Monday, 29 June 2015

Getting organised...

Hello there!
The end of another month is in sight so what have I been up to? Well this year I am trying to get more organised in various areas of the house & especially my sewing room so as to make the most of the time I have for crafting. Sorting through things, reorganising, & rehoming is not very glamorous and rather time consuming but I think it will pay dividends in the end!
Since I have been lucky enough to have my fabric stash grow the last few years I have found it increasingly difficult to actually see what I have when it comes to working with it. I had ironed & folded it all into layers in plastic storage boxes organised predominantly by color but this meant rummaging down the layers to find what I was after. Hubbie came up with a brilliant idea, "why don't you wrap it round bits of cardboard like the bolts in the store? We have loads of empty cardboard boxes in the loft". So I measured my plastic storage boxes to see what size of cardboard would fit width & depth wise & began cutting up cardboard boxes. These pieces are 12" x 8" and I am using them for any fabric I have more than half a yard of.
These then slot in the box on their sides making it easy to see at a glance exactly what you have in each box. Isn't that a lovely sight?!
For fabric I have less of I chose smaller boxes & cut the cardboard for these to just 8" x 4.5"... 

I already keep all my scraps (anything less than a fat quarter) in boxes sorted by color & so far this system is working well, helping with the inspiration, & saving me time finding fabric! But I won't deny it is tedious cutting up the cardboard, I guess I really shouldn't complain, it just shows how blessed I am with so much fabric!!! ;-)
Recently Hubbie & I enjoyed a few days away in Glasgow visiting family, cat sitting, taking in a concert, and fitting in a little shopping too. As Inverness has grown over the years there are less & less stores down in Glasgow that we don't have a branch of up here but one that we can only visit when we go down to the Central Belt is Ikea. Please excuse the rather blurry pic (snapped on my phone) but can you see the attraction of their market hall to me? ;-)
Mmmmm :-) I do love a good wander round here! This is one place I have found still selling 100% cotton bedding at a great price as opposed to the more common poly cotton blend and I picked up a couple of big colorful bedsheets to use as quilt backings. Then Hubbie spotted these picture ledges & had another brain wave. "Would these be any good for ribbon storage?" he asked. See how well trained he is?!! We bought two for my sewing room & one to use in the front room for more traditional purposes, and yes! They are absolutely perfect for my ribbons!
Another little purchase made just the other day were some plain wooden clothes pegs. Have you seen Lucy's yarn pegs that she uses to plan color combos? Well as I have been adding a few squares here & there to the Giant Little Squares of Happiness blanket I have been thinking about trying this system out. As we are about to enter Wimbledon fortnight & I plan on indulging in afternoons in front of the tennis working up lots of little squares I decided to see if yarn pegs would help any. I found a pack of 50 pegs for 99p at a local bargain store & yesterday afternoon I wound these little beauties up...
I will let you know if I find them helpful as opposed to just plain pretty!
Thank you for visiting me here today, and a special thank you to those who take the time to comment on my posts, it's lovely to hear from you! I have quite a few finished projects to share with you but I think that will need to wait for my next post, meanwhile I hope you have a lovely week!





Monday, 8 June 2015

A new stitchy challenge

Hello there!
Today I have a few stitchy projects to share with you. I haven't been getting as much cross stitching done as I would like but I am still stitching a few squares on the advent calendar for Little H as I am able. This is where I am up to now...

Over half way (14 out of 24 done) but somewhat behind where I had hoped to be by now. Oh well, I am still pretty positive it will be finished in time for this Christmas & I guess that is all that really matters!
I have been doing more hand sewing & the other weekend I finished off the summer wallhanging I was making for the kitchen. Once all the applique was done I embroidered antennae for the butterflies, hand quilted round the shapes with a turquoisey blue thread & added some buttons from my stash...


Here it is hanging on the kitchen wall...
I really enjoyed the slow & steady pace of this project, my eventual goal is to have a different wallhanging for this space for each month of the year. I have four done now & have lots of ideas for the remaining months but just need to find more sewing time!
Instead of starting another hand sewing project right away I tackled a job with my sewing machine that has been waiting for years. I was spurred on by finding the perfect fabric just when I wasn't really looking for it (you know how that one goes?)! I promptly bought a metre & here it is spread out on the sewing room floor...
How cute are they??!!! This is a vinyl coated cotton (commonly called oilcloth) fabric & I wanted it to make some outdoor cushions. For quite a few years now we have had a swing seat down at the bottom of the garden & when the weather is warm & sunny I love sitting down there with a book or a crafty project. It's much comfier with a couple of cushions but that generally involves making two trips, one with whatever I want to do down there in one hand & a cuppa in the other, & one with the cushions. For years I have been talking about making some waterproof covers for the cushions so that they could live down there for the warmer months, but it has never gotten any further than talk. (We have rain too frequently to leave them out otherwise.) Well once I brought this fabric home it was time to get busy.
As I haven't sewn oilcloth before I decided to check online for some tips & hints on handling this fabric. Here's what I found:
You want to set your sewing machine to a longer stitch length than for regular sewing & change out your needle to a jeans/denim needle. The vinyl coating makes the right side of this fabric cling to your ruler (handy to keep it from slipping when you're cutting) & the bottom of your sewing machine foot (not so handy) so if you're going to sew on the right side of it (and don't have a teflon foot handy) you can make life easier by covering the bottom of your existing foot with masking tape. Oh and these little guys are going to be your new best friends...
Yup, bulldog clips! All holes you make in this fabric are permanent so you can either pin in the seam allowance or use bulldog clips to hold things in position. Also you want to make sure you only sew things once, unpicking will leave little holes in the fabric. With this in mind I wanted to keep things as simple as possible.
I decided I needed to put in a zip (in my mind an envelope back would just let wee beasties crawl inside!) so I unpicked the zips from the old tatty cushions I have been using for outside. Luckily they were a nice maroon color that went quite well with the new fabric :-) I cut two squares of fabric the same length as my zipper & laid the zipper face down along one edge of one square laid right side up...
I sewed this in place, laid the other square face down & clipped the other edge of the zip to the edge of it like this...
Now I read differing opinions online on whether you can iron oilcloth or not but I decided to play it safe & avoid the iron. Instead I used the bone folder from my card making tools to flatten the seams either side of the zipper & I found it worked really well!
So once the zip was in I opened it up, laid the squares right sides together & clipped the remaining three sides...
I sewed round all three sides, trimmed the corners, & turned the cushion right sides out through the zipper (this is why you have to open it before you clip the sides together!). I recycled my old cushion innards in the new covers, zipped them up, & took them down to their new home...
Now all I need is some warm sunny weather!
I had no problems working with the oilcloth (or owlcloth as I was calling it ;-)) so if you have a project using it that you have been putting off I would say go for it!!! It's not as scary as you think!! 
Thank you for visiting me here today, I hope you have a lovely creative week ahead!