Friday, May 26, 2023

Sewing, A Birthday, Painting & Slow Stitching ...........................

Greetings lovely friends & readers

It has been another busy week with lots happening each & every day.

A friend gifted me this gorgeous Cyclamen for pet feeding duties so I planted it in my vintage wrought iron chair 💗 ... a splash of colour for the colder months hopefully.

Last week I drove to Tirau to meet up with a dear friend who was travelling North.  No trip to Tirau is complete without a visit to my favourite store My Style  I knew I wanted to purchase some of their Cath Kidston fabric to make a new ironing board cover.

I simply remove my old cover, pull the elastic out, lay it on my new fabric (60 cms) & cut around it, allowing enough to sew a casing.  The "helper" was unfortunately non-negotiable but she made a good weight to stop the fabric moving around 😉

If I could give you one little hint then it would be to NOT have a "helper" if possible, as they get tired, lie down on the job & sometimes even GO TO SLEEP!!! This makes removing your new piece of fabric from underneath 
VeRy TricKy!

When your helper wakes up again you have sewn your casing, simply thread your elastic through & pop it on your ironing board.  

It is amazing how much pleasure that 60 cms of fabric brings & makes me want to actually DO the ironing!! 

That very same evening we had a Birthday Party to attend as Alec was turning 8!!

The far right photo is just Alec pretending he has fallen to the ground

This year (for a change) his parents decided to hold his party at this venue in Hamilton Extreme Edge Rockclimbing Gym & it was the most perfect place for 10 rowdy, energetic boys to run around & use up energy!

Even Sid enjoyed it after his initial hesitation.  There are just so many wonderful themed climbing boards for children & they are harnessed in so it is very safe.  

If you have more than 8 children they give you a room to hold your party in ... which worked out so well.  We had pizzas followed by Chocolate Mud Birthday Cake ... then back to the climbing.  

Some readers may remember back in early March when I won this Anthurium Plant in a Competition.  I loved it & it seemed to really thrive sitting on my table.  However I read online that the flowers are very toxic to cats & as mine are frequently on the table 😕 I thought I should move it & not risk anything.  I didn't think they'd eat the flowers but simply brushing against them could cause a nasty reaction.  

This pink stool above was in my woodshed (!!) - an old thrifted find. I sanded the marks on the top, washed it down well & then painted it with two coats of chalk paint "antique white".  I kept the wood showing on the legs & gave these a generous coat of wax ... I was delighted with how it turned out & now its well out of any furry friends reach.

When I was down packing up Mum's house in early March, my dear friend Claire invited me to her home for a Stitching Evening.  There were 6 of us there - just a nice number. 
 One of the girls, Joy, had bought along a box full of these vintage fabric packs.  Joy had purchased these from French Pear Vintage & as she had so many we were each able to buy a bundle if we wished.  They are called "lucky dip bundles" - you don't know what you are getting but they are antique french fabrics & linens that the lady imports.  The girls issued a challenge that we had "to do something with our packs of fabrics".

Mine came home with me & when I looked at them all I decided I wanted to make a project using ALL of them in one hit.

I laid them out in a pleasing design, changing my mind over a couple of days regarding placement.  I decided to attach them to a piece of pre-washed calico which I cut to shape.  I machine stitched around some to fasten them & also dabbed a fabric glue pen under some.  Then I began to hand stitch across them, changing my direction as I worked my way across the rectangle - some horizontal, some vertical.

I drew some of my lines with a Frixion Pen as I am inclined to be wonky

I think it would be fair to say I enjoyed this mindless slow stitching so very much that I found myself driving to pick Sid up from school half an hour earlier so I could sit & stitch some lines in the car while waiting.  

I just used a roll of thickish embroidery thread that I had thrifted once-upon-a-time & really liked the effect of this thread.  I had 3 pieces left over from my bundle, 2 green & one white ... so I stitched these to a square of calico that I planned to use as my backing.

My original plan had been to make this piece into a table runner but somewhere along the way it became a cushion.  A sort of French Country looking cushion.  I finished putting it together at the weekend & made a large inner for it from an old pillow I had bought home from Mum's.  I like my cushions stuffed nice & tightly.  

I am really thrilled with my new cushion & I think I might be rather addicted to this slow stitching as I'd now like to make a table runner.  I wasn't sure about leaving my raw edges but now I really like this effect on my cushion.

Thank you all so very much for your visits here today dear friends,

It feels like its going to be a cold night here at Threadbear HQ so I am off to fill the wood basket,

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend - remember to be kind to yourselves & to each other,

With much love & friendship to you all,

Julie & the furry ones x0x0x

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Before, During & After ........................................

Greetings lovely friends & readers

Welcome to another shiny new month ... May !!

Image from "scraps of us" blog

I have been away down to see my Mum again & returned just in time last week as the road was closed due to another big slip.

- Before -

 Thank you all for your sweet kind comments in my last post about my new seating area with Mum's mohair blanket/new cushions.  I had hardly hit Publish on my post when I walked into the room to discover a certain 4-legged Princess had tossed the cushions on the floor & decided the mohair rug was quite cosy for Her Royal Highness thank you very much!!

I usually try not to light our fire until the month of May.  This year however (in late April) I came inside from gardening one afternoon & decided it was jolly well freezing in my house ... so I pulled my pinecones out & lit it promptly.  It never takes the ginger one long to find the heat.  It will burn now until October as our seasons have changed so much & our springs can be very cold & wet.

Before I headed down to see Mum I had some birthday gifts to make.  I wanted to make candles for my friend Carolyn & also my sister in law.  The crystal glassware was out of Mum's china cabinet so I thought it would be special to make candles to gift to my sister in law in these.  The fragrances are Orange, cinnamon & clove, & smelt wonderful.

In our first Lockdown of 2020 I purchased a punnet of Zinnia Dahlia plants that were not much bigger than my smallest fingernail.  I lovingly nurtured them along until they grew large enough to plant out in my garden.  They grew into the most stunning flowers & each year I remember to collect the heads so I can save the seeds for the following year.  I had pressed some of the flower heads under heavy books so I made up some fancy seed packets to gift to my friend Carolyn, whom I visited on the way down to see Mum.  

Prior to my trip away The Mr came home with this wooden mirror he had picked up in his travels for $20.  It had obviously come off a stand as it had brackets on each side.  Before painting I glued on some efex rubber mouldings to try & tizzy it up a bit.
As you can see I originally started off painting it my usual Vintage White colour but then changed my mind & decided to try a new-to-me colour ... "Linen".  

I loved the finished colour but decided the scrolls needed something to make them "pop".  After the numerous YouTube videos I watch I thought some white wax might be the answer ... problem was I had No white wax.

I decided to make my own version simply by mixing a tablespoon of clear wax with some white chalk paint & stirring well.  It did the trick wonderfully for the small area I wanted it for.  I find if you clear wax the scrolls first, then whatever you apply afterwards will always wipe off easily if you don't like it.  

Love, love my new (old) mirror & the colour is a gorgeous mix of brown & grey undertones, just like the raw linen I am stitching on at present.  

- During -

My brother & sister in law decided to go away for a few days to celebrate her 65th birthday.  I offered to house sit for them & look after their animals as it gave me a chance to visit Mum & also free accomodation now Mum's house has sold.  I had planned to take lots of photos but my time away was just so busy that I barely picked up my phone. 

Each evening I lit the fire & their elderly (deaf) dog Bella comes in at night & sleeps by it.  I had hoped to stitch but the cat in my lap was originally Mum's cat Bubby & she rather liked my lap.  
View from the bottom of the driveway ... & then from the top - out to an oil rig at sea.

My brother owns 40 acres & their house sits way up on the top of a hill with amazing views in every direction (but also lots of wind). 

Longtime readers of my blog will remember the fence my brother built by hand in this post & also in this post - my brother only has one arm after a motorbike accident when he was young. 
He has now built himself a Hothouse - it had to be built really strong to withstand the winds that they get up on the hill.  It was incredible & filled with a large variety of plants already even though he is just getting it underway.   

While I was away my lovely friend Claire invited me to a Pink Ribbon morning tea - this is a fundraiser for Breast Cancer that they hold each May.  We had the most delicious cooked breakfast ... & while at the Venue I took some raffle tickets & managed to win a prize.
This lovely wooden bread board & a set of 4 wooden coasters.  

- After - 

Once home again I got Sid to decorate 2 of the coasters - one each for his parents.  He did a lovely job of them & I sprayed each one with 3 coats of clear matt varnish to make them wipeable.  I'll get Alec to decorate the other 2 for his parents.  

While Sid was in hospital I took him an Easter colouring competition that I'd cut out of our local newspaper.  He coloured this in & upon his return home I dropped it in to the venue running the competition - a local Real Estate Agency.  Sid was delighted when they rang to say he had won his age group so I was able to take him in to collect his prize - a $50 gift voucher from a local bookstore/toy shop!!  

The fragrance is Baked Pear - just divine !
I called into Brandy's Botanicals while away as I needed to drop in some dried lavender ... I purchased this beautiful set of fragrant tealite candles & am burning one today in my crystal candle jar.

Phew - well done if you've made it all the way to the end!!
Thank you so very much dear friends, for visiting here today,
I hope the coming week is good & kind to all of you,
With much love & friendship to you all,
Love Julie & the furry ones x0x0x