Thursday, 28 August 2014

Thank you and I have been thinking.

Thank you on all counts. Thank you to my new followers. I just love it when new friends join me here in my little bit of Blogland. Please pop back in often.

Thank you for such a positive response to my last post..... SHARE A SHIRT FOR SEPTEMBER.

If you missed it please look back to my previous post it. I would love it if you could join in with the fun.

And most if all a huge thank you to those lovely people who have already sent me an email and pledged a shirt! Whoop whoop..... You thought it was a good idea too.


But of course I had to think about things.

Quietly,rationally and gain some information.


I had to try and see the wood from the proverbial trees. I had to make sure I was not taking myself or more importantly friends here up, or down a proverbial blind alley. That was really important to me.

What I choose to do with my time and following my schemes is one thing but when through the kindness of your hearts you join in and incur postage expenses I wanted to make sure I was doing the right thing.

Perfect is probably impossible but good and right is enough.


We were lucky enough to find a Groupon deal this week to celebrate our 38th wedding anniversary.

It was lovely, and it also gave me time to think.

Andy did some research.



I had promised myself I would try and not get bogged down with doubts about charities,their overheads, expenses etc. But seeds of doubt were creeping in.

So. Facts were needed to reassure my worried mind and this is what we came up with.


Well today we are back home. My rotary cutter is whirring and I am feeling 100% positive again.

Just for one month I have decided I am going to donate everything I make to Oxfam,Save athe Children and the British Red Cross shops.

We have them all in our town. ( And how many mandalas does one shop need)

My labels are going to read...

"Hand Made with love @1can make a difference."


In a few days I am going to try and set up my own Facebook Page where I can also put the pictures of things I have made from all the shirts but of course they will be here too.

So it's back to the drawing board.... Thankfully my cutting is getting a little more accurate... Must be all the practice. And a replacement blade arrived this morning. So there's no stopping me now!


Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Share a Shirt in September. An idea in the making!


Thank you, thank you ,thank you. Your comments have been kind, generous and very encouraging of late. So much so that my mind has had a little idea mulling around for a few days now .

It all started when I was working on those lovely shirts which turned sadness to something happier. Shirts that became bunting,a little drawstring bag and a cuddly cushion. That's when the germ of the idea came. I was using such lovely material and turning something utilitarian into something quite lovely.




Yesterday I talked with my friend about it. She has been away and not seen the things I have made yet. But,when I told her of my plans she was so enthusiastic and happy for it to be based on the crafting I had so happily undertaken for her.

And then I read of Lillian who is beavering away to try and make 1,000 dresses by the time she is hundred. I hope she lives to an even greater age. In my last post I talked of Lillian and how inspiring I found her efforts. I posted about my distress listening and watching the news. I know from your lovely comments that so many of you feel the same.

So, I decided........

Yes. I am only one person. So is Lillian.

Yes, I truly believe that one person can make a difference. 1000 little girls know Lillian has when they put on their pretty dress. Maybe their only one.

Yes, I have the time and the energy. So does Lillian and she is 99!!!

And the greatest " Yes" is if everyone did one thing to make the world a better place maybe, just maybe..

It could become so.



I am going to ask anyone who can, to look in their wardrobe and pick one shirt that they would like to share.

Obviously I am also going to post about this idea on Facebook and some people will hopefully just be able to give me their shirt when they see me.

But dear followers if you would like to join in.

  1. Choose a shirt. The higher cotton content the better. Any colour,any design.
  2. Pop it in an envelope and send it to me . Please email me ( my email can be found on my sidebar) for my address and please enclose your name and email with your shirt so that I can thank you for your kindness in joining in with this idea.
  3. Be assured that I will soon be cutting it up. Stitching it with love and making lots and lots of items for Charity.


I am trying very hard not to get bogged down with some of the people who say that not enough of the money raised in Charity Shops goes to the people who need it most.

I am determined not to get bogged down with some of the thoughts that money raised falls prey to fraud to corruption and other terrible things which we know does happen.


When I go to my Yoga classes the simplest things often move me the most.

A prayer for peace, a hope for humanity.

This September I am going to try every day to make just one difference.


Of course Andy's already chosen his shirt. A bit ahead of time but I wanted to make a start and here we have the results.

The softest cushions.


My wardrobe is missing a blouse too.
However all the darts and shaping only leave enough fabric for these zipped purses.


Daytimes zipping along with the machine and evening time quietly circling.







So, my first little pile is ready to go to the charity shop. But, I am going to spend some time researching which charity donates the most of it's takings to actually relieving the terrible sights which have upset me so much. Because every penny has to count!

Thank you again to my followers who have, probably without their knowledge helped me bring an idea to fruition.

And if you are able to send a shirt you can perhaps enjoy watching its evolution on my future posts right here at Chalky's .

Of course it would be lovely if you can send a shirt. But if not maybe you would like to post a link to this post next time you are giving a chat here in Blogland

Thank you














Sunday, 24 August 2014

Day One!

Lately I have felt more than a little overwhelmed by the news. The sad,tragic parts of the news which most of the time displays imagery beyond comprehension. The graphicness of reporting is heartbreaking. I must confess I understand far too little of the intricacies of the warring which seems to be so rampant in much of our world.

For some of the time. I turn it off. Other times I look away. But, it's there. Those children,innocent people and the sheer inhumanity of how people are treating each other.

It is hard to know what to do. It is hard to know if one person can actually make any difference. It is hard not to just become immune and live in a little world which ignores what is happening. But today I was inspired by the story of a ninety nine year old woman.


Lillian Weber is on a mission.

Every day she makes another dress for a small child she’ll never meet.

“I could probably make two a day, but I only make one,” she says.

The dresses are collected and sent overseas to little girls in Africa by a Christian outreach group called “Little Dresses for Africa”.

“I have to be busy,” says Lillian.

And she’s been very busy.

In the past two years she’s made more than 840 dresses and she plans to make 150 more by May 6th of next year.

You see, by next May, Lillian will turn 100 years old and it will be her one thousandth dress.

“It’s just one of those things you learn how to do and enjoy,” she says.

In Lillian’s Scott County farm house are completed dresses for little girls, made from a pattern, but each with extra stitching and individual details, designed to give each child a little extra pride.

“She personalizes them all,” says Lillian’s daughter, Linda Purcell. “It’s not like good enough that she makes the dresses, she has to put something on the front to make it look special, to give it her touch.”

What started as a hobby has become a daily labor of love.

Lillian says she starts work on a dress in the morning, takes a break during the midday, and puts finishing touches in the afternoon.

“I just think she’s somebody to look up to, somebody whose not just sitting around and frittering her life away,” says Tonya Urbatsch, who nominated Lillian for the “Pay It Forward” award.

“I’m amazed at her every day,” adds Linda. “I’m very, very proud of my mother.”

Family and friends will continue to be proud of Lillian, well after her 1000th dress. After all, 1000 is just a number.

“When I get to that thousand, if I’m able to. I won’t quit. I’ll go at it again because there’s no reason to not do nothing.”

When Lillian is finished with her dresses, her daughters deliver them to a Davenport senior living apartment complex where a group of residents have a weekly sewing appointment to make dresses for the charitable organization.

“Little Dresses for Africa” is a Christian charitable organization founded in 2008 in Michigan.

Its founder, Rachel O’Neill, says 2.5 million dresses have been distributed.

The simple dresses are distributed to orphanages, churches, and schools in Africa.

Rachel says she’s traveling to Africa again in September 2014 and February 2015 and hopes to be able to present to a child one of the dresses personally made by Lillian.



Amazing. And of course the viral effect of Facebook is wonderful when used in a caring compassionate way. The " Ice Bucket Challenge" has already raised enough money to fund over 10 Macmillan Nurses.


So, I have decided that every little effort can count. Every penny must surely help. Every effort might change the plight of one person. And that person will know that another human being has at least done something. Not just looked the other way.


Today was Day One of my challenge. I am not going to make a promise that I will create something every day but I am going to try to make something for charity as often as I can.


Following on from my " getting shirty post" I stopped cutting hundreds of squares and got sewing. Here is Number One cushion cover completed and ready to deliver. That's easy.... Our town is full of charity shops and this one is going to the Red Cross.



As it's Bank Holiday weekend I am hoping I will have another 2 to add to the delivery on Tuesday!

And mulling around in my head is a scheme about shirts. But, if it was to go in the smallest way viral I may be overwhelmed. The one thing I am sure of is that there are an awful lot of generous souls in Blogland and that might happen.


Saturday, 23 August 2014

Getting shirty!

Firstly thank you so much for all those lovely comments about the bunting,bag and cushion. They are awaiting delivery. As is my Giveaway for Amy at Love Made My Home. We use Parcels to Go. Their service is excellent and every penny saved on postage costs swells the yarn and fabric stash.


Well after that forray into patchwork gifts I decided to look on EBay for shirts but by the time you add postage costs they turned out to be quite pricey. So, unusually for me I was up early last Sunday and braved our local Boot Sale. What a revelation. Being focused on one theme made the whole event not only successful but pleasurable. I have sold at many a Boot Sale and am always shocked by some people's attitude to a very fair price. They pull it apart, offer you less than half and then when you accept they walk away.!!

So I did not buy from dealers. I did not barter but I came home with 13 lovely shirts.


They ranged in price from 10p to £1.50. Checks,stripes and an added bonus of a lovely lot of buttons!

I tried to choose similar weight cotton fabrics. It makes the patch working part so much easier.

I popped them all in the washing machine and then got busy with the scissors. My goodness what a lot of material is hiding in an extra large shirt,


Then I got cutting. I am still practising accurate cutting with my rotary cuttter. I have practised so much I have already had to replace the blade . How can it ever be wrong when you pay so much attention? Getting better,but still the little gremlins are waiting at every cut.

So, I must get on with making lovely things with the booty.

My evenings on the other hand have been gently relaxing,circling and meditative. I have made some more Mandalas for charity. I really enjoy these light, portable and soothing circles.


There is a pattern on my sidebar if you want to try one and Pinterest has some beauties thanks to all the lovely people who have supported Lucy and her project for Yarndale.

Why does it have to be soooo far away?

Just to finish I have so enjoyed fellow bloggers posts about their holidays. I think we have had a lovely summer and Dorset, Devon and Cornwall are lovely places when the sun shines.


Sunday, 17 August 2014

Celebrating sad days!

I suppose as you get older it is obvious that you will have to say farewell to loved ones. I know we are not alone in this but sadly we have lost some of our dearest friends at the age of 50. I was talking to a lady of 78 the other day and she told me that 50 is a very dangerous age for men. Well, I do not know whether this theory of hers has any medical basis at all but it certainly rings true with me.

My eldest daughters partners mother lost her husband two years years ago and she has struggled with her loss enormously. They had only been married for just eight years and their days were full of happiness and joy. It often seems to me, it is not the big things which are the hardest to deal with. Banks, insurances, finances have to be addressed. But, favourite shirts. That's another issue.



Well. A friend of hers suggested that the shirts should be transformed into something joyous. Bunting. Flags which could be hung to celebrate,commiserate and just giving some fluttering joy.

Of course this gem of an idea had to have a practical solution. A sewing machine and someone who actually likes making bunting. I have it hanging in my garden all summer long. And I was delighted to help with such a special, precious commission . To begin with I did feel a little bit sad taking the rotary cutter to such special shirts.


But soon it was obvious the pennants were growing beautifully. And by leaving little reminders of their roots the bunting became more and more special. A button hole here,a pocket there. Just lovely.



I like double sided bunting best with smallish gaps between the individual pennants . This new sewing machine makes sewing a joy. 40 flags, 10 in each pattern . So bright and cheery.



There was still some fabric left over and I thought about this lovely lady. She has travelled a lot since her husbands death. Well, bunting is not that portable. So, I thought about a little drawstring bag and zipped along quickly.



Perfect for packing bits and pieces. I lined it so it would make a great wash bag. Or just a place to put your favourite things. All going well but there was still some squares left. I sat and thought a bit more. Bunting to celebrate,a bag to travel with..... But what might you miss the most. Probably someone to cuddle up with. Something soft to lean on whilst watching TV. Something soft to lean against when reading or just dreaming .

The last squares made this.

A soft cushion.



I think some tears may be spilled when these fabric gifts are opened. Poignant tears that quietly speak of dreams,life and desires. Feelings o personal no one else can share them. But, I hope such sadness may be alleviated just a little bit by the transformation of such favourite shirts.


And the winner of my surprise Giveaway is...................

Many moons ago I used to put my head on the pillow. The alarm would go off the next morning and I would drag myself out of bed to face a brand new day.

Now.... Life is very different. Some nights I can't drop off. Some nights I wake up an hour later. Some nights I get a solid ... Four hours before I lay awake for ages. I have stopped freezing about it and as long as I don't have a worry on my mind I do quite a lot of creative thinking in these wee hours.

So, last night I thought I would add the digits of my waking time and choose the winner of my giveaway that way.

I woke at 3.16 .So, add those digits together and Amy at Love Made My Home was the nineteenth person to leave a lovely comment.

I am really happy to declare the winner of this fun Giveaway. I hope Amy is able to put the pictures of the Giveaway on her blog and my endeavours will remain a secret for my stockings at Christmastime.


Thank you to everyone who joined in the fun and I hope you are having a lovely weekend.


Wednesday, 13 August 2014

It's been ages since I had a Giveaway. Please join in the fun!

Life is busy. You wait for a magical number of followers . I have been waiting for 250 for tooooooo long. You are not ready. But, actually lovely things happen when you are not watching..... A few nights ago a harvest moon.... Plans for a holiday.... New babies on the way..... Runner beans ripening!

It does not matter why,but I think its time to do my most favourite things. Wrap little parcels and send some love.

Now. This Giveawy is a bit strange because I can't show you what you might get. Because I don't want to give the game away .... Stockings at Christmastime are very special in our house. Often envelopes are given with money or vouchers enclosed. Arbitrary, but,very welcome gifts. BUT, the stockings are filled with love. Home made gifts, hand worked items and also some of the same little gifts every year... The chain link from my childrens first stocking to their latest . I always gave my son a tube of Euthymol toothpaste but it's now stopped being produced. Quirky things linking back to childhood memories that simply express love.

Well I am already making those things. And,as I am busy working towards my Christmas stockings I thought of a Giveaway. It will not be in a stocking but it will be full of fun.

So, it will be a giveaway made with love. Yarn,fabric and card will be there.

Rules.... None. I just want to say an enormous thank you to all the lovely people who take the time to leave comments here at Chalky's. .

Maybe you would be kind enough, if you win, to highlight your lucky dip of a Giveaway with a few photos. I would like that .

So leave a comment below and I will find a quirky way to find a winner.


Sunday, 10 August 2014

Baskets of goodies!

There is something very special about hearing a new baby is on the way. I didn't like dolls when I was a little girl at all. Nor,soft toys either. I loved animals.... Just as well as my dad was a vet. I used to put my rabbit Hoppity in my dolls pram and push it around the neighbourhood. I think people got used to me! In those days you were just out all day long.

But, once I had my babies I "got it!" A new baby is nothing but miraculous and totally wonderful. Those fingers,toes and tongues. Just perfect.

Three of my nieces are pregnant and a special friends daughter in law. And none of them want to know whether they are having a little boy or a little girl. So, I am trying to cover all the goalposts. Ummm. We have tried to work out a formula but no.

Just to start off with a balance I made a blue dinosaur fabric basket. This second one is perhaps not as bodged as my first attempt, the little pink one. But, I know there are little stitches covering up baby bodges.One things for sure the little ones won't notice. Neither will the new Mums .... Those first few weeks or maybe more are a blur if I remember rightly.

I used two fat quarters which are on sale in Hobbycraft at the moment at the wonderful price of £6.50 for six pieces.

I added a little pocket.

But the material would not quite stretch as far as the handles. So, I used some denim and added little bands of the dinosaur fabric. This blue basket I made in a different way. I folded the fabric in half so the lining was the same as the outside. But of course there was no way you could pop the ends of the basket in between the layers. But, I love this little detail of adding a button to attatch the handles.

Then the fun began. Tucking in the treats. Dribble cloths,babygros,nappies,organic washcloths,a soft cuddly blanket ,some bibs,a hat and some toiletries.
I already had these sweet little bibs I made a while back in my cupboard so when I packed the pink basket they were the first to go in.

I also had this little crochet ball with a little bell in the middle. I love the candy stripe colours and some more are definitely needed as I think one for each bag will make the perfect finishing touch.

It's just as well these baskets are not stretchy as I can see myself tucking more things inside as the wonderful waiting game of pregnancy continues.

Thanks for popping in and I hope you are also enjoying the gentle days of summer we are having here in Devon.