Make Your Own

As part of my continued series of my favourite tools, I thought I’d include one that isn’t so much a tool as a useful item. But it is one that I have crafted myself… my pin bowl.

What’s a pin bowl I can imagine you asking? Well, I’m not a fan of a pin cushion just because when I take pins out as I’m sewing, I don’t want to have to look at pushing the pointy end into the cushion, and making sure it’s in enough to stay put. I used to throw them on the side and then try and sweep them back into their box when I was done. The amount of times one would somehow escape and later end up in my foot was ridiculous. So I decided to make a solution.

On Pinterest I’d seen this button bowl design….

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There’s a few different how-tos that most involve using PVA and sticking around a bowl or balloon. I didn’t have any PVA to hand, but I wanted to do it and I had gotten a large selection of beautiful mini wooden buttons. So I decided to grab my glue gun and make my own.

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This was the result of a couple of evenings’ work with time snatched here and there to get it done. It works perfectly for what I need and I like the cute factor of it when I leave it on the side. Plus I can throw my pins in as I sew and they fall down to the middle. When I’m all done I just pour them back into their box and it’s all done.

On my agenda to make this year to make my sewing life easier is a thread catcher. There’s a few different templates on Pinterest, but I’ve got to pick some fabric out as well, and we all know how difficult it can be to pick fabric for a particular project!

 

I Will Cut You

I love sharp things. I’m a bit obsessed with them. I love cutting stuff. I love the tools for cutting stuff. It’s probably a bit of an unhealthy obsession, but there you go.

It actually takes quite a lot of restrain for me to limit the number of cutting tools I own, as I try not to be over the top, and I know I can only use one at a time. So, due to this *slight* obsession, I thought I’d share my main 3 pairs of scissors. This is a set that I am always looking to add to and improve on, but these are my current top three…

Scissors

So, first up, we have my dressmaking shears from John Lewis. I asked for these for a Christmas/birthday a few years ago and they are still going strong. They beautifully heavy and slice through the fabric with ease. The angle of the handle makes it easy to keep the bottom blade down and almost glide your hand through. These are banned from being used on anything other than fabric, and that offence is punishable by death in my opinion!
You can buy your own pair here.

The middle pair are another John Lewis set of embroidery scissors. They’re small size and sharp point makes them perfect for trimming down threads right close to the fabric. These little beauties have done me well, but are unfortunately due for a trade in soon as I have accidentally damaged the tip when I was a bit too care-free with my tools. Oops! I’ll be replacing them with another pair of the same though!

Finally we have my standard boring used for everything scissors. I think I got these from Ikea or Dunelm as part of a set. I can’t really remember, but boy are they sharp. I keep these lovelies for cutting my patterns and tape and general snipping. Every good seamstress should have a pair of bog standard scissors for cutting paper, as for some reason paper blunts the blade. I never like to pay too much for my paper scissors, but these one have done me proud so far!

These are my top 3. I do have some other cutting tools that I’ll be sharing, but I thought I’d cover my regularly used ones first!

What are your favourite cutting tools?

Running 

So alongside sewing and general crafting, I’ve also got into the habit of running twice a week with a friend. We usually run in the region of 5km each time now which is quite satisfying to be able to say.

There was a time not that long ago though where I thought I would never be able to run unless in an emergency. Quite often with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome it is recommended you stay away from high impact sports. And it was even before I got my diagnosis that I was warned away from high impact sports.

When I was between 14 and 16 I used to suffer with regular subluxation of my right knee. I was put in physio. I ended up on crutches for a while. I had to stop trampolining and in turn also had to stop doing my GCSE in physical education  (I was not upset about that last bit. My school was a sports college and PE GCSE was required, this got me out of it perfectly). 

I also had a physiotherapist tell me I was lazy. That my knee kept trying to pop out because I was too lazy to keep it in place. That was hurtful. And then I got told by a doctor that I should not do high impact exercise.

Well, tell me not to do something and after a while it becomes all I want to do. About 4 years ago I started to look at runners with envy. I so wanted to know how it felt to just go and pound the streets when you had a bad day. How it felt to realise that you had run X distance without stopping. How it felt to know that in a situation I could run for long enough. 

I gained some weight and I hated it. So I began to exercise. The crosstrainer at the gym. Swimming. Weights. Pilates.  I realised my body was getting stronger. I tried to run down our garden path a couple of times – something that used to result in a jolted ankle or pain in my foot or twisted knees… and it didn’t hurt. So slowly I increased. And then I went for a run on my own.

That was it. I was hooked. And now I run twice a week pretty much every week. I moan about the prospect of running. I moan whilst I’m running. I moan that I’m tired when I finish running. But I love it. 

To be perfectly honest I love running so much that despite having walked 5 miles in London the other day and being absolutely shattered; I still came home and ran nearly 3.5 miles (or roughly 5.5km) and if that doesn’t show a dedication to a good run, I don’t know what does.

Tools of the Trade

Over the next few posts, I  want to share some of my “tools” that I use for my various crafts and maybe do some little reviews of them just because I love the things I use and I feel I need to share that love.

So, to kick start this, let me introduce you to my main 2 sewing tools; my sewing machine and my overlocker!

Now, I’ve only actually had this machines since December (when my lovely other half and wonderful parents bought me them as presents for my birthday – I really am a lucky girl). However, I’m pretty sure if these machines had odometers, you’d know that whilst they’ve only been with me a short time, they’ve done a lotta miles already!

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So these beauties are both Janomes. Part of this is because there was a deal from the Janome brand which worked out to be extraordinary value, and partly because whilst I love Singers, I find you may a bit of a premium for the brand. I know there are a few other brands out there as well, but Janome and Singer are what I am most familiar with so I felt it was a necessity to stick with something familiar.

The Janome TXL607 is a computerised machine, which I never thought I would bother with, but I am SO glad I have it. It makes sewing bliss. You don’t have to fiddle around adjusting stitch length and width anywhere near as much, as the preset stitches have the length and width preset for you as well, although you have the option to adjust them as you require for the task you’re working on. I love the fact that I can also do lettering and numbers with the machine, and there’s a ridiculous number of buttonhole stitches. I mean seriously, who needs that many buttonhole types?!

The 8002D overlocker has also been a God-send. Again, it was something I liked the idea of but never thought I would actually bother with, but I now couldn’t be without it. It just makes EVERYTHING so much easier. I made a pair of leggings recently in half hour. Most of that time was cutting out time.  Then it was just whizz up one leg, whizz up the other and whizz round the crotch (I hate the word crotch but there’s not avoiding it in sewing sometimes – ergh!)

Both of these machines can be purchased through Amazon and the likes, but I am a big firm believer in supporting local businesses with these. You usually don’t pay much different, and if you’ve got a good local supplier (which I presume you’d only be shopping there if they are good) then they can help you SO much in the after process. I bought mine from my local sewing shop, and I’m SO glad I did, because the first time I had to rethread my overlocker, I got in such a pickle, so in the end I went back into the shop with it and had a bit of 1 to 1 time on how to rethread it and then how to do rolled hems and narrow hems as well. It was a blissful experience.

The First Blog is The Hardest

It has to be said, I always find the first post the hardest, but here we are.

I’m not a big one for introductions so I’m not gonna go for “Hi, my name is Kathy, I’m this age, these are my labels, blah blah blah”. Nope.

Instead, I’ll do a quick boring list of what this blog will be about, for me anyway, and you’ll get to know me along the way through my posts I hope. Oh, and I should probably cover it off with a small warning; I like to swear. I used to edit it out, thought it didn’t really “have a place” if you’re trying to keep a blog, but then I realised that if I want my blog to reflect me and who I really am, then I need to stop trying to “edit” myself to what I think others expect of me.

Anyway, things you can expect to hear more about from me until you get bored…

  • Sewing – I’m not amazing at it, and I’m mostly self-taught, but I love it and it makes me happy.
  • Knitting – who doesn’t love a bit of this grandma hobby!
  • Crafting generally – hand me a glue gun or some spray paint and I’m pretty much in my element
  • Quackers Home – this is my little sideline business that I do mostly for fun. I makes bath products and homewares, and my Dad makes wooden items that I sell as well through my Facebook page. Go check it out here.
  • Ehlers Danlos Syndrome – I suffer with Type 3 – Hypermobility. It’s known as a rare disease, often takes years to get diagnosed and has a fair old impact on my life. Within this you’ll hear me talk about the spoon theory and zebras quite a lot.
  • DUCKS – finally; I confess; I have an obsession with rubber ducks. I have over 100 of the things in all different makes and styles. To say I’m obsessed is bordering on an understatement.

There’s not much else really to say at the moment. I’ll try to use decent clear categories as we go along to make it easy for you to follow the stuff you want, and avoid the stuff you don’t and we’ll see how it goes from there.

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