Sunday, 25 January 2015

Patchwork Bag of Appliquéd Chickens & my bargains.

This week I made myself a huge tote especially for carrying all my stash to and from my quilting classes. It has a zip pocket inside for all my small equipment and this special appliquéd chicken pocket on the outside. The bag has ties on the sides.
Detail of the pocket I designed for a bit of fun, which has the  three chucks sitting on a wall, legs dangling. 
Here the ties, (made of ribbon printed with tape measures) are open to make it wider and they can just be slipped inside the bag. 
I took a trip to Sandbach in Cheshire today to a one day fabric sale and quilt exhibition. We had planned to go in a group but never got around to organising it and I really only expected it to be a small event. 
When the sun was shining this morning I asked if DH would take me there if I treated him to a pub lunch after the show and so we took a lovely drive off motorways, through the country lanes of Cheshire and the show was fantastic. Lots of retailers from all over the country and lots of bargains to be had. Demonstrations to from various quilt groups but not too many quilts on exhibition. There were refreshments, a sale of smaller hand made items in aid of a charity and a raffle.
I bought six fat quarters with little green apples design all for £6, yellow and green backing fabrics for two quilts for £4 metre. The diamond and black fabric for £4 metre.
This "Parade" print was a super bargain 3 metre remnant for only £4 for the whole piece and it will make Summer skirts for all 3 of my girly grandies as the design runs along each edge.
There was a stall that was closing down their business and selling the entire stock just to clear it. Everything was so cheap, but I controlled myself to items that I would be sure to use and could share with my friends. Below you can see rolls of 1 inch black and white elastic, a reel of narrow peach elastic and a reel each of black and white tape. All, amazingly, only £1 a REEL! Wow!
We left the Sandbach High school and drove to a favourite haunt in Tarporley, The Rising Sun Pub, a traditional pub with oaks beams and lots of copper and brass about, where we relished a super Sunday roast with all the trimmings. 

I can highly recommend this pub for food, friendliness and service. It changed hands not so long ago and we feared it might not live up to previous visits. It was excellent!

Friday, 16 January 2015

Dresden Plates Patchwork and Friday Smile

I've had such a productive week .....
Two Dresden plates as my contribution to my Quilt Group's "Block of the Month"
I also made 2 large design walls and a few small block layout boards (these dresden plates are displayed on them). I bought a bargain length of white felt from Abakan (fabric pieces cling to it) and scrounged a couple of large display boards from a local store. I am so pleased with them and they are so helpful. I made them to fold so I can pop them, out of sight, into the wardrobe in my sewing room.
I made this bed runner (below) for my SIL to keep her feet warm. She is diabetic and has circulatory problems and wanted something to go just across the bottom her bed.
I made it really quickly and easily from the leftovers of the full size strip quilt I made a few weeks ago and it is 65 cms wide by 2 metres long.
It matches the dish on my coffee table so well.

At the request of the members of my quilt group, I also prepped a pattern for them of the owl bag I recently made. (It's in my 26th Dec post)
Things seem to be going much better and I feel that I have come out of the gloom of January and found my mojo once again. I'm smiling and, 
as a result, I'm joining in again with Annie's Friday Share a Smile....
Pop over for a visit and you'll find lots more to smile about.
My main smile for today was to receive this super calendar from two of my far away grandies, the Brighton Belles.
Lovely to see their smiling faces each day in my kitchen, and I always enjoy turning the pages each month to remember what they got up to in 2014.
Have a good weekend, ......the evenings are staying lighter longer so Winter will soon be gone. Yes, really, it will!

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Easy Patchwork Decorations

Another belated Patchwork Christmas Decoration but I promise this will be my last until next November/December. Please forgive me as I know that if I don't record this now that I will have forgotten about it when I want to make more for next Christmas.
This one is even easier than the last.
Cut two circles of contrasting fabric (mine were 16 cms diameter) 
Sew together leaving a gap to turn inside out.
Press, then top stitch near to edge.

Bring two sides together  and catch a stitch in the middle to secure.
Repeat with the other sides.
Turn over the four corners
Neaten up so it looks like this one below.

Add a trim or button to the centre and a hanging loop and that's all there is to it. 
Easy peasy, or what? Happy Next Christmas!


Thursday, 1 January 2015

Patchwork Star Decorations

Happy New Year to everyone. 
Here's wishing you all that you wish for yourselves.
No New Year resolutions for me just hopes that I manage to see my far off family members more often and we all stay healthy and happy.

We returned home, a couple of days ago, after visiting the Brighton Belles and whilst it was so lovely to see them it was such a long journey to take at this time of year. It was almost 6 hours coming home but it took us an horrendous 8 hours to get there due to the backlash of major problems on British Rail. The roads were extremely congested as everyone took to the roads to get home after Christmas, instead of travelling by train. 
After snow the previous night, we happily set off on a sunny morning, so pleased that the weather had cleared and really looking forward to seeing the Brighton branch of our family. We were oblivious that it would take us two and a half hours just to travel the first 30 miles of our 230 mile journey.

During the daylight hours I stitched away whilst poor DH valiently drove the car. I had taken fabric and threads and a few ideas to play with but there is a limit to crafting in the car. It has to be simple and straightforward so here's my results and at least I had something to show for sitting in the car for sooooooo long. 
A tad late for Christmas Decorations, I know, but at least I am a step ahead for next year!
 I doubt if anyone will want these instructions now that Christmas 2014 is over but I am posting them as a reminder to myself incase I want to make more for Christmas 2015.

The star decorations are so simple to make and are even easier if a fabric glue pen is used to stick down the pieces before adding a few stitches to attach the beads. 
I left in the base  template card to weight them and make them firmer. 
There are plenty of free templates on the web just trim them to the sizes you prefer. 
Using contrasting colours for large and small templates cut fabric 1 cm bigger than templates. 
Cover smaller card pentagons of desired size (I used 5cm template) by tacking or gluing. 
A smaller card template is needed for each star decoration but only one larger template is needed as this can be reused, over and over.
Cut fabric 1 cm bigger all round than the larger template (I used 6.2 cm template).
Press down 1 cm of fabric over the card. 
Remove fabric (saving the card template to use again) and tack or stick down the folded, pressed, 1 cm edge.

Position the smaller covered pentagon onto the larger pentagon, as in picture.
As you can see, the smaller pentagon does not quite meet the edges to allow the larger pentagon to fold over sufficiently.
Fold over the points of the larger fabric pentagon on to the smaller one.  
Glue down, or pin and stitch, to the smaller pentagon. 
This forms the star centre as shown in pic below. 
Stitch beads to the star points. 
(Beads could easily be attached whilst stitching around points is in progress.)
Add a hanging cord or ribbon.

Friday, 26 December 2014

Owl Bag & More Decorations

Here's hoping you all had a wonderful holiday and thanks to everyone who sent Christmas Greetings.
 I made this little bag, a haversack, yesterday... am I one of the few to craft on Christmas Day? 
With just DH and me for dinner we could relax and please ourselves, so I took the opportunity to use the spare time and have a result at the end of the day and here's Olly to prove it.
One of my friends kindly brought me a similar bag back from Turkey, in the Summer, so I used the idea and modified it somewhat. It was quite easy but interesting to make as it is just a lined draw string bag with the tags sewn onto the front to represent feathers. On the original bag the owl has boots but I made clawed feet, which I think I would simplify next time and make  them bit smaller. These look a bit threatening!
The head is attached to the back and fastens with a magnetic clasp under the beak as can be seen in the photo, below.
The ladybird and butterfly buttons add interest to the tabs.
I also made an extra little felt owl to dangle on the bag.
Sitting watching Christmas TV, as I have done quite often over the holiday, I also made a few more decorations from felt. They are all hand embroidered and I added beads for a bit of bling. I find embroidery to be quite therapeutic and a great way to relax and as a bonus my stitching improves the more I do.

A partridge....
and a pear.
Another tiny elf clog with embroidery added.
I'm looking forward to seeing some of my family tomorrow and hoping that this evening's snowfall will disappear, overnight ,by magic. Fingers crossed!

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Mini Christmas Stockings & Greenlands Farm, Carnforth

In September I bought three printed fabric panels to make these mini Advent Christmas Stockings for my family and for me but didn't manage to get them ready for December 1st.
I've just posted this set and hope to have another set ready soon to give to my family in Brighton but mine will have to wait until next year.
 They were far more labour intensive than I had anticipated, especially as each set has 24 stockings and 6 tags to cut and prepare. Then they have to be stitched onto the 60 pieces for the backings (30 backs and 30 fronts) and 30 ribbons attached before trimming to finish. It was a bit daunting to make just one set but I'm pleased I did.   Only 2 more sets of 90 pieces each to go!
 No 16, with the two houses is my favourite but I really love them all. 
They'll take a lot to fill them all with treats next year.
I can't wait to see a photo of them hanging like bunting up the sides of the stair rails.
The rest of this post is from our recent trip to the Lake District that I forgot to post. I wanted my grandees to see all the animals on the farm and hope one day to take them there as it is such a super place to visit.

We arrived too early to check in to our log cabin when we went to the Lake District but, by chance, we spotted a sign advertising a Christmas Fair at a fabulous farm. Somewhere interesting to have our lunch, I thought, but it was so much more.
I was more interested in the animals than the Christmas stuff and all year round the farm is a visitor centre for adults and children alike. There are shops selling handmade crafts, specialty food and fresh produce stores and a lovely cafe but best of all, there are so many different animals to see and handle.
snakes, ostrich, alpacas, sheep, birds

Play barn, tractor rides, donkey and pony rides.
Sheep in the field and Chinchillas in the barns.
Tow litters of piglets
I told this magnificent fella that he still had time to escape before Christmas!
A climbing wall outside the soft play barn.
There were snakes which could be handled, an aviary, tractor rides and a hay barn to swing and climb on.
 Grasmere Gingerbread Shop 
The tiniest quaintest shop and bakery imaginable, nestled in the corner of the church grounds where William Wordsworth is buried, has just celebrated 160 years of making the most delicious, yummy scrummy, gingerbread, which I consider to be the best in the world. Don't miss it if you can get there to buy and try some, it tastes like no other gingerbread.

There is a little robin that visits the shop each day for crumbs and this is the very first time he hasn't showed up when I have visited. I asked the lady who served us and she told me that he is OK and we just must have missed him. Phew!

Must get dinner made so I can watch Strictly, as most of UK will be doing tonight.