30 June 2013

Flowers and Bees



I think my garden is as it best for the last two weeks in June.  The beds are full with Aquilegias in so many shapes and colours.  I love these and every year there are new ones to look at.  I am also a big fan of Geraniums, they are particularly tolerant to a football, which I'm afraid in our small back garden is a must for any plants survival.  In our front garden however footballs are banned and I have tall foxgloves standing proud for the first time this year, sewn from seeds collected from my mum's garden.  All gardens however have to have a star plant, and at the moment I am torn between the beautiful Ceanothus, which is alive with bees or the graceful Alliums with flower heads the size of a grapefruit, no I can not decide!

On the sewing front, this week I have been dressmaking.  As part of my grand plan, I wanted to be able to find to make things for myself and those dear to me.  Dress making is in my blood, with skills passed down through the generations. My Great Nanny Halliday was a tailoress in the 1920's to private wealthy families, can you imagine the beauties that she must have made.  My Nanny Flo made clothes for her daughters (my mum and aunt) and spent many a happy hour creating an evening gown for the ballroom on a Friday night.  I remember as a little girl, looking at her pretty evening dresses and dreaming of wearing a sparky dress.  My mum has always sewed and taught me to sew when I was very young.  Mum has always made the most beautiful clothes, often out of necessity, but without a doubt I had the prettiest wardrobe whilst growing up.   When I was pregnant, I dreamed of making pretty dresses if I had a daughter, however when the daughter became a reality, I found myself so busy 'work' sewing that I have only made a couple of dresses.  This I intend to put right.

To refresh my skills, I started with a simple dress pattern by Lisette.  I chose the Diplomat pattern which I got from here.  It had very clear instructions and the sizing measured up well.  I would add however, that is extremely important to measure yourself before starting as I actually made the dress size two sizes up from what I usually wear, not at all good for the ego.  All in all  I was thrilled with result.  I made  the short version with short sleeves which I wore on Friday night with denim pedal pushers.  The fabric was a gorgeous Liberty of London cotton print from my stash.  Next up, something for Poppy I think, watch this space.

The 'Be kind and Be true' embroidery is coming along nicely and will be ready this week for the grand reveal.

Finally thank you for the lovely comments that you are leaving, it is very nice to know that I am not talking to myself!!

See you soon,

25 June 2013

How I made a fabric covered embroidery hoop

As I mentioned in my last post, during a rain shower on Sunday afternoon, I nipped up to my sewing room to frame my latest embroidery, which is taken from my new pattern that I am currently working on.  I was really happy with the off white stitching against the the natural linen and the vintage mother of pearl buttons add such a lovely interest to the design.  I decided however that a plain wooden frame, just wouldn't do and something a little more special was called for.  After a little rummage in my fabrics, I pulled out some Tilda Stine, it is such a pretty fabric and it's small scale design was just what I was after.

This is what I did:

First off I cut my fabric pieces into 1" (2.5cm) wide strips, mine were aprox 10" long (25cm) which I found it easier to work with rather than one long strip.

To start, I put a small amount of glue on the inside edge of the hoop to secure my first strip in place and then started wrapping the fabric.

As I finished one strip, I trimmed it to ensure that the raw edge finished on the inside edge of the hoop.  This part of the hoop is not seen, once the embroidery is in place.

To start the next strip I added some more glue, again to the inside edge and then continued until the hoop was completely covered.   In total I used approx 5 1/2 strips of fabric to cover my 6" hoop.

To finish,  I trimmed off all the hanging threads and left the glue to dry before framing my embroidery.  I'll cover how I frame my embroideries in a tutorial another day.

As a final flourish, I tied on some short pieces of ribbon and lace and ta da.... all done!

I'm thrilled with the finished hoop and as we speak it is now taking pride of place in my hallway.  Right I'm off now to work on the full 'Be Kind and Be True' embroidery, but as always, if you have any questions, please do ask and I'll do my very best to help!


23 June 2013

A weekend of dodging rain showers





We have spent the weekend dodging rain showers, but oh my, what a super weekend we have had.  My sister in law came to stay, so the children were at fever pitch.  Auntie Alison spends hours playing with the children, from twirling and whirling with Poppy to discussing air to air combat with Jamie, she is the most perfect Auntie that you could wish for.

After an extremely early 5.15am start ( groan!!!) we headed of to the Kinema in the Woods to watch Despicable Me 2, it was so funny and I highly recommend it.  The Kinema is fantastic, from the outside you would be forgiven for not wishing to set foot inside, however once you do, you are transported to the most magical place.  When you sit down in the cinema, there is so much to see, from the murals painted on the coat hook lined walls, chandeliers and glitter ball on the ceiling, to the beautiful silk curtain on the stage.  But perhaps the most amazing thing is the organist that rises up on to the stage during the interval.  Yes that's right an interval, how brilliant is that, it all brings a smile to your face.  We had planned a picnic in the park afterwards, but when we came out the heavens had well and truly opened, so we had a rather cramped lunch in the car.  Much to our relief it faired up and we were able to take a walk around Woodhall Spa, a very pretty town indeed, set as you would expect, next to some lovely woods.  When we had visited a few weeks back the Rhododendrons were in full bloom, there were still some, but sadly the display was somewhat diminished.

On our way back home, we stopped off for an impromptu visit to Tattershall Castle.  We are members of the National Trust and have visited previously, however due to the changeable weather we found ourselves virtually on our own.  The 6 story castle is more or less bare inside, except for some beautiful tapestries on one of the levels, they date back to the 1600's and its amazing to get up so close to something so old.  The children love visiting and enjoy the stripped back nature of the castle, it gives opportunity for their imaginations to run riot.  The thickness of the walls is amazing and the stained glass windows, simply stunning.

Today, we ended our marvellous weekend with a walk across the fields, it was astounding to see the change in the landscape in the two weeks since we last visited.  The yellow rapeseed is now virtually green and the height of the grass next to the hedgerows had grown almost taller Poppy.  You will see from the photo's that I wore more suitable footwear this time!

I have managed to squeeze in a little creativity and have drafted a new embroidery, Be Kind and Be True.  I had a little play this afternoon, as I wanted to show that my embroidery patterns can be suitable for all levels of stitchers.

This pretty hoop simply has the wording from the pattern stitched in Back Stitch and then I added some vintage mother of pearl buttons from my stash.   I'll be back early this week with a little tutorial on how I covered the embroidery frame and I'll also have the full embroidery stitched up for you to see.

I hope that you have had a super weekend too!

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