Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Vortex Dress Fail!

I don't know why - but I thought this would be easy.

Muslin made - OK.

Vortex Drawn on - OK

Pattern Pieces Drawn seemed to be ok...

Stitching together - um, not ok - looks appalling. I think I need to be more mathematical with this, as it's a train wreck!
I like the idea, but it was just not accuarate enough - need to find and follow instructions far more carefully!

Cross with myself for wasting a whole day on this!
I'm Linking up with Tea Rose Home.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Saturday - a day late.

Yesterday it was my eldest son's birthday. As usual my husbands family made to 170 mile trip to spend it with us (they'll go home later this afternoon).

I started the day with a lie in, followed by eggs on toast made by my wonderful husband. If you haven't tried fried eggs on toast with soy sauce I suggest you do - yum.

After much present opening and card reading we had a fab lunch of homemade tomato, lentil and bacon soup (also made by my hubby) and a trip to the Mistletoe Fair in Morpeth. It wasn't that impressive, but we did get a few Christmas pressies sorted.

In January My Husband and Son are going to China with International China Concern on a short term team. To help raise money for the team fee, buy son had decided to have a sponsored hair cut. He's also decided that I was the one to cut his hair. (add hairdresser to the list of talents) So after returning from Morpeth we began. from long mop to short crop. he like it - which is a relief and wants to keep it this way (phew).


So after a busy weekend entertaining, walking in the cold, cutting hair, cooking and eating - we have the party this afternoon - swimming party. followed by mince pies at a friends. Lovely weekend!

Oooh - don't forget to enter the Danusha giveaway.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Danusha Giveaway

I'd like to Introduce my very first giveaway. Sponsored by the fantastic Danusha.

Last Sunday I helped out at a stall selling their beautiful jewellery. I could've very easily spent a lot of money as I love the designs.

Danusha works in partnership with Nepal Leprosy Trust to provide employment for people in rural Nepal. They produce ethically made jewellery for sale in Nepal and the UK.

Their jewellery is hand made by men and women in the south east of Nepal. Many of them have had leprosy, or have family members who've suffered from the disease. Sadly there's still a lot of stigma associated with leprosy so sufferers and their families often find it hard to make ends meet.

As Christians, Danusha feel it's important to work for justice and a fairer world.  Danusha was set up to help leprosy affected people make a living and improve their quality of life.

Danusha have kindly provided this stunning Lapis bracelet for my giveaway.

To Enter.
Like the Danusha page on Facebook, Follow this Blog and leave a comment on this post to let me know you're following and have liked Danusha.
Entry will be open until 6pm GMT (London Time) on the 4th December.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

I have a facebook page!

Finally I've got around to sorting out a facebook page. Hopefully I'll be able to link my blog posts there when I get RSS graffiti to work properly.
you can follow me here.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Ideas Ideas

Oooh I have an idea - I want to share it with you, but need to formulate it a little more before I do.

I'm going to hang fire on changing my blog name until I have a better choice of name - I might just do a new layout instead.

And - now this is the important one - I'll be hosting a giveaway - very soon - so keep your eyes peeled for that one!

Monday, 21 November 2011

Dilemma - Please help

As some of you know, I'm considering renaming the blog and moving to a custom domain name.


today I discovered a business with the same name as I was going to call my blog and a near identical URL.

So, what do I do? Options are:
  1. Go ahead anyway.
  2. Stick with what I have.
  3. Change to a different name and URL (haven't thought of yet).
See my previous post to see why I was going to change in the first place. I'd love you to give me some feedback on this as I'm really stuck as to what to do.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Today I have been mostly...

...cultivating a barrel of sock monkeys.

Flower skirt

I've had this in my refashioning stash for ages. I used to love this dress, but the style is rather unflattering for me. I loved the fabric and didn't want to get rid of it.

I look the skirt off the bodice, and used my dressform to drape the skirt. I'm not sure this was the best way of doing this as getting the seams even was rather tricky - I think i'll stick to pattern drafting for this type of refashion in the future.

I put a box pleat in at centre front, darts to front and back and a lapped zipper from my stash. I decided on a faced waistband as I like skirts that sit a little lower than my natural waist.

All in all I'm quite pleased with it.


Friday, 18 November 2011

Clothes Swap Party 2

A few months ago I went to a clothes swap and loved it so much I decided to host one myself. It's a great way to recycle unwanted clothes, have a get together and in this case raise some cash.

My son is off to China in about 6 weeks to work with disabled and abandoned children, through the organisation International China Concern. My husband is going too and we need to raise some money Fo Yi's team fee.

So this evening everyone came along, bearing clothes, a donation towards the trip, and in some cases food and wine. We ate (a delicious chilli and some fantastic cake made by my hubby), chatted, tried on outfits - fortunately there was no fighting over items! went home with new wardrobes and Yi has just short of £80 towards his trip. not bad for an evening of fun!

Here's the items I came away with - I'm very pleased with my collection and hope everyone else is too.


...are afoot.
I've been writing this blog for about 6 months. It started as a way to express the creative stuff I was doing while I was recovering from stress. It's true to say that I've rediscovered some latent creativeity and a passion for sewing that I'd lost. It's given me ideas for a business, which I'm still considering and allowed me to find like minded people (you guys).

However, I'm more than just a maker of rag bags and gladrags. I'm a creative. and I like to stick my finders into quite a few pies (literally as well as metaphorically). I paint, print, sew, construct, do DIY (sometimes), craft, cook and bake. My Hubby, John, is also keen to contribute to the blog world - he used to write one, many years ago - he's also creative - musician, photographer, cook and ,of late, brewer.

So I've decided to re-name the blog. We'll have a new design and a new URL soon. So if you see some changes over the next few weeks - IT'S STILL ME, and of course I'll keep you updated. I'd love it if you'd still follow me, and I'll let you know when we move. Until then keep reading.

Oh - if anyone has any good advice for moving URL and keeping everything going, please let me know. (we are staying with blogger)

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

My New Favourite Artist

I told you I was going to the Grayson Perry Lecture yesterday - well it was, quite simply, brilliant. (apart from the fact we were in an overflow lecture theatre with video link)

It's so refreshing to hear an artist speak, who doesn't baffle you with utter crap. He spoke candidly and with humour. The art world can be so false and so into it's own little cliques and I suppose Perry is part of that, but he rebels against it, has fun and makes social comment at the same time.

To be honest i'm sick of going into galleries where the audience stare at the art work, with their head on one side resting in their hands, and say "Mmmm." Trying to look like they actually understand and like the work. Or critics going on about how it juxtaposes with this or that, in words the everyday guy just can't understand. blah blah blah.
Don't you just love this artist robe?
Yes I like art to be about something, Yes I like to understand it, Yes I hate rubbish art, Yes I love Grayson Perry's work. It makes me want to have fun making my art, to enjoy it for what it is, to link art and craft in what I do, to get my hands dirty.
Thanks Grayson you've restored my faith in art and craft!

Ooooooh Check this link out! - More Grayson brilliantness

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Holiday Lecture

No not a lecture about holidays!

I got around to booking our family holiday yesterday. We're off to Spring Harvest le Pas Opton in France. We went a few years ago and the kids loved it and asked to go back. There is a Christian spritual programme, which is low key and you can opt in and out as you wish. Fantasic pool, Kids programme and early booking discount! Whoop I'm looking forward to it already.

Secondly I'm off to a lecture in a bit. Grayson Perry. The Baltic is hosting The Turner Prize this year and this lecture is part of the whole shebang. I love Grayson Perry's work. It makes me smile, but also think. take a look at his work - it's a crafters heaven if you don't mind the slightly strange. He is a ceramicist, but also creates tapestries. Go have a look!

Saturday, 12 November 2011

I need to learn a lesson

I've been drafting bridesmaid dresses. All going well. Not so the top I've been making for myself. I based a design on a top I'd made before, but didn't make a toile. Foolish! I really should as I'm not happy with the way it's going. It doesn't hang quite right. I'm going to take parts of it apart and redraft for a better fit. I'm just very cross with myself. Oh and the fabric is annoying to sew with - very slippy. Grrr argh. Do it properly next time. Especially when drafting something new.

Friday, 11 November 2011

In a Jam

I've been making Damson Jam. I'm sharing the method I use to make my jam, I've used this method for about 4 years now and it usually works very well.
Recipe from Delia Smith.
1.3 kg fruit to 1kg of preserving sugar.

Pick out any stalks - there weren't many as weed done most of that when we froze the fruit back in the summer.

Simmer the fruit in 15fl oz of water till soft.

At this point I de-stone the jam. My hubby likes the stones left in, but I don't. So we compromise and take out most, leaving a few in and a few whole fruit. this can take quite some time!

While I'm doing this the oven goes on at 180. and the sugar goes in a heat proof bowl to warm.

When done - fruit and sugar in the pan, stir lightly and leave on a low heat until the sugar has dissolved.

Then boil rapidly for 10 minutes. turn off the heat and check for set.  put a little on a cold plate and allow to cool, if it wrinkles when pushed with your finger it's done. If not, boil for another 5 mins and test again. do this until the wrinkle check works (usually takes 15 mins boiling for me.)

Let settle for a few minutes and then pour into warmed, sterilised jars - put on lid and allow to cool completely.
store in fridge once opened - makes a great gift.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

First Steps in Drafting... or how to make a bridesmaid dress

I've taken my first steps in proper drafting. I'm making bridesmaid dresses for a friends wedding next year, and wanted to make the dresses from scratch. I'm confident I can do it, but I know I'm making extra work for myself by doing all the drafting from start to end.
My journey began with taking measurements - I realised I hadn't taken enough, but had a standard chart to help with the missing ones. Have learnt a lesson there!

Then I drafted the basic fitted bodice - using Aldrich's Metric pattern cutting (It looked complicated to begin with, but with more careful inspection it was easy to follow - especially if I did all the working out before starting to draft).

It was simple to draft the strapless bodice from the fitted block. So far so good. Now to the fabric!
1. To check fit.
2. To adjust style.
3. To decide if bias cut is going to be better than on the grain.

Mental note - remember to add seam allowances!

Monday, 7 November 2011

Matylda Krzykow

I came across this while browsing my blog list. Some interesting ideas. The artist part of me loves this and I'm looking as to how I can marry clothing and my art together. hopefully it won't be too long before I get to it!


I've become obsessed with wedding dresses - no I'm not getting married, but a couple of my friends are and i'm helping with the dressmaking.
I'd love to know what your favourite wedding dress designs of the moment are - I just can't make my mind up.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Bonfire Night

We don't celebrate Halloween in our house, preferring to have a bonfire and fireworks instead. However the back yard is full of waste plaster, roofing materials and all the stuff I should have stored for winter but haven't. So instead we'll have a small gathering for sausage casserole, jacket potatoes and bonfire toffee and some fireworks. Haven't got time for anything else as I've spent this week painting and sewing pressies for the hampers.
I think this week I'll be spending a lot of time tidying up.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011


After an hour and a half of adjusting, measuring, nailing and chatting to staff; my paintings have finally been installed in the Newbiggin Maritime Centre. If you are in the North East, come take a look.
(sorry about poor quality photos. Only had my phone with me)


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