Sunday, 25 November 2012

pincushions and petticoats


You may need to sit down...I actually did some sewing this week! I have an almost finished Ellen Mouse (just waiting for a sweater, two eyes a nose and some whiskers) and I made my first pincushion:

my first pincushion
The pattern came from Joelle Hoverson's 'Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts' and was really quick and easy to make. I added the button, because I like it and I think it finishes it nicely and gives it a little extra weight.

I was googling to find out what people usually use to stuff pincushions. Some people use wire wool, but I was concerned it might get damp and go rusty. A lot of people recommend using crushed walnut shells (sometimes used as litter for reptiles and sold in pet shops) - and I did buy some - but this one just uses polyester fibre filling, as it is my first attempt. I am quite pleased with it, and I think the lovely buttons I bought a while back from Vanilla Kiln on Etsy work really well.

I also made a Christmas card. Most of my Christmas cards use photos, either of the cats or of last year's Christmas tree, but I wanted to make a special one for a friend who sews...and who can make use of the buttons when Christmas is over (which makes parting with my beloved buttons that bit easier).

button tree Christmas card

petticoats...and the other clothes in the 'spare' wardrobe

As some of you may know, Mark and I have been calorie counting since we were inspired by the Hairy Bikers and it is going well. I have now lost 13kg (2 stone), but inevitably weight loss slows down as time goes on and I was struggling with how far I still have to go. I decided it was time to swap Summer clothes for the Winter ones that had been put away in the wardrobe in the spare room. Along with the warm clothes were all the clothes that no longer did up, so I thought I would see if any fit me again now. I was chuffed to bits to find they all did! I now have so many clothes that fit, I can barely shut my proper wardrobe! I also decided that my really comfortable jeans are so comfortable because I no longer touch the sides - I can take them off without undoing them. It is time to pop them in a hot wash and then turn them in to a shopping bag!

the other half

Did I mention that Mark's parents and I gave him money for his birthday to get himself an iPad? He loves it, and so do the cats! He doesn't like having his photo taken, but I managed to sneak this snap of him and Rio enjoying the iPad:

man, cat and iPad in perfect harmony
I didn't do so well with this one...!

camera shy

the American Museum in Britain, in Bath

My oldest (well longest standing) friend came to visit this weekend; we've been friends since we started secondary school at 11. She got the train from London and met me after choir on Saturday. Lunch at Bea's Vintage Tea Rooms - I'm still spreading the word about how great this place is -  then a potter around town (in the pouring rain!). We had intended to have a look at the Christmas market, but the swarming mass of people and umbrellas somewhat freaked me out and I dragged Karen to Country Threads instead - I know I am weird, but I swear the rows of fabric and ribbons and threads is like a tranquilliser to me. I really don't cope well with crowds of people. After that I got to relax on the sofa in Wool while Karen drooled over the yarns. The walk home in the rain turned us in to drowned rats, but the exercise showed in the scales the next day...!

However, I have probably had more than my usual calorie intake today. We went to the American Museum at Claverton, where they decorate the period rooms for Christmas each year, put up an enormous Christmas tree in the hallway and sell tempting Christmas goodies in the exhibition hall. We had lunch and then a wander round (and a cup of tea and piece of Mrs Conkey's gingerbread afterwards!).

We have had awful weather this week. So many places have flooded (including our garage). I feel so sorry for people suffering from flooded homes - often for the second or third time this year. Driving to the American Museum the extent of flooding was clear. The river is the highest and fastest I have ever seen, Bath Rugby's training ground is completely under water and huge swathes of countryside have become lakes. It is hard to think that at the beginning of the year we were being warned of drought conditions and it has hardly stopped raining since.

The American Museum had not escaped entirely either, but at least the water running off the higher ground was not going in to the house:

wet conditions at the American Museum
The water, however, did not dampen the Christmas spirit, with the decorations starting before we even got in to the house.

Christmas at Claverton
I am not sure of the rules regarding photography, so thought it best not to take photos in the period rooms, but I reckoned photographing the beautiful Christmas tree by the main stairs was probably allowed. It looks wonderful every year, but I particularly liked this year's glittering red, white and blue bunting:

Christmas tree at the American Museum

American Museum Christmas tree
If you get a chance to visit, I highly recommend the museum any time, but particularly at Christmas (although I think Karen disowned Mark and me as we competed to see who could spot the three peg-doll fairies hidden in each of the period rooms first!).

hyacinth-cam: day 15

All is going well with the hyacinth - roots starting to fill the glass and green shoots appearing in the top:
hyacinth day 15


  1. i was wondering how you were doing with all the awful flooding...

    you could make a lovely Halloween pumpkin pincushion to that design....

  2. I think we got off lightly with just the garage flooded.

    Great idea of a pumpkin pincushion! I have a notebook in which I list things I want to make...and that's going in it!

  3. Your pincushion is lovely and the button is perfect! I fill mine with batting - the kind you stuff in animals (fabric ones!!) .

    And what a great idea with the christmas card!

    1. I think I will give the crushed walnut shells a go, but include a warning about containing nuts.

      Thank you!

  4. How lovely with a new (old) wardrobe!

    1. Absolutely! I have also been invited to join a local 'mending' group, so next year I may get some help learning how to take in's not always all that obvious the best way to go about it.