Friday, 26 May 2017

Deckchair Makeover

This year I really needed to revamp our traditional deckchairs and this beautiful UK weather brought it to mind. I accidentally left one under our Portuguese Laurel tree last September and an unfortunate event occurred involving purple berries, pigeons and an idly misplaced deckchair. The before pictures are actually too disgusting to show you but even the one that was not in the firing line was very worn out and dirty.

Minerva's range of deckchair canvas helped me out. I chose 'Mablethorpe' (for a reason dear aunt and uncle!) which comes in exactly the right width to recover a deckchair. You need about one and a half metres per deckchair

Firstly bloke and I painted each chair with a coat of Danish oil. We had some in the shed, it soaks in quickly and you can keep topping it up through the Summer without having to remove the previous layer. It also has a lovely natural finish.

It is no exaggeration to say it took 15 minutes to make each one. All I had to do was make a casing on each end to slide the wooden baton through. Two rows of stitching for each one.

The fabric has a bound edge so there will be no stretching, ripping or going out of shape. It is not the cheapest of fabrics but it is the right one for the job so that the chair can live another five years. I am sorry it is such a drab photo but there is not another inch of our garden which has not been ransacked by the dog! 

If you like to care for your items, there was an interesting program on Radio 4 about how things are not built to last in our throw away society. There is a movement of people trying to counter this by sharing their skills of fixing electricals or sewing skills for clothes repairs.

'How long do you reasonably expect your electrical gadgets and clothes to last? Has the cheapening of products meant we're too ready to let them go when they break and buy new? Jheni Osman is sick of things breaking and the energy and resources that went into making them going to waste. She meets those who are fighting back and lengthening the lifecycle of their goods. Some products are now being built so they are difficult or too costly to repair. She meets campaigners who are calling for companies to be upfront about the life expectancy of a product alongside the price tag.' 

Food for thought. Enjoy the weather.

Thank you for such useful fabric Minerva which does exactly the job I wanted it to. Jo :)

Wednesday, 24 May 2017 May

Cooking - Less and sharing more: that's warmer weather.

Making - A sun hat

Drinking - Kids squash - its a comfort thing!

Wanting - A safe flight to France

Deciding - What to pack for holidays. I was too tight to buy more baggage allowance.

Considering - Giving away some clutter that has been around for a while
Wearing - Summer clothes: blouses, vests, skirts and bare legs.

Enjoying - How much our girls love having a dog - he chews everything!

Wondering - If any of my GCSE English group will get pass grades

Watching - Our girls gain new skills

Disliking - Having to leave the garden when so much good stuff is flowering

Buying - A new cooker. The glass lid exploded on the old one...

Loving - Being able to fix things (but not the cooker!)

Thinking - About all the good stuff in our lives

Getting - A better shoulder with the help of an osteopath

Eating - Fresh chives

Feeling - Holiday excited

Jo xx

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Sampler Quilt 8 and 9 - Brick Wall

Seriously, I have been making stuff faster than I have days to blog about them so look out there might be a bit of a barrage this week before we go on holiday in Whit week. First up...

...I made another block of teeny squares because I just love this combination of 64 5cm squares;it used up more little bits too. Then I made a brick wall out of rectangles using pieces that were 4.5 x 8.5cm. It seems a bit less accurate but I cut these with scissors instead of the rotary cutter because I ran out of sharp blades and to me, it is very noticeable.

Still more scraps to go at. I have a few more ideas now that Amy from Love made my Home has sent me some fabric after a craft clear out. Thanks Amy. They have got the creative juices flowing.

Is it me or is this pile still the same size as the last time I posted a quilt block post?? Spooky...

Thanks for looking. Jo x

Friday, 19 May 2017

Summer Trousers


I am looking for a good trouser fit - aren't we all? To hone my skills I have chosen a useful fall back pattern: Newlook K6217. It is simple without pockets, fly or complex waistband so I can concentrate on getting the crotch fitting correct.

I measured my front crotch measurement and it was smaller than the pattern so I took a wedge out.

I measured my back crotch and it was 1" larger than the pattern so I added half inch to the back crotch seam (to allow for each piece)

Hey presto! Better fitting trousers. They don't lower at the back as I bend down and I don't have an unsightly fold at the front when I stand up. I still have some other wrinkling issues but for now these are grand.

The fabric is from myfabrics (sale purchase from Spring 2016) A firm stretch cotton drill which also helps for the smooth fitting of trousers for anyone who has to basically add an inch to their back side! 

I am going to wear these on the aeroplane when I go on holiday because they are comfortable and stretchy.

Jo xx

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

WIP Wednesday

This is getting longer...

The brim on this is getting wider...

This now has a partner...

This bowl gets filled and refilled...

Knitting, crochet, knitting, crochet. Just to keep you guessing. Hope you are having a good week. Jo x

Monday, 15 May 2017

A Little Stitching

I don't do a great deal of stitching but I always fall back in love with it when I do. This little project bag was a perfect way to fall in love all over again. 

The threads and drawstring bag are from DMC given to me at the CHSI show back in February. The colours play out as you sew. The design is drawn onto a sticky fabric called Magic Sheet which is temporary by washing it off at the end. Draw your design, sew, wash and hey presto! your very own piece of stitching design. 

My design was simple, nothing too intricate that would make me stuff it back under the sofa. I have a short attention span.

I peeled the back off, stuck it to the bag and got stitching.

The self colouring yarn was the inspiration for the self striping sock design. It is naive but I like it.

It washes off and then I gave it a final press.

Ready to fill with a sock knitting project.

You can see Julia's here. She made one too. Thanks for dropping by. Jo xx

Thanks for sharing your childhood toy stories and memories. I enjoyed reading them and showing my big girl how pleased you were with her sewing machine handiwork. :)

Friday, 12 May 2017

Clothkits 1979

I hope this post brings happy memories for some people, I know it will for one of my good friends. Two years ago I bought this vintage clothkit kit from ebay for £2.12. It caught my eye because my mum made me one of these dolls in 1979, I was born in 1973.I planned to make this one for one of my girls but then didn't get around to it. Now that big Sis is nine and shows promise on the sewing machine I thought she might like to make it for herself.

She loved it. First she took great joy in counting how many clothes she could make for the doll from this one piece of material that we worked out was 38 years old! She was fascinated with all the little details.
22nd January
She made the handbag first and then started on the doll. It has taken many months but she has persevered. She stuffed the arms and legs firmly with a chopstick.

26th January
28th January
Machine sewing around the arms and legs was easy for her as well as sewing around the head but even I grappled with trying to keep the stuffing in the body as I attached the legs.

5th February - The dress PART 1
I liked that she anticipated each item of clothing with relish. It has been a collection which she has looked forward to completing. A rare thing these days when children can binge on anything from films, to book box sets to cheap toys. It made me feel quite old fashioned and wholesome to have given her this experience - 'character building' I would call it.

12th Feb - The dress PART 2
I listened to a debate on the radio about how mixed race and ethnic minority families were still finding it hard to get dolls with different coloured skins and hair texture alongside main stream choices in shops rather than making a specialised search online. This radio feature reminded me of my little purchase I had tucked away in my craft stash. It seems astounding to me that this is still a difficult purchase for families in the UK in 2017.

16th March Dungarees
She made the dungarees but the blouse was a fiddle too far. Even I found it hard to manage such small seam allowances under the machine. 

24th April 2017 Blouse and Shorts
She took the doll and the dress (those were the ones she made fully) along with a stick puppet and her crochet teddy to get her Toymaker Brownie badge. She made a little poster of some of these photos with captions about how she made the items. How about that? 

All I have left now are the original instructions and packing invoice with the last piece of fabric from the sheet. I think I will make her a scrapbook page about her experience for her album.

PS. We had to make one tiny modification. It really bothered Big sis that she did not have a nose so I had to draw one on with fabric pen. It was nerve racking I can tell you. Can you imagine if she had made all of that over four months for me to ruin it with a wonky nose!

Any happy childhood memories stirred? 
Did someone ever make you something special?
 Jo xxxx

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Sampler Quilt block 5, 6 and 7- Applique

Up close, it is not up to much but this quilt block uses two pieces of fabric that have been in my patch box for aeons, it was given to me - I think it might be from a duvet cover. The fabric with the butterfly on has been saved for just the right moment, I didn't know when that would be, but this is it.

I have been making some of my quilt blocks quite roughly and then I will be measuring them carefully and squaring them off. This is because lots of my fabric does not have a good straight edge and I like car crash quilting - it feels fun and free.

On its own the block looked a bit flat compared to the other smaller pieced ones so I drew a butterfly freehand on paper to make a little template and cut them out. I am very rusty using machine embroidery but I like the informal feel, you know me, very 'informal'!

Another applique block I have tried is a four patch square with hearts on. The Hearts came from Amy in a box of unwanted craft items and straight away I had a use for them - they were already cut out so I just zigzaged them on with the machine. Instant.

Three more blocks for Meg's Sampler Quilt. Laid out on the floor, it is starting to look really interesting. 
Jo xxx