Sunday, 2 March 2014

A late evening sewfest!

Good morning all your lovely Bloggers out there.  I hope you are all fit and well - I wanted to send you all a quick post today as I enjoyed a little 'sewfest' last night which I really enjoyed. 
I have also been trying to 'tidy' up my sewing area which is the tiniest room in the house (no it is not the toilet).  I always admire your lovely spaces and would so love to be minimalist - the Lovely Daisy has written about her sewing space and it was just gorgeous but I don't think I will ever achieve this as I have to cram so much into such a small place.  However, I am not grumbling because before I had this room my craft things were just all over the house, under the beds, in boxes stacked in wardrobes, in the loft, you name it they were there.  You can imagine how much time it took to find anything and then it would be too late to start.  I would often end up buying more things because I had forgotten what I had!  Not a good way to be. 

My lovely husband had definite ideas about all of this and resisted, for many years, the necessity of using up a room just for sewing - needless to say he has the garage and a large workshop outside which houses all his tools and they still find their way into the house.  I did manage to soften him up and he agreed that I could use smallest room we have as my area so it is a big improvement on what I have had.  I will show you a few pictures but please remember that the room has quite a few cupboards and they are al stuffed with things - I think I need a bigger room - maybe I can lobby it in Parliament - will you sign the petition?  Only joking, I know that I am one lucky girl to have my space and I love it.   Sorry about the shadows of the lights on this first picture, it is such a tiny room it is difficult to get a good view of everything and there is not much natural light coming in.  As you can see this has some fabrics and lots of boxes with things in - I am keeping a book now with a list of where everything is - only problem is that I must not lose that book!

I bought this little cupcake container about four years ago from Argos and have never used it so it was stuck in the cupboard in the kitchen.  I spotted a photograph in a magazine and one of the designers had her cottons in one so out it came this week and in popped all the cottons thus freeing up cupboard space.

These two little cutey dogs were a find in a vintage sale last year - my husband hates them as they are old but I love them.  They sit on top of one of my cupboards.

I have some shelves above my tiny desk which you can see are crammed - who says she wants a minimal look!  I love to have some things on show as I enjoy looking at them.  I have two tiny sewing machines, very similar to ones I had as a child and I think they are adorable, they still work too.  You can see the little red one which is my favourite and also my sylko box which is an absolute treasure to me, I wouldn't part with it for the world.

Below is the second vintage machine which is the bigger version and meant for the older girls!  This works just fine and I have had one of my little Peeps have a go on this one - she loves it.  As you have probably guessed I am big into pink fairy lights........

We are actually getting down to my 'work table' now - some of you may need to go and lay in a darkened room for a little while. 
You can see my little Sophie Tilley dolls sitting here, waiting for new clothes to be made, two of these belong to the Peeps but we have big plans for a whole wardrobe for each dolly in the summer.

Finally, my cosy little corner - the little dolls and things you can see belong to the Peeps who always manage to leave little bits and pieces, I love it.  I have just read any article in the newspaper saying that a designer has said that she believes that a tidy desk is a tidy mind - goodness knows what she would think of this...............deranged?
The photograph below is a very old one and has been in our family since I was a child.  It originally stood on my Mum's dressing table and I never tired of looking at it as a child.  There is a big story about it.  My great grandmother left Ireland and ran off with an American many years ago leaving my Grandad in the care of some farmers.  She married in the USA and then returned back to Liverpool many years later when my Grandad had married and had 13 children of his own (obviously no televisions or computers then).  My great grandmother offered to take one of the children back to the USA and bring them up as her own.  She wanted my Mum but she was only four at the time (Mum is 86 now) so my Auntie Mary who was twelve said that she would go.  So in 1932 my Auntie Mary boarded a ship bound for New York from Liverpool on her own and sailed away. 

She went to school and college and eventually met and married Uncle Max who you can see in the photograph.  She tried to get home to visit but had to cancel as the war had been declared here in 1939.  So she and Uncle Max married and she joined the WAVES (equivalent to our WREN in the UK) and he joined the US Navy and this is a photograph of them in their uniforms.  To me they were just like film stars and I always wanted to look like her.  Uncle Max was a medic and was involved in the Japanese theatre of war and would never speak about his experiences afterwards as he said they were too awful. After the war they adopted a little boy called Michael and again she booked to return home to see the family but was struck down by appendicitis so again had to cancel.  My Grandma (Auntie Mary's Mum) died the following year very suddenly so she never got to see her again.  Auntie Mary eventually made it home in the 1960s to see her Dad (my Granddad) and the week after she went home he also died very suddenly but at least she got to see him. 

Uncle Max died about four years ago and Auntie a year later.  Sadly the year after Uncle Max died, their only son also died.    I loved Auntie Mary and Uncle Max and it was wonderful that I was able to go and visit them and stay, they were such a loving couple.  The last time I saw them both she gave me my great grandmother's engagement ring which had been passed on to her - she wanted me to have it as I was the eldest of the grandchildren.  I wear it every day and treasure it and will pass it on so that it remains in our family.  Sorry it is a bit of a rambling story Folks, you have probably nodded off by now!  Have you got any lovely family stories, I find them so interesting.
Now then, after all that meandering around my room, what did I do last night?  Well I was catching up on all your wonderful blogs yesterday and caught up with the Lovely Daisy who was talking about a stitched journal workshop she had been on - I thought her work was just lovely and it brought back to me a workshop I had been on last year in Leek, Staffordshire at a lovely shop called Bibelot.
This is the project I set out to do........................ not sure why there is come granny squares underneath it but I was quite new to blogging then so probably couldn't work out how to crop the photograph properly!  Well I chose an 'easy' one thinking how quickly I would do it, the rest of the group had chosen very complicated designs so I had it in my mind that I might actually do a couple in the afternoon....................................I was clueless about how difficult it was.
Is this art or a captured spider caught in the machine..
Honestly Folks, I couldn't manage to control the needle or anything.  It looked so easy when we were shown but doing it was another matter.  I managed to iron on the petals and then tried, in vain, to draw around them in some semblance of order.........impossible, was there a fault on my machine I asked?  No, I realised the fault was with me............
I was that embarrassed at my finished flower that I decided that beads were the only answer to mask my sorry attempt at machine embroidery.  Honestly Friends the other ladies had fantastic results but I was definitely bottom of the class on this one.
 It was supposed to be framed for the living room but never ever saw the light of day once I finished it at home.  Reading Daisy's blog the other day bought it all back so while I was tidying up my room I found it - still in the bag so I had an idea last night.  Make it into something useful.
I wanted to use one of my blocks from the lovely Theresa from yesterday's post and chose the 'Make Beautiful Things' patch. 

I also felt that I should incorporate some of my own work - hence using the embroidered flower.

I lined the bag with a piece from a tea towel which I had cut up for another project ages ago - the remnant just fitted the inside of the bag.  It also gave me a chance to practise the dreaded zips, I am not perfect at all and have to constantly check that everything is in the right order but I am determined to crack these this year.

Here is it - I am so pleased with the patch, I think it is adorable and cannot wait to make some more - these will make fabulous gifts for my lovely friends who are into crafting.  Do you like it?

This is the other side with my 'machine embroidery', I don't think you have anything to fear with me Theresa but, it does look ok on the bag I think.........

 I stumbled a few times with the zip and had to unpick one side as I had stitched it the wrong way around.
I also put my name on the bottom but didn't think about leaving enough space for the corner pieces so you can see where it all ended up!

Well my Lovely Friends that is it for today.  The gremlins are still around and uploading these photographs has taken an age so there is obviously still something amiss which I will have to sort out.  I am sorry that this post has been a bit rambling but I wanted to catch up with you all.  Have a lovely Sunday wherever you are and keep warm, safe and happy.  Sending you lots of loves and hugs as always, Dorothy :-)xxxxxxxxxxxxxx


  1. Love your sewing room, it looks fabulous!! Also what a great attempt at making this gorgeous flower and then transforming it into a pretty bag, it really does look fabulous Dorothy, you must feel pretty chuffed with the outcome. What beautiful sewing!! Enjoy your week lovely Dorothy xoxo

  2. You have so many lovely materials to work with Dorothy, no wonder you can just put your hand on some beads and make that lovely flower. Free motion feels wierd doesn't it? Like it is out of control, I found I could do it if I stopped thinking about the speed and just kept moving the fabric in the shape that i am trying to achieve. So if I am needing a circular shape for a petal I put that shape in my head and then move it quickly in that shape rather than trying to follow the design exactly. Does that help?

  3. You are so lucky to have a sewing room. I would get a lot more done if everything was laid out nicely. Your family story was interesting. My family come from Ireland. I had about 40 aunts and uncles and even more cousins!

  4. What a great idea you had putting the beads onto the petals and leaves. It all came right in the end.
    It is lovely having a look around your sewing space.
    The bag you have made looks fab. I have no idea where to start with a zip on a bag.
    Hugs x

  5. Ow wow Dorothy, so much to take in here; your sewing room is great, you could turn your hand to anything with all that paraphernalia available - it's just wonderful! I love your little dogs for they are wire-haired fox terriers if I'm not mistaken, and I have a REAL soft spot for the breed. You have resurrected your little flower beautifully and that bag and zip look excellent - top marks to you! I am busy having a go at the free-motion stitching right now but it does take a bit of getting used to - it's the stitch length on curves and corners that I find the most tricky but, as they say, practice makes perfect and I'm hoping to get more of that in today, all being well, to enable me to complete a weekend project that kept me busy, and happy!!!
    Your snippet of family history was so interesting, isn't it amazing how things work out in family situations!
    Wishing you a wonderful, but not too busy, week my friend,
    Lots of love, Joy xoxo

  6. Loved the glimpse into your sewing room
    Jacqui xx

  7. Hello lovely Dorothy! I love your sewing room. I have a box under a desk with a sewing machine in it, and various bags shoved in different cupboards. Maybe one day... You are very brave to try free motion embroidery. The results look great! Lesley x

  8. How clever of you to utilize the space that you have. It's very warm and inviting. These projects you are making are just fabulous, Dorothy. I always look forward to what is next. :-)

  9. You write such a funny post, and I hope you are not hurting yourself with all the jabs you make at yourself!! Honestly ... I would L.O.V.E. to have a sewing room all to myself (I just have a corner of the family room now). And all the curios lining the shelves! Fabulous! I have collected just a few things for my someday-sewing-room, and I too will have little curios lining shelves & framed on the wall. When my daughter was little I found a little chalkware terrier for her and gave it to her for Christmas "from Santa". She was desperate for a dog of her own in those days, and Santa very kindly sent her "Booky" who has sat on her bookshelves just like he used to do in Santa's own library ;) Your story of your Aunt Mary is a little heartwarming & heartbreaking at the same time. My father's family had kids split from the parents and brought up by aunts etc. too. Not something you hear of too much these days. I really enjoyed your little tale of the sewing adventure too (laughing WITH you!!). But you made your flower into a beautiful piece of work with the beads! It looks great on the bag like that ... I'm glad you didn't pack it away again. Great looking bag all round. I hope you have a great week Dorothy :) Wendy x

  10. I loved seeing your sewing room and so many inspiring things filling the shelves. I love those little dogs, and the photo of your aunt and the interesting family story. Your little free motion flower is so pretty and makes a lovely bag decoration.
    Wishing you a happy weekend, Dorothy.
    Helen xox

  11. Snap I have been tidying up my sewing room too!
    Of course I'll sign your petition, it's a very important issue! although I love your sewing room just as it is, it's full of inspiration and treasure.
    Such a beautiful photo x
    I love free motion embroidery but I'm too chicken to have a go! your flower is beautiful.
    wishing you a wonderful weekend
    love Jooles

    P.S thank you for your very sweet comment, It's seems there are lots of us out there! x

  12. Just popped over from Amy's blog where I saw your lovely sewing project case, and am very happy I did! I love your sewing space, which looks spookily like mine - crammed shelves, tick; worktable covered with encroaching projects, tick; china animals my husband doesn't see the beauty of, tick! Auntie Mary and Uncle Max do look so glamorous, and what a story. I think your free-motion flower is lovely as is the pouch. I love the way you embellished the zip edge! Hope you're having a good weekend.

  13. Hi Dorothy, I too just popped over from Amy's blog. What a lovely gift you sent. I love your sewing room, so full of inspiring bits and pieces. I look forward to following your blog from now on! Sarah xo

  14. Hello, I'm another one who has popped over to visit from Amy's blog. What a lovely gift you sent her, very pretty and useful. Enjoyed reading about your sewing room, daren't take a photo of mine as it too is so crammed. What a family story, facinating. Have a good weekend

  15. It's fun to look at your sewing room - looks like it's crammed full of crafty goodness! Good work with the machine embroidery - it's something I've been meaning to try, but I'm not even sure my machine can do it - I don't know whether the feed dog thingies can be lowered, I need to look into it!
    Maria x

  16. What a beautiful place full of adorable bits, I love those sylko drawers so much x