Header pic

Header pic

Friday, 25 September 2009

871 and still rising...




It's Friday and the end of a really successful working week. My customer count has now risen to 871 having had 4 more new customers through my door since Monday. I am ever grateful to my daughter and son-in-law for designing and making me my two banners for my gateway because they let everyone know I'm here. Anyone wanting some please check out their web site.... http://www.bigvaluebanners.co.uk/. They have now printed banners for all over the world and I know all too well how much trade they have brought to my door.

I've had a really varied week...I have made special cards to order, shortened 11 pair of trousers, designed and made the gents waistcoaty item, shortened hems on posh frocks and sleeves on several shirts to name but a few of this weeks jobs. A new friend loaned me her embellishing machine and Twiglet and I took time out on Monday to 'play' with it....we will be getting one very soon because in the short time we played with it we fell in love with what it did so watch this space. I am now all finished and ready for a relaxing weekend. It feels well earned but I know I've certainly made this week really count.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

'Waistcoat' update. It needs a name?....

For those interested my special gent came back yesterday afternoon just after lunch. My instructions were to text him on his mobile when I'd finished it :-) He was thrilled I'd worked so fast and was pretty blown away at the finished article. I had narrowed the front so it was only the width of the pockets [as instructed :-) ] so judging the finished length the back strap needed to be was difficult. On trying it on this strap was a little too short so that the front couldn't come round far enough so, me being me, I just cut it mid back with my scissors and between us we worked out exactly how long it was needed to be. His face dropped a little when I did this 'cos, as you can imagine, he was thinking he would no longer be able to take it home with him. I left him 'playing' with it, taking books off my shelves and trying them in the lower pockets and his mobile phone in the top pockets. They fit perfectly [of course :-) ]. While he was stood looking at himself in my full length mirror and admiring his new 'toy' I quickly found some more matching material and cut out a new, longer strap. Much to his amazement I then set up the sewing machine and ironing board and made his new strap. We fitted it and I stitched it in place. He was delighted and, just like a child with new shoes, he decided to leave it on to go home. I always walk him safely to his car and on this occasion I was to go with him to look at the leather he had bought to make the final one with. It's a beautiful tan hide and I'm sure will make a lovely job. He is giving this one a good trial run for a week or more before we attack the leather and his leaving words with a huge smile on his face were "I shall wear mine and get you sales for lots more". Watch this space. :-)
I need a name for it now so put your thinking caps on please.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Ooer it's Wednesday again :-)...

As last week my WIYWW was done on Thursday I thought I'd get today's in early. I have a project to do today for an elderly gent and thought I'd share it with you. He is a special guy who had a stroke 20 years ago. This hasn't stopped him getting on with 'living' and he still goes out to Africa every year to do voluntary work for 3 months. I really feel his attitude on life could teach us all a thing or two. His left arm is totally useless to him and he has to wear special shoes to make walking with a stick possible but he still drives a specially adapted car and has a very positive attitude on what he CAN do. He came last week with a shirt he wanted the sleeves shortening on and also a challenge for me [as it says on my fliers I love a challenge!]. His idea is for a strap around his neck and across his waist at the back that are both attached to a sort of slim pocketed waistcoat front. He eventually wants it making in leather so that he can put a book in one of the lower pockets and his mobile phone in the top one. I took a few measurements and sketched what he had in mind while he was here. During the last week I quickly cut out a paper pattern and a toile in a piece of scrap fabric and pinned this together ready for his next visit.
He called in again yesterday to collect his shirt and was thrilled with what I had put together. We tried it on and adjusted the pins so it fit to perfection. Today I am going to run one up in cotton drill fabric so he can take it home and give it a 'test run' before making in up in the leather. I may edit this later with a finished photo...if I get it that far :-)
Wahoo it's finished... from a quick sketch to the finished article. Just hope it fits now :-) Sorry it's really hard to photo.

Monday, 21 September 2009

The bug...

Friday was another hectic day. [ so, whats new I hear you say ] Everything from sewing, baking 4 doz buns and icing/decorating them, 3 hrs of looking after my little granddaughter P, visit to Dr for him to check out my eye [now better thanks] and then out for a 20th birthday meal for my son's gilfriend's birthday in the evening. Never a dull minute here :-) The babysitting was so that our daughter A could go for her first scan for their expected baby. Thought you might like to share our excitement and see the photo of the scan. This is just 11 weeks old and 6cm from top of head to bottom of spine but just perfectly formed already with visable fingers and toes. The baby was very active during the scan but all appears well and healthy.


We rose early on Saturday morning to get the front garden ready for our twice yearly Church garden club sale. Big sister Twiglet came to help. Our dad was one of the founder members who set up the church garden club so when he died in 1989 my hubby and I decided we would carry on the tradition of their sales. The church members bring plants, produce and cakes to sell on the tables set up on our drive and front of the garage. Someone makes coffee and it's a lovely gathering of folk for a couple of hours. The weather was kind to us and the sun shone. I'm certain somewhere there is an old man looking down on us with pride at our efforts.
It was onward and upward then to grab a bit of lunch and then to do the supermarket shopping. Not my most exciting bit of the week but needs must.
Saturday night I felt pretty rough and had tummy ache all night.....the bug had set in. Sunday was a day running back and fro the the bathroom and I ended the day at 8pm with a warm bath and an early night. I felt dreadful. Hourly visits to the bathroom ended just after midnight when I was very very sick and thankfully this morning I have rose feeling much improved if but a little wobbly on my legs.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

WIYWW [only I'm a day late!]...

This is my What's in your workroom Wednesday blog. I told Julia I would try to get this done yesterday but it turned out to be rather busier than planned so I'm a day late. Hey ho. Thats life here :-) My day started with the second batch of army cadet jackets. Another 18 labels stitched on those and it was onto shortening 3 dresses, lifting the shoulders on one dress and then to put blackout linings into a pair of caravan curtains.
Big Sister Twiglet arrived at morning coffee time with a top she had run up for me....beautiful....she is so clever. Thanks sis, you're one in a million. We had time for a chat, giggle and a coffee then I mentioned I fancied making some beetroot chutney so she harvested the last of the beetroot in our garden. She found a recipe on the web and took her share of the beetroot home to make hers.





Mine sat in the bowl waiting for a gap in my busy day!













I ploughed on with lunch, sewing, sewing and yet more sewing. My next batch of bridesmaid dresses arrived in the afternoon ready for steaming and my neighbour popped in for a coffee with her 9mth old little girl. [It does feel a little like a drop in here at times but thats what I am here for...I love it]. The little one had been very poorly with a virus and had needed hospitalisation so it was really lovely to see her brighed eyes and bushy tailed again.
Tea was a roast chicken dinner with all the trimmings for 4 as our son and girlfriend were home for tea. They have had a wonderful summer spending time together...just what life should be full of at their age. It's back to uni at the weekend so life will change again for them.


After tea I just had to tackle the beetroot. They were washed and cooked. The apples. marrow and onions were finely chopped along with the still hot cooked beetroot and put in a pan to cook with the sugar salt and vinegar.
After a lot of simmering and stirring and reducing the liquids it smelled wonderful and looked pretty good too.









It was cooled slightly and put into my new jars. Hey presto! 9.30pm and yes I'm shattered :-)

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Oh how much we use our eyes...

They say you don't miss something 'til you don't have it and I have to say I agree. I have really felt very disabled since last Friday morning. I couldn't sew. I couldn't read. I couldn't card make. I couldn't knit. Even watching telly was painful. My heart goes out to those who have permanent limited vision. My whole world revolves around the ability to see.

I am thrilled to say the ointment has worked. It says I have to use it for 48hrs after my eye is better so I do have the 3 hrly sting still but that I can cope with. I managed a busy day sewing yesterday thankfully and have the promise of lots and lots of work this week. It looks like the army has moved into my sewing room to be honest. I have 'found' by Shrewsbury School and have been given the job of sewing name labels on their army cadets jackets and the badges on their berets. Have already done 26 of each and thats only half of them! [more coming this week!]. Now they have found me they say they will be back on a regular basis for work. Watch this space! It's easy work if but a little boring but it all brings in the pennies.
I was given a copy of 100 flowers to knit and crochet [http://twiglet5.blogspot.com/2009/07/my-latest-rainy-day-activity.html] by my big sister,Twiget, just before the weekend [think she likes to torture me cos she knows how I tear at the leash at anything new and of course I couldnt even see the pictures let alone read the knitting instructions!] . I am please so say I have now had time to 'play' and have knitted a piece of lavender and a chyrsanthemum flower so thought I'd better show and tell. As you can see I need to work on perfection. The book doesn't give you needle sizes and says you can vary these to suit the size of flowers you want so to make a finished and useful flower I guess you need to play with it to get it as required. Still not sure what I would use the flowers for but it's lots of fun watching them 'grow' on your knitting needles.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Poorly eye :-(

I'm typing with blurred vision so please forgive any errors. I woke yesterday morning with a very painful sore eye and struggled all day to do my sewing. By lunch time it felt like I had a boulder in my right eye, blinking was very painful and my eye streaming with tears. I rang our Dr's surgery and was told the Dr was fully booked for the afternoon so I told them I would have to nip in to the A & E. On that she said of course if it was an emergency they had an appointment at 4.40!! I had to driven to the surgery 'cos by that time it had become so painful driving would have been impossible. I have aparantly got a small cyst under my eye lid [it felt huge!!] and it had become infected so I now have ointment to put in my eye every 3 hours....ouch it stings :-(

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Steam's up...it's sauna time!

I made 2 new ironing board covers this morning...one was to replace the one I ruined yesterday with bond-a-web. I know, I know I should have put down a cloth to cover it but was so keen to get on it was too late by the time I realised. It ended up with big black sticky marks all over and when your ironing board is on show and in use all day for the business I had to replace it quickly. The other cover is a spare for the next time I have a senior moment!

I then moved on to clear my rail of all my sewing jobs to clear the decks in readiness for sauna time!! I have 5 bridesmaid's dresses and a mother of the bride suit to steam today. My little room has to be taken over to do this job. I clear my rails and space out the items to steam, the windows and doors are opened and out comes my steamer. Thankfully it's a beautiful day here and the sun is streaming in through the open door.

Seams up so I'm off now........

Monday, 7 September 2009

What made this weekend count ?...

Saturday's make each day count activity was to make a Wedding card for the bride who's dress I altered this week and her Hubby-to-be. You may remember I had made voile sashes for her bridesmaids and, of course, the trimmings were saved to personalise the card. I have used an aperture card and filled the space with a piece of the wedding dress that was trimmed off to shorten it. This was backed with wadding and stitched in place with a heart shaped pattern using the sewing machine. I then 'cut' out flowers from the orange and maroon voiles used for the sashes using the soldering iron. These were stitched on using matching seeding beads and messages and names etc were printed on card, edged with a serrated cutter and stamping ink. Et voila...hope you like it.





Sunday was another day...We woke early and [as we do] it was decided, on the spur of the moment, to have a day out. We set the sat nav for Abakhan, Mostyn, N. Wales. We had been before and felt it was well worth the visit. For those who don't know it is a wonderful place for buying materials and crafts of every kind. Furnishing fabrics and dress fabrics can be bought as roll ends for very silly prices. I set the requirements to be to buy enough materials for 6 winter weight tops for myself. We looked, oooed and awed, felt, crushed [to check for creasability] and very quickly decided on the 6 it was to be......yes blue/lilac shades are my colours. I am very pleased with it all and only paid just over £45 for enough for the 6 tops....a bargain.




On then we drove to the coastal road. We called in for a coffee at Rhyl [not my fav place but coffee was good] and had a walk up the beach.....bliss. The ride home was up over the Horseshoe pass with it's wonderful views and of course the sheep :-)

No two weekends are the same here but this one certainly rates amongst one of the best.
[Yes, I am a woman of simple needs! :-) ]

Friday, 4 September 2009

Sunflowers to brighten a day...



Have just read Sue's blog and Rein has challenged them to a card with sunflowers on. I've little time for card making today but thought you might like to see a photo of one of my machine embroidered piccies with really cheery sunflowers on. Hope you like it and hope you feel better soon Rein.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

What's on my desks?...

Good morning. I was asked by Julia to describe what was on my desk because I had left a message on another blog that the job I was working on yesterday was a wedding dress and that I wouldn't want to put photos of it on my blog 'cos it was of course a secret to be kept for her special day. I decided I could do better than that and could pop a few photos here of areas of my room where I spend my days.



This is my computerised machine that I do the clever jobs on. I sew all my gorgeous wedding dresses on here and do any decorative stitching on my greetings cards on this one. As you can see I look out onto my bird feeders and even have one attached to the outside of my window so often have birds just literally inches away from me while I sew...bliss. This window faces south so I get all the sunshine here through my window.









This one is my overlocker. I hadn't used an overlocker 'til I did my tailoring training and now I couldn't imagine not using one. It finishes the seams off professionally and makes hand made garments look so much better. On the wall at the back you can see a few of my rubber stamps. I use these for my card making but only have room to display these few [there are many more in the drawers above].








This is my work horse. It's my industrial machine that I do all my everyday jobs on. It travels quickly through any job and I'm sure would be very unforgiving to any fingers in it's way [dare I say I've never had the pleasure of finding out?]. Below the table you can see draws full of threads of just about every colour available. My motto is "if I haven't got it you probably cant buy it .










This is my blind hemmer. It's the machine that puts that thread in trouser hems that little boys sit in school pulling and undoing their hems. This machine must have saved me hours over the years. It sews up hems pretty much invisibly in a fraction of the time I could do it by hand. It does have it's limitations and it has days when I have to talk to it very nicely to get it to do the job I am asking of it but, when it works, it works well. Of course you can see the boxes of material and the bits and pieces everywhere but what craft/ sewing room wouldn't have these. The boxes in this picture are full of the fur fabric I use for my puppets so if you fancy one just let me know :-)




Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Weekend activities...[no rest for the wicked!]

Hubby had to work Sat and Sunday mornings so it was down to yours truly to do all the morning chores....empty the dish washer, feed the dogs, hoover through [the 2 youngest dogs have skin problem at the mo and are loosing their fur from itching so I feel like I am hoovering up half a dog each day]. My jobs done by the time hubby came home from work, it was to be a weekend of tidying up our back garden. Large bushes were cut back for autumn, bird feeders were moved and washed before refilling, hedges were cut, clippings were shredded and the vegetable plot was cleared of spent plants. The loppers, secateurs, hedge cutters, rakes, fork, spade and strimmer were all put to good use. The weather stayed kind to us and it only rained when our limbs ached so much that going on would have hurt too much. By bedtime each night what didn't hurt didn't work but we felt we had really achieved something.

You can now see the bottom of a very large garden from the house [the love seat you can see in the picture is only about half way down the garden!]. The birds have flocked to the now visible bird feeders [I'm certain they have told all their friends 'cos we are inundated with sparrows, tits of every kind, robins, blackbirds and thrushes now] or were they just there before hiding in the bushes?











Did someone say it was coffee time? Yes this is a love seat so what better place for them to sit?











By yesterday early afternoon it was outdoor jobs done so we showered and changed and nipped to local DIY to pick up a new shower riser rail [yes, yet more jobs on the to do list still!] then on to our eldest daughter's house where her and her partner are doing house improvements. The new utility had been painted and they had just finished the floor tiling and grouting so we were summoned for a viewing. It gives such pleasure to see them working together to build their home and making such a brilliant job of it too. A quick coffee with them then we drove the long way home to have a well earned tea cooked for us at the Lowfield at Marton.

Salad of three melons [galia, honeydew and cantaloupe] with tiger prawns and a chilli, ginger and mango dressing. Followed by pan fried bream fillets with crushed local new potatoes, green beans & a tarragon butter sauce.

Yum yum.