Posts Tagged etui box

‘One Day I Will Get Organised’ Maybe – Probably Not and ‘No More Rescue Dogs’ Maybe – Probably Not

Occasionally I am inspired by my blogging friends who set themselves challenges and goals for the day, the week or even the whole year ahead.

But not for long.

This ‘to do’ list scrawled on a bit of torn out paper is about as organised as I get.

However, I have managed to work through some of those (although it is Thursday and I wrote it on Monday).  I’ve phoned my Mum and my friend Maureen although she isn’t crossed out yet.

I’ve booked a restaurant for lunch tomorrow with some friends.

The ‘Box’ entry is because the customer who ordered a little etui box like this ……..

…..liked it so much she wanted a sewing box in the same fabric.

I didn’t have enough blue bunnies so she settle on pink which I hope she will like.

I wanted to practise some freehand machine embroidery so I made her this card using a piece of the fabric from the interior of the sewing box.

The ‘crochet’ entry is because I’m running out of time to complete my two identical sections of Jane Crow’s ‘Sunshine and Showers’ crochet along before the next section is released.

So I’ve managed one and now have to do an identical one.

The lurid greenish colour in the background is a yoga mat.  Obviously!

I’m worried about wavy edges because there are so many different stitches and colour changes and I’m thinking I’m no expert yet so my tension may well wander so I’m blocking it as I go along – hence the yoga mat.

I  don’t think it’s too bad but I need to have a clean slate before next month’s section is released as some Ravelry users who did this last year say they almost gave up at that point.  Even the designer confesses it to being difficult but rewarding.  Ooer.  Stand by for a row of individual flowers on top of what I’ve already done.  Maybe.

I’ve crossed out ‘Collars’ but really I should leave them on there because, since tagging my Scottie Dog collars as Westies I have been inundated with orders from a French Westie fan club on Facebook.  I know they are a little square jawed for Westies but then most Scotties are black so I consider it to be a generic design.

Talking of dogs, mine are driving me to distraction at the moment.  As happened last year, they graze like cattle on the fallen plums and figs in the garden and, also like cattle, deposit the results in great pancakes.  Then they scent our evenings with their gaseous offerings.  I’ve tried clearing up the fruit as it falls but we have so many trees that it’s a virtually impossible task and the slightest breeze (or dog nudging at the lower branches) releases another load.

It’s just as well really because, knowing my love of German Shepherd type dogs my friend sent me this photo of a pup that has recently arrived at the dog rescue.

Then, when I foolishly investigated further, I saw this handsome fella

I’ve also heard, separately, of two young Pyreneen Mountain dogs who need a new home.  Mr. T says it must be a sign but he’s not here all the time so I’m just going to go out in the garden and shovel up some more fallen fruit – both undigested and digested – to remind me that three dogs is already plenty.

I haven’t forgotten the  ‘hatboxes’ entry and must do something with the hatbox quilt blocks before the end of the month as that is supposed to be a monthly ‘challenge’.  See, I do try.

The ‘Conservatory’ entry is sort of housework related so we won’t worry about that –  ‘after all, tomorrow is another day’

 

 

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Crochet Along and Crochet Alone

 

Remember I told you I was joining in with a CAL (crochet along), where a new section is added each month for twelve months?

 Or perhaps you have a life?

Nevertheless, I promised you puff stitch and here it is in the section for June which has been crocheted directly on top of  the section for May which is the way of these things I believe.

This is the ‘Sunshine and Showers’ CAL from Jane Crow –  first issued monthly in a magazine last year and now available for free on Jane’s blog.

I am still a beginner really so I thought this would teach me some new skills.

This month I learnt how to do flower stems, puff stitch,  crochet into front of loop, crochet into back of loop to name just a few thrills and spills.  Nobody can say I don’t know how to live.

See the turquoise row? Well that had me foxed because it comes out as a sort of separate strand on the wrong side of the work at first and I didn’t think that was right so I undid it all and tried it a different way which, of course, was wrong.  Eventually I found a photograph of the back of the work on somebody’s Ravelry project and realised I had done it correctly the first time.  So, it would have been useful to have been given a ‘rear view’ for this particular row in the otherwise very detailed tutorial.  Still, I got there in the end and am almost finished the second, identical piece ready to add on the next bit when it is issued next month.

With all these different stitches, colour changes and my inexperience, I am worrying about the edges of the blanket becoming wavy – a problem some other people have mentioned on Ravelry.  I know this yarn is acrylic but I’m sort of blocking it as I finish each section – i.e. spraying it with some water and pinning it to size – hoping it will limit the waviness somewhat.

It was my birthday a couple of weeks ago and I had put two crochet books on my list which my daughter obliged me with so look out for amigurumi monsters and faux taxidermy which might, or might not, be flying off my hook some time in the future – although it will probably not be the near future.  I am finding the zebra’s head a little intimidating so I might start with the mouse’s head as, with all the cats around here,  it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a life model should I need one – although there probably wouldn’t be much life left in it by the time I got to it 😦   Still, they haven’t dragged a zebra through the cat flap yet so I’ll have to make do.

 

You might remember that I started a ‘fusion’ blanket a while ago which is a sort of fabric/crochet hybrid.  Squares of fabric with wadding in between and each square surrounded by a border of crochet.  I thought it would be a good portable project to do with my sewing buddy on Wednesday afternoons.  I haven’t been doing any of it at home – apart from sewing the fabric ‘sandwiches’ together –  saving it for Wednesdays.  She however forged ahead without me which is why my work still looks more or less like this……

…..and hers looks like this

This is a proposed layout, just needs whip stitching together then an outer crochet border added.  Still, it’s so pretty that it has encouraged me to get on with mine and stop moaning about the splitty cotton yarn I’m using and the 2.5mm crochet hook which both come as a shock after using a 4mm hook and DK yarn on the two other blankets I’m working on.

As a bit of a diversion from all things crochet I had a commission for one of my étui cartonnage boxes but not a hexagonal one this time.  A previous client asked me for one of the small boxes I make which was quite a relief as I’ve lost my box making mojo at the moment – I’m sure you know the feeling 😉 .  Anyway, her brief was brief but rabbits were mentioned.

So, here be rabbits

with some floral goings on inside

 

Off to the hairdressers in a minute to ‘have my roots done’ and when you see the photos of me in my next post you will understand why.

 

 

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A Foray Into Flannel

Yes, I have been foraging for flannel this past couple of weeks.  Well, I haven’t quite resorted to flannel nighties yet but I have started amassing flannel sheets and fabric for my favourite thing of the moment which is making rag quilts.  I found some vintage flannel on Ebay which came in some pretty little prints but, as it was in the U.S. the shipping cost more than the fabric so I’ll have to narrow my search to the U.K. and France in future.

flannelsheets

After scrounging some more pieces of flannel from my friend Sandra – including a beautiful soft bolster cover which I couldn’t actually bear to cut up! – I set about the fairly mammoth task of cutting it all into 20cm squares which I did photograph but, as the weather is so pants here at the moment, I couldn’t get a good enough picture.  However, I am sure you can imagine almost 300 20cm flannel squares cut by hand – a big thanks here to the inventor of the rotary cutter without whom it would not have been possible or at least not have been attempted.

I won’t bore you with the details of  ‘how to make a rag quilt’ here as I followed an excellent tutorial which, if you want to make one, will be all the information you need.  The only things I did differently was to use flannel for all three layers and use bigger squares.  Also, having had a go at a rag quilt some time ago and almost ended up with a claw for a hand, I invested (very wisely) in a pair of Fiskars rag quilt snips which spring back open after every cut, have blunt ends to avoid snipping your stitches and make the job so much easier they are worth every penny.   Also, I went a bit ‘maverick’ and each time I joined a row of squares I snipped the seams to about half an inch of the outside edges so that it wouldn’t seem such a daunting task once all the rows were joined.

ragquiltfinished (1)Here it is after one wash.  I told you the weather was grim!  The amount of lint that comes off these buggers is phenomenal so, not knowing where the local launderette is, or even if there is one, I put it in an old pillow case and sewed up the end and put it in my own washing machine.  You are supposed to tumble dry them too, to get the seams to go ‘fluffy’,  but I haven’t got one of those so, until I go and find a launderette and case the joint to see if there is a ‘guardian of the machines’ who might object to me putting such a lint-shedding object into one of her babies, I will just keep shaking it and, with a soft toothbrush, brushing those fraying seams up.

I do like the look of the soft cosy flannel and all those fluffed up seams – it looks all comfy and cuddly – but, as a bonus, the other side looks like a regular patchwork so you can always turn it over and ring the changes.

ragquiltfinished (2)

Nine days to go until my youngest’s 18th and her quilt top is ready and waiting to be sandwiched and quilted.  I waited 15 days for some cotton batting to arrive from the U.S. – it’s hard to get the good stuff here – but, when it got here yesterday, I realised that it could only be quilted up to 2 inches apart and I am going for a ‘minimalist’ approach so, after all that, I have had to order some Hobbs Polydown from the U.K. which will hopefully arrive soon so that I can handquilt 25 stars and then bind it ready for the big day.  It might be a teensy bit late.

Oct (1)

Just one block – there are 25 of these, just haven’t taken a photo of them all joined up yet.

Meanwhile I have made another soft and cosy, towelling backed throw with some gorgeous Tilda fabric  and have started piecing my Union Jack so I am not being idle.

pinkbirdstildacover (1)

and not liking to let anything  go to waste – I used the remainder of the Tilda fabric to put a roof on one of my little cartonnage house boxes.

birds&lovehouse (1)

Don’t miss my next post when I will be attempting to make my own knickers! Although not, I hasten to add, in flannel.

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Cindy’s House

I just finished another custom étui box house which I am quite pleased with as it is so cheerful and the fabrics go so beautifully together.

I don’t know who Cindy is or what she did but I hope she’ll be pleased with her gift.  Plus, I hope she doesn’t read my blog as it’s supposed to be a surprise.

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Smaller Stitches S’il Vous Plait!

Do you remember when I told you I had joined a Patchwork Group, mainly to improve my French but also to maybe learn some new skills? (if you don’t, it’s here )

Well, for the past two weeks I have been showing the rest of the group how to make one of my hexagonal étui boxes and, as the written instructions are in English, I have been talking them through it in French.  There have been some mistakes made!  Partly because they are so impatient and keep getting ahead of themselves before I have shown them properly how to do it but, partly because I have been making them for so long the things that seem obvious to me,  like not leaving a seam allowance when cutting out the gussets that hold up the sides, aren’t obvious to anybody else.  One poor woman had inserted them but they were so big the box sides opened almost flat.  Of course, I’m sure none of it is due to my command of the French language.

In return I am being taught how to do ’boutis’ and, so far, I have been told off as my stitches aren’t small enough and the ever helpful Michelle kindly pulled all my existing stitches out and suggested I start again.  The indignity of it.  Although I do have trouble with tiny stitches – I don’t know why – I think I have become too reliant on the sewing machine.   I can do them when they are ‘invisible’ such as on my boxes but for quilting purposes and, now boutis, I find it difficult.  Anyway, I will do my homework and see if I can get them smaller and make her proud.

As far as learning more of the language goes……the first week I sat next to the ‘doyenne’ of the group who everybody calls ‘Mamie’ (gran)  – can you imagine doing that in the U.K. and not getting a slap?   Anyway, she is 88, originally Spanish and insisted on talking to me with a knitting needle clamped between her teeth.  I hope I nodded in the right places but I doubt it.  As far as I’m concerned, the most useful word(s)  in French is ‘d’accord’ which sort of means, ‘o.k.’, ‘alright’, ‘oh, I see’ and other things along those lines.  I use it all the time.

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Hexagonal Etui – Kawaii Style

 

Kawaii Red Riding Hood

I sold my favourite hexagonal sewing box a couple of weeks ago and have been waiting for the cardstock I use to come into the local shop so I could start on a new one. I was sifting through my (vast) fabric stash thinking I might go for a slightly different feel this time, a bit more ‘fun’ and young – maybe for somebody’s first sewing box or just somebody who’s into kawaii or fairy tales!

At the Start

I just need to put it all together now!

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Remembering Mabel Lucie Attwell (1879-1964)

Having a bit of a nostalgia kick at the moment.  I found some gorgeous fabric featuring the whimsical characters of the English artist Mabel Lucie Attwell.  I vaguely remember having some old books around of hers when I was a tiny tot.  Something like this one –

Vintage Story Book

 God, I’m old!

Anyway, I found some fabric that has some of her little creatures on it and, although I don’t often do cutesy, I couldn’t resist the wave of nostalgia that swept over me like a tidal wave of cherubs and pixies and elves and fat-cheeked moppets, so I have made one of my étui boxes and one of my  fabric tubbies from it and let that be an end to it!! 

Etui Box

 

Fabric Tubby - Pixie Party

 

 Right,  I think that’s got the ‘cute’  out of my system.

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Etui Box – Japanese Style

Inspired by these gorgeous Japanese themed fabrics, which I found here in France, and my friend Maggie who is a Japanophile (must look up the right word for that!) I decided to make one of my Little Housekeeper étui boxes with a Japanese theme.  I wanted to make a pagoda but couldn’t even begin to imagine how I would make a pagoda-shaped roof to fit one of my boxes without engaging in extremely complicated and time consuming calculations and engineering which would mean spending even more time than I already spend making one of these little houses.   So, I faffed about with the fabric on the roof and used it on the bias, trying to suggest a sort of overlapping and overhanging effect. 

Japanese Garden

 

Inside the Japanese Garden

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The Little Housekeepers

Well, hello Blog and Happy New Year! I feel as if I’ve been away for ages but I guess it’s only a couple of weeks ago I last posted anything. 

Little Housekeepers - houses to keep things in!

Anyway, I’ve had my parents over from the U.K. for Christmas so my visits to the computer have had to be curtailed as blogging is not the most sociable of activities – at least, it is, but not when people are actually visiting you.  They were actually supposed to be here for Christmas Day, coming over on 22nd December but the snow in the South of England brought the country to its knees and their flight was cancelled.  The first flight available then was on Boxing Day so, not too bad, and then they changed their return flight (otherwise they would have met themselves going back!) and were here to see in the New Year. 

However, I did manage to escape to my ‘lady shed’ a few times to try out a new project.  I let my mother in as she had bought some crochet work with her and, after moving yards of  Christmassy fabric out of the way, discovered I have a sofa in there and she could sit down and do that while I got on with some sticking and cutting and sewing.

I have had quite a few requests for instructions to make my étui boxes and this is something that I am going to give some thought to.  The design for the hexagonal box is not mine so I can’t do that but I designed the small one myself and may well get round to writing out full instructions, with photos, etc., in the next couple of weeks.  I may do it as a pdf file or I may do a little kit with the card already cut – can’t make up my mind.  Once I’ve written it, I’ll have to find a willing friend to make a box, following the instructions, so that they can report back to me on the clarity of my directions.

Once I sell the instructions or kits, I will expand upon my original idea and make some slightly different étui boxes.  These will be in the shape of little houses, each one different.  I think I’m going to call them Little Housekeepers as that sort of gets over the idea that, not only are they an ornamental item in the shape of a house but you can keep things in them too!    I made one for a friend for her Christmas present – she was my guinea pig (thanks Anna!) – and she seemed to like it so off I go.

Here is my first one (or second one if you count Anna’s) and it is all black and white and has musical notes – can’t think of a name yet but it will be something musical – could be ‘The Piano House’ or ‘The Musical House’ or something along those lines, haven’t decided yet but it will come to me in a flash as most things do.  Hope you like it.

A Little Housekeeper in Black and White

 

....and inside

 Just finished ‘The Love Shack’.  I designed a new gable ended roof for this one (well, o.k. my husband did all the calculations but that’s surely the easy part). 

The Love Shack

 

 The House of Romance

The House of Romance

 

Fairytale Cottage

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Hexagonal Etui Box – A Deconstruction

Well, I promised that next time I made a hexagonal sewing box I would show you how many different bits and pieces had to be cut out so, as I’m just about to embark on making another two, I’ve laid it all out for your delectation.    I also said I’d probably frighten myself and I have.  Must be mad.

All the hand-cut components for one, yes, just one, hexagonal box.

All the hand-cut components for one, yes, just one, hexagonal box.

Bearing in mind that I’ve just spent the best part of a day, on and off, cutting out two of these, you will perhaps be amazed that I still manage to find it fun.  Maybe it’s the gluey bit, I also like choosing the fabrics – not that keen on doing the teeny tiny stitches these days ‘cos it means I have to put specs on – but what I really love is seeing the finished item and imagining it being used for somebody’s sewing bits and pieces or other goodies.

Anyway, I promised I’d show you but I’m off back upstairs now to get sticky.  I’ll let you see it when it’s finished – you have probably noticed there’s a tea theme going on with this one which reminds me, time to put the kettle on.

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