Announcing my Blogshop!


Just opened my Blogshop 🙂   A Tall Order Blogshop

Following my Union Jack cushion covers tutorial I did, it has been visited by so many people, many coming from Google.  I hope you have been able to successfully make your own cover, but if you still have it on your ‘to do’ list, you may like to order one from my shop instead 😉



Or maybe a Christmas star?


Or a grown up version of the backpack I blogged about earlier in the week…..

Don’t forget to visit A Tall Order Blogshop, thank you 😉


Toddler backpack

Just look at this lovely fabric 🙂 It makes beautiful bags.

I got the pattern from here.

I am loving her blog at the moment.




We bought one of those cute little bucket sofas a few years ago, the fabric cover was naff and the first thing my son did when we got it was to spill alien goo all over it which never properly came out.  😦

sofa and other animals 001

So, I decided to have a go at recovering it.  I bought a roll end in Fenwicks in Leicester, which looked like it would do the job, so first note please measure your sofa and work out how much you need before you go and buy too little of it!

The next job was to remove the old cover.  You want to see if you can work outside for this as all kinds of grot comes out, and the staples ping all over the place.  As you remove the cover you will see how it was covered, you need to note this so that you recover it in reverse order.

Turn the sofa over

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And unscrew the legs, put these somwhere safe.  Then you will need an old flat headed screwdriver or other such tool to prise out the staples.  Try and get as many of these as you can in the bin.  You will also need some pliers to help with removal of the staples.

To start with you need to remove the black bottom cover, there is probably a posh name for it, but for the purposes of this post, it is a black bottom cover 😉  You need to save this for later.

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The next step is to take out all the staples from the top cover from the base of the sofa.  Your cover sadly will not just peel off at this point, turn it the sofa the right way up and start to remove staples from the bottom of the seat area cover which we will call the blue bottom of the seat area cover.  You will see that the bit that isn’t seen is just some even naffer fabric, but there is a band of the sofa fabric fixed to the front.  Again, you need to put this piece on the ‘keep’ pile.

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Ugh, forgive the crumbs……….

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This bit is really quite tedious, so you might want to make yourself a drink, turn the radio on, or just stick the thing in the car to take to the tip………I persevered 😉

Once the blue bit is removed, you will find even more staples fixing the sofa cover to the seat base, keep going, nearly there now.

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YAY!  this was a good moment!  Notice how it’s getting dark tho……. Can you see the pile of staples on the window sill?

Draw a diagram of the cover if you think you might get stuck, write on the pieces, draw little arrows, what ever is going to help you put the bits back together.

The next bit is to use a stitch unpicker to unpick all the seams of this cover, and the blue bottom seat cover, so you have all the different pieces separate.

Lay your chosed fabric down, work out which way is up and MAKE SURE THAT YOU PLACE YOUR PIECES ON THE RIGHT WAY UP!!  This is most important as even if you don’t have a pattern on your fabric, the light will not be right, it will look wrong, and you will always regret not listening 😀 Trust me, I’ve been there.

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Pin your pieces down and cut out.

Give your sewing machine a good clean out and re oil, get a good strong needle in there, I used a denim one.

Pin your pieces back together like this:

Pin your front piece, the bit you will be leaning your back against, to the two inner side bits, the bits you will lose your loose change against.  Sew these together.

Now pin the back to the front, and stitch together.

Pin the two skinny bits for the arm front facings (not sure what you call these) to the large piece you have made, hold it up and take a look at it, does it look right?  Are those skinny arm bits the right way round?  If so, stitch in place.

The temptation to just put the new cover onto your sofa must be resisted a little as you need to check your frame, we found that one of the arms was a bit wobbly and required a few screws to make it solid again.

Smooth down the wadding covering making sure you don’t have any anoying wrinkles.

NOW you can pull the cover on.  You might need another pair of hands, it will be a bit snug, but that is good.

Once the cover is on, you need to staple the inner bottom edge to the top of the seat base scroll up to pic 5 if you are not sure.

Now you need to make a copy of that blue cover, I used a toning piece of fabric, along with my panel of matching fabric for the bit which goes under the sofa cushions.  Staple that in place tucking it in at the front bit making sure that it is all covered up there.

Turn the sofa upside down, staple the bottom of the cover in place, pulling it down each time to make sure it is nice and tight, don’t go over the top tho, you don’t want it ripping the staples out.

Remember the black bottom cover?  You can either use that or cut a fresh piece, fold down the edges and staple to the bottom to cover everything up.  If you made a new black bottom cover, you will need to snip holes in to allow the legs to be replaced, just feel for the hole, stick your scisors in there and snip towards the middle of the sofa in case you slip and make a big slit in it.

Srew the legs back onto the base of the sofa turn it the right way up and breathe 🙂

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See, it’s night time now, the kids are all starving, the school run is the only other thing done all day, more another time………….

Getting organised

So, there has been a break in blogging, time to get back to it 😉

I bought one of those Ikea computer cupboards from a lovely lady via Ebay last winter to store some of my sewing goodies in and to have somewhere to sew and stash my WIP’s. I know how I LOVE looking at other peoples storage ideas to pinch them, so maybe you might recognise some things……

Cupboard 001

Here is the top shelf. I used Ikea storage mostly. The top shelf has media boxes for the smaller fabric samples you get, the scraps you can’t bear to throw away because they WILL come in handy for something, WIP’s small enough, and bunting in progress. The drawer unit holds zips, bindings, sewing machine gubbins, scissors etc.
The beautiful pin cushion was made for me by the lovely Shelly

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Here is the main body of the cupboard, I can pop my chine on the pull out shelf and then put it back on top for storage. The red, blue and green pop up baskets are from the kids section in Ikea and are full of pieces of lace, ribbon and buttons. The plastic drawer unit is full of reels of ribbon. There are a couple of plastic boxes from Dunelm mill to the right, good square boxes with good snap on lids.

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Do you like my thread holder? My son made it this summer with my dad who was a cabinet maker. I just LOVE it.

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The bit at the bottom is supposed to be for my fabric stash, and no where else, but um, well, you can clearly see that there is not enough room there! But this is all in clear plastic boxes from, you’ve guessed it, Ikea. Then there are some slotted in to the left from Dunelm filled with tassles, any ideas what I can make using hundreds of tassles…………

Cupboard 005

Plentiful intakes of antioxidants have been associated with reduced risk of some chronic diseases, in the same way that generous intakes of fruits, vegetables and grains have been associated with similar health benefits.

ANTIOXIDANTS TUTORIAL, PART 2: Health benefits of antioxidants

There are many known health benefits of antioxidant intake. Some scientific examples include the following:


  • People with high beta-carotene intakes have about one-third the cancer risk as people with low beta-carotene intakes. (Peto R. Cancer Surveys 1983;2:327-340.)
  • People with higher intakes of vitamin C have about half the risk for many types of cancer when compared to people with low vitamin C intakes. (Block G. Am J Clin Nutr 1991;53:270S-282S.)
  • People with low intakes of several antioxidants have more DNA damage than people with generous intakes. (Ames BN. Metat Res 2001;475:7-20.)
  • People with the highest intakes of vitamin C, E, and beta-carotene have a significantly lower risk of lung cancer. (Yong LC et al. Am J Epidemiol 1997;146:231-43.)
  • Men who took vitamin E supplements for 10 years or more had a 30% lower risk of bladder cancer. (Michaud DS et al. Am J Epidemiol 2000;152:1145-53.)
  • There are over 66 studies showing cancer-prevention activity of green tea, black tea, and their constituents. These include cancer reduction in the skin, lung, oral cavity, esophagus, stomach, liver, pancreas, bladder, small intestine, colon and prostate. (Lambert JD et al. Am J Clin Nutr 2005;81:284S-291S.)

Heart Disease

  • Elderly people who took both vitamin C and vitamin E supplements had a decreased risk of death from heart disease as well as overall mortality. (Losonczy KG, Harris TB, Havlik RJ. Am J Clin Nutr 1996;64:190-196.)
  • Men who took vitamin supplements had a 70% lower risk of dying from heart disease and a 50% lower risk of heart attack. (Meyer F, Bairati I, Dagenasis GR. Can J Cardiol 1996;12:930-934.)
  • In the Nurses’ Health Study involving over 87,000 women, there was a 41% reduction in risk of heart disease for those who took vitamin E for more than two years. (Stampfer MJ, Hennekens CH, Manson JE, et al. New Engl J Med 1993;328:1444-1449.)
  • In the Nurses’ Health Study, vitamin C supplements were also related to a lower risk of heart disease. (Osganian SK et al. J Am Coll Cardiol 2003;42:246-52.)
  • In the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study involving almost 40,000 men, there was a 37% reduction in risk of heart disease in men who took vitamin E for more than two years. The average intake in the lowest risk group was 400 IU per day. (Rimm EB, Stampfer MJ. Ascherio A, et al. New Engl J Med 1993;328:1450-1456.)
  • To date, 17 human group studies have been published on flavonoid intake and the risk of coronary artery disease and stroke. Positive studies have shown reduction in mortality risk of up to 65%. (Arts ICW and Hollman PCH. Am J Clin Nutr 2005;81:317S-325S.)
  • The largest and longest study to date, done as part of the Harvard-based Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study, included almost 110,000 men and women whose health and dietary habits were followed for 14 years. The higher the average daily intake of fruits and vegetables, the lower the chances of developing cardiovascular disease. Compared with those in the lowest category of fruit and vegetable intake (less than 1.5 servings a day), those who averaged 8 or more servings a day were 30% less likely to have had a heart attack or stroke. (Joshipura KJ, et al. Ann Intern Med 2001 Jun 19;134(12):1106-14.)

Other Chronic diseases

  • Several long-term studies have shown a reduced risk of cataracts in those who have taken vitamin C and/or vitamin E supplements for more than 10 years. (Jacques PF et al. Arch Ophthalmol 2001;119:1009-19.)
  • The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) at NIH found that daily supplementation with antioxidants, zinc, and copper delayed progression of age-related macular degeneration. (AREDS report no. 8. Arch Ophthalmol 2001;119:1417-36.)
  • Research has shown a significant relationship between flavonoid intakes and the occurrence of asthma. (Knekt P et al. Am J Clin Nutr 2002;76:560-8.)
  • Other research suggests antioxidants may help support lung function and protect the lungs from oxidative damage. (Schunemann HJ et al. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2001;163:1246-55.)
  • In a study on Alzheimer’s disease, high levels of vitamin E delayed progression of the disease. (Sano M et al. N Engl J Med 1997;336:1216-22.)

This is the most visited post on this site, with several visitors arriving from Google every day.  Please take a look at my Blogshop if you would rather buy one 😉


For the June swap on a forum I belong to I made a Union Jack cushion cover.  I had seen these in magazines and fancied a go at making one.  So, I used the last bit of the Ikea Berit fabric I used to make the girls Roman Blind and 2 skirts I absolutely love, but are completely impractical as they are see through!  You will need a denim needle because you are sewing up to 9 layers of fabric.

The first layer is the background.  I cut a piece out of the skirt. (Laura Ashley) and then cut the ikea fabric into stripes, hemming along the length.

Then, starting with one of the diaganal stripes, I laid it onto the bottom fabric, pinned and stitched it.  Then did the same for the other one.  As you can see from the first pic, if you don’t have enough length of your chosed stripe, you can hide the seam at this point!

This was followed up by the cross on the top.

At this point you could trim and hem and add to another larger piece of fabric to make a wall hanging.

I then took the other skirt, a linen M&S one and cut a piece for the back of the cushion 3/4 of the length of the cushion, with one end hemmed (the right of the fabric see pic) and pinned to the front of the right hand side of the cover.  Then I took another (hemmed on one side see pic) piece of the linen skirt 1/2 the length of the cover and pinned that to the top.

Then these pieces were all sewn together.

The seams trimmed and corners cut

Finally I turned it through and stuffed!

Then I made a better one to send!

Free radicals are atoms or molecules with unpaired electrons. Once formed, these highly reactive radicals may cause damage to cells, organelles, and DNA. Antioxidants are molecules that can safely interact with free radicals and terminate their reactive behavior before vital cellular components are harmed. The body cannot manufacture many antioxidants (including micronutrients like vitamin C), so they must be supplied by the diet.

ANTIOXIDANTS TUTORIAL, PART 1: What are antioxidants?

Free radicals (pro-oxidants) are atoms or molecules with unpaired electrons. These highly reactive substances can be formed in a number of ways, and once formed they may use their reactivity to damage important cellular components – such as the cell membrane – or macromolecules like DNA. This damage can lead to mutation, impaired function, and even cell death. To minimize potential damage from free radicals, the body utilizes a defense system of antioxidants.

Antioxidants are molecules that can safely interact with free radicals and terminate their reactivity before vital cellular components are damaged. Although there are several enzyme systems within the body that scavenge free radicals, the principle micronutrient (vitamin/mineral) antioxidants are vitamin E, beta-carotene, vitamin C, and selenium. The body cannot manufacture these micronutrients, so they must be acquired by diet. In addition, there are many plant-derived nutrients (phytonutrients) that can act as powerful antioxidants in the human body.

It is impossible to completely avoid damage from free radicals. Free radicals arise from sources both inside (endogenous) and outside (exogenous) our bodies. Oxidants that develop from processes within our bodies form as a result of normal breathing, metabolism, and inflammation. Exogenous free radicals form from environmental factors such as pollution, sunlight, strenuous exercise, smoking, and alcohol. Unfortunately, no antioxidant system is perfect, so cells and DNA damaged by oxidation accumulate as we age.