Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Bookbag Backpack & Pattern Giveaway

I've been dying to show you this bag. I finished testing it for Samantha from At home with Mrs H quite a few days ago and was really pleased with the outcome. Samantha has now posted about it so I can now show you mine. Thanks Samantha for letting me test this bag for you, it's a great design.
Make sure you pop over to Samantha's blog where you can see the beautiful bags made by the other testers and also check out their blogs as they will be doing a giveaway as well so you can improve your chances of winning the pattern. If you can't wait to win a copy of the pattern then you can go over to Samantha's Etsy Store and purchase the pattern.

 It took me ages to decide on which fabric to use. I was going to use an nice green floral fabric I had but in the end I decided for my usual brown upholstery fabric and thought the patchwork pocket on the front would make it look different.

I also decided to add three fabric flowers, you can find the tutorial HERE.

I love this pocket, behind it is a hidden zipper pocket.

There is also a zipper pocket on the inside of the bag but I didn't get good photos of that so I'm not showing it. I can never seem to take good pictures of the inside of my bags.

The Bookbag can be worn three different ways. As a backpack.

On your shoulder. You have the option to remove this strap if you want.

Or you can carry it in your hand. How neat is that!!!!!!!!!!!

I chose a chunky sports zip for my main closure.

Now for details of the giveaway.

Samantha is kindly offering a free pattern for the Bookbag Backpack  to one lucky winner. To enter the giveaway you don't have to follow my blog but I'd love it if you did, us bloggers love followers, all you have to do is leave me a comment and also PLEASE LEAVE YOU EMAIL WITH YOUR COMMENT. Just lately I've noticed that a lot of comments are on 'noreply' so check you are not a no reply commenter. If you win and I can't get in touch with you I'll have to choose another winner.

The giveaway starts from today and the winner will be announced on the 11th September.

Best of luck to all of you.

P.S. I sometimes have problems with a slow internet connection so if I don't get in touch with the winner on the above date I will as soon as I can.

~ Maria ~

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Days to Remember

What a wonderful afternoon I had yesterday. After finishing making my daughters fruity placemats I went to look for some cassette tapes and story books that I had kept from when the kids were small. My daughter has started teaching English during the summer to small children, as a foreign language, and wanted me to find all her old books from when she was small. I found a mountain of them and also a few of when I was at school. Now these are antiques LOLLL

So many fond memories came flooding back.

This one was from 1974 which in case you're wondering makes me nearly 50 years old. LOLLLL I can still remember reading through it when I was 11 years old.

Back then it was only 70p, those were the days.

 Then I came across this one 'My Learn To Sew Book'

I used to love this book and would make several things from it. Mum was an excellent seamstress so there was always loads of fabric. In fact there were boxes and wardrobes full of it. She was definitely a fabraholic, now I know who I take after. LOLL

This was one of my favourite past times. Making furniture for the cardboard dolls houses I used to make and for those of you in the UK you may remember Blue Peter, I loved watching that and getting ideas on how to recycle.

DId my love for sewing start from here?

It seems like alot of the things I make are related to what's in this book.

Who would have thought back then I'd be doing bag testing so many years on.

Seems like the clothing part wasn't a hit though.

Many years later when my daughter was born, she's now 24, I referred back to this book and made this rag doll for her.

And guess what, I found the doll yesterday also.

I think she needs some tidying up and a wash after all this time. I'll probably make her a new dress and re plait her hair.

Last of all I found this book. Cooking with Mother by Lynne Peebles who is the lady in the photo and also happened to be our Home Economics teacher in school.

One of the first things we learned to make was chocolate crunchies.

It was so much fun going down memory lane. Today I'm going to give my new found books a careful wipe down and display them in my sewing room.

~ Maria ~

Fruity Placemats

I finally got to sit down and make four place mats for my daughter. I like hers better than mine. Good excuse to go buy more fabric. They had different colours and designs so I may be tempted to buy few.

I was undecided on how to quilt them and being as I only had a small amount of the thread I wanted left I opted for this design. I couldn't be bothered to go out to by more.

I hope she likes them. I love the polka dots on the back.

She wanted me to make her a wallet so that's today's project.

~ Maria ~

Friday, August 23, 2013

Pj's For Hubby

Oh boy I'm so bad!!!!! Poor hubby has been asking me to make him another pair of pj bottoms for him and I've been so busy with other things that I just didn't have time for him. I nearly fell over laughing a while back when I saw him walking around in a pair of old pj's that had ripped at the knee and he had decided to take the scissors to them and make them into shorts. LOLLLLLL Ok I got the message.

So yesterday I decided to put my daughters place mats on hold and make hubby a pair of pj's. I figured if I left it any longer he'd be down to his underpants. LOLLL

My son had a good time laughing saying his dad looked like a convict in them. LOLLL Hubby chose the fabric but mostly because of the quality rather than the design but I think they look nice. Kids!!!!!!!!! The fabric was actually for sheets, 100% cotton. Nice and cool for our hot, humid summers. Yes I know summer is nearly over LOLL but the Autumns are quite warm here still.

Now I can concentrate on making those place mats for my daughter before the end of the week and also a wallet. Well I'm keeping my fingers crossed, maybe I should cross my toes and keep my fingers free for sewing. LOLL

~ Maria ~

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Placemats For My Kitchen

I just recently made a table cloth for the kitchen and covered it with clear pvc to make it easier to keep clean, only problem is that the plates stick to it so I made some place mats for us to use everyday.

This is the back.

The table is a white plastic table that has groves in it that's why you can see the lines showing through.

Can you see the pvc over the cloth? I'm thinking the table cloth is on the dark side. I have the same fabric in yellow, do you think that would look better with these place mats or should I leave the green one?

~ Maria ~

For When Guests Stay Over

You can guarantee that when the house is a complete mess and nothing is running how it should, that's when I'll get unexpected guests, so I thought I'd take a break from my orders and try to get my life a bit more organized.

A few months ago I made a single duvet and have been wanting to make the cover and pillowcases but have just put it off. Unexpected guests came round so I rushed out to buy new bedding and was horrified at the poor quality of the sewing. The set wasn't cheap either!!!. In fact it cost me half the price of the store bought bottom fitted sheet, one single sheet and one pillowcase, to make the duvet, duvet cover and two pillowcases.

The pillowcase when folded hadn't been cut square and the stitching was awful.

The sheet wasn't any better. Thread that didn't match, poor stitching and stitch tension, how on earth can they sell such rubbish. If any of mine came out like this it would go in the bucket.
Down one side they couldn't even be bothered to sew the selvage.

I did go back and complain to the store but they said that all the new stock that had come in this time had been like that and they too had complained to the manufactures.

Time for me to get mine done. This is the single duvet.

And this is the cover and two pillowcases.

On the cover I used popper buttons sold by the meter. Much easier and quicker than sewing on individual ones.

That's one set done, now I have to find the time to make a few more sets.

 ~ Maria ~

Phoebe Bag

I'm running behind on my blogging so this morning I was up supper early, 4 am, to get some house work done and then sit and do some posting to my blog, so here I go with my first, the Phoebe Bag.

I love this fabric because it's double sided. Flowers on one side and checked on the reverse so I used half on each side.

I added some beads to the closure to match in with the fabric and hand stitched around the tab closure.

The pattern has a plain handle, I added square metal rings to mine this time. I've made a few of these in the past. One had a flower applique, another was a patchwork denim, then a patchwork upholstery fabric one, a plain pleather one and now this one. I've even enlarged the pattern to make a bigger bag and thought that size worked better but this one is the original size.

Sorry about the quality of the photos on this next one. I made these bags in the day when I didn't have a decent camera. The applique one I just went and took a photo of now so it's a bit better only it's still dark outside so no natural light.

Ok, one last photo to show you the back view.

The Phoebe bag pattern is a free download that you can find HERE.

My stomach is rumbling now so I'm off to have some breakfast and then see if I can post some more.

~ Maria ~

Sunday, August 18, 2013

How To Clean Your Iron

There are two ways I clean my iron and which method I use just depends on how bad the iron is.

This is how I cleaned it today.

First of all, it probably seems like common sense but make sure your iron is unplugged and cold.
My before photo looks pretty grotty and it had gotten to the stage where my fabric was sticking to my iron.

All you need to do is make a paste with baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) and water so it looks something like this.

Then with a damp cloth rub the paste onto your iron. The gunk comes off quite easily.

There was just one stubborn spot in the center of my iron so I spread on more of the paste and left it for about half an hour. When I came back to it it just needed another quick rub and all the sticky, grimy, gunky stuff came right off.

You'll find that the paste goes into the holes of the iron so wipe it down well with a clean damp cloth. Now add white vinegar and water in equal amounts to your iron and turn it on, setting it to steam. When the iron is nice and hot run it over a clean dry cloth so the steam cleans the holes. Once you're happy that the holes are clean turn off your iron empty the vinegar and water and refill with just water. Once again turn on and run it over your clean cloth. For the last time empty the water from your iron and refill ready for use.

As you can see from the before and after photo it's worth taking some time to clean your iron inside and out.

The second way I clean my iron and works like a dream is with aspirin. Yes you read it right I couldn't believe it would work when I read about it but I assure you it works like magic. I saw it somewhere on the net but can't remember where so I'm sorry I can't link back to it.

Here's how it works.

1. Turn on your iron.

2. Take an aspirin and hold it with a pair of tweezers. The last thing you need is burnt fingers.

3. Then with your iron still on rub the aspirin over the sticky parts and they come off like magic. You may need several depending on how bad your iron is but I tend to use this method mainly for small sticky areas.
4. Wipe your iron down with a clean damp cloth and you're done. Don't forget to turn your iron off when you've finished.


~ Maria ~