mend and make do

I don’t know about you, but there is one kind of sewing I hate doing . . . repairs.  I usually put things off as long as possible, and end up with a pile of items waiting, either for buttons, a new hem, or even patching up a hole (that’s a frequent job with my husband’s jeans).  Sometimes I would rather just throw something in the bin, go out shopping, and buy new.  But then the scrooge in me says “Nope” that’s not an option.  I’ve got a sewing machine, I know how to use it, therefore, repairs are not beyond me and it’s best to save money for more fun things (like craft supplies!)

I therefore blocked a couple of hours to do some repairs.  First job – a pair of husband’s shorts (UK English, meaning short trousers he wears out and about, but mainly in the garden).  They’d seen better days, fabric had begun to wear a bit thin and one of the hems ripped off.  My initial reaction was just to rip the other hem off, and have matching legs without hems.  That’s what the younger generation do, isn’t it?  But no, my husband didn’t like that, and fraying fabric annoyed him so he refused to wear them until I did a proper repair job.

Out came some blue binding (totally unco-ordinated but who cares?) and I added binding to both legs, sewing completely under so you can’t actually see the blue.

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The reason I used binding rather than simply making another hem . . . the pockets down the sides and the very thick “jeans” seams”.  I didn’t even bother to match thread, just used what was already loaded on my machine.

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They’re for gardening/walking the dog etc, so as far as I’m concerned, they’ll do.

Next job was cushions.  I buy cheap cushion inserts with polyester stuffing. Usually paying around 4€ per insert.  Not quite sure what happened with the last batch I bought, but the covering (which feels more like paper than fabric) was ripped, meaning stuffing was prone to fall out when changing cushion covers. 

mend and make do 01

I had four which were all like this, so I reckon it must have been a duff batch.    Anyway, I certainly wasn’t going to throw them out since they were relatively new . . . so, out came an old bed sheet and a short while later

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Four cushions, all with a nice white cotton cover.  And ready to go back into their outer, patchwork, cushion covers!

I even salvaged part of the sheet (one of my late MIL’s, so probably about 30 years old) because it had a band of a blue & white print cotton sewn along the top.

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Not a fabric I would have paid good money for, but it’s still got plenty of life in it, and I saved a long band about 8 inches x the width of sheet.

Feeling, oh so virtuous, after all of that . . . what did I do?  I went shopping on-line lol.  Heck why not?  I saved 16€ by salavaging the cushion inserts.  I gave a pair of shorts a new lease of life.  I reckon both those jobs deserve a reward!

So . . .

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I ordered this.  Not that I need a beginner’s level in cross stitch, but I was looking for a small butterfly design and rather liked this (cost 6€ including p&p).  And this

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I do need a beginner’s level embroidery kit, as I’ve never done any traditional embroidery before.  This one took my fancy because of the bee, and also because it combines embroidery with felt (cost also 6€ including p&p).

I now need to get busy and finish off my current xstitch project: “Yarn Cats” so I can begin one of these when they arrive! 

cat ‘n mouse

Abby mouse

Can you see the mouse?  Nope, neither can I and neither can Abby.  She did have one in her mouth, when she came into the veranda from the garden.  A live one.  Which she then dropped, and has since been searching inside shoes.  I’ve lost count of the number of live mice Abby and Ducky bring home.  I do wish they’d just stay outside with them!

Meanwhile, indoors . . . my current small cross stitch project has evolved, very slowly from this

yarn cats

to this

yarn cats 31 07

I could have worked on it a bit more, but I chose to keep busy last month with patchworking, mainly.

Postie brought me some surprise mail from Lilubelle

bookmarks from Lilu

a lovely selection of bookmarks with a nature theme.

And postie also delivered another fabric order.  I know, I know, I have drawers full of the stuff, I don’t need more but . . .

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It was so pretty, I couldn’t resist, especially the second one.  My first thoughts, when I ordered, were that it would be lovely as backing fabric for a quilt (it’s 160cm wide off the bolt) but now it’s here, I’m wondering whether I’d dare wear a summer tunic in one or the other.  What do you think?  Would it be a too much?  A bit too “Dances with Wolves”?

And back to cats . . . slightly worried here, because Ducky has been missing since Sunday.  We’ve been calling him, and I’ve already put an “alert” on a dedicated site for lost & found pets.  Fingers crossed that he comes sauntering home soon.

SAL “Cirque des Triangles” #9

Time to show off progress on my SAL project, which, as you know, is “Cirque des Triangles” by Ink Circles.

CdesT stage 8

Last time, Avis and I had finished with all the outer triangles.  So we’re now starting to fill in the centre part.

CdesT stage 9 zoom

A zoom first, because I just love the “Wild Poppies” Threadworx thread I’m using.  And a view of the entire piece.

CdesT stage 9

Shapes aren’t strictly triangles time and look more like teeth . . . but they definitely add a bit of interest.

Don’t forget to stop by and admire progress of other SAL members.  Avis, is working on the same CdesT design, but in totally different colours.  Other members are all working on a wonderful variety of projects:  Gun, Carole, LucyAnn, Kate, Jess, Sue, Constanze, Debbierose, ChristinaKathy, Margaret, Cindy, Helen, Steph, Linda, Catherine, Mary MargaretTimothy and two new members Heidi and Connie.

And come back to check out more progress in 3 weeks time, on 27th August.

a sentimental ramble and a necessary kick up the backside

There’s not a day goes by that I don’t regret having started this blog.  It’s been a way to reach out, and “meet” so many wonderful, like-minded crafters over the years.  Each day begins, for me, with a fresh mug of coffee, and a blog hop, as I scroll down in my WP reader, to see what blogging friends have been up to.  Or checking my email, for the notifications I receive when a non-WP blogger has posted.  My coffee usually goes cold, unforgotten, as I start leaving comments or replying to those left here.  Even my husband, peers over my shoulder as I blog hop and admires what you’ve all been up to!  Although he’s always more interested in the photos of gardens, flowers, animals and interesting walks.

I started out as a cross stitcher, more than 20 years ago, but over the years, I have branched out into other crafts, discovering more and more brilliant blogs as I go . . . finding friendship, inspiration, motivation and encouragement every step of the way.

I want to say “thank you” to everyone who stops by to read me and my ramblings.  When I first started blogging, I didn’t expect my blog to become such a big part of my daily life.  It really started out as an on-line journal for myself.  A “Dear Diary” in a sense.  A way of keeping track of projects I had worked on, which explains why I don’t talk or share much about my private life, except our animals and country surroundings.

Anyway . . . (because you’re already wondering if I’m going anywhere with this . . . ) that’s the sentimental ramble over lol.  Now onto the kick up the backside!

I was looking back over some of my old posts which made me realise how fast time really does fly as you get older.  Things I thought  happened only yesterday, happened much longer ago . . . and I realised, I need to get my finger out!

Because, I still have all of the following, in their unfinished state, stashed away in my drawers, and I didn’t realise (until the other day) just how many projects have been waiting for so long, for a full-flung Happy Dance!

There’s this

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Last posted about in September 2016, which got no farther than being assembled into 3 bands, before being folded and put away.

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My hand-pieced “Let it bee” hexie top, still in this unfinished stage since July 2016.

2nd cat top

A quilted cushion front, still waiting for a back, since June 2016.

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Two native American Indians, cross-stitched in 2013, then assembly begun in April 2016 to make wall hangings . . . still waiting.

And when I start looking at other cross-stitched pieces awaiting some kind of finish . . . it goes from the relatively recent, like these

statement finished

“Statement Flowers” – February 2017, to these . . . .

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Vervaco Zodiac signs – set of 12 finished in June 2016.

SAL friendship quilt finished

“Friendship Quilt” finished in October 2015 – this would make a great cushion cover to go with my recent “such fun!” F2F2 quilt, despite having purple, not blue.

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“Cirque des Triangles” finished in September 2014 and still waiting for a frame.

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“Pentacost Two” finished in December 2013.

And it gets worse . . . with these two that date back to around 2007

“Bramble & the Rose” by Ink Circles on left and the “Grand Marquoir” by Isabelle Vautier on the right.  As well as a selection of “smalls” just folded and sitting in a drawer since I can’t remember when (since I never date my work).

And those are just a few . . .

I am therefore going to try and actually properly finish off some of the above over the coming months.  Even if I only manage to tackle one a month.   It seems  silly to have spent so much time (and money) crafting when the results are hidden from view in a drawer.

SAL update–“Cirque des Triangles” #8

More lovely golden coloured Threadworx thread has appeared on my fabric, as “Cirque des Triangles” moves from this

CdesT stage 7

to this

CdesT stage 8

CdesT stage 8 zoom

That’s all the outer triangles done now.  Next stages will be to fill in the centre.

Let’s go see what other SAL members have been up to.  Avis, is working on the same CdesT design, but in totally different colours.  Other members are all working on a wonderful variety of projects:  Gun, Carole, LucyAnn, Kate, Jess, Sue, Constanze, Debbierose, ChristinaKathy, Margaret, Cindy, Helen, Steph,  Linda, Catherine, Mary Margaret and Timothy.

Next update on 6th August.

I’m too old for this . . .

I maintain that we’re never too old (or young) to learn something new.  However, I’ve decided I’m too old . . . to be working on a project I’m not enjoying!  Crafting should be fun.  It’s a hobby, after all.  In years gone by, I would have been up for a challenge, but nowadays if it becomes a chore, I don’t want to do it.  There are enough chores to do in day-to-day life, without adding one to my evening entertainment!   With this thought in mind, I made an executive decision, regarding “Victorian Charm”.

Victorian charm july

The more I looked, and studied the chart to see what colours I needed to thread up next, the more I realised that this design just isn’t any fun at the moment.  It’s too much like hard work.  It’s not so much the fact there are lots of symbols that need to be stitched combining 2 different colours.  It’s the dark navy 18 count aida that’s making work difficult.   

This kit is therefore going back in the drawer.  To become an UFO (un finished object) until I can find the motivation to face it again.  It’s not that I don’t love the design, because I do.  I just can’t be bothered with it right now.  So “Sorry” to second son and N, who gifted this kit to me in xmas 2015.  It’ll be picked up again sometime in the future.  Just not this year!

Instead, I pulled out something very small and light-hearted.  Something with few colours.  Something that I will be able to stitch without squinting at either chart or fabric.  A design that will only take a very short time to complete

yarn cats

“Yarn Cats” by Design Works.  I bought this in January during the massive sewandso sales.  Stitched on 14 count rustico aida, it’s a very simple design, which is perfect for stitching in the evening.  Progress will be quick and painless, which is how I like my cross stitch these days.  Easy and fun!

And before I go . . . a photo to show you this

from Virginie

A lovely 3D card from Virginie to whom I sent an unbirthday surprise earlier in the year. 

SAL update – Cirque des Triangles #7

More triangles have adorned my fabric for this update.

Last time it looked like this.

CdesT stage 6

Now it looks like this

CdesT stage 7

CdesT stage 7 zoom

This is “Cirque des Triangles”, a design by Tracey Horner for Ink Circles.  I’m stitching with Threadworx “Wild Poppies” on forest green 27 count Lugana evenweave, and loving every stitch.  It’s so relaxing to work a monochrome design.  No hassles with numerous symbols or threads.  Just need to thread my needle up with 2 strands of Threadworx and the colours change all by themselves.

Don’t forget to stop by and admire progress of other SAL members.  Avis, is working on the same CdesT design, but in totally different colours.  Other members are all working on a wonderful variety of projects:  Gun, Carole, LucyAnn, Kate, Jess, Sue, Constanze, Debbierose, Christina, SusanP, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Helen, Steph, WendyLinda, Catherine, Mary Margaret and Timothy.

And come back for the next update on 16th July.