Wednesday, 22 July 2009

The build up

No matter how organised you are, the build up to the summer holiday is always very hectic! I have spent the last few days, shopping, washing and ironing and still there seems loads to do! You are well ready for a fortnights rest by the time you are organised! Just spent tonight charging cameras various and syncing my i-pod as well as searching out my glasses and sunglasses. The one thing I can't find is my holiday checklist from last year!!! I am sure it must be here somewhere! The craft room has become the suitcase holding room with piles of ironing everywhere. I look at it and wonder how on earth it will all fit in and that's with only three of us. DS 1 stays at home now with girlfriend Barney and grandparents to cope with!! We are heading for Italy again this year, with trips to Venice and Verona planned, so lots of photo opportunities. I was going to make a travel diary before I went, but so far have not achieved this!! I have three magazines and four paperbacks packed, so maybe keeping a daily diary may not work!!

Got two deliveries of sale goodies today. With my Italy mini albums in mind, I have chosen some 7 Gypsies and Daisy D's papers with an Italian feel.
So here I am sporting my new short haircut ready for the hols! Hopefully much easier to look after in the heat, although I am having to learn how to style it!! Holiday countdown here I come! TFLx

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Learn to sew 5- Seams.

The open seam is the most commonly used seam. It is used on material which do not curl. The material is joined at 1.5cm from the edge with a straight stitch of approximately 2.5 length on the stitch length dial. To get a neat seam, use the guide on the metal throat plate and select the line that is 1.5cm from the needle position. By watching the edge of the fabric run along this line rather than watching the needle stitching. In the old days we always did a hand tacking stitch to hold the fabric steady before machine sewing, nowadays we pin horizontally to the seam and carefully stitch over the pins without breaking the needle, (this is why your stitch length needs to be at least 2.5 on the stitch length dial.)

To start sewing, make sure both the top thread and the bottom thread are under the presser foot and out to the back of the machine together out of the way. Place the fabric under the presser foot and line the edge up against the groove on the throat plate that is 1.5cm from the needle. Using your right hand, feel through the gap in the sewing machine to the right of the needle and locate the presser foot lever, then lower the presser foot gently to secure the fabric in position. Gently press the foot control on the floor to start sewing. Always reinforce the stitching at either end by doing a couple of reverse stitches over the top before proceeding down the seam.

Once the seam is stitched and secured at the end with a few reverse stitches, lift the presser foot using your right hand and pull the fabric out to THE BACK of the machine before cutting the threads. This ensures the threads are in the right place to start the next seam.
TIP: Always make sure the "Take up lever" that moves up and down on the front of the machine is at the top of its cycle before removing the fabric from the machine. This means that a0 the needle will not be in the fabric, so it wont get broken and b) more importantly, your needle will not unthread itself as it starts to stitch. If you remember only one thing, this is the one, as it saves so much time in re threading the needle!!!!!
Open seams are usually pressed open using the iron, to create a neat finish without bulk.
If the fabric frays you will need to neaten the edges to make the seam stronger. The easiest way is to neaten with a zig-zag stitch.

If you only have straight stitch on your machine, if it is an older one, you can turn the edge under and machine close to the edge. Then press again with the iron.
Just a note about "pressing" as opposed to ironing. It may seem daft but again it is important and gives a good finish. Pressing requires steam and a "lift up and press down" technique with the iron. Ironing is pushing along the fabric to remove wrinkles and can stretch fabric during the construction stages. To get a good finish, use a damp cloth, where you wet a tea towel or a hankie or a piece of muslin fabric, squeeze it out as tight as you can, so it is just damp and then open it out. By laying this over the fabric before pressing down hard, you will create a burst of steam that "sets" the seam in place.
Ok, so off you go, you can now create, straight seams that are very secure! using the thorat plate lines as a guide, you can also create straight lines of various widths. Give it a go! Practice on paper if you want! TFLx

Friday, 17 July 2009

Passing The Sewing Machine Driving Test! Lesson 4

Sorry it's been so long coming! For those of you who have been following and have your machine threaded and ready to go, tension is something you need to understand.

For perfect tension on the top and bottom thread, you are aiming for the two threads to join exactly in the centre of your fabric or card. The bottom thread should not be visible on the top layer and equally, the top thread should not be visible on the bottom layer. If you achieve this you have perfect tension. Due to the thickness of threads, sometimes the tension needs altering. (Sometimes we want to alter it on purpose too - to get special effects - more about that in a later lesson.) Also, sometimes the tension alters with wear, as screws loosen off with the vibration of the machine. Checking three main things can sort out most stitching problems, tension is probably one of the main causes of problems.
The top tension is easy to adjust as there is usually some kind of dial or wheel with numbers on, with an indicator of where the mid point is. The bigger the number, the tighter the tension, usually. If the top tension is too loose, you will see loops of the top thread appearing on the back of the fabric and the bottom thread will be laid on the lower layer in a straight line, as in this diagram.

Working out if its your top tension too loose or your bottom tension is too tight is easy - check both!!
If the lower tension is too loose then loops of the lower thread will appear on the top surface of the fabric, where the top thread will be laid on the surface in a straight line.
To adjust the bottom tension you need the tiny screwdriver that comes with the sewing machine, as it is all controlled by a small screw on the spool case. Usually turning clockwise tightens the tension and turning anti clockwise loosens it.How do you know when it is just right? I'll tell you! Place the spool inside the spoolcase and pull the thread under the little spring until it clicks, as shown in a previous lesson. Now hold the whole assembly by the thread as in this diagram.
If the spool and spoolcase go flying down to the ground by gravity, (Like a yo-yo) the tension is too loose. Perfect tension should only allow the spool to move if the assembly is given a little shake and it descends a short distance. So, if you shake it and it does not move at all, you know your tension is too tight and it needs loosening. Simples!!!!
Right, off you go and check. Start by stitching a simple row of stitches and checking if they look the same from the top and underneath. Check it out! If they don't see whether the top thread is showing underneath or the bottom thread is showing on the top surface and adjust it yourself! let me know how you get on! Once you master tension, we can do some great tricks with it too! I promise to let you in on some secrets at a future date! TFLx

Thursday, 16 July 2009

My 'Claudine Hellmuth' design!

In search of inspiration for a retirement card for all the staff to sign, I decided to make a collage card, based on the design ideas of Claudine Hellmuth, (thanks for the inspiration, I love her work!) We had three members of staff retire last night with 87 years of service!!! One of them, Ian, I have worked with a lot over the years at this school always has the job of drawing cartoon like cards for the leavers. I asked if I could make him a card with a fun theme as he always finds the humour in his cartoons for others. As he has a scooter the staring point was easy, ok, so maybe it's not a Vespa scooter, but hey, artistic licence! Then his desk, well, lets just say its always very full! The idea of packing it all up in a trailer just as it was was very appealing! Then there are the sets of plastic drawers, full of every tool and gadget known to man! Well it just flowed! Trips to B&Q and his wife awaiting his return, along with his fellow "Escapees" from work added to the overall scene. Lots of 3D books with funny titles and textures flowers, along with glossy accents on the scooter paintwork, brought the whole thing alive. I just hope he likes it! It's a hard act to follow! TFLx

Monday, 13 July 2009

Needs must!

Well, I had to go in the craft room today, as I needed four thank you cards for work! I decided to use one of my fave photo's from the barbecue the other day and make four cards almost the same. two were based on red card stock, picking up the red flowers and two were based on bright green. The greeting was stamped using a Heidi Swapp alphabet and inked edges were done with Tim Holtz walnut distress ink and a foam applicator tool. I raised the greeting using foam pads. Made four handmade envelopes for my unusual sized cards and them made up two K&Co gift bags for two gifts. Today was not wasted!

I biked, yes that's right "biked" into town today to do a few chores, and have been relatively healthy with a yogurt and some nuts and raisins to eat during the day. Hoping to have a salad for tea and then I will be feeling very self righteous! TFLx

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Great shots!

I got some great shots of our host's beautiful garden at the staff barbecue yesterday. I remembered to take my camera and came up with some great angles on their beautiful herbaceous borders. This garden is just how I would like my garden to be! Full of flowers at this time of year!

Saturday, 11 July 2009

A new day

Well after yesterday's disastrous attempt at getting crafting, i.e. a friend and I went clothes shopping!!! I am going to try harder this weekend! having said that, today is pretty much mapped out with food shopping, picking up holiday tickets, and going to my staff barbecue, before friends come round for a drink tonight! I am really getting addicted to my weekend PIMMs routine!! (Or 'Pitchers' if you buy Sainsbury's own brand!)

Mix it one part to three with diet lemonade, throw in some slices of orange, some strawberries and a sprig of mint from the garden, pop in some ice and enjoy! It just goes hand in hand with this warm weather!!! Now, have I photographed it???? Is there a layout in this somewhere???

Big day today for DS2 who is in the Northern premiers final of "Rock challenge" at Sheffield arena. Had to leave at 6.15 this morning and wont be back until after midnight.
Not sure if I updated everyone on the shock news of his dance teacher retiring. It's not so much that she retired, but that she told them on the Monday night class and retired on the Tuesday!!!!!!!! he was traumatised!!! has the woman no empathy??? When dance is such an important part of his life and so many others???? Needless to say he will be continuing and we have found a new dance school where he tried out last Wednesday and is staring on Monday! Roll on summer! Only this week left and then we break up!!! Phew! I started the mammoth class room tidy up last week, but there is still loooooooaaads to do!!! Stripping the walls can take a whole day! We had sports day last week, so fortunately that is out of the way, we just have the year six dram performance this week and the staff meal out for those retiring. By Thursday I will have a smile on my face, seven weeks holiday this year! (Not sure why!) Wonder if my mojo is on holiday already??? Maybe it will be back in time for the school hols! TFLx

Friday, 10 July 2009

Ok, own up, who has my mojo?????

I lost it last week and I just can't settle to anything. I'm not sure if it is end of term it is or whether it is to do with mum being in hospital, but I have had time to craft, I walk in the room and nothing happens!!!! As you can tell, I even lost my will to blog!!! (Also unheard of!)
I mentioned last Friday that I went to the local races as a guest in a private box and I took my new camera. I managed to get some shots using my sport setting, with horses crossing the finish line and would be able to plan some great pages, but still nothing! In the past, if this happened, I always recommend grabbing a sketch and just starting, but even that has not worked, I'm having trouble sitting still! Maybe I'm ready for my holiday.
(Look the horse even smiled for the camera!!!)

Last week I ordered some fabric from Cath Kidston and set about my sewing basket removing the old fabric to cover it in the new. Now I have destroyed the old, it also is just sitting there, looking at me!!! Maybe I need to take myself in hand and just make a start and see what follows! Will let you know later today if it works! In the mean time, here are some of my racing pics!!
(Arty crafty shot taken into the sunset!)

Nope! never even had the urge to step inside the craft room, this is getting serious!

Monday, 6 July 2009

Hobby horse

Another page map sketch used here for this layout about the rocking horse my dad carved for my niece when she was born 20 odd years ago! (Better not divulge exact age here!!!! I'll be in trouble!!) Used this Studio Calico "Playtime" paper, perfect for the subject. Used some Cosmo Cricket and Sassafrass papers too and of course my apron lace punch! I cut around the boy on the paper and then tucked the photograph underneath to add depth. The Sassafrass paper whimsies flower was highlighted with Kaiser gems.
I need to do some Claudine Hellmuth type collage work for a secret project I need to complete. Will make a start today from my sketch but could take some time! Also need to do boring stuff like ironing and my school work!! Barney needs a walk too and as it's going to rain later I had better get out there! Tflx

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Second child

Sorry I have not blogged lately, but mum went in hospital on Wednesday and came out yesterday, so there has been little time to craft or surf the net! her is the layout I did before all this, about my second son, with his first photograph in hospital on day 1! I used a page map to start this one off and I think it will form a great page opposite his brother's baby picture.
Time is hurtling up to the end of term and we have been enjoying the lovely weather, by spending lots of time outside! The patio furniture is getting maximum use as it should be at this time of year! before we know where we are we will be going on holiday!!! I did grab a few a half day to make some dog treats for our summer fayre yesterday, in fact it kept me occupied whilst mum was undergoing her operation. I forgot to photograph them! I made some snack post like I did at Christmas filled with bone shaped biscuits and a few munchy sticks! I also used the template from a handbag card and converted it to a shopping basket to make a doggy snack pack!!! It just held 10 bone shaped biscuits! A great little present! I will try and make another so I can photograph it as the template would work just as well for party favours too!
We made it to the races on Friday night as my husband was invited to share a private box. I took some great photo's and I am sure they will make great pages. I will share some tomorrow.
We had friends around last night and sat out until 11pm! Unheard of! Today we are hoping to barbecue but we are just having a sharp shower so fingers crossed! TFLx

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

First born

As I have come to scrapbooking relatively late, I have not scrapped many photo's of the children when they were young. However, I decided to make a point of scrapping their first photo's in hospital at a few hours old. There are three and a half years between them and until now I have only just noticed the hospital duvet cover was the same!!! Lol! The baby ward at our local hospital is, like so many others, no longer there, so no babies can be born in the town people have to go into Cottingham or Hull. Back in those days, I was very lucky that the hospital was less than a mile from where we lived and when I went into labour on the 22nd of December, the dash to hospital was less than five minutes!!!! I recall being in labour all day and getting to hospital at 9pm at night and still he was not born until breakfast time! At least he has a separate day to Christmas eve or Christmas day thank goodness, as my due date was dec 25th!!! Anyway, that's all 18 years ago now!! Christmas has never been the same since!!
Love the Pink Paislee checked die cut and the Hambly rub ons. I know the thickers for the title don't stand out very strongly against that background paper, but I quite like that. The chipboard bird is another of those Heidi Swapp invisibles.