Saturday, August 27, 2016

A BIG BIG "Thank you" to Jacquie!

Thank you kind people, for popping by!

A few weeks ago, when I was visiting one of the blogs I follow regularly, My Journey I found Jacquie was offering a Mystery Giveaway, and I commented, as many of you did .... never thinking I'd win!

But, boy was I lucky! As, when I looked back at Jacquie's blog, I found I was the winner!!!!

Imagine my surprise the day Jacquie's wonderful parcel arrived:  I'd just been hanging washing out, and returned to the front door going back into our house .... a delivery van stopped near our front gate .... and the smiling driver called out "Barrrrbara?..... Barrrrbara?" in a foreign accent, obviously unsure how to pronounce my name ..... he trotted down our front steps, now grinning broadly and very politely handed me the parcel.

Here it is opened:

On opening the ordinary looking cardboard box I was delighted and excited
 to find these beautifully wrapped packages.

And, because they looked so pretty, here is another view!

That is one of Han's sweet greetings cards, with a lovely message inside from Jacquie.

Jacquie' daughter, Han blogs at NylonToast, and has recently started a greetings card business on Etsy. Do pop over and have a look at her blog and the great cards she is selling.

Doesn't the wrapping look pretty! Almost too good to open!

I opened the package to find:

not only did I find some of Jacqui's wonderful stitching ....

but also ..... more packages!!!!!

On opening the ornate, olde worlde box, I was astounded to find even more pretty packages. In my excitement I quickly opened two packages to find scissors and buttons, and then realised there were still four more packages to go!

So I stopped to take pictures as I opened them, to show you how pretty they looked!

A mini hoop ... right up my street ....
have I mentioned I love tiny stitching?

Did you see that piece of Aida fabric? I haven't measured it, but it looks to be a metre at least!

There are some patchwork squares in there too, aren't they pretty!!!

The lovely mug, with witty comments!

The picture doesn't quite show, due to light reflecting, it states "A cut above the rest!"

A wonderful fat quarter!

Something to stitch for "Gifted Gorgeousness", perhaps!!!!

I love the white lace ribbon Jacquie used for wrapping her packages, and will certainly find a use for it!

Had you noticed .... I love lace .... I'm so excited,
coz now I have so much to play with!!!!

I feel so fortunate, because if I had gone round a shop these are the sort of items I would have chosen for myself!

I felt overwhelmed by Jacqui's generosity, and so moved by all these lovely gifts that I wished to send a token of my thanks in the form of flowers, although she flatly refused the first couple of times I offered, saying it wasn't at all necessary as she was "Happy to have put a smile on my face"! It was only due to my persistent insistance that she finally consented (under duress though, I think) to allow me to send them.

With regard to "putting a smile on my face" .... boy was I smiling, my husband was astounded by the number, and quality of the gifts, and our two cats were most interested; and our large male cat has somehow managed to make the empty cardboard box they came in, his bed, in preference to the expensive igloos we have for them.

It only remains for me to say once again, a great big "Thank You" to Jacquie for her very generous Giveaway Gifts.

Next time I hope to share some stitching progress photos.

Sorry to have taken so much time to show you Jacquie's gifts, but you know how it is, there always things getting in the way of blogging!!! 

See you all soon.

Thank you for visiting.

Look after yourselves everyone!
Barbara xxx

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

WIPs - Quilted Purse / Pastel Dye Sticks and The Splendid Sampler

Hello Dear Friends,

If you have visited me before you will probably realise by now that I love to stitch when I am traveling, and, for me, every train journey is the perfect excuse for stitching!

For my latest train journey I prep'd my fabric, and wadding, backed with muslin and searched out a wavy lined stencil I'd made some years ago. I've recently bought some long pins with beads on their ends and found it was possible, with these long pins, to keep the stencils in place on my fabric while I stitched.

This WIP is a tiny purse, from a tutorial by Svetlana, who said "don't use polyester wadding", but I  love the puffy finish polyester wadding gives!

Back home again, I selected some monochrome heart patterned fabric I'd found when I last visited my local quilt shop, which, of course, I couldn't help but buy for my lining, and then I couldn't resist colouring in the hearts with my Pastel Dye Crayons. (In case anyone is wondering, the selvedge said "Hearty 2 You + Me 15.02 by My scrap was approximately 1/4 yard .... so you may well see this one again! This pretty fabric was in a "Scrap Pack", so, haha, I had to buy the whole pack .... consisting of another 4 different scraps! No I won't show you the rest now ... I'll save that for another day!

Lining cut ready for boxing the corners.

Another of my WIPs is the Splendid Sampler block .... "Sewing Machine" by Pat Sloan. 

I know I'm rather late mentioning it (oops, sorry Lara), but I was very lucky to win a signed copy of Lara Buccella's book - "Crafted Appliqué .... New Possibilities" by commenting on her blog hop .....

Lara's book

 and here is the first block I've made using her appliqué method... Sewing in progress.

The Splendid Sampler - Sewing Machine
Is it just me, or do you  find it hard to take pictures of small blocks too?

And what Summer post would be complete without at least a couple of  photos from the garden!

These lovlies must be at least 8' high

Our neighbours have been admiring our Hollyhocks and asking for seeds

And today I am linking to Esther's WOW WIP blog party. Do pop over and see what wonderful creations others are stitching!

As always, thank you for visiting me.

I hope you find time for stitching this week!

Have a great week!

Barbara xx

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Summer Stitching Link Up

Hello Dear Readers,

Today I'm joining in with Jo's  "Tenuous Shoehorn blog party"! A week long party, starting Monday 8th August, where the theme is, .... My Summer Holiday ... and, guess what.... we link our Summer stitching posts! For more detail visit Jo's blog.

Many years ago DH and I went away with lovely couple of friends to a really old traditional country  cottage.  It was a beautiful place with a real old-fashioned English Country Garden!  I don't recall any photos in the album of this holiday, so I was delighted when I realised there was a picture in Mary Hickmott's "New Stitches" magazine (issue 1) which was the spitting image of that holiday home, and I just had to stitch it!  The magazine called the picture "Bridge Cottages" but the place we stayed in was Walkmill Cottage, hence I labelled it so:

To date this is the only picture I've ever had framed (although I have a couple of others, finished before this one, that I really must frame soon) its also my one and only Summer Cross Stitch picture!

Do pop over and see who else is joining in with Jo's Summer link up!

Hope you are all enjoying your Summer!

See you soon.....

Barbara xxx

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Finishes and WIPs

Hello Dear Reader,

I hope you've had a great week! I have! I finished three little projects from some of my fabric mountain! That's got to be good, hasn't it? Then I found some inspiration from Amanda Jean's one-a-day pin-cushion challenge - here, and despite not needing one, I think I'm going to be making a skinny, long, pin-cushion like Amanda Jean's No 156!

I made a peg-bag to replace my tatty old one, using Benta's pattern, which you will find here, using Benta's measurements, although she didn't stipulate how much of a scoop to make on the front sections, so I made mine approximately one inch deep, which has luckily turned out just right! I wasn't sure exactly where to place the straps ... so I placed them adjacent to the seams.

Peg bag

When the strap is around the neck the sides hang inwards, making a good sized opening for a hand to pick up pegs.

Peg bag

Peg bag

The bag hangs very nicely round one's neck, and gapes open sufficiently to remove the pegs easily ..... and I've already used it in the rain, pulling the washing off the line fast! It does the job, just right.

Thanks for the tutorial, Benta!


Earlier this year I had made one of our neighbour's a Tissue Cover, and recently she asked if I would make one for her DIL. Once I started I couldn't stop, so I made one for her DIL, and one for one of my friends.

Tissue cover
Tissue cover
I couldn't remember how I'd made the previous Tissue Cover, but good old Pinterest came to the rescue! I used the tutorial by WhimWham. and added a little handle, to make it easier to find and grab, in my bag.

And just so I don't forget again, the measurements were: 

Strap : 1" x 10", 
Outer  : 6" x 7",
Inner : 6" x 8"

Next time I will place one centre edge over the other for a tighter opening, but otherwise I was very happy with the finish. 


The Splendid Sampler ..... another finish!

Splendid Sampler


Firstly, I have another Splendid Sampler sampler block in progress. I thought it would be quick, but not so ... I cannot decide what fabrics to use!

Splendid Sampler

And, secondly, in a few quiet minutes, with a new magnifying glass, I've added some stitches to my Cocoa Sampler.

Cocoa Sampler

I've been meaning to join in with Kaye and her friends at Kitten Stitching and the Friday Frolics, maybe I will  get the chance this week now my needle has had some practice once more!

Thank you for visiting. I do hope you found something to interest you, and if you leave a comment or become a friend of my blog, I will be able to visit you too!

I love discovering new friends to visit, it's one of the main reasons for blogging, right? Isn't it?


Barbara xx

Linking to: Esther Aliu's WIPW
and           Amanda Jean's - Finish it up Friday

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Pastel Dye Sticks, and another Tiny Quilting Finish.

Hello Dear Reader,

I had to laugh, earlier this week, on visiting Kate, of Smiles from Kate, as I found that, to my surprise, she too was camped out in her bedroom with her two pets whilst work was being carried out elsewhere in her house ..... and at that very moment I was doing exactly the same thing myself! .....  with our two "new to us" cats, while we were having our aging chimney stack removed and the gap tiled over!

The eldest of the two cats, Tom, was determined to keep an eye on proceedings, from a comfortable spot by the window, where he eventually fell asleep! Youngest cat decided to settle under our bed, for a serious kip (even though she is normally out in the garden all day) until the coast was clear!


If you you haven't seen my previous post on "Tiniest Quilting Ever" let me explain!
"DH and I have laser cut door keys that, surprisingly, get damaged when they rub against the other keys on our keyrings, and consequently they won't open our doors, so we had to think of some sort of protection for them, or keep replacing the keys (which would be really inconvenient, and not to mention very expensive!)."
Therefore we thought of making some sort of sleeve for them. After making the prototype for DH I set about making some for my keys:

A little while ago I visited Queeniepatch on her blog - Queenie's Needlework - where she was talking about the crayons she was using on her Trinity Green triangle patchwork quilt - this gave me the idea of using some crayon colour on my key protectors.

"Flying Geese" cover: I made my first key cover in the style of "flying geese" (if you don't "do" patchwork this is a technical term for a quilting pattern) which I had thought of making to use some of my scraps, but I felt the pieces really would be too small, even if I used paper piecing (another patchwork name), and there would be too many seams to turn the stitching right side out through the tiny gap. I could have used binding, of course, but again .... it would be much too fiddly with all the tiny pieces that would entail, and therefore I chose not to make the cover that way. Which was when I had a "lightbulb" moment, and decided that if I drew a grid I could colour in my "patches". You will see the finished cover on my key ring at the bottom of this post.

As the "flying geese" cover worked well I though I'd try making something similar with a different pattern, and remembered to take some pics this time!

Lemon and Lime cover: Again, I drew a grid on a scrap of Calico, using an erasable *Frixion ball pen, in order to be sure I stitched my seams exactly where I wanted them. I've had the pen for a year or so, but hadn't been brave enough to use it on any of my stitching, until now, as I was worried it might not erase properly, and would ruin my work!

Then I filled in the spaces with *Pentel Fabricfun Pastel Dye Sticks.

*Please don't think I am advertising, and I am not being reimbursed to mention these items either! I am merely reporting that they worked well for me.

Drawing with a Frixion pen
Grid draw with Frixion ball pen 
With an old scrap of fabric under my grid, and covering it with a piece of parchment paper, I pressed with a hot iron to set the dye, and, hopefully, it is now permanent and washable. (BTW - I have since washed this  key cover, and the colour has stayed in place and looks as good as new!)
Removing grid and setting crayons
Pressing with the iron also completely removed the Frixion grid.
Searching for cotton to stitch a frame to highlight the pastel pattern, I discovered this vintage cotton reel in my collection... one of many cotton reels I have "inherited" from stitching friends who have been clearing out or downsizing .... I was amazed to realise the paper on top and bottom of the reel had not been broken - meaning it had never been used before!
Vintage cotton reel in Vintage condition
In pristine condition!

Vintage cotton reel in Vintage condition
Still pristine condition - seconds before handing it to DH
I do hope it wasn't valuable, but, it was, at least, unusual with it being so old, and unused!

Well this was seconds before DH held it, and, you can probably guess ..... the first thing he did was break the paper on top! Neverthless, I liked the colour .... and at least it meant I used it, and didn't just put it back in the box of cottons for another 50 years, or whatever......

I stitch seams that won't be seen in a cream colour, not to waste my coloured threads where they won't be seen ....
Tiny stitching
Using lots of pins, even though it's tricky to get it all under the walking foot!
A useful tip I read a while ago .... when sewing tiny things leave a large seam and cut to size when you are happy with it .... so I left my scrap of wadding larger than necessary until I had finished stitching the seam.

Before turning.
Stitched with a gap of an inch to turn through.
Turning tiny stitching
I always struggle closing the gap after turning, so I don't trim the seam at the gap.
Trimming seams
Trim close to seams, being careful not to cut through
any stitches.
After turning
Even using a bodkin, it's still tricky to push corners out,  
Oh dear, I missed out a step here ..... my machine stitched outlines in the Vintage Moss Green cotton, but you can see below how it looks, after stitching. Maybe I should have gone over the stitching a couple of times .... well, that will be a lesson learnt for the next few covers.

That's two key covers for me ...... however I have about another eight to make to protect the spare keys that were supplied when we had our new patio and front doors fitted.

Finished Quilted key covers
These are my two key covers!

This is the first time I've thought of using crayons rather than patterned fabrics, and I shall definitely be experimenting again with Pastel Dye Sticks. 

Do you, or would you, use crayons with your stitching?

Thank you for visiting me today. I hope you are having a great weekend, and now I'm off to see what you are all up to!

I always love to hear from you.

Barbara xxx

Linking to Amanda Jean's Crazy Mom Quilts - Finish it up Friday, hoping Amanda doesn't mind me being a little late!