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:

The Flashing Scissors
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!

The Flashing Scissors
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.

The Flashing Scissors
More nighttime stitching .....
The Flashing Scissors

There was cutting:

The Flashing Scissors

And, quilting/embroidery .....

The Flashing Scissors

and varnishing in the "Man Cave"

The Flashing Scissors

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!

The Flashing Scissors

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

The Flashing Scissors

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

The Flashing Scissors

The Flashing Scissors

The Flashing Scissors
Mitsey always wants to know what is happening!

The Flashing Scissors

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!

The Flashing Scissors

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:

The Flashing Scissors

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!

The Flashing Scissors

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!

The Flashing Scissors

Taking it into the garden showed off the colours better.

The Flashing Scissors

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.


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.


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!)


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.

The Flashing Scissors

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

The Flashing Scissors

and this is the most recent .....

Mini Pincushion - The Flashing Scissors

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.

The Flashing Scissors

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.

The Flashing Scissors

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


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


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!


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!


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


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

The Flashing Scissors
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.

The Flashing Scissors

The Flashing Scissors
Testing fabric for top and bottom borders


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.

The Flashing Scissors


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.


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

The Flashing Scissors

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

WIP - Quilting and Cross Stitch

Gosh, Hi there everyone! It's been a while! Thank you for dropping by.

Today I'm linking to Esther Aliu's WOW - WIPs On Wednesdays


I don't know where the time has gone! There has been so much happening, but nothing too interesting!

Oh, I guess I could tell you about the day we went to a café in a little side street in Streatham (South London). DH and I were sitting quietly enjoying our food ..... I thought there was a bit of a commotion outside, looked out the window to see the road blocked by a few Armed Response Units and "plain clothes" police cars, oh and about a dozen very tall policemen, all armed with those mean-looking machine guns you see on tv these days. I thought "This cannot be real", and was looking around for the movie crew ..... but they weren't there, it WAS for real!

It was a bit scarey at the time, coming as it did not long after the terrible attacks in London.

Don't even know what happened, you never do with these things! A flash car had been stopped and surrounded, right outside the café, we had a grandstand view. But this was the one day I did not have my camera with me!

We could see the suspect with his hands on the wall, armed police surrounding him, we then saw the sniffer dog arrive ..... doggie was led to said car, did his sniff around - inside the car, and in the boot ..... and off went the doggie crew.

Dear Hubbie decided to have a look outside the café and one of the armed policemen's voices boomed out "Could you step back inside please, sir", next thing we had an armed policeman standing right across the open doorway of the shop to prevent any other joker from leaving. He then popped his head in and said "It shouldn't be too long now, once we've all gone you can leave the café whenever you wish."

We were reasonably happy sitting at the back of the shop out of the way, but I was still worrying in case we were about to see something like the awful scenes at Borough Market!

I disappeared to use the loo and by the time I returned all the police had gone, and the road was open again. So I don't know if the suspect was arrested or not! I would imagine so, as they seemed to know what they were doing.

It has recently been announced that the police have prevented 5 terrorist attacks within minutes prior to their taking place, due to their surveillance operations.

But anyway, I digress. I wasn't going to talk about all that, but now I have!


So ..... back to sewing matters ......

WIPS - Quilting

I've been following Lori Kennedy's Spring Quilt Along over at The Inbox Jaunt (which you can read about HERE) and had been trying to resist the urge to join in, but last week I saw a lady showing her version of Lori's quilt and I lost the battle!

I had some 3" squares I bought at a local quilt show a couple of years ago, and I'd been wondering what I was going to do with them ..... this seemed just the ticket!

I know! I'm a bit late ..... but better late than never, eh!

These are my HST's made from my 3" squares ..... if you quilt you will know what I mean ..... if not you can read about Half Square Triangles HERE.

Measuring and trimming half-triangle squares
I just happened to have a 2 1/2" square measure!
Trimming half-triangle blocks
I've been trimming all my blocks to 2 1/2"
"Design Wall"
Finished blocks on my "Design Wall"
Design Wall
Not sure I've made the best colour choices
..... but hey, I'm new to this sort of thing!

I managed to stitch my 4 rows but unfortunately realised 2 of them were orientated wrongly, so some ripping has ensued! I'm almost ready to stitch them together again now.

Should you be interested in Lori's Spring Quilt-a-Long she has sumarised all the details HERE.


Oh, and in the evenings, while watching recordings of  "The Chase" and Law and Order - UK I've managed to work on my cross stitch.

Last time I was here:

Cross Stitch

Since then I've stitched the green cotton reel and started on the other reels. 'Fraid this has been slow going as our sweet cat, Tom, has decided he needs some "me time" in the evenings, and demands to sit on my lap. As he is such a big cat there really isn't room for me to stitch as well as cuddle him!

Updated Cross Stitch

I have a few finishes to share, but no photos ready yet, so I hope to be back to show soonish!

Happy stitching!

Barbara xxx

Sunday, June 11, 2017

A Mini Finish & a few Quilting WIPs


I'm linking to Amanda Jean's (Crazy Mom Quilts) Finish it Up Friday (where, for a few weeks, the link up will now be open until Sunday afternoon).

I wonder if anyone can help me! Somewhere I saw a link up party for "things you just had to drop everything for, to make that item", and I would have linked there too, but I'm afraid I can't remember where it was! I'm sure one of you will know, if you do, could you point me in the right direction please?


Yippee! I have a Mini Finish!

The other day I fell down "the black hole" that is Pinterest ..... just for a change! Tee hee!

A friend had said she would like to do some embroidery, and that she had never done any before. Because I can't resist trying to help I looked at Pinterest, remembering seeing "Pins" that said something like "10 easy embroidery stitches for beginners". Of course I couldn't find even one such "Pin" now that I wanted to!

But while searching, something drew me to thread catchers ..... and then, I saw ..... Mini Thread Catchers (MTC)!

Oh, the excitement of it! Well, you know me ..... I love my "Mini" projects. And, that was it! Everything else went on hold.

I'd been meaning to make a MTC for some time, although I had tried to convince myself that I really didn't need one!

My Mini Thread Catcher (MTC)

When I read about the thread catchers that Jill had made, on her blog "Creating My Way to Success", they looked so dinky, I couldn't resist any longer, and set about gathering the materials to make a start. 

You can see the plastic I used here, with the finished
thread catcher, and a tassel I was making on Friday night

In case anyone fancies a go, here's a few notes on how I made mine (Jill has a tutorial link on her blog)

  • I made a rim from the plastic - 5" long and used sticky tape to make it into a circle.
  • Fabric - 5 1/2" x 5" (You need to measure your rim, and add 1/2" to the width for seam allowances. I used 2 scraps 5 1/2" x 2 1/2" and joined them together)
  • Cardboard circles x 2 (I made my circles 1/16" smaller than the rim, but would advise 1/4" so the bottom will fold up into the rim)
  • Fabric circles plus 1/4" seam allowance - stitched in the style of a yo-yo (or Sussex Puff) x 2
  • Wadding same size as cardboard circles x 2

  1. Start by turning 1/4" hem down, top and bottom of your main fabric.
  2. Then make into a tube, by stitching the short sides together .... this is the fiddly bit! you will need to graduate your seam  ..... to make the bottom fit the cardboard circles.
  3. Thread fabric through your rim and fold the top edge down to join the bottom edge.
  4. Make a row of stitches, holding the top neatly around the rim.
  5. Stitch around rim of fabric circle, as if making a yo-yo. Then layer your fabric circles, RS down, wadding, then card. Gather thread, and secure. Stitch both yo-yo's together, RS out.
  6. Stitch yo-yo's to base, catching both inner and outer fabrics.

Et voila! Finito!

It seemed a good idea to be able to attach the MTC to my Mini Sewing Kit ..... so I've used a few old fashioned poppers!

And here's the thread catcher folded away!

This was another Friday evening stitching project, and although these stitches look large here they are actually quite teeny!

More poppers were needed here to hold the MTC closed

It will be much easier to use than storing my threads in my glasses case!

I will definitely be making more of these ..... Mum has already said that it is just what she needs to go with the pouch I made her!



Just prior to making the MTC I was tempted to start this little quilting project, for my handicraft group where we are making things with birds on using embroidery, crochet, appliqué, patchwork ..... whatever! Oh, and I meant to link to Tusal ..... that's why my thread jar is in the picture ..... but I keep missing the date! Sorry no time to add links here, I will talk about this again another day, with more detail.

I must work on this some more now I've finished the MTC!


And my other WIP - "Laundry Day" quilt:

"In the ditch" quilting
Here's me ..... quilting "In the Ditch"

For my non quilting friends - this means stitching as close to the edge of the folds as possible.

Wavy line quilting on my "Laundry Day" block
Wavy line quilting the road

I'm not sure how close to the edge to quilt .... on my experimental block (blogged about HERE) I stitched all round the block to keep all the layers together, then when I added the binding the needle kept wanting to slip off the block, making it very difficult stitch an exact 1/4"seam.

I've quilted the pathway too, but then had the dilemma..... should I be changing thread colours for the sky and the grass! Decisions, decisions!

I'm ready for the binding though! 

Prepping my seam binding
I've chosen 2.5" binding

I will finish this binding by machine stitch, and so I am using a slightly wider binding than I would normally ..... hoping to catch all the binding with the machine.


And just look what I found yesterday!

He was just peeking at me!

Our cheeky little cat was sleeping tucked under our duvet, adjacent to DH's pillow! he obviously thought he'd found a very nice place to sleep!!!!! How cheeky is he, the little imp (the cat!). But don't worry I didn't tell him off .... I think he was feeling the cold after being out in the sunshine all morning. We were so relieved when DH finally found him, as we had been looking all over the house, and in the garden for ages! We were both very relieved to see him.

Sorry this was a bit long ..... I got quite carried away!

Have a great week, and stay safe everyone!

Barbara x