If you’d like to skip straight to the creative project and learn how to make a doorstop, scroll down to find Blue’s paw print below.
This episode is subtitled: ‘I’m glad I’m single…’
The builders were here bright and early on Tuesday morning, cheerfully cracking on with their work at the back of the shop. Then I did a double take. Then I looked at Joe, the leader of the group.
‘Beryl said it would be fine,’ he said, looking a bit guilty.
They’d propped a door open with Blue’s basket and Blue was still in it! I reluctantly gave them one of my new doorstops to use instead, unsure whether it would survive the day. But that would be better than Blue not surviving the day. They aren’t a bad bunch of guys but builders are builders, used to working in a mess.
Kim stomped in late and in a foul mood. The new Teacups’ cupboards were looking great but she could see at a distance the handles were not the ones she’d ordered. She marched to the back of the shop to have it out with them.
They didn’t seem to understand the problem so she roped me in to back her up. She showed me a picture of the ones she’d ordered. They looked the same to me.
‘No, look,’ she said, ‘that curve is longer than this curve.’
She insisted they replaced all of the offending fittings even though they told her that ordering new ones might jeopardise our deadline. And unfortunately they didn’t have the materials with them to work on the new sun room that day so they left. But at least I was able to retrieve my doorstop.
‘It’s not just the handles that’s upset you, is it?’ I ventured.
She let out a deep sigh. ‘No. Gary found out about me breaking his architects’ award.’
‘Ah,’ I said. ‘He didn’t take it well then?’
‘No. I told him it was an accident but that didn’t make any difference. He just started yelling about how important it is to display the award during his publicity photo shoot this afternoon. And when I pointed out that I’ve more than made up for it with the inconvenience of employing his nightmare of a mother, he went totally berserk. Accused me of taking her on just to pacify him ready for when he eventually found out his precious award was smashed up!’
‘Which happens to be the truth,’ I said.
‘Well… yes,’ said Kim. Her eyes suddenly reddened. ‘He said he would be spending the night at the Hilton. I mean what if he doesn’t come back. What if…’
‘I know how you feel’, said Jaz, ‘me and Darren had a row last night too. I only wanted a picture of the two of us. He went mad. Made me delete it. He hates having his photo taken.’
Kim fixed Jaz with her death stare. ‘I hardly think it’s the same. You barely know the man!’
Jaz shrugged cheerfully and carried on with her work.
Then Kim brightened suddenly. ‘There’s one good thing though. I won’t need to keep Beryl on now.’
I watched Kim stride purposefully out of the shop with a lump in my throat. Surely she wouldn’t fire Beryl. Ok so Beryl’s a bit rough around the edges but her heart’s in the right place. And besides, what about workers’ rights, family love, and the fact that most of the customers seem to like her? Let’s see what Kim thinks once she’s cooled down. ◊
How to Make a Doorstop
I used this tutorial from Missielizzie – Me and My Shadow as a starting point and adapted it slightly.
First I made some templates so I could quickly make more doorstops in the future. For the sides you’ll need four pieces of fabric 15cm x 20cm, two pieces 15cm x 15cm for the top/bottom and one piece 15cm x 12cm for the handle. Cut your pieces accurately – it will pay dividends later.
I chose to have the shabby chic house design on mine but obviously you could leave it plain or come up with another design. You can see this little house was used for the pictures in episode 19 and the draught excluder in episode 46. I fished out my old templates and raided my scraps jar to cut the bits I needed.
They fitted perfectly on one side of the doorstop.
I stitched them on using the method in episode 19.
Now it’s time to join the four sides up. With right sides together, pin one side to the next until you’ve joined them all up. Stitch along all four seams.
Now for the handles. I was making two doorstops so I decided to try a different method for each one. The one on the right is a bit more fancy. I folded down 1cm on each of the long sides so the wrong side of the fabric was touching. Then I stitched them down. I folded the piece in half lengthways (right way out) and stitched very close to the edge. Then I opened it out so the small ridge of topstitching made a decorative seam down the middle.
Of course you could just sew a straightforward tube with right sides together and then turn it right way out. This is what I did for the one on the left. However, I did discover later that I’d used one of the square pieces that was meant to be for the bottom, by mistake! But I think it looks well proportioned and it makes your cutting out easier if you only have two sizes to think about.
The next step is to sew the handle to the top. I pinned them into place then stitched them on along the outside edge. To make sure they were reinforced, I started sewing just before the handle (forward and back) and sewed across to just beyond the handle. The backward stitches took me back onto the handle and I then sewed a skinny rectangle for further strength. I’d like to have shown you a photo but the colour of the thread is so similar to the fabric it doesn’t show up.
The trickiest bit is attaching the top and the bottom (do the top first). I’ve never sewn squares onto 3D shapes before. I took it slowly, pinning and stitching one side at a time, making sure I’d lined each side up properly first. Make sure the right side (with the handle) is facing inwards.
Do the same with the bottom, but on one side (I chose the back) just sew in a short distance from each corner so you have the gap in the middle. Then turn it right way out.
Now for the filling. You can pour dried peas, chickpeas, lentils etc straight in if you like then sew up the gap. I played around a bit and found I got the best results by using stuffing in the top then adding bags of the dried goods at the bottom. I had some very old chickpeas so I mixed them with the peas (peas are cheaper) and bagged up 2 x 500g for each doorstop. I had some old pedal bin liners that fitted a bin I no longer have but were a great size for this. There was plenty of spare space in them to let the pieces find their own natural place. It also helped when feeding them in through the gap. The stuffing helped it to keep its shape at the top.
Carefully hand sew the gap, especially if your dried goods are loose!
And here’s a close up of the two types of handle, fancy one on the left this time.
- Make templates from old cereal boxes so you can whip up more of these whenever you want to.
- It’s wise to be accurate with your cutting and sewing in this project. If you choose to decorate with shabby chic houses then you can be as messy as you like with those!
- There is plenty of room for more dried goods if you want to make your door stop heavier. One of these props open an internal door in my house.
- Old curtain
- Scraps for decoration
- Very old dried chickpeas
- Stuffing from inside of an old pillow (laundered)
Now I’ve had a go at this I feel the urge to make more. You could make a few and stash them away for Christmas presents.
Hoping to make something to celebrate spring next week. See you then.
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