Monday, 20 December 2010

Look at my cosy sewing room!

So the dusting is done all the collected stuff dumped in the dining room during the decorating has been put away - euphemism for moved to another room!! As you can see I lit the fire in there and did some sewing yesterday, yay! I really enjoyed doing it, I made a bag but no pix cos its a Christmas pressie!! Now I have to make my wedding outfit but I have fabric to make a trial run of the dress and jacket which I would like to do for christmas but have I got time to do both? I always think I can fit in more things than I can manage!!

we have been having lots of snow again and I manged to take the camera and the dogs out yesrterday,

Hard to believe this taken in our local park! Right in the middle of town.
Poor old ducks don't have much water to swim in, most of the pond is frozen solid!

Rosie loves to leap about in the snow, so much that is hard to get a picture of her but her she is running back to me and about to leap over Finn!
Well in case I don't get back on here this week I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Winter wonderland

Doggins walks have been absolutely lovely for the past 2 days, the snow/ice/frost in the woods is so pretty. I have been slightly concerned that I might bump into the Snow Queen at some point!! There was a very scarey picture of her in my Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale book and I have never forgotten it, or the need to turn several pages at once so that you didn't catch a glimpse of her before bedtime!! We are talking several decades ago but I find the imagination has a powerful memory!

Well I have been busy knitting, a brown/lime striped scarf and a Norie Hat from Shetland Trader, there are some fantastic patterns in the book and the great thing is you get an e-copy immediately and then the solid version is sent in the post!! So you can start straight away but also have the joy of savouring each page later on. The photos are lovely with some beautiful scenery so there is plenty of enjoyment in store!! I'm using British Breeds yarn in purple, I got the wool from superknits, which is run by a local girl, Gemma, she had a stall at the Christmas Craft Market in town and I got this and 2 balls of sock yarn by babylonglegs, which I expect will be shawls one day!! I am now doing a pair of fingerless gloves to go with Norie Hat, they are from November issue of Creative Knitting, which I have subscribed to as a digital mag. This is a great idea as you have access to 2 years past issues as well as current ones, without having a pile of magazines hanging about and it costs about 1/2 the price of printed subs.

I am excited to get my parcels of sewing fabric I ordered last week but I must give a huge plug for Jaycotts they are definitely the best mail order company I have ever used. I ordered some patterns and haberdashery stuff last Friday morning and it was here on Saturday morning, that is pretty impressive by any standards. Their prices are also very reasonable, in fact it has been cheaper to order zips from them even with postage than buy the zip at a local shop!! This does cause me to have a few qualms because I do like to support local shops especially yarn and sewing shops. I have less worries about buying fabric on the net as there are a no great shops near here. Well there is the rag market in Birmingham and while lots of that is cheap price wise the quality is also cheap. Its great for curtain fabric though, so I shall be going along to get something for my new living room very soon!! But back to dress fabric and Croftmill have just emailed to say they have dispatched my fabric so sewing machine get yourself ready for a bit of work!!


Friday, 3 December 2010

Creative Juices are rising!!

Well I've spent a happy hour ordering fabric and related stuff on the net, so I'm planning a few weeks of happy sewing and creating!! I've been getting very fed up with myself lately I have a head full of things I want to do but can't seem to get my lazy butt up and into action!!

Today I have plans!! We have just had a new bathroom fitted and new Kitchen floor laid both beautiful but the process has left shovelfuls of dust!! So today I tackle it!! In doing that I will clear the dining room so I have space to sew again!! and we can sit at the table for our meals and we can invite friends to share our meals!!

I'm also very bored with the look of this blog, which is what puts me off doing much on it!! So this weekend after the big dust I'm going to have a play at that!! Look out a new me is on the way!! I've just christened myself Queen of Power only fair as my daughter thinks she is Princess of Power, anyone else remember She-Ra, she may have been Lion Cat's mate!!

Dusting here I come!!

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

I'm cross, very cross

Hey, I have just listened to a podcast on Woman's hour from 16/9/10 a discussion between Vicky Simister of the London anti-harassment campaign and a guy called Brendan O'Neill. They were talking about why young girls don't like being wolf-whistled and sexual innuendos made about their body and appearance in public by groups of young men. Brendan didn't see how these kinds of taunts were as unacceptable as racist taunts would be!! He felt that to stop men doing this would curtail their freedom of speech rights!! I'm speechless and I'm not often that, I can tell you!

I have always hated this kind of behaviour cos I was never sure it was directed at me, and even if it was, it made me feel uncomfortable. I'm older now and it isn't ever directed at me but times have changed and the kinds of things that are shouted are much more explicit and more intimidating, if the stories we heard on the programme are anything to go by. Also it is often a group of men and a lone female. So putting aside the sexist issues here, which I do agree are very important, when did it become right and libertarian to protect one group's freedom of speech by allowing them to make individuals feel at least uncomfortable and more likely unsafe and vulnerable.

I'm sorry this is a bit of a rant but I can't believe that a young man in today's society is still so blinkered. When talking about human rights, and freedom of speech is one of those, there is always balance and compromise because we live in a society together and one person's freedom may mean someone else's restriction and we must weigh the importance of these things. When "banter" means physical fear and discomfort then we have to say it is wrong and must be curtailed so that everyone can feel at ease on our streets!

Quite frankly I think this is an issue of common decency as much as it is a feminist issue. If one persons actions make another uncomfortable then it is wrong no matter what!!

Follow this link and see what you think and let me know.

Monday, 20 September 2010

What a great Summer!!

So I'm back now after a long summer break, with lots of news, for those of you who read my ramblings. I still can't really believe that anybody does, but thanks to those of you who do!!

Me, the tune-king and all 3 lovely doggins had a fantastic holiday in our motor home touring Scotland. I think its the best holiday we've ever had, something I do say most years!! But this year I really,really mean it, it was so relaxing and we loved motor home living, it was comfy and cosy and fantastic to have everything with you when you go out for the day, cup of tea when you like, get lunch when you want it and no packing up sarnies !! Then if it rains you park up, read the paper and when it stops you are ready to get out and go for a walk, I can't think of anything better, you can keep your 5*hotels, me I'm a motor home girl. We were able to be away for 3 weeks which we have never managed before and I highly recommend that too, even the tune-king completely relaxed until at the end of our holiday, I backed the motor home back onto our drive, a tricky operation that seemed to raise his stress levels a tad, talk about steam and ears!!

As you know I'm always fighting the flab, well I have to report a successful fight is taking place, I have lost over a stone since January (some of those lbs have been lost twice!) and I still seem to be losing. My clothes are fitting much better, I still have a way to go but I'm going to get there. I'm sure walking the dogs much more often is helping, and I certainly feel much better, no huffing and puffing on the mildest of slopes now and I can walk much faster than before, one day I may even keep up with the tune-king.




The other thing to report is that I passed my counselling certificate with merit and I had my first graduation!!






I did do quite a bit of knitting over the summer, 2 shawls that both need blocking, so pics soon,
and this cardi , which is Rosalind by a mingled yarn. I knitted it in Rowan cotton perle, a lightweight DK, which was perfct for this pattern as it makes a heavy weight garment without it being bulky. I was also lucky enough to be near Stirling for the last weekend of knit camp, where I was encouraged to spend what I liked, honestly I was and I did spend a bit and got some lovely yarns, several sock weights, which may be christmas socks for some folks, another shawl for me and I have just purchased an armwarmer pattern from yarnissima, which I have some gorgeous, cashmere/silk mix yarn from Artisan yarns, in purple, so photos of that coming when I've knitted them!!



Here are a couple of friends I met and had lunch with who were also wearing Leisl cardis!! Three in a row for lunch!! It was great to see how different they all looked as we had all chosen different yarn, it has inspired me to make another in DK yarn and see how that turns out.




I am failing on the self stitched september, I'm afraid, I had such plans to sew lots before I went away but I did enjoy doing not much and also I had joined fatty club (slimming world really!!) and so didn't want to waste fabric and effort if I was going to get smaller. however I did make a dress from curtain fabric that looked very Cath Kidston, I used celeste from burdastyle. The pattern was great it was easy to fit and really flattered my figure and I wore it to my niece's wedding but somehow, I missed getting a photo of me!!! Now that I have got into a size that I think I will remain for a bit even while losing, I'm going to attempt the bella trousers from burdastyle. They are a wide leg high waist style and I think I will be able to carry them off now that I have less of a belly!! If I can't I'll just wear long tops til I can!!

If any of you are new to sewing I do recommend the burdastyle site, they have some free patterns which you can download and print without leaving home!! It does mean they are printed on A4 paper so you have to do a bit of piecing together before you can start but I find they are great size wise and you can find links to other people who have made that design and so can see a variety of fabrics and sizes as well as how they have added their own touches for individuality!!


Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Lovely time


Well its a while since I blogged anything, but have been having a great time being lazy, visiting friends and getting a new doggins!! Rosie joined our family about 2 weeks ago, and although she was very quiet and timid to start with she is finding her feet now and is a bundle of energy!! This is her settling down on the sofa but when we go out for walks she whizzes round and round jumping over my other 2 boys and sometimes just jumping for sheer joy!! All 3 dogs are getting on very well, she was very submissive to start with and knows her place with them now so that has helped. However, she now wants them to play and as they are quite old they feel this is beyond their dignity!! She rolls around in front of and often on top of them!! She licks their faces and nips their heels which Finny , my elderly Spaniel takes in good part but he is top dog and sure of it so just pushes her away!! Jinski, my Shih-Tzu, sees it as a definite affront to his dignity and tries not to even notice she is there!!
Anyway enough of sounding like the mad dog-woman!!

Not much making has gone on here, chez bagqueen, I have done a bit with my lucet and made some cords but haven't raised the energy to add the fixings to turn it into anything useful!! I've done a bit of knitting but not finished anything and I'm quilting my Happy Campers piece, ready to be a cushion for the van, when we go away in 2 weeks. In fact, when I have been sitting watching TV I have been doing just that sitting!! Not like me at all!! But there is something else not like me I have been walking!!! Partly because of Rosie's arrival and partly because I have finally joined Fatty Club, again!!! They prefer to call it Slimming World but I know what it really is and if I wasn't a fatty I wouldn't be there!! Having said that, it is the most successful diet for me, I have lost before on it and it's working again now! I have lost 5 and 1/2 lbs in my first 2 weeks, which is fab cos for the first week I was staying with friends, the very hardest place to diet because you haven't got any control over the food or the way it is cooked. After 2 weeks I'm pretty much into the routine and last night, met a friend, early evening, and didn't even think of eating until I got back just after 10 - that is good for me!! If you struggle to lose weight, I can really recommend slimming world, the diet is really just healthy eating, I don't know how it works because you can eat so much but you need never feel hungry. Also they never push a goal weight on you, it is entirely up to you and you can set as many interim goals as you want, so that you feel you are achieving and don't lose heart because you have so much to lose!! So there's my plug for Slimming World!!

Tomorrow, I have my interview for college and my diploma course next year and I think I might try and make a skirt for that, the fabric is pressed and waiting on the dining room table and if I get on with it I could still manage it!! I plan to take part in self stitched september, with so zo and 130 others but the whole losing weight thing is slowing me down, and I want to get some stuff made in advance, but I'm ever hopeful I will be smaller by then, not much I know but a bit!!

I also wanted to thank all of you who have clicked to be followers of this blog, I don't know why but it gives me a real buzz that you check in now again to read my rambly thoughts and see my makes. I haven't tracked down all of your blogs yet but I will if you have one and see what you are up to. This ole web thing is fab for getting like minded people together and I have found so many new ideas and seen such fantastically creative stuff that I would never have known about, so thanks to one and all for letting others have a peek at your worlds!!


Saturday, 19 June 2010

Liesl

So this is my Liesl Cardi the pattern is available from Ysolda's website, I did check out the lovely cottons that she had used for her versions but didn't want to wait for mail order so I used Sirdar Denim Chunky. This is a wool/cotton/acrylic mix so it is soft enough to keep the chill off in the summer (if it ever arrives!!) but will be a warm layer in the Autumn. I originally wanted a red version of this yarn but couldn't get it at my LYS so settled for burgundy/marl and it was a good choice as it seems to go with most of my things!! It blends wells with brown and is fine with navy and black and maybe a red version would not have been so useful.

The pattern is feather and fan so is a 4 row simple pattern to remember and because it is a top down construction there was no sewing up, just a few ends to sew in, my fav!!! I have done a couple of top down garments but I'm not very experienced at fitting them etc, I did thread this onto waste yarn and with the help of Sticks and Strings members, decided to do another 2 pattern repeats, I did not want it tight under the arms!! However now it is finished I wonder if I needed to do them but it is very comfy and I have worn it most days since I finished it!!

Sticks and Strings is the Friday afternoon knitting group that I belong to, a group of us have got together from Ravelry and now we meet once a fortnight in a pub, The White Horse. We've met for a few months now and we are really getting to know one another well, we have a good time together and share all our latest purchases as well a few laughs!! I have also been part of a starting group for a Tuesday evening group, these are mainly new knitters but at slightly different stages. We've been meeting for 5 or 6 weeks now and last Tuesday we sat companionably knitting and chatting and I don't think anyone shouted for help!! We also have our first garment made, the ray of hope hat, which you can find as a free download from Ravelry. Very exciting!!

Friday, 18 June 2010

The Epic Walk!!


So here are a few pix to show you how brave my lovely tune-king and our daughter are, they walked 100 from Keld to Robin Hood's Bay in the direst weather, that Yorkshire can offer at this time of year. Here they are at the start, weather was ok, not hot but cloudy, good walking weather, but that was not to last as you can see!!



Day 2 and the rain has started as they have left the b & b!!
And now the fog has fallen and that stream is the path!! This was day 2 still and there were no more views because the fog lasted until the last day when they could see the sea and the sun came out!







The sun is out and the end is in sight even if it is still about 4 miles away!!


They throw in their stones collected from St Bee's Head on the other side of England!
They both did really well, and carried on despite the horrid weather and aches and pains, they raised loads of dosh, about £800 between them and my husband tells me that our daughter did not moan once. She even confided that when they were in fog, high winds and rain on the moors, he did tell her, that he was glad she was with him and not me!! And I have to say he was dead right, I don't walk those kind of distances and if I did I think I would definitely be a fair weather walker!! Or a very miserable wet walker, and I'm not known for keeping my misery to myself!!

Thank you to anyone that sponsored them, the money will be put to good use this summer helping to bring a bit of joy into the lives of youngsters in Croatia and Bosnia.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Good Day for bargains!!

Today I visited a local town with a friend especially to check out a yarn shop but it was closed all day Thursday, however there are a good selection of charity shops. And more excitingly there are quite a few larger ladies that donate good stuff to them!! Usually the big sizes are ghastly nylon fabric and hideous styles!! Can anyone tell me why so many ladies with generous proportions want to wear those kind of fabrics!! Maybe I'm just being a natural fibre snob but they are so much more comfy even if the ironing is a pain!!

Anyway, I have been looking for a denim jacket for a while, just an ordinary one nothing too special but there are soo expensive!! Anyway today I found one that fitted perfectly for £3.99, perfect! Then I was on a roll, I bought curtains that will be enough to make a skirt, and a dress and probably even more, Sound of Music eat your heart out!! A brushed cotton bedsheet that will make great jamas for the winter, a pair of linen cropped trews, a stripey t-shirt and 2 books, Charlotte Gray and an autobiography of a midwife in 1950s in east end of London and they were a bogof!!! All for under a tenner, now you can't say fairer than that can you!! Much of it is in the wash as we speak (!) so pics will come later!!

Now we are going out for a pizza on a buy one get a 2nd for £1 offer, will the bargains never stop!! A group at church are running Alpha Course in Pizza Express so we are supporting that but we will also be celebrating cos my lovely handsome tune-king got a job today!!

Tomorrow I'll show some pics of their epic walk last week!! Toodle-oo!


Tuesday, 8 June 2010

I am revising really!!

I have been revising but I will be glad to be released from doing so after tomorrow!! I have just had a little flick through some blogs while I'm having lunch!! I have finally bought Bella trousers by Burdastyle, I have only used their free patterns so far but so many peeps have made bella trews and put pics on tinternet that I have decided to give it a go. I need a new trouser pattern and wide leg are the style that suits me best, mainly cos I have wide legs!! Now every one I see in theses trews looks very slim and talks about "have you lost weight?" type conversations when they wear them!! Now this could be cos they are slim and tall and gorgeous and some definitely are but maybe there are a few in there that are short and rounded like myself and these trews have a magic effect!! Well I have a piece of light purple gabardine that is begging to be a pair of trews and if that works I may make some kneeish length one for my hols cos its bound to rain and I don't want wet trouser legs flapping at the ankle!!

I have a good feeling here, this could the pattern to revolutionise my legs!! I'm off back to psychology and how it blends with the christian faith. See you soon, with pics of my bella trews and my wet daughter and tune-king as they trudge across Northern England in the rain!!

Friday, 4 June 2010

Challenges for clan bagqueen

So I'm a sucker for a challenge especially one that encourages me to sew more!! and I'm now signed up with sozo again for a self-stitched-september. I was rubbish at documenting MMM and I kinda lost the plot the more I coughed and the more revision I had to do but this time there are 3 whole months of relaxation and knitting and sewing ahead of me so I will be prepared (I wasn't a girl guide for nothing!!) and I'll try harder. "At last!" I hear my erstwhile teachers shout she's following the advice on her school report, only about 40 years too late!!

You'll be glad to know my cough is gone completely and apart from a normal little tickle occasionally, I'm back to normal well my version of normal anyway!! The exams are nearly done, one last wednesday and the last paper is on this wednesday coming, which will be a harder paper in some ways but the lecturer has made it as easy as she can!! We have had the questions for 2 weeks so we can prepare our answers and only have to learn what is relevant to the exam. But it isn't just a case of learning the relevant facts it's more learn the facts and tell me what you think and why!! Now I have never had a problem telling people what I think but the difficult bit on this one is that the exam is only 1 hour long and there are 2 questions, so I have to clear and concise, now that is stretching my comfort zone!! Hey ho! its not meant to be too easy and I'm not moaning cos I'm so enjoying the studying, although paradoxically I do have my usual problem of getting down to doing it!!

Well guys I have a busy weekend coming up, I'm treating myself to a trip to a quilt day tomorrow, though I won't be able to stay all day!! Then My tune-king and our daughter are off to Yorkshire to complete the coast to coast walking challenge they started last year. They will be walking from Keld to Robin Hoods Bay in 4 1/2 days. They will be doing it come rain or shine and those of you familiar with Northern England will know they have more than an even chance of rain!! And they are doing 23-ish miles / day for 3 days then 17 miles day 4 and 16 on the last 1/2 day!! I shall be taking them to the start on Monday morning having stayed with friends in the Lake District on Sunday and collecting them on Friday afternoon from the coast. We are all looking forward to Fish and Chips looking out over the sea that night!!

If you'd like to support them please go to The tune-king's justgiving page. They are raising funds for the charity we work for. Its called bless and we will be spending the money on sending teams of young people out to Croatia and Bosnia, where they will do fun stuff with children and young people. If you want to know more go and check it out here!!

So I hope the sunshine lasts over the weekend and that you all have a fun time, I will squeezing a bit of revising in at the edges then one last day on Tuesday of concentrated brain stuffing and then by Wednesday at 2.15pm it will be over for this year!! Whilst I'm looking forward to a bit of a break, I have to say I have enjoyed it so much. I have met some fab people and I will be taking some pics for future blogs. I have loved stretching my mind and studying and in addition to that I have learnt so much about myself and how I tick, which has been hard at times but will make a difference to me as I continue to live this glorious life I have been given!!

So let me encourage you, if there is something you want to do, give it a go and see what happens, you never know you may find your dreams are there waiting where you least expected to find them!!

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

I can't stop coughing

Sorry guys, I haven't sorted my passing on of the sweet blogger award, I've had a rotten cold which as usual has resulted in a cough that won't stop or go away!! I'm also trying to revis for my exams next week and the week after in between coughing bouts!! Today I've hardly done anything as I kept falling asleep! Well My Mum used to say sleep is the best healer so hopefully I will feel better for my drive to college tomorrow and last lectures before the exams.

I have been really bad at the MMM lark since I've felt so rough but I have been wearing MMM over the weekend but forgot to take pics!! some of the outfits were repeats in different combos so not that interesting anyway. However I did wear the first dress I made from a duvet cover, I had forgotten what a flattering pattern it is for me and as I remember quite quick and easy to put together, I have 2 curtain lengths that would suit but I think they need bleaching to fade them out a bit before wearing. I haven't ever tried this technique so I think a little experimenting needs to take place this weekend. then some stitching but it may have to wait for completion until after 9th June, when I'll be free for the summer!!

Friday, 21 May 2010

Sweet Blogger Award

Hey I've just discovered I've recieved a sweet blogger award from Anne at Anne's antics.
The rules are that I thank the giver so thank you very much Anne, and now I have to name 10 other recipients, but its really late and I'm so tired so I'm going to have a think and name people tomorrow!

Sleep well everyone.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

MMM again!! A good day

No pics today, mainly because it would be a bit boring, I got up late and dressed in a hurry so just grabbed my jersey dress from the other day. It is sooo easy to wear that it is often a first choice!!

My day today has been really good, I know I have mentioned before that I have been going through a bit of a time of depression over the last few months, well I finally feel that I am coming out of it and beginning to be pleased that I'm still part of this world!! Today was a really good day, I started the day praying with a group of friends. It has been a while since that has brought me any deep joy but today it was great, I always know God is there and on my side but sometimes it is more of a head thing than a heart thing. Today the whole body joined in yay!!

Then I saw my counsellor and that was really encouraging, I'm really seeing how the process is working for me and believing in it even more. It is a requirement of the course I'm doing, that we have 10 sessions of counselling and it is really helpful to be the client and experience the process. It makes all the learning to be the counsellor make sense!!

Then this evening I met with 3 others in a local pub, they had asked me to teach them to knit so we decided to meet there and make it a social evening as well. The barmaid came up and asked if we met regularly and could she join us? So first meeting and we are growing already!! All 3 of my friends succcessfully knitted for the evening, although it may not have been as chatty as they thought it would be, as there was some deep concentration going on!!

I hope all you guys out there had a good day too, I've had so many dreary days that I had forgotten what fun it is to have day like today!! I'd like to sing a little song to celebrate, so I'll potter off and do that and you can be glad you can't hear me cos even cats sound better than me!!

Monday, 10 May 2010

Me-Made-May 7 & 8



Well I am trying with MMM but I'm failing a bit on the documentation front!! I have a couple of days to show you now but yesterday I completely forgot to photograph the outfit!! However, I have asked my husband to take my pic so often in the last week that if he asked if I was selling myself on the internet rather than bags!! I think it would have to be piecemeal, not sure whole package is worth much and the postage would be astronomical!!!

Anyway here are day 7 and 8

Actually it is day 8 then day 7 on far right!! I'm sorry day 7 is a bit dark and I look a bit scruffy, I just remembered to take the pic before going to bed!! I'm wearing a jersey dress, which has to be my best make of the year, I have worn it loads, its very comfy and washes like a dream, no ironing and doesn't crease when it is folded up in a suitcase!! I'm also wearing a hand knit cardi over the top, it may be May but it has been very chilly here!! This cardi is a bit of a cheat as I didn't knit it, friend did!!

Day 8 I'm wearing jeans and t-shirt not MMM but the tunic top, scarf and earrings are all my own work. The fabric is an old Rowan quilting cotton from my stash, it was one of the first KaffeFasset designs that they did and to be honest it wasn't great quality so I never used it for quilting but I like it for this tunic top. The scarf is a free pattern from Noro, that takes one skein of sock yarn and is very quick and easy to do, I got the pattern from the shop where I bought the wool so I haven't got a link but if anyone is interested let me know and I'll hunt it out.

The patterns I used were New look 6722 for the dress and Simplicity 3867 for the tunic top. I can't seem to get pics of them onto the blog but there is a link to the New Look one!! Technology beats me again!!

I have 2 knitting things on the go, Ysolda's Leisl Cardi, which I'm knitting in Sirdar Denim, chunky in a purple marl mix, and a bag by Claire Crompton which I got at Wonderwool. Its made of squares but you knit them together as you go so no painful sewing up!!

I must go and get on with some revision as I have a big assessment this weekend for the end of my Counselling Certificate!!

Thursday, 6 May 2010

At Last My Folksy Shop

At long, long last after much talking and little doing I have set up my folksy shop, and there's a link on my sidebar. As usual I'm battling the techy elements of this and have yet to get the folksy logo on the sidebar and the banner on my shop is eye catchingly bright pink but needs more oomph but that is much harder for me than making bags to sell. So I have enlisted help and hopefully will be sorted soon. There is a small selection of the stuff I make, some knitted and some sewn but their are loads more in the pipeline we occasionally refer to as my brain!!

On the MMM front, I'm afraid I have not got dressed last 2 days as I have a sick bug, and none of us want to see what I'm wearing as I sit in bed typing this!! I have slept 18 of last 24 hours on and off and this morning decided to risk brekkie, big mistake, now trying to keep very still!! "That's quite enough information", says the more sensitive side of my brain!!





Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Me-Made-May


So I'm getting into the swing of MMM, I have managed to wear stuff made by me for 2 days and I've photographed it and added it to the others on the Me-Made-May flickr group, check that link to see all the great creations people are making and wearing from all over the world. Ain't the tinternet a wonderful thing?!?

Any way here is my Day 3 outfit, I refashioned the pinafore, knitted the top and the bag is made from leftover denim and a curtain remnant! I haven't made all new for this venture but I'm trying to wear only my makes for this month, although I will be making some new outfits!!

This is Day 4 outfit, the jeans are not made by me, but the tunic top, knitted top and jacket have all been crafted by my fair hands!! I have even made the necklace and earrings to make up for the jeans!!

I'm also putting together some bags and purses to sell on Folksy, as soon as the page is ready I'll be posting the details.

I hope you enjoy looking at the other MMM creations on flickr.


Monday, 3 May 2010

Patchwork


I spent 2 days with some great patchwork friends last week, I no longer live near them so I can't get to our weekly group but when we do get together we slot back into our old friendships and laugh together and share the joys and worries of our respective families. I love friendships like that, where you can just pick up where you left off, however long ago that was!

Well on day 1 we had lunch and catch up and then a visit to a patchwork shop!! I wasn't going to buy anything but I found a pack of charm squares called Happy Campers and just couldn't resist. Last weekend in the camper van had made me realise that it is a bit beige and bland and needs Janeyfying!! So on Day 2 I made a table cover, using a technique called disappearing nine patch. Its very simple and really good to use for charm squares as there are enough to do 4 roughly 12" blocks with a few squares over so you can swap them in if you need to for colour or pattern balance.

A charm pack is 4 1/2" squares, 1 of each fabric in the range, in each colourway. I started by laying out all my squares and discarding the ones I didn't really like. Then I arranged the rest of the squares into 9 square block, ie 3 square by 3 squares. This is easier said than done because you need a balance of colour and pattern, also at this point you need to remember that is only the four corners that will not get cut so they need to be the fabrics you really like and in my range I had some picture fabrics so I wanted to keep them whole. When you have stitched your 9 patches, you then take your rotary cutter and cut them in half vertically and horizontally, you are left with 4 blocks / 9-patch which have a large 4" square, a strip on 2 sides and a small 2" square in the opposite corner. This would have been so much easier to explain if I had taken pics on the way!! But we have discussed my brain disconnection problem before!!

Anyway rearrange the squares and rejoin them. The trick with doing this is being able to look forward to next step whenever you arrange the squares, the first time I did it I have very pleasing 9-patch but when cut up it was more difficult to arrange and get a good balance. Anyway this time, I had a bit of forethought in my head and also my wonderful friend Joan, who has a great colour sense and makes very gentle suggestions, so you think you have done it yourself but actually she has carefully guided you through the whole process!!

Can you see that wonderful camping scene straight from "Five go Camping"? All the fabics were so wonderfully retro, here are some more close ups

and lastly,

These are at the last re-arranging stage.

I have now stitched them together and I need to check the stash and put together a backing and and some wadding and I'm planning to hand quilt this as it is quite a small project, more pics of that when we are to that stage!! This is the final arrangement.

Latest Refashion


I mentioned a few posts ago that I wanted a rucksack to wear when riding my bike, as my normal bags keep falling out of the basket or I buy too much shopping to balance everything on the bike! Well I did have a look around the shops and either the ones I like were way too expensive, as bags are always a whim with me!! Or they were too sporty, outdoorsy for me, I love my bike but it is just a way of getting around for me so I have to wear normal clothes etc, I'm not into the whole lycra special outfit stuff. Which if you knew me you would breathe a huge sigh of relief, I'm not built for lycra, or only in industrial quantities!!

So I decided to have a wander through the many black sacks of cast off clothing I have accumulated from my daughter and her friends mainly!! I found a charcoal gray/almost black suit and decided I could use the jacket!

I drew around an A4 folder as this was the size I wanted the bag, onto pattern paper, Then I added a bit for ease and seam allowances and curved the corners. I cut 2 of these pieces from the back of the jacket, I kept the lining attached as I knew I would need the layers for padding. Then I found an old skirt in my stash that was cotton and used that for lining, I cut the back piece around an existing pocket so that I would have an internal pocket at no extra work!!

I then layered the pieces with wadding in between and machine quilted in a wavy pattern, which is a pre-set stitch pattern on my machine. I cut the side and bottom gusset, 3"wide, from the sleeves and layered them in the same way and quilted them. The front pocket is the pocket from the front of the suit jacket, I cut a big square from the front then trimmed away 1 1/4" squares from each corner then joined the 2 short edges at each corner so that the pocket had a bit of depth. I did this without damaging the pocket inner of the original jacket so that there would be 2 layers and the pocket would be a bit stronger. I then made a flower and decorated the pocket,
The pattern for this flower is from artsy-crafty babe, so thank you to Rebekah (great blog btw). It was very easy to do and I had been given some precut circles so I used them, the button was also from a bag of goodies I've been given. there is a little stitching but I used glue gun for assembly so very quick!

I joined all the pieces wrong side to wrong side and then bound the edges, this was not only the easiest way, but also means each join is stitched 3 times so has added strength. I made the straps from the fronts, the top from the shoulder down past the lapels. This part of a tailored jacket, has lots of layers for shaping and finish, I used them all, stitching them together on my overlocker, I then added strong tape to meet the bottom, centre of the back. Before I fixed this position, I tried it on and got it comfy on my back and made sure I could get it on and off easily as I didn't want to got to the fuss of making adjustable straps!! The zip came from my stash so I didn't need to but anything to make this rucksack so that was pleasing!!

I really enjoyed making this project, I did the designing and working out in my head during the previous few days so that by the time I sat down to do it, everything went very smoothly. I have used it this last week while I have been away and it has been very useful. I have also had an outing on the bike with it and was very glad of it cos I always buy more than fits in the paniers and basket!!

Me made May


I've been away this last week so no posts but I have made a very poor start to MMM. This weekend appears to have been one of those where my brain and I part company!! I spent a couple of days with my daughter and her friends (all lovely and fantastic hosts and hostesses, truly pampered!!) where I managed to mishear things and find myself talking out loud when I should have been just thinking!! This proved to cause much hilarity amongst the friends and my daughter permanently trying to convince herself that I hadn't gone faintly senile!!

Anyway the connection to MMM is that I missed day 1 because I thought it was still April and yesterday I did wear all made by me clothes but forgot to get a photo taken!! I will do better today!! and hopefully the rest of the month!! I'm still contemplating today's outfit so pics later! Today is a bank holiday here in England, which usually means mooching around in an outfit that is maybe only one step up from jamas, that is ok to walk the dogs in, comfy for lounging and I don't mind getting covered in threads for when I sew! I don't tend to sew those kinds of outfits but maybe I will refashion something to fit that bill during the month. Today we are also seeing friends for tea so that definitely means something bit tidier and co-ordinated so I thinking denim pinafore and knitted top.

Meanwhile a bit of catch-up, during my absence from blogging, I have been to Wonderwool in Wales. We took our motor home/camper van out for its first trip this year and stayed just out side Rhayader, the site was quite small and very quiet and we had a fab view over the River Wye and up to hills behind. It an area where they have worked at re-building a colony(?) of Red Kites. Now I'm not any kind of bird watcher, you have to be too still and quiet, but my husband is big on the whole nature thing and so I do have these things pointed out to me and Red Kites are really quite spectacular and easy to identify. So even I kept an eye on the sky and kept shouting,"there's one!" we had pretty good weather, lots of sunshine by welsh standards and really quite warm.

But I was starting the brain separation phase that weekend because I carried my camera around the whole time and forgot to take any pics at all!! So I can only show you pics of what I bought at Wonderwool when I got home. There was loads to see and feel, yarn to excite me for knitting but lots of new stuff to interest me too. There was heaps of felting and dyeing, spinning and weaving. I do like the look of spinning wheels but I'm way too impatient for that process. But felting looked interesting, I have tried knitting things and felting them but it has not been very successsful, and just seemed a bit of a waste of good quality yarn. I did stop and watch someone making felted beads and felted discs around a curtain ring that you then embellish and make really pretty brooches and that seemed well within my capabilities and more to the point my budget as it was the end of the day!! So this is the fleece I bought to make some jewellery, I have a couple of birthdays coming up so I think I can do some pretty stuff with these colours.
These are my other purchases, two skeins of yarn, one silk.
and this one that is cashmere and merino mixed,

both of these are suitable for lace knitting and I want to do a smallish triangular shawl/scarf, possibly a swallowtail but I need a bit of a roam around Ravelry and my own patterns to make my mind up. They will definitely be quite lacey so could be holiday knitting where I can concentrate and not loost my way on the pattern!!

The next purchases were these lovely vintage buckles from a lady who sadly does not have a website but she had a lovely selection of buttons and fastenings and they were very reasonable I thought.

I can just see them on self fabric belts making my dresses (unmade as yet!) look very finished and professional!

Lastly I bought some patterns from Claire Crompton, I bought some of hers last year. She doesn't tie you into any particular yarn so you can use up leftovers really easily!! This year I bought a bag pattern (of course!), a modular sock pattern, and a lariat, that you can make in anything from 4ply to chunky. I'm making one in 2 strands of 1 ply shetland on the tiniest needles and I'm beading it as I go so it will be a necklace, finished pics soon!!

So that was my weekend in Wales, most enjoyable made even more so by having the motorhome parked at home now, we were unpacked in 30 mins and sitting down with a cuppa, bliss!!

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Thoughts

Well I have been thinking through the implications of me-made-may, As usual I have decided to go for the whole hog before thinking things through properly!! Enthusiasm always wins over practicality with me!!

I have several dresses I could wear, a couple of pinafore dresses, and some tops, plus cardis and socks, but I haven't got any trousers that I have made at the moment. However, I have several pairs of trousers and jeans that are all fine, so I don't need to make any!! I'm really trying not to over buy/make stuff. My whole theory of refashioning and making is also about training myself to be content with enough and not excess.

So I have got enough made by me outfits to last a month with a bit of mix and match, but I know I will need to wear trousers at some point so I may have to say I will do made by me except trews!! I know this is probably splitting hairs and you probably don't need to be so involved in the cogs turning in my brain but I like to be fair about stuff and not cheat!!

I have also been thinking about the back-pack problem and have some ideas that involve an old suit, some shirts and jean offcuts!! Just trying to work out what I can do for the straps, and do they need to be adjustable!

Well I'm off to continue to think and will share any conclusions I come to in a day or so! Feel free to add your conclusions!


Sunday, 18 April 2010

I'm home


Well I'm home from my wanderings. I had a pretty good time and I spent 4 days with my gorgeous daughter so that was great. It's now sunday afternoon and I'm feeling pretty lazy so I'm sitting in bed trawling through my fav blogs. I find its a bit like catching up with old friends without the emotional energy needed for that.

As you know I have been a great supporter of Wardrobe Refashion and all that it stands for, well now that it's changing and a new blog has started called The Thrifty Garde Robe and I've been checking posts on there and after a wander away from there, I found a blog called So, Zo and she is holding a, made-by-me-may. In March she pledged to wear only things she had made herself, except undies, tights and shoes and was so enthused she wants to do it again in May and has invited others to join her. You can do a lite version by wearing only 1 handmade thing a day, or just weekends or just 1 week of May. I'm going to try for the whole hog but for me it will include refashioned stuff as well as made from scratch.

On the way back from London we visited Bicester Village outlet shops. It was a lovely sunny day and so was very pleasant walking round, I did buy some shoes cos Clarke's were doing 3 for 2 and my daughter was buying a pair, they are a pair of red loafers, that are the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn. I would never usually buy that style and I'm still not why I did, but they are comfy and I will wear them!!

We also went into several bag shops but didn't really see anything to die for, but I did find several in the Radley shop that were definitely worth hanging on the crook of your arm!! But I have a ton of bags and I can now resisit them fairly well. but I am looking for a back pack to use on my bike, as my normal bags don't fit in my basket and if I get shopping I need the basket for that, and lo! in Radley they had a nice soft cushiony back pack a bit like this, except the one at Bicester was purple!! It did have a 1/3 discount but still a lot of money for what will prove to be a whim!! So I need to make a backpack from all this ton of fabric I have lurking in every corner of my house!!

I handed over the secret projects at the weekend, they were socks for him and a shawl for her!! both were much appreciated but the socks were a little long so I had to alter them but that was a quick job and now fit perfectly, so Happy Anniversary Sara and Andrew.

This is the back of the shawl, it is a feather and fan pattern and the wool was called Silver streak, very apt for 25 years!! I cannot tell you how hard it is to find silver grey sock wool, or maybe I have had that particular moan!!

These are the socks, you'll notice they have one coloured toe! That was because I ran out of wool when I made them originally, however, when I made them smaller, the coloured toe was much admired so I had re-create it even though I did have enough original wool!!

And this is me with pin curls, I think it looked better in real life!! I would definitely do them again, I put the grips in to damp hair in the morning and took them out about 5 hours later and they lasted all evening and the next day!! I think they would have looked better on longer hair but that will have to wait!!

Friday, 9 April 2010

Parasol top and pin curls!!


So this is the parasol top that I made from the Cynthia Rowley
pattern, shown in a previous post. the fabric pattern doesn't show up on this photo, because it is a bit light. Sorry photography is not one of my skills or more to this point one of my husband's!! But it is a really pretty fabric with different colour parasols all over it, in lots of colours and although they are light they aren't as pastelly as it looks here!!

This is also a day old pincurls which have been refreshed with my straighteners!! I'm definitely a fan of pin curls, I'm not sure the back of my hair is quite long enough yet as it is very layered, but the front looked good yesterday when it was done. I'm afraid I have a rotten cold so wasn't really up to posting yesterday, I'm a bit surprised I managed to do the pincurl thing at all!!

Anyway I'm off to a party this weekend and I haven't even had to buy so much as a pair of stockings for it!! My outfit all comes from my wardrobe and that is quite an achievement especially as the dear old tune-king, offered to buy me a new dress!! I'm off to wonderwool in Wales in a couple of weeks and would rather spend there than buy a new dress that won't get many wearings!! Also I kinda like the feel that I had a hand in putting something together, I refashioned the skirt for Saturday from an evening dress I found in a charity shop!! So I would rather make something now than buy it anyway!!


This is the back of the parasol top and as you can see it gaps a bit, which I'm not going to do anything about for this top but next time I will change it. There are 2 ways I can do this, I can make 2 tiny darts in the pattern before cutting, on the neckline so taking in that fullness. I'm a little worried that if I do this it may be difficult to get on as its made from a stable fabric. Or I can cut the neckline a bit lower at the back, and again reduce the fullness. I only have enough fabric for a sleeveless version for the next one and I don't want the neck line to be too much bigger in case it keeps falling off my shoulders!! So have any of you got any ideas for me? It hardly seems noticeable in this picture but it feels like a big gap as I'm wearing the top!!

I have finished all my secret projects in plenty of time and will be handing them over this weekend so will post pics after that.

I have also started an Elizabeth Zimmermann Baby Surprise Jacket, and I'm faithfully following the instructions, but it definitely looks odd and even with the instructions and pictures I cannot for the life of me see how it will work so I will post details of that when I finish it. I was too lazy to do a tension square, and - I couldn't read the ball band, the writing was too, too tiny! I had spare balls of 4ply to use so I have done it in that and the tension seemed roughly right but if you fold it where I think you do it will fit a smallish baby doll!! Maybe I'll donate it to a premie unit!!

Are any of you involved in Wardrobe Refashion? I have been a great supporter and follower of it for a couple of years but sadly it is about to change, in a way that I probably won't be able to afford to join in anymore. But I want to thank Nikki, who started it all, for the hard work she has put in and for the intros the blog has given me to so many of you out there whom I follow avidly!! Nikki I wish you well for the future, I don't think you read this blog but I wanted to mention you anyway!!

I'm away now for a week but I will try and return with some pics and stuff to chat about, let's hope the sun stays shining here in Good Ole Blighty!!

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Happy Easter

I have been busy on my secret projects this week, although I did manage a bit of sewing on Thursday and I have just got the hem to do of my first top, pics will be here soon.

I just wanted to wish peeps a Happy Easter and hope that you have all enjoyed the break, especially here in England where we get 2 bank holidays either side of the weekend. We had sun today but Friday it rained really hard as soon as I poked my nose outside!! Its still really cold though so lets hope spring decides to get here soon!!


Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Three things I really like today!!




So I mentioned yesterday about going blonde and I have done it, well as blonde as I can do at home, in one hit!!

This is before, which in reality was quite a lot darker but basically just very dark brown, with reddish lights in it.

I used a pre-lightener to strip out the dark stuff and the instructions said do ends first then do roots but I will do the lot at once in future, cos the front bit is not as light now as I would have liked!!


Anyway, here is the after, quite orange, I know but I thought that might happen, having played this game before!! I may go and have lots of very blonde highlights put through next week, we'll see.

It is definitely a change and that has cheered me up just in itself, I think I should really be a chameleon as I've never been able to stick to one hair colour for long!!



This is the next thing that I really like.
I made these bix this morning, as its a friend's birthday, Its ok I made more than just 6!! The recipe is from The Yarn Yard. This is my second go at them, first time they came out rather well done, my fan oven can be a bit fierce!! Anyway this time I did them at 170C for 7 mins and they came out a lovely golden colour!! They've got oats and golden syrup plus usual stuff and you can put coconut in as an optional extra. Well I didn't have any coconut but I did have some amaretti bix, left over from a making a cheesecake base, so I pulverised them and added to bix mix and it has given them a lovely almondy flavour! Has anyone got any idea why my font has changed and gone blue and I can't change it back no matter what I do!!!

Well there is one more thing that I really like today. I work for a charity and we help young people work with churches in Europe for various lengths of time, from 2-4 weeks in the summer to gap year options of 3-9 months. The charity is called The bless network and we work in France, Croatia and Spain and we have links in Germany and Amsterdam as well. At the moment we have 3 x 18/19 year old girls down in Croatia and they are really working to help the local community and serve the people of Slavonski Brod. Yesterday they went to a home for the disabled and although there were language complications they persevered and have really made some good friends. Go and see their blog and see what a fun time they are having.

I have not said much about my job or beliefs before because I have read several blogs by Christians and quite frankly I find them bum-clenchingly embarassing and totally off-putting!! I want to avoid that because being a Christian is something that is really important to me but it hasn't changed me into some kind of weirdo that wants to bore the pants off any one!! Although it has changed me into a nicer person for quite a lot of the time!! The most important thing for me is relationship and that includes mine with God and mine with anyone else. I'm more than happy to talk about Jesus and what I believe if you ask me about it but I promise I will never shove it at you.

Lastly I have to mention something I really hate and that is computers that turn themselves off when you are in the middle of doing a post!! Enough said, no names mentioned, you there laptop, yes you on my lap!!!

And even more lastly, my patterns have just turned up so I'm going to have a good read of them!!



Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Age and losing weight!

So I've been thinking lately about age, mine in particular I guess. I hit 50 a few years ago and I have always said how much I love it, I feel released to be me!! I have never thought of it as old and I still don't really, in side I'm still about 22 but much battier, which I also like, my ambition has always been to be a bit eccentric!! This last birthday I decided for health reasons as much as any other that I must loose some excess weight, about 4 st (56lbs) and I have given myself a time limit of next birthday, which co-incides well with a wedding I have been invited to! I have lost 12lbs, which is too much to waste but not enough to notice to anyone else. Now I'm stuck, can't seem to get my brain back in the Zone.

Anyway there is a link between these two things and I'm not just rambling!! Part of my trouble in getting back into the Zone is that I'm realising I'm too old for some of the things, I think I would wear if I was thin enough!! Which just goes to show that we kid ourselves it's about health but really it is about looks!! Most of the fashion blogs I look at, are by bright young things and they look so amazing. I love the vintage look, especially the 40s, but I can't wear too much of it, cos I would just look frumpy, especially when I am still tubby.

Well maybe what I need and maybe some of you out there too (please I'm not the only one am I?) is a blog for a bright, slightly batty, old things!! I have a deep fear of catalogues for 5o+ ladies!! Many years ago a friend and I had a pact to shoot one another if we ever had a page boy bob (a deeply frumpy hairstyle in the days when we had big, permed, shaggy cuts!!) and I extend that deal to all of you out there, please, please shoot me if I ever buy or make any remotely 50+ outfit.

So I think I will make it my ambition for this next year to continue, eating healthily and getting some daily exercise and making and wearing stuff that I feel is me. I think I need a change of hair colour - that or a new bag usually helps pick me up!! I had a new bag a couple of weeks ago and I still love it so its the hair that must change. I've not been blonde for a long time, hmm, that's an idea!!

One last question, why do things that don't weigh very much like chocolate, weigh so much more on your hips once you've eaten it?!?

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Plans, plans and more plans!!

Well the last couple of evenings have been spent choosing patterns both sewing and knitting and planning what to make next!!

I really want to get away from t-shirts this spring/summer, I know they are easy to wear and wash but they aren't so flattering or stylish are they? Well I was lingering over at roobeedoo's blog (one of my favs btw) and she was talking about a blouse pattern, this lead me to Jaycotts, which I find great for patterns, they usually have some discount going on (50% off Simplicity at the mo) and I ordered 3 patterns, 2 blouses and a top.
S2501 Misses Tops Simplicity Pattern S2593 Misses Tops and Headband Cynthia Rowley Collection  Simplicity Pattern
S2601  Misses Blouses  Simplicity PatternI
I have various pieces of fabric that I use for them, half a duvet cover on a faded, pale blue, toile de jouy and that will be one of the blouses. I think that will suit me ok, it's very soft, well washed and floppy . Much as I love this crisp shirt look it just doesn't work on me, not even when I was young and slim. I always felt very wide shouldered and beefy in that look. Probably cos I'm somewhat challenged in the height department!! I bought the Cynthia Rowley pattern as I have a couple of pieces of fabric that I love that are only 45" wide and about 1.2m in length which just won't make a blouse for anyone, let alone a tubby like me, but that simple shape will just work, I may have to use bias binding on the edges rather than facings but I'm happy to do that. I think they will also be nice and cool and I'm informed by a friend that we are forecast the hottest summer since 1976!!

Then knitting, I bought Leisl by Ysolda Teague, which is a fab cardi, there are plenty of options to make with a high neck, scoop neck, sleeves, cap sleeves. Its in aran yarn although you can use chunky as well, apparently. I have been looking at Debbie Bliss Eco Cotton, possibly in Leaf, I like the idea of this wool as it is fairtrade and the water used to grow the cotton was not drinking water (not sure how this works!) . There's loads of colours and I found best deal on considerthelily, and I think my size will take 5 balls so that comes in at £20, which is a pretty good deal for a cotton cardi. Its in a feather and fan pattern so is quite open so I think it will work well for the summer.

I also downloaded Multnomah which is a lovely shawl pattern and is free, I have some sock wool waiting for that but that is a secret project so more of that another time!! I'm off to wonderwool at the end of April and I hope to pick up some yarn for more of these. Both knitting patterns can be found on Rav .

So as well as altering a dress for a friends wedding, changing my 2nd mac, and finishing my secret projects, I'll have plenty of time for all of the above!! Pics will come as stuff is done!!