Category Archives: House

Christmas Sewing 2016 Two

Countdown to Christmas

Kits have never really been a choice for my sewing projects. I suppose somewhere deep in my psyche using a kit is ‘cheating’. I certainly have always gone through the agony and ecstasy that is the whole process of design, make, review.

Until November 2015 that is. The West of England Quilting and Textile Show was held in the University of the West of England; the University where my daughter studied and now lives a stones throw away from. It would have been rude to ignore it!

There were some fabulous quilts on show

and the stalls were just too tempting by far! Shows like this can make a serious dent in my bank account.

                                                     I bought some kits.

First up were the  Advent Calendars. We had been thinking about them. Thinking about them; looking at them on Pinterest; imagining how they would fit into our Christmas decor and just how we wanted them to be used. There certainly were plenty of kits on offer at the show and after walking around looking, eating lunch, discussing the pros and cons we decided that we would indeed go with the kit option. One for each of the three little ones in the family.

We chose two panel calendars with pockets, a decorated tree and a Christmas village scene. The third one would be a set of 24 Scandi style mini Christmas stockings. All of the kits we chose were from Makower, they have a huge choice.

We knew that the calendars would have to wait for Christmas 2016 to make their debut, there were other projects in the pipeline for 2015.

Christmas came and went 2016 just whizzed by and suddenly I had a very small window of time slotted in between returning from Spain at the beginning of November and the long-awaited and hugely anticipated trip to New York on November 22nd.

I’d made a promise so the pressure was on. The cutting began, the little pockets were soon made up and sewn on to the background, the sandwich was made up and backed with Christmas fabric from Aberdashery.  Oh, and there were loops to add along the top edge to hang the calendars on a length of dowel.

I decided a little bit of quilting was needed and just outlined some of the shapes on the panels. The final job was to add a little bit of Christmas sparkle.This came in the form of Pinflair Glitter Wands in gold, red and green. They are available in good craft shops or from numerous online outlets.

Once the panel advent calendars were complete it was on to the Christmas stockings. These were really simple. cut them out, sew them together, snip the curves, turn and press,  make a loop for hanging from red ribbon and sew that into a top seam. Done!

I chose a red satin cord to hang the Advent stockings.

All that remained was to pass on the two panel calendars to my daughter and the stockings to my son  … and just for this year I added the gifts to put inside. I like to think of them becoming part of the Christmas tradition and excitement in both houses as the children grow.

All in all I was fairly impressed by these kits they are quick and easy, there were printed instructions on the panels and I have since found there a You Tube videos if you should need them. And I still felt a creative buzz making them.

I was also taken by some of the small quilt kits at the show and I came away with two of those as well. I’ve just started on one of them so watch this space!


Peg Bags

Exactly a year ago last week, February half term, me and my sister and our sisters-in-law  met up for a girls day out in the lovely little seaside town of Aberdovey.


We drank coffee and talked; we

walked along the sea front and talked; we ate lunch in one of the pubs along the sea front …


and talked and browsed every one of the little shops and talked!

In one shop we talked about peg bags, well the conversation had to have a few mmmm…..  exciting topics, didn’t it?  There were some pretty ones there and my sister-in-law commented that she needed a new peg bag. Well you can probably imagine the outcome. I, of course, said ‘Don’t buy one, I’ll make one’.  Sister-in-law  2 says ‘I’d like one too.’ Not a problem. Well, such an easy thing to make! I knew I’d be making at least 3. And thinking about it I needed one as well. Make that two, our caravan peg bag has seen better days.

But even I didn’t think it would take me a year! I thought about it. I thought about it a lot. I planned and I looked at them on Pinterest, I even made a dedicated peg bag board!                                                                   From my Pinterest board (click through to take a look at them all):

I love the vintage shoulder bag one from Marmalade Rose blogspot; the washing line appliqué from ‘Aiming for swan like’  really appealed to me and the button hanging idea from ‘Love me sew’ got me thinking about alternatives to coat hangers. The Cath Kidston bird house was one of the commercial ones I thought was fun.

I was very dedicated to the idea of making them; I sourced the right sized hangers but never quite got around to ordering them; I became extraordinarily interested in examining them whenever I saw one in a shop and I contemplated how I wanted them to hang.

Well I’m pleased to say that the planning was worth it and at last I have a design that I really like and that is easy to make and that has a hanging system that I’m really pleased with. The trigger hook means that the bag doesn’t come off the washing line no matter how hard the wind blows, and it can blow here on the West Wales coast!


I bought two different types of hooks, the round ended ones are the best.

The Prototype: Making the front.                                                                                     The opening is just the right size and in just the right place.

I bought a broom handle and found trigger hooks in the farmers stores, there were no eyelets there so I turned to trusty Charlie’s Stores.IMG_1762 I did get Jeff to cut the broom handle into sections for ease and speed and when the sewing was done to help screw the eyelets in. The compressed wooden broom handles are extraordinarily tough!




Here is the first finished  peg bag.



The only adjustment to the design was to shave a quarter of an inch off the dowel. I’ve made all the bags I’d planned and they have been quick and easy.



If you are in need of a new peg bag and  would like to make this one I’ve added a tutorial here.



Out in the Garden

It’s been all about the garden around here for some months. I had lots of plans for April but then the patio was finished and the May and June weather was too good to miss . So other activities have been  on hold and the gardening went on. I did begin blogging my garden goings-on when we move in last August but somehow I lost momentum. Time to catch up! shedFirst the shed. Looks-like-a-beach-hut shed!I love seeing it from the kitchen window, it manages to cheer up even the dullest day. It fills the weird pointy bit at the top of the garden – and it’s very useful and not the least bit overcrowded (unlike the garage, which is full of stuff).                                                                                                                                              Building the shed was the first thing we did when we moved in. We didn’t exactly plan it that way, we just couldn’t resist the special offers on sheds at the end of the summer. And of course we had a built-in assembly crew of Matt and Tony  when Bethan and Tony came for their first visit to Cae Bach Y Rhiw.

Matt, Tony and Jeff got to grips with the plan and the pieces and then I set to work with the paint brush and the wood stain. No boring  sheds round here! Wondered what the neighbourhood would think but we’d made up our minds long before we put it up.IMG_3191So, here’s the painted (inside and out) shed up at the top of the garden waiting for the winter.   But wait, what about inside? Jeff put up shelves and a retainer rail for the long handle tools and I spent a couple of wet and windy autumn hours cocooned inside. I added a little bit of IMG_3371North Wales (a special little bit)  to the walls. I’d wanted to cover the walls with maps from the first day I thought about a  shed and I will add some more; we have so many old maps.                IMG_3365Next some hooks, old and new,  for the hand tools and bits and bobs. I think I’ve added a few  more over the winter!                                   Then there was the miniature cyclamen that had come with us from London. I’m very attached to this gift from a very good friend on a trip to RHS Wisley many years ago.        It spread all around our

IMG_3367   London garden so I had to bring a bit with us.  It flowered beautifully hanging there in the Greenwich market potholder over the winter and I did manage to  schlep up to the shed to keep it watered.                                                                 I’ll transplant the corm this autumn ready to colonise our new garden I hope.

So the shed sat over the winter waiting, waiting for Stage 2.  The wet winter proved that Stage 2 was needed. As a storage area behind the shed was a right off; a claggy clay bog; soggy, sticky and squelchy and so the improvements were not just cosmetic.                                                                                                                                We began by covering the area behind and to the sides and a strip in front of the shed with a weed barrier membrane and then with golden gravel that we found at Mount Trading. We laid a path at the front and side with Bradstone Carpet Stone (very easy – blocks on  a plastic flexible mat ).

Then we finished it off with a border of Bradstone rope-top edging to keep the gravel in check.  The overall effect is, well, even more     beachy! IMG_1402

Flurry Hurry

A Summery Table Runner

IMG_4487When the ‘Flurry’ collection arrived I knew it wouldn’t be long before  I put it to use and when I began making the table runner I wasn’t really in a hurry, it just turned out that way! The design was uncomplicated;  putting it together was effortless and I thought the clean lines need plain quilting, which took no time at all.IMG_4494


IMG_4408I began with one and a half inch strips of the whole range of flurry colours, sewed them in groups of five then cut them into blocks. It was so quick!

I wanted a grey to set off the colour range (always a favourite) and went to look for something in Aberdashery and as usual found just the thing. A simple grey and white mini-stripe and to complement it perfectly another of the multi-coloured threads that just lift the quilting beautifully.

The checkerboard design was swiftly pieced

and in no time I had a sandwich and was ready to quilt the snappy, wavy lines. So simple.IMG_1341I cut more strips and cut them into randomly sized lengths to make the binding and there it was, complete in only a couple of hours over a few early evening, pre-dinner sewing sessions. Never was anything (made by me) so speedily done!IMG_4492IMG_4493

And what’s more I have plenty of ‘Flurry’ left!

Chicken and Egg.

Whenever I set out to realise one of my ideas I find myself thinking back to Design Technology staff meetings at school! Our talented curriculum leader, Martha,  put us through our paces thinking through the design, make, review process. Well, whenever I make my ‘prototype’ there is always plenty to think about in the review part of the proceedings! There certainly was for this little fabric container … or pot …. or box. I’m not really sure what to call it. Ideas on a postcard  (or a comment here) please.

What to call it? Any ideas?
What to call it? Any ideas?

When I saw ‘Chicken and Egg’ in Aberdashery I knew what I wanted to make with it right away. I’d been planning some little round containers for a while. Initially the containers in my mind’s eye had turn down tops not lids but then the lid popped into my thoughts. I think I’ll still make a lidless round one, the rectangular ones I made are very versatile and I like them a lot.

Here are my choices from ‘Chicken and Egg’ in the Henley Studio Collection by Makower, lots more lovelies in the collection. Take a peek. These three were obvious choices for me, I’m besotted by the aqua and red combination and have to stop myself choosing it for everything I make. I love the fabric design and I thought the quilting should be kept simple and just let the design speak for itself. So my straight line practise came in useful.

I hope that I can get around to making the improved version soon but at this time of year, well gardening, golfing  and galivanting around the countryside seem to be higher on the agenda. Among my improvements will be making the lid slightly larger. I did make the diameter slightly bigger but not quite enough for the lid to just drop on.

There are other modifications too and as I make the new improved model I’ll have another go at writing a tutorial. All I need is a horrible wet  useful rainy sewing day. Shouldn’t be too long before one of those here in West Wales!

Brighter Baskets

A quick little in-between project to brighten up some storage baskets and add a little colour to the very useful but fairly characterless utility room. Utility by name and utility by nature – at the moment.

Being a skinflint, or maybe just economical with my precious fabric stash I chopped the tops off the original liners and replaced them with seagulls and spots.

The binding around the handle holes is far from perfect, it was a fiddly little job and my fingers have the pinholes to prove it. But they are tidier than the originals.

I didn’t dislike those original liners at all but a little pop of colour is just right.

A little bit of organisation.

Image 07-03-2014 at 22.26I love things to be organised and right now I’m on a bit of a mission to create customised organisation around the house. This week I turned my attention to the little drawer beside my bed. Image 08-03-2014 at 21.55 (1)                          In there are lotions and potions, some bedside necessities; earphones and little book light for sleepless nights; a little supply of very rarely needed night-time medication for just in case (just in case of indigestion, allergy, headache or backache, just in case I don’t want to get out of bed to go looking), and lastly the velux blind remote control so that when I eventually decide morning has arrived I can let the light in without actually getting up. I know exactly what’s in there but I always seem to be scrabbling about to find the very thing I want. So I decided to divide it up and make it easy to lift sections out.

I could have searched around and maybe found some plastic boxes or trays but what fun would that be? What better than to indulge my fabric passion than to  sew some made to measure little fabric baskets. Image 08-03-2014 at 21.56 A little bit of mathematics and I’d worked out that five 6″ x 4″ baskets would fit to perfection.

I love this Makower Henna collection by Beth Studely, I’d seen it here and there and the colours really appealed to me and seeing it in the Little Fabric Bazaar on Facebook was a sign that it was meant to be mine.

Here’s how I made them.

For each basket choose an inner and an outer fabric.                                     From each fabric cut:

* One 6.5″ x 4.5″ rectangle (base)

 * Two 4.5″ x 3′  and Two 6.5″ x  3″ rectangles (sides)

* Cut the same from your chosen wadding

* One 20.5″ x 2″ strip for binding

Image 07-03-2014 at 22.06



Work first with the fabric for the inside. Using quarter inch seams throughout sew the four sides edge to edge, alternate long and short  pieces, and then join them end to end to make the four sides.  Sew the base in place manipulating the turns carefully with the needle down and the presser foot up to get perfect corners. Check that the corners before trimming the points.    For the out outside of the basket lay the wadding on the fabric and sew together in the same way.

Image 07-03-2014 at 22.14


Place the inner basket inside the outer basket.


Prepare the binding by pressing a quarter inch turnover at one end of the strip and then pressing in half lengthwise.

With the open edge of the strip edge to edge along  the top of the basket sew in place making sure to tuck the unpressed end inside the pressed end.

Turn the binding over the top edge and pin in place. You can hand sew this in place but I wanted to have a go at invisibly stitching the outside edge so I stitched in the ditch between the binding and the main fabric and I was pleased with the result. The inside seam looks tidy and it was very much quicker than hand stitching. Very useful on some  things but I would definitely still hand finish something like a quilt.


So a very quick make and I soon had the five to fit perfectly in my drawer and it is so tidy and organised, I think I’ll be able to find everything easily and it looks so much more attractive than plastic boxes.

Oh! I did find the edges are much sharper for a quick press in place once the basket is finished. You could use  a plastic stiffener instead of wadding for a firmer shape.

As an extra I made two more but made the sides of the baskets 1.5″ higher and turned the tops over.  I like these very much and will definitely be making some bigger ones in my quest for organisation perfection!Image 07-03-2014 at 22.28

Loving My New Pfaff

IMG_1070I’m having so much fun

with my new sewing machine. And just look at this!

I’m obviously in very good company.  I’ve no idea when or where it was taken but apparently it was well known that John Lennon liked to sew.

Good choice of machine John!

Just One More Cushion!

While I’m on a roll! I might as well do the last planned cushion. This time for the rocking chair. The  one that  is about to get a makeover with from a pot of Annie Sloan chalk paint. When I manage to drag myself away from the Pfaff that is!  I’ve been going to do this for years, I bought the foam pad from Wheelers in Machynlleth a long time ago, IMG_1045and the inspiration came from an Aberdashery post on Facebook when I saw this fabric.  Great paisley and complementaries  from Camelot Cottons. Lovely. The block pattern  I chose was from ‘Love Patchwork and Quiltling’ magazine. I’ve just subscribed and promised myself I will use and not IMG_1058just gaze lovingly at fabrics!                           So I’ve made a started, the original pattern was for a table runner but I liked the look of it. It took a little working out and it took me a little while to work out the fabric orientations so it’s far from perfect so needless to say I learned a lot.

The ‘Flying Geese’ were tricky, I haven’t done much with triangles really. There seemed to be lots of cutting and much more working out where everything should go.



BUT  what a lot of scraps – all of them triangles so out with the idea of both sides being the same and in with my own little scrap plan for the reverse.

I had lots of practice at quilting straight lines and zig-zags, could be better, could be worse. Must do more.

Love my heart pins but I think they’re getting blunt!

IMG_1074Anyway, we have one more cushion, it’s better than the scrappy ones that have been on there for years. Coming soon  soonish, a revamp for the chair itself. Watch this space.IMG_1073

Seaside Cushions

New House, New Cushion Covers.IMG_4073

I haven’t made new cushion covers for ALL the cushions in the house since moving, but it’s beginning to feel like it. When the $T2eC16hHJFsFFSCCK7H3BRWJewcOs!~~60_35 Laura Ashley Hydrangea cushions were new they were lovely, but they had been demoted to the least used bedroom even before we moved. The lovely ribbon work wasn’t bearing up to the wear-and tear of the Hughes household and was parting company from the cushion.  I wanted  a little bit more of the seaside theme in what has so quickly become know as ‘Dougie’s Room’ cushions are always a quick and easy way to add some colour.

Making this paper pieced block with Mel gave me the idea for the first cushion and the appliqué boat on the first cushion was the inspiration for the second.                                                              IMG_1030

I had plenty of scraps for the block and I felt very satisfied by another attempt at foundation piecing and look forward to a spring course to improve.

I took the block home and the next day I appliquéd the little boat and built up the block with the blue and white pinhead spot and some solid blue.


I love buttons. I have a massive button box, many of them inherited from my mother and lots of vintage ones I’ve collected over the years but I’ve always wanted to have a go at the fabric covered ones.

I made the first ones ever on the Bento box cushions for the living room and I had some left so on they went. Nothing quite like them for a perfect match.

Number Two

The seaside fabric I originally thought would be curtains is certainly going a long way, and it hasn’t finished yet. I have  another idea up my sleeve but it may be a way off making.

The beach huts were going to feature on cushion two. There are four different ones and they just fitted along the cushion. So no patchwork, no borders, just the little beach huts appliquéd and some waves and clouds quilted on to the cushion front. This was a really quick make. IMG_4074








Time to change cushions

Christmas cushionsI did love the Christmas cushions. They were bright and warm and very cheerful, but they did shout ‘Christmas’ and in the middle of January it was definitely time for a change. The trouble was that having them made the original sofa-matching ones look dull, stiff and over-stuffed. Time to make some new ones. I loved the pop of red, and it picks up on other little accents so keep that.

Bark and Branch

1181_bark_and_branch_fat_quarter_bundle_in_winterI’d bought ‘Bark and Branch’ by Eloise Renouf for Cloud 9 Organic Fabrics some time ago and really wanted to use that.  What to do with it?                Image 03-02-2014 at 22.22 (1)                                                   I added a couple more fabrics from my stash and started with a Disappearing  9 patch but that didn’t work for me at all.                               I searched in all the obvious places for a block I fancied and what came to mind was the Bento box I’d used for the Christmas table runner. It was fun to make and I thought the mix of dark and light in the collection would be good.

Two blocks, quartered and pieced ready for two cushion tops.

I added a red border – for the colour pop then once my quilt sandwich was made it was time to try out the new machine.  I free motioned the centre and the wider pieces but put the machine to work on the narrower pieces and on a little  asterisk  stitch to bring in a little more red. So easy!

Fabric covered buttons.
Fabric covered buttons.

I wanted to try out buttonholes too, so for the back two halves with two fabric-covered buttons. The buttonhole function is so simple; once the foot is on and the size set just sew and cut and there you have it!                                                                                                                                            I made a third cushion adding some red from the ‘Winter’s Lane’ collection I used for my Festive Table Runner to make a spiral block. The overall look of the cushions is a great mix of the blues and reds from the room, the cool winter blues and the hot red. Close up? Well I think I’m making some progress in piecing, design and quilting . Satisfying.

Work in Progress

I’m usually quite disciplined about how much stuff I have on the go and getting things finished but right now projects seem to be running away with me and I’m starting to feel the need to get on and finish a couple of them.

First of all is Harry’s quilt. It’s nearly there and I must put the finishing touches to it before his mum brings him for his next visit. The quilt is not really late, despite the November birth date. Harry surprised us all by arriving in November instead of waiting until January.  He is doing brilliantly well and is extra special because of his eager debut. I hope I get to give him his quilt soon.


Next up are my learning blocks.  I’ve joined an online class with Leah Day to improve my Free Motion Quilting skills.

My attempts at FMQ have left me feeling less than satisfied. But the broken threads, bird’s nests backs and general lack of control have made me strangely more determined to succeed! I’ve been using Leah’s Free Motion Quilting Project and some excellent blogs – in particular Lori’s Inbox Jaunt to help me along and when I saw Leah’s course I decided that systematic, structured, step-by-step would be just the ticket. So this is ongoing for the rest of the year. The intention is that all the blocks will make up a quilt, hope so.

But ….I have a new Pfaff machine

and lo and behold after all those days of trying hard not to blame my tools I find that I could have blamed my machine a little bit at least. My LOVELY new Pfaff not only has a much longer space for work to fit through, it is infinitely more smooth and I can miraculously control the speed with the foot pedal or let the machine go it alone with the front button. What an absolute revelation! So onward to more projects …..

Number 3 project is the first of a new set of cushion covers. I bought some of Eloise Renouf’s ‘Bark and Branch’

range in the autumn for just this purpose but then I was sidetracked by the red and white Scandi style fabric in Aberdashery at Christmas and had to make the Christmas cushion covers. Now the first of the cushions is well underway

I have prepared the back and made buttonholes. The easiest buttonholes ever (much sewing machine love)!The first cover should be done tomorrow  then to decide just how many to make

IMG_0979Next up is this little ‘Snowball’ Block, which will have the little sailboat appliquéd into the centre sometime before February 7th ready for Dougie’s next visit.

it will be part of another cushion and the latest edition to the seaside themed bedroom.


Scrappy block centre
Scrappy block centre

When I was waiting to get my hands on some polyester wadding for the quilt I began thinking about the scrap strips I have begun to put together and made a scrappy block  with triangles of

Extra Wonky
Extra Wonky

anything  that came to hand and bordered it with white.  I love the irregular shapes and the bright crispness.

I have started adding the strips around the central block.



This is another project that will just run on until it’s done.

Circle of GeeseI’m not counting the three quilt tops waiting for the magic day when I think my FMQ is good enough or the ‘Circle of Geese’ block I made last week  now hanging in front of me as I sew and encouraging me to think of how to use it!

Then there are the projects going around in my head and of course the knitting in my knitting bag….

A friend phoned this week to talk about retiring from work, she is feeling a little nervous just as I did not so long ago. Now I wonder why!

The First Make of 2014

 Our first New Year in Rhydyfelin!

The very first make of our first New Year in our new home.

New Year’s Day was a quiet day after the night before (a fun evening with new friends at Aberystwyth Golf Club for our first New Year here). We got off to a late and slow start, the weather was foul and definitely not conducive to the planned walk to the beach.

Just before Christmas I had treated myself to a new cordless vacuum cleaner. I was going to buy it after Christmas but when do you need something like this I asked myself? The answer made my decision and I came back from Christmas shopping with my present to myself. I didn’t regret it whilst whooshing it round after mealtimes, during the prep and in the minutes before  visitors arrived.

I hadn’t realised until I got it home just how many fancy little tools it had and immediately decided a nice little drawstring bag would keep them together and mentally added it to my making list.

So by early afternoon on Wednesday I wanted to do something and sat down to plan the baby quilt that I’m about to start. Although I have fabric for the patchwork blocks I don’t have anything quite right for the sashing and borders, and I wanted some of this fabric actually in the blocks too. Here are the fabrics so far. I’m fancying picking up the yellow in some way in the sashing.

So having toyed with the idea of beginning cutting by mid-afternoon I had decided that a nice finishable project would be the order of the day. And so the vacuum tools bag was begun.




I chose the fabric from my stash and although the first consideration was choosing the right size pieces and not being wasteful – it’s only a storage bag after all –  I seem to have managed to go for a favourite colour combo again. A short while later it was cut and soon it was sewn.

calon lan


It will hang next to the charging point in the garage.

It won’t be hanging on Jeff’s new ‘Calon Lan’ hooks though so I’ll have to find a hook before it’s in place.

In a house by the sea

IMG_0690   Cot bumper I’ve already blogged my very first make when we moved to Rhydyfelin; it was a cot bumper for Dougie’s first visit.   Dougie's nursery   The seaside themed fabric seemed just right for his visits and a change from his jungle themed room at home. I had made up my mind that before he came for Christmas I would use more of the fabric to brighten up the room a little.   Making curtains wasn’t an option as I still haven’t decided what to do about the quirky window. I do like it, it has a bit of character but it needs a little bit of thought. Inspired by my daughter, Bethan,  making lampshades for their family room I decided to give that a go and to make some bunting in the seaside fabric and some co-ordinating patterns as well. His Christening party bunting is up in his room at home so it felt right – and it’s an easy,  speedy way to add a bit of colour. I found a drum lampshade kit in The Deco Shop in Machynlleth. You never know what you will find there and for all it’s so tiny I don’t think I have ever walked away empty handed. Making the lampshade was fiddly and I could have done with a third hand but it wasn’t difficult and I intend to do it again. Jeff suggested maps ….. watch this space.

Crafty – my own making space


IMG_3498I’m so excited about having my own workspace. It’s great to have everything to hand and not to have to put it all away at the end of a session. I could have done it at the old house but there just wasn’t time when I was working and there didn’t seem much point when we were planning to move. Over the last few days I’ve been adding a few finishing touches to my space. I would have loved this when I was a young girl but back then it would have been kitted out with paints, paper, tiles and such like but I would still have been playing with colour and putting patterns together, so not much change really.  I’ve been using the space since we made the table up but I had some ideas for re-purposing some bits and pieces. First of all there were the 2 little Ikea storage drawers. One used to be in my office at work and the other at home stuck away on top of the bookshelves because I didn’t much like how I’d chosen to stain the wood.

This was a really quick and easy makeover. The plain box got a couple of coats of Jasmine White wood stain left over from the garden shed and then I chose a selection of orange/aqua fabrics and drew around the drawers, sprayed with fabric glue and it was done. The second set were left sludgy-blue but covered with some ditsy blue and white fabrics that cheered them right up.

The next makeover was a little more problematic! Jeff had made a comment that made me consider using a the frame of a picture that was damaged in the move to make a noticeboard. I was going to throw it away – although I had liked it hanging on our old bedroom wall I hadn’t been particularly worried about the damage. It wasn’t expensive and I really didn’t know where it was going in the new house. So now I had a repurposed noticeboard in mind. Cork tiles were what I needed but I couldn’t find any locally so I ordered them on the internet. Simple – no! That led to phone calls from the supplier but eventually I got the tiles and set about painting the frame (magnolia would suit better than the original colour) covering the tiles with fabric and sticking them into the frame. Well, trying to turn the fabric with tiles stuck to it and place the ensemble into the frame was like wrestling with jelly but I got there in the end. Then when we went to screw it to the wall the tiles and fabric decided to part company with the frame. Next up a pot of evostik. For once I read and followed the instructions and opened all the windows but even so I nearly passed out from the fumes and thought I might have an asthma attack (and I’m not asthmatic)! Won’t be rushing to use it again! Well the result is I do have a notice board. It would actually have been cheaper to buy one but I guess that is not the sole point of repurposing.

Once the board was up I popped in some pins and then had another thought. How much more nifty would it be in a sewing space to have button push pins. Out with the glue gun and the button box.


The room is south facing so it is usually light and bright but for when it isn’t and for working in the evening Jeff has installed some really good lighting below the wall cupboards and hidden them behind a wooden slat.


The light is really good at any time of day or night.

But best of all is the table. It’s huge. It easily accommodates my machine and my large cutting mat. When I need to I can put my machine away and really spread out. Best of all are the two Ikea trestles. They can be raised and lowered which is fantastic. When I have a lot of cutting to do I can raise the table up to standing height then lower it again for sewing. It isn’t difficult to do either.


I was going to paint the table top but the lovely lady at Aberdashery suggested covering it with calico. A fabulous idea, it looks and feels just right, it’s none-slip and can be replaced easily if needs be.

IMG_3507There is plenty of storage. As well as the shelves and cupboards of the units there are two Ikea ‘Benno’ CD racks that are just right for fat quarters.

You can see the old  Singer sewing machine at the bottom of the picture . My daughter spotted it for sale in Aberdashery. I love it and although is does work it’s really  just for decoration.

Just to the right is the bag I made for carrying my cutting mat around. It has pockets for my rulers too. It’s really useful for taking out to classes.

I love having lots of hooks and pegs around too. I know exactly where everything is and all the things I use most often are right there close at hand.

Jeff gave me the black rustic nails he had bought to hang his aprons, they were just perfect for the little hang-up baskets. I’ll buy him some more when we next go to Machynlleth.

IMG_3508One last indulgence. I did buy a new chair. Here it is.

Next steps

I know I’ll make lots of little adjustments as time goes on, in fact I’ve already tidied the stack of fabric on the top shelve since I took the photos – and decided on a way to fold it consistently. The only thing I would really like to add would be a really retro looking wooden ironing board!

I’m working on a couple of quilts at the moment and have such a long list of projects in my head. I might just be spending a lot of time here – and enjoying every minute of it.


A little bit of privacy please!


There can be only one reason for the builder of our house to have chosen the door of the downstairs cloakroom. He just could not bear to have a door that did not match the others. What other possible reason could there be for a cloakroom off the hall having a glass door?


We could quite get to grips with it when we first saw it but it didn’t put us off the house nor did we feel the need to replace the whole door when we moved in but hanging a temporary curtain there was one of the very first things we did. I had plans to make a hanging for the door but it has taken a couple of months to get there.

I had a pattern in mind and wanted a double-sided piece. I chose some fabric from Calico Kate and got started but realised that I wanted a much more of a blue look for the outside and had seen Moda’s ‘Sunnyside’ by Kate Spain. I liked the blues and yellows in the range and the weather based theme seemed appropriate.  I also knew that if I bought a jelly roll I’d have plenty of uses for the remainder. So that was what I did.

I started by sewing the strips into long blocks and then cut them six and a half inch blocks.

Then it was time to top and tail them and arrange to the best effect …..

… and add the grey sashing and borders.

The quilting was more complicated than it should have been. One side was a pre-cut jelly roll and the other side hand cut strips and I hadn’t allowed for the pinking on the jelly roll so the two sides didn’t quite match up. I decided the only way around it was to quilt the two side separately – twice the time.

I decided on a fan design for the sashing and borders (click to enlarge) and on the blocks alternate stippling and a design I found on Leah Day’s absolutely invaluable Free Motion Quilting Project. This blog is a great place for ideas for every level of quilter, I’ve signed up for the newsletter and love watching the little videos and trying out the ones I think I can manage – and some I absolutely can’t!


Just the binding and the top tabs and the hanging was done. So privacy restored and a little bit of colourful interest added to the down-stairs cloakroom.

Now the next few days are going to be dedicated to finishing my work space and starting a top secret project!