Thursday, July 30, 2015

Flowers are in bloom

My summer holiday project is coming along nicely.  There are 11 colours of flowers, and currently there's two flowers of each colour.



It is working well to make a flower at a time, then add partial ring of 5 white hexagons.  This gives a block of 12, and it tiles nicely.  Then one flower of each colour is placed beside the part that has already been sewn and the family collaborates on a pleasing arrangement.  

This fabric flower garden will form the top section of a double bed quilt.  There will be a strip of one of the purples around the hexagon section. This section will be hand quilted by stitching about 3-5 mm away from the colored hexagons.  It will make the flowers 'pop'.  

I haven't quite decided what to do with the sections that will fall down the sides of the bed.  They might well be deep sashings of white.  I am loathed to try to buy any fabrics to match the existing ones as they were bought in Hereford, mid-Wales, and Chester. Hmm, I'm sure I could order more of the purple bought in mid-Wales.  It was bought from Cross Patch in Velindre.  

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Granny's flower garden, part 2

The flowers continue to grow.


Birthday cake

A birthday cake made by the wonderful offspring.  When they brought it through, they were like two little children again, full of gleeful delight in their creation.



Thursday, July 9, 2015

A Scrabble Bag

A friend commented on the picture of the Rummikub drawstring bag and said she really needed to make something similar as her Scrabble tiles are currently in an sock!

Being on holiday, having the rest of the fat quarter, and a bit of ribbon, I offered to make her a bag.  This is the result.   Tomorrow it crosses the Irish Sea to its new home.



Ideas for Sustainable/Eco Housing

For as long as I can remember I have been designing houses I would like to live in. At the Centre for Alternative Technology I came across a couple of ideas I really liked.

The first is using photovoltaic cells to form the roof of a cloister or corridor. On a bright summer's day it is rather like being under the dappled shade of a large tree. There's still significant amounts of light, and there's also shade too. Being photovoltaic, the roof also supplies electricity too. I had initially thought of it as being a way of creating a covered 'outdoor' space with good natural light, but this image from the University of Southampton has made me consider whether it would be possible to do this on the whole of the south-facing roof space. The big question would be whether it would be suitable in the winter.




A conservatory is a must. It provides additional living space in the summer, and in the winter it is an excellent thermal barrier, keeping the house itself a little bit warmer.

Cordwood construction struck me as a very low-tech way to build, whilst at the same time having visual interest and appeal. I'd love to try this for a garage or outbuilding. I'd prefer my house to be a bit sleeker, with clean lines.


In cordwood construction the "cordwood" or short pieces of debarked tree are laid on a bed of lime or cob mortar. The whole wall can be made this way, or an infill of a thermally insulating material can be used. The eaves of the building extend 30-40cms beyond the walls to throw off as much rain water as possible.

Another little bag

We packed the game Rummikub to play on holiday.  I thought I had made a bag for the tiles.  And it wasn't until the contents of the box spilled open whilst we were away I realised I had made a bag for the tiles, but I had given it to my Mam for her Scrabble tiles!

Time for another bag.  This one was made from half a fat quarter of fabric, and 1.25m of navy ribbon.

These drawstring bags are so easy to make, and quick as well.  They make great little bags for games, but can also be used to store bread, vegetables or as a re-usable present bag.

Little Living

This year we spent part of our holiday in a static caravan in mid-Wales.  The whole caravan was about a quarter larger than my bedroom at home!  

Whilst on holiday I learned a few lessons about 'little living'.  The first was the vast importance of tidying up as you go.  If things are left out beyond the time they are being used then the whole place looks untidy, cluttered and claustrophobic.  Tidy as you go.

Another lesson was the importance of good storage.  One very nifty storage solution in the main bedroom was a bed where the mattress could be raised to offer access to the divan.

My parents have drawers in their divan.  They are useful, to get access to the drawers at the head of the bed you have to pull the bed out, away from the wall.  This isn't practical if you need to use those drawers more than a few times a year.  At home, we have a wooden framed bed, no divan.  Under the bed I have a couple of large, flat plastic boxes with lids.  They are great for storage, but it gets rather dusty under there (if I am not diligent at evicting dust bunnies). 

Another lesson was I have too much stuff!  From books, to yarn, fabric and clothes, I have too much stuff.   Eight years ago when we moved into our current home we rattled around in it for a good while.  Now, there's stuff everywhere.  

It's time to use these lessons.  Since the start of the year I have bought no yarn.  My stash must have reduced, but I am having problems seeing much of a difference. At the start of the year I couldn't imagine not buying yarn for a whole year, but I reckoned I could make it until Easter.  At Easter, going until the summer seemed possible.  Now, 6 months later, I am ready decide not to buy yarn for the rest of the year.  But, I suspect I need to do something similar with fabric.  It's time for no new fabric either.  However, to give myself some wiggle room, I am going to say that I am allowed to buy just enough fabric to finish a project.

And each time I leave a room, I will cast my eye around to check that things are tidy.  I will tidy as I go.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Holiday creations: hexagon patchwork and project bag

This holiday, I decided I wanted to try a project that was small & contained, didn't need electricity, and was a bit different from my usual projects.

Doughty's of Hereford do a fantastic range of fabrics, and it was a little pack of 20 strips of patchwork fabrics that caught my eye.  Next I spotted a little pack of hexagons, and my holiday project was decided.


It feels very weird to be doing all this hand sewing.  But I am enjoying the simplicity of it.


At Christmas, the Beloved bought me some lovely yarn from Wool Warehouse, The yarn came in a drawstring bag.  I have been using this bag on and off since then, but over the holiday the bag started to fall apart.  This morning I remade the bag, making sure that all of the voile was carefully enclosed within seams.  I also added a much stronger cotton top to the bag.  

I love that the bag is see through, and I can easily find the little hexagons, the threads etc.  It is much easier to use than an opaque bag.