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.


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!!


my making corner

my making corner

I have been slowly but surely adding bits to my workroom (and to my piles of lovely fabrics too but I’m keeping quiet about that for now!!).

My husband would call it cluttering……

pin board and shelves

pin board and shelves

They have to be neat (ish!!) though, I can’t work in chaos. That in itself is a huge challenge in a limited space and I still have to do a fair amount of tidying up after my makes to avoid small messy piles accumulating in a small space.

paint brushes, needles, buttons, lace bobbins.....

paint brushes, needles, buttons, lace bobbins…..

I’m very short on storage space but I seem to have found a home for nearly everything.  If I can get some of my makes finished and get onto the new ones I want to try out (like making some new clothes for myself!!!), the fabric stash will slowly reduce and the piles of applique scraps will start to diminish.

my vintage needle cases and thimbles

my vintage needle cases and thimbles

I’ve made some bunting for my room too as it seems only right to have some myself.  I have put some of my favourite or most recently acquired books out and my Bonne Maman jam jars are ready and waiting for me to find the time to fill them with a load of buttons I bought at a thrift shop recently.

burger bear is lurking in there

burger bear is lurking in there

I have no doubt it will change around again if I find certain things are not quite where I need or want them but just now, it works pretty well for me and I am constantly grateful to finally have this.

tidy and ready for some making

tidy and ready for some making

It is a real space of escape for me at weekends when all the evidence of normal work has gone.


It is peaceful and quiet and I can lose myself in what I love doing. It is a few rare moments when the stresses of my normal working day can’t creep in because my head is full of lovely making thoughts.

burger bear guarding my fabric pile that will become little pinafores

burger bear guarding my fabric pile that will become little pinafores

A real sanctuary for which I am enormously grateful and I can’t believe it took me so long to get!!

We still haven’t worked out how to get over losing our spare bedroom but I’m sure if anyone wants to come and stay badly enough, they’ll put up with a mattress on the floor!

farbrics ready, scissors ready...

farbrics ready, scissors ready…

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.



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

more unfinished projects

hand appliqued leaf detail

hand appliqued leaf detail

In between burger bears, loo roll bags and cushion commissions, I have been quietly wading through my unfinished work.

There was so much more than I realised but the pile is slowly diminishing.

the finished cushion

the finished cushion

This week I managed to complete a cushion I was trying something out on.

It’s a nice leafy fabric that is quite current in design. Although completely lovely, I don’t add twiddly bits like piping or frills to my cushions generally so they are quite simple.

leaf details highlighted

leaf details highlighted

My thinking with this fabric was that I could make it slightly three dimensional by appliqueing the leaves on top of the fabric again (if that makes sense). I picked random leaves but generally with a band leaves across the middle.

ikea small worktop ironing board with folding legs

ikea small worktop ironing board with folding legs

It is a lot simpler than most things I make but I like it.

The best thing about it was being able to finish it off in my new work room; the first thing to come out of there but it isn’t my first complete creation to be made in there as I have yet to find the time to do that.

ironing the finished item

ironing the finished item

Can’t wait.

The Village Haberdashery

spring trees

spring trees

I found the fabulous Village Haberdashery when I bought some fabrics from them at the Alexandra Palace Knitting and Stitching Show in October.

Since then I have signed up to be an Official Member of their Advisory Board which means I am ocassionally invited to give feedback on fabrics they might want to stock and it is quite good fun.



I have done a couple of their surveys and Annie got in touch at the weekend to present me with a £10 voucher for their shop as a thanks for taking part in the survey but also to say Happy Birthday.

coral friends

coral friends

I didn’t hesitate to do some shopping and here is what I chose.

birds and bees

birds and bees

I messed up on the check out and missed putting in the code to use my £10 voucher but having contacted Annie, it was all sorted out for me.

The fabrics have arrived and I’m not disappointed.



They have joined my small pile of new fabrics that will be transformed into something wonderful as soon as I have worked my way through the pile of ‘to do’s’ still sitting waiting in my ‘to do’ basket.

Thanks to the Village Haberdashery for the birthday gift.

Baby Bunting

leo bunting

My very clever friend V suggested that I try using small flags in my bunting. Having seen something at the knitting and stitching show, it got me thinking.

When a name is very short, it is difficult to make it interesting or even too decorated with cars, and hearts and flowers on the flags that don’t have letters on them. Very, very short names like Leo mean that without these extra flags, it is really short bunting, or very plain bunting.

alternate small flags

So, with V’s suggestion still in my head, and because one of the boy’s at work has just become a dad this week, the opportunity came up.

Little Leo now has this new style bunting for his nursery and I’m very pleased with it. It’s a great way to make bunting fun for a short name.

theodore grey bunting

Just as Leo arrived Theodore Gray was taking delivery of his bunting from his Grandma.

From one extreme to the other!

hedgehog motif for theodore gray

I have made the shortest bunting name ever and the longest ever all in the same week.

Now I have to get cracking with some for a very little person who has just arrived into my family in Canada!

rule breaker

fresh new stash

I broke one of my strictest making rules……

I bought some brand new fabrics!!!

Not thrifted, remnants or repurposed; brand spanking new and they come with that glorious smell that you get from fresh off the roll fabric.

yum yum

I couldn’t resist, I really couldn’t. I went to the knitting and sewing show at Ally Pally last weekend and just couldn’t walk away.

charlie fox

I know exactly what each piece is for and although I have stashed them and am saving them for later, as soon as my latest commission and some christmas makes are completed, I will be delving into them to get started.


The red foxes were the first to catch my eye and they (along with lots of the others) come from a lovely on line shop called pin it and stitch who are opening an outlet in West Hampstead soon and I can’t wait. It will be well worth a visit and the ladies at the show were lovely to deal with.


Myself and my friend V (of pearl barley and by appointment fame) both wanted to go so we got there early and were done by lunch time. It started to get very busy just as we were finishing and I sort of lose the will to live when I have to fight with the crowds (you can see I would be hopeless in the January Sales!!). I find shopping a bit frustrating anyway but I can get over that for all the lovely stuff at the show which is different; it’s a bit like being in a big sweet shop full of your favourite stuff but even that has it’s limits so we left quite early very happy with our purchases.


Anyway, like last year, I have found some great on line shops while at the show which I will fall back on for certain things when my thrifting lets me down.

crafty ribbons for gift wrapping my makes

This year it was crafty ribbons who sell these lengths of lovely ribbon,

blooming felt starter kit

Blooming Felt who sell all things felting (thank you very much for your help Sarah – more of that later).

The Handweavers Studio which is only around the corner from where I live and I had no idea it was there but what a find.

felting wools from the handweaver’s studio

the black sheep craft barn who sell all the gorgeous Sublime wools and patterns for gorgeous, gorgeous knitting projects (how long were you able to hold back before you treated yourself and started your knitting V?)

hooplayarn were there will all their lovely T-shirt strips for the chunky knits and crochetting in your life

wanstead fabric merchants for floral prints

the eternal maker also did lovely fabrics like those at ‘pin it and stitch’

the village haberdashery or ray-stitch will fulfil all your haberdashery requirements

lady sew and sew for novelty fabrics.

I could go on……..

All fabulous in their own way but I was completely won over by ‘pin it and stitch’s’ gorgeous ranges and would like to thank them for their patience in the face of my indecision, I got there in the end and had to stop looking in the end otherwise I would never have managed to carry it all home.


Until next year, let’s hope I can keep to my rules and resist temptation.

heart patchwork

the finished blanket

I find it hard to keep up with all the things that I want to make, the list is endlessly long.

Sometimes seeing something that inspires me takes me back to an idea I had and thought I’d forgotten about.

the finished cushion

Heart patchwork is one of those and since I am on a bit of a patchwork roll, I thought I’d give my idea an airing.  I also recently bought quilting rings that hold the quilt in a neat roll while you do your quilting stitches.

quilting rings

I cheat (well, I think it is cheating) and quilt with my normal sewing machine. I’ve never done swirls or shapes and stick to straight lines mostly and it seems to work.

I was only going to do a cushion but got carried away cutting out and decided to do a matching cot quilt.

embroidery silks ready for the hearts

It came together quite quickly and was a real pleasure but the hand applique is still the most pleasurable part of it for me, it is sooooooo relaxing. The rainbow colours of the embroidery silks are like sweeties and selecting the right one for the work is as much fun as the sewing

quilt without wadding, backing, applique or quilting

I used to sit at my sewing machine for hours making clothes, curtains which I still love but given the choice I prefer the hand work and I now find delight in every stitch of hand appliqué.

appliqued heart

The theme was cream and pink with more emphasis on the cream as I wanted it to be subtle (unlike the next one I will make I think!).

applique heart

Anyway, they are both finished now and ready to be gifted or go onto my internet shop. Someone is due to have a baby soon and if it is a girl, it will be the perfect gift.

pretty princess pinafores

pink starburst

My nephew’s little girl is one year old shortly and it has given me the perfect excuse to make these lovely, simple pinafore dresses.

blue floral

Like all little girls these days, Ella likes pink. Well, I think her parents like her dressed in pink actually. It’s not important who is the the one who actually likes it, she looks adorable in whatever she wears. She may, however, be a little young yet for such heady fashionista decisions as what the colour of her clothes should be.

cut out and ready to put together

coming together nicely

my trusty frister rossman cub 7

Anyway, I have made her two pinafore dresses; one pinafore to suit her / her parents preferences and another because I think the fabric is sweet.

pocket detail

My mum found the hot pink starburst fabric and I found the floral. They are both remnants. The lining fabrics are offcuts and the threads are from the incredible thrifty purchase I made at a car boot sale some weeks ago. The buttons are from my vast collection that are organised into colours and lined up in jars on the window sill waiting for my workroom to be done. Everything has come from remnant sales, car boot sales, my mum’s and my gran’s sewing boxes, charity shops or have been thrifty gifts and some of the buttons came with my recently purchased vintage sewing box.


The pinafores are completed now, packaged and ready to be posted. Her birthday isn’t for a few weeks yet but I hope to see some photos of her in it to update the post.

I have been meaning to make something like these for so long and have really enjoyed making them so I have made some other sizes for my FB shop!!

patchwork blanket

quilted squares

quilted patches

quilted patches and edging

I have had a really lovely week making this week. It has been unusual for me to be able find the time and I have thoroughly enjoyed it,,

When I sat down on Monday afternoon to cut out some selected squares to make a patchwork baby or cot blanket I really didn’t expect that I would be able to finish it by Tuesday night.  But I did.

squares sewn together

I have a couple of hand sewn pentagonal patchwork quilts part made. One is in red & white and the other is mixed and they will become a large bed throw eventually but I have wanted to make some patchwork cushions and children’s blankets for ages and my chance came up during this quiet week.

all the squares sewn together ready

It has been very satisfying seeing it take shape so swiftly, I’m mostly used to having to grab an hour here or a moment there. Choosing the patterns and laying them out so that the squares all work together is a lovely therapeutic process and it is very easy to understand how addictive patchwork becomes.

quilted edging

Each piece of fabric has a story, which came to mind with each square that found a place on the blanket. It might have been repurposed from something else, it might have been an off cut, or a car boot find, it might have been a bargain that my mum got or a piece that I have bought just because I like it. Some of them even have a second story having also been made into something by tinyinc, be it a blanket, cushion, letters on an apron or bunting. I love finally finding uses for these fabrics but I also love my fabric stash.

the finished blanket

I will do other cot blankets in different colours but it seems that my stash is dominated by pink at the moment so I concentrated on those so it appears that it my be for a little girl.