Archive for the 'pinky and boo' Category

It’s not all jam and Jerusalem…

June 21st, 2012

Hi, my name is Claire and I am a member of the Women’s Institute.   Very proud member in fact; so much so I volunteer on the committee too.  Our WI is one of the newer generation of WIs where most of our members are in their 20′s/30′s, most work full time or are studying but all have an interest in cooking, crafting, gardening and generally meeting other interesting people.  I think that the perception of the WI is changing, mainly thanks to some of the other, newer WIs springing up all over the place, and popular media is helping too with films, TV shows and documentaries.

I probably had one of the best introductions to being in a WI as the first meeting I went to was a baking taster evening in Oct 2010 – the range of baked goods that evening was amazing and I met loads of other new people who were also new to the WI.  I’m actually quite reserved (I hesitate to use the word shy) with people that I don’t know, and wondered if this would be somewhere that people would be friendly (I can feel quite panicky in new social situations) but I need not have worried.  I even got chatting to a lady from Ballymoney where David’s family live, really proving that it is a genuinely small world!   One of the nicest things about our WI (and the other couple of WIs I have visited) is that they are really friendly, so you never really feel on your own as there’s usually a bunch of people that introduce themselves to you before you’ve had a chance to get a cuppa!

So, what do we do, apart from eat cake?  Well cake clearly does feature significantly in most of the things we are associated with, but there’s more to us than that.  Each month we have a guest speaker on a topic that is of interest to the group – last month we had a talk on organic gardening from Ecoworks.  We have also had talks on vintage fashion, eating seasonably, and the work of the Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance.  Sometimes we book guest speakers, other times we have really fascinating talks from within the membership, such as our January meeting where one of our members spoke about her experiences of volunteering to help clear up the damage left by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.  Next month we are having Robin Hood guide us on a walk around Nottingham.

The WI also have a long history of (and a fearsome reputation for) campaigning on a variety of issues, from environmental campaigns such as helping save the bumblebee, to reducing packaging on foods (I love that some WIs took back all of their excess packaging to the supermarket and dumped it on the manager for them to deal with).  The current resolution (what members vote on and what will be campaigned on in the following year) is to call for more midwives, and for more midwife training.   The resolutions are proposed by members, and voted on so whatever causes are close to people’s hearts they have a chance to submit proposals each year to be (hopefully) selected and voted on – I like the democracy of the process, which seems to make a refreshing change in the current climate!

One of the things we do really well in Nottingham City WI is our fetes – this year will be the third fete we have held, and the second one that I have been involved in.  This is one of the main ways we raise money for charity – this year’s nominated charity is The Friary Drop In, an organisation I work with closely in my day job and who do some pretty phenomenal work with really disadvantaged people, on next to no money.  We raise money for this by selling cakes – have a look at the cake table from last year:

(Excuse the rubbish picture – these were taken on my phone as I had sensibly left the camera at home…!) and by having a raffle, which last year was epic and covered the bar upstairs completely.

Speaking personally it’s the only place pretty much I sell my Pinky and Boo bits and bobs now, and there are lots of other really talented crafters out there who also sell their work too.

This was my stall last year: 

This year our fete is on 7th July at Cape Bar in Hockley, Nottingham from 11-3.  I know I could be accused of being biased, but you really aught to come down and have a look.  Not only is there the amazing cake stall and raffle (which lets face it is actually reason enough) but you can get hold of some lovely crafts, clothing, home grown plants, pottery, even get your nails manicured!  And meet some lovely people in the process of it all too.  Who knows, you may even end up joining us too!

If you don’t live in Nottingham, find out where your nearest WI is – I thoroughly recommend you find out what they’re up to, you may be surprised! xoxo

P.S.  We don’t sing Jerusalem either!

Pillowcase shopper – easy tutorial

June 11th, 2012

It’s been a long, long while since I have posted here hasn’t it?  It’s always been my intention to start blogging again, but sometimes life gets in the way.  However, as they say the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step, so here’s mine – a super easy (if slightly wordy) tutorial to show you how to make a pillowcase into a shopping bag.  

These are great for when you go charity shopping/ car booting as you can ram a significant amount of stuff into them, yet they fold down to next to nothing.  Enjoy!

You will need:

• A cotton pillowcase, or equivalent amount of fabric.  Try to pick one that isn’t too thin or worn – you don’t want your shopping falling out!  If you want to make a really sturdy bag you may want to line it, in which case you would need 2 pillowcases.

• Small amounts of a co-ordinating fabric for the straps and ties – I have used some gingham here, but if you wanted to make this project even quicker you could use cotton webbing for the straps and ribbon for the ties.

• Braid or lace (optional) – I like to embellish things – just because something is practical doesn’t mean it can’t be pretty too.  I used some vintage cotton lace here as I had a small amount left, but you could use braid, ribbon, ric rack…. Or leave it plain.  You need enough to go all the way round the top of your bag, so around 1.5 metres will be plenty.

• Sewing machine and matching thread

• Stitch ripper/ unpicker (optional but makes life a bit easier)

• Scissors

• Pins

• Tape measure

• Iron and ironing board

1. Make the bag

The first thing you need to do is give your pillowcase a good iron – especially if you have had it stored for a while.  Once you have it ironed , you are going to chop off the end that is open, at the point where the inside “flap” starts.  If you have a particularly long pillowcase, or it doesn’t have a wide folded over flap on the inside feel free to chop it where it looks reasonable.  Measure from the sewn edge towards the open edge and mark with pins where you will cut, making sure you have a nice straight line to follow.  Keep the discarded fabric, you may want to use it for another project.

You now should have a long-ish square that will become your bag.  If you keep your bag with the opening you have just cut on the right hand side as you look at it, you need to either cut or use the stitch ripper  to open up the seam at the top, which will become your bag opening.

Turn your bag inside out, and pin the edge you cut, and sew with a 1.5cm seam allowance, leaving the top edge open.

You may want to sew all the way round the 3 sides to reinforce the stitching that it already there, but this is up to you.  You now have a bag.

To make your bag have a wider bottom, like mine in the picture, you need to make corners on the bottom and sides.  To do this, pinch the bottom seam and the side seam together so they form triangles – try and make sure you line up the seams accurately to get a nice, straight edge.  How far down the line you want to sew is up to you, just remember the further down you sew the wider the bottom of the bag will be, and it will make it become  more triangular in shape.  I sewed mine down 5cm from the point, making sure both corners were the same.

2. Make the straps and ties.

  • To make the bag straps, cut 2 strips of fabric 12cm by 70cm (if you want shorter straps then try 12cm by 50cm) from your co-ordinating fabric.
  • To make the ties cut a strip 9cm by 70cm (unless you are using ribbon / webbing, in which case you can skip this stage).

Fold each strap in half lengthwise, with right sides facing (so you sew on the wrong side of the fabric), and pin so you make a long tube of fabric.  Sew with a 1cm seam allowance, and turn them both the right way out (you may find this easier if you use a chopstick or something blunt/ that won’t mark your fabric.

For the ties, fold the strip in half with wrong sides facing, and tuck in each raw edge about 1/2cm, pinning as you go.  Once you have it pinned all the way down, fold in the ends at the top and bottom.  Sew across the top, along the long edge and across the bottom.  Give the straps and ties a press with the iron ready to attach to the bag.  Fold the tie in half lengthways and cut, so you now have 2 ties with sewn ends.

3. Finish the bag.

You need to make a hem at the opening of the bag – if you unpicked your pillowcase you will probably find that you have a little fold about 1cm in already made for you – tuck this under, and fold over again about 2.5cm so that the raw edge is enclosed.  Pin in place.

Find the middle of your bag opening either by measuring, or folding in half lengthways.  Tuck your ties (cut edge) under the hem, then fold up so that they stick out of the top rather than hanging into your bag.  Measure 10cm away from your ties, mark and tuck under the edges of the straps, making sure that the straps aren’t twisted!  To help with this I usually put the sewn edge towards the middle.

Sew, using a fairly small stitch close to the folded over edge, being careful when you go over the straps and ties, and overlapping.  Take your time over this as you don’t want to hit the folded fabric at a high speed and damage your sewing machine!

Now, turn your bag the right way out so you can attach the trimming.  Starting at a side seam pin in place – I put mine a few millimetres from the folded edge, pinning all the way round, and tucking in the raw edge when you meet at the beginning again.  Sew in place, handstitching the braid ends if necessary.

If you decide to not put any trim on you will need to still do a line of stitching to make sure your bag is strong enough and that the handles and ties are in the right place.Trim off any excess threads and give the bag a press.

To fold up for your handbag, fold the left side of the bag into the middle, fold in the straps and fold over the right side.  Roll up from the end , cross the ties over at the top, wrap around and tie in a bow.

After all that sewing you’re ready to go shopping!


Strawberry shopper tutorial

November 27th, 2010

Here’s the instructions and information for the second of the tutorials for foldaway shopping bags, the strawberry shopper.  I do hope that you liked the previous tutorial - if you make anything from these tutorials please let me know, I’d love to see them!

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For the strawberry bag you will need:

  • Pillowcase (try and find one that doesn’t crease too badly – maybe one with polyester in it.  Since this gets stuffed into the strawberry you don’t want it to come out looking like a dish rag!)
  • Square of red polka dot fabric 26cm x 26cm (you could use plain red and embroider or paint the dots/ seeds on if you wish/ have the time)
  • Strip of green fabric
  • Green bias binding (I used cotton, but you could always make a small strip for this bag from fabric; I’m just being a little lazy here!)
  • 3 metres of bias binding to use around the handles (this should be more than enough so don’t worry if you have less in)
  • Green cord suitable for a drawstring
  • Matching thread – green, red and something to match your bias tape or pillowcase.
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron
  • Patterns for leaves and cut outs:
  • Strawberry bag handle No1
  • Strawberry bag handle pattern No 2
  • Strawberry leaf pattern 1
  • Strawberry leaf pattern 2

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To make bag:

To prepare the pillowcase for being turned into a bag, you need to first undo the “flap” that is on the inside (the bit that keeps the pillow in place – you don’t need to be too careful in removing this, unless you are as tight with fabric as I am and plan on using it for something else.  Otherwise just snip along the line of sewing it’s attached to.

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Once you have snipped the fabric away both sides just pull it out and leave it.  Then you need to mark a line (I used pins but you may want to use chalk if you prefer) 50 cm from the bottom edge of the bag, like this:

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Place the patterns on for the side and top cut outs onto your bag, and cut out.  You will be left with what looks like a carrier bag but the handles being open, like this:

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You now need to join the handles together; turn the bag inside out, and pin along the raw edge at the top of the handle, then sew using a small stitch a couple of times in the same line.   I used a 1cm seam allowance for this – remember it is this seam that takes the weight of what you have in your bag so you want it to last!

You are now ready to attach your bias binding round the handles.  I use bias binding because it not only gives you a chance to tie in some colours (I used red because of the strawberry) but also because doing a hem on a curved edge isn’t that easy.  Fold the bias tape in half, creasing with your finger, and with the resulting “V” shape fit this over the raw edge of your fabric.  Pin in place, remembering to tuck in or join your strips together so no raw edges are sticking out.  I started from the seam so that it wouldn’t be really obvious where the bias tape began.  You also need to attach bias tape to the opening of the bag – try and make sure you don’t have any bulky seams or joins where your hands would be when you are carrying the bag; you want the bag to be comfortable to use.  Sew in place using matching thread.

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Once you have given it a bit of a once-over with your iron, the bag part is complete.  Now you need to make your strawberry.

To make your strawberry: Cut the square in 2 diagonally, and place right sides together, pinning like this:

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Using matching thread sew along the 2 shorter sides of the triangle.  Clip the corners off to redce the amount of bulk and turn round to the right side.  Iron.

Now you need to assemble your strawberry:

Using something like your finger as a guide, place the stawberry you have just sewn over the right hand corner of the bag (you can put it on the left if you want, but it will be on the right hand side when you turn it over!).  I tend to poke my finger into the corner of the bag, and place the strawberry on top, and wiggle it a bit to make sure it is in as far as it can be, if that makes sense.  Pin your strawberry in place, making sure you don’t pin both sides together!

Next you need to add your leaves – they should lay across the top of your strawberry (if you have done slightly less of a seam allowance then you may need to gather or pleat your leaves slightly to make them fit properly.  Pin in place, on both the front and the back.  Sew them down either by tacking by hand, or really close to the edge of the fabric (so that it will be hidden once you put your binding in place) like this:

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Once you have your leaves and strawberry sewn in place, you need to add your bias binding.  Cut a strip of binding long enough to cover the raw edges of fabric, and fold under about 1 cm each side.  Pin in place, starting from the middle and working your way to the sides.  When you reach the edges of the channel (which are at the sewn seams of the bag/ strawberry) you need to tuck the ends under so that they form a neat line, like this:

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You need to have an opening at both seams to be able to thread the cord through and tie it.  You may choose to only have one opening, in which case I suggest that it would be on the side edge of the bag, and you may want to use a taggle or something to help draw the bag in and keep it that way.

You now sew along in a continuous line all the way around, making sure that you overlap your stitches from where you started, as this area gets a lot of stress when you use the drawstrings.  Remember to use a small stitch for strength, and a matching thread for your fabric on the top and bottom.

Once you have sewn all the way round the top and bottom of your bias binding, you are ready to add your cord.  You can make the ties as long as you want – mine were cut to 80cm.  If possible (if using synthetic cord – it won’t work if it’s cotton!) singe the ends of the cords to seal them either by passing them through a flame or putting them near some heat – be careful when you do this however as molton cord is painful if it hits your skin, and you don’t want to start a fire!  You will need 2 cords that are long enough to tie in a knot after being threaded through the bias binding.

Using a sfaety pin, start at one opening, thread your cord all the way round until it comes out next to where it went in.  Tie this off in a knot at the end of the cord.  Next thread your other cord, and start at the other gap in your binding, threading it all the way round until it comes out and tying it off.  Now it should look like this:

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Give your bag a final press with the iron, taking care that you don’t melt the cord!  Your bag is complete now – just stuff the bag into the strawberry, pull the cords and you’re ready to go shopping!

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Enjoy xoxo

Foldaway shopper tutorials

November 16th, 2010

It’s been a while hasn’t it?  Lots happening, and lots of good blogging intentions that have slipped.  Saying that, I really want to get back to blogging, but struggle to find things to write about, so I have decided that I will mainly try and post tutorials on here, and since Christmas is fast approaching,  I wanted to offer some tutorials for things that are easy and quick to make, and would make nice gifts.  The first of these are 2 shopping bags. 

shopper bags

The first one we will tackle here is the shopper that folds into it’s own pouch – I will be back with instructions for the strawberry one later in the week.

I don’t know about you but I have no shortage of bags for life / canvas bags/ tote bags – you name it.  I just end up getting or making more as I never remember to pick them up when I go shopping (I know, it defeats the object!) and I think one of the problems (apart from a complete lack of organisation on my part) is that they never fold into anything, so I end up stuffing them into another bag, and maybe remebering to fold one up and put it in my handbag before I go out the door.  I bought a bag like this ages ago and loved the fact it folded up on itself, so I thought it would be easy to show you how to make one for yourself.

You will need:


  • A pillowcase – I used an old one I picked up for pence at a charity shop
  • Co-ordinating / contrasting cotton fabric ( a fat quarter would be ideal as you don’t need loads) for the pocket.
  • Strip of contrasting / co-ordinating fabric for the top of the bag – slightly more than twice the width of the bag and 12cm deep.
  • Scrap of ribbon or a strip of matching fabric
  • Matching / contrasting thread
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Dressmakers’ chalk
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron and ironing board

Cut out for the pocket :

2 rectangles of co-ordinating fabric – I used 2 different ones for the front and back both for interest and for demonstration purposes.  Your rectangles need to be 20 x 26 cm, (this includes a 1cm seam allowance).

You also need to cut a strip of ribbon (or use a piece of fabric you have hemmed) 14cm long to use as a hanging hook for your bag – useful for storing, or for maybe adding a key chain to?

Make the bag:

Take your pillowcase and measure from the sewn end 55cm – this makes a nice deep bag, although if you want a smaller bag, feel free to make it less.  Mark with chalk a line across your bag.  On my bag  I measured to the point where the pillowcase folds over on the inside, and trimmed that off.  You’ll need to keep the fabric you trim off as it makes the handles for the bag.

Handles: separate off the excess fabric you have from trimming your pillowcase.  Mine was sewn all the way round, so I trimmed off the back piece from the “flap”(the bit that holds your pillow in place), and took apart the seams to release the flap of fabric.  This left me with 2 bits of fabric.  If your pillowcase only has one seam then just unpick it so you have 1 long strip of fabric.  Making sure that the strip/s are even in size all the way along, fold it in half widthways, and iron a crease.  Pull it apart and cut along the line you have just ironed in so you have 2 or 4 strips, like this:

blog pics 007 If you have 4 strips (like mine) you will need to join them – I sewed mine twice in the same place with a small stitch, as this seam takes a lot of strain when you are using the bag.  If you have 1 long strip then you don’t have to bother sewing.  You could use the sewing that is in fromwhen the pillowcase was made, but I would strengthen it with a row of stitching too – trust me on this one!  Iron the seam you have just made apart to make it less bulky to sew.

To finish the handles, fold the strips in half widthwise with wrong sides together (i.e. with the right sides on the outside, and remember you are making a long strip, not folding it in half!), iron the crease in place.  Fold your raw edges in to the middle about a centimetre, like this:

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and like this:

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Pin along the edge you have just folded in.  I would always pin where the line of stitching is – make sure when you are sewing that your stitches are near to the edge of the fabric, and that you sew to the point of the pin, and pull the pin towards you.  Saves you getting in no end of bother! Sew where you have just pinned on both strips – if you want you can do a line of machine stitching on the other side to match feel free, but it’s not a problem if you don’t want to.  Set straps aside.

Next – trim the top of your bag.  Using the strip of fabric, measure twice the width of your pillowcase plus 2cm for seam allowance.  Foe example, my pillowcase measured 48cm across, so my strip would be 98cm (48cm +48cm +2cm).  Accurate measuring is key here!  Fold the strip right sides together widthwise, pin and sew so that you are making a tube.  Press apart seam allowance.  With right sides of fabric facing you fold the tube in half widthwise and iron – this crease will enable the fabric to sit over the raw edge of the bag.  Then tuck under the raw edges of the tube and iron them down.  This should look like a tube of bias binding and sit over the bag quite neatly.  Pin in place, lining up the seams, like this:

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Sew into place with a small – ish stitch for strength.

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Once you have attached the binding at the top of the bag you need to add your straps – I placed mine 11cm in from the side seams, but if your bag is wider or narrower then feel free to alter this so that it both looks and feels right to you.  Pin in place to try.  You can also alter the length of your straps at this point if you wish.  The important thing is that the straps are placed evenly and in the same place on both sides, otherwise the bag won’t hang straight when being used. 

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Fold under the raw edge of each strap (I tend to use the side with the stitching as the inside of the strap, but this isn’t important, again as long as it matches on both sides!) 2.5cm, and pin this down where you want them to be.  I didn’t put mine all the way down to the sewn edge, but in the middle, like this:

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Sew into place making a box shape, and reinforcing the first line of stitching, like this:

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You have now made your bag – you could stop there and just fold your bag up – it’s ideal for decorating or adding embellishments to, but if you want to make a little pocket for it to fold into, read on….

Variation:  you could make a flat bottom for your bag by pinching in the corners and sewing across them.


Take the 2 squares you cut from fabric, and place them right sides together.    Find the middle of the long edge and place your folded ribbon in, so that the raw edges are in line with the fabric.  In my picture I have stuck them out slightly so that you can see them.

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Pin around the edge, leaving a gap in one of the shorter edges.  When pinning I find it easiest to pin horizontally so you can (with care) sew over your pins – if you do this place a different coloured pin in vertically to mark where you need to leave your gap.  You wouldn’t believe how easy it is to get carried away and sew all the way round!  Sew using a 1cm seam allowance.  I have used a white thread for it to show up in pictures but I would usually use a matching thread throughout.

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Remove the pins, and trim off the corners of the fabric close to the line of sewing

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Using the gap in the side turn right side out, making sure the corners are poked out so that they are nice and square – sometimes using the blunt end of some scissors helps, but be careful to not make a hole in your lovely sewing!  Give this a bit of an iron to flatten it out – if your fabric is a bit “springy” then you may fin putting some steel (not pearl headed cos they melt….) pins in whilst you iron may help, and sew along the short edges (this closes the gap on one edge. 

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This is the careful part – the pocket is only attached to the bag on one side, so you need to fold over and sew down the other side.  Fold one edge towards the middle, making sure that you tuck in your hanging loop.

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Sew from the middle to the folded edges to secure – I find that if you sew about 1cm, then reverse and sew back on yourself, then sew the line you wanted to makes areas where there will be high stress on the fabric much stronger and longer lasting.  You have now made the part that isn’t attached to the bag. 

Fold in the other side and pin.  Now, find the vertical middle of your shopping bag, mark with a crease or a chalk line, and mark 12cm up from the bottom of the bag.  Fold the pocket in half to find the middle and use this to pin in place on your bag.  I find that it is easier to get the pocket placed, and pin through the front and back layers, then to move the pins to sew it.  Just remember to move them!

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This picture is a bit confusing, however, cos I took it upside down.  You are sewing in a “U” shape down the short side, across the bottom and up the other side again, but the sewn edge needs to be facing the bottom…. hope that makes sense

Trim off all your bits of thread and give the whole thing a press.  To fold the bag up, turn the bag over so the pocket is face down.  Fold the edges of the bag in to the middle, fold the straps down, and fold in the bag until you reach the pocket, fold up the bottom edge, then fold the pocket over the bag, so it looks like this.

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I will try and put together a PDF of the folding instructions for you so that you can print it and include in with the bag if you are giving it as a gift.  If you find your bag wants to “escape” from the pocket you could always make a button loop and attach a small button for closing up. 

Once you have made one they get quite addictive and it’s easy to make loads in an afternoon, production line style

I will be back again with instructions for the strawberry bag soon.  Enjoy! xoxo

Quilt love

February 4th, 2010

Like many bloggers out there I have fallen in love with making quilts – I seem to be slightly obsessed with it at the minute, so obsessed in fact that I have several quilts planned out in my craft addled brain…  amongst many, many other things…. But I never got round to showing you this one – it’s been on our bed (and grateful for it’s lovely warmth and weight we are too since the weather is still so cold) since last year.

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It uses the “Snippets” range of fabrics supplemented with some 30′s reproduction fabrics I added to ensure I had enough for the quilt I wanted to make.  I love the pretty florals and quirky dressing up dolls on this range:  shame it’s so hard to get hold of now.

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It’s not really planned out very much, I started out with a “turnover” pack and a load of fat quarters. I have a pattern of the blocks made from the triangles arranged with the squares, but I actually like the fact that the pattern isn’t easy to see.  The pillowcase in the above picture I embroidered last year as part of my self imposed therapy time recovering from doing too many craft fairs…

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I used a vintage wool blanket for the batting and a vintage candy stripe sheet for the backing.

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I love this quilt – it’s far from perfect, but it’s my first proper quilt, and the sunny colours make me happy when I go to bed on an evening. Saying that I worked through a number of mistakes on this one, the main one being that the wool blanket was soooo heavy and having just a domestic machine (with a relatively average throat) was difficult to quilt well. Lovely idea, won’t be repeating that! I was reminded why I love my walking foot (which I bought years ago for making PVC clothes – don’t ask – long story!) although to be fair I remember this every time I use it!

The next quilt I made was for Vicky’s Christmas pressie, and I am halfway through the blocks for one made using “Happy Campers” fabric I bought at the knitting and stitching show last year.  Add that to the long list of other quilts I would like to make, and it looks like I will be busy and warm for a while longer!

Whilst I am here,  a quick question – do you think these pictures are any better than they normally are?  David’s dad gave us his old camera when we were over visiting Northern Ireland at New Year and I have been enjoying playing with it.  Can you see the difference?  I keep reading the instruction manual on my bus into work in the morning!  Hopefully with a nicer camera I will blog more often…….xoxo

Plinth patchwork

August 16th, 2009

You may remember that our little craft group Stitched Up were approached by a local actress/ artist Hazel Ellerby to join in making squares for a patchwork that would be shown for the “One and Other” art project in Trafalgar Square.  Life for me has been a bit crazy recently, working my usual full time hours, as well as weekend classes at the Textile Workshop and my usual evening classes, so I didn’t know whether I would manage to get a patch of my own done in time.  I ended up rushing things a bit and managed to get this done in an evening, which wasn’t entirely what I had originally planned, but was happier with then I thought I would be, if that makes sense.029

I wanted to use a something that remided me of who started me off on all this crafting business – my parents.  There’s some pictures in there I have already blogged about before here, and one of my parents I took when I was about 14 at Brimham Rocks that sits on my dressing table. 028 I love this picture – they both look so happy in it, and for once my dad isn’t fooling around in the picture (can’t think where I get that from at all….).  I also appliqued a part of a vintage tray cloth and some scraps of fabric and lace, and embellished it with different embroidery stitches, bordering it all with a ribbon.  I wrote some text that I pinned to the back of the piece and left it to be collected.

Hazel took to the plinth on Weds this week, and I was surprised to see the amount of squares she had collected up – the quilt was double sided and then she ended up having to make bunting from it all (which I love the idea of!) to display them.  I was excited to see some of the patches I had seen, texted Vicky when I saw hers, and then saw mine.  If you watch the video you will hear some of the really emotional stories behind people’s squares.  You can see a bit of my square at 17 minutes, and at about 21 minutes you can hear all of Vicky’s text and half of mine read out (Hazel’s mum was heckling her to speak up!).035

What was a bit wierd, in a nice way, was when I was looking for images from somewhere I had been with my parents, to use as the background.  I ended up Googling “Sutton in Craven” – the village my mother lived in when she left home, and where my dad would visit her each week with a bunch of Chrysanths and a box of chocolates (how romantic!), and where we visited lots when I was little.  I found the village website, and was looking through the gallery of pictures when I saw a folder of “hostel girls” – the hostel was set up for the girls and women who weren’t originally from the village for them to live in whilst at work.  There were quite a few pictures that I recognised in there from my mother’s  photo album, and then there I found this. img095 It was such a nice shock – my mam is the one on the left at the back – pretty much in the centre of the photo, with her arm round who I seem to recall was her best mate (Jean?) who then moved to Australia, the girls in front I recognise but I don’t know who they are.  I ended up ordering some prints of the set, and am trying to contact the guy whose pictures they are.  My sister has all my mam’s pictures, and I wish that I had access to them as I would like to use some of them in my textiles.  My mam would have been about 19, and from the look of it was experimenting with setting her hair as it seems to be quite curly at the back!  I’d love to know what they were all giggling about as they seem to have been having a good time!

The technique that I used for my patch I will do a tutorial for soon, as it’s so easy and has such potential for stitching and working with, so watch this space.  Later today I am off to join my friend in Cromer – her parents have just moved there and so we’re camping in their garden – roll on beach walks and Cromer Crab for tea! xoxo


July 10th, 2009

To my lovely new home.  It’s so nice here (wish my own real home was as easy to tidy up and decorate!!!) and I do hope you like it.  It’s quite a strange thing to have had it in my head for ages and then to see it all on screen in front of you.  It was a kind of “Oh, Hello there!” moment when I saw it, especially as it seemed to have a life of it’s own…

embroidery 013

Things are so busy at the moment – teaching workshops in the evening and tomorrow is the first of my summer school classes, as well as trying to get everything done for a craft fair next weekend.  And dealing with a severe garden obsession.  I decided one of the things I needed to do to help lose weight was to not cabbage in front of the TV sewing and eating chocolate, but instead spend a couple of hours in the garden of an evening, battling with snails and slugs and Japanese Knotweed, trying to make a lovely garden to enjoy.  More on that later.

Anyway, welcome, and hopfully you have enjoyed your stay xoxo

PS, if any of you need a recommendation for website design, Vicky and Jez are people that I would wholeheartedly recommend!

New hobby and news

June 19th, 2009

For the last couple of weeks I have been dipping a (rather hesitant at first) toe into bobbin lace making. Sue who is one of the Stitched Up regulars is an incredibly talented lace maker, and brought along a spare pillow and bobbins and encouraged us to have a play. Now, when Sue does something she does it with such confidence that you could be forgiven in thinking that it’s easy. She even makes bobbin lace look easy. Now to be fair the way Sue explained it it wasn’t as complicated as I thought it was, as you only work on 4 bobbins at a time (get me – instant expert eh?)
Here’s my first piece – a sample of the different stitches. I did find myself talking to the bobbins for the order they go in (although it’s not the only thing I talk to to keep in line!). Sue then scared me by getting me to try out a pattern. Now I love the leaf thing in the middle, and the use of a different coloured thread makes things easier to see, but the edge, well I still don’t feel that confident that I know what I am doing when Sue isn’t on hand to talk me through it!
What has been good is that I haven’t had this level of enjoyment for something new in ages, and it is good to remember that. One of the nicest things when I have been teaching is that people are enthusiastic about the things I have been showing them on the course that I take for granted as I have been doing them for ages, like embroidery or sewing on a machine. It’s that excited, clap your hands together feeling you get when you try something new that I haven’t had for ages.
And now for something completely different – Pinky and Boo will soon be moving to a new home. I have had the domain Pinky and Boo for ages (over 2 years I believe….) and nothing has ever really been done with it, but now Vicky is sticking all the stuff that needs to be on there, and making it work as well as look pretty – I spent a lovely afternoon with her last weekend looking at fonts for the logo and pretty colours for the site, as well as what will go on it – it will be a home for the blog as well as having an e shop and other bits and bobs on it. Vicky‘s another one who makes things look easy… Anyway, more progress on that soon. Til then, here’s some gratuitous cute kitty shots xoxo

Review of the year

December 31st, 2008

Thought I had better post before the year is out – couldn’t believe the time lapsed since my last post….. Have wanted to blog but, well, life got in the way (for life read work, Pinky and Boo, work, cleaning, Pinky and Boo, sleeping and trying to be a domestic goddess – and the members of Stitched Up I tried feeding a rather well cooked Victoria Sponge to are testament that I need to spend a bit more time practicing that on….)
I have been here soooo many times – even David’s family have commented that I need to update the blog more often (Hi, I mean to!) and I can’t face another “sorry, been busy, must try harder” thing.
So, after doing a lot of thought about work, Pinky and Boo, blogging and generally where I want to to be this time next year, I am going to try and post once a week at least, more of I can. I think it will slow me down a little bit, make me remember the small stuff. If any of you have Alicia Paulson’s “Stitched in Time” book she puts it perfectly there…
So what has filled this year? Weddings have played a very large part in 2007 – first of all there was David’s uncle William’s wedding, then Vicky and Jez in April, then us, and the other week David’s youngest brother tied the knot. Looking back at our wedding there are so many things I would have changed if I could – I would have listened to some people a bit more, ignored and told where to get off others although I wouldn’t for a second have changed anything about marrying David.
Craft fairs – good grief they have taken it out of me – 10 in total and I have lost more sleep over them than I realised when I signed up for them than I would. But I have met some lovely people, built up a small client base, learned lots of (painful) lessons and strengthened friendships as a result of them.
Work. Changing jobs was a real eye opener for me, as is working part time. I haven’t worked part time for 10 years, and certainly not at the level I am at now. It’s easier working full time! I am only in post until June 09 at the latest, so we shall see where I will be after that when I have some head space…..

What’s in store for 2009? My plans so far consist of spending more time doing things for me, with the people I care about rather than running round like a headless chicken.
Pinky and Boo – need to decide where it’s future lays, and moving it in that direction.
Work – well I will have to do some but the most exciting thing is I had an interview before Christmas and have been accepted to teach for a local FE college via the Textile Workshop, starting in January. But that doesn’t feel like work to me….
Blogging more….. less said and all that
Remembering to tell those who mean something to me that I love them and appreciate them in my life. And for the ones who are negative, critical or generally wastes of space, spend less time worrying about them or listening to them. Or simply tell them where to get off.
The other exciting thing that’s coming up is Project Glamour- it’s something Hannah and I were chatting about the other evening, but I shall blog about that in the new year.
Til then, I wish you all the very best for the coming year – may you all have health, wealth and happiness for you and yours xoxo

Where has October gone to?

November 4th, 2008

Last time I knew I was blogging about a dog show….. sorry weeks have slipped past. I do know that most of my time has been taken up by work (yes, I am supposed to be working 3 days a week and 2 on Pinky and Boo, but that all seems like theory and not much reality…) and doing , well, stuff for craft fairs. Feeling more than a tad frustrated that work (the day job’s added extras I have been roped into for my “old” project) is taking over and I haven’t done as much as I wanted to have done by now. I am at a 3 day event in Nottingham (Beeston, if you know it and are around) on 13th, 14th and 15th November, and another one in Nottingham again on 15th. I have managed to rope David in to manning the stall on 15th in Beeston whilst I do the one in Sherwood. Goodness knows how it will pan out, so we shall see…. I have another fair in West Bridgford on 5th and 6th December but that gives me a bit more time to make stuff.
I think if I do shorter, less rambly posts, I may have a better chance of updating by blog…

Also, here’s a shout out to Hannah, new blogger on the block. If Hannah hadn’t fitted my wedding dress for me I would not have had a dress quite simply – pop over and say Hi if you get the chance.
‘Til next time, adieu x

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