Monday, 30 March 2015

Birthday

Well the end of term has come and we've rolled into the Easter holidays.
Miss Millie's 13th birthday was this Saturday, so I had a spot of shopping to do after work this week in preparation.
In the fabric shop, searching for lining for the Emery dress I was making her, I was made to buy this bargainous green print. That's a few more sewing plans ready and waiting for the holidays.
On Friday morning an estate agent valued our home, the girlies and I went lunching and then birthday food shopping afterwards.
Miss Millie had chosen bowling and a vintage style Afternoon Tea as her birthday delights so we had plenty of treats to buy. I took her to Wilkinsons to choose her favourite leaf tea and coffee for me. It's a magical place full of funny names and scents all held in wooden tea chests.
She slept with me on her birthday eve, so I hung her Emery where it would be seen when she woke.
 
Luckily she loved it and even better it fitted perfectly. Scary stitching and hoping I'd sized it right.
 
 
How many 13 year olds to be say they don't want anything in particular for their birthday presents? This one did.
All Millie had asked for were two Guinea Pigs. As we'll be moving with no idea where we'll be living I said she'd just have to wait a little while longer for those, but I'd keep my promise to her as I always do.
Lots of lovely gifts were chosen with this girl in mind and she loved each and every one.
 
 
Millie had wanted to go to her favourite Tearooms to eat, but they were closed this weekend.
Nothing else matched up as I knew exactly what she was after.
A good friend said do it yourself as you'll get it just right for her.
Turns out home was much better than anywhere else for this birthday girl.
I absolutely loved planning and putting it all together for her.
To see her delight when she came in to the laid table made me happier than I've felt in a long while.
 
 
Millie declared it her favourite part of the day. She certainly tried everything and demolished a few of her favourite cheese scones too.
 
 
For fancy speed I covered a few shortbread fingers in caramel, banana and squirty cream to make mini banoffee fingers as well as strawberry shortcakes.
 
Miss Rosey pulled the first popper with no warning at all.
Boy was it loud. Nanny nearly fell of her chair.
I've been asked to conjure up the same when Millie's friends come for tea after Easter.
Once the cake was lit and we'd sung Happy Birthday we played Bingo with choccy prizes.
It was just the birthday my girl dreamt of and deserved. I'm so thrilled it lived up to her hopes.

The weekend ended with me being collected good and early this morning by my friend Cat (that's how it feels when 8.30 suddenly becomes 9.30 with all this clock forward malarkey) to head to the coast for Little Vintage Lover fair.

We had a marvellous day chatting, perusing and buying.

 

These are my special finds for new projects. As always there was much more fabric I'd have liked, but until I'm a rich lady I'll just have to dream.

 

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

If the dress fits who cares if you wear veg on your head

A few weeks back, and it really must be quite a few now if I think about it, I spent my Christmas voucher on Gerties Vintage Sewing book and was lucky enough to get this fabulous fabric at £4 a metre.
I planned to make the dress on the cover in my 60's check.
Then not a lot happened.



Then all of a sudden it did.

On Saturday a friend was upstairs busy making a loft hatch to cover the very large hole in Miss Rosey's bedroom ceiling. Miss Rosey was at netball and Miss Millie and I were doing our own thing.

The sewing bug crept up on me and off I went.

After drafting the patterns for Gertie's dress I changed my mind. I knew it was going to take a bit of time to get my head around. Next decision was to make a tried and tested dress as I wanted a quick make. One that was done in a weekend. That's how I ended up making yet another Megan dress.
Just before we went out on Saturday night I'd nearly finished my dress.


I altered the darts for a better fit and popped the sleeves in either side of a visit to the most awful and just the tonic we needed circus on Sunday.


There was my dress hanging, waiting to be worn on Monday.


For the first time in ages I felt really good in something I was wearing.
My dress fitted so well, that it hugged without squeezing. It was just the boost needed.


A lady in the middle of the day came up to me and said I love your style, it's quirky. I thanked her and then told her her words really were a tonic as I'd felt emotional all day. A mixture of a discussion that morning with my mum, possible unemployment this week and soul searching.


Amazing what a dress can do sometimes to lift that spirit.

That night at parents evening I think I could have taken a few orders too.

We ended on a high after hearing so many lovely things about Miss Millie (Miss Rosey's year group had theirs a few weeks back).

When we got home I tried on my tinned pea colour hat that I'd stitched up in bed the night before.



               

It was ever so slightly tight and I was pronounced to look like a Brussels Sprout. Cheeky monkeys.
Quite a fair bit of makery these past few days. I'm back on it again.


Thursday, 19 March 2015

Keeping mum

Over on our small island we celebrated Mothering Sunday last weekend.

Miss Rosey went halves on these flowers for me. I couldn't steal all her pocket money after all, so halves it was. I love their in your face colour and cheer.

Last week until just now really I was full of cold, sneezing and a sniffing my way through each day. Cheery flowers, cheeky girls and all their love was the best thing for this mum. Miss Millie brought me coffee in bed and baked another of her delicious cakes too,


As we had a date for dinner at my mother's place later that day, it meant I could spend the day stitching. So stitch I did.

In fact, I actually drew up a pattern from an old Topshop top. The original, which it love, is cut too high in the bust for me. Alterations were needed.



I drafted my pattern, quickly cut some lightweight fabric from the stash and got stuck in.

Amazingly, to me anyways, nothing went wrong. It all fits and does what it's supposed to do in all the right places.


There are a few changes I'm going to make to the next one, but this ones done it's job perfectly.


For proof that it got an outing here's a post-work photo saved oddly on Instagram.


Now I've got birthday and Easter stitching to keep me busy for a while before any more me makes.
I've got dinner plans this weekend and arranged a circus trip for us three girls with friends too. Keeping busy in this mad living situation is the only way for us to cope.

Tomorrow is the day we get the first run of our house being valued for sale.

Still a bit of tarting up and titivating left to do, but a friend who's going through the same as me said getting things moving for sale really helped her keep sane.

I don't want to give our home up really, but it's the only way forward so big grown up face on and smile. After the valuation I've invited a friend over for lunch and a crochet lesson. 
A reward after the nasty bit you see.

Friday, 13 March 2015

It's Back

Slowly, slowly, stitch by stitch my need and desire to create stuff is coming back.

When you lose the urge to do the thing that calms your busy mind, the thing that gives you happiness, the thing that you look forward to after a busy week at work then you wonder if it will ever return.

It was the same when my dad died, I had no desire to create anything. Then all of a sudden I was back on a making roll.

I just have to learn to go with it more.
Learn that there's a lot in life we have no control over. I'm steadily learning that letting go can be empowering.


This week I've finished and worn the Schooldays Top, finished and worn an stitched cardi and started a couple of new things too.

With Miss Millie's 13th birthday looming preparations need to be made. There's nothing she wants other than a vintage tea party and as her parents are seriously skint I think thank heavens I can sew and she likes what I make her. No clues to the above as yet, just in case she pops on by.

She does have a birthday treat this weekend which has now come before the day itself. She has a whole weekend Lambing at the local agricultural college. The lambs have been popping out much earlier than planned so she might miss the births, but she'll have the joy of everything else sheepish. What more could a sheep mad girl who dreams of owning her own flock and dogs really want.



Now about that other thing I finished and wore this week.

Before Christmas I bought Clare Youngs book A Year in Crafts. I loved making the brogues bag from it, although I really wish I hadn't bothered now. There are so many other things in there that I want to try, but it was the stitchy stuff that drew me in at first.

The same day I bought the book I started working on a cardigan of mine transforming it from plain old blue to a stitchy sensation.



Then life happened a lot, so it got ignored on the one day in the future you'll get finished or binned pile.

Then this week my sweet youngest girl was poorly. I sent her to school as I had no childcare and I told her it was easier for me to leave work once school called than me not going in to start with. Quite soon the school nurse called. I cancelled my classes and spent the day with my love, picking up this blue cardigan again.




I'm really thrilled with how it's turned out, it's been worn twice since too.

I think I'll be adding bullions and chains to a fair few knits now I've fallen for this one.

 

So you see, it seems I've got back my creative head and hands for now.
I'm pretty glad.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Stitching, Baking, Making



In January I bought some fabrics I'd had my eye on for a while.
They were superbly reduced which made the temptation to buy impossible to ignore.
Some while later I found the perfect pattern in a library book for the grey print.


The Back to School Dress by Christine Haynes started life with me as a dress.
Then it was ignored for quite a time while I lost my making mojo.
Yesterday I took it in hand again and the dress became a snappy little top.


Although I really should unpick the neckline and sort out the slight pull to the right, I wore it today and felt grand in it.
One word of warning though. Wearing cardi's over puffed sleeves can give you bruiser upper arms.
Not the kind of look I'm generally after.


Bruiser arms fed by an addiction to these little beasts is another problem altogether.


My other attempts at finding my creative joy again has been to start hat knitting.
Red Artesano merino at first has been overtaken by a green All Seasons Cotton.
Hopefully soon I'll have my hat ready for next winter!


Sometimes I try and solve losing my making by fiddling with fabrics.
I think these want to become a quilt. They just need the hands to start chopping them all up now.


Before all of that though there's so many other demands on my free time.
Getting the house ready for selling, wading through finances and making future plans.
All weekend we worked on the outside of the house for that instant fall in love moment.
Miss Millie treated us by baking her first suprise cake for Sunday afternoon tea.


Here's half the front of the cottage all spic and span.


By early summer it'll be a riot of colour with pale lemon Scabius, pink roses, purple thingies and hollyhocks.


It'll be hard to leave our home, but the thought of new adventures beckons us on.


Wednesday, 25 February 2015

A road trip

Here I am again. It's this new fangled Blogsy thing. It's making life in the blogosphere a whole lot easier I must say.

Last week was half-term, we had a full few days indeed. Usually we like to take it slow and cosy, with a family day out or two. This time I made sure the girls and I were busy seeing friends.

At the end of the week we went on a little road trip. Just us three. All the way down to Sussex for lunch at the De La Warr pavilion in Bexhill to meet two special friends. Penelopemakes I met through blogging and Rainandroses and I met through Vanessa Cabban years back. Over time, many emails and chats later we now just chat on the phone as friends do, but who hadn't actually met up.

In the finest tradition of meeting bloggers, giving gifts is what you do.
These were opened later as we were very busy chatting and eating lunch.

Afterwards we all visited the Ladybird exhibition downstairs.

It was wonderful seeing the original artwork and then at the end all of the books together (this is just a third of them).

Impossible to pick a favourite, but here's one you might recognise from Shopping with Mother.

As it was the greyest rainy day I've cheated and grabbed a blue sky picture to show you this amazing building.

After a few lovely hours Penny had to leave us and so Karen came with us to Hastings. I wanted to show the girls all the places that were special in my life, all visited while I was pregnant with Rosey and living in Brighton.

We walked the streets at dusk in the rain, intrepid explorers that we are. Once we found Mr Foyle's house we made the next stop a cosy cafe for hot choc and cake.

The only cafe that was still open and with two large red sofas couldn't have been more perfect.

Afterwards we drove Karen home and then ambled onwards to Polegate to get lost in the dark and rain trying to find our travelodge. Thank heavens for mobile phones.

The next day we met Karen on the train to mooch around Lewes and have cake and a lazy lunch too.

We found lots to see and swoon over.

All too soon our day came to an end. We took the train back having our sadness at saying goodbye overshadowed by a Masonic wife and then a very chatty, loud but friendly lady sitting next to us.

Later we had a party tea in our room, played cards and laughed at Gogglebox. A rare treat tv in bed to fall asleep to.
The next day we drove on to Surrey through the snow covered Ashdown forest looking out for Winnie the Pooh and friends. We spent a lovely day with old friends catching up on gossip while the girls were hijacked by their youngest daughter, thrilled to see big girls after two brothers.
The last leg of our journey was hairy. The automatic gearbox failed and so it was all in second gear from Ipswich. Fun! But we made it back wishing we could have those days back again.
The next day I soothed my racing mind by tidying and clearing.

Now for some other catch up news. I bought a Nell brooch from my talented friend Lou. You can find her on Instagram as @nooandnell. My other brooch was a kind gift from lovely Erin @coffeekisses.

These are the squares for the Do you mind if I knit blanket? starting to mix up together. I've nearly received them all now.

Fabulously talented Laetitia of the bloggings of mrs bertimus machine stitched this beautiful square to add to the blanket. She's my mate through this world too you know. She's funny, warm, full of joy and creates amazing stitcheries and paintings you know.

Well that brings me up to date in terms of all the good stuff.

Thank you thank you so very much each and everyone of you sending your words of wisdom and support. I really do need them you know. Still having to live together and keep sane can be hard at times. My girls are an amazing pair to have. Thank goodness they're older and so we talk and laugh, occasionally we swear in the car for therapy.

I'm still waiting for my creative inspiration to come back and I know it will, it's just biding it's time for now.