Friday, 25 April 2014

April - In the Works

Wow,  getting on to the end of April already! I always stop suddenly one day in April every year and think...where has the year gone so far? I can't believe that we've been in our new house for almost six months now! Sometimes it feels like we don't have a lot to show for it, but we've been doing bits and pieces, and we've been pretty busy otherwise too. The weather has been lovely the last few days so we've been enjoying lots of garden time and getting used to things we've never had to do before, such as mowing the lawn. Exciting!

So, this is an 'In the Works' post, and boy do I have a lot of things going on! Here's what is in my current work pile for this week.
1. Moon badger colour sketch: I like this coloured sketch that grew out of the little badger picture I posted at the end of my 'sketchbook' post. I've been thinking about whether it should be a stitched project or a painted one, and I'm pretty sure I've settled on developing it as a painting. So, just to transfer my sketch over to some watercolour paper and get started. I haven't done a lot of painting so far this year, so it will be good to have a project on the go that I can dip in and out of.
2. Noticeboard: I wanted a bigger noticeboard in my kitchen and I wanted it to be colourful, so I bought a large one and covered it in fabric. It's not up on the wall yet as I want to finish the edges with something, but not sure what.
3. 'Manse' embroidery: Almost complete, this is the second piece in a new theme I'm developing. More to follow in a later post about this one! Manse is the characters name in case you were wondering!
4. 'Dust Devil' embroidery: As above, another new piece in my new theme. Loving doing this one, and working on it at every opportunity. Again, Dust Devil is the name of the character. More on this when it's finished!
5. Hedgehog embroidery: Still working on this one which has stalled a little. Must try harder!
6. Bed is best embroidery: New cutie embroidery that I might even put up on my own bedroom wall. Just the fur to do on this, hurrah fur time!
Oh and I am working away on something else this month. Well actually, I've been working away on it for the last eight months, but have just never gotten around to mentioning it on here! Here's a picture of the bulk of the washing that has been out in the garden the last few weeks. Can you guess what I've been working on yet?
Here's a clue, these clothes are far too small for me, the husbandbot and the four year old!
Yep, baby number two is due in less than four weeks, which I guess could technically mean anytime! I'm hoping to manage to still get some crafting and blogging time, but if I go quiet you'll know the reason why! And no, the pink items on the washing line don't mean anything significant. We don't know what we are having, I've just been washing all of my daughters old clothes in readiness, as most of her newborn things were neutral as she was also a surprise package. So, May is looking to be very busy and exciting indeed!

What about you? What do you have 'In the Works' for April?


Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Have embroidery, will travel

These last two weeks have been so busy - what with fulltime childcare in the Easter holidays, and having to pretty much abandon my crafting room to prep for some plumbing work taking place this week - that any stitching time has been snatched either late at night or briefly and out on the go. Although I do all my project planning, photography and writing in the two and a half hours each morning my four year old attends playgroup, I tend to do most of my stitching while out and about. I have my local 'STITCH' group every Thursday for two hours, which is when I do the bulk of my weekly stitching. I also take my stitching along to many of my daughter's activities, so while she's bobbing along to Zumba I have a fine hour of stitching to work on in another room. Beats heading back home for half an hour to do housework!
Because I may want to grab my embroidery to take with me at any time, I keep all of my current embroidery projects in a rigid A4 plastic box that I picked up from a standard stationary shop. I copied this idea from an excellent embroidery friend of mine Bea, who used the same type of travel storage. This box is fairly rugged and solid, and protects the work inside, and fits in my usual A4 satchel-type handbag.
Ready to go!
The great thing about keeping all my current work in this box is that  I can just grab it and go - everything is kept neat and safe, meaning that everything I need to get on with those projects are all gathered in one place. When it's very full, I use large rubber bands just to make sure it stays shut.

The contents of the box are usually as follows:
  • Scissors - large for snipping fabric, small embroidery scissors for thread. Note though that my lovely small embroidery scissors I featured in this blog here when I bought them aren't in the picture. They haven't turned up since the house move, but they must be somewhere!
  • Needle book - I use my own handmade needlebook that has plenty of room for needles and pins, bits and bobs of fabric  etc. in here, and the small scissors.
  • Current projects - my box can just about fit two 15cm hooped projects, or one 20cm hooped project, and that's usually enough to keep in there for heading out for short periods or a holiday.
  • Ziploc bag of floss - and some on a pretty pink horse thread holder for those projects that are a bit more 'ad hoc'.
  • Fabric pen - for those last minute pattern additions!
Surprisingly spacious!
I must warn you however - maintenance of this travel pack is essential! Usually after a few weeks work the box needs a clear out. No matter how much I try and keep it tidy, there is always a moment when I just have to stuff the thing back in my bag at a moments notice and loose threads are just thrown in. Keep doing this and everything becomes a bit of a tangled mess. See the picture below - only two weeks use after the last clearout!
How do the threads do that? One time, before I started a regular clear out, I couldn't even open or remove my needle book from the box, it was like some kind of thread ivy had grown around the book and attached it to the box, slowly taking over everything. I had to use scissors and put lots of potentially usable bits of thread in the bin that day.

The ziploc bag also needs to be cleared out, and skeins no longer being used should be put back where they belong. To make this process easier I use a small 'thread to be filed' box, where I can stuff these partly-used skeins until I have time to return them to the appropriate colour box, or wind them onto cardboard bobbins for my bobbin box. Also, I often forget to 'de-hoop' my projects, which of course you should always do rather than leave your projects in hoops for days (maybe even weeks - ooops), which is one downside of the 'travel pack'.

So, I'm hoping that my craft room will be back in use next week, after the new pipework gets boxed in, and I might even get some paint on the walls! Here's a picture of how it looks now with all the furniture crammed into one corner *sad face*.
To make up for the sad looking craft room, at least I'm been taking my photos here this week in the sunshine. Kinda makes up for the disruption a little.
Maybe lunch outside today?