Monday, 27 February 2012

A Taste of Spring

Much to my delight there have been a few magical spring taster days here this last week.

It has been wonderful to feel real heat in the sun, and to bask a while in it after the dull cold days of winter.

Logan, Bessie and I have spent the best part of the last four days in the garden, where we have not been idle. 

Well, that's not strictly true. 

Logan has been extremely idle. As has Bessie.

Both of them have found quiet spots in the sun - Bessie by the hedge (where she can also keep an eye open for the birds that are hopping around in it),  Logan near to wherever I am working.

Leaves have been cleared. 
Both raked from the lawn and painstakingly picked from the borders. 

So many leaves. Barrow loads, and still more to clear. 

I am currently looking at leaf blowers with a view to buying one to help with this tedious chore as we have so many, even after numerous leaf clearing days during autumn and winter. They blow, suck or mulch the leaves, and a neighbour has recommended one as being the only way of dealing with all the leaves here.

But atleast when clearing the borders, there is the delightful reward of finding little bright green shoots under the dead brown leaves, and sometimes a little purple bud.

The skies have been an incredible cerulean blue some days, and there has been lots of bee activity in our garden - the large bumble bees have been feasting on the purple crocus, they just can't seem to get enough.

There has been plenty of other activity in the garden too.

Birds in the hedges, trees, and lots of checking out this little desirable duck egg blue residence, currently vacant and to let.

I think it will have new tenants before long.

When not sleeping in the sun, Logan rediscovered his love of football.

We had to confiscate the ball last summer as he gets very aggressive and rather macho just as soon as he gets his paws on the ball.

It's a man thing then.

On other matters, I have decided to remove the word verification from my comments form.

I have found the new word format annoying and sometimes hard to read, and imagine that you might too, so instead I have added comment moderation as a measure of control, which means that your kind comments won't appear immediately as before.

If anyone else wishes to do this, please note that you cannot remove word verification from the new format Blogger settings - instead you need to go back to the old style blogger. To do this, click on the top right hand grey nut-type symbol (Blogger Options), click on old Blogger interface and then go to comments (or settings can't remember which one now!), and change the word verifiication option.

A few days ago I was very kindly awarded the Liebster Blog Award from Pretty Little Jewels which I blogged about on last week's post - and I now need to pass that award on.

The blogs I have chosen are:

digs & bean
Little Nest Studio
Liv's Swedish Home

Congratulations to them all!  Please try  to visit these lovely blogs and say Hi and well done if you do not already know them - you won't be disappointed!

Note to the above Awardees!

Please check out my post "A Plea for Help!" on Tuesday 21st February for the details of what to do on accepting the award.

I have very kindly been awarded another Award - well it is award season isn't it?

Amelita (Amelitienne) at PPP - Panna, Piselli, Peyote!!  has awarded me the Versatile Blogger Award - Thankyou so much Amelita!!!!

Accepting this award is a little more involved that the other one, so again I shall defer all the passing on etc to another post!

So, a few lovely new blogs to check out here (assuming my links work!)


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Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Getting to the point


May contain images of cushions. 

Vintage tea napkin edged with prairie points in brightly coloured children's prints on white cotton backed in an old Laura Ashley fabric with white daisy trim.

Thankyou for all the helpful and detailed advice on yesterday's post - I am very grateful, you are a wonderful lot!

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Tuesday, 21 February 2012

A Plea for Help!

Just a quick post to show the latest cushion ( currently backless so not finished yet) , to announce an award, and a pathetic plea for help!!!

First things first - the cushion...

This one is made from a mix of vintage and new fabrics, in pale blues and turquoises - I couldn't seem to get a good photo that really shows off the colours accurately, and they are rather pretty I think - I will try again when the cushion is finished and I can take a photo of it elsewhere.

The bright floral is from a 70s pillowcase that I bought for a song, sadly ripped but the fabric was so pretty I knew I could re-use it. 

The pale turquoise and cream is also from a pillowcase, probably 80s.

The checks and plain pale blue linen are all from my stash.

I have been making  this sort of basic patchwork cushion for many years, and it's still a favourite way to use up scraps of fabric quickly and easily to get an instant result.

One of the reasons for making so many cushions at the moment is to reduce the size of my stash which is gradually taking over my workspace. 

Another reason is to use some of the lovely fabrics I have instead of just piling them up half hidden. 

And a third reason is that I love making them, and I want to put them for sale on my Etsy and Folksy shops 

But I still have to face up to actually listing something, and I don't know where to start! Although a veteran buyer on eBay, I have never even listed anything on there. I shall be fine once I take the bull by the horns and list the first item. 

So, if you have any tips or instructions please I shall be very grateful!

I know I need some good photos, and a description and measurements of the item, but how do you calculate the postage? And what about postage abroad??? 

Help please !!!!

It's fear of the unknown stopping me here.

I made the above oven mitt a few years ago, one of many pairs that I made for a fair I was doing, and I thought I would make some more for the shop once I have tackled that first listing. I still have some of the special heat resistant wadding to use up.

Moving on.......

Pretty Little Jewels blog has very kindly awarded me the Liebster Blog Award.

Thank you Juli!

The award is given to blogs that inspire you that have less than 200 followers, with a view to helping them attract new followers and visitors.

The rules as I understand are:

Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them.

Post the award button on your blog

Pass the award onto 5 blogs that inspire you .

I have some in mind already but need to do a little more research before I announce to whom I shall pass on the Award - so watch this space, it could be YOU!!!!

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Monday, 20 February 2012

Cushions and Crochet

Hi everyone, I hope you all had a great weekend!

And a huge Welcome to my new followers!

I have been on a bit of a roll with the sewing since the new year, spurred on by the inspiration I receive from viewing all your lovely blogs and seeing how productive you have been, and also by the encouraging comments you very kindly leave for me here.

I am also trying very hard this year to actually finish off some of the many WIPs I have littering my sewing room before starting new projects. 

What happens is that I start out with an idea, usually one that I've scrawled down and roughly sketched in my ideas book, then I get half way through said project when another idea overtakes me and I'm swept away with the urge to make it!

Sound familiar?

Hence the build up of  WIPs.

Unless of course I go all out for finishing the project I first started, whilst still in the first flush of love for it, forsaking all housework and all other calls on my time. Which is not usually very realistic.

Of course, there is no way I could just excercise restraint and ignore the new idea - that would be rude wouldnt it? I'm always worried I might forget it, even if I have made a sketchy note of it, and could run the risk of losing a great idea!

So I am particularly pleased that I found these hexagons at the weekend, and finished the cushion I had planned back in the summer when I first pieced them, although I had a round cushion in mind at the time, and still want to make a round version. 

But the round cushion pads I have found are quite pricy, at £5 a time - does anyone know where to get cheaper ones in the UK???

I stitched the hexagons together, then placed the whole piece on to a beautiful piece of vintage table linen, a damask that was damaged in parts so beyond its original use, and so I could cut it to re-use it without guilt - I have some close-ups here.

You can just about the see the patterns - a kind of double "V" or chevron repeat design in the photo above, with a more traditional damask design around the edges of what would have been a tablecloth, in the photo above that.

The back (see above and below detail ) is another piece of vintage linen that was damaged in places, once a fine towel I think judging by the hanging tape, and with a monogram that I am keeping for another project. 

I do get such great satisfaction from being able to make something pretty, new and useful from something old and damaged, but still of great beauty.

I have lined the front of the cushion to give it additional strength to support the patchwork applique, and sewn it together using french seams to provide a neat finish inside.

This is another cushion I made this weekend, using vintage fabric chosen by my daughter, which I have made into a panel and attached to a vintage thick cotton napkin. I have used a band of the reverse of the fabric for the back closure, and the back is also made of vintage napkins. 

Segueing neatly from cushions to crochet..........the subject of trims being the common factor here in case you were wondering how my mind works........
following on from some comments I received on my last post, I have found and photographed another vintage pillowcase I trimmed with crochet edging at the same time as I made the other. 

Needless to say, only one pillowcase is finished, as I must have been overwhelmed by another creative urge before I could even start on the other.

And the fact that it was sitting in my sewing room with its unadorned partner awaiting its trim, with a ball of cotton with a trail of crochet trim hanging from it, hook still intact, meant that I must have had plans for something else too!

This pillowcase is trimmed with a small scallop that is crocheted to the desired length first, and then sewn on afterwards.

The pattern for this latest trim in pink, and the blue trim on the pillowcase above, has been taken from one of my favourite crochet books, Crochet Adorned by Linda Permann. 

It has some great ideas and patterns inside for embellishing clothes and making things to wear and for the home, and best of all it has a brilliant section at the back with all sorts of stitches, patterns for squares and flowers, and pages of wonderful trims! 

I have plans for using some of those trims!

It also has this wonderful white crochet bowl that you mould and stiffen with starch - I'm just dying to have  ago at this!

above photo from Crochet Adorned by Linda Permann

I shall leave you with a glimpse of my current project - more hexagons, larger ones this time, and machine basted for speed - am currently enjoying hand stitching them together in the evenings, as even though I can happily spend time during the day in my sewing room machining away at the latest project, the thought of spending time sitting hand stitching for some reason leaves me feeling guilty!

So it waits until the evening. Which is quite good really, as it allows me to start yet another project during the day, time permitting of course ;)!

No neat segueing here, but just a thought that popped into my head, as a sunny day at this time of the year (and yay, it is sunny!!!!) naturally turns my thoughts to the garden..

I noticed the first huge and swollen pink bud on my camelia this weekend, looking like it will burst forth any day. I'm sure this is earlier than last year, I need to check the dates on last years photos. Has anyone else noticed theirs flowering yet?

Note - this is last years flower!

And at last the first few purple crocuses are out, despite the fact that the ambient temperature was -3 when I got back from the school run this morning.

Have a great day!

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Thursday, 16 February 2012

Pink stuff

Just a quick update on last night's post to show you some better lit photos of the latest cushion.

The photo above shows the cushion front made from vintage pink fabric with a beautiful pale coffee (latte?!) crochet mat stitched on, then finished with a pink flower and button 

Back of cushion - natural linen (new) and hot pink pleated trim

In the background you can see the cushion above, which is one I made last year from vintage floral fabric probably either 60s or early 70s and reversed with a vintage dusky pink drawn threadwork napkin (see below)

The two pretty faded floral cushions behind are ones I bought a while ago, made from a lovely linen fabric by a scandinavian designer ( I think) whose name is on the tip of my tongue but eludes me for the moment. I know it is a short name........any guesses? Female. I shall try and remember and then update this later!!

And whilst we're on the subject of pink, and because these happen to be on the bed at the moment (and the above cushion photos were taken in the bedroom) I thought I would show you a photo of the pale turquoisy green crochet trim I added last year to the pink floral vintage pillowcases I found very cheaply on eBay, after being inspired by rose hip - if you've never visited there, do check out her beautiful blog for the most amazing crochet trimmed pillowcases..

Hope you're all feeling "in the pink" today!

( In good health!)

Oh, and whilst I think of it, I have updated my Made by Gillyflower page on this blog - see the menu below my header to view this page - if anyone would like to see some of my recent makes all in one place. There are still many more things to add!

Gill xx
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