Tag Archives: pillowcase

Ticking things off the list

The big news in the nest today is the rain.  Yes!  It has finally rained!  Our water tank is full, the garden is starting to look a bit green, the air is damp, and everything feels cleaner.  After long, hot, dry weeks everything, including the air, was starting to feel dusty, so this clean dampness is a joy!

The eldest chick’s birthday celebrations went off very well on Friday.  In the end I made her a cross body bag using Dr Who fabric, a Dr Who pillowcase, and gave her the pouch that I provided the tutorial on, with some beautiful face care products made by a very talented creative friend, Kyoko, who makes all the lovely things at So Soap.

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Add in a Lego present, and a light for her bike and she was a very happy eleven year old.  By way of a party I took her and four of her friends to a trendy café/pizza place/bar for dinner last night.  Luckily one of the mothers, who is a friend of mine, chose to stay so I had company while the 5 girls giggled and acted sophisticated, and then acted like children, and generally had a great time!  One of her friends always gives her excellent presents – either handmade by her mother (a very crafty friend of mine) or books.  This year it was a new series of books that already have the eldest chick lost with her nose deep in the pages, so that was a success!  Another present she got was just perfect.  Great friends of ours taught her to play Yahtzee over the holidays, so when they saw a Dr Who Yahtzee set, it had her name written all over it.  She very happily taught the boy to play it this morning and declared it the best game ever!

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By working away in my sewing room I have managed to complete the 6 bags that I cut out and prepared a week ago.  (I am trying not to dwell on the fact that it took me a week to make 6 bags…..).  I complicated things by putting in zipped inner pockets, wide bases that needed stability added, etc.  I also complicated things by managing, on three bags in a row, to sew things together upside down…….  I am sure that there is a message in there for me – just not sure what!  After 6 messenger style bags in a row I think it is time for something different this week.  (Now to work out what it is!)

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I have also made some business decisions in the last few days.  After going through a great process of deciding that the bibs that I have been sewing are not ‘within scope’ and therefore I will only make them to be sold by another website I have done a complete about face when presented with an opportunity too good to miss.  Here in Canberra we have the Handmade Shop, where everything in the shop is handmade within Australia.  It has always been part of my long term plan to apply to stock my bags in there, but I am not at that point yet.  However they recently called for a new designer bib maker to apply to stock their shop, and a friend of mine tagged me in the Facebook page.  Cutting a convoluted story short, a few days later I applied, and was accepted the same day, so will be stocking bibs there from 1 March!  What a fabulous excuse to buy more gorgeous children’s prints!

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The second decision was that I needed to improve my record keeping and inventory control, particularly for attending markets, and if I am going to have stock sitting in shops, or on other websites.  A recommendation from a creative colleague pointed me to a great program – and it can be used on an ipad, including producing and then scanning barcodes (it is Vend, if you are interested).  What does this mean, I hear you ask?  That this provided sufficient justification to purchase a new iPad Air.  (I was an early adopter of the first iPad but hadn’t upgraded since, and the absence of a camera meant that it wasn’t much use for inventory etc.  That is my excuse and I am sticking to it!)   So now I can look all professional and keep track of my products instead of looking at my storage boxes in confusion!

On the home front, the chicks all had a great week at their schools.  Given the drama, trauma, and crises of the last two years with the boy attending school, being able to write that first sentence is such a relief.  I am eternally optimistic, so hope that it continues (but am realistic enough to know that the future is unpredictable.)

With only 3 weeks until the Handmade Markets I am hitting the panic button a bit, so hope to get a lot of sewing done this week.  I was going around in circles tonight, wondering what to do next when I remembered my bicycle applique from the last post.  So here it is, appliqued onto some canvas, ready to be made into a canvas satchel!

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I think I might have to break up the sewing for the week with experimenting with a few new applique templates!

I hope that you have had a great weekend, and that your week ahead is full of fun experiments.  What are you looking forward to most this week?

Friday Finds – a list of 22 free patterns for cushions (and a few pillowcases)

Something about the hint of Spring in the air makes me want to start freshening up the house. Cleaning out cupboards, sorting out piles of paper that need filing, de-cluttering shelves, sorting wardrobes. In the midst of all this I have a hankering for some fresh cushion covers. Given that I have a significant stash of fabric my challenge is to make some without buying new fabric…….could be tough but I am sure I can do it! In support of this, the list of links to free patterns this week are for cushion covers, pillowcases and ottomans. Now to move them from my ‘to do’ list onto my ‘done’ list!!

Confessions of a pillow addict – Vintage Revivals  A Pillow Addicts Guide To Sewing An Awesome Pillow Cover

Pillow forms – The Sewing Loft

Zippered Pillow Cover – Make it Love it

 Quilted Floor Cushion – Dobleufa

Simple Throw Pillow – This Big Oak Tree

  Felt Applique Cushion – Hobbycraft

Ribbon Embellished Pillow – This Big Oak Tree

IMG_1189  Scrap Buster Fall Pillow – Cluck Cluck Sew

Alphabet cushion – Hobbycraft 

Fake Quilt Cushion Cover – Fia Lotta Jansson

Simple Envelope Cushion Cover – Messy Jesse Crafts 

Super Crazy Easy Fast Ten Minute One Piece Cushion Cover – Happy Housie

Basic Cushion Cover – Made by the Little Blue Duck 

Diagonal Striped Cushion Cover – Made by the Little Blue Duck

How to Make a Boxed Cushion Cover – Piping and Pleats 

 Pillow Fight Anyone Cushion Case – Time for Dinner

Cushion Cover – Mildly Crafty 

Diamond Lattice Pillow – Sew Sweetness

DIY Hand Stamped Cushion Cover – Hobzy image

 Applique Cushion Cover – Crafty Habit

Piped Bench Cushion – The CSI Project 

20070614990Button Back Pillow – Knit One Quilt Too

Pillowcases

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPillowcase from fat quarters, with an ipod pocket – a little bird made me

Road Trip Pillow Cases – Amazing Mae 

 Tie Closure Pillow Case – This Big Oak Tree

Pillowcase – Twiddletails pc023

Posh Pillowcase – You Go Girl

Pillowcase – Notes from the Patch

Conkerr Cancer Pillowcases – Dana Made It

Pillowcases and sleep

Unwittingly the theme of this weekend has been bed-related.  First we had an unplanned sleepover with two children joining mine on Friday night, then the two youngest of the group (who I had counted on going to sleep with no drama) stayed up very late and woke up very early, involving me in their awakeness, so I stumbled around in a daze on Saturday morning and ended up sleeping on a spare therapist’s couch while one of my children attended an appointment in another room, and finally I had a burst of sewing pillowcases – five in all.  Phew!

The first three were an order for a friend who wanted pillowcases with ipod pockets for her three children.  I enjoyed matching the fabrics to the children and playing with patterns.  I also found a great way to use a panel that came as part of a fat quarter set of “The Good Life” by Riley Blake.  I had been sitting on it for a while, but last night realised that it would make a great front panel for a pillowcase, with parts of the border used as detail and for the pocket.  I am happy with the end result – and the big 8 year old girl who received it loved it.

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The one for the middle child was from the “Simple Life” range by Riley Blake – I love these colours!

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And for the boy of that house – pirates of course!

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The final two were really just an excuse to use some of the Aneela Hoey “Posy” fat quarters that I bought on a whim recently.  I love the range so much that I might have to make some more – just because!  I have listed these two in my Etsy shop and think they would be great Easter presents.

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Despite the severe sleep deprivation I felt yesterday morning (I think it was the cumulative effect of the last two weeks of travel) the sleepover was delightful.  I set up my new tent to test it out before my trip away (in 10 days she says quietly jumping with excitement) and the three big girls decided that they would sleep in it.  I was quite prepared for them to appear in the middle of the night, but they stayed out there all night, and were asleep before 10pm and up after 7am – quite unlike the younger boys in the house (who giggled so much that if I hadn’t been so tired I would have quite enjoyed their pure joy at just hanging out together).  I am assured by the girls that the tent is very comfortable, although they thought it was a little small.  Given that they usually sleep in our trailer tent which is 14 foot long, I can see how they felt that the 4 man dome tent seemed a little pokey!  I am still happy with it as it only has to accomodate two adults for a week – not a family of energetic children!

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Today we had a lazy day – pyjamas were worn until lunchtime, rules were relaxed and much idle pottering around was done.  We then went to see dear friends for afternoon tea – the boy insisted on dressing as Batman for the occasion, and arrived to be greeted by a Ben Ten Alien, so was very happy with his choice of outfit.  I delivered the pillowcases at the same time and enjoyed the reaction from the children.

I have had such a smooth day today that I am sure that I have forgotten to do something really important……but until I wake in the middle of the night with the awful realisation of what it is, I am just going to celebrate a nice day and leave it at that!

And a quick postscript – I bought a tunic pattern online today (which will hopefully be emailed overnight) in the hope of making a top or two to take with me on my travels, so stay tuned to see if I get to it in time!!

I hope that you have had a lovely weekend.

The Friday flop

Ah, the weekend.  There is something quite special about a Friday night.  All the pressure of having to be on top of housework, homework, school lunches, laundry, etc, for the next day is removed and all the rules are relaxed.  In my house the kids refer to Friday night as “Pizza Night”.  I make them homemade pizza – one gluten-free with ham and cheese, one gluten-free with ham, olives and cheese and one gluten with ham olives and cheese.  (Yes – adventurous gourmands my children are not).  They pick a movie and are allowed to eat in front of the TV, with their pizza, while I sip a glass of wine, check messages on-line, talk to friends on the phone, and let them run a bit loose.  We all just let go a bit, and breathe out a bit and generally flop.  I love it!

Of course every now and then I think of the Friday nights of a decade ago, or two decades ago, where the image of this sort of Friday night would have been depressing, and think that I am glad that I did my partying when I was younger, because now I don’t think that this is depressing at all.

The look back at the week takes place as part of the Friday night ritual.  This Friday marks the end of my second week back at work, and my first week of my new routine of starting early, and leaving early to pick up the kids.  By Wednesday I was feeling exhausted and that this approach wasn’t working, as my son was having some of his old issues again, and I was back at the school having meetings again.  But fast forward just two days and we seem to all be settling into the new routine much better, and I am able to have perspective on giving us all time to adjust before I panic and come up with a new strategy!  I am hoping that as we settle, I will be able to find a bit of a routine for my own time – that small window after everyone is in bed – so that I can blog regularly, sew regularly and have time for keeping in contact with my family and friends without feeling like I am dropping the ball somewhere.

I suspect that part of the reason that I feel so good tonight is that I have had wonderful news from my mother that some test results we have been waiting on for over a week have returned and that we don’t have bad news from them.  Many prayers have been answered and we are so grateful.  All of this has meant that her visit to us has been postponed, but we are making our way through this transition to school and work on our own quite well, so I have told her to not rush over here, and to take some time at home until we see how things are going.  A huge weight has lifted off my shoulders (although probably not as big as the one she was carrying quietly!)

So all of this means that I had a slow sewing week to start with, but that my momentum has picked up as the week has gone on.  I photographed the pillowcases and listed them on Etsy, then the next day posted them on Facebook, and they sold straight away – to the same lovely friend who bought the first set.  It is such lovely encouragement to have that kind of feedback, it spurred me on to do a bit more.  I de-constructed and then re-constructed a bag I was making for a woman I work with.  It just wasn’t sitting right and I wasn’t happy with it, even though I had ‘finished’ it and photographed it two weeks ago.  But with a clear mind I was able to see where I needed to change it, so I did, then took it to her yesterday.  I am much happier with the end product now and she is happy with the bag, so I feel good about that too.

I then received three orders in the space of half an hour or so, through my Facebook page – two library bags and a hand bag.  I feel so privileged to be able to make things for people who I know, and I have had the fun of suggesting colours, designs and fabrics through the internet – learning all the time!  Two women I work with have requested bags with specific Spoonflower fabrics, so that order went in last night.  A good friend also reminded me that she wanted three of my iPod pillowcases…..and all of a sudden I need to prioritise projects!  I am so excited at the chance to keep making great things.  Although our weekend looks a bit busy I can see packets of time for sewing, so let’s hope that the outcome is better than last weekend.  I did start one library bag last night, but as I picked it up tonight I realised that my decision to stop sewing last night due to the hour was a good one – I had sewed the front and back panels together with the front panel on upside down!  So the unpicking will occur before anything else happens.  Luckily the applique went on the right way.

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My other piece of creativity last night was another batch of salted caramel fudge……. I wanted to make something to take to a morning tea with my team today….. and any excuse will do!  The kids were thrilled that I had slipped a little piece in their lunches today alongside the healthy options, and everyone at work enjoyed it.  Now to remember to make the bit that has not yet been cut last more than a day….

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This weekend is the Royal Canberra Agricultural Show – which the children had planned to enter the cooking competition.  Unfortunately their busy mother forgot the put the entry in on time…..  but we have decided that attending and scoping out the competition for next year is a good excuse to attend this year anyway.  I have made it clear that we are not going on rides and they were all very focussed on seeing the animals and exhibitions, until tonight when they discovered the list of show bags available……. and have spent the evening examining the very long list to identify what they want to buy.  I haven’t yet determined how much money I am going to give them to use to budget for their visit, but it will be interesting to see how it all goes.

Then on Sunday I have a concert to attend – Neil Finn and Paul Kelly – two of my favourite Australian and New Zealand musicians.  I am very excited about it.  It starts the warm up to get me excited about my Easter trip to Byron Bay for Bluesfest.  Expect to be bored with the details of that over the next few weeks…..because the headliners are big – Paul Simon, Robert Plant (you know – the Robert Plant from Led Zeppelin), Ben Harper, Chris Isaac, the Steve Miller Band (even just saying the name makes me think of space cowboys), Counting Crows, Santana…….  oh look – I have already started getting excited!  I just have to get my head around the logistics of where the children will be, what camping gear I will be packing, doing the drive on my own, etc…..

The Friday flop is kicking in – the house is a bit messy, no sewing has been done, the kids are asleep and I am about to head to bed to read for a while.  I hope that your week has been good and that you have great weekend plans to be excited about.

Small bits of creativity

The weekend was full of birthday parties.  Other people’s parties and our barbeque to celebrate the double-digit birthday.  That meant that it was also full of shopping, cooking, cleaning, driving, and organising.  Not a lot of time for crafting.  Well – not by me anyway!

After a week in which I did very little sewing I was keen to get back into it on the weekend.  When I realised that this was unlikely to happen I looked at all I had made without sewing and wasn’t too disappointed.  Marinated chicken skewers, a Pavlova (the gluten-free dessert of choice!), salted caramel fudge (our all time favourite – made in the Thermomix using this recipe – mmmm mmmmm…..) and I experimented with making a satay sauce that used pureed sunflower seeds instead of peanuts, to accommodate one of the guests who has a nut allergy.  It worked surprisingly well for a recipe that I made up based on what was in the cupboard.  Although the child in question of course wasn’t interested in the sauce the adults all enjoyed it!  It was a great night with a lovely group of friends – there was a bunch of boys in the yard with light sabers, a bunch of girls hanging out on the trampoline, and a bunch of adults on the deck enjoying the sunset, the cheese platter and the wine.  A delightful way to celebrate 10 years as a parent!

Although I didn’t manage my own sewing, the girls did some sewing and are justifiably proud of their efforts.  It is their school swimming carnival tomorrow, and they were both keen to make mascots for their house, which wears green in support of the house members.  So these are the results – based on templates that we drew ourselves.

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The middle chick wanted a green owl, so whipped this one up.  (I can also confirm that removing fingerprints from the camera lens does make a difference to your photos!)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe monster was lurking in a tree in the late afternoon sun!

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Made of an upcycled cushion cover, with scraps from my collection, the green monster is quite cute.  I was particularly taken with the tail that the eldest chick designed – and her chosen pose for the photo!

I also managed to finish the library bag and get it in the mail.  I am happy with the way it turned out and hope that the little person it is intended for enjoys it, and the books it will carry, for many years to come.  It is such a privilege to be asked to make special gifts for little people.

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Oh look – the fingerprint was obviously there last week too….

So the weekend finished with the house in order, the week planned out and me ready to start my week of early starts with the babysitter lined up to be at the house by 7am to prepare the kids for school and get them there.    Hmmmmm……. the best laid plans.  All was going well this morning – I woke up to find 2 children snuggled in with me, and managed to get up, get dressed, tend to the chickens, have my breakfast and prepare my lunch without them waking.  When the babysitter arrived, however, all hell broke loose!  The dog was going berserk with excitement at seeing the babysitter (who is also our house and dog sitter) which obviously woke the boy.  He had snuggled over next to his sister after I got up, which had pushed her to the edge of the bed.  So when he started to stir and stretch he pushed her out of bed, and she hit her head on the bedside table, so woke with a fright, in pain and screaming.  So between the screaming, the dog, and the other two children waking and attacking the babysitter with hugs and non-stop stream of consciousness stories it was complete chaos!  Looney Tunes could learn a thing or two from our house.

The good news is that the middle chick got the all clear from the doctor and had a lovely day quietly drawing and colouring and playing on her iPod in my office.  The other two got off to school with no drama and we had a calm afternoon after school.

After all of that I decided that I needed to at least start sewing something tonight – my creativity bug was itching away, floating ideas around in my head.  So I went with pillowcases – and managed to make two!  I can of course tell anyone who asks what I will do differently/better next time, but I am trying to learn to just enjoy them as they are, so will iron them and photograph them properly and put them up in my shop soon.

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I am hopeful of a week of sewing after so little over the last couple of weeks, so stand by for a burst of colourful creativity, or alternatively a stream of colourful language if my plans have to change again!

Wishing you all a colourful creative week.

Lessons learnt

I am laughing at myself right now. In my last post I was apologising a bit for sewing things that weren’t on my February “To Do” list – but in fact everything that I sewed WAS on the list! I was looking at the list written on a scrap of paper at home, and not the one I publicly shared! So in fact I am doing really well at addressing my list right now!!

I also answered my own question of ‘to-crochet-or-not-to-crochet’ on the pillowcases I made – if I had to ask, then the answer was ‘no’. My wise friend Jo pointed out that there is something about bunting and crochet that doesn’t work – neither of us know why but we both agree on that point! So I listed them in my shop today, after taking photos in the lovely sun – and a friend snapped them up straight away! So I might need to make some more.

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Finally I am laughing at myself for forgetting the very simple rule – people read blogs. So some of my staff knew why I was at work having a chat, before I had told them in person, and one of the lovely teachers at my children’s school, who also loves fabric, was very tempted to call me after I announced that I should get stuff done, if only the school didn’t ring….. Good lessons to learn with no damage done and much laughter.

I have been sitting and admiring my delicious stash of fabric a bit, and was inspired to make this up during the week. Again, it has been snapped up, so I will make more using this lovely blue paisley.

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As I gear up to return to the office on Monday I am trying very hard to maintain my carefully won balance and not feel that I have to frantically sew to get things done before Monday – and it is working. Last night I had a lovely evening with a friend, some great Asian takeaway, and decadent ice-cream. When the power went out due to a storm we just turned on a torch and kept giggling and sharing. No sewing to be seen!

I had a list of things to be done this weekend – including three presents for my children to give to their friends at parties they are attending. In my mind I was planning to sew each gift, but this morning I sensibly went shopping and bought small gifts. The artist in residence was attending her best friend’s birthday party and I was disappointed that I hadn’t been able to make something for this little person who has a special place in our life – but we fixed that when we realised that a bird softie that my daughter had been making would make a perfect gift to accompany the purchased gift. So a very special handmade gift was delivered instead.

Having found some time to attend to other things (like housework) I then sat down and whipped up two simple pencil rolls (making up my own pattern) for the party that the boy is attending tomorrow (for two classmates), to accompany the small gifts I bought. I am quite happy with them and think that I will make some more for the shop.

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I also unpicked and altered a gift for my friend who has a special birthday tomorrow – and am now much happier with it. Taking time to do it right instead of just ‘okay’ feels good.

The return to work is a little daunting because, since my last post, it has been confirmed that I will take on a new role, beginning on Monday. I have also discussed my wish to work different hours, subject to finalising my before-school care arrangements, and they are supported. So the idea of a new position, which involves leading a service delivery area (something I haven’t done before) is exciting but also challenging. The idea of starting work early each day and then finishing at 3 in order to collect the children from school in person is wonderful, but I am apprehensive about finding the balance at work. All in all, I am sure that once I am there and have moved into my new office and remembered all my passwords etc I will be fine – but the anticipation of new things does have me thinking about work a bit more than normal!

Of course while I was in the office I managed to talk to one of my colleagues about a bag that she wanted…..and then came home and made it. Although it fits the description of what she asked for I am not happy with it yet, so think that it might be the next thing to be unpicked and re-shaped – the flap isn’t sitting quite where I want it to and the bag is a bit deeper than I think it should be. Back to the drawing board!

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Finally, an amusing sight while the kids and I stopped to find a geocache on our way home this evening. To find it we had to pass an administration office, and in the window, on the side of a tissue box, was this sticker, that the children loved!

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I am not sure if you can read the sticker, but apart from making it clear that this is a geocaching friendly environment, the small print says “Where else can you use billion dollar satellites to find plastic containers in the bush?”

I hope that any lessons that you have learnt this week are positive!
(My other lesson is to post more regularly so that my posts aren’t this long!!)

Ideas into action

Sometimes with so many ideas bubbling around in my head it is difficult to get started on anything! Having the luxury of a few days at home while the children are at school (as long as everything keeps running smoothly anyway) means that I have time to sew, etc. After helping out with a morning tea for the parents of the new kinder children this morning I came home and couldn’t decide what to start on!

I checked my To Do list for February, but of course ended up starting on something not on the list…… a familiar occurrence! (I did then tackle an item from the list later so feel suitably virtuous!) The eldest chick has a birthday next week – one that is celebrated by people all over the world with hearts and flowers. I tell her that it is because the whole world loves her – and she rolls her eyes and laughs at me, while still requesting a heart-shaped cake for her Valentine’s birthday. Anyway – I have made her ‘big’ present but still had some smaller things I wanted to do. I was able to speak to her father this morning and we are agreed that she can now be allowed to have her ears pierced if she wants to, so that is a big thing to help with signifying her move to ‘double digits’. But I still wanted a more personal gift from me. She has been requesting a new case for her iPod touch, with ‘a flap that closes over the screen when you aren’t using it’. I have been keeping an eye open in the shops but the only ones I have found are black, leather and expensive. Not her at all! So today I devised a fabric one – using the special fabric from Spoonflower that I used for her bigger present. I couldn’t work out how to include a hole for the camera on the back, or the earphone jack, but apart from that I am happy with it as a first effort. Photos will follow the birthday!

I have also been toying with the idea of a fabric cover for the notebook that I carry at work – it goes everywhere with me, is full of extra bits of paper and records everything I need to remember…..and then is often never looked at again. I also have some birthdays coming up for people who would also love that splash of colour in their office life, so I sat down today and started work on one. I have it all cut out and all the interfacing in, but am still thinking about whether I want it to have pockets for business cards and pens in the front……so I am going to sleep on that one.

My final effort was from my list – I went through all those lovely piles of fabric to find the right blend to make some pillowcases from. I am happy with the end result (although a couple of seams could match better, I am trying to let go of perfectionism!) but am trying to decide whether to add crocheted edges to them.

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I had been thinking green cotton crochet around the end of the case (which has the fabric with the bunting on the reverse side), but then started to wonder whether it would mean that this wasn’t a case to be used in boys’ rooms. So I am interested in your opinion! All input on the question of crochet vs non-crochet welcome!

I hope that you had a great day of putting your ideas into action!