Friday, 23 August 2019

All the C's

Ages ago I signed up for a local class to make a Catch All Caddy . I managed to keep up with the class progress on the quite involved pattern throughout the several weeks of the term and felt rather pleased with myself. What do they say about pride and a fall??

Putting the caddy together didn't go quite as planned and as I missed the last class I put the project away and only felt guilty now and again when I thought of it. With the sewing room nearly finished (I hope!) I came across the almost finished caddy again and resolved this time to complete it!

I had had real trouble stitching the caddy together at the curved ends through all of these layers, but resolved this time to grit my teeth, go slow and get through it and that is what I did :) Of course, I then had to do it all again to attach the binding :(

Thank goodness for clips, pins just couldn't cope with the layers of Soft and Stable

And here it is my Completed Catch all Caddy!

I resolved to only use stash fabrics for the caddy, as with the cost of the class (and the petrol to get there), the pattern, the Soft and Stable, the bag hardware and my time it worked out to be a rather expensive storage bag. We have all been there :)



The interior of the caddy has useful dividers to keep things neat and tidy

and as you can see the caddy itself is packed full of pockets, so I will not be short of places to put things!

When I started the class I had visions of whipping up several of these caddies, but having completed this one I think I will leave it a while before attempting another.


Thursday, 15 August 2019

Seafood and Sculptures

Last week to take advantage of some good weather we headed out to the Colintraive Hotel for lunch.




 One pleasant ferry trip later and a very nice lunch as you can see, we left the hotel to take the long way home. A few minutes later we were intrigued by a sign for the Scottish Sculpture Park at Caol Ruadh, so took a detour to find out more.

Here is what we found, this magnificent house was a private home, then a residential school and since 1998 has been a private home again. Since 2012, the gardens have been the setting of six summer sculpture exhibitions and we were lucky enough to be passing when the latest exhibition was open.

Sitting on the shore of the Kyles of Bute it is no surprise that water features quite heavily in the gardens as a setting for the sculptures,

as a feature of the garden

Woodland Choir by Kilmodan School & Teresa Hunyadi

or as a glorious backdrop.

You probably know by now that I love a good outdoor art installation, so this exhibition was absolutely my cup of tea :)

Clay bust with shells on shoulders and rays from head
Tellus by Frances Clark
Spring Boobs by Lotte Glob

Spring Boobs by Lotte Glob

Sprouting by Lotte Glob
As you can see there was quite a variety of styles on show but my favourites of all of the works were the metalwork pieces by Helen Denerley

Flying Raven by Helen Denerley
If I had a spare £5+K and a space to accommodate him this magnificent Raven might have found his way into the boot of the car! He would certainly keep those pesky window pooping seagulls away, don't you think?

The exhibition is on until August 26th, so if you happen to be in the area before then and looking for something different to do you can't do much better than a sail across to Colintraive followed by a delicious lunch and a wander around the Scottish Sculpture Exhibition at Caol Ruadh! Failing that if you click on this link you can check out the sculptors and their exhibits without leaving the comfort of your armchair, the delicious lunch you will have to sort out yourself :)



Monday, 12 August 2019

Diggers, Dolphins and Dilemmas

In between waiting for workmen to come and finish my sewing room I have managed to get the sewing machine out and stitch up a couple of summer shirts for gorgeous grandson number 1.

Like all small boys our grandson loves all sorts of utility vehicles but diggers are especially interesting, so when I saw the Small Things on the Move fabric by Lewis and Irene I knew exactly what to do with it.

I used the pattern by Pox Couture to make two shirts last summer, which were a tad big for him then so I used the same pattern size this year and will be keeping my fingers crossed that they are now the right size!

This one is also in a Lewis and Irene fabric called Spindrift. This time I triple-checked that I had the buttons and buttonholes on the correct side!

The shirts are fairly straightforward to put together, there is a bit of jiggery-pokery required to fit the collar on neatly but other than that it is relatively simple.  Less simple on this one was getting the buttonholes right. My sewing machine did not like that pocket placement on the dolphin shirt even although it was the same on the diggers shirt. When I was stitching the automatic buttonhole nearest to the pocket, the machine foot got stuck when it reached the pocket and had stitched repeatedly in the same place before I realised. I really hate unpicking buttonholes :( The solution I found was to stitch the buttonhole from the opposite end so that the foot worked away from the pocket not towards it.



That wasn't my only button related mishap though as I managed to miscount when I was marking the buttonholes and had to mark them out again. Now, I have some questions for the experienced dressmakers reading this. I made the mark above with an air-erasable marker and haven't ironed the shirt yet as I am worried that if I do it might set the mark permanently. Is that likely? How long should I wait for the mark to disappear and if it doesn't if I wash the shirt will that make it disappear? I am definitely regretting using a pink marker on white fabric!

Looking forward to getting the benefit of your advice :)




Thursday, 1 August 2019

Quiet counting

It is time for this quarter's reveal on the Endeavourers Art Quilt blog. The theme for this quarter was " A walk in the park" and needless to say I procrastinated a lot on what to make that would fit the theme. Eventually, I decided to combine two projects into one and make a Quiet Book for the gorgeous grandsons based upon a walk in the park.

We are lucky enough to live next to a park with a boating pond so I based my book on the things that can be found in the park.

I went for a counting theme for the book so each of the pages relates to a number from 1 to 6.

Every Sunday the Model Boat Club sail their yachts and model boats in the Boating Pond, so they were the inspiration for my first page.

Just as I was beginning to make the pages for the book, a visitor to my weekly quilting class dropped off a trolley load of furnishing sample books. The lady had just retired after several years of working as an interior designer and thought that the ladies of the class might be able to find a use for her sample books. Well, you can imagine how thrilled we were to receive them :) The hull of the yacht is a piece of suede from one of the sample books and the ruffle waves are strips of silk-like furnishing fabric from another of the books.



I wanted the finished book to have lots of different stimulation, so there are a variety of textures on each page, and hidden elements to some of them. Nestled amongst the waves of the pond is a tiny fish button from Totally Buttons As I hope that this book will get handled a lot I have over stitched nearly everything as you can see :)




 Just beyond the fence of the park a couple of swans have taken up residence over the last few years, so they were the inspiration for the second page.



Lifting the flap of the swans' nest reveals two eggs waiting to be hatched!

The Model Boat clubhouse was the inspiration for page three. I used magnets to attach the three window shapes to the page and another button from Totally Buttons with three ducks to reinforce the number.The name of each shape was also free-machined embroidered below the window magnets.

Of course, a park will have dog walkers so they were the inspiration for page four. I used the Crafted Applique technique with Mod Podge for the dogs and added snaps to felt bones in different sizes to match up with the dogs. Tiny butterfly buttons from Totally Buttons again finished off the page.

 Page 5 was inspired by the beds of flowers that are currently in full bloom in the park.

Each different colour flower head is attached by a matching button and the colour is freeform machine embroidered up the side of the flower stem. Of course, flowers in full bloom attract bees so they were embroidered on too! Can you tell that I was having great fun with this challenge ?



Initially I only intended to make five pages but as I wanted this to be an accordion type book I realised that I needed six to make that work. Some (lots of ) head scratching later I decided that my park would definitely have some ladybirds and here they are. The leaves are made of various fabrics, those sample books came in very handy, and the ladybirds are satin stitched red felt bodies attached to a black felt base. Contained within each ladybird and leaf is a sew-in magnet and each leaf has a number from 1 to 6 machine stitched on. Six tiny embroidered caterpillars added another bit of texture and fun :)


The back pages were created with squares of sun-printed fabric attached to a number fabric that just happened to be lurking in my stash! I used flowers, leaves, paper cut outs of butterflies and sliced mushrooms to create the prints. The feather print on the book's cover was made with my grandson when we visited them recently so it is particularly fitting for the front page :)

The interior of the book pages is a thick, firm wadding that also happened to be in my stash. I think it is Bosal Foam that I originally purchased for bag making. It was perfect for the book as it is soft for little hands but also sturdy enough to stand up and, hopefully, keep its' shape.

With the attachment of a button and felt flap closure for each side and a binding of green with tiny spiders my Counting in the Park quiet book was complete.

I do love working on the Endeavourers Challenges, but I think this has been my favourite so far even if it has probably also been the most work!

So, that is my response to the challenge of "A walk in the park" head on over to the Endeavourers blog to find out how my fellow Endeavourers rose to the challenge!

Friday, 26 July 2019

Sunshine and flowers

No sewing posts to show you yet as the new sewing room is still not finished !!!! The cupboard door and drawer handles are being attached as I type so, fingers crossed, it will not be too much longer before I can settle down to some stitching:)

 We were in France at the beginning of the month so I took advantage of the guaranteed sunshine to have a go at some sun printing.


The specially treated fabric is left out in the sun for up to 20 minutes. The recommendations advise that the fabric and items for the print are placed under glass to keep everything flat, a glass baking dish was the best that I could come up with!



After 20 minutes in the sun this is what the fabric looked like.

When the fabric is rinsed the dye washes out and you are left with an image like this.

When I get my sewing room back you will see what I did with these prints!

When (yet another!) commitment to work on the new room was missed (the 5th in a row!) the OH and I decided to treat ourselves to a day out at Dumfries House, something we had been promising ourselves for months.

The house was the subject of much press comment several years ago when it was purchased by a consortium headed by the Prince of Wales for an eye-watering amount of £millions. On the day that we visited the house and gardens looked magnificent, so it wasn't difficult to imagine how that money was spent.

The gardens were a glorious riot of colour, aren't these magnificent?

Beautiful and productive, the vegetable garden was in peak production mode!

and even the greenhouse was stuffed to bursting with an abundance of flowers.

Lunch in the cafe wasn't too shabby either :)

If you are ever in the area, Dumfries House is definitely worth a visit. To see the interior of the house you need to take a guided tour, which normally isn't my bag, but our guide for the tour was excellent and the house and the furniture particularly was so stunning that the tour flew by.

So, that is all that is New to Me this month, if you have tried anything New to You too in July I would love it if you linked up a post to the New to Me link party.

As always the link party will remain open until the end of the month and it doesn't matter whether the attempt at something new was successful or not, it is all about celebrating the trying here :)
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

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!
Click here to enter

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