Saturday, 25 April 2015

A Vintage Sewing Box Story

This story shows what a big thoughtful softie my Hubby is and that men do listen and remember even if they do not appear to be doing so!
April 2014 Hubby and I went away for a few days to Burford  in Cotswold's.  We have been there before to stay over night when I used to travel up country to attend meetings to mark GCSE Textiles papers.
There are several antiques shops there and after years of looking for a Vintage sewing box I finally found one.
I had just been given an Outstanding by Ofsted and was looking for a "Well done me" treat but felt that this was too much so I walked away and never thought about it again.
Then  my birthday came along 8 months later and guess what?...............
On one of Hubby's many trips to Grimsby as part of his job he had made a detour to Burford and bought the above sewing box, hidden it in the house ( and there are not many places that I do not go due to cleaning etc).  Everyone knew about it apart from me and they all kept it a secret!
I already had a few items that I had been collecting over the years in the hope that I would find one but a few bits came with it.
The items above I already had except the scissors.  They are not all of the same period and even the date of the box is questionable but I do not care, I love it.
There is a little fold down pocket in the lid.
It came with its own key which still works.
The padded sections reveal compartments underneath.
These two items came with the box, a pair of scissors and I think an awl.

There is a tray which lifts out and there is space to store other sewing items.
This is a tape measure (which still works) that I have had for years.  Now some of these items do have bone parts which s people find unacceptable and I do as well, these are old and at their time of being made it was acceptable.  There are things we do now that the future will not like such as landfill. Sewing  is a part of History that I find interesting and the small size of some of these sewing tools must have made using them quite fiddly.  

I doubt these are of the same era but I have had these for years and they are now stored in the bottom compartment.

I love wooden cotton reels and the labels that are attached.  So much more attractive than the ones we have now.
I found this in February.  Any ideas as to what it is?
I thought it was a compact to start with.
A vintage mini sewing kit with pins and needle which opens up when the catch is undone and folds flat and shut when you shut it again.
Very clever.  I found this in Lostwithiel for any Cornish readers.
I hope to gradually add to this over time, it links to my interests and job plus the enjoyment that Sophie and I get out of talking about this box.
So many thanks plus hugs and kisses for a Hubby who really did go out of his way by hundred of miles to surprise me with a gift like this.
I was quite speechless on my birthday and this is probably the most thoughtful gift I have ever had.
So, some men do listen and remember.....................

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Toffy is 5 Today!!

Toffy is our crazy cat and is technically Sophie's cat.  However Dad and I tend to but the food, feed him etc but Sophie is very good at spending time with him and he follows her around the house.
Long time readers will know the story I think but just in case..............Toffy is a rescue cat and was the only one in his litter to have these distinctive markings.  Just like his Mum.
He was a tiny scrap of a thing when we brought him home.
Everything was just so big.....including those ears which were Toffy coloured then.
He just sleeps any where and yo have to be really careful if yo walk around the house at night and he has chosen to stay in doors!
He loves his Cat Dreamies treats, tuna, his woolly pom pom toy and and stretching out on the tarpaulin covering a boat.
He will chase anything that moves such as ping pong balls, bits of string, and if you are a bug then watch out!
We did think the bee on one occasions was not a good idea and we picked him up and carried him indoors!
Toffy has been a good source of amusement over the last 5 years and is a part of the family.
Happy Birthday Toff!

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

New Beginnings - My Creative Workshop/classes

My Facebook Banner
After many years of being asked if I ran evening classes or workshops I have decided to organise and run some in my local area.  I have taken the step (I hope I will not regret it) to set up a Facebook page to advertise and promote these classes.
I am not asking you to sign up (date not arranged yet anyway) just your support.
If you have a Facebook page and you are willing to,  pop over and just "like" my little business page to get it off the ground a little. Hubby has popped over, without being asked - bless him-  and my Print evening class friend.
I can be found at
Indigo-Blue Designs -Textiles 

You will see my blue flower logo and the top picture in this post.  I am not going to put my face on that page as I am a teacher and I  want to try my best to keep it a little separate from my day job.  If you sign up then you get to see me in person anyway!
I am also going to add details on my Website as well.
Where this will go I have no idea, I want  it will be fun as I have always enjoyed attending workshops, classes and evening courses myself.  I would like to be able to use my many years teaching experience in a different way and with a different age range.  I in turn will learn lots as well.

I have been asked to run a beginners class in the use of the sewing machine.  Might seem a bit basic but this is how I started in terms if being taught how to use one as the instruction books are ok and have some diagrams but it is knowing what to do if something goes wrong.  Bit like learning how to use a computer or set up a blog etc.
I have it all planned............I even have a date in mind...............just waiting on someone else.
I hope to offer other classes as well and to start things off I have enquired about renting my own classroom at a reasonable price.
When I know what is happening I will post it here and set up a spot in my side bar for those you do not have a Facebook page.

I understand it will take time and that there are likely to be issues along the way but at the same time it is quite exciting.

If you could have any class what would you like to learn or have help with.
Pop your suggestions in the comment box as your opinion is very useful as I have already found out whilst talking to my friends and family.
Have a good week and lets hope the sun keeps shining for a little longer.
Thank you Peg for the above image.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Mixed Media Relief Block with Textile details.

I am doing some clay lessons at work, I am no expert in this area at all but I did a training session where I made the following.  However, what shall I do with it as I really like how it turned out.
Firstly we made a clay tray and created marks using a variety of different objects.  My favourite was carefully pushing string into the surface and then pulling it back out again.  The next stage was to fill the tray with about 3cm of pottery plaster and let it fully set.
Once fully set the clay is carefully peeled away and you are left with a block with which you can use to create further patterns in clay objects.
Now due to one thing and another I never got to use this but I really like how it looks so I decided to get my little round paints out and add some colour.
There little paints really are very versatile and I was not really sure how they would work on the plaster surface.  They did not soak in as much as I thought it would.  I decided to go for a blended range of sea colours with a little sand thrown in
The paint is now fully dry and I think it has about three really good coats which just enhanced the blending of the colours more.
The paint also highlights the decorative relief of the block.
I am not stopping here as an idea began to surface as I painted the plaster.
I found some handmade paper and tissue paper with which to add some background.
On to this I added some further textures.
It does look a little plain so I want to add a textiles element to the overall effect.  I hope that this may be an idea that I can take further with other materials.
These are silk cords which have been hand painted using silk paints in a range of colours.
I want to extend the curves left in the plaster by the string on to the hand made paper and tissue paper.
this adds to the background.
Shall I trim the ends a little?
Attaching it all together was really tricky in terms of the method to use but I think it is secure.  It has not moved all afternoon!
This has been hung up all afternoon and nothing has fallen off and it seems to be really secure and I am quite pleased with.  Must think about doing some more ideas along this theme.  I really like the tones of the colours that have appeared by mixing water and allowing the colours to merge which I did not think would happen as I wondered if the paint would sink in to the surface.

I did promise something that was not blue as well!

Saturday, 18 April 2015

FNSI - Applique cushion cover.

This is my first sign up, and thank you to Wendy for helping when I could not get my own link to load up.  My struggle with technology continues.
I may not have made quite as much progress as I thought I would as I was quite worn out on friday evening.
Anyway, this is a half made applique panel which is left over from a quilt that I made quite some time ago, and has been lying around waiting for something to happen to it.  So the applique was completed with satin stitch on the sewing machine.
It is not currently big enough to do much with so I had a search through my scrap fabric and managed to find a few strips which I think are left over from the same quilt.
I did not have enough of any one colour so I picked two blue gingham and two plain blue strips to widen the overall panel.
I think this will look ok and the plain blue picks out the blue of the heart applique as well..  Not sure if it will be big enough for the cushion I have so I might need another row.  Coming along though.
In fact there is rubbish on the television at the moment so I think I might pop off and finish it.
Let you know how it looks another time.
Enjoy the rest of the weekend.
xNext time I willmake something that is NOT blue........promise.

Joined FNSI

Last week with the help of Wendy, I have signed up for this months Friday Night Sew In but due to life in general I have only just posted it.
If you have heard of this and are interested then click HERE to find out more.
I will be back to post what I did.
Oh and I have started work on setting up some local Sewing and Textile workshops too which has taken up most of my spare time in the evenings this week.
Take care

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Cross Stitch in Blue - Opam April

I sometimes wonder how I found the time to keep making all these bits of work that I  am finding and spent time completing over the past months.  For example, the above must have taken ages to create and it would have been in the I can bearing focus much after 8pm on something as delicate as the above.
Anyway, I digress.  The above is a cross stitch piece on 14 HPI fabric which I am pretty sure was made before Sophie was born!  Last weekend I looked at it and thought "you know what.... it is time you became something better".
I am planning my first organised workshop (more on that later) and I was thinking about little items that could be made to learn how to use their sewing machine.
I also had some home grown lavender so I decided that by sewing some cotton fabric on the back and adding the lavender a lovely sachet could be made.
I added a loop of ribbon to one of the corners and it is now hung up in the back of my car.  I do not like shop bought car fresheners but this has been in the car for about a week and it is lovely.  Again,  out of the box and into the wide world for this piece of sewing.
Blue again as well....must work on something with a different colour palette!
Hope you enjoyed the good weather today.  It got to 24 degrees which is a little bit too warm for a classroom but it was good to see it in April.
Hope it lasts a little while and comes back in the summer months.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Royal Powder Compact - Collection

 Over the Easter weekend hubby and I dropped Sophie off with the in laws for a couple of days and we decided to pop over to visit a large antique fair.
Long time readers will know about my compact collection which I started before I was married and I have now reached the point where it is hard finding new additions.  In fact I have not bought one for a long time.
This one did catch my eye and did not cost very much at all.  I held my breath while I waited to be told.
It is a Stratton unused powder compact made in Wedgewood for the Queens Silver Jubilee in 1977.
Not only that it comes with the original presentation box and............
It is numbered!!
In terms of backed up history and limited editions this is the best example that I have been able to find.  I can not find anything wrong with it at all and the chap I bought it from was very nice, which is not essential but does help.
It goes with one that I have found for Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding in 1981 and one for The Queen mother.  I had walked round and round for does pay to be patient and I think that it will be even longer before I can find anything that can top this one.
One day my collection will go to Sophie and it is also something that she likes as well.  There is quite a lot of history around the humble powder compact.
Is there anything that you have to still collect?
There is something else I collect but on a much smaller scale.  More on that when I have taken the pictures.
Have a good week.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Patchwork Cushion - Le Challenge & Opam April

The April theme for Le Challenge this time around is Tradition.  I have not entered for several months as I have been a little side tracked with my printing evening class but seeing as it is the Easter holidays a little more free time has come my way.
So above is a sample of patchwork which I am really pleased with and was part of my City and Guilds course some time ago.  I have never really known for sure what to do with it.  I posted a picture of it on Instagram and JanesFabrics came back  saying the centre of a cushion panel.  
So on Thursday evening after dinner I did a rare thing of going to the sewing room and actually staying there for three hours!!!
Here is the result of my efforts.
The patchwork in the middle did in fact have raw edges as it was intended as a sample to show skill and understanding and not to be made into anything, so solving this took much of the time.  In the end a long piece of homemade bias sorted that out.  I then used a large log cabin square left over from another project which I cut in half for the two back pieces.  That just left the front which I added to the sample by using up matching shades of blue strips left over from making my blue and white quilt.
So two half finished projects and a bag of scraps were used to finish this off.
This is now sat in my chair which is also blue.  Much better now that it is being used rather than sitting in a box unfinished and I like the Tradition of patchwork designs.
What traditional skills and techniques to you like to create or have in your home?

Friday, 10 April 2015

Poldark Country - Botallack

If you live outside of the UK you may not have heard that we are watching a series called Poldark based on the books by Winston Graham.
I vaguely remember a series years and years ago on the BBC so this is a series of books which have not been over done with remakes.  Hubby is not a big drama fan (although he makes sure that he does not miss an episode of Downton Abby!) but he has enjoyed this series and suggested that we go and find a couple of the locations where the series was filmed. 
With a bit of Googling and armed with our National Trust book we decided to visit two places.
We have visited other Cornish mines in the area and we are not quite sure how we missed this one. There are several mines really close together and as you look back along the coast you can imagine the sight of all of them working in their heyday.  It would have been a very busy section of coastline.
So on a gorgeous day we set off and I was armed with mobile (which has a camera better than my camera and my Samsung Tablet which I use much more since February.
The colours of the sea and sky were the best that I have seen in ages.

The Ore was heated to remove Arsenic and sulphur which was collected in a labyrinth of little tunnels and arches shown above, to leave just the metal.  The chimney at the top helped to suck the air through those little tunnels.
There are several mines in a very small area and the one shown on your left is Wheal Owles and some bits of it was used in the filming.  It does look different in the series so some aspects must have been added to temporarily  make it look like it was in current use rather than as you see it here.
This is the view out to sea and along the coastline.  Dangerous work but this is a stunning area.  Bet it was not quite so nice on a stormy day mind you!
I wonder how on earth they managed to build these mines.  On the other side it is literally straight down!  You have to take it very carefully walking down and my hip did manage it as I took a painkiller before I left but how  women of the day got up and down there in long skirts I will never now. (This is not an area for anyone with sticks, or not steady on their feet.)
 The pathway may have been better then as much appears to have worn or fallen away or become damaged by the elements.  Again on a Stormy windy day this must have been a dreadful place to be and dangerous above ground as well as below.
Sophie asked lots of questions and was able to link the series to an actual area that she lives in.  Sophie also asked about the books as well so perhaps in a year or two that will be next.
The lower mine is much further down that it might look and is no longer accessible.  The day was fascinating and it was good to link it to what is a fictional story but is also linked to a past where there is still evidence of a living that is no longer happening.
If you get a chance to visit Cornwall go on the National Trust Website and there is lots of information there linked to the Poldark series, go along and soak up the history.
Love this Instagram App for multi pictures.

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