Sunday, 25 October 2015

Overrun with mice!!!

The pink mice are coming along. In fact, they're breeding quite fast!!

Tina's Allsorts, Sugar Mice

Tina's Allsorts, Sugar Mice

There are another 5 that need ears and eyes and most of them still need whiskers. I tried a couple with hessian strands for the whiskers - it worked brilliantly and they didn't need to be stiffened at all. They just didn't look as good as the bright pink embroidery thread...So whiskers will be added - and stiffened - bit by bit I think.

Did I mention a while back that my mojo seemed to be missing and had been for at least a couple of years??...
Well, I think it's safe to say that not only is it back but it's back with a vengeance and I'm having trouble keeping it under control!! No sooner do I start one project, I've already thought of something else and I'm desperate to try that too!!! 

(I'm already bored with zipped purses, although I will make some more in other colours. Just not right now.)

I meant to go to a craft fair today. My local haberdashers had organised their own craft fair in a local community centre and I intended to go for the last hour or so. But I completely forgot... It turned out to be such a beautiful sunny day that I decided to go to Hilliers for a splash of colour and quite forgot the time. Along with everything else...
But as luck would have it, Hilliers were also hosting a craft fair of sorts. I don't know how long it will be on - they often last a week. There was a room full of the most fabulous textile arts and crafts. I was sort of glad I hadn't taken much cash, as I would have bought loads! I settled for a a little card with a fabric seaside scene with little sail boats and this chap -

He's much the same as the chicken doorstops and paperweights that I made but he's filled with stuffing so he can be used as a pin cushion. I like the addition of  little wings and tail feathers - I might have to make some with stuffing myself!!
I had to buy him. I just had to! Whilst making the mice I kept thinking I needed a pin cushion next to me rather than use the arm of the sofa. And now I have!

I never did manage to make it to Sheffield Park, never mind Weston Birt to see the autumn colour but Hilliers has more than it's fair share of autumn glory if you know where to look. And having been visiting there for 20+ years, I know exactly where to look! I took loads of photos and will share some later when I've been through them.  For now, I'll leave you with a picture of James. Yes, this tree really is called James.And he's very handsome indeed.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Yes !!!! 9999 !!!

LOOK!!!!! It's there!!!! 9999!!!! That's nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety nine views!!!

 YES -  nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety nine !!!

Woo Hoo!!! I'm just a little bit excited!!! 

Tina's Allsorts, Stripey Blanket

If you're wondering what all the fuss is about, click here - stripey blanket. It'll take you to my project page on Ravelry. Maybe you'll be the 10,000th??? Or maybe you read my post yesterday and have been one of the people who have boosted the views over the past day? If so, Thankyou!

I can sleep well now...

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Sugar Mice

I've been thinking all week on what other things I can make and had remembered a little mouse I made nearly 3 years ago. I'm still a bit stuck on the pink theme and thought a few pink mice would be nice, a bit like sugar mice - remember them?! Then I suddenly thought, I could call her Sugar the Mouse and stitch her name on the base!

Tina's Allsorts
It's been a while since I did any free motion stitching but it's a bit like riding a bike really. I got carried away and wrote it quite a few times!
I did think maybe she could have a brother called Spice (Sugar & Spice?...) and had to stop myself rushing ahead and stitching that too! One thing at a time. Or if you're me, 3 or 4  at a time. At least...

My memory played a little trick and told me she'd be quick to make. She isn't. But she is very cute!!

I couldn't find the pattern I'd used before so had to draught a new one first. And you know what? When I pulled out some of my pink fabric that was tucked away safely, one piece had a mouse body cut out of one edge from 3 years ago and it was perfect enough I could have made a pattern from it. Never mind - my new version is almost the same, just a fraction larger.

I set to making a sturdy cardboard template from my paper pattern for all the little body parts - body, ears and base - and made the first couple to remind myself how to make them. Then I got stuck in and started a little production line of pink mice - they're only part made so far. The other thing my memory forgot to remind me about was that apart from one machine stitched line for the back seam of the body, they are completely hand stitched...But I can sit and do them in the evening when there's nothing on the telly, or take them to work for a little lunchtime sewing.

So I've been busy today pressing, machine stitching, turning through and stuffing the nose. Naturally I couldn't resist a few photos along the way!

Tina's Allsorts

Tina's Allsorts

Tina's Allsorts

Tina's Allsorts

What do you think? I did wonder about filling her with lavender - I haven't yet but maybe she could have a spoonful or two. And should I stiffen the whiskers?? I did that with the mice 3 years ago - I rain a touch of glue along the threads to just separate and stiffen them a little. It was a very messy job and I was picking glue off my fingers tips for the next couple of days as well. Maybe I'll wait till they're all made, so I only have to get messy once.

My sister in law popped in while I was busy with the mice and looked at the things I've made so far and bought a large zipped purse made with a "sewing print" fabric, a matching coin purse and requested a matching notebook too. So I then got side tracked from mice and made the notebook cover straight away - they're quicker than mice too! As you can see from this picture, when I get going, things get quite untidy. And you can't get to the dining table either as I just take over!! Apart from the dining table, there was also a selection of fabric, cutting tools and trimmings on chairs, worktop and floor...

Tina's Allsorts

Yesterday someone asked if I was going to sell things on Esty, which I had considered, so I had a look at the basics of what's involved and the costs. The costs aren't as high as I expected but would still be nearly 10% of my selling price. Another thing to take into consideration when setting your prices. And just how do you price a mouse?? She's only 4" high, doesn't take a lot of fabric but takes nearly an hour to make. Answers on a postcard...

PS Nearly forgot!

Look how many views my Stripey Blanket has had on Ravelry!
It's been going up quite quickly this week for some reason. Not sure I'm going to see the magic 9999 though...

Monday, 12 October 2015

Vintage Buttons

Just a quick hello today. I've been busy making little zipped purses and wanted to add something to the zip tab to make them easier to grab and pull open. I thought perhaps a short length of ribbon with maybe a button threaded on it. I went through my button jar to see what might work and came across this little card of buttons. I once bought a bag of buttons in a charity shop and there were quite a few still on their original card. Looking at these, I had to stop and ask myself if I had ever worn any underwear that required buttons, never mind button that were boil proof!! I realised yes, I had once had an all in one "thing" that opened at the crotch - they were all the rage. And I was young. But it had poppers not buttons. And it certainly wasn't made form a fabric you could boil!!

PS The chocolate was disappointing. I'll stick to chocolate buttons and pringles...
And Lucy of Attic 24 has an update on the Flowers for Memories. After "going on show", they will still be sold as originally planned.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Flowers for Memories

Do you ever read Lucy's blog over at Attic24?? She's an amazing crocheter (if there is such a word) and produces the most colourful creations, all of which she shares for free. She's also very involved in what looks to be an amazing crafty weekend called Yarndale. I'll go one day - I will. I'd love to...

See all that bunting in the photo below? In Yarndale's first year, hundreds of people around the world made all those triangles to decorate the hall. Lucy received thousands of triangles and it looks amazing. I made a few myself. In year two, she asked for mandalas. Again thousands arrived - including mine. (You can see them on display again on the Attic 24 link above.)

This year, it was flowers that were requested. Sheila, in the photo below, wanted to raise funds for the Alzheimers Society and thought crocheted flowers could be used to make brooches, corsages, floral wreaths etc and then sold. "Flowers for Memories" was the tagline. Again, hundreds of people made and sent in thousands of flowers and they were able to make the most incredible display.
(To my shame, I simply never found the time to make any, although I meant to from the moment I first read about it as my mother died from Alzheimers.)

Ever since the show back in Sept, I've been checking both Lucy's blog and the Yarndale pages for news of how the flowers were going to be sold and intended to buy several myself and then give as gifts to family and friends, with a note saying where they were from and why.

However, reading Lucy's blog today, it seems that so many of the visitors to this years Yarndale said it would be a real shame to break up the display and it should "go on show" for more people to enjoy. So rather than sell the flowers, they requested donations from people asking to take photos. And they raised a whopping £1800 over the 2 days.

The whole thing sounded amazing and I wish I had been there to see it - I would gladly have given a donation, then made my own flower. I left a comment this morning and I've just gone back for another looking while writing this post and started reading the comments other people had left...some of them were vile, complaining that they had been lied to as they made flowers to be sold and now they wouldn't be. I didn't read many of them. I just couldn't.

Just look at the joy on Sheila's face with the reactions the display received. To see the whole display in "the flesh" must have been quite overwhelming and emotional and anyone who has been touched by Alzheimers would completely understand the decision not to sell.

So I think as a tribute to Sheila and Lucy's amazing efforts, I will be making some flower brooches over the coming weeks and giving them to family and friends. And for every flower, I will make a donation. So sucks to all the people who left those nasty comments - you should be ashamed.

A leaving gift

One of the ladies at work is leaving and I thought it might be nice if I made a couple of little things for her as a leaving gift. I settled on a zipped purse measuring approx 7" x 3" - I thought she could either use it for her crochet hook and scissors etc, or a pencil case at her new job. Along with a diary for next year with a matching cover. It's A6 size, so can be used on any standard sized notebook as well.

Tina's Allsorts, zipped purse

Whilst searching through my stash for trimmings, I came across a small reel of printed ribbon with the word Love and thought it might look nice to stitch a little piece to the lining. It looked so good I think I'll be doing that again! I bought some pink gauze ribbon and a single glass bead to tie to the zip pull. I want to get some labels made printed with Tina's Allsorts to stitch in the side seam inside (or maybe on the outside) but I've not had chance yet.

I gave them to her yesterday (along with a Friday doughnut!!) and I think she liked them. Although she may not have been keen on the pink!

Today, I went to the opticians to collect my new glasses - varifocals this time, along with a separate pair for computer work. I've heard a lot of horror stories about varifocals and how hard they are to get used to but personally, I put them on and they were simply amazing! 
I can't wait to try out the computer glasses at work too, as I've needed a new prescription in them for ages. I've got them on now but the laptop sits closer to me than the screen at work so they're not quite right -  but a lot better than my eight year old reading glasses that I had been using at home!

Tomorrow I'll get to try the varifocals out when sewing. Hopefully, I'll be able to see clearly for measuring an cutting, as well as stitching. I had the camera out earlier and could actually see the screen properly!! This is what I took a photo of - 

While trying out the varifocals, I was wandering round Sainsburys reading all the labels - yes really, it was brilliant! - I saw this bar of chocolate. I couldn't believe it. Someone has actually made a bar of chocolate with salty cracker in it!! All my friends think I'm very strange because I love to eat chocolate and crisps in the same mouthful. Now they've made it!!
Naturally I bought a bar - it's only small - I'll have it later with a cup of coffee.
I also bought flowers for the lovely lady in the opticians who went beyond the call of duty to help me choose frames and lenses etc.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Autumn's first splash of colour

Just a quickie today. Remember the ornamental cherry tree outside the office window that looked amazing covered in spring blossom way back in February or March??

 Well, just look at it now -

Tina's Allsorts
It was still all green on Monday but day by day, it has changed colour. I took this picture yesterday and there was still  a little green around the bottom branches but I don't think there's any green left today.

I keep forgetting that we're into October now! (Did I sleep through September??...) I must start planning some autumn colour walks soon. I might try and get to Sheffield Park Gardens this year - it gets very busy but the colours are amazing. And there's Westonbirt Arboretum. I went there once in early spring and would love to go back in the autumn one day - I bought their guide book and the photos of the autumn colours were truly jaw dropping. It's a bit of a drive for a one day visit though. We'll see.

Enjoy the weekend's sunshine before Monday's rain!!