I have been ill for what seems like forever, with a mixture of asthma, an irritating head cold and perhaps the beginnings of a chest infection I’ve been feeling rotten for over a month. With my box of tissues and copious cold and flu meds, I donned my latest make and headed bravely to The Handmade Fair. I had an absolutely wonderful day with the ladies from Crafty Sew & So.
Sarah and I did a little bit of watercolour painting in the morning. The tutor, Harriet de Winton, was fantastic. I’m so happy with my little floral wreath. Roses were super hard!
The temptation to buy was overwhelming! I managed to reign it in and came home with two purchases. An adorable little unicorn necklace from Jazzy Menagerie and a foxy notebook from Miss Meaney’s.
It was my nieces second birthday yesterday. She was a bundle of excitement. Each time a new person she knew came through the door she would give a bright surprised smile followed by a delighted squeal. Each present received with a careful and serious ooo (thank you).
I ordered her a couple of books, though far too late to arrive on time. As it was I ended up whipping together a cute snuggly blanket the night before.
She’d had a visit to the shop (Crafty Sew and So) a couple of days ago and straight away lunged at a gorgeous sparkly princess fabric.
I cut a rough metre square embroidered her name and backed it with a super soft dimple fleece. Because I didn’t have much time I placed the peices right sides together and speedily stitched them together instead of using bias binding.
She was delighted and pointed to the princesses, as she’d done in the store. Instead of snuggling up with the blanket she decided it was far more fun to wave it around like a parachute. Everything is a toy when you are two.
I’ve fallen out with my jersey tank top. it’s a very fiddly material. I was full of confidence after my first attempt and then flippantly began the next one. So flippant was I, that I didn’t think I needed jersey needles for this new tricky material. I then, in my impatience, began sewing the neckline with brown thread because I ran out of black. It doesn’t look great.
I have now brought some jersey needles and black thread. However I feel somewhat soured toward the project. I want to have the top but am not inspired to unpick the neckline. There is another top of the same pattern that I need to make as a sample for the shop, but as that is a beautiful satin material, it is going to be more difficult than the jersey one.
My next unfinished object, I don’t feel too bad about, as it’s not been too long since I started. I booked a workshop for me and my mum at Crafty Sew & Soto make an adorable hand stitched doll.
Out of habit, I ended up using back stitching. I also chose the doll with fantastic hair, which meant it had the largest outline. I took forever stitching around the doll. She is waiting to be finished in a bag full of wadding. I’ll pop a photo of my doll on here when I’m done.
The final thing I have yet to make is probably the main reason I haven’t finished any of the previous projects. I recently ordered the Dottie Angel Dress pattern as I saw it advertised in Mollie Makes. I wanted to get started on it straight away.
I couldn’t decide what fabric I wanted to make it out of so I picked up a lot of lovely fabrics from Crafty.
I used the two spotty cottons, green for the main part and navy for the base. I was going to use a white cotton with deer print for the pockets, but on a whim, I decided to do some satin top stitching along the join. I didn’t want to hide the embroidery so I am not going to add pockets for this dress. I’ve already cut the pockets out so will make another dress or tunic for them to go on.
I am working on trying to get back into a routine. I can feel that I am throwing myself into this project. Last night, after getting back from crafty, I worked until half ten making the dress. By the time I got to bed I was exhausted and found my head spinning. This morning I have spent a long time resting and writing. This is not my routine. By now I should be up dressed and feeling ready to face the world. Instead I am hiding in my room, not wanting to start the day again. I wrote a post yesterday on disrupted routines, after going to Wales last weekend it’s been really difficult getting back into my routine.
Routine is a tricky thing. I know it helps, but at the same time putting pressure to keep to a routine is counter intuitive. essentially I just need to give myself a break. It is difficult doing new things. The trip to Wales was incredibly tiring. I deal far better with small groups. As it was Easter there were a lot of family gatherings and meals out.
I finished this gorgeous cushion kit from The New Craft House. We’re now stocking them at Crafty Sew & So and I’m very impressed. The colours look lovely together. Lanni very much approved. She made her home there as I was about to finish it off by pressing.
She relinquished her bed eventually. I just really love the colour collection. It’s inspired me to make a navy and mustard dress for my next project.
This week I’ve been struggling somewhat with the precarious balancing act of recovery. I am slowly becoming an active and autonomous person in this world. That fact is absolutely terrifying. I am attempting to be part of the world but not letting it overwhelm me.
I now exercise…yes it’s true. I have been to two whole pilates classes and am attempting to start kick-boxing. though I pushed myself too hard on the cardio at the kick-boxing on Thursday and my chest is still aching from my asthma attack. Attack sounds dramatic but I’m not sure what to call it. Incident? Episode?
Either way it was rotten.
I’m pretty keen to keep this exercise routine put. The problem is exercise was one of my negative coping mechanisms when I was suffering severely from my eating disorder. My therapist says that classes are good because there is a set end time so I cannot exercise to excess. I was thrown entirely at pilates last week when Courage by Superchic came on the playlist, a song about living with an eating disorder.
The Internet is a major issue here. If we ignore all the horrible and depressing articles about we are still left with disgusting adverts encouraging to ‘loose weight with this one simple trick’.
Ok thats is my rant over with…for the time being anyway here are the things I;ve been up to this week
Scribbling though the first part of my novel and having lots of fun with pie charts . I’m ensuring I have all the elements of my novel stuck in my head before I go on to write the next part.
More pie charts! It only took two days of writing every minute detail of each page to make me feel a little bit like I might be loosing perspective. to see more strange ramblings check out my other blog Today I Wrote…
I left the house, read stories to the little ones at the library then went into Crafty Sew & So. It felt good to get out of my head for a day. Freya and I came up with a wonderful story all about two women who become superheroes after training in the art of kick-boxing. I had so much fun sketching a comic of the story when I got home. At some point I aim to refine the it and find someone who can actually draw to complete the work.
I went over to see Freya in the evening for the aforementioned kick-boxing class. On the way I couldn’t resist taking a photo across from the old liberty building.
Despite the horrid asthma affair I did have lots of fun at Kick-boxing and will hopefully be back on Thursday, though I’ll probably be a little more cautious with the cardio.
I was feel exhausted still from asthma, but determined to have a good day. I got myself all prettied up in the morning, and googled how to wear a head scarf. At the shop I got started on gorgeous kit that has just come into Crafty from The New Craft House. The fabric is so easy to work with. I like sitting in front of the tv with a good cup of tea and hand sewing the hexies together. Hopefully it will be done soonish and I can show you all how it turns out.
Manically crazy busy day at Crafty Sew & So, It seemed everybody wanted fabric, I tried to do a bit more of the cushion but I just ended up stopping and starting because of all the lovely customers. In the evening, however, when my husband was busy playing destiny I started trying to edit my novel. It didn’t particularly work as I ended up drawing a scene from one of the pages.
Today I have been once again going through my novel, I managed to get through two chapters so far and hope to get at least another one done today. It was my plan to have finished by the end of the week. Above is the pie chart for characters mentioned and present in the first nine chapters.
It’s been a tough week, with bad news from the dentist, my last ever appointment with my Doctor at the eating disorder clinic and thinking how on earth I’m going to cope when my comes to an end in April. I’ve been seeing my therapist for over two years and it’s absolutely terrifying thinking about stopping. It’s difficult to remind myself that the reason I’m ending is because I’m so much better than I was two years ago. The very Idea of being ‘better’ is frightening. I’m scared there will be more expectation placed on me and everything will go to hell again.
suffice to say I’ve been feeling somewhat overwhelmed. However I was cheered up no end last night by shouting down a couple of patriarchal idiots and helping out a girl who was being leered at. I wrote about it in a post yesterday.
It hasn’t been a massive making week but I have been enjoying myself with the latest Mollie Makes magazine free gift.
The embroidery was really relaxing to do, and I learnt a couple of new stitches. The idea is to make them for decorations but I think they would just end up gathering dust in my house. I’m going to embroider the animals onto a piece of fabric and then use that to make a lampshade. The lovely Helen Bunting of Sewphies has a fantastic drum lampshade kit. She has done a couple of workshops at Crafty Sew & So
I also made a handy carrier bag holder for the shop but I forgot to take a picture. I’m going to make one for my house soon. Today I am going to spend the morning with my in-laws and then a lovely afternoon tea with my mum.
My guest room has been the latest room in the house to be beautified. I have settled on a woodland theme, a while ago I made a few cross stitch lovelies from Storyland Cross Stitch. My husband and I brought the gorgeous picture on the fireplace on our honeymoon in Switzerland.
Recently I stumbled upon Sew Charming in Lutterworth, although my first love is Crafty Sew & So I must admit I somewhat fell in love with the beautiful range of fabrics in store.
I scooped up this Sherwood collection along with a wonderfully soft Linea Linea fabric, and quickly got to work on my cushions, I basically raided Pinterest for different ideas. I used the same envelope cushion pattern as I did in my last blog. I decided to go for appliqué over patchwork because I’ve just brought myself a fancy new Brother sewing machine which has lots of lovely top stitching. For two of my cushions I used wonderful free downloads from Love Patchwork and Sewing, Issue Seventeen has a perfect fox appliqué, it’s all to size being printed out on A4 paper.
The next one is a fantastic stag’s head pattern also from Love Patchwork and Quilting this time from issue thirteen
I also took triangle templates for my next cushion from issue thirteen.
My final cushion I used up some hexes that I’ve got laying around for a blanket which I’m not sure will ever get finished.
Here they are all together with a cushion I cross stitched along with the frames.
I think after Christmas I might hang up the wreath amongst the cross sticth the colours match perfectly.
If you want to see how I made this check out my other blog with Crafty Sew & So.
Also if you love the woodland theme check out Waterstones book of the year, The Fox and the Star. It is uniquely beautiful both in words and illustrations.
Recently I have started running a Stories & Rhymes group at my local library. It’s lots of fun. As the name suggests, A lovely lady and I read stories and sing songs to kids. It’s for children up to five, but we generally get two and three year olds.
The woman who runs it with me has two kids and she brings in a mat, cushions and big cuddly toys to make the sessions feel a bit more welcoming. She also found an uncovered sofa cushion in her attic which i offered to cover to give the sessions more of a cosy feel.
I decided to do an envelope cushion with some old sheets, mostly because I was too lazy to add a zip. I’ve never actually made an envelope cover, my method thus far with cushions is sewing the cover around a pad and hope they never need to be cleaned.
Google came to my aid and I found this Ikea tutorial. and fudged it as much as I could to work for a sofa cushion.
I stuck a load of newspaper together and traced out the shape of the cushion, I basically guessed how much seam allowance I needed, roughly a couple of inches, it turned out a big baggy so would probably go for less next time.
I used the same pattern for the two back pieces but folded it so it measured two thirds the length. I ended up making a a silly mistake and didn’t turn the pattern over for the back pieces. It wouldn’t matter for a square cushion but the awkward shape makes it vital. I made another upper piece and saved the other one for the next cushion (there’s another sofa cushion someone in my friends loft).
I measured the circumference and cut out stripes off newspaper leaving a wide seam allowance. I attached them together and then realised that was useless as I didn’t have a single piece for the whole band. It was still helpful I just cut the strip to fit the remaining pieces of fabric.
The cats where very helpful
Now for the sewing, first thing I had to do was pin and stitch all the individual pieces together.
Next I attached the front section to the band, right sides facing together. once that was done I double hemmed each of the back pieces, pressed and then pinned in place.
I then sewed along the fold on both pieces. The final step is to attach these two pieces the Ikea tutorial makes it sound so simple but this is the bit I found most complicated. most likely because of the awkward shape. I sewed one piece to the band, right sides together. I then sewed the second piece to the band, it ended up a little wonky so I unpicked it and made it a little straighter.
It doesn’t look too bad, more than acceptable for a toddler group. I forgot (didn’t want to) take a picture of the back, and now it’s made it’s home at the library.
I am currently making a set of cushions with the same method, I’m hoping they will work out a lot better. Here’s a sneak peak.
To toot my own horn a little, I’ve started blogging for Crafty Sew & So, a new shop in Leicester Saint Martin’s Square. Check it out, this week I’ve written about all the goodies I would very much like to own in Our Favourite Gifts
I hosted my birthday party in which the theme was vague to say the least. I very much wanted to dress up as Lis a house spirit from Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley.
It turns out most of my friends also had characters they were itching to dress as. In attendance were:
Cleopatra queen of the Nile
Delirium (Neil Gaiman’s Sandman)
A revere (The Night Circus)
J Jonah Jameson (spider-man)
Janet Snakehole and Burt Tyrannosaurus Macklinn (Parks and Rec)
Minerva (Wicked and the Divine)
Danny complete with Apollo jumper (The Shining)
Hit Girl (Kick Ass)
Donnie Darko and Frank
A member of the court of owls (Batman)
The Cheshire Cat (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland)
A perfectly eclectic mix, and not a bad reading/watching list. Unfortunately we were far too busy having fun to take pictures of our wonderful outfits. As the outfits were a mishmash i decided to go strictly for black and gold for the decorations. Weeks before the party i started making various pretty things, mostly inspired from pinterest
I made paper pompoms to hang from the ceiling.
It was simple but time consuming, all you need is paper/fabric, scissors, needle and thread.
For each pompom cut out six circles, either out of crepe paper or fabric. I tried to be painfully accurate at first but you can’t really tell so long as they’re roughly the same size with curved edges.
Fold each circle in half and then half again.
Tie a not in your thread and pull each piece through and tie each end of the thread together. For individual pompoms you are practically finished. Gently pull out the folded circles to form a ball. Tie another piece of thread / ribbon to the pompom and attach it to the ceiling with blue tack or whatever you have to hand.
If you want to make a chain keep the pieces folded and make the desired about. When you’re done tie a not in the end of a long piece of thread or ribbon and pull the first pompom through. Tie another knot to keep the pompom in place. Continue this until you have a garland of pompoms. Pull out the folded circles and attach to doorways, mirrors, ceilings etc.
I Made garlands out of paper disks
cut out cardboard circles of your desired colours and shapes, I used mostly black with a few splashes of shiny gold. I used templates from around the house, a spool of thread for the little ones, and the base of a bowl for the larger ones.
2. Start sewing! I picked up some invisible quilting thread but white would probably work just as well. make sure you leave lots of thread before you start sewing so you can hang it up later. I used my sewing machine and threaded through each circle (I’m sure it would be just as easy to hand sew). you can sew two on top of each other or sew them off centre to give more movement.
With the left over circles and pompoms I decorated the walls with black and gold. for the finishing touches I brought a mix of black and gold table clothes, cups and plates.
Though I had a wonderful time and loved seeing all my friends, the day was not free of anxiety ridden turmoil. I had too keep checking myself to make sure I was not too busy trying to be the ‘perfect host’ to enjoy myself.
My little house exploded with unprecedented noise. If it got too loud or overwhelming I slipped off upstairs to see my lovely cats (they were not best pleased about all these people in their house).