Friday, 29 March 2013

Little Pin Cushion Swap

I received my pincushion in the post on Wednesday. It is wonderful - thanks Emily!
 She has a company called signed with love
I'm in love with my new little pincushion.
Thanks Emily, beautiful work!

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

WIP Wednesday

To say I have been working on this a while would be an understatement.  I don't think it counts as being worked on when it has been left for over a decade (or two).
I don't know exactly when I got this fabric but it was precuts from Laura Ashley.  It was seriously ages ago.  They were hexagons and maybe these were the first ever precuts.  I got strange numbers of the different fabrics and I don't think I could have done anything very regular with them.  I used all of them to make this and then didn't know what to do with it.
Then about a year ago I decided to make a small quilt out of it and bought the red and white stripes and dots and started to do a border.  I only got as far as one of each fabric!
So I plan to finish this sometime.  I wonder what else it could be used for.  What is your longest running project (apart from children)?

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

New Project - Blanket Box

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I picked up this beautiful blanket box on freecycle.
Yes ok, it is blue and shiny but it is a lovely solid piece of furniture.  The kids can sit on it.
Originally my husband wanted something to put all the shoes in by our bifold doors as shoes pile up there so I got this.  However, this is very large so far too big to go where we wanted.  So now I am going to use it as a blanket box which will be really useful as I have so many duvets of all different togs and sizes, and pillows and sheets, so It can all go in this.  I even have a spot for it which does not require me to get rid of any other furniture to make space!
I liked the decoupage.  There was something really nice about it and it had been done well.  It looked cute and a bit quirky.  However, it was so faded and was coming off in places and had come off in other places.  Also, if I painted the box a pale colour I think it would look even more faded.  So I decided to remove it.
So I am working on removing it.  The paint has been varnished over to keep the decoupage on.  So I am removing all of that too.  That tool in the picture is the most useful tool I have ever bought.  I seem to always be removing paper or paint of some sort, stripping back the layers.
I could put new decoupage on - I was thinking babushka dolls.
I hope to get this done fast as it is taking up garage real estate.....

Monday, 25 March 2013

Pincushion swap

I took part in a pincushion swap run by Lisa from sweet little pretties.
Here is my one which I posted today.  The hexagons are teeny weeny - each side is only 14mm.

I made it pink! (for a change)

The side is doohikey stripes by Riley Blake. So happy and bright.
I started sewing on Friday night, after the deadline for posting - opps!
I hand pieced the hexagons, and hand appliqued and quilted them.

Then I decided I couldn't do any binding so just made it into a thick short cylinder and sent it off in the post today!
I hope you like it secret swap partner!

Sunday, 24 March 2013

New Desk for New Sewing Area

I have finished a desk makeover!  I love this piece of furniture and I am going to keep it for many many years.
When we had new built in wardrobes fitted the other week I to relocate my sewing area. The table I had was really large and wouldn't fit anywhere so I sold it on gumtree. Then I started looking for a new desk which was smaller.  I found one immediately on ebay.  I was the only bidder and so got it for $5.  I love it when that happens.  Husband collected the desk and it was looking rather sorry for itself.
It was seriously orange and someone had written all over the top and dug bits out of the top with a pen I imagine.  I was pretty ugly but it had potential.
I would say it was vandalised.  To be nice I will just say that it looks like it belonged to someone who really did not want to do their homework.  There were some very deep gouges in the top.  However, I knew these were no match for.... The Belt Sander!
I cannot use the belt sander.  If I try it just flies off the end of the surface I am trying to sand and it becomes a dangerous weapon.  Luckily here I have a volunteer helper who has to do my bidding because they are married to me.
So P Daddy did this for me and I think we were both surprised how beautifully it came up.  Then he routed the edges of the top so that looked amazing as well.  Then he filled in a couple of holes in the top and sides with wood coloured filler.  I loved the pale wood.
Meanwhile I painted the drawer fronts.
I mixed up this colour myself.  It is a mixture of 0.25 strength antique white USA semi gloss and a tester pot of British Paints I'm blue.  I did the drawers and decided I loved that colour and it was perfect.
So I painted the rest of it pale blue too and loved that as well.  And the varnished the top with clear, waterbased varnish.  It was never going to be orange again.
And here it is finished.  I love it!
And here it is where it is going to live from now on.  It only just fits.  I measured from wall to wall and ignored the skirting boards so i am really lucky it goes in that gap!  There is about 7mm of space left I think.  Phew!  I have somewhere to sew again - Hooray!

Friday, 22 March 2013

Vintage Quilt Top

Can you call something vintage if you made it yourself? I made this quilt top and made it into a duvet cover and used it for a few years. You can tell how long ago it was because it has a frill around it! 
 I was pretty proud of it! It has been folded up and kept in boxes for a lot of years now. But do I now make it into a proper quilt?
It is a lot less bright than quilts made with new quilting fabric and the colours don't go together as well, but this is the charm of it, right?

It is all hand made and all made from completely free materials I collected. I always liked doing patchwork as this proves.  Although I did stop doing it for a lot of years.

Back in the day I wouldn't have considered paying for fabric. I used what people gave me from left over clothes making. This meant I ended up with lots of different types of fabric - some completely unsuitable but they all went in anyway! I have other examples I will show sometime of stuff made with completely wrong and not to mention horrible fabrics. This was all before the days of the precut. Or possibly even the fat quarter... when did that first start being sold?
 The colours are all quite muted as you expect as they were used in clothes!  They are also quite old now, so have probably faded.  Except the pink. That hasn't faded.
So I think I'll ditch the frill first and then make it into a quilt.  Then my children can use it, as I used to.
Do you have old stuff you have made sitting in a box somehwere?

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Cape Ann Quilt Finish

I thought I would show you this quilt I made recently.  It used two charm packs of cape Ann by Oliver +S and a lot of white and some stripy binding I made from spotlight fabric.  A charm pack is 42 pieces of fabric 5" x 5" which go together.
The back is just plain white because I had a lot of that at the time.
I wanted to do hour glass blocks so I started as I would do to make pinwheels and made half square triangles and joined them like this:
 But something was wrong and I decided I didn't want it like this after I have made most of the blocks.  This lead to a LOT of unpicking.....
Then I made the hourglasses below.
I thought these were cuter but I was not enjoying making this quilt for a while...
Then I joined them up and started to like it again.
Then I made the quilt sandwich and started to think about what binding I wanted.  I didn't really want to order some Cape Ann yardage and pay premium for it, but the pink in it is quite unusual and I couldn't find anything in that shade.  Luckily I found this great stripe in spotlight so decided on that.
I was pleased with it and it was a fraction of the price of quilting fabric.  I had to cut it on the bias in order to do rounded corners but I love the look and it is easier to bind like that too.  I hate doing corners as you may know.
It is 69" x 57" in size so single bed size.  The quilting is just lines a quarter inch from the seams and they go up and down and not diagonally.  It is just on a sofa at the moment but I think it will get used on beds at some point.  It is out and on display anyway and not in a cupboard.
I wonder if I should have joined up the blocks as they were when I first made them.  I just thought it was 'wrong' but I am not so sure.  Does that type of block have a name?  They are on the blog of Red Pepper Quilts using solids and look really good so perhaps I should have been braver. 
Next time.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Bookcase with Drawer Make Over

I am hard at work on a new piece of furniture at the moment but while I work on that I thought I would show you something I did earlier.
I wanted some shelves for my child's room with a large drawer for all her toys at the bottom.  I wanted it white of course and made of wood, not mdf or chipboard, but white seems to go for vastly more money these days, so I bought it unpainted but varnished.
So this is what it looked like with the drawer removed.  One shelf is fixed and the other two were movable with little holes showing.  I love that the sides and back are tongue and groove.
So I set to work.
 I just sanded it and primed with primer and undercoat in one.  I removed the movable shelves to do this.
I mixed the blue myslef using my favourite colour - dulux green buoy!  It is mixed with dulux antique white USA semi gloss which makes it a little bit different than if added to white.
I asked P Daddy to fix the shelves in permanently and he did this for me.  I hated the little holes and the little fixings were brown anyway so I would have had to get new ones.  I used the old handles for the drawer.
I just love how it turned out! It looks so cute in a girls room.
Another reveal in the new few days of my new desk, I hope!
I think it is amazing what a bit of paint can do.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Lots of Work In Progress

Today is dull and rainy.  I must concentrate on moving furniture around and finishing some furniture off and getting it out of the garage.  I have a new desk coming today!  It will get collected by P Daddy from the ebay seller - yay!  So that will take up more garage space until it is finished, and then it is going to be my sewing table.  Really need  a new space set up so I can finish things like these:
Not sure I will last the distance and do enough granny squares to make a quilt.  They could end up as pot holders.  Our current pot holders are a disgrace.  I won't even show them to you.
Other news is that the painters came back and finished the side of the house.
Very happy with it and we are glad we bothered.
Also, my lovely friend Suzy gave me this the other day.
I want to upholster it.  I don't like the shape of the back. I wonder if I can change the shape and also do it tufted?  Or maybe just do it tufted. The legs are not fancy so I will be having another skirt on it.  And someone threw it out to get rained on!
Have a happy Friday!

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Avalon Cushion in Squares

A lovely friend gave me some avalon precuts.  It was a charm pack which is made up of about 42 5" x 5" squares, cut accurately.  I decided to make her a present.
These are random 2.5" x 2.5" squares and to make this 9 x 9 squares cushion used half the charm pack.
It was incredibly fast to make and took about 2 hours from start to finish.
I don't bind the edges of my cushions.  I simply sew them right sides together and then turn them out the right way and sew around a small distance from the edge and make round corners.  It is quick and easy and I don't think it looks bad.
The back is just cream fabric which is upholstery weight and I have a lot of it so use it for cushion backs.  It is not perfectly square but it is hand made.  I must buy some zips!  I don't think envelope backs are practical and they gape.
The fabric set is quite bright and lively and not colours I would usually buy myself.  But I like them and I think they look great.  Next time I use these fabrics I might do squares but mix them up with half kona snow squares.  Or maybe do tiny pinwheels.  I will also make a smaller cushion because this one is a little too large. 
The quilting is diagonal, and done using the machine.  I like it but I don't love it.
So that is my finish for this week!
I may not be on my machine for a little while because I had to take out my sewing area to get the new wardrobes put in.  Now I have sold the table because it won't fit anywhere else!!  I will have to use the kitchen table and this won't be very convenient.  I do have my eye on a great desk but it is a doer upper (of course).  I hope to have news of a successful desk purchase very soon.
I do need to get my sewing hat on because I have only a little over a week to make my pincushion swap for sweet little pretties.  Time is ticking away!