Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Vintage inspired blouse

Although I've altered a few things to fit, and have made a couple of tops, they've been simple vest tops to wear with suit jackets, and I was inspired by Beth at Liverpool Sewing Club to look at bluegingerdoll.

The patterns are easy for beginners, although some knowledge is needed if you have to make adjustments, but there are very good instructions and some sew-a-longs on the blog.

I was inspired by this material that I'd spotted in a shop in Wadebridge

Having purchased the pattern, the next thing to do was put it together. This is something like a giant jigsaw puzzle!

The finished blouse

Finished off with some covered buttons

I had to fiddle about with the facing and the darts a bit - my plus size shape is difficult to cater for - but I'm quite pleased with the understitching on the facing. I've never tried it before, and it gave a really neat finish.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

A bit of practice before playing with my parcel

Having won a prize draw, for the first time ever, I waited for my parcel to arrive from Seamstar

Little box, small enough to go through the letter box

How cute is that?

(It didn't really come with a pack of needles, I couldn't find a marker pen to blank out my address)

Opened the parcel, and all this amazing stuff was packed into the little box

And there was my cushion making kit.
Full contents are:-
6 charm squares
wadding and calico - for the lining
Linen - for the squares and the backing
invisible zip
bias binding
instruction card

But...before I started I remembered that my cutting isn't that accurate.  So, first things first, new blade in the rotary cutter and some practising on cheap fabric.

Wow! Such a difference, and so much easier.

Ready to go!
One of the good things about modern machines, and I've no idea why this is, is that you can sew off the edge of the fabric. Not like my ancient Singer where you have to sew on fabric or risk breaking it forever.

Which means you can put the pieces together and feed them into the machine one after the other.  The end result is ...

A string of joined together squares which then get joined together to make something else.  The hard part is matching the corners. Of course, if you've cut accurately, and your seams are all the same, this isn't a problem.......but this is the real world, and even the best get it wrong occasionally ;/

The instructions say to sew in rows, but I think its easier to sew in blocks and then join strips to the block, it helps accuracy, especially for someone like me who's a bit haphazard (after all I only found out from watching the Sewing Bee that you should iron as you go along!)

Some fairly accurately cut squares and matched up corners.

Better than my later attempt at half square triangles. In my defence I normally hand stitch patchwork pieces if they're small, and have never really worked out accurate 1/4 inch seams on my sewing machine. For squares, it doesn't really matter, so long as all the seams are the same, but a fraction out on triangles makes all the difference.

At least it was some cheap fabric purchased from EBay for precisely this purpose.

More practice required.

100 Happy Days Week 2

Well, there've been a few days without an actual tagged post, but I've taken the photo, or remembered to make a note of something, so I'm considering that to be a plus.

Day 8

Some Ebay bargains - a Martha Stewart punch and some new mirror card, to bring that extra something to my crafting.  A happy afternoon sat crafting with a glass of wine in hand.

Day 9

Sunday was such a lovely day and I was pottering round my little yard, when I looked up and saw this growing out of the wall.  I had no idea what it was, but I'm reliably informed that its a foxglove.

Day 10

Well actually, it was late on Sunday, but I only found out on Monday...

I got a tweet saying I'd won a giveaway on Instagram  thanks to following a few links in blogs , in particular thanks to Sarah at Sew Little to Say and her pointer to @fairyfacedesigns and I found my way to Seamstar

There was also something I couldn't take a photo of. While at Liverpool Sewing Club, there was the most AMAZING thunder storm, probably directly overhead, and I just LOVE storms!

Day 11

This is really random, I was searching for a pair of shoes under my bed, as you do, and pulled out a box of books, and found this treasure. Its got a foreword by Laura Ashley 9who passed away in 1985) , and is dated 1982.  Some of the eighties photos are worthy of keeping just for the fun!

I remember having lots of Laura Ashley fabrics around, and in fact my friend who was married in 1982 wore a Laura Ashley wedding dress.

Day 12

Service stations are normally dull places, but a visit to Warwick services was brightened up by finding flowers in the loos.

Day 13

My parcel arrived!

And here are some of the contents which became my day 14 post. I love getting parcels in the post, they're not surprises, but there's something special about opening and emptying out the contents.

Really looking forward to making my cushion

Friday, 23 May 2014

The simple things

Last week, on my way back from a site visit to Cornwall I spotted that the new servic station was open on the M5, (In my job we spend a lot of time on motorways, these things matter)

Yesterday wasn't a marvellous day; I'd been on site in Birmingham, lovely bunch of people,  but being in a portakabin when there's torrential rain doesn't make for easy conversations. I then got completely drenched running to the car, and the rain made motorway driving hazardous.

Decided to stop once I got away from the car park otherwise known as M42 Southbound. 

Found flowers in the loos

And had a cuppa out of a proper tea pot, not a cardboard container.

Arriving in Newbury, my room had a sofa, so much more relaxing to sit than a standard desk type chair.

And I've just discovered that the light switches match!

Happy dance!

Saturday, 17 May 2014

100 Happy Days week 1

The end of week 1 and so far the photos have been pretty random, and, for the most part, taken with my phone, so not the best in terms of quality.

Here they all are, and the reason why they're part of #100happydays

Day1 - not the light switches, I decided against it

Here is my freebie pen, and my new ballpoint from, which is just the most marvellous site for people, who, like me, love stationery. They also have an amazing selection of inks, which come in teeny bottles which is great for testing colours.


A Sunday afternoon, and trying to distract myself from the last day of the Premier League season, I started to make cards again.  Absolutely no concentration, and my crafting mojo has gone missing lately, but these were a few quick makes from bits and bobs I already had.


What can I say?  Working from home in the morning, before driving to Cornwall, gives me the chance to use my Elvis mouse mat.  This was a present from Graceland, and I wouldn't part with it.  Every time I use it, it makes me smile.

Day 4

Wandering out of my hotel on Tuesday night, I spotted these just growing randomly on the grass verge. I've no idea what they are, they're probably weeds, but they're pretty. I don't know whether its a conscious thing, but I did notice that there seem to be lots of 'wildflowers' growing by the side of the road.


My hotel for the week was a 'bog-standard' Premier Inn. I quite like them, at least you know what you're getting. But woke up on Wednesday morning to the most amazing view.  This isn't taken from my window, as I couldn't open it wide enough, but from just outside the main door of the hotel.
I'm a city girl at heart, but sometimes the views just take your breath away.


I've been driving to Cornwall a fair bit and as I've been driving along the M5 have noticed a new service station being built on the Northbound carriageway.  A few weeks ago, it looked nowhere near complete, despite the sign outside stating they were recruiting staff.  Heading South on Monday, I noticed a few lorries parked up, so decided to check it out on my way back North.
Really impressed with it. Its a bit like Tebay Services on the M6, not part of a big chain, and has a farm shop.

end of week 1

I often wear a scarf, especially for work. Mainly because I wear boring colours (grey/black/navy) as its easier to pack; scarves can brighten up an outfit.  But I find they get in the way when driving, so take the scarf off and chuck it on the back seat.  Its rare for anybody else to be in my car, and even rarer for anyone to be in the back seat, so it does tend to accumulate 'stuff'.  I did a bit of a tidy when I got home on Friday, and this is the result.  There are 5 scarves, the big green one was Mum's, the green autumnal one that's hiding I've had for years and years, and the same for the purple one.  The orange butterfly scarf was bought on a trip to London with some friends - was it only last year - and the grey butterfly scarf was a birthday present from the lovely Jan.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Stationery porn again

I love pretty stationery, but even more, I love nice pens. These are my 'everyday' fountain pens; well, the one on the left is always in my handbag, the other one needs a bit of persuasion to work.

I've commented previously about my beautiful notebook that I can't bring myself to use. Its made of handmade paper, and this week, I'm heading back to Liskeard in Cornwall, so maybe I'll find another one to leave on a shelf and admire!

A few years ago, I had a lovely ballpoint pen, and I've no idea when I lost it, I just realised one day that it was gone.  I've looked and suspect that it was discontinued when I bought it; but this week I found something similar at Cult Pens

So I ordered it, together with some other items (ahem!)

and it came with a freebie!

So happy!

100 Happy Days

Lots of people are taking part in the 100 Happy Days Challenge, and I've loved looking at the photos, even those who gave up after a while (you know who you are!)
But I never thought of doing it myself...

Until Wednesday, when this happened 

Now, I know, it's just a photo of a light switch,but it absolutely made my day!

Why, you may ask?
I stay in hotels a fair bit for work,and some are lovely, some are OK, and others are your standard Premier Inn, nothing special, but you know what you're getting.  But one thing they all have in common is that the light switches wind me up!

I'll explain. You know how you have a bank of switches, and some lights can be turned on in two different places? So, for example, in my house, I can switch the landing light on at the bottom of the stairs, or the top. BUT, and here's the important thing, if all the switches are 'OFF' then all the lights must be OFF too.
In hotels, this rarely happens. There's usually a bank of switches by the door, more by the bed, and often switches elsewhere in the room, and no matter how I try, I can't get them to work in tandem. No doubt there's a clever reason, but I don't know what it is.

And finally, on Wednesday, checking out of the hotel, it happened! The switches all matched. You've no idea how happy that made me. No really, you haven't. I danced round the room, and had to take a couple more photos.  

They're boring photos to anyone else, but absolutely made my day! 
And after all it's what it's all about. What makes ME happy.