Sunday, 19 May 2019

I have decided to do an 'ing' post as Jo at Three Stories High and  Christina at a colourful life always do these and I think they are fun. The month is just flying by and I realise I have been a little blog absent these past few weeks so here goes.

Making - many things for the garden but I can't take credit for that it is my husband doing all the woodwork. He really has missed his calling there I think as he seems to be able to knock together just about anything. He has replaced more of the decking, made his own design for a little fence panel and decked the floor just outside the back door yesterday.
I said I think he should make those fence panels to sell, he does have a day job though!

This little area is much better with the decking on, it was just concrete same as the step below and that was fine except that there was a crack, also a manhole cover.  This meant there were certain places where you couldn't sit back with your chair without falling into a gap.  This has levelled it all out and made the space more usable.
I am currently making this dress with a simple pattern from a magazine, the fabric is left over from a dress I made for my mother in law last year.
I hope to share this later in the week, no rush as I am taking a relaxed approach to my sewing while the weather has been a bit better.

Growing- a mixture of flowers and vegetables, I thought I would try and grow more flowers this year as they are so expensive to buy and an ongoing cost in the summer if you want the pots to look nice.  I have nasturtiums, pansies, giant godettia and various other that I can't recall the names of!  On the vegetable front I have planted lettuce, peas, purple kale and radishes.  There is also some basil and parsley on the go. 
 Some of these really need thinning already, I did a few the other day but they looked a bit sad after.

 These radishes have been put up high out of the way of the dogs, they seem to think growing veg outside is a buffet just for them, or at least one of them does.

Bigger plants  are already moved on to bigger pots, I think I will put some more seeds in now to keep things going.  The only thing with this is the waiting, obviously popping to the garden centre you get instant colour.

Reading- having recently read Atomic Habits that has been the best read for ages, thinking about you habits, the order in which you do things, chunking new habits to old to make them stick.  Also the idea of deliberate practise and accumulated hours was really interesting.  If you are interested in changing a few habits and want to understand a bit more of the psychology of why habits stick or not then this is worth a read.  If you don't feel you have the time there is also a podcast you can watch/listen to on youtube Atomic Habits James Clear.   It is quite a long one so maybe watch it over a couple of sessions.
I also read The Summer of Impossible Things, this had a little bit of time travel, a bit of a love story and I would definitely say it is a beach kind of book, nothing heavy and not that I've been near a beach of any kind for a long time.  It was enjoyable if a bit sentimental in places but worth a look if you don't want anything too taxing.  
Currently I have on the go One hundred years of Solitude (again I didn't finish it last time)  and People in the Room by Norah Lange. I 'll let you know how I get on with that later.

Learning- Norwegian, I started a month long futurelearn course and I am also practising on Duo Lingo but I have to say that has you learning some bizarre sentences.  In addition to that I have ordered some CDs from the library.  It keeps my brain learning new things and I am doing a little every day with no excuses.

Planning- decorating my hallway and stairs, at the very least I want a new stair carpet but the whole drama of having to book people to come out just puts me off. The painting I can do but the carpet fitting needs professionals. People in and out talking and three dogs barking, I am not looking forward to it. 

Enjoying- sticking to my pilates routine every evening, I have done a month  now without missing any and it really has just become part of my daily routine.  The plus is that I always feel better after and not just because of the moves but  also because I know I have completed it.

Watching- a good selection  of world television, this last week we watched a series called The Night Out, it was Columbian and based on a real case. It was very interesting and there are other cases in the series.  We are currently watching Border Town and that is set in Finland.

Regretting- having more than two glasses of wine on a rare night out on Friday, I was up early yesterday with flu like symptoms? This must have been my body having a weird hangover as I am fine now!  I was tired all day so a bit of a waste of a Saturday.

Catching- up on all my blog reading, I love seeing what you are all up to and it is so lovely to have such a wonderful community to share with.

Well that is all for now, I have the usual Sunday evening ironing pile to tackle so I am off to do that while listening to a few podcasts.

Saturday, 4 May 2019

A Quick Thrifty Skirt

Today I made up this very quick skirt with the fabric remnant I bought last weekend, I had a pattern from a magazine a friend gave me for an A-line skirt  but it seemed such a waste of time to cut out a pattern for such a basic shape that I didn't bother.  There is also the fact that as an untested pattern I don't know if the shape  or size is going to be any good so I opted to just cut two shapes using a dress of mine as a guide.  I didn't cut it exactly the same as the dress as the fabric wasn't wide enough but it gave me a rough idea of size.

The fabric was £1.50 so an amazing bargain, when I picked it up my husband said 'but there is a bit cut out of the bottom!' I said oh it will be fine the skirt won't be as long as that.  The zip I already had in my sewing box, I always salvage zips from things also I didn't use any interfacing in the waistband. 

On the inside I hand stitched the inside of the waistband it looks neat and I quite enjoy doing hand stitching.  The fabric is a bit like scuba and didn't fray so I haven't bothered with edging on the inside seams apart from the bottom hem.

So overall this was very quick and just goes to show you don't always need patterns and lots of supplies to get a project finished.  After flicking through some of my donated sewing magazines I got the impression that some of the articles suggest you need to spend an arm and a leg before you can get any sewing done.   There seems to be a gadget for just about everything, threads for any emergency and don't get me started on feet!   

I have to say that when I began making my own clothes at sixteen it was not only for the love of it but also because it was cheap.  I could see an image in a catalogue ( yes it was catalogues back then) and then try and copy it, often with whatever cheap fabric I found on the market and never with a pattern.  Now I tend to think if people are buying really expensive fabric they are going to be nervous about starting things.  There is also the fact that patterns are not always accurate so it does not really follow that just because you bought an expensive pattern it will fit you beautifully.   I hope more people will try out doing their own thing with cheap offcuts or clothes in a larger size from the charity shop, it really is the best way to learn.   

Here is the dress on the table as you can see it was not an entirely accurate copy of it 
but I feel it still works really well.  The main thing is that is wide enough, I knew that any problems with tapering the sides could be sorted later, as it happened it was fine first time.

Monday, 29 April 2019

Springing Awake

I feel like the cobwebs have really been blown away with all this lovely weather we have had recently. Easter weekend you could hardly get us inside in typical British fashion we were out, sandals on sorting the garden, with the odd bottle of beer in hand of course!  My husband has built us some amazing raised planters down one side, we need things like this as the dogs have a tendency to jump on dug soil and dig.  Sometimes they just walk through it just to get dirty and annoy us I think.

Anyway these will be really useful for the summer, they took quite a lot of filling and I have to say that buying soil is not fun.  The rest of the garden was given a wash down and a weed and now it is looking much better, I hope we haven't scared away the rest of the sunshine now.

So as things start to grow in the greenhouse there will be more plants to fill them up, just looking a bit sparse for now.  We bought an ornamental tree and a pear plus we moved a couple of aisas to the boxes.

I didn't feel much like being indoors sewing while the weather was glorious as you never know how long it will last, we also had a trip to Castleton and a bit of a walk around there.  The rest of the time was just spent in the garden . I

Now that the evenings are lighter I have felt much more productive and various ways, I am sticking to practising my guitar every night, doing 20-30 minutes of pilates and I have started a Norwegian course that I have been doing for just over a week. So that I don't forget anything I made myself a little tick calendar.

I managed to repair three pairs of jeans and turn another pair into shorts, I did a few tops and alterations for people I know and I completely reshaped a jacket I made a while ago but forgot the before and after photos.

I have been getting more books read, this is in part due to being more strict with my online reading.  I do love to read online but I have a tendency to jump through the links on a topic when I am interested.  This can be good for learning but also bad for concentration so I am trying to  limit my use of online articles or  read them alongside a book where I can.  I will share more on this another day as it is a topic all on it's own really.

On Saturday we visited a fabric shop in Barnsley as I needed a zip, only to find a closing down sale!  This is sad as the shop has been there for years however the last we visited it had new owners/managers or whatever  and the boss was clearly humiliating a member of staff in front of all the customers, we were embarrassed for her. So maybe there is a reason it is closing if that was a reflection of life for staff at the shop on a regular basis.   I did manage to bag a £1.50 remnant while I was there, it is not very big but enough for a small skirt, I will share another day. I'm off to work on my to do list :)  

Saturday, 13 April 2019

Simple Sew Dress

I have this lovely little pattern that is so easy to make up, this Simple sew pattern is actually for  a top but I had this piece of fabric I bought on sale a while ago and I thought it would make a lovely dress.  It has a nice drape to it and as the style of the top is a bit like a  kimono shape I thought they would go well together.
You can tie the tie front or back and here I have decided to cross it over at the back and tie it at the front.  I think I like it best this way.

To make the dress I simply cut the pattern pieces out a bit longer the only thing is with this pattern is that once you tie it and it wraps around your body there are obviously bits that hang down longer due to the width of the garment.  This is fine on the top I feel but on the dress I wanted it to look level once tied.  So I tied it on the mannequin and put pins where it was hanging down longer as a guide.  Then I lay it out flat and tapered it in with scissors following the pins, this just meant that I was taking a couple of cm off at each side seam decreasing towards the centre in a straight line.  Now when it is tied the hem is all level and it is not something you would be wearing untied so problem solved.

 Here is the before picture so you can see where the side pieces hang down longer when tied behind. I should have taken a picture while I was cutting it off but I didn't think at the time!  I was just set on rectifying the issue.  It would have been fine left alone I just have to faff. 

This fabric has a bit of a silky feel to it and that is lovely, however once I tried it on I noticed it is also really full of static.  Does anyone have any ideas how to combat this, I do wonder if it will either cling like crazy when I wear it or work its way up.

Here is one of the pieces to the pattern and there really are only a few of them. So easy and yet so nice. 

I finished reading Money A Love Story by Kate Northrup a couple of days ago, I have to say it didn't do much for me.  It is supposed to be motivational and helpful in terms of how we look at and view money and yet it just felt very self congratulatory.  The author mentions her mum wrote a best seller years ago, then she mentions this throughout the book and also did I mention her mum was on Oprah twice?  No well she does often!  I hate to be negative when someone has wrote a book as it is such an amazing thing to get one out there at all but parts of it just put me in a bad mood.  I think there is lots of good advice out there on blogs that is  more realistic and it doesn't have to involve shady  deals, network marketing or any other way of roping people in to pyramid selling schemes.

I plodded on  with the book as I like to finish things and there is always the possibility that you will gain something you didn't know before, and I did, that I am very happy with my way of doing things and it has served me well.  Spend way less than I earn and stay out of debt, no magic formula required!

Monday, 8 April 2019

Wardrobe Fillers

Yesterday I managed to sew two t-shirts, I cut them both out at the same time and this is not something I usually do but may become part of my routine in future as it worked well.  I have said before that as I love patterned fabric  I have a few skirts that are quite hard to dress with.  This is because I rarely buy plain and therefore have very little in the way of plain tops to go with them.  This year that is changing however and I am filling the gaps so that everything goes with something.  That does not mean to say I won't be buying the lovely prints that I see but I will be making a conscious effort to ensure everything has a partner.
First up is this elbow length t-shirt in turquoise made with the same dress pattern I used for the black t-shirt a couple of weeks ago, I just lengthened the bodice on the dress.
The good thing about this colour is that I have three skirts that will go with it, so no pairing dilemmas there.

Now the next t-shirt is patterned  but only because the fabric is leftover from the dress that I made a couple of days ago.  This time I have gone for  a long sleeved version and it can be paired with a navy skirt that I own or of course my jeans.

I wonder if anyone else uses their patterns in this way to make multiple garments from them, after all patterns are just a series of shapes that we can manipulate however we want to make the clothes we like.
So looking at the image above the next step would be to make the skirt part without the top, just add a waistband.

The brighter weather today meant that I could get over to my mums to plant her some flowers then back to mine to plant up some pots.  There are still quite I few to do and I hope to get over to the local garden shop tomorrow to buy more compost, I am also hoping  my compost may be ready soon we have not looked in the bottom only the top as we add to it.  I have to say the top still looks quite gross, it has been about 10 months? Should we peek at the bottom?

I also made a trip to the library I collected Money a Love story and I'm pretty certain I have give up on this before, she started talking (bragging) about network marketing and I think I glazed over at that point once before.   I will persevere this time you never know there may be some wisdom in there.  I have nothing against that kind of marketing if it works for people but I just have memories of getting invited to candle parties, pampered chef, temple spa etc, etc. you sit there listening to presentations and giving up your evenings later to be expected to pay over the odds for products and you feel you should buy as you are a guest in peoples homes.

 I started to politely decline these things then one person who I knew (only in work) was offended when I didn't go to her party and even added on the response 'I thought it would cheer us all up and you are not coming.'  She didn't also add that point it was her daughters business and she was just starting out!  So yes I am a little jaded with the whole multi level marketing thing.

Right then rant over, the other books I picked up are The Summer of Impossible Things, Swing Time and In the Night Wood. I'm hoping to get stuck into those this week so I'll let you know how they pan out.

Saturday, 6 April 2019

Sewing for Summer

I received this fabric in the post while I was away on holiday so it was waiting for me when I got back.  I have to say I couldn't wait to get on with it but I did wash it first, I think I have learnt my lesson after a couple of favourites seem to have shrunk a little and it is entirely my fault for jumping straight in and not pre washing before cutting. I think the trick is in future is to just put it straight in the wash the minute it arrives!   So that is what I did, I chose a McCalls pattern this time and it is a fairly easy make but I do have to say the fabric is really slinky.   I will share more on that later as this is for a Minerva post, there is also a large piece left so I will be making another long sleeved t-shirt as well.  For now here is a peak of the dress...

It is so good to be feeling more my usual self, as I mentioned we have been away for the week on holiday but unfortunately we have been ill.  I started before we went away and my husband has had a bad cold, we came home early on Thursday in need of a good sleep in our own bed.   I don't think we ever really sleep the same on holiday and on this occasion the bed was just too soft for us, I tend to get back ache on a soft mattress, so couple that with being ill and we had just had enough.  Never mind we have a week away booked in the summer to Wales, lets hope we fair better then.  It also snowed while we were there, I don't really think April offers much in the way of spring weather any more.
This was a view from our bedroom window while we were away, not looking very spring like at all!

A view from the car as we were travelling home.  We stayed in Allendale Northumberland, we have been before and it is a lovely little town.

Last night I made some underwear using leftover bits of jersey, they came out really well and I am going to make some more as there are other random bits of jersey knocking about that will do the trick.  It is cotton jersey so just right and I didn't use any elastic just the stretchy facings I made to go around the legs and top.  I could do with ordering some stretchy lace in various colours to finish them off nicely though.  For this pair I had some regular lace in mint so I have just used that.

I suppose I really should just make a pattern for these but I end up just getting a pair out of the drawer and cutting around those, it seems to work for me. 

Friday, 29 March 2019

Slow Living Make it Mindful

Well I have missed a day of this challenge due to being ill this past few days, it began with awful cramps on Wednesday evening then a terrible night as it kicked in.  I believe it is food poisoning due to some mushrooms I ate, my husband did say there was an odd smell but I thought it was the lamb I was cooking for him!   Anyway here I am finally up but on the sofa with a blanket I have managed a banana and a little porridge this afternoon but my stomach does not seem impressed.

So I had to do something before I go mad with boredom so laying here typing this is about all I can manage right now.  I have decided to re-share a project I made at Christmas for today as I obviously haven't been able to create anything new, also I feel the theme of slow living demands a project that took time to create and this one fits the bill.  It is this little jacket and penguin I made as a Christmas gift, the penguin was unpicked about three times and the jacket came together over a week.  It was an enjoyable process and some things don't need to be rushed.  Sorry for repeating myself for those of you that have seen this before but maybe a few readers haven't and I did so want to complete the whole challenge.
I think the reason my little penguin took so long was that it was supposed amigurumi, it was coming out too small for my liking but maybe it was supposed to be like that.  Anyway in the end I just went ahead and made it my way, so it turned out a better size but perhaps not with the tight stitch it should have had.

Hopefully I will be able to have a go at some more of these little toys, so if anyone has any tips on making them it would be appreciated.  I think some of the online patterns don't always explain things properly especially if crochet is not your area of expertise.

I'm hoping to have a bit more energy tomorrow, or rather hoping, two nights without sleep and no food has left me washed out.  Let me know if you have posted anything to this challenge, I haven't seen anything so far from people I follow but then I didn't look at it at all yesterday so maybe I have missed some of your makes.

It is half term here ,so for any of you that are with me in that I hope you have a restful break.

I have decided to do an 'ing' post as Jo at  Three Stories High and  Christina at  a colourful life always do these and I think th...