Monthly Archives: January 2015


Using up sewing scraps

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 safety. 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 that ‘ice is made from the tears of snowmen and all ice cream is cold because it’s haunted’. I knew straight away it was all lies – obviously, ice 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.

Free, Other, Sewing, Tutorials

Have a heart!

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.


Inkscape Segment Tutorial

I was doing some scrap busting and remembered the super little owl stuffies  (owl ) using a template from Efemera Ink’s blog post ‘Wise’.

I wanted to make a few more and create some permanent hard copy templates and make the segments in Illustrator. It was a real faff. There had to be an easier way. Thought to myself ‘I’ll check out Inkscape’ and very glad that I did.

It’s  relatively straightforward and now my templates are done. I have beautiful arcs with perfect angles printed and cut out ready for a full squawk,  or  I should say, a Parliament or Stare (collective nouns) of owls.

If you would like a copy of my tutorial, you can download it for free. Here you go!

Chat, Crafts, Illustrator Tutorials, Tutorials

Bobbin’ Along

I have more fabric than I’ll ever need. Said no Sewist, ever. But I do have bags and bags of ‘scraps’ and want to use them up them so have been making lots of little patchwork and applique houses like the three above. Not sure what I’ll end up doing with them but am thinking along the lines of a tote bag with a panel of houses on the front.

I got a Simplicity felting machine for Christmas – the idea being I could use up ever smaller scraps but am nervous of it and have broken a couple of needles already. I watched a few You Tubes for project inspiration and was somewhat dismayed to see a woman show her co-presenter something ‘very special, indeed’… It was fluff from her tumble drier with some sparkly fibres winking through the grey detritus.

What next? Dyson disjectimenta? Belly button boogers? Interstitial toe manure? Under-bed dust bunnies and muff mallows? There is a time to just let go, for me, anyway. I fear becoming a hoarder and accept there aren’t enough hours in the day for me use what I’ve got without finding new sources, however wabi-sabi they may be to some. I say  ‘go find a sparkly fibre shop’ and leave the tumble drier fluff alone.

Another Lavender Stuffy

These projects are perfect for small bits of material and with some lavender or stuffing with lavender oil are perfect hung in the wardrobe to help keep moths away and clothes smelling fresh. E-mail me if you would like the template.


And stitched up this mosaic of  strips and bits. It has a charm of its own. No idea what to do with it as yet but something will come to me.

Colour Me Happy

And scraps of wadding look just beautiful with lots of different stitches in rainbow shades.The pinking round the edges just sets it off nicely. What is it? No idea. Again just using up bits and bobs. It won’t go to waste, though. Too pretty.

TeaBags Twinset

Am making another tea pot cosy – a ruffly one (see Annie Bonnet) and am adding a little teabag embellishment for a bit of fun.

The template is below. Basically I fused my main fabric onto Bondaweb and cut out two small rectangles and two small teabags. I cut out the larger rectangle and larger teabag in wadding, laid a short length of Butcher’s Twine between them (on one side) and bonded the main fabric to the wadding making sure the twine was sandwiched inside.

I did a little free motion stitching on some spare white material to sew the word ‘Tea’ (used an air drying pen to make sewing it easier – you can still see traces of it as it hadn’t quite faded away in the picture). Obviously, stitched it onto a teabag then fused the second main fabric pieces onto the other side of the wadding.

Stitch around the fabric – it looks prettier, secures it and finishes it off nicely. Take your pinking shears and trim around the wadding for extra cuteness.

La La I’m Not Listening Fingers

Like my latest USB? I love robots and this one looks like it’s got its fingers in its ears, hence the ‘La La, I’m not listening fingers’. So it’s name is La La. It’s head pulls off for the USB insert (in case you didn’t already guess).  This will probably lead to some amusement at some point ‘Darling, have you seen my La la?’. Snaaarg.

Off to get some washing on the line. The weather report warned of snow and ice but the God of the heavens said ‘all things nice’ and let the sun shine down on Ireland (this little corner, anyway). It’s beautiful.

Chat, Crafts, Sewing

Foxy Lady

Half way through January already. Time flies. Fruit flies like a banana. Like my fox? Filled with soft stuffing and a sprinkling of pure lavender oil. It’s to hang up in my wardrobe and keep my clothes smelling nice.

Am sure you can work out the pattern and how to make one but if you want the template e-mail me and I’ll send it to you.

If I don’t see you through the week, I’ll see you through the window. Be good now. Only another 11.5 months till Santa calls again.

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