Mountain Walks and Handmade Clothes

The Dolomites were exceptional.  We stayed in a beautiful town called Selva Val Gardena, or Wolkenstein if you’re a German speaker.  Writing every day, I’ve managed to collect snapshots of the holiday. I’m hoping to get that all written up  by the end of the week on my other blog, but for now, I thought I’d share some of my homemade outfits.

One of the great things about this holiday, besides the mountain walks,  was the routine. Even though I was away from the comfort and safety of home I still felt as though I was in control of my own environment. there were definitely times when I wobbled, mostly when trying to explain what vegetarian meant, whilst only remembering the german word for meat (Fleisch, by the way). For any vegetarians out there it’s Ich esse kein Fleisch.

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Anyway back to the point. The hotel we stayed in was fantastic. At around eight I meandered down for a breakfast buffet and cup of tea. After that, it was time to change into walking clothes and off for a walk around the mountains.  Then it was back to the hotel in time for tea and cake at three o’clock. The Spa was open from four til seven. Dinner was then served at quarter past seven. This routine gave  the delightful experience of being able  to dress for breakfast and dinner.

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This was the very first day, I changed out of my yucky travelling clothes and into my handmade circle skirt. The was a thunderstorm which was a blessing after the long journey.

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My circle skirt to the rescue again. Walking, the day before, left me with sunburn. I borrowed my husbands cotton shirt to keep my tomato red arms protected.   Despite the bulky shoulders I actually really like the style.

 

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Sorry for the bad lighting here, it was so bright!

 

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These were really useful dresses to slip on of an evening, particularly on the hotter nights, It’s lovely being able to throw on a loose fitting dress after an afternoon in the spa. You can see in the second photo I am somewhat floppy from the spa.

 

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My final piece of home made clothing is the Coco jumper. I only wore it on the final day of the holiday, it was great when the air-conditioning on the couch and aeroplane kicked in.

If I were to pack again (and there’s already talk of going back) I would make another skirt and bring another dress with long sleeves to protect my delicate delicate skin.  I have this gorgeous dress which I wore a couple of evenings. However, it’s too nice for an everyday wear.

 

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This is an old photo, I think  it was taken about  two years ago. It’s uncomfortable to look at. The smile is strained. I fill the dress very differently now I’m at a healthy weight.

 

I love the sleeves on the Sewaholic pattern, but I think the overall pattern on the grainline (left) will suit me most. Also, the collar would be useful to protect my neck from the sun. I’ll have to figure out how to make those long sleeves.

Thanks for reading

x

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Here you go, a post about things I made

This week has been more writing than making, I am trying desperately hard to try and get the first 15,000 words of my novel to the Yeovil Literacy prize at the end of this month. today I managed to revise 2000 words which I’m pretty happy with. However, there are still 13,000 to go.

However whilst procrastinating earlier in the week I finished off my Dottie Angel Frock from simplicity. I’ve been itching to make this for ages and am really happy  with it. although I did loose half of the instructions so the arm holes are a little frayed.

 

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I wore it today and should have posted a photo onto Instagram for me made may.  I;ve been a lax in posting photos of my makes. I was really excited when I had a new item every day to show off, now I’m feeling a little restricted.

I have, however, enjoyed making little crafts.  I made a really cute fish mobile inspired by this month’s Mollie Makes. You can read more on the Crafty Sew & So blog.

 

My motivation seems to be fading somewhat.  It’s been over a month now since I last saw my therapist and I’m beginning to miss the stability she brought me. Maybe I’m just tired. It’s pilates tomorrow, that always makes me feel better.

Tomorrow I will have a day of looking after myself.

 

So Many Unfinished Things

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.

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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 & So to make an adorable hand stitched doll.

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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. dottie-angel-dress-patter

 

I couldn’t decide what fabric I wanted to make it out of so I picked up a lot of lovely fabrics from Crafty.

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Lanni was very helpful up until she started chewing on the pattern. 

 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.

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I love these tucks

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.

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Easter Sunday Lunch
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Big Family Meet-up
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Tom and Me at the Rabbit Hole with Tom’s Cousins, Leanne and Charlotte. Small gatherings are just better.

 

Asthma, Bunnies and Pie Charts

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

Monday

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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.

 

Tuesday

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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…

Wednesday

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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.

Thursday

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I created a great little Bunny tutorial for Crafty Sew & So. It was a lovely day so I decided to take the pictures outside.

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My cat, Theo, was delighted I’d gone outside with him and wasn’t ashamed to show it

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.

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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.

 

Friday

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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.

English Paper Piecing Cushion Kit

 

Saturday

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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.

And finally…Sunday

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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.

 

 

Productivity Away!

The chaos of Christmas seems to have passed and I’m feeling refreshed. Things seemed a lot easier to get done this past week. There are several reasons this could be. Routine has come back into play. I’m going into Crafty Sew & So three times a week, reading and singing songs at my library every Wednesday and taking my driving lessons on Mondays.  it’s a comfortable kind of busy.

Right now I’m sitting in my  freshly made Fifi Pyjama’s, with thermal undies because it’s way too cold!

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Yesterday I made a really simple blanket for the Stories and Rhymes mornings at the library. I picked up some red gingham in the Crafy Sew & So sale and some cotton backed wadding. All I had to do was put the fabrics right sides together, used a bowl to round the corners and then sewed along the edge leaving a gap to turn it right side up. In hindsight I probably should have used pins to ensure the gingham was stretched out fully before this as I ended up with a few bumps after top stitching.

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After tuning it right side up I used a pretty top stitch to close the gap and then ran it all around the edge. Next I stitched large squares, lining up with the pattern and had a nice sturdy mat for story time.

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Also for the first time in at least I month I did some work on my novel. I’m currently revising a draft and managed to finish a chapter which had been bugging me for a while.

Here’s to another productive week!

I created a world

World building in fantasy is exhilarating but frustrating. After scribbling vague countries onto pieces of scrap paper I decided to browse the inter-webs for help. surprisingly I was rewarded almost instantaneously with this website:

http://donjon.bin.sh/fantasy/world/

You can decide all sorts of things or alternatively keep clicking randomize until you get the world you want. I am just awful and geography so this little device has helped no end. it’s even got little tropical trees for land near the equator. I decided to choose a planet with a fair bit of ice and not that much land. 55ba1219569ac438 Another really fun thing you can do on this website is create your own calendar, choose how many days, months and weeks in the year and how many moons the world has. I stepped away from the computer and worked with pencil and paper to scribble down country names. Then  I assigned characters to different countries and figured out how their heritage changes how they behave and look. I found it a relativity easy way to work diversity into a story.

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I have a cork board now dedicated to geography

I also worked on smaller geography and sketched out a very inaccurate version of ‘The Hollow’ which is the location for most of the action in my story.

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Writing Writing Writing

This month I’m joining in with Camp Nano, click here if you want to see my current progress. Unlike in November, when the word count is set at 50,000 words, I can set my own word count for the month. I decided to try a modest 10,000 words of my revision.  Having done absolutely nothing for ten days I finally started.

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so far I’ve written 4920 words of my revised draft and am beginning to forget what the world outside my story is like. Needless to say I have taken little time out for crafts. Though to break up the writing I have started designing outfits and characters:wpid-20150706_210219.jpg

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If you are curious about their identical positions, it is because i am not particularly good/patient enough to draw figures so I used a book of figure drawings. The Fashion Sketchpad.

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This is my little writing nook, it’s always got a supply of chocolate  and often cups of tea supplied by my husband.

 I’m afraid that’s all the sense you’ll get out of me today.

Back to my writing!!

long time no blog…but I made a lot of headway in my novel!

I have been away from my blog for far too long but my very noble excuse is that I’ve been editing away! This is the first draft I have printed out in it’s entirety. though I think in all honesty it’s probably around the fifth draft in all it’s different incarnations.
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I printed it out on blue paper because because my dyslexia means it’s almost impossible to process anything if it’s on white paper, Here’s a link if you’re interested. Eyes and Dyslexia.  There has been a recent study which claims coloured paper doesn’t help people with dyslexia. I do recall my tester telling me something along the lines of the vision issues being a separate but related issue. My elder sister doesn’t find the tinted sheets useful, however I know it takes me three or four times to understand a document without my tinted glasses and only one or two read through with them. This is all very much beside the point. Here’s a link to the new study: Forget colour overlays – dyslexia is not a vision problem.

That’s enough about dyslexia for now, back to my editing.  This is the mess that I’m left with after around a month of solid editing:

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I made an extra notebook with the same stab binding, I also got a new guillotine with a fancy perforation option.

The first bit of editing was probably the most laborious, I went through every chapter and separated it into scenes, one posit per scene with a very quick description, list of characters, location and whatever I want to change.

The next bit was almost as laborious I took an idea from The NaNoWriMo Blog, It’s a fantastic resource for writers and come november there’s a wonderful manic mass writing hence the name National Novel Writing Month.

Here’s an exert from A 7-Step Guide to Big Picture Revision (With Bonus Checklists!)

Here come the highlighters! Look at your list of scenes. Use a different colour to highlight each subplot.

  • Do some of them only show up a few times?
  • Are some introduced too late in the story?
  • Are any unresolved?
  • Do some do nothing to advance or mirror the main plot?

When you are done, anything that is left unhighlighted is your main plot line. Read these over.

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At this point I was mostly just bewildered by the amount sub-plot / plot / maybe not even relevant. I took a step back, left the chaos for a few days and did a bit of a free writing which was blissful compared to the mind twisting editing. In the meantime I put my novel in a folder and gave it to my mum, who has wanted to read it for a very long time.

Then came time for lists:wpid-20150702_113058.jpg

I wrote plots from from lots of different characters and got my time line entirely set wpid-20150702_113019.jpg

Next I tangled out the most important plot points and wrote a 500ish word synopsis. My novel is still far away (at my sisters house). Until I get it back, with all it’s pencilled ideas, i will not start revising. My plan is to free write from different characters points of view to really flesh out each personality.