Sunday, 30 March 2014

A Weeks This & That

 Our beautiful wee girl turned 12 on Friday. The years might be rushing on, but thank heavens she's in no rush to grow up. Little Bun is savouring each last drop of her childhood and that makes us very happy indeed.
Alongside this she is emotionally mature beyond her years, very wise, kind and thoughtful. 
We've always savoured innocence and joy, but we also help raise them as wise girls. We talk stuff through with our them a lot, from art to conspiracy theories, politics to favourite biscuits. Miss Rosey told us the other day that she was glad we're laid back and open with them. It means they can be the people they want to be.  That made us feel really good, because you really hope you're doing this parenting thing right. I guess if the ones at the receiving end are happy then all's good.

 A couple of weeks ago I whipped up a birthday banner as our old faithful cardboard one is looking a bit sorry for itself. I was inspired by Manda's over at Treefall Design for her daughter's.

It had also been hinted that a birthday badge would be much appreciated. In the tradition of last minute rushes I finished this one past midnight on the birthday morning. Although their school is strict on uniform it turns out you can advertise your birthday. 
She had a brilliant day and came home with a lovely sheep crocheted for her by one of her best friends. Traditional birthday tea and bingo were laid on at home as requested.


The star prize in the Bingo was actually for Alfie Blue. Because he isn't good with numbers his master played for him. Miss Rosey won it and looked a bit disappointed with a squeaky Bourbon. Ahh well it made us laugh.

 

The very next morning we were up and off to Holt where my friend Ruth was re-opening her shop Glory Days in Franklins Yard. After being in Norwich she closed it for a while waiting to find just the right spot to re-open. We had a bit of fizz in the shop and me being a complete wuss with any grown-up drinks spent the rest of the day like a space cadet (which was quite pleasant). I'll do a post all of it's own next time about her shop as I really want to show it to you properly.


 Little Bun bought a few Mother's Day treats for me from Ruth's which I'll show you then too. Miss Rosey opted to go to her Nan's (she's reached that age when sometimes the thought of walking fills her with dread). What more can you say about being a teenager than that? 

Before we left Holt and headed off to do the dreaded walking at Binky Hall, I spied a pinky fabric and a sweet pink plastic container with a rose on the top in one of the many antique, flea and junk shops there.
 I just love old plastic stuff. Then it was time to wander off back down the country roads spotting lots of places we'd like to live.


 When we got to Binky Hall we spent a while trying to avoid a photographer with a bride and groom. Never having been one for white weddings and being the centre of attention, I'd far rather be partying with my guests than being dragged hither and thither to stare at my beloved at the bottom of an old oak tree. It was quite funny really as they chucked an old couple off a bench so they could sit on it and the kids having fun climbing the tree had to come down. Daft really. 

This is our in love shot as captured by Little Bun. Talking of which it'll be 13 years of wedded doo dah and 14 of being together next weekend.


As we wandered around Binky we decided some of our favourite bits were the faded parts where the gardeners worked. 

Another favourite place is the old bookshop in the stables. We found quite a few reads in there. It's a magical place with worn old armchairs and dust blowing in the shafts of sunlight. I was really pleased when Little Bun chose Northanger Abbey and A Tale of Two Cities. She says she wants to stretch herself and I think she might with a bit of Dickens. I love his stories, but I'm not so keen on reading them. I actually refused to teach Hard Times when I taught A'level English as it was so turgid. I fell asleep every time I opened the book. My Head of Department had to do it in the end as I was so stubborn.

 

Now we've had a birthday and a day out. The last spot of catch-up news is my Monday make which I'm really pleased with. 
I said on Monday I didn't know which to do - sew, paint or knit. In fact I managed all of them so I was very happy indeed. 

I chose a quick sew thing and made a tunic top. I had a metre of black and white check which was destined for something else, but seemed just right for what I had in mind. I ran out fabric and then I had the bright idea of contrasting the yoke in a cheerier floral. I found just what I was looking for in a 1950's apron.


I bound the armholes with a bright blue binding to match and was thrilled with how it turned out. Only thing is in my rush I've gathered the neckline too tightly so I'll need to unpick and sort that out. 

It worked for the day under my favourite old cardi bought from Hennes 25 years ago and still going strong.

Monday, 24 March 2014

A Day


Dappled sunlight streaming in when I came down this morning was just the boost I needed. I've had an excruciating headache and felt exhausted all week. I promised to call the Dr today - I know I must,  I just find it tedious going, I hate sitting there for some reason.  In the meantime I'm drinking lots of water, eating and trying to sleep more. No headache today - hurrah and I feel like me again, so perhaps my own cure is a working.

From one extreme to another, I felt a boost to do everything I love all at once. I hate feeling like I'm wasting days off work. Knitting, paint things or to sew? 
Well I did run up a few rows while I kept my Little Bun company first thing so yarny fix ticked off.


A day at home for not one, but two of us today. She was a poorly puss this morning with tummy pains so a day cosied up on the sofa beckoned. Both my girls somehow manage to time their illnesses with Mondays and Fridays when I can be at home with them. I don't mind as these are precious last years with time hurtling away. I try not to look and to pretend time is frozen, but Little Bun will be 12 on Friday and Miss Rosey is edging towards 14.


 By 9 o'clock I heard the paint pots calling to me. I've been wanting to paint the blue shelf in the dining room pretty much since I first bought it. There's a lot of painting that needs doing around here to be sure, the shelf bugged me enough to make sure it was first.
  I actually want it to be white which will go much better with a patchwork of some of the papers I've been saving up plastered over the back. No white paint to be found in the garage. I was impatient to get on so bleached lichen it is for now. As I write this I've realised it's got to be white, only white will do. A paint shop visit is needed as soon as.


 Next up it's either a spot of hooky or maybe sewing. I'm still not sure where my mood will take me. I've been working on some diamonds over the weekend and they're quite addictive. I'm thinking of a cushion with some dangly bobbly bits on the sides.


 There's also quite a pile of books and magazines saved up for perusing.


 Whatever I choose, I feel happy. Sun's shining, furries are snoozing, Little Bun's content watching back to back One Foot in the Grave,  the day is ours and there are fresh choccy buns to munch on. 
I had to make a new batch as the party ones all disappeared in a blur on Saturday.


 Hope you're having a great day wherever you are and whatever mischief you're getting up to.

Friday, 21 March 2014

When do you Do iT?

For me stitching is mainly a daytime thing. I like to sit by the French Doors with the light pouring in, hens banging on the glass to get my attention. It's something I save for my days off work or the odd bit of me time that I happen to find at a weekend. I need to see what I'm doing and I like to have enough time to really get into it. Sewing has never been something I pick up and put down for an age. I get excited wondering how my make will turn out so I like to get it done in one go if I can. Then I end up stitching until the wee hours not happy until all is done.

Nightime or lazing in the garden is knitting and crochet time. I like to be comfy and I can pick it up and put it down whenever. Because of this I always have a lot of yarny things on the go and usually have stitching things queuing up in my head waiting for big bursts of time.


Last week, sometime or other I stitched either side of a work day to make a thing for Little Bun's upcoming 12th birthday. Inspiration came from Treefall. I'll show you next week once it doesn't have to be a surprise anymore. I don't enjoy sewing around days like this as much as full on losing myself in the moment, but sometimes that thing itches away until it just has to get made.


 Last weekend I found quite a bit more sewing time than I thought I would. Somehow or other I started and finished the 1930's blouse from the Sewing Bee book. Mind you I did stay up until past one to do all the last bits as I couldn't stop until it was done.


 This was such a lovely light cotton to sew with which was perfect for all the fiddly curved hems.


I'm not as pleased with the shirred neckline as I hoped I'd be, but everything else has worked out just fine. I also altered the pattern and added an inch here and there so it would fit me better. Getting the fit right is the hardest bit of sewing for me. 


 I did a spot of top stitching around the slash at the back to hold the facings in and a bit under the collar to keep that in shape too even though the pattern didn't mention it.


I'm really pleased with how this make has turned out. I haven't worn it yet as this week has been one of those mad grab clothes and get out of the house really early and get back late weeks. Every night after school and work there's been either late netball matches, Greek and Latin plays and tea with friends involving cuddling orphaned lambs.

I'm left today though feeling like I've been wrung out after all the extra racing about. For some reason I woke with a headache I can't shake. It started last Saturday and so no sewing today as planned, just floating about hoping I'll feel human again soon. Tomorrow's another mad one with netball in the morning, Little Bun's party later and then running Miss Rosey and friends back and forth to a late disco party. My eye's on Sunday as being the day for long slow breaths with no driving anywhere planned.

Turns out from a peek in the Radio Times this morning that they'll be making this blouse on the next Sewing Bee. Loads harder than the one I made as it's with the original pattern and they have to make it up on elderly Singers. Little Bun and I can't wait.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Been Stitchin'

Last week I bought the latest Great British Sewing Bee book. It was all cellophane wrapped so sadly all peeking inside was banned. I had enough stamps on my bookshop card to pay for half so I decided it was coming home with me.

Little Bun and I tore the plastic wrapper off in the car and decided straight away that it was a great buy.
There's so much more to delight and get your sewing fingers itching to get on with stitching than the last book to be honest. Even better all the patterns are included, so no fiddle faddle with printing off sheet after sheet yourself.

Now I've quite a list of things I want to make from here and the girls and my man have added a few too. For my first go with this book I was drawn to this halter top.


Monday lunchtime I popped to see Miss Rosey perform in a choir competition, then I grabbed a few minutes in the fabric shop trying to remember how much fabric I'd need for all the things I wanted to make.

As I loved the deep bluey floral pattern so much on the original top I was drawn to a similar Amy Butler print for mine. 
That night I whizzed up the wee top while tea was cooking. Seriously, this top's that simple .



I'm now half-way through this 1930's blouse. I've made a few alterations to the top's sizing so I'm not 100% sure how it'll fit. I wear 12/14 in shop bought clothes, but go off the scale on my hip measurement in this book so I'm giving a fitted blouse a go to see how it all works out.


I'm making my 1930's blouse in the third floral print in from the left. It's a lightweight cotton with the same feel as Tana Lawn so if all goes well it should drape nicely.

I'm in two minds whether to make the fabulous green red rose fabric up into a skirt or a dress. Then I have a soft cotton chambray to make a skirt for Little Bun and perhaps another top in the end floral. Phew, these plans might be bigger than me, we'll see.


The one pattern in this book that had my heart a racing was this beautiful 1960's coat. From the lemony wool to the soft collar, the fitted shape and the covered buttons I was hooked. I'm thinking of trying the pattern out in a floral linen first and if that goes well then Little Bun has asked for a green cord one with red buttons. 

I had original coats like this years ago, but sadly don't have them anymore. Now I have the chance of making one with sleeves that are long enough and a waist that sits in the right place.


Miss Rosey and Little Bun also have their eye on this dress, but before that I might have a go at the waistcoat for my man. Believe me there are a whole lot of wonderful patterns in here to get you itching to get on with your machine.


Alongside my latest sewing excitements I made myself finish the Nordic Shawl. After ripping out my original colours and then working new ones in I lost interest. Yesterday morning I decided to just get on with it so I could actually use it. I've still not blocked it so here it is in all its curly glorly.


I'm not sure if it's my style to be honest. All the same I did mostly enjoy making it and it will be a useful wrap on chilly evenings.


Not that I'll need it for a while now if today's glorious sun was anything to go by. 
We had a lovely bike ride this morning and ate elevenses sat in a field watching all the wildlife go by. On the way back we stopped to chat to friends over their hedge, while their donkey and collie played chase with one another. Today has been one of those set you up for the week ahead kind of days. All you need is a spot of warm sun.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Table Matters

Last summer, at one of my favourite vintage fairs, I gathered a few special bits and bobs together. One was a bright and zingy floral sticky backed plastic. Lesley and Val had always used this stuff on Blue Peter makes, but I'd never got my hands on any before so I was really excited.  Plan 1 was to cover a small formica table (in the future when I found a small formica table).

Plan 2 was to make placemats.
Yesterday I came across six any old how placemats for a £1 in the CShop. I dashed home with cutting and sticking firmly in mind.


It was such a simple and quick thing to do which was just lovely. Getting results quickly with little brainpower involved was just what was needed.


 New placemats are modelling with a newly found 1960's nibbles dish. I brought it home announcing "my buttons will look good in here". In seconds I'd been convinced by Little Bun that it's orginial purpose was just right and it should stay as a nibbles dish. We road tested it last night with peanuts, pretzels, cheesy balls and chocolate buttons and it did it's job perfectly.


 My second find in the same shop was this limey yellow cup and plate set. Now I'll definately be looking out for more of these as I love the zingy cheer of them.


All in all some happy tableware I'd say.


 With only hours to spare before my dentist appointment (another filling because of my toffee love) I got out the bag of cotton yarn. I had in mind to make a few floral coasters to go with the new mats. I've used this pattern so many times that I've lost count of all the coasters I've made for friends and family. Somehow I've failed to make any for us.


I squeezed time in to make just the five coasters. Take the blue away and I've made Neopolitan icecream coasters. 

A good day off therapy I'd say. Much needed after a week of feisty, but fun teens.
 

Now today being International Women's Day Little Bun and I are off this afternoon with some friends to hear poetry and listen to a band called Eating Grandma. Miss Rosey failed to show much interest. TV and the sofa being much more appealing after a morning at netball training. 

Back soon to show you recent temptations and what I've done with them.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

A Late Tale

It's stupidly late here. Nearly 1am to be exact. I've been catching up writing all the emails and reviews that I don't get a chance to do while I'm teaching. Then I thought I need to write something about the stuff that really makes me tick before I head off to bed.

It's a bit of a show and tell of what I made on the sewing machine beast on Sunday.
Sunday morning Little Bun was happy doing her thing, Miss Rosey and her daddy were off at netball training and the sun shone through the windows. All perfect conditions indeed for a spot of sewing.


This is my happy view from my sewing machine. Just thought you might like to see what I see, just because.

On Saturday I'd spent a couple of hours deciding what to make, choosing the fabric and trims and then making the pattern up and cutting it all out. Not the best part of sewing I reckon most people agree.


After lots of pattern flicking about I'd settled on this blouse in a Liberty-ish fabric that I'd actually been saving for a dress.  It was only later that I found out that this kind of style just doesn't suit me AT ALL - never ever to be sure. Beautiful Japanese girls, however, look divine in them.


 I spent a lovely while sewing away. I tried and learnt a few new things - which was good you know. I like gaining new skills so that was a big thumbs up from me. At the end of the stitching session I had one top which I was thrilled with. That is until I put it on. Note to self - you've a big bust so in future absolutely avoid making gathered short tops. You'll only end up looking like an overblown matron who needs deflating.

While I was stitching Little Bun has asked if I'd make her a top like this as she loved it. Well turns out she got one much sooner than she thought she would. I just took the sides in and there we are she has a top she loves and I had a lovely time sewing, so we're all winners really.

 

 I altered the pattern slightly as I didn't like the drapey lace all around the neck and front. For the lace panel I used a bit of Edwardian camisole cotton which is one of my favourite bits, the other is at the back of the blouse.


The collar isn't quite even I know, but I'm actually really pleased with the keyhole binding as this was a real fiddle. I also love how the 1920's cream rose button fits so well with the fabric. I bought a bagload of these from New York years ago and still love using them.

 


Next up I'll be having a go at making something for me, especially now I've got my sewing mojo back. There's definately a few bits and bobs of fabric waiting to be used. As ever I need to have a good think about what they'll become.

Now bed beckons. Night Night.



Monday, 3 March 2014

Here & Now

I feel in need of a bit of a catch up you know. I'm sorely behind with the posts I wanted to write and then there's the pile of posts building up in blogworld that I want to read. Slow down with your posting for a bit please everyone and give me a chance to catch up.


 First news is of a dear friend who is opening up her shop once more. My beautiful and warm hearted friend Ruth came a visiting last week, the daffs she brought me are sadly on their last stretch. Ruth owned Glory Days which was the most delightful shop ever, the sort of shop I always hope to walk into, but don't find very often. Glory Days has moved to Holt and will be re-opening for business on March 29th.  Yay.


 Now at the tail end of Half-term I went yarn shopping all on my ownsome. I'd seen a cosy cardigan pattern which I couldn't get out of my head. The pattern interested me all the more because the whole cardigan is knitted in one go up and up and then outwards with the sleeves. Tons of stitches I know, but no knitting five separate bits and then the button bands which usually has me drifting off and losing interest.

My man was going to drive Miss Rosey over to her friends one morning, then I remembered there was a fabulous yarn shop on that side of the city. I said no problem, I'll go, see you later.


 I'd gone in with the idea of a greyish blue colour in my head, but instead I got seduced more by the feel of the yarn. Once I'd held Rowan Lima in my hand everything else felt a little bit more scritchy. There were only four colours to choose from so I went for the silver grey. All the way home I kept touching my yarn where it sat perched on the seat beside me. I knew I'd made the right choice.

Now the other bit of news about this yarn shop, which I know will seriously interest yarn addicts in these parts, is that it's moving to the heart of the city. As from April Norfolk Yarn will be in Pottergate next to Head in the Clouds. On work days I go past here back and forth - oooerrrr I'm not sure that's a good thing.


 Whilst I've been seduced yet again with new projects, I've finished some and been working on finishing others. My sparkly bunting is all done and dusted - ready to find the perfect hanging spot.


 I love these pastely sparkles so, a complete change from the brighteness I usually go for.


 Meanwhile in the basket of things waiting to be actually finished ......


 Oh yes, there's one other thing I did start manage to start and finish all in one go. I grabbed some time early one morning to lengthen my pretty floral dress. I opted for a black and white polka dot that has the same drape with a small bit of white lace to break the two prints up. The only bad thing I did, which I might end up regretting, is not cutting it on the bias. On the bias all the dots were lined up neat and tidy which just looked awful so I took a chance on having a dodgy hemline. It hangs ok though, could be better, but I'm happy with it.

 

 Nearly all news caught up with now. On Friday I took our wee Lily in to the vets have a lady op. She started yowling in a godforsaken way for the entire week of half-term so I thought right lady the time's come. We'd been tempted to try for kittens, but ahhh that noise, it was ear splitting. Lily is doing ok, but is finding the lampshade a bit heavy on her head poor girl. The same day I drove my man in for a scan on a lump. Thank god that lump isn't what we thought it might be. The NHS Dr referred him to a private clinic so he was in and out before I'd turned the car round.


 This weekend I was determined to get back to my sewing machine and so I grabbed the chance today. I'll show you what I made another day, I loved it and will be back on it again very soon methinks. Little Bun and I are watching the Sewing Bee, so that's probably got me fired up again.


In between sewing and waiting for Miss Rosey and my man (her daddy) to get back from netball training we whipped up a Bruce Bogtrotter Cake (half size I might add).


 I used to loathe Sunday's when I was a child. I love them now. They're cosy do what you want days that demand comforting food. The slight problem with Sunday is that it's always followed by Monday. 

See you in the week.