Biscornu cushions

Well, here we are again – another year over. It’s really flown.  Just can’t believe 2014 starts tomorrow! I know some of you are choosing your ‘word’ for the coming year . I don’t normally do it but this year is an exception. My word is ‘Miracle’. If you are interested in metaphysics you might be familiar with the affirmation ‘Miracle shall follow miracle and wonders shall never cease’. I am taking it to heart along with ‘I am a miracle magnet’.

How was Christmas for you? I got fabric, lots of trims and braids.  really super bits! And stabiliser for machine and free motion embroidery… but more about that in a minute!

I discovered Debbie Shore and her wonderful sewing projects including the Biscornu cushion  tutorial which, she says, is french for ‘quirky’. Her You Tube videos are really easy to follow and I made my little cushions in an evening. I used a quilter’s 12″ x 12″ square to draw around to get a perfect square for the small one and made the blue and white one slightly bigger at 15″ x 15″.

I added the red pom-pom trim for colour and fun (handstitched that on). There is a centred button each side – both covered with the contrasting fabric from the other side. It looks like it might be complicated but it really isn’t. Give one or two a go. I like the effect of having the two stacked one on top of the other. You could go a lot smaller and make some as  pincushions, maybe. Here’s the link to the tutorial: Debbie Shore.

I made a couple of traditional domed-shaped tea cosies but did some free motion embroidery on the front and then filled in with fabric paints. I like iron-on stabiliser – simply iron onto the back of the fabric then drop the feedogs and draw the design  with your machine using the needle as a pen.

This was a really relaxing way of spening an evening. The tea cosies are extremely easy to make with templates and tutorials all over the web. Debbie Shore has a video on how to make them as well.

I made two, a rabbit and an umbrella design. Both are stitched onto linen. The brolly image came from a picture found on the web – I have no idea who to credit with the original – if you know, tell me. I will happily give them a big shout out for a very beautiful water colour painting.

I printed it in black and white then traced the main outlines and went over them with an air drying fabric pen. I bobbed the rabbit with a cotton tail pom-pom and hand-stitched a few sequins around the brolly using invisible thread. The results look quite lovely – well I think so, anyway! Functional as well as pretty.

Lots to look forward to – my partner got me Adobe CS6 for Christmas so looking forward to new features and capabilities and the learning curve that goes with new software.

And so, the year ends on a very happy note in stark contrast to the beginning of the year! Dark and difficult, So, my word is ‘Miracle’ and I look forward to what this year will bring. Happy New Year to you all!

Go raibh gach sonas ort an Nollaig seo

Hello Dare!  This is probably my last post until after St Stephens. I have had a fairly relaxed Christmas so far. Presents are bought and wrapped. Cards posted. Food shopping is pretty much done. Fairly well organised this year.

No family coming for Christmas though which both takes the pressure off but is sad at the same time. Still, saw DS1 and his partner just a week or so ago when we went to Manchester for a few days. Manchester was absolutely fabulous. Totally fell in love with the place. So alive! Colourful! Vibrant! The Christmas market was on – really, really gorgeous. And huge. Streets and streets of log cabins beautifully lit and decked out with Christmassy bits of everything. I loved it. The stores are just massive – big flagship stores in colossal (so it seemed to us!) Roman ampitheatre-themed malls. Awesome!

And, went to a fabric/haberdashery shop called Leon’s. My jaw nearly hit the floor at the sheer volume of bolts and rolls and colours and textures and the size of the shop. An absolute emporium of fabric, trims, notions….  like a dragon’s den!  Next time, we’re getting the ferry and taking the car so I can bring more back. It was glorious. The whole visit was amazing and joyful, from the lovely people we met, the places we went and the good news that DS1 got while we were there. Had the best time. We both did. And we’re definitely going back next year.

Good news on Claudius the feral cat front – he is using his outdoor cat kennel and now I don’t fret thinking about him out there in the cold (now freezing) weather, the winds and the sleet / rain. He’s looking a lot better. His eyes seem clearer and he has filled out since we started feeding him late summer time. He still hisses at me when I take him some food but doesn’t turn tail and scoot off the way he used to. He just backs away a bit and waits for me to retreat. But, that said, he has been so hungry on occasion recently that he’s started eating while I’m still putting food down for him. No matter. I just like to know he has good shelter and eats regularly so that’s good enough for me.

My friend brought me round a big load of holly yesterday morning. I had asked if I could take some clippings from her bush but would never have taken so much. As you can see, I used it to decorate a willow heart  and turn it into a Christmas wreath. I added a few sleigh bells and hung the cow bell that I bought as a tree decoration down the middle. It looks quite well for the gussy up and am very pleased with it.

Anyway, still odds and ends to finish off so I’ll wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year or in Gaelghe, Go raibh gach sonas ort an Nollaig seo’  – ‘Wishing you every happiness this Christmas’.

The Hairy Pom-Pom Maker and the Pom-Hair Mo-Mo’s

Well, here we are.  Soon be the big day. Shopped out, spent up and exhausted. In a good way – yes? You the same? This year I found a cheese knife that my partner will love. He has a thing about the right knife for the job. You might say OCD about it but I wouldn’t advise it… not with all that sharp kitchen equipment about… Only joking, of course. But he will love it.

Anyway, sat wrapping presents while watching the Kirstie Allsop Christmas thingy the other night. Some very bizarre tie-dyed underwear and equally weird headband flower things going on… like something from Star Trek Original Series. You know that episode ‘The Apple’ with Vaal and the men wearing espadrilles and more make up than Barbara Cartland?  That had never done the ‘holding and the touching’… Possibly too weird for them, even.

I did like the little present wrapped in tissue paper topped with a fluffy pom-pom though. So sweet! And I have lots of the same pom-pom doodats in my little kit bag. Got them for Christmas a couple of years ago. So, out they came and I made a little pom-pom and topped it with a paper snowflake and used it to finish off the present wrapped up in the picture above. Supposed to look a bit like a snowball but you have to use your imagination… if you can imagine the KA headband thing looking good, you’ll have no trouble.

So, that got me hooked on making up a few pom-poms and here they are. Easy as winking (with the Clover pom-pom maker) and cute as… well, pom-poms, really. Peachy as a pom-pom? Pouffy as a pom-pom? Something along those lines. My partner tripped over his words and called the mohair creations ‘Pom Hair Mo Mo’s’ which made me laugh.

And here are the Hairy Pom-Pom Makers!  Perfect bits of kit. See the two with the serated looking edges? They make HEART shaped pom-poms! Oh Yes!

Anyway, off to grab some lunch. Going round to a friend’s house this afternoon and an outdoor carol service this evening with a big get together with friends and neighbours afterwards. I’m really looking forward to it but the weather forecast isn’t good. Wet, windy and very cold. Went to a lovely one in the church last week. Proper choir with sopranos and tenors and fabulous lights but (butt!) hard seats! All of us in the know brought cushions though! And wine gums… lol

Wrap up warm and keep Christmas in your heart even if you feel like you could murder the shopping hoards. It will pass, and, like child birth, you’ll only remember the end result afterwards.

Jubbles

December the fourth already! Got my first Christmas card today – from Australia so I’d better get my ar** into gear and get some sent out before the posting deadlines.  Are you nearly ready or still chasing your tail like me? I’m off to the UK next week for a few days so trying to get cleaning, washing and other things done before I go. I cannot come back to a mess but must check the postings before I go.

I made up a big load of these cute-as-a-button jubblies. I call them jubblies after the tetra pack ice lollies we get here. I think they’re better known as sour cream cartons in the US. I know which sound better! I have posted how to make these on the blog a couple of years ago but just Google ‘sour cream container’ and check out the images – there are so many gorgeous makes to inspire you and most have links back to blogs and tutorials on how to make them.

I make them throughout the year for all sorts of occasions. They dress up very easily with different paper, embellishments and ribbons. Most years I make a full advent calendar (or two!) with them but ran out of time so made a bunch to top off a wicker basket full of hand-crafted hearts. Looking at the pic, you’d swear there were hardly any! In fact, I made thirty of them. Have already given a couple away and put some aside for a few other people but there are still about 20 in the basket. Anyway, each of these  little treats are filled with chocolate santas,  liqueur-filled barrels and chocolate money.

The dangly santies and snowmen are handcrafted metal tree decorations from Landon Tyler but are discontinued now, I think. Pity, they are so sweet.

Off to cook some dinner now. Am starving. Forgot to eat lunch and didn’t eat a single choc!

Easy sewing projects for Christmas gifts

I told you I was going to Ikea at the weekend. Well, it wasn’t brilliantly exciting but I did get some nice curtain fabric. See the white with blue  (beautiful inky/indigo colour blue) ? That. It’s not very heavy so bought some cheap curtain liner to go with it and made the apron. Popped a ruffle round the bottom and lined the whole thing. All very functional, practical and utilitarian. Good, worthy words but BORING! What would top if off and make it fun and make it sing? A chef’s hat, that’s what.

Not a lot of fabric, a bit of interfacing and a little bit of fiddly hand basting to catch the top inside the headband before taking it to the sewing machine but basically EASY! I made the apron hanging beside it as well from Ikea curtain material. Their prices are super cheap for 100% cotton and funky design work. I think the latest fabric cost €5 or maybe €6.00 a metre. Can’t remember as we bought a few other bits as well. I know it wasn’t expensive because I bought 5 metres. I want to have a go at making a Yukata, you see and didn’t want to buy dear fabric in case I don’t make a good job of it.

The apron and hat would make a lovely home-made gift for kids or adults, boys or girls, depending on the material used. I wish I had tackled it sooner and could have made a few for friends and family. I don’t have much time this week – off to the UK next week for a few days and then it’s back to get some more decorating done before Christmas. Didn’t mention it before, but we actually moved house last April and are still getting the house sorted out.

Anyway, will be writing up the notes on how to make them for myself and will post if you would like them, too, so let me know.

Later, taters!

Hel

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