Thursday, 30 April 2009

Sharp End eats the inedible

Okay I know dogs are renowned for tucking into things that make us go "euw!" but yesterday Sharp End really did something amazing. On returning from a trip out with my neighbour yesterday I found DS in the kitchen preparing me lunch. How kind, thankyou DS. It was just about ready to serve up and he had a bit of an accident with a jar of crushed that the lid came off and he ended up tipping the entire jar into the food! What a disaster...I felt so sorry for him...I did taste it (rather foolishly) and it was truly inedible...I even tried rinsing it under the tap, which I know is not ideal for a stirfry lol, but it made no difference. Anyway we just joined forces and between us we knocked up another one speedy quick. The HOT one was left on the side in the kitchen whilst we ate...and yes you've guessed, Sharp End took a sneeky trip to the kitchen and the next thing I knew I could hear a plate chinking away...he had polished the lot off!!!

The oddest thing is that the stinkiest, windiest canine in history does not seem to have had any side effects whatsoever!


Saturday, 25 April 2009

New bird feeder

We bought a new bird feeder yesterday. Woody the ( yes you guessed ) Wood pigeon is so cheeky just lately. He used to come and sit on the garden screen near the kitchen window and peer in until I was persuaded to go and put some grain on the bird however he just ignores the rules, which means if he gets to the bird table before me, meaning it is empty on his arrival, he doesn't hang around and wait to be fed... he goes to the small bird feeders hanging from the tree and noshes up from them. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't begrudge him a bit of seed, it is just that he finishes it all up and there is none left for the little birds who patiently wait their turn.

The solution is we of those feeders incased in a large wire ball, so only the little birds can get to the food. Woody still has the same choices, I just hope the little birdies realise that they have a new choice.

I wonder how long it will take them to realise there is a new food source out there...we will see...

Doxie twitching through the window.

Update: The finches and Tits have found the new feeder already! I wish the sparrows would cotton on to it though...Even Woody found it, but luckily it worked and he couldn't get his head through the holes.

Bluebell hunt

We are off on a bluebell hunt Today. Apparantly they will be at their best this weekend, although after the rain we had last night I don't know if that will be the case. Whilst Mr Doxie is lying on the ground getting close up and personal with the flowers ( with his camera I should add ) I shall take Sharp End for a nice stroll through the woods, and then retire to the car with my flask of coffee where I shall indulge in some outdoor embroidery. :o)

Have a lovely day,

Les Petits Moineaux

We have had real petits moineaux in the garden. It is funny but I never think of them as being babies, as soon as they get their colouring they look old. We have been very amused this week watching a family of 3 baby boys and 1 girl playing on the Acers by the kitchen window. I am not sure what they are up to on there because there doesn't appear to be any bugs, buds or seeds. The boys look really funny as they are not quite fully feathered on their bonces and look like they only have half a head, if you have ever seen them in this state you'll know exactly what I mean. Come next week we probably won't be able to tell them apart from their parents...for now it is a nice distraction whilst doing the washing up. :o)

We also have a darling baby robin. I hope he will become as tame as his Mum and Dad who like to follow me around the garden when I am working out there.

Doxie the twitcher

Friday, 24 April 2009

xmas card pennant

I had an idea.

Instead of every year swopping Christmas cards. I thought it rather nice if you have a word with your friends to make you a fabric card/in the shape of pennant in 2009 to keep and re-hang every year. It would be enviro friendly, the postman might not be too pleased at not sending all those cards but with email etc these days it probably won't make much difference to him.

If there was a uniform size chosen you could hang them on a line or whatever so they look rather like a pennant it could be quite spectacular, and if you are ever apart and out of contact in the future, you not only can remember them by hanging something with their name up, but if it was made by them, in their own style it would be like a little piece of them right there at Xmas each year.

Each person could decorate with things or in a style that reflects who they are or your connection/friendship. For example my friend J has a spaniel...she could make a fabric pennant with a pic of a spaniel on it.

Doxie, scratching her head trying to think of old and new Christmas traditions

sewing gauge V tape measure

I have had a pair of thrifted trousers in the wardrobe for a few months now, waiting to be turned up. I despise taking up trousers. Recently I bought a sewing gauge so am keen to see if this makes it a more pleasureable job.

Please imagine the delights of muzak playing gently in the background whilst I whizz off and do the deed!
back....Williams on the packaging. It is in a red and grey packet with the wording " Sewing Gauge, ideal for marking seam allowance." It has a ref no: CWH8.

10/10 the sewing gauge wins over the tape measure.

Doxie the pleased. :o)

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Translating non fabric designs to fabric

I thought you might like a look at one of my recent challenges. Something for Mr Doxie and learn a new process. I wanted to see if I could turn a design from a non-fabric material into an image on fabric...this would also be a lesson to myself in how to use bondaweb. :o)

Whilst looking for something suitable to translate into an applique I found one of Mr Doxie's old key rings ( see below ). He LOVED LOVED LOVED this keyring's little devil. This really fired me up as I usually do more feminine stuff. BTW if anyone knows where we can buy another one of these ( it broke after much use ) please let me know as this was his favourite and the shop has since closed...There was no name on it when I looked, or if it was once there it has worn is made of rubbery type stuff.

If I am making something for just us I like the challenge of recycling so this was a good excuse to dive into the used clothes pile.

Next came the drawing.

The plan was for this little devil to feature on a dinner mat. I thought the devil on the left and then "Dad's Hot Stuff" embroidered next to it would look fun.

Next came the Bondaweb. Amazingly it was the first time I had used this product.

This is where I say always go with your gut feeling and have confidence. I followed the instructions to a T...but it didn't feel right and I pondered on marking it up as a mirror image...but on double checking and checking the Bondaweb instructions again, I saw no mention of this, so I just went ahead...and yes it turned out that I should have done a mirror/reverse image...but luckily it did not make a big difference to the design...although it was a little exasperating when it came to the eyes ( I had to re-cut them ). It is not a bad thing though, it was a learning experience and something I will remember next and every time from now on!! :o)

The mouth worried me a bit. the blue outline was cut as just that, an outline. I thought if I attatched a solid piece under the white cotton I used for the mouth it would be a nightmare trying to embroider the teeth through that many layers of fabric. Thankfully going slow I managed to position it all okay and everything fitted with none of the under fabric showing through between the blue lips and the white material.

Well, I had given myself 2 tasks, make something for Mr Doxie and learn something new. I reckon it turned out pretty well. I not only learnt how to use the Bondaweb but also how to break an image into layers...he is made out of t-shirt material. I am not sure how that will fair with repeated washing when adhered to a dinner mat. I think that I would have to finish the edges in zig zag or button hole stitch to stop fraying, but I don't know if that would spoil the crispness and clean cut look of the image.

The only thing is... Mr Doxie decided that the little devil might be wasted on a dinner mat and suggested to wait a bit and maybe put him on a cushion or something...we shall see.

I will say that I am a real fan of Bondaweb now and have already used it a few times since...infact I feel a slight obsession looming on the horizon. I can't believe I hadn't tried it before... if you haven't, go for it, we've really been missing out. The posibilities are endless. I think it would be great fun applying favourite characters for your children on their bags or t-shirts. One assumes if it is for personal use and no money is being made that it is fine...In my case it was definitely educational! :o) I think I will have the confidence to start working on my own designs now that I have learnt about layering and the order that you would have to apply the will be fun making up designs with that process in mind. :o) ...On that point I want to make clear just in case it wasn't at the beginning of this post that I am not the artist who created this devil image and do not want to or plan to take any credit for the image itself...this was purely for personal use as an education for myself...

Try something new today.

Doxie :o)

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Charity Shop Treasure

Look at what I found in the charity shop the other day!

It is just perfect for one of the little girls I am teaching to sew. She was using an empty icecream tub to keep her current projects in...adequate for the smaller projects but not exactly pretty.

As if that wasn't a good enough find in itself, it was full of embroidery thread. They are not a brand I am familiar with so I won't be using them for main projects, but they will certainly be good enough for practice pieces and experiments and little bits for myself!

Sometimes the sun really does shine on you!!! :o)

Doxie the happy!

pass it on

Something I so enjoy is sharing the joys of needlework and homemaking with the younger generation. I can't sing the praises of learning these skills highly enough, there are so many benefits...below are just a few I can think of off the cuff...

1) Greater self esteem: To be able to complete a project and say " I did that" is a great boost to a young person's self esteem. You can improve your sewing skills at quite a good pace if the projects are well planned and you don't try and run before you can walk AND you PRACTICE.

2) Improved motor control: This worked were the hand gym at school failed miserably. This is how I helped hone my own child's motor skills. The rhythmic action of sewing is so beneficial, you can greatly improve hand eye co-ordination with practice...even if it is learnt by the fact that you have to go slower and be more careful so you don't keep stabbng your finger with a needle!

3) planning skills: You soon learn that when you embark on a project they all need a logical order of work, and you will need the right equipment at the said times; an excellent way to learn planning...after all it is so annoying to get your teeth really stuck into something and then find that you have run out of something or forgot to buy something on your last shopping trip!

4) Grounding: When everything else thrown at youngsters these days is so fast paced, giving or expecting instant results, homemaking skills bring you back down to planet earth gently, teaching you that rushed and quick is not always better, time and thought produce quality. It is so nice to see youngsters enjoying themselves, sat together crafting and chatting with each other with no thought of the need for electronic machines to provide their entertainment. ( No I am not anti-television, video games etc, but it is nice to have the skills to make your own entertainment, at least it won't be a disaster for these children if there is a power cut! )

5) Portability; Alot of the homemaking crafts are highly portable. I never go on holiday with at least one crafting project packed.

6) Self Expression: Once you have learnt the basics there is no end to the ways you can express yourself. It is cliched but the only boundaries are those set by your own imagination. Not only can you express yourself creatively but by giving a gift that you have produced with your own hands is such a lovely way to express your feelings for a person. I can't think of many folk who would not like a gift that was made with them specifically in mind. To know that somebody has put the time and effort in to please you is such a boost!

7) valuing things. I certainly think that if you learn the effort and skill that goes into a piece it helps you appreciate the value of other things around you which can never be a negative thing.

Apron Alert

Like every homebird I am nuts about aprons so imagine my delight when I found this in the local charity shop. The binding needs a little attention here and there but nothing major. Oh happy day!

Doxie. :o)

Just posting this pic to remind myself next year what kind of flowers were out in the garden and when. I think they were Nerines in front of a laurel, but I will have to double check.



Line's Noodle stir fry

This is more of a note to myself just incase I forget how to cook this easy and quick meal...but if you want to try it I think you will be pleasantly surprised at what great taste you can achieve in a speedy quick dish.

Note of interest on soy sauce:My good friend and super cook Line tells me that dark soy sauce is added for colour and light soy sauce adds the flavour.

red bell pepper
olive oil
dark soy sauce
light soy sauce
chilli sauce
some kind of protein...sliced ham/tuna/chicken
quick cook noodles ( can use the really cheap ones )
1 egg

Put noodles on to boil in a saucepan, if there is a flavour sachet add that too.

Whilst noodle are cooking...
Chop and fry onion and pepper in olive oil in a frying pan.
mince garlic and ginger and add to frying pan, cook for a bit
add chilli sauce to taste.
throw in chopped protein of some kind and cook for a bit
add egg, swirl it around, cook for a bit

drain and add noodles

Add a jolly good dash of dark soy sauce and the same of light.
Mix well
If needed add more chilli sauce.


good misunderstanding

When leaving the house to pop around to a neighbour today, I called to DS to "remember the french doors." MEANING don't forget to lock them when Sharp End ( canine ) came in from the garden. Imagine my surprise when I got back and was told that he ( DS ) couldn't find the glass cleaner so he had used an anti bac spray to clean them and was that okay?

Oh well, it is a good misunderstanding on my half of the story but not so sure if it was on his LOL ; either way I am grateful.

Doxie ( with one less chore to do! ) :o)

Making Open Top Bags Secure

My lovely friend Hagetha gave me this bag last Summer. It is not homemade, it says "EAST additions" on the label inside. I thought I would show you the top as I think it is a great way to make those pretty Summer time bags more secure. I didn't do this to this bag myself, it was bought as you see it in the photos. If you added one of those plastic toggles with an internal spring to the drawstring it would be even better.

I haven't tried converting any of my own bags as yet, but I am thinking that all you would need would be a long rectangle of fabric measuring the same as the circumference of the top of the bag, remembering seam allowances. Make the fabric into a tube by sewing the short ends together Attach one side/edge of the tube to the top of the bag on the inside, and hem the now top part leaving a casing for the drawstrings. thread some co-ordinating drawstrings through with toggles and you're done.

I'm thinking it might make the trip to the beach or wherever a little more pleasant... being able to take your prettier bags with you in the knowledge that it would be a lot harder for someone to take your wallet than with an open tote, or less likely for you to drop your best sunglasses out of it, whilst gaily swirling your bag around your head in a carefree manner ( or whatever it is we are doing when we loose stuff LOL ).

I will add that the way I staged the bag for the photos was just to try and show you how it was probably made in terms of the top, and that the drawstrings are not so obvious when you are carrying it around...they do not look untidy in real life. :o)


Doxie :o)

Action Man Balaclava

Today I realised one of my failings as a Mother...I was reminded that I never did get around to making a balaclava for DS's action man toy!

So to make up for this unforgiveable misdemeanor I shall offer my thoughts on how to make one for all the other little boys out there that are suffering because their Mother's are too sidetracked or busy to invest a few minutes making action man's head that little bit warmer.

My solution is...

1)Get an old man's glove ( that is a glove that is old, not a glove taken from an old man )

2) chop the end off one of the fingers or the thumb.I reckon 1 1/2 " would do it.

3) Stretch it over action man's bonce, mark out where his face is. Cut out that piece of fabric.

4) Pop it on action man to check he can see out okay. If he is pleased with the result take it off and use buttonhole stitch to neaten the cut edges and stop his lovely new head gear from fraying. Voila, RESULT!

I'd love to know if you tried it and if it worked.

All the best,

Doxie :o)

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Buttonhole stitch by hand V machine zigzag

At the moment I am finishing off yet another dinner mat. I am working on the edge of a piece of applique with a lengthy perimeter. I have discovered that doing buttonhole stitch by hand is far superior in it's finish ( looks wise ) than doing a quickie zigzag on the machine. I know that sometimes you just NEED to get the machine out for speed, but IMHO it always seems to give the same 80's look...and if you do wander off the line, Oh all that unpicking!

I am not in a rush to get my dinner mat finished so why not take a few evenings calmly stitching around the edge? I am finding it quite therapeutic, and I am sure it will last just as well when it comes to washing the finished item. Somehow the edge seems more defined, I am really liking the look and somehow feel more in touch with the piece than if it was just run up on the machine in an feels more like a piece of artwork than a household item in the making.

What is your preference machine or hand?

Happy stitching wherever you are.

Doxie :o)

Hot cross Buns

I realised something today that made me smile. All year it seems, Mr Doxie buys hot cross buns. It used to be teacakes but it seems that hot cross buns are available whatever the season. HOWEVER on the one day hot cross buns are supposed to feature on, we had none!!! I can't wait to point that out to Mr Doxie...who will no doubt feel very cheated LOL.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Beautiful dress pillowcases

I thought you might like to see these beautiful dress pillowcases I bought second hand. I haven't washed them yet so I'm sure you'll forgive me for not ironing them for the picture.

I so wish that you could also buy the history that goes with them. I wonder where they were made? They have an oriental feel to them. I like to think that a Naval man brought them home for his wife from his overseas travels...