Wednesday, 29 February 2012

WOYWW - ruffled feathers

2 machines, neither in action.

Well I did appear to ruffle a few feathers last week at Whats on your workbench Wednesday, so maybe I ought to apologise this week?

NO, no apology, just a bit of education instead.

Last week I made a passing comment about my 3 sewing machines, and all you paper crafters started having palpitations. 

Only the other week Hettiecraftcz justified two glue guns because one was on special offer.

And papers, the things I could tell you lot about your scrappy piles when seen from a distance!

Pot calling the kettle black I say.

Pop back a posting and you can hear about how my baby blue Singer has risen from the grave.  Following that posting, Twiglet of Sisters Crafty Creations, sent me a darning plate from her old Singer (a machine now long since departed from this fabric ladened world).  On removing the sewing plate from mine, I discovered a section that yet to be de-fuzzed.

And if you recall from last week, my vaccum cleaners has broken down, so that is the stage the machine is at, waiting to be de-fuzzed.

The desk itself has several part finished items, some doorstops / bookends waiting to be filled, some waiting to be made, a stack of books waiting for me to attach the covers, (which are in one of the boxes under the desk).  All of which need to be finished for Dolgellau Thursday Market.

And finally, tomorrow (Thursday), there will be a small giveaway on this blog in recognition of all the generosity out there in the blogging world.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Handmade Monday - Technology

Singer 347 - complete with zig-zag stitch
Handmade Monday is normal the post where we show you what we have created with our own fair, crafty hands, but today I thought I would introduce a bit of repair to group.

I was given this sewing machine through the freecycle system ( you list things you no longer want, and someone collects it for free, or in my case, you ask for a sewing machine and someone realises they have gathering dust that belonged to their mother.).

I was told the machine was in perfect working order when it was put away.  Unfortunately whilst that may have been true, its 10 years or so in a box had slightly stiffened up the joints.  Also, the little toolbox had become seperated from it, and so it arrived with no bobbins.

Singer, I thought, no problem, I'll raid the handcrank machine.  However it turns out that a drop-in bobbin is a different size.

With the wonder of the internet I found a site that sold bobbins for this model.  They arrived in 3 days.  I loaded one up, but boy was the tension miles out! It took some time to persuade the machine it wanted to behave.

However now that I had the machine up and sewing, I felt the motor was a bit sluggish, so I assumed the belt needed replacing.  Once again I began searching the web to find out if it was possible to get a new belt.  Not only did I find somewhere to buy the belt, but I even found a blog that showed me how to adjust it.  I left a comment on the blog and by this morning the blogger had offered to e-mail me a copy of the manual, all the way from Indiana!

My machine was manufactured in 1965 I think, (obviously there is a website to type in your serial number to work out the age of the machine too).

So by the now my 2nd hand rather tired Singer Sewing Machine is like a brand new machine.

As thanks to the wonder of the internet and the generousity of fellow bloggers, I shall be arranging a small giveaway on Thursday if you wish to call by.

Foot note below

Footnote (pun intended), if you were wondering, this is the generic free motion embroidery foot above a piece of cardboard.  I haven't found anyway of dropping the feed-dogs so I have covered them up!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

WOYWW - Far too much

Look at the state of that!
I don't know about you, but taking part on What's on your workbench Wednesday gives me a great opportunity to realise what shouldn't be on my workbench.  Why can I only spot things in the photo?  I hadn't realised it was this full, even though last night I worked on the ironing board!

I am currently covering a batch of books, the drying ones are in the foreground. Mid-way back is a batch mid-way through the process, and the background is a batch of completed doorstops.

However the rest of the table is chaos and debris, including my daughters blanket for her 0-6 month car seat.  As my daughter is now 5 years old, I have absolutely no idea why it has suddenly appeared at the back of my table.  I shall have to check last weeks posting to see if it was there then.

So I thought I'd give you an after photo.  After the kettle had boiled.
Whilst the kettle did its job, I tidied up.
Now in truth, I still can't use that side of the table as on the floor are two sewing machines, one hard sewing machine cover and two vacuum cleaners.  But I promise that once I have posted this, I shall work on moving them.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Handmade Monday - I'm stopped.

I am completely doorstopped
Hello Handmade Monday, haven't you come around fast?  This week I have been juggling working with half term - 2 children and no formal childcare.

I've agreed with Funki Blue in Aberystwyth my 'range' to complement my fabric greeting cards.  One of the products we agreed on, is doorstops.  But lets not beat about the bush, doorstops are not for posting.

So I thought if I concentrate on producing them first, then they will definitely be ready whenever I can borrow the car and go to Aberystwyth.

I have just been filling a batch, but was called back after my (very nearly) 3 year old had a major crisis - he spotted a hole in his sock! So I have a batch to fill, a batch to sew and then it all starts all over again.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

WOYWW - Feathered friends.

My desk
Hello folks, and welcome to another What's on your workbench Wednesday.  Now the one thing you can be sure about is when you reach my blog, there are no staged photos.  Nope, my photos always tell it how it is - messy.

Now compared to many weeks, this weeks workbench is tidy.  But I can assure you it isn't necessary to have around 50% of that stuff on the desk.

So what is going on?  Why has a flock of chickens appeared?  Well Funki Blue in Aberystwyth are stocking my cards, but they asked for more.  Not more cards, nope, more things, a 'complete range'.  Well what an opportunity!

I've begun with the simple stuff, so on my desk there is a flock of one abandoned chicken card, (used for measuring), one doorstop, one notebook, one trinket box.  I am waiting to hear if any of these are worth persuing, before doing anymore, in the meantime I shall be starting on a few more ideas bouncing around in my empty little head.

Pop over to Julia's and see if I am the tidiest pupil this week (don't worry I haven't got my hopes up).

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Handmade Monday - ahead of schedule

Handmade Monday is hosted by Wendy over at 1stuniquegifts and surely means you post on a Monday? However, I am being highly organised this week and writing this early, because I know I will be busy tomorrow.  My college friend is coming to visit and we haven't met up since these two, were this size.

A few weeks ago I posted my early attempts at dumfing.  I thought you might like to see how my 'skill' is developing (OK the word skill is a little premature).
My first landscape, it is supposed to be Cadair Idris Mountain from Dolgellau
Bluebell woods
A field of daffodils

Twiglet has been very helpful, and I am hoping that she will spot her input my next post about dumfing. (Just putting this correction in quick  - dumfing is Twiglets word for needlefelt, 'cos of the noise her embellisher makes - me I just use a clover needle).

In the meantime I have a house to tidy, and blogging techniques to perfect, as my friend said she wants to ask me some questions about blogging.  So next week you may see my profile change to Blogging Consultant.

As a prelude to such a role change I thought I would let you into a little secret that Wendy at 1st Unique gifts told me, (at this point you realise that my friend ain't going to gain much knowledge from me, but I'm very good at getting it from everyone else).

How do you 'follow' 1st Unique Gifts if you are on blogger (or follow anyone else on Wordpress)?
On your dashboard page, scroll down below your reading list, and you will spot add, click add, and paste the relevant url.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Liebster Blog Award

I've been paid several compliments in the last week (none about my appearance mind), and two were from my blogging friends.

The first was from Hetticraft who gave me a Liebster Blog Award saying how my blog (and my children) entertain her which is great, because I always come away from her blog smiling so if I can do the same to her so much the better.

The second was Twiglet ... and blow me down it was another Liebster Blog Award! Twiglet has been very generous helping me with my attempts at Dumpfing, so I was extremely flattered she thought of me for an award, rather than trying to blot me out of her nightmares!

The definition
The two definitions of the award varied slightly, but here is my amalgamation of the rules.
  • Pick 5 blogs you like, they should have less than 200 followers, and be up and coming.
  • Then get the linking bits in, so link to the awarder, and link to the awarded, 
  • let everyone know, and let it start all over again.

So here goes:
1. Annabelle Serendipity: I recently came across Annabelle, she blogs most days, with wonderful photos and on any crafting subject that takes her fancy.
2. Redneedle Sewing: Caroline is great seamstress, willing to tackle any project.  She is currently taking a break from blogging due to a temporary teaching job, but her blog is definitely one to keep on your follow list.
3.Tattered Rocks: A paper crafter who likes to have conversations with her blog, often arguments!
4. Wheelers Fabrics: This is my local fabric shop, Sam has only just opened up the blog, twitter (won't catch me near that), and facebook, so I am sure he would appreciate a few of you calling by. Sam also sells online through ebay and has a good organic and fair trade range.
5.And finally Ceredigion birds33 If I leave the computer unattended I return to find OH looking at this, and it is the feathered variety. Fabulous photos often by professional photographer Janet Baxter.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

WOYWW - I've moved house

the 'new' workbench
OK, so I exaggerate, but yes fellow WOYWWers (What's on your workbench Wednesday) I report to you this week from a new location.  I really can't work in the studio at the moment (due to the cold) and tired of putting the machine away each evening, I asked OH if I could put a table in the bedroom.

I haven't quite sorted things out yet, but I'm still really pleased with it, as I can pop in for half an hour and get stuck straight in.

I didn't find an extension lead, so the sewing machine ended up on the short side of the table.  Actually this is a good thing as it leaves the rest of the table for picking through the fabric.
the fabric being hugged by the hoover arm

Yesterday I had the car, so I whipped down to Machynlleth to Wheeler's Fabrics again.  I picked up some more background fabric and had a little look around for beach hut fabric.  Which means this week I shall have a bit of fun checking out what will be suitable.

Now hop off and see what everyone else is upto over at Julia's

Monday, 6 February 2012

Handmade Monday - in a sticky position

Sorry about the light
I sorry not to have joined you on Handmade Monday for the last couple of weeks but I'm back now.  Anyone that calls round on a Wednesday (WOYWW) will know what I have been up to.  I have made a little range of cards and two shops have agreed to sell them.  Unfortunately I have been trying to run before I could walk and on Saturday night I expect you could hear the screams of frustration from where you are sat.

Glue has been the sticking point.

My first lot of glue stained the paper. I trawled the internet for an advised glue but decided I needed to speak to someone, so I visited my local art shop.

I came home clutching my new lot of glue and on Saturday night I began fixing my cards in place.

PANTS, is all I can say.  Surely by definition a glue is supposed to stick? This glue was so weak it didn't even hold the card to card.

So Saturday night there I was spilling all my problems to Hetticraft, (she is so amazing that she found messenger on my computer when I didn't even know I had it, so she could ask all the right questions).  Hettiecraft not only offered several solutions she came up with the best places to buy them.

The trouble was I wanted the solution in my hand now.  My darling son awoke at 4am, so as I lay in his bed precariously balanced on the edge of a 2ft 6 bed (obviously as it is his bed, he feels he is entitled to sleep in the middle of it), I had time to ponder my predicament.

And there it was, PVA. Originally I had rejected PVA as too wet, but my fabric is thick enough not to be marked, it is just incredible slow.  All my gardening books have been brought into the pressing room, but leave them in the press too long and the card goes wrinkly.
the pressing room

If anyone has any other suggestions for quick to apply and quick to dry, non staining, strong (anything else I've missed?) glue then please let me know.  I'm off to order Hettiecrafts suggestion now.

(Oh, just in case you think I am biased: despite singing the Welsh national anthem and cheering at the end, I believe Bradley Davies should have been red carded).

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

WOYWW - good news I hope!

Yep I'm still working out of a cardboard box in the house
Hello, and sorry for missing Handmade Monday again, but at least I've made it to the computer in time for What's on your workbench Wednesday (WOYWW) hosted by Julia over at stamping ground.

THE cardboard box.
Well this week I bring good news.  I decided that to tout for a little trade for my cards, and I have had success.  I have invited to put my cards into a couple of shops.  (This is 100% success rate - a first for me).

So as so many of you recommended them I have placed my order with craft creations and begun a production line.
chickens queuing up for cards
sailboats awaiting a berth
OH even offered to cut out the bits of fabric, this made me laugh, as I'm not making that many.  I think in truth it harked back to his teenage years, when his older brother Russell Willis, produced a little ceramic owl, that suddenly the whole world wanted to own. OH and his brothers, found themselves dragged into the older brother's production line as they desperately tried to keep up with orders. ( I have just been and checked and Russells work for big mass produced runs are for sale on ebay, but not his little handmade owls).

So with my production run in mind, I probably won't be calling by until the weekend, but I'll do my best as my sewing eyes fail quite early in the evening!