Sunday 27 June 2021

A sewing afternoon.

I'm finally starting to get confused with this working from home. Since the first UK lockdown in March 2020 I have mainly been working from home and teaching online. Briefly, between October and December 2020, and since late April 2021, I have been teaching face to face on alternate weeks.  Yesterday, Saturday, I thought it was a work day and was surprised, but very happy to find out my mistake. That meant I could have some sewing time in the afternoon. Before then we had Richard's birthday to celebrate. He was working in the evening and so we had a family lunch. It was great fun and Richard enjoyed himself

In the afternoon I got my machine out as I had a dress to sew. I'd already cut out the pattern pieces and read all the pattern instructions. The bodice has princess seams, which I don't remember making before, and I'd been warned they can be difficult to fit. The instructions tell you to baste all the seams together so you can try it on and fit it properly. Here is a picture of the pattern.

By the end of the day I had basted the pieces together. I need to tweek the fit on the bust when I get another sewing afternoon. That won't happen until Wednesday as I'm in the office on Monday and Tuesday.

I'm happy with how this project is going. I was warned princess seams are difficult but I'd also forgotten that having had a mastectomy would make it more difficult. The prosthesis doesn't give the same fullness to the side of the boob as the real thing. It's a good job I like a challenge.

Today being Sunday I've been working on some some slow stitching. I've started making another Luna Lapin. I've been asked if I would make a couple of these cute rabbits and I said I would make them as Christmas presents. With six months until Christmas this is the perfect time to make a start on handmade gifts. The first rabbit I'm making will be white with red batik for the paw pads and ear lining.

Scamp wanted to be in the post today. He thinks he and Casso are under represented on the blog. 'Mom no one wants to know about your sewing, they want to know about your fur babies.'

He was so determined to have his photo taken he climbed on my lap.

I'm linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching

Take care



Monday 21 June 2021

This and that

 Earlier this month I shared a photo of a blouse I was making. I hadn't got very far with it

Earlier this week I finished it and I'm pleased with the result. I find dressmaking stressful these days because I don't do it very often. When I was younger and the children were little I used to make all my clothes and quite a lot of their clothes. Anyway the blouse is finished, it fits well and looks really good on.  Why is there never anyone around when you need a photo taken?

Spurred on by this success I've cut out the pattern pieces for a summer dress. I think that's the reason the hot summer weather has gone to be replaced with heavy rain! Hopefully the sun will be back once I've got it finished.

I've also been doing repairs and alterations for my daughter. She had bought this top online but the shoulder pads are much bigger than she expected. They give her huge shoulders, so she asked me to remove them. That was a nice straightforward job.

I also realised that I'd never shown the photo of the completed baby quilt I made a while back. The last phot I posted was without the binding. This is the only photo I have of the completed quilt as it has now gone to its new owner.

I love stripes as binding and this pattern works just as well.

Back in April my younger daughter was 30 and I shared with you the afternoon tea party we had outdoors at older daughter's home. Kathryn had bought 4 large helium balloons to make up for the second covid restricted birthday her sister was having. There was a 3 and a 0 plus a unicorn and a narwhale. The day was rather windy and they got blown around but they were well tied down. We got the balloons home and they stayed in the living room. Three balloons soon lost height and eventually came to rest on the floor but the 0 kept on going Finally on June 18th, two months after Lucy's birthday it lost it's fight to stay on the ceiling and floated round the room 

Finally, today it gave up the fight completely. Without the 4 balloons everything has returned to normal.

Yesterday, Sunday, I finally completed the May Pride and Prejudice block. I haven't drawn out the June block yet but I have time to do that and get the block stitched. Sorry it's all crumpled but I didn't have the time or energy to get the iron out.

I'm linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Sunday stitching

Take care


Wednesday 16 June 2021

Fabric and paintings.

Trying to get my head round all the things I've been doing recently is hard work. Not that I've been having a mad social life and seeing lots of friends. Far from it. John and I did meet up with three friends for a drink one evening last week and it was most enjoyable and seemed rather strange as it's not something we've done very often since end of March 2020. It's really good to meet up with friends and catch up on all the gossip but it was odd not having shared memories of things we would normally have done together over the last year.

One of the things John and I love is art and living in London we have a lot of art galleries and museum that put on exhibitions. In early May we visited the Tate Britain for an exhibition by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. She was born in London in 1977 and she makes figurative paintings taken from a variety of source materials. The exhibition showed work from her time at the Royal Academy schools, which she graduated from in 2003 and included painting from 2020. The figures in her painting are fictitious, using images she has collected in scrapbooks. I really like her work but here are some photos I took so you can decide what you think for yourself.

At the same time as this exhibition the main galleries contained an installation by Heather Phillipson. I liked this installation and took pictures to share with you. Again I'll leave you to make up your own mind.

On the sewing front I had completed the top of a baby quilt only to have my daughter ask if she could have it and if so I could enlarge it.

I bought some fabric to add a row at the top and bottom of the quilt top and a beautiful green fabric to add borders all round. Tomorrow I have a free day and nothing planned so I hoped to get the resized top completed.

I also picked up these three fat quarters just because I liked them

and this Japanese panel.

I have an idea in my head of how I want to use this panel but that won't happen until my holiday in August. We have decided to stay home this year during my summer break, rather than booking a holiday. We'll have some days out and also time to catch up on projects and just spending chill out time .

I have been working on various sewing projects but I'll share that with you next time. Today I'm interviewing again but got up early to do this post before starting work. Because the interviews are on line I don't have to go into the office so I have extra time in my day since I don't have the commute to do. I might even manage to finish the blouse I'm making if the day runs smoothly.

Take care.



Sunday 13 June 2021

Slow Sunday Stitching

Before I tell you about my slow stitching I have a message for my email subscribers. Feedburner is ending and so I needed to find a new platform for the email subscriptions. I have moved them to  They provide a service where followers and emails are unlimited, and it's free! I've added a "subscribe by email" gadget to the right side bar. Those of you who are already receiving emails should continue to receive them because the helpful folks at helped me export my subscriber list to their service. This means you shouldn't experience any problems and emails should arrive in your inbox. If you want to follow by email just subscribe using the gadget. Thank goodness for I was starting to worry I wouldn't get it all sorted out in time.

I've been working on blocks for a Pride and Prejudice quilt. These blocks do stitch up quite quickly, are portable and easy to pick up even after not working on them for several days. It's easy to see how far you've got and what's left to do. I've been working on the block for May and I'd hoped to finish it this evening but I was out in the sun earlier today and I now I have a headache. The stitching will be finished tomorrow. Here it is so far. I took it out of the hoop so you could see my progress better.

Just their heads to complete. I have another small piece that I shall stitch next, before I work on the June block. I'm really looking forward to stitching these happy frog blocks. They are supposed to be done all in green but I'm going to add some other colours, after all the flower on the waterlily is crying out to be a pretty yellow or even white.

I have several photos to share with you but they will have to wait as I've managed to misplace the lead for connecting the camera to the computer. I'll find it tomorrow when I get home from work. Unfortunately tomorrow I have to travel into work on the train as there is no parking available due to a large crane in the car park. I'm not really looking forward to it as the weather is supposed to be very hot again, plus I'm not sure how crowded the train will be. Hopefully it won't be too bad.

I'm linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching

Take Care


Saturday 12 June 2021

A trip away, Fabric and a castle.

I'm very behind with blog posts as I've been having a bit of a lazy time. Life had reached the point of being one long rush so I decided to put the fun back into it by having some down time and refocussing. I've got some photos to share of what we've been up to, both visits and sewing. I'll start with a trip away in May.

On the weekend of 21st May, John and I had arranged a short break for just the 2 of us. The break should have happened in early March to celebrate John's birthday but Covid got in the way. The UK was still in lockdown at that point and so we had a family celebration, (minus older daughter who doesn't live with at home). Now I am the only member of the family not to have experienced a lockdown birthday! Because of lockdown we moved our booking forward and the hotel was able to open the beginning of the week we travelled. We knew we didn't want to visit Bath as we have been there many times and have always found it crowded so we planned carefully. The journey was plagued by high winds and rain which made driving tiring but the roads were fairly quiet. There were no holdups except for a long queue for coffee when we stopped. We decided to forgo coffee as we had soft drinks and water in the car.

The hotel owners had spent lockdown updating and redecorating. When we last visited it was decorated to the tastes of the previous owners. The rooms now look more modern but are just as comfortable as always. I tried to find the picture from our last time we stayed in this room but I can't. I forgot to take the picture until we were leaving so not looking as fabulous as when we arrived.

I have some fabric to show you but I haven't taken the photo yet. We visited a ruined castle, Fairley Hungerford castle.

When we arrived at the castle the sky was overcast and there was a strong wind blowing, but over the next half an hour the sun came out and the rest of the day was beautiful. The castle had a steep sided deep moat which in places had stones lining the sides.

In places the moat was filled with wild garlic. I love garlic and the smell was amazing.

The church attached to the castle was old but in tact and had some murals on the plaster

Down in the crypt there were old lead coffins, which were used to preserve the bodies.

From the castle we visited Bradford on Avon where we enjoyed a cream tea and had a good wander around the town. We also took a walk along the river and came across an old tithe barn,

The barn was so big that I couldn't fit it all into the picture. There is a third door that is out of shot. I took a photo of John standing in front of one of the doors to be able to see the size. John is 6 foot 1inch.

On the Sunday of our trip we went bird watching and walking. I didn't take any photos as the weather was wet and windy and I left my camera in the boot of the car, safe and dry. Although it was wet we enjoyed our walk. The rain persisted on the drive home which meant there was less traffic on the road than usual so our journey was quicker. Although we had bad weather on the Sunday we enjoyed our time away and got home refreshed. 

I'll be back tomorrow for Slow Sunday stitching.

Take care

Wednesday 2 June 2021

The week summer arrived

The last few weeks have been cold, in fact almost wintery but at the weekend the sun came out and summer arrived. The warmth from the sun is most welcome and I took the opportunity to wash a couple of the bed quilts. Lucy has been using the Christmas quilt I finished last year, so I've laundered it and it's now packed away until next Christmas.

Today was my day off and John and I had booked to visit the wetland centre at Barnes. The marsh frogs were croaking loudly when we arrived. Their breeding season is between April and September and they were definitely calling to partners. Marsh frogs were introduced into the UK from Europe in the 1930's. We had a good morning bird watching and we really enjoyed watching Blue Tit and Great Tit fledglings flitting from tree to reeds and back again. There was a lot of flowers. In May our local cemetery was golden with buttercups. This week, at the wetlands, it is the turn of the daisy.

There were several Southern Marsh orchids. This one wasn't fully open.

Around the reserve there are bird models made from Lego bricks. I'd seen most of them before and they are a favourite with children. My favourite model wasn't a bird one. Meet Walter the water vole.

He was made from 39,216 bricks which took 136 hours to build. Ratty from the Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame was a water vole. Unfortunately water voles are in a major decline in the UK (estimated to be 94% decline). Barnes is involved in a major conservation project and I have been fortunately to see a couple of voles in the last year.

There is also an exhibition of art at the wetlands called Wetlands Unravelled. One piece by Caitlin Heffernan - Living Collections caught our attention.

There were five hybrid figures in the meadow. Identified as between bird and human they had made the meadow their home. They are made on a child mannequin and I must admit I found the green heads rather disconcerting.

This afternoon we were supposed to be going shopping with older daughter but she has a cold and wasn't feeling like a shopping expedition.  Yippee I could do some sewing! I'd bought a pattern for a blouse and trousers but hadn't got round to starting them. Maybe it's watching the sewing bee but I wanted to get the blouse made. I had some fabric that I'd been given months ago and it will be perfect. The pattern is Vogue.

So far I've been working on the front and have almost finished the front opening. I need to finish the bottom of the opening. The buttonholes are all done.

The fabric likes to crease but it drapes beautifully.

I also said I'd show you my Pride and Prejudice blocks.

I'm sorry about the shadows, the problems of taking the photos at night. I should have turned the overhead light off. I still need to finish the May block. Here's how far I've got,

Tomorrow I'm working but when I finish interviewing at 5:30 I'll be getting back to my blouse.

I'll tell you about our trip away in my next post.

Take care

It's been a while

It's been a while since I last posted, partly because life has been a little frantic and partly because John and I had a weekend away, followed by a very busy weekend at home sorting out the garden. I have been doing some sewing during the hiatus from blogging and some knitting and embroidery. Even though I haven't posted for a while this will be a short post, unless I can catch up watching a TV programme whilst typing.

A while back I had cut the fabric for two cushion covers. I had attached the applique pieces using bondaweb.

My next job was to attach the front to the wadding and applique the bowls on using a straight stitch. Once done it was time to pin the back envelope pieces to the front and stitch them. Turning the covers right side out and making sure the corners had their points pushed out took a little time. I remembered not to use a sharp implement for this job as it can damage the fabric. The last job was to stitch in the ditch around the borders. Finished at last, two cushion covers.

Tomorrow, when I go shopping, I need to buy two new cushion pads and then these cushions can be placed on my kitchen chairs. 

Over the month I managed to complete 2 of the three Pride and Prejudice blocks. I have a photo of the first completed block but will have to show you the second one in my next post as I haven't taken a photo

The May block is almost complete. 

This evening, when I had planned on catching up with my blog post I got immersed in catching up with the last couple of weeks of the Great British sewing Bee. My colleagues, who also watch it are horrified that I haven't seen the last two weeks so I just had to catch up. Now I'll have to tell you about our weekend away when I write my post tomorrow.

Take care