Finding work for idle hands: making, baking and more.

Heather Bailey pin cushions August 16, 2008

Filed under: Sewing,Tuesday Night Craft Club — lauravw @ 3:22 pm

Using Heather Bailey’s free pattern, I made these little pin cushions. I’m so pleased with how they turned out, and found this a great project to work on for several reasons. I like projects where you can use up those tiny bits of fabric that are left after other projects, and I also like being able to make something from scratch in an evening.

Because the pin cushions are small they are a little fiddly, but the instructions are clear. It is difficult to get the ribbon to go right through each pin cushion – we found that using a crochet hook helped with this (and using narrow ribbon speeds things up a lot). For a long time I have had an old and mis-shapen pillow stashed away just in case I made a project that needed some stuffing. I have almost thrown in out several times, but I’m glad I kept it as it was ideal for this – I still have plenty of it left and would have to make a few dozen more pin cushions to get through it all. I’m going to make a few more for Christmas stocking stuffers, and I’m keeping these two for myself.

In the post this week I got a copy of the latest Quilt Room catalogue, and was pleasantly suprised to see they have Heather’s new fabric collection – so if you are in the UK and shopping for Pop Garden or Bijoux fabrics they might be a good place to start looking. It can be tricky to work out whether it’s cheaper to buy from US or UK websites – the shipping from the US over to the UK is expensive, but even taking that into account if you’re buying 3 metres/yards or less, the US websites are often a better deal. Once you go above that it seems you’re better on the UK ones – particularly so because of the customs duty you’d have to pay on larger orders from the US. And with the pound falling to new lows against the dollar this month, shopping on American websites for Brits is less appealing financially.


Cath Kidston in York August 11, 2008

Filed under: Shopping — lauravw @ 5:22 pm

A quick visit to see family in York meant I had chance for a dash round York’s shops in the rain. I realised too late that I had no idea where the new Cath Kidston shop was, but luckily for me it turned out to be opposite Mulberry Hall (which I had visited to take a look at some very nice bright-coloured kitchenware).

If you’re in York it is worth visiting Cath Kidston’s shop – it’s a lot larger than the Covent Garden one I’ve been to in London, and seemed to carry all the product lines. There’s a map of how to reach it on her website. Some of the new items are nice – the discounts on sale items were nothing to write home about though; I would have expected bigger discounts on unsold products given the financial state the country is in.

On her website you’ll also find a bit of information about the reusable shopping bags she has made for Tesco. I’ve tried out the bags and really like them – they are pretty sturdy and the quality of the print is good – especially when you consider that they are made from recycled plastic bottles. They are not the sort of bag that you can fold up really small and put in your handbag though, so I expect they are more for people to use when driving to the supermaket.


Britain from above August 9, 2008

Filed under: Radio and TV — lauravw @ 1:22 pm

I’m really looking forward to this new BBC series, which starts tomorrow night. They have put a huge amount of material on their website, and you can watch plenty of clips of the country – I’ve been enjoying this one about us all waking up and going off to work/milk the cows, depending on where we live.

I like the approach they’ve taken for some aspects of the show – it looks like they will be focusing on showing us some of the things that we take for granted, like electricity and cash from bank machines, and how they are kept running. There’s one clip that shows the work done to ensure there’s enough electricity for us all to switch on our kettles after our favourite TV shows finish – I had no idea that we are the only country in the world where they have to plan for when we’ll want to make cups of tea. (In case you’re wondering, they get electricity in from France at the crucial cup-of-tea-making moments.)

There’s also a selection of photos of British towns and landmarks, taken from the air – I like the London by night ones.


Up to August 3, 2008

Filed under: Up to — lauravw @ 7:09 pm

Browsing at Boden
Boden’s new season clothes are now online. I’ve actually never bought anything at Boden, but I like to look. The pages where they do ideas for outfits are very useful. This season I’ve got my eye on this velvet jacket, in brown.

Wearing Dollymix, by MAC
I went into MAC to look at the blushers, and had in mind a very natural dusky pink, to replace a Body Shop one I have that has been discontinued. I came away with Dollymix, possibly the brightest, strongest pink I have ever seen – the make-up lady persuaded me it was a good choice (even though they had one that looked exactly like my discontinued Body Shop one). And I think she was right – it looks quite natural on. I hope…

Considering buying new brushes
After I left MAC I went to Body Shop, where they have new make-up brushes that I’ve now got my eye on. As ever with Body Shop’s brushes, they are made of synthetic fibres, and look and feel to be of excellent quality. The bristles are more tapered than the older versions, and they have a new eye shadow blending brush. I’d like that and a blusher brush, so that I can apply my shocking pink MAC blusher with impunity.

Watching the new X-Files film
I think if you enjoyed watching the X-Files, you’d enjoy the film – I certainly did. One thing I found weird was that, because I have recently been watching old episodes of the show, the way they look in the film was a huge contrast. They are now perhaps 10-15 years older than they were in the episodes I watched only last week, and it is unsettling to see what the passage of time is doing to us all. They both look good, just older. Which means I look that much older too. Unsettling.

Reading about plastic
Chris Jeavans is going for a month without buying plastic, and it’s very interesting – she is struggling. You can read the background on the BBC, and then she is keeping a blog.

Wanting to make pin cushions
Heather Bailey’s pin cushion pattern looks like a good project for using up little bits of fabric – I can see me making a few of these for little gifts.