Thursday, 26 February 2015

Life Lately # 7

Knitting

I'm still working on various projects like this doll blanket.  I'm getting bored but I am forcing myself to finish what I've started, here I am, ploughing on.  At least I've got my knitting group to keep me on track.



Celebrating

My sister turned 19 earlier this month- lucky for me I had the day off so we spent the day wondering around town and watching Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, followed by dinner out with mum and family friends.  Lovely.



Making 

For G's birthday I made her a make up bag, with a felt kitten face and leopard print lining- custom made you could say ;-)

I've also had a lot of time to play, and have made a new belladone dress and a bunch of jersey tops I've yet to blog about. 




Watching

Despite being a mega Buffy fan, I've not watched more than season one of the spin off, Angel.  Until, now that is!  Missing my heroine, but loving Cordelia stepping up and you can't go wrong with the beautiful face of Mr Boreanaz.

And, it'll come as no surprise that I've been watching the Great British Sewing Bee!  The contestants this year are being given some crazy difficult tasks, I'm so impressed with all of them!  I couldn't dream of making a corset in 4 hours- just no! (Read about Deborah's gorgeous polka dot Anna mix dress on her blog here!)



Eating

Been out for a couple of meals this month, including a lovely lunch date at the garden centre to pick up some new house plants and take some blog photos.  

Also!  Public Service Announcement- Pizza Hut do gluten free pizza!!! And, I'm happy to say, it's rather tasty too.  Wish they'd develop a pan style base too though, for variety.





Reading

I'm aiming to re-read all the Harry Potter books over this year, and I've started off book one on my breaks at work.  I could gush all day about my love for Harry Potter and his magical world, but I'll spare you that now and tell you about another series about wizards I'm loving.

Also enjoying Ben Aaronovitch's series, reading number 4, Broken Homes at the moment.  PC Peter Grant accidentally takes a witness statement from a ghost and gets thrown into the world of magic and its related police work.  Very enjoyable reads.

Recently, I've turned into a really slow reader, barely getting through a chapter a day, if at all.  It makes me so jealous of people who manage to read more often than I do, because I love, love reading.  However, I know I have to prioritise it more.  I really do.

And Finally, I'm still reading the monthly Love Sewing magazine, but I'm going to cancel my subscription now I've had it a year and move on to something different- suggestions in the comments, please!





Tuesday, 24 February 2015

It’s Me and You, or Me and Knitting. Don’t Make Me Choose. Ugh!

Every 3-4 Tuesday's a group of lovely women and myself gather at my mother-in-laws house to knit. We've been getting together for about 18months now; it started as a learn to knit group, with just 5 of us.  My MIL was the one teaching with me acting as her TA for those who hadn't knitted at all before. And since then we've grown to about 12 of us, if we can all make it, with varying levels of skill. We've worked on a range of different projects, from jumpers, cardigans and hats, to blankets and snoods.  There has been a lot of helping each other out too, with patterns which just don't make sense and projects which have taken far too long to get anywhere.  It's a really fab group to be a part of, I just hope that I actually finish a knitting project this year!












Thursday, 19 February 2015

Checking out the Flowers in Floral


Hey ya'll, hope you're having a nice half term- I've actually managed to wangle some time off work to spend time with David!  Since I've been working weekends, I appreciate any days off that we get to share.  We spent last Sunday running errands; picking up supplies to finish converting the attic and visiting the garden centre for a lunch date.  Yes, we were surrounded by friendly old people enjoying scones, but it's the perfect date for a Sunday, so there!  Plus, I got a couple new house plants, which I'll try my best not to kill off! 


So, it took me over a year to make my second Belladone.  I can't put a finger on any reason for it taking so long- I loved my Christmas Dress from last year, but I wan't happy with the finish so I've only worn it a handful of times.  I tried taking it apart to improve it, but I got bored and never got around to it.   Hands up if you get bored working on repairs too- it's new projects or nothing! 


I used the remaining fabric from making the Hepburn skirt, I had ordered 2m but managed to squeeze the skirt out of 60cm, leaving me just enough to eek the Belladone out of, without the facing for the hem anyway.  As a reminder, the fabric is a stretch cotton weave bought from Minerva crafts.  I think it cost £8.99/m.   I love this fabric, its super comfy, even though this dress is a little tight with my winter weight.  


Checking out the pansies- and looking forward to doing up the garden to it's habitable this summer.

As I cut out the original pattern last time, this was made to a size 40/12 too.  I made no adjustments to this pattern, Deer and Doe fit me nicely out of the packet. 

I made no attempt at pattern matching, due to the limited amount of fabric I had, so conquering that remains on my to do list for this year.  




And, yes, I am very happy with the finish if this one- I love learning!!!

Monday, 16 February 2015

Some Little Makes for my Holidays

Hey Guys, how you doing?

I had a couple of weeks off work this month, using up the last of last years holiday time, and have spent the time super wisely, hauled up in my sewing room with Netflix!  (I've seen two seasons of Suits in the last three weeks!) I've used the time to play around with my overlocker and build up my confidence with jersey fabric.  So far, I have made my first Lady Skater dress, three t-shirts, and had a go at a couple of simple tube shirts.  This has been great fun, despite a couple of overlocker accidents, and I'm totally planning on a whole bunch more Lady Skaters.  I'm tempted, though, by Collette's Myrtle and Moneta patterns to expand my options and take on more challenges.  Jersey dress's can't be beat when it comes to comfort, so I totally want to have a range of lovely patterns to hand.  BUT, I'm not here to tell you about those now, I'm saving that for another day. 

Today, I just wanted to tell you about my upcoming holiday plans and my desperate search on Pinterest for DIY travel accessories to make! Dave and I have booked ourselves on to a tour of West-coast USA- Booyeh!  We'll be visiting LA, Las Vagas, the Grand Canon, Yosemite Park, Napa Vally and then Chicago too.  It's going to be AMAZING!  

So far I've decided to make a travel wallet, to keep my passport, tickets and other important documents in.  There are a ton of tutorials available, which I'm looking through to find the one that has all the features I things I want to keep safe.  This is my first 'draft'.  I made this from a Pinterest tutorial, on Hollandcox.com.


It's not quite what I need though, I think I want a larger wallet, so it's easier to find in my bag, and I'm also pretty sure I want a zipped section for some cash or other more valuable/ easily lost things.  Finally, I want to add a better closure system, if you know how to put a zip in three sides of a rectangle, please help! Or I will probably add elastic round the whole thing.  So, draft two will be in the works soon.  I've found a whole bunch more tutorials for travel wallets and organisers, you can check out my Pinterest board for more ideas.

I am oddly struggling to think of more things to make though, other than a toiletry bag.  Do you have any ideas or suggestions for travel accessories that I could DIY?  I'd love to know what kinda thing you've found useful.

I've also made a couple of pouches to keep stuff organised in my travel bag- I fully intend on making many more for all my bits and pieces. I use the green one at the moment for keeping my random stuff together in my handbag, like lip balm, moisturiser and stuff.  It's made from a scrap of our oil cloth table cloth, which is probably a little too thick for the job.    The strawberry one is a wee pencil case for my handbag, made from scraps of Cath Kidston fabric from last years Sew Dolly Clackett dress.

I drafted my own patterns for each of these bags from a tutorial I found on Pinterest by Sewtogether.com.  They give really good, clear instructions and enable you to make a bag in any size you want.  It's so useful! Plus, they're lined, giving them a really lovely finish.  I pretty much jumped straight into clothes when I learnt to sew, so I do need a lot of hand holding when it comes to things like this.



And finally, I made a make up bag for my sister as a birthday present- 


She loved it! (And the game too)




Thursday, 5 February 2015

Love is in the Air- Valentines Banner Tutorial




So, truth be told, I'm not a big fan of Valentine's Day.  It's not the sprit of the day, per say, more a dislike of the tacky commercialism.  I'm a fan of the handmade card and home cooked meal, which probably doesn't surprise you.  I've never decorated for this holiday- mostly because it's very American thing to do, decorate for each holiday, but for fun this year I thought I'd make something to enjoy the day!  This is a super simple activity, I finished in a couple hours, including stopping to take photos.  I've stick with pinks and reds, but this was look equally awesome in rainbow colours!


You will need-
4 Pieces of felt in different colours, 9"x9" or a piece in each colour you want, should you opt for rainbow hearts!
Length of ribbon 1.5m
Embroidery Thread
Sewing Needles
Fabric Scissors
Pen and Paper
Toy Stuffing


Step One
Make yourself a heart template- draw half a heart on your paper, fold it in half and cut it out to ensure you get an evenly shaped template.


Step Two
You'll want to cut out 2 felt hearts for each of finished hearts on the ribbon- for this colour way I cut four from the red and the pinks and two from the cream.  I found that the best way to cut hearts out of the felt with minimal waste is to place the templates in the corner, as such- this way you can get 4 out of the smallest pieces of felt.




Step Three
Using a running stitch sew around the outside of the hearts, sandwiching the ribbon between the two felt pieces as you go.  Stop a couple of inches before you reach the beginning so you can stuff them.  Tear of your stuffing in to small pieces (I stole mine from an old throw pillow) and push it in the hole you've left.  Once it's to your liking, finish the running stitches and tie off the end.  You might want to even out the filling once it's sewn up so it looks even.



Step Four
Rinse and repeat- sew the next heart on 10 cm away from the first, repeating the above step, until you've got all your hearts lined up.


Step 5
Loop the ends of your ribbon and stitch down to secure.  I find this make hanging things like bunting so much easier! 

and Voila! 


Happy Valentines Day all, may you spend it with those who love you.






Monday, 2 February 2015

Another Archer Shirt

Hey guys, hope you're all well.  Can you believe it's February already?! I'm enjoying a week off work, which feels like it's been a long time coming.  I've got a great week of crafts and sewing and maybe been some baking ahead of me.  I'm really looking forward to it!  I've made my self a nice list of things to make and do- yay!



My first project of the new year was another archer shirt, in this fab summery cotton from my stash.  I sized down from last time and made no other adjustments.  I'm super happy with the fit now, I don't like a lot of ease in my clothes.  I am thinking, for some variety, I'm going to try adding some length to it next time, so the curve of the hem hits lower on my hip. 

And I have started a new love affair- snap fastenings! These ones are Prym hammer in ones, and it was so much fun putting them in.  Way more fun than a million button holes, and hand stitching buttons.  Plus, being able to rip your shirt off at the end of the day is awesome too!




You can't tell from the final result, but  I had a go at pattern matching, kinda.  Obviously not very successfully, but that's probably because I forgot all the tips and advice I'd been given and just cut in to my fabric.  Yeh, I'm gunna live with it, but it's defiantly something I want to actually get right, so next time I use patterns, I"m going to really try.

This is my second go at the Grainline Archer, and I am a big fan of this pattern.  The instructions are really clear and it gives me opportunities to try more advanced techniques, like I finished the shoulder and side seams with a flat felled finish (I'm not entirely sure of the right grammar there).  This didn't go perfectly, but I wisely managed to put the few messes on the inside, so there were certainly some lessons learnt from this make.



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