Sewing room update

This is a very cold winter and we have found that heating this old house is turning out to be a very expensive experience. We mostly use a woodburner upstairs, which means it is lovely and warm there and still freezing cold downstairs. It is the same on the days we decide to use the heat pump instead of making a fire, but although the heat pump does the job upstairs it is very expensive to run

At first we considered installing a heat pump downstairs too, but when my husband retires we will be on a limited income and definitely would not be able to afford to run it upstairs and downstairs, it will simply be too expensive

So we decided to get a second woodburner downstairs in my sewing room. Of course I am very happy about this because the is my ‘hang out’ space with all my needlework stuff, a comfy chair, television, books and sewing machines and fabric. A very expensive one-off expense, but the payoff will be cheaper living costs in future winters.

The negative is that, because the sewing room is downstairs, immediately below the lounge, the flue had to be channeled through the lounge and we now have this big round black pipe running through the lounge area. On the positive side – when the woodburner is going downstairs the lounge will automatically be heated a little bit too. And because heat rises this could mean that we will only have to light both fires on extremely cold days. Or that is the theory 🙂

Does it look good with a flue running through the lounge, where there is already a woodburner? No, not necessarily, but we have to heat this place to have a comfortable and affordable life and the sacrifice had to be made. If this is where we will be in the future we had to do something about heating it and this was a good solution. I even think it could be a positive point when we eventually sell the place as it would suit a big family and they can use the sewing room as a children’s place. There are still plenty of other bedrooms left to fill with said children

I love my sewing room even more now as I can see myself all snug and warm, sitting in my chair with hand sewing, in front of the fire, watching perfectly good rubbish on the tv. With the cats enjoying the warmth with me (the sewing room turned out to be a ‘no man, no dog’ area)

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We will be hanging blinds in the window next to the woodburner as curtains could be a fire hazard.

The woodburner wiil not be used this winter as I am leaving for my trip to see the children in 3 sleeps’ time. Still can’t believe this is happening as it was a very late-minute decision to take the trip now. Friday we will drive over to Christchurch we the airport is (about 3 hours over the Southern Alps), then fly to Sydney, then Hong Kong and at this stage it seems Japan! After a few weeks in Japan and then Hong Kong it could maybe be New York, before leaving for Canada to visit my daughter. According to her I will be there for at least a month

I am potentially planning a little detour when in New York – maybe fly to Tampa, Florida and surprise an old primary school friends who lives there. We haven’t seen each other for nearly 50 years and I think it could be time for a catch up. We’ll see if this plan comes together

I have packed some hand appliqué blocks to sew a my daughter’s. This is for a cat quilt I was tempted to make. Once a month a block is released of this mystery quilt (The Little Red Hen’s Wooly Mysteries)  and the layout will be released in December. Seven blocks have been released already but I joined quite late and haven’t made a single block yet. In preparation to my trip I prepared all seven blocks, packed thread and needles and hope to come back home with completed blocks. The face details will be embroidered and the plan is to use small buttons for the eyes (Can’t believe I am making ANOTHER quilt!!!!!!)

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In the meantime I am up to date with the Splendid Sampler and the Sweetest Little Things QAL’s. I have made all the blocks released up to date. When I come back there will be two Sweetest Little Things blocks to make and quite a few for the Splendid Sampler.

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Um, um and yep, nope, maybe………

I embroidered a pair of booties to go with a little romper, for a pregnant friend. After lots of umming and yep and nope I decided I wasn’t 100% happy with those and embroidered a new set of booties this weekend

These are the first ones, but I decided it wasn’t done well enough to be gifted

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Now I am happy and the set will be gifted to the pregnant mum this weekend. These are the new booties and they are perfect!

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I have smocked for a very long time and still enjoy doing it. Wish I knew years ago how well the smocking and the embroidery done on the embroidery machine would compliment each other

Busy smocking weeks

The weather has been quite miserable here, with lots of rain, and it is getting cold. I am also still (trying) toilet-training a puppy and therefore decided to just spend time in the sewing room which allowed me to keep a close eye on her

One of the students I taught about 10 years ago is expecting a little baby boy and I made some rompers so that I can give her one for the new baby. I had enough fabric for four rompers and decided to use all the fabric, instead of saving the rest for another day

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I’ve had my eye on a specific smocking plate for a long time and decided it is time to use it on white batiste fabric. It was supposed to be a little dress but the fabric decided it wanted to be a top, with pink under it. I love the little flowers on the smocking, it is such a dainty little top

The toilet training is very hard!!!!! I have to remind myself she is still a baby and to be patient. But personally I think people of a certain age should not be allowed new puppies. She is such a bright, sweet little thing and although she doesn’t understand about going outside if needed, she can ‘sit’ and ‘come’ on command

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Sidetracked again!

After making some key fobs and pencil toppers for the market stall, I once again got sidetracked and embroidered blocks to make a tote bag for a friend. I used the embroidery machine to embroider 12 ‘Fashion Girls’ which will go around the bag to form  big pocket. The great thing is that these are embroidered with 3 layers – 2 fabric and 1 batting. I just had to sew it together. It looks so neat and tidy

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Why haven’t I bought a machine years and years ago?

Chicken scratch embroidery

A few years ago – 4? 5? 6? I’m not even sure – I saw chicken scratch embroidery on gingham and I liked it a lot. I then managed to find a book with projects and the ‘how to’ and started embroidering an apron

But I found it a bit boring after a while and packed it away. This morning I woke up and realised my body is having a ‘tired’ day. I needed something I could do without thinking, and without using energy and remembered the apron. And that is what I am doing today – and I am actually quite enjoying it

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Of course I am thinking about embroidering a design on it with the embroidery machine too, might even try appliqué, not sure yet. I still think chicken scratch is pretty

Yippee yeah!!!! Something new for 2018

I bought myself a secondhand Brother PE770 embroidery machine! Can’t believe I’ve done it – it was not part of my 2018 plan at all. Yes, I have been looking at embroidery machines but decided against it as they are so expensive. Then this one just happened at a really good price, with heaps of extra stuff thrown in as part of the deal. And the reviews are good. And the previous owner is amazing and will give me a few lessons. And she has a good reason to sell, not because she hates the machine.

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A friend and I will be off to Christchurch early Friday morning to pick up the machine, have a lesson and then hit the shops as my friend is looking for an overlocker

Friend also wants to have a market stall at least once in her life and she booked us a stall at the Summer Market in February. Yes, February 2018!!!!!! It is January already and I have about 10 doll dresses to sell. But I can’t have a stall with only 10 things to sell. So for the rest of January I will have to use every single free minute and sew, sew, sew. It is going to be hard with an embroidery machine staring at me, wanting to be used

And by the way, I have NEVER in my whole life used an embroidery machine. Even worse, I have NEVER in my whole life seen one in action. I have no idea how it works – it is going to be a huge learning curve. My sister gave me the good advice to cut squares the same size and use it as practice blocks, and then make it into a quilt at a later stage, so that I don’t waste anything while learning

 

Bec Williams fabric

I ordered the most beautiful fabric from an Australian designer, Bec Williams. At first I thought I’ll never be able to use it as it is so beautiful.

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But after washing it I just couldn’t resist any longer and I made the first dress. I smocked and embroidered the insert in the bodice, but kept it very simple as I want the fabric to be the hero

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border dress

I still have two other designs of her fabric for two more dresses, and also ordered another one with kittens in the border. These will be saved for special little girls and special little dresses. To be honest I think the fabric of the one I made today will be perfect for flower girls or bridesmaids