Tuesday, 15 January 2019

A Thrifty New Blind

This week I thought I would share with you how I revamped the roller blind in my son's bedroom, in an ideal world I would have taken step by step pictures but as it was a spur of the moment job I didn't.   I only went in the room the open the window and let some air in (teenagers!) but while I was there I thought the blind was  looking a bit grubby so I thought I would make use of some fabric that was gifted from a friend.

I have recycled my roller blinds before in this way and last time it was the bathroom one.  My only problem with this latest job is that I didn't quite have enough lining in one piece so there is a join.  The join behind is visible as the light shines through,  but never mind it is still clean and fresh.  I had to line it as it is for a bedroom and the main fabric  is light in colour.
So you can just see the faint line behind where I had to join the fabric, my son didn't mind he is pleased with it.

On this particular blind the tube is plastic so what I did was lay all the fabric out on the original blind, pin it to the lining using the original as a pattern piece then when I had stitched all the seams I cut the original fabric away from the tube a few inches away from it.  Then I handstitched my new fabric to the old at the top.  This was going to be rolled over so it didn't matter.  If you had some special glue that would stick fabric to plastic there wouldn't be any need for this step, but I didn't.  On the previous blind I made over the tube was heavy duty cardboard, on that one I stapled the fabric to the tube.
A  little channel at the bottom ensures you can slot the bottom baton back in.  I have to say this job was complete in under an hour and didn't cost me a penny, just a little of my time.

This job was made a little easier due to this little extension  my husband made for my sewing table.  It stops the fabric falling off the end and the leg pulls out and the table folds down when it is not in use.  I love it and again it was made from odd bits that  we already  had.  The leg is in fact part of an old windbreak.

At the recommendation of a friend I have been watching the Marie Kondo show about tidying and decluttering. As I read the book when it came out I knew what the basics were but the show's focus is more on the families.  I have watched a few but it is one of those shows where once you have seen one it is all pretty much the same.  I love the folding methods but I am a person that likes to re-use and there seems to be a lot of emphasis on getting stuff out of the house. Now I don't think we should hang on to everything but if we always got rid of things that were not immediately in use then we wouldn't get the chance to recreate and recycle.   I also suppose it is a matter of style because a plain room containing nothing but a sofa and a TV is not a welcoming space to me, it feels devoid of all personality.

I am fully back into the going to work routine, it's funny how quickly the holiday is a distant memory. I keep taking a few minutes to read my book in the evening.  I am currently reading The Choice by Edith Eger, I ordered it form the library and gives her account of her experiences as a prisoner during the war and the mindset that got her though it.   I have nearly finished it so I am on the lookout for my next read, any suggestions anyone, nothing gory though!

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

New Look Jacket and Top Combo

Happy new year everyone, I hope you all had a relaxing time over the Christmas period and are all ready and eager to take on the new year.  Thank you for reading and all your lovely comments I look forward to seeing what all of you make during the coming months.

Yesterday I made up the top from New Look pattern K6532, I shared a little about this last week when I cut it all out, it made up quickly and with just a little tweaking to make it more fitted I know it will be a favourite.  I wore it today and it is very comfy, just a couple of images to share as it is for a Minerva post.

I have also made the jacket from the pattern and I finished that today, I have to say they will not be worn together as it is a bit much but it was fun to try the jacket as it is completely different in shape to my usual style.
It is quite flared at the back. I think a plain top under it would be a better option. 

This morning when I got up I read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, I really wanted to love it probably because I bought it!  I usually get most of my books from the library but had this one on my list so I thought I would have a treat. Oh dear, it just felt like the same message all the way through, and it is a good message but it didn't need a whole book.  The basic idea behind the book is that ideas are out there ready for us to make them real, if you have an urge to make something then do it, don't wait for the right time or permission from anyone else. That is it but said over many pages and in lots of different ways with anecdotes to accompany the points made.  I am in awe of anyone who can write and publish a book and get it out there so well done to her.  I really enjoyed Eat, Pray, Love  but not this book but hey, great job getting her ideas out there!

I am also in the middle of The China Study by T. Colin Campbell and that is fascinating I would urge anyone to read it who is interested in the impact of diet on health or if you are not into a heavy read at least look up the China Study on YouTube and the man himself.  I am sure there is lots of information on there.

By way of sewing I have some practical projects to get on with for friends over the next few days, curtain pelmets and zips.  For myself I plan to make a new shoulder bag over the next month.  I have seen a bag on the Desigual website that is £99 pounds!  The design is lovely so  I am going to make something similar, not exactly the same but taking inspiration from it.  There are a couple of bits of bag furniture I need to order and some bits will be recycled from materials I already have, I am quite looking forward to that.  Other than that my sewing over the coming months will be spontaneous, how about all of you? Do you plan for the year ahead what you will make or do you wait and see what you fancy?

Thursday, 27 December 2018


Hi there, I have been a little blog absent I know this past couple of weeks but it has been a funny month.  Just about everyone I know has had this awful cough/cold bug which has not been helped at work by the heating not working for the whole month!  It did finally get fixed a couple of days before we broke up for Christmas. Prior to that I had the sick bug at the end of November on my day off!  We did manage to get to the theatre at the start of the month to see Rock of Ages and that was fab, I mentioned that in my last post but I thought it was at least a positive start to the month despite all the germs flying around.

I did manage to take this photograph of the big wheel in Sheffield as we were coming out of the theatre and I thought it looked lovely all lit up.
We don't go into the city centre all that often not unless we have a specific purpose, my mum on the other hand goes a couple of times a week.  That was something we always did when I was a child, Saturday we went into town. Ok there was some food shopping to be done as there were not supermarkets everywhere back then but even as a teenager I went with my friends, it was as if we had been indoctrinated into the shopping as a hobby mindset.  It is not something I have ever done since, so our occasional trips often provide me with something new to see as everything changes so quickly.

My friends and I also has a trip out for afternoon tea this month at Wortley Hall as our little Christmas meet up, seeing my friends was lovely but the afternoon tea for me was a disappointment,  now if you have no special dietary need then it is fab because my friends got a lovely selection of food. They appeared to have just thrown a few bits together for me though, despite the fact that I let them know when I booked two weeks before, then again on arrival to be sure.  When they did bring my plate out my friend took this photo for me...
I look happy here but this was not my food!

So far so good but when I looked the sandwiches had meat in and that pudding is milk based, I explained I had the wrong plate and then had to wait about 25 minutes.  When it came back I had a sandwich containing just tomato, one with just cucumber and one just pepper with onion, the tall pudding was gone of course but not replaced this pitiful bit of food still remained £13.99 no offer of a reduction but saying that no one ever came back to ask if everything was ok we ended up paying at the reception desk as we left. This was a real shame as we had been before and they did a brilliant job that time making me up a vegan plate, it must depend on the chef, not that making sandwiches requires chef training.

In complete contrast to that experience I had an amazing Christmas lunch in school.  The cook did an incredible job catering for all the different needs of the children and staff, the food was so good and all for the price of a school meal.  So it just goes to show it is possible if she can do it on that grand scale.

I did treat myself to a new cookbook this month Cook, Share, Eat Vegan by Aine Carlin.  I have tried three things out of it already and they have all been tasty.  I am marking each page with a post- it as I go with the aim to try just about everything, I have had cook books in the past where I haven't made very much from them but I have a few by this author and they are usually good and the food is well balanced.  The post-it idea is to remind me to keep trying new things, I am also making little comments on them about the dishes.

We have visited family and had family over for Christmas lunch but  other than that no other outings over the Christmas period, we don't generally go out for New year either as we never have.  |That is all fine by me as we certainly won't have to worry about any huge bills come January.  I am happy to relax, walk the dogs, read and get a bit of sewing done.  Speaking of which this is what I am currently working on...
I am doing a long sleeved version of the top and the jacket may stay the same if it suits me, if not I will modify it a bit.
 The fabric was sent by Minerva crafts, also be sure to have a peak at my post on Saturday 29th December as my butterfly dress will be on the Minerva Crafts Blog then.

I hope you are all having a lovely relaxing time and are ready for the new year ahead, best wishes to everyone and thank you for reading.


Monday, 10 December 2018

Handmade Gift

I finished another little crochet project last week but I have to say parts of it were pulled apart and redone about three times as the sizes of parts didn't work out!  I got the pattern from a link on pinterest but first of all everything came out ludicrously small,  then ok but the wings were the wrong size, (it's a penguin by the way) so more unravelling.  Well I know it could be me that did it wrong but after checking and redoing I gave up on the pattern and made it up as I went. I winged it.  (ha really bad I know)  So I did get there in the end and I'm quite attached to the little guy now, he is part of a themed gift for my friend's baby boy.

I have also made a little hooded jacket that I have appliqued penguins to the front and back, with mismatched buttons in pale blue and turquoise.  I really enjoyed making this and can think of a whole range of wildlife themed children's clothes I want to make, but steady on let's see if that fits him first.  As it is a surprise I couldn't ask for clothing to check against so I just did his age but a bit bigger.  Finally I ordered a nice picture book off amazon to go with the items.

I think adults are often hard to buy gifts for but there are so many lovely little things you can do for children.  My boys are not little any more but I used to love making them dressing up outfits as that was something they loved to do.  I also made toys from felt to go with characters from favourite books a few times.  
Here a few more pictures, sorry bad lighting time of year again!

 Here is the back of the jacket, I had to do the penguin low so the hood didn't cover him.

I decided on buttons because I thought a zip might a bit scratchy near his face.

The eyes are just stitched from wool, the original instructions (that I threw away) said use sew on eyes but I thought that may be dangerous,  so best to sew the effect of eyes instead.  My friend has been told not to peek at the blog as she sometimes reads it.  I hope it is all ok for him.  What gifts have you all been making?  I always love to read your comments.

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Sparkly Top for Mum

This last  week I made a gift for my mum using the fabric that was sent to me by Minerva Crafts I have only just forwarded their post so here is a quick peak.
Very shiny and right up her street as she loves a bit of sparkle, she has had the top now as I had a feeling she would want to wear it at Christmas and I was right. It hangs better on her as my mannequin is not at the right size in terms of shoulders.  I will share more when it is featured as the original post has photographs of her wearing it.

I am glad she likes it and now she likes that style she may be brave enough to choose some fabric for herself.  I have told her to do this but she always says 'oh but you are so busy'  no it's ok I say, have a look!

I have started a new little crochet project, something small so it is almost done, it would have been finished but today has been a catch up day.  Friday I was sick I had been up in the night being ill and we were supposed to go to the theatre Friday night!  Fortunately the show had a couple of seats left for Saturday so they let me transfer the tickets at a small cost as they were better seats.  So glad they did as we had this booked since March, the show was Rock of Ages and it was brilliant, if you like eighties rock with a comic twist you should try and get to see it.  So that is two weekends running I have been ill on Friday how rubbish is that?

The little project will be shared at a later date but I would quite like to make something wearable in the chunky yarn, I am keen to try out a larger hook. If anyone can direct me to a simple top in a chunky style that would be great.

Last week I finished reading Uprooted by Naomi Novik I really enjoyed this as it was another book of total escape.  In the theme of a grown up fairy tale style so completely out of the ordinary, I will not give too much away but the story follows Agnieska and her village by an enchanted forest, the Dragon is a wizard who must be served by a village girl for ten years. It is total fantasy so if you like to read about every day life then this is not for you, but for me a change in genre is good sometimes.
This week I have just started A Skinful of Shadows, this one is a YA novel but that doesn't bother me I have read some really good stories aimed at that audience.

We have just finished watching The Last Kingdom, I really enjoyed it though I did have to look away in parts (it is a bit blood thirsty) now I am on the look out for another series to watch.

Friday, 23 November 2018

Juliette Blouse and a Few Frugal Bits

My make for this week was the Juliette Blouse from simple sew pattern I was gifted by a friend.  I originally looked at this and thought the shape looked too basic for it to hang very well, however I was wrong.  Very pleasantly surprised when I tried this on after completing it and now I think this pattern will get much use. It is easy to make up so perfect for any beginners and comes together with the ties so no too much to worry about in terms of fitting.
No pictures of me in it I'm afraid as it is cold and I don't want to go and change, get the tripod etc. So you will have to make do with my model here doing the work for me. I think I will layer this for this season with a long sleeved t-shirt underneath, I do that a lot!
It is quite a floaty feel to it so I would imagine there a re lots of suitable fabrics for this style, I think it would look nice in a linen.
So that is three of the free patterns that I have made up to now and I have been happy with all of them, feeling pleased my friend thought of me before her trip to the charity shop.

This morning I have double lined a curtain that I have hanging at the back door, my intention is to thermal line all my curtains as the lining on them is quite thin apart from the ones I made myself which are good and heavy.  When I moved in at this house we had such a large floor to ceiling window in the back room I just bought inexpensive curtains as it was cheaper than buying fabric. Also the window takes two pairs of curtains, they do the job but I am currently out to make every window as insulated as possible in the evenings, what with rising costs.  

 I have noticed that Dunelm Mill do ready made thermal linings which are inexpensive, so I am off tomorrow to go and have a look at those.  In the meantime today I found a large, lined cream curtain in a cupboard, so I took down my curtain at the door in my sewing area and pinned then stitched it to it.  I needed to take it up a little and I gathered it in to the pleats, now it is good and heavy and that is one curtain done for free!  

We have had a couple of leaks about the house this last couple of weeks, fortunately my husband is quite handy and managed to sort them without the need for outside trades people.  One of the leaks persisted and we then watched a YouTube video that highlighted one little thing that had been missed, the part was bought and now that issue is resolved.  So watch videos before splashing out on repairs even if you still have to call someone, at least you may be aware of the simplicity of the problem so that you don't get charged a fortune for a reasonably simple job. 

My next job is I have a blouse to cut out for my mum as this will be  a gift for her, then a couple of little gifts.  The trouble with that is I won't be able to share the little gifts until later due to spoilers!  I will share my mum's blouse though as she knows about it and will want to wear it over Christmas.  

Another little frugal discovery I have made is a pot of foundation I found in my cupboard, the colour was all wrong when I bought it but I didn't get rid of it as I hate waste. I got it out this morning and mixed a little with my usual plus some moisturiser to make a sort of tinted moisturiser, it works!  That will make my usual stuff last twice as long, I would love to go bare faced and to be honest I probably don't look much different but I know so that's the thing.  I was researching natural ingredients to use instead this week, coconut for moisturiser and so on.  The trouble is some sources say it can cause acne so we don't want that do we? Shea butter and argan oil were  also mentioned, plus the use of some spices to make blusher and so on, if anyone has any experience of trying these natural cosmetics please share. 

Friday, 16 November 2018

Crochet Cowl

This week I have been trying to do a little bit of crochet every evening to finish the cowl I had started, not a lot just a few rows and it worked as I finished it yesterday.  This has made me feel that maybe I could do something bigger by plodding away at it like that, I am not very fast at it but it just shows a little here and there and things get done.

I got the width and chain length from the beginner book, I also repeated the rib pattern that I did on the fingerless mitts but this time I used two colours.  I didn't make it as long as the cowl in my book I just measured around my neck, then I twisted it before crocheting the two ends together after that I carried on around putting a shell edging all around the outside.

I am very happy with it and feel it will be useful and not fall off or come undone like a scarf does sometimes.

I think I will start a small novelty item  for now while I decide on a bigger project.  There are a few images of snowflakes and little decorations I have seen on pinterest so I will have to have another look.

Earlier this week I made  a little hairbow for the daughter of a friend who was admiring my flamingo blouse, I knew I had a little bit of fabric left and some children's hair slides from a while back.
Sometimes it is nice to make something small, especially if you can use up those last bits of fabric.  I have started keeping really small pieces now just in case I fancy doing some micro patchwork (if that is a thing!)

A little bit of progress has been made working through my library book 'Drawing on the right side of the Brain' fascinating stuff!  While I was working on one activity that has you copying an image from the book upside down, I was thinking this will never look anything like it should, well it turned out better than if I had done it my way, right way up.  I have since done other images this way and it really works.  It is just to get you looking and not to suggest you forever draw upside down.  So far so good hopefully I will be improved by the end of the book.

Today I have been taking up curtains for a friend, I listened to another radio 4 drama while I was doing that, it had a little twist to it.  You can find it here Heather.  I have also just quickly  cut out a top from one of the patterns I was gifted a few weeks ago.  It is a very basic shape so will take no time at all to sew up tomorrow, or later this evening.
I have to say it looks very large at the moment I am hoping it will be due to the effect of it having a tie back, otherwise there will be some adjustment's made.  The spotty/floaty image on the cover looks good (future fabric choice perhaps). 

A Thrifty New Blind

This week I thought I would share with you how I revamped the roller blind in my son's bedroom, in an ideal world I would have taken ste...