Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Nearly there!

There hasn't been much in the way of sewing going on in my little corner of blogland this month sadly. So, this month's New to Me link party will be a stitch free zone!

The main reason for this sewing hiatus is this!

So, the good news is that work has finally started on fitting out my sewing room but, as you can see, the bad news is that it is nowhere near finished :(

Hopefully, next month I will have a lovely new, organised sewing space to show you!

We have been somewhere new recently though. It was our wedding anniversary a couple of weeks ago so we took the opportunity to celebrate with a trip to Dundee to, amongst other things, visit the brand new V&A Dundee museum.

The building which, apparently, has no straight, external walls is pretty stunning even on a grey, misty morning. The permanent Scottish Design exhibition was really inspiring too, but I left the building feeling rather underwhelmed to be honest. There was a lot of press coverage of the lead-in to the museum opening and it was (and is) very much touted as a must see destination, but even although I normally love grand gestures in public art (and this is a very grand gesture!) the museum itself seemed more empty space than anything. It probably didn't help that the big ticket, temporary exhibition Videogames : Design/Play/Disrupt didn't appeal.

Much more to my taste was the Verdant Works museum we visited the next day.

We were given a personalised tour of the Jute Mill, which told the story of the Jute industry, a mainstay of Dundee between 1790 and 1890.

Lethal looking machines like these were turned on to help explain the many processes that raw jute went through before becoming the product that was exported around the world, bringing much needed wealth to the city.

I wonder if the early settlers travelling in their waggon trains across America knew that the fabric for their sacks and waggons came from a city on the coast of Scotland? I definitely didn't know that :)

 When we visited there was an exhibition of printed textiles by the local photographer/artist Kit Martin.

 Kit's beautiful photographs of pollinators and wildflowers are digitally printed onto jute fabric and exhibited here in embroidery hoops. They were much more my style :)

If you ever find yourself in or near Dundee I would definitely recommend that you make the time to visit the Verdant Works museum, it is really well laid out and every member of staff that we encountered was a treasure trove of information. The coffee (with Dundee cake naturally!) was good too :

That's my New to Me this month and now it is your turn to share anything that you have tried/experienced for the first time this June. As ever the link party will remain open until the end of the month so there is plenty of time to get off that fence and have a go at something new! Also, as ever, we keep it real here so celebrate the successes and the failures regardless of which side of that fence you fell :)

I would love it if you mentioned the link party in your post and would really love it if you also visited the brave linkers, who deserve a (virtual) pat on the back for their efforts!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
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Sunday, 26 May 2019

A walk on the wild side

Welcome to this month's New to Me link party, where we celebrate our attempts at trying out something for the first time whether it was a success or not!

This month I had hoped to share with you my new, very organised and very tidy sewing room, which was due to be finished yesterday! Sadly the work has not yet started as the designer and fitter has had to rush away to be at a family members hospital bedside so, as of this moment I have an empty room and sewing supplies in boxes and cupboards all over the house. Hopefully the patient will be on the mend soon and I can start dreaming of crafting in a room where everything has a place and finding anything doesn't take so long that I have forgotten why I wanted it when I find it :)

We did visit a New to Me place this month, The Sill, which is the home of the National Landscape Discovery Centre in the Northumberland National Park. The centre was being built when we lived in the North East but had not been finished by the time that we moved to Scotland. A recent trip back to the North East for a family get together meant that we had our first chance to visit The Sill on our journey home.

The roof of the building above is a garden walkway where all of the flowers growing are examples of the flora of the whin grassland in Northumberland. The centre is situated near a fort of Hadrian's Wall, and the first section of the walkway has plants that are typically found along the route of the wall, the species at the top section of the walkway are examples from the Northumberland coast.

I am not much of a plant identifier so I have no idea what these examples are but I thought they were pretty enough to photograph!

I think these may be Red Campion, but I could be wrong :)

It was a blustery day when we visited definitely not a day for sitting out on these rather lovely deckchairs! There was no protection from the wind at the top of that roof, so we were very pleased to find that the Centre's cafe did an excellent line in coffee and cake! If you ever find yourself in the area the Sill is worth stopping for and will make a nice change from all of the Roman sites along Hadrian's Wall.

So that is my New to Me this month now it is over to you to link up and share what you have been trying out this May. As ever the link party will remain open until the end of the month and we are here to commiserate over failures as well as to celebrate successes so be sure to link up regardless :)

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Friday, 3 May 2019

A Bear Necessity

Our son and his family moved in to their new home just before Christmas (one week before our new grandson arrived!!) and have been settling in ever since.

One of their first moves was to install a bookshelf and comfortable chair in the bedroom of our 2yr old grandson. He loves his story time and has a great memory for his favourite books so skipping pages is never an option :)

Comfort is, therefore, a high priority when settling down with a book pile before bedtime, so when I came across a pattern for a Bear cushion in a recent Bustle and Sew magazine I knew that it would be the perfect addition to that reading corner.

It was really straightforward to make, the cushion itself is made with grey fleece with white, black and pink felt for the nose and ears. The pattern used grey felt for the cushion body but I thought that fleece would make a more comfortable cushion so went with that instead.

The details of the nose and eyes are embroidered on. I could have used buttons for the eyes, which would have been better from a size point of view but thought that embroidered eyes were better for safety.

I delivered the cushion a couple of weeks ago when we went down to visit and I am delighted to say that it was a hit!

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Reflections in the rain

Today is the reveal day for the Endeavourers Quilt Group, where we unveil our makes for the quarterly theme. The theme for this quarter was "Raindrops keep falling on my head" which doesn't immediately bring quilts to mind you have to admit!

My piece for the reveal is entitled "Reflections in the rain", it is quilted, beaded and appliqued slubbed silk joined in 4 pieces to create a 3-D raindrop.

When I started to think about this project I remembered seeing these amazing felted teardrops several years ago at a textile art exhibition in Riga, so they were the inspiration for my project. I knew that I wanted to make a 3-D piece for the theme so experimented with shapes to create the raindrop that I wanted.

The prototype that I stitched was definitely more raindrop shaped than the final piece, but as they say "finished is better than perfect!"

I used the instructions in this book for the appliqued heads and it seemed to work well.

Fabrics are coated with Mod Podge before cutting, which gives them a nearly plastic feel and made cutting out intricate shapes like the Japanese lady's head above much easier than it would otherwise have been!

I added small seed beads to the ends of the radiating machine quilted lines to replicate more raindrops

and layered my coated heads across the base of the raindrop before stitching them down with invisible thread.

As ever there were lots of challenges throughout the making of this piece, but also, as ever, I thoroughly enjoyed creating "Reflections in the Rain" for this quarters Endeavourers Challenge.

To check out the wonderful projects that my fellow Endeavourers have produced for this quarter's challenge head on over to the Endeavourers blog and prepare to be amazed :)

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Bookworm beginnings

We have been on our travels again this month, and although you would think that would mean my New to Me's are not sewing related for a change they are!

Our first port of call on our travels was to Bath and rather fortunately the house that we had rented was only 10 minutes away from the American Museum & Gardens! Although I have been in the area several times since our son and daughter-in-law moved to Bristol a couple of years ago, I had never managed to find an opportunity to visit. Being so close this time though it would have been rude not to :)

The Museum is known for its' quilt displays and happily for me there was a new exhibition on of Kaffe Fassett quilts. The quilts, which are featured in this book, were all his interpretations of quilts in the Museum collection and both the original inspiration and the modern interpretation were displayed. I did take photos of some of the quilts but cannot find them so you will just have to take my word for it that they were all, both old and new, amazing! The exhibition continues until November 3rd so if you are in the area before then it is definitely worth a visit.

You will not be surprised, I am sure, to know that the book found it's way into my shopping bag :)

A book that I have had for a while is the inspiration for my second New to Me this month, Crafted Applique by Lara Buccella.

The method in the book involves coating the back of fabric in Mod Podge and cutting out the applique shapes when the coating has dried. Apparently the resulting raw edge applique will not fray! I can't attest to that as so far I have only coated and cut the fabric, but it certainly does make life easier when you are cutting out intricate shapes.

So those are my New to Me's this month now it is over to you to share your attempts at something new in April. As always the link party will remain open until the end of the month so if you have been sitting on that fence about trying something new consider this your nudge to jump off and dive right in! Encouragement is good too so check out our linkers and applaud their efforts :)

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Monday, 25 March 2019

Back to a new normal

As you can no doubt imagine there hasn't been a lot of something New's going on around here for a while so this will be the first New to Me link party of 2019 with a shiny new blog button made especially for the occasion!

Instructions: Select all code above, copy it and paste it inside your blog post as HTML

 I do hope that you will join me in celebrating the trials and tribulations of trying something out for the first time. It takes me longer every time to create a new blog button as I can never remember how I did it the last time :) This time I tried the InLinkz blog button creator and it seems to have worked but I am still keeping my fingers crossed!

All of my New to Me's this month have been travel related as there hasn't been much in the way of stitching going on.

At the beginning of the month we took a belated birthday trip to Skye, where our boys had given us an overnight stay at the Kinloch Lodge hotel The booking included a 7 course tasting menu with wine pairings so it was just as well that we were staying overnight!

The weather was atrocious whilst we were there but the welcome couldn't have been warmer, definitely somewhere to add to the bucket list if you are planning a trip to Scotland. The food was pretty exceptional too :)

As the weather was so bad we didn't get to visit the Fairy Pools or Coral Beach but we did manage a quick stop at the third place on our list - Talisker Distillery! I really like the Talisker Storm malt whisky, so it was nice to be able to see where it is actually made and to see just how many different whiskies they produce. 

On our way up to Skye we stopped overnight in Fort William, which is at the foot of Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in Scotland. Amazingly this bronze statue of a model T Ford, which sits on the main street, was made to commemorate the unbelievable feat of one Henry Alexander in 1911 who drove the original car up to the top of the mountain! A team of 77 equally mad stalwarts took the original car up the mountain again 100 years later in May 2011, this time in pieces and re-assembled the car in the middle of a snowstorm! I am guessing that it sounded like a better idea when it was suggested than it actually was :) The bronze statue was cast in 2018 to commemorate both trips. 

My final New to Me trip was a bit closer to home, to the outskirts of Glasgow to visit the House for an Art Lover. The house was built using designs by Charles Rennie Mackintosh for an international competition in 1901, but not actually built until a local businessman decided to realise Mackintosh's designs in 1989. The photo above gives you an idea of the style and scale of the house. It is absolutely stunning and deserves a blog post all of its own!

So, that is my New to Me's this month now it is over to you to share your experiences whether good or bad with trying something for the first time. As always the link party will remain open until the end of March so you still have time to try out that new technique or visit that new destination and link up. I would love it if you added the new blog button to your post and checked out the linkers to share the celebrations too. 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Thursday, 14 March 2019

A little sewing

Thanks for all of your kind words on my last post, I really did appreciate them.

Despite the recent turmoil here there has been a (little) bit of sewing going on.

A top and  2 pairs of leggings for the newest addition to the family.

I made the 3 month size but it doesn't look like he is going to get a lot of wear out of them does it?

Naturally, I turned to my trusty Brindille and Twig patterns for these makes just like I did when I made similar for his big brother.

Of course, I couldn't make for our newest grandson without making something for his big brother too!

Our gorgeous grandson has a vivid imagination and loves dressing up so when I saw this book I knew that I had to buy it.

Here is my first attempt at an outfit from the book - a lion hat, which I am pleased to say fits and has gone down well :) It is admittedly a rather elderly lion with all that grey hair in his mane but sometimes you just have to work with what is available!

Monday, 25 February 2019

Beginnings and Endings

Posts here have been non-existent since I told you at the end of 2018 that we were awaiting the arrival of a new grandson. So, I am pleased to be able to tell you that our gorgeous new grandson finally arrived on Christmas Day!!

Now, isn't that just the best Christmas present ever :)

Needless to say the birth of a new grandson meant tangling with the scary serger again, these are just a couple of the items that I managed to rustle up when we returned home after Christmas.

Sadly, the joy of seeing a new life begin was overtaken at the beginning of the year when my Mum was rushed to hospital for a serious operation which unfortunately proved to be unsuccessful. Sewing and blogging made way for twice daily trips to hospital. Just as we were coming to terms with the imminent passing of my Mum, my Dad was rushed to the same hospital with what turned out to be severe pneumonia. In the end they passed away within days of each other.

They were married for just over 64 years and, I am sure, if given the choice would not have wanted either of them to be left for any length of time without the other, but it was a tough time for the family they left behind.

I have my Mum to thank for my love of all things crafty although her particular expertise in knitting is yet to manifest itself in me, and my Dad to thank for my love of crosswords although, again, his capacity for unravelling cryptic clues remains beyond me.

I am sure you will understand why my New to Me link party has yet to appear this year, but, hopefully normal service will resume next month.
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