Saturday, 27 April 2013

MMM 2013 - I'm in!

If you've read any of my waffling before now you will know I have a tendency to over-commit - you do not have such an impressive pile of WIPs without making a proper effort!

I have dithered ridiculously - torn between desperately wanting to take part and knowing I've done no prep and precious little sewing as I've been drowning in wedding stationery.  Actually can you drown in paper?  Probably not, well, smothered then.

But one of the bloggers I admire most is So Zo - not only her impressive makes but the whole ethos behind what she uses and recycles - totally inspiring. 

Then I realised I was beating myself up ridiculously, you can personalise your pledge, so cool.  So here goes ...

I, Jacq of 'A Good Talking To' blog, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '13.  I endeavour to wear 4 me-made or re-fashioned items each week for the duration of May 2013
I'm not going to take photos every day - to be honest it just won't happen, there's no point in kidding myself.  So it'll be a weekly round up from me :)

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Triangle Therapy




I'm in love with Half Square Triangles

What do you make when you need to relax?  Lots and lots of half square triangles - trust me, just try it.  I've measured and sliced my way through loads of them, sewing up both sides of the centre line, slicing them up and a quick press and there you are with a pile of happy little squares.

HSTs are so versatile but this is the simple pattern I settled on


I've had the patterned fabric for a few weeks, it was all free as I used a gift voucher.  At that point I hadn't decided what to make with it but really liked the patterns and colours.  Once I'd decided on a project I realised I needed a plainer fabric.  I'd originally thought cream or white but picked up the turquoise on Friday - with my loyalty card/voucher thing from the local quilt shop so more free* fabric!   It's got a slight texture to it, I prefer that to a totally plain solid.

The plan is that it will be a table runner - I'm not sure if it's long or wide enough. I was trying to get an idea of what it would look like but Luke would insist on working so it's not easy to see if I've got it right yet! 
And the table has extension pieces so now I'm wondering if that makes a difference to the finished length.  I think I'm going to sleep on it. 
On the plus side I have lots left of all of the fabrics so I can make it wider/longer if need be - I think I even have enough to make napkins with my serger - woo hoo!

Then I had a practice with my new walking foot - works a treat, I am very happy with it

And, just when you thought my life couldn't get more exciting look at this - a table top ironing board.  I am inordinately pleased with it!
We bought it in a camping shop - seriously who does ironing when they go camping?  They must be posh campers -  I barely do the ironing at home! 
But it's perfect for patchwork - I see more HSTs in my very near future.

* I get a stamp on a card every time I spend £10 - with 12 stamps I get a free metre of fabric.  P thinks this is stretching the definition of 'free' ... I think I'd be buying the fabric anyway!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Nautical Swap Part 2

I was going to make Jo a card but I saw this one and loved the picture, perfect for a nautical themed swap

In my enthusiasm to post my wonderful bag from Jo, see here, I totally forgot to include any info about what I made for her!
Jo is very crafty but I could see from her blog that she's a keen knitter, and has also started to crochet. I have bags of different crochet projects all over the place and like to try and keep all the bits and bobs together. I hoped Jo would feel the same so I made her a project bag.

I had some red fabric for the pocket in my stash, left over from a skirt I made last autumn. But the vision in my head needed boats and deckchairs so had the perfect excuse to go shopping!

Excuse the sorry photos! I stuffed the bag with my ratty old knitting equipment (it doesn't get much use!)
Don't you just love the little boats!

I made the pockets in various widths so Jo can securely store needles, hooks, scissors, patterns etc.
Another sorry photo but you can see the deckchair fabric on the inside
I top stitched everything in red, it seemed to look best

The little gift was a challenge but what stitcher doesn't need pins?
And if you have sail boats and deckchairs you obviously need sticks of rock!
The little labels are my favourite, and happily Jo loves them, I can't wait to see what makes she puts them in

Monday, 8 April 2013

Nautical Swap

A while ago I posted here about Rachel's nautical-theme swap at House of Pinheiro.

Just look at this beautifully wrapped box of goodies - I love the little boat sticker

A few weeks ago I received my email from Rachel giving me the details of my swap buddy - I was paired with Jo of Sew Much Choice.  I started by stalking Jo's blog to decide what to make (I was spoilt for choice as she's very crafty) and then got on with some top secret sewing. 

The nautical theme could be very specific or just a focus on the colours (red, white & blue). I've not posted any pictures of the work in progress because I wanted it to be a surprise for Jo.  The deadline for posting was the 4th of April and I was relieved to get my parcel in the post on time and another Finished Object off the list!

Well, look what was in the parcel I received from Jo ...

... just the perfect summer bag - there are pockets on the front and back and separate sections on the inside - so useful.  I do love a pocket.

Apparently the lighthouse is the first time Jo has attempted applique, she's done a great job. I haven't tried hand applique myself and am now really inspired to have a go.

The rules of the swap were to make an item and to include a little gift
And what sewer could resist these floral buttons? 
The strawberry ribbon is the perfect trim for some fabric my little niece has her eye on

Thank you to Jo for such a great swap parcel, I am delighted with my gifts.  Please pop over to visit Jo's blog - her cross stitch is brilliant.

And thanks to Rachel for organising the swap, I've really enjoyed taking part, and making something for somebody I didn't know, as it really stretches your creativity. 

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Why, thank you kindly!


I had a lovely message this week from Sally who had kindly sent me the an award. I discovered Sally's blog some months ago after she left a friendly comment. She lives surrounded by beautiful countryside in Northern Ireland and sewing is a real family affair with her daughters. Sally recently set up a dedicated sewing space so I'm sure she's going to be even more creative in the future. Sally does a lot of charity fundraising - another example of a generous sewing blogger :)

The rules of the awards are as follows:
Thank the person who nominated you.
Add The One Lovely Blog Award/Very Inspiring Blogger Award to your post.
Share 7 things about yourself. 
Pass the award on to 10 nominees.
Include this set of rules.
Inform your nominees by posting a comment on their blogs.
Thank you Sally - both for nominating me and because I've found some new blogs to follow from the recommendations you gave. I love it when you stumble across new blogs and have a wealth of past posts to read :)

Awards added - big tick

So, to the 7 things about myself. This is tricky to do but is the bit I love best when other people do it - I'm obviously very nosey! I previously wrote a similar list here so I have tried not to duplicate, here goes ...
  1. I'm known for being terrible at giving directions. Left and Right are a challenge so I work on compass points - this is perfect as long as people understand that the direction I'm facing is always North, absolutely always!
  2. Jane Austen is one of my favourite authors - I've loved her books since I was a teenager (that is a very long time ago!). I love the language and the humour. I admire all she accomplished as a woman in the 18th century
  3. My OH paid for me to see a colour consultant some years ago, to boost my confidence. Apparently my 'red carpet colour' is burnt orange. If I ever get invited to the Oscars I'm good to go! This has actually helped enormously with the choices I make about fabric and patterns. I still don't enjoy clothes shopping but it's easier
  4. The question "What time is it?" will always receive a response of "4:30" from my family. This is because we're Spin Doctors fans. This makes us laugh every time but I appreciate it's not much use if you actually need to know the time - might be best to ask someone else!
  5. I drink Earl Grey tea (no milk, sugar or lemon) and at the weekends I like 2 cups with a more leisurely breakfast.  A '2 cup' day is always a good day 
  6. My family all have super hero names (this is in addition to the Star Wars ones!). These are based on character traits - I am The Organiser, my husband is Spatial Awareness Man - particularly handy skill when we're packing the car for camping or buying flat pack furniture!  I won't tell you the others - my family may not forgive me!
  7. My husband tells me I'm the love of his life - I am bemused and thankful that this is what he thinks :) 
Now, this is tricky as I follow so many wonderful blogs - I'm in the process of trying to organise them all in one place at the moment, it's a work in progress. 

Also, I can't always tell if people have had the award before so I'm going to list 10 that I turn to when I am particularly looking for inspiration and not worry about the finer points about whether the blogger in question is a previous recipient.  These are just some that make me go 'yes!' when I see a new post...

  1. Attic 24 - Lucy's blog is so inspirational, it's my 'go to' place for crochet.  I've followed several of her patterns.  She's a generous and talented blogger, just looking at her blog makes me feel calmer, the effect that crochet has on me.  I wish I knew her in real life!
  2. A Little of What You Fancy - Sam is not only a creative person, her machine embroidery alone has inspired me to have a go, but I think of her as a friend and without her inspiring blog we wouldn't have met at all.
  3. Lladybird - Lauren is hilarious, very creative, madly productive and thrifty to boot.  I feel a surge of joy when a new post pops up in my reader. 
  4. Miss P - In addition to being very creative Portia is a very thoughtful blogger, I look forward to her considered posts on different topics.
  5. Sweetbeebuzzings - I only found Bethany relatively recently but her blog makes me laugh so much and she also makes beautiful bags.  I'm swamped with projects but despite that am very tempted to join her bag sewalong.
  6. Scruffybadgertime - Winnie is hilarious, her photo shoots for sewalongs are legendary - I'm thinking Pyjama Party particularly.  Beyond the fun she is very talented and her lapped zip tutorial is brilliant, went in like a charm, I'm never doing it any other way.  I think there's a theme you know, sewers that make me laugh inspire me!
  7. Blue Elephant Stitches - I'm just starting to patchwork/quilt, Jolene is amazing.  Just quietly, unassumingly amazing.  I'm in awe of her designs.
  8. Cation Designs - Cindy makes dresses out of Star Wars bedsheets - I don't think any further explanation is required, she is my hero!
  9. Goodbye Valentino - Sarah is just all round inspiring, some of her makes during her year of not buying clothes were amazing. And she sews for her daughter - how's that for selfless.  I love her stuff - so classy.  I aspire to be as 'put together' as Sarah. 
  10. House of Pinheiro - Have you seen Rachel?  Who wouldn't be inspired by her creations?  And she so generously shares her thought processes and design inspirations.  A wonderful blog.
Oh no, 10 is not enough, what about Karen, Jane and Tilly?  Or Debi, Amanda, Peter and Elizabeth?

Please see all the marvellous folks I follow on Bloglovin - I should have that list up to date this week.

Right, off to comment on everyone's blog.  Thanks again Sally for thinking of me


Tuesday, 2 April 2013

A Scolding of Seamstresses!

The perfect birthday card from Sam

A 'scolding' is the collective noun for a group of seamstresses. A 'scolding' - how rude!

And why do I even know this? Because I had cause to look it up. You see, today is my birthday and I received a wonderful surprise in the post from Sam. And I wondered what the best description would be of the sewing bloggers I've encountered, and I found a 'scolding' - rubbish!

I'm only fortunate enough to know Sam because we both started blogs at about the same time and happened upon one another's. We've met once, at the Valentino exhibition. We've won each other's giveaways. She always leaves a supportive comment to my witterings. She's far more skilled than me (she can knit for a start - beautifully) but she's very encouraging and doesn't make me feel like a muppet!
And she sent me a gift - isn't that just awesome?

Thank you so much Sam - it's perfect :)

Sometimes I struggle with my blog, and wonder if I've got anything even remotely interesting to say. Then I think about the marvellous people I've met virtually and I want to be part of that. I've made use of so many tutorials and free patterns, won some giveaways, taken part in swaps and other 'alongs, been inspired by people's blogs and the comments others have left here.

Seamstresses is pretty old fashioned so perhaps we need a collective noun that better reflects today's sewers. Just thinking about the general supportiveness and breadth of advice and tutorials on sewing blogs I think A Generosity of Sewing Bloggers is much better.
And this was my gift from my OH - no excuse for avoiding knits now!
It's our anniversary today too - Happy Anniversary Mr C x

Please help yourself to a piece of virtual birthday cake!
This is not a true reflection of the amount of candles - you might have guessed!