Thursday, April 30, 2009


Just a few of the many ribbons that needed sorting and organising in boxes. The machine embroidery threads below have been colour sorted into the plastic inserts from the cardboard boxes. Sadly the boxes are just that too big for the transparent drawers that go in the Expedit shelving units but the plastic boxes are just right! I have lots of these so I can organise the ribbons to my heart's content.

And I've worked out that they will stack seven high! Here I have threads in the plastic inserts stacked three high. I shall label each one so that I can see at a glance what is in each one. These inserts are brilliant being quite firm and solid. I got the boxes complete with inserts from the Scrap Store originally and they have been a boon. They came from China but I don't know what they had in them as I don't read Chinese!


Today I started to sort out all the ribbons I have. The intention is to have one 33x37x33cm drawer for all my ribbons. I am fond of making jokes! I didn't realise just how much ribbon I have. When stuff is all over the place gathering it together into one spot is enlightening to say the least! So many reels with 25yards(bought in the US) or more on them. I will never use all that! So I rewound them and gave the spools to a friend and halved all the quantities. The spools alone would take up half a drawer! One half for me and one to make up into the goody bags I'm going to do. I have wired ribbon both plain and ombre shaded;satin ribbon; velvet ribbon; silk ribbon and grosgrain ribbon just to mention a few. And all of these come in several widths from teeny tiny to ginormous!I will arrange it by colour and size! This way I will see what I have and may even use it! So anything that won't fit into the drawer will be out! I have made a list of all the kinds of supplies I have and I am slowly going to be working through it so that when the drawers arrive next week I am ready to go! Tomorrow I will look at the lace I have! Again, a drawer's worth is all I want to keep!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Sewing Room

Click on picture to enlarge!
Pictures of my sewing room as it is at present. The top left and top middle pictures are the view through the open door. The door has hanging on it the wonderful 'Keep Out' crazy quilt notice that my friend Martha Green made for me when we were teaching together somewhere. I love it! The top right is of the back of the door. No space is wasted! Middle and bottom left are of my sewing machine and the boxes piled high on the shelves at the back of the table. Middle middle is of the bookcase beside the door and middle right is of the window and my chair. Bottom middle is underneath my workbench and bottom right is the workbench with the shelves above it. The basic plan is a U shape or actually more of a galley at the moment as I have moved the trolley that used to be under the window.It is definitely time for a change. I shall get rid of the tallboy that restricts one's entrance and the bedside table/cupboard that holds up one end of the workbench but keep the small two drawer chest that holds up the other end. It will go where the tall boy is now. I shall miss the tall boy as it has three shelves and two long drawers. But then I am going to be moving stuff on! Keep reminding me of this!

This and That!

Yes Sue, I know what you mean. I too could do with a larger house. Or at least a larger workroom. My workroom is barely 7ft by 7ft and with all the stuff I've got crammed in there it is amazing that I get anything done at all. But all that is going to change. My friend Yvonne has had a make over of her workroom which was the dining room in her house and I was so impressed with the units she got from Ikea that I immediately went home and thought of new arrangements for THE room! I have ordered two shelf units(Expedit range) which will give me 8 spaces and into seven of these spaces will go a transparent box and in the eighth one a two drawer insert. This overall unit will then have my work bench which is 6ft by 2ft 6inches on top. The amount of storage compared with what I have now will be massive! The fly in the ointment is that I can't have it until next Wednesday due to the Bank Holiday on Monday. The waiting is killing me! I want to be doing! I shall take some pictures of the before and then eventually of the after. I'm hoping at the same time to clear some of my stash. It has been suggested by one of my students that I make up bags of assorted bits and sell them in class. I may just do that as I have more ribbons, beads, threads, lace and fabric than I can use in a life time, and I'm sure there will be other surplus to requirements things as well, as now that I'm not teaching City and Guilds embroidery, patchwork and dressmaking, I don't need half as much stuff. I am now going to make lists! I love lists. They are such fun! More later!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

New Door

We now have a lovely new door and I am very pleased with it. Martin made a new plaque for the number and altogether I think it all looks very smart. A great improvement on the old door as there are no droughts!
I have a class tomorrow. The first one after Easter. There will be eight or nine students which is a good number. We are going to meet once a month and then have coffee mornings on the second Friday in each month. I think this will work well for the summer months when classes are competing with holidays and gardening. Tomorrow we are going to be doing a session on machine quilting using free machine techniques. This is really a most important part of the quilt making process but so often is the least important part because of the rush to get the quilt finished. And yet so often the quilting can add just that final touch that brings everything together. I was amazed at how many different ways I was able to quilt using a squared grid to form a sampler. Ideas just kept coming. Should be a fun class!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Too busy doing other things!!

I have been so busy with the garden that I haven't had time to sew or do crafty things. But all that will change as the garden is now manageable and won't take so much effort and also I'm getting withdrawal symptoms from not doing anything crafty. I did have a mammoth dyeing session at the weekend and produced a good pile of fabric to sell. It is always difficult not to pull out half a dozen pieces or so that I really, really love. But I have been strong. I have a drawer full of Liberty lawn fabrics which I must either use or sell/give away/or lose! I might be tempted to make bundles with a selection in each and see if there is a market for them.
Tomorrow they are coming to fit my new door and it will be chaos but after that I shall sort the fabric out and see what I can do. I'm quite excited about the new door as the old one is terrible. Very hard to close without slamming it! And it's going to be another lovely sunny day! Pictures of the door tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

New finds of old stuff!

I was searching in my cupboards for some samples and came across these two items. The first one above is of a red velvet bag I made with silk ribbon embroidery. The one below is of ribbon flowers made with wired ribbons on a quilted velvet strip which has been washed so that the backing shrunk and pulled up the velvet. Very easy to do and very effective. These two pieces have reminded me as to why my cupboards and shelves are overflowing! It is because I dabble with too many things rather than just concentrating on one or two! I am going to have to really think about what I do, why I do it and how much of it I'm going to being doing in the future. Like for example the silk ribbon embroidery. I do very little of this now, mainly through lack of time, and have run down my stocks of ribbons. But I still hang on to all the equipment needed for these and several other creative techniques. I used to make lots of hand-made paper but haven't done that for a while but still all the stuff is there. I find it hard to move on! But I will try and make a plan! I enjoy making plans and perhaps this time I will actually act on it. Watch this space!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Easter Treat!

As it is Easter this coming weekend I made a Simnel Cake. I haven't made one for years so it is a bit of a treat. For those who don't know Simnel Cake is an Easter speciality. It is a rich fruit cake with a layer of marzipan in the centre of the cake and then a layer of marzipan on top. Traditionally it has 11 small balls of marzipan on the top also and the centre of the marzipan is covered with yellow glace icing. However I decided to put small chocolate eggs on the top. I made two loaf tin shapes instead of one big round one and took one to work this afternoon where it was soon devoured and pronounced good! We will have the other one for Easter Sunday tea!
I am delighted to hear that my stick insect is possibly a Praying Mantis and fond of aphids! Anything that feasts on aphids is welcome in my garden. So thank you to Anonymous from Memphis for that comment. Much welcomed!

Friday, April 03, 2009

Stick Insects

Some time ago I mentioned that I had found a stick insect in the garden and one in the house! Today I decided to pull compost out of the compost bin to mulch the garden and there on the top of it on the lid was a baby stick insect. I think I had shakent the Weigilia which is next to it and the poor little thing dropped off. So I put him back and hope he manages OK. He had gone when I next went out to look. Do I perhaps have a colony of stick insects in my garden? Are they breeding like mad! It is Spring! I know next to nothing about them and I'm curious! Do they fly? I always thought they were a foreign creature. Obviously they like the garden!