Lovely stash

I went into Dublin at the weekend. It must be tourist time because the big stores have their top-hatted doormen out. Do they keep them in a back room or cupboard the rest of the year like Richmond from the IT Crowd? I LOVE Dublin. And since finding that the fabric and notions store from the old Woolen Mill (now a restaurant) relocated to Capel St as W. M. Trimmings, it’s a city visit with extra joy.

I top up my fabric stash and buy notions and trimmings and threads and other gorgeous things, darling, just because it makes me happy. I have no vision what these bits and materials will become. It’s sheer acquisition. I can’t even put the bag in the boot – it has to be beside me, under my watchful eye!

Once home, I like to pore over it and enjoy the colours and just revel in the Lovely Things. Like Smaug from the Hobbit, I preside over my treasure most greedily. The more I have, the happier it makes me. A  feast for my senses, a Smörgåsbord, you might say. (Groan, an AWFUL pun, I know).

On the way home I popped into Ikea. And bought a couple of metres of ‘useful’ (bwahaha) fabric and some other bits. Cheap and cheerful. The fabric. Not the experience. It’s never pleasant there on a Saturday.

Cat Cushion

Then home where I had lots of tweed fabric waiting to get made up into cushions. This design was inspired by stationery***  I had seen somewhere on the net. Lots of work in Illustrator to create all the elements for the applique work. Lots of fussy cutting and bondawebbing. Lots of stitching round each of the elements. But worth it… I really like the end result. The outer is a rich-wool mix tweed, as is the mouse. The cat is mainly 100% cotton with some tweedy bits for decoration. The inner is a feather filled cushion to keep it soft and plump and ever so comfy.

***  I see, all too often, the word Stationery spelled with an ‘a’. Yes, Stationary IS a word in its own right but means static, not moving. It does not means paper-related articles like cards, writing paper or drawing materials.

An easy way to remember how to spell the paper-related word is to think ‘E for Envelope’. This may make me sound like Big Bird from Sesame Street but I don’t care. ***

Samsara Dicky Bird Babies

Finally, made a few more Samsara bird babies. I didn’t really like using felt (even double thickness) for the beak so now use a four-fold cotton instead to give the beak a bit more peckability and perkiness. I adore making them and the filling them with lavender leaves my little sewing room beautifully fragrant. The whole experience is very absorbing and zen-like, almost. Ahhhh.

Jess

And talking of Ahhhh  here’s Jess chilling out. Comfy, warm and content settled down. She was fast asleep with five minutes of this photo being taken!

Now to grab something to eat before I get on with stuff I have to do.  Which reminds me… Yesterday I made a big batch of meringue nests (recipe from Mary ‘Bez’ Berry – the best IMHO). Six eggs to make 16 nests.

Now, I’m a very confident cook and have made meringues dozens of times and am really blasé about cracking those eggs and separating the yolks from the white. I have a glass for the yolks and put the whites straight into the mixing bowl. For some reason I had a hunch not to do that and check the whites into a different bowl first then put the white into the mixing bowl. Good bloody job I did. The sixth egg white was streaked with yolk. Dodged a bullet there. Intuition or what?!

Anyhoo, used another egg to make the meringues. And used the yolks to make a Spanish Omelet with mixed salad and chips followed by a bowl of blueberries with natural yoghurt and a meringue nest for our tea. Nom Nom.

Daisybones

Finally the first daisy popped open. These are the flowers we call Daisybones in honour of our lovely Tom cat who died a couple of years ago. I had to take a pic as soon as I could to send to Himself  knowing it would make him happy, too.

Got lots to do for the craft fair and am working on a couple of cushions. The design was very obviously based on the 70s(?) iconic love square, for want of a better title. I had to draw it out in Illustrator and get that bit right first. Then I fused a sheet of Bondaweb onto the cotton fabric and printed the design (1pt stroke, no fill and reversed vertically) onto the paper backing ready to be bonded to the front piece.

The design is for a 20 x 20″ square cushion. The material is gorgeous. Soft wool-rich pink tweed with lovely cotton for the appliqué letters all stitched down with Gutterman silk thread.

The angle I took the photo from makes it look as though the lettering isn’t level – believe me it is. I had two quilter’s rulers aligning everything – no one was allowed to breathe for fear that a slight breath, like the effect of a butterfly’s wings causing chaos, would displace the fabric and be responsible for a murder most foul. You understand, I’m sure.

The back pieces (envelope cushion cover) are measured a hundred times and cut out (Himself read this and said ‘haven’t I told you a million times never to exaggerate?) so will overlock the edges and stitch it together later. But have another cover to applique first. Same fabrics but have the word ‘Home’ for a  long, rectangular cushion this time and will be stuffed with a fat feather-filled cushion form. Sumptuously plump and soft, darling.

I finished off the mount card for the Samsara birds. I have the meaning of Samsara explained in a spiral of text still to be printed and cut out and pinned (not sure about this bit yet) to the bird or the card and it’s looking good so far to me (IMHO) toot-toot.

So, must crack on. Going to get a big mug of coffee and maybe a slice of toast with honey – should do me for lunch.

Applique cushion

 

Yesterday, this cushion sat on a Tesco shelf. It was plain, white and, happily,  cheap at just €6.00. It was worth a punt to see if I could transform it into something to decorate my sewing area. Back home, I printed off the outline for my Seventies Inspiration rabbit and drew around it  to make an applique stencil. Now, I could have cut it with the Pro or the Cougar but until I was convinced that I would get the results I was looking for, I couldn’t be bothered to faff and fuss.

I got me a sheet of Wondaweb, roughly A4 size and cut fabric pieces into little squares and rectangles, tessellated them all over the sheet then ironed them down with a damp tea towel.

Next step was to draw round the design elements and fussy cut them out. Then to the cushion – the cover was taken off the cushion and laid flat on the ironing board so I could arrange the elements into a pleasing composition – to my eye, anyway.

That done, I carefully placed a damp tea towel over the lot and ironed them in place. There. After that, I ran a straight and zig-zag machine stitch around the outlines to ensure they would be held fast for future washing etc. To me, it lacked a bit of dimension so I got my Clover Yo-Yo maker out and knocked up the three Yo-Yos. A little button was added to the centre of each and stitched in place.

The rabbit’s whiskers and hot-cross-bunny nose were the finishing touches and all that was left to do was give the cover and quick press and get the cushion back inside.

I am now more than happy to invest the time to cut out the stencils in template quality plastic and keep in my special applique folder to do some more!

Hope you enjoyed looking and hope it helps get your mojo revving to do something for your home.

Have fun!

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