Something from (nearly) nothing

by Helen on June 24, 2014

I often think that one of the nicest things about being a “making” sort of person is the opportunity to create items that sometimes turn out to be rather attractive from very little indeed.   And I think this is true of the final project for the July issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine – an extremely useful (and pretty) bulletin board ….

I’ve seen lots of tutorials for bulletin boards online, but they all seem to involve hammers, chipboard and tacks – not items that a stitcher like me has readily to hand.  My version is created from a repurposed picture frame, leftover batting, half an Ikea tea towel, ribbon, floss and buttons.  Not a hammer in sight!

And the high-loft polyester batting gives a lovely effect I think.  I was very taken with Ikea’s tea towels and so I purchased a couple of packs – they’re pure cotton and you get two large towels for just £4.75.  I did note that there is 4% shrinkage – so pre-washing will definitely be required if I decide to use my remainng towels in a project that will require future laundering.

I don’t enjoy the Ikea experience at all (Rosie still insists on embarassing me by telling everyone about the time I got lost looking for the trolley park and went around twice!), but I do like the purchases we make, including these lovely lanterns seen here waiting patiently in my log store for their moment of glory.

They’ll be perfect to decorate my garden for some pre-wedding entertaining!



Do I go too far? Sometimes I wonder ….

by Helen on February 9, 2014

I was brought up in a very thrifty sort of household – we never had much money when I was a child, so make do and mend was very much a way of life for our family.  These days of course, making do and mending is not just about thrift – we’re all so much more aware of our impact on the environment, so reasons to reduce wastefulness have become ethical as well as financial.  

I love to rummage around thrift shops and jumble sales, pouncing with glee upon all kinds of vintage lovelies unwanted and unloved by their previous owners.  I found this lovely old creamy-white jug at a car boot sale last year – it looks perfect on my kitchen windowsill …

And the wire rack these savoury biscuits are resting their delicious selves upon came from a charity shop in Kingsbridge …..

But sometimes I wonder ….. I am very hard upon my ironing board covers.  I use my ironing board for all my applique projects, happily cutting, fusing and spraying my pieces with fabric glue.  Over time, no matter how careful I try to be, my ironing board cover is spoiled by accidentally ironed-on Bondaweb, fused on fluffy bits and even, on one memorable occasion, by a long cut when I was cutting fabric and accidentally included the cover as well!  It’s important that my ironing board cover is nice though, as it is the background for a lot of the “how to” photographs in my patterns, so I regularly replace it – usually with a nice new Cath Kidston version.  And then ….

I cut up the old one!  This time I have saved some lovely soft white cord, trimmings from around the unspoiled edge of the cover – a small piece has already been incorporated into my latest project for the March magazine and some nice lightweight white cotton.  But looking at my rescued  – and soon to be recycled – treasures I did start to wonder … do I sometimes go a bit too far?  Do normal people cut up their old ironing covers?  How far do you go in your textile recycling?