Sunday, 29 December 2013

Hexie Love

This is a crafting post, albeit not a miniature one! 
I must confess; I have a new love. I’ve been unfaithful to miniatures. How can I describe it? They come in a whole range of colours and sizes but are always perfectly-formed. I’m talking of course of hexies - specifically the hand sewing technique of English paper piecing. I stumbled upon this technique while looking for something to do that involved no machinery and very little kit since nearly everything I own has been in boxes for the past 3 months. 
It looked so precise I thought I couldn’t do it but then I found a very easy to follow tutorial on My Poppet and realised I could do this! She also provides a handy template, and lazy as I am this was how I decided on the scale of my first hexie project. I’m following a traditional grandmother’s flower garden pattern (hexie flowers with paths in between) but using all sorts of random colours. 

lotsa hexies!
My hexie project uses up all my scraps of fabric and doesn’t require too much intellect since the colour scheme is pretty random other than following a certain shade. No worries about cutting out the correct number of hexies! It doesn’t make any noise like the sewing machine does, so I can do it at any time of day or night, in front of the tv without annoying the hubbie.  And the best part? It is SO satisfying! The corners are so nicely precise and even when they don’t quite match up it’s an easy fix.

When I started my hexie project, I didn’t know what it was going to end up being. A table centre? A table cloth? Now it’s getting to the point it’s almost certainly going to be a quilt, although I don’t know if it will be a single or double yet. It depends on how addicted I become. The great thing about it is, when I do get a bit sick of it, it all folds up into a couple of bags without overtaking my whole living room. I’m not sure when I’ll ever finish it, but when I do I’ll share it on the blog.
Where will it end? Nobody knows.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Happy Handmade Christmas

Happy Christmas to those who celebrate, and Happy Holidays to those who don't. I made a conscious effort this year to hand make as many Christmas gifts as possible. The key to this strategy is getting started early, and I mean early! Mid November just isn't going to cut it!

I blogged about it at the time, but last August I completed a Baby Jane quilt for my mother-in-law. This took eight months to make start to finish, and I bought most of the material and wadding specifically for this project, so it was not exactly cheap. But I hope it will last years and years, and for the money I did spend, I would never be able to buy anything close to this quilt.

For my mother, I made a couple of cushions to match her dark green sofa. Now these were super cheap as I used all leftover fabric for these. The cushion inserts were bought in a super cheap sale a few months ago, so the only thing I bought specifically for this project were two green zips for less than a couple of pounds. Result! Also, I did iron these before I gave them away, sadly not before I took the photos. Domestic Goddess FAIL.

This is my first attempt at clamshell appliqué. Previously, all my appliquéing has been done on to a backing piece, whereas these all sewed directly to each other. I found it quite challenging, but felt I got the hang of it a few rows in.

This design is called the tobacco leaf and combines machine sewing for the background and hand appliquéing for the petals. I still don't always have everything lining up perfectly, but at least my sewing is now very solid and not likely to fall about at the seams. Which is just as well, my mother has a cat who doesn't understand the words, 'get down'! 

For my nan (in-law but I consider her my nan!) I made a couple of pot holders in October. Except we ended up giving her these for her birthday a little while before Christmas (organisation FAIL). These were made from leftover material and wadding from the Baby Jane quilt.

Here's what Nan did eventually end up getting for Christmas:
Each hexagon is 2cm wide.
I recently discovered English paper piecing - mainly out of necessity rather than because I am a massive fan of hand-sewing. During our house move my sewing machine was out of commission for a couple of months so I needed a hand sewn project to keep me occupied. Doubled with my no mini-making supplies access troubles, I really needed something to keep my hands busy that didn't take up much room. So I made her a wall hanging using teeny, tiny hexagons. These were all paper-pieced and hand sewn, with just the backing and binding done by machine.
With hindsight, I wish I had used all block colours for the flowers and not patterned fabrics, as I think this would have made it easier to discern them. But we live and learn. Overall I am pretty pleased with this as it ended up a very tidy piece.
And I did put my miniature skills to good use too, I made some pizza earrings for my sister-in-law.


Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Lessons I have learnt since moving to the country

As you probably know, I moved house this year. We've always been semi-rural, but now we are on the very outskirts of a rural village where people keep animals and there's hardly any buses. I feel much more out in the sticks, and for the most part I am loving it. We've more space, we're less over-looked and certainly don't have to worry about where to park the car anymore. It's great. But I've learnt a few things too since moving to the country.
In no particular order:
Mains gas is a luxury that you should never take for granted (as is mains sewage).
Learn which neighbours keep which animals in advance. That way, when some little, lost quails come chirping into your garden you know who to return them to before one of them flaps over the fence into next door's garden (which is unfortunately full of dogs).
Be good at giving directions because TomTom cannot find where I live and neither can anyone else.
Road gritters, what road gritters?
Ducks are noisy hooligans.
Even the local council doesn't actually know when the bin lorries come to my house. But my bin keeps being emptied so I don't mind too much.
Watch out for bunnies in the road (and really stupid ducks)!
Invest in torches. When you don't have street lights, it is pitch black outside at night. I've no idea why this came as such a surprise to me.
Watching the little birds from my kitchen window is one of life's great pleasures.
The further out of the centre of the village you live, the 'quirkier' you must be. As mentioned, I'm on the outskirts and seem to fit into the system quite nicely.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Gingerbread Galore

I was featured in a gingerbread treasury. Just looking at it is making me hungry.
Can you spot which ones are 'real' and which ones are miniature?

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Random Christmas Craft

I made this recently. I had little oddments of Christmassy fabric and no sewing machine available, so I made this little project. It is entirely hand-sewn and made using English paper piecing.

Can't get the hand of photographing sewing projects!
I rather enjoyed making this. Unlike most of my sewing projects, it was quite small (7.5" in diameter) and therefore quick to complete and instantly satisfying. It only took me a few evenings start to finish. I was going to use it as a pot holder or a table centre for my round table, but it's too pretty to cover up so I think I might sew on a tag and hang it on one of the many nails in my walls.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Yuletide Miniatures

I love Christmas, truly I do. But I don't love how early it seems to start each year, so I try not to blog about it too soon (except for the posting dates, that's sort of necessary!). I don't have any Christmassy miniatures to showcase this year that I haven't already shared with you, due to not being able to make any new miniatures since our big house move. This sucks majorly! So I'll take this opportunity to showcase somebody else's festive miniatures instead.
Gingerbread sleigh by minicris
Christmas tree by WonderWorks
Basket by MMMinis
Christmassy quilt set by TheLittleQuiltShoppe
This has helped put me in the mood now! I ho-ho-hoped it cheered you up too (sorry!).

Sunday, 1 December 2013


I love fish, it's one of my favourite foods! And so do my miniature friends it would appear.
12th scale salmon dinner
12th scale salmon and crudités platter
A wonderful fish pie by Dreaming Chameleon
Oysters on ice by Cinen (I'm not quite brave enough
to try these in real life, but these look great!)