Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Takara Blouse with Pink Flamingos

A few weeks ago I spotted a bundle of sewing world magazine on ebay for a couple of pounds, I bid on them and won, I thought they would be fun to look through while I was off work for the summer and may provide some inspiration. Plus what a bargain price, it is a collection of six magazines and yesterday I had a go at a blouse from the January 2017 issue.  This was ideal as I spotted some pink flamingo fabric while out on Saturday and just couldn't resist it.

I had just enough fabric to make the blouse in my size with one metre but the instructions state one and a half so it will depend on sizing. Initially I was a bit concerned about the neck detail because I thought it may just look like a mistake as the centre pleat is not straight (this is the asymmetrical style of it) but as my fabric is a polycotton and quite flowy it is not that obvious and the detailing is nice.

On the pattern it also states to put a hook and eye at the top centre back, I chose to opt for a button and loop as I had thin black ribbon and a selection of pink buttons to hand.  I feel this is more of a feature at the back neck rather than it needing to be there for functionality as you can easily get the top on without unfastening it.
The sizing on this pattern was pretty good although I did run the sides in a little but that is probably personal choice, even after doing that it is still roomy enough to be comfy and I will use this pattern again now that I've tried it.  At first I though what if I cut into this lovely new fabric and this weird neck thing doesn't work? Then I thought the feature was high enough up that if I didn't like it I could have worked it into something else so I carried on.
What I would say though is that I found the facings a little deep and when it was all finished the facing did appear to be pulling up on the inside like it was too small, I figured it may be the depth of it so I just trimmed it down, refinished it and then it hung flat.  After under stitching the facing I also added some very fine invisible stitching to the top on the inside to ensure the facing stays, this is not necessary but it just reassures me everything stays put

I was going to make the sleeves shorter but once they were done I actually like them this length, because they are loose they are comfy and also there is enough room that if a jacket pushes them up they won't feel tight on the upper arm. That is one of the things that usually bugs me about three quarter or elbow length sleeves.

Here is the blouse in the magazine, as you can see they have used a slightly heavier fabric so the neck detain is more prominent.
I look forward to seeing what else I can make from these magazines, as they are usually quite expensive they are not something I buy often so this little bargain bundle was a treat.  Has anyone else been looking through old magazines or books for inspiration this summer?  If so I would love to hear what you have discovered or revisited.

Today we have been out for a walk to a new place, not that far in the car and I only heard about it through a link form a friend on facebook.  So many lovely places close by that go undiscovered.  This place is a park called Glen Howe park, there is a little link here.

The dogs had a great time sniffing around somewhere new.
I love pictures through trees.
 A bit of paddling (not me)
So that is another place we can take them when we feel like a change, I'm sure we will discover some more walks that are not too far away.  It just goes to show you don't have to visit another town or country to see something new.

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Mini Cowl Neck Top for £2.30!

I didn't buy the fabric in todays post to make a top, in fact it was only supposed  to be the detail part at the top of a dress, however after realising the piece was bigger than I thought it seemed a shame for it to not feature on its own.  I would like to be able to state exactly what it is but as ever I didn't check the bolt for details other than price, georgette maybe? heavier than chiffon but still with a slight transparency.  It was £4.60 a metre and I only bought half a metre so the piece only cost me £2.30, I already had cotton and a small amount of white bias binding from a previous project so no extra supplies were required.

I may add I am wearing jogging bottoms under the top in this photo so not the best way to show it off!

Small piece of binding proved just enough.
It was loose to begin with but my husband suggested I take it in a little at the waist, once I did that I had to take it in a bit more further down also as it had too much of a defied in and out shape.
It is still loose enough at the bottom to be worn over things (preferably not jogging bottoms)  but would also look ok tucked in.

I cut around another top I made recently, my cap sleeved green one as it is comfy to wear and all I did to create the mini cowl effect was to double over the fabric at the front and make it wider slightly at the top.  Then I pinned the shoulder to the back pieces and just let the front fall down then pinned all of it to check how it would look on the mannequin. 
I have found draping and pinning things on here really useful when I have an idea of something to make.  Of course there is no substitute for trying things on yourself but it can be tricky to pin if you are just playing around with an idea.

When I was happy with how  that looked I just stitched my binding to the neck of the back, overlocked the bottom of the fold on the front inside then overlocked it all together.  The good thing with this style was that there was no extra finishing of the front neckline as the fabric was folded over inside.  I also allowed enough on the inside fold so that it comes right down past where the bra is on the front so should I choose to wear it without a white camisole it is not see though. 

As you can see here it is folded over at the top.  (Yes that top has been worn!  I had to retrieve it form the wash to make this one)

This was quite a quick make and did not require a pattern, if you have a non stretch top to copy from why not give it a try? Just two piece front and back with a fold over at the front, enough bias binding to do that back neck and that is it.  If you have an oddment of fabric or maybe an old sheet you could try it first on that.

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Exercise Fads are OK

 One of my current forms of exercise.

Today I am writing about something a little bit different but something that I think about quite a lot and that is our relationship with exercise, or at least my relationship with it.  I can't be sure but I would think that there are quite a few other people who probably have the same experience as me so here goes.

When I was teenager I used to swim at our local pool every week with my friend and in the summer months we would play tennis regularly in the park, not unusual at all and I'm sure many of you did the same. Along came the winter, the tennis would stop and we would ice skate every week for a number of months.  This too would eventually end as we tired of it.  In addition to this as my parents didn't own a car I always walked many miles a day and I have to say this has stayed with me through life as I have always enjoyed walking.

On leaving school and having my own money I bought myself free weights, and a workout bench along with a book on weight training for women.  This was an interest that I maintained for three years, three times a week and only took a back bench ( ha, ha) when I met my husband.

Along came our life in our own home, the weights came with us but were not used for a few years but we did enjoy other things.  Our first dog got us out walking again, a new friendship took me back to the swimming pool and to weekly badminton sessions and the exercise continued.

When my dad retired early I also had a day off in the week so on fine days we would play tennis, on wet days darts and pool ( ok that's not really exercise!)  So an interest was revisited there, my dad was very good as he was at most sports and very competitive too, I am glad we had that time together.

Later when my boys were young I  would take part in Taekwondo with my oldest son gaining a few belts.  I enjoyed it at the time as there were two other women my age there but they eventually quit and so did my son, I quit then too I didn't want to be one of the only adults there.  I suppose I could have looked for another club had the interest been strong enough but it had run it's course.( I might also mention that after the birth of my first son I began using my free weights and bench again to get back in shape this continued for a few years until I was pregnant with my second child.)

At about the time we quit Taekwondo we had started riding bikes at weekends with the children until the winter came.
Then in  our current home we were near a pool (not so close anymore as they demolished it!) so I had membership for four years and would swim two to three times a week consistently.  I enjoyed that very much for a long time but eventually felt like it was no longer giving me any joy.  I think it is ok to recognise that but I felt a bit guilty at first as I had maintained it as such a good habit.

When that ended I had to replace the activity with something so I had a few months of going out for runs with the dogs.  Maybe not such a good idea as they pull me about quite a bit but I thought it was such a waste not to exercise them at the same time.  After that first few months I began getting  a lot of pain in my ankle so decided this was maybe not the exercise for me.  I mean it is supposed to improve your well being not create more problems.

A few internet searches got me doing at home aerobics workouts, then two solid months of yoga which again I enjoyed for a while but wasn't sure it was for me.  I have eventually settled on Pilates and I have been doing that for about two years maybe, from home, using online sessions 20-30 almost every day. (free on youtube)  We are also back riding bikes at the weekends and this is something my husband and I can do together, although I don't go fast enough according to him. The walking has continued throughout my life and I can never see a time when I would not enjoy going for a long walk.

So what was the point of my long and exhaustive list of lifetime activities?  Well the point was to say that we often beat ourselves up if we haven't chosen a form of exercise and then stuck with it forever.  people join gyms doing the same repetitive thing and then wonder why they quit and feel bad about it.  I don't believe it matters what we do to keep fit as long as we do something,  Of course whatever we do we have to enjoy it or we just won't have the motivation to continue.  So I look back on my activities stopped and started over the years with a smile.  I enjoyed these things immensely for months, sometimes  years but then it was time for a change and that  is fine, no guilt required.   Who knows what I will do in the future, more of the same or something new?

In regards to all these activities above I might also add that I never spent a lot of money on any of them. We hired rackets as children, skates my parents got me second hand, swim membership was cheaper than individual sessions.  Badminton rackets we did own but used until tatty, my son later used these too and they are still upstairs in the cupboard, they were inexpensive to begin with and they certainly earned their keep.  I suppose our most expensive sport was the Taekwondo as we had the clothing, membership and insurance to pay for, other than that everything has been pretty low cost. A basic swim suit, trainers and whatever t shirt and joggers I had knocking about I have certainly never been one  for buying clothes to exercise in.  Most recently we replaced my old bike on the ride to work scheme, I will not be riding to work as I am afraid of riding on the busy road however it did provide us with a good discount off the price of the bike.

So in all I don't feel it is the fad of trying new sports then quitting that is the problem, that is just experiences and variety and we all need a bit of that.  No I think the problem is when people feel they have to look the part and have the latest expensive equipment before they can try anything, only to quit having sunk a ton of money into it.  This is not only a problem in terms of wasted money but it also cause people to feel they can't try anything else because they know what will happen and they don't want to waste more money.  That is really sad because what if you only enjoy for two months? Great you did something healthy for two months!  A lot of equipment can be hired, bought second hand or borrowed. My exercise mat cost £7 including postage and I wear whatever clothing I want as I'm at home, actually when I go on the bike I just wear my leggings and a t shirt, no specialist clothing needed.

In conclusion I think we need to get away from this whole idea that we are flaky if we try new things and then move on to something new.  It should be seen as a positive thing to experience lots of different ways to stay healthy and enjoy our lives.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Beetroot Burgers and Decluttering

Well I am going to share this recipe first of all because Mamas Mercantile asked me to share what I did with the beetroot.  I have never had it fresh before only in those little pickle salads that you buy so this was new for me.  I suppose I was a bit uncertain what to do with it being so strong (or so I thought) and vivid.   I saw this recipe but can't find the link, needless to say I changed it a bit too.
I had read I could microwave the beetroot first so that is what I did, about 8-9 minutes turning part way through, oh and I pricked it too like you would a baked spud.  It also went in a bowl as I expected it to leak a bit, it did!
While that was cooking I put one chopped red onion, two garlic cloves and a tsp of cumin in a frying pan, fried that gently then added cannellini beans.  You are supposed to add red kidney but I'm not a fan of those and they make me bloat.  After that has cooked chop the beetroot and add all ingredients to the blender with two tbsp. of porridge oats then blend, you will have to keep scraping down the sides.  When that is done scoop it out adding more porridge to bind it a bit, salt and pepper and then form in to burger shapes in the pan.  I did all of this using two big spoons to save on the red hands.
Then fry them about five minutes on each side until browned a bit.
I used one beetroot and half a can of beans and that made three burgers that size, so if you were serving them in a bread  bun that would serve three people.  I ate mine without the bread, I don't eat regular bread and my family had chicken and did not want a beetroot burger!  To be honest they were ok and not unpleasant but I'm not sure they would warrant the faffing about for me.  maybe they would have tasted better in a GF breadcake with vegan cheese and dressing on. Maybe next time or I may just try another recipe.

Today I have been trying to get back into the habit of decluttering, I started this last year after reading Marie Kondo but somehow I lost my way.  It is not that I have brought more stuff in, I just haven't been keeping up with the reducing items like I had planned.  Maybe it got harder as time passed as  the things left to sort had more meaning.  Anyway spurred on by Jo's decluttering I have managed to take two large bags to the charity shop today, some of them were books.  Since my last declutter I have managed to keep the book habit under control and usually always order from the library, or buy charity shop then all but my very favourites go back there.   There was also a dress in one of the bags that I still liked but I haven't worn it in over four years, the reason being  I wore it for an interview of a job I didn't get and every time I looked at it I just thought of that negative memory.  Silly really as I am in a better position now but as it caused that feeling it had to go.  It is a bit strange how long it took me to realise and get rid of it though, it just shows the attachment we have to things.   On the plus side I came back from the shop feeling mentally lighter having removed more things so I must hold on to that feeling and keep at it.  Being someone who sews and likes to save money always gives me that little feeling of ' oh but what if I need it to make.....' so I will have to check that internal voice.  Chances are a lot of the time I will not make anything, it will just clog up a cupboard and head space for ages

This past couple of days I have had a bit of a marathon read of this blog raptitude.com getting better at being a human  It is brilliant when you find a new blog you like and  that speaks to you in some way.  There are so many talented writers out there!  Lots of   fascinating posts on there that really get you thinking why not have a look.

Saturday, 4 August 2018

Days Out

We chose not to book a week away this summer holiday as we always fall unlucky with the weather. I know it has been glorious for weeks but oddly enough the week my husband booked off then cancelled, which was this past week, the weather has been raining in the lakes and that is where we were going to go!  He still retained a couple of days off and spread the rest out so we have had a couple of day trips out, I am wondering if this might always be a better idea as we travel about when we go away anyhow.  Not saying I never want to go away but you know good value to use your own home as a base rather than pay to stay in another home.  
 Thursday we went out on our bikes we have been doing this each week since I got mine four weeks ago.  We went on the cycle path from Wortley to Dunford bridge it is ten miles so a twenty mile round trip and I have to say my legs were a bit wobbly when I got back.  A nice day for this as it wasn't too hot and we managed to take a few pics along the way.
It is an old railway line as many of these paths are so you go through a tunnel which can be a welcome cool down.
Lots of lovely scenery along the way.
Some quirky things to see too!
These little fairy doors were everywhere, at least that's what I think they are and also sculptures here and there.
When you get to the car park at Dunford bridge there is this piece of art that was created to celebrate the Tour de Yorkshire.

Yesterday we chose to go to Bakewell for a walk around, it was much better than the last time we went as it was a weekday, weekends can be very busy there.   We parked at the top of a hill away from the main bit to get free parking we always do this when we go anywhere.  I don't understand why people pay a premium to park in the centre when they are able bodied.  If you are going to be walking around for the day anyway why not walk a bit further to your car?
We had some chips while watching the ducks.
These images are the walk down from the car, park in the centre and you miss this.

We also stopped and had a drink here...
In other news I am still getting bits from the greenhouse and garden, it's not a huge amount but it is good to know we grew it ourselves.
I also have a beetroot from my mother in-law's garden so I   will be making something with that later. I can't say it is something I have ever used much of but if she has a surplus of them I will be investigating ways to use them up. 


Saturday, 28 July 2018

A New Take on an Old Pattern

This dress I am sharing today is from a pattern that I have had for years, I originally made for a work Christmas party about eleven years ago.  I remember this well as my youngest had started school and I was back working in the day out of the home (I worked form home for a few years before that) so a night out was a bit exciting.  I made it back then in red satin, which thinking about it now seems a bit over the top but oh well I was happy with it at the time.

I used more of my lucky dip fabric bag  fabric for this, this time a lightweight cotton but I chose to line the skirt and do the bodice double. I also added a twist by using a contrasting centre panel in a print. If you have read this blog before you will have seen this cherry fabric pop up in all  sorts of things, and it still keeps going, it is becoming a bit like 'where's Wally' lurking in every project!
I had to add a couple of darts to the front of the wrap pieces as well as little gathers, this style on me just does not stay put otherwise, I also pulled the straps quite snug also to save it gaping.

This is the pattern I used I wonder if anyone else has this pattern?

So yes I finished that yesterday and today it rained so it could be my fault, but we did need it after all.
Today I also bought two zips so I can continue making up the rest of the fabric but I also bought a remnant that was sitting on the counter just waiting for me.  The girl was just about to staple a price to it when I asked how much and how long it was, '£4 for two metres' so I came away with that too. Why not?

Another bit of good news today I manged to get my over locker blades in the correct position , they had not been cutting correctly since I changed them.  After watching a youtube video it is working perfectly  so I am  quite pleased about that, another job completed without having to pay someone else is always a bonus.

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Striped Pencil Skirt

I've been getting on with more fabric from my Minerva Crafts lucky dip bag today, this time a blue and white stripe.  I knew what to do with this as soon as I saw it as I pictured it in my head. It was a combination of a pattern and one of my own as I know the fit of mine better.  People do like to see a pattern to work from though, I will link more on that for the Minerva post.

This feels like it will be a nice versatile skirt, and as it is relatively plain I'm hoping it will go with lots of tops.  The fabric is a bit stretchy but I still did a little walking split.
It is funny really as I probably would not have put this fabric in my basket but I love the result, as I've said before I get carried away with  colourful prints and neglect the wardrobe staples.

To make the pattern accurate I used some old wrapping paper that was in my cupboard and transferred my markings to that.  This kind of cheap paper is really good to use for that purpose as it has a little grid marked on the back of it, it is also a little sturdier than tissue paper.

After that was complete I had a dig around in what few patterns I have and found a nice summer dress for the black cotton.  It is going to have a twist as I'm putting a patterned piece in the middle of the dress (there I go again!) I hope to get that all done tomorrow so I can wear it for a night out with family.

We have just had a bit of rain here, it didn't last long but it has saved me one job. I also filled a little container with the golden cherry tomatoes from the greenhouse, very satisfying and  they didn't last long either.

Takara Blouse with Pink Flamingos

A few weeks ago I spotted a bundle of sewing world magazine on ebay for a couple of pounds, I bid on them and won, I thought they would be f...