Things I Made

February 23rd, 2015

Good day me luvvies! Mrs God has sprinkled this little patch of Ireland with icing sugar. Very pretty but oh so cold this morning. Thermals today. Long-johns, Leggings and T-shirt (sounds like a legal team for the textiles industry). Only joking. No leggings. Ner. No long-johns but I’m beginning to see the appeal of those things…. Age must be creeping up on me. I’m starting to think of the comfort factor in everything I buy. Warm, soft, cosy, comfy… I’ll be catching the menopause next.

Over Christmas I used up my bag of lavender in the various sachets and stuffies I made. I tried blending Rosemary with Lavender oil but the resultant smell was a bit boys’ bedroom, locker room nasty. So I bought a kilo of dried lavender from Amazon! The fragrance is gorgeous and because there’s so much of it, all-pervasive.  I float around in a beatific state of calm and serenity. Ahhhh. The Little Book of Calm can go in the bin.

Lavender House

So with the house filled with the smell of lavender, a little house-shaped lavender sachet was definitely on the cards. It’s appliqued with Bondaweb and rough-edged free-motion stitchery. I make the templates (such as they are, simplicity isn’t the word) in Illustrator. I print them onto 300 gsm card, cut them out and keep the templates in plastic wallets in an A4 lever-arch folder. Well, I do now. I used to lose them all over the place but now am organised and efficient. Well, I’m getting there.

Monkey Man

I even finished Sock Monkey Man! Yay. Here he is, perched on the wall unit in the sewing room. The room of his creation – from Frankensock to Monkey Man. Only took 5 years –  then some – to finish him. It doesn’t do to rush. His name is Darwin.

Everton Mint Scrummies

Also got these via Amazon. Fat Everton Mint purse clasp frames. I have a bunch of leather swatches that *should* make a decent purse (to the US readers, a purse in Ireland is a little wallet where we keep coins. No notes – we’re too poor thanks to bank bail outs and austerity measures for denominations bigger than a euro so just coins). Aren’t they fab?

Mice Stuffies

And what about these meeces? These are stuffed with lavender to scent my underwear drawers and keep me smelling ever sweet. They are a very simple pattern and make up quickly with little bits of fabric. Perfect scrap busters. And the template for them is in my folder. That halo of mine getting tight again.

Cute, eh?

Spool

Now, the spool is a clue to my next post. I bought another manky, skanky wall unit. Dirty with old bits of cobweb on the bottom but that’s just me. The unit needed cleaning with sugar soap and I gave it a steaming and a good sanding down as well.  Solid pine. Possibly a vinyl record and tape display thingy – I dunno but it’s had a total makeover involving a couple of fat, painted wooden beads, wallpaper, hardboard backing, cabinet paint and a length of dowelling. The spool is covered in the same wall paper used on the unit…. I’m totally in love with it and even my manny, who was initially against buying it, got involved with his wood tip drill head and dowelling insertion. It cost just €5 so if it had turned out totally w***  it wouldn’t have been a big deal but it turned out better than I ever expected. You’ll see it soon – it’s just drying off and will be photo-ready by tomorrow.

Chitty Chat

For one reason or another, I was reminded of a neighbour we used to have. She apparently had sonic hearing ability that would make bats look like a box of frogs in bumper cars. She told me once that the lady we bought the house from had a ‘heavy foot’ and she could hear her going up the stairs on that said heavy foot. And the house was solidly built – VERY. Anyway, just the one heavy foot, apparently. She was a religious woman so maybe her bible had a typo and read ‘Faith, Hop & Charity’ . The greatest of all being ‘Hop’ so maybe she took it to heart hence heavy ‘foot’ and not ‘feet’.

I used to wonder that if one foot was heavy, was the other one extra light? Helium -filled? Did she ever find herself hanging upside down by her helium heel with her frock draped down over her head like a lampshade and her home-made mattress protector incontinence pants in full view – as I’m sure that is exactly the sort of under garmentry the thrifty lady would have made for herself.

You see, she believed in being frugal. Government-imposed austerity measures would have given her hedonistic luxury levels of indulgence and fine living. She could have splashed out on 1.49 dust sheets from Dealz and really done the place up.

When we moved in, we were surprised to find an absolute surfeit of mattress protectors that had served their country well but still been re-deployed for other duties. Curtain black outs, thermal door insulators, rolled up, they became draught excluders extraordinaire, shelf covers, dust covers and plastic sheeting to stop garden weed growth. A hundred and one uses, at least.

Why did she have so many? That, I cannot answer. It is an Unsolved Mystery (there’s a programme on TV called ‘Unsolved Mysteries’. Wouldn’t be mysteries if they were solved, would they?

And, being very practical, they were quickly repaired with bicycle puncture repair kits – as evidenced by the obvious patchworking with duct tape, sellotape and other sticky-backed plastic strips. Us crafty types would go for Washi or vinyl cut with our fabulous cutting machines if we had such a bent.

Am I being cruel? I dunno. The neighbour told us she was absolutely wedged – had loads of money in banks, owned properties and had her nephew do her books and account balancing every year. But ate year-old soup from her freezer (what’s wrong with that?!) – to her mind, further evidence of the neighbour’s miserliness. Probably how she had so much money in the first place.

Well, with her one light foot and adherence to the letter of her Seventh Day Adventist Hopping religion, may her way to heaven be easy and the pearly gates be open wide to welcome her in. May she be the richest person in the graveyard and may her wordly goods be of great benefit to the living. As they say, every shroud has a silver lining.

Now, getting up this morning, the fitted sheet came away from the corner of the mattress and rolled towards me. This normally happens after a week of the bed being changed and is obviously nature’s way of telling me it’s time to strip the bed again. So duty calls and housework beckons. May joy be unbounded and the pleasure never end.

I laughed to see that on a hook in my kitchen I have three pairs of scissors, black handled, blue handled and chrome (hair) scissors. Exactly as in the rhyme from the League Of Gentlemen’s Val and Harvey:

Scissors

Black for paper,

Chrome for string,

The blue ones from this hook do swing.

We keep them clean, don’t be mistaken,

For kitchen jobs like trimming bacon.

 

Towels

Then there’s the towels.

White for hands,

Brown for feet,

Green for torso, thighs and seat.

And in the cupboard beneath the stair

You’ll find the red for pubic hair.

 

I don’t have these, btw!

Will be posting the makeover of the wall unit in the next few days so speak to you then. Have fun.

Love is in the Air – A Garland of Hearts

February 9th, 2015

Helooo. Good today? Nearly Valentine’s and I’ve been making some paper bunting and garlands. The picture shows one made up into a three-heart dangler with a bead at the bottom (threaded with nylon fishing line!). I wanted to get a better shot to show it dangling prettily but I got one shot (a poor one – see below) as a certain little girlie cat decided she was going to help! That I got one shot of it dangling is pretty miraculous.

Anyway, the one in the picture above shows a teardrop design (the three-heart) and a single heart to its side with a different cut-out design. They can be resized and made into lots of pretty danglers or threaded together to make beautiful bunting.

They slot together very simply and can be dressed up in lots of ways to help make the day special and fun. I’m selling the SVG if you would like to buy the template (which has three designs, btw) for €4.00.

Pointy Cat

I’m just finishing a Pointy Cat – It caught my eye while having a browse. The template (free) is available from Wee Wonderfuls –  Pointy Cat . Very cute.  I think mine will be a pin cushion or Gracie will get her and she’ll come to a bad end (pointy cat, not Gracie!).

Cathedral Windows

Also been trying out new techniques – the quilting technique below is called a Cathedral Window. I think traditionally muslin was used for the ‘window’ filler – it gave a translucency that simulated the effect of light coming through stained glass inside a church or cathedral. It was interesting to make but, to be honest, not much fun being fairly laborious. And uses too much material for little return.

Sock Monkey

Finally, with its back turned to me, is Frankensock. It will one day come to life as a sock monkey. It has been at this stage of construction for FIVE YEARS now. I don’t know why I just can’t be bothered with it. I have its arm and tail stuffed and ready to stitch on. All I need to do is make two ears, a mouth and sew two buttons on for its eyes. I love sock monkeys. They’re great fun. Just have no enthusiasm, no mojo, no nothing for this little guy. That said, I will DEFINITELY finish it… I think.

Something’s Afoot

February 4th, 2015

What’s a foot? Well. I could say twelve inches. I could say it’s the thing on the end of each of your legs. Those things with little sausages on the end that God invented so we could buy shoes. Or I could say plans and projects but that would be dull. How about a plot? That’s a plan with sinister dimensions!  Or I could say a six-foot deep hole.  But it would be none of these. It’s a Cording Foot.

I have a Janome sewing machine which came with a one of them. It’s easy to use but you have to play with scraps of fabric to get the width settings right to trap the cord (s) to be stitched. Mine will cord one, two or three lengths of cord simultaneously and for the three I use a Multiple Zip-Zag stitch (Otherwise just a single zig-zag) If you look at the little panels below each window you’ll see a short length of cord stitched down with a tiny zig-zag. Cording finishes off the appliquéd house I made with a perfect rustic charm.

I’ll happily share the appliqué template if you want it, just drop me a line and I’ll e-mail to you.

A quick pic of one of my Annie Bonnet tea pot cosies with the ‘teabag’ and a pom-pom trim around the ruffle modelled on my favourite pillar-box red teapot.

Now off to buy some A3 paper and a few metres of Bondaweb – I’m nearly out of it!

Toodle Pip

Using up sewing scraps

January 27th, 2015

The Whisper of the Stars

Hello to you on this chilly January afternoon. We’re being threatened by snow and it seems no idle threat. The  sky looks very grey and low-hanging. I think Mrs God has given the feather duvet a good shake out and skittered feathers all over the place.

I have invested in a pair of those strap on doodahs – the shoe gripping, walk-on-ice oojimaflipflops. Actually, I bought them nearly three years ago but haven’t had an opportunity to try them out so am quite excited to see if I’ll be able to make it to the end of the drive without performing the Bolero. Obviously, not performing a dancing-on-ice routine will disappoint the neighbours, disperse the crowds and make BBC film crews redundant, but tough grit.

Just pulling your leg but getting injured with ice is no joking matter. Really. There were 2040 accidents recorded in the UK as a result of frozen food interaction – ranging from losing part of a lip (getting a lip stuck on a glass of frozen liquid) to cases of concussion and being knocked unconscious by frozen lasagne! Means forays into the new (most wonderful and venerable freezer) is now a high-risk activity and maybe best left to some future time when I’ll have had appropriate training and been to Milletts to collect the necessary protective garmentry to approach freezer tasks in safty. Well I have the shoe grips – that’s a start! Am I over-reacting? Not at all. If my fingers dropped off with frost bite how would I be able to operate a pneumatic drill or a JCB to dig the foundations for a new septic tank, for example?

And did you know that in Siberia, and other geographical locations where temperatures regularly drop below  minus 55, breath turns to ice crystals in the air and fall to the group with a whooshing sound? The Yakut call this sound ‘the whisper of the stars’ . Doesn’t it lend new meaning to ‘my words hung in the air’? And we moan about a bit of snow!

Was listening to ‘The Unbelievable Truth’ and loved the assertions that ice is made from the tears of snowmen and all ice cream is cold because it’s haunted. Obviously lies when we all know that ice really comes from snowmen’s testicles. Snowballs.

And as for signing one’s name in the snow – more of a male thing for obvious reasons – did you know the Germans have a brilliant word, albeit derogatory, for men who sit down to pee? The word is Sitzpinkler which is a squinch away from Sitsprinkler which is so wonderfully self-explanatory. I must learn German, I love the language.

 

Sewing Case

I’ve been sewing a bundle and using up lots more scraps. Remember the houses I put together with some machine embroidery and some stitch-like-nobody-is-watching free-motion? I’ve used one to make a sewing case and it’s very handy. I should have made one sooner instead of the legions of pin cushions that litter the house like colonies of  porcupine love children.

The middle is a rectangle of batting decorated with rows of machine stitches. Very preeeety.

 

Chef’s Hat

I ran up another chef’s hat (oh, the exertion). The flower was made from more scraps. Two petal shapes stitched right sides together, turned out,  gathered with a running stitch and secured with a big button. You can get the petal template from the Wildflower Pincushion template (Google for the pattern).

 

Jess and the song of the teddy head

Here’s my lovely Jess, relaxed and half-asleep. It’s a hard life, eh?

 

And with her beautiful eyes open just checking out what I was up to:

She has a little teddy head that she picks up and carries about and croons, trills, yowls and ‘sings’ as she does so. After a short while, she puts it down, generally somewhere near me. I haven’t a clue what I’m supposed to do but I pick it up, give it a quick kiss and praise it and her for being lovely and clever and thank her profusely for the ‘gift’. She doesn’t want to play with it or do anything more with it at the time. Anyone give me a clue what I should do or am I doing ok?

Teddy Head – Mmmwwwah! x o x

*** Had to say, seen the Money Supermarket TV ad – the one to ‘Don’t you wish your girlfriend was hot like me’ and LOVE it! Brilliant!

Anyway, time to get my skates on and fly out the door. My metaphors are mixed but you know what I mean. Bye for now.

Have a heart!

January 19th, 2015

Well, Christmas is all boxed up and put away.  So, what’s next? Valentine’s Day, that’s what. Have just recently sold a couple of SVG paper cutting files; one  called Love Pop Up,  and the other ‘ Loving You Heart‘   which reminded me that it was coming up.

A good prod to think of something for this year.  But what? Damfino. Just scratching my head at the moment but will give it some thought. Also need to shake off the Christmas pounds (the extra-extra ones, lol) so I can get into a Wiggle Dress in time to dress up pretty on the day.

I thought about a heart garland bit it’s something for the house rather than something personal. Looks nice on the big willow surround, though, doesn’t it? Hmmm but The Card? I’ll keep thinking.

Free Heart Templates to Sew

If you like to sew, you can have a few of my heart templates: one here ‘ heart sachet template and tutorial‘  or download my pdf detailing three other heart templates to sew (for free) here:

You must remember to cut notches round the curves and clip the point for nice smooth lines but apart from that, they are really easy and quick to make.

I made a couple more including this one decorated with a button covered in a snippet of cat-themed fabric.

Also loving pinked wadding with appliqued anything on top like these retro petals:

Well, off to keep the daddles doing something so the devil won’t find them idle. You know what he’s like. Makes more hot air than a cauldron of cauliflower cheese but not so tasty.

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