Cleaning, Caring & Showcasing

I am enjoying a bit of breathing space in the middle of the day and allowing myself a sugar rush lunch – chocolate and Bakewell tarts with coffee – hope someone can wipe me off the ceiling! Friday is Weight Watchers meeting day for me so once the weigh-in is over it has to be the best day of the week to fall off the rails (if I’m ever really running along them). I lost 1lb in the past week which means I’m averaging ½lb a week *sigh*.

Yesterday was a surprisingly active day although I didn’t step outside beyond the waste bins.  We have the pleasure of having our daughter and son-in-law visiting over the weekend so I put ‘Operation Transformation’ into action, clearing away my sewing projects and equipment to uncover the Guest Room.  Amazingly I clocked up 5000 steps just trotting

The BEFORE ‘Operation Transformation’ photo

up and down stairs and around the house!








The AFTER ‘Operation Transformation’ photo

I took my time clearing the room, sorting through my fabric boxes and regrouping equipment as well as giving the room a jolly good dusting (all that fabric cutting creates a lot of lint that seems to be particularly fond of skirting boards).  I took a close look at my cutting mats and decided they really were in need of more than a quick dusting. Vague memories of an article about care of self-healing mats came to mind, including the intriguing information that they benefit from occasional addition of moisture. I found some information on line and decided to give it a go. My small, 11″ x 17″ mat received a 20 minute dunk in a lukewarm bath.  The instructions suggested adding a small quantity of white vinegar but not being a cleaning goddess I had none in the house so plain water had to suffice.

I feel pretty ashamed looking at this photo – how could I have let my mat get in this state?

While the little mat soaked I tackled my large mat, 23″ x 35″, first with some sticky tape to remove the worst of the lint – mainly left by me cutting through wadding as I’ve trimmed various quilt sandwiches. The tape didn’t make much difference so I moved onto using a toothbrush with a few drops of washing-up liquid in lukewarm water. At this point I have to say how handy it is to be home alone as I was able to carry out this soapy operation unobserved on the sitting room carpet in front of the TV! Imagine the look on my face if one of our children suggested doing something similar! I gave the mat a good old scrub with the toothbrush and then took it off to the bath to rinse off the soapy water.


I dabbed the mat fairly dry using a microfibre cloth rather than a towel so as to avoid adding fibres to the board. I left both mats flat and away from direct sunlight to completely dry. They felt a little damp for at least an hour after being soaked so it’s not something to do immediately before doing some cutting!  The results aren’t perfect by any means but I should say at least 60-70% of the embedded lint has gone and both 7 year old boards feel a little more supple. Note for future reference – whenever I do replace these boards I will endeavour to clean and dampen the new boards on a regular basis.

The AFTER photo – by no means restored to new but a whole lot better than BEFORE!

Out in the garden everything is growing fast. I’ve moved the seedlings from the bedroom windowsill to the little plastic greenhouse.  I had feelings reminiscent of leaving a four year old child at school for the first time! My precious tomato and courgette plants have been nurtured in the protection of our home, benefiting from gentle fluctuations in temperature, being regularly watered and turned towards the light. Taking them to the greenhouse leaves them open to greater temperature changes, blasts of scorching sun and the merciless attentions of those garden bullies, slugs and snails. I have to hope that my nurturing has given my plants resilience to overcome some adverse conditions whilst knowing in my heart that they will benefit from the experiences offered away from home!

Tomato plants looking a little wobbly after their move to the greenhouse.

Even further away from home, the pop up craft shop has reopened in town. Kind husband helped me set up my stall space complete with two curtain poles which allow for a hanging display.


I share the Wednesday afternoon shift in the shop with two talented stitching ladies:  Beth of Dancing Dragonflies makes the most exquisite machine and hand stitched pictures using threads, fabrics and beads and Sandie of The Cloth Cat uses her talents to make, amongst other things, lovely bags and tea cosys. There are more than forty local crafters in the shop selling a great variety of wares.

Pinterest:  As usual I’ve been collecting an assortment of information (mostly patchwork and quilt related) on my ‘Pins of the Week‘ board and if you’d like to take a look at both boards there is the catch-up board ‘Last Week’s Pins of the week’ too 🙂

Have a lovely quilty weekend.



5 thoughts on “Cleaning, Caring & Showcasing

  1. I’m tired just reading about your day, Allison! Don’t worry about that half pound/week. Losing slowly is better than quickly because it’s more likely to stay off. What an amazing transformation from sewing room to guest room. They hardly look alike at all. I, too, have read about moisturizing cutting mats but I have not yet done it. My oldest one, about 25 years old, has never been cleaned or moisturized. It’s starting to break at the sides, though. I don’t know if moisturizing it would have saved it or if they begin to break after so many years anyway. Your shop space looks great. And so do your tomatoes. Like a good mother, I’m sure you’ll check on them regularly.

    • Thanks for your message Nancy. I do feel a bit weary today so I guess the sugar has worn off and all that activity is catching up with me! The tomato plants have perked up after a couple of days in the greenhouse and we are enjoying very good growing weather so despite the syears the garden is looking good. I’m encouraged that you’ve kept a cutting mat in use for 25 years, I’d rather spend money on fabrics than cutting mats ☺

  2. Hey, you’ve been busy ! All your efforts look great. Good for you with the Weight Watches Plan – 1/2 a pound will add up !! I haven’t done anything to my mat – maybe I should… it sits in the sun most everyday too because that window that is often in my pictures faces directly south. Hope you have enjoyed your weekend with your daughter and SIL.

    • Thanks for the encouragement Colleen. I keep telling myself that half a pound a week adds up to nearly 2stone in a year ☺ We did have a lovely weekend, despite a lot of rain we took a walk around the remains of a Roman wall and amphitheatre just a few miles up the road from here and enjoyed catching up and being together.

  3. That’s quite an impressive guest room transformation! I have a guest room that is currently being used to store all the things that need reorganizing. I hope my transformation is half as successful as yours! Your stall at the pop-up craft store looks fantastic.


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