Wednesday, June 27, 2007

simple things ...

sometimes it is the simplest of things that bring the greatest joy. The biggest pain in my bottom, when it comes to sewing, is juggling bobbins. Either they are full with the wrong colour thread or they empty out right in the middle of a tricky seam, so that I have to break off to wind the bobbin. I know life is soooo hard!

Well, I finally invested in 20 new bobbins and these little plastic things have made me so happy. I guess I'm just a simple creature really.

And just look at all that lint and fluff. No wonder my poor little machine has been playing up. I had thought that it should perhaps go for a service, which I like to think of a little spa break for a very deserving hard worker. But the mud pack and sauna shall be put on hold for the moment as the dusting seems to have done the trick. Hurray for simple solutions.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

breathing space ...

today has just been a catch up, get back on an even keel sort of day.

This mainly meant getting the washing up to date and doing the housework. Joy of joys, never let it be said that I don't know how to enjoy myself!

But I have been enjoying looking through this book. Florence Broadhurst: Her Secret and Extraordinary Lives by Helen O'Neill.

I read about the book on another blog sometime ago but I can't remember which one now. It is an Australian book and I have been waiting ages for it to be available here. You can now get it here, here and here. It has to be said that it is not a cheap book at £36 but as a catalogue of all her designs it is fabulous inspiration and staff discount really helps towards the cost.

Another bunch of gorgeousness is this fabric which arrived today. I order it from Buttonberry after I saw them mentioned on Treefall - their service was fantastic. I ordered the fabric late on Sunday and it arrived this morning with a lovely hand written note thanking me for my custom.

Now, could I ask you guys for a favour? I have been asked by a couple of people to make bags for them but I have no idea how to charge for them. I know roughly what the cost of materials is but what about charging for labour? It is all so horrible as I get embarrased and shy asking friends to pay for them. But I would love to be able to sell some bags to help pay for my addiction. Any advice you can offer would be gratefully received.

Monday, June 18, 2007

8 or 0?......


the question was actually set by my husband as I am rubbish at setting questions. He says the answer is 0 because a jellyfish has no legs but I argue it is 8 because I made an octopus and they have 8 legs. But no, an octopus also has tenticles not legs. Oh the confusion! So if you said 8 or 0 then you are right and your names were put in the fruit bowl.And the little fella pulled Angel Jem's name out.

I have to say I am amazed the lengths some of you went to to find out the answer. I thought you might all just use the little search blog box at the top of the page. And I'm impressed that you can google 'dolliedaydream' and 'jack' and the answer comes up. But a special mention must go to bigbucketgirl and her children for their sheer tenacity in trawling through the archives - I hope the coffee high has worn off!

Now I need to go and make the bag. As this afternoon was spent at Liberty enjoying afternoon tea and fabric shopping. Yum!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

broken silence ...

Sorry, for the silence over the last couple of days. Quite unusually for me I was involved in quite a bit of socialising, birthdays, dinner parties and evenings out, which all resulted in way too little sleep. I love and need my sleep so something had to give and that something was the blog.

I have, however, made the Built by Wendy top. It was a fairly easy pattern to follow and as ever the instructions were clear and concise but I found it very fiddly to execute. Just trying to stitch the front piece into place was a pain in the backside. I found it very hard to turn the corners and not catch the fabric and so cause puckering. It was also hard to manipulate the binding around the neck line as the binding strip was so narrow and I was all fingers and thumbs. This neckline binding then also forms the tie at the back of the top.And after all that I am not sure if I like the top. It does have a hint of maternity about it. So I have thrown it in the washing machine to see if a quick wash will soften it up slightly.

Tomorrow is an Inset day so the little fella isn't at school but instead he is off to a party in the morning. So as a present I made another little cupcake bag.
I also need to make another cupcake bag for my little giveaway. You still have time to enter as I plan to draw a name tomorrow morning.

Anyway off to bed for me now in a desperate bid to try and regain some of my lost sleep - trust me it makes me a much nicer person when I have had a good sleep.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


well it all began a year ago on a hot and sultry Monday evening in June. A year on and it is now a hot and sultry Tuesday evening and the adventure continues. Who would have thought I would stick at something for this long? Not me I am not good at sticking with things.

I haven't posted as much as I thought I would do in those initial heady days of my blogging honeymoon. I certainly read more blogs now than I did back then and I believe I have gained a lot of confidence in my sewing and crafting exploits thanks to the support and advice these blogs offer. But hey that's enough of that, I don't want this to get all preachy or award ceremony acceptance speech-like.

I do plan to archive this year though and I am thinking a Blurb book could be the way to go. It is great you can just suck your blog in and then it can be printed in either paper or hardback formats. However, I would like to play around with the formatting a bit and I need to find a way of including the comments. At the moment they don't show up on the pages and heck the comments are as important as the actual post so they need to be there.

So to mark this occasion I thought I would offer up a little prize to the person whose name is drawn out of a receptical to be decided upon. But what could be the prize? How about a bag similar to this one.I made it for a friend of my son. It is her birthday today and the gift has been given so I am safe to show pictures now. The lining is gorgeously green and spotty and has a nice large pocket inside.I also made a couple of complimenting badges, just for good measure.
So how to enter. I thought of doing just names in the hat but have now decided to add a little element of contest so how about a question? So why not email me or leave a comment answering the question .... how many legs does Jack have? I'll put all the correct answers in the proverbial hat and pull out a winner on Monday.

Here's to another year!

Monday, June 11, 2007

your wish is my command ...

Ali requested some pictures from inside the Japanese stamping book that I received as part of my fabric swap package from Kahne.

And because I am totally unable to think today this provides me with a nice easy solution of what to post. So here you go ...

First up there are several photo heavy pages of instructions which is great when you have no Japanese. It shows you the equipment you will need and how to transfer the images on to the rubber and then how to carve your design.(although I would love to know what the little lady with the bun is trying to tell me)It shows how to layer your stamps and colours to create designs.Then it gives you lots and lots of ideas. Like, how about putting designs on little paper lunch bags - yeah right! So it can be screwed up and thrown in the bin? Not likely. But if I made biscuits as a gift then it could be a great idea.

And what about printing onto fabric and ribbon or braid I love this idea I just need to get some colourfast printing ink and then the world will be my oyster.

There are then also lots of designs in several different styles and covering a whole range of themes that you can copy and then it shows you how these designs can be put to good use.
Well I hope you liked that little tour through the book and apologies for the quality of the photos. Oh by the way the ISBN is 407248881X and there are a few more images here.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

sunday evening ...

What a lovely weekend - the weather has been totally gorgeous so sunny and warm. But now it's Sunday evening, the eve of another week, so it seems the perfect time to play a little catch-up.

On Friday I finally got to see the Kylie exhibition at the V&A and just in the nick of time as it closed today.

I am pleased I went as it is quite amazing see costumes up close and personal. Just like the stars that wear them they often benefit from good lighting and a considerate photographer. Some of the costumes were really showing their age and displaying signs of the hard life that they have clearly had performing but others. Well those others were just amazing, truly stupendous. They are the most stunning creations of pure couture imagination and expertise.

Friday was also a good day for post. The pattern for the "Day in the Park" backpack tote from Leisl over at Disdressed arrived so I now need to think about which fabric I will use. I also got the most amazing package from Kahne as part of the Flibberygibbet fabric swap. Just look at all that gorgeousness. I have been thinking of working in just red and white fabric patchwork for a while now. I just never got myself in gear but now I have no excuse. I am also really intrigued by the Japanese stamp book - lots of fabulous ideas. Also in the package was a copy of the Sew U book and Real Simple magazine. It was a wonderfully generous swap package to receive - thank you so much Kahne.

And today I worked on a special little bag for a special little person but I can't put any pictures up yet in case of prying eyes. The next thing on my list is that top I mentioned. It's another Built by Wendy shirt and I plan to make the one in the middle using that cream fabric that has a silver stripes running through it. Here's hoping for some good sewing opportunities in the week ahead.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

a brace of bags ...

I finished a second bias bag today. This time I opted for brighter binding a gorgeous hot pink. I also made some of the changes to the pattern. I decided to just have the two pockets at the front rather than the four in the original, the handles were also made slightly narrower and a little longer so that it would sit more easily on my shoulder.
It also has a gusset (not the most attractive of words but it does offer the best description) to help make it wider so I can fit more stuff in it without it bulging too much.It is quite a flimsy bag so I'm not sure how well it will stand up to the daily rigors and trials I put bags through. In fact I made sure that I stitched all the elements togther before sewing on the binding just to add an extra layer of stitching to hopefully make it a little stronger.

I plan to road test it tomorrow - which means that I can give my Lotta bag a bit of a rest. After not being entirely complimentary when I first made it I have now fallen in love with it. The floppiness that annoyed me when I made it now seems totally right and prefect. I can just shove loads of stuff into it and it happily copes with it all. It doesn't gape open nearly as much as I thought it would and when I wear on my shoulder I feel quite confident that it would be quite hard to 'dip'.

The little pocket at the end where I keep my bottle of water is so useful, and I just love that I can always find my keys at the bottom of the bag because of the special key strap thingy. The only thing I did do was add a piece of mountboard covered in the lining fabric to the base of the bag to offer a little structure - thanks for the idea rebecca.

I'm not sure how much sewing I will get done between now and Sunday as I have family visting for a couple of days and a couple of events to attend. Which is slightly frustrating as I have top I want to make. I have the fabric and the pattern, I just need to cut it out and sew it up! I have also realised that I am a few days away from my blogiversary so I would like to plan a little celebratory giveaway but need to get my thinking cap on for that one....

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

biased ...

Thank you so much for all the lovely comments about the skirt - I have put it in the wash this evening so fingers crossed it survives as well as the layer skirt.

After all that garment sewing I have gone back to my old favourite - bags. Spurred on mainly by the latest issue of Martha Stewart Living. I wasn't going to buy the issue as I have found it very samey recently but I fancied something to browse through whilst lazing in a deckchair in the garden. Well I never did get to laze but I did come across an inspiring article all about bias binding.
To be honest I have tended to shy away from bias binding and I don't really know why. I think it is just a hang over from doing needlework at school where binding came in boring colours and the thought of making your own was a way too outlandish notion. Also I had to use it 'properly' - machine stitch in the ditch along one side, fold it over the raw seam and then hand stitch it into the machine stitches. Very long, tedious and boring work that really destroyed any thought of the fun posibilities that binding could offer.

Anyway I decided to have a go at the bias tote. The pattern and the instructions can be downloaded here so that there is no real need to buy the magazine. However, a word of warning at no point in the magazine or online do they state the dimensions of the handles. They don't appear on the downloaded pattern either. So I had to guess.
On this occasion I think that the handles are a little to wide. I like the pockets on the front of the bag but there are too many off them for me - I'd never find anything! I also find it a little flat for my liking. So I now have plans for my own version which I hope to post photos of tomorrow.

Monday, June 04, 2007

sew and tell ...

Thankfully my wish came true and we have been having the most glorious weather - hence lots of time enjoying said weather and not posting. But the sunny weather also meant that I could take some photos of my Amy Butler 'A' line skirt. Or rather my husband took the photos as I modelled but I'm no Helena Christiansen and he's no David Bailey so these are the shots you get.The Barcelona Layer skirt has survived two washes in the machine and I love the way the layers have now started to fray just as they should so I had no qualms about making the 'A' line skirt. As I knew the pattern would work and I would end up with a really comfy to wear skirt.

Whilst on my garment making kick I decided to have a go at the apron skirt that also comes as part of the Barcelona skirt suite of patterns. It involved an urgent re-ordering of some fabric from Get Knitted in order fulfil the pattern.
The apron is nice and swishy feeling because it is slightly gathered at the waistband and the big bow at the back makes it feel very girly and 50's housewifey. I do like the fact that the apron is reversible as it gives you options and a girl should always have options. I think the apron over the skirt does create a rather full on effect - but I think it would look good over jeans.

I really like the fact that these Amy Butler patterns produced such comfortable and wearable skirts and I am now very tempted to try out some of her other patterns. After seeing all the wonderful items over on this Flickr site I am very tempted to try my hand at the Weekender Bag and after seeing Ali's take on the Cabo Halter top I am getting a hankering to try that too. And it is my birthday coming up in the next couple of weeks or so, so I think I may just be adding them to my wish list.