Wednesday, 25 January 2012

WOYWW - the amazon effect

The wash basket has been replaced by a cardboard box!
Well today is Wedneday so 'whats on my workbench Wednesday'? I'm not really sure where my workbench is any more.  I have so many ideas rushing around in my head that every bit of craft equipment has migrated into the house.  (The 'summer' workbench, down in the studio is lovely and tidy).  This cardboard box is just part of the 'pile' that now lives in the bedroom.

The postman is no doubt objecting to this sudden diversity of interests too.  We live up a long, steep, rough driveway, and everyday a new parcel arrives to satisfy the ideas that are rushing around inside.

Do you remember back to the olden days of Kays catalogue? (My mum didn't buy from Kays, she bought from something else, but for the life of me I can't remember the name).  Anyway you would choose the item, send off your form and then wait, and wait, and wait.  The standard phrase was ' please allow 28 days for delivery'.

Then along came the internet, and finally Amazon and Screwfix, and now we expect things the next day. 

But a few weeks ago I wanted something and I trawled the internet and I could only find one company that sold precisely what I wanted.  When I placed my order it did say 7-10 days, but really, I mean that was just a catch-all, surely?

Nope, it has taken 2 weeks for me to receive 20 sample cards to put my embroidery into.  So here, finally, are a few raw edge applique cards.  But if anyone knows a source of tri fold aperature cards at a reasonable price please let me know!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

WOYWW - weather warning

 Today is Wednesday, also know as 'what is on your workbench Wednesday', so time for me to confess all.

Clearly I am thick skinned, or may be just a little slow.  It has taken me until January to realise that my enthusiam for crafting has been affected by the weather.  Since the temperature dropped and the clocks went back (so basically the arrival of Autumn and Winter), my production rate has slowed to near zero.

However during the problems of the sewing machine crisis, I moved the machine from the studio, indoors.  And suddenly I am producing something every day.  So here is my new workbench.
Everything gets stuffed into the basket quickly, if I hear a child approaching!

So with this in mind I am trying to calculate the cost of moving house to gain an extra bedroom, which I can then convert into a workroom.  Even in my little fanasy land I can't figure out a way of justifying the cost, but it doesn't stop me trying.

Here are a couple of the little pictures I have produced whilst warming my toes by the wood burner.
sorry about the shadows
sorry about the shadows

However this morning (in my child-free time), I shall be moving to the kitchen.  I have to produce a quiche for a craft co-operative meeting I am attending tonight.  The group shop opened in November and we are going along to here how Christmas sales went, so fingers crossed they have sold enough to cover the cost of my quiche.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Handmade Monday - Flumpfing

Needle felting kit
Welcome to this weeks Handmade Monday.  Rather later than planned, I thought I would show you one of my Christmas presents.

I asked OH for needlefelting bits and bobs.  I explained that I needed a base, a needle and some wool and left it up to him.

OH later explained that this was really hard, as he didn't want to buy me a kit, but couldn't find one website that sold everything. Likewise he found difficulty in find a suitable mix of wool so settled on 5 shades of brown!

I haven't had as much time with it as I would have hoped.  The needlefelting bits are small enough to fit in a basket in the house, however I feel that those vicious little needles are far too tempting with the curious children who live in my house, so the kit has to spend much time tucked away.

After my initial experiments with shades of brown, I bought an additional pack of wool and set to work.  These are my recognisable results so far.
a rather chunky tree

an owl, that really needs a crescent moon
As to this weeks title? Well I came across needlefelting through Twiglets blog (a chance google hit I think).  Twiglet calls it dumfing, but somehow with a quick malapropism it has become flumpfing to me.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Living with the Domestic Goddess

The instruction manual
When the Domestic Goddess arrived it was siezed up.  The crank handle would turn, but that was it.

So the first job I had to do was consult the instruction manual.  The manual was sitting in the case in prestine condtion.

We all talk about the beauty of a Singer sewing machine, but the instruction manual is a thing of beauty too.  Not for any ornate pictures but for its simplicity.  Ikea clearly took the idea from Singer - there is not a single word in the book yet the instructions are clear.  By contrast my Pfaff instruction manual is 85 pages long and is written in 4 languages.

So my first task was to find the page about oiling the machine.  This time roles were reversed.  My Pfaff machine needs one picture to show me the one place I must oil it. The Singer requires 4 pages and I genuinely cannot tell you how many places I need to oil.
This is how many places under the Singer need oiling.
Last night I got the newly fixed Pfaff out, but somehow it just didn't give me the 'feel' that I wanted with free motion embroidery so I think the the Domestic Goddess is staying (although it might get re-named Big Bertha!).

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

WOYWW - The Domestic Goddess

Now called the domestic goddess
Well what is on my workbench this Wednesday? (WOYWW), the Domestic Goddess of course (as it has now been named).  If you haven't called by this week, and need to know the full story of how I gained a 50 year old brand new machine then take a look at Monday's post.

It is fair to say after my initial disappointment and should I add horror at being given a handturn sewing machine, I find myself eating humble pie.  The old lady has taught me alot already this week.

By slowing me down, the domestic sewing has helped me remember the basics of machine work.
  • How essential rountine maintenance is (the machine arrived siezed, but oiling soon sorted out the problems).
  • How fundamental it is to hold the 2 threads when starting
  • You can only guide the fabric with one hand, so that hand has to be perfect.
  • Your left and right hand really can move in different directions!
  • And of course how fun a hand machine is for the children (yes I too remember queuing up to wind a friend's machine).
child labour
The fanastic bit of news, is that by putting a request on freecycle for a new pedal for my Pfaff machine, lots of people suggested sources and one of them has paid off!  Yep the Pfaff machine which on Sunday was condemned by the machine repair man, is now back working.  But the trouble is I just don't know if I can put the Domestic Goddess back in her box.

Call over to Stamping ground and see how everyone else is beginning their new year of WOYWW

Monday, 9 January 2012

Handmade Monday - a brand new start

The end of an era?
 Blwyddyn newydd da. Croeso yn ol i ddydd llun o waith llaw!
(Thats happy new year. Welcome back to Handmade Monday )

I thought today I would show you some of my crafty tools that I received as Christmas presents, but instead I would like to share with you the sorrow and joy of this weekend.

Saturday night my sewing machine broke down, no panic just disappointment.  Sunday I phoned the repair man, but disaster, disaster, disaster, he told me he couldn't get the part for less than £85 and recommended choosing a new machine instead.

It was a double-whammy, not only was I desperate to continue sewing, but there he was, telling me I could never sew on my machine again.  We had been together since birth (well, since I was 14).

To add insult to injury, my mum traded in her Jones machine to buy it - and Eleanor's Attic, sends her Jones machine to the same man to be serviced.

Well I was not prepared to listen, so I trawled ebay, I put a plea on freecycle and I think I may have found the part for £25.

However, in a need to continue sewing, I texted a friend.  My friend would never describe herself as a domestic goddess, but she is woman of a certain age.  And surely, all woman of a certain age can sew?

Sure enough the response came back, saying her machine was in the porch and I was welcome to keep it!

I rushed round, and collected the great lump, clearly good quality. I rushed back home and opened the lid ...
A brand new start, for a brand new machine

Oh, dear, not what I had hoped for, but the story doesn't end there.  As I looked at the machine, it began to dawn on me, that there in front of me, stood a brand new machine... never used...all bobbins empty... no fluff anywhere.  Complete with the original 3 needles in the packet, the instruction book, the factory release card, etc. (I told you my friend was not a domestic goddess, but to have never used the machine in 50 years?)

The urge to sew was too strong and so the domestic goddess (as I've named it), was soon been put through its paces.  Tune in again folks, to hear how it is fairing!