Sunday, 12 October 2014

Bernina breakdown

My bernina has broken down. The other night it started running on its own. The problem was a bust capacitor in the foot control. 
So where do you find a replacement for a 50 year old part. Maplin of course. 
My hubby soldered the new one in and away we go, machine working well again. 

Sunday, 5 October 2014

LEGO life hack

Have you ever lost your keys?

It's a frequent occurance in our house, so yersterday John decided to solve this problem. He raided my son's lego box, found some blocks and a base block and with the aid of a small drill and a couple of screws, our keys are now to be safely found attached to this lego block.

I think the idea came from pinterest at some point, but I can't find the link. Simple and it works. I even have a huge set of work keys and just one regular block can hold them all. Genius!

Monday, 29 September 2014

Check Out these Amazing refashions

I came across this feature the other day and was pleased to be included amonst some wonderful upcycled ideas.
Pop over to Paris Ciel to see Amy's post. It's awesome.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

France Fun and reality hits.

Camp cook
Its been a while since I posted on the blog. It's been busy as I've been sewing for others, had family birthday celebrations, a holiday in France and a new job.

The last few months have been stressful as I faced redundancy from my Job, but by the end of May I had secured a new post which I started a few of weeks ago, but more of that later. I have done a few bits of sewing, one of my most successful pieces was a waistcoat for a friend to wear at his daughters wedding. I did welt pockets for the first time and I have to say I impressed myself so much as I managed to make them almost invisible - go me!

There it is!
Can you see it?
 My mum had a rather significant Birthday and celebrated with a big garden party, we arrived with the car fully loaded as we were heading off to our holiday the very next day. My sister and brother in law prepped and made two very large paella's, assisted by my hubby during the cooking process. He wore the shirt I'd made for him a couple of weeks before and I wore my black jersey maxi dress that I made a couple of moths ago.

Libby cooks Paella
The next day we headed of to France for 10 days camping at Le Pas Opton. This is a site run by Spring Harvest Holidays, a Christian organisation based in the UK. It's a fab camp site with some low key Christian events which you can attend if you wish. A bible study in the morning and a short celebration early eveing, along with all the other types of things you'd expect on a camp site. Kids clubs, a fab pool and slide, quiz night, wine tasting (produce from a local vineyard - we brought 6 bottles back), sports competitions craft workshops and not forgetting some coffee and cake tasting.

Coffee and cake tasting
Bamboo at Coex
We hired one of their luxury tents which sleeps six (but it would be a tight squeeze), but with 5 of us it was comfortable. The tents come well equiped with proper beds and matresses, a cooker, kitchen equipment, fridge, lighting and electricity. there is a fab bakery on site, providing fresh baguettes all day! along with a take out menu. The was facilities are kept really clean and there are washing machines and dryers on site too.

The Bar is the hub of the site, where coffee is served in the morning and the bible studies take place. WiFi is available in the bar and coffee shop area, but has to be purchased extra. the coffee shop boasts great fair trade coffee, provided by Kingdom Coffee.

Flowers at coex
The Children are well catered for and the site is safe. Our kids loved that they had some independence and could meet their friends and swim or take part in different activities and they all made new friends.

The locality is developing in what it offeres tourists, this was the third time we've been and there are now lots of activities and things to do and see within an hours drive. This year we visited the nearby town of Coex, where there is a scented garden, which was great to explore and even better it was free to get in.

Apremont is just a short drive away and there is a large lake where you can swim or boat, we decided to go boating along the river and had a great time splashing each other and some of the other boaters.


Also within 10 minutes drive is the velorail, a 10Km stretch of disused rail track that has been turned into a fun activity - as you cycle along the tracks on a "bicycle" powered cart through the local countryside.

Dragon being made
The city of Nantes is just under an hour away by car and we travelled there on the day when it rained and visited les Machines de I'ile. Think steampunk style giant creatures and fantasy environments. we got to ride on a tall mechanical elephant and saw the staff work on a mechanical dragon - awesome. If you are ever in the area it's well worth a visit.

Elephant ride
Well it's been 4 weeks since we got back and it's taken me that long to get this post together. I suppose that comes from starting a new job, after facing redundancy for the second time within 4 years, I was really happy to secure a new job before the end of the academic year. I'm loving the new post, but its tiring getting to know new systems and procedures and working for a different LEA, not to mention trying to learn the names of the 500 students I teach each week! so it might be a while before you see any more of my creations of an art or textiles variety. I am making, but it's going to take me a while to complete anything at the moment.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Finally I make something for my husband...

I have been saying for quite a while that I wanted to make something for my hubby (not counting the Totoro Onesie) he loves shirts with nice patterened fabric and when we were in Nottingham in May we picked up some floral cotton, it's soft and has a nice drape to it. He announced that he'd like a shirt made up in it, and as it was only £2 per meter we bought 3m.

I traced off a pattern from one of his favourite shirts, I didn't use a pattern as the only ones I had were in Burdastyle magazine and were not in his size. To trace the pattern I simply ironed the shirt, they lay thin tissue over it and traced over the seam lines with a biro, this was easy to do as there is very little ease on the sleeves in a mans shirt. I do need to make slight alterations to the pattern, but the fit was generally good. I think i'll increase the collar and collar stand size next time.

I used Grainline Archer's sewalong as I haven't made a shirt before and her instructions are awesome. the only thing I did differently was to make a different shirt placket. I taught myself how to do these, by deconstructing a shirt cuff many years ago, before I'd really got into sewing. As I used to teach Design technology I'd always advocated using disassembly to help understand how things were made. Now I put it to good use when I want to know how to sew something.

The shirt came together really well and John wore it to the wedding we attended on Thursday, you can see for yourself that he looks really comfortable in it. he's now orderd another 2 or 3  - so that will keep me busy, oh and there was enough left over for a little top for me!

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Stretchy Skull Dress

It seems i've been neglecting my little blog a bit. I have been very busy making and should have lots of nice things to show you over the next few weeks, just need to find the time to actually write about them - too busy with real life, and that's the way it should be!

Way back in May I picked up some stretch skull lacy fabric, not too much stretch and it really did need some lining. I knew it would be perfect for my daughter and found a pattern from a recent Burdastyle magazine (it's based on the under dress of this pattern) that would make the perfect dress.

I had a bit of trouble with the neck binding and ended up doing it twice - i'm still not really happy with it as it twists slightly. I'm still learning when it comes to knits, and the lining was much stretchier than the skull fabric.

My Daughter loves it though and struts around in it and some high heeled ankle boots  - a true diva in the making!

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Stuck in the frustration

Do you ever have so many ideas in your head that you find it difficult to settle with any of them? Well that's me at the moment. I'm finding it very difficult to develop my art practice, and get some practise in.

Let me define my dilemma. A few years ago I created some successful work, which I still love, based on the fragility of life, using butterflies as a motif. I'm not sure I've fully exhausted this yet, but don't really know where to go next. Last Summer I stepped out of my comfort zone and created 30 very different works, which were wide ranging in technique and style. I really enjoyed doing this, but I'm not sure I'm really a landscape/ portrait artist.
I know that I want to link the art and the sewn stuff I make together, so that my artistic practice ties in with the dressmaking and designing I do. I feel that I need some overarching theme that grounds my work and gives it meaning. I'm not sure how to develop what I've done to push it further and what media to focus on.

In short- I need a grounding point for my work. I need it to link all my creative interests. I need to keep drawing and painting as part if what I do. I love experimenting with surface, pattern and texture and love experimental texture. I need a sustainable form with plenty of scope for development. I'm not sure if I should keep the butterfly theme? Have I exhausted it? Do I need some other motif/ subject matter to help me develop ideas?

Do you have any experience in developing your own art practice or the practice of others?
Any ideas?


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