Saturday, 19 December 2015

Up-Cycled Cushions, Cat Photobombs and an Overload of Cheese

Hello! I haven't been doing any sewing this week but I have got some unblogged things I have found to show you, starting off today with three cushions. Very boring I know but one is made from a vintage curtain that I bought for 50p in a junk shop in Newcastle. 


It was only a single one, was really dirty and smelt strongly of smoke. Such a terrible smell. Mum's house was very badly damage in a fire about 20 years ago and the memories invoked by that smell are horrible, plus it is so hard to get out of textiles. As it was a whole 50p I took a punt and after a good soak, followed by a good old-fashioned hand scrubbing and an air on the line, it came up like new.


I think that this fabric is from the 1960's. There is nothing on the selvedge to say where it is from or the date but the style is pretty typical. The single curtain was made from 2 widths of this fabric. It is not very wide or long, I maybe have a couple of metres of it in total. It is backed with a remnant from John Lewis. Always have a good rummage in the curtain department when I am passing. They sometimes have small bits perfect for backing cushions. This one is a fine hopsack in a sort of brick red colour. It's not a perfect match but the best I had at the time.


I also bought the fabric for my next cushion back from John Lewis but I bought it off the roll and at full price too. I don't know what came over me. It is a nice, deep chocolate brown hopsack in an upholstery weight.  


The front of this cushion was salvaged from a sample book of home dec fabrics that I was gifted from a friend of a friend's interior design shop in Newcastle. They gave me so many books, most of which had been stored in a lock-up, some for years, and were a bit damp and slightly musty. Getting all the fabric into useable condition was a lot of hard work. The covers of the books were removed and the paper labels torn off the fabric pieces. These were then soaked to get the stuck on paper bits off, scrubbed & rinsed by hand in super-hot water to freshen them up, followed finally by a wash in the machine. It worked well, although some of the pieces shrank a bit. Better than going in the bin though. I have those bags that I found when I was moving still to do. It is a hard, manky job but I hate the thought of all fabric going to waste *cough, fabric hoarder, cough, cough*, especially posh fabric.


This fabric is Designers Guild cut velvet. I love the design, it is a bit dark and gothic but the pattern is highlighted with gilt and gold paint offset from the velvet. I only had a piece the size of the cushion front.


The final backing fabric was squeezed out of some black cotton velvet remnants that I had from making a skirt. They had been lurking for about 10 years and were just enough to make this small cushion. The front is a small piece of Nina Campbell fabric. 


I think that this looks quite cute. Talking of cute our rescued kitty, Mittens decided to photobomb my pics this morning. I think she was thinking her owners were mad for using the rug as a seamless backdrop. See I have been paying attention to my "Better Pictures Project" homework. I tried to use natural light for these pics but it is quite harsh and washed out a lot of the colour. I played about with the saturation on Photoshop to try and get the colours as close as possible to reality.


Mittens gets into everything but absolutely hates posing for the camera (phone).


In other news I was in the office for my last official day this week, still got 2 weeks to do at home and a shedload of stuff to finish. While I was down I went to "The House of the Trembling Madness", which is a mediaeval pub above a very good beer shop in the city centre. It is so cute and really tiny. I had the most amazing cheeseboard, so many different kinds. They also have lots of craft beers and very quirky decor. I heartily recommend a visit if you find yourself in the area. They seem to be very fond of taxidermy. Brings a whole new meaning to the phrase "Wall of Death".


Anyway, enough of the cheese *aha*, just look at that wee face. No wonder he looks worried!

Hope that you are all having a great week. 
Have you been sewing? Or just avoiding the wet/sun? Been out anywhere noteworthy?
I have found some stuff I made Sprogzilla when she was wee so will post that soon.
Take care.
K xx


14 comments:

  1. I like your pillows a lot! Very lux and textural fabrics!

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    1. Thanks Gillian. They are lovely fabric, especially that cut velvet. I would love to get some more of that but I don't think it's available any more. Xx

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  2. Goodness, you have gone to loads of trouble to save those fabric samples, but I can see why, the velvet pieces are really beautiful. We've had some vintage donations come into the shop which smell so strongly of smoke, it's going to be a right job trying to sort that out to sell them. Still, got to try, right? And the 1960s curtain fabric is lovely, you've made some gorgeous cushions.
    Mittens is a beauty too - my cats hate posing too, you have to catch them unawares, and be very quick! xxx

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    1. Yes, the fabric was a bit smelly, very mushroomy so I did the bulk of the prep work out in the garden. The stuff I have left to do is in the garage as I am not bringing it into the house. Smoke is a really hard one to get out, it is so greasy and acrid plus I think the heat bonds it to the fabric. I was lucky to get it with no scorch marks. Maybe the vinegar and bicarb of soda wash would work? I didn't try it but it seems to work for everything else. :) Mittens is very cute and cuddly normally but she has the funniest evil expressions. She is so happy here and spends all day purring. I can't wait for next week when she can go outside.I don't know what she will make of the squirrels. Xx

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  3. Those cushions are beautiful, well worth all the hard work and effort. The orange one is particularly gorgeous. The smell of smoke is a nightmare to get rid of. How horrible for it to evoke such unpleasant memories, too.
    Mittens is gorgeous, look at her trousers!
    Mmmmmm, craft ale, taxidermy and cheese. I want to jump on a train right now! xxx

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    1. I know, all those stuffed animals. Love it! The place was tiny and totally rammed with people. They had lots of benches with sheep and goat skins on them. Bit of a gimmick I suppose but I hoovered it up, like my cheese. :) Mittens is great, she is sleeping on my feet as I type this, knackered after a hard afternoon watching me make soup. From the back it looks like she is wearing bloomers. Xx

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  4. I bought a couple of sample books for a fiver from an online company that sells pure wool throws and such like. I use the bits for my felt work but am also thinking of patchwork since once the end with the holes in has been removed you end up with all matching sized pieces, so putting it together would be a doddly... famous last words!!!
    LOVE Mittens.... and the cushions, especially the goth-like one, great fabric.
    Enjoy Christmas xx

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    1. Thanks Edwina. She is adorable isn't she? I have used a lot for patchwork. I have an unblogged cushion top that is made from silk samples in golds and reds and two throw tops that are STILL to be backed and finished off. I think that patchwork in wool samples would be lovely. Very snuggly and cosy. Do you have enough for a throw?

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  5. Of course I meant 'doddle' but doddly made me laugh!

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    1. I think I prefer it! Merry Christmas too. Xx

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  6. Those are ace cushions - that's fabric well-hoarded. And Mittens is beautiful, even if she won't pose.

    I had an excellent cheese/meat board in Trembling Madness last time I was in York! I really enjoyed it, though I'd forgotten what it was called - your photos of the animal heads brought it all back. I can't see any in your photo, but I seem to remember there being plenty of moles...

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    1. There were!! There are some on the wall, right of the horns at the bottom of the picture. I wonder if they made the rest of them into waistcoats and trousers? I am sad that I never tried this place before now. Definitely a great find and one to go to again. Xx

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  7. Oh my aren't you clever? The cushions are lovely and look so elegant and posh.

    I wish I could sew, but I can't. I can do hems and sew buttons on and once, just once, I replaced a zip but I can't use a machine and because I don't know what I'm doing, I don't like sewing but how I admire those who can. Like yourself.

    The cats are tres cute!

    Have a lovely, hopefully, restful Christmas.

    Veronica xx
    vronni60s.blogspot.com

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    1. Hi Veronica, Thank you. I have primary school to thank for sewing as they taught us to use a machine there, although I could sew by hand and knit before I started. I think that they don't teach that any more an it's a shame. Have a lovely Christmas too. Xx

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