Saturday, 24 August 2013

what exactly is the colour natural?

That is the question I should have asked myself before I ordered fabric online to make roman blinds for the spare bedroom! Could have been disaster as I thought natural linen was a cream colour, silly me it turned out to be a sort of greyish colour. I was so excited when I opened the parcel, I was expecting a linen fabric with a light cream background with a gorgeous pattern in raspberry. Disappointment at first, it wasn't horrrible, it just wasn't what I was expecting. I checked the invoice and yes this was the fabric I ordered. Three metres at £38 per metre guess I had better like it! And I do, I love it. It is a cabbages and roses fabric called natural meggernie raspberry, 100% linen and 2 roman blinds later....

Not wanting to throw anything away that can possibly be recycled, the existing blinds were deconstructed and I reused the blackout lining and the cord tapes which were already attached, saving me the time and trouble of having to measure and sew new ones on! I was able to use the cording system on the smaller blind, but the chain on the larger was broken and I couldn't buy a replacement chain, so had to buy a roman blind kit, that was a blow!

This firescreen is one of my latest finds and it is perfect for our Victorian fireplace. I am guessing it is 1950's but I don't know. It seems to be hand and not machine embroidered and is framed in lead. I found it in a secondhand shop in Ipswich full of vintage and retro stuff that had mostly been renovated. It's in a lovely condition and I love the colours and isn't Mr Peacock majestic?

And another one of my vintage finds, again I am not sure of it's age, but is in a very good condition, the chain on the back is a bit rough but you can't see that so I don't care! The mirror is bevelled and has a hardwood surround , probably mahogany or oak. It looks superb and totally at home in our front room.

I love rummaging through second hand, car boots and charity shops. You never know what you might alight on, something for the home perhaps or perhaps some fabric to add to an ever growing stash, which you just know, that sometime in the future it will be perfect for a make you have in mind, just like the patchwork throw I recently finished. I need, no, I want a new sofa but with too many animals who want to either rub themselves against it when they come in from a walk or need to sharpen their claws on it, I had to concede that it was not a good idea so this was second best. Made in 10 inch squares from curtain fabric bought in Laura Ashley sale and remnants from my stash. I lined it with 4 large squares made up from a green and white checked duvet cover and some curtain fabric picked up in a charity shop. Et voila! Transformed!

That's all for now, I have a new craft in mind and I will let you know how I am getting on!

Wednesday, 10 July 2013


Refreshed from our Baltic cruise it is now back to reality! We had a lovely holiday, a leisurely Baltic cruise, I say leisurely but quite honestly in parts it was hectic! The absolute highlight of our cruise was St Petersberg. A two day stopover, which meant a full on, two day tour, on the hottest 2 days of their summer! This was following port stops on the 3 previous days, Copenhagen, Stockholm and Helsinki, which were all fabulous but done at our lazy pace rather than a frenetic tour! St Petersberg was so opulent no wonder the starving and downtrodden masses eventually revolted! The architecture was fabulous, and the decor was all so gorgeous it made my mouth water! To labour the point one of the rooms in Catherines Palace.

and then there is the Amber room, unbelievably beautiful, the walls are covered in Amber, has to be seen to be believed, unfortunately we were not allowed to take any photos in this room. When the Germans besieged St Petersberg in WW2 they stole all but one single piece of Amber! The palace was all but destroyed, razed to the ground, however the Russians have done a remarkable job restoring it to it's former glory, (goodness knows how much that must have cost!)

Catherine's Palace
Before we went away I was desperately trying to finish some knitting and my blue quilt. I managed to finish the knitting but  sewing the jumper up escaped me, so that's still to be done ( I hate the sewing up bit ), but I did finish the quilt and I really love this one, I just love the mix of blues and whites and the pretty pattens.

and the back of it, white sheeting and blue embroidery thread

One more for the collection!

Monday, 10 June 2013

I am back.....

It has been ages and I don't really know why! But part of the reason is that instead of using my trusty but slow computer I have been using a 'tablet,' which I really like, but the photos taken on it (really nice quality) will not upload onto my blog which is a pain! So for blogging it is back to the computer.

I have not been idle whilst I have been absent from blogging, I have been busily beavering away at this and that, a bit of decorating in the bedroom, some dressmaking, plenty of knitting and sewing and latterly working very hard in the garden and allotment!

'Cos I am bit of a technophobe I still haven't worked out how to upload ( or is it download?) the pics taken of my makes on the tablet, but here are a couple of things I have made recently...

We are going on holiday shortly and I made these cute shoe bags out of fabric I already had and just to make them more interesting I appliqued them with scraps of felt, on the pink bag is a dog rose and leaf!

a close up of the pattern on the collar

I love this 50s style jumper and it looks so nice on, it is knitted in a yarn called Amalfi which is a mix of cotton, linen, silk and viscose. It knits up beautifully and feels luxuriously silky. Because the weather has been rubbish there hasn't been much opportunity to wear it but once the sun stays out for more than 5 minutes I will quickly put it on with some very nice blue tapered trousers I got from Monsoon.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Wot a week...

Yes, what a week it has been and it's all down to lamb bones! A kindly friend gave our Missy a couple of lamb bones, a real treat for her as being veggies she doesn't get much in the way of bones! (us being the veggies not the dog!) However, lamb bone shards are very sharp and unfortunately two bits of bone lodged in her colon. Disaster! So it was off to the vets and then off to the doggy hospital 16 miles away, one big op and £2500 later said shards were no more. It has been an anxious time for us and a very painful one for Missy but now she seems to be on the mend and at long last has started to eat something, mind you I have to use the cats to tempt her to that has come out the wrong way! no I don't mean the dog eating the cats, what I mean is... if I put food down for her and any of the cats come near she is terrified they are going to eat it and although she doesn't want it she is damned sure the cats aren't going to have it!
With all the tooing and froing not a lot of knitting and sewing has been going on, but I have managed to finish the Mothers Day gift I was making for my mum, a lined knitted peg bag. I used Debbie Bliss organic DK in a pretty rose colour and lined it with some pretty rose cotton fabric I had left over from a dress I made in the summer.

I have also been working on the blue and white quilt and for the first time I have used a hoop

Although I have had the hoop for a couple of years I hadn't used it until now (sounds silly but I think I was scared of the blooming thing!), but the nature of the pattern for the hand stitching leant itself to the hoop and on this quilt for sure it has made it easier to stitch.

I used a template for the pattern, which is on every square, and the overall effect is really quite pretty. I have quilted with blue embroidery thread (coton a broder) about two thirds of the squares and once that is done it will be the borders next and I plan to quilt those diagonally.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Winter wonderland

Winter is definitely here and it looks lovely (so long as you don't have to go to work in it!). We wrapped ourselves up this morning and Chuck, myself and Missy took ourselves out for a long walk in the fields by our house.

 Missy loves the snow, she loves to roll over and over in it! It was a lovely walk but tiring to walk uphill in the snow. On the way back the wind was in our faces and the snow was stinging my eyes making them water like mad,but ll in all we must have burnt a few calories! Our lane always looks gorgeous in the snow with the snow settled in the trees, and again in the spring with the blossom.

You can't see the snow on the trees in this pic as I have taken it looking up the lane rather than towards the fields, as I was about to take a pic in the opposite direction, a friend passed by in his car and as always one for a natter, we  proceeded to discuss the vagaries of the weather and  I completely forgot to take my award winning pic of the lane.
During the week I managed to finish off a couple of pairs of mittens for my Etsy shop

and with some pretty fabric I bought online from Sew La La ( if you love vintage style fabrics you will love this shop!) I made this pretty bag to hold my knitting.

I am still working on my blue and white quilt which is coming along nicely but slowly as it is a bit more complex than usual, and I have just ordered 26 balls of cashmerino silk double knit for a lacy blanket I intend to knit as a long term project, 2 balls of lacy yarn for a shawl for me and 2 balls of double knit for a lovely cable peg bag which will be lined with a pretty fabric, as a Mother's day gift, phew!

Friday, 4 January 2013

Happy New Year

A happy and prosperous new year to everyone! The tinsel has been taken down, the Christmas tree is in the loft and everywhere is looking a bit dull! It will take a few days for the house to look normal and in the meantime I will keep thinking what's missing! But as much as I love the Christmas festivities and the lead up to it, once we are past New year (and sometimes before) I want my house to be back to normal and look  less like a party venue!

Up to Christmas and indeed immediately after, I have been beavering away, knitting loads of little hand warmers and mittens. The mittens, four pairs of them, were a custom order sold on my Etsy shop plumcottagecraft , which I have now finished, phew! They are quite quick to make but are fiddly and time consuming to make up as they are  made up of several components and different coloured yarns, with crochet loops to make and buttons to sew on.

I think thay are really cute and I hope the children love them!

Now I am going to give knitting mittens a rest for a while as I desperately want to get on with some sewing!