Come on over…

My blogging career has died a death!   I am over on Instagram as @jorobexeter. All my sewing makes are under #thejoyofthehousetomyself hashtag.  See you there and thanks for following! 

 

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A May Birthday 

This month my lovely daughter turned 12. For one of her presents she asked me to make her a bag, which I was thrilled about. It’s a delicate age, it’s hard to know if she will love or hate things. She chose the Noodlehead sidekick tote and some lovely fabric….. It’s a bag I’ve made a couple of times before and again it came together really well. I used the neon pink text print inside and around the zip. The outside was a denim from my local fabric shop turned inside out for a more faded look. She’s really pleased with it and it’s been used for most of half term so far. 

     

  I also secretly finished off my half of the jelly roll jam quilt project we started together AGES ago! She finished hers last autum but my quilt top lay around until the self imposed deadline of her birthday got me motivated. She was thrilled to see it finished and even more thrilled to see it was going to be a gift for her.  Here it is in her room.
   Birthday season is over here until November. My youngest son has already put in a quilt request! 

Glove-tastic

As christmas as now happened I can reveal my makes for this year. Now that I’m working 2 days a week at my son’s school, I was modest in what I attempted. I decided on a job-lot of oven gloves – 7 pairs in total.

They are a great gift. Who doesn’t need a new pair of oven gloves?! I used this tutorial inspired by the ones that Mary made a while back.

I used canvas on the decorative sides and lined the hand pockets with some light weight denim. On the ‘hot’ sides I used more heavy weight denim. Inside is regular cotton batting and some insulbrite wadding which is especially heat resistant.

I started out thinking I’d hand finish the binding on the backs of the oven gloves but soon realised this was way too tough to sew by hand. So I had to unpick a few lots of binding to re-sew them from the back to the front (top stitching along the front of the binding to finish). Even though this was a pain it gave a nice neat edge and saved my poor fingers!

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The other make this Christmas was an apron for my Dad – which he requested. He lives in France for half the year and is chief barbecue-er. I was thrilled when he asked me to sew him something. No tutorial for this – I used denim and cut out a large apron shape using one I had as a template. I bound the edges and added a lined front pocket. I hope to get a pic of him wearing it!

There was also a bit of unplanned festive sewing in the form of a table runner. I had bought some christmas fabric in the January sales, which was a very welcome find in December. I used this tutorial and a fair amount of winging it. It’s been a great addition to our Christmas clobber.

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Last Christmas…..

I made a pledge to sew a quilt with my daughter. We needed two jelly rolls, one for her and one for me.

She chose the lovely Bluebird park fabric line and I had a Little Apples jelly roll in my cupboard. We used this quick and easy tutorial on the fat quarter shop blog.

It’s taken all year but I’m very proud that Ellen has done most of the work herself. All I helped with was some of the rotary cutting, basting and binding.
She got frustrated at times and it spent quite a few months untouched when sewing all the blocks together was just too boring.

Here she is snuggled up in it and on location in the new forest when we went away a few weekends ago.

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She quilted along the seams with a wavy line stitch on my machine, set to its maximum width and length. This made things simple as there were no straight lines to keep straight!
My quilt – it is still waiting to be basted. It will definitely be finished by next christmas!

Pixels

Whilst away on my sewing weekend last month I made a cushion cover for my son’s 7th birthday. He’s a total minecraft addict, so I knew what I had to do! I browsed around on pinterest for some ideas, printed off a picture and set about gathering lots of sludgy greens and browns. (backstitch shop have a good selection of affordable solids).

The cushion ended up being a monster floor cushion as I didn’t want to be fiddling around with teeny squares – Mine were 2.5″.

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Getting a big enough inner cushion was a challenge but I found one on eBay.

Needless to say he was very happy with it and has spent many happy hours sitting on it in front of aforementioned game.

Now let’s hope he doesn’t go off minecraft any time soon.

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Across the Pond

I am just back from a wonderful week in Canada visiting two fabulous friends.  Naturally I took a few handmade gifts with me…

Firstly for Rachael and her daughter Amelie these Noodle head zip pouches – which I’ve made a few of in the past. They got filled with goodies from England (they moved to Canada 6 years ago). I couldn’t quite fit in the giant jar of Marmite I took for them.

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Next I went to stay with my Canadian friend Ellen. We’ve known each other for nearly 20 years. As its been 10 years since my last visit, I decided her 40th birthday was enough of an excuse for another trip.

For her birthday I made a paper pieced table runner. The inspiration for which came from a blog called Wombat Quilts. I love Cath’s quilts and she has tons of free patterns. I was quite glad I didn’t attempt a whole quilt – paper piecing is hard work.

Here are some photos I took before I left and one of it in situ on Ellen’s coffee table. Her husband Marc was very helpful and sent me photos of the living room and measurement of the coffee table. As you can see it fits and it looks great.

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Lastly I made some more zip pouches for  Ellen’s children Cohen and Ingrid, filled with some classic British sweets.

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It was a fabulous trip and I had so much fun with my lovely friends, I was spoilt rotten with lovely food, wine, coffee and trips out to do things and visit people – and it snowed!!!

It wouldn’t have been possible with out my husband at home holding the fort during half term, (whilst juggling work!) and my mum for helping out as well.

It’s good to get away and remember who you are and who you were before you became a wife and mother. Going away always gives me a fresh perspective on life and a new appreciation of home and family. I have remembered how boring it is to travel a long way on your own – give me some squabbling children any day!

Rachael and I. Ellen and I.

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A Wonderful Weekend

I was lucky enough to have (another) whole weekend away sewing with some lovely friends. It really is such a treat to have two and a half days of uninterrupted stitchery. Not to mention the great company and some fabulous food. Emily brought a tray of homemade Cinamon buns which smelt amazing and tasted even better.

I spent my time on three projects one of which is a secret gift, so I can’t show any pictures of that. One was a cushion cover for my youngest sons birthday, which is coming up next month. This was the perfect opportunity to make it, away from prying little eyes!

Lastly I started on a dressmaking project. It really is amazing how much you can get done without all the distractions of home life. We all left on Sunday afternoon tired but relaxed and happy. Here are a few photos. I can’t wait until the next one!

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A Very Special Quilt

I started this quilt in earnest back in March. In fact the idea and initial cutting spree (until I got bored) was at Christmas last year. So it’s been almost a year-long project, with a the goal of being my Mum’s 70th birthday present.

I wanted to make something with the vintage sheet fat quarters I got through a swap and I knew that some of these prints would be wonderfully nostalgic to my mum.

I settled on the hourglass block after seeing Rita’s hourglass quilt and tutorial.
This is a double quilt, so there were a lot to make – 200 and something! (I guess I could have made them bigger!) I found a very handy labour saving half square triangle ruler on Amazon, which did help a lot.

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and then to start sewing them all together. There were even some perfect points!

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Then I sewed them into blocks of 12 in a rainbow-ish colour sequence

 

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There was some basting agony (isn’t there always?!)

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After our holiday to France and my sewing machine had made a trip back to the mothership for some attention, it was time to quilt!
I chose to do my favourite orange peel quilting. The curvy lines really helped break up the geometric look of the blocks and create these lovely flowers.

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And then with the addition of some lovely vintage stripy binding (which you can buy here!) it was finished (yes the backing fabric is a very funky vintage sheet!)

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My husband and I had a lovely couple of days in a Shepherds Hut in Somerset while the kids were my mum’s. This was the perfect chance to hand stitch on the binding in the cosy hut with the woodburner and enjoying the last evenings of summer. It was also perfect for photographs.

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Today was her birthday and we presented her quilt, she was really thrilled  with it and says she can’t wait to put in on her bed!

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I feel a bit sad now it’s gone!

A commission

Just before I escape on my hols , I want to share my first ever paid for sewing project.

A friend wanted a storage bag for a mattress topper in her camper van. As soon as people know you can sew you get all kinds of requests. I was finally persuaded after a few glasses on wine on a night out.

I followed the same principle as my drawstring yoga mat bag, just a lot bigger and with a long oval bottom. My friend was thrilled with it, most importantly the mattress topper fits perfectly.

I used some ikea curtain off cuts (handily made use of the ready hemmed bits) the green is home decor fabric. I did lots of reinforced hems as this will be dealing with lots of weight and lots of use. Fingers crossed it’s up to the challenge.

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A Sewing Personal Best

I’ve been meaning to make a new beach bag since last summer and finally with the impending school break and a holiday booked, I got round to it.

Our old bag (shown below) was bought in a French supermarket many moons ago so definitely time for an upgrade.

I thought about buying a beach bag pattern I’d seen doing the rounds but with a long list of dressmaking patterns I’d like to buy, I decided I could manage without.

I used the old bag as my size guide and dug out this lovely ikea bird fabric, which is a nice home decor weight.

The handles were the ones from my Supertote which I made too short and I used Lisa Lam’s very nice clear zip pocket tutorial.

This was a super-fast make I think I started late morning and it was all done by school pick up (I’m not the speediest sewist!) and more amazing than anything I didn’t pick up my seam ripper once! That really is a first.

It’s huge with plenty of room for all our beach clobber. I’m looking forward to trying it out very soon as we are counting down the days until the end of term now!

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