Friday, September 29, 2006

on a roll ...

Sorry, yesterday's post was a bit miserable and self-pitying. So I have spent today getting my act together. I cracked on with all the housework this morning and finally made it to the post office to post the 'thank you' bag off - so that is two items with nice big ticks beside them.

I have decided on the ribbon to use and have more or less got the brooch finished and I plan to post it on Monday - another big tick. Oooh I am liking all these ticks.

This afternoon I sat down and made my knitting needle roll. So now I should be able to find them more easily. I have been known to go and buy a duplicate pair of needles just to save me the agony of trying to find the correct pair but not any more.
The outer fabric is an Amy Butler fabric and the inner fabric is yellow with cream dots.
The top flaps over to stop the needles falling out of the roll and it all ties together with some ribbon. I also sandwiched some batting in the middle to help give it some structure and to stop it feeling too boney. So yay that's another big tick.
Another tick coming up .. I pre-ordered the Crafter's Companion book. It contains projects by fellow bloggers whom I admire and I can't wait for it to arrive. The website shows a sneaky peak of some of the projects just in case you need anymore coaxing.

Out of the blue my bulbs arrived, all 225 of them. I ordered them a couple of months ago now and had more or less forgotten about them.
There is a mix of narcissi and early and late flowering tulips. The majority are for the garden and going into pots. The rest of the bulbs are for some Christmas present ideas I have, but won't divulge here in case of prying eyes. So this weekend, if the rain stops, I think I will get planting. However, if it is too wet then I will use the time to go through the seed catalogue and fill out my order. Another set of potential ticks.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

is it Thursday already? ...

I really must make more of an effort to get my act together.

The bag I completed yesterday has not been posted yet and I am still prevaricating over which ribbon to use on the brooch I am making. I had really hoped to post a picture of all the fabric laid out with pattern pieces pinned to it all ready for cutting out. Yes, I really did have the intention of starting my dress today. But a bad night's sleep, the third this week, has left my brain like jelly and unable to deal with, or tackle, anything too complicated. Even the very uncomplicated seems to be a problem. That's not to say I haven't had flashes of inspiration but these seem to have taken it out of me rather than getting me all fired up.

I needed to find a pair of 4.5mm knitting needles but I had been putting it off. Finding one seems to be no problem at all it's the second one that proves to be so elusive. So to my projects list I now need to add a knitting needle holder/roll thingy. I love the fabric craft apple used on hers.

Also on my list of things to do is to get a lot better at replying to the comments you have made. I am getting better at this but there is definitely room for improvement.

Well as Scarlet would say "tomorrow is another day". Let's see what it brings.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

another thank you bag ...

it is a very belated thank you bag and is for the lady who kindly gave me all that wonderful fabric. I used corduroy again but this time with no problems. This beige fabric seems a lot softer than the plum coloured one I used before. I wanted to include some of the fabric that she gave to me so the bag was more pertinent and I played around with various ways of including it.

I took it really seriously, I even sketched out my ideas and wrote down measurements before starting. I am pleased that I finally got it made because it had been weighing on my mind - just got to post it now.

Yesterday, I was very excited by the long awaited preview of Heather Bailey's debut fabric collection over on her blog. I love the colours and the sheer scope and variety of the designs. She is also over on Quilters Buzz talking about the fabric and other up and coming projects. On the subject of fabric, over on Whipup there is a fascinating account of creating fabric designs for FreeSpirit Fabrics.

That list of projects is slowly coming under control. At the moment I am making another ribbon brooch and agonising over my colour choices. I then plan to move on to the dress. I should have gone to knitting group this morning but decided I really needed to stay home and get some things finished.

Monday, September 25, 2006

sun, sea and sewing ...

I think Mondays are destined to be housework days. All the clearing away, sorting out and straightening up after the weekend and as a result there is not much craftiness occurring. At least I finally managed to post the thank you bag so hopefully the recipient should receive it in the next day or so.

On Saturday I went to the Quilt Room and bought nothing very exciting. My haul included: quilting needles, a binding maker, Micron pens in black and pink, half a meter of a floral fabric that took my fancy, some batting and 6 meters of 108" wide calico for various projects including the quilt I have in mind for my sister. The good news is that she got the keys to her new house on Friday but there is no rush on the quilt - phew.

The shop was really rather busy so it was quite hard to browse without getting in the way of other people or indeed them getting in my way. So I beat a hasty retreat after purhasing my goodies. As a special anniversary gift they were giving away Quilt Room keyrings. It is one of those useful ones that has the detachable pound coin token for using in shopping trolleys.

Then with the sun beaming we decided to carry on down the A24 to Worthing. Not the most picturesque of seaside towns and the beach is very pebbley. But with bags of chips filling our tummies and salty sea air filling our lungs it couldn't be beaten.

I hadn't brought my camera with me (doh!) so this photo was taken with my husband's mobile phone.

Now I really must sit down now and update my 'to do' list and try and prioritise my projects. And there is now another book to add to my wish list. Too many lists so little time.

Friday, September 22, 2006

bags of vivid fruitfulness ...

Thank you for all the lovely comments about my coat, they made me so happy. Sadly it is still too warm to wear it although it has also been raining cats and dogs most of the day. I was worried if I did wear it I might end up standing in a pool of purple water. I don't know if I trust the fastness of the dye, I guess I am just a worrier. I also just wanted to clarify that I only jazzed the coat up I didn't make the whole thing. It is in fact an old Jigsaw coat that had faded and looked tired and sad.

Today I have been working on this little project.

I needed to say some thank you to a couple of people and thought these bags were just the thing. I love the colours they seem perfect for the Autumn season all ripe and juicy like damsons. I have to say that as much as I love the corduroy, for some reason, this time it has been a complete pain to sew with. I broke a needle stitching up the first bag something that has only happened once before, when I was trying to sew some really stiff denim.

One bag has already been packaged up and dispatched, via the school playground. The other I plan to send off tomorrow.

They are remarkably sturdy bags. I have made them for myself in the past and they can take some serious weight. I can regularly be heard clanking my way back from the supermarket with these bags in hands. They have outlived many a 'bag for life'.

This weekend I am hoping to get to The Quilt Room in Dorking. They are celebrating their 25th Anniversary and are having a special open weekend with 10% off everything and drinks and nibbles. As I have promised to make my sister a quilt I thought it would be a good time to go.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

a sigh of relief ...

The coat is finally finished. There was one major problem. The sleeve circumference was too narrow for the girth of the machine flatbed even after I had taken the extra bit off to make it narrower. This meant I had to hand sew the sleeve ribbons on which was a real faff but at least I could machine the ribbon to the hem otherwise I think I would dumped it in the bin. I also changed the buttons to something more appropriate - God is in the detail don't you know.

I also made a ribbon brooch with some of the remaining ribbon. I felt the collar area needed a little embellishing but didn't want to trim it in ribbon I think it would have made it look too much like a blazer. I haven't christened the coat yet as the weather is way too warm for a coat at the moment. Long live this glorious Indian Summer - the coat can wait.

The table mat arrived safely and you can see pictures off all the mats, as they arrive, over on Anna's Flickr site.

The postman also brought me a package from Simmy - I am going to have fun sorting out my fabric. Simmy had organised her fabric using comic book boards and she very kindly sent me some. Talking of organising fabric, I invested in several small plastic boxes to store my fabric scraps. Those fiddley tiny bits that don't store nicely but you just can't throw away.

OK so they aren't quite the wonderful metal bins Denyse Schmidt has, which it would be my dream to have, but they do their job.

Anyway roll on next project .... focus, Caroline, focus.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

working through my lists ...

I have finally decided on the trim for the purple coat. I am using some ribbon I already had and some that I bought the other day. I decided not to go with using fabric. Partly because I couldn't choose which fabric to use and partly because the thought of having to cut out fabric strips put me off.

I used some Bondaweb to adhere the three separate ribbons together to create one wide strip. This should also hopefully make it easier to attach to the coat. I am going to topstitch the ribbon to the coat rather than just relying on the Bondaweb.

As far as the the dress goes I haven't cut out the pattern yet and after reading Alicia's post I am stealing myself. Especially as I plan to line the skirt to prevent any static cling and I am also planning to bind the seams. Well those are the plans and we know what can happen to those, even those best laid ones. I may have bitten off more than I can chew - I daren't mention that I may have to make my own binding as I have been unable to find satin binding in the right colour.

Yesterday I worked on completing the place mat for my swap with Anna. I also made a little something else which I hope will be useful to her. I won't post pictures in case it spoils any surprise. My part of the swap, one of Anna's lovely prints, arrived this morning - it is beautiful and I feel very lucky.

Friday, September 15, 2006

that to do list just grows and grows ..

Hurray! I found some Viyella fabric that I think, and hope, will make a lovely dress. I am really excited about getting started on it, however, I have learnt from bitter experience not to jump in all guns blazing. I will plan to wait until Monday to cut the fabric out. I will have more space to spread out and little to interrupt my concentration as I chant my mantra - "measure twice cut once". The fabric wasn't cheap so that panics me and I then there are the checks to worry about so a clear head is definitely called for.

I also got some ribbon - the giant rick rack (or is it ric rac?) was a discontinued item so the colours were very disappointing. Instead I opted for some petersham which I may team with Kirsten's idea of using a fabric strip. Oh and I have been spelling VV Rouleaux wrong, I have been missing out the 'a' - the shame, the shame.

As well as the dress being added to my w.i.p list I am also adding these cute guys. I have also promised to make a quilt for my sister as a housewarming gift - she (fingers crossed) gets the keys for her first home next Friday. And my mum has requested a table cloth for her dining table something bright and cheery and Cath Kidston-y but without the price tag. Then there is the placemat for Anna which I am still trying to finish which must get into the post at the beginning of the week.

Next week looks like it could be busy ...

Thursday, September 14, 2006

anniversaries and other milestones ...

Yesterday was my 10th Wedding Anniversary. I can't believe it was ten years ago that we got married - Friday 13th September 1996, Westminster Registry Office - the years really have flown by (a cliche, I know, but so true). Last night we didn't go out for a meal, as my husband's work is all consuming at the moment, but we did enjoy a takeaway and bottle of fizz. We were also treated to the most amazing lightening display last night - I love thunder and lightening.

Ten years ago we had big plans to celebrate this anniversary in Hawaii, where we had our honeymoon. How I would love to be eating here and here, partaking of retail therapy here, buying the obligatory shirt from here, climbing this and being truly astounded by this place. May be for our 15th?

Also yesterday, my son had his first swimming lesson with school. He came home chatting excitedly about it so I think that was a milestone successfully passed.

The final milestone - I've reached 50! I have only just realised that my last post was my 50th - yay to me for actually sticking at something. I am quite bad at starting things and then not persisting with them so I am suitably impressed with myself. I know it is early days but I do enjoy blogging. I like thinking about what I am going to post, taking pictures and negotiating Blogger (at times easier said than done). I think if it ever felt like an obligation then I would stop but having said that I do have pangs of guilt if I don't post for a couple of days. I love being part of this community that offers wonderful advice and support and loads of fantastic ideas. I love connecting with people from all over the world. This list could go on and on but I think that is quite enough blog gushiness.

This book arrived today and on first glances it is everything I hoped it would be.

It seems to cover everything in a clear and logical way. Starting with the equipment you need and how to use it, to the different types of fabric and what to choose. Then on to patterns and how to understand them and adapt and customise them. I think I will have to sit down quietly this evening and look through it properly.

Tomorrow I plan to go to VV Rouleux on a ribbon mission and then on to search for fabric. I really want to find some Viyella or Clydella fabric to make up the brown dress on the right.

The Viyella factory shop used to be just round the corner from my parents' home and you could often find fabric as well as clothing seconds. I didn't really appreciate it then but boy how I wish it was still there, as it is so hard to find Viyella fabric these days.

I think the dress would be lovely in a wool/cotton blend. I could wear it with thick wintery tights and even with a polo neck underneath it. As you can probably tell my thoughts are turning to Autumn and scuffing through piles of leaves. Luckily, I may have found a source for the fabric ...

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

tute tuesday (or not) ...

Today was meant to be "tute Tuesday". As I am not doing my printing class this term I thought I would carry on trying to learn something on Tuesday mornings. The plan was to sit down and work through the Photoshop book. Yeah right, best laid plans and all that.

Instead I had a visitor bearing gifts. A friend of my Aunt's came over to my neck of the woods to go to Stash Yarns and she called in for coffee and to bequeath some of her fabric stash to me.

There are lots of different colours, patterns, fibres - plains, spots, stripes, plaids, florals of all hues and tones. Some pieces are quite small others are larger and a lot of them hold special memories so I feel very honored to have them.

I have been thinking that I would like to get some containers to stash all the small pieces of fabric in. All separated into their different colour families - oh so very Denyse Schmidt. She has huge metal containers but I think I could probably get away with some small plastic ones.

Also in my thoughts - the purple coat and I am coming round to the vividness of it but I think it needs some embellishing. I am thinking of two stripes jumbo rick rack one in a grey and the other in a pinky colour attached to the cuffs and hem. I feel a trip to vv rouleux coming on...

Monday, September 11, 2006

not an octopus ...

His name is Jack and he is a jellyfish and those aren't legs they are tenticles that sting you. Well, that's what my nephew has decided anyway. Thank you for all the lovely comments but it seems I may have misled you all.

Also, especially for Kirsten, yes he does have a circle underneath and sewing the legs on was very nearly impossible. Big mistake to pre-stuff the legs as it made it very awkward to feed everything through the machine.

We had a fantastic time away - the wonderful weather made all the difference. The wedding on Thursday was lovely, the venue was idyllic, the service short and the food amazing. On the way to the wedding we went past this place but with no time to go on Thursday we went back on Friday afternoon. And bought all this fabric - mmmm.

I also bought a Clover embroidery stitching thingy which I have no idea how to use but intend to find out.

And on the drive back we had the most spectacular views to enjoy.

I also bought a few books whilst in Nottingham - I am really liking the look of this one and can see myself using quite a few of the ideas in it.

On Saturday we had a wonderful time cycling around Clumber Park. I hadn't been there in over ten years and it has changed a bit and best of all it is now even more cycle and pedestrian friendly. All-in-all a very good weekend.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

oh boy...

today has been mad.

We are going away for a few days the main reason is my father-in-law's wedding. This has meant mad panic packing - clothing suitable for all conditions (you never can tell what the weather will do) plus wedding outfits.

In amongst all this I had my reading group this morning. We had read 'In Cold Blood' by Truman Capote - everyone was very favourable about it and I having read it I am now very keen to see 'Capote' on DVD.

Next up I had to collect the picture from the framers - it is the wedding present- they have done a really lovely job and I am really pleased I went with the larger frame. But it meant rushing to out to get more wrapping paper to cover it adequately.

In between all of this I have almost finished Mr Octopus - although I have to say I found it a complete pain trying to join all the legs to the body.

He just needs his face putting on and I have cut out all the bits and I will bring them with me to work on whilst I am away. Imagine the smile stitched on and this is what his face will look like

I think I will be seeing my nephew on Saturday - so he needs to be finished by then. I quite like the way he turned out.

The coat on the other hand I am not so sure about. It has turned out very purple and my son says it looks like Willy Wonka's coat (as in Johnny Depp rather than Gene Wilder). So I will need to think about it.

First up it needs a darn good pressing but I just don't have time for that at the moment.

I won't be posting anything whilst I am away as my parents (whom we are staying with) only have dial-up. So I am taking some of my Japanese crafting books with me to look through and work out patterns. And I am taking my knitting which must be finished before I start any new knitted projects.

Sorry if there are any really bad typos or glaring grammatical errors - but I was desperate to post and it is really being done whilst my mind is on several other things (have I packed the toothbrushes etc). I hope you get the jist of it all anyway and I hope have a lovely weekend.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

when the child's away...

It seemed strange having all the household chores done before ten and then the house staying tidy and straight until this afternoon. It also seemed strangely quiet, not that my son makes a lot of noise but just having no one else in the house was a change. Nothing cranking the music up couldn't solve though. Of course it also meant time to get back to doing my own things again.

I decided that today would be a good day to try and dye a coat I have had for ages. It is just a cotton duster style coat that has become very faded and just boring looking. Over the past year I have bean trying to decide the best way to give it a new lease of life. At one point I made lots of these flowers to sew onto it.

Then I thought of embellishing it with ribbon. Both ideas came and went. It has taken all this time for me to realise that the problem was the colour.

The coat was a blue-ish grey-ish colour so I opted to mix it with Deep Pink to see how it would turn out. Sadly the colour stripper doesn't work properly with blue based colours so I couldn't go for a lighter colour as I would have preferred. Anyway, it is still churning around in the machine at the moment so I haven't a clue whether it has been a success or not.

I also finally got moving on the octopus that has been a work in progress for way too long. I promised to make it for my nephew - he actually rang me himself to ask if I would make it for him. Well he didn't ring he's too little so his mum did that bit for him but he did ask very nicely all by himself. We are due to see them this weekend and I can't go empty handed.

The good news is that he at least has legs! I am hoping to get the body done tomorrow and then I just have to decide on the face. I always find the face the hardest part it is so easy to give a creature a crazed mad psycho face when what you were aiming for was cute and serene.

Also whilst enjoying a leisurely meander through various blogs I found out about this book which I has now been added to my wish list.

Monday, September 04, 2006

so that's it then...

the summer holidays are over.

The afternoon was spent in the park with lots of school friends and their mums. Typically, now it is back to school time, the weather has decided to improve so the children played in gorgeous warm sunshine whilst us mums caught up with holiday gossip.

This evening involved baths, hair washing, nail cutting, ear cleaning and early (or at least earlier) to bed. School uniform is washed, ironed and named, shoes are new and shiny and pencils are sharp. All in all I think we are ready.

No real craftiness has taken place but thoughts have been floating around my head for a design for a placemat for Anna

I also made sure that I went to the post office to get my parcel of fabric sent to Ali for her minimoopy bonanza.

Finally, sorry there are no pictures today - quite frankly I don't have the heart to mess around with blogger this evening.

Friday, September 01, 2006

that time of the week again ...

and thoughts turn to work in progress. Today I am hoping to make some more little flower brooches - I think they would look really pretty on birthday and special greetings cards. I have even tracked down some envelopes especially designed for bulky cards. I resorted to CD and DVD mailers in the past which just looked too functional - if that makes sense. I will need to find out from the Post Office if they fall foul of the new postal guidelines. I think they should be OK as they will be under 100g and be thinner than 5mm (just).

I also intend to cast on and make this bag adapted from a MagKnits pattern by Liesl. A few months back I made a skirt using a tutorial Liesl had put together and I was really pleased with the results.

The penholder is finished. I don't think trying to stitch binding on at 11pm after a glass of wine was a wise idea.

It has ended up looking bodged and I think I made the binding too wide, it would benefit from being narrower. I haven't given up on it yet though - I plan to try another version. I think it would look good with accompanying accessories like a coin purse, key fob, tissue holder and that kind of thing.

Yesterday's look around other blogs was very interesting - as well as recommendations on blogs I used the Bloglines related links button to go and browse some new to me blogs. But it has made me realise that I really need to go through all my bookmarked blogs to try and prioritise which ones I look at. I am spending way too much time browsing not enough time doing.