Friday, 28 December 2012

Have yourself a crafty little Christmas...

With it being my first Christmas in my little flat, and also being a little bit short on funds, I decided that my Christmas tree would be a thrifty masterpiece with homemade goodies galore. That might have been a slightly over-optimistic goal with the craziness of the run-up to Christmas but my tree did bear the fruits of a few of my stitching labours...

The robin was made at the Make Lounge in North London, accompanied by lots of prosecco and a lot more gossiping. Would definitely recommend it as a great alternative to dancing round your handbags for a girly night out.

And the homemade bits under the tree? Some gluten free gingerbread (not JUST for me, some were presents...)

And some pearl earrings for my sister, made from the stash of pearls from my grandparents old jewellery shop.

May all your Christmases be crafty and bright xx

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Beadin' marvellous

I’m in love with the beaded collars currently adorning the blouses of the British high street - from H&M’s budget beauties to the studded stunners at Urban Outfitters, they’ve all been jostling for my attention, pleading to be bought for the Christmas party season.

But no! With my head held high, and only a slight pain in my hurt, I walked straight past them and caught the 109 bus home to seek solace in my bead box. Armed with an old Topshop chiffon blouse that had been relegated to the back of the drawer since an incident with an industrial tumble drier, I decided to create my own little touch of shimmery glamour.

The final bead was sewn firmly into place in front of Strictly (about 30 mins after we were due to be at my friend Euan’s birthday drinks), and my new beaded collar blouse made its debut that evening. I have a feeling that’s not the last we’ll be seeing of my new beaded beauty before the party season is out.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012


So a whole month has passed since I last blogged and month which has been 100% about Doing, with very little Sewing, but a fair amount of Eating.

The prime culprit for my absentee-ism is stepping up the training to do my third marathon this autumn, the Berlin Marathon. Having already trained for a couple of marathons you'd think I'd be use to the amount of time it takes out of my weekday evenings and weekend days. But once again, it has taken me by surprise.

Add to that two 30th birthdays, one 60th birthday, and a visit from one of my oldest friends who now lives in Bangkok, I've been galivanting all over the country: Bristol - Liverpool - Richmond - Milton Keynes - Northamptonshire.

Which brings me back to now and my sofa, and how jolly happy I am to be getting reacquainted with it. I have a whole glorious free Saturday ahead of me this weekend, and I'm hoping to get my teeth into Dress Number 2, which I've already cut out the pattern for from some cheap-o material from Brixton Market:
Despite the galivanting of the last month, I've squeezed in a couple of new additions to my flat which I'm very happy with:

And I hope you like my new look - I thought it was time to embrace the rainy summer with a picture of a gloriously green Green Park one particularly soggy morning. 

Monday, 11 June 2012

May Madness and June Jublifications

As I touched on in my last post, the last few weeks passed by in a complete blur and as a result of a bit too much fun, with a healthy pinch of stress thrown in, I've spent the last week mostly in bed with a viral infection feeling decidedly shitty. But with this truly miserable Monday almost behind us, I'm trying to focus on the good of the last few weeks, rather than dwelling on quite how grotty I feel (and the fact that the back garden now resembles a paddy field!) So here are some of the highlights....

Seeing London Symphony Orchestra perform The Firebird on Trafalgar Square

A beautiful week in Lake Garda

Spending my 30th birthday with my parents

At Chelsea Physic Garden...

Tea at the V&A... 

Quick mosey round the Harrods' food hall...

Being 100% spoilt by my sister and friends at my birthday party

Meeting my neighbours and putting some of my birthday presents to good use at our Jubilee garden party

And just when I thought there was nothing fun to look forward to, these beauties turned up on my doorstep today courtesy of one of my oldest friends:

I hope that tomorrow my mojo will return...but for tonight, looking at all of these makes me feel like one very lucky lady. Sigh. 

Monday, 4 June 2012

The DRESS post

Cor blimey, where have the last few weeks gone?? Well actually I know exactly where they've gone, whizzed by in a blur of birthdays, trips to Italy, and sommat to do with the Queen.

But before all that happened I was delighted to finish my first ever dress. And actually wear it out. In public. All day. As an avid reader of Tilly and the Buttons, I followed her lead and made Easy McCalls pattern M2401 with fabric from Fabric Godmother (a recommendation from my friend Jess).

I didn't find it tooo difficult to follow the pattern, and despite a slightly buckled neckline I'm delighted with the results (and that it stayed together for a whole day!) Hope you like the results...

Fitting the darts

Finished product:

Apologies for the random chest close up, but as my first project I'm supremely proud of the darts!
I'm super excited to start my next project, probably a short-sleeved, more summery version of the same dress. Watch this space!

PS. One of these days, I'll start to ask people to take pictures of me, but I'm not yet that brave so apologies for the slightly dodgy instagrammed pics!

Thursday, 17 May 2012

May beginnings

What a terribly absent blogger I've been in the last couple of weeks! It's not for lack of crafty goings on, more for lack of spare time and energy. The most exciting development was completing my First Ever Dress. But more about that later in a proper post. This one is devoted to my big sis and her birthday - the first of our family's bumper birthday month.

Her requested birthday present was for some pilates gear to replace her usual hockey kit circa 1995. So I was happy to oblige, and pottered off to H&M to invest in a whole raft of lycra lounge wear. But no PE kit is complete without a traditional PE bag so I attempted some  free-stylin' applique... not sure the results were quite legible but it was quite  fun nonetheless and made for some more interesting wrapping than the usual paperchase fare (who'm I kidding - I LOVE paperchase!)

And no trip to Brum is complete without some homeroasted Moroccan spiced cashew nuts.
So with the first of the birthdays done and dusted, I'm off to Italy on Sunday for my Dad's 61st and my Mum's 60th. Hopefully time for the Dress Post before then, but a week's worth of actual work to get done in one day before the holidays commence...

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Beadin' creative

For some reason this weekend I had absolutely no plans. It's very unlike me to not have a thing in the diary, but with the rain pouring down, a cold not sure if it was coming or going, and a bead box bursting at the seams, it felt like some kind of karmic force was telling me to go nowhere and bust out my slightly rusty wire wrapping skills.

So wire wrap I did and here are the fruits of this weekend's labours....


Earth Mother:

Two necklaces made of clay and glass and chips of stone. I found the braided one on the More Design Please blog (not sure if I've done it justic though): 

Spring awakenings:

Earrings made from various glass and plastic beads - blossom and spring inspired, even if the weather's not quite with us!


Oriental express:

Earrings made from some of my favourite beads with stunning Japanese patterns, and fish charms taken from a necklace I got for £1 in a Miss Selfridge sale.  


With a lot of birthdays coming up, hopefully these will be put to good use in the coming weeks (obviously, if you're reading this, they're not for you...).

Thursday, 26 April 2012

A tale of one duvet cover

It feels like ages since I blogged, partly because I've been super busy and partly because I've been a terrible craft mistress lately, with a pile of projects that I've started and not finished. So this weekend is to be a weekend of completing BEFORE I start on anything new.

But first a post that I've been meaning to finish off for a couple of weeks... The tale of one duvet cover. As you may remember from my Completion cushions post, my first flat purchase was a beautiful Ikea duvet cover, from which I crafted two large floor cushions. Which have settled nicely into their new home, Sofa:

Said duvet cover has now also been crafted into:

My first ever homemade skirt!

This skirt is intended to be my Lake Garda skirt for an upcoming family holiday in May. But given the weather in London town lately, the wellies seemed much more fitting for modelling purposes.

The skirt idea came from Brett Bara's One Hour Skirt video, though I must admit that I did line the skirt with an old white pillow case as the material was a little bit too sheer to be decent, which made it a bit longer than a one-hour skirt! Thanks to Tilly at Tilly and the Buttons for her 'Easy sewing projects for beginners' post!

And a table cloth:

Having used the fabric for several table-posing photoshoots, I thought I should do it the honour of making it into an actual table cloth, which has now become a permanent feature on the ugly table that the old flat owners left behind.

So all that for just £10.99 and still two pillow cases left over (which I might actually use as pillow cases). Who says crafting needs to be expensive...?

By the way, I think I may have mastered 'the straight line' and in a fit of over confidence (or possibly one too many white wines) I have now purchased my first ever dress pattern. I'm so jolly excited about this upcoming project....I'm sure that plenty of pics, tears of frustration and calls to my Mum will be shared in a post to follow!

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Make do and mend

Something I've been meaning to write about fully (and something that it seems I share with many other people out there in the blogosphere) I haven't bought any new clothes since February, and I'm hoping to stay true to this until my big 3-0 at the end of May. I've almost fallen off the wagon several times with some hasty ebay bidding (which I was unsucessful in), but I'm not entirely sure that my embargo also covers second-hand clothes. Ho hum, not the point. The point is that with some mild heart ache plaguing me on Saturday and turning me into a slight hermit I decided it was a good day to get started on the mound of clothes that I've not worn for ages to turn them into wearable new not-new togs.

But first things first, I'm delighted that in the final year of my twenties I've finally learnt to poach an egg. With a little bit of help from the Guardian's Fiona Cloake that is... So this was the starting point for my day of making do and mending, two beautifully runny-centred poached eggs:

And a mound of things that needed attention:
Symptoms include holes, broken button hooks, and one pretty floral ebay dress that I've never worn as it turns my usual size six frame into a maternity smock's dream.

So after much hemming, darning and stitching armpits together (actually just the one armpit), I have now repatriated four more items of clothing to my wardrobe. I won't bore you with the full operation but the makeover success of the day is this turquoise dress that I bought years ago but I only ever wore once - I couldn't ever quite bring myself to get rid of it as the colour's lovely, and it's a good fit. 

But with a new waistband and a couple of feature buttons, it's now something I'll be quite happy wearing to the office. Job done and much more satisfying than a trip to Topshop. 
Just in case you're worrying about my mental health, you'll be pleased to hear that I did actually leave the flat today. At 6.30am in fact to indulge one of my other passions in life - running. Ten miles later down the Thames towpath and a satisfactory race time, myself and my dear friend KJ are the proud owners of brand new Fullers pint glasses - way better than the usual race medal:
And the best post-race recovery to follow some hearty lentil soup at KJ's? A couple of pints (Fullers of course) at the rugby this afternoon. A good Sunday had.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Hello chicken

With my big sis coming to stay from Brum for the weekend, and Ma and Pa coming to join for Easter lunch, my Good Friday was spent happily crafting away in preparation. Not being a fan of shop-bought Easter eggs, I decided to make some egg-based spring gifts instead. The first batch of chocolate truffles didn't exactly go to plan, so I fell back to the fail-safe coconut pyramids and some recycled packaging. Topped with milk chocolate, the result was not entirely unlike a popular coconut-based chocolate bar...

Saturday was a happy day of eating, starting with lunch at the Ev Deli, a beautiful haven of gorgeous salads and city gardens under the arches at Waterloo, followed by a mosey around Borough Market. A friend then popped around for afternoon tea (bearing tulips, awww) - a pretty good excuse to crack open the clementine (homemade and wheat free) cake:

My lovely big sis brought me some really cute house warming presents, including these lavender hearts from a recent trip to Wales.
And of course the best thing about Easter weekend...? Still one more day of holiday to go! Happy Easter x