Homemade and Happy!

I feel so behind with my sewing.   Easter holidays seemed long and full of cooking up endless feasts for a houseful, which was absolutely lovely, but I have itchy fingers to get back into the sewing room, now that everyone is gone.  

'Homemade and Happy' is a lovely new book out by Tone Finnanger, the genius behind 'Tilda'.  It is also a phrase which pretty much sums up how I hope our house feels.  There is nothing nicer than the personal touches that homemade things add to your home and if you open this book - I hope you will be as instantly smitten as I was.  Lots of delicious Scandinavian eye candy photographed against a backdrop of a Norwegian Winter Cabin in the snowy mountains.  The projects have a christmassy feel, but many of them translate into all year round projects and anyway, come the end of summer, it is time to start on those christmas gifts and it is good to have time to plan.   The quilt in the book is made using a raw edge technique that I plan to try in the autumn, so hopefully you will catch up with me then to see how it works out.  Anyway, if you get the chance check out this book .... delicious.

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So, my Steamer Trunk quilt, which is now up on the design wall in the sewing room is looking great.  I am waiting for the backing and border fabric to come from the US, so in the meantime I have a chance to add a few embellishments and personal touches to my luggage..... which, I am sure is bound for somewhere altogether more exotic than Yorkshire ... shall we say ..... Tangiers 1930??????

I thought about places we have been, journeys we have made and our favourite holidays.   I also looked for some old images of these trunks and saw that they often had initials on them, and stickers and stamps from travels as well as luggage labels.  So there was plenty of scope for a little fun.

The top little case is so cute that I wanted to label it with the address of a place we stayed in a couple of years ago... Rome.   I love this city.  We went there on our honeymoon and it has never lost its magic for me.  An epic city with an amazing story... it was the first choice for an address tag.

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The red stripey case conjures up a more exotic feel.....I think of Men in tunics and red fez hats selling Turkish carpets and the Egyptian bazaars trading their hand carved wares.   Some simple hand embroidered sticker style appliqués seemed to do the job here.

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The middle trunk is my favourite and therefore it had to have my initials on.... Using fusible web and remembering to reverse the letters in the first pass, it is easy to make this look good.

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I just need to add in a few buttons and It's mine! Probably need to make some nice things to go in it..don't you think?

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The next trunk was a straightforward 'Japan' theme for me.  The black made me think of ebony, the fine patterns of Kimonos.  We were lucky enough to have an amazing holiday there a few years ago and for sure, something Japanese was an essential on this quilt.

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And finally the largest trunk and here I had an idea that turned into a bit of an experiment.  I wanted to put a sort of strap on it, as I am sure larger trunks must have had.  Here's how it went.

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I cut a strip of brown fabric for the base of the strap, along with some stitch and tear stabiliser and then I put the button hole attachment on my machine with a fairly large button fixed in it, so that my button holes would be a good size.  I drew line in chalk pencil so that I could be sure to line up my buttonholes neatly and then I pressed the button.... pure magic! 

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until I got this....

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Then I cut a strip twice the size of the buttonholes, lined it with lightweight iron interfacing, folded and pressed the edges under and the doubled it over.  I was experimenting with my machine and decided to try stitching the centre of this with the twin needle attachment.  Have you ever wondered what this is for.... well I have never used it before, but oh boy... was it a revelation.  I am still not sure what exactly it is for...better get the instruction book out and see.... but it worked a treat here.

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It was difficult to photograph, but produced such a cool effect with blue and brown thread.

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I added an eyelet for effect at the end and bound the edges with satin stitch.  I didn't feel it needed to be perfect as it is supposed to have that sort of shabby chic, vintage look.  Then simply thread this through your row of button holes.  I think it worked out pretty well - such a fun experiment.

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I still have one more label to put on... in homage to our time in Russia - I think the big trunk represents our first move abroad... so I'll just get on and finish up sewing all these on and hopefully by the time you check back again, the postman will have brought me the rest of the fabric and I will be ready to whip the whole thing up into a quilting storm.  I am so enjoying making the quilt... I hope you are enjoying it too.

Happy Weekend,  Love Ruby x