Gingerbread Treehouse

My photos are terrible, but my heart is extremely happy. A gingerbread treehouse! I’ve realised one of my life’s ambitions; combining sweet yumminess and… treehouses. Also some lovely little red pandas thrown into the mix.

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More pillow talk

It seems like all I’m making at the moment is cushion covers. This isn’t actually true – I’m mostly making Christmas presents; but I’m not planning on inadvertently giving out spoilers with only 23 days left to go. As much as I am REALLY REALLY desperate ┬áto let the various cats out of their respective bags right now.

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Cushion covers using Ikea Tastrup fabric and 45cm zippers

On Saturday evening, after a productive day spent making secret things, I settled down to making some cushion covers. I’ve previously used a slip-in design, but this time went for one with a zipper. I watched this amusing tutorial (the accent reminds me a little bit of a terrible film I watched the last ten minutes of the other day – I think it was called ‘Alligator Alley’. At any rate, it was a bunch of Louisiana-ian people using broom handles and molotov cocktails to fend off uncles and aunts who’d turned into large alligators with attractive glowing purple mouths) and then set to, using the simply delightful fabric my mum picked up from Ikea a few months ago.

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There are different coloured buttons on each side – one pillow is green/pink; the other is orange/blue.

I didn’t want to waste too much fabric on seam allowances, so one side is a fold instead of a seam. Nothing is quite square, but it doesn’t seem to matter too much. Mostly I’m just pleased to have found the fabric, which I lost almost immediately when it first came into my clutches. In fact it was exactly where it should have been. Months of peering under beds and getting up close and personal with the house’s resident dust bunnies to find it were in vain!

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The cushions match the rug in my garret too, so everything is all rather jaunty now. And Rune is happy to have yet more things to rub his cat-grubbiness and utter adorableness off onto.

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The Purse-uit of Happiness

I can’t stop myself from squealing with joy at these little beauties I’ve been making this weekend for Christmas presents. It’s going to be hard to part with them, I love them so!

Four purses

First stop was a vague recollection of having seen a tutorial somewhere for how to draft your own pattern for a clip frame purse. I wasn’t able to find this again, so ad-libbed. In the end I tried three different methods, each better than the one before.

First up was a scrap of my beloved ‘Elevenses’ Liberty tana lawn, with some organic cotton from Ray Stitch and an 8.5cm copper-effect Prym clip frame from John Lewis.

The incredibly unhelpful instructions that came with the clip frame instructed one to ‘cut out pattern’ without actually giving any hints as to how best to draft one, other than an outline of the frame drawn on the paper. I did mine using the top edge of the frame (plus seam allowance) as a guide, then widened out for the underneath; so essentially a wonky circle-like shape. Only problem with this is that the final thing lies very flat – it would have been better to have made the top arc wider than the frame.

Purse Number 1:

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I learned my lesson; and for the next purse (using some fabulous little square frames from Ray Stitch), I made the top wider. I also resolved to use thread the colour of the lining to sew on the frame!

Here’s a photo of the negative of my pattern piece:

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And here’s Purse Number 2:

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The fabric is hard-to-come-by Lizzy House ‘Constellation’ in dark blue; the lining is a Liberty tana lawn called ‘Kerry’s Flock’. It’s all rather scrumptious.

My final improvement to the pattern was to give less width at the hinge and a cute little tote-bag style flat bottom.

Here’s the pattern piece:

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And here’s Purse Number 3:

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I actually feel like I might expire through too much cuteness. I bought the fabric (Heather Ross’s ‘Clothes Lines’ for Kokka – see the owl making off with someone’s pants?!) today at Ray Stitch, and feel like it should be used for at least everything in my life. Unfortunately, I only got 25cm of it, so will have to ration it! The lining is from a tiny scrap of ‘Farhad’ Liberty tana lawn from the Spring/Summer 2013 range. So far I’ve used the two 50cm pieces of this fabric I bought in June to make a knitting needle case, a Wiksten tank top, and this.

Following the same pattern, I’ve also made this purse, with Lizzy House Constellations range ‘Supernova’ and lined with the other colour of Liberty’s ‘Farhad’:

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The dachshund who came to tea

I came home early today from the office because I have my annual bout of snivelling dribbling ghastly flu.

Thankfully, I had found this pattern on Pinterest the other night – dachshund sewing pattern by hersheyismybaby on Etsy – so there was plenty to keep me occupied between cups of camomile tea, naps and nose-blowing.

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Fabric is Liberty tana lawn ‘Elevenses’ bought from http://www.fabricsgalore.co.uk

Only problem with the pattern is it doesn’t tell you how big to do the seam allowances. I went for around 5mm, judging against the photo-tutoral instructions that come with the pattern.

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I haven’t bothered with the embroidered nose because the (gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous) fabric is busy enough already. I bought about 4 metres of this fabric a few months back; and this is at least the third project it’s featured in. Next I want to make a Datura blouse by Deer and Doe using it.

Anyway photos of my dachsie, whose name I think should be Frognal:

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And finally, Frognal wouldn’t be a real dog unless he’d done battle with Rune:

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Grannie’s apron strings

When I was in Canada this summer my aunt gave me a whole stack of fabrics from my Grannie’s collection. Mostly tawdry non-Liberty lawn, but there was this quite jolly striped furnishing fabric which I though might be nice for some (more) cushion covers.

On taking it out of my suitcase back in England, I discovered it had already been cut out into an apron shape, of rather generous proportions. My Grannie being, at the time, a rather large ginger lady masquerading as an artist (hence the need for an apron).

I finally set to it one Sunday morning before breakfast, and had a serviceable apron tied onto my person in time for the mandatory English cuppa.

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Please excuse my excessive pyjamafication. It was cold that morning.

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I slimmed it down a bit around the neckline and decided to add sunny yellow seam-binding; but otherwise left it mostly as my grandmother intended. The side/vertical edges are selvedges, so no hemming needed. And the seam binding is one long piece – from one apron string, along one side, neck string, down the other side, and then into the other apron string.

Most importantly, it has earned the Greymalkin seal of approval.

Greymalkin and apron

It still needs a pocket rather desperately, but I am waiting until the right scrap of fabric falls into my clutches. And if all else fails, there’s always the option of foxes…

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Sarah Watts for Blend Fabrics – Timber and Leaf – Fox Portrait in gold

Doodle

This week I’ve been plugging away at an utterly pointless crocheted doodle during my daily commute, between finishing Silas Marner and starting In Defence of Politics.

Made using a 1.25mm hook and Anchor linen crochet thread
Made using a 1.25mm hook and Anchor linen crochet thread

I’m slightly overexcited by how pretty it is; but it has absolutely no function whatsoever and William Morris would give me a telling-off. No matter – I’ve already started another.

I also thought, walking home from work past Big Ben, that it would be awesome to do a crocheted version of the clock face’s lattice-work. Whether or not to include the Roman numerals is the next debate…

 

Cats and cushion covers

For one reason and another I have recently ended up making lots of simple cushion covers.

This has pleased Greymalkin, my neighbour’s cat, immensely. (Nb. in real life Gremmie probably has some awful name like “Muffin” or “Snowball”; but when he hangs out with me he gets a noble title and Jellicle status to reflect this.)

Greymalkin

I started with a glance at this youtube tutorial for making very simple cushion covers, then sliced right into my utterly gorgeous feathered fabric. Twenty minutes later I had two exquisite little cushions for Greymalkin to loll on.

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Fabric: “Feathers” in olive from Martha Negley’s “Farmington” range.

Last night I was on a bit of a roll having just climbed a mountain, and dug out some scraps and swatches left from when I made the window seat cover to cobble together another cushion cover in a similar vein.

Greymalkin seems to like it!

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