Dear Readers,

I’ve been very busy here in the run up to my vacation and on the return! I have been making some gifts for various close friends as a thank you for being there when I needed them.

Homemade gifts are much more well received and this year I decided to ensure that the majority of the gifts I gave to family and friends would be homemade.

The first things I made were bath fizzies or bath bombs using a kit I was given for Christmas a few years ago. The kit was easy to use and the instructions were simple to follow. The kit comes with orange and lavender essential oils but I used some of my own essential oils to make relaxing clary sage, cedar and patchouli or an orange, ginger and black pepper variation. You can buy the same kit I have from Amazon below. The kit comes with the molds, a spray, the citric acid, dyes to color the water and fizzy, almond oil, two essential oils and cellophane to wrap the dry balls.

I was able to make several balls and even included some dry herbs and petals in the mold to make them look pretty.

handmade bath fizzy

I’m a huge fan of the Lush products but not overly keen on the glitter they leave in the bathtub or when they discontinue products I love so it was great to be able to make my own version of the bath fizzy (bath bomb).

I treated myself to an overlocker or serger at the beginning of the year with my “Christmas Money”.  I thought it would be a great investment since I had tasked myself with not buying new clothing this year, everything must be made from scratch or refashioned from the charity shop or thrift store.  As many of you regular readers know, I am huge on recycling and reusing wherever possible (including the now broken kegerator).

Janome 3434D Serger

I bought this serger for two reasons; it was by Janome and it was on offer.  I have used Janome machines for years now and I like how reasonable they are and have never let me down.  My vintage sewing machine is a New Home model which was a company of Janome.

I bought a serger so that I could handle knit materials and fabrics like canvas which seem to fray badly, even if cut with pinking shears.  I had some left over fabric that I picked up a few years ago from a charity shop as a pair of curtains.  I love the design and wanted to make a skirt of dress out of them but I couldn’t stop the fraying even with zigzagging the raw edges.

I was so very glad to see that as I opened the box and pulled out the packing material that the serger came with threads already in it! I was very confused about how to thread the machine to start with but it was as easy as tying the new threads to the old!

Janome Serger 3434D

This is the machine amidst the thread changeover.  I will admit that the instructions were not very clear on how to re-thread the machine to a novice.  Luckily, YouTube came to the rescue and some kind souls have done videos on how to do it and now I can follow the thread guides on the cover of the feed plate without a problem.

Janome Serger 3434D

The neat thing about a serger is that it cuts the excess fabric as it stitches the edges together, giving a more professional finish.  This machine isn’t too heavy and doesn’t bounce all over if you are running the machine fast; my sewing machine by contrast feels like it gets airtime if I am going fast!

The serger is really easy to use and I wished that I had got one earlier, granted I am still using it for basic stitching at the moment and the back of the box shows all the uses it can be put too which peaked my interest for making gifts and finished the box of projects I started in England and New Jersey.

I have been really inspired by a refashioning blog, which has fueled many a trip to the thrift store with a new purpose.  Previously, I would go to the thrift store looking for sheets and drapes for the fabric yardage to make into something, now I go looking for clothing.  I even had a retro dress party to go to that I attended in a very yellow 70’s number that is just waiting for me to update it for everyday wear along with some other dresses and pants.  The serger is just waiting for my time to free up to sit down and crack on!

I used my shiny new Janome 3434D serger with my Janome JW5622 sewing machine to make a gardening kneeling pad for one friend and a knitting needle case and reversible bag for another.

Here’s the serger in action!

Janome 3434D Serger

The kneeling pad had vinyl on the bottom to make the pad waterproof for wet ground and a handle to hang it up to dry when not in use.

Here I am hemming the kneeling pad.  I used a thick foam pad as the insert and needed to make box corners so it would sit correctly in the fabric.

Janome JW5622 Sewing machine

Here’s the back of the pad:

vinyl back of kneeling pad

And the handle with the straight corners:

vinyl handle

The finished product:

kneeling pad

Here’s the project bag I made for another friend:

Reversible project bag

It has coordinating fabric side panels which form the main panel when reversed.  This is the curtain fabric I love and want to make into a skirt or dress.


I also made a roll up knitting needle holder from a skirt that purchased from a thrift store in England nearly ten years ago!  I loved the spring print but couldn’t think of anything to use the fabric for until now:Knitting Needle Roll

I wish I had the serger before making the drapes in the spare rooms and I look forward to using it more in the upcoming year.

If you want to purchase the same serger you can get it here .

If you have any usage tips for using a serger I would love to hear them!