Thursday, 26 November 2009

How Roman blinds can lead to fun and laughter!

I made ten blinds for my house and since September I have made ten more for my daughter's home - so I guess, although I don't claim to be an expert, I have had plenty of practice!
Having mentioned this to an old school friend, she remarked that her son and his partner wanted blinds for their lounge. Being the kind hearted soul that I am, I offered to help her to make them.
Last week we went to measure up and yesterday we met up at her house to make them.
I have to say, that although we spent seven years at school together, we have only met infrequently over the years since I moved up to Yorkshire. Moving back to my "homelands" has enabled us to rekindle our friendship. Yesterday was proof that childhood friends are some of the best we ever make.
We arranged to meet in town, so that we could have a quick look round and a coffee, before heading back to start on the gorgeous fabric for the blinds.
The beige linen fabric with cream velour lilies scattered across it was already laid out on the lounge floor, ready for measuring and cutting. We chatted as we deliberated where to start, which lily would look best across the top etc. It was easy to agree and together we measured each blind and then cut them out, as well as the linings to go with them.
The time flew as we reminisced old times, friends and families. We laughed as we worked together, just as we had, as giggling school girls, all those years ago.
With our sewing machines set up on either side of the dining table, we sewed along, managing to get each blind half-finished before tea-time. Mrs Woodroffe, our old needlework teacher, would have been proud of us and indeed her name was mentioned more than once!
I will return next week hoping to find them all done and ready for us to pop over and hang.
It just made me think how good it is to share knowledge and expertise and what fun can be gained in doing so. (Of course having taught infants all my life I knew that already!)

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Recycling for fun!

We all have mad moments and make purchases on impulse now and again!

Having checked out a few of the multitude of charity shops in Shrewsbury I came across this well loved, little sweater. I looked at it on the rail and deliberated, then I put it back where I found it and roamed around the shop. The pretty colour and its cheery embroidery seemed to call to me so that, as I walked towards the door, I found myself lifting it from the rail and paying for it.
Having arrived home with my little bargain, I then had to decide what to do with it. I trawled the web and found lots of websites for using recycled sweaters. Suggestions included; bags, purses, hats, leg warmers, brooches and many more.
I followed the instructions on felting sweaters and washed it a couple of times on a hot wash. The result was a tiny, well felted woolly sweater which I cut up into front, back and two sleeves. As I had never sewn with a felted sweater before, I decided to use one of the sleeves first. At least if I ruined that, then all was not lost!!

So, using the embroidered area, I cut out the front and then used the top of the sleeve for the back of a little bag. I used the rib from the neckband for the top of the bag, adding a button and button hole. The strap is a twisted, felted length of wool. I lined it with bright pink cotton fabric.

The result - well make your own mind up - I think its cute!

Sunday, 15 November 2009

A new meme - thanks Wipso!

Like Mountainear - I always feel I should do as I am told where Wipso is concerned - so here goes. One word answers only - well more or less.

1. Where is your cell phone? Window sill
2. Your hair? Fair!
3. Your mother? A giggler/Departed
4. Your father? A rock/Departed
5. Your favorite food? Honey
6. Your dream last night? Confused
7. Your favorite drink? Chablis
8. Your dream/goal? Happiness
9. What room are you in? Kitchen
10. Your hobby? Craft
11. Your fear? Depression
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Here
13. Where were you last night? Daughter’s
14. Something that you aren't? Miserable
15. Muffins? No - brownies
16. Wish list item? Imagination
17. Where did you grow up? Shropshire
18. Last thing you did? Felting
19. What are you wearing? Jeans
20. Your TV? off
21. Your Pets? Borrowed gerbils
22. Friends? Reliable
23. Your life? Busy
24. Your mood? Contented
25. Missing Someone? Yes
26. Vehicle? Rover
27. Something you’re not wearing? Perfume
28. Your favorite store? Any book shop
29. Your favorite colour? Turquoise
30. When was the last time you laughed? Today
31. Last time you cried? Remembrance Day
32. Your best friend? Wipso
33. One place that I go to over and over? Wipso’s
34. Facebook? No
35. Favorite place to eat? Home

Friday, 13 November 2009

Hiding acorns

Do jays hide acorns? I have watched this one for about a month now. It appears to collect acorns from the old oak trees nearby and then fly down to the field and push them into the earth. Is it a sign of a hard winter to come? And - more importantly- will it remember where to find them??
Apologies for the poor picture but I was getting dressed and just noticed the jay, over the fence in the field, so snapped it through my window.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

In remembrance

Our two minutes of silence was broken by a robin, singing so beautifully in my garden.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Just a bit of felting fun.

I didn't want to waste my little experiments, made whilst playing er - practising on my new machine. So I added a few beads and mounted them on cards. I have a box full of little experimenst like these. They always come in useful for birthday and thank you cards.

I still have all my daughter's crafting goodies stacked in boxes here so I just dip into all her lovely stash of fabrics, fancy paper and cards. I hope it takes a long time for her to remember that they are here!!!

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

What is an embellishing machine?

Machine embellishing

Wipso has, as usual, beat me to it!! She has taken photos of her machine and explained how it works, so if you want a look then pop over to:

Our embellishers are Huskystar ER10 made by Husqvarna Viking. I have owned 3 different sewing machines made by Huskvarna and have found them to be robust and reliable so the Huskystar was my choice. There are several other similar machines.

The basic idea is that fabric/wool/threads etc can be felted to each other using the machine. That means they are fused together without using stitching. The 5 barbed needles simply pierce the top fabric and drag bits into the one below, thus making them fuse together. Its that easy.
Large pieces of work can be felted down really quickly and built up layer upon layer.
The machine is light and easy to carry - after all - its only a small motor and 5 needles - it doesn't have all the heavy stuff a sewing machine needs inside it!

Clover needle felting hand punch

I have a little hand needle felting punch that does the same thing but is much slower of course. Its fine for small pieces of flat felt work like the bits I use for card making. The little hand punch works in the same way, with 5 needles that felt fabrics together - just place them on a piece of foam or specially designed "brush" and push the punch up and down on top of the fabrics. So if you fancy needle felting but don't want to splash out on a machine - then this might be worth a try. Its good fun!

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Playing with my embellishing machine.

Now that the ten blinds and 2 pairs of curtains are finished and sitting pretty in the new house, I have had time to play with my new embellishing machine. Wipso has set aside time on a Monday for play to take place and we both surrounded ourselves with wools, silk, satins and all sorts of other pretty bits and bobs.

Our new machines were de-frocked from their plastic covers and play began.

Wipso is making the most gorgeous little bags, so she spent her time felting flowers and threads of every hue onto the little felt bag fronts. If you want to find out more about those then pop over to her blog. She already has orders and sold one or two.

I dipped into one of her felting books for inspiration and came up with the idea for my little brooches.

Starting with felt or fabric for a base, I added frills and twists of silk, chiffon, wool, - well anything that fitted my colour scheme and looked right really. Then I painstakingly added beads and a badge back and voila ! Cute little brooches - all different - about 2 - 3 inches across.

I think I shall make a few more for Christmas - I may even sell a few if anyone is interested.

Wipso's friend thought they might cost about £15 in the right shop - well, I will settle for £7.50!

What do you think??