HEY DIDDLE DIDDLE…?

I am keen on knowing answers to questions that are not the every day topics of conversation.  Some times totally useless stuff, some times things that are packed with either interest, intrigue, or the “Ah ha!” factor if true, or  some times  if the topic is a myth… I like it even better!

So wanna know what I have been interested in today? Have you ever wondered what the nursery rhyme “Hey diddle diddle…” was all about…?  ummm, I guess I hadn’t given it much thought either, we tend to trot out these rhymes when our children are small,  just accept the words, and consider they are “kids stuff”  a bit of nonsense!

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Hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle,

The cow jumped over the moon,

The little dog laughed to see such fun,

And the dish ran away with the spoon…

The rhyme is said to originate in the beautiful countryside around the area of Bolton Abbey in Yorkshire, came to be written soon after the dissolution in the year 1539.  However if you google the  rhyme, there are other versions of how this weird and wonderful collection of line have been put into a timeless ditty.

So, the explanation I like the best is…

Prior Moone was the last prior of Bolton Abbey (by the way it is a Priory not an Abbey – I will explain in my snippet at the end of the blog)  on vacating his office, he  settled with members of his family who held and farmed land in the area of the priory … the present Moone’s are descendants from him.

Another family in the area, namely the Heys sported  friendly rivalry with the Moones, both family’s wishing to rank higher than the other in the district.  This tussle was watched by the amusement of the villagers and hence the rhyme was created from this era.

To follow, my collection of pictures that I have snapped from things handy… I grant you, not particulary in keeping with those associated with the rhyme!  Hey ho!

“Hey diddle diddle” was referring to the Heys family, who is said to have diddled (stolen) live stock from the Moone family.  Or,  it is said that diddle  was an Elizabethan nonsense term (maybe similar to how we say thing-a-ma-bob?)

The cat and the fiddle, “Cato Fidelis” meaning – faithful of Christ and the Church.  As both families were devote to the church, this is where this phrase comes in.

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The cow… the Heys family were cattle farmers (where apparently the Moones were sheep farmers, however no sheep mentioned in the rhyme)

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The little dog laughed… when Prior Moone started to build the West Tower of the Priory in 1520, (still unfinished in 1539) he had constructed  two buttresses at the front of the tower, each with a stone dog sitting on the top (which can still be seen today)  “When the little dog laughed” it was to infer that the whole community was amused.

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The dish ran away with the spoon… The Heys were almost hereditary officers of the church for the collections of offerings, hence the connection with the alms DISH. The Moones, likewise were almost hereditary holders of the office of the Anointing SPOON, hence this connection, some thing that would have been understood by all at that period in the Bolton Abbey area.

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All this research about this particular rhyme reminded me of a little dress I bought for my then teeny weeny little daughter (she is now 20!) which I have kept all these years,  just because it was so unusual and extremely expensive as I remember!

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Really bright and colourful, she got quite a bit of attention when she wore it…

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Hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle,

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The cow jumped over the moon,

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The little dog laughed to see such fun,

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And the dish ran away with the spoon…

Thanks for stopping by, would love to hear from you…

Bye, Jay x

As promised:-

Little snippet for you from Snoo “Do you know the difference between an Abbey and Priory?  an Abbey ranks higher than a Priory”

BLUE TITS FLEDGE….

I just happened to be sitting in my garden having a coffee mid morning as it was so beautiful and sunny, when I noticed a little ball of squeaking fluff on the lawn!

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Then I realised  there was rather a lot of bird chatter, twittering and calling and realised that the blue tits were in mid-fledge!

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I blogged last year about the blue tits fledging and called the post  “Spring Watch in my Garden” incredible that was almost a year ago.  This years blue tit family are a little earlier, I wonder if it is the same family?  If it was, they moved house!  Last year they took up residency in the blue and white bird house if full view of the kitchen window.  However, this year they “rented out” the bird house I almost hid in the bushes.

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A very dear friend of mine gave me this beautiful ceramic bird feeder bell, which is hanging on the back garden fence.   I would like to think my blue tit “mum and dad” had a little feast from the fat ball within, and took some tasty morsels back to their babies.

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About a week ago we had a really bad storm, the wind was really whipping the trees around, and there was a few branched down.  I noticed the bird box had shifted position on the fence, I was so worried about the babies inside, should I try and straighten it, as they would have surely taken a tumble inside… hence the house looking tilted!  Fortunately all was well and I counted five fledglings.

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I feel so lucky that I have been able to watch this beautifully simple, natural event right in my back garden… for the second year running.  What a super little spectacle I have witnessed and can share with you!

Best wishes, Jay x

Would love to hear from you, especially if you have a similar moment to share from your garden!

Little extra snippet for you from Snoo “… no word in the English language rhymes with, month, orange, silver or purple…”

PRESERVING SET

Look what I’ve bought!

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I do like to make jam and jellies when there is an abundance of soft fruit available.  Especially enjoy harvesting from my garden.  I have red and black current canes which do produce a good quality and quantity of berries each year.  I use them mostly for jelly (we’re not keen of the little pips that remain, if making jam) I also love to use the berries in fruit salad and as a garnish on cakes… lemon drizzle especially!

I normally use my trusted Harrods Preserve book (Please see my blog Middle of the Night Jelly) and pull out my big old battered (from a junk shop) preserving pan the hides in the back of the pantry for most of the year!  The rest I make up!  I don’t have a thermometer or funnel or posh labels (normally)  when I saw this pretty little boxed set,  I was “ever-so-sligthly” (or in reality, VERY excited) and… it was incredibly reduced in price so I bought it!

So, in the box were the following goodies!

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Six classic one pound jam jars…

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A stainless steel jar funnel and preserve thermometer, neither of which have I had before, so pretty excited!

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I have it tucked away ready waiting for the first batch of jam or jelly that I decide to make, feel very comforted that I am ready to go with my special set, just need to add fruit, sugar and time, love for making is easy to find…!

Thanks for visiting me, please pop back later to see what I made…

Best wishes, Jay x

My little extra snippet for you from Snoo “…the average pencil can draw a line approx 35km long…”

THE COLOUR OF MONEY!

Remember a blog or two ago, the one about the Mason Jars, yes?  well I said I would be blogging again as a spin off… here goes…

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You can’t imagine how excited I was when I saw these colourful chocolate coins in the supermarket… bought a few nets worth … and gave them as presents … see my entry a while a go about the mason jars…

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Well,  before I gave them away, I just had to play… Just love colour combinations of any description, always on the look out for collections to get inspired by for my crafty projects and to photograph for my blog!

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Then came the real play time!
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Bad ass black money, suitable for witches, whizzards and Dark Lords…

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Especially good if you were able to get hold of for Halloween.

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Perfect for Breast Cancer awareness (which I did little packages to my mum and friend who have been through the terrible ordeal)

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The pink coins were yelling at me to make into a heart…oh yes they were!

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Close up of little pinkies…
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Traditional, always good to have plenty of gold coins at Christmas, and easy to find in the shops later in the year…
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Another colour that would be especially good at Halloween…yes?
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Green… still playing!
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Little flower shapes in blue… forget-me-nots?
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Blue money… why not!
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This one really made me smile… do you recognise the colour way… no? Go have a look at my blog titled, “Draught Excluder for Friends” and you will get it… couldn’t help myself!

Good of you to drop by, would love to hear from  you…

Jay X

Little extra snippet for you from Snoo  “…The ride, in the song “A ticket to ride” by the Beatles is based on “Ryde” on the Isle of Wight…”

 

THANK YOU BUNS!!

I recently spent a totally enjoyable lunch, and crafty afternoon get-together with two very special friends who I truly believe have “saved” me. What do you?  do? – say? – give? –  to say thank you? There are many things I know, but I thought BUNS on this occasions!

The favourite easy sponge recipe I use is from Delia Smith, “all in one” Victoria Sandwich, I sling in great amounts of chocolate, always works for me so this is the  one I can rely on.  Instead of two cake sandwich tins I divide into bun cases, as we say up North… if you are a Southerner you would probably say cup cakes, Americans may say muffins … not sure they are quite muffins though!

I have these posh little glass cake display stands with covers so decided to use them  to show just one little bun for each to take my first photo for this post!

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Faithfully Delia…
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The ingredients…

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The recipe…
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I do like to add a nice chocolate fudge style icing using good chocolate with a high cocoa content, icing sugar and butter. Melt the chocolate, soften the butter and sieve in the icing sugar… didn’t bother to measure the amounts, just kept an eye of the fudgy consistency.

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Super to add a little fun topping, found these little chocolate balls in the baking aisle in my local supermarket,  which are white, milk and plain chocolate and really finish off the buns!

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Add the little balls by tipping then into quite a small yet deep bowl, while the fudge is still soft turn the bun upside down and press quite firmly into the balls so a good cover is achieved.

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Leave to set and cool.

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My two friends  are completely different with their  taste (apart from chocolate… thats a total winner who ever!) so bought different bun cases.

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All boxed up!

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I just love to make sure the presentation of any gift is just right, so go out of my way with boxes, wrapping and ribbons… this is what I came up with for the girls…

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Great little cake boxes I bought at the cook shop, this one especially as the design  is soOOoo pretty!

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I even made little cards to write my message (will blog about the little card and envelope maker I have another time)

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Send me a message if you have a moment, would love to hear from you!

Best wishes, Jay x

My little extra snippet for you from Snoo “The Beatles used the word LOVE 613 times throughout their career”

 

 

I’VE BEEN TO LONDON!

I have been to London!

My immediate thought,  as I just typed out that little line was this…

“Pussy cat, pussy cat where have you been?

I’ve been to London to see the Queen…

Pussy cat, pussy cat, what did you there

I frightened a little mouse, under her chair…”

(some times the last line is sung as…

I chased a little mouse right under her chair)

The origins of the nursery rhyme “Pussycat pussycat”!
The origins of the “Pussycat pussycat” rhyme dates back to the history of 16th century Tudor England. One of the waiting ladies of Queen Elizabeth Ist had an old cat which roamed throughout Windsor castle. On one particular occasion the cat ran beneath the throne where its tail brushed against the Queen’s foot, startling her. Luckily ‘Good Queen Bess’ had a sense of humour and decreed that the cat could wander about the throne room, on condition it kept it free of mice!

I didn’t see the Queen, a cat or a mouse on my visit, but one of the things I did see and really found  absolutely fascinating was a visit to Tower Bridge.  If you are interested in antique – vintage engineering and architecture, and you are in London, I would recommend going on  the tour.  It wasn’t too expensive, unlike  some of the London attractions that have a huge entrance charge.

This is my “mini” report and photos to share with you… it was a terribly overcast day, so sorry that the photo’s are rather dark, typical London Drizzle!

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The view that we come to recognise instantly as Tower Bridge, over the River Thames, London…

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A shot of one of the towers from the embankment.

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I zoomed in on the roof line of the top of one the tower as I hadn’t realised how beautiful the architecture was, it reminded me very much of a church, maybe even with a slight “French” roof line(?) also the gilded delicate finial that sit right on the top of each tower looked bright, even in the dull light, all a little moody and mysterious….

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In the viewing gallery there is a huge expanse of toughened glass inserted into the floor where you can look down on the traffic as it passes across the bridge. I just couldn’t summoned up the courage to walk across it as a majority of the tourists were, I squashed myself right up against the side where the floor was solid…!!!

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One of the many views that you can see looking up and down the Thames. Commercial, Financial district,  including the rather iconic building affectionally known at the “Gherkin”.  Bottom right of this photo is the Tower of London, which I plan to visit during my next trip to London…

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At the base of the tower is housed the engine room, with magnificent, beautifully preserved steam engines used to raise and lower the big road booms to enable shipping to pass in the past.  Now, naturally it is powered by electricity and controlled by computer.

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Huge boiler doors, with values all polished and looking fantastic.

If you want to have a read about the bridge, about the viewing glass floor, the bridge in general… it’s past and present  please go to:- http://www.towerbridge.org.uk

Little note about the River Thames.  There have been numerous references written about the Thames over the many, many years… fact, stories and poems, this one I particularly enjoyed reading…

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Thanks for dropping by, sorry I have been away from my blog for some time now, do hope that I will find some more topics soon that you may be interested in!

Would always be delighted to hear from you should you wish to make a comment…

Best wishes, Jay x

Little extra snippet for you from Snoo….”Bulletproof vests, fire escapes, laser printers, and windshield wipers on cars were all invented by women…”

DRAUGHT EXCLUDER… THE SEQUEL

The “Friends” draught excluder was received extremely well, and is being used, catching all of those sneaky little draughts that are nipping around this time of year… delighted that it is use!

Got me thinking, hey, I have a draught too… under my kitchen door that is most unwelcome, so without delay I  gathered together yarn I had left over from a  very “tweedy” project I made years ago. This is what I came up with…

In situ, perfect fit for the door alcove, so sits there snugly!

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Few close ups to see the colours and texture

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… and another…

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I had just about enough yarn left over to do the ends, this is one…

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… and this is the other!

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This is the “long and the short of it!”

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Sorry I didn’t take any photo’s while crocheting away, too focused and involved, but it is along the same lines as the other one I made, only VERY random with my stripes.

I did have a little think about colour dispersal as I wanted the colours to run through the whole piece.  Although “random” sounds easy, I would advise, if you want to have a go,  to try and be a bit organised with colours as it could be very frustrating if you run out of a colour which you wanted running throughout the project!

 

Quite pleased… what do you think?

Always delighted to hear from you, leave me a message or comment…

Best wishes,  Jay x

Little extra snipped from Snoo  “Dolphins sleep with one eye open”

P.S GIFT FOR BABY…

Another baby!

Our dear friends have just become grand parents for the first time to a little boy, how absolutely fabulous and so exciting!

There is never a better excuse to get the sewing machine out again  to make some thing special for a new little person. Having only just made the baby girl  draw string bag for baby Fearne, I thought another would be super to make, but this time thinking about a little boy!  This is what I came up with….

Adorable fabric called “Tweet Together” by Monkey Bow” for “StudioFabrics”

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The felt colours I decided were a pretty good match for the appliqué

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Used the same fabric for both sides with this bag, however did appliqué on both sides as I have become comfortable with this stitch on my sewing machine.  Machine appliqué isn’t hard, just takes a little time to perfect especially if you have a shape with curves, you will need to get the rhythm of turning your piece as you stitch…

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This is one side…
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… and this is the other side…

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I used a solid plain pretty blue for the draw string binding as I thought this contrast looked quite good!

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The “closed” ruffled top of the bag.

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As I had a tiny bit  extra fabric left over I couldn’t resist, to use it up on this little string of bunting!

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Wrapped and ready to give!

Bye for now, Jay x

Little extra snippet for you from Snoo “It takes more effort for  your facial muscles to frown than to smile…  :o) ”

 

I LOVE BIG COLOUR!

I spend a lot of time appreciating colour and colour collections. This blog I’ve decided to hunt for those bright, big, bold beyond rainbow collections in things that delight me… and to brighten up these winter days we are having… I’m going to keep to mostly pictures, so you don’t have to work hard at all on this post… just scroll through and enjoy!
Okay, lets kick off shall we!
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Not only is this a great colour collection to start off with, it is also beautiful yarn… soft and yummy to knit/crochet with!

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Have been in my button box again!

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Remember a few posts ago telling you about my FLOWER POWER BADGES for OMG, such a mixture of colours.

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Vintage colour.  My original 1940’s rag rug  I bought years ago in a second hand shop which is on the floor in my kitchen.  An old glass jelly dish filled with beautiful hand painted vintage Easter Eggs bought from a delightful second hand shop in  what was East Berlin.

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A cushion I have for sale on my Etsy shop…. if you are interested, please have a look at my shop   The Sewing Wren… sorry for the plug, but I happen to think this goes well in this colour post.

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Just before I made a HUGE bowl of fresh fruit salad for tea.

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WOW… P&Q fabric… ummm!

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Oh my beautiful long string of glass beads!  This is  very special, I wear them all the time.  My sister  lovingly makes these gorgeous  and unique beauties.   This particular one she made especially for me… She occasionally creates and sells them on a commission basis.  So, if you are interested, please do get in touch.  There is a little questionnaire, she will ask of you,  what colours suit you, colours to avoid, how long you would like the string, and so on, any special little request?? She is a fiend when it comes to her bead collections.  Majority of her booty of treasures  are either old, vintage, and in some cases antique.  She is always on the hunt for bead necklaces and rosary’s that are  some times broken or have missing clasps.  Some times the necklaces are pretty dreadful, however she has an “eye” to spot there might be a  “gem” sneaked in amongst the rubbish ones.  All the beads are either semi precious, glass or vintage materials… no cheap modern plastic!  She painstakingly takes away all the bad or broken bits, polishes each bead, and pops then in her filing system of jam jars! She will try  to add some thing really quirky and personal into each piece.  Notice in my  necklace the special piece is the little silver Noah’s ark…

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Remember these that I crocheted for Easter OMG?

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In my sewing box…Coats cotton thread is lovely to work with, one of my favourite thread brands.

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This a photo I took when I was helping Lucy  http://attic24.typepad.com/for  the decorations for YARNDALE 2013. This was  when every one from far and wide were sending her their crochet master pieces of bunting triangles to her.  I had a load of triangles arranged on my kitchen floor (swept and mopped I may add!) pre-stringing all the crochet bunting together… Lucy asked if she could use the picture in her blog/facebook  as  she thought the colours were so lovely, so you may have seen it before.

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I can never bring myself to use normal all steel pins in my craft, I love  using  glass headed colourful ones……

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Oh my word, just look at these socks!

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Silly but cute, my daughter came up with little collection of critters she collected when she was quite tiny, and still has, perfect for this colour blog, thanks “G”

This devine little collection of mini coloured pencils… fantastic wheel of a colour spectrum.

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I hope you have enjoyed flicking thru these pic’s, I have really enjoyed collecting them for this blog… let me know what you think, looking forward to reading your comments.

Best wishes,  Jay X

My little extra snippet for you from Snoo  “There are more saunas than there are cars in Finland”

GIFT FOR BABY!

My dear friend has become a grandmother to a baby girl recently and naturally I wanted to give a gift.  I quite expect the  little lady in question has a wardrobe of clothes already, bedding and such has been carefully chosen, I  know that “new mum” has planned, decorated and perfected the nursery, so I decided to make some thing… this is what I came up with,  fairly simple, quite cute and beautiful fabric… Interested? keep reading!  I’ll start with the fabric, cutest range from a young English designer “Lewis and Irene” this particular fabric story is called “Town and Country” and is available in two colour ways.  I have used the soft pastel shades. SAM_3574
This is the other jolly colour way, same design just a different collection of colour shades… clever eh!
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Close up of the information on the selvage edge.
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I bought two fat 1/4 pieces (50cm x 55cm) from my local P&Q fabric shop. They were £2.70 each. The white cotton piping cord was 60p per metre, I needed 2.5mtr for this project. I had a reel of pink cotton thread in my work box. Also had pure white cotton fabric in my stash for the lining, I used 50cm full width. I had scraps of craft felt too, but do know it is in-expensive to buy, a piece about 25cm x 25cm is approx 50p.

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Cut a stripe from each of the fat 1/4 approx 4-5 cm and put on one side for later.

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These are the colours I chose for the felt part of the project.
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I decided the lettering of the baby’s name would be easiest to work using capital letters. Planned it on simple graph paper.SAM_3577
I used an iron-on Vilene to trace over the letters. Here you will have to think a little about “mirror image” of certain letters. If you have the shiny side up – facing you, when you iron and cut the letters will be around the correct way when you apply them to the fabric.
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Trace all letters onto Vilene. Have your piece of felt slightly larger than your Vilene letter and press with a warm iron. Not too hot or you will scald either the Vilene or the felt, especially if the felt is a cotton polyester mix.
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Cut our letters.
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Look at your sewing machines selection of stitches. I decided on a teeny weeny blanket stitch which looked like this on my machine… you may want to have a little play with stitches and sizes to find one suitable. Satin stitch, blind hem, appliqué, or fancy?
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To hold the letters in place while I stitched I dabbed a little glue on the underside, couldn’t face pins or tacking!  I suggest sewing any appliqué onto your fabric before making up what ever you are making where possible.  It is much easier to turn-sew a piece of fabric rather than a bag, cushion, clothing.

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Okay lets sew! On the very edge of the felt letters, lower needle so it catches the edge of the felt. I advise to go quite slow and watch carefully, stopping, (needle down position) a few stitches before turning, to check, turn and continue.
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Photo upside down to show detail!
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This bit takes a bit of time, but I quite enjoy seeing it come together.SAM_3498
When finished, pull thread through on the under side and tie ends together securely. Now you need to make two bags, one from the design fabric – outer, and another from the white fabric – inner/lining. Stitch sides and bottom, leaving a gap of approx 15cm open on one side of the inner – lining bag. However, make each bag EXACTLY the same size. With right sided together put one bag inside the other.
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Take time making sure that the corners of each bag is snugly in place and the side seams line up.
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In this photo I have shown the lining fabric showing so you can see, I did have the top edges of the bag level before I started to sew.  bags are inside out, sew continuously around the top.

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Pull the whole bag through the opening in the lining, good idea to give the piece a little press at this stage. Stitch the opening closed.

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Push the lining back in on it’s self into the main bag.  I like to  tweak the lining fabric back so a tiny edge of design fabric is showing, which,  on the right side actually means no lining is showing at all on the top edges.  Your can do this by “rolling” the fabric between your finger and thumb. Give the whole piece a good press to ensure the seams are flat.

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With the strips cut previously, press edges in approx 1 cm on each side to form a binding.

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If using co-ordinating fabric as I have, place/pin the different binding onto a each side to add a little interest.
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At the seam, carefully turn in the edge of the binding so it forms an opening to each binding end over the seam. Pin into place. You may feel you would prefer to tack at this stage to avoid fabric slipping out of place as you sew.
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At the seams, back stitch over the seam to add a little strength.

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With a safely pin or large bodkin, thread the piping cord through the opening binding – seam. I like to thread the piping one way and then another length the opposite way, this creates a super drawer string closure, and also hangs nicely on a hook, door handle… Tie ends tougher in a strong firm knot.
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…and, I think it makes a really pretty frilly top!
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Tease out tassel ends with pair of needle craft scissors.
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Finished!

Ready now to give!

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Thanks for visiting, leave a comment if you feel you would like to, always delighted to hear from fellow crafters, blogger!

Best wishes, Jay x

My little extra snippet for you from Snoo “… to see a rainbow you must have your back to the sun…’