Monthly Archives: January 2015

What a week!

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image image imageWell! What a week! Hubs has been in hospital to have a new knee. I’ve been in sole charge of house and dog. I have also shopped, washed, chauffeured, and most importantly walked Benji dog. I have been chief walker for about six or eight weeks, since Hubs knee became much worse. The problem is Hubs has set the bar high with respect to length and frequency of dog walks. Not one to disappoint Benji, I have increased my own walking tremendously. Now I would like to say that I am now much fitter and thinner…..

Hubs was discharged on day three following his minimally invasive, computer positioned new knee. Clever stuff! Now I am nurse, carer and cleaner as well as head dog walker. My chill out time has consisted mainly of reading. I love to read but have limited time to devote to this treat. I do find that blogging and reading blogs is a wonderfully enjoyable but steals time from other leisure pursuits. On saying that I’m not about to give up my Blogging hobby!

One of the books I have nearly finished is a trilogy called “An Elm Creek Quilts Sampler”. This book is an easy read- a bit of a no brainer. It is a book to read in bed but I have enjoyed the stories. It has also refreshed my memory of quilting terms and techniques. Maybe I will get out one of my unfinished quilts and attempt to finish it.

The second is a book called “Pearl Lowe’s Vintage Craft”. This book I got out of the library and liked it so much that I went out and bought it. So much for my library economy! Still it is a great book.

I nearly forgot! I am also top fire lighter. Now this is a real problem as I am a rubbish fire lighter. Don’t tell Hubs but whilst he was in Hospital I struggled so much to get a decent fire going that I went to bed and read under my electric blanket to keep warm.

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Super Sunday Part Two

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Yesterday’s blog was Super Sunday and the afternoon tea party was, I suppose, technically part two as I had a Super Sunday (morning) which must have been part one. Anyhow,never one to confuse…..

On Super Sunday morning Darling Daughter and I went to the Chester Vintage Fair. This was fab with more than fifty stalls all purveyors of vintage treasures. We browsed and bought and browsed again and bought again. I didn’t spend a huge stash of money but enjoyed my little hoard of treasures. I purchased some old lace, both a Doiley and some meters of narrow trim. It needs a good wash but will look good in my crafting stash. I also found a huge bag of pearl buttons for only £4-bargain!  I’m sure they will come in useful.

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I bought a couple of ceramic flower brooches to add to my collection. These are very attractive and reasonably priced. It is difficult to find them with no damage but yesterday my luck was in. I told you it was super Sunday!

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I also found a delightful Laura Ashley China cup and saucer. It’s really cute with an off set handle at an angle. I love this cup and saucer and only payed a few pounds for it. The lace on which it is photographed is the doiley that I found for £1. Just imagine all that work and only worth £1!! The actual cup and saucer are probably destined to be filled with soy wax and sold on as a candle at some point in the future when I can bare to part with them.

So a very good day all round. I am looking forward to more Super Sunday’s!

Super Sunday

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imageToday was a really Super Sunday! You know what I mean, every now and then you have a really good day, and today I had a really good day! My group of girl friends were on the town celebrating. Our “on the town” consisted of a trip to Chester and the Grosvenor Hotel (poshest in town!) here we indulged in a special afternoon tea complete with Champagne.Mmmmmmm.

We had a three course delight consisting of super strawberries and clotted cream, suptious sandwiches, cream scones wIth strawberry jam and perfect pastries. Diet? What diet? We washed the feast down with the Champagne and finished off with tea and coffee of our choice. The whole meal was served with impeccable silver service. Oh! and a smile!

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The reason for our treat was the special birthday of one of the girls. This was doubled by her surprise Christmas engagement which made the event a double celebration. Must say that I’m looking forward to the wedding later in the year.

Pin Cushion

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In my previous post I included a pin cushion in the photograph. I had a few comments as to how cute it looked! It’s amazing how someone can pick up on a random item that actually means so much to me! This pin cushion was bought in Alaska by my Mum at least ten years ago. Mum and Dad travelled extensively before Dad died and Mum always brought back souvenirs. ( I know where I get my wander lust from!)

This pin cushion is made up of six Eskimos who seem to be cuddling in a circle! They do look rather startled! They each have fur hoods, chubby bottoms and furry feet! So cute! I hope to travel to Canada and Alaska one day. I do have a long list of hopeful destinations.travel,

I am progressing VERY slowly with the skirt mentioned in the previous post, but maybe it will become a finished item in the near future.

By the way, the tablecloth in the picture was made by myself a few years ago. I used a remnant from Aberkhan Fabrics and just hemmed the four sides. Job done.

Sew and sew!

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In my wisdom I decided to “return to sewing”. Yes I have always sewn but in the recent past I’ve sewed stuff such as cushions, soft furnishings, rag dolls, quilts etc. it’s many years since I’ve sewn garments. Not exactly Haute Couture but basic dress making such as dresses,skirts, tops etc. For my first (in modern times) foray into dressmaking I chose a skirt pattern. I tried to keep it simple whilst being reasonably on trend. How wrong can you be!

In the past I have made wedding dresses, many evening dresses, children’s clothes etc but this must be about thirty years ago. My how the memory dulls! I chose a Burda pattern to start with (Burda style 6835).

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FIRST PROBLEM

Fabric! I chose a lovely woollen plaid cloth. Not too expensive, but I purchased twice as much as required. Lesson learned = buy the pattern before the fabric, for reasons of economy.

SECOND PROBLEM

Check the size. This pattern is in American sizing so I had a problem converting my generous size 16 into the American equivalent! Because I am lining the skirt I cut out and pinned the back of the skirt and measured it against another skirt that fits nicely. Not exactly scientific but hopefully it will work.

Lesson learned = either lose weight or check the pattern sizing!

THIRD PROBLEM

Terminology! What on earth is the Godet piece? Still not sure but maybe time will tell!

Do dressmakers still use Tailors tacks? Is basting the same as tacking? How do you insert a full length zip that is for show only?

Lesson learned = Read the Instructions- simple when you know how!

I will let you know how I muddle through! Pictures included, promise.

Appliquéd Quilt

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Confession time…… I have only competed one quilt in my whole life! There! I’ve said it and got it off my chest! This is IT!

I made this quilt at Liberty Bell in Chester. It was a “Block of the month” and I made it about three years ago. I actually worked very hard to finish it for my Mums Christmas present that year (see I work better under pressure). Mum was delighted with the quilt but asked me to take it home as it might get stolen. Not true. She does live in a care home and is paranoid about someone taking her stuff, which they won’t. Anyway I’ve ended up with her gift and love it.

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I made this quilt using a lot of appliqué , some embroidery and plenty of patience. It was my first attempt at machine quilting and it shows. The quilt is titled “Autumn House” and is typically American themed with pumpkins, birds and lovely crooked houses. It is backed using a contrasting sprig fabric. I always like to use 100% cotton fabric and threads.

I promise to finish another nearly done quilt this year. It’s probably a good job that I couldn’t start yet another quilt that Liberty Bell are advertising at the moment. I already have other calls on my time but maybe, just maybe. Stay in touch to find out what happens.imageimage

Shabby shabby chic chic.

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This chair was upcycled by my daughter in law. She painted it a heritage grey and distressed it beautifully. The chair was further enhanced by creating the rose linen seat cover in toning shades, isn’t it lovely? Daughter in law is very talented and has upcycled dozens of items for herself and on commission. The super good thing about this chair is that it was a gift to myself as a surprise. The really super thing about this chair is that it originally belong to my Nanna (Grandmother) and was found in her attic when we cleared her loft after she died. Son laid claim to the chair and had it for many years before presenting it to me in its upcycled, new style.

The lace tablecloth was given to me by a friend. It is hand crocheted and from circa 1950. It is currently living in my linen stash which grows daily! This linen stash is intended, destined, to be upcycled but the thought of cutting it is impossible. Time will tell as to what projects I come up with. All ideas duly considered so watch this space!

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The table is an old pub table that I bought in the early 1980’s. It is perfect as an occasional kitchen table. It is extremely heavy due to its cast iron base. I have had many cups of tea and quiet reading moments at this table and certainly hope to have many more. Oh and this is where I normally blog so happy days.

Craft Classes

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As as I mentioned a few blog posts ago I am going to run a couple of craft classes demonstrating how to make vintage bunting. The courses have now “gone public” and it will be interesting to see what the uptake is-hopefully good. I’m in a win win situation, happy if I do and happy if I done! Mind you it would be nice to have some candidates!

I have been constantly been sorting through my stash of vintage linens which is fun. I have more than enough for these courses. My head is full of exciting ideas on how to use these textiles. I have thought of linen aprons, upcycled bags, rag dolls made from beautiful old linens and possibly book covers. Trawling though Pinterest provides a constant source of inspiration. The BIG problem is that there is a danger of spending more time thinking about what to make than actually making anything.

What do you do with your Christmas Cards?

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What do you do with your Christmas cards after 12th night?

I have a few options.

1) My very favourite card I generally use as a book mark. It’s a lovely surprise, when I open a book, to find a card with a loving message, possibly years later! I do have a lot of books!

2) I cut up the cards and use the blank sides to write my endless lists. I keep a bundle of cards in a Bulldog clip. It is so much easier to take my shopping list, on a disposable card, to the supermarket.

3) I cut out the “Greetings” message. Punch a hole in the end. Thread ribbon or string through the hole and Hey Presto next years gift tags.

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4) Finally I cut out card shapes on which I wind my embroidery threads. This helps me store them in a purpose made plastic box. It allows me find the correct colour and prevent the threads getting knotted. If I’m very organised I write the make and colour code on the side of the card so that I can purchase more of the same colour if required.

I can honestly say that I make full use of my old cards- I re-use, re-cycle and occasionally re-find!

What do you do with your old Christmas cards?

Lost and Found

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On Christmas Day I was frantic trying to find two missing Christmas Presents. They seemed to have disappeared off the face of the Earth. I was particularly worried as one was a gift voucher and could  so easily have been thrown out with paper rubbish. I had a little time to find them as the prospective recipients were not due to visit until the next day but I searched the whole house!

This year we went out for Christmas dinner with my Little Sis and Lovely Mum. I was telling Little Sis about the saga of the lost gifts when she mentioned that one of her elderly clients ( she’s a hairdresser) always prayed to St Anthony when items were lost. It seems that St Anthony of Padua is famed in the world of saints, as having the special power of restoring lost things. Wow! I quickly sent up a prayer to St Anthony to help find the missing gifts.

Before the puddings arrived for our dinner I nipped out to get Mums Christmas present from the car. This gift was a shawl that I had knitted as mentioned in previous posts. I had wrapped the shawl in a Christmas gift bag and proudly helped Mum to try it on ( shawl not bag!) low and behold at the bottom of the gift bag were the two missing gifts. St Anthony had worked very quickly and ensured me a stress free Christmas afternoon! Thank you St Anthony!

ps St Anthony has just worked his magic again and I have found a ring that had been missing for two weeks. St Anthony  lived from 1193 until 1231 so I reckon he must be responsible for finding thousands of missing items!

imageMums shawl. Lovingly knit by yours truly!