Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Meet Monti & Free Knitting pattern

Hi everyone

I hope you are all well.  Yet again I have something else to occupy my time and I'd like to introduce you to Monti our handsome 11 week old Italian Spinone brown roan puppy.

I haven't had a dog for almost 14 years due to my work commitments so this is a lovely addition to our growing menage .  The house sits in four acres of land, and we overlook the river and I would often look out of our windows and see people walking their dogs and I would yearn for another dog.

Work travel has reduced to just a handful of 2-3 day trips which means I was in a position to think about another dog.

This is  a breed that I have admired for almost 25 years and I am delighted that my darling Mike agreed to us getting him, so dear readers watch this space and see how he grows up.

I still haven't done any sewing, and indeed I was meant to join my lovely sewing friends in Canterbury at the weekend for the day, but sadly I have been laid low with flu like symptoms and just couldn't face the 3+ hour drive, but caught up on their fun via Sigrid's blog.

I have been knitting when I can, and this is the pattern below which was a free download that you can find here.  I am using a nice Aran yarn, and when I started this project I couldn't buy the exact wool shown in the photo, so instead I decided to go with a mottled brown colour as you can see in the picture below, but I have now obtained the exact same colour to use at a later date.

I have finished the back, and am 3/4 way through the front, so hopefully I'll be able to wear it by Christmas. 

This is only part of a complete outfit I want to make - I saw a wonderful ensemble put together in a magazine - brown skinny leg trousers, blue floral blouse, the brown aran cable knit jumper all finished off with some lovely brown brogue shoes.  I have the shoes,  so I just need to keep going with all the other items. 

So that is all my news, I hope your sewing/knitting/crafting is going great and you are getting ready for Christmas.  I have been buying my presents early so am 80% ready for Xmas.

Catch you later.............

Sunday, 9 November 2014

I am still alive.................

Hi everyone

I feel guilty that I haven't posted anything in quite a while, but the year has flown by, as have the weeks and every living moment seems to keep us busy doing things.

On the chicken front we hatched out quite a few eggs between May and September so looking after baby chicks and making room for them all has kept us busy but also been fun watching these little things hatch.

With all the autumn fruits we have made elderflower cordial and champagne, followed by blackberry wine, and then apple wine which probably needs to be bottled now.  I have also been peeling and freezing cooking apples for use during the year.

One thing that has  kept us exceptionally busy is the building of our polytunnel.  One would think poking a few curved poles in the ground and covering it in plastic material would be easy..........think again.  We have spent any weekend where the weather would allow it or we were not busy entertaining the children and grandchildren building our polytunnel.  Yesterday was a momentous moment for us when we pulled the plastic sheeting over those poles and we now have something that is only a few weekends away from being completed.  Sadly, because I wanted the all singing dancing version, complete with side panels that can be rolled up, to expose air ventilation on the sides, double sliding doors back and front, and we haven't even unpacked the automatic irrigation system yet, it has taken a long time, but it is exciting thinking about what we can grow in it.

I had done the odd bit of sewing, some very quick tshirts, a dress for a day at the races and I have embroidered the names on Christmas stockings for the latest members of our ever increasing family.  I am currently knitting an Aron jumper and will finish the back in the next 10 rows or so.  I saw a look that had been put together in a magazine featuring an Aron jumper in a sort of mottled muddy brown colour, with brown slim-legged trousers, a pretty floral shirt worn under the jumper and the whole lot clinched in at the waist with a belt.  To finish the ensemble the model wore a pair of brown brogue shoes.  I intend making the complete ensemble (I already have shoes and belt) so watch this space.

This morning is a rare moment of "faffing" before we head out into the garden to do our chores and some more work on the polytunnel.  The weather changes every five minutes, albeit still very mild for November (I have lots of roses that have flowered again) but winter is drawing in, and we need to finish this project, so please don't think I am ignoring you, or those blogs I used to follow and comment on - I'll be back as soon as I can.

Catch you later.............

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

No sewing for ages and I have 3 garments to write about

Hi everyone how you doing?  We are having a really hot July, and a great deal of time has been taken up watering the garden allotment and looking after my chooks, but I have managed to do some sewing.

First up Vogue 9004.

This is a really attractive pattern, which appears more difficult than it actually is.  I chose two pieces of linen I had in my stash for this, however the biscuit coloured fabric feels a little harsh at the moment, so needs to go in the wash again I think to soften it up.

I have seen a couple of other reviews where they have used a stretch knit for this, and that is my next plan so watch this space.

Nice pattern, other options to choose from too.

Next up is a pattern taken from my Prima magazine.  I have sewn this before in a pretty blue knit, but this beautifully soft knit was purchased in Birmingham's Rag Market with my friend Viv.

The whole top is sewn on my Babylock overlocker and then I changed it to the cover-stitch mode to stitch the hems.  My previous version didn't have any sleeves, so I decided to add these little cap sleeves to ring the changes.

Last but not least, and very late coming to the party, we have Butterick 5917.  This fabric was found in my loft, previously owned by my mother.  There was a black border to it, which I just about managed to cut enough to make the frill (albeit a little less deep than the pattern).  I lined the bodice in a very soft cotton jersey.

I do like this pattern and will definitely sew it again.

The eagle-eyed among you will be thinking that these fabrics don't shout summer - and you are quite right.  I didn't intend to sew such dark colours, it was a combination of what fabric came to hand and the colour of the thread in the overlocker and sewing machine ........ yes really lazy, but hey at least I have sewn some items.

I think that the lovely visit from my fellow blogger Sigrid and her husband last week probably spurred me to do some more sewing - they are enjoying a short break in the UK and hopefully enjoying this beautiful weather we are having.

Catch you later........................

Thursday, 12 June 2014

New Patterns

Hi Guys

Well I am trying to keep the momentum going with my sewing and purchased some new patterns that took my fancy.

The Butterick pattern was inspired by Margy another blogger who has made this up several times and I just thought the top looked so comfortable, but stylish too.  I just loved the crisp black and white asymmetrical look of the Vogue pattern (very Armani Spring 2013 ), however I have some nice cream and black shoes, and am also thinking that colour combination would work well too.  The McCalls shorts will be excellent when riding my bike, however perhaps not as short as the model is wearing.  This is a Palmer Pletsch pattern and they also have a long version which I am thinking might be suitable for my trip to the open air opera at the end of the month.  The last McCalls top pattern looks lovely and light and airy, so that is a great make for summer casual clothes.

I have traced off (a first for me) Vogue 9004, and cut out the pattern, and later today I'll try and get this cut out - I thought this was a lovely top to take to Paris with me next week.  If I get time, I'll try and run up a pair black trousers/pants to go with it.

So I am getting my sewing toe dipped to take up some "me" sewing, but gosh its very hot here at the moment (relatively speaking) - (I told my work colleague in Houston its really hot here, and she said how hot is hot, and then I told her, it would be perfect weather for her, a lot less hot than Houston ha ha), its hard to go indoors and sew when its hot for me (we have to capitalise on any good weather).

Watch this space, you might see my first garment(s) sewn for quite a while.

Catch you later...............

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Some sewing at last.

Hi Everyone

We have had a glorious weekend here, the sun was shining and it was truly beautiful.

I spent a great deal of time filling my raised beds with topsoil and compost, weeding, watering etc., but I decided to make a start on a birthday gift for my best friend .

She loves her chickens so I decided to make her an applique/thread painted picture of a cockerel/Rooster.

I used some embroidered black quilting fabric for the body, and one of the embellished parts of the fabric cried out to become the bird's tail.  All other fabrics were in my scraps box and this was done without using a hoop.

I now need to find a frame, and a double mount to complete the picture and this will be presented with some hand-made chocolates for her birthday.

I am so pleased with this, I now want to make one for myself.......

Last but not least, all the chicken eggs have now hatched, and we have 7 adorable babies, but they are growing up so fast.  I am not sure how many girls we have, fingers crossed on that one.

I do need to do some me sewing this week.  I have a business trip to Paris week after next, and I am going to the opera with my friend who will be the recipient of the picture, so I would like to make something new to wear to these events.

Catch you all later..................

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Elderflowers, the garden and chickens - update

Hi everyone,

I hope you are all well.  As usual things have been busy here and I have separated my posts so you can "cherry pick" the items you want to read about.

Its a bank holiday here this weekend, so thankfully no work tomorrow, however I have 101 jobs I need/want to do.

Well the long wait (well 21 days or so) is over and we are now the proud owners of little bundles of joy.  If you want to read more, click here

Elderflowers are now blooming where we live and this was the perfect opportunity to pick some and make wine and cordial and you can read about that and my tweak to my sourdough recipe here.

I have been working hard in the garden (hence not much sewing) and I am starting to pick and use the fruits of my labour.  If you want to read about the trials and tribulations of my gardening click here

Catch you all later...........

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Can't believe its a year since our wedding.

Hi Readers

This time last year I was waking up to my wedding day.  I had managed to finish 8 bridesmaid dresses (which included 2 babies not in this picture) and mine and was having breakfast before our wedding.

So much has happened in the time since then and now.

Catch you all later..............

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Lilly-Grace 1st birthday - quilt finished

Well readers I finally finished Lilly's quilt ready for her 1st birthday party which I hosted at my home on Saturday for Lilly and 50 of her close friends.

The weather started off raining cats and dogs and blowing a gale, but fortunately the sun came out for around 2 hours and allowed the children to play on the bouncy castle.

Below are a couple of pictures of Lilly in her birthday frock and the finished quilt.

Her bedroom is decorated in lemon and pink and I tried to incorporate these into the quilt.

Being still considered a novice at quilt making, this was one of the more complicated (for me) quilts to make, and the topstitching seemed to take for ever, but I am really pleased with the result.

I have backed it in a lovely soft brushed cotton, ideal for those days when you need a quilt to cuddle up with.

I hope you are all sewing up a storm, until next time, catch you later.............................

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Oxtail Soup and Sourdough Bread Experiment.

Hi all

I am on my 4th day of painting.  I am painting my chicken shed and run in a nice black, however my fingers and hand are now seriously cramping up - how painters and decorators do this for a living, goodness knows - I hate painting!!!

Between painting and washing black paint off a white duck (she insisted on poking her head through  the fence and getting paint on her head, thankfully it washed off ok) I was making my sourdough experiment and my oxtail soup.

If you are interested in either you can find all the details on this page

Oxtail Soup

Its a Bank Holiday here in the UK tomorrow, so at least I have another day off work, but I am not painting tomorrow.

Catch you later........

Saturday, 3 May 2014

New blog layout

Hi everyone

I am still busy with my garden, chickens and now some ducks too but I have managed to do a little sewing by finishing off the quilt for Lilly who will be 1 year old on Tuesday - my how time flies.

I have made a couple of changes to my blog by adding some new pages in the toolbar at the top.  One for my chicken/duck adventures (see latest post about Edna ) and another page for my kitchen garden and the third page is on my baking which will include subjects such as preserves and wine making etc.

Our new home has encouraged me to take up lots of hobbies, that I used to love in my past life, but work and life in general got in the way - a reduction in work travel means that I can now resurrect these lost but not forgotten hobbies.

For the true sewing hardcore, this will be my usual place to find out what I have been sewing.

I hope for the like-minded of you out there, you will venture into my other pages too, and I'll put a brief intro into them here so you know I have posted.

I have a couple of small embroideries to complete on the quilt and I will post that later this weekend.  In the meantime - I have dwarf runner beans and courgettes to plant out and I need to go shopping for mealworm treats for the girls.

Catch you later..............

p/s the new image at the top of the screen is the view from our beautiful new home.........

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Meet the Production Line.

Hi everyone, I hope you are all well.

I would like to introduce you to the Production Line - The Girls & Jim.

These are the latest addition to our family - 8 hens and one Cockerel called Jim2 in honour of my darling Mike's parent's cockerel who was called Jim.

I am really pleased with the gang, they each have their own characters and are giving me a lot of enjoyment, together with some wonderful coloured eggs - check out my blue eggs.

In addition to the new recruits I have been tending my plants in the greenhouse.  Today my strawberry plants arrived and I have been busy planting them in my containers in the greenhouse so roll on strawberry picking in June.

Last but not least, I had to travel to the Netherlands, and I was delighted to meet up with my lovely friend Sigrid.  She showed me her fantastic Ziggi jacket that she made up - boy was it a work of art and let me tell you, the picture does not do it justice.  Based on Sigrid's jacket and Ruth's Jacket I ordered, and have now received, this Style Arc pattern - I may have found the perfect pattern for that lovely soft sued I purchased.

I have been doing some sewing - It will be my lovely granddaughter Lilly's birthday on the 6 May (only around 4 weeks time) and I want to finish the quilt I started before we moved house.

Well that is all my news - until next time, I'll catch you later....................

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Meeting up with sewing buddy in Birmingham

Hi Guys

I apologies for the lack of posts, but the new house is all consuming with various jobs to do, and life seems to be getting in the way of any real sewing projects.

I have done some utility sewing, namely shortening some ready-made curtains and then using the excess fabric to cover a wooden pelmet,then  my headboard and lastly the dressing table stool. I have two small squares of fabric left, and I am going to try and incorporate the fabric into a couple of cushions to go on the bed.

The curtains look fine (probably not the exact fabric choice I would have made if I sewed them myself), but at least we don't have the sunshine illuminating the bedroom at 5:30 am in the morning.  Finishing the curtains has resulted in  me now wanting to paint the bedroom so I don't have green walls with blue curtains.  Gosh there is another job on the to-do list lol.

Friday afternoon I hit to motorway to make my way up to Birmingham to meet up with my good friend Vivien.  Originally we were going to go to the Create, stitch and craft show, but decided to see what the Birmingham rag market had to offer instead.

The rag market was around 15-20 minutes walk from the car park, so we set off early and took our hearty breakfast of egg and bacon sandwich with a cup of hot tea, from one of the food vendors in the actual market and sat at the outdoor table and chairs at the edge of the market watching all the vendors setting up their stalls.

Regular readers of my blog will know I love a bargain - I think I get a bigger thrill finding excellent fabric at a bargain price, rather than going to a really posh shop and paying a premium because of the ambiance and costly overheads, and Birmingham's rag market will provide that for you.

Of course I don't need any more fabric, but a £2 for 1.5 mtrs of fabric, or 50p a mtr, or £1 a mtr how can you resist.

After the first 1.5 hours I was armed with 4 bags of fabric and my hands were getting sore from the thin plastic bags and I found myself getting shopping trolley envy..................No they are not trendy, they are not cool, but boy are they practical and made lugging those heavy bags back to the car a piece of cake.

So let me end on saying thanks to Viv who was an excellent guide and it was lovely catching up on our thoughts on the Sewing Bee, who is sewing what on what forum together with gardening, and baking tips.

So what is every sewing enthusiast's biggest sewing aid????  A fabulous floral shopping trolly - what a couple of babes eh??????

A week on Monday I am flying out to The Netherlands and will meet up with the lovely Sigrid.  We haven't seen each other for ages, so I am sure we will have lots to chat about too.

Catch you all later.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

The ultimate stylish boot accessory

After nearly 5 months of waiting, my buyer has now exchanged contracts on my old cottage and we complete the sale on Thursday.  This is a huge relief to me, and has been partially responsible for my lack of creativity and posts on this blog.

Yesterday the sun was shining and I felt like a new woman, and my D Mike took me to buy my belated birthday present some fabulous Dubarry boots.  A friend of mine also has these boots and she wore her's with some great looking fur-topped boot socks, and indeed when purchasing the boots I too saw these priced at £25.00 a pair.

Now I really do hate spending money that I don't need to, and I knew my twin had gifted me an old faux fur coat, which I always intend to cut up and refashion into something else, and in the back of my mind I instantly thought I could use the fur to trim an existing pair of boot socks that we purchased over the Christmas period for £3.50, and this is what I came up with.

I used the hemmed part of the coat which was also lined.  Measured the circumference of the top of the existing boot sock and added a little extra for a back seam and the stretch in the existing sock to get the top to fold over the top of the boot.  How did I know to do this - I cut the first one exactly to fit around the sock top (no stretch) and I couldn't turn it over the boot so out came my unpicking tool lol.

I serged the fur and lining raw edges together and then made a ring by serging the back seam - sadly I couldn't be bothered to change the thread on the serger (bad I know) but its not going to show so I wasn't too bothered.

With the right side of the fur strip facing upwards (lining to the inside) I attached the fur strip to the top of the boot sock.  Another thing I found out is that my wellington boots are shorter than these Dubarry boots, and I effectively lengthened the sock by attaching this to the top of the sock allowing it to fold over comfortably, otherwise I may have lined this so it folded down exactly the same as the existing fold line.

Now a few years back Vogue magazine gave instructions on how to make an infinity scarf - if you google it you will find lots of instructions.  My original thought was to make an infinity scarf, but when I measured an existing scarf to the fabric available on the coat, there wouldn't have been enough.

Undeterred, I decided to make a sort of neck cuff.  I measured my head so I knew how much I would need to get the cuff over my head and cut a piece of  fur fabric  & lining (from the same coat) both around 6" wide.  I sewed the lining to the fur right sides together along both of the long edges, keeping the shorter ends open.  Turn right side out and then join the two short edges right sides together .  You will not be able to sew all the way round because you will end up with a small piece that you will need to slip stitch together by hand and then it is finished - simple.

While I like to feel warm and cosy, I don't like to feel too constricted around my neck, and with the cool lining this does just the job for me - however you could always cut your fabric around 12" wide and thus create a complete fur cuff.

I still have quite a bit of the coat left to use for other projects, but I am really pleased with my version of these boot socks and am delighted with the boots too.

Before I leave you here is a picture of our wonderful resident barn owl, which we are both obsessed with and after I had snapped the photograph I realised that he/she was carrying something for lunch too.

Have a great weekend whatever you are doing.

Catch you later..................

Sunday, 9 February 2014

My sewing hiatus has come to an end

Its official I have done a few hours of sewing today, which I believe qualifies me officially breaking my sewing hiatus.

I have spent quite a few weekends tidying my sewing room, emptying boxes and trying to find new, more organised homes for my sewing and haberdashery items.

So here are a few snap shots of my room now - nothing fancy but it will work for now - my dream is to have fitted cupboards but I will have to wait a while for that.

So what did I sew?  Well just before my wedding last May, my daughter gave birth to a beautiful little girl.  I made a start on a quilt for her, but sadly between getting married, moving house, honeymoon, Christmas etc., and not really being able to get into my sewing room, I just hadn't got round to finishing it.

So today I managed to complete all the squares which are now ready to be pieced together, but I want to piece them with black, a colour I have used before, but don't think I have enough, so I may have to purchase some more.

Still Rome wasn't built in a day, and at least I have made a start.  Can you believe that what came as 2nd nature to me, today had me really thinking about it.  This was simple things like refilling the bobbin, and cleaning the dust from the feed dogs.............. lol has it really been that long?????

I knew where everything was in my old sewing room, and although things are tidier here, I can't just lay my hands on what I want, but hopefully I'll get more familiar with my new surroundings soon.

I hope you are all having fun.

Catch you later.................................

Saturday, 11 January 2014

My birthday day

I can't believe how quickly the year has passed and here I am again with another birthday to celebrate, and celebrate I did.

For the first time in many years I woke up and joined my twin sister to celebrate our birthday - here we are at the breakfast table opening our cards and presents.

My twin sister and her partner, and my older sister and her husband arrived last night and I cooked us dinner, and then this morning we all had a lovely breakfast together before heading off to do some shopping before going back to the same venue that we got married at earlier last year for a wonderful dinner.

Thats all from me, catch you later....................

Friday, 3 January 2014

New Year Activities

Happy New Year everyone were you in bed by 10pm like us????  Yes I know we are soooooooo boring lol.

I still don't have any sewing news for you, but I can report that we are making progress with emptying boxes, re-sorting my kitchen cupboards and getting guest bedrooms ready for the influx of guests we are expecting over the next few weeks.

I did purchase a little book - 500 quilt blocks when ordering some books for our niece for Christmas, but I haven't even had a chance to look at it yet but I am going to take it with me for my next train trip.on Sunday.

We did have two exciting events happen that we actually managed to get photographic evidence of - a couple of days ago our resident barn owl decided to come out for a late lunch and delighted us with a fantastic display of daytime hunting in our garden.  I think she is so beautiful and I have even seen her going in and out of our owl box, so fingers crossed we may get to see some babies.

There has been a lot of posts in the sewing cyber world on "Top 5 of 2013" - for me I don't really have 5, my greatest achievement last year was making all the dresses for my wedding (9 in total), anything else fades into the background for me.

I am starting to see the light - and I think I will be able to sit and do some sewing, probably next month now, without feeling guilty that I should be doing something else.


As usual, catch you later.