Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Life is not all craft and skittles........

So we are in the last week of school holidays and the enormously unrealistic mountain of to-do jobs is still enormously unrealistic.
Today involves approximately 5 million completely unrelated, dull and not crafty jobs to do - like:

  • buying more food. Are mine the only children capable of eating more than most nations gross national output of food a week whilst on holidays - does this mean they starve during school times? It is one of the big life questions isn't it?
  • Dropping trousers in the the take-up-trousers-lady. (DO not get on my case about this ! Just because I sew does not mean I have to take up my own trousers. If I take up my own trousers ...then I know I have taken up my own trousers and I am sure they are wonky and taken-up looking. I am self-conscious of my taken up trousers and then I rarely wear them - if I give them to the take-up-trousers lady , she takes them up, I love them and I wear them- and I love going to the take-up-trouser lady's shop)

  • I have to buy new bras today - (too much information???). I HATE bra shopping with a passion but as the existing bra's are only holding together through good wishes and willpower. It has to be done. I dislike it so much that I did, briefly consider becoming a bra-less crusader but given the effects of gravity and the way I hunch over my sewing machine......... you all get the picture.
  • I have to go to the post office and buy groceries and take this poor computer in to the doctor (see how I just let that most distressing fact slip into the list as if it doesn't even bother me ).
  • I may just need to buy some fabric to bind granny's quilt- still slightly undecided on that one.

  • I have to do all this with 13 yr old son as 17 yr old daughter has half the local teenage population descending on our house in a few hours- yes stores have been laid up, the pantry is groaning with food(which will last a nanosecond) and valuables have been placed out of reach. That last bit is not because of theft, these kids are ENORMOUS and the move and skitter around with all the co-ordination of dancing wheelbarrows - things get broken -they just do!

  • oh and I have to boil up 6 litres of fake blood.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Granny's quilt

So, here is the quilt, she has returned from the most wonderfully gorgeous and talented quilter in the whole wide world - Yep !!! Totally true.

Darling Bernadette, who I have met once before - (she is part of "Team Selvedge") delivered this yesterday and I am so excited. Seriously this is the first- ever quilt I have made, and it looks like a quilt - a really truly quilt. (I expect you all to conveniently forget the great green monster at this point)
I sometimes have the misfortune of seeing people's quizzical faces when I present something hand made- or even worse the "but what's it for" question.

But not this time - no sirree Bob !
This is a quilt.
(although technically I'm just a topper, Bernadette is the quilter)
Yup - works for me.

OK - Now for the binding .....any opinions. The green of the outer border so the binding sort of blends in - or the cherry pink of the small border?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The racing snail tutorial

I know that I always say that this will be easy but truthfully these guys really are - they are a just keep sewing till it works kind of project. I didn't measure anything on these so this is all an approximation - I measured the finished ones and added a bit - Their wonkiness is what makes them cute (good excuse for crappy sewing too)
The snail really has three parts, shell, body and base.

You will need a strip of felted jumper or sweater approx 7 cm x 40 cm. I just guessed this and cut it freehand.
Turn over a small fold at the top and begin to curl up your shell tucking in the first raw edge so it doesn't show.
NB: To create the two toned snails I just sewed two different coloured jumper strips together and went from there.

Keep rolling , with each turn just below the top of the one previous - like a spiral, stitching it in place as you . The felt is lovely and thick so it is very forgiving of bad hand sewing (trust me).
When you have your shell measuring approx 6cm across it will be big enough. Taper the felt so that the end tucks under the bottom. Run a few stitches across the bottom to pull it in neatly.


Check out the freehand cutting here as well. Cut two body pieces in this elegant shape measuring approx 20cm x 7cm.

Sew all the way around using a small 1/4 inch seam allowance.

With pointy scissors , cut a small slit in the centre of the snails body and turn it through the slit.

Stuff your snails body and sew the slit closed - Don't panic about this as it will be covered by the shell.Using embroidery thread, wrap it around the body to create tails segments (do snails have tails?) and also a head - GO WILD!!!! Secure your threads.

Add some eyes. I sewed on a weeny circle of felt and a tiny bead - I was confused about a mouth so I just left it out! She is looking somewhat stunned here.

Then simply sew your shell to your body. Depending how far up the shell you sew, you can give your snail a bit of curve - it won't matter as he will be getting a firm base to help him stand.


You will need a small thermoplastic circle measuring 3cm across (if you have no templastic, just use a piece of old folder, or an ice cream container). Cut a piece of felt to match your body about 1cm larger than the plastic circle.

Run a gather stitch around the felt and gather up - a bit like a yo-yo only with the plastic inside. Secure your threads.

Pin the base to the bottom of your snail and check for balance - fiddle around until you find the right position so he can stand........ Stitch it on and then, if he can stand ....he can race!

(eeeek I love this)

I made this mat to go with the snails. I think it would be a great gift for little kids - you just need to add some dice and away you go. yes OK, My youngest is almost 14 but ....ummm...well I like it!!!

So if you hang on I'll give you the rush job tute on this as well.............

The mat is approx 120cm x 45 cm. I used some white cotton and drew the grid on with a fabric marker.

The finish line I created in word and printed out on Matilda's Own ink jet printable fabric - you could do the same for the numbers but I had some on fabric already.
I added a batting layer of flannelette - the idea is that the mat needs some weight so it can sit nicely on the floor but can't be too puffy or the snails will topple over. Then I sewed the grid with black thread, using a triple stitch so it is nice and thick.
Everything else gets Vliesofixed in place ( the same sort of thing as wonder under or double sided applique adhesive) and then stitched.

Once everything is where it should be - just add a backing. I sewed it up and turned it all out through the gap , rather than bother with a binding.

The fruity finish line was cut straight from fruity fabric and added the same as the rest.

If you made this as a gift you could also make a dice and have doubles of the numbers 1, 2, 3, so the game lasts a bit longer. Or you could just make a really long racecourse!!!

In a photo finish- I think Corduroy won by an eyeball.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The thankyou snails

indebted : owing gratitude or recognition to another for help or favors etc

I have been feeling indebted lately - that's the only way to explain it.
I feel indebted to every person who has sent or promised to send me some selvedge for any of my projects.
But not just indebted because I received actual things , but indebted too for the time it takes people to chop them off, package them up and the time and cost to send them to me.
Apart from things I am indebted for every little note or card or good wish that arrives in my mailbox or the good wishes and encouragement I get here everyday in the comments. The funny emails, the suggestions, the links.
I feel indebted to the whole of blogland for their support, inspiration and hilarity.
I feel like I get far more from this bloggy relationship than I put in.
So enough with the soppy stuff I just want to say thanks and let you know you're appreciated.
Please meet chiffon, poplin and corduroy. I might not be able to make one of these for every person in blogland..............
but I could rustle up a tutorial if you like?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Miss Polly had a Dolly

One of the little girls will be having an operation a bit later in the year...................

She is being very very brave about it.

and I haven't the heart to tell her everyone will be able to see her undies.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

So close and yet so far.........

I am in a bad way at the moment - I am totally focused yet all over the place, driving people mad and obsessing.

I check the letterbox ten times a day.

People, even crafty people's eyes are starting to glaze over when I talk to them. I can't stick to anything, I am totally sleeping, eating and dreaming


I am 24 inches and one days sewing away from finishing the big selvedge project.

Even typing that makes my heart race.
24 inches

so close........

24 inches represents approximately 66 pieces of selvedge.

25 of those pieces need to be 1.5 metres long

the rest need to be a metre long.

That's a whopping 78.5 metres of fabric.

(and yes I may have actually calculated the cost of buying that much fabric but I came to my senses quick smart)

and yet so far......

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Doll week !

So I stuck pretty much to the plan of doll making this week.

You need to know that these girls were already sewn and stuffed - I had a huge bag of limbs and heads and bodies before the week started. I just had to hand sew all their limbs and give them faces. I can usually manage the hand sewing part of one doll a night - hand sewing is not my forte!!!

Hazel and another were already finished and the little sweetie with glasses already had a face so I guess I put together 6 dolls this week.
I have become obsessed with dolly freckles and a few of these girls got freckles after the photo. I had to stop myself giving them all freckles.

There are two more on the go but I had to wait for some felt for their hair so I hope to get those finished this week.

That will bring me to a total of 10 dollies ....OMG that means 10 cardigans, 10 scarves, 4 hats (it depends on the hairstyle) 10 coats or capes, 20 reversible dresses, 10 handbags, 10 little friends and some felted shoes for the girly with no shoes....need to be made, as well as 10 carry bags for them to travel in. Yikes - I might need to work on The Year of doll clothes !

'cause they can't get around in paper bags forever !

The Toy Society

This morning Connor and I headed off to the local park

This is the site of the Battle of Eureka - now a tourist centre, park and playground.

But we weren't there to soak up the history or to play on the playground (although Connor did have me take a squillion photos of him leaping off things).

We were there on secret Toy Society business

We wandered among the redcoat soldiers to try and find a friendly looking one for the first drop.

and there we left the cutest little elephant that was sent to the Toy Society by Jill.

Connor was determined to leave Bianca's serious ghost right at the top of the playground- "so someone adventurous would find it "

A huge thank you to Bianca for letting me join in. This is the best thing to be part of. A toy is coming your way this week for someone else to drop.

Here is Connor looking out for likely recipients to come and find the toys!!!

We both agreed that hiding in the bushes with the extra zoomy lens to try and get photos of people finding the toys might be hard to explain- especially at a children's playground - so we headed home and left them to their fate.

Monday, September 8, 2008

A Plan

After last weeks focused sewing thanks to Annie, I have been thinking that maybe my usual approach (dithering from one project to another) needs a bit of an overhaul. So, this week is the week of dolls.
Apart from adding selvedges to the Big Project I am going to sew dollies and clothes all week . Don't expect to see any marvellous results like last week - it is all far too fiddly for any massive results but I'll keep you posted (How fascinating I hear you cry).

This is Hazel, she is bestest friends with Leopold and she has a big adventure planned !!!

This is Hazel's little quilt, only "blog finished" at the moment, the binding is pinned at the back but I just wanted to show you those corners - these are the best corners I have ever done and it is all thanks to this tutorial from the gorgeous Fiona of Dear Fi - even the endy bit worked out. Thanks Fi!!

Oh and this.....this is a cat in a bag of course.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

coulda , shoulda, woulda

I could have finished more monsters today. I should have finished them all. I would have put them all in the shop together.

But then I wouldn't have finished Leopold would I?

The other monsters will be listed tomorrow.

Friday, September 5, 2008

I am so a grown-up!

In an effort to be tidy
and to keep track of the mess
I have made another bucket
With a sweet girl in a dress .

I think it will be useful
and it does look kinda sweet
(Although I'd need another fifty
to really keep things neat)

So now upon the table,
where there is a tiny gap.
I keep my bucket handy
And I fill it full of

There will be some little potty-mouthed (or not) blank girl panels in my shop later today or tomorrow, so you can sew them nicely into whatever project you desire .....and you get to use your own naughty words too if you want.