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!!

Friday, 26 March 2010

Mac is a disaster but other things not!!!

Well I finally got round to refashioning the first mac!! It was an old lady's baggy shapeless nylon mac. I thought that if I made it into a shorter more fitted version it would like having a usable toile but I do try and ride my bike quite a lot so would be useful to wear on that.

It did start well, I used my overlocker for most of it, it was double breasted so that gave me a bit of fabric to play with. I kept the pockets and the button holes and the collar, but recut the main pieces around those constraints. I did take the collar off and put it back on the new fronts and back.

So far so good, the fit was ok and whilst it was never going to be high fashion it was still a nylon mac after all, it did look as though it might be useful. Then I got careless and didn't measure the new sleeves and they are miles too tight!! Pants!!! This has made the bust line pull as well, as you can see!

And it is very uncomfortable!! I have no material left that can make any difference to this so there is no way to rescue it!! But I shall probably use it to line make-up bags or washbags so it won't go to waste. I've also learnt to be more careful and I have another mac that I want to change so I will measure the sleeves more carefully on that one. I do have a different pattern that I might try for that one as it is a better quality fabric and I want to make it knee length if I can, anyway I'll have another go this weekend and see how that one turns out! Watch this space.

These are the other things that I have finished recently, my olympic cardi,

I'm pleased with this, it fits reasonably well and although it is only 4ply, an old Rowan 4-ply, Botany wool I think, because it's all wool its very warm but not itchy so is useful over short sleeve stuff. This suits me well as at my age, the old thermostat has a mind of its own!!

These are my skew socks. this is the back view and it does make a good use of the patterned yarn, you end up grafting stitches for the heel parallel to the floor and I must say they look pretty odd as you are making them up! However, they are a nice snug fit but mine are a bit tight to get over the heel!! I knitted them on 2.00mm needle as I didn't have a 2.25mm but I have had a trip to Iknit since making these and now have a 2.25mm Addi lace needle. I'm a great fan of knitting socks on a circular needle using the magic loop method. I have never attempted to knit both socks at the same time so I still get a touch of 2nd sock syndrome but I can overcome that fairly easily if I like the sock pattern I'm using!!.

Well I'm off to my newly formed knitting group now, there are just 5 of us but if any one out there is in the Stourbridge area and would like to join us for coffee, chat and knitting drop me an email. See ya later!!

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Good weekend

I've had a great weekend. It started on Friday evening by going to see Alice in Wonderland in 3D. It was fab, I loved the costumes and Johnny Depp does it for me however you dress him up. (I wasn't keen on Willy Wonka). Saturday I cleared up the corner of my bedroom which has been gathering junk and dust for too long, in preparation for moving a table in there and making it a sewing corner. Then I can clear the dining room of all my sewing gear. However, I needed some muscles to help with the furniture removal, so I moved downstairs to the dining room and the sewing machine. I cut out some jamas for my son's girlfriend's birthday present.

Have any of you got overlockers? Well I invested in one a few years ago and when it works its fab but when the threading goes wrong it is a nightmare!! This always,always happens when I'm in a rush! And one thing that never works is trying to rush threading an overlocker!! So when this happened a few weeks ago, I just abandoned it and have been using the zigzag stitch on my regular machine. But the jamas have a jersey top so would be better overlocked and a friend had asked me to take up some trews and the overlocker makes the edge much nicer. So Saturday, I decided to sit calmly and thread the wretched thing and not plan to use it straightaway, well blow me down but it worked first time, did you hear that first time!! So the key to sorting overlockers is to do it when you don't want to use it!!

The rest of my weekend was spent finishing a little red cardi for Pixie who I met last week! I also completed the jamas and took up the trews!! So a very productive and satisfying weekend. I even sneaked in a bit of refashioning!!

I'll post pics of stuff tomorrow, but I'm off to cast on some socks now, Gentlemans socks by Designedly Kristi.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Birthday socks!!

So here are the tune-king's birthday socks. He loves them, no tight cuffs or ankle squeezes, as we have had with past socks. Stretchy but no bagginess, basically a success from his point of view. I like knitting them the 4 row pattern was easy to remember and the measurements were on row count, so I stood a reasonable chance of getting 2 matching socks, I have a terrible tendency to stretch the 2nd, sock (or sleeve) to make it fit!! Definitely a pattern I will use again and recommend to beginner sock knitters. Its on ravelry and is called Harris Tweed socks by Ali Green.

I have had a pretty productive weekend knitting wise, I've finished my 1st Skew sock, another ravelry pattern. It looks very odd as you make it and has kept the tune-king and our lodger amused as they didn't believe it could be a sock!! And I've finally sewed buttons on the olympic cardi and its blocking as we speak, so photos of that later in the week.

Yesterday was Mothers Day here, sorry for any panic I caused in my last post for those of you not in the UK!! I had a lovely day, even though I didn't see my beauties. I got a huge bunch of flowers, and my lovely boy has tried to ring and I keep missing him, so my fault.
Then ITV 3 put on a programme specially for Mothers Day, which was fantastic, it started with Pollyanna, the Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfayden. I missed City of Angels but watched Housewife 49 with Victoria Wood, about a wartime housewife in Barrow who wrote diaries for the Mass Observation Project. I felt for her so much, she was obviously depressed but didn't get much help, her husband did love her in his way but he was particularly non communicative and a bit miserable to be honest!! It made me think a bit cos I've felt a bit like she did, lately, and I have to say my tune-king struggles to understand but he is there for me and I'm not sure what I'd do without him!!

I also met a new addition, Pixie Belle, who is nearly 3 months old and she is absolutely adorable, even though I seemed to make her cry!! Some babies are so pretty and like miniature people and she is one of those, I just wanted to sit and hug her and whisper sweet nothings to her!! Sadly I forgot to take my camera and so no pics but if you go to her parents blog, I'm sure there will be pics!!

I had a wonderful roast dinner cooked for me and the messy washing up done, so all in all it was a day of laziness and pampering.

I hope you other mums out there were treated well too, back soon!!

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Exam is over

So at last I can return to my normal age and stop that whole regression to a 17 year old who doesn't want to do her revision!! I did finally learn some stuff and managed to keep writing for the time of the exam but whether I splurged all I could remember onto the paper or actually answered the questions, I can't be sure!! The exams I'm doing are for a Counselling Certificate and that first sentence makes me think there are a bunch of sessions just in that let alone me offering couselling to any unwitting body!!

So today is the tune-king's birthday and I had to wrap his socks with an IOU for 1 toe but I finished them first thing after he unwrapped them so not too late!! I'm now just doing the button band on the olympic cardi, then it needs to be blocked and I will be ready for new projects!!

Now blocking, I never used to do it all as I was so frightened of wrecking my knitting completely, but I have discovered that it really improves the look of many finished items, especially if they are 100% wool. However, I'm still a little scared of it, I'm ok with scarves and things cos if they go a bit floppy that just adds to the drapiness. I never block socks and don't really feel they need it. However, this four ply cardi definitely looks like it might need something, if only to make the very narrow button bands sit flat. I can't decide whether to wash properly or just dampen it or maybe just pin in place and lightly steam!

I'm printing a sock pattern, Skew, which are kind of twisted round the leg and I was inspired to them by Lixie on lixieknitsit, I think I will do it in a purple mix, it probably would look better in a more stripey yarn but I don't have enough of anything else!! The second pattern I want to do is Knotty, a pair of gloves. I first saw this pattern on janesprobablyknitting and I have a lovely yellow yarn that I think I will use. I'm not a big wearer of yellow but for some reason, I really fancy this yarn and as I have navy and brown coats it will look good with both!! Both patterns are available on Ravelry

I shall be going back to refashioning my macs and I need to make jamas for my son's girlfriend this weekend so I have plenty to do and will be posting pics very soon!!

On the more boring side of life, I have an ironing pile worthy of the guiness book of records so I'm going to attempt to knock that down over the Easter hols. I think it will need a few dvds to help that medecine to be swallowed, but hey its Mothers Day on Sunday so you can but hope!!

Sunday, 7 March 2010

A walk in the Park

So this past week I have been putting off revising!! I seem to have regressed to being that girl who didn't want to look at her books before her Alevels!! Trouble is now I know I can't wing it, and my memory is not what it was so it needs more exercise!!

So this is what I made on Friday to avoid the books, it is a birthday present for a friend and I handed it over Saturday and she was delighted. I used a pattern from 1 metre book (see previous posts) , which has good ideas but this time the measurements did not seem to work so although my bag looks like the one in the book, I have used my own measurements.

I managed to get down to the revision, yesterday morning and worked most of the day and again today. However, it was the most glorious day, blue skies and warmish for March, so the tune-king and I strolled around the park with our two dogs and most of the local population.

He is looking a bit grumpy, partly cos of the sun but mostly because he has a rotten cold and would like to tramp the hills in such beautiful weather but he wasn't really up to a long walk!!
So we made do with half-hour round the park, then I returned to the delights of Piaget, Erikson and other stars of the human development world!!

Just two more days to go then the exam on wednesday and then 4 weeks off college, I have great plans for sewing, knitting and sorting my college work out so that I'm not rushing to revise in May!! I do have some secret knitting to finish for Thursday, the tune-king's birthday, so that will need to be fitted around the study!!

The knitting olympics cardi is not being forgotten I have finished 2nd sleeve and done the neckband so just button band and finding right buttons to go!! I also have some nice poplin that would go with it and I want to make a dress as we have been invited to a silver wedding party in early april and I have an idea what to make for that, but again it may have to stay secret for a while!!

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Chez's Jumper and selling our work

I finished this jumper a while ago, but I wanted to tell you about it cos I received real dosh for doing it!! I feel slightly mean taking the money as Chez is not brimming with cash himself but he was insistent. He is a fantastic photographer himself so understands the value of one craft!

I need to start making a bit of cash and to that end have made some bags and purses (knitted and sewn) which I intend to sell on Etsy, when I've set my page up. Therein lies the rub, what stops me is the price I should charge, whilst I agree with one friend that we must value our skills and charge realistically, on the other hand I also know I am making fairly small items people may not want to pay much for!! Do any of you other bloggers out there sell your stuff? How do you work out your prices? I try to use recycled materials as much as possible, that I collect from friends so I don't have a big cost for materials, so whatever I make is profit. If anyone reads this and has any ideas, I'd love to hear from you.

Monday, 1 March 2010

I'm back

So I had a good weekend away and the assessment was not as scarey as I feared it would be. We will see when I get my mark whether that is false security!! I managed to keep talking to my role playing counsellee and I did find out some stuff about her life that I think was helpful. My questions were openish and we did talk about her feelings rather than just gather facts. time now to leave that behind and start revising for the exam.

I did use all my breaks and time off, not to mention train journeys for knitting so I almost finished my knitting olympic project, I got the body, 1st sleeve and 4 inches up the second sleeve done. So no gold medal for me but far enough on to keep going and finish the cardi. I liked knitting the body in one piece and I chose to do the sleeves on a circular needle too so that will minimise the sewing up. I've been working more on 2nd sleeve today so hopefully the cardi will be wearable by the weekend.

I'm getting a little nervous about the exam so the mac (rain not computer) refurb may have to wait!! However I have arranged to borrow some books as I'm too late in getting relevant ones from the library so that should help me next weekend. After 10th March I have 4 weeks off so I think I'd better save big sewing projects for then. However I have a friend's birthday this weekend and My husband's next week so I will need to do some stuff for both of them!!

I must mention my fantastic friend Tom, who is a chiropractor and is able to sort my back and shoulders, but he is also a computer whizz and my laptop is back and functioning well thanks to him and his amazing skills, so he is my top dog at the moment!!