Month: April 2017

Heirlooms? No Family Crafted Items survived, but memories do. A little current patchwork therapy too !

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I just read a lovely post, Blankets and Blessings, by thechickengrandma.wordpress.com and it has made me feel thoughtful about life, past and present (reblogged here on my site for interest and musings).

We all come from somewhere and someone.  When we are gone what do we pass on?

What kind of material history do we leave?  Some people say it’s not the material stuff that matters, and true, memories might matter more.  However, I am sure I am not the only one who would love to have more physical reminders occasionally.

I lost both parents (a mother and a stepfather I considered as my father for 30 years) but I often still feel a little lost myself, like a ship without a compass. I am in my 40’s, with a family of my own, and siblings too.  My parents were great influences, and of course I took them for granted, as all children do. I have many wonderful memories, and can pull those up in times of sadness.  I also have a couple of pieces of jewellery, of no value at all apart from sentimental.

There wasn’t a big collection of family hand me downs, not a heirloom christening gown, wedding dresses, memory quilts.  My mother and grandmother crafted all the time, however, nothing much was really kept.  Once it outgrew it’s purpose or fashion changed,  it was usually gifted to charity (that in itself is a kind and brilliant thing).   Perhaps some would say this was also a blessing, my siblings probably would, clearing the house there was lots of ‘stuff’. I kind of miss my grandmother’s handmade hexi quilt for one thing. I remember her making it, showing me how to cut hexigan shapes with card and cover them in fabric and I remember the quilt on her spare bed. Indeed, I have used this method myself to quilt and it reminds me of her (see below!). I miss my mother’s wedding dress. She had made it herself in 1961, though that’s a whole story in itself (my mother and true father divorced and my sister and I as children were allowed to play dressing up with her wedding dress!)   My mother sewed and knitted, she dabbled with macrame, tatting, crochet, many other things.  I remember she made floral displays from coloured stockings and wire (one even for her best friend’s wedding tiara!).  She made cards too sometimes.  She was pretty much an all-rounder craftwise (oh the hundreds of tea cosies she made for a local charity shop too.. flew off their shelves like hot cakes!) Nan was slightly less so, but she still knitted and sewed, and as a keen WI member she baked cakes and made jam, even writing this I can smell her kitchen.  The one thing I have of my Nan’s is a mixing bowl and I love using it occasionally, though also terrified of accidently breaking it as well. My Dad’s material legacy to me is very little, it’s more things he said and things he did that make me smile.

So, what will my own craft legacy be – if anything?  I knit, I sew, I dabble.  I have a son who has never wanted to craft and has no interest in anything I make.  I have a husband who tolerates the crafting chaos, and fakes an interest in completed items! I have gifted various knitted and sewn things to friends over the years and currently am doing so for new babies in the family and for friends.  Perhaps they will become their family heirlooms, or perhaps not.  Who knows?  I would like to think in years ahead someone might find something I made in a long lost storage box and be delighted to rediscover it!

Many current WIPS. One is this …..

DSC02392
I started with a few hexagons about six years ago, a project that was going to be a large cushion, but having rediscovered it I am going to make a lot more and turn it all into a throw for a sofa.  Not an urgent project, more like an ergonomic past time that will be dipped into over months and years!  Don’t expect to see the finished item here too soon! 

Signing out for now. Feeling nostalgic having had a couple of recent big family celebrations.
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Blankets and Blessings

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I wish I had family heirlooms to pass on down.

The Chicken Grandma

Sweet Dreams Baby Blanket.JPG

A couple months ago my husband and I got the news that we were going to be grandparents again!!!  Our youngest son and his wife told us they were expecting some time in September.

We were also instructed not to tell anyone at that time as they were waiting to tell their grandparents first. I will have to be honest and tell you that waiting those weeks to tell anyone was extremely hard! (Maybe it is a woman thing….my husband didn’t seem to have a problem at all!)

I needed something to take my mind off my need to keep my mouth shut so I started crocheting a baby blanket. The pattern I used was one I found years ago in a book at a local library. I have no idea what the name of the book is anymore but I know the blanket was called Sweet Dreams.

I…

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A week of stitching

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Over the Easter weekend I was poorly, but I did get a little stitching in before the weekend and a lot (a lot!) since then. I’ve been having a sewfest (if there is a word – or if there isn’t one, there should be).  It’s been like an obsession.  Whenever I could I sat and stitched, pieced fabrics together, played with design,  patchworked, quilted, sorted fabrics, etc.  I’ve made mistakes, undone the mistakes, restitched, rejigged old patterns, browsed sewing books and so on and so on.  It’s been total indulgence in my crafting world.

I started with the beginnings of a bright green and orange quilted playmat, the cutest nursery prints, mostly fabrics donated to me by a very good friend.  She heard I was sorting out my stash and thought she would add to it. It was so much fun chopping up fabric and piecing it back together.  The top went well and I was on a roll!  In fact, we sat and quilted together. The backing was not quite as successful… more later.

Next I undid a peg bag I had started two weeks ago – I wasn’t pleased with it, slightly skew on the measurings.

pegbag
Second time lucky – ta dah!

 

Then I was sorting through some more of the fabric from the same friend. I found the beginnings of a baby patchwork quilt – I asked what she might have been making and for whom – she couldn’t remember! There were random sized strips stitched together – the prettiest designs in pinks and yellows.  I turned it into a bag, lining it with dotty pink fabric from my stash (so I did get to use some of my fabric after all).  I tried to follow a pattern in a book – which presumed you knew a lot about making bags – well, that was fun (sarcastically said, there was more than one attempt with the lining and a lot of frustration!)  Still, you learn a lot as you go sometimes, and I learnt a lot this time!.

tote

Then I still had some of the same fabric left.  I pieced it, backed it, quilted it, chopped it, added a zip – and voila – a fabric pouch. I based this on a previous project, which I still use as a make up pouch.  However, my own one had nasty raw seams inside.  This one, has posh french seaming. Having only done french seams once before I was quite proud of myself. Now who wouldn’t be happy to have this for girly bits and bobs such as hair accessories?

fabricpouches
And then that pouch got a brother – in blues and greens – maybe not for hair accessories this time –  for a picnic bag/day out bag to store tissues and wet wipes 

You can see a few things went well.  Back to the first project, that baby quilt.  I attempted the backing, totally off kilter – I was still feeling under the weather.  I should never craft when I am poorly. Whether it’s sewing or knitting, it just does not go well! So, off came No 1 backing.  A trip to a fabric shop later (why is it sometimes your stash does just not have the right fabric for the job?)  and No 2 backing was perfect.  Just to add the quilt padding, stitching the opening and then maybe hand tying, or maybe not – when finished it will be on show here.

As for what’s going on around me the rest of the week? We are currently having a new roof on our house.  There is noise and chaos surrounding me! I am squirrelled away indoors.  Occasionally I step out of the front door, look up for falling debris, before offering the roofers more tea and biscuits.  A happy builder is one full of tea and biscuits I find! So far, so good. Two skips full of 80+year clay tiles, one wasps nest discovered.

Bye for now.  Back to creating.

Quilted beginning of something .. a few weeks of creation and a show of textile artistry.

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Quilted beginning of something

I haven’t decided what it’s going to be yet!

 

I just discovered this draft blog post from a while ago – I was ‘cleaning’ up things on my laptop – I can’t believe I missed posting this.  I guess at the time my blogging practice was poor or the internet signal failed and I just didn’t remember to press ‘send’ .  What a fail!

Well, this lovely piece of patchwork turned into a sewing machine cover.  I have been sewing quite a lot over the last two weeks and every time I reveal my machine it brings me a little delight.

I have a Juki HZL-e80 machine purchased a few years ago from World of Sewing in Bromley, Kent.  https://www.worldofsewing.com

Yesterday, whilst sewing with a friend – a lovely day spent together quilting – more to follow on my next post about that – we were chatting about what we like about our machines and why we bought them.  For me, it was several things – the automatic needle threader,  thread cutter attachment, the use of a stop/start button as an alternative to a foot pedal, the fact you can slow the sewing speed down (from hare to a tortoise!), the selection of embroidery stitches, the weight of the machine – at the time it was a huge leap up from my second hand old Singer which had been struggling on for eons!  I guess, you can make more with the correct tools.  I was so fed up with my old machine grabbing the thread around the bobbin spool and it was clunky and so heavy to move from the cupboard to the table.

I am so inspired by what I see friends make and from the online world, either through blogs or Pinterest (there’s how to lose a few hours!).  I have been loving my latest creative weeks – there are not enough hours in the day to sew and to knit!  I am between ‘real’ jobs and it’s been marvellous to just enjoy creating and trying to use some of my fabric and yarn stash.

I love to see what others make – even considered eventually opening my own Etsy shop, but that’s a long way off.

At a recent trip to a local craft fair – a recce to see what sells (!) – there was a fantastic textile exhibition.  I loved one person’s work in particular, which included a mini hexagan patchwork quilt (no photo here), embroidery of the most colourful kind, and other embroideries on reclaimed antimassacars !  Adding just a few photos – on this occasion real snapshots only.

I hope you like what you see here.

 

Crunchy Jalapeno Poppers

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Jalapenos for those who love them

My Sweet Savory Life

I was feeling a bit bored. So I looked in the pantry to see what I can whip up real quick. Came across these Jalapeno Peppers and figured why not make some Poppers.

This recipe is pretty basic and will satisfy the craving for something crunchy. There was no need for a special trip to the grocery store. I just used what I had. But feel free to substitute using your favorite items.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pkg whole jalapeno peppers
  • 5 oz. Goat cheese*
  • Bacon bites
  • 1 tsp finely chopped red bell pepper
  • Basil finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup cornflakes
  • 3 tbsp cornmeal
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups  buttermilk

DIRECTIONS:

Mix Goat cheese, basil, bacon and bell pepper until smooth. In a separate bowl, blend dry coating ingredients and set aside. In another bowl pour buttermilk.

Wash and dry Jalapeno peppers. Cut each peppers open, and remove seeds. Open as…

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A little sewing progress

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I’ve been under the weather so not written for a few days and have a little catching up to do in many ways.

I was able to get a couple of crafty things done, in between resting and being a mum for a few days now Number 1 son (and only son) is home for the Easter holidays.

Two mini embroidery hoops, stitched, embroideryhoopssewn, already popped to the local cafe to add to their collection of pretty things for sale.  I am so lucky to showcase my items for sale, love The Teashop at Downe, for this opportunity. (And I have sold a couple of tiny items so that’s a good start!) I am still keeping to the ‘teashop’ ‘cakeshop’ theme deliberately.  These are about 10cm in diameter, they looked fabulous hanging from little hooks on the dresser in the shop!

Over two days I finished knitting another top down baby cardigan – a replica of one I made a couple of weeks ago. That worked out fine, using a finer yarn so the top came out smaller, which was perfect.  I tried to sew the buttons on the day after the knitting was done, in the fug of being under the weather.  Ha ha, crafting was not a good idea that day!  Even three buttons was a challenge.  You know those days when you can’t sew on buttons to match the buttonholes?   It was one of those. So, a job for today and to show here when finished.   Great pattern on Ravelry.com All-In-One Sleeveless Baby Top (6 months) & (9 – 12 months) by marianna mel

I also have plans to make a small quilted playmat for another friend’s baby due in the summer.  We’ve just been told to expect a boy so I have a great selection of ‘boys’ fabric in my stash and a lovely friend has donated more so watch this space.  I am a basic patchworker so look at the fabric rather than the technique when you see it!

Ta ta for now. Have a great day.

 

 

Postcard from London. ♡

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A gorgeous selection of photos – London at it’s best !

sunshine and celandines

This past week I have been fortunate enough to have spent some time in my nation’s Capital London. And what a wonderful week ! Our trip was all in aid of celebrating my baby sister’s upcoming 40th Birthday. We managed to pack quite a bit in. Here are a few photos of what we got up to in this beautiful city. 🙂

FB_IMG_1491724114533 Travel in Style.

Far the best way to travel to London ( unless you have your own private plane 😉 ) is by train. You can often find relatively cheap First Class Tickets, so your journey is speedy and comfortable with plenty of food and drink included. We booked with Virgin £80 each return from Preston and had use of Virgin’s complimentary First Class Lounge at Euston. ;0).

london 004 Natural History.

london 016 Deinonychus.

The Natural History Museum

is well worth visiting, if only for the Dinosaurs ! Like many of…

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