Once you choose hope, anything is possible.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Another Stitchers Guild update and Household sewing: ivory cushions

First up another update on Stitchers Guild from the PR thread for those who are not members there.
DragonLady wrote on 18th Jan.
Hello again, everyone :)

I'm just posting to let you know SG is still being worked on.

The forum actually works now; but the database it's connected to is from November. We've been trying to get the recent backups installed, but as the files are huge it's a long and laborious process.

I want to reassure everyone this is not a hacking issue, nor is it a financial one. All websites -all of them- go down occasionally. Larger sites often straddle several machines or have mirror sites that take over when one machine goes down. But SG only sits on one server, and so when it hiccups everyone feels it. When something goes catastrophically wrong, we all just have to wait for the engineers and web elves to fix it.

In the meantime, I'm unable to send or receive email, and unable to post any messages on the server because it will just contribute to the ongoing issues.

But I promise no one has abandoned the effort, and that we're all working together to make sure we do everything we can to get back up-to-date if at all possible.

Although some SG members are now posting more on PR, I'm not one of them although I am a member there. I've gained extra workload at work and thought it would be sensible to get back into sewing again, so I've not spent lots of time on PR.

Back in November I had some chairs I was going to change to fit more with my colour scheme.
These will go in the conservatory with an old Ikea kitchen table.

Original Post about the chairs

I didn't have enough of anything a suitable colour in my large fabric stash. (I wanted an ivory colour that toned with my other chairs in case I did something where I extended the large table and used all the chairs together).

So I went along to the local roll end shop and bought I think 3m of a slightly stretchy cream home dec fabric.

Original post about the home dec fabric

Then I painted the chair frames with 3 or 4 coats of vanilla radiator enamel left over from several houses ago. It needed a lot of stirring and was a bit thin hence all the coats but it did cover over the grey metal eventually.

Then I just had to park any further work, so I put the painted chair frames in the garage out of the way and decorated the conservatory for Christmas.

Now I've just started to work on them.

I made a template for the front of the back rest, the back of the back rest and for the seat out of newspaper and used these to cut the pieces out of fabric. These newspaper patterns are very rough and ready, not symmetrical etc, however they helped me use the fabric economically and whilst fitting to the actual pieces is still needed, there is less excess fabric in the way.
I cut these out first so I then knew how much fabric I would have to make covers for other cushions to co-ordinate in the conservatory.So far I have made matching ones for the back and seat of the wicker chair I have in the conservatory as this makes it more comfortable, and have some left over for a foam seat pad on a storage box and maybe some small side cushions as well.
This just uses soft squishy cushions, with inners that are homemade from a sheeting remnant in a neutral tone, filled with pillow wadding and a simple wrap style closure. I realise that I could have cut foam to fit, made more fitted covers with zipper closures etc, but this is super comfy and the square cushions can be used on the sofa or elsewhere instead when wanted. Plus it only took one evening to make. I quite like the relaxed vibe the oversized cushions give. It seems quite inviting to me in a way tailored cushions don't.

I'll share again when I've done some more sewing.
And after this I have lots of curtains to shorten. I dislike shortening curtains, but I also dislike them hanging over the radiators or crunched onto the windowsill so I WILL get round to shortening them very soon!

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Stitchers Guild Down and Other things

I love the Stitchers Guild sewing discussion board.
It has been down for a few days now, I'm not sure what the issue is, I just read something on Pattern Review where DragonLady posted yesterday saying

"Lo everyone!

I'm just popping in to let everyone know that SG is being worked on.

Please be patient, as this is happening over a holiday weekend, and everything takes time -and patience.

But I promise the hosts and I are working together to resolve the issues to bring us back online ASAP."

I've not been posting much as not had much to share really.
After Christmas/New Year was over I packed up all the holiday decorations and then got the urge to change things round a bit, so moved furniture about, changed curtains etc. This isn't finished yet but has made some progress.

I've now lost 16.5lbs so had a first go through office suitable clothes, got rid of some things I never wear, tried lots of things on and worked out what some possible outfits could be for work. A whole load of things have gone into the sewing room for repairs or minor alterations.

Whilst shopping for other items I noticed this unit which has cute button effect drawer pulls (from a bathroom storage range) and am trying to work out if there is somewhere it could go in the sewing room.
It is H63cm x W26cm x D32cm which I have measured would definitely fit underneath the table so I think I shall give myself permission to go back and get it.
(I'm trying to be a bit more concious with my shopping and really think about whether I would use something).

Monday, 2 January 2017

Cream Raglan Top plus some hemming

Here's a new version of the raglan tee (based on the Santa Monica tee) which I made in black for SWAP and several prints as tests, I have been wearing them all.
In the SWAP plan I have an cream eyelet blouse and that may yet get sewn, however I decided to sew up this cream coloured tee as I wanted to do some other cream/ivory things and can use it in the SWAP if necessary. Otherwise it will be a great basic in my work wardrobe.
I did originally cut a wider neckband but it looked dreadful so I unpicked it and cut the band down to the usual width and reattached it. I had only sewn the initial stitching on the normal sewing machine, not the overlocker so although it was a little fiddly it was not as bad as unpicking overlocking!

Whilst I had cream on the coverhem I also shortened two overly long RTW items.
I also turned a dress I sewed in 2010 into a top. The weight of the skirt had caused it to drop and it wasn't flattering to wear, however I thought it would get worn as a top, so hemmed this also on the coverhem machine.
I can see it with brown trousers and a camel jacket for work.
This was the original dress from 2010

I'm going to try and do some mending/alteration type work alongside the other things I want to sew to get these little jobs done too.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

New Year Thoughts

Happy New Year.

I know some sewists like to go back over all the things they have made this past year but I think I'd rather mostly look forwards, so here's just a few thoughts.
From memory I did SWAP again, a red collection and started a green collection, made lots of charity craft things and a few items for other people. I managed to post on the blog every day in November. A few projects went wrong as they do.

DBF and I had an amazing holiday in San Diego and Mexico at Easter where I actually got to touch a whale in the wild - an amazing trip.

Work was relatively demanding and will continue to be so, however it is interesting and helps me in my financial goals.

I lost some weight in 2016 and am continuing the healthy eating journey in 2017. I haven't really got started with the exercise yet and need to do that as a desk job and a sedentary hobby like sewing are not a good combination health wise.

I want to have another round of decluttering/sorting/tidying with the main areas being
- sewing room  - fabric, patterns and other craft resources
- dealing with paperwork
- another go through the wardrobe and books
(I have a donation bag started and want to add more to it)
- use up toiletries/throw away out of date medication and food
(medication goes to the pharmacy for safe disposal)

 Maybe I'll have a different challenge for myself each month so it doesn't get overwhelming.

My Sewing Goals are
to sew trousers which fit reasonably well (ie as well as my favourite rtw),
complete the SWAP (including 4 pairs of the aforementioned trousers) and hopefully two woven shirts
make at least one thing for someone else (unselfish sewing)
sew and craft lots of items for my charity craft stall
make a few home dec things
but mostly to enjoy sewing

My overall goal is that I want to have balance in my life - spend time with DBF, friends and family, work hard at my job, look after my health and enjoy my home, hobbies and holidays and also give something back.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Burda 12/2016 #134 "Whale" Stuffed Animal

Christmas prep seems relatively under control so I decided to have a go at the Burda Whale for whale mad dbf, as a sort of crazy cushion for the sofa.

I absolutely love the result, though the embroidered eyes would have been easier done on the flat.
I used a dark grey ponte for the top, lighter grey jersey for the bottom and thick black embroidery thread for the eyes. He's now been tucked up and wrapped ready for Christmas Day.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Christmas Stocking

I made a Christmas stocking for the child of some friends.
Its based on the standard Adult Christmas Stocking from FleeceFun.com
I've added the name in red cord, this is done freehand so is a little uneven, but hopefully has character.
The base is dark green wool felt, very heavy from stash, the trim is red polyester felt from Hobbycraft (nothing like the wool felt sadly) and the red cord used for the lettering is also from Hobbycraft.

Hope the family enjoy it. I'm pretty sure they don't know my blog exists so won't be reading it so thought you could see this before Christmas! Enjoy.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Christmas Prep

I have some more creative things done by other people to share with you at some point when there is time to write a post.
I have shared before the handmade item which has the most daily impact in my home, which is this wonderful quilt which takes up most of the wall. This was made by my very artistic, creative and talented Auntie Joy.
You can read a bit more about it here.
It brings me joy every day and sometimes I sit in the chair opposite so I can look at it :-)

I am working full time right up to Christmas trying to buy gifts online or in my lunch break. I'm also trying to decorate the house and generally tidy up for guests. This is all going moderately well, but is impacting blogging and more importantly sewing.

I want to make a Christmas stocking as a gift for some friends for their new baby.... but have not quite got to it yet. They are not local so I need to crack on with that. They don't read the blog though so I will try to take a quick snap before I send it off.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Creative People - Emma's Cross Stitch Tech Support Cats

This beautifully detailed cross stitch picture was made for me as a gift by Emma quite a few years ago, this was also from the time when I had my lovely black cat and as you can probably guess a job in IT Tech Support. For a while I had this on my desk at work, but these days it is in my study at home amusing me.
As my photo has a flash issue I include a photo I found of the kit.
On the computer screen it says
- Program error
- Call for help
- You've got a real problem
- Restart
The books on the right are called "A Tale of Two Kittens" and "Of Mice and Men"

What makes me laugh too is a memory of those old computer monitors, remember those enormous things which took up half the desk before we got flat screens?
My cat liked to sit on my home PC monitor because it was warm and she got to sit with me. And when she wanted me to feed her, she would hang her long and very fluffy tail over the screen so I couldn't see, and then would get up and feed her! A clever cat.

Friday, 9 December 2016

The elastic box

I have several large shoeboxes which I use for notions storage.
It is a bit haphazard and I tend to just throw things of the right type into the appropriate box without being very tidy. In the case of zips this is not a huge problem, but the box of stretch lace and elastic was a tangled mess.
So I spent some time one evening untangling it all and winding or folding it up fairly neatly. Any short lengths were put in a zip lock bag.
Then I repurposed a too short (and too glitzy) elastic belt with a longer pice of plain black elastic.
These elastic belts with flat fastenings are great to hold trousers up when you like to wear tops untucked as they create less of a bump than a traditional belt with a buckle.

The scraps of elastic got saved for the next time....

Thursday, 8 December 2016

SWAP 2017 - 'Early Bird' Black Raglan Knit Top

After all the practice raglan sleeve tees I was happy to go ahead and make a plain black one.
It is a great showcase for an interesting necklace
I have some fabric left over so maybe another version will feature lace somehow. But the basic will be useful in my wardrobe.
It is lovely soft fabric that will be pleasant to wear.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Creative People - Jane's Cross Stitched Christmas Card

I received this Christmas Card many years ago from my friend Jane. I kept it and get it out every year. This year it is up on the mantlepiece in my current home.
At that time we each owned a cat, and mine was black. We have both since moved and don't get to see each other, and the lovely black cat is no longer with us. I love the card because of the happy memories of the friendship and also because I appreciate the artistry and time put into this little gem by a lady who was pretty busy, but made time for me.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Creative People - Dad's wine

I am very blessed to have lots of creative people in my life.

Whilst my father can handle a sewing machine (and used one to make sleeping bags, tents, various storage bags for equipment etc), used to do his own black and white photography with darkroom development, experimented on tomato varieties in his greenhouse and decided to do a second degree after retiring to keep his brain working.... I am not sharing any of those things.

This is some of Dad's wine, a white on the left and a red on the right. They are leaning up against a fishbowl full of all the corks I have collected over the last 5 and a half years (many of them from Dad's wine).

Dad uses kits of grape juice concentrate which can be bought online and likes to get empty bottles which he will then exchange for full ones. This is a very happy arrangement.
Like any craft it needs materials and equipments and he has gradually got extra bits of kit to improve his output

Any suggestions on what I could do with the corks? I have seen a few craft projects which looked fun. In the meantime I keep the bowl of corks on the bookcase and throw any new ones in there when I open a bottle. Eventually I will have enough for a noticeboard for the kitchen or a funky Christmas decoration!

Monday, 5 December 2016

Thank you and feeling everything is half way done.

Thank you for all the kind comments on my new tops. Very much appreciated.
All of the tops have been worn in real life, including the black with sparkles which was worn to a choir event on Sunday. I wore a purchased black cardigan on top, and the standard red choir scarf at the neck, so not much of it showed, though I still got one comment from another lady 'oh I like your top', to which I was able to reply 'thank you I made it'.

We seem to be in that stage at the moment where many things are started but not finished which can wear you down a bit but I will get there.

The black knit top is cut out and construction started but it is in the sewing room waiting for me to have some time to work on it.
DBF and I have planned the Christmas menus but we've not started buying any of the food yet.
I've bought some Christmas presents but not wrapped them, and some presents still need to be bought.
I've made Christmas cards and got stamps but not actually written or sent any yet.
DBF and I got the Christmas decorations out of the loft and they are sitting in the study waiting for me to decorate.
We moved the old fridge temporarily into the conservatory and the new one is on order but has not yet arrived.
I have changed my diet and have managed to lose some weight but am not yet to goal (this will be a long one)

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Raglan Sleeve Tees being worn

Here I am wearing them.
New Look Grey
Then the test of the Santa Monica Tee in a wild print.
Black and white print
and black sparkle

All the last three the sleeves are a bit long, but they are all viscose (rayon) so may shrink.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

 Another great post from Imogen Lamport at Inside Out Style (I love her advice).


I have not used diagonals very much in my sewing, except maybe some wrap/cross over type tops. I did try an angled hem on a top but never wear it. Though that may be more the print than anything else.

Have you incorporated diagonal lines into your sewing and how did that work?