Monthly Archives: March 2016

Quilting Inspiration

This Winter I have been inspired by the quilting of others. I’ve been reading some of the Elm Creek Novels by Jennifer Chiaverini – starting the year with The New Year’s Quilt as well as some historical Ameican Civil War based novels –  all include the role of quilting. See here for more details of these books.

new-years-quiltI enjoyed seeing many contemporary quilts at Event City, Manchester in February on my visit to  the Stitching, Sewing and Hobbycraft show with my daughter.

Quilt InspirationLocal quilters provided inpiration at a quilters guild I have joined, providing challenges to get my needle into, but more of those in later posts…

Closer examination of painted art quilts gave enjoyment at an evening with the Quilting Bees in Dronfield, Derbysire with Claire Tinsley in March. See more at claire’s website

Painted Art QuiltsMore local inspiration was found at the In The Making exhibition at Sheffield Millenium Galleries.This is in two of the galleries until early June. See here for more details

In The MakingI was particularly interested in the quilt made in Wandsworth men’s prison showing the continuing appeal of the needle as a tool of both subversion and salvation, as also demonstrated by slaves in the Chiaverini novels.

Quilting from prisonSee V&A and prison sewing for more details.

I really enjoyed leading a machine embroidery workshop in connection with the In The Making exhibition and have been asked to lead more. See my events for more details

IMG_5900Next month I will share my involvement in the Bronte Quilt Challenge.

What are you quilting at the moment?

I would love to hear about it

Wardrobe Management

It is said we only use 20% of your clothes 80% of the time,  and it is common to feel overwhelmed with the task of managing our clothes.

Although many stylists and wardrobe management advisors often recommend completely emptying a wardrobe to start organising. For most of us with only limited time this is not realistic and can result in overwhelm,  a half finished task, and more mess than when we started!

This was the case with a client who recently called me in to help her. Marie had an extensive collection of clothes, most of which were the result of bargain gathering and many  had been skillfully customised. Marie was already utilising many wardrobe storage techniques, such as scalf hangers, hooks for belts and necklaces on the inside of wardrobe doors for example. However, clothes were crammed into the space and it was difficult for Marie to find what she was looking for.

Here are a few tips:

First assess what clothes you need by thinking about:

  • what different occasions and activities you have (client meetings, dog walking, dance …)
  • what colours suit you well ( what makes you look good, rather than drawing attention to themselves)
  • what general style is really you (smart, casual, clasic, floaty …)

In general Marie suits smart, clasic, warm toned clothes.

Unless you do have a whole day to devote to your wardrobe management then break it down into managable chunks. Choose a particular category of clothing to work on at a time. Gather all the items in that category together, making sure you collect any packed away in bags, in the wash, in your car, hanging on the back of chairs …

  • Lay them on  a flat surface so you can see what you have
  • Group together, those of similar style, occasion and colour
  • Honestly consider if there are obvious duplicates, (eg. more then one navy work jacket)
  • Fill in an inventory against how many smart work jackets you have decided you need for example.

At this stage it became obvious to Marie, just how many smart jackets she had, far more than a realistic inventory required. She even had two of the same jacket! Although hard, Marie chose only those jackets she knew she needed as well as some she really wanted to keep to put back into her wardrobe.

Wardrobe organisationNow these prefered jackets can be easily got at and enjoyed! Marie has the others to give away or sell and most of all she declared “1 hour well spent, I now know what to do”

Just too many jacketsThe inventory I gave her, enables this process to be repearted for other categories of clothing, as well as possible gaps to be filled. Whenever she has an hour, one or more category of clothing can be sorted without overwhelm.

What are your experiences of wardrobe management?

I would love to hear from you.

Scalded Flour Pudding – Comfort Food to Share

This is a great pudding to russel up using ingredients that we usualy have in. It is also a great way to use up excess milk.


75g 3oz plain flour

pinch of salt

50g 2oz butter

850ml 1 1/2 pints of milk

75g 3oz sugar

2 eggs

Few drops of vanilla essence

  • Heat milk
  • Separate the eggs.
  • Whisk the whites until stiff and beat the yolks. [NB. Egg whites need to be in a clean bowl and be whisked with a clean whisk]
  • Rub butter into flour and when boiling pour milk over flour mixture, stirring all the time
  • Mix in sugar essence and egg yolks
  • Fold whites into mixture.
  • Pour into a greased pudding dish
  • Bake 200 deg. Cent./gas mark 6 for 40 – 50 mins or until cooked through and golden brown on top.