Sunday, May 31, 2015

Granbabies & Gifts

Greetings dear friends & readers,
Thank You All for your very kind comments & well wishes on my last post regarding my imminent grandchild
However, no sooner had I hit the "publish" button than my son phoned to tell me his wife Sarah, had gone into early labour.

8 days old

This beautiful boy - my grandson - made his early entrance to the world on May 18th at 12.40 pm.
They have named him Alec Raoul - he is beautiful & yes, I am indeed biased  :-)

My precious Grandson & his Granny Julie

My heart has well & truely been captured by this wee soul, who turns 2 weeks old tomorrow

And so ... begs the question ... what to be called ??
Although I love all the names ... Gran, Grandma, Nan, Nanny etc ... ever since I was a wee girl I have just adored the programme The Beverly Hillbillies.   One of my all-time favourite characters over all the decades was Granny ... I loved the way she would sit on the back of the truck with her shotgun in her arms ... Oh I thought she was wonderful.
And so I decided ... Granny it was to be    :-)

It is nothing short of a miracle that I have any completions to show you this week as my mind has been elsewhere.
I received an invite to my friend Sandy's daughters 21st birthday. When Sandy & I first met through our younger sons becoming friends, Abby was only 18 months old.
So I have watched her grow up through the years & become the lovely young woman that she is today.  
What to make Abby for her 21st birthday??
I knew she loved to cook & bake & spend time in her kitchen.  I also knew she loved blue. 
So I decided upon an apron ...

It was very much a "make it up as you go along" kind of project.
Firstly, as I wanted to personalise it, I embroidered the bib part with her name
(I must confess it was one of those occasions when I was thankful Abby had been blessed with a short name!!!)

I used the Stitchery Alphabet from month 6 of Jenny of elephantz Stitchery Club 

I decided to make it quite girly & feminine, so added a deep frill & lace to the bottom - Abby is about my height so it was easy to gauge how long to make it.
A pocket is always handy on an apron so I added a generous pocket & - of course - I had to add a doiley to it !!!
I also like quite long ties on my aprons so added these to the sides, & some button embellishments to finish off.

I had managed to buy some good quality teatowels in similar colourings to the apron fabric so decided to embellish these to match

I appliqued the words "cook" & "bake" to each one, then added a frill along the lower edge of the applique strip

To one I added ric rac & to the other, a simple daisy trim

I was really pleased with how these turned out & especially loved the checked one

A good quality wooden spoon & some matching stick-on labels completed the gift package.
I hope Abby enjoys many happy hours in her kitchen being a domestic goddess & wearing her new apron.

Another gift completed for a dear friend & posted away ... this is certainly a miracle as . . . well . . .  have you ever tried knitting with a kitten on your lap ???!!!**!

Once again ... a "make it up as you go along" gift.  Some small knitted squares from some scraps of wool ... hmmm ... what to do with these squares ... Oh, perhaps make a small shelf bunting in simple neutral tonings

I appliqued "I (heart) home" in Lynette Anderson fabrics, attached it to Lynette Anderson ribbon, then added Lynette Anderson buttons to each end  . . . for no particular reason other than I was using what I had in my stash at the time.  
This morning I have been trying to stuffing some soft toys at the kitchen table ... the help I have been getting is unfortunately not optional!!!!

I hope you all have a wonderful week ahead dear friends & readers,
 Thanks so much for popping by today so I can share my news with you all

with much love & friendship to you all,
Granny Julie x0x0

Monday, May 18, 2015

Sewing For a VERY Special Someone

Hello dear friends & readers,

I have some exciting news to share with you here on my blog ...
I am currently awaiting the birth of my very first grandchild due to be born at the end of this month
I have been lovingly stitching some handmade creations as I await the birth of this special wee baby  ... 
Oh ... Its a *BOY* by the way !!!

I had quite a stash of lovely soft, white towelling & I thought some handmade washcloths never go amiss ... 
so I stitched up half a dozen & bound them with some pretty bindings.

Also some polar fleece cuddlies are a definate pre-requisite for a winter baby ... along with some flannellette cot sheets & a matching wheatbag to warm the cot 

But the project I have been working away on diligently over the past few months ... in between orders & kitten related life ... is this cot blanket for my grandson

I came across the pattern in an old Country Threads back in January when I was culling alot of my craft magazines.  The design is called "The Toyroom Floor" & is by Lyn Hyland of Lil' Blokes.  
I thought it was perfect for a wee boy.
I used a gorgeous wool blanket I had tucked away but I enlarged the size, & added the Noah's Ark to the top

Soldier, Train & Jack-in-the-box

My favourites .... Teddy & Golly,  toy ball & Noah's Ark
I took it outdoors to photograph as I felt the colours were showing up really quite "wishy washy" & they are in fact lovely & bright & vibrant

When I had finished the applique I backed it with a nice thick cream polar fleece bought from Spotlight.  Then I bound it all .... but it still seemed to be lacking something ... so I purchased this variegated perle thread & decided to herringbone stitch around the edges of it all

phew ... what a loonng way round the blanket !!!

I have the label ready on the back to fill in with his name & date of birth   :-)
 I had an old toy which had fallen to bits so I saved the rattle inner & made this wee cat soft toy/rattle from the leftover blanket scraps.

And last but not least ...  a pair of soft flannel shoes in perfect kiwiana fabric, the buzzy bee ... lined with the same polar fleece as the blanket back

Gosh I do SO look forward to making many more special creations for my grandson over the coming months.
And I have included these next 2 photos to show you just how difficult life really is craft-wise in my house of late

On the floor - Me - trying to cut out blanket toys - helpers NOT optional !!!!

chewing on my machine cord - a frequent pastime !!
. . . this game is called "unravel the cotton for Mum" . . .
Oh it brings new meaning to the word "tolerance". 

Yesterday, just to get some fresh air & "blow the cobwebs out" we ("we" meaning me & cats) spent some time on the deck washing all my gourds & putting them in my old wheelbarrow ... hopefully a nice splash of colour for the coming winter months  :-)

Thank you all so much for popping by today to see my creations,
I hope the coming week brings you many lovely moments,
with love & friendship to you all,
Julie, Blackie & Pippi

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Vintage Aprons & Teacup Angels

Greetings dear friends & readers,

My friend Claire had been given this beautiful vintage apron quite sometime ago by her cousin.

I have folded it to fit it in the photo

It had originally belonged to her Aunt who had lived to the ripe old age of 98 ... 
still using & wearing the apron Claire had thought.
I very much loved the detailed embroidery in it & also the very worn bias binding around the edges of the apron ...  together with some different coloured bias binding that had been used to repair one of the ties.
I loved the "make do & mend" philosophy of using what she had on hand.
Claire & I discussed what to do with it to best show off the embroidery.  I suggested a small plump bolster cushion that would look equally as lovely on a chair or a bed ...

I was really pleased to be able to use the entire bottom panel of the apron to utilise the beautiful embroidery.
I backed the cushion with a fine linen I had, in a slightly off white colour.
I also managed to make up a lavender bag using the "bib" part of the apron ... rather than draw it together at the top (& lose the effect of the embroidery), I sewed it down & added 3 mother-of-pearl buttons.
I really enjoyed doing this project & giving a second life to the apron .... I think Claire is planning to give the cushion back to her cousin as a gift.

We studied the embroidery together & laughed over how some of the hollyhock centres had been stitched in black but when she had perhaps run out of thread, she had used what she had on hand or left them unstitched.
Her stitches were exquisite & beautiful & had definately stood the test of time as the embroidery itself was in immaculate condition.

My dear friend Catherine had given me some fabric pieces & two beautiful vintage teacups along with a magazine - "stitch craft create"
Catherine had asked if I could please make up the Tilda teacup angel pattern in the magazine titled "Teaspoon Ladies" for her 
 I vaguely recalled my friend Claire mentioning she had made this pattern & recommending to enlarge it to fit more neatly in the teacups.
Unfortunately I remembered this after making my 1st calico body.
Yes, it definately does need enlarging, otherwise the angels appear a bit lost in the teacups ...

Catherine had chosen a lovely vintagey looking rosebud fabric for this teacup above, which was the first angel I made - a single pearl bead embellished her collar & a silk ribbon rosebud in her hair
I did love this simple green polka dot cotton fabric which perfectly set this teacup off.  I found a tiny vintage button in my stash for her collar.

I came across the feather wings at Davids Emporium in Hamilton but found I had to cut them down quite a bit as they were quite large for the delicate dainty angels.
Catherine was delighted with her pair which she tells me are currently residing in Lucy, her vintage caravan where I am sure they will be most at home.
I hope to make this pattern up for myself & some for the Cottage also.

Autumn is very much a gathering season here at my rather odd threadbear life ...
I have been gathering walnuts everyday this week & drying in big cane baskets out on the deck

I also finished harvesting my crops of pumpkins & gourds this past week ...

I love this little orange "jack-o-lantern" variety below but unfortunately only 2 grew, so I will save the seeds from them for next time round
I really, really enjoy growing gourds each year & hope to continue this for many years to come   :-)

And So ... the Pippi & Blackie Saga continues ...

Oh to be a kitten .... where life is just one big game - playing with toys, diving into neatly folded clothing piles etc ...

Blackie likes to sit out on his chair & sleep, contemplate life, or watch the world go by ... 
Miss Pippi likes to have someone to entertain her .... all day long !!!!
Her personal hygiene habits have improved just a smidgeon. I noticed the other day he got her in a headlock & some grooming went on ... she suffered it for only a very brief time

I hope you have a wonderful weekend dear friends & readers,
Thank you all for stopping by today,
Tomorrow is Mother's Day here in my part of the world,
To all the ones that care for others .... human & furry varieties included ... I wish you ALL a wonderful day

With much love & friendship to you,
Julie, Blackie & Miss Pippi