Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Free Puppet Patterns

By far the most viewed post on my blog is that for the Free Puppet Knitting Pattern links.  The main purpose for my making of little hand puppets is for the OCC Christmas Shoebox appeal but they were very popular at our recent charity event too.  Here are a few more links to free patterns for puppets to knit, sew or crochet that I've bookmarked:

 Piglet Puppet Knitting Pattern



 Sheep Puppets to Knit and Crochet.  Click here and search for "puppet" in the free patterns


 Cat and Bear Crochet Puppet or Mittens (pdf)


I hope you enjoy these free pattern links as much as I have but do remember that puppets for shoeboxes sent from the UK should not contain any stuffing due to customs regulations.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Novelty Doorstops!!!

A comprehensive list of what was likely to sell at our Macmillan Coffee Morning would have been helpful as I was relatively in the dark with this type of event.  The morning has been and gone and I can report that the Novelty Doorstops very quickly sold out!!

Cupcake Doorstop

Owl Doorstop

I used/adapted this tutorial for the owl and it worked really well.  Several people were disappointed to miss out so they paid and I have to make those.  The knitted hand puppets also sold out and the spectacle cases (some being purchased as phone cases) were popular too.  We didn't sell any of the sets of 4 quilted coasters though.

Best of all, today we have banked £904.93 which far exceeded our expectations.  Lots of hard work by a few people but totally worthwhile and it couldn't have been done without the donations, cake contributions and people who came to spend some money!!!!!

Sorry that I still have trouble commenting on blogs.  I have no idea what's causing it or what to do about it????

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Try Again .................

Next month, together with some of my husband's family, we're holding a coffee morning for Macmillan Cancer Care in conjunction with their "World's Biggest Coffee Morning" event.  Some of the bits I've been making for the craft table:


I'm having lots of fun making small things with not too much outlay and can't wait to see what, if anything, will be popular on the day.

Am hoping that the blogging glitch that put me off has righted itself

Thursday, 29 March 2012

A Plethora of Fabric Fish

A couple of fish would look nice hanging from the cupboard.  The tail was a bit narrow on the first practise one ............. easy to sort

As a hanging ornament I didn't really like the rounded bellies nor the closure point I'd decided on .............

Different opening for stuffing and symmetrical is better (for me!) ...........

And some fatter ones too ........

No adornment!  Less is sometimes more my husband says.  Yes, I know but no decoration at all??????

Friday, 23 March 2012

Patchwork blind no. 2

I still have lots of blog stuff to catch up with but in the meantime I finally finished the pink and green patchwork window blind ............. it's up and I actually love it!!!!!!!


Wednesday, 21 March 2012

I Do Not Do Alterations

 It's taken me about 6 months to shorten a couple of pairs of floaty chiffon trousers for my mum.  They were horrid to work with and I'm still not sure they're short enough until I see her to try them on.  More recently she produced this top with weird sleeves for me to cut up and use as I please.

Instead, I've transformed it into something wearable with a simple alteration.  I cut it straight down the grain from the armhole seam and across the grain for the sleeve hem.  It was horrid to sew but I managed a pretty neat job on the outside.

One doesn't need to be a genius to realise that many more of this particular top would sell (to ladies of a certain age) with the plain short sleeves and they'd be cheaper to produce with a lot less fabric too.  Fashion often prevails over commen sense but is this really "fashion"?  In any case, perhaps my "show and tell" will encourage somebody somewhere to refashion/upcycle something that a simple alteration would make usable.

I want to create creative things but there's lots of more mundane stuff that require doing and finishing right now.  Before I settled on the bedding in the previous post, I ordered this nautical set from Laura Ashley.  It was absolute rubbish ......... really thin.  Acceptable for quilting maybe but not a duvet cover.  The co-ordinating gingham sheet was so thin I could envisage a foot going through it within a week!  No problem (apart from the cost to send it back!) except that I purchased some matching (used but very good conditon) matching curtains.  Ok, well I can get my money's worth out of them by cutting them up and using them for other things.  This blind needs finishing (is it really a whole year since the I pieced it together?).

I was going to put the pic up again but can't save it from blogger to the laptop - something to do with Google Chrome (we use Firefox) and a script stopped working it says.  Blogger just doesn't want to be my friend any more.  I click on links to blogs either via google, my blog, from other blogs etc. and they flash up for a split second before reverting to a blank page.  I can't comment on many blogs except, and that's only sometimes, to reply to somebody elses comment and then I can't get back to the comments to see what else has been written.  Sometimes I even get the blog doesn't exist (or something to that effect) but then I can find it later ............. it is very frustrating and I really don't know how to get things back to normal ............. clearing cookies, ad and virus scans all good this end.

Going back to the Laura Ashley stuff, I cut the blackout lining from the curtains yesterday (perfect for backing the blind), put it in the washing machine on a very gentle 45min wash ............... and the backing disintegrated into bits!!!  The label did say "dryclean only" (and "made in China") but I've washed this kind of stuff plenty of times before so either it's very substandard or been affected by hanging in the sun but, saying that, I've had this kind of lining in south facing windows before and it's washed no problem.  There's so many blobs everywhere it looks like it's been snowing beneath the washing line!!!!!

Am now going to see if any of it is salvageable before I cut up anything else ...........

Not quite sure who won the cushion fight Diane, daughter thinks she did because a) she has two and b) her square one is much plumper!  She is right about the plumpness - two cushion pads of the same size from Ikea and one is much plumper than the other ...... you can't tell when they're purchased rolled up tightly in bags ........ but the buttonholes are much nicer on the blue one now I know what I'm doing on the Juki or, more to the point, allowing the machine to do it rather than interfere because I didn't have faith that the machine would actually do it automatically so to speak lol!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Being Resourceful

The bedding I was after is £45 for a single quilt cover and £13 per pillowcase so I was more than pleased when I managed to get a kingsize cover, double flat sheet and four pillowcases for the same price!  I've reduced the cover to a single so combined with the fabric from the sheet there was plenty enough for another single cover using just over £3 worth of popper tape.  Forgot to take pic of the 2nd cover but basically it's wide bands of varying depth using the three fabrics with the nautical stripe on the reverse.

Two sets of bedding (plus two extra pillowcases) for the price of one ........ I'm really very happy with that!  There was plenty of fabric left for the two planned cushions though the bolster didn't happen.  I don't do well with feather pillows (they make me wheezy) but I did buy a feather bolster pad a few years ago.  Getting it out of the bag I brought it downstairs, placed it on the sofa and went to look on the laptop to see exactly how I'd done the last (foam) one.  My eyes started watering so I rubbed them ........... they were instantly very gritty, puffy, swollen and even more watery and the whole of the whites were completely bright red.  I hadn't done anything except touch that feather bolster so my husband threw it straight in the bin whilst I loaded the throws from the sofa into the washing machine.  I know I'm allergic to dustmites ........ sneezing and a bit wheezy but this was another level!  Fortunately I was fine after just a few hours.

The cushion that did get done ............


The kids don't really say much about my stitching exploits.  The very occasional "What's that for?" or "I don't want you to make me anything for Chrismas (sigh)" so the very best bit for me was when my husband said they were arguing ............. 20 and 25 and they're arguing over whose cushion(s) are best!  YES, thankyou!!!!!!!!!

With a hospital visit imminent I suddenly remembered yesterday that I hadn't made my husband the promised cover for his Kobo Touch.  In a flash I thought it would be easier and quicker to find a  tutorial on the net and amend the measurements to fit ............. wrong!  Not reading it through before hand I found it rather long winded to follow, got to step no. 10 and the said points didn't match at all.  Never mind, I worked it out and got there .........

I like the back pocket for the lead .........

I think that's enough with that fabric for now though more to catch up with soon ..........

Thursday, 9 February 2012

YoYo Caterpillar

Attempting to dream up fabric "toys" without stuffing or "bits", Yoyos came to mind.  It might have taken four attempts to get the right frill but I do now have something that I find acceptable!  Sorry the tail's hidden but this is the best pic of a bad bunch tonight .......... I do honestly think it looks much nicer than it does here.  No prizes for guessing the destination of this but I hope it's constructed in such a fashion in that it will be remembered and perhaps even replicated in part by somebody in years to come in the same way that I remember the YoYo clown sitting in a great aunt's spare bedroom when I was a child ........... the inspiration for my YoYo Caterpillar

I can finally post the contents of my giveaway at the end of last year now Linda has received it (my fault it was so late) ......... some of my hand coloured stuff along with a couple of other loosely co-ordinating bits.

Blogger says try the new Blogger Interface .............. I don't suppose I can go back now!!!!!

Monday, 6 February 2012

More Free Stuff .........

Fabric Paper Dolls!  I couldn't resist having a go at this free pattern substituting the fusible fleece with felt and Supermend bonding powder (it's non toxic and BSI approved)It meant a bit more fiddling about but I really don't mind that and am rather pleased ..............

I ran out of velcro so, sadly, she won't get a change of shoes but she does have several outfits.  Mindful of her journey, I've stuck to 100% cotton fabrics but can you imagine being let loose with all manner of synthetics and frivolous bits?  The hair and clothes, excepting dress, all fit within a 5" charm square so a great use for those and she won't take up much room in a shoebox!

Thankfully no big dinner to cook tonight with enough of yesterday's vegetable stew and dumplings to keep us warm.


Saturday, 4 February 2012

Pinterest and Stuff

Pinterest, that totally compulsive, addictive, viral online pinboard ......... if you've never heard of it then don't look, it WILL take over your life!  My husband often moaned that he couldn't find his few bookmarks amongst my hundreds (I do sort them out but it soon gets out of hand again) so I started transferring them onto Pinterest.  It's wonderful to be able to see a pic to remind oneself rather than having to click on every link to find just the thing one's looking for and to be able to organise things via boards - heaven!  One of my boards is ideas for Christmas Shoeboxes so I started seeking things out.  A fabric alphabet I've just finished ...........

I used the template here.  I'd make them a little bigger or do them a little differently another time to allow for easier cutting of the internal apertures but I do like the way they've turned out.  All different fabrics with plenty of colours, spots, stripes, checks, flowers etc. for added play value, cut on the bias as much as possible to minimise fraying and a great way of using up all those little scraps - they're probably a little less than 2" high.

This week it's been just the weather for some warming winter soups ......... very cheap too!  Root Vegetable soup = potato, carrot and onion (or leek or both) sweated down in a little butter for a few minutes.  Add some stock, a few herbs and seasoning plus a teaspoon of sugar.   Sometimes I'll omit the herbs and add spices instead (ground coriander/cumin/curry) or add some chopped fresh coriander at the end.

 Simmer in a lidded pan until the vegetables are soft ...............

then blend with a stick blender whilst still hot .................

A head of celery had been in the fridge drawer since Christmas so that got used up too, sweated down with some potato, onion, an apple and a clove of garlic.  I used half stock, half milk, salt and pepper. 

The milk curdled it but it didn't look too bad blended and tasted wonderful.  It was only me that ate it anyway ....... over a few days!

Saturday, 28 January 2012

More Cooking than Stitching

I've kinda lost my way a bit this week with the stitching.  First off I removed the paper from the back of the patched sleeves and noticed a lot of the bottom stitching was quite loose ..........a huge disappointment with myself for not checking earlier!  Thankfully it was only a top tension issue and tightening it up a notch seems to be ok.  I just need to get on with it!  The elephant is stuffed though ................

Cheese and bacon whirls (of which I ate far too many) ..............

Basically a cheese scone mix (salt, white pepper and mustard powder for plenty of flavour) mixed with egg and milk and with more cheese and minced lean unsmoked bacon laid on top before being rolled up and cut into slices.  A great use for Sainsbury's cooking bacon (£1.09 for 660g) as is the Bacon and Onion suet pudding we had for dinner last night.  I was going to take a pic this morning but the remaining portion in the fridge has gone!  For a cheap and easy dinner if anybody is interested .......

Bacon and Onion Suet Pudding
250g SR flour
125g Suet
Pepper, mustard powder and a little salt for seasoning
225g lean unsmoked bacon (rashers, chopped or minced)
1 large onion chopped

Mix all dry ingredients together with water for a manageable dough and roll out on a floured surface to about (guessing here) 9" x 12".  Place bacon and onion on top and, starting from the short end, roll up like a swiss roll.  Parcel in foil and, making sure any joins in the foil are on top, place into pan and steam for 2.5hrs.

We had apple shortcake this week too, here's one I made earlier:

I can't remember which recipe I used for the one in the photo but this week it was from Nigel Slater's "Kitchen Diaries" .............. just as he says except I don't caramelise the Bramleys too much as I prefer the crisp clean look of the apple and cooked for a little longer (more like 1hr rather than 40 minutes but that could be my oven and the fact I placed the baking tin on a tray) to prevent a soggy middle ............ the apples keep it moist anyway.  Oh, and I've ate far too much of that as well!

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Sorting Out

Today was a tidy up day.  At the back, fabrics for the jacket and some small pieces that will fit in somewhere ........

Bottom left a small pile from which I should be able to do something ...............

He needs ears attaching, stuffing (when I remember where it is) and some adornment before he's off to a new home (more about that later).  The pile of fragments left (I can't really call them scraps) will go in the bag with kilos of other fragments to make pictures when I've no fabric left to do anything else if we get any more energy bills like the one we've been hit with today!!

The jacket fabric pile looked very depleted with the two fronts and back still to go so I had a hunt for some bits that I could overdye turquoise .........  

Some worked better than others but at least I have some more to choose from which should keep me going for a bit ........

In the cupboard was a bottle of salt solution (labelled), one empty bottle and one nearly full bottle of another solution.  Was it Urea or Soda?  No idea, so I made up another bottle of Soda.  What was the point of putting the unlabelled bottle back in the cupboard then?

Angela, the free bag tutorials I've just found by googling for free bag tutorials or searching for free sewing patterns in general just to see if there's anything that I may like to make at some stage.  If and when is another matter lol!

Friday, 20 January 2012

"Hidden Lives"

That's the name of the patchwork jacket ............ .  The last two days have been busy.  I've drawn out all the pattern pieces to size on the foundation paper and finished piecing another sleeve.

I worked out what was wrong with the baking parchment on the machine ............. nothing!  Having switched to greaseproof, was stitching strips together to make pieces large enough for the pattern and had the same problem ........... it was the sheer volume of the stuff causing drag or rather my failing to support it properly to the front, rear and/or side.  It's not ideal working on a round table in the kitchen but it will have to do until it's a bit warmer and I can retreat to the conservatory ............ well until it gets too hot in the summer!

On the 1st of January, I said that the bathroom blind was priority ..........  I did start drawing some of the blocks onto paper!  I have 2 more blinds to finish and another to make.  There are three seascape bits that could do with being put to bed and a quilt that needs making up.  I quite fancied having a go at the Free Motion Quilting challenge but am being sensible about putting too much pressure on myself.  Then I find the Sewing Room sewalong with a relatively easily achievable project each month.  January's is a sofa/armchair sewing caddy and I could really do with one of those (mustn't forget the one my husband has asked for to house his remotes though).  It's just as well blogger wouldn't let me comment!!