Showing posts with label blogging. Show all posts
Showing posts with label blogging. Show all posts

Sunday, 24 November 2013

SO how did it go???

When I set out to write this blog I spoke about a running, crafting and gardening combined with less time in front of the TV and more positive activity.  Looking back I feel pretty happy with how it has all gone!
 I planted some successful and some unsuccessful veg in the garden - spinach and butternuts failed but had crops of runner beans right up until last week.
 The running went great - I did the race for life and then staggered through the great south run.  Since then I have to confess I have not stepped outside for a run but I have joined a gym and have been going along and enjoying exercising in the less freezing temperatures - combined with a warm pool and working hairdryers makes me very happy.  I do like to be warm!
 The crafting has been wonderful - I have been stitching with quite some dedication and managed to gather a whole table full of stock to take along to the craft fair yesterday.

 Financially the craft fair was not a success for me to be honest - I sold a few pieces but not lots so returned home with nearly all my bits and pieces.  So what has been good?
 - Since sharing more of what I sew I have been in contact with a variety of crafty types and upcyclers from all over the world via various social media sites.  I've learnt from them, marveled at their achievements, shared some of their struggles and loved looking at all their gorgeous crafts.
 - I've made sewing a part of my life in a way that it wasn't before which means I make more things for more friends because they see me sewing things and I love doing this!
 - I met fantastic people at the craft fair
 - Doing the craft fair has given me time to think about and realize what my USP is - upcycling - and to consider how to make this appealing to others.
 - The time I spend in front of my sewing machine is simply wonderful - I sit and think, I sing along to songs, I listen to stories and generally just take time out for me to process and deal with various things going on in my head.

I think in summary it has been wonderful to move through my life in the last few months with a bit more purpose than simply ticking days off of a calendar.  By setting goals and working towards them I have used my time more wisely and done more than I had in the previous months.  By sharing my goals I feel somehow driven to achieve them by my own desire to do well.  By sharing my moments that aren't quite as successful as I would like them to be I feel I am able to hold my head higher - not keep secrets and pretend that everything went exactly as planned but instead embrace the reality of where things are at and get excited about moving forwards with input from others.  These things are all on a very small level - after all the goals I set were really just about spare time - but for me the lessons I have learnt have been so very applicable to every part of my life.

So where next?  I definitely plan to set myself more goals in the future - I think I will begin with some new years resolutions in January (more on that in a future blog).  I definitely plan to keep crafting, exercising and I have to say I have fallen in love with blogging.  It is evolving slowly into a type of crafty journal with anything I experience thrown in - but anyone who knows me will verify it never was going to be a hugely focused blog on one single topic as that just isn't how I operate!

So watch this space for a few bits in my etsy shop and some new adventures coming up!  Thanks for coming along on my journey - its ace having you on board!

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Putting yourself out there

So this week I have taken the opportunity to finish some patchwork products that I have been working on.  I love the finished effect of patchwork but it is time consuming and my machine has fought against the quilting it at every turn.  But I have battled on and here are some of the pieces I have made.

The stocking is fully lined so it can be used for filling with fabulous surprises for someone this Christmas and the other two pieces are purely decorations.  
  It has been fun to try something different and continue with new techniques and approaches to try to create things that are always changing and evolving -reflecting mood, seasons, weather or a theme.  For this week that technique was patchwork.  
 I have seen many inspirational patchwork pieces by people who have clearly spent hours and hours perfecting this skill.  They use a perfect maze of fabrics and shapes and bring them together to create something that is just mind-boggling.  I know a few people who are experimenting successfully with making hexagon quilts and it looks fabulous.  But for me - for now - I stuck with squares - also very effective - but not quite a tricky as some of the other shapes that people opt for.  Overall I'm really happy with how they have all turned out and particularly love the stocking!
  These three pieces will be the first that I have put out there for public scrutiny.  I've signed up for a facebook showcase called A winter Wonderland where crafters show 3 products that they are selling. 
 I didn't really start sewing to sell things and I didn't start blogging to get loads of followers.  I love sewing and I love writing - the two seem to have fitted together nicely to be honest and I really enjoy sharing the things that I have made.  I've signed up to a charity craft fair and this showcase because it seemed the natural next step to continue sharing my love of creating (and talking ).  But putting yourself out there is scary - it's inviting criticism and judgement.  Inviting people to choose not to like the things that you have spent time creating.  Of course it also invites recognition and praise and all the things that make putting yourself out there worth it.  So I have shared my pictures on the showcase with a mixture of excitement and nervousness - not really sure if this is the right step but at the same time not having lost anything by trying.  I'll continue crafting and blogging whatever happens because I love it and that is what I have to remember!
 I'll keep you posted on how it goes and please do leave me your feedback!

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Pleats tutorial

Hi all
What a rainy weekend it has turned out to be!  I have spent much of my time at work so am hoping it will rain itself out as I head towards some much needed time off!  Though I would take some time this morning to blog my tutorial on pleats.

I love pleats - they are cute and look gorgeous when done right.  I love the shape they add to clothes and as you saw in my last post I've started to use them in bags as well.  They can be adapted to any style you like and any shape or size so for me it is a must in your stash of sewing skills.

So what will you need - your fabric of choice, dress pins, a tape measure, tailors chalk, iron and a needle/sewing machine and thread.

1.  You need to measure the length of your fabric and decide how big your pleats will be.  I chose 2cm pleats to be every 4cms.  This means that in total I will need 10cm per pleat because the fold uses 3x2cm of fabric.  To work this out for your pleats take the size you chose for your pleat, times it by 3 and then add this figure to the gap you want between pleats.  I marked this out along the top of the fabric using pen so you can see it but you will want to use tailors chalk that won't mark or run ink over your fabric.
So I have marked 0cm then 4cm then 8cm then 10cm.  Then I repeat this again until I reach the end of the fabric.

2. You now want to start folding the fabric to create the pleats.  You want to take the 8cm marking and bring it over the the 4cm marking
This should mean that the 10 cm marking sits just on the fold leaving you with a neat 2cm pleat.  Pin this with the pin pointing up towards the edge of your fabric.  Then you repeat the step taking the 8cm back to the 4cm and pinning until you reach the end of your fabric. You should be left with something a little like this.
As you can see it creates a nice curve to the fabric which is why pleating is often used for skirts - it perfectly sets up the waist band.

3. Now you want to press this out.  This is a really important step if you want your pleats to sit nicely.  The fabric should naturally show you how long the pleats fall - if you want a full pleat all the way to the bottom of your fabric you need to ensure you measure the pleats all the way down otherwise they will loose some of their shape.

4. Finally you run a straight stitch along the top of the fabric and remove your pins.  While you are sewing check that the pleats aren't folding up under your machine foot (if your using a machine) and adjust as you got to ensure they are going through the machine perfectly flat.

Now you add this to your skirt or bag or whatever it is that you are using it for.  This is a skirt that I made a year of so ago out of round table cloth.  I used pleats to bring it in to fit me at the waist and it gives the skirt such  a full feel - perfect for twirling I have to say :)

If you decide you want to do box pleats you follow the same idea except you turn the folds round.  SO the first fold you would bring the 8cm to the 4cm mark.  Then you would swap and bring the 4cm to the 8cm and continue alternating to create a boxed look on your product.

Have fun experimenting and as always give me a post of anything you produce!