Hopeful for the sun!

I was thinking one day  with a cup of tea in my hand, of what other items I could make with my fabric remnants, apart from pincushions! (I always like making those!) and came up with the bright idea of making a few more sunglasses holders.  Last year I did actually make a Lovehearts sunglasses holder.  I ordered a beautiful 2 metres of this fabric and made myself a skirt with it and with what was left over, I also made my first sunglasses holder.  Not buying more of this fabric was a mistake as it went out of stock and I can’t find it anywhere else!

Anyway, back to making sunglasses holders!  I really enjoy making these as they are not too tricky to make and you can have a lovely finished result quite quickly.  They also look quirky and stand out a mile from the plastic boring solid colour ones!

Firstly you need some lovely fabric for the outside, a lining fabric and also a fairly thick wadding which will sandwich the 2 fabrics together and also give the case more stability and better padding. If you can obtain fusible wadding then all the better, but if not, don’t worry!

I use  a rectangular template which measures approx. 19 x 10 cm.  You will need to slightly curve one corner to given a rounded more professional appearance too.  However, if you have super fashionable large sunglasses, you will need to re-measure and make yourself a larger template. Similary, if you wish to make a case for a child’s glasses, then you will need a smaller template.

Firstly, cut out your outer fabric, lining and wadding. You should end up with a fabric sandwich of 3 layers; the lining fabric right way up on the bottom, the wadding in the middle and finally the outside fabric wrong side down on top.

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Pin all layers together, leaving a couple of inches gap in the middle of one of the sides.  (You can see this indicated by the 2 large pins at the bottom of the picture).  You will need this gap as the fabric needs to be turned out). Machine stitch all the way round (minus the gap!). Cut off any excess wadding and clip the corners.  Then turn out so the right side of the fabric is now visible.  Iron  all the square layers to make it easier and flatter to sew.

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The next step is to handsew the gap that you turned the fabric in from.  Once you have finished that, proceed to sew a topstitch all the way around again with the outer fabric facing you.

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When that is complete, fold the square in half and start stitching the open side about 2 inches from the curved top, leaving enough room to put your sunglasses easily in and out.  Sew to the end.

You shoukd have a lovely sunglasses case just like mine, which are available to purchase in my Etsy shop. https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/510562797/sunglasses-fabric-holders?ref=shop_home_active_1

Enjoy!

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My Springtime garden and seed sowing

 

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My garden has been a work in progress during the past 10 years.  This is when I first met my husband to be and moved into his house and garden (I say this term loosely!).  The actual garden consisted of an overgrown bit of lawn, a mud patch for a patio and a grapevine that had taken over the top of the garden to the extent that no-one else could visit!

When I moved in, I enlisted the help of my Dad who just looked at the grapevine at the top of the garden and said “we’ll have to burn it and start over!”.  Can you now begin to see the challenges facing me in my quest for a nice space to sit in and grow some veg!

I remember coming home from work and yearning to sit outside, however my only seat was a garden bench that had seen better days, resting on a mud patch!

Over the years, the garden has been transformed (it’s definitely a child friendly garden – for our young son), but it’s also an oasis of calm in the middle of Birmingham suburbs. I always grew up with my parents gardening so had a bit of background knowledge to start with but I enrolled on a part time Level 3 Certificate in Horticulture which I absolutely loved.  I went mad on buying plants and trying all different ways of propagation and really learnt such a lot in a fairly short period of time. I devoured gardening books, ranging from Gertrude Jekyll to Monty Don and the obligatory Gardeners World magazine.

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Now nearly all of the original plants have gone plus we now have a row of pink trellises! Somewhat eye-catching if not to everyone’s taste.  (This was my project when my son started school and I didn’t know what to do with myself!)

I think the pinnacle was participating in Moseley in Bloom in 2010, with at one point in our garden we counted 150 people!

April/May is a very busy time in my garden – not much time for sewing (as readers of my blog will know this is what I like to do!). At Christmas every year I cheer myself up through the dark days and short nights through poring over seed catalogues.  I circle the ones I would like (normally around 60/70 packets)!  Eventually I get down to a more realistic figure and plan my next gardening year from there.

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This year I started in March and have sown my usual crop of tomatoes, chillies, sweet peppers and runner beans.  As a couple of new additions I’ve tried French beans (dwarf) and melons (seeds saved from our fruit salad).

From a flower point of view, I usually sow nasturtiums and have supplemented these by climbing nasturtiums too.  I’ve never grown these before, so will see how they do!  My dahlias are doing well as are the Russian Giant sunflowers that badly need planting out.  All these seeds have been growing nicely in my greenhouse and most have been planted out last week or will be done so in the next week or so.

I also love Black Eyed Susan (Thunburgia), the native Africa/Asia plant and have grown it the past few years climbing up my trellis.  Everyone comments on it as it is so eye-catching.  Unfortunately this year, I couldn’t find any at my local Wyevale centre in Bournville and had difficulty in sourcing it altogether.  In desperation, I sowed some seeds (I find that buying the plant is more successful in Thunburgia than actually sowing seed for once), knowing that ideally the seeds should have been started off earlier. However, last week to my amazement, I found a fantastic specimen at our local florists.  I was so excited, I texted my husband (how sad is that!). My lovely thunburgia is happily growing away in a new pot against the trellis.  Additionally, the seeds I sown a few weeks ago have started sprouting!  Probably too late, but I will give them a go and see how they do.

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I love sweet peas (see future separate blog on these) and can’t get enough of them.  I usually buy the blue ones (Blue Ripple) and this year sowed a packet of the red Air Warden which seem to be growing strong.

I have also sown carrot seeds direct as well as lettuce which have just started to come up.  I think the snow that we had in the Midlands a couple of weeks ago put them back a bit!  This week I’ve sown poached egg plant (Limnanthes) directly and Nigella, which is an annual favourite.  In the greenhouse, the Canterbury Bells are taking a while to emerge but only today, I saw some little stems emerging.

Just now I’m having a cup of tea in my garden and enjoying the fruits of my labours, which is something I don’t usually get the time for!