Posts Tagged linen

Buttons, Bunnies, Buns and the BBC

When I go rummaging and foraging in dusty corners of junk shops, one of my most favourite things is finding an interesting looking box or tin.  The anticipation of opening it to see if there is anything inside is delicious.  Yesterday, I was on such a rummage and found this tin which, in itself, is a bit gorgeous.

vintage tinIt had a label on top saying ‘boite et boutons’ so I knew there were going to be a few old button inside but it was full to the brim, sorted into bags by colour and some of them are pretty unusual.  I’m not yet that brilliant with the macro lens yet, mainly because I am too lazy to set the tripod up,  but here is a small selection of what was inside. WARNING: zoom down a bit if you’re not interested in vintage buttons or dodgy macro photography.  Just saying.

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You can’t really blame Pandora for causing so much trouble can you?

I’ve got bunny fever again – must be the time of year – and here are a couple of new additions to the ever increasing bunny bento family – well, that’s rabbits for you.

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I actually found a local source yesterday for vaguely reasonably priced (well, it is France!) coloured linen and I’ve bought some in a soft grey which I think will be lovely for a bunny.  I have added it to the projects list.

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I love hot cross buns and Mr. T. obligingly goes into Waitrose when he is in the U.K. and brings back supplies so we can keep up with the tradition of  slathering butter onto hot buns (ooer missus) and gorging on this Easter treat for a couple of days.  Funny, I don’t put much, if any,  butter on bread or toast but huge amounts of it are necessary for hot cross buns and jacket potatoes.  Anyway, inspired by the Great British Bake Off spin off for Easter, I’m going to slavishly follow the lovely Paul Hollywood’s recipe for hot cross buns.  I like the fact that they look all puffy and soft as the shop bought ones are usually a little flat.  Wish me luck with the piping bag when I add the crosses as I am usually not to be trusted with this kitchen tool that seems to behave perfectly well in anybody else’s hands but behaves like a demented serpent when I give it a go.

Paul Hollywoodand back to the buns…….

hot cross bunsIf mine turn out looking something (anything) like this, I’ll take a photo, if not I won’t.  Thank you BBC for the programme (the photos!) and the recipe which, if you want to give it a go, you can find here.

Thank you also BBC for the return of Dr. Who this Saturday.  The Doctor has obviously finished his work experience stint with Mr. Bricolage (see here if you are confused) and has returned to South London (mostly) to keep the Earth safe for us all.

Even better!  For those of us who love cooking AND sewing.  The Great British Sewing Bee is starting on BBC2 on Tuesday.  A sewing programme!!!  I will be interested to see what equipment the contestants will be given.  The bakers in The Great British Bake Off  had their own Smeg fridge, Neff oven and KitchenAid mixer – each had a different coloured one.  Will there be Husqvarnas or Berninas in tasteful pastel shades or what?  I can’t wait.  My life is now complete.

Madamoiselle Tialys the elder is back from Uni for the Easter break so I will be otherwise engaged listening to tales of student life and struggling to be ‘cool’ about it all and resisting the urge to send her to her room if she lets a swear word slip.  Whatever you are up to – have a great break. x

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‘A Little Top’ and Other Projects

I had a productive day yesterday -I must shut myself up in the workshop more often.  I have several projects on the go at the moment but they are all quite different so if I’m not in the mood for one, I can get on with the other.  Also, having spent a whole weekend clearing up and reorganising my workspace a few weeks ago, I am determined to keep it tidy and, after each session, I am putting everything back in its place like a good girl.

Here is my small sampler quilt that I started with my little sewing group – so little in fact, there are now only two of us! Was it something that I said? Who knows?  To be honest, if I said it in French I could have unwittingly upset any number of people.  Anyway, with all its imperfections such as missing points and wonky borders, this is just awaiting a bit more quilting and the binding.  I got fed up with hand quilting it, especially as I’ve backed it with cotton ticking and it’s a little on the thick side to quilt through.  I tried some free motion quilting which I have never really done on an actual project – just messed around on test quilt sandwiches – and I was getting on famously.  I was so proud of it for a first effort but, when I turned it over, the reverse side was a complete mess.  I think what I had on the reverse was what they call ‘birds’ nests’ in the trade and that is a very accurate description.  I can’t tell you how long it took me to undo it all.  Anyway, nothing daunted, I started again but my Singer, which is a little temperamental on the tension side, just wasn’t having any of it so I decided to switch to my Janome.  Unfortunately, the quilting foot I have wouldn’t fit the Janome so I ordered another one and had to wait until it arrived.  Now it’s here I’ve got to do a few more quilt sandwiches before I release myself onto the actual project.

Meanwhile, remembering the 2 year marathon that was the quilt for Mlle. Tialys the elder’s 18th birthday quilt, I decided to get started on Mlle. Tialys the younger’s one as I’ve only got 4 months until her 18th.  Hah!  This time I wanted to follow a pattern and do a plain back instead of wandering of down the design path conjured up by my brain with no idea how it was really going to end up.  Also, I’ve bought all the fabric in advance.  Very sensible.

I liked the look of this one with the pinwheels in the centres of the blocks and, as it comes from the Moda Bake Shop blog, it comes with ingredients and a recipe (as they call them) so what can go wrong?  I also like the fact that the designer hand quilted each pinwheel with cotton perle no. 8 with nice big stitches – hooray!  And, if I can get my free motion quilting  up to scratch by then, I’ll do some ‘off piste’ quilting on the rest of it. I chose the ‘Oh Deer’ by Momo for Moda as I love the animals and woodland theme together with spots and stripes and lots of bright colours.  I don’t normally do bright colours but I thought this quilt design could take it and it is also an attempt to bring the younger Mlle. Tialys into the light after her goth phase.

First pinwheel block finished – only another 24 to go.

On a different plane, I am trying to rekindle my ‘making clothes’ passion which flares up briefly now and again throughout my life.  I have been inspired by lots of different blogs like Ooobop! and by the lack of clothing in the shops that is not for the under 25s or over 70s – I talk of the rural backwater in which I live here in France – to take it up again.  The problem of course is that, being a rural backwater, there is nowhere to wear glam clothes – I have a wardrobe full of unworn ‘posh’ frocks and heels – I’ll just have to get up to Toulouse, our nearest big city,  more often just to dress up.

This ‘little top’, as my mother would call it, caught my eye in Burda Style’s August issue, especially as it says ‘Easy’ on the instructions.  I thought it would ease me gently back into the world of sewing clothes.  Of course, it is crèpe de chine and therefore very slippery and fine but I’m going to give it a go.  I bought this fabric which is soft, muted, blurry blues with a sort of painterly print on it.

I also saw this dress pattern recommended by lots of people and I bought this printed to jersey to make it in.  The  style of sleeves I make will depend on what time of year it is when  I get round to making it.

Got this length of vintage tweed fabric for a bargain price.  It has a slight stretch to it so I wonder whether the dress, with the sleeves, would look good in that for winter.  If not, it would make a nice pencil skirt.

Then I made another Bunny Bento Bag as I wanted to see whether I could get the tricky lining done any quicker.  The answer is, not really, but I really like that Liberty tana lawn against the natural linen.

What diverse projects have you got on the go?

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If At First You Don’t Succeed……..

After my first attempt,  which didn’t turn out exactly right, I am determined not to let these purse thingies beat me.  However, I have decided not to squander my supplies of Liberty and linen fabric with quite such gay abandon and am plundering my scrap basket until I am completely confident.  (I say ‘basket’ , it is actually a huge old hospital wicker hamper full to the brim!) 

So this is my second attempt (well second attempt that was vaguely successful I mean – we won’t count those that have come in between)

What I have found, in the numerous tutorials I’ve looked at, both free and purchased, is that nobody tells you that when you have finished making the fabric part of the purse it doesn’t look as if it is going to fit in the frame.  However, when you actually start sewing it in – as it is the ‘sew-in’ frames I am using – it does.  Well, usually.  Just thought I’d mention this as I trashed a couple of my attempts just because they looked too big to fit the frame.

I was in a bit of a quandary with the colour of thread to use for the stitching on of the frame as the inside lining is red and, on reflection, red thread might have been better but, at the time, that was the least of my worries.  Iwanted to get at least one purse right before I go to my little sewing group as I have bought them each a little frame of their own and I need to be able to show them what to do with it.  And before you think what an incredibly generous and altruistic person I am – there are only 3 of us in the group so I didn’t have to splash out too much cash and tea and a huge, home-made cake is always provided so I like to make a contribution every now and again without inflicting my unreliable baking skills on them.

Maybe after one more ‘scrap basket’ attempt, I’ll be ready to get out the big guns again.

 

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Buy In Haste – Buy More At Leisure

…Or so the saying goes now that I have reinvented it to suit my purposes. 

I wouldn’t say I’m a particularly impatient person but, once I decide to make something, I want to do it straight away or as straight away as possible.  So when I saw some really cute clasp purses made from Liberty fabric I felt the urge to create.  Trouble is, instead of just ordering the kit from the place I saw it, I decided that I didn’t really need the fabric from the kit as I already have a good supply of Liberty cottons and the purse frame on its own was silly money and I knew I could get a better deal elsewhere so off I went to surf the net.  Which, of course, is where the problems start.  I fell in love with some purse frames and ordered them from one place.  Then I ordered a PDF tutorial to make the purse in what I thought was the right size from another place.  Well, it was the right size but not the right shape.  The tutorial was for a rectangular shaped purse frame and mine is curved(ish).  The ‘ish’ is important because then I bought another PDF tutorial for a curved shape but then realised that mine is a cross between the two.  This is so typical of me.  Anyway, I ended up designing my own and here it is – be kind, it was my first attempt, even though I was cavalier and used Liberty and linen being falsely over-confident in my own abilities.

I’m not entirely happy with it.  I want one that comes up over the ends of the hinges more and has a flat bottom.  Still, I have some more purse frames on order and, this time, I think I have ordered the right ones for the right tutorials so there might be all different shapes and sizes coming up.  Although I may well have moved on to something else by then. 

On my way back from dropping Madamoiselle Tialys the Elder at her guitar lesson and popping in to Carrefour for some ‘bits’ having remembered that  Mr. T. does like to have some food in the house when he comes back at weekends, I went for a rummage in the junk shop as I do.  I found some pieces for my shop but I also saw this bowl which is absolutely huge – I think it was part of a pitcher and basin set – and cracked, chipped and discoloured to death – but it’s such a gorgeous pattern I just had to have it.  Well, they only wanted a euro for it – so I couldn’t just leave it there.  You will see that I have cunningly disguised all the deficiencies by turning the good side outward and filling it with huge hydrangea heads – who would know?

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Bunny Bentos

I don’t know whether you remember my post about making something from a Japanese craft book but, if you don’t, and you care , here  it is

Anyway, I have a Japanese speaking reader who not only offered to help me with the translation but also has now told me that these little rabbits can be used as bento which is an idea from Japan where lunch is packed into a divided box and is both nutritionally balanced and visually appealing.  I know these rabbits are not boxes but, apparently that is what they are being marketed as in the book and, because my Japanese is limited to what I hear coming out of the computer when Madamoiselle Tialys the younger is watching her interminable Manga, I hadn’t realised and thought they were just for storage.  Hoorah for helpful blog readers (thanks Jenn!).

I know that the Japanese are keen on ingeniously wrapping things in beautiful fabric so those long ears tied into a knotted handle for little children (or big ones with small lunches) to carry to school is a great idea.

Of course, bunnies being bunnies, they are multiplying and I am going to need to replenish my linen and Liberty cotton stocks soon.  I got some coloured linen last time I was in the U.K. and, as I am going to visit my family next month, I will stock up on some like this lavender colour which I matched up with some Liberty cotton in the Strawberry Thief design to make this one.

Now that I know they can be lunch bags for tinies, I might well replace the buttons with stitches – just in case.

Also, I can’t wait for the little Easter eggs to come in to the shops here in France (where they don’t jump the gun as much as they do in the U.K.) so that I can pose the buns with some eggs inside.

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Is It December Already?

I never realised, before I had an Etsy shop, how far in advance you had to think about annual events in order to prepare relevant stock.  Valentines day in December, Easter in January, Halloween in July and Christmas in September – as if my mind isn’t muddled enough. 

It’s quite difficult for me to go ‘festive’ as I am drawn to neutral or muted colours in fabrics as you can see from the results of my stash enhancement expedition of yesterday.

However, I do like the Scandinavian style of design and it seems to suit Christmas very well so, as last year, I will be slipping in the odd reindeer in red just to show willing.

 

 

Happy New Year.   Well, it is October.

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Must Learn Japanese

Seduced by the gorgeous designs and beautiful photographs, I allowed myself to be persuaded that using Japanese craft books would be a piece of cake. Hah!

Not only is almost everything apart from, bizarrely, the titles,  in Japanese  but you start from the back and work to the front and that goes for the instructions too.   Of course I was prepared for the Japanese and even, thanks to my younger daughter’s Manga obsession, with the fact that you read back to front but I wasn’t prepared for the teeny tiny print at which you must stare in the vain hope of gleaning some information that might help you make the beautiful item you crave.

Nothing daunted, I managed (by using a magnifying glass) to pick out some measurements from in amongst the symbols and, with the aid of the excellent diagrams, to actually make something – hoorah!  I was chuffed to bits and have been showing off  because Mr. Tialys and the two Miss Ts couldn’t believe I’d actually bought a craft book in Japanese and hoped to make sense of it.  So, yah boo  sucks to them and here is my creation which I decided to make using French linen and Liberty of London – my two favourite fabrics.

 

Still, I like a bit of a challenge now and then – I’m hoping it keeps the brain active although have no evidence so far –  so this may be a new obsession.

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Mice With Bells On

I’ve been playing around with some new ideas.   Meet Gabriel and Marcel, mice with bells on.

 

 

Gabriel likes music and mascarpone and isn’t afraid to express his feminine side.

Marcel likes art and cheese straws and his philosophy on life is  ‘a little bit of what you fancy does you good, unless it gets you caught in a mousetrap’.

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Festive Mini Hoops

I love the little embroidery hoops that you can display as miniature wall art or prop up in a little niche somewhere.  The trouble is I don’t embroider and cross stitch makes me go cross eyed so I improvise.  I’ve been using the 4″ size hoops, which are small enough, but when I saw some 3″ ones, I knew I had to have them for Christmas tree ornaments.  For the most part, I’ve kept with my French theme but I couldn’t resist slipping a ‘Ho, Ho, Ho’ in there too.

 

When I make the 4″ ones now, they seem enormous!

 

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Read All About It!

This is the first of my two latest  hexagonal sewing boxes to be finished.  I really like this linen fabric with the vintage newsprint design and I’ve  teamed it with some more muted  linens so it has a very luxurious feel to it.  I like to cater for all tastes and this one is very different from the recent Kawaii style one I made and the next one will be a more floral design but still lovely linen.  I hope you like it.

 

            more lovely linen inside –

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