Stash Building…not Stash Busting!

No pictures of stuffed ¬†tights on the line this week ūüôĀ¬† …… this is because it hasn’t stopped raining long enough!!¬† I can’t wait for the warmth to return so I can get my wool washed, and also now I have a HUGE pile of fabric to wash!¬†Why? Well I have been stash building instead of busting!!

I have been given someone else’s¬†stash!!¬† Yes really – it’s amazing and I was sooo excited when I saw what was in the bags as it’s really lovely pretty cottons.¬†Some of it is small off-cuts¬†but some is unused, folded, still-with-a sheen!¬† It’s fantastic and I am very fortunate to have been offered it, the only drawback is the smell … it has obviously been kept in a smoker’s house and really reeks.¬†I can’t even keep it in the kitchen I had to put it in the garage!¬†¬†¬†The fabric doesn’t look dirty¬†in any way, if it did I probably wouldn’t have accepted it.¬† Now I know why people put ‘made in a smoke-free house’ on their selling sites!

fabric being machine washed
about a third of it being washed!


I am having to unfold and wash every piece and then I suppose it will need ironing too (boo, nasty word).

One wash was not even enough to remove the smell but as I use non-bio unfragranced soap powder¬†I thought I would¬† go and buy some biological stuff with added essential oils and see if that worked.¬† It did!¬†¬†It now smells sweet and fresh. I decided to put in on the line even though it’s going to rain as the rain and fresh air should help even more !

It’s been interesting unfolding the cut pieces though as it’s a peek into that other unknown woman’s sewing life as I try and guess what the circular shape cut out of some ditsy floral could have been!¬†There are navy blue ‘school skirt’ fabric remnants and what looks like an airtex pocket shape too, I wonder if she made school uniforms for her kids?

fabric on the line

on the line in some SUN (didn’t last long!

It makes me think about what someone would make of my stash if they suddenly were to acquire it!!

Well I am sure I will have plenty of¬†new ¬†makes to write about once I have it all washed and .. ironed… (shudder!)

Off to link up with the lovely Handmade Monday Crafters as usual and enjoy some reading with my glass of wine ūüôā

Fabric Shops and Coffee Stops!

Well as I mentioned last weekend, I had a trip to Blackpool recently as DH likes to go to the annual Amateur Radio Show¬†in much the same way as I like to go to fabric shops and events like Wonderwool and Yarnfest!¬†¬†Now that¬†our children have all left home we have a hobby room each –¬†mine is full of fabric and yarn etc and his is full of radios, components and model¬†railway parts!¬†¬† Last time we went to the Blackpool show I was very disappointed with the ‘craft centre’ I had found on the internet – basically it had lots of empty units and most were closed!¬† This year however my internet research showed that things had improved!¬†¬† Having dropped DH off at the radio¬†show I excitedly drove to the March Mill Craft Village¬†in Thornton.¬† It’s still not as good as it could be but it’s sooo much better than it was, as it now as a lovely coffee shop called ‘Tiffin’ which sells good coffee and homemade cakes, ¬†ūüôā and¬† a wonderful fabric shop called ‘Grace and Favour’.

Fabric shop in Blackpool

Grace and Favour Fabric Shop

Having forced myself not to run straight into buying fabric¬† I settled down¬†to¬†¬†scrumptious millionaires shortbread and an Americano¬†in the warm coffee shop and contemplated the peaceful hour or two I would have before DH ‘phoned to arrange his pick up!¬† I was not disappointed – I didn’t even get in the door for about 10 mins as there were baskets of fabric packs outside to browse through.¬† I entered the shop with two of these already chosen!

Linen colour fabric with vintage rose pattern by Clarke and Clarke

Vintage Roses Fabric by Clarke and Clarke

Green and lilac cotton lawn

Cotton Lawn Fabric

It’s a lovely bright shop, not very big, but well laid out so you can enjoy a good browse working your way round the well stocked walls and then perusing the craft¬†shelves in the centre. I was in their well over an hour – browsing, choosing, re-choosing and chatting to the friendly assistant Jess, who is also a sewing tutor at their sewing school ‘The Sewing Sanctuary’ in the same craft centre where they hold social crafting and run courses!¬† Wish I lived nearer!

inside-grace-and-favour-shop blurred-fabric-sidewall

I was very pleased to get these fabrics Рonly £1.50 a fat quarter!

red and pinky-red floral fabric in fat quarters

Far Quarters in lovely Cotton

I also got some trimmings for various projects – this is for my upcycling projects using the vintage linens I have acquired – I think it will make a beautiful addition to the dresses and tops I am designing!¬† I am going to make these out of a mix of vintage and contemporary fabrics and trims and it’s very exciting gathering the various bits and bobs and starting the designs!

beige lace flower rim

Lace Flower Trim

By a happy serendipity I got the ‘I’m ready to be picked up’ call just as I was paying for my items – so off I went to collect him and see who had spent the most!

And so to link with Handmade Monday!

Bye for now, Ali xxx

I enjoy reading your comments – the name and site box are recording your text even though you cannot see it until you upload your comment!

Christmas Market Makes

Managed to make a few more things towards the Handmade Christmas Market at the 02 this week.¬† It’s getting near now and I am very excited!

Patchwork Tote in Scrappy fabrics with matching fabric handles

Patchwork Tote Bag

Christmas Table Runner using Joy and Peace fabric

Christmas Table Runner!

Christmas Countdown Calendar - the little present pockets

Alternative Advent Calendar!

This patchwork bag was based on the tutorial at Sew Mama Sew.  I used much tinier scrap pieces in mine and made the fabric handles instead of using webbing.  However I have now managed to get some and so the next ones will have cream cotton handles.










This is a Christmas table runner in lovely thick white fabric with ‘Joy’ and ‘Peace’ and ‘Love’ printed on it as well as snowflakes and reindeer!¬† It’s padded and backed in red but not quilted.










This is the start of an alternative type of advent calendar.  I am cutting up Christmas fabric into little squares and sewing them onto a plain cream background to make 7 little pockets which can hold 7 little presents for the 7 days leading up to Christmas.  My mum did something similar for us as children and I have continued it with my grandchildren too so I thought it might make a good sell at the Christmas market!


The¬†next task now is pricing!¬† I hate this part – I have read loads of articles and books on the ‘art (science?) of pricing’ and yet the main feeling I have is – all this is no good if items don’t sell – the pricing needs to fit the situation as well.¬† Shop prices are somewhat higher in London than the provinces – but does this apply to handmade craft fairs or¬†has the boom in online sales evened out the regional differences?¬†¬†¬†¬†Another quandary is, I imagine over a 3 day event sellers are expected to hold back stock to ensure enough is for sale on the last day, but¬†how to do this without ending up with unsold items at the end?¬† I would appreciate some advice on what others have done if anyone has exhibited at an event longer than one day.

Maybe the Handmade Mondayers can help?¬† I’m linking up at Handmade Harbour again for a lovely evening’s blog reading and maybe some¬†helpful advice?!!


Scandi Table Runner

Well the hour went back today which is the ‘good’ way for me as it means I get up earlier without even trying! Consequently I managed to watch both Create and Craft Quilting programmes¬†live!¬† I love the Sunday morning shows but I can never take advantage of the offers on screen as it’s usually Monday when I watch, which is, of course, a good thing for my bank balance!¬† However it’s still good to watch the demonstrations¬†and learn techniques!¬†¬†This morning I loved the rectangular scandi table runner and¬† circular scandi ¬†table centre.¬† Both patterns were for sale but the patterns aren’t difficult and I decided to have a go¬†by looking at the pictures on the website!

red and white cotton xmas type scandi fabric

mmm love new fabric!

Luckily I had some new scandi fabric from Abakhan which I have been trying to decide what to make with.  I love having new fabrics and dreaming of all the potential designs I could make and I seem to spend far too long at this stage instead of getting on with actually creating!   This is lovely fabric too Рquite thick and easy to use in patchwork as it sort of stays still while you piece it Рunlike my favourite Liberty Tana Lawn which is beautiful but flimsy.


But¬†today wahoo – ¬†I made a decision!¬†¬†Here is my attempt at¬†a Scandi¬†table runner for Xmas!¬†¬†It’s not finished – the binding is only¬†sewn at the front edge¬†at the moment.

Table Runner in Red, Cream and Green Scandi Fabrics

Xmas Table Runner

So one¬†more thing nearly ready for the xmas fair!¬† I seem to have settled into a nice evening crochet habit recently, but tonight it’s over to Handmade Monday instead, for my evening stroll round all the lovely blogs over there!¬† Oh and thank you to everyone for the comments last week to help me in my quest for orderly yarn keeping! I am still working on it!


Road trip to Dundee and Vintage Fabric Finds!

Just home from a road trip to Dundee!

Having read about the antique and collectables place in Abernyte on Highland Monkeys’ blogpost last week I persuaded everyone on the road trip¬†(mum, sister, aunties) ¬†to visit there on Friday morning as¬†Penelope had kindly sent me the address!¬†¬†It was wonderful finding the vintage fabric corner – I nearly upended myself trying to reach over a table to get to the bottom shelves!¬†¬†¬† I had hold of some old French linen and a French cotton tablecloth for ages but eventually put them back and bought some vintage linen embroidered napkins which were in better condition.

Vintage Embroidered napkins in white with brown thread

The tablecloth I nearly bought was¬†¬†red print scenes of French countryside and was so soft I was very tempted, but it was quite badly soiled and worn thin in places and I wondered if it would yield enough good cloth to actually make anything in the end.¬† However, now I am back home so annoyed I didn’t get it !!¬† Typical!

I did get a lovely surprise though as just before we left, my Aunty Audrey who lives in Dundee, gave me a bag of her own vintage table fabrics – some had been given to her as a wedding present over 50 years ago and one set had been a wedding gift¬†to her old employer so they¬†must be around 100 years old!¬† There were also some vintage beads¬†she brought back from South Africa! ¬†The fabrics¬†will need cleaning but they are beautiful and I can’t wait to start my ‘vintage patchworkfairy’ line!

white lace mat beads on lace napkin Beads on white lace napkin vintage cotton cover vintage cotton cover opaque panel

Vintage Lace Napkins

Vintage Lace Napkins

purple beads on lace


Now over to Handmade Harbour for this week’s linky party!

Sewing for the xmas market!

No more lolling in reflection this week!¬† I am on a countdown to the Handmade Christmas at the ¬†02 and have to increase my stock dramatically!¬† So I’ve tried to get up early and get some morning sewing in before I get too tired.¬† Trouble is I want to try out all my ideas but designing and making prototypes is very time consuming although very interesting!

So here’s what I managed:

Owl pouch

Owl pouch

I though this would be a nice little pouch for a child’s reading book or for a kindle?


fox bag

small fox bag

This one is a small shoulder bag -it has orange spot fabric inside!







And these are healing hearts! РEach is stuffed with soft filling and includes essential oils so they smell lovely.  I am going to attach some of the red string I think, but I am not sure.  The idea is that they would be a nice gift instead of, or as well as a card for an unwell person.  They are all Reiki blessed as well as I am a Reiki Master.  What do you think?  Are there too many stuffed hearts on the market all ready?


photo (5)Now over to Handmade Monday for the usual weekly read and see what everyone else is making!










Liberty Tana Lawn Wedding Bag!

Have I mentioned that I love Liberty Tana Lawn fabric before? ūüėȬ† Yes I thought I had!¬† I realised this week that when writing about the wedding last week I’d omitted to say that I’d also made myself a special little wedding bag for the day from my favourite fabric – Liberty Tana Lawn!¬† I just adore the colours, the ditsy prints and the feel of Tana Lawn and I have been collecting pieces of it for a year or so now.¬†¬† I make mobile fone covers in¬†it¬†to sell on Folksy¬†and every time¬†I buy some I have been squirrelling away bits to make myself a bag.¬† It is a very simple clutch bag with interlining and fusible fleece for support, a magnetic closing and floral buttons just for decoration.¬† It all¬†echoes the lilac colour scheme from the wedding. I loved making this the day before the wedding – it was a¬†special bit of relaxation and ‘me time’ ¬†in the midst of all the preparations!

 clutch bag in assorted lilac floral Liberty Tana Lawn fabric

My wedding bag in Tana Lawn patchwork

inside of clutch bag showing pretty pink floral fabric lining

pretty pink lining

I’m linking up with Handmade Monday now so I am off for a read around the crafty blogs over there, why not pop over too!¬† UPDATE- I can’t comment on lots of your blogs – I keep getting an error code – I assume this is a google/blogger problem as others are ok.


Handmade Christmas at the 02 anyone?

This week I have had absolutely nothing that I had to do (apart from usual shopping cleaning etc) but no appointments or family to pick up/take out etc so I have pretty much been able to sew sew sew!  It has been really relaxing and enabled me to complete my quilt top ready to start the quilting and binding next week.

I didn’t think I’d be doing any hand sewing¬†on a patchwork quilting course but we did, we learned applique as well, and I¬† found it very relaxing ¬†sitting in the garden doing some hand sewing.¬† Here is the finished quilt top which¬†now needs making into the quilt sandwich!

pink and purple fabrics made into a quilt.

My Wonder Block Quilt Top

I don’t know if any of you crafters who join in in Handmade Monday heard about¬†the Folksy collaboration with¬†the big Handmade Christmas Fair at the 02 in December??¬† Well I have taken a leap of faith and booked a market stall for the 3 day event!!¬† I am sharing the stall and the costs with my sister who is a photographer and so I am quite looking forward to it as a sister road trip as well as the selling side.¬† I am, however, a bit nervous of managing¬† a stall for 3 days on the run and also worrying if we will sell enough to make it worthwhile!¬†¬† I will be selling quilts like the one above as well as my smaller items, the mobile ‘phone cases and Tablet cases and some of my jewellery.

There are concerts on at the 02 and the ¬†fair organisers have agreed to arrange a ‘buy now – collect later’ point in the arena so that concert goers can buy things more easily.¬† 60,000 people are expected to visit so it sounds good!

Anyway¬†I’d be interested to know if anyone else has booked a spot and what you think are the chances of anyone buying something as big as a quilt?¬† Would more smaller items be better?¬†¬† Please share your thoughts – any advice welcomed!!



Sewing Caddy and Visit to London

Well this week has been a catching up and making useful things time as I have been on a little trip which took most of my energy!¬† I went to London overnight with my daughter and two grandchildren to see my son-in-law -to -be¬† getting an award from work as he has been ‘down there’ on a training course for 8 weeks.¬† Here we are on our sightseeing day!

Granny and Max outside Buckingham Palace

Granny and Max outside Buckingham Palace

Although I had a lovely time the only energy I had left for sewing was enough to make a very small thing – a caddy to hang from under my sewing machine to keep¬† my scissors and seam ripper always to hand!.¬† I had been promising myself a sewing caddy for ages as they don’t take very long to make really.¬† I used a fat quarter which had cats and kittens neatly depicted in little squares just the right size for pockets!


After heming the cat fabric I sewed it  on to a plain calico background and then sewed straight lines to make separate pockets. On the top I sewed some little loops of bias binding for my tweezers etc and to the right I made a little pocket, stuffed it with left over fabric strips and used it as a pin cushion!
Sewing Machine with new Sewing Caddy
Sewing Machine with new Sewing Caddy

So that was my week, what about everyone else over at Handmade Monday? Why not take a peek at what they have been up to!!


Bags and Buttons!

Had a lovely time this week using up some of my stash with the jelly roll I bought recently!  I have booked myself onto a 4 week quilting course at Voirrey Embroidery and I am really looking forward to 3 hours sewing and learning on Thursday mornings!  I have to take basic sewing kit with me so it gave me the perfect excuse to make myself a new project bag.

teal and orange hippy fabric

Two jelly rolls sewn together



Here are the straps on the bag – I used a plain turquoise for one side and a hippy swirly orange for the other!

half made bag

Half finished bag with straps sewn on





Now I have to  put in the zip and then make a lining with pockets to sandwich in the wadding.


To finish with I am going to add some of these LOVELY buttons from Berrynicecushions on Folksy.  She has some wonderful buttons for sale, painted with floral patterns.  Click here if you want to see what else she has!

Turquoise floral buttons

Turquoise buttons for bag

buttons from CD










I’m off for my Sunday night fix now over at Handmade Monday to see what everyone else is up to!