Sunday, 20 April 2014

❡ bluebell slumber ❡

One day soon I will show you the true extent of the building work and upheaval that is going on behind the hedge. It is a case of 'you can't make omelette without breaking eggs' and the eggs are well and truly broken. But the omelette is on it's way. If you think I am writing in riddles then you are correct because I have let almost a years worth of builders and living out of boxes and complete disarray finally get to me. I am living in riddles. What this does is make me almost insanely pernickety about the tiniest of details. Rather than look at all that is left to do and all that I have to organise I decide that now is the time I wish to sew pillowcases. Perfectly. I don't even sew that much. I did a meadow's worth of bunting for Daughter Number One's wedding in a field. I hem things and fix things and sometimes I sew books or into paper but I find myself drawn to the sewing machine now. I want to make dresses and bags and curtains but I thought I ought to start with squares and straight edges. You know? Try and contain some order I guess.
In the eye of the storm when I was supposed to be condensing a home's contents into 2 rooms I dug out my Singer and found a corner on the landing and sewed these from some thriving and energetic fabric from Cape Town. 
Even non sewers have fabric stashes for One Day. Don't they?
I put together a little 'how to'. Because I have got all the time in the world  a strange urge to keep blogging when all around me is unchartered and unfathomable. I think it is because blogs can make life look beautiful and ordered when the rubble, noise and disruption become overwhelming. People live in war zones and I'm fretting about dust. I feel stupid.
Looking at fabric makes things feel better, look at this amazing design. It's like torches shining a light through the night. Or dandelion seeds or pencil points or flags. 
This was the other choice. The cloth is from South Africa but this one is reminiscent of Indian paisley. But very African on closer inspection. 
This fabric was particularly narrow so I cut a long strip 182cms by 56cms. You could cut two pieces to save on waste, making one of them 21cms longer to make the pillow flap. I don't want to confuse you though if you want to make them for the first time. I think sometimes you have to dive in and learn from the first one you make then you can adapt to the fabric you have. I always get the iron out as well as the sewing machine. They partner up well to point you towards a neat finish. I ironed myself a hem either end and then sewed them without pins which would more than likely give a true seamstress the vapours.
Here's a pic of the old Singer who has lived with us for 20 years now, she was an antique when I got her. Still limping on. Just like me. The wiring would be condemned now so don't tell the sewing stewards.  
A neat hem and I'm happy, all is right with the world again.
I've got a terrible habit of working in inches AND centimetres which is a default of my generation. The young middle aged. Once you've made your hems, on one of the hemmed ends turn in 8 inches or 21 cms and pin or iron flat. 
Then you bring the two short ends together (right sides facing) and sew all the way round leaving the flap end open. Then using your bone folder or a pointy thingummy poke all of your corners out and press well. Then finish it all off with some fat border hems on the right side to make them look like they were made in a French designer's garret. And if all of that made no sense at all I made a diagram which I enjoyed more than making the pillowcases but not as much as I am going to enjoy waking up to these patterns next to my face. 

Sorry for the volume of pillow images but 3,483 images of rubble and dust and cardboard boxes cannot be made to look even vaguely lifestyle bloggy.

Then just as I think everything is under control I find myself avoiding builders, general blokeyness and decisions and swishing to the woods and lying down among the bluebells  trying to capture their particular essential bluebellness and failing. But not really caring.
OH dear bloggers, what will become of me?


suzie said...

Sewing (like gardening!) a great way to channel your creative urges. I get you, I really do, about the need for order when everything else is chaos. I have a fabric stash for One Day too, all mid-century and decidedly French that I dream of making cushion covers and re-upholstering projects and pillow day.
Lying in a bluebell wood, perfect foil to all this builder-y nonsense. However, be grateful, madam; as a woman married to a builder I yearn for the day when the dust and sawdust and disarray are in my home and not on his clothes and in the bottom of the shower :))

Alex Seaford said...

Love the fabric! Have fallen in love with orange, dyed my hair RED and em brasses colour to the max! I NEED your pillowcases to continue the colour chameleon transformation!
On a more sane note, I feel for you re dust and rubble and living out of boxes... Still doing it after 6 weeks, gave in to the disarray and added to it by painting hallway and stairs. Had to run away to Stonehenge and Kenneth long barrow to find some serenity, which I did walking through Bluebell woods!
May your chaos soon turn to beauty :) xx

chocolategirl64 said...

having been through the hell of brick dust and acrow forests, I know that it is like childbirth ~ painful with lots of huffing and puffing, but will give rise to something new and beautiful!
the end is in sight and soon you'll reclaiming that space as yours yours yours:

louloulovesbooks said...

Thanks to you girls, my builder's rage support network group. I know it will be amazing soon. I'm so bored of moving dust from one place to another.
Suzie, I would LOVE to rummage through your French collection of cloth and weave. We could do swops, my Indian brights collection with an understated French twist, that would/could be gorgeous.

Lizzie said...

Last year... It was all Builders, noise, dust and crazy here. We started in January, with the architect... then they pulled down walls in the house and replaced them with walls elsewhere... but they didn't finish anything at that point - so lots of mess & dust. Then they dug huge holes out the back of the house and built new walls. Then they pulled out the back wall of the house - more noise, mess & dust... and Cold! Plumbing nightmares, plasterers with dust... more dust, more dust, more dust and again, more dust... No living room for weeks - no, months - cleaning the kitchen before cooking anything (so at least 3 times every day)... freezing draughts under the floorboards upstairs... total chaos downstairs. Yup.. builders all year.
And finally, just before Christmas... it was all, blessedly, finished.
Four months later... was it all worth it? Well, we have a beautiful new living room at the back and the old lounge/diner is now split in two, so there is a lovely little "snug" at the front and also a "proper" hallway with stair banisters (instead of the original tunnel leading upwards from a tiny box that was the "hall"). I think it was "worth it" overall, but oh! Never Again, Louise!!
You have All my Sympathy. Come and have tea and cake at my house if it all gets too much.

PS. Love the bluebells and the cushions. Sewing is theraputic - good for the (much battered, brick-dust encrusted) soul.

Anonymous said...

I love this post! Can I be a new member of your builders rage support group? Actually, you have made me get it all into perspective - our works will end in something lovably liveable when others are scrambling around in war zones and may never know home again.
Thanks luv...and your books at the exhibition look beautiful. X

louloulovesbooks said...

Dearest Lizzie and MSL
Thank you for your supportive comments. It seems as though it will never end. Poor Lizzie, you sound like you had a complete overhaul and as wonderful as it must be I keep wondering whether it's just easier to sell a house and buy one you prefer? I'm sure I will love it all in the end but from here all I can see is dust. That yellowy greasy dust that seems to coat everything. Blurgh. Tea and cake would help. A 6 week holiday whilst they finish would be better.

sandra hagan said...

very lighthearted, very nice, i love watercolor.