in praise of slow!

Thank-you to: Matt Hunsberger
Danbury, CT

‘Even small steps in the right direction can add up and make a big difference in the long run. As long as you keep working toward your dreams and goals, even if it’s just a few minutes each day, you can achieve them.’

Have been feeling pretty disappointed in myself for the slow down in blogging!

Three children and the UK school Summer holidays are not conducive to writing!

I always have plans, ideas, targets spinning around my head…perhaps too many to focus upon and too many to realistically achieve!

By now I should have cleared out every cupboard in my house (3 out of 10 done!). I should also have been swimming and played tennis with my boys each week, produced a monthly meal plan, organised a back to school crafternoon and have a business plan for my vintage craft parties in place… I nearly forgot, I have to make 38 fabric diary covers for my boys’ school!

I am slow! I know I am slow, but I do need to achieve. I keep researching, researching, looking for suppliers for eco cutlery, for paper lanterns, for vintage china, the list goes on. I love the process but then when I get to the end of the day I do not feel that I have achieved very much at all.

The plan for the vintage craft parties is clear in my head, but I have not committed it to paper…big mistake!

I need to decide on my basic format and work on that…the quest for perfection means I am getting no-where fast! ( or in fact no-where slowly!).

Next week my boys are at sport’s camp from 10-3pm and I am planning to focus only on my work during this time; no washing, cooking, ironing, shopping, cleaning etc during these hours, just as if my kitchen table was in an office.

I want progress by the end of the week ( although Friday is my birthday, so perhaps a four day week is in order!)

Underlying my slowness is my fundamental difficulty with decision making…a life-time’s affliction ( could this be genetic, my eldest son suffers in the same way!).

Give me a date and a target and I am there, without this structure I play to my strengths and do research and ponder the merits of this and that.

Slow is positive if moving forward, but my slow sends me round and round in circles; if someone knocked on my door and asked me to plan and set up a party for 10 next weekend I could do it. However that is not going to happen and I need to make it happen…fast!

Thank-you for reading.


t-shirt monsters: week 2

It was week 2 of t-shirt monster making at the remakery this afternoon.

So lovely to see the girls…keen and raring to go!

Unfortunately we are going to need a third week to completly finish.

It’s something to consider when I plan the course for next term; I sense that they would prefer to finish one project each week, and certainly in two.

I will need to try to keep an eye out for projects that can be completed in an hour!

Speed sewing here we come!

Thank-you for reading.

a {t-shirt} monster mood board

At yesterday’s remakery sewing club, the girls and I tackled t-shirt monsters!
I decided to collate a mood board to introduce the concept and I took in some of my own children’s monster softies.
I wanted the girls to design their own creatures on paper first ( we used old brown paper which gave the process a realistic ‘designer’ feel).
The shapes were varied, and, by its’ very nature the project lent itself to simple outlines.
Fabric choice was next! Lots of old t-shirts were harmed in the making of these monsters!
I was really pleased to see the girls give their selections a lot of thought and they all decided to have a different colour for front and back.
Lots of lovely chat took place; I was particularly pleased that they related the making of the creatures to the making of their pin-cushions.
‘This is like the pin-cushions, we will sew the pieces together, turn them inside out and stuff them.’
Next week we will begin the process of adding features and in so doing will learn how to sew buttons, add patches and generally give each creature lots of personality!
vintage textile softies
This image, above, is amazing! I have spent a long time looking at it and spotting something new!
The simplicity is totally deceptive…this must have been quite a process, selecting, disgarding until the creator was finally happy.
Denise Litchfield is the artist.

This article is so hard to read ( a little easier via the link). However it is worth squinting at, to gain an insight into Denise’s  process.

This would be perfect for me to have a go at…the combination of linen and Liberty would work particularly well!

Thank-you for reading.

needle books + ruffles= the remakery

Each week at the remakery I make a table centrepiece; this week I decided to make a crepe paper ruffle!

Using the tutorial from

The ruffle was easy and quick to sew. Dana’s instructions regarding tension and stitch length were spot on! I did also (as she suggested) hold on to the thread whilst stitching and this really made effective ruffles!

The girls at the remakery loved the ruffle…using it as a headdress and scarf as well as for the intended table decor!

This week we focused on making needle books. The girls chose their own fabrics and used templates to cut out the correct sizes.

Using a simple running stitch down the centre of both pieces of fabric created a needle book!

A piece of ribbon was sewn securely at either end to tie the book together, and the girls proudly displayed a selection of pins and their sewing needle!

I was impressed with how carefully they made their fabric and ribbon selections; for them this was very important!

I also realised, that for them, the work before the actual sewing does not equate with the precision that they want!

I don’t think that ‘perfect’ is important, but they do, and so are often disappointed if their cutting is a little wonky or their stitches are not ‘neat’.

It is a thin line between stressing the importance of the preparation and the importance of creativity, individuality and fun!

I do also recognise that success breeds enjoyment and encourages us to ‘have a go’ at the next project. This is why I want my sewing groups to be about creating an end product and not a series of ‘lessons’.

For next week’s session I let the girls choose between a t-shirt monster, an apron and a bag.

The overwhelming answer was a t-shirt monster…can’t wait…a chance for some real individuality with this kind of project!

Thank-you for reading.

liberty and linen

As promised yesterday I am sharing images of the final stages of my diary covers.

Above is the finished product from the front, below is the inside view

On the whole I am fairly pleased with the finished result; I am always happy with a Liberty and linen fabric combination!

I used the tutorial from

I found the instructions and images very clear and easy to follow…although I was very slow!

The only thing I changed was the seam allowances; I just find it so difficult to sew .25 inch (6mm) seam so I increased it to .5 inches (12mm)

I am certainly going to have to speed up (hugely) if I am to make 38 of these.

I guess setting up a ‘production line’ would be the best option, and making a template so that I do not have to measure everything 38 times!

I am also thinking of making the covers in one piece and adding a fabric embellishment to the front, rather than this construction which uses two pieces of linen and one piece of cotton. This would save time and would also be more forgiving of errors!

I hope my very important person likes them; I delivered them to his office today…time will tell!

Tomorrow is the third session of the remakery sewing club. We will be making needle books…I am determined to take some photos this week, I haven’t found time in the last two sessions.