Sunday, 24 August 2014

Taking a break

I should have called this post ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ as no sooner had I blogged about being AWOL, then I go missing for again!!!!

Last weekend we were down in Nottingham for our friends’ birthday. I’m pleased to report that both birthday girls (see my last post) were delighted with their bags. Jan was really guilty about how long hers took to make. Sadly Fiona couldn’t make the party so I had to pop hers in the post.

As I’ve been franticly sewing morning, noon and night for these past few weeks I thought I could do with a little break away from all things fabric. Mr Gertie is pleased as he thinks I’ve been spending too much time sewing and is worried that I’ll sicken myself with it.

Seeing as all things fabric and sewing machines are banned it’s given me a chance to catch up with things that shamefully I’ve been neglecting.

I’m always looking out for new recipes, so whenever I see something I like in magazines or newspapers, I tear it out to be filed (eventually) in my various recipe folders.

This ever growing pile of recipes was waiting to be photocopied or trimmed down into plastic wallet size. While the guillotine was out I did the same thing to the stack of cross stitch patterns I’ve been collecting.

Talking of cross stitch, over the years I’ve amassed loads of threads from various kits and freebies. It seemed a shame to get rid of them as they’d be ideal for when I need just a small amount of thread for a project.

The plan is to sort them into the various colour groups then make some cardboard thread sorters to keep them together. Let’s hope I have better luck making the sorters than the last time I made some. All went well until I noticed that not only had I punched holes in the cardboard but into the bottom of my t-shirt too....

A couple of years ago I bought an airfix model making kit of Wallace and Gromit (I was looking for something different to keep me occupied) and that lead me to enjoy model making. Having made all the Wallace and Gromit and Shaun the Sheep kits available Mr Gertie suggested I try upping the ante and make something a little more challenging.

I didn’t fancy making the traditional tanks or soldiers so decided to make HMS Bounty. After finishing that I then set myself a huge challenge - a four foot model of the cruise ship Queen Mary II.

 I wouldn’t say it’s big but the instructions make ‘War and Peace’ look like a coffee break book.... Not only do I have to contend with bits being on the large size, I’ve also got to deal with things being rather small.

These are some of the cabin balconies. There are 478 in total, each requiring the floor being painted brown and the sides and window panes gloss white. All that in just a ¼ inch...  

I don’t make things easy for myself, do I!!!!

Have a great week.

Gertie xx

PS why not pop over to Handmade Monday to see what other fellow craft bloggers have been up to.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Busy, busy, busy...

Sorry I’ve been AWOL for several weeks only it’s been all go in the Gertie household!!!!

Our good friends who live in Nottingham and Derby came ‘up north’ for the weekend to help celebrate Mr Gertie’s significant birthday and also his retirement. We hadn’t seen them for a while so it was great to catch up.

Even though we’ve just come back from holiday we’ve been away again – twice. In my defence both were for hospital appointments. The first was in Manchester, and as it was a 9am appointment we had to travel down the day before.

The second one was to see the Professor (the wonderful man who performed his magic on my hip) in London. Again we decided to travel down before hand or in this case a few days before. It seemed such a wasted opportunity not to.

I’ve also been frantically sewing. A friend of a friend loved the bag I made as a birthday present and asked if I could make something similar.

The brief was:
•    a rucksack big enough to hold her knitting when she goes to her knitting classes
•    a pocket at the front to keep scissors, tape measure etc
•    adjustable straps
•    the fabric must have dogs on it and not be of boring colours

We’re off down to Nottingham soon for Jenny’s birthday so I asked the birthday girl if she would like a ‘Gertie creation’ as a present. I’d love a couple of make-up bags she replied as I can’t find the right size. No problem.

The brief was simple:  if possible a waterproof lining and any kind of cat fabric.
As Jenny asked for a make-up bag that could hold large items I decided to change the way I made the bags. Instead of constructing them where the top is larger than the bottom, I made them using Pythagoras Theorem....

I am rubbish at maths so had to ask Mr Gertie for help. However once it was explained it’s so easy to work out. If you want to give it a go check out this blog (it explains it so much better than I could.).

And finally a belated birthday present. Last November our friend Jan was having a party to celebrated a significant birthday (21 again....). As I was convalescing from my hip surgery (or more importantly banned from my sewing room) I couldn’t make a anything for her so had to give an IOU birthday bag voucher instead.

When she was up for the weekend she redeemed her voucher by asking if I could make her another jewellery tool bag. I’d like it a bit bigger than the last one, she asked, say tray size....

The brief was:
•    a bag about 16 inches by 13 inches
•    lilac fabric
•    two pockets in the lid – one elastic and the other zipped
•    elastic pockets of various sizes all around the edge of the bag
•    a handle on the lid

If I’m honest my heart sank when she asked for another tool bag – especially one the size of a tray. When I made the original one it took a couple of attempts to make it strong enough. Eventually I had to reinforce the lid and base with heavy weight interfacing. That certainly wouldn’t work this time.

Following advice from Mr Gertie on how to strengthen the bag I bought a roll of corrugated cardboard. The idea being I sandwich three layers of cardboard together, the two outer layers having the corrugated lines running one way and running the opposite for the inner layer. Ideally they would have been secured using staplers but as I’ve only got a tiny stapler, sellotape had to do. For extra strength Mr Gertie suggested I put a couple of stitches in the centre to hold them all together.

Unlike the lid and base I needed both strength and bend-ability for the sides so had to leave out the middle cardboard ‘sandwich’ layer.

I know you’re not supposed to use cardboard in bags, unless it can be removed, as it turns to mush when washed. However we were at a loss as to how to make it stable so this bag is ‘dry clean only’....

As you can see from the photo the inside pockets aren’t elasticated. Having battled to attach what seemed like a six foot elastic snake, the sides simply weren’t strong enough to cope with the elastic pockets. No amount of extra cardboard around the sides would stabilise it, so reluctantly I had to take out the elastic and make them pleated pockets instead.

Due to the cardboard providing stiffness to the bag it wasn’t possible to use a sewing machine so a lot of the stitching had to be done by hand - my poor fingers were covered in blisters....

Whilst it may not look much this bag has gone down in history as the most time consuming thing I’ve ever made. It took over 74 hours to make, and boy was I pleased when it was finished!!!!!

Have a great week.

Gertie xx

PS why not pop over to Handmade Monday to see what other fellow craft bloggers have been up to.