Thursday, 4 October 2012

A week in bullet points


Things have been rather busy over the last week, so this blog post comes to you in bullet-pointed form to streamline my thinking and because linking up all the fragments into a cohesive post may be too arduous a task for the time in which I have to write this.

Over the last week, in no particular order, I have been:
  • Spending the evenings teaching myself how to piece hexagons and diamonds by machine, something I've always feared but now feel I've conquered, whilst my husband has read to us from Lauren St John's brilliant The One Dollar Horse - one of my daughter's birthday gifts. I'd initially started using the English paper piecing method to assemble the rows of hexagons and diamonds, but I quickly realised that I don't enjoy piecing larger shapes by hand and it would have taken forever to finish the quilt that I'm already desperate to begin using.


  • Ripping up the carpet in our bedroom with the help of my rotary cutter (I'm not sure it's intended for materials quite that heavy-duty, but it did a super job!) after all your suggestions that it would help with my allergies. I'm happy to report that I think it has made something of a difference. After some friends helped us pick a rug one evening, we decided that I should not accessorise the entire house in shades of red and chose to lay something neutral over the boards and plan on getting them properly sanded and stained when funds permit. In the meantime, I've filled in some of the holes beneath my desk with foil as I feel distressed by the idea of losing one of my sewing machine feet or the bobbin case down there. My husband says this makes it look like a rather blingy sort of floor: the equivalent of a golden tooth in a mouth full of natural white.


  • We also unearthed this very sweet scrawl in the hearth which had been filled in with concrete - we were so disappointed she hadn't marked down the year though. We have long term plans to remove the concrete, lay something lovely and reinstall a mantle piece from a salvage yard but, for now, I'm quite happy seeing this bit of childish irreverence each morning.


  • We have been replacing the broken chests from Ikea which I stored much of my sewing paraphernalia in and which made me sneeze every time I opened the drawers (apparently the exposed chipboard where they'd broken would have contained formaldehyde which is meant to be super-allergenic). I am quite in love with the flame mahogany drawers which we found in a local antiques shop - they smell delicious, don't make me sneeze and will hopefully last longer than three years.


  • I have been writing up the bag pattern for the messenger bag mentioned in the last post - thanks to your feedback it will include an option for making it with the Dresden plates. My first sample is being made with Denyse Schmidt's Chicopee corduroy - my daughter adores this and has already claimed it as a weekend bag.



  • I have been helping my husband sort through the wonderful entries for the Design a Squeeble competition and picking the winners who will have their Squeeble brought to life in digital form to feature in future apps. We've run this competition twice now and it's always a really happy process to look through them all and to see what the children have written and imagined for their character - neither of us are natural judges though - we both become completely pained by having to reject some of the wonderful drawings to pick out a winner.

  • I have been pondering whether to go to the Knitting and Stitching show at Alexandra Palace that's running the week after next. Last year I made a bee-line for The Silk Route to gather fabrics for my mother's quilt and I'm tempted by visiting them again. Other draws are the presence of The Village Haberdashery, Sunflower fabrics and Fabrics Galore with their double-stand loveliness, both of whom stock an abundance of Liberty prints. I had been desperately hoping Quilt Mania might make an appearance, but sadly their name is not on the list of exhibitors.

In brief I have been:
  • Getting rained on
  • Wondering if it's possible to successfully dye leather - I've seen my dream boots, but the colour is less dreamy.
  • Enjoying watching my daughter take charge of birthday cakes for both grandmothers' birthdays.
  • Admiring my little boy's sudden desire to perfect his handwriting and working through this simple book together.
  • Finishing Parade's End on iPlayer - it wasn't the best of series, but was worth watching just because it was so beautifully shot.
  • Putting away my summer clothes and enjoying reacquainting myself with old winter favourites.
  • Generally getting things done. The shiny-new-pencil-case feeling which eluded me in September has made a welcome guest appearance for October.
  • Finally, I am swooning over the range of boiled wools which Dorte has recently got in at Dragonfly Fabrics. There's a stunning range of colours (including many shades of blue!). They would be perfect for a winter jacket, perhaps something like this one which I made a few years ago.
Bullet-pointed lists in the comments of your own goings-on are most welcome.

Florence x

31 comments:

  1. Yes yes yes to Ally Pally. It's your last chance for a quilt festival in these parts until next year!

    Good call on the floor (the best way to fill holes is to use the sawdust from your sanded floor- eventually- mixed with resin).

    Gorgeous chest of drawers. Ikea are great but not for everything!

    Hen x

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    1. Oh no, put like that attendence seems almost essential!

      I fear the holes are just too big! Perhaps the glue manages to magically hold it in place...mmm.

      Yes, I agree, I love Ikea too, but I felt really depressed by how quickly they fell apart and so at least buying second hand this time feels like a better solution environmentally than buying new again.

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  2. . cant go to ally pally (again) this year - for a good reason, I'm going on a knitting course

    . Love your chest of drawers - I have 2 of these now they are so roomy, beautiful and the bottoms of the drawers never fall out!

    . Could you post a tutorial on how to machine piece the diamond/hexagon quilt sometime? It may be a case of learning to turn corners neatly but I was wondering if you found straight lines in the quilt to zoom up

    . I love hard floors, under our downstairs carpet is 1950s parquet. It's in poor condition, one day I shall afford to have it restored...

    . your way of accenting the neutral colours in your house with that shade of red is very elegant. But perhaps you can just have too much of a good thing - and you do have the colours of your cotton reel holder in that room (which I envy)

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    1. . Hurrah! I hope you have fun on your knitting course!
      . Yes, it's wonderful and the bottom draw is so deep!
      . Yes, I can definitely do a tutorial for that as it took me a while to work it out - I may even try and attempt something on video as that may be easier to understand what's going on.

      . I dream of parquet - it's my absolute favourite - lucky you!

      . Thank you - very tactful :). I do indeed need to be reined in!

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  3. I'm dying to get my hands on your new messenger bag pattern as I am sure it will be as lovely as all of your patterns. Do you have an idea when it will be available???

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    1. Thank you - I'm so pleased! It should hopefully be within the next two weeks. x

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  4. I once dyed a pair of light pink shoes black using Dylon leather shoe dye which worked pretty well and lasted longer than my relationship with the shoes themselves!!
    http://www.timpson.co.uk/shop/c/20/shoe-care/s/117/shoe-dye/g/154/leather-shoe-dye

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    1. Oooh, thank you so much for letting me know that success might be a possibility.

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  5. I like the new look bedroom. It looks very inviting and restful. Lovely rug. The proof of whether cutting the carpet with rotary cutters will be when you use them again on fabric. Be sure to post results.

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    1. I'd actually aready started cutting again with the rotary cutter before writing this post - it did need a new blade, but was otherwise unscathed. Hurrah!

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  6. I gave a little squeal when I saw Lucy's blob in your blog post. She was so proud to have her picture chosen.

    I'd love to rip the carpet up in our bedroom as cat hair sticks to it like zelcro and is impossible to vacuum up, but its horrid underneath :(

    I've been doing so much knitting recently that I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed sewing until I had to make a last minute waistcoat for a school assembly this week. You've inspired me to dig out the hexagons I started in the summer!

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    1. How lovely - I had no idea that any of the entrants were children of people who read my blog - that's lovely, as is Lucy's blob!

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  7. Very envious of your new chest of drawers! I have dyed shoes in the past quite successfully but I can't remember who made the dye - it was a messy job though.
    I've just written a very long and probably tedious blog post of all the admin etc. I got through in September (and some knitting and gardening). I'm hoping October is going to be a sewing month - that boiled wool is very tempting but I must address the stash overflow.

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    1. Good luck with your sewing October - it sounds like it may be some dressmaking?

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  8. I love the image of your husband reading aloud to your family. You mentioned that once before and I meant to comment on it. Simply adorable!

    Great call with the antique dresser! Ikea is great for somethings, but not great for others and I'm always a fan of antique over new if possible!

    Love the corduroy Denyse Schmidt! I'm using other things from that line for my quilt in progress :) I wish I had reason to use something as cozy as corduroy. Just too hot here these days!

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    1. He has a very lovely voice for reading out loud and I've found that when I've listened to the same books he's read in audiobook form, I feel very irritated that the reader doesn't sound just like him! :)

      I can't remember where, but I did recently see some cord in amongst quilting cottons in a quilt and it was a surprisngly lovely mixture of texture and print that made me think I must try something like that in the future.

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  9. I've decided against the Itchy & Scratchy Show this year even though it's just up the road and my mum has been employing emotional blackmail to try and make me go with her (don't worry, she's now going with a whole gang of friends)! I've got a shortage of money and an excess of fabric/yarn, so it doesn't seem sensible to go to an event that's all about swapping the former for the latter...

    Beautiful drawers! After an infuriating experience with an IKEA cupboard I decided not to have any more furniture from there. And as you say, it can be very toxic stuff. I wonder if it was the chemicals in your carpet rather than the dust that you were reacting to?

    Guessing you've seen this: http://www.ladyharvatine.com/2010/03/hexagonia.html

    This week I've been doing some more hand-quilting on my Epic Quilt (the one on my blog banner) and am now down to the last 16th! Exciting times!

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    1. Oh Nina, you and your beastly good common sense. I'm now wondering whether I really need to be itchy & scratchy too...

      No, I hadn't seen that link! For some reason because mine are a mixture of diamond and hexies, it hadn't occurred to me that I could just look at how it's done with all hexies and I'd fathomed it myself instead.

      How long does the hand quilting take? That seems like a long-term project. I'm considering it for my daughter's quilt, but don't want to bit off more than I can chew...



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    2. Well, I have a horrible feeling that I'll spend next weekend gazing longingly up at Ally Pally - but perhaps I'll distract myself with a stash-busting project. In my case the hand-quilting has taken an absolute age, but I work very slowly and have taken numerous months-long breaks from it. And the quilt is 2m x 2m of hard-to-needle jersey. What was that you said about my common sense?!

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  10. Awesome meddenger bag, at least what I could see of it, I would have claimed it too.

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  11. Your week sounds so much nicer than mine! I also really like the look of those hexagons at the top of your post :) Here's my bullet-pointed week to bore you!

    •Hubby finally managed to have enough hours in the day to finish building the shelter for our teeny flock of sheep and we all had fun towing that down to the field and introducing it to them
    •Rescued Dave (one of the sheep) from the fence, as he’d got his head stuck in it (AGAIN!)
    •Tried to learn types of clouds from my cloud spotter’s guide as we had a truly beautiful sky one night, with a full moon and lots of fluffy, bumpy clouds. I never did decide on which clouds they were!
    •Got rained on
    •Helped my daughter (who has just started school) with her ‘sorting things into different groups’ homework. She had to pick 10 toys and sort them into different sorts of groups. The categories she chose were very funny – noisy/not noisy, small/medium/big, smooth/bumpy/soft and my favourite one of all, eyes/no eyes! LOL
    •I also spent all day yesterday teaching my baby how to blow kisses, it’s so very cute :D

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    1. I loved reading about your bullet-pointed week. Even the sheep nightmare sounds lovely in that form, when so divorced from its muddy reality!

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  12. I love bullet points, so I just had to comment!

    •Thank you linking to the Knitting and Stitching Show, I'd never heard about before but it looks right up my street.
    •Like other people who have commented, I can't wait for your messenger bag pattern to come out - it looks so lovely.
    •I love having someone read aloud - my dad used to read to me and my sister until we were fairly old.
    • I have also got rained on this week, and enjoyed the sunshine too!
    • If you do manage to dye leather, please do let us know how it goes!

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    1. I think I may have to use them more often - I love them too. Thank you for all your bullets. x

      I will indeed let you know how it goes if I do embark on that project!

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  13. As a long term lurker of your blog I never expected that when I did post it would be about a piece of furniture...

    About 4 years ago a distant relative passed on and we inherited what we call "the Ross on Wye" furniture as it belonged to a relative who lived there in 1909 (until 1950)and before that in Pontypool south wales...

    It appears to be exactly the same as the one in your photo (although ours is not in such good condition) - can I ask how high it is ? And I guess since it came from an antique shop you probably don't have any history... I've always meant to find out more about ours but never had the time...all I know is that "Lavinia called it the Linen press and kept her bed sheets in it"

    Pennie

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  14. Yes to Ally Pally but you say the week after next - it's actually next week! I had to double check and I'm going on the 11th.

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  15. I forgot to mention my leather-dying remembrances - when I was about 6 or 7 I moved house, and also schools. At my previous school, black or grey shoes were acceptable (I had grey) but at my new school they had to be black and so my mum decided to dye mine black so that she didn't need to buy some more (as my grey ones were quite new). The very first day I wore them it rained (a lot) and by the time I walked home from the bus (about 20 minutes), all the dye had run and my socks were ruined. I had black feet for about a month I think, very embarrassing when I was going swimming!

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  16. You are very wise to fill in those holes - I think I told you before about losing my eternity ring under our old bathroom floor (thankfully found the best part of a year later when we ripped out the bathroom!).

    On the boot-dying thing, I happen to know that my mother once successfully painted a pair of shoes. I'm not sure I'd recommend it though ... !

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a message - it's always really lovely to hear from people.

I now tend to reply within the comments section, so please do check back if you've asked a question or wish to chat.

Florence x