Sunday, 28 September 2014

Under All The Mess

I dug deep this weekend. Deep into the shameful state of my sewing space. I have always been clear about not being a great housekeeper, but I have my limits and when your sewing mojo is lower than low it is hard to try and motivate yourself to do it anyway when you can barely find a spare inch of space to get on with it.

So I went to Ikea on Friday, to get some things to finish of Helen's bedroom, but to sneak in a few things for me too.

I bought the bookcase and the blue and white storage boxes. The bookcase was only £15. It will sit in that doorway quite nicely. While it may seem a strange place to put a bookcase you would have to see this house to understand. The architect who designed it never gave much thought to actually living in it. The sitting room is on the other side of that door. In the sitting room every wall has something major in the middle of it - doors, fireplace or large window. The placement of furniture is hugely curtailed by this. I finely gave up trying to work around it and placed the sofa right across the doorway on the other side of these shelves. This door, therefore, is not used.

To the left of the new shelves is my sewing desk, that himself made me. It is 'L' shaped and big. I love it. So I cleared most of the stuff off it to turn it back into a useful space. At the far end of the desk is my fabric storage. 95% of the fabric I own is stuffed into these drawers in a good semblance of order. It is a system that works very well for me. I know where to look for stuff. I can pull out a drawer, or two, get the fabric I want, cut it and put it back without any bother at all.

Which would bring into question why I have that big pile of fabric and scraps sitting at the end of my desk waiting to be sorted back into its appropriate drawers. In my defence, some of it has never made it to a drawer before, and...     well, actually there is no other defence. It needs putting away, full stop. On my cutting mat is an assortment of HSTs that are left over trimmings from various projects. I want to square those off and use them. Squaring them off and sorting them according to size would be a good step in the right direction.

On the right hand side of my desk is my new desk tidy which I love. Two deep pockets for pens, Sharpies on the left and everything else on the right. A shallow bit for spare needles, spare rotary blades, needle threaders, etc. Two small drawers in which I currently have epp papers and stuff. It is so nice to have somewhere to pop these little items rather than digging around a mess of a desk and wondering where the hell I left something the last time I used it.

The shelves are still being filled. On the floor below the bottom shelf are magazines and my freezer paper. Above the Go! Baby and spare - of which I am having a wee dilemma. One of those cutters does not work well, eats up cutting mats for breakfast. Before I moved them into my sewing space I knew which was which and never got around to binning the duff one. Now I have them mixed up and am not sure which is which. All I can think is to buy two new cutting mats and see which one is the cutting mat killer, getting rid of it right away. Meanwhile, they will both just sit there.

Beside them are my embroidery pouches with projects within. The wicker basket has all my Oakshott in it. And the bag on the end has my lavender. The shelf above has my colour cards - Kona, Aurifil and DMC. A box full of scraps and an epp project on the go.

Next up are the new storage boxes filled, with sewing books and note pads below them. Thread on the left, perle in the middle (with my embroidery floss box below it), and zips on the right. The shelf above holds bits and bobs. An old giant spool wound with ribbons, a tin with my basting pins in it, washi tape, quilting feet, a fabric basket with selveges in it, buttons, etc.

The top shelf is still almost empty, other than the fab clasp purse Nicky made me which is full of ribbons and such.

I am feeling vaguely on the way to being organised. It is not a normal feeling for me. Maybe I can do some sewing. After all, if I have accomplished so much in the tidy up I can ignore that pile of fabric that needs sorting a little longer, can't I?


Thursday, 25 September 2014

Friends and Chocolate

My antidote for feeling like I have the past few days is a simple one. Family, friends and chocolate. Okay, it doesn't fix the world, or even the specific horridness of what has me in a funk, but it does help.

Today I met up with a friend and I gave her a small gift as she has just celebrated a birthday milestone.

I did a mini quilt as you go heart shaped panel, then turned it into a lavender bag. It is 100% Heather Ross on the front, and backed with some soft pink corduroy. It was good to spend a couple of hours chatting and laughing. Where would we be in life without friends?

And for the chocolate side of things, I made cookies yesterday - Double Chocolate Chip. I followed the recipe totally, until it came to the amount of chocolate chips required. I doubled it. Sometimes you have to do what you have to do.

Half the cookies have been eaten already too. No sense making them and not eating them, for breakfast she says, hanging her head in shame.


Tuesday, 23 September 2014


We spent the weekend getting Helen's room painted and her new bed in. The new bed has been built by himself and is five foot high which allows for the her to have her bean bag chair underneath for a reading space (it's a very small room) and the bed will have a built in chest of drawers too - not yet installed but they will be shortly.

Helen was way more adept at doing the edges than I was. Both girls helped the whole weekend and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. The colours are a total hit, chosen by Helen and loved by all. She is very happy with the transformation. Emily's room next then, I guess.

Meanwhile, I ordered a bunch of pom pom makers. I bought four different sized normal ones, and two different heart sizes. (One maker seems to have gone walkabouts already!) Emily is the most adept at making the pom poms. These things are super fast and easy to use, except the heart ones, at least for me. I am useless at hearts. I don't seem to be able to pull the string tight enough and they 'unravel' on me. See above, as the red heart is disintegrating. I need to practice, but this sure beats the cardboard circles used in the past. I am envisioning pom pom garland on my Christmas tree this year.

And Emily has been doing her textiles tech homework today, preparing a piece of tie dye fabric for cushion making. I love the aqua colour she chose.

But what I have been really avoiding saying is this.

Two friends in 48 hours with really crappy news. I am venting here because as much as I would like to keep some stuff off the blog this has really, really got to me. I can't really think of anything else. So please say a prayer, or think a good thought, for all those people out there suffering from this evil disease. And give someone you love a hug.


PS: I am turning off comments for this post because I am currently a bit too emotional to reply. I know everyone has been touched by cancer one way or the other. I appreciate all prayers and good thoughts sent out to those who need it. Thanks.

Friday, 19 September 2014


Oh the sure fire satisfaction of small projects. All the joy for a fraction of the work. I finished the little mini this morning.

It measures up at 20.5"x18.5". It was made by delving into my stash for fussy cuts and and low volume. I use my long ignored Go! Baby to cut the hexie and triangular shapes. It was super easy to piece as long as I paid attention to layout. Not a 'Y' seam was encountered.

It was pieced using my go to Aurifil dove grey. And quilted with my favourite thread again. A small stipple in yellow on the white borders, and a smaller stipple in white on the low volume fabrics. I deliberately did not quilt on the featured fabrics to let them pop out of the design more.

I made a narrow binding, cutting my strips at 2" instead of 2.5". And I backed it with some of the number fabric leftover from a previous project. Since the medium and navy blues didn't feature in the inner design I brought those colours out in the narrow sashing and the binding.

A gratuitous final photo because I can. Making this mini jump started my mojo. I love my hand piecing epp projects but I really, really needed to sit at the machine and produce something, a little instant gratification if you will. This fulfilled that requirement.

Now, I have a weekend of painting ahead of me. Keeping in mind that I have never painted a room in my life, and the girls intend helping me, let's just hope I come out of this unscathed. Years of renting and constant moving prevented any previous desire for decorating, and when I was single I thought it was just a job you paid someone else to do.

After all that, I have a load of bee stuff to get out of the way. Now that I remember how to use my machine again.


Thursday, 18 September 2014

I Thought I Was Stippling...

...until Nicky pointed out I was sewing Scottie dog shapes.

 Do you see stipple or dogs?