Jungle Chums

flamingo square

My progress with the jungle chums blanket I started for Bertie quite some time ago is slow but I am gradually getting there.

Work is constantly  busy and because it stays at our house, I only get to work on it at weekends. Recently there has been no time and we have had visitors so there hasn’t been much sewing for me.

tiger and banana tree ready to appliqué into place

There are 7 squares completed and 5 more to go before I can attach and appliqué them to the main green cover. The finish will be plain backed, a brown edge and then I will hand quilt the spaces between the animal blocks.

If I were doing it again, I’d probably do it a bit differently and make it more like the patchwork of Max’s blanket or Henry’s blanket with the appliqué squares forming the middle of each repeat. I am attaching the animal squares by appliquéing them to the blanket so I will have to get my edges spot on.

elephant

I love the characters, especially the lion (who has also become a favourite cushion for little boys like Jack and Arthur), the tiger and the elephant.

the leopard waiting to get his spots

I’m hopeful that my next blog about this will be it completed!!

Pooch Pouches

cosy cave

cosy cave

Ages ago, I spied a rather lovely dog bed with a flap on the top that meant the dog could climb underneath it for a little comfort & cover. We know terriers like to burry themselves and I think they were actually call Terrier Sacks (unfortunately that name conjures up all kinds of awful images of drowning puppies!!!).

hamlet heaven

hamlet heaven

It piqued an idea for a dog bed

keeping and eye on proceedings

keeping and eye on proceedings

With nothing more than a duvet (hypo allergenic in this case for Max’s skin) and a few metres of paw print fleece, I set about making my own version.

It couldn’t have been easier.

Max likes to get right inside and hide his face

Max likes to get right inside and hide his face

So for any one out there who might want to try the same, here it is in it’s most gloriously simple form.

Cut fleece and duvet to desired size (I based our JRT’s bed on about 700mm square)

You can either turn in raw edges of duvet along cut and zig zag edges (this is where I put the overlocking machine I have long lusted after back to the top of my wish list) or finish it with bias tape for a bit of extra rigidity

Sew up ends and sides of fleece (right sides facing) like a furry duvet cover

Attach duvet at each corner (still inside out – this will keep duvet from migrating in the wash)

Then turn right way (duvet is firmly fixed into corners so won’t have moved)

Turn in raw edges and hand sew the opening closed

Fold in half and hand sew the 2 side edges together (leaving end open for your pooch to clamber in)

it was chilly last night and this was hamlet and max mod of the evening

it was chilly last night and this was hamlet and max most of the evening

Eh voila!!

I love this old campaigner

I love this old campaigner

A Pooch Pouch that is snuggly and cosy when it is cold and drafty.

snuggly warm and sleepy after a lovely long walk

snuggly warm and sleepy after a lovely long walk

My sis’s JRT is on holiday with us at the moment so we couldn’t miss him out. He absolutely loves his, his old bones love being toasty warm and he gets to hide away from all the insanity of a younger model nearby.

and a blanket always helps

and a blanket always helps

I think it might have to go home with him when he goes back to Norfolk.

Instructions for making pooch pouch

Decide on the size you want for your dog (we chose 500 and 600mm square for the 2 sizes seen in the post)

Get your chosen fleecy fabric in measurements that are equal to 4 squares (I got fabric 1300mm wide so bought 2.5m for both beds) with an allowance for a little wastage on the selvedges etc.

Cut it to suit your chosen bed size (i.e. 2no pieces at 500mm x 1000mm for the small bed)

Sew then together (right side inside) along 3 of the sides leaving one of the 500mm sides open.

Turn it the right side out. You have a long fleecy sack that forms the covering of your pooch pouch.

Get a single lightweight hypoallergenic duvet per bed. You will need to cut this down so mark it up with your measurements (i.e. 500mm x 1000mm for the small bed or 600mm x 1200mm for the slightly larger bed)

Overlock (or zizag) along the edges of the duvet that will need trimming to achieve your dimensions

Fold it in half. Push it into the top of your fleecy sack with the fold at the open end of the sack.

This leaves half of your fleecy sack empty at the bottom. Secure the duvet to the open edge of the fleecy sack

Push the empty bottom part of your fleecy sack inside the folded duvet.

Secure the inside corners to the open part of the sack.

Hand sew your sack closed and voila. Your pooch pouch is born

Weekend Workspace

IMG_6996

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.

flower cushion

scattered flowers cushion

scattered flowers cushion

This is one of my long awaited ‘to be finished’ projects and I have taken advantage of a quiet weekend to finally give it some attention. it is now finished and I’m pleased with the effect.

a bunch of flowers

a bunch of flowers

The idea had been floating around in my head for ages.

I loved the playful and pretty fun of the flower basket cushion I made ages ago and sold at Harringay Market for someone’s christmas present. I wanted to do something that was floral but less figurative and randomly dotted with flowers.

detail

detail

The fabric is a remnant from the curtain making lady that my friend Anna gets offcuts and roll ends from for me and the flowers are from pretty scraps left over from bunting and previous makes.

ready to appliqué

ready to appliqué

The flowers vary in size and style but it is very jolly and reminds me of the summer as we settle into the dark evenings and mornings of autumn.

Anyway, I’m off to take advantage of the quiet and finish a few more bits!!

pretty baskets

handle detail

handle fixing detail

I have a bit of a weakness for whicker, it’s true.

I already have more baskets than is strictly necessary.

loaded

loaded

I have my fruit and sloe picking basket, my food basket for a trip to the village butcher, I have a basket that holds sewing projects that are not quite finished, I used to have a basket for fabric scraps, our old picnic baskets transport some of my makes to the market, I’ve even turned one into a sewing box for my niece, and I also carry all my cards and labels to market in a little shopping basket too.

It’s fair to say I have a few and my husband’s irony laced comments about me needing more baskets when I add to the stash is justified.

pretty handle detail

pretty handle detail

But…..

I ignore him (of course) and now I have a new basket which is for all those bits that lie around but never seem to have a proper home.

I’d seen this particular basket a few times on a stand at our local car boot sale but had resisted the temptation. The seller is actually a trader and sells the ‘collectables’ at the car boot sale and keeps the ‘antiques’ for the fairs.

We’ve bought a few things from him as he always has interesting pieces that are in good condition.

candle snuffer and note books

candle snuffer and note books

As the car boot season is drawing to an end for this year, I decided I wasn’t going to resist any longer nor risk missing out so now it is sitting with my lovely Dear Emma fabric bowl on the side table in the living room.

Mum’s Making Marathon

grey self patterned scarf

grey self patterned scarf

I love all things making but my mum loves knitting best of all of the crafts and she is very much faster at it than I am.

self pattern repeat

self pattern repeat

While I have been too busy to even think about picking up a needle, mum’s needles have been clacking away like the clappers and I recently took delivery of some of her hard work.

She told me that she has lots of odds of wool so we talked about the best way to use them up and she has spent hours doing just that and here are her efforts.

bright striped blanket

bright striped blanket

I love this bright and fun striped baby blanket.

pinks and purples

pinks and purples

The gorgeous grey scarf is a try out to see what we think of the pattern, size and effect.  Although I absolutely love it, I think it can be improved so we have decided to make it twice as wide so it is more like a shawl. That will be in mum’s next batch of knits I hope.

peach and pastels

peach and pastels

She has made some more of the ever popular hot water bottle covers for me and she has also turned her hand to some baby aranwear for the coming winter.

I think baby knits are her all time favourite and I should get her to show me her prize winning fine knits that she did when we were kids and I hope she still has.  I have plans for some items for little people when I find the right pattern and wool so I hope she still likes baby knits.

This little blue number is so cute

little blue shawl collared aran coat

little blue shawl collared aran coat

I am always so grateful that she gives up so much of her time to my knitting ideas. She knows I would struggle to see them to fruition without her help.

little boy's aran jacket

little boy’s aran jacket

Mum was key to my love of knitting, sewing and crochetting and it is always one thing in life that we will share a passion for.  She encouraged and helped me all the time when I was younger and it amazes me that she is still helping me now.

little boy's aran sweater

little boy’s aran sweater

You gotta love a making mum, eh???

storage solutions

yummy scraps of fabric

yummy scraps of fabric

It makes me quite sad and certainly fed up not to have been sewing or blogging for what seems like so long.

I really miss it and it cheers me up so much when I am doing it, it should be on the NHS.

overflowing

overflowing

I’ve spent what feels like weeks with my lovely work station visible out of the corner of my eye but just out of reach and not a single one of my projects has been completed nor a new one started

BUT

I have sort of been busy with stuff related to my sewing.

I, like most makers (read hoarder) can’t bear to part with even the smallest scraps of pretty fabric.  It’s great to have around and always comes in handy. There is always one bit that is just perfect for a certain something.  It brings with it storage difficulties though.

boxes

boxes

All makers have storage issues to a greater or lesser extent and there just doesn’t seem to be the perfect solution especially if you are badly short of space.

neat and tidy

neat and tidy

I just couldn’t resist these two lovely wine cases that I found at a car boot sale (where else??) recently. They are a very good and attractive storage solution for my appliqué scraps that have been, until now, either escaping the confines of a shallow sided basket or in a deep hessian bag which makes getting at all of them a bit of a challenge.

neatly stored away

neatly stored away

These little beauties will sit under my sewing desk where the bags used to reside and I am happy that they are an attractive and tidy solution.

I have separated the patterns from the plains to make it even easier and I am quite pleased with the results.

tada

tada

I look back over the few months since I set up my work space in here and it has really changed. I’d like to think it is becoming more interesting but I’m fearful that it is just getting cluttered!

Let’s not think about that, got to get on with the making bits now!