Friday, 23 November 2012


Ever wondered why the colours you have chosen don't quite gel together in your interior decoration, the clothes you wear, your work space? Are you wanting to add another layer to your colours but don't know where to start? Do you use mood boards?

So many questions and many more, but the answers are all here, in a portable instant mood board.

You might find the swatchmatic android app, a very useful and easy tool to use. It is a camera that analyses the colours of objects and views it is pointed at, a gentle wobble will bring in a whole new range of colours. To save them, all you do is click the cross in the middle. These colours are translated by their relative ratios to each other and are placed on a cartoon robot so you can see them in combination. Each colour is also listed with its computer index number, and the shade name. These shade names are those of the paint company and are copyrighted.

What is really amazing is that it picks up colours hidden in shadows, and you can increase and decrease the size of the analysing window to influence a wider range of colours. The robot sampled here is my kitchen floor, which is mid brown wooden floor (with many shades of orange, gold and brown). By pointing the SwatchMatic to include some shadow, it has picked up on some lovely rich purples as well.

There are a selection of filters to use which bring even more combinations, including a white. This changes the colour selection to white tones. These filters can be used in combination as well, creating more options. 

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Beware the devil in factory made curtains

Recently I was asked to shorten some curtains for a client by 10 inches. A simple task for an experienced curtain maker. There were 8 curtains in total. I welcomed a simple uncomplicated job for a change. Hmmmm, while they remained in the bags, it remained a simple job. The devil was lurking in the bags.

The design of the curtain meant I had to tackle this from the hem end and its easy enough to set your retractable ruler to 12 inches so you can mark the required 10 inches. On well made curtains, this plan is easy to execute, measure, press, cut, press raw edge under, sew and repeat on the lining.

Unfortunately this foolproof plan wouldn't work with these curtains. A quick glance at the photos will show you why. All but one of the curtains had hems with a discrepancy of, in some cases 2 inches. 2 INCHES, I ask you, how could anyone think that this was acceptable? Either the people cutting and sewing them don't have time to care if they are straight or not, or the person dispatching just can't be bothered to check. I redo my hems if they are 0.5cm out. I don't think I am delivering what the client requested if they are more than 0.5cm out.

Now part of the problem is that the fabric is a synthetic, an extremely good synthetic which was soft and bouncy, mimickimg a soft loosely woven linen. Here lies the devil. We all know how easy it is to stretch a loosely woven fabric out of shape.

It is usual to use heavy weights, bricks are ideal (covered in wadding and fabric of course) on a cutting table or rolling machines at one end which can be locked when the desired length has been pulled. I doubt any of these methods were used to cut the fabric.

The only option to new straight hems would be to measure the desired length at several places accross the width, then join the dots with a set square. It must be assumed that the top edge is straight and square as this is where the the tape sits.  then we can begin the simple process of pressing, cutting, turning and sewing. This would mean doubling the workload an doubling the expense, so a quick phone call to the client established she didn't want the extra expense, I was just to do what I could by turning up the desired amount. So I hemmed as best I could, trying to allow for the 2inch discrepancy, but it remained uneven. I had to keep telling myself it was the customers choice to stop me redoing them.

Other photos show the discrepancy at the top, where the top edge is used as the straight edge, showing that the pattern does not match when the curtains are folded. The purple ones are only slightly out, but enough to merit being redone. The blue and brown ones are quite a bit out in the middle. When folded along the length, all the stripes should match up, if both top and bottom edges have been cut straight.

Curtains made to this appauling standard should not be allowed to be sold. They should be returned as soon as it is discovered. Seven badly made curtains out of eight cannot be put down to an error. Beware the devil lurking in curtains.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Worldly followers

Guess where this month's viewers are from, here they are in no particular order, can you spot yourself ....

Biggar, Lambourn, Cambridge, Goole, London, Hawick, Blairgowrie, Mumbai, Russia, Karachi, Kettering, Sharjah, Ipswich, Dollar, Cincinnati

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Legs 11 - on trend tunic dresses for summer

Here’s a round up of some floral dresses of a similar style with realistic budgets. See what you think. Whatever your budget, you can get the hottest trend in floral tunic dresses. 

First off is MATALAN, always relied upon for those essential basics. This is a fun dress in various colour combinations and only £9. It’s easy to dress up for the evening with a few well chosen accessories, or wear casually with leggings, or as a cover up on the beach. Either way, this is a very versatile dress.

Here’s NEW LOOK’s version, slightly higher neckline and shorted skirt, this is a bargain at £13 reduced from £27.99

Third choice is M&S. Similar style with asymmetrical flowers drawn in waist and capped shoulders. This features a flattering ruffle along the V neck. It is a timeless tunic styled dress, so easy to wear and its most body types. This one is a snip at £35.

And finally OASIS have a lovely version with asymmetrical floral band which look hand painted. This is slightly more formal with shapes sleeves and fitted waist and a great dress to compliment any wardrobe. This retails at £65.

Friday, 20 April 2012


Thank you to all my visitors and a warm welcome to any new followers, please sign up as a member and follow by email, that way you don't miss any posts.

See if you can spot yourself:

Kettering, Sharjah, Ipswich, Dollar, Cincinnati, Karachi, Brisbane, Auburn Hills, Mountain view, Brussels, Melbourn, Arima,  Hawick, Biggar, Glasgow, Los Angeles, Perth, Bambrugge, Liverpool, Bells Hill, 

Crafty necklace

Here's a treat for the sewer in your life

Make Do and Mend Cluster Necklace from Cath Kidston £38

Sunday, 1 April 2012


This is a really easy chick to make in record time, and so easy  the kids can do it too. It will make a great Easter decoration, place several in baskets or hang from painted branches.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Sunday, 25 March 2012


Welcome to my newest member, Painter, who does scrapbooking, with some really cool designs.


Who likes quilts?

These have recently been listed by Studio Stitches and are unique and both very different in style and technique.

Free shipping with all Studio Stitches products.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Bears and Bunnies

Bears and bunnies added to my Eildon Bears Boutique. All in blue. 

Click the page link above to sneak a peek.

Shipping is free. 

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Sewing machines - the older the better!

I need a sewing machine that is capable of multiple layers of fabric and will continue with even stitches over bumpy joins. My little beauty is a Necchi Lydia with heavy metal casing in a very pleasing streamlined design, not only does it work hard, it looks good too.

Now don't get me wrong, modern machines are good, they offer a wealth of variety in stitches and have many feet an attachments to enable this. They have their place in your works space too. 

Try thinking of machines as cars - you have your 2 seater soft top sports car - you use mainly in the summer, nice to look at, nice to drive, not good for family life, then theres the family saloon - great for long journeys keeping everyone comfortable, and then theres the all terrain Landrover, slow but steady and can cope with all sorts of uneven ground. You would not expect your sports car to climb a mountain, nor would you expect your Landrover to deliver a family in comfort on a long journey. Its the same with sewing machines. You need to match the machine to the job - heavy machines do heavy work. Light machines do decorative work. 

Having scouted around on Ebay, I'm pleased to report that there are many reconditioned heavy use and semi industrial sewing machines from the 50's and 60's. As their blurb says they don't build them like this any more. There are plenty of parts and spares around, and if you buy from a reconditioning dealer, they will advise on parts availability. There's not much that go wrong with these machines. They are simple and well built.

Monthly Visitors

Many thanks to those visiting my blog this month. 

You are truly spread out across the globe from

Edinburgh, Bambrugge, Orlando, Sydney, Mountain View, Brussels, Tizi Ouzou, Gullane, London and Liverpool.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Monday, 13 February 2012


Working on Iona, the third bear in my Historical Scotland series. The Historical series are bears that represent a place or figure in Scottish History. They are not a portrait of the person or place, but may have elements that are relevant, and are supplied with some information of the person or place they are representing.

So far we have seen Hadrian, and St Columba. Iona is the island St Columba built his monastry and is now a Christian centre, as well as a lovely holiday spot.