Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Winter

It seems to me that this year we are having the best autumn since moving to Ireland thirteen years ago. With the weather quite dry, the leaves are not turning to their usual brown mush as soon as they are falling off the trees. Instead they have shown a bit of colour, are staying on the trees and shrubs longer, and when they do fall, they lie crisply on the ground. We have seen a good bit of sunshine, too!
 - I prefer to forget about last week when the mist wouldn't lift at all for three full days

Today it seems autumn has made way to winter, with a sharp frost, clear sky and sunshine! It made me go out into the garden with my camera...


Even the grass looks good with a layer of hoarfrost!


The last flowers of Geranium "Ann Folkard" will not last much longer.


And the kale will be much tastier after this spell of frost!



Most of the leaves from the blueberry bushes are now on the ground...


...and those that remain are rimmed with ice.


Even the died and brown fern leaves are so pretty with some white details!


I have a busy day ahead, but I find it always worthwhile to take some time to enjoy the beauty that's  around us. I hope you enjoy it, too!

Have a good day, and stay warm!

Sandra

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Christmas ideas

In general, I am not one of those people getting ready for Christmas months ahead.
I refuse to buy sweets and decorations in September. I race past the Christmas displays in the supermarket without looking in October. In November, I try to not listen (and secretly sing along) to the piped Christmas songs in the shopping street.

I am no Grinch, I do like Christmas. But I prefer it to stay something a bit special. Not something that we are so familiar with for so many months of the year that it doesn't seem like a special occasion at all any more.

However, ignoring it for so many months makes it very hard to MAKE something for Christmas. Because making something lovely takes time. So however many lovely Christmas fabrics I have stashed away because I like them, I have never made a Christmas quilt...

Last year I got sewing in time because of my guild's Christmas challenge, and I made the eight pointed star table centre (read about it HERE). This year I did properly write up the instructions for it into a free pattern.



But I would like to make gifts for family and friends. I'd love to make decorations for my own home, or to gift to others. I'd love to own a Christmas quilt one of these days...

So I have been thinking of Christmas quilt patterns. Drawing, designing, colouring. Working out sizes to cut, amounts of fabric needed. In short, I made another quilt design. It is only small, it hopefully doesn't take much time to sew up. It is even written up into a proper little pattern! Maybe, maybe I will have a small Christmas quilt this year...



What makes me hesitate now is the idea that once it is made it will be stored away for most of the year... Unless I will change my ways, and start decorating for Christmas months ahead??!

Maybe I will have to make a more general winter quilt instead! I think Santa will be giving me some suitable fabrics for that...

For now, I'm off to sew, of course!

Sandra

Friday, 25 November 2016

A quick make and a new (FREE) pattern

Last year, not long before Christmas, I made a star shaped table centre with appliqué for a guild challenge. At the time I wrote a image-filled description for it on the blog.



This year I have revisited the tutorial, improved the photography, and converted it into a "proper" pattern!

The pattern explains how to make your own table centre with appliqué. With easy step-by-step instructions, the pattern guides you to make the basic eight-pointed shape, add fused appliqué decorations, and finish with an easy backing method.
There is also a table with cutting measurements for different sizes of table mat, from coasters to a giant table covering.

The very best of it: The pattern is now FREE available as an immediate PDF download on Craftsy.

So anyone looking for an effective present, or a new decoration for your festive table, do check it out!
And if you want to know how I did with the challenge, that story can be found HERE.

Happy sewing, of course!

Sandra

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

A quilty hug...

Sometimes you know of someone having a difficult time, and you really would like to give them a hug. Tell them you're thinking of them, hoping with them that everything will be okay soon. Listening to their story. Being a friend. 

Sometimes you are physically too far apart to act on that, so what does a quilter do?



I am not always great with words, but this is why I love to sew.

Sandra

Friday, 4 November 2016

Being brave - printing on fabric

After all the excitement of Luna, her cousin Lily and the filling of a wardrobe it was time to do something else completely!

I announced at Julie/Pink Doxies' Brave Quilter linkup I really wanted to play with printing on fabric, and time was pressing to link up the result. Which was good, because otherwise I probably would have postponed it further. Especially since it is midterm here and the boys are home, and I am kept busy with "taxi services" and the like...

So, time being short, I chose to try carving my own stamp from a large eraser (locally called a "rubber"..!!) wielding a lino cutter from my childhood - never much used at the time, or at least I don't remember! I decided I had to keep it simple and drew several ideas on paper, choosing the very simplest in the end.


The cutting was easier than expected, and soon I was ready to have a go at printing. To make things easy on myself again, and to limit the experiment to the process of printing itself, I used ready made acrylic paint for fabric. After testing the stamp briefly on paper to check the image, I got going on a piece of old cotton fabric. Since it had been washed a million times in its previous life, I felt I did not need any pre-printing preparation to the fabric. I also would not have been upset if I'd ruined the fabric completely with my experiment. The disadvantage was that it already had a print on it, though being light blue with mainly a white squiggle line, I did not think it mattered too much. I did choose to print using blue because of the fabric being light blue, though.


I intended to pour the paint into a small tray to be able to dip the stamp into to load it up. However, there is not that much paint in the small pots, so I decided to paint it onto the stamp with a brush instead. This worked brilliantly, soon I had found the right light touch to get a good print. A light covering of the stamp with the paint gave a good print, and left the stamp virtually clean after each printing.

As you can see, for the first few prints I forgot to brush the inner drop shape (photo above, top left), so later I went back with a slightly lighter colour and just stamped the drop. Undoubtedly those drops landed not quite in the correct spot, but it was close enough to be pleasing (photo below, bottom left)! I then added some more drops more or less randomly in between the main shapes, before stamping more shapes with the lighter colour...


As you can see, using a brush for loading the stamp gave the prints an obviously "brushed" look, but I think it added to the charm.



Obviously, there is much room for improvement, but this first step has set me on the path of exploration of printing with stamps, and printing in general. I am sure much more time will be pleasantly spent playing with this!




Thank you for challenging us and gently pushing us to explore, Julie! Even though the linkup has come to an end, I hope there will be many ways in which we can encourage and challenge ourselves and each other in this creative online community!

Now I have to be off to give attention to some boys...

Sandra

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

The wardrobe of Lily, a cousin of Luna Lapin

- none of the links in this post are affiliates, and any opinions are my own - 

In my previous post I introduced Lily Lapin, who got comfortably settled in my Studio recently.
Lily is a cousin of the well known Luna Lapin, and just like her cousin she is a talented sewist/seamstress, and loves to make her own clothes. So it was very fortunate that Sarah Peel, the creator of Luna, has written the book "Making Luna Lapin" with patterns and instructions for a wardrobe for Luna. After happily making Lily herself from the pattern in the book, making clothes for her was also a joyful project.

I had been asked to make a piece of rabbit/hare clothing for the blog hop around "Making Luna Lapin", but of course I could not stop at just one. And the book has so many patterns to choose from!

I started with making Lily a pair of French knickers. The pattern specified the use of lace, but since I did not have any to hand I added a small seam allowance to the pattern pieces and used a remnant of pretty cotton instead. At least she was decent if ever her skirt would lift a little.


Then I went on to make Lily a tweed skirt. It went together so quickly and easily, I am tempted to make several versions of this!

To go with the skirt I wanted to make a top. I wanted to use a lovely piece of liberty fabric, so I hemmed the fabric first and used the pattern for a lace top. I did use a lining (very light though) as was described for the lace top, because that makes it easier to finish the edges around the neck and arms. Both the skirt and top close at the back with small poppers.


Of course an outfit like this is not complete without boots, and yes, the book includes patterns for shoes and boots, too!

I used the pattern pieces to create some well-fitted boots, though I did change the way they close up. I used hooks and eyes to guide the ribbon laces instead of threading them through the felt as the pattern instructed. Aren't they just gorgeous?!


If you are interested in making your own version of Luna, the book (available as e-book, which I used, or paperback) is great. The patterns are all printed FULL size in the book, and stories about Luna are included, too. A preview of the book can be found towards the end of this post.

The book includes chapters on materials and techniques used, and the instructions with each pattern are described step by step. A beginner should take their time over these projects (sewing small can be tricky!), but a more experienced sewist should be able to use the patterns as a basis to give Luna (or her cousin) a wardrobe to be proud of.

I leave you with a few more photos of Lily. She was very happy to show off her efforts at dress making, and has recently started knitting, too...




I think there may be more dress making in Lily's future!
Do check out the others on the blog hop in the coming days, the schedule is as follows:

Monday 31st October – SewandSo
Tuesday 1st November – Meet Sarah Peel
Wednesday 2nd November – Sew of Course
Thursday 3rd November – Melanie Sews and Other Stuff
Friday 4th November – Poppy in Stitches

Monday 7th November – Carina Crafts
Tuesday 8th November – Bendigolioness
Wednesday 9th November – Bit of Tea and Honey
Thursday 10th  November – Thimbeleanna

"Making Luna Lapin" includes twenty patterns;
- from a short sleeved T-shirt dress with bow to a long sleeved polka dot dress with collar,
- from a winter cape (think little red riding hood) to a detailed wool coat,
- from a lace skirt with lace top to a tweed skirt with coordinating tweed bag,
- from a patchwork scarf to boots and shoes.
There are also patterns to dress Luna's brother Alfie in jeans, shirt and a waistcoat, an armchair for Luna to sit in, and of course the pattern for Luna herself is included, too!



I'm off now to work on a different project, I hope to show that next time.

This is also #2 goal in my Quarter 4 finishalong list, I will be linking it up at the the end of the quarter.
edit: linking up with the Q4 Finishalong at Rhonda's Ramblings
2016Q4FALsewofcourse 

Sandra
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