Wednesday, 28 May 2014

What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday? #260

Here it is. The one we’ve all been waiting for. The Fifth Anniversary of this weekly global desk tour. There may have been a real life crafty get together too. More on that another day, I know you have places to be.


Here’s my little corner of the kitchen table. Not had much of a look in this week. It’s been in almost constant use, between revision sessions, homework and eating. You can just see the lead of my girl’s laptop, in the top left hand corner. Three Science exams coming up, after half term, for her. I was there to keep her company and to do a bit of production line card making.

I usually end up with one or two kits left over after a class, because I’ve cut an extra one ‘just in case’ or somebody has had to cancel at the last minute. I got them out of the box I’ve been collecting them in and made up all the cards. It’s good to have a little stash on hand.

There you go. Short(ish) and sweet and I refrained from adding any links. I know there is lots of visiting to be done today. Off to Julia’s place then, I don’t want to hold you up. It’s down to her we have this madcap hop each week. Thank you Julia.

A very Happy 5th Anniversary to all my fellow deskers xx

Sunday, 25 May 2014

See it, Pin it, Do it! ~ May Edition

Only six days left in May, which means it’s time to share the pins that have inspired us all to action this month. Not a finished project from me, but one I’ve just started.


I met Mary at the South West Stitchers group I belong to and was inspired by the beautiful star quilt on her blog. I started looking out for vintage sheets to make something myself. It would seem they are few and far between around here, so I took the easy option and ordered some Fat Quarters from Mary’s Etsy shop instead.

I pinned Jeni Baker’s amazing Giant Star Quilt, made with vintage sheets, a while ago. There is a clear tutorial and suggestions for alternate numbers of different colours and patterned fabrics to make up the star. Mine will be made up of pink and yellow fabrics, in the various designs I have.

I had a lucky break when I found the blue and lilac sheet, for the bargain price of £2, in a local charity shop. That will be my backing. I just needed something for the background. I realised I would have enough of the sheet left over, once I’d cut the backing, to make the background too. Which means I can get started at last.

I’m going to scale the pattern back a bit, to end up with a quilt measuring 60” square. I think that’s quite big enough for my first attempt at machine quilting!

Over to you now. Have you made anything inspired by your Pinterest boards? We’d love to see. All the info on SIPIDI! can be found here.

The Pinterest board is filling up nicely. Just leave me a comment if you take part and I’ll add your project too.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday #259

It’s the kitchen table again, but you guessed that, didn’t you?


Kitting for class tomorrow. It’s a regular Tuesday afternoon thing around here. Two of my ladies are keen for a Triple Stamping refresher. I love the technique, but I have to admit it’s not a favourite of mine for classes. All those layers of white cardstock and corresponding coloured mats can be a little tedious to cut for several people at once.


It gives a good end result and I wouldn’t expect everyone to cut their own. They don’t come to class to learn how to use a trimmer, do they? I killed two birds with one stone as I’d also had a request for some male cards. I think this fits the bill.

It’s the WOYWW anniversary crop this weekend and I’m so excited to see everyone again. In the meantime I have ATCs to finish and cakes to bake. If you’re coming along and want to swap let me know and I’ll try to make sure I have enough. Cards, not cakes, that is!


If you fancy a go at making a flower like this one, I’ll have some supplies with me and would be happy to show you how. A great way to use up all those card scraps.

It’s over to Julia’s place for more desk based shenanigans. See you there.

Friday, 16 May 2014

A few thoughts on….UFOs

No, not the alien kind. The whole X Files thing passed me by. I’m talking UnFinished Objects or, as I prefer to call them, Works In Progress. The latter gives me some hope that they might be Finished Objects… day. This is the latest of my sewing WIPs. The Date Night Dress by April Rhodes. Before I tell you about that, perhaps I should go back to the beginning.


It all started when I bought the Washi Dress pattern, last February. When I read through the pattern directions and saw the need for several rows of shirring on the bodice, I got cold feet. I also thought it might be a bit shapeless on me. I decided to look for a different style and remembered a cute dress I’d pinned a while ago. Quite by chance I got given a very similar pattern, while I was out shopping with some friends in Salisbury. You might remember me blogging about it. But then again, maybe not, it was just over a year ago now. Surely not? I bought some red polka dot cotton and cut out the pattern pieces. Then I got worried that I wasn’t up to the task of a fitted dress and decided to try something simpler first.


Inspired by the first series of The Great British Sewing Bee, I picked this A line skirt pattern, that they used on the show. I bought the foxy fabric to make it with. But….it is so lovely and at £12 a metre I really didn’t want to mess it up. It was back to the drawing board yet again. GCSE season was almost upon us and my card making classes finally picked up momentum so sewing plans went out of the window for a while. Fast forward to January this year and I was ready to have another go, using some cheap printed cotton from Fabricland. I had issues with darts and needing a lining and suddenly it wasn’t quite as “Quick & Easy” as the pattern envelope promised! What next?


In February I began to make a Lonsdale dress. I’d found a series of online Sew-A-Long posts which were just what I needed. I was going to use the red polka dot cotton, but I only had three metres and this needed four, to accommodate the long ties, which form the halter neck at the front and fasten in a bow at the back, as well as that lovely swishy skirt. I actually got on with it quite quickly, until we hit the holidays and that pesky exam season again. I need some bias binding to finish off the centre back seam. I can’t make a French seam here, because of the zip and I don’t want to zig zag it, when the rest of the inside is so neat.


Which brings us back to the Date Night Dress. The best thing about it? It has no zip. In fact there are no fastenings of any kind. Yay! I foolishly thought that would mean I could get straight on with it. I had the pattern, some lovely fabric and a reel of matching thread. But no, it seems there is always something I haven’t thought of! The fabric is a knit and, although not hugely stretchy, it meant I needed something to stabilise the shoulder seams. I ordered some clear elastic, which came yesterday. Great, I thought, and then realised I needed a stretch needle for my machine. Arrgghh!!!

I am determined, once we get through the next week of exams, that I will have everything I need to finish all of these projects. Now I’ve made myself accountable to all of you, as well as the members of Jo’s Facebook group for hopeless cases like me. Do you have a pile of UFOs or are you the kind of person who likes to finish one thing before beginning another? Please tell me I’m not alone in suffering a sort of paralysis, thinking that I’m just not up to the task ahead, or having too many things I want to make and consequently not getting on with any of them.

Have a lovely weekend. It’s glorious here at the moment, with more of the same promised over the next few days. Hoping it is with you too.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday #258

It’s the kitchen table again this week. It’s becoming a habit. There’s just not enough room at my desk, when I’ve got a sewing project on the go.


This one has been in the making for a while. It was supposed to be easy. The “breaking me in gently” project. A simple summer skirt. But no, I had to go and make it more complicated than that. I solved the first problem myself and had some expert advice from the lovely Kerry, at our sewing meet up, on the second. The lining is now cut, after a fashion. I’ll be getting the sewing machine out, while my boy is sitting his History exam this afternoon.


This is what the nice parcel man brought me, while I was busy finicking with the cotton lawn. I fell in love with Tamara’s 1960s coat, from the series, and the pattern is in here. That alone is worth the price of the book* to me. Quite when I’ll be ready to tackle a coat is another matter entirely. Better get back to that skirt!

I’m linking up with Julia, as always on a Wednesday. If you want a proper look at the cards, that were half seen in last week’s kitchen table shot, they are here.

I’ll be back on Friday, talking UFOs.

*My copy was a bargain £8 from The Book People.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

A few thoughts on….changing it up

As some of you know I teach card making classes at our local Arts Centre and have been doing so now for about 18 months. The ladies, who come along each week, often ask me how I dream up something new every time. Well the truth is, I don’t.

Take this little box. Intended as a wedding favour, to fit this week’s theme….


….and here it is again, in its previous incarnation, as a Christmas gift box.


The basis is the same. A simple box, made from a 6” piece of card, fastened with seam binding. A change of colour scheme and decoration was all that I needed.


This wedding card is a mash up of these two birthday cards, with punched and embossed butterflies instead of hand cut stamped flowers. Adding the doily and a couple of gems, helped to make it suit the occasion.


The final card is a design I’d made previously for Valentines Day. I swapped the red glittered hearts for a champagne colour and changed the sentiment. Used the same background stamp, ink and cardstock as I did for the little box with the flower. That gave me a set of three projects to fit my wedding theme for the session.

If I had to start completely from scratch each time, I’d just give myself a headache. I begin with a theme or a colour scheme and then go through my Picasa gallery, of cards and gift boxes, to see what I can adapt. The project evolves as I go along and often the end result bears little resemblance to the starting point. Some of the time it will depend on what happens to be left out on my desk!

Do you have tried and tested designs that you adapt and use again?

Friday, 9 May 2014

One Photo in Twenty Words ~ Buttercups

Today, I’m linking up with Abi at Creating Paper Dreams.


Does this mean the grass needs cutting? Can’t really call it a lawn. The fields underneath are making a comeback.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday #257

This is the sight that greeted me, at 6am, on the kitchen table.


Two sample cards, on a wedding theme, with their respective kits, in the box at the back. All the stamps, punches, inks that will be needed. Now packed in their boxes too. I think I have mentioned before my need to pack on the morning, which fills some of you with horror. If I do it in advance, I drive to class with nagging thoughts, of forgotten items, in my head. I like the inventory process, in the morning, with a cuppa. I’ll share the finished projects later in the week.

What’s on your desk today? Any work in progress? To see what everyone else has on show pop over to Julia’s place. You’ll be very welcome.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

My Month in Numbers ~ April 2014

If March was the month of here, there and everywhere, with many miles travelled during those 31 days, then April has been the month of staying close to home.


I walked this path, by the river, 17 times. It leads to the library and Waitrose, but you can also loop around and end up in town near the Post Office, which I have visited on 12 occasions this month….


...posting out parcels to customers, which each included a tag, from the 12 I made...


…and log cabin blocks for the Friendship Quilt. One late and one with perfect timing. Can you guess who this was for?


I made 10 of these cards, 2 each of 5 colours, with different sentiments, to add to some of the Happy Mail I sent…


…and 7 of these little chaps for my nieces and nephews this Easter.*


I cut 54 kits. 6 each for 9 ladies, across the 2 classes in April. Including these two.


Mostly, I enjoyed 18 days of my children at home, which meant *not* having to make packed lunches on those 12 weekdays. We could have hot lunches, like quesadillas. Have our cooked meal in the middle of the day: homemade chicken fillet burgers, chips and onion rings. Enjoy beetroot sandwiches, without the bread going soggy and “Two ingredient” cookies** warm from the oven.

Well, it wouldn’t be a proper MiN post from me, without a few gratuitous foodie pictures thrown in, would it?

* Instructions for the bunny lollipop holders can be found here.

** Recipe (if you can call it that!) for the cookies came from this blog.

If you want to know what everyone else has been counting this month, head on over to Julie’s place and you can read all about it there.