Saturday, 30 March 2013

Crafting for Queequeg

Mum and Dad have recently moved from a three-bedroomed house into a two-bedroomed bungalow. Packing up a house that they’ve lived in for 24 years was not easy and there was a lot that needed to be ditched but Mum was adamant that the Ottoman from her bedroom had to have a home in the new bungalow. This piece of furniture is, apparently, Queequeg’s favourite article on which to sharpen his claws.
Now, I’m up here for Easter and love to be kept busy so I thought I’d re-cover the piece for Mum and Quee. Sarah, the kids and I ventured out to Ikea yesterday to buy the last of Mum’s new bedroom furniture. While we were there we spotted some fabric that was a good match to her current (but quite old) duvet cover. Mum might have liked to choose the fabric herself but I was too excited to wait. Surely she’d love this.
Step one was to strip the previous two layers of fabric off it and reveal a thin layer of quilting from one of Nan-nan’s old quilts from many many years ago. I then padded underneath this layer with about half the stuffing from a pillow and stapled it all down securely.
I then tightly stapled the new fabric around the lid. The minute that I finished, as if to prove Mum right, Quee strolled over to give it a try…
Here’s the finished piece both in the lounge and in-situ at the bottom of Mum’s bed. They both seem pleased!
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Thursday, 28 March 2013

Crafty Final Day of Term

For me and my classes, the last day of term means crafting, whether they like it or not! With just one lesson to be taught today and suspecting that Year 8 would have constructed the perfect Easter egg last year I decided to do curve stitching with them this morning. We didn’t actually stitch but used a pencil and straight edge to create the curves from straight lines. They concentrated well and worked really hard to create excellent results that looked just like my stitched version…


Next, whilst half the school was in the Easter assembly and the other half were sorting out form rooms and the like, I sat in the senior library and taught one of my tutees to knit. It’s a skill that she needs for her A-level Art project and I was delighted to help. She took to it very well although had a slight habit of picking up stitches. She’s using huge needles at the moment, which are quite a handful, but I look forward to seeing how she’s got on when we get back to school in a couple of weeks.

Happy Easter Holidays everyone!

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Shoveling with Suzanne!

Ever since the start of September I have been a weekend commuter between London and North Wales. So, as usual at 3:30 on Friday afternoon I took to the motorways and headed for the hills. I’d been warned that they had some snow and a little more due to arrive over the weekend but the weather warnings were amber rather than red, which meant that I should “be prepared” rather than “take action”. Now remember, I’m a good Girl Guide so I did go prepared with a flask of coffee, wellies, and even a sleeping bag in the boot just in case. As it turned out, Friday was my best run back to Mum and Dad’s for months as most people had clearly decided not to bother travelling. It was all fine until I got into their cul-de-sac and promptly got stuck blocking everyone else in. Dutifully, I dug for an hour with a dustpan (it was all I had!), put vast quantities of cardboard under my wheels and with a tiny bit of a shove from a kind neighbour, I managed to park myself at the bottom of the drive.
By the morning, this had happened…
The snow just kept coming down. This was the situation by Saturday afternoon…
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… and it kept coming. By the time we’d made it to over a foot of snow, Facebook friends began to tell me to stay warm and take an early Easter holiday but there was no way I wasn’t going to be in school on Monday morning. So, at 2 o’clock on Sunday afternoon, fuelled by smoked haddock risotto, I started digging this out…    
Again with just a little help from a friendly neighbour I made it out and less than five hours later I was safely 200 miles down the road ready for a glass of rose! Phew, that was a close call!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Next skill to acquire

Within the next few weeks I need to become an accomplished hand embroiderer. I am very confident with  needlecraft on card and paper but my experience working on fabric is limited and I need my work to be impeccable on both the front and the back of my fabric. I’m a real stickler for detail (some of my students will vouch for that – I can here them groaning now as I nag them for more justification and clarity!). Anyway, I digress…
When developing new skills I generally turn to blogs and you-tube to help me out but occasionally I find that nothing beats a classic publication when the descriptions and diagrams had to be easy to follow. You couldn’t be sloppy or lack detail when you have a single diagram to accompany your description. Don’t get me wrong, you-tube is brilliant and has taught me a great deal but it doesn’t excite me the way this aged and yellowing leaflet does.
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I’ll let you know how I’m getting on over the next few weeks.

Monday, 4 March 2013

New (old) Toy – Vulcan Senior Child’s Sewing Machine

I have no time to pass comment as I am supposed to be helping to solve the 5th round of the Alan Turing Cryptography competition before my Year 10s beat us again but look at my new (old) toy that I rescued from Mum and Dad’s house this weekend. I had no idea it was there and am very excited…


A couple of hours later (cryptography puzzle solved with little help from me) I’m back to pass comment…

Isn’t it beautiful?! A fully manual, utterly fabulous little gadget that I may have to hide from my husband for a while. It’s ok, he rarely reads my blog!


It’s in the original box with instruction book. You see how happy these ladies look, that’s how thrilled I am. Indeed I am a “lucky lady”!

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Oddly, the machine has a single feed mechanism. By which I mean it uses a single piece of thread and has no bobbin feeding from below. As a result, the underside has a side-by-side double stitch effect as seen below.


I’m so over excited about this little toy!

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