Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Back on the farm...

Farmers Wife Blocks 21 - 25 
Yes I have finally gotten back to sewing some more of my Farmers Wife blocks after a few months break. My original goal was to complete 5 blocks a week so hopefully I will get back into doing that more regularly now. These are blocks 21 - 25. 
Farmers Wife Blocks 21 (Contrary Wife) & 23 (Country Farm) 
Blocks 21 & 23 (Contrary wife & Country farm) 

Farmers Wife Blocks 22 (Corn & Beans) & 25 (Cups & Saucers) 
Blocks 22 & 25 (Corn & beans and Cups & Saucers)  were the challenging blocks with those teeny tiny triangles. 

Farmers Wife Block 24 - Country Path
And the last one is Block 24 - Country path. Really pleased with how this one turned out. You will notice some stitching lines on the outside edge of the little triangles. This is because I originally sewed the wrong sides of the 2 triangles together making squares and not a larger triangle, oops!
If you are also making a Farmers wife quilt Camille has shared her process here of how she puts together her blocks. I followed her instructions for cutting out when doing this last block (above) but when I had trouble with the templates moving under my ruler I had the idea of putting a little double sided tape on the underside of the template which worked perfectly. Just 86 more blocks to go......

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Reminding me of summers to come....

Summers flowers cushion covers 
I started making these cushions over 3 months ago then life events got in the way taking away every spark of creativity inside me so these cushions were put on the WIP pile waiting for me to find some creative energy and time to do the things I love which is to create pretty things for my home and for my online shops.
Summers flowers cushion covers
You may remember in this post I was inspired by these pretty tea-towels which I thought were far too nice to be drying dishes with although they would make for a pretty kitchen accessory.

Summers flowers cushion covers 
I came up with the idea to make some 3D flowers inspired by the ones on the tea-towel fabric layering them with yo-yo's, felt and buttons.

Summers flowers cushion covers 
I added some embroidered stems and some hand-quilting with perle cotton for added texture.

I did my usual button enclosure with a collection of different but same sized buttons and a strip of fabric from the front.

Summers flowers cushion covers
I'm not sure which one I like best, the green one here with the rambling vines of flowers or...

Summers flowers cushion covers
....this pretty pink one with the row of flowers. What do you think???
 They are newly listed in both my Etsy shop and Felt shop.
For now they are looking quite at home sitting in my newly re-decorated window seat and are reminding me of happy blooms in a summer garden, a far cry from the torrential rain we have experienced here this week.

Edited to add: Both pillows are now sold.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Three small things are making me smile and feel grateful this week. A good friend quickly dropped by on Friday with an extra bunch of Chrysanthemums to brighten our home. She had been given 3-4 bunches and had thought that we would appreciate one of them. 
Chrysanthemum Collage 
I love having fresh flowers in my home but at this time of the year finding some to pick in the garden is hard. Chrysanthemums are so simple and pretty and last so well in a vase I think they will bring a smile to my face for quite a few days to come.
Kimono button bear 
This little guy was given to my eldest daughter Amelia when she was born, from some Japanese friends of ours who occasionally read this blog. It is made from fabric from a vintage kimono I think and has always been on display in her bedroom as it was too special to play with. I noticed a couple of months ago that a couple of it's buttons that hold it's limbs on were quite loose. I took it up to my Sewing Attic for a quick repair but dropped one of the buttons and couldn't find it. I tried to buy a replacement button but didn't have much luck in getting one remotely like it's lovely original wooden buttons used. Happily the other week whilst moving furniture around from one floor to another I found the missing button! 

Kimono button bear
Now it is all fixed and in pride of place in our newly decorated entrance room downstairs. I take my hat off to all you bear makers out there as it was not easy re-sewing on those buttons. I had a long needle specially for this sort of sewing but it wasn't quite long enough sometimes. 

We are very blessed to in our street to have lovely generous and helpful neighbours. When we came home from a weekend away last Sunday afternoon my neighbour on one side who had kindly looked after our cats and hens came over with a large bowl of  delicious pumpkin soup for our dinner. This is the same neighbour who sewed new covers for my window seat squabs and who also bought over a dinner of home-made fish and chips one night as she knew I had been working hard all day painting and correctly thought I would not feel like cooking dinner.
It is a beautiful sunny but crisp day here today and while I would like to get out in my garden I will go up to my newly organised Sewing Attic and finish off another half started project.

Monday, July 16, 2012

My newly re-decorated/re-organised Sewing Attic

New Layout of my sewing attic
After moving around bits and pieces of furniture a couple of weeks ago in order to re-decorate our entrance room/ chill out room downstairs I ended up having to re-organise my Sewing Attic. My fabric stash used to be kept in 2 large old trunks that belonged to my great-Grandparents who bought them out from Northern Ireland. While they held a lot of fabric they took up too much room in my little Sewing Attic and because I stored some of my quilts on top of one of them it meant I couldn't easily or quickly see what fabrics I had. Now one of them is downstairs in the new entrance room and one is in my lounge providing much needed storage in those rooms. Now as you can see in the above photo my fabric is much more readily accessible and looks pretty too in a variety of baskets and.......

New Layout of my sewing attic
........also stored in my newly restored and decorated vintage nail boxes. Yes Nic you were correct in your guess of what I would use these boxes for :-) A good deal of my quilting fabrics are kept in these 2 boxes. The 2 large round baskets hold fabric scraps and some larger pieces of a variety of different fabric types.

New Layout of my sewing attic
The sweet little white table in this photo was kindly given to me by my good friend Darlene who also helped with the re-decorating of my downstairs room. I love its art deco lines and its slightly shabby chic paint job.

New Layout of my sewing attic
The other 2 vintage nail boxes hold larger pieces of different weights of dress fabrics. I love that they are so more accessible now and I can see at a glance what I have and have not of course :-) Also on top of these boxes are various vintage tins and chocolate boxes holding ribbons, buttons, beads, trims etc which are now in a much more accessible space. The fifth wooden box which originally held soft drinks now holds some sewing magazines and patterns

New Layout of my sewing attic
I still have my inspiration board in the same place but I have also hung an old pair of  scissors (maybe for upholstery? ) and a vintage folding wooden ruler near it.

And here's a little collage of some of my favourite things in my re-organised space, a couple of my fabric wrapped wreaths now hanging and looking pretty, my favourite magazines all organised in newly covered magazine holders and some of my thread stash now stored in a re-purposed wooden beer display box. As I don't drink beer I think it is a much better use :-)

Fabric organisation
Finally I now have these larger pieces of 'Nicey Jane' fabrics hung on a rod in what used to be Amelia's bedroom which is opposite Caitlin's room and next to my sewing space. When Amelia moved into her new bedroom, I earmarked her old room for a combined creative space for both Caitlin and I. I think this is a great way of storing larger pieces of fabric so I intend to get more of these clipped hangers to hang other larger fabric pieces.

New Layout of my sewing attic
Today was a miserable wet day so I spent a couple of hours up here catching up on projects that have been sadly neglected these last couple of months. With my newly organised sewing space I feel re-energised about sewing again and have lots of projects in my head to tackle so watch this space :-)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Re-use, re-purpose...

Old wooden nail boxes 
A couple of weeks ago when I was endeavouring to make a dent in the mess that is our garage I spied these old wooden nail boxes filled with dirty old car parts, tools etc... I instantly thought that they would make cool vintage looking storage inside my home somewhere rather than decaying amongst rusty greasy car parts. So I pulled them out and gave them a good scrub and also treated them for borer.

Old wooden nail boxes 
I then spent a couple of afternoons and nights covering the insides with some pretty scrapbook papers with each box having a different colour theme. It was a bit like choosing the fabrics for a quilt and it probably took as long to choose the perfect collection of papers for each box as it did to glue them on.

Old wooden nail box 
The pink/green one.

Old wooden nail boxes 
A brown/blue/green/pink one.

Old wooden nail boxes 
A blue/green one.

Old wooden nail boxes 
And my favourite, the blue/yellow one. I just love the designs on these papers.

Old wooden soft drink box
And this is the last box which is not a nail box but an old soft drink bottle box. For this one I used papers with text and an autumn colour theme.
Now if you are wondering what I may be using these boxes for you will have to wait for my next post.
Sorry to keep you in suspense :-)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Our latest additions....

Just over 3 weeks ago my brother and sister-in-law purchased and bought over 2 young hens and a very cute hen-house for the girls and I.  My brother has had hens for a while now and when I mentioned we'd quite like to have our own hens he took it upon himself to search out a hen-house and hens for us. They arrived late one Friday evening along with enough food to last a few weeks and a couple of feeders for food and water. The girls have named them "Rosie" (Caitlin's) and "Lemon-pip" (Amelia's) and they are lovely, quiet hens that are becoming quite tame already. This past Sunday my parents came over for lunch and then helped us erect a fence of chicken wire so we can let them out of their house and have a peck and scratch around in a larger area which they love. 

First egg
We were rewarded and excited to find our first egg last Thursday which we think was from "Lemon-pip" as she is the slightly bigger hen. And because Caitlin is the one who feeds them everyday and also found the first egg she had it for breakfast the next day, soft boiled with 'soldiers' just how she likes it.
Many thanks to my brother Andrew and his wife Mandy, our new 'girls' are providing much pleasure to us all. :-)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Been busy re-decorating.....

Entrance room - re-vamp
Two weeks ago today I was busy painting this room which is an entrance room/chill-out room on the ground floor of our home. I wish now that I had taken before photos as the transformation of this space is quite something compared to the dull, messy uninspiring room it used to be. With the help of some very good friends and a neighbour we painted over the ugly yellow walls, made new covers for the window seat squabs  and re-arranged and added new bits and pieces from other parts of our home. This room is now welcoming, colourful, warmer, and well more "me" and I love it!

Entrance room - re-vamp
At the entrance is a large old pottery jar to hold umbrella's and a cane basket for our shoes which used to be in my sewing attic filled with fabric but looks much nicer than the bulky wooden box we had for our shoes before.

Entrance room - re-vamp 
My good friend Darleen transformed this trolley from a too bright green into a calmer 'Martha Stewart grey/green, perfect for showcasing some quilts and a cross-stitched butterfly sampler picture I completed a few years ago now. The wooden tray was hand-crafted many years ago by a great-uncle.

My grandmother's organ 
To the left of  the trolley is my Grandmothers organ which is patiently waiting for a rub down and a new coat of varnish after it was inadvertently damaged when our hot water cylinder burst one year. I also have plans for a new cushion for the stool.

Entrance room - re-vamp 
Opposite the doorway sits my Grandmother's beautiful cane armchair adorned with a colourful log cabin quilt and my favourite circle cushion. The old trunk is one of 2 trunks that were bought out from Northern Ireland by my Great-grandparents. The old brown leather suitcase was rescued from my parents garage and the blue suitcase used to be my school bag.

New cushions
These 2 cushions are the only new items in this room and were made especially for me and to go in this room by my kind and generous neighbour. She was also the clever seamstress who whipped up the new blue covers for the window seat squabs.

Window seat - re-vamp
Three of my quilts piled together and out of hiding from my sewing attic for all to see along with the round 'pie' cushion made from some vibrant Bali batiks.

Window seat - re-vamp
My colourful crochet rug casually draped on the window seat now adds not only more colour but another texture to the room and is already been used as a bed by one of our cats. Nothing like a cat sleeping in a window seat to make a house look more like a home.
So, sorry for the absence from my blog for the last couple of weeks but as you can see I have not been idle. I am slowly finding my feet and finding myself again in this new chapter of my life as a single Mum of 2 beautiful girls who inspire me to keep going.
This post is dedicated to my good friends who continue to support me in many ways. Thank you Darleen, Karen and Rosalie, I am very grateful to have such good friends.

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