A just in time handmade gift

In Monday’s post I mentioned the Christmas gift that almost wasn’t ready in time, and which only managed to be under the tree with some last minute sewing Christmas Eve evening. MOH was bemused my by last minute industriousness, even more so when he realised it was for him. I was keen to get it finished, so he stood a chance of working out what it was, and of course to get it finished and wrapped so it could be opened on Christmas Day.

It was a bit out of the norm you see, but I needn’t have worried as he got what they were for as soon as he opened them, phew.

park here - the handmade gift for moh

They’re mats for the wheels of his bike, for when it’s wet and dark, and so the bike stays in our conservatory overnight. Up until now he’s been parking his bike on some newspaper, which while it serves a purpose and does a job, tends to hang about for a bit and so I thought something more aesthetically pleasing must exist. Then I realised it probably didn’t, but was something I could make.

The trouble was when I had time on my own in the house, usually his bike wasn’t there so what size? In the end I guessed and cut a leg of an old pair of jeans to be approximately 40cm x15cm - I knew I wanted something hardwearing, but I also wanted something softer for the newly varnished conservatory floor, so a leg of some old pyjamas were just the thing, and I had some batting somewhere I’m sure…

PYJAMAS AND JEANS REPURPOSED

PYJAMAS AND JEANS REPURPOSED

But I also knew it’d need to be more than just two pads for MOH to know what it was for. With a flash of inspiration one night I hit on the idea of adding some lettering, but what: bike park, stay dry, clean floor, no mess, not newspaper and so on, but in the end I went with the simple instruction of “Park here.”

The original plan was to embroider both words, in script, and “here” looked to be the easier and more continuous to do, so I started with that using twine. I’d written the design onto the jeans (and you can still see it in both photos) and it wasn’t onerous to do, and there was lots of tracing where the flow of the letters should go with my fingers, I realised I wanted more of the pyjama fabric on show too.

TWINE EMBROIDERY

TWINE EMBROIDERY

So a new plan was hatched for the “park” which involved using my die cutter to cut out the letters from fabric ironed onto interfacing, which I hoped would stop them fraying (we’ll have to see how that works out), then stitched onto the denim. I toyed with the placement and went with a more jaunty arrangement, as time wasn’t on my side, and I preferred to have them clearly not straight rather than trying to be straight and failing.

APPLIQUED LETTERING

APPLIQUED LETTERING

I’m rather pleased with how they turned out, with more planning I think I’d have quilted them some more perhaps, and given them a wash to remove the red felt tip lettering, but there’s time for that.

What was more pleasing was that when he opened them, he knew what they were for and sweetly suggested I could make these and sell them, however as they often say on Dragon’s Den, I think this is solving a problem that not many people know they have, so I don’t expect there’s much demand for these. They were fun to make, and to give, and as well as their practical-ness they’ve also demonstrated to MOH that sometimes old fabric can be put to good use, and uses you might not have first thought of!

Park here  - a simple instruction - on MOH's bike mats

How were your handmade gifts received?

Bunting my way

Those tissue paper pom poms which I posted last week reminded me of the bunting I insisted on making back in the summer for our 110th party, and how I hadn't shared more about that here. It appeared in the pictures from the party, but that's about it.

BUNTING MADE FROM SCRAPS

BUNTING MADE FROM SCRAPS

Every party needs bunting I think. And in fact I think everyone should have bunting, at least some anyway. I'd frustrated MOH ahead of the party by disappearing and knocking up a couple of strings of bunting when in his opinion there were more important things to be done. They didn't take that long to make and were a good stash-buster too, so pretty and resourceful.

I have a habit of saving ribbon and braid from boxes of chocolates, bouquets and even those posh paper carrier bags, and these came in useful for my bunting. I also have a fair bit of material, so I started by sorting out some of that. I'd hoped to go with the small floral Liberty-style patterns, but when it came to it I still didn't want to cut into some of that material. So instead I opted for material that I'd had for a while, was generally floral and fun.

Out came my pinking shears and I made a triangle template to cut around, cutting through several layers of material at once. I thought the shape didn't need to be exactly perfect to get the bunting effect, and I was right. The central one in the photo above proves that, and I bet you only notice the mis-cut on the left hand side as your eyes scroll back up. 

FROM A BOUQUET OF FLOWERS

FROM A BOUQUET OF FLOWERS

AND FROM A BOX OF CHOCOLATES

With the sewing machine threaded up, I started by joining my braids and ribbons together, and then simply attached my cut out triangles to that leaving approximately the width of the bunting between each flag.  Again that wasn't precise, but it worked out well. I didn't want the bunting to be too spaced out, and I did remember to leave some extra ribbon at each end so it was easy to tie into place.

A PILE OF BUNTING READY FOR ANOTHER TIME

I'm really pleased with how it turned out, and I think I'll be making more.  In total I made two lengths with about twenty triangles on each, and in truth it was so much fun and pretty addictive soI could have gone on for much more. 

A simple craft, but one that was quick easy to do and one that I think can't help but bring a simile to people's faces. 

A sewing project for the future

Now this post is likely to confirm a certain level of craziness you may never have realised I had. And that's ok, because when I saw this partially (in fact barely) completed embroidered tablecloth when we visited Snape Maltings over the summer, I knew there was no way I was going to leave this in the shop. I also knew that there was a high chance that I wouldn't do anything with this for quite a while and that's ok too (and now that I've found crochet, it could be even a bit further down the list, but the good news it's still on the list!)

Now isn't it beautiful?

My linen tablecloth embroidery project - someone else has made a start

And it has the potential to be a stunner. Even though it's been many years since I've done any embroidery. And there is no pattern or colour chart. And I don't have any threads, or actually I may have some but that's reliant on me finishing another long-held cross stitch project. I've dug that out again since we've been back from Suffolk (this one that I shared on Instagram), so that's a good sign but quickly realised I needed my eyes testing as the count was a bit smaller than I remembered.

My linen tablecloth embroidery project - just a leaf started in this corner

Predictably MOH was on hand to ask what I needed this tablecloth for and where I could possibly use it. Of course knowing this was coming I was ready for it and my answer of "on that old French table in the garden" was clearly said confidently and assertively enough that it was accepted.  Must remember that for the future. It's true though it will look great on that table, and one day I may even get around to re-painting that too.

My linen tablecloth embroidery project - a completed corner

I think there's enough clues in the work that's already taken place to carry on, and make the tablecloth my own. I'll worry about what the stitch is when I'm closer to starting I think, unless you can identify it from these photos.

My linen tablecloth embroidery project - a completed yellow rose

There's a pink and peach coloured rose in each corner, or rather that will be my aim. There's one completed yellow rose midway between those, so there's another three to do, and there's a central section which hasn't been started yet, but again the colour for that isn't something that needs deciding now.

I told you this post might confirm a certain level of craziness, but for ten pounds, it really did need rescuing didn't it?