Saturday, 28 September 2013

A change of plans

Hello Everyone how are you all today?  It has been a wonderfully sunny day here in North Wales, UK.  I hope you all have similar weather and were able to get out and about.  Do come in and make yourself comfortable while I pop the kettle on.  Would you like some cake?
I had plans for this weekend but fate was waiting once again and I had to change everything.  I was all prepared to go to Yarndale in Yorkshire this morning and had planned to set out very early and spend a glorious day there.  However there were difficulties here and I had to change my plans and stay home.  It couldn't be helped and I was so disappointed by we have to live with these things and get on with life.  I was thinking of going tomorrow but this won't be possible either so I will have to wait another year before going - never mind, in the big scheme of life missing an event is a really small thing anyway.  I do hope you all had a wonderful day and enjoyed yourselves. 
However lovely Readers I haven't been idle but made myself busy today with some sewing and making plans for projects that I need to start for Christmas and those WIP which are all waiting to be finished.
Firstly I set to work on a small cushion using some felt and simple embroidery and I mean simple lovely Folks.  I am keen to get started on some embroidery as I have been reading the wonderful tutorials and sewalongs and am so keen to have a go.  However, I am not that disciplined enough as I try to do too many things at one - something I have to pay attention to.  Anyway this was the picture I was going to work to - an autumn theme.  Sue from Liberty Bell kindly let me copy this one in preparation for the cushion.  Apologies about the shadow on this photograph, don't know what happened here!
I cut out out all the separate pieces onto freezer paper and then cut them out in the felt and wool cloth - enjoyed doing this, rather like playing as a child.  I fiddled around the with landscape and here is the greenery ready to take the house and tree.
I made a bit of a mess of the house as I forgot to cut out the black roof and then found that I had run out of the black felt!  I had to fiddle with the pieces and stick the chimney at the back but hopefully once it is sewn it won't look too bad.

I think the house looks as if it is slipping down the hill - oh dear!
I was getting a bit tired by now with all this concentrating so did a bit of housework and tidied around, marked a couple of assignments for the students and then returned to something I had started on Friday evening. 
I had some fabric and lining left over from the little dress I have nearly finished.  Remember it is the one with the nightmare buttonholes!  I still have to take the hem up and then it is done.  I wanted to make a small bag to go with it and cut this one out randomly and hoped that it all fitted together.  I hope it doesn't look too twee with the dress?  What do you think lovely Folks?
The lining went in well - I always like to finish a bag off with a good lining, it makes such a difference.
Well I was on a roll then and cut out a fabric box from some Christmas fabric which I bought last year and which was lying very forlornly at the back of the cupboard.  I love the sparkly one, do you?
Rachel had showed me how to make one this week at sewing class so I had a go at one today.  It came out really well and I am thinking of making quite a few of these to put gifts in for Christmas.  I think it will add a nice crafty touch.   This one is the small size and would hold quite a bit so three nesting ones would be rather lovely I think.
Here it is, finished and didn't take too long either - wonderful!
Now today I had to pop out to Chester for a short while for some shopping.  I stopped off at one of the charity shops which I haven't visited before and found some nice little bargains which pleased me so much.  Couldn't  believe that this Boden top was so cheap and in such good condition.  I want to make a bag out of this, love the colours and patterns on it.  Gorgeous.
I look at Boden all the time and have a few things myself (usually from the sale) but cannot remember this one at all.  Anyone know how old it is?  It is hard to find anything which is pure wool now as I am sure they are all snapped up by crafters!
I also found this lovely pink bag.  Pink is very much the in colour this year and this was nicely knitted with a sumptuous lining and pockets. It really looks as if it has never been used.  I love the handles and the pattern.
I originally bought it for the handles but on getting it home and having a closer look it is too nice to cut up.  Do you like it?
There were also some pretty pieces of fabric for £1 each which I bought to use for applique.  Loved the flowers on this piece, so blowsy and bright.  I can't wait to cut them out and use them on something - maybe a cushion cover?
I couldn't resist this one - it is so cute.  Will have lots of fun cutting these figures out to make something for the children - any ideas anyone?
Well lovely Folks, it has been a disappointing weekend again, but responsibilities here mean that I had to change plans.  I am pleased that I have filled the day with lots of little projects and some nice finds so all is not lost.  I hope your day went really well. Please leave any comments you have as it is so lovely to hear from you all.  Have a great day or night tomorrow depending on where you are in the world.  I will hopefully speak to you all very soon.  Lots of love as always, Dorothy :-)xxxxxxx

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Look what I found!

Hello Everyone do come in and make yourself at home.  I feel as if we haven't spoken for absolutely ages.  I'll just pop the kettle on - do have some cake.  It has been a full and tiring week so far with lots to do and very little time.  This seems to be a constant theme with me so I am really sorry Folks as you must get exasperated with me!  I certainly do.  I started off the weekend planning lots of posts and making time to do loads of crafty things.  I have been inspired by all the wonderful posts I have read this week - I usually do my reading either very early in the morning before work or late at night when everything is finished for the day.  Either way your fabulous blogs keep me going - I hope you have all had a wondrous week so far.
My first piece of news is about the print making course which I had recently started.  Fate seems to have dealt a hand here Everyone as changes in my work schedule means that I have had to postpone the course until next year sometime.  I felt quite sad about it even though I was bemoaning the fact that I felt inadequate doing it, maybe someone somewhere is trying to tell me something.  Any how this is on hold for a little while so onwards and upwards.  Unfortunately it doesn't leave me any more time to be doing what I love doing - making things so on that front everything is the same.
Well to work - today one of my favourite magazines dropped through the letter box on my way to work - couldn't wait to get home tonight to have a quick look - have you got yours yet?  Mollie Makes always fills me with glee as it is so bright and brimming with lots of ideas. 
I love this lampshade and cushion by the wonderful Jane Foster.  I was dreaming of creating something like this in print making but am sad to say that I am a long way off this just yet.
I loved this idea of creating a little garden in a cup - what a super little gift it would make this Christmas.
When I got home this evening my husband asked me to go into the loft to find some papers - he cannot get up there anymore so I have to climb up.  It is a very risky place to me as there are various standing points and I am always terrified of falling through a ceiling.  However needs must so I hauled myself very unglamorously Folks into it.  He said that the papers were in a box at the far end - usually a place I don't venture into very often.  I managed to creep into the corner and found the box - yippee I haven't fallen through anything.  As I was about to make my way back I noticed a large old bag that I used to store things in years ago.  I had forgotten all about it and it must have been up here for eternity.  I dragged it out and had a quick look inside but all I could see what other packages.  Best to get out of here I thought and dragged the bag out with me.  Once on firm ground again I sat down on the floor and unpacked it.  Well Folks it was a real blast from the past and proved to me how long I have been trying to learn to sew.
First of all I unwrapped a parcel from Scotland - you lovely Scottish Folks might know where this shop is.  I have had a quick look on the internet tonight but couldn't find it.  I can remember speaking to a lovely lady called Margaret when I ordered these treasures but can't recall how I found the shop - it must have been in a magazine somewhere. 
Here is the date on the parcel - look at it.  Where has the time gone?
The lovely Margaret had put a little note in the parcel for me.  I wish I still had the catalogue she mentions.  She had also kindly put in some extras for me.  I wonder where Margaret is now, I would feel a little embarrassed to say that all the lovely hexagons she had taken time to cut were still waiting to be made into something.
Here they all are Folks, all 500 plus more of them.  Some of them are parts of packs which I bought from Laura Ashley - these came in small packs of either squares or hexagons.  I was mad about Laura Ashley at the time and had a few of her flowery dresses, I loved them.  I couldn't really afford them at the time so would save up and get one for my birthday and one for Christmas.  Fortunately there are no photographs of me in one of them as I am sure I would be quite a picture and not a pretty one!
Below are the plastic templates I used which I bought from Margaret as well, together with some of the papers to be stitched inside each one.  All these belong to another place in time, another me.  I longed to be able to sew at the time but didn't have a sewing machine and had no idea of how to use one anyway so hand sewing seemed to be the answer.
Inside another bag there were more wonders.  Firstly this little patchwork book which I can remember buying in a shop in North Wales.  It had some lovely things in it but I can remember that I was desperate to get going and chose one of the biggest projects in the book.  Always been biting off more than I can chew lovely Folks - as you can see I haven't changed much.

This was my chosen project - just a couple of nights work - or so I thought - nearly 20 years on!


In another bag here are the pieces I had made - not much to show though.  These are all the Laura Ashley pieces which would be called vintage now.



Well lovely Folks what do you think?  Some of them look a little grubby and need a good wash.  I lived in a different place then in an old cottage which had coal fires and a coal burning Aga - a real old one from the late 1940s which I loved but which smoked like mad.  I would sit on the rocking chair next to the Aga and sew these little wonders - what a lovely picture................
Another little find in the bag were these two old magazines.  I must have bought them as I know I was interested in trying to knit up patterns from the 1940s.  Some of the articles are really amusing now but what a difference between these and our magazines now.  We must remember though that it was at the start of World War 2 and so there were paper shortages.  No Kindle or iPads then.
Now I know where I have been going wrong with my dieting - I should have been taking bile beans - anyone got any to spare?
The fashions are just fab especially when I remember that clothes were rationed and people had to really make do and mend then.  Up- cycling then was not a fad or fashion but a way of life.  
These pretty dresses would suit the modern girls of today.  Just lovely - look at the price of the pattern which is the old 9p which is less than the 5p we have today.
Every era has their Agony Aunt - mothers had a lot more control over their daughters then!
Well lovely Folks that is all for tonight.  I am thinking about how I am going to use the lovely finds from the loft.  It was worth the hike up there and I am a firm believer in kismet - I was meant to find them now.  I have been toying with the idea of making a lap quilt so maybe this is my time to do it.  What do you think?  I also wanted to ask if any of you know where I can get a very basic pattern for some little nighties for my lovelies?  They hate wearing pyjamas and insist on nightgowns so I would love having a go at making some.  If you have any ideas I would be so grateful.
Well I have to love you all and leave you now as I have a little preparation for do for tomorrow.  I had hoped to do some sewing tonight but again time has run out.  I hope you are all well and happy.  I do love talking with you all and hope you can leave a message as I love to read your comments.  I am thinking seriously about a camera as I am getting more and more unhappy with the photographs I am taking.  I hope to speak to you all very soon.  Have a wonderful day or night tomorrow depending on where you all are in our beautiful world.  Lots of love as always, Dorothy :-)xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Now, what was in that bag?..........

Welcome back Everyone, how are you all.  Do come in and make yourself at home while I pop the kettle on and bring in some cakes for us all.  It is so lovely to see you again and I do hope you have had a wonderful day or night depending on where you are in our gorgeous world.    
After yesterday's excitement meeting the lovely Sophie Tilley I had a bit of a mundane day tiding the house, shopping and catching up with marking that needs to be done before Monday comes around again!  I meant to tell you all that I am the older one in the photograph with the red top and red glasses whilst the lovely lady next to me is Sophie. 

The weekend just flies doesn't it.  I adore a Friday evening when I have the whole of the weekend ahead of me and I am planning what I am going to do - sometimes, sadly, that does entail housework and shopping so not always a thrilling prospect.  I can't complain though as I had a wonderful Friday afternoon and evening.  I forgot to say yesterday that before calling in on Sophie we had stopped off for some lunch and I had time to nip into the charity shop in the town.  I found this little sweetie.  Although the box was a little tatty it was priced £1 which was amazing as all the kit was intact.  What I found a little sad when I unwrapped it was that the gift tag was still in it. I hope that I can now make the little doll and give it a good home.  What do you think Folks?
On our way home from Sophie's we stopped at Llandudno which is a seaside resort in North Wales.  We didn't realise it at the time but they were preparing to show the film Jaws on an outside screen on the prom which would have been interesting as it was quite windy and a bit on the chilly side!  We spotted a very famous lady whilst we were there and even had the pleasure of seeing her being dressed as well.  Wonder if you recognise her?  Apologies to all my lovely overseas Folk you may not know who she is - or was to be precise. 

Yes it is Queen Victoria herself paying a visit to the lovely Llandudno.  Love her dress, very grand.   Here she is with her lady-in-waiting which all honourable ladies had at that time. 

Although it was quite a chilly night I did go for a brisk walk along the beach front which was so exhilarating - I adore being by the sea lovely Folks and my dream home would be one overlooking the sea.  I think the seascape is just fabulous as it is always changing and vibrant - just like all of you.

Now the big question?  What was in my blue shopping bag?

Well I had to buy some goodies from Sophie didn't I?  There was so much to look at and buy lovely Folks I could have spent a fortune there as it was all so tempting.    First I had to get some more kits for my little sweeties as they will adore Sophie's dolls.  I have more in mind but don't want to overload my poor husband with all these requests.  However, he did go out today to buy more paints so that is a good sign.  Honestly I think he enjoyed doing it and he has lots of plans of how each doll is going to look which is exciting.

I also bought two beautiful books for the girls.  Sophie has a new book coming out very soon which would make a truly wonderful gift for any lucky little girl.  Her newest publication comes with a book, a tutu and a gorgeous little headdress - any little girl would be over the moon to have this as a gift.  It would be perfect for Christmas.

Sophie was kind enough to put some personal messages in for the girls which was so sweet - makes the books even more special.

I had to have these cute little badges, look at the super little label with Sophie's name on.  This was such a nice little touch.  I am going to use these with the girls as they will love them.  Badges are always perfect on bags and dresses for the little ones.

Sophie also kindly gave me this cute little card and envelope. Aren't these lovelies just adorable?  I think I am getting addicted to my Sophie dollies. 

Now my Lovelies I also bought these beautiful bobbins for a special reason.  In November my blog will be six months old.  I can't believe how much I have loved doing it and how many wonderful people are out there in Blogland.  The bobbins will form part of  special giveaways to say thank you to all of you out there who have supported and encouraged me throughout.  Sophie has agreed to pull out the two winners for us which will be so special.  My lovely husband has agreed to paint them for me so they will both become very individual and hopefully the winners will be pleased with them.  Keep watching my blog for more details, it won't be long to November.

The lovely Sophie kindly gave us a pot of paint as we were struggling to find this colour. 

Now lovely Folks I need to tell you about the disaster with my latest project.  Remember that I had bought this lovely Liberty Babycord fabric from Rachel in my sewing class for £5.  I also had some brown silky fabric which I had managed to buy as a remnant from the Treacle Fair for £1.  I used this when I was making the cushion and bag last week for the birthday gift if you remember.  Anyway I had cut out my dress using a clothkits dress which I used as a pattern.  It was all going swimmingly well or so I thought.  If you remember the last time I spoke about the dress I had said that I was going to leave the buttonholes until I went to my sewing class on Wednesday.
Well Everyone I got to class and sewed up the sides and put the pocket on which looked really sweet.

I had chosen these little buttons as I thought they were fun and went well with the pattern.  Onwards and upwards I thought.  Rachel gave me a little tutorial to refresh my memory about buttons and away I went after a practise run.

Well Folks I put the first one in - disaster it was all wrong.  Took it out and tried again and again and again.  I managed to get one done before the end of the class (which is 2 hours long!) and went home quite despondent.  Rachel suggested that I leave it until next week but did I   I went home and sat up until after 2am trying to get it right, again and again.  I finally gave up after trying to perfect the skill after the eighth try.  I was afraid that I was starting to degrade the fabric as I was having to unpick each one.  I finally admitted defeat and went to bed.

The following night I had one more go but it wasn't going to work for me so I had to revert to plan B.  I had found this vintage lace in my cupboard which I bought last year in Liverpool.  I just loved the look of it and am so glad I bought it.  I decided to put a lace collar on the dress as they are very in at the moment.
I also sewed the lace part way down the back panel and decided to add the buttons and use..........I hate to admit studs.  I didn't want to but I knew that if I carried on two things might happen.  Firstly I might give up the dress altogether which would be a shame or I would eventually end up ripping the fabric which would have been a disaster.  I would love to hear what you think lovely Folks.  I think sometimes we have to admit that something is not going to work and try something else.  I hope Rachel will understand, am sure she will as she is such a kind teacher.
Below is a photograph of the dress back - you can see the doomed buttonholes which I now need to unpick.  The lace has nicely hidden the mess I made on the fabric but hopefully it won't be so noticeable.

Here is the dress as it stands - I have to take up the hem, unpick the dreaded buttonholes and sew up the two lower back panels and it will be all done and dusted.  I have enough fabric and lining to make up a little shoulder bag which I intend to do.  I am just hoping that one of the girls will like it enough to want to wear it.  Any feedback or suggestions from you lovely Folks would be appreciated.  I think I have to practise more maybe just working on one buttonhole projects for a while to get my confidence up.


Well my Lovelies I have to leave you now as I have more work related stuff to do tonight before bed.  It has been so great to see you all.  Do leave a comment if you can and take care of yourselves.  I will keep you  up to date with the giveaways and hope you will all take part.  Have a fabulous day or night tomorrow and speak again very soon.  Lots of love as always, Dorothy :-)xxxxxxxxxxxxx