This month has been Inktober, I’ve been teaching myself to draw throughout lockdown and decided to join in. Inktober happens every October and is a chance to practice ink drawing everyday with an interesting list of prompts. I thought I would share my highlights here. The first four are those that were given the most liked on Instagram
These next few are my personal favourites but didn’t get as much love in social media. Its been so much fun drawing every day, I hope to continue, but maybe two or three times a week.
I decided to only use black and white and played about with shading. One of the lessons this month has taught me is to not be afraid to be messy. I look forward to using more colour instead of just black ink pens. A while back I brought some inks and brushes but they are somewhere in my house which is still disorganised from all the renovations.
I have been desperate to share this for some time, now my little sisters birthday has passed I can at last. The Range Backpack from Noodlehead. It’s the first complex bag I made on my own. I’ve created a few totes, shopping bags before but this one had so many more pattern pieces! I actually made a matching Carry All Bag from Crafty Sew & So but forgot to take a photo! To be perfectly honest I was thinking I would never make a bag again by the time I cut out and interfaced all the pieces. However, when I got to the sewing I was absolutely in love with the process.
The fabric was a mix of Ankara wax fabric from Dovetailed London and quilting cotton from Crafty Sew & So (i mention Crafty a lot in this post, full disclosure I do volunteer with those lovely ladies though none of what I’m writing is sponsored). Everything is interfaced! The waxed cotton with mid-weight fusible interfacing and the lining with light weight fusible interfacing. I decided to make things difficult for myself by adding Bosal In-R-Form single sided fusible foam to the contrast base and back panel. I’m glad I did because it gave the backpack a sturdy and professional feel, though I did break a needle and bend pins whilst sewing the two foam pieces together. Top-stitching was a delight for this project and truly makes the bag unique. Quilting the back panel with different colours was super fun. I recommend buying a couple of reels of high quality thread for top-stitching as you’ll be going through a fair few layers. Despite the time it took the bag was simple to put together with clear instructions. I assumed it would be difficult using the hardware but the directions took me through it step by step, the adjustable straps look so professional!
My sister was very happy with the result! I had just enough fabric to create a face mask, this is the 3D mask pattern, Crafty Sew & So have a pattern with written instructions and video tutorial by Marie of Stitch Odyssey. This is my favourite mask to make and wear, even better than the fitted one I mentioned in a previous post. the way the mask is designed ensures it stays put even when talking, yawning etc. Personally I add fusible interfacing to the main pieces as it give the mask a bit more structure and keeps the fabric from being pulled in by a sharp breath. the other benefit of this design is the small amount of fabric required, an excellent scrap buster and super quick make
I’ve a few more makes on the go, including more masks a pair of Flint culottes and Closet Core Pouf to make use of all those fabric scraps.
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.