Tuesday, 9 December 2014

How A Stitcher Should Wrap Christmas Presents

Have you ever tried to wrap a dog?

I don't know about you, but I love giving presents. I especially love giving people lots of presents. I'm not talking about hugely expensive presents, I'm talking about presents that probably don't cost much money, that are fun, or useful, or nonsensical and, often, small.

How about wrapping a Ferrari?

Let's be honest, probably one of the reasons I love giving lots of presents is that I rather like receiving presents.

Or a helicopter...?
I am not quite so keen on wrapping presents... and I really don't like wrapping awkwardly-shaped presents! However, I think those irritatingly weird dimensions will cause less of a problem this Christmas season! What's the reason for this unusual optimism, I hear you ask. Well, the answer to my present-wrapping prayers appeared on that wonderful site, Pinterest.

Spiderman can be very awkward

You know how, when you go onto Pinterest, a lovely array of pins comes up on screen? Well, one Sunday morning at about 04:50, I was browsing some of those pins and came across this lovely idea...

A lovely idea for stitchers.
I think it would be lovely, as a stitcher, to wrap some presents for family and friends in this way. You could use almost any paper for the wrapping: kraft paper, metallic-finish wrapping paper, Christmas-themed paper, handmade paper. You could even use fabric! Woohoo, another use for fabric scraps! And, wouldn't it be fun to put buttons and buttonholes onto the parcel so that it could be opened like a piece of clothing?

My mind is buzzing with ideas. 'Scuse me, must dash - sew much wrapping to do!

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

December Is Here Already!

I haven't forgotten you all, I promise. It's just that I haven't been doing any crafting lately. Too little time and too much tiredness, I'm afraid!

Life is very hectic at the moment - not because of Christmas, nor because of craft. I shall tell you about it in a while. In the meantime, I hope you manage to finish all of your Christmas crafting in time.

Happy crafting one and all!

Monday, 24 November 2014

It's Bigger Than You Think!

I need to pack away my lovely Brother 1250, now known as "Cherry". However, I have a teensy weensy problem which I am hoping one of my lovely readers will be able to help me with, please.

Cherry will fit in the place where I used to store my Brother Super Ace II before it died, but... the embroidery unit won't fit on that shelf. I want to store the embroidery unit in the cupboard under the stairs, with my Janome embellisher, but it needs to be protected.

The box that contained the machine and embroidery unit had only a polystyrene tray for the embroidery unit and that really isn't sturdy enough to keep it in permanently. I have been looking for a storage box but haven't found anything yet.


My question is...

How do you store the separate embroidery unit of your machine (if you have one), to keep it safe?

I really would appreciate your help and ideas, please.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Cherry's Been Busy Again

Cherry (my Brother 1250) has been busy again. She's a very good girl. She's ready to go whenever I ask: late evening, early morning, whenever. That's a very useful trait of hers because I tend to go to see her during my flashes of energy,

Anyway, you don't want to hear about that, you want to hear what my clever little girl has made this time, don't you?

Pillowcase Dress made for
Dress A Girl Around The World
This is Cherry's third finish: another pillowcase dress for Dress A Girl Around The World . The dresses (plus shorts for boys) are sent to communities around the world. It is run on a shoestring by volunteers. I can't imagine how many hours they have to put into running the organisation but I am so glad that they do.

I have acquired a few more pillowcases so my intention is to make dresses from all of them and post the entire bundle together. Isn't it a good job I collect ribbons, trims and elastic wherever I go and that I make my own bias binding!

Happy sewing, everyone. What are you making at the moment? I would love to know.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Playing With My Brother

Bossymamma's Brother

Here it is! My brand new, all-singing, all-dancing sewing and embroidery combination machine... my Brother 1250. I love it already! It is so quiet and so smooth. It has a thread cutter, which I love using - for some reason it gives me a little thrill every time I press that button! Silly, isn't it?

When I first sat in front of the machine I admit I felt a little overwhelmed but that didn't last long. I soon began trying it out. I cut a piece off a length of leftover fabric that Peter's mother, Christina, had given me - I think it was from some curtains but, anyway, it looked ideal for what I wanted to do. Then I began stitching... I started trying out some of the decorative stitches to see how they stitched. 

My sampler showing some of the
1250's decorative stitches

I began with the idea of producing a sampler that I could use to make a cushion for Christina. When I mentioned the idea to Peter his comment was that she already has lots of cushions (she does), but then I remembered that I had had the idea to make a special bag for Peter's sister-in-law, Joy. She always carries around a filled hot water bottle and it occurred to me that if I made a bag to hold the hot water bottle, it would allow her to use the hand that currently holds it. I hope she won't take offence at the bag: that she won't think I am poking fun at her. I'm not poking fun, I genuinely hope that the bag is useful to her.

Joy's Hot Water Bottle Bag

It even has adjustable straps!

Although I stitched the sampler, I didn't immediately make the bag - I was too busy playing with the machine! My next step was to try using the embroidery unit - really scary stuff! I would have to behave myself, read the instructions and follow the rules which is not easy when you're as impatient as me! But I did it. I took my time and read what each of the manuals said (there are two manuals - a "quick start" short manual and the full guide) then set about hooping another piece of Christina's donated fabric - the lining, this time.

Bossymamma's first piece of machine
Drum roll, please... Here we have my first piece of machine embroidery. I deliberately chose a single colour motif as I didn't feel like changing colours in my first attempt. I also made sure it was a small, quick design because I wanted to see the results quickly. Honestly, I'm like a small child, I'm so impatient. Anyway, I was pleased with the result. It stitched out neatly and smoothly so I think my hooping of the fabric must have been OK. Hmmm, but then I realised I had a large used a large piece of fabric and an equally large piece of stabiliser and "tight mode" took over. I didn't want to waste all of that. So, I began looking in the manuals to see how I could reposition where the machine embroiders. Argh, panic! I couldn't find it. Oh well, one of the members on a sewing forum I belong to had said she also owns a 1250, so I put out an SOS on the forum. I was soon receiving replies so was able to start repositioning. This is the result and I am modestly pleased with how it turned out.

Several embroidered motifs -
repositioned by me!

I don't know if any of the motifs will be usable in projects but I imagine they will, so I shall keep this piece. Oh dear, where am I going to be able to store it? Aaargh!

Pillowcase dress

My first completed project on the 1250 was the pillowcase dress in this photograph. When I had finished my playtime my mind went blank and I couldn't think of what to sew. Then I remembered that I had acquired some pillowcases from my mother during her house move earlier this year so I decided to make a dress from one of them. It was a good test for the machine as there were some places where the joining of seams caused very thick piles of fabric for the machine to sew through. No matter. Cherry managed it easily. (I have just this moment thought of and decided upon the name 'Cherry'). So, I have my first two projects under my belt and Cherry is ready, willing and more than able to stitch them!

Happy sewing, everyone!

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Open The Box!

Right! I'm going to show my age now.

Do you remember a TV programme, hosted by Michael Miles (whom I always preferred to Hughie Green), called "Take Your Pick"? If I remember rightly, contestants answered some questions. Then there was a triangular prop which was made of squares and the contestant picked a key. Then there was the decision... "Take the money" or "Open the box". The audience would call out which they thought the contestant should choose.

Well, today you and I are going to open the box...

IT'S MY NEW MACHINE!!! Woohoo! It arrived last Thursday but I haven't had a chance to blog about it until now.

I must reassure you that I wouldn't normally photograph the opening of a box. However, there was a very sensible reason for doing so in this situation viz I need to pack the machine in its original packaging when it goes for service or if it needs a repair. So, it made sense to be able to see exactly how it all goes in the box so that it is as easy as possible to do it when the time comes. Sensible, huh? Surely it was far too sensible for me to have thought of it, but I did!

Happy sewing!

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Our Wandering Has A Surprise At The End!

It is apposite that we begin with this stall as in this, my third post about the Home Is In The North show, we are on the home stretch, looking at the final stalls before heading homeward. Nicky at Homeward breathes new life into special items. To understand more you need to visit her website at http://homewardhome.co.uk .


Adriana Gentile Woven Textile Design
All of the fabrics in this photograph have been designed and woven by Adriana Gentile. They are beautiful hues and wonderfully soft. Head to her website to find out more: http://www.adrianawoventextiles.com .

Anna Joe Textiles Design
Gemma Davison is the owner of Anna Joe Textiles Design. She produces these beautiful designs for the home and has recently branched out into printing wonderful silk scarves. Visit her website to see what else she produces: http://www.annajoe.co.uk .

Simon Wilks Tableware Design
Simon designs and produces interesting bowls and servers. The bowls are ceramic or stoneware and the servers are made from wood. The whole thing then comes on a wooden stand - sometimes a single piece of wood, at other times the stand is made from several slices of wood which have been pressed. I particularly liked the pressed wood. See more about his work by clicking here .

Bough To Beauty - Upcycled wooden accessories
Vix and Lou describe themselves as "sisters with a dream". They produce upcycled wooden accessories which are ethically made and environmentally conscious. Read about their vision and see their products at http://www.boughtobeauty.co.uk/about-us/ .

Bough To Beauty

Northern Letters
Matt Simpson loves Manchester and he is inspired by the typography that is found in and around Manchester - on buildings, signs, restaurants and elsewhere. He is so inspired, in fact, that he uses those letters to enable you to have a little part of Manchester's Northern Quarter in your home. Find out more about Matt and his products at https://www.northernletters.co.uk .

White Light Ceramics
White Light Ceramics look so very delicate: they are almost like paper. Well, they are almost like paper because paper is included in the process. To find out more email: whitelightceramics@gmail.com . Unfortunately the website address listed on the business card is not current.

White Light Ceramics
Well, that brings us to the end of our wander around the Home Is In The North show... except that you have yet to learn what the young couple needed.

As I was moving away from the final stall I heard a young woman say to her partner:

"We need a unicorn."

It was a magical end to our day.