A tiny world

I’ve never been a model-maker.

Giant jigsaws, yes, making garments and quilts and jewellery, assembling flatpack furniture, all within my wheelhouse, but for whatever reason I haven’t gone tiny.

Until now.

I was browsing some website, and saw an ad for a model kit (the Sakura Densya from Rolife, if you’re interested). I was riveted! I jumped on the website… and I was lost. So far, I have bought two kits, and there are at least four more that I want to make Now. And that’s just for starters.

So, here’s my first. It’s the Sunshine Town alley, complete with coffee shop and bookshop, street furniture, lights and cats! I did the wiring for the lights myself, which I’m proud of. It was fiddly, I learned a lot about model making and assembly, and I can’t wait to start the next one. This completed on is one of the ‘book nook’ series, where you slot the finished thing into a book case for best effect.

The next one will be Lisa’s Tailor, a sewing room with three sides and half a roof, but there’s a lot more stuff in it, so at least the first two days will be spent assembling all the components.

You do need to be good at following visual instructions, but the instructions are good. This kit had 24 pages of assembly information and multiple sheets of laser-cut press-out pieces in thin ply, cardstock and acetate, all clearly numbered. You only needed to sandpaper off the ‘ties’ that held the pieces in place on the sheets. A little painting, a little glueing, nothing technical. Steady hands and a bit of manual dexterity are helpful.

They provide almost everything you need. Due to the customs regulations here, you don’t get the paint or the glue or the batteries with the kit, but that was an easily-solved problem, and now I have them for the next one.

I’m in love with my tiny world. Maximum cuteness, maximum satisfaction at making it, and maximum willpower required to not dash off and open that second kit Right Now. It’s a little bit… ok, a LOT, addictive, which is kind of odd when you remember you’re fiddling about with glue and paint and little bits of wood and paper, but there it is.

I’ve made mistakes and done some things a bit wrong here and there, but I’ll know better next time. And as always, it’s probably only me who sees the mistakes. I leave you with my book nook lit up and looking extremely ravishing…

At least the Husband now knows what to get me for virtually any future celebration!

Practice run

I did a little pre-Christmas baking.

I wanted to see if I still had enough manual dexterity to decorate a batch of gingerbread people. I think I’ve still got it – what do you think? I started by added gold candy stars, but moved to red and white mini candy canes when I ran out. I think I prefer the gold stars… maybe time to get some more, for the next batch?

We had the SILs around this morning to strategise Christmas day catering. They were happy to help us with our slight excess gingerbread problem… Thankfully, Christmas is going to be nice and simple; the Dowager will be on a cruise, so everyone else will be happy with a buffet meal, but lunch (rather than dinner) was preferred so that some of the younger members can spend time with other family in the evening. It means we probably won’t eat on the deck, as it’ll be just too hot at that time of day, but we have enough comfy chairs for inside, and doggo will have to give up his sofa just for the day… There will be lots of reproachful stares and starvation impersonations, but so long as there’s a steady stream of treats and bits of chicken, he’ll cope.

So far, my catering is limited to roasting a couple of chickens, carving some ham, making a salad and some cupcakes and arranging stuff on platters and in bowls. I think I can cope with that, and anything else I want to add is a ‘nice to have’ and not necessary.

Now, that sounds like a restful Christmas!

Bucket list

And this is No. 2 on the list.

I have literally just finished stitching down the brim lining this one. I promised the second hat would be a bit more vivid. Was I wrong?

Sorry about the poor lighting, I took it with flash in the evening, since I didn’t want to wait till tomorrow. Perhaps that was a mistake, as it has washed out all the colours (and me, but also the wrinkles!), but I think you get a pretty good idea of what it’s like. You can’t see the crown, but it’s a third fabric, also very prink and bright. The brim is made of two fabrics which are alternated on the top and bottom so that whichever way you turn the brim up, you see two fabrics. I love those bold black and white patterns!

I think this is enough for me, for now. I’ll probably make one for the Husband, and then call it a day. I have other projects singing a siren song, calling me to make a start on them…

I am powerless to resist. Or perhaps I just don’t want to!

Anemone, finally finished

Can you believe how long this has taken?

Not the hand quilting, which was long enough, but the whole thing. I started this lovely six years ago! And looking at it now, fully completed, I wonder why I was bonkers enough to put it on the back burner. Still, the hiatus hasn’t dimmed my enthusiasm for it. I still love it soooo much! I really like faced hexie quilts, because it retains the distinctive shape of the outer edge, and although it’s meticulous, laborious work to create and apply the back facing, I feel it’s really worth the effort when you look at the front.

I don’t have my handy quilt holder-upper (aka the Husband) today, so I have draped it tastefully (I hope) over a sofa. Possibly you can’t see every single hexie, but you get the idea.

Weird that the pink quilting thread looks black, but there you go.

And here’s a close up.

And the label, which I have concealed behind a hexie of appropriate colour on the back of the quilt, stitched in so that you can flip it open just enough to read it. I’m beginning to find labels a bit intrusive to look at unless they carry an important message (as in the DfG or Ovarian Cancer quilts), so I think I’ll keep this ‘hidden message’ option going forward.

And so we say farewell to Anemone. Next cab off the rank should be Delft, but I suspect I’ll finish assembling the front, remove most of the papers and then put it away for a bit. My fingers need a break from hand stitching for a good long time. And there’s another hat cut out and waiting for me, not to mention other quilt projects.

You’ll just have to wait and see what I pick next!

Bucket Hat

This will be the first of several.

I’m calling it the Seascape Hat because of the coral reef light fabric and the ‘brain coral’ crown fabric. I didn’t use heavy fabric, or make it close-fitting, because in this climate, the head needs all the ventilation it can get. It’s a pattern which Jean posted about on ScrapHappy Day recently, very easy, just three pieces, and it was a free download, even better.

I’m definitely making another one for the Husband too, probably something a little heavier (I have a very nice dark blue twill with the Australian Kangaroo icon on it in white). Plus a couple more for myself, I think, including one that’s got a nice splashy pattern on it.

A bit of machine sewing is great for resting my hand-quilting fingers…

The slacker clucker

I don’t know what the Girls think they’re up to.

I mean, this was part of today’s offering. That large one is 80g (3oz), and the smallest one weighs 17g (just over half an ounce) and is 75mm (1 3/8 inches) long. Someone was doing overtime to cover for the slacker’s pathetic effort. We’ve  had small eggs before, but nothing as ridiculous as this.

It’s about the size of a plover’s egg, and I look forward to seeing what’s inside. There may be a tiny yolk, or no yolk, or all yolk.

A mystery for tomorrow’s breakfast!

Goes with anything

Isn’t that what they say about black?

Or in this case, all the colours. It’ll work with so many things! I’ve finished the fabric bead necklace, using up as many cones as I had. I also made a pair of earrings to go with it. Originally, I’d intended to have all the beads strung close together, as I wanted a sort of floral effect, but I discovered on wearing it that the beads would get forced upwards by movement and it looked extremely odd. So then it was deciding what to do about adding spacers.

The wire choker is quite thick, and the fastening at the back doesn’t allow most of my spacer beads to pass over it. So then I had a brainwave. I have a small collection of narrow clear plastic tubes which I’ve saved from using Piksters* after cleaning my teeth. I thought they might come in useful some time, and now they have. I cut small slices off a number of tubes, and worked out that putting two spacers between each bead looked the best. Because they’re clear, they don’t really ‘read’, they weigh nothing and they do the trick. Job done.

And finally, I have at last got round to adding the three-string clasp to my lilac necklace.

I made it in the first place to go with my beautiful silver, pearl and amethyst earrings, and I feel it works rather well. Another one to add to the collection.

 

And now that’s enough jewellery making for now. Back to fabric!

 

*Piksters are tiny interdental brushes for scrubbing between your teeth, and I find them more effective than using dental floss.

What do you think…?

Personally, I reckon it works rather well.

I need a lot more, so that they’re thickly clustered, but I think the overall effect is pretty good.

It’s not too tricky. Take an inch of silver wire. Turn up one end with a pair of needle nose pliers to form a ‘stop’. Slip on a small silver spacer bead. Fold your triangle of fabric in half and poke the other end of the wire through both thicknesses of fabric at the apex, about an eighth of an inch from the point. Push the triangle down towards the bead at the end. Fold the two ‘wings’ of the triangle in towards the centre. Poke the wire and fabric into the bottom of the cone and feed the wire through the hole in the top. Slip another spacer onto the wire. Using the pliers, form a loop at the top, snipping off the excess wire before you close the loop. Done. All that’s left is to gently pull off any dangling threads and slip the ‘bead’ onto the wire choker.

I need to remake a couple of the beads where the fabric has come adrift because I didn’t use the first spacer bead inside the cone. Apart from that, it’s really simple.

Now I just have to think about what to do with all the other triangle scraps. This necklace  has barely scratched the surface…

ScrapHappy November

Welcome once again to ScrapHappy Day!

It’s the day my friend Gun in Sweden and I host ScrapHappy, a day for showing something made from scraps.

After literally 7 YEARS of scrappy virtue, I’m bending my own rules. Just a little bit. It’s always been ‘no new materials’ except when you needed something to actually finish a scrappy thing off. This time, I’m allowing myself some latitude…

Remember the Floribunda quilt? All those pointy blocks generated a load of scrappy triangles about 3 inches wide by 1½ inches tall. They were so pretty I couldn’t throw them away. I’ve been looking and looking at them, sitting in their antique Chinese papier mâché bowl on my work table. And then the other day, a lightbulb went on. These days, I have to pay attention when that happens, because it’s getting less frequent!

I have lots of bits and pieces left over from past beading/jewellery projects, including some rather nice cone-shaped end-thingies. You’re supposed to feed multiple strands into them, terminating in a single ring to join onto a clasp. But to me, they work perfectly for fabric! I’ll be sticking head pins through the fabric and twisting the straight end into a loop to string onto a wire necklace. At least, that’s the current plan.

Look how pretty!  Batik is ideally suited for this, since it’s tightly woven and doesn’t fray much. I’m getting really interested in this idea of fabric jewellery:  beads, decorations, tassels or whatever. Scraps do seem to lend themselves to this sort of thing. I might investigate using the rest of these pretty triangles in some other form. Watch this space!

I know, I know. Yet another distraction/fascination/obsession is born….

ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps of anything – no new materials. It can be a quilt block, pincushion, bag or hat, socks or a sculpture. Anything made of genuine scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into something beautiful or useful instead of leaving them to collect dust in the cupboard, why not join us on the 15th of each month? Either email me at the address on my Contact Me page, or leave a comment below. You can also contact Gun via her blog to join. We welcome new members. You don’t have to worry about making a long term commitment or even join in every month, just let either of us know a day or so in advance if you’re new and you’ll have something to show, so we can add your link. Regular contributors will receive an email reminder three days before the event.

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every time, but their blogs are still worth looking at). The list below is the most current one I have, so if you’d like me to update something, let me know in the Coments.

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, 
Jill, Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys,
Claire, Jean, Jon, Dawn, Jule, Gwen,
Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue L, Vera,
Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2, Carol,
Preeti, Debbierose, Nóilin and Viv

Anemone: row 24 quilted

I decided it was time.

I’d been neglecting Anemone in favour of feverishly stitching away at Delft. I’ve reached the point with Delft that it can just sit for a bit until I’m ready to piece large sections together, never my favourite part. Anemone has been quietly waiting on my cutting table (and yes, taking up all the space and preventing me starting yet another new project). Time to start hand quilting again.

So that’s what I did. And now I’m up to row 24 and three more are marked up ready to go. It’s actually quite soothing. I can listen to podcasts or YouTube videos while I stitch along the rows of scallop shapes. Three rows at a time is about enough before the fingers get too sore and I have to take a bit of a break before starting again.

It’s still hexies, but at least I’m not sewing them together any more…