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!!

Doggy Bag

dog in a bag

H being a dog in a bag model

One of the guys that I walk with on a morning when I take my JRT, Max, out has a little lhasa apso called Tilly.

She is 14 years old and although she seems incredibly fit for her age, she suffers quite badly from arthritis.

get me outta here!!

get me outta here!!

This isn’t helped by her dense and curly coat which holds all the moisture in this wet and windy weather and doesn’t dry at all quickly.

The damp adde to the soggy coat makes her very stiff, achy and miserable in the cold and wet weather.

I have already suggested that she is towelled down before she goes in the car for the trip home but having seen how she objects to being messed about with (and let’s face it, she has earned her objections at 14), I can see just how tricky it is to manage that.

No point in the little lady suffering unnecessarily, so I have made her a towelling drying bag for her trip home in the car.

The idea is that the ‘bag’ dries the dog as they rest or travel and it keeps them warm at the same time (key for little Tilly).

Couldn’t be simpler to create either:-

1 cut the decorative edge from your recycled towel

1 cut the decorative edge from your recycled towel

take an old towel (this is one that my mum donated to us) which I have dyed (Dylon Woodland Brown) a practical and serviceable colour for using on the dogs when they have been out getting dirty…….

1 – Cut the decorative finished edging off the towel (this one is about 70cm x 110cm – and the size of towel needed for a small dog).

2 – Fold the towel length ways

3 – cut a triangle off one corner 10cm down (on both layers)

4 – sew the short seam (this forms the front)

5 – sew the opposite straight seam (this forms the back)

zip

6 fit zip down back

6 –  fit the zip along the back (allowing enough space for the towelling loops so they don’t catch on the zip teeth). I happened to have a chunky brown zip that had been taken out of something. It is an open bottomed zip and not the full length of the bag but sewn in to fit.

towelling loops need to clear zipper teeth

towelling loops need to clear zipper teeth

7 - forming corners

7 – forming corners

7 – fold open (right sides facing) and sew bottom corners to give depth to base of the bag

trim corner once sewn

trim corner once sewn

8 – turn collar over to allow for threading cord or a ribbon on inside and sew, thread ribbon for tightening.

8 - tie ribbon inside in case the neck needs to be pulled a little snugger

8 – tie ribbon inside in case the neck needs to be pulled a little snugger

Tada!!!

I have added a few extra details such as a towelling tab over the bottom of the zip so it softens the edge in case it comes into contact with a soggy doggy.

zip end sewn into bag

zip end sewn into bag

stitching tab over base of zip

stitching tab over base of zip

zip tab finished

zip tab finished

I have yet to find out if Tilly objects to this method of drying as much as a rub down but we have tried.

I hope it works for the little lady and helps with her aches and pains.

I suppose I ought to be making one for my own mutt too!

kindle case

kindle keyboard

kindle keyboard

I have a kindle keyboard that my husband bought me not long after they were first launched and I absolutely love it. I never thought I would be able to leave paperbacks behind but I have and I have never looked back.

 

new case lining

new case lining

I know the kindles have evolved and now have illuminated screens and colour and bells and whistles  but I’m happy with my old style black and white screen keyboard kindle. I have an iPad Air so if I want colour, the kindle App on there and I can have all the same books on that too if I need to.

 

But, the kindle is small and neat and it weighs nothing so I prefer to have that in my bag rather than the iPad and unless the battery has died, I pretty much have it with me everywhere I go.

 

detail

detail

Recently I started having problems with it crashing and it needed to be rebooted all the time. A little research on the internet revealed that the hard case that was bought with the kindle caused problems with the way it connects to the kindle and shorts it out. Eventually causing permanent irreparable damage.

 

No sooner read than the hard case was off and I’m very pleased to say that there hasn’t been a minutes trouble since.

 

button fastening

button fastening

So my poor little caseless Kindle needed some clothes.

 

I liked the cases I made for V’s birthday and I also liked the same black fabric I had used so off I went to measure up and make up my new kindle case.

 

tada!

tada!

It works a treat and I’m very happy with it.

 

On reflection, it probably doesn’t need the flap and it could simply be an open topped case perhaps with a button fastening over the top rather than a fastening flap but it fits perfectly and my kindle is now snuggled safely in it’s case in my bag ready for the next chapter of my current read.

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

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.

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!

fabric bowls

remnants from The Cloth Shop

remnants from The Cloth Shop

I was inspired some time ago by my purchase of a dear emma fabric bowl to make an odd one of my own but  I wanted them with a fold over top and contrasting linings.

cutting out

cutting out

I wanted them for use around the place for the various ‘bits and pieces’ that seem to need a home but don’t have a specific one or are in transit to somewhere else.

outside ready for patterned lining

outside ready for patterned lining

My original need for them was so that I had somewhere to put all the threads that I am using so they are easy to get at. Since thinking about making them though, my big top drawer on my sewing table seems to work well for these so the bowls will now be used for lots of other things sewing and miscellaneous alike.

lined and turned the right way for finishing

lined and turned the right way for finishing

I got a remnant of some fabulous heavy upholstery fabric from The Cloth Shop recently that is weighty enough to make a fabric bowl work so I got on with it this weekend.

pinned ready for top stitching

pinned ready for top stitching

They are surprisingly easy to make if you get the basics right and allow yourself a little tolerance here and there.

tada!!

tada!!

Preparation and making sure you don’t skip on the stages is the key to neatness but you really have to have the right fabric to make them stand up.

3 different sizes with 3 different linings

3 different sizes with 3 different linings

I love the fact that they are completely reversible to suit your requirements and I will change the combinations and what is on the outside depending on where the bowls end up living.

grouped together

grouped together

I will make more (possibly a nest and definitely some as presents) that are pretty and contrasting but also some that are decorated on the outside with applique.  These plain ones, however, are perfect for and will go into my work room and onto shelves around the flat.

complimentary fabrics

complimentary fabrics

A very satisfying little project before I get on with the rest of the things that I want to do and those that I still need to finish.

contrasting lining

contrasting seersucker lining

getting through those projects

boys shoe/gym/swimming  bag

boys shoe/gym/swimming bag

I really haven’t been able to enjoy any making time much lately as work is unexpectedly hectic and very demanding.

It’s quite frustrating because my workroom also doubles up as my office and I have to look at my lovely fabrics, projects and machine everyday with the thought that I would really much rather be sitting there doing that than sitting here doing this.

But I’m managing to very slowing making headway through my unfinished projects and I haven’t added too many new ones to the pile so far!

I would have made more headway had I not managed to leave behind all the car boot booty, the bias tape, interface and fabrics that I bought last weekend.

train bag

train bag

Never mind, there is always something that does’t need those things for finishing and I can still be getting on with one or another.

book bag

book bag

I have had to completely abandon some projects since I first started them and condemn the fabric to the scrap box.

It is because they just weren’t the success I had hoped and I need to go back to the drawing board or I have completely changed my mind about some of them and no longer think it is worth spending the time in seeing them finished.

fish bag

fish bag (WIP)

I get an idea into my head and try different types or versions of the same thing and the results are hugely varied.

fish bag

fish bag

Some first attempts work brilliantly and some really need work.

fish detail

fish detail

Some ideas will just never be realised successfully but that can honestly be as much of the fun as doing something that you know you can successfully make.

lavendar bags

lavendar bags

Bags seem to be the order of the day at the moment so I managed to get a handful finished but there are still some that need my time.

I’ll get the next batch of these bags sorted out and then I think I will concentrate on getting the cushions finished before I get on with some more of the little dresses that I love making so much.

happy birthday harringay market

Smile

Smile

A week ago was Harringay Market’s first birthday and it was a scorcher too.

happy birthday

happy birthday

It was very hot and sunny and the event was to be marked by lots of visitors and a birthday cake!

pouches and bags

pouches and bags

I’m not a regular trader at Harringay Market as my work keeps me away more often than not but I feel very much part of it. I’ve been selling there since not long after it started. I love the sense of community there is and I love the people that you meet.

cushions

cushions

Us crafters aren’t the main feature, it is a food market after all, but I like to think we add a bit of interest. We have developed a bit of a following and some people are disappointed when we aren’t there.

my new doggy model

my new doggy model

None of us were in a very good spot for the birthday market, unfortunately and although we benefited from not being in the direct sun for most of the day, we were nowhere near the action (unless you consider a loo stop as action!). A real shame and a missed opportunity as were tucked out of the way and were literally in a little corridor on the way to the loos! But I had my lovely friend V to kep me company and we had a good old chat to our neighbour and newcomer Spacedog.

bags and cosies

bags and cosies

Anyway, I had made a few new small things recently so I decided to take them to the market to see if they’d be good sellers.

Most of the things I make are for kids but are bought by their parents or a relative as a gift. I’m aware that amongst the shoppers out there, there are a few who are spending their hard earned pocket money too and there need to be some smaller interesting items that are affordable to those little shoppers.

some of the making

some of the making

Because bags are always needed for boys and girls, I tried out a selection of different shapes, uses and styles to see how things went.

I love them and have made myself a small sewing bag the same which fits in my handbag for the odd train journey.

sold

sold

They went down well and I think I will make a few more with different patterns, images and styles.

the little collection I tried to get done the night before!

the little collection I tried to get done the night before!

The big hit at the moment though are the little summer dresses!  I really have to get on with all my new ideas for them