Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Gone Fishing......

Well hello, it seems like ages since I wrote my blog and when I checked the date of my last post... It was!!

So this is a bit of a marathon, grab a glass and probably a small snack, put your feet up and try not to drift off................................

I hope you have all had a lovely Christmas, but I know for some it was a traumatic time with our freak weather. We were lucky enough to escape with a few rough windy days but otherwise unscathed. For those not so lucky I hope 2014 brings you some better times.

So what have I been up to to keep me quiet for so long (I know a very unusual occurrence). 

Well there was a super weekend break at the beginning of November in Clitheroe, where we discovered an amazing Antique and Collectible emporium covering 2 or 3 floors in several warehouse buildings, and returned needless to say with one or two little treasures. We visited Whalley Abbey and took a lovely walk alongside the Whalley viaduct, an amazing construction with 48 brick built spans...

 I took another trip to Scotland to visit my sister and had a wonderful few days including a trip to Edinburgh, where we looked around the German Christmas market and even went on the 'Eye'......

made jars of mincemeat, Christmas cakes and hubby pickled onions by the score...

We made table decorations from old fruit crates......

But most of my time I went fishing..........!!

You know whats its like when you make what seems like a simple statement which then somehow explodes, well this was one of those. My DD found out just before Christmas that a supplier of one of their regular Christmas products was no longer supplying trade, and being mother when I discovered that 'these' were cat nip filled fishes, I immediately said 'I'll do some if you like'. I mean what could be more simple!!
So I made a couple of prototypes, she chose her favourite and a made up about 3 dozen! I naively thought that she might want a few more, but didn't reckon on the 300+ that I eventually made before they turned the ordering off. Okay so they  weren't the most technically challenging. I could cut and sew 4 dozen in an evening....however you wouldn't believe how long it takes to stuff one and sew the opening up invisibly. If you then add to that the fact that I went into the workshop for several days to help out in the last manic couple of weeks and you will see that my absence was more necessity than desire.

I have managed to read a few of your lovely blogs each day though, so have kept in touch a little, and hope that now I will be able to get back to some regular posting.  Despite all that I had one of the most organised and enjoyable Christmas' ever, surrounded by my family and friends and count myself very lucky indeed.

 We even had a fleeting visit from you know who.................

 So all in all it has been a busy couple of months but very happy ones.

So finally I would like to wish you all a very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year from myself and family and hope to catch up with you and all you get up to in 2014.


Jenny xx

Sunday, 27 October 2013


I don't know about you, but I love bunting. Somehow it always looks so festive, so what could be better than to use it to decorate our homes at one of the most festive times of the year.
So here is a little tutorial for a festive bunting banner. Although I have gone with a French theme
(because it's going to decorate my bed in the newly decorated bedroom), you can of course use any words or phrase you want, but the method will be the same.

First gather your materials

Lettering to trace or printout.
You can find loads of free printable alphabets on line, or just trace some from a magazine or book. They do need to be fairly simple and not too narrow as you are going to cut them out of fabric. I found a set to print out here.
Base fabric to cut out the flags.
As a rough guide you should be able to get enough flags to spell  'Merry Christmas' out of a a piece about 12 inches by 36 inches.
A variety of scraps for the letters
Bias binding or pretty tape or ribbon to attach the flags to.
Bondaweb or similar cut from a roll.
Scissors for paper and fabric.
Paper, to make your template

First you need to make your flag pattern. Take your paper and ensure that the top and right hand edge are completely square. I used an A4 sheet of printer paper
From the right hand edge measure 3 1/2 inches along the top and make a mark.  Then measure down the right hand edge 4 3/4 inches from the top.

Make two more marks 4 3/4 inches down from the top edge and draw a line through all three marks. Measure along this line from the right hand side and make a mark at the 1 3/4 inch mark. Then draw a line from the top right hand corner to the 1 3/4 inch mark, and another from the 3 1/2 inch mark at the top to the 1 3/4 inch mark. You now have your triangle pattern for your flags.

This will be the finished size of your flags and you will need to add 1/4 inch seam allowance all around. I cut myself a new pattern with the seam allowances added to make cutting easier as I was using one fabric for all my flags. If you were using scraps you could just add the seam allowance at the cutting out stage.

Using your base fabric double, place your pattern as shown in the following picture and cut out the number of flags required for your chosen phrase.You will probably want to iron your fabric first which as you can see I did not!

Next you need your lettering in reverse. I did this by saving the printable to my computer and then printing it out using the t shirt print option on my printer. If you aren't able to do this, cut out the letters, but just remember to use them in reverse.
Next you need to cut small pieces of bondaweb, big enough to fit each letter on, and with a hot iron iron these onto the reverse of your lettering fabric.

 You should then be able to draw around your reversed letters on to the paper backing.

Cut out the letters. Then peel off the paper and place each letter right side up on the flags. They need to be pressed on with a damp cloth to ensure a good bond.

It's at this point that you can either sew around the letters with your machine, either just a straight stitch , small zigzag or decorative stitch or do as I did and do some on the machine and some by hand. You could of course miss this step altogether since the letters will be well stuck and your banner is not likely to be frequently laundered.

Now it's time to sew the flags. With right sides facing, join the two parts of the flags with a scant 1/4 inch seam down the 2 long sides. Trim  the edges of the point to get rid of some of the bulk and then carefully turn the flags right sides out. Use a chopstick or other blunt ended object to gently ease out the point.

You should end up with something like this... (spot the mistake, I forgot to take a picture of all the flags actually sewn together, so these are after I had finished all the lettering but before I sewed and turned the flags)

 Finally you need to sew the individual flags onto either tape or ribbon. I have used ribbon this time and because it was not wide enough to fold over I had to use two lengths long enough to fit all the flags with a small gap in between each flag (about 1 inch as these flags are small) and enough for an 8 inch piece either end to either tie or form a loop to hang the finished banner.

I sewed the flags onto the facing ribbon first, then just turned the whole thing over and keeping the two ribbons level stitched again at the bottom of the second piece of ribbon and then joined the two together at the top.
On reflection it was easier to use bias binding as shown in this bunting tutorial.
However I do like the finished look .......

And so there you have it, a pretty festive banner to decorate a dresser, a window ( you could go that extra mile and do the letters both front and back for this, remembering of course to make sure the words read the right way from each side!), or your bed as I have done.

Hope you can understand my instructions but I am always happy to explain if anything seems a bit vague and I would be thrilled to see some of your creations and will do a post nearer Christmas if I get enough feedback.

Off to make a bundle of catnip fishes for 'GiddyKipper' now so I could be gone some time.

Hope you have a great and creative week (and that you dont get blown away)

Jenny xx

Monday, 7 October 2013


The bedroom that is.

I say almost because I still have to make the main curtains and have yet to find some interlining. The big bay window is only single glazed and although we now have blinds which have been fine during the summer months, the windows can be really draughty and cold in winter and so I want to make the curtains pretty substantial, without having to pay out a fortune for them.

Window seat before its new top....

and after..... we decided against another padded seat cushion as it gets the full sun in the morning and the old one faded in no time!

roman blinds recycled from old dining room curtains.....

 I also have to source the backing for the métis linen sheet which I want to make into a throw. I am looking at another toile and can't make up my mind whether to go for a pink or perhaps a natural/ taupe colourway of this little cushion... I want to back it and create a 6 inch border all round .

Finally I have to finish the crocheted  granny puff blanket from the Granny Chic book......

The colour is nearer the second photo.....so it does go with the scheme really!

However I can see this becoming my winter fireside project as at 7 foot by 7 foot it's going to take me some time to complete it. Still it will keep my legs warm while I'm at it. I see all these lovely blogs where talented ladies are turning out throws in what seems no time and I am in awe!
Still at least we are now back in our room and it is so restful and calm. I am so glad we were brave enough to paint the bed

When we bought it 30 years ago pine was very much the thing, but it looks so pretty now and with the pale walls it has really lifted the whole room. I painted it with simple old emulsion, sanded it back and then waxed it with a medium brown briwax to age it especially in the details and corners. I am more than happy with the result.

It's become my little sanctuary, I often sit in the Lloyd loom chair and read......but then I get itchy and off I trot back to the sewing room, which is just as well if I am ever going to completely finish this project!

Have a lovely week whatever you are working on......

Jenny xx

Sunday, 29 September 2013


Now I don't want to shout it out too loud but yesterday was my birthday.....A HUGE birthday, and had it not been for two things I might have been a bit depressed. First there were the wonderful cards, presents, flowers and well wishes of my family and friends, rounded off by the most scrumptious impromptu party (in the sunshine) and secondly I felt a real spring chicken after watching 'Fabulous Fashionistas', a program about 6 women with an average age of 80 who completely destroyed any preconceived ideas you might have had about growing old........

However on our little jaunt (was it really 4 weeks ago) to the Twinwood Festival I didn't feel quite so young watching the incredible dancing talent on show! Jitterbug, Charleston, Jive my word did those guys and gals go!

The tickets were bought for us as a Christmas present by our DD and her family and at the time it seemed so far away, but my how those months galloped by and especially the last one when we were still trying to find what to wear.

I love vintage especially the 1940s and 50s, but would never pretend that I could always tell real vintage clothing or accessories. Of course we do have the Internet now and that's where I went for my inspiration. DH was lucky to have a genuine 1940s double breasted suit which I had found in a charity shop some time ago, and a genuine trilby and braces. so his outfit just needed the finishing touches. However for myself and my SIL it was just a case of trawling through books and Internet images and hoping that we would achieve a reasonable look, without it costing us a small fortune.
In the end I made a dress from an authentic 1940s pattern, and even made a hat from a 1940s pamphlet!. I didn't wear the hat however as it was made from felt and the weather forecast was not good, but it will keep.

Well I am chuffed to say that our menfolk must have cut the mustard as they were photographed several times and are now on the Simply Twinwood facebook site and all four of us were captured by a lady for her job, where she helped the elderly by taking photographs at vintage festivals and getting them to reminisce about their past experiences.

The weekend started very badly weather wise with some torrential rain on the Saturday, but our tickets were for Sunday and a rather misty and miserable morning soon gave way to the most glorious hot and sunny day, and though I am sure we would still have enjoyed the event there is no denying that being able to lounge on the grass listening to the big band sound, the incredible singing acts and watch the amazing dancing really made the day. A doubledecker bus took us from the car parks to the arenas and was the perfect start to a perfect day.

There were fabulous vintage stalls, a veritable fashion parade of different costumes, vintage cars, superb music and plenty of places to eat and drink.

As a teenager of the sixties you would think music festivals would be old hat, but I confess this is the first I have ever been to and I was a bit nervous, however the whole thing was just so brilliantly managed and the atmosphere so friendly I am already planning my outfit for when we go again!!.......

So if you haven't been and want a great vintage music filled day out I can certainly recommend it.

Have a great week

                                                                           Jenny xx