Monday, 6 October 2014

A Whole lot of Stitchy Time

After another long break I'm back again. 
My geriatric laptop refuses to work late at night, but has kindly jumped into action today.

Thanks for all your lovely thoughts about Miss Millie's room. 
Now I promised to show you the coat I made from some beautiful barkcloth  curtains didn't I.
 



Although I found the fabric at a vintage fair in August I had to wait a while to find exactly the pattern I had in mind. I wanted a 1960's coat, either loose duster or fitted I didn't mind, but I knew I wanted a soft round collar.
I made a twoile of the Princess coat from the Sewing Bee, but the top was way too big and the bottom half far too small. I have a real problem with the sizings of their patterns and if they're to be believed then I'm a size 20.

After a perusal of the patterns in John Lewis I came up with just the pattern I was after. Burda make really straightforward patterns, but assume you know what you're doing so I wouldn't recommend them if you're starting out with dressmaking.
 

 

Once I had the pattern, I couldn't wait for my first day off to get cutting into the barkcloth.

All in all it was a pretty straighforward design. Hemming the lining so it wouldn't pull the coat up was the hardest part to be honest.

 

I had a mustard spot lining in mind, but when I saw this heavier weight grey spot cotton l knew it would be perfect.

 

I couldn't find the sort of buttons that I wanted so I opted for covering some in the lining fabric.
 I'm really pleased with how they contrast with the rose print.

 

The coat is such a comfy easy shape to wear. It has dropped shoulders and side panels in the sleeves and coat body to give it more ease. Perfect for fitting over roomy winter jumpers.


I don't have any particularly good photos of me wearing the coat. 
This is the best there is l'm afraid.

 

 When I wore it to work one teacher guessed I'd made it as the sleeves were extra long which is unheard of when you're tall.

That same week I found a ball of cashmerino yarn in eggy yellow that went perfectly with my new Dusty Coat. 
I've knitted up a pair of Butterfly wristwarmers from Tiny Owl Knits that are waiting for a pair of delicate butterflies to land on them.


When it gets a bit chillier I also have a beautiful 1950's Harris Tweed jacket to wear. 
I found this on a very hot day in August and knew straight away that it was special.

It's single breasted with the buttons fastening far over to the left. I just need to be adding some missing buttons.


 
As always I'm busy making lots more things. One project is finished and I've already been thinking of a ton more to start. I've also booked into two Christmas markets so there's lots of things needing to be made for those too.

The red apple yarn has already become a top and the green fabric is cut waiting to be sewn into another Megan dress. As for now I've no ideas what I'm going to do with the yellow Erica Knight yarn, but I keep thinking a ball of the same in pink would make something warm and stripy.
 


I whipped up a cover for Miss Rosey's iPad mini so that it doesn't suffer the same broken screen fate of mine. 


To be honest I've been having a lot of fun with felt lately. I'm making brooches and dingly dangly festive houses galore.

So that's what I've been up to lately.
 Best to get off and get some more sewing time in before the school run and the working week beckons.

 

Friday, 19 September 2014

Paint Pots

We've been trying to get on top of our house a bit more lately and jolly up the faded bits. 
In reality it's a battle that will never be won completely, but that's half the fun of a lived in family home.

My first promise (which I failed to keep last year) was to decorate Miss Millie's room.
For a whole week I painted like a demon. Sometimes the girls helped me too, but the man of the house kept away from the painting as he's just no good at it (or is that a ploy?).


There's lots of things still to be added as we go along, but the room itself is finished and my girl is thrilled with it. 


 For a few years she's had her eye on this shelf that I found one day at a beach junk shop. 
It travelled on my shoulder, across the river onto the boat ferry and has sat waiting for a wall to be hung on ever since.

A dab of flamingo pink paint completed the job and some scrappy dingly dangly bunting for a colour splash. 
For Millie the best bit was arranging all her nic nacs on her new shelf.

There used to be a huge unused French Armoire in this corner. The corner wall had become black from damp and so the inside of the Armoire smelt so musty. It was a big job sorting those walls out and made me so happy to make it white and clean again.


Miss Millie's room is the largest bedroom here. A big L-shaped room full of light and cosy as it's above the woodburner.

As this part of the room needed to breathe, it seemed the perfect spot for a desk. That meant going off desk hunting as Miss Millie's old desk was a lift lid school one that was far too small for a high school girlie with tons of homework.

I convinced her that a formica table would be so much better than an Ikea job and then hoped the one I'd seen months ago was still in the shop. Big result it was still there and she loves it so a big win.


Between the nook that her bed fits in and the desk side is a gorgeous fireplace that was all faded white paint. Black railings paint brought that back to life and a quick and easy lampshade kit meant I could make her a new shade from fabric she chose from my stash. 

Looking at the chair reminds me I need to recover that too.


Alongside the pink paintwork to offset the white Miss Millie chose turquoise to update her bookshelf. When we finish clearing the garage (this weeks major task) we'll be able to get to the old wardrobe I've promised her. I plan to paint that the same colour.

On top of her bookshelf is a very very special piece of artwork indeed. A few years back now I asked Vanessa Caban (the artist who used to blog at do you mind if I knit) if she could make one of her papier mache creations for Millie's birthday based on a photo and her adoration of sheep.

Miss Millie has called sheep Betty's for as long as I can remember so this sheep is elderly and called Beautiful Betty. A while back I was asked by a lovely lady to make a couple of Leaping Hare brooches for her. She told me later on that one was for her friend the illustrator Clara Vulliamy (Shirley Hughes daughter) as she knew I loved her work. I then told her about reading the Hughes poem of the elderly sheep Betty in Olly and Me to our girls and how that had ended with us shouting "hello Betty's" to each field of sheep we passed. Now our tale and how much it means to us will be passed back to her.
I love when life moves to connect even the smaller pieces together.


On the radiator are pictures and hooks still waiting for me to get my drill out again. 
The fly a kite print I bought a while ago from Jane at Teawagontales fits the room and my youngest girlie perfectly.
While one of my friends Sasha's creations dangles merrily alongside.

The main problem we have in Miss Millie's room is storage. Although her room is bigger than her sister's she just has lots more stuff.

I thought an Ottoman would solve the problem perfectly, not that I expected to find one the first week I headed to the car boot in search of one.


Turning a corner I saw exactly what I was after and for peanuts as the woman hated 
it and wanted rid of it quickly. 

The next day I got to work on it. 
 Sadly the fabric on the top was all ripped and stinky so no saving that. I was really generous too as I covered it in what I had left of my favourite ever Heals fabric. A generous slap of bright pink paint and bashing in upholstery tacks and I was done. 

The other great bargain for her room were the M & S pink curtains which I got at the fleamarket in Southwold a couple of summers ago for £3. This room has been planned for a while you see.

So just a wardrobe to sort, pictures up and bunting to be made and I think I've finished.


My other plan before I go back to work was to finally get our larder decorated. For eight years or so it's languished being useful but hidden out of sight. 

One whole day of paint throwing and a bit of double sided sticky tape to hold the stripy curtains in 
and Punch and Judy's Palace was ready to take its rightful place showing off in the kitchen. 

It's just a bit shorter than it should be as when I dragged it through (being too impatient to wait for my man to get home) the legs fell off!


I just love it so much. There's a bit of larder love going on over in Instagram world too.
After a bit of chat back and forth, I was inspired to make some tiny sausages and bunting for my larder. I'll show you if you like once they're all done.

I'll be back sooner than I have been for a while to show you my latest makes.There's a coat that I've nearly finished and I'm so excited by it.

Bye for now.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Tick Tock


Lately of an evening, I've found myself stitching tiny clocks out of felt. This is my favourite so far, but I do think I need to try out a few more shapes before I'm really happy.


I've also had some secret making of an evening too as Miss Rosey hit the grand old age of 14 years on Monday. After seeing her sisters Bunny doll (made ages ago) she asked for a monkey version. 
I hooked one up for her birthday complete with a curly wurly tail and monkey ears. 
She's been named Gloria in case you wonder these things.


Other excitements around birthdays have been fabric finds as usual with a barkcloth that makes me dream up so many ideas. I fancy a coat, but would a dress not be a safer way to go?

 

Either way I've got the most perfect foxy footwear to go with it.


The saddest news wa the return to school today of my girls. This officially signals the end of carefree days and summer capers for another whole year.

We certainly packed in a few more happy memory days over the last few left to us. 

We went boating at Thorpeness to explore the islands and bob on a boat. I was chief rower as it turned out my man had only ever rowed once before. Years together and see I still don't know everything about him. I taught both the girls to row so that they'll be able to take turns next time.


Once one cygnet wanted to check us out all his mates joined in too. Miss Millie loved it, Miss Rosey was a bit worried and yelled row faster, faster. I did as I was told to calm her down and so they swam faster and faster. Never ever try to outrun a cygnet is my advice to you.


At a party by the sea we ventured off to see the classic cars on the cliffs. 
Dream cars were lined up. We oohhed and ahhhed for a while, before heading down to the shore below.


A stroll turned into a very long explore. It was a heavenly evening, the tide slipping in while we gazed into rockpools made from the chalky cliff base.


Finally we turned inland and climbed the cliff path away from Sheringham to head to Beeston Bump.


Over that ridge was the most glorious view and the path back to the party we'd been away from for quite a while.

Thankfully we have understanding friends.

So here we are in September. 
A wonderful month where if we're lucky we are blessed with an Indian Summer. I always see it as a time of change.
An ending of things and the start of the new.



Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Golden Days


At the start of the summer I thought I'd have far more time to be blogging and instead I seem to have neglected my little old space over here somewhat. Ive been existing more in that live in the moment giddy world of Instagram. She's seduced me, but hasn't won.

I really intend to get back on top of that very soon.
 I think a spot of autumnal sprucing up here and blog visiting are most definately in order.

Now what have we been up to.

Well one day we went on a train. The train stopped at Cambridge and off we went for a wander. I took my knitting on the journey dreaming of lazing on a punt later in the day. Miss Rosey refused to get on the punt. End of that idea.


Next Monday my eldest girlie will be 14. She's finding her own feet these days and very much deciding if she wants to come on an adventure with us or not.  Thankfully it's not us that she's avoiding, just the things we want to do. So it's all change here and sometimes we're a family of 3 and sometimes a family of 4.


 Around our adventures there's always been time for sewing. 


 Then there's a new addiction of mine. 
Lampshade kits. 

These are so easy to use and totally addictive.


Two smaller ones made for my girlies rooms. 
I won't stop until each lamp has had a re-vamp.


We've had a week away at my mum's while my man worked and then he had more time off to play with us.

Summer stopped that week and hasn't really been back since.

Under a bed of pebbles down below and an Aran Cardi and scarf up top when we picnicked at the beach. 
Laying down out of the wind was much warmer too.


It was much warmer on the cliffs exploring Greyfriars above Dunwich beach. We also had a pootle in the tiny village museum.


In the middle of the week blue skies beckoned and so we whizzed off to see the Red Arrows flying over the sea at the Cromer Carnival.

Then we took our picnic off to Felbrigg Hall to get away from the crowds and get the most of our NT membership. Miss Rosey was very keen to see inside the house - yay as I love this home.

 

The following morning we were up bright and fresh to drive down to London. We had fancied visiting the Imperial War Museum to see the new WW1 exhibition. Not a great decision looking back on it.

At the moment a lot of stressful work related wranglings are going on. Hands feel tied, frustrations and fears - all of those things. We needed more laughter and a big dose of war with the Holocaust thrown in wasn't ideal. I was fascinated by it as a child. A close uncle had been part of the Medical Corr finding Belsen and then stayed on in Europe for years after helping in the refugee camp. Our girls were interested and handled it really well. I was worried as I knew exactly what they would be about to see, but I didn't want them protected from it either as it's so important to know what happened and still happens today.

There was a strange moment when they were looking at the Aryan Genetics part and people stared. There were my three 6ft and over and blonde.

In one of the films at the end I got to see the lovely lady who had spoken to Miss Rosey and her class in the Golders Green Synagogue a few weeks back about her experiences as a German Jew.

How strange it seems after that to be talking about making jam. 

Well that's what I did and so I will. The week before Miss Millie was born was Mother's Day I was given a Greengage Tree. 12 years later it's thriving as you can see. 

I've never ever made jam before, but with this bumper crop there's only so many crumbles and tarts you can face eating.


I can't believe I managed it. 
Six jars of soft delicious jam. One burnt and blackened hob.

Thanks for reading and stopping by. I really enjoy reading your comments and will get back to replying very soon I promise. 

Saturday, 16 August 2014

These are the Days

Well I didn't plan to stay away for that long, it just kind of happened. 
Sorry about that if you've popped by here to see what's been going on. 

Well what has been going on?

We've been having a lovely summer, simply enjoying time together. Time off scarily means no pay packet until to November, such is the way with sessional teaching contracts. I'm putting that to the back of my mind though as these are precious days.


We've explored woods, piers and plenty of seasidey places.


Picnics, swimming and lazing by the seashore have all been most pleasant,


We always feel the need to go exploring afterwards and then reward ourselves later with a cream tea.


I've also spent a whole week re-decorating Miss Millie's bedroom after breaking my promise to do it last year. Miss Millie and Rosey did offer their painting services now and again too. 
I'll show you that handiwork another time. Miss Millie's thrilled with her more grown-up room which is what it's all about.


Around all this family and DIY time, I've made sure we visited a few Vintage fairs. 

I've thrilled with the beautiful fabrics I've collected together this summer. 


Some were added to this quilt I was commissioned to make just before the end of term.

I have a friend who collects and sells the most fabulous stuff, mainly 60's and 70's happiness. For a long while now she's made it plain she'd love me to make her a quilt and I always said no. I worried about fitting it in around everything else and the pressure of getting it just right for the price I was asking.

Somewhere along the line I said yes, we chatted a long while about how it would be and so off I went to plan, cut and sew. 


The fabrics and the design were the most important part, the snuggliness and warmth of the quilt came a close second.

To make sure it was cosy enough I used a Witney blanket instead of batting and then a soft as soft can be flannelette sheet for the backing. It made for a heavier than usual quilt, but boy was it cosy.



Early one morning, as soon as the hand embroidered label was sewn on the back Emmie arrived to collect.

She was beyond thrilled and so I was too. Phew the relief.



I had an extra surprise of a thank you pressie.
My favourite and much coveted Dolly Days china trio with lollies too.



No sooner than Emmie had left than I was back on my machine again doing some me sewing. It was a rainy yuk day and so I thought I'd brighten up the house a bit.

I'd bought a few CK teacloths, along with the fabulous blue modflower print from PommedeJour and they were just the thing to turn into some cheery cushions.



Since then I've made and done quite a few more things, but I think they can wait until next time don't you.

See you soon.