Tag Archives: house

Finished in February II

Story Cushions

The first Story Cushion I made was The Very Hungry Caterpillar cushion it’s in the blog for April 2014. You can see it here.

It had been in the making a lot, lot longer. It was actually the catalyst to my long path to free motion quilting and to my beginning patchwork. I had the idea for the cushion and realised it was something I would need to actually learn. I was lucky, I found a great teacher in Kate Higgins and the rest, as they say, is history.

Just before Olivia’s 2nd birthday she became obsessed with very same Very Hungry Caterpillar story so…… on to the net to order fabric and cushion number 2 was on the way.

The panel and the foods fabric were soon cut and the book pocket made.

The caterpillar and butterfly were outlined with this amazing multicoloured cotton thread. I love this and have it in several (rather expensive-but-worth-it) colour ways, this one is ‘primaries’, there must be around 50 colour ways.

Next it was on to the quilting and I have to sing the praises of another sewing thread here. I kept reading about this thread, it was everywhere; it was on just about every professional blog I read; it was in magazine articles; on pinterest; everywhere.  You really can’t miss it and I decided to stop ignoring it and invest in this Aurifil. I bought mine from Barnyarns, simply because I’d had some freebees from them and they really seem to know about thread.                               I am converted, it is ultra smooth and it doesn’t break and I really have to say it’s made a huge difference to the flow of my free motion work. I’m totally sold and don’t think I’ll go back to quilting with anything else. I only regret not trying it sooner!

So it was caterpillar quilting  for the caterpillar side

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And butterfly quilting for the butterfly side.

 

 

Now there was one more thing. I’d made two story cushions and I have three grandchildren and although Heidi had the cushion that matched her quilt it’s not a story cushion with a pocket for a book!

So cushion number three. It could’t be the same as Dougie’s,  I didn’t need a particularly good imagination for that bit of sibling interaction! So here is what my search led me to choose.

 

Once again I outlined the motives and then stippled in between on the outside of the pocket.  But this time the  top half was plain/plainish  so I decided to write on that.

After sketching out a couple of font ideas this was my choice. Think I might use it again, simple but effective I think.

I can’t believe how quickly these two cushions came together. The first one took me so long. The quilting was so much easier, having a new machine since I first began has helped a lot. The Pfaff is so much more controllable and the Aurifil is a great find. Mostly of course its all down to experience and I must say that is pretty satisfying really. I think these two are destined to take up residence in the girls’ teepees where they both enjoy having stories read to them and where hopefully, in the future they will curl up to enjoy a book themselves.

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.

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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 …

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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