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Thursday, October 19, 2017

October 2017 - Catching Up!

This project started with cross stitch in mind ..... but, my search for the perfect stitching kit has taken me away from my cross stitching, for far too long!


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Tee hee! Can you guess what this is?

Traveling on the train with DH recently, my glasses were sitting on the table as I stitched, and DH thought this would make quite a funny picture of ..... and I'm sure you will have guessed ..... another Mini Thread Catcher (MTC)!


It was also a handy way of showing the size.

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What's coming up?


  • Some of you have asked me for more details on my book holder (HERE) ..... and I intend to edit the post as soon as I can.
  • Also I've been meaning to start work on a new bag, and, again, will blog about it eventually!
  • However, I really do have the bug for making more Mini Travel Sewing Kits, which of course means making more Mini Thread Catchers.
  • Shortly I'm hoping to share a "Gifted Gorgeousness" post with an update on my cross stitch.


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For some time I've been wanting to make a sewing kit that, by attaching a lanyard, could also double as a name badge, and, as I've said before, a sewing kit really needs a Mini Thread Catcher (MTC) (Tutorial HERE).

At the time of writing the MTC tutorial I hadn't taken photos, so hopefully these pictures might be helpful if anyone wants to make one.

Maybe I've got a little bit carried away ..... but they are cute!

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..... I couldn't decide which fabric I liked best.

Did you notice my teeny painting in the background, I was testing colours for one of the Mini Sewing Kits I'm making? Can't show it properly as it is going to be a present ..... the Mini Sewing Kit that is!


And then I've been working out what size to cut the base ..... for the perfect fit .... it needs to be smaller than the rim so that the MTC will push up and stay closed. Hopefully, all will make sense as you look at the pictures!

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Rim circumference measures 4 1/2"

My rim measured 4 1/2", therefore, allowing for the seams, my two pieces measured 5" x 2 1/2".

Use 1/4" scant seams throughout. Read about scant seams HERE.

It is important to turn a 1/4" hem at this point, top and bottom, and press (with a hot iron) ..... and remember that's a scant seam again, so keep it small. Press the centre seam towards the base (inner fabric) 

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Press centre seam towards lining fabric

Then, pin the short sides to make a tube (Right sides together), and machine another scant seam. 

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Taper the seam slightly towards the hem of the inner fabric,
catching the hems in place.

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I used a wider rim for these later versions.

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Excuse these pictures taken on the train on my lap, but the light is so much better on the train than indoors at home at this time of the year.

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From this point it is all hand stitching.

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This time I attached the puffs individually,
but I think the Mark I  MTC (in the link above) was the quicker method.

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Oops, I guess I should have trimmed this large seam.
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A bit fiddly turning it through.
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The outer fabric needed a row of gathering stitches
and attaching to the inner sussex puff, before
finishing with the outer puff.
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You can see the hand stitching keeping  the rim in place.

Then simply twist the base, and push up into the rim, until it looks like this .....

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Any loose threads will be held inside until you are able to dispose of them, or add them to your TUSAL jar.

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 the base
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To date I've made a total of three MTC's, 


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This weekend I was tempted to make some Rock Cakes, using a recipe I've gradually been adjusting over the years, until finally it has become Vegan. 

Don't laugh, but I had intended to have a go at making Super Mom No Cape's recipe for Beer Bread. I made my usual bread only last week and I thought I'd love to try Susan's recipe ..... I'd bought the beer (tee, hee, good excuse for buying the beer, not that I need one really!), bought some Oregano, and Thyme too, but then I wasn't sure I had the right flour. We have lots of different types of bread flour, but not much all purpose flour which the recipe called for, so I decided to use up my old flour on some cakes, and buy fresh for the bread next week.

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Sorry the photos are a little dark as it was a very cloudy day.

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I had to try one as soon as they came out of the oven ..... it was delicious!
 Both DH and I love them with custard too!

Now I'm in the baking mood I hope to try Susan's beer bread later in the week.


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Oh, last week we found out what geocaching is. We were on a guided walk and were shown this hole in a reconstructed wall where a plastic box lives with lots of details inside. The box had been here for years and when the wall was rebuilt its own "home" was included. You would have to know it was there to find it as a brick has to slide out to reveal the box.

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In years gone by we've had sunflowers which have grown from the seeds dropped from our bird feeders, but these days the seed that we buy for birds has the husks removed, meaning the birds spot the seed dropped on the ground, and therefore we rarely get plants springing up under the feeders these days.

So these sunflowers make me really happy! They are just a few of the plants that DH planted specially from seed this year, and they have grown into absolute giants. A couple of them have flowers as big as dinner plates ..... certainly a record in our garden ..... and you should have seen the size of the stem!


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This plant has about five, or six flowers!

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The light wasn't quite right, and I changed the contrast to take this picture ..... I love the effect.

They remind me of the nursery rhyme of Jack and the Beanstalk when I stand next to them, as some of them are over 8 feet tall.

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I love this one ..... looks like a heart in the centre!

We are not sure what to do with the sunflower heads now that they are dying back. We are more than happy to leave them in position for the birds to help themselves, however, has anyone experience in this, and would you suggest harvesting them, and if so how should this be done? Advice please! (It's only a small domestic crop of about a dozen heads, we are not looking for the loan of a combine harvester.)


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By the way, if you are looking for some Halloween stitchery, you can find some lovely free vintage embroidery motifs on Super Mom No Cape's blog this week.


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Oops, sorry, that's quite a long post, but I hope there was something here to make you smile (in a really nice way, of course!).

I'll try not to leave it so long next time!


Hope you are keeping safe and sound.





Hugs,
Barbara xxx




Sunday, September 24, 2017

"Bag It" - 2017

Have you seen ..... Patty at Elm Street Quilts is holding a competition for bag making!

Running from18th September through to 15 December 2017, however you must only enter bags you have created and made after 18 September.

All the rules are on her blog HERE (or you can also click the button in my right hand margin to go to Patty's blog directly).You will see lots of tutorials for different bags. Go on, you know you want to join in! Have a read, find out all the nitty gritty!

I just love the fabric I used for this little bag, read all about the bag HERE (the idea is that the bag is small enough to sit comfortably on my wrist while I knit, holding my ball of wool so it doesn't roll all over the floor).

My Mini Tote - The Flashing Scissors

I intend to use some of the main fabric to make a larger everyday bag, and probably incorporate some of the other fabrics you can see here:

Fabric Choices - The Flashing Scissors


Not quite sure which I will use yet, but they are my favourite fabrics at the moment.

Are you going to join in? Go and have a look at Patty's blog, see what's happening!

I'm looking forward to seeing how many bags you can make!




Barbara xxx


Oh, I am not affiliated to Patty's blog in any way, just thought the bag competition looks such a fun idea, and I'm sure we all love making bags!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Teeny tiny finishes! Yay!



Oops, I'm late to the party, as usual, so much I want to do at the moment!

Anyway, I am linking to Amanda Jean's "Crazy Mom Quilts" for Finish It Up Friday ..... Here!



I have two small finishes to share this week:

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First finish!


And for my second finish:


Earlier this week we had a visit from a friend we hadn't seen in donkey's years, and the night before she arrived I had the crazy idea that I should make her something. So ..... I quickly stitched up a tissue cover from two of my favourite fabrics (if you are new to my blog you can read details about making tissue covers here, and the photos are a bit better there too!). 

I took this picture as I finished stitching, and had meant to take one in the daylight the next morning ..... unfortunately with preparations for her imminent arrival I totally forgot!

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Second finish


But, back to the first finish:


I made a book holder for myself a couple of years ago, and recently DH asked if I could make one for him.

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More nighttime stitching .....
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There was cutting:

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And, quilting/embroidery .....

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and varnishing in the "Man Cave"

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that's  v-a-r-n-i-s-h-i-n-g, not  v-a-n-i-s-h-i-n-g as DH read it! Tee, hee!


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And while I was doing my photo shoot both our little helpers wanted to be involved!

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However, Tom is one very stubborn but lovable cat, and he just would NOT look round!

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Mitsey always wants to know what is happening!

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Oh dear, I see from these photos our poor garden bench is in definite need of a couple of coats of something! Oh well, a job for another day!

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Do pop over to Amanda Jean's to see what others have finished this week, and I know you will especially love to see Amanda Jean's gorgeous bag!



So ..... what to stitch next?

Well I think I'm back to making Mini Sewing Kits. What about you, what are you making?

I look forward to hearing from you!

Keep stitching!!! 




Barbara xxx




Friday, September 15, 2017

PPPP - My "Ugly" Pincushion

Linking to Ida's PPPP with my "ugliest" pincushion:

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I guess it's not really too ugly, maybe I've just grown tired of it ..... or covered it with too many odds and ends!

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I found it difficult to show this pincushion to its best advantage.

Ohhh! I have to admit ..... I didn't make this one! I fell in love with it at a local quilting exhibition. I'd wanted to make one like it for sooooo long that when I saw it I had to have it!

The poor thing .... I do tend to use it to keep all my odd threads safe!

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Taking it into the garden showed off the colours better.

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I daresay you might have guessed ....
the ribbon round the outside holds cotton reels .....but it is just a bit fiddly when one wants to use the reel in the middle for stitching on the sewing machine!

Linking to Ida's PPPP.
Thank you, Ida for encouraging us to share pictures of our pincushions again this year!


Barbara xxx


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Perfectly Pleasing Pincushion Parade - 2017 (PPPP)

I'm a bit late but there is still time to join in with Ida's fabulous Pincushion Parade (PPPP) ..... go read all the detail on her blog ..... HERE!

Ida has amended the Parade to run until 16 September, not on the 15th that her "button" says.

Ooooh! ..... there are fabulous prizes, but more importantly, there are lots of wonderful pincushions to see.



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Before I start today,  thank you all for your good wishes regarding my eye problem. I'm a lot better (my eye is no longer red, or watering, all the time), but not quite back to normal, so I've been trying not to look at a computer screen for long periods of time.

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I'd like to welcome some new friends to my blog ..... I'm quite nervous because in the past I have been a "secret blogger" but now I am happy to tell friends of its existence. (..... laughs nervously!)

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Anyway ....  I shared my bestest and favouritest pincushions in last year's PPPP.

I have now searched the house for a few you haven't seen before.


Most of my pincushions were made to compliment a particular sewing kit. The pattern for these two sewing pouches came from Popular Patchwork "many" years ago (and friends from the handicraft group will remember these as I got everyone interested in making them - some people made about half a dozen each!).

The flower is my favourite pincushion and looks good in any size.


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Here's my favourite flower again .....  read about it and my mini travel sewing kit, here.

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and this is the most recent .....

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but it has to be reassembled ..... one of the petals is fraying!!! Luckily I have another petal to use in its place. (Again, it's the same as the one on my mini travel sewing kit.)

I was just about to make a few more of these kits for presents for friends when I read that the Pincushion Parade was about to start, but this is the only one I've made so far.


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I found details for this little chap somewhere on the web, and it used to be attached to another of my travel sewing kits. I love it, but no-one has ever, ever, said they liked it when I've used it, so it has now been banished to the Dreaded Cupboard, as an unloved pincushion.


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After seeing some of the amazing pincushions Amanda Jean has been making this year, at Crazy Mom Quilts, (look under "pincushions" in her files for even more).

I've been wanting to try something different, and finally I have my own version of a "Skinny Pinny" under way, although I'm not quite sure I'll have time to finish it for the Parade.


Oh yes, there is a special category too "Ugliest Pincushion"!


If you haven't already ..... "Get your skates on! Search out your pincushions, and join in!"


I'll be off to visit everyone's pincushions now over at Ida's place .....  "My Sister Made Me Do It"!


See you soon!



Barbara xxx




Thursday, August 31, 2017

Perfectly Pleasing Pincushion Parade - 2017 (and a catchup)

Hello Dear Reader

I know!!!!! Where have I been, you ask! (or perhaps you don't!)

Well, it's Summer here, and DH and I have been out and about exploring.

I've taken lots of photos that I wanted to share with you .... but, our painfully slow laptop has prevented me from uploading any before today! Oh, I've even got a new phone, because I thought it would be easier to add the photos to the blog, but that hasn't worked ..... I've forgotten passwords so the photos on the new phone ..... still are!!!!

Luckily my latest header photo was taken on my "old fashioned" camera the day we had an enjoyable trip to a local lavender field.


It's been a busy summer, with very changeable weather ..... so some of my photos are a little dark!


We went on a guided walk around a stately home (now a school),

Carshalton House
Carshalton House

and on another day we toured the fascinating water tower in the grounds of the same house;

Carshalton Water Tower
The grassy area from the tree
to the hedge used to be a lake

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then a visit to a wonderful Indian Summer Festival (despite the drizzling rain) held in the grounds of the  Horniman Museum, with a story told in music and dance (I took many photos and might show more another day). Their Indian Summer season finishes with a Mela celebration this Sunday! 

Summer Mela at the Horniman Museum

Summer Mela - Horniman Museum

Summer Mela - Horniman Museum

and, as we were leaving, we popped into the orangery (an ornate Victorian conservatory or greenhouse) where a trio of Indian musicians were giving a recital on their amazing instruments;

Summer Mela - Horniman Museum

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We also visited a short exhibition, held at the Quakers Friends Meeting House, near Euston station (London, UK), of 20 Quaker tapestry panels. The panels live in Kendal normally, and there are actually 77 panels in all. For further information visit here

Again, I took lots of photos ..... however I can't show any of them because of copywrite ..... I bought a calendar, fabric and tea towels and their Quaker Stitch Guide book which I thought would be handy for more Crewel Work - well you don't get the opportunity every day!

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interspersed with a guided country walk with a wild flower specialist

Nature Walk 2017

who was able to name the many different wild flowers we saw (but I didn't make notes of names unfortunately)

Nature Walk - 2017
and named these little caterpillars too!

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then there were walks on our own, where we found these painted rocks, strategically placed at main entrances onto our local common

Walking locally - 2017
A wonderful idea!

Walking locally - 2017

Walking locally - 2017

Walking locally - 2017
but every single one is gone now!

Wallking locally - 2017

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there has been stitching too ..... until it got too hot here.

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Burning the "Midnight Oil"

And, after a "little" corrective work, i.e ripping back two rows of squares because they were wrongly orientated, I stitched the rows together.

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Testing fabric for top and bottom borders

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Oops, you may have seen this next piece of cross stitch before ..... but a friend was asking how I decide which colours to work on first and how I keep track of my stitching.
Of course, it's down to personal choice, but to begin I take a photocopy of the pattern, enlarging it at the same time, then I use  marker pens, in five fluorescent colours, to help me keep my place, colouring in the pattern as I stitch (but do be wary ..... it would be all too easy to colour the fabric by mistake).
Although this doesn't necesarily prevent errors, it does make them a lot less likely. 


In this project I stitched the border first. Then stitched  from the bottom upwards within the border.
On larger projects I usually work from the centre outwards.

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Do forgive me if I haven't commented on your blog lately ..... I've been so tired after our adventures, I haven't even been checking in on my own blog!

And then, for the last two weeks I've had a problem with my eye, and looking at the bright computer screen has just been making both eyes water, and then they both just wanted to shut, and once that happens I want to fall asleep, no matter what the time.

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Anyhow, as I squinted at Blog Reader a few days ago I saw that it is time for PPPP - that's "Perfectly Pleasing Pincushion Parade" btw!


The brainchild of Ida Jo of "My Sister Made Me Do It", you can read all about how it works hereand take a peek at last year's party here! You can see my last year's entry here.


How about it everyone?!? There are lots of amazing sponsors and prizes, so what are we waiting for .... get stitching or gather your pincushions, and join in!!!!!


I am soooo looking forward to seeing what you've all made!!




Barbara x

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