Monthly Archives: July 2012

Other, Sewing

Sew what now?

Practising my sewing skills. Had a go at free motion sewing but am torn between ‘controlling’ it and letting go and giving myself free rein to go beserk and ‘scribble’ . I used fusible paper – not sure what’s it’s called as I lost the packaging ages go – but  it lets you iron the fabric onto it. You then trace or draw the elements to be cut and then, when you peel the backing paper off, iron onto your main fabric.

Doesn’t  r-e-a-l-l-y need stitching down. Except that it does.

It will start to curl at the edges and catch after a few washes. But it IS excellent for keeping the applique elements in place to be stitched down. It was all going well except the small wheel was just too small to get the points of my scissors in and cut away from the spokes. So I thought ‘Sod that for a game of soldiers’ and cut the spokes away altogether and thought, in my cleverness, I could stitch in some spokes instead.  Wrong! Looks pretty naff. Still, it was a good learning exercise and I did enjoy hooping up the fabric and having a go.

There was a Home Made with Kirsty Allsop on Telly a while ago – think I’ll check out 4OD and see if I can find a download. She followed a technique of drawing on tracing paper and then sewing the tracings onto fabric. Much wilder and freer. Sounds like much more fun.

Then I quickly made this little set of hearts. A friend gave me a bag of dried lavender and I have been dying to use it! It smells fabulous and always carries me back to the days when I was pregnant with my first. I went mad for the smell of lavender. Soap, talc, body spray, bath bubbles, air freshener, you name it. If it was lavender, I wanted it. A few days after he was born, the obsession with lavender went right away but the memory of a very happy pregnancy and those beautiful early days with my baby is indelibly linked with lavender. It’s still a ‘favourite’ smell but only the real thing these days. I still like to crush a small spike of lavender as I pass it in the garden and have a sniff. They smell lovely and will hang up in my wardrobe.

Talking of sniffing, though… I bought some hemp twine from a garden centre. Much cheaper than the twine you buy in craft shops. It was on a spool and ‘sealed’ in shrink plastic stuff. I opened it to make the hanging loop but OMG… it stinks!  Like a freshly fertilised field! On a warm day! Now I know why it was cheaper. It will do for the garden though.

Had another go at applique. The canvas bag was just €1 in a sale at Dunnes. I bought two. One keeps my Clover pom-pom makers in and this one is for crochet hooks so it didn’t matter if they turned out less than stellar. I like the ‘love’ but not sure the butterfly works. The colour of the wings doesn’t quite go but it does the job I want it for. The bag is light weight and smallish and can hang up without taking too much space.

Think I’ll applique something for the other bag this coming week end. Will have a think what to do next!

Bye for now




Taking Stock

Decided to take stock of things and use an unconventional (all done in Illustrator, for those who want to know)  format inspired by the New Year Resolutions listing by Teresa Wozniak Is it raining where you are? Seems like it’s hardly stopped this summer. Bleh. Just noticed that I haven’t copyrighted the image. It doesn’t matter – copyright doesn’t have to be declared to be in effect – just saying for those who believe that not seeing a copyright notice means it is free for other use and purposes. Not saying that you’d want it, of course, but just stating for the record!

Chat, Other

Wooden Houses

I have been dying to have a go at painting little wooden houses so when my OH got his Workmate out I got him to cut me off a few bits of wood with pointy ends. And I L-O-V-E-D playing with them! The first couple were a bit naff. Things got better when I gave them all a coat of Gesso first to give the surface a bit of tooth and stopped the paints bleeding. I used water colours mainly with some torn cordoroy paper and some antique gold trim.  It was just lovely fun.

Things did get off to a less than great start this morning when the lid fell off the ‘hinges’ on the kitchen bin. I think they fell out, personally. ‘You leave me and I’ll cause a stink!’  ‘Don’t care, not going to cover for you any longer’… Bleh! Hate emptying the bins.

Other, Sewing

Feeling all over

Suffering a sense of loss, here. Went into town (Dublin) Saturday morning with a deep desire to buy lots of little haberdashery trimmings. My favourite shop for these sewing bits is the Woolen Mill. Or, should I say, was. Got there about 10.00  to find the windows shuttered and ‘Closed Down’ notices on the door. Aghast! It was the most way-cool, pokey sewing shop around. Not part of a large chain, it was an independent trader (been in business 124 years, apparently).

It had everything. It was an everything in up-in-granny’s-room-behind-the-clock kind of place. Fixtures and fittings from years gone by. Half-mooned brass handled drawers… brass metre-length rules screwed to the edges of the counter work-tops with a patina of age and usage (I bet they had their inch, feet and yard measures somewhere about though, as well as their bushels and pecks… ).

Not that the stock was old fashioned. They sold sewing machines including various stabilisers for machine embroidery –   the only OTHER shop (big chain) that stocks fabric and trimmings look at me like I’m speaking in tongues when I ask for this stuff. They have no clue or give a wet slap what I’m on about. ALWAYS try to fob me off with interfacing.

And, their shop doors opened out to firstly, a bench sculpture (functional art – plenty of room to sit), featuring two life-size women sitting, having a chat, with a large shopping bag at the feet of one of them. This was perfect for the times Mr Tree came along and didn’t want to engage in any ‘What do you think, cream or white? Shall I get just the one metre or two?’ type conversations. He would sit outside and read until I was done.

Secondly, a short road crossing just a few feet further, is the river Liffey and the Halfpenny Bridge. There are benches along the side of the Liffey there and a coffee place which made it one of those nice places to sit, grab a coffee and watch the world go by and gloat and finger the beautiful-just-boughts from the Woolen Mill.

And now it’s gone. I feel kind of bereft.

Deflated, we sat by the river anyway (Saturday was a lovely day! Sunny and warm) and watched the water sparkle. Then I spotted a shop I’d never seen before. Just over the bridge – ‘Beads and Bling’. So, thought I’d have a look. Well, it’s not haberdashery and it’s not the Woolen Mill but it has every bead you could imagine. It is chocka full of jewellery bits and millinery stuff. They also sell lovely proper pieces of felted wools and gorgeous buttons and ribbons and oooh lovely things, darling. A dragon’s den of treasures and delights. AND they run hat and fascinator making classes, among other things so I think I’ll be putting my name down for one of them.

So, feeling a little better, I bought a bag full of bits (my treasure) and it kind of compensated for the sad demise of the Woolen Mill.

I made the phone case in the pic above from some of the felty wool I bought. Quick and easy. Took the pic in a favourite mug of mine. It’s used for dropping in bits like safety pins, pennies, tweezers and the little twiddle-de-dees that don’t have their own home around the house. You can see it’s been broken (a couple of times now) and glued back together (badly) but the cat on the side is too lovely to make me throw it away. I have looked and looked for a replacement – the artist’s name ‘Elaine Turner’  is stamped on the side) but cannot find one. If you know, could you tell me where to find another, please? (I eagerly await the inundation of an e-mail from Mrs Trellis of South Wales on this but can only hope).

As an aside … Just in case any of you have the same issue… our telly has been going a bit mad… kept cycling through its inputs… HDMI1, HDMI2, PC, No Video Signal…. etc and would not fix on the telly so we didn’t watch anything over the weekend. Mr Tree Googled (It’s a Toshiba) and found that to fix it, you need to pop the back off and disable the control panel buttons on the side of the screen. Odd they cause the problem as we never used them and only ever use the remote. If you want more information, Google or drop me a line and I’ll get the specifics from Mr Tree for you).

Anyway – got to run. Looks like the sun is shining again…



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