Tuesday 30 April 2019

A Little Bit of Something Does You Good.

While working on the hard dusty graft of house building it is good to keep myself motivated with a little interior decor. I know it is really too soon to be thinking about this kind of thing but sewing for the new house keeps me painting rooms and grouting tiles. If I am honest, although I love sewing, doing all that kind of thing in one massive slog at the end would feel too tedious anyway.

This year, one of my crafting resolutions was to learn to make roman blinds...properly. I have made some bodged up ones in the past which ended up in our weekend cabin because when let down, they didn't actually reach the bottoms of the windows! Roman blinds are not hard to sew but don't be fooled; the maths is critical. These are from the first Great British Sewing Bee book. 

These fit and were very precise. My motivation to continue to learn how to make these blinds did waiver because on a toile I got the fabric the wrong way round. I nearly gave up but when I saw how much they were to be made professionally, I soldiered on.

These are for the office. The only modification I will do after this initial first hang is to put a tiny hand stitch in the centres between the lining and the spot fabric to stop the slight sag - but I am being picky.

I had originally chose this house/cat fabric from Minerva but it had a screen print error running through it so I was unable to make the blinds. They contacted the supplier, however there was a bigger problem than just the piece I had. Luckily, I was able to keep the piece and was sent the spotty fabric instead. I wanted to use the house fabric so I ordered a sewing bin kit from Dannells.

This will go in the window for pens, notebooks etc. They are really easy to cover and very reasonably priced. I also had a waste paper bin kit and a table lampshade which I will cover with the last of the spotty fabric.

The fabrics work well together and stop it looking too much the same.

I have removed the blind and packed the whole lot up in a dust sheet to keep it clean. It will probably be another 18 months before I actually get to put them out in the room. I have had a fantastic time making these interior accessories and now my attention will turn to making for another room. I am pleased I have accomplished one of my 2019 resolutions - two more blinds to go.

Jo xxxx

Saturday 27 April 2019


After a wonderful Easter holiday break we finished the two weeks off with a visit to Wonderwool, a yarn show at Builth Wells in Wales. The weather was awful today, too windy for us to spend a day on a building site, so we headed off on the train for a day out...

An amazing poppy display.

Friendly sheep.

Teeswater sheep showing off their coats.

Three adorable kid goats.

Inspiring crochet by Janie Crow. I bought a shawl pattern.

Pops of quilting and felt colour...

...on a huge scale.

Toft cuties.

A little skein winding on the one and a half hour train ride home. She is good to me, that one.

Some light purchasing: a large 4ply bundle, sock yarn in 4ply and DK and three macrame kits.

That should see me through the year I reckon. 

We had a fab time! Thanks for dropping in. 
Jo xxx

Wednesday 24 April 2019

Getting There

We are on our own now. The builders have gone from our new build and we are trying to do as much as we can ourselves before we call them back at the end of the year with a list of things that we thought we could do but will have eventually found out we can't! Who knows what that list will be.

I couldn't bring myself to have the next picture as the one that came up on the blog feed so I took this at the farm over Easter weekend.

We didn't have a stairs and now we have.

We didn't have any doors and now we have.

All of those parquet blocks are laid. It is covered now to protect it and only the builders and I know what it looks like underneath as well as this little sneak peek here.

We didn't have heating and now we have. You may have guessed it is underfloor heating so everyone is now lying on the floor. This photo included the dog, Bruce, before he passed away at the end of March but it is a happy memory for us.

We had scaffolding and now we haven't.

We are building a kitchen together.

We have some light fittings but no permanent electric.

We had a yard full of my long passed family's rubbish which we dragged out of farm sheds and now we haven't.

We collected 4.5 tonnes of scrap metal!!!!!!! which then paid for two other skips for builders rubbish(and a pom pom magazine subscription).

Areas of carnage are now restored to some order. This is a log store but no room for logs!

Things are getting there. Over Easter weekend bloke fitted a working toilet in the cloakroom. It is hard but every weekend someone gives us a hand (you know who you all are) and we are another step closer. Hope you have enjoyed a little update;messy but productive I like to think. Jo xxx

Sunday 21 April 2019

Seam Allowance Memory Loss

My postage stamp quilt deserved some attention. I made 4 blocks in December 2018 and have done a lot of cutting out since. I made another block in March but because of the sewing break in the project, the last one came up a bit small. My seam allowances were not the same as the previous ones it turned out.

I follow a blog called stitched in Colour and she calls little scraps of fabric which you can cut these squares 'crumbs' which I really like. I have a lot of crumbs.

To remedy this, I purchased a 1/4" seam foot. I had a quiet Easter Holiday morning and decided to relax and sew a few blocks. This time my two blocks came up bigger than the originals but at least they were the same size. I have decided to jettison the first four (they will probably turn into cushions) and stick with the ones I have now. At least I can be sure that if I use the 1/4" foot, even if I have breaks between blocks, they will always be the same.

Seriously, why did I think I could remember seam allowances within my memory amongst the many other projects I have going on? It is just not possible. Anyway, breathe, and sew relaxing mini squares together...that is where I am now.

Back to square one, or four to be precise! Jo xxxx

Tuesday 16 April 2019

My Very Own

It has been a long time since I have posted a sewing project that I have truly enjoyed and got stuck into(apart from Meg's hoodie). My sewing machine has been broken since the start of March so I have been plodding on by using either Heidi's simple machine or by borrowing a friends while she was on holiday. Add that to the fact that I have moved all of my sewing stuff to another room and it makes for quite disjointed sewing moments. 

This blouse was from the Sewing Bee book Series 3. My friend and I swapped books for a few months and this is what I chose to make.

I chose this fabric all on my very own - and paid for it - which is rare for me when I am usually either sponsored fabric or given fabric by other people who do not want it anymore. I made a pair of marigold trousers last year and this blouse is made from the fabric I had left over. 

I thought the drape of the fabric would be ideal for this sleeveless collared blouse.

I took about 7cm off the length but fit-wise, I think I could have taken 2cm off each shoulder to give a more flattering shape.The collar is not interfaced because it is supposed to be soft but I think I would use a lightweight one next time to avoid it collapsing on the collar roll so much. Luckily, because of the drape of the fabric it looks fine.

The collar and the sleeves are finished with bias binding but I didn't fancy messing about making my own out of the fabric scraps (not without my regular machine anyway) so I used a ready made one I had in my cupboard. 

The collar is large but I like it when worn with a cardigan because  it shows the shape of the collars off well.

This pattern is definitely worth another visit when I have some more left overs to use up. I enjoyed wearing it today because it is so effortless to wear with jeans and a cardy. 

Have a good week. Jo xxxx

Thursday 11 April 2019


Dancing - for a local charity in town which has a Big Busk of local performers all collecting for vulnerable and homeless people in the community. I am in a Tribal Belly dance group and I must say, it is as much fun as it looks!

Making - A new shell top from the most wonderful Michael Millar fabric

Getting - The keys for our new house once the doors were fitted. I made up a couple of key rings from four spare crochet squares I had left over from a baby blanket.

Eating - We dug out our fondue set. The children absolutely loved it!

Building - Starting to assemble our kitchen units. Sooooo many little pieces. I labelled each pile meticulously.

Wearing - Still wearing Dickies trousers most non work days!

Feeling - heartbroken that our dog Bruce had a seizure and had to be put down at the end of March. Our girls were devastated, they loved him to bits. I had grown to like him too, we had done all the hard puppy work and he had just become the dog we wanted him to be. He was only just two, it was too soon for him to go. There is a huge hole left in our family. I never knew this was what losing a pet felt like.

Buying - A subscription to Pom Pom magazine to cheer myself up.

Loving - That our girls built an impromptu table from flat packed kitchen packaging and set out a picnic while we carried on working.

Avoiding - Cleaning the cooker and grill...again!

Thinking - About a big idea to change how we live in our current three story house. Room changes, furniture moving and major de-cluttering is on my mind. The lounge is now a guest room and the contents of my sewing cupboard is alarming when all out on the spare bed but all is fine because it is about to move to its new home in the office...

Disliking - Disturbing all of our rubbish behind the sofa, under the beds and inside the cupboards.

Enjoying - A little Easter decor for our kitchen window

Sewing - A quick T-shirt from a £4 remnant of fabric on my overlocker and loving this sleeve length.

Fixing - So much broken stuff. Our house seems to be full of it at the moment.

 Deciding - Finally to take my sewing machine to the professionals. I have replaced all of the footplate parts which I damaged sewing with rubber swimwear elastic on a swimsuit toile about a month ago but no joy - off to the menders. More sewing will be done on Heidi's simple Necchi machine like the T-shirt because I simply can't live without sewing, it is not humanly possible for me.

Looking - Forward to happier times in April.