Tag Archives: The Makery

No More Sewing Procrastination!

Cotton Reel Chaos!, Rocking Dog

Cotton Reel Chaos!

After a hectic and noisy Burns’ Night and with the fleet of glasses tucked away, furniture reconfigured and copious bottle collection ashamedly left out for recycling, it’s now time to return to some serious sewing. There is to be no more procrastination, absolutely none!

Today, I will finally sew the Roman blind. Fabrics have been selected from the newly reformed Material Mountain. I have chosen a dog tooth gingham (Ikea) and have paired this with a heavily hand embroidered vintage border taken from a curtain bought for £20 in Bartlett Street Antiques Centre. The embroidery is exquisite and I hope Beloved Bernina will be able to cope with the thickness and density. The backing fabric is from a 100% cotton sheet purloined from my mother in laws linen cupboard.

I am using the printed instructions acquired whilst attending the Roman Blind making workshop at The Makery, Bath. I also have the little prototype blind to refer to, again this originated from the workshop. Fabrics have been duly carefully measured and cut in readiness for the sewing to begin.

Roman blinds are a really cost effective way of dressing a window. Curtains require much greater quantities of fabric to provide the necessary fullness, and, often involve expensive curtain poles and finials. A blind requires a simple wooden batten and dowelling rod, both inexpensively purchased at a timber merchant or DIY store.

With the blind sewn and hung it will be time to move on to making a seat cushion for a wonderful wooden Art Deco armchair. With lots of feathers to deal with…. it’s gonna get messy! The chair has spent too long feeling unloved, and with its bare springs it’s currently not a comfortable seating proposition! Photo’s of this project will follow in due course.

By the end of the week I want to have made some Christmas prototypes in preparation for a business pitch. In between all of this there is a Birthday cake to be made. Even that’s going to have a bit of a Christmas theme going on!

The prospect of some serious sewing is a good one.

 Material Mountain, Rocking Dog

Material Mountain

Blind Bible, Rocking Dog

Blind Bible

Makery Prototype, Rocking Dog

Makery Prototype

The Components, Rocking Dog

The Components

Yummy Border, Rocking Dog

Yummy Border

After The Blind, Christmas Returns!, Rocking Dog

After The Blind, Christmas Returns!

Trying Not To Be A Control Queen- The Makery

First Attempt, Rocking Dog

First Attempt

I hope you have had a good weekend and not feeling too down about the longer darker nights. It takes a while for our household to change all the clocks and its quite disconcerting for a couple of days as to what time it really is!

On Friday I had a great time at “The Makery” in Bath when I joined a Freehand Machine Embroidery course. It’s a very bizarre technique, and not one for Control Queens (or Kings!) The feed dogs of the machine are dropped, so the little teeth that normally feed fabric through are no longer there. Ultimately you are in charge of the movement of the fabric.

The morning started with friendly Emily and Jess making mugs of coffee and tea for the group of eight before taking to our machines. Free embroidery requires a darning foot for your machine, copious reels of thread and embroidery hoops, in short nothing too wildly expensive. We embroidered lots of stitch work to gain confidence, and then added in fabrics which spilled out of baskets in the workshop. It was so relaxing, for me so much better than a spa!

My attempts are a bit rough and ready -but i’m looking forward to lots of further practice on Beloved Bernina.

Yes, i’m becoming a bit of a serial offender at The Makery, Roman Blinds, Meticulous Ink Calligraphy and now, Freehand Machine Embroidery. I can truly recommend taking a workshop there together with a visit to the shop. If you have done a workshop that day you benefit from 10% discount on shop supplies and any workshop bookings. For London residents The Makery is available at John Lewis, Oxford Street and again you can enrol on a variety of lovely workshops.

Since I have a Christmas Pudding on this post perhaps it’s a good opportunity to announce Rocking Dog Christmas events.

On Saturday 5th December I will be at Chipping Sodbury Town Hall for the Original Vintage & Handmade Christmas Fair. 10-3pm. Gorgeous vintage cupped tea and cake by the lovely WI.

On Sunday 13th December Rocking Dog will be opening the kennel in Hambrook, Bristol. 11am-2pm ish. There will be lovely last minute homemade gifts to buy, and a chance to sit with a mulled drink and delicious home made eats. As usual the kennel will be decked with 11 boxes of mainly vintage and homemade decorations. My poor long suffering Andyman just how does he cope with my Christmas dec’ addiction?!

Someone very kindly told me recently that a visit to the Rocking Dog Sale really signifies the beginning of Christmas for her. Thank you I am humbled. This year profits from refreshments will be going to Young Carers. During 2015 I have worked as a volunteer with a group of young children who help to look after parents and siblings with complex needs. They are truly inspirational.

So i’ll soon be dusting off you know who!

Makery Calligraphy, Rocking Dog

Makery Calligraphy

Makery Blinds, Rocking Dog

Makery Blinds

Spread The Word, Rocking Dog

Spread The Word

Makery Take-Away, Rocking Dog

Makery Take-Away

Brown Paper Packages Tied ..., Rocking Dog

Brown Paper Packages Tied …

Second Attempt, Rocking Dog

Second Attempt

It’s Been A While. Shame On You Rocking Dog!

Hand Washing a la Francais!, Rocking Dog

Hand Washing a la Francais!

Writer’s Block has rather taken it’s toll on me this sunny June! Thankfully I possessed enough verve to complete envelopes for some important “Save The Dates”. It was lovely to put my recently acquired calligraphy skills to use (thank you to Meticulous Ink and The Makery). Another envelope project was to pretty up a plain envelope to gift some cash. A ripped Selvedge magazine image and Mrs Beetonesque calendar cake shred did the trick in a jiffy!

The memories of Chelsea Flower Show still casts a warm glow, and I have been busy trying to make strides with my own garden. The latest purchase has been an old roll top bath from Ebay. This is the first one of a planned four which will form raised beds for my kitchen garden. This time next year the baths will hopefully be bursting forth with salad leaves, herbs, chard and a myriad of other edibles. Not quite The Good Life…. but…!

The garden is a sea of pretty weeds, new planting, and Mr Dursley’s pesky rubble. Mole hills (Grrr!) proliferate at an alarming rate. I even glimpsed the mischievous velvety little fella doing his worst! To add to the general mayhem we are having a new run of fencing, but this has come to a grinding halt. A blackbird is sweetly, but everso slightly inconveniently nesting on the rear of one of the old panels. Work will therefore restart once the chicks have fledged, Aaaahhh! Meanwhile, confetti production continues, cherries ripen, elderflowers need picking for summery concoctions and we need rain to replenish the brook.

Sewing has recommenced with Rocking Dog making laundry bags to stash away items for hand washing. All too often a favourite woollen or silk scarf has mis-adventured into the washing machine. Has it happened to you? I guessed a drawstring bag to separate delicates could be useful. Using pretty up-cycled fabrics for the gloved hand appliqué, I then hand stamped the bags with the words “Lavage a la Main” (which I truly hope means washing by hand in French). These bags will be for sale at a future Rocking Dog event. They would be perfect for packing in a holiday suitcase.

Another laundry project has been to wash and starch some lovely 1930’s table linen. Oh decisions, which pieces can I bear to part with…. and just exactly how many tablecloths does a girl need?!

Finally we all have to eat… and how lovely to use rhubarb from the garden for a Jamie Oliver recipe. Summer on a plate!

Rocking Dog is pleased to be writing again.

Vintage Laundry, Rocking Dog

Vintage Laundry

Cash Envelope, Rocking Dog

Cash Envelope

Save The Date!, Rocking Dog

Save The Date!

Garden Confetti, Rocking Dog

Garden Confetti

Ebay Roll Top Bath Time, Rocking Dog

Ebay Roll Top Bath Time

Summer Cooking, Rocking Dog

Summer Cooking

Rediscovering Calligraphy At The Makery

Meticulous Ink, Rocking Dog

Meticulous Ink

On Saturday I clocked in at “The Makery” for a calligraphy workshop with Athena of “Meticulous Ink”, Bath.

I’m a big fan of The Makery having previously been on a workshop to make Roman Blinds. I found that workshop to have been informative, fun and well paced. Most importantly it gave me the confidence to embark on making blinds for my lounge windows. I am now looking to make blinds for the kitchen with an as yet unchosen fabric. Apart from being given a concise instruction sheet I came away from the workshop having made a small blind which is great to refer back to. Finally when I had an issue with measurements for one of my blinds an e.mail to the workshop tutor resulted in a quick response with advice….so brilliant after care too! Finally after seventeen years my lounge had dressed windows, hallelujah!

Though taught italics at school and with reasonable handwriting, I wanted to learn some more swirly flourishes. In the longer term, when well practiced I would like to paint some linen banners. I therefore readily signed up for this 2 hour workshop to reacquaint myself with calligraphy. Through the jolly yellow door of “The Makery” I went, and formed part of a group of twelve budding calligraphers. We sat around one long table and were offered hot drinks by friendly Makery staff before embarking on the serious business of learning beautiful script. Athena patiently took us through upper and lower case letters of the alphabet. Once she felt we’d mastered the letter A, we’d then proceed to B and so forth. I was surprised how challenging I found it, perhaps I had bad calligraphy habits to undo. I’d certainly have won the prize for the most inky finger!

The lovely girl sat next to me, had come along to the session because she’d recently become engaged and wanted to write all her wedding invitations and envelopes. By the end of the session she realised she’d need to put in some serious practice to make that a reality. I hope she does, what could be more lovely than receiving something beautifully handwritten.

The more than two hours went very quickly, but very enjoyably. It really has made me want to re-look at my handwriting and get more flamboyant. We left the session with precious supplies of nib holder, nib, alphabet guide sheet, a wodge of calligraphy paper and some amazing Iron Gall calligraphers ink (all included in the cost of the workshop). Thank you Athena. PS you have the most glorious hair by the way!

A strange unexpected bi-product of this workshop is that I am able to better understand the script in the 1846 recipe book I am currently transcribing. Understanding proper formation of individual letters has been incredibly helpful. At the moment I am deciphering recipes for Suet College Puddings and Cream Pancakes.

Still on the theme of writing, I love the verse that my Great Uncle Walter penned on a postcard to my Grandmother Emily (his sister) on 11th September 1911

Why? has all the ink in the world gone dry
Are all the pens mislaid?
and
Pencils too- are there none to buy?
Is paper no longer made?
If you are not deep in this awful plight
Then why in the world
do you never write?

Makery Magic!, Rocking Dog

Makery Magic!

My First Blind, Rocking Dog

My First Blind

Practice Will Make Perfect!, Rocking Dog

Practice Will Make Perfect!