Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Blists Hill Victorian Town

On Monday I had the pleasure of accompanying DD2 and 70 of her closest friends on a school trip to Blists Hill.  Blists Hill is a Victorian Town, much like the Black Country Museum, that has the shops, smells and food of English life from 100+ years ago. 

I was in charge of 6 children who were an absolute delight throughout the day.  As soon as we were off the bus we decided very quickly of a plan of action...the sweetie shop being more important than anything else.  So while the rest of the class went to change their money at the Victorian bank, we went straight to the confectioners.  (All the shops take modern and Blists Hill Victorian money)

Once we addressed that matter we then returned to the bank to change some of our 2013 money to that of the Victorian times so we could practise counting in half pennies and farthings for the rest of our purchases. 

We had a couple of hours to visit around all the different workshops, but high on my list was, of course, the haberdashery...I don't think the 2 boys in my group knew why we were in there, but it gave me a quick opportunity to snap a few pictures.  The lady behind the counter was working with a vintage Singer hand-cranked machine that sewed like a dream and so quiet too! 

She had lovely ribbons on display and of course a huge range of laces and trims to be admired.

We visited the candlemaker, the post office and the chemist..each having a very distinctive smell from the tallow, inks and chemicals!  If there was one comment that the children kept making was about the different smells...and that was before they met the pig! LOL 

After a visit to the fish and chip shop followed with their packed lunch, we stopped in to see the printer.  This gentleman was wonderful with the children and captivated their attention.  He had proof-reading riddles and interesting stories to share with the children. 

Did you know that the term "to coin a phrase" comes from those early days of printing when a coin was used to tighten the letters in the frame before it was put in the printing press?  I hadn't heard that one before! 

Next for the children was a lesson in the schoolhouse.  The girls and boys were dressed for the occasion and lead in silence by the school mistress.  I don't think any of them dared wiggle or speak out of turn!

After an hour of reciting their times tables and using a slate board, we got them back into their uniforms and back on the coach home.  It was great day!

Until next time...♥

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Vinyl Pouch (tutorial)

How about a Sunday tutorial to get you started this week? It's almost the Ho Ho Ho time of year and we could all use a few quick ideas for gifts...So here is my version of a vinyl pouch.

This is a great project to use up novelty fabrics and bits of wadding.  I went through my extensive collection of wadding offcuts and found more than enough to make gifts for the whole family! 

All you need is:
Some clear vinyl. 
    (Cut this larger than your wadding sandwich making sure to have at least one straight edge)
Fabric and wadding to make up the back of the pouch
   (I used a different fabric on the inside to the outside)
2 strips 1 1/2” wide of coordination fabric to attach the zipper
    (these should be longer than your wadding sandwich)
A zipper longer than your wadding sandwich
1 1/2” binding enough for all four sides.


Start by layering your fabric for the back with the wadding like a mini quilt and quilt through the 3 layers.  Once quilted square up your sandwich to neaten the edges.

Next take the 2 - 1 1/2” strips and press one edge over by 1/4”.

If you are using zippers by the metre then you will need to attach your zipper pull.  Make sure your zip is longer than your wadding sandwich.  Liz (who learned the trick from Jacquie) taught me this fabulous trick for adding the zipper pull.

Attach the two coordinating strips to one side of the zipper. 
The order goes like this:
One strip right sides up,
zipper right side up,
second strip right side down. 
Sew the three layers using a zipper foot just next to the teeth of the zipper…not too close…moving the zipper pull out of the way if need be.

Carefully press the two strips towards each other so the folded edges meet.  You can press this with an iron, but be careful not to use too much heat you don’t want to melt the zip.

Next, open this seam up and run a line of fabric glue on the seam allowance.  Line up the straight edge of your vinyl on the line of glue and sandwich it in-between the two strips of fabric.  You could use pins, but I found the glue worked really well and held the vinyl in place.

Run two lines of top stitching along the strip.  This secures those two strips together and traps the vinyl at the same time.

Next line up the zip which now has the vinyl attached at the top of your wadding sandwich making sure that the strip ends and the vinyl overhang on the remaining three sides.  Stitch the zip about of 1/8” from the top edge just to hold it in place.

Using single fold binding that has one edge pressed over by 1/4”, sew on all four sides using a 1/4” seam.  Here’s a great tutorial of you are new to single fold binding.  Only when the binding is attached do you trim the excess zip, strips and vinyl.  By waiting until this point to trim means that you can be sure the vinyl is flat.  It’s too slippery to trim to size before this point.

Sew binding to the back with an invisible stitch…and you are done! 

Until next time...♥

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wednesday Fungi!?

There has been a bit of a mushroom theme going on around here..not sure why?!  So I hope you’ll bear with me while I share one of the ceramic mushrooms that DD2 made at school.  We are very lucky at our school to have a ceramics club.  The children get to see the process from start to finish including the firing of items and glazing.  It does mean I have a wonderful collection of dust collectors decorative items for my home.  Though I do like these mushrooms..they are cute!

Until next time...♥

Monday, November 11, 2013

Four Lily Block (Hand-Piecing)

Over the summer I got a real taste for hand-piecing when I hand-pieced blocks the for the quilt that is currently in the quilting frame.  I still have a bit of hand quilting to do, but I fancied a break.  So when I saw this block on “The Way I Sew It" I knew it would be wonderful to hand-piece.

The block measures 16” finished so the curves are gentle and easy to sew.  To make sure everything would go together nicely, I made my templates from plastic for accurate shapes. (I’ve learned my lesson!)

And made matching marks along the edges of the pieces so I’d have places to match up and pin along the way.  I also took note of the grainline of each shape and marked it with an arrow on the plastic.  I then drew around each shape on the wrong side of the fabric using a mechanical pencil (a.k.a. propelling pencil for those of you in the U.K….yes there is a story here about how I confused all my students and sent them on a wild goose chase around Rugby looking for this specialized pencil!  Ooops!)

Each motif was cut leaving a 1/4” seam around each shape.  Once all my pieces were prepared, I sat watching Downton Abbey while sewing away.  I always pin the next matching point and sew along the line with a running stitch.  After every 3 stitches I take a backstitch.  I start and finish each seam with a flat knot just as Cathi demo-ed on her blog.  It’s a great way to secure those seams.

The block sewed up really well.  Here are some of the pieces together. 

And here it is all together.  I’m not sure whether to make 3 more and let it grow from there or to use it as a medallion… I think I better check if I have enough fabric first!

Until next time...♥

Sunday, November 10, 2013

More than a Doodle...

Have you heard the term zentangle?  I did a few years ago when there was a bit of a buzz going on when quilters talked about how many of the designs looked like the same shapes and motifs you would find in quilting.  After making that association I complete forgot about zentangling until this past week.  I can’t even recall what got me visiting the Zentangle blog..but before I knew it was was doodling away.  Now DON’T laugh…I am NOT a drawer, but I had fun making these designs and thought I’d be brave and post them for you to enjoy.

This was the first bunch of shapes I played with on the back of a post-it note.  I love the basket weave…here’s the video on how easy it was to draw.

It’s fun to have a play with the shapes and I’m hoping the fluidity that I’m using to draw will transfer to free-motion quilting.

I love drawing the mushrooms…that was another video…  (Youtube can be just as dangerous as Pinterest sometimes!)

I’m curious if anyone else zentangles..if you do drop me a note in the comments :o)

Until next time...♥

Friday, November 08, 2013

Dear Santa...

As Christmas Fayre season is upon us, so does the request for craft items for the raffle.  As I like to support a good cause I delved into the files and perused the images on Pinterest and settled on Jodi’s Dear Santa Mug Rug.   

It’s such a sweet idea with a pocket to leave Santa a note… and a place to rest a few cookies and a glass of (insert your favourite er…Santa’s favourite drink!)

I made three, all slightly different and will keep one for our use.

As these are likely to be out there with muggles..I reckon I need a poem to explain what a mug rug is…because it really seems to be something that only quilters know about… So DD1 has kindly written the following poem for me to send off with them.

I'm a mug rug, cute and sweet;

With room enough for Santa’s treat!

Put a little note in the pocket with care,

Hoping Santa and Reindeer will soon be there!

Until next time...♥