Dance like no one is watching.
Blog like no one is reading.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Chair Reupholster

 I spent this morning helping a friend reupholster her dining room chairs.  Well, I say 'help' - there were two very competent handy women there... and me!

The hardest part was unscrewing the chair seats from the base.  I believe that thing at the bottom right of the picture below is called a tool box!

 Here are the ladies hard at work - you see I would have helped more but somebody had to hold the camera!

I did help really - and we were all so pleased with the results...

Isn't my friend's wallpaper fab!

Friday, 23 September 2011

Knitted Hand Towel

 I have been making full use of my local library again.  This time it's a book called Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines by Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne.  I was drawn to this knitted hand towel by the description - it is said to be 'an excellent lady gift' and who wouldn't want one of those!

Nice and easy to knit, with the added advantage of a built in hanging loop, I did exactly as the book suggested and presented it to a friend, together with a dish cloth and a bottle of aromatherapy washing liquid.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Nine Patch Quilt

 Happiness is finishing machine quilting!

Here is the completed quilt.  Unfortunately I couldn't get a very good shot of it in its entirety.  This shot had me precariously balancing on the edge of the sofa!

Now that it is finished I do love this quilt.  The wadding used is a cotton polyester mix which has a shrinkage factor of about 5 percent.  I haven't dared wash it though!  I tried a new binding technique by folding the backing fabric over the front and sewing through the resulting fold.  It was a bit fiddly but was certainly quicker than handsewing stand-alone binding to the back of the quilt.

I will definitely use the same quilting technique on my next quilt as I hope I have learnt a lot from doing this one.  I just can't resist the final vintage style look.

Friday, 16 September 2011


It's not often that you are asked to blog about your buttons but as Emma Lamb has set down the gauntlet I am happy to pick it up and embellish it!

I'm a bit of a haberdashery hoarder and the picture above is (sadly, or not sadly, depending on your point of view!) not all of my button stash, just my latest acquisition.

This tin of buttons was displayed in the window of a local charity shop, causing me to do a comedy double-take as I wandered past. How I wanted that tin. It was quite an outlay mind you so I pondered it for a while (all right, as soon as I got home I told Mr HoffiCoffi all about it) and he very, very kindly, and not unromantically cycled all the way back into town to buy them for me.

It's obviously intriguing thinking about who must have spent a lifetime putting these buttons together in a tin. Some have obviously been snipped off clothes as there is still some fabric attached to them, there is a British Rail uniform button in there, tiny aqua shell buttons, wooden toggles and at least one marble! I am very humbled to own such a beautiful collection and it inspires me to get better at my crafts so that I can do full justice to any that I use.

Anyway, getting far too serious. Next.... zips!!!!

Monday, 12 September 2011

Free motion machine quilting is difficult.

A few years ago I was admiring a very old quilt in a museum when I overheard two ladies beside me talking, 'You know, people who make quilts do it all by machine these days' said the one lady, which led the other to retort 'Well, they shouldn't!'.

The thing is, I wanted to say to them, have you tried machine quilting? I like to think of myself as a fairly competent hand quilter. Granted, I'm no Sandi Lush (my heroine) but I can make fairly small, fairly even stitches by hand that always come through to the back of the fabric. Machine quilting? Well, machine quilting is difficult.

As a novice machine quilter I only have three pieces of advice for another beginner. Firstly, check the back of your work, secondly, check the back of your work and thirdly, ummm... check the back!

Doh! The back scrunched up and I ended up sewing a fold! This wasn't the worse time it happened. The worst time was when there was a big old crease at the back right in the middle of the quilt but I was far too angry to photograph that one!

Still, when the quilting goes alright it's one of the best feelings in the world.

Only another 200 odd blocks to go!

Thursday, 8 September 2011

I have spent the morning wrestling. No, I haven't taken up a new hobby - I've been wrestling with a quilt top trying to feed it through my sewing machine. I have been known, whilst making bunting, to throw the metre or so of binding over my shoulder as I sew but I can't do this with a quilt unless I fancy sewing under a tent!

I'm pleased with the final result...

Although why is there always one block which is brighter than the others!

Right, off to practice my half nelson as I need to machine quilt it next!

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

I treated myself to a new gadget on holiday. This lovely little flower cutter for my cupcakes. I think that every cupcake I make will have one of these flowers on. Until I get another must have gadget that is!

Sunday, 4 September 2011

I like to set myself little challenges. A few posts ago I photographed two cushions that I made out of one metre of Ikea cheap and cheerful fabric. Afterwards I looked at the fabric pieces leftover on my sewing table and thought, well I may as well keep going....

Let's see how many items I can make out of one metre of fabric.

There is this little make up bag. The zip was kindly given to me (this is how I justify my huge stash of fabrics and notions - you never know when something will be perfect for a project!). The lining is from a ripped pair of pyjama trousers which I used for years and was very sad when they finally gave up the ghost.

I then had a crack at a shopping bag. They are introducing a plastic bag tax here in Wales next month so there is all the more reason to make as many shopping bags as possible - one scrunched up into every handbag I own should do it!

I went right up to the wire with this one. Look, the selvage is on show! Very devil may care for me! Talk about living in the fast lane!

The thing is, there is still a tiny bit of fabric left...

Friday, 2 September 2011

Ah, nothing like a holiday to get you all enthusiastic about sewing again.

This time next year I'll have completed a king size double wedding ring hand quilted quilt... sorry, that's just the ice-cream talking! :)