Friday, 30 August 2013

Starting in September

Hi Everyone I hope you are happy and well.  I have had a very busy week and am looking forward to the weekend - what about you?  Have you any plans - do come in and have a drink and a bite to eat.  It is so lovely to see you again, you always cheer me up.
I am really thrilled this week as I have enrolled on a new evening course - printmaking.  I have no idea what I am letting myself in for but that is part of the excitement.  It is only 2 hours per week and is at the local college.  I spoke with the course tutor who told me that I didn't need any experience whatsoever. I did warn him that I was not artistic in any way - cannot even draw a straight line - but he said that by the end of the course I would be an artist so move over Van Gogh!  Last January I started a blogging course at the same college as I knew that I wanted to be able to cope with writing a blog online.  So maybe this time next year I will be merrily printing off my own creations - what this space.
Talking about creations I am still struggling with the tea towel bag and have had to cut the flap down as it was too big.  I didn't measure accurately and this is the outcome - undoing all of it again and trying to salvage the flap intact.  I don't know about you Folks but there is something heart wrenching (maybe that is a bit strong) about having to undo work but needs must.

I cut the flap down this evening so it is a bit better but I am terrified of making a mess of the whole thing, particularly as it is a gift.  I was going to put magnetic clasps in but ran out of time in my sewing class.  Rachel had suggested leaving it until the next class but it would be cutting it really fine to get the bag to my daughter-in-law in time for when she meets her sister for a birthday meal. I had a look online to see the tutorials for claps but the majority of the guides say not to use fabric which will tear when the clasps are opened and shut. 

As you can see the brown silky fabric is plain and quite thin so I am worried about using it as it might tear in time when using the bag.

The back of the bag.

The problem I have is what can I use for a closure?  I have thought and thought about it - ribbons, press studs, buttons...........................the list goes on.  I could really do with some advice from you lovely People.  I did wonder if a couple of pieces of carefully placed Velcro might do the trick?

Do you like the patch with her nickname on?  I have got another one for the cushion.  They are really cute so I hope she likes it.

The closure needs to be quite secure as I am making the bag to keep some of her equipment in whilst she is in the salon.

Below are the fabrics which I am going to use for her cushion - dark brown for the outer shell and then the lovely orange fabric for the inner parts of the bag - I am using LillyBlossom's pattern again as it is so easy for me to do.  I am thinking of using applique once again on it using her nickname of Floss to go around the front of the cushion.  I hope you think this is a good idea?  I also bought an orange zip to make a fab brooch for her - may put this on her bag depending on how it looks.

Rachel from my sewing class sells pieces of Liberty fabric, I could buy them all!  I was thinking of making some necklaces with these two pieces, nice for Christmas.  What do you think?

Finally, here is a lovely piece of Liberty baby cord which is just adorable.  I was hoping to have enough to make another Clothkits dress but I don't think I have enough.  Any ideas of what I could do with this would be very welcome - my ideas have run dry today.

Well lovely Folks I will close now as I am really really tired.  I had to leave for work this morning at 6am so it has been a long day.  I shall hopefully speak with you tomorrow when we can have a relaxing cuppa and a piece of cake. 

Any ideas about the bag flap would be most welcome, I need it to be securely closed but looking good as I am giving it as  a special birthday gift.  I know you will come up with lots of good ideas as you are a talented and always helpful.

Nigh night to you all, have a good sleep or a wonderful day depending on where you are in our lovely world.  Speak very soon, look after yourselves, lots of love, Dorothy :-)xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Making a start

Hi Everyone I hope you are all well and happy.  This is a bit of a late post as I have not long got in from my sewing class.  As you know I have been struggling for ideas of what to do with my vintage tea towels and I wanted to thank you for the wonderful suggestions which have really helped me.  I really wanted to make a start on the bag tonight as time is moving on but as you will see it didn't all go to plan.

The birthday girl loves the colour orange and beige but I must admit that these shades are not ones I use that much as you have probably guessed.  However I did buy this really fab little orange print ages ago when I was thinking about her project.  I think it is a lovely little piece and reminds of ones used in the 1960s.  I am thinking of doing her cushion with some of this fabric.  The silky fabric was from the Treacle Fair on Sunday and for the price I really wished I had picked up more as it is really gorgeous and so nice to work with.  Would make a great lining which I decided to use tonight.

You can see the four fabrics I had to work with below, I was getting more and more confused before I set off for my class.  I even woke up last night thinking about it Folks so things must be getting bad!

However, at the last moment, just as I stepped out of the front door I went back in and picked up the Cath Kidston tea towel which I bought recently as this is a cheeky print and has orange and yellows in. 

After speaking with Rachel our lovely teacher I decided to go with the CK print and line the bag with the silky fabric but use part of one of the tea towels (the calendar and the date).  I thought that this would work much better than trying to use the whole towel and it not looking right.
I cut out the calendar and lined it with some wadding after which I quilted it along the lines to make sure that everything was secure and would not move. 

Everything was going well Folks and I must say that I worked really hard tonight to try and get it finished but............when you rush things you make mistakes and what a big mistake I made.  I was trying to put it all together but realised that I hadn't measure accurately enough so things didn't fit together as they should. 

I was so disappointed with myself for rushing as usual.  But I knew that I would not be happy giving a gift which I wasn't happy with.  I didn't have time to take any photographs as I was ploughing on with the task but I will update you tomorrow hopefully.  Rachel is not having a class for a couple of weeks but we decided that I would continue with the bag and then finish it off with her help.  Hopefully it will be in time for the lovely lady's birthday.  Meanwhile I can be getting on with the cushion for her.

Well Everyone hope you don't mind me posting such a short chat with you all tonight.  I am really tired now as it is midnight and I have a very busy day tomorrow at work.  However, I really wanted to catch up with you tonight before going to bed - you are all such an inspiration to me and I love all your comments and ideas.

Have a great day tomorrow and make sure you find something to smile and laugh about. Take care of yourselves and speak very soon.  I have just realised that I haven't even asked if you would like a drink - sorry!  Lots of love to you all as always, Dorothy :-)xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx





Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Some fab magazines

Hi Lovely Folks how are you all this evening (or today depending on which part of our lovely universe you are in).  I have had a really busy day at work but got home with a little time to spare so wanted to have a chat with you this evening.  I hope your day has been happy and filled with love and laughter.  I will just pop the kettle on for you all for a drink and maybe a biscuit, piece of cake?
I think I mentioned in my last post that I had a couple of gifts to make for a special lady - she is the sister of my gorgeous daughter-in-law and the lady in question is 30 in September.  I bid on two tea towels on eBay.  When they are dated they are difficult to get hold of as a lot of people give them as gifts as I am doing.  These buyers are all probably making things with them as we speak.  I had a struggle to find these two tea towels as they are new (which I prefer) and they were from Britain thereby keeping down the cost of postage.  I think the two of them came to around £5.
I would like some advice on these lovely People as you are all so talented out there and will have loads of ideas.  I know the birthday girls wants a cushion and some sort of bag - she is a hairdresser by trade so a largish bag (similar to the last one I made) would hold some of her hairdressing tools.  The problem I have with the People's Friend towel is that the calendar is spread out all over the whole area which makes it difficult to do anything with.  I was disappointed with this aspect but needed to get it as time was running out.  The colours are perfect as she loves greens, reds and yellows but I am scratching my head as to how I can use it for either a cushion or a bag.  Any comments or ideas would be fantastic, I really am stuck here. 
The Lifeboat towel is more straightforward as you can see - it is very similar to the last tea towel I used for the bag.  I can cut out the calendar and make the front of the bag or the cushion, no problems here but what can I do with the other one????????   I will have to get my thinking cap on smartish.
In the same sale I was also lucky enough to win another Clothkits dress very similar to the green one I made.  I had to pay a little more for this one £7.50 but still a bargain as it is a little bigger and has the original lining, something which the other one didn't have.  I also like the colour this time as if you remember I hated the green one.  My daughter-in-law loved the green one and it did look lovely on the little sweetie. 
One of the lovely bloggers had said that they had made a pattern from their kit and I am going to do this so that I can practise making other dresses.  I really want to improve my skills with dresses as I would love to make more but am not that good yet - I need practise, practise and more practise.
I am going to start this as soon as I can once my sewing classes restart in early September.  I will do as much as I can but I know that I will struggle with the button holes (remember the last one was a near disaster).  I can't wait to get going on it though.  Will keep you posted on my progress.
I was reading the lovely Helen Philipps blog and she mentioned the new magazine pictured below.  I bought it today and like it.  Haven't had time to read it from cover to cover but flicked through it this evening whilst making tea.  There are some great projects in it including the gorgeous little bunnies which I so lust after on Helen's blog.
I just love these cuties.
I also love this cover and am tempted to try a smaller version.  Have never made a quilt before but would love to have a go at just one.  This ones looks particularly pretty and quite easy.  What do you think lovely Folks?
I just love the colours and textures.  Really makes me want to get sewing........
Now another magazine which I picked up today was the one below - Craft and Click.  As you know I do struggle with technology and am not happy with my photographs.  I know that sometimes I am taking pictures at the wrong time of the day which is naughty but I try to fit in my blog to my daily routine if I can and it can sometimes be tricky.  I know that you will all understand this as you are all busy people too and I am always amazed at what everyone produces and does in a day, I think you are all wonderful.
The magazine seems to be quite straightforward with some good websites and fantastic advice on it.  One thing I really want to be able to put all my pictures together in a collage of some sort as a lot of bloggers do but am not sure how to do this. 
I apologise upfront for the quality of the photographs below.  Am disappointed with the quality but have a lot to do tonight for work tomorrow so haven't had enough time - no excuse I know so sorry about this.  I like the look of a few of these blogs and might have a look at them - please let me know if you find them interesting.
Here are some of the blogs mentioned in the magazine.  The first one is my all time favourite - the lovely Lucy from Attic 24.  She and Helen Philipps were the first blogs I found and I have loved them both ever since.  Lucy really inspired me to have a go at crochet and I have learned so much from her - she is just wonderful and her blog is fabulous.  Do have a look if you haven't before but I guess that the majority of you will know her as she is quite famous in the blogging world.
I quite liked the look of this blog - feelingstitchy as there is a lot of great information plus tutorials so do have a little check - I haven't had time to read it properly yet but intend to tomorrow.
I also liked the look of Miss Ginger makes which looks like a very fun blog.
And last but not least, Lulu Loves which is all about family life and crochet so again one to have a look at.
Once again, so sorry for the quality of these photographs, I do feel ashamed as I have not done them justice.  A few lovely people have suggested cameras and I am presently having a look at different types - am hinting at Christmas already!
Finally, I had to do a little sewing so cut out and made up the little madam below.  She looks very pretty and dainty doesn't she.  Couldn't make up her friend or the animals as I had run out of stuffing so will have to get more tomorrow.  I hope you like her though.
Well lovely People I will have to love you all and leave you now.  I have loved having a chat with you all and hope you can leave a comment.  Any ideas about the towels would be most welcome as I am more than a little stuck and it is getting too late to search for another one.  I will hopefully see you all in a day or so.  Keep safe and be happy.  Thanks so much for dropping by, it just wouldn't be the same without you.  Lots of love as always, Dorothy :-)xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Monday, 26 August 2013

A full Sunday

Well hello to you, one and all.  I hope you had a glorious Sunday, I had wanted to speak with you all yesterday but ran out of time in my usual fashion.  I always try to cram 36 hours into 24 and for some reason it doesn't work - I wonder why!  Monday has dawned, very sunny here for a change and looks as if it is going to be a lovely day - for all our friends outside the UK, today is a Bank Holiday in Britain which means we have an extra day off work - whippee, although I have to say that there are also loads of people who have to work today which is such a shame.  Do come in and have a drink - tea or coffee, maybe some cake or even better, icecream?

Yesterday I set off early to travel to Macclesfield which is about 50 miles from where I live to attend the Treacle Fair which the lovely Hannapat introduced me to.  I have been once before and did write up a post about it.  I missed the fair last month and wanted to make sure that I didn't miss August.  It was a lovely drive up passing through the gorgeous town of Knutsford and the lovely Chelford.  I used to live not far from all these places and so much them all.   

There was a fabulous jazz band playing which got everyone tapping their feet and joining in the songs, music always makes such events so special.  There were loads and loads of food stalls which I must admit I am not that interested in as I am always keen to get to the craft and vintage stalls.
It was quite quiet when I arrived but there were soon masses of people milling around, happy and chatting with their families.  As usual there was lots to see but I had set myself a strict budget (I don't always stick to it though!)
They have a lovely Church in the Market Square which was open and most of the vintage and craft stalls are around this part of the town.  What is really good is that the Church grounds offers the community organisations the opportunity to set up their stalls and there is always something dynamic going on.  Yesterday it was centred around food and there appeared to be some competitions as well.  It would seem that the whole community within Macclesfield is involved in the fair which I find absolutely wonderful. 
One of the stalls which I visited last time was there again.  The lovely Verity Rose has just opened her website which is worth a visit.  She has the most delicious array of handsewn things which are so cute. 
I was tempted to buy a lot of things but was good Folks - however I did succumb to two new tea towels.  Oh no I can hear you all call, not more tea towels.  I must have enough to dry all the dishes in every household in the UK!  I couldn't resist them and plan to make something else out of them.  Sorry Verity, now what you imagined your tea towels would be doing.
I also bought a beautiful vintage tablecloth from the lovely Rachel's Boutique.  Do have a look at her website.
She had such a good selection of vintage sewing and craft things and I was tempted with many of them.  I must admit that when I first started collecting tablecloths and tray cloths many years ago it was just for the pure pleasure of looking at them and admiring the hours of work that had gone into them.  I am not an expert on embroidery at all but I do like to think that I have saved a little treasure which someone has spent many hours possibly sitting by the fire making, putting love into every stitch.  Quite a fanciful notion I know but it pleases me to think this.  I am so sentimental sometimes, getting worse as I get older I fear.
I also bought a nice little tin, love these as they are so good for buttons and other bits and pieces. 
I managed to pick up 2 metres of this really nice silky fabric which I intend to use on a birthday gift for a special lady very soon.  Will post details hopefully later this week when I get started on it.  Her birthday is on the 15th September when she will be 30 but I need to have it done before the 12th in order to get it to her on time so I must get my skates on.
The stall where I bought my tin is a really good one and I bought my basket there last time if you remember.  I stupidly forgot to ask the ladies for their names, they were very pleased that I was putting their stall on my blog.  Must find out their names for next time for you all.
My final purchase was two sweet little birds to go into my bird cage.  I don't like caged birds at all but love these and often leave the door open in case they want to have a fly around.  You can see the blue bird which I made a few weeks ago.  The two little robins on the lower part of the swing were from John Lewis last Christmas and I couldn't bear to put them away so kept them out.  Yesterday they had two more companions so hope they don't fight and argue as youngsters do.  I just love looking at them as they are so colourful and cute.  The stall I bought them from is a new one and has just opened in a new website which you might like to look at.  It is aptly called flittybird and has loads of nice stuff to look at.

When I got home I had to do a bit tidy up as always and then started on the princess cushion I wanted to make.  If you remember Folks I had set my self the task of making 2 cushions and 2 dolls - overload or what!
The princess cushion comes as a panel which I showed you yesterday.

It did take a bit of figuring out.  I had to cut out the princess doll and then attach her using Bondaweb to a firmer backing - not sure what it is but Sue from Liberty Bell sold it with the pack.  It is quite flexible and gives the doll much more texture and durability.

Then the dresses are cut out and again, Bondaweb attached and then put on to the green felt suggested by Sue.  I was amazed as this helps the cut out frocks to attach to the doll which is just magical.

Working out the cushion dimensions and the pocket where a little frustrating as I didn't want to just stuff the cushion but wanted to insert a proper pad so that it can be washed.  Children can be very grubby at times so I am always keen to have washable things for them.  I had a particular size in mind but had to cut out bits and pieces from my stash to fit.  Not sure that it all tones in quite as well as I would have wanted but I went with what I had - the most important thing to me was that the cushion was a fun thing for my little sweeties to play with.

I had to double check that the princess fitted into her bed and that enough room was left in the pocket for the clothes.


I used a pink spotted backing and some pink ribbon.  The style of the cushion is from my very favourite Lillyblossom which you all know about - her pattern is just so easy for me to work with.

A few years ago when one of my granddaughters was born I managed to find these tiny labels on Ebay - apparently they were from France where such things are very much used.  I have kept them until now and when she visited recently she was so pleased with them so I have put one into her cushion for her as well as her initial.  Remember there are two of these little lovelies so I don't want them to get their cushions mixed up - something which I know can cause arguments.......
Here is the finished cushion which I do hope you like.

Here is the lovely princess out of bed with one of her dresses and her crown on.

I have unfortunately run out of the green felt backing so need to buy some more when I am in Chester next week so that I can make the second one. 

I did love making it up - it was fun - and I think the second one will be much quicker to do as I know more about how to set up the bed and wardrobe.  Not rocket science but for me Folks it takes a bit of working.  I will have to use other fabrics as I have run out of the pink used here but will find something equally as pretty.

Well Everyone that is it for now - back to housework and more sewing hopefully a little later.  I do hope you have a wonderful day or evening depending on where you are.  I do love to hear from you so please leave a comment if you have time, it means such a lot to me.  Keep safe and be happy and I will hopefully speak to you tomorrow or the next day.  Lots of love as always, Dorothy :-)xxxxxxxxxxx


Saturday, 24 August 2013

It is so good to be back

Hello Everyone and all, it is so lovely to be back with you all.  I have really missed you even though it has only been a few days but seems likes weeks to me.  I really wanted to get back in touch with you all to see how you were doing.  I hope life has been kind and that you have enjoyed yourselves.  Do come in and have a relax while I pop the kettle on and bring out the cake - freshly baked just for you!
Today we had a trip out to a Country Fair over in Cheshire which is not that far from where we live.  It was held in a place called Tabley which is a nice village near Knutsford.
The Fair was all about everything country and we were both desperate for a drink when we arrived - as usual I wanted my favourite - latte.  However the first sign which greeted us was one which I would normally avoid being a vegetarian - you can see why below!
We did manage to have a coffee and my lovely husband had a bite to eat whilst I had some cake (naughty but nice). 
There were lots of interesting things to see such as these little engines going around the ground, some of them giving rides to people (usually children) but sometimes small grownups.
My husband then decided that he wanted to look at the fishing, shooting, archery things whilst I was keen to see if there was any craft tents.  They had said in the advertising that there were crafts and I usually love these country events as you get to meet some lovely sewers, knitter and crochet people.  I chanced upon this lovely gentleman making some really nice wooden items and bought a little bird from him to hang in our tree outside.  You will see the photo of it later on.
He was a very quiet but charming gentleman who seemed very suited to the gentle art he was engaged in.  He reminded me of a Tibetan Monk for some reason, don't ask me why.
Not a very Welsh sounding name I have to say for someone who lives there.
As always there was plenty of older cars to see - it was quite a disappointing turnout as none of the vehicles had their histories with them and their owners weren't around for some reason.  This lovely car was up for sale but I wasn't tempted!
Should I have bought it do you think?????
For our American Friends here is one for you.  I am sorry but know nothing about the car but am sure you will have more of an idea than me.  The lady in the photograph is unknown to me - I was just about to take the picture when she moved over to look at the car.
The Fair also had it's share of animals - sheep dog trials, ferret racing and hamsters.  Lots of the children were very keen to see these events.
Lots of horse events of course.
Not sure if you can make out the photograph above and below - it was difficult to take a clear picture as they were moving really fast - the horse and rider were towing a young man on a skateboard.  They had to go through a set of hurdles and then were timed.  I had not seen this done before but am sure some of you may have - would love to hear if you have.  It was an exciting event and drew lots of interested people.
A huge section of the show was dedicated to the chain sawing competitions.  There were many people from Great Britain and some from other parts of the world.  The skill and expertise of these people is inspiring.  Some were set apart and building their own masterpieces whilst others were in a large ring and competing against the clock to produce something wonderful.
All of the pieces will be sold off on Monday at the close of the show.  It is a shame that we won't get to see them all.  Here are a selection from around the world.
The big disappointment for me Folks was that there was almost no crafts involved that I was really interested in - our sort of crafts.  There were a couple of stalls selling some handmade things but nothing to write home about I am afraid.  I had expected much more so, although it was an interesting day I was a little dismayed.
We came home around tea time and I hung out my new little bird in our back garden - he seems settled and is a real cutie.  Do you like him?
Yesterday on my way home I had called in Stoke on Trent to one of the many outlet shops which sells well known pottery and dishes.  This is a Sophie Conran jug which I am going to use as a vase.  I just love the colour and it appears (or so the newspapers say) that pink is going to be the colour for autumn girls so I am well ahead on this one.
I also picked up two of my favourite magazines - Country Living and Simply Crochet.  I haven't had time to read them yet but intend to snuggle up in bed tonight and have a good read of both of them.
When I got home I was also bursting to start some craft.  You may remember that some time ago I made a decision to try and use the stash that I already have at home rather than always buying new.  I had a look in the cupboard and found these two projects which I bought simply ages ago. 
Luckily there are two of them for my two little sweeties!  This is the yellow one and below is the pink one.  I can remember buying these about five years ago in a tiny shop up in the very north of Scotland when we were getting ready to catch the boat over to Orkney Isles. I fell in love with the dollies but didn't have any little girls to make them for at the time - I have now.
I also bought this little project (well I bought two of these as well Folks) last Christmas at Liberty Bell in Chester.  They are two pillows which hold a little dolly and all her clothes - you will understand more when you look at the photographs below.
Above and below is the wardrobe and the bed.
Below is the little princess dolly and her clothes.  I only hope that I can remember how to make them now!
Well lovely Readers, it is just delicious to be back with you all - I wanted to get started on these 'dolly' projects but must admit that I am tired tonight so will start them tomorrow.  I will speak to you all tomorrow again and give you an update on my progress.  Have a wonderful evening or day depending on where you are in the world.  Look after yourselves - please leave a comment if you are able as I just love to hear from you.  Thank you so much for dropping by and see you very soon, lots of love, Dorothy :-)xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx