Weekend Workspace

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I have long hankered for an out-of-the-way sewing space where we spend some of our weekends.

I now have a wonderful sewing space in our spare bedroom in London and it has spoiled me somewhat.

getting a little nourishment

getting a little nourishment

Our weekend dining table is pretty useful and it is right in the heart of what goes on in the house but it all has to be put away again at the end. It kinda puts you off a bit and I definitely do less at weekends when we are away than when we have weekends in London.

I have a spare sewing machine for here (well, I have a couple as it goes but I don’t say that out too loud in case JC is listening), I have sewing baskets and accessories that I have been given, found, inherited, car boot bought or had already so I’m set up in that respect.

The spare bedroom is out of bounds because we have people staying here loads and need it to be ready all the time.

set up in the alcove

set up in the alcove

But we do have little box room/bedroom (which is really only a glorified cupboard) that has become a dumping ground and somewhere for JC’s drum kit but it has 2 windows and gets lots of light so it is just about perfect.

I’ve had my eyes open for a little table to sit into the alcove in this room so that I could set up a tiny tucked away space. If I’m clever and don’t allow my workspace to spread, there will still be space to put up a single stow away bed for any extra bodies that might be staying at any given time.

In my search for a table, I have taken to dropping into a super little antique shop on Albert St in Spalding. (I think it is called The Attic) and is run by a very jovial chap called Jeff.  At my last visit, and on the back of a casual conversation about needing a small table has sorted it out; Jeff had the very thing on his van, just collected that morning and needing some attention.

my little Singer 221K set up and ready to use

my little Singer 221K set up and ready to use

It was cold having been in an unoccupied house so needed bringing up to temperature. It also needed cleaning and nourishing to bring out it’s best qualities. It has an all important drawer and was incredibly inexpensive.

It is now sugar soaped, waxed and in place. I haven’t managed to use it yet as my machine now needs some repairs but it is there and ready.

one of my mum's sewing tins

one of my mum’s sewing tins – I love it

I have plans for shelves above so watch this space.

Clothes Cloning

my joules tunic

my joules tunic

I went to a talk at Stroud Green WI last year that was about cloning your clothes. The talk was by Claire-Louise Hardie of Great British Sewing Bee fame and it tweaked at my old skills of pattern cutting and making my own clothes.

I keep threatening to do it again after years and years of filling my wardrobe with off the peg instead of unique made to measure items.

joules original and my clone behind

joules original and my clone behind

Inspired by Claire’s talk, I dug out a few items of clothing and all the tools that I hadn’t had occasion to use in a while.

I promptly set them aside when I got distracted by work, christmas, commissions and work again to name but a few.

It has sat for months and looked very like it would be condemned to my large pile of unfinished works.

almost identical - no zip, slightly smaller & pocket detail adjusted

almost identical – no zip, slightly smaller & pocket detail adjusted

Until last weekend.

I’d actually got around to making the pattern some time ago. I’d bought a dirty cotton drill remnant in my favourite little sewing shop (The Cloth Shop) in Market Hall of Wood Green Shopping City and had also cut it out (remembering to mark it up properly with fold lines, tucks, darts etc etc thank goodness).

neck detail - should have cleaned the lose thread off!!

neck detail – should have cleaned the lose thread off!!

The cloning process and the pattern making had gone quite well but I wasn’t convinced that I had got the slight shape and size changes I wanted to make quite right. It would be fine, the remnant was only £5 and if all else failed, I’d repurpose any disaster into something else entirely.

needs washing and ironing again but it fits

needs washing and ironing again but it fits

It only took me a few hours to assemble the various parts and it went much better than I expected. Even the dreaded sleeves eased into the holes with only a tiny unwanted crease.

pockets adjusted to hold my sewing bits and bobs while I work

pockets adjusted to hold my sewing bits and bobs while I work

It needs washing and ironing again but I’m delighted with my new sewing tunic that is cloned from a Joules tunic that I rather like.

scrabble picture

scrabble letters

scrabble letters

My sister received a gift of a scrabble picture some time ago and I loved it. It has her better half, her daughter and her dog’s names on there and it is delightful

word score with names

word score with names – 37 by my reckoning

I liked it so much, it inspired me to make this for friends. Unlike most of our friends these guys are really hard to buy for. They have everything they could possibly want and more besides so a gift is a real challenge.

A personal handmade scrabble picture is like nothing else that they have and seemed to be the perfect solution.

ta da

ta da

This doesn’t work for everyone (unless you use those all important blank tiles!!) and not all pictures get a high score but I love them and they are just such fun and about as personal as you can get for a family.

coming together

coming together

I thought about adding their pets – a cat (I think she’s called Shearer but that might have been the one before?) & 4 hens (heather, kylie, rose and peck) but it would have looked like the scrabble board itself.

 

And let’s face it, who knows how long Kylie/Heather/Rose/Peck will last before she/they become fox food or sunday lunch??

I love it

I love it

Rio

Rrrrrrrrr!

Rrrrrrrrr!

One of my oldest (what I mean by that is longest standing!!) friends Clare became a granny at the end of November.

yes, a granny. Little Rio Harper was born on 30.11.13 to her daughter Hannah who I remember being a baby herself.

o o o o o!!

o o o o o!!

It is terrifying that she is a grown woman with a little one of her own now!

heart

heart

It is a bit late to be sending her a welcome present but it has been my first chance to do this for her.

rio's bunting

rio’s bunting

It’s in the post on it’s way to Granny Clare’s for her next visit.

fabric cases

button fastening

button fastening

One of my best friends has a january birthday (there seem to be a few in our group!!) and it was the first week in the month.

inside the iPad case

inside the iPad case

I have been toying with adding glasses cases to my makes as they include sewing and appliqué and V’s birthday was the perfect opportunity.

glasses case

glasses case

I also happened to know she was getting an iPad too so what better than to make a matching case for that since the glasses and the iPad may well be used together!!

button loop

button loop

The glasses case is so much fun and I enjoyed making it so I will definitely be making more of those.

pink details

pink details

Perhaps the odd iPad case or little purse might sneak in there when I get some more time.

Bright Birthday Bunting

bright bunting flags

bright bunting flags

I was pretty busy leading up to the festivities of 2013 and some of that busy was commissions.

My all out favourite was some jolly bunting for 2 little people I met at Harringay Market on the 8th December.

leonard bunting

leonard bunting

They have December & January birthdays very close to Christmas and their mum Ellen ordered them some birthday bunting amidst all the festive bits and bobs.

I have a January birthday and always got ‘combined’ christmas and birthday presents when I was little and that meant my birthday became a bit of a none event.

nancy bunting

nancy bunting

As a result, I have adopted the Queen’s approach to birthdays and I now have an official birthday 6 months after my actual birthday. It means that I share my official birthday with my mum’s birthday mid July. It work s very well & it means I can barbecue with chilled fizz instead of being on the post christmas wagon and huddled in front of the fire with a mug of coffee.

nancy letters

nancy letters

Thankfully for Nancy and Leonard, Ellen separates her little one’s birthdays from Christmas and they will have their bright bunting presents by now.

more letters

more letters

Many happy returns to both!! :-)

Christmas time, mistletoe and wine….

mr snow man

mr snow man

The run up to christmas was crazy busy and for the first time in a very many years, I was ill prepared for the festivities and a nomadic 10 days doing the family santa drops.

The hot water bottle covers in my on line shops have been THE christmas present this year and keeping up with the posting to make sure no one missed out on their christmas presents was a challenge and a half.

mrs reindeer

mrs reindeer

I had a few presents to make – cushions for the neighbours little people (we hear them playing and they are always shouting hello to our JRT Max while he can’t decide whether to bark or just wag his tail at them), aprons for my dad and Anne to name but a few. I also had a few commissions that kept me on my toes for the last few weeks before the holidays.

Alice's reindeer

Alice’s reindeer

A late request for christmas stockings came from my sisters best friend, Mandy for her 2 little christmas angels Alice and Isaac. Alice loves reindeer and although Isaac is a bit little to have an opinion on these things just now, a snowman was chosen for him.

isaac's snowman

isaac’s snowman

I always feel nervous creating something that I think is sweet when the recipients aren’t quite sure what they will be getting. They went down very well and I have already had a fantastic (hand written!) thank you from Mandy.  Makes all the stressing very worth while.

name band

name band

Making the stockings was such fun and I really must make more for my shop next year (starting in August to make sure I don’t run out of time!!)