Monthly Archives: January 2015

An Excuse to use Neon Thread!


aororabloxI was most impressed by the truck driver who managed to reverse halfway up our incredibly icy track on Monday. I thought he was going to inform me that he could not collect the pallet that would transport Lenni to France but he bravely used a small trolley to shift it and he even lifted the long boxes by himself.

I tidied Fenella’s room so she could find all of the things that she claimed I had lost. Thistle proved that there was no room to swing a cat – she attempted to jump onto a chest of drawers but there was not even enough room for her small paws to land safely so she landed in a disgruntled heap, scattering pencils, nail polish and old Christmas cards.

The notebook cover for my Book photos was finished off even though it needed an extension on one side so it would fit properly. I made a note to my readers that, unlike me, they should pay attention when cutting and assembling! A bulk order of spiral bound notebooks, wood block stamps and textile paints arrived. I will use these for my classes at the ICHF show in Glasgow in March so I will need to make a sample that fits 😉


Having a ridiculously short time available to make the Northern Lights wobbly circles quilt made me slightly panicky and I spent an afternoon spent faffing around with different construction methods. I slept on it then decided to combine freeform curved piecing with some appliqué. I made my own bias tape to fit in between some of the wide “rings” then attached them very neatly with a machine blanket stitch. After applying fine interfacing to each wonky block, I selected a few reliable, non-puckering embroidery stitches and decorated the blocks with super-bright thread. The quilting will be very freestyle and will allow me to make good use of some reels of variegated neons.


I ordered additional hand-dyed fabric from Farne Designs in Cornwall for the back and for the setting triangles. I have not quite worked out what size these will be since I will not trim the wonky blocks down until all of the distorting extra stitching is done.  I am enjoying working on a such a zingy project in the middle of winter and hope to have the top almost done by the end of next week.



greenevebag  brownevebag

Sewing beads on may be a relaxing occupation but it does not feel like proper, productive sewing because it takes ages to see progress. My leather bags finally reached the stage where they could be photographed as book projects and I can continue to add extra beads later if I want.


The next book project was quick to finish since it was a simple luggage label so I managed to run up a few of those and write the instructions before I forgot all about it.

I could not find any trace of step-by-step pictures of how to make my fabric notebooks, even though I am convinced that I had already done it so I had to make a new cover from scratch, which will come in handy. The one that I use every day is now 10 years old and looking rather scruffy.


A visiting DIY quilter visited and rattled off two lovely children’s quilts. I filed my online tax return, sourced a pallet to send Lenni to France and made around 16 trips in and out of Banchory, mostly to accommodate the kids at their various activities.

It is surprising how much can be achieved with a tight deadline. I discovered that I had 24 hours to enter the ICHF show in Glasgow. Luckily I was able to enter by email and instead of a photo, a sketch was allowed if the quilt was not actually finished. Technically, my quilt has not actually even been started yet but I managed to make up a rough draft of a possible quilt using EQ7. I started experimenting with a couple of different construction methods for improvisational circles using scrap fabric. The end result may not look quite the same as my “drawing” – it will probably evolve considerably, depending on time and how much fabric I have without having to resort to ordering any more!


I successfully completed a task that I had been dreading at the weekend when I cut up and reconstructed two tiny 2-piece Aladdin costumes to fit bigger girls at the forthcoming Deeside Dance Centre Show. Worried that I may not have the dress-making skills necessary, I spent some time online trying to source adult versions of the same costume but I kept being directed to sexy belly-dancing outfitters. I am pleased that I managed to sew everything back together and the new roomier pantaloons should stay up with the help of heavy-duty elastic. I am seriously contemplating applying my new-found tailoring confidence to making a frock for myself…

Getting There in the End



I made a mental note never to sew thousands of beads onto leather ever again but obviously I did not actually mean it. After a while the projects started to look amazing and the temptation was to encrust them with as many beads as possible. When I nipped to the craft shop to buy another couple of yards of bias-binding, I spent quite a bit on yet more beads.

The bags that I had planned in my head evolved a couple of times after I made calico mock-ups because the point of making them was actually to write clear instructions for a book project. I decided to make one of them very simple and the other one could be really fancy.  Typically, I thought of other ways that I would tackle the same project if I started it again but I don’t have time to make any more beaded, leather bags so I might just write a paragraph on “modifications”.


Following a stormy night, we had a power cut for most of the day on Friday so I could not do anything that involved sewing machines or required decent light. Luckily, my IKEA delivery arrived and I made a start on figuring out the assembly diagrams. The first item was a challenge but after I eventually got it sussed, I rattled off the others fairly quickly. It took all weekend before everything was finally constructed and tidied up. The totems were stored out of the way on high shelves and it feels great not to be climbing over obstacles in my workshop. There is no disputing that smaller projects like handbags take up far less space!





Bank holidays within holidays make it difficult to work out what day of the week it really is. There is only one cure for this which is to potter away at sorting out drawers, cupboards and have a go at furniture rearranging. I had to pack Lenni up for his imminent move to a new home in France so it seemed like a good opportunity to sort out my workshop which was becoming full of “stuff”.


To begin with I created more of a mess than the one I started with and I just stood and wondered how I was going to get things tidy again. I decided to part with the old, bouncy office desks and odd chests of drawers that were squeezed into awkward corners. I have ordered matching, low chests of drawers that will fit neatly under the long-arm, and a couple of sturdy, basic tables from IKEA, plus sturdy shelving to store the totems so I don’t have to keep falling over them.


I even cleared out my wardrobe so I would not be stalling at the beginning of the week when the kids go back to school. The loose plan is to tidy up my fabric stash and get back to some serious book editing. Although I am keen to start a new show quilt, I need to complete the evening-bag chapter first…