Saturday, 28 December 2013

A pre Christmas birthday gift.

Anwen's best friend outside of school (our friend's daughter) had her eighth birthday in early December. Every year I ask "What would Elen like for her birthday?" Every year I get the same reply. "As long as it has a pony/horse on it she'll be happy".

This would be fine if it wasn't for the fact that this is the same reply that everyone gets before her birthday and before Christmas, and with every year that passes I'm more and more concious that there's a chance that I'll get her something that she already has or that someone else will get her the same gift!

With this in mind I've had my eye out for horse themed fabric for months so imagine my delight when I stumbled across this during my Christmas shopping a week before her birthday (how I found myself in a fabric shop whilst Christmas shopping I have no idea ;-)

Stampede (Muti) by Clarke and Clarke
It's a home dec weight 100% cotton and I was sure that I'd be able to rustle up something out of it so I bought 2m at £9.99 a meter.

Around a week later I thought that I'd best get started. I timed myself and over the course of a day it took me seven hours (actual sewing time) to turn a small fussy cut piece of this fabric, some raspberry coloured fabric from Ikea and an old pillowcase into this.

I started by quilting the main fabric backed with a layer of cotton wadding with organic straight lines spaced unevenly apart with a variegated Gutterman Sulky thread. I LOVE the effect that this gave.

I then raw edge appliqu├ęd the fussy cut horse.

Made some piping for the first time in over ten years!

And lined it with an Ikea pillowcase that I got in a car boot sale for a £1 (complete with matching fitted sheet and duvet cover destined for quilt backs)

And then boxed the corners.

And then we had a finished bag/tote!

Which Marged modelled all too happily. (She's walking quite well now, and keeps Mam VERY busy!)

Although it is a little big for her ;0)

All it needed to finish it off were a few horsey themed knick knacks and I was done.

I'd love to be able to say that Elen gushed over this when she opened it but Grandad arrived as she was unwrapping and he had new riding boots! Oh well, you win some, you lose some!

The materials for this came in on quite a low budget which made me think that I might be able to make some to sell (should I ever feel confident enough to sell at a craft fair) but seven hours? For one bag? I really enjoy sewing (read: love sewing) but for me to sell my makes I'd wan't to make at least approaching minimum wage for my troubles! I wander if I could speed things along a bit if I mass produced?........

My little angel

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas. Mine was lovely, as soon as the day itself arrived, why, oh why do I set myself impossible targets?

There were many VERY late nights in the run up as I'd decided that I wanted to make as many of my gifts as possible. There was also the small matter of an angel to dress!

On Sunday Anwen was an angel in the Sunday School nativity. So on Saturday I started on her dress....

Now this is the third year that Anwen has been an Angel (she's also been a horse (?) and a star - thankfully the school sources their own costumes :-) . The first year (when she was three) I made a ramshackle dress without a pattern out of an old cream sheet. Last year I bought plenty of fabric to make her a new dress but when she tried on her old dress to see how much bigger I needed to go I decided that 'slightly snug' would do and that I'd save myself the bother.

This year there was no doubt that a new dress was needed so a got out an old pattern (Burda - sorry I'm too lazy to go and find it for the name) that I'd previously used to make the bolero Anwen wore to our wedding went went looking for the fabric that I'd bought last year. And I looked, and looked, and looked. Despite having a good tidy up of my stash a few weeks ago I couldn't find the fabric anywhere! I could find a scrap of satiny fabric left over from making a bag to match my wedding dress, but I like an angel dress to be full length - not to the knee! There was nothing for it I would have to make the 60min round trip to my LQS which in reality would mean 2 hours lost sewing time by the time I'd gotten ready (what, you actually brush your hair even if your not leaving the house?) and factored in chatting time at the store.

I decided to call in to the butchers in the village first and then popped into the charity shop opposite to see if they'd had any more vintage sheets in (they had!). Well would you believe it? They had the most disgusting shiny cream sheet! Now how someone could have slept on that was beyond me, but it had definitely been used as the nasty bobbling on one half of the sheet showed. But the other half was pristine! Endaf was most surprised when I arrived home after only twenty minutes!

Despite me not having followed a pattern since making the aforementioned bolero three years ago (with a LOT of help from my mum) the dress came together quite easily until I started putting the zip in....

ummmmm...Don't think it's supposed to look like that!
Out came Mr Seamripper and with a little gentle persuasion we got a result.

Well, as long as you don't look too closely at my top stitching!

As soon as I'd hemmed it we had a little fashion show in the garden.

Please excuse the 'camera smile'
Not too bad, even if I do say so myself! Now you see those wings? It's just a piece of cardboard spray painted gold and edged with some marabou - but can you imagine how big they looked on her two years ago? (She was three at the time!) Oh, and what do you think Endaf found in the bag with the wings in the attic? Only two meters of fabric, what else!

Anyway, we enjoyed the performance immensely, and Marged even managed not drown the kids voices when she was shouting her sister's name!

Just one last picture showing Anwen in front of the pulpit/organ in our beautiful chapel. We really are so lucky to live so close to such a beautiful building with such a strong and healthy Sunday School. x

Sunday, 15 December 2013

and we have a WINNER!

So last night I asked husband dearest to pull a name from the hat (or Coco Pops bowl even)...

and doesn't he look ecstatic to be a part of my little giveaway? 

and this is what came out..

just in case you can't read my scrawl in the terrible night time pic is says Katherine.

So it looks like my little charms are going to be crossing the Atlantic to Calgary.

Speaking of those charms, I've spent most of today turning pillowcases into 5" squares

I hate the light at this time of year - believe me the colours are actually a lot brighter that this.
When I took this picture I'd only managed to cut 18 different prints but an afternoon without the kids means that I now have 23 different prints cut into charms and I haven't even started on the sheets themselves! As mush as I want to carry on I have some handmade Christmas gifts that I would like to make so the sheets are going back into the attic until after the big day.

Hopefully I won't leave it quite so long before posting again but I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you!

So just in case I don't 'see' you before the 25th

Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Hello again! (and a little giveaway)

GIVEAWAY CLOSED. Congratulations Katherine!

Here we are again, over a month since my last blog post. I could blame myself and the fact that I'm essentially a lazy person, but instead I'm going to blame Instagram :-)

I have actually done quite a bit of sewing and have quite a few things to show but I thought that I'd break myself back in gently with a short post.

Most of you already know that Sew Mama Sew are holding their bi-annual giveaway day/week at the moment. I thought that I'd join in the fun and have my own little giveaway here, after all, I've won a few giveaways in the last few months so it's only right that I give a little back.

So up for grabs I have two generous cut skinny quarters from my vintage Liberty stash and a little stack of 42x5" charm squares cut from my vintage sheet collection (made up of 21 different prints)

I haven't finished cutting them up yet but I wanted to get the picture before the sun went down!,
The charms will be cut from the pillowcase shown.

A closer picture of the Liberty on offer. (for some reason blogger insists on turning the picture upside down!)

What do you need to be in with the chance of winning this little bundle? Leave a comment. Any kind of comment. But if you can't think of anything to say how about sharing what your current vice is? (Mine's vintage sheets - I had a sort out the other night and was quite disgusted with myself when I saw them all together!)

My own little 'vintage mountain'.

I'm not going to actually going to link up with the Sew Mama Sew page as I'm scared that my little blog wouldn't be able to cope with all that attention! I've leave the giveaway open until Saturday nightish (14th December) and then pull a name out of a hat (or some other vessel) and let the winner know via email.

Open internationally.

No reply bloggers need not apply. (not sure what a NRBlogger is? Read this. If in doubt leave your email address in your comment.)