christmas cake workshop at Pipedreams.

There were four very enthusiastic and lovely ladies on the course and they all completed four mini Christmas cakes decorated in different styles.

My ‘Blue Peter’ cakes, made prior to the workshop

I’ve also been able to spend quite a bit of time in the sewing room this week so thought I’d share a couple of my projects with you.

This was my first project of the week and was made from white fleece, machine embroidered around the edge and decorated with snowflakes cut by my Slice Fabrique cutter. It’s to hide the legs of an artificial Christmas tree.

Christmas tree skirt.

I also made this for the grandson of one of my dear friends. I downloaded the tutorial from Fabric Worm, a lovely site, really worth a visit; www.fabricworm.com

A Christmas stocking for Allison’s grandson

Have you visited Pinterest? www.pinterest.com Another great place to browse, type my name into the search box and you will see my pin board, it will give you a little insight into what I like! The only trouble with Pinterest is that it can become a time consuming pastime if, like me, you want to see what everyone elses interests are.

OH has put the outside lights up today and Father Christmas (on my iPhone app) is telling me it’s 23 days and eight hours to Christmas so I’d best get on. Enjoy your Christmas preparations and keep warm.

Jenny xxx

 

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

The postman delivered our first Christmas card this morning and it made me realise just how close Christmas is. I still have so much to do, unfinished projects in my sewing room, cards to write, presents to buy and wrap, will it all get done? Of course it will, it always does, and I will enjoy every minute of it. I am a lover of all things Christmas. I think my love of Christmas stems from a very happy childhood, where I was the ‘baby’ of the family and consequently, very spoiled. Not just at Christmas, I hasten to add. Actually I was a bit of a BRAT, there I’ve admitted it. My long suffering sisters were usually the ones at the sharp end of my tantrums when I didn’t get my own way. Fortunately for me, they are now my two closest and best loved friends. Christmas always started with Mass at the beautiful St Edwards Church in Windsor and then we would spend the rest of the holiday with Aunts, Uncles and Cousins. Lots of games and lots of laughter are the two things I remember most about those Christmases, oh, and everyone doing their party piece, especially Dad, who’s rendition of Paddy McGinty’s Goat always had everyone in stitches. I still go over to Windsor for Mass at Christmas, it’s like going home and the only way to start the celebrations.

In the sewing room this week I have made a start of a few Christmas bits and pieces, the first project I completed was an Advent calender. This was made from a pre-printed fabric panel bought from www.ladysewandsew.co.uk . It has all the pockets marked out ready to cut and these are then top stitched and sewn on the corresponding squares on the panel. the whole thing is backed with wadding and a backing fabric, then quilted. I must say it was a lovely thing to do and the pockets are going to be filled with chocolate coins and little gifts for my sister to give to her great grandson at the weekend.

Joshua’s Advent calender

I have also been making some hanging hearts, these are made from woven ribbon (there are some lovely ribbons in the shops at the moment). The hearts are made fom a six inch square of the woven ribbon and are backed with a toning fabric, before being stuffed with polyester. The edge is then trimmed with a complementary chord. The selection of ribbons I used are from my local cake decorating shop, Pipedreams in Eton Wick, www.pipedreams-sugarcraft.co.uk .

Ribbon hearts

Next Saturday I am running a workshop at Pipedreams, ‘ Four from One’ where I will be showing how to cut four small Christmas cakes from one and decorating them in four different styles, looking forward to that, sample cakes almost complete so will post some pictures on here soon. For anyone local, there are still a couple of places available on the workshop. If you are interested, ring Frank on 01753 865682.

Well, it is now 37 days to Christmas so enjoy your preparations and have fun.

Jenny xxx

 

Friends and Family, how lucky am I?

This weekend saw a gathering of  family and friends at a reception to celebrate our son’s wedding, which had taken place in Cyprus in August. There were eleven of us lucky enough to enjoy the sunshine in Chatel Keouy, and the lovely poolside ceremony, conducted by a wonderful retired vicar from Devon, so it was great that so many more were able to enjoy the celebrations in Cambridge. Family members travelled from far and wide to be with us on Saturday and Colin and his lovely bride, Allyson, appreciated this. It was a very happy occasion with lots of laughter and a few tears (mostly down to the Father of the Bride’s lovely speech). We are delighted that Allyson’s family have happily embraced Colin into their fold, they obviously love him, just as we love Allyson. A bonus was that my darling OH had recovered sufficiently to be able to join in the celebrations, although I didn’t manage to get him on the dance floor, but those of you who know him will not be surprised as he doesn’t need an appendectomy to find an excuse not to dance LOL.

During the week leading up to the celebrations there was a hot line between home and Cambridge as all the arrangements were checked and double checked to make sure nothing was forgotten. Despite this busy time, I managed, on most evenings,  to make time to visit a sewing forum that I belong to, (SHORTCUTS TO SEWING  http;//www.serifwebresources.com). It is a mine of information about all things sewing, but more than that, it is a place where like minded people can chat and friendships are made. The lovely folk on this forum have been so kind with words of comfort and support when OH was in hospital and sent good wishes when I went to Cyprus for Colin and Allyson’s wedding. We all share our various craft projects on the forum and this inspires others to have a go. There is one member in particular who is an inspiration to so many of us, as her work is beautiful but she is always quick to encourage all of us in our efforts. Her machine embroidery is delightful and it was seeing some freestanding lace that Mabel had done, that made me think I could have a go at making some little lace bowls for the wedding favours to go in.

Lace bowl with personalised packets of Love Heart sweets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had mentioned our wedding celebrations on the forum, and on Saturday morning a little package arrived from Mabel. Inside was the the most beautiful lace wedding angel, complete with ribbons and wedding charms, all sewn by this wonderful lady. I have never met Mabel face to face, but feel that through our mutual love of crafts, and the wonders of the Internet, I have a found a real friend. As I said before…….family and friends, how lucky am I?

My wedding angel, a gift from a friend.