Friday, 28 February 2014

Spring cleaning already!

My Spring cleaning has continued in earnest this week, this time with the hallway. When we moved in 7 years ago there was a cream carpet down in the hall, and its still there after 3 kids and 2 cats - so you can imagine the state of it! So I'm pleased to say that today's the day it goes - laminate in its place.

I've painted the walls white - they were cream, but the white has made a huge difference and made it really bright and clean looking.

I really wanted a feature wall opposite the door, and spotted this lovely yellow floral wallpaper called Hydrangea in Laura Ashley. 

So that's gone up, and I've refurbished an old pine blanket box by painting it with Annie Sloan chalk paint, and making a cushion using fabric from the same Laura Ashley range, but with a stripe - Eaton Stripe.

Here it is all finished - take it from me it's a huge transformation! I just need a new doormat, and maybe a runner?

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Drawing with threads

I was looking for a quick project this week to give me something to do while the weather's been so bad. so after searching through my books for a bit of inspiration, I found the lovely Free and Easy Stitch Style by Poppy Treffry. I've had a little go at machine embroidery in the past and I thought it'd be a good way to use up some of my scraps.

One of the facebook pages I'm signed up to features some fantastic photos of the North East, and I thought this might make a great starting point for an embroidered picture. these are two pictures I really like - the "Angel of the North' by Anthony Gormley and this image of a location on Hadrian's Wall called Sycamore Gap which featured in the Kevin Costner film "Robin Hood Prince of Thieves" many moons ago!

I started by sketching out the main bones of the Angel image - the figure and a hill, plus some embellishments such as a few trees, clouds, and a person to add interest.

I then spent AGES happily trawling through my fabric scraps to find the ideal combination. I started with a green floral print which I thought would b ideal for the hill, and went from there. I wanted prints for the main elements that would complement each other, plus a few bits of contrast in the extra details.

After cutting out some squares of each fabric, I ironed Bondaweb onto the back. This means you can stick your shapes down after cutting out, which keeps them in place while you're sewing, and it also stops the fabric fraying.

Then I copied each shape onto the back of the Bondaweb, cut each one out and ironed them all onto my backing fabric, which was a piece of plain white cotton.

Then, I free stitched around each piece of fabric to create an outline - it's a bit like doing a line drawing, but with a needle and thread. I'll do a more in depth post later on this technique.

A bit of tidying up of loose threads and it's ready to hang!

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Grey fabric to cheer up a grey day!

I've been out browsing round the shops today and although its still grey and wet outside, all the new Spring collections are on the shelves. So despite feeling lie I'm still in the depths of winter I've decided to start panning a few summery makes. It takes me so long to get sorted, choose fabric and so on that by the time I'm ready to start sewing its almost autumn. I really want to run up a few skirts this year - there are so many lovely fabrics out there.

Bizarrely though,  most of the fabrics I'm drawn to at the moment are, in fact, grey. What's that about?!

As a cat lover and mum of two feline fur babies, I was delighted to find this lovely cat and mouse fabric online. I really like the colours too, as I think it would work well for colder weather with
a black jumper and tights.

 My only problem has been sourcing an adult skirt pattern that's not stuck in the 70's. Seriously, I looked through all the pattern books in John Lewis today and there wasn't anything.

Lots of ra-ra skirts, mid calf numbers and so on but a scary lack of modern, simple a-line patterns. Has anyone else had this problem? I've had a look on Etsy instead but I'd welcome any feedback on pattern sourcing.

 Here are the other fabrics I've been lusting after.

First from Frumble.

And from Fabric Rehab.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Spring tidy up

Well Spring has finally felt like its on its way this week - my God, the sun has even broken through. I don't know about where you are, but here in the North it has been cold and grey for weeks.

So as well as cheering me up, the brighter weather and better light has highlighted that our conservatory is in a bit of a state. The carpet looks grubby, the walls are marked and its looking a bit unloved. It houses our dining table so its well used, and its showing. So I decided this week to give it  a quick makeover.

Because of the kids, it's pretty basic in there - Ikea table and chairs with cushion pads that have seen better days. They're washable but they tend to go  bit lumpy so I wonderd if removable covers would work better.

Like our kitchen, it's green with red accessories so when I found some red star-patterned curtain weight fabric in a local shop I snapped it up. I traced round the seat pads to make a template and made new covers which fit on but still allow the velcro fasteners to fit round the chair legs. Then I hemmed a matching piece of fabric to make a tablecloth.

We've struggled during the winter with light in there - we have a couple  of wall lights and lampsbut its strill too dark. So I found these bargain lamps in Ikea for just £5.25. They've got clamp fastenings so I've fixed them to the blind track - one above the table and one above the sofa.

I then made a couple of little felt accessories to finish it off. A hanging heart with a bit of Cath Kidston fabric, plus a little padded cushion featuring some spare buttons and ribbon trim. I added the lettering by using letter stamps and a fabric pen on a piece of cotton tape.