Monday, 15 October 2018

Minerva Makes

Today I have a dress featured over on the Minerva crafts Blog   it is for the scuba floral dress I made follow the link to read the full post.  You will have to scroll down a little I am the third project they have on for today.
I have since worn this to go out in as it was a little warm to wear when we were having the heatwave in the summer months.  It is ideal for now though as this fabric is quite thick, I also thought it would be good for straight skirts for the Autumn/ Winter months so why not have a look at what other scuba fabrics they have on offer.   As it is grey and damp now looking back at that picture makes me crave the summer, oh well may as well embrace the boots and tights season instead.

It was a bit of an effort getting up in the dark this morning, I read somewhere that you should make your breakfast a treat so that you have  something to look forward to.  As I generally have the same porridge most days I am not quite sure how this will work but it might be something to think about.
There is a whole movement of people getting up at 5am when they don't need to just to enjoy the peace of the morning. I had enough of that when the children were babies but it would be good to manage 6am consistently on work days just to have a bit of a chilled morning, it is generally the alarm at 6.30 making me sad so some work there is required. I find I can manage a couple of days of jumping out of bed earlier but then  I slip back. The SAD clock does not work so don't waste your money, I found it just starts to come on brightening the room  about half an hour before the alarm actually goes off and therefore steals more of your rest.

There has been a run of poor books recently so I haven't been able to get my teeth into any of them,
I started reading the sequel to The Bear and the Nightingale and it was no where near as good and I gave up about half way through, I started The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night, but after the first few pages I decided that was a bit disturbing and perhaps not for me so I put that down too.  This evening I will start Any Human Heart by William Boyd, it was picked up at the charity shop for 75p so wish me luck with that one. I do like to have a good book on the go and recently they have been disappointing.

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Five Frugal Things

I have decided to do a frugal things post this week as I have been reading a few on blogs over the past week, I particularly like Shoestring Cottage as she does a lot of these over there and it gets you thinking how you save each week. There are lots of these types of posts out there and of course you find you have more in common with some more than others depending on your interests and so on.  So here goes mine and just a few things I have found frugal and useful this past week...
  • A free origami pattern over at Michelle patterns this is a lovely little butterfly and ideal for using up fabric scraps. Make one in paper first so you know what you are doing then it is just a case of choosing two fabrics to sew together then repeating the process.  It only takes a couple of stitches to keep the whole thing in place once it is folded, it could be used to embellish bags, add to a bouquet or as a brooch.  I also think it would be a lovely little craft activity for a girls party. Here is my first go at this, I'm sure there will be more...
  • A trip to the charity shops that resulted in a bargain find of a wool dress, now ok this did involve spending money but at £7.50 it was too good to miss, it looks like new, is incredibly soft, it doesn't need an iron after washing (on cool) and after researching the label Edina Ronay it turns out it is a really good make.  I am not a label fan but it felt such good quality that is what prompted me to look it up. So feeling pretty pleased with this winter dress.
  • Another thing I did this week was to print off another recipe to add to my own personal recipe book, I was having a browse on amazon at cook books and I almost bought a used one but then I remembered I only ever like a couple of recipes from each one I own or borrow so what is the point? Something I started doing a little while ago is to print off recipes and put them in a folder, I keep my favourites here now and if they are not a success they don't make it in.  This guarantees that this is one recipe book where I know we like everything in it.  This week it was a sweet potato and kale chilli, very good and one to keep.
    The recipes are all from different sites, whatever I spot while browsing and fancy trying.

  •  In relation to that the next frugal thing is the three ready meals I have in the freezer from that recipe. I may take one or two to work for lunch or it will be something that is quick to heat up for when I come home from work.  I like to make sure when I am cooking my meat free meals that there is at least one portion left over to take for lunches, as we eat differently here that at least ensures the time and cost are efficiently used.
  • I started another course on Future learn this time it is analytics and to be honest it is a little bit dry for me, I will finish it and quickly choose something more fitting.  I thought it was something I should understand a little better, but being a creative type all the data is sort of sending me to sleep!  I know there are those of you out there who are creative and good at that side of things but for me it does not excite.  I have learned a little bit already as you always do whatever you try but the good thing is this a great way to try free study in something you would not normally do.
I'm sure there were other things I could have added this week but these were the things that came to mind, I did a very fast shop actually on Friday and that resulted in a lower than usual bill.  We may find I have forgotten something as the week passes but I'm sure it will be fine.  I must do that as a matter of routine in future get in and out with my list as fast as I can, that way I will be saving time as well as money. I always enjoy reading how everyone else has kept the costs down from day to day so please share in the comments, I also noticed I have a couple of new followers so welcome to you and thanks for reading. 

Friday, 5 October 2018

Butterfly Wrap Dress

I spent a quiet day today as it has been quite grey and I thought I would take the photographs and write my post for Minerva Crafts so that is finished.  I also had to take my dress in a little as I mentioned yesterday I cut it out larger to accommodate for it not being a stretch fabric.  Well there was no need as that pattern was quite generous. I put heels on to take the photos and couldn't wait to take them off!  Why did I ever wear such instruments of torture? That said if I had a special occasion I would probably put them on to look properly dressed, how strange we women are.  As I generally don't have any special events to attend my feet are safe for now.

Here is the dress on the mannequin, I save the main post and photographs for Minerva.

This was a Kwik Sew pattern and came together well, had I not opted to cut the larger size to begin with I feel it would have fit first time.  It does recommend stretch fabric but this poplin worked really well.

I also took in a pair of jeans this morning, they are a favourite pair that fit well but are a little big at the waist. I unpicked the waistband at the sides, ran the side seams down a bit up to the rivets then cut through the waistband to remove a little there.
I did this on both sides, they are very stretchy.

 I just pinned it over to where I wanted it, then topstitched it on the outside.
 They are spot on now and no more working their way down when I'm out dog walking.  I like to try and save things, they are a little faded but that doesn't bother me, black jeans are never true black for long are they. 

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Thursday Thoughts

I have one incomplete garment, two pending and a couple of repairs but hey it is the weekend for me now ( four day week ) so I will be getting on with those straight away.  There is this thing that I do where I feel I mustn't post anything until I've finished each project, of course this is not all the time but I go through phases of this.  As a result that sometimes means I have an absence of over a week, so today I am going to share what I am up to even if it shows a slovenly lack of getting on with stuff this week. (Ha, ha)

 So first up I have one dress cut out and ready to stitch dress for a Minerva post in a lovely butterfly fabric, it should be a quick sew now. That will be my job for the afternoon along with endless cups of tea.  I am thinking it may be a bit floaty now for Autumn, but still hoping a good few layers will see it through the seasons.
I have gone for this wrap dress pattern and it was one of the gifted patterns that my friend gave me.  It does actually say it is for stretch fabric but I wanted to use it so I have opted to cut a larger size and allow a little extra around the sleeves.  I hope that does the trick.

Yesterday I received my order form Minerva crafts this time I had decided to treat myself.  A nice unusual check to make a pair of trousers and a plain brown for a tie waist top to go with them, I also bought a pattern as trousers need a level of accuracy around the bottom and as these are to be smart trousers (I hope!) I will use a pattern this time round.  When I made the  mock jumpsuit here I just made my own pattern as they were slouchy trousers.

I have had my eye on that pattern for a while. In addition to those items I have a few broken zips to replace.

One thing I did complete this week was a bit of baking, I haven't done any for a while but I have decided to try one new thing a week from my various books, Vegan and Gluten Free Baking being my favourite at the moment as things tend to come out well.  I made the Vegan Ricotta cake ( not ricotta at all ,rather cashews and dates, or in my case prunes!)  This was a really soft springy sponge and as any of you that bake gluten free will know, that is not always case. It was baked in a rectangular tin then cut into portions when cool. It was gone in two days so that is a good sign.
This week my son has suggested we make the pumpkin pie, he is suddenly interested in cooking so I want to nurture that interest therefore that is what we are making.  I have to confess I have not seen a pumpkin yet and it is October, maybe I have had my eyes closed?  We will have a good look  around on Saturday. 

While on the subject of food I watched another episode of eat well for less on the laptop while doing my ironing.  I can't decide if it as all completely false or if there really are people spending those ridiculous amounts on food and not knowing!  I mean how can you not know? You are always expected to pay at the end of a shop so how can any of these couples be so clueless as they spend a week, a month or a year.  I love the idea of showing people how to get away from all the convenience foods  but some of these families are spending more on food than  some families have to get by on for a week to cover everything.  I am not sure that it is helpful for them to see others mindless spending then chuckling about it.  Sorry, having a little rant there. 

Off now to get stuff done. 

Friday, 21 September 2018

Top to Dress Pattern Hack

This week I had a visit from a friend of mine who brought with her a big stash of patterns she has never used.  She likes to sew sometimes and felt she would never give any of these a go so she  thought I might like them.  How lovely! I have had a good look through and already made up one of them today ( with a modification of course).  The patterns are all different makes as she got them free with sewing magazines, it was like Christmas looking through them all.  There are a few shift dresses that are more or less the same amongst them and she did say that she has noticed some of the magazines repeat patterns every so often.  I had a pile of sewing magazines that I had read that I bought  as a bundle over the summer  so I gave them to her now we both have a treat.

I chose to make a top from a new look pattern first, the piece of material that I had was from a lucky dip bag from Minerva crafts, it is black with a slight raised textured pattern.  As it was big enough I decided to make the top into a dress.
I'm letting the mannequin do the modelling for me today, I tried it on and it fits well so this pattern will be used again along with the trouser and jacket options that are in the pattern pack. I just lengthened the top pieces then added elastic to the waist on the inside to give the dress some shape.  Actually it did also look good just as a tunic shape.
 I like the detail of the pleats to one side, I had put this idea on my pinterest board to try and do myself but now I have the pattern piece I don't have to work it out.
I am very happy with how this turned out the, style and the fabric I think there is just something about black that always manages to look smart. It is just as well I like it as my fabric for my Minerva post is also black this month, I am still thinking on what dress to make with that piece.

Just a few simple pieces to this top/dress. It would look good with sleeves too so I'm on the lookout for fabric to make long sleeved tops with this neck detail.

So I enjoyed making that today and I am going to choose something else to start tomorrow, I have a remnant that I picked up  few weeks ago for a few pounds and it is quite a good size.  Hopefully I can squeeze something out of that.

Here is a picture of all the patterns I was gifted, can you spot any that you own and have tried? If so let me know which are your favourites.
I like the wrap top right, that may be next.

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Sweater Dress

Well everything is back to normal now, new term and back to work and I have to say this first week has left me very tired.  I think the main reason for this is not so much the early starts as the dog has us awake early all the time, but rather the fact that you are on the go all day and I never adjust my bedtimes which are usually quite late.  I know some people will think just go to bed earlier but that doesn't work for me I will end up being awake all night if I try to go too early.  It is usually just a case of my body re-adjusting  then I will be fine.  Also being on the go at work then being on duty at break and not having chance to get a cuppa until lunchtime all catches up I think.  These things though they sound small do affect how you feel and after a summer of being able to refuel whenever I wanted it is going to take time!

I did manage to complete a sweater dress this last week and that is going to be a guest post for Minerva Crafts I will give a peek here  then post the date it will be live nearer the time.
It is made from a lovely soft jersey which is fleece backed, it was very hot having that photo taken as it was a lovely day and not at all tights and sweater weather.  I may have to do a few more like that as it is so warm and was easy to make.  Also nice and casual without being too sloppy.

I have collected three lovely books from the library, these were on my Amazon list of books to look for (by other means usually!) I ordered them from the library and they came really quickly. I read one of them yesterday 'Morning How to make time a manifesto'. It was a lovely read part diary, part interviews with various people about their morning habits and rising times.
The girl in the tower is the follow on to The bear and the Nightingale, that I  read that  a few weeks ago and Jane Austin at Home, I ordered this after watching a bit of becoming Jane over the summer.  Unfortunately I missed the start so may watch it again, but having read some of her work this film prompted me to want to learn a bit more about her and how much of the film was based on fact. I am starting that one now.

Those three books would have cost me twenty three pounds plus postage and that is with buying one of them used. How brilliant is that? My son really does not get how excited I get by books arriving at the library which is a shame because he loved them when he was younger.  I do feel you don't get as many boys who continue to be readers as they get older.  Right now I'm off to read, bye for now.

Saturday, 1 September 2018

Sofa Quilt

I have to admit to being a bit of a cheat with my quilt, I didn't continue with the hexagons for the whole quilt you see.  After I had made twelve hexagon flowers and arranged them on the fabric to have a think I then cut out the rest of my hexagons in a white and pale blue stripe.  Well when I put them beside the flowers the design was almost lost, I had a bit of a rethink and decided to go with a grey spotty background and stitch the hexagon flowers to it in a uniform way.  It may not have been my original intention but I am very happy with it, all the lovely colours stand out.
It has been on the sofa a couple of days now so it is serving it's purpose and the dogs seem to like it!  I used some plain white cotton for the backing and I cut strips of the spotty fabric to bind it.  I did want a contrast but nothing I had was big enough and went with it and I didn't want to buy  binding especially.  The wadding has been sitting in my cupboard for some time, I have only hand stitched all the way through where the flowers are, I think it may need more to stop the movement so any tips would be appreciated as to designs and so on as I haven't really done many  quilts.  The only big one I made years ago was machine stitched through in diamonds, I don't really want to do that to this one.
We have been out walking in a another new spot today, Agden Reservoir Bradfield.  The superb weather once more put a beautiful sky over everything and we felt like the only people who knew about this one for most of the way around.  We eventually saw a couple of other people but on the whole very quiet.
The sun on the water looked very inviting (not that I would go in and you can't of course).

 The path was more rugged on this walk so maybe that was why we saw less people, it certainly wouldn't be suitable for anyone unsteady on their feet but if you want to get way from it all it is ideal.
 Here we were on the way back down the road and in the very distance we could see Dam Flask that we walked around last week.

 Back down in the village there was a game of cricket taking place.
All very English village.

Minerva Makes

Today I have a dress featured over on the  Minerva crafts Blog   it is for the scuba floral dress I made follow the link to read the full p...