Friday, January 28, 2011

Do You Remember the 'Disappearing Cookies'?

Back in August last year I wrote about the cookies I was sent that never got to me, well I have to say that the disappearing magic trick has performed well again.

This time it was me that posted minis straight after Christmas and all the way to America. I opened my new Etsy shop and my very first customer bought loads! Sadly for her and most annoyingly for me, she is still waiting for them to arrive.

They were sent in a box, inside a large padded envelope, not so small that it could easily slip behind something and be lost. My return address was clearly written on the reverse.

I wonder how much post in general goes missing and how many miniatures are now owned by some very dishonest people.

I thank my kind customer for waiting so long but I now have to refund her and neither of us are happy.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Andalucía 2011

It's been a busy and exciting time here!
It isn't every day I'm given a dollshouse! My dear friend, Oly who has relocated her miniatures into fabulous cabinets delivered her unwanted house to me before Christmas but I was so busy with real life that only last week I managed to start making major plans in my mini life.
My tea rooms and gift shop finally have premises of their own, but now I have discovered that I'm seriously short of tables and preparation surfaces but as luck will have it there will be a fair here in June again. If anyone is interested, it's the 2nd Edition Andalucía 2011. This year it's to be held in Fuengirola, Malaga, another half hour on the journey for us but still well within reach!
Back to the subject of the new property! It is still looking very sparse and I need to dive down all my storage boxes and find everything I've been collecting and making. Here are some photos so far.
Oly and I are looking forward to another brilliant day out in June - we're aware that we need to do some serious planning before we go this year, then hopefully we won't have a repeat of the manic spending frenzy that took over us last year! Ha ha!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Patchwork Tutorial

As so many people like my little patchworks I thought I'd show you how I make them and maybe you can try one for yourselves!

You will need
Glossy magazine
Metal Ruler
Sharp Knife
Needle - the finest you can manage to sew with
Scissors for fabric
Cotton Fabrics - 100% cotton fabric works best, preferably closely woven and not too thick. 
Matching threads
Contrasting Thread for tacking
Cork Board

First you need to cut out your paper squares.
I do this using a magazine with glossy pages, not a good quality one as the paper will be too stiff. You can of course use graph paper, although the paper normally tends to be a bit too thin.

Open the cover of the magazine and rule lines on the first page. For your first patchwork I suggest you make your lines 1/2" apart. Do this in both directions, therefore making 1/2" squares.

Start cutting across the page from the spine to the edge. Press quite hard in order to cut through several pages at once.

Next cut down from top to bottom, holding the ruler very tightly to make sure the sliced paper does not move underneath. And presto! You have 1/2" squares of paper!

A useful size quilt to make is 4 1/2" x 4" as it can be used on either a single or double bed. This will use 8 squares by 9 squares, so you will need to make 72 squares in paper and 72 squares of fabric.

Decide on your fabrics and draw lines 3/4" apart in both directions so you have 3/4" squares of fabric. This gives you 1/8" turning all round each square. Carefully cut them out.
Take a breather! Have a cup of tea or coffee!

Pin each paper to the centre of each square of fabric.
Then tack the fabric to the paper, wrapping 1/8" over each edge. This is where having the right weight of paper counts. If it is too thin it will fold with the fabric and you will not have a straight edge.
Now you will have a pile of squares ready to sew together.

It's been a lot of work so go and make yourself another cup of coffee - or tea, I'll have Earl Grey please!

Now, this is where the cork board plays its part. Lay out your design onto the cork, move the pieces around, decide on the design you like best.

You want the design to stay where you put it so stab every square down with a pin, then you can sneeze,  leave it over night, let the family in, and open the windows, you will not lose your design! You can even carry it outside and sew it in the garden and the breeze will not move it!

Begin to sew the squares together.
Take the first two squares from the end of a row and with right sides together, over sew the edges taking the smallest stitches you can manage. Take the third square and sew it to the second in the same way. Continue until you have one row of squares stitched together.
Put the stitched row back on the cork and secure it with a pin at each end.
Continue in this way until all rows are stitched.
You are ready to join the rows together.
With right sides facing, sew the strips together, keeping all the squares in line.
When you have finished, the quilt will seem quite stiff as the papers will still be attached, you can see them on the reverse.
Lightly press the patchwork, then carefully snip all the tacking threads and remove. You will now be able to gently remove the papers.
Time to attach the backing!

The easiest way is to put the right sides together and stitch around the edges, leaving a small gap for turning.

You can experiment with wadding which will make the cover thicker, and you can quilt it but this will make the cover stiffer.
If you enjoy making a little patchwork, try making one with smaller squares, then experiment with different shapes, 1/4" hexagons look lovely.
Please ask me if I haven't made the instructions clear enough.
Most of all - have fun, I find it very relaxing.

This is a 72 square patchwork on a double bed.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Christmas Swap to Kaisa

Now that everyone has opened their gifts I can show you what I made for Kaisa in Caterina's Christmas Swap.
For Fall,  I made a patchwork to put on a bed, or to use for a picnic maybe, with some little Halloween cupcakes.
For Christmas I made some gift boxes and Christmas cushions
And lastly the Toy.
 I was only sending the twin boy dolls but had to design a box for them, and as I love making boxes so much I made a whole range of toy boxes for her. I hope Kaisa has a big shelf in her dollshouse play room!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My Daughter's Wedding

As promised, here is a photo of my daughter and her new husband.
The English weather excelled! Although the ceremony and celebrations were all in the same venue and it wasn't necessary to go outside, the sun shone through the windows making a very happy event even brighter!
It was such a wonderful day with everyone smiling and laughing.
My daughter looked so beautiful and although naturally quite shy, she enjoyed being in the lime light, swirling around in her gorgeous wedding gown until the end.
I have never seen her so happy, it fills my heart to see her this way, knowing she has a kind and caring husband by her side.
I shall carry the memories of this day forever.