Friday, 31 December 2010

Happy New Year

I am getting ready for a big party this afternoon.  Like other parents my days of going out until 4 in the morning have been put on hold for a few years.  But we are having a  house full this afternoon including at least 12 children. Yes i am silently screaming.  But, i did find some time to do a spot of sewing or rather cutting yesterday.

If you remember i bought a corset making kit from the fabulous Julia at sewcurvy.  I meant to take a lovely picture of the  wrapping and all the loveliness within, basically though i was just too anxious to get into it so completely forgot about the photo taking.

The kit itself has everything you need and it looks a quite daunting project.  As Julia said though it is just a lot of straight lines.  my worry is that i will rush everything or be less accurate than is called for. (I am well aware of my own downfalls believe me)

So, I have read the FAQs in the kit at least three times.  I let go of ego when i did the measurements (and luckily there is an FAQ for that as well)  After losing a lot of weight i now generally buy a 12 or a size 10 if the shop is being nice to me.  However in the corset measurements, my measurements are for a size 14.  Now i know this doesn't matter in the slightest but i had to resist the temptation to make a size 12. Actually my waist falls between the two so i will go for the bigger and then shout for Julia's help at the end if needed.

In the FAQ's it has a fantastic bit from a size 8 lady who is having to cut herself out a size 12.  This made me feel better.

So i cut out the pattern pieces, pinned to the fabric, chalked round and CAREFULLY cut out. Writing on the wrong side the pattern number and the correct way up.  I am also planning to faintly draw in sewing lines.  I am very excited by this project though.  The female form in all its shape and sizes is after all a beautiful thing and should be celebrated.

See you in 2011.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Whoop Whoop

Really pleased to say i had a creative urge today and managed to make a couple of things for my folksy shop.  I am a bit sad to sell the bracelet as i absolutely love it and it would go brilliantly with a dress i have just bought in the sales.  Hey Ho

Have any of you managed to be creative over the Xmas Period

Martha has also got the creative bug this holiday and has completed her first bit of sewing.  I only helped slightly with threading the needle. She is over the moon.

My next plan is to start with the corset making.  I can definitely say that after CHristmas i need all the help i can get in the waist department.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Better late than never

This is the present i made for my sister in law Naomi.  It is a wrist cuff.  I only had time to take a quick photo so it isn't the best and it would have been nice to have taken one with Naomi wearing it but time was short and Christmas day itself very hectic.

The large fabric flower was a huge joy to make, very easy and i think hugely effective.  It is sewn onto a velvet fabric piece. At the moment it is a simple Velcro fastening as i was unsure of her wrist size but in future i will do fabric covered buttons and maybe one or two fastening widths to choose from.  SO tell me what do you think?

It really suits her style and is a fantastic way to use up old fabric bits.  I am thinking of making some for my shop.

Happy New year

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Pre CHristmas Promise

Where has the time come.  This is a ridiculously short post to basically say i have bag photos, new wrist cuff photos and corset pack photos to show.  They will be on today.  Honest.  There it is in writing i have to do it now.

Happy Christmas eve eve

Monday, 6 December 2010

Corset Crazy

I have finally done it.  After months of talking about buying a corset, or trying to make one. I have got my act in gear and bought a kit from the lovely Julia's website I want one to wear as outer wear so I have gone for the under the bust kind.  I am a big fan of the Puppini sisters and it is that look i am going for.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Baby its cold out there

So far, and i say so far as who knows what tomorrow's weather will bring, we have been let off pretty lightly with the snow.  It is ridiculously cold but the roads are reasonably clear and the schools are open.  My job as a weight watchers leader has not been too nice loading and unloading the car in sub zero temperatures but not the end of the world. But massive sympathies to those of you that are really suffering in this extreme weather.
It is December, Christmas is upon us and it is the time of advent calendars.  Hubby bought me a gorgeous one from Hotel Chocolat and the children have got their normal chocolate ones.  But after reading over at ALi's blog i followed suit and bought the family the Eric Carle's dream snow advent calender.  It really is just so beautiful and is a Christmas decoration in itself.

The photos are not brilliant as it is dark out there today

The children are more excited about this one than their chocolate ones. Well maybe the same... Each day opens to reveal a new decoration to put on the tree.  Truly beautiful

I have got new boots to tackle the school run in the snow and the ice and i absolutely love them.  They are wellies believe it or not.

They are fantastic for work because with leggings they look just like normal boots but have the added sturdiness and necessary water proof nature of wellies.  Love them!!

Although work has got busy, taking on a new meeting and changing a couple over, I have actually managed to cut the fabric out for Martha's apron.  I was meant to be going out today to buy other bits and pieces to make it but the weather made me re-think that decision!.

Finally, I had a lovely present from helpers at a meeting i ran up until Tuesday as a goodbye gift.  Lovely flowers and they really brighten up the kitchen in this dull weather.

What have you been up to?

Monday, 29 November 2010


So now that i am sewing again and thankfully selling again, i thought it best to get myself some little business cards.  My husband thinks that they are ridiculous and too small.  What do you think?

Shed loads of things are happening at the gallery so i am being kept very busy, not to the mention i have been struck down with a "bug".  Are you all snowed in?

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Dressmaking Fabrics - Quilting Fabrics - Interiors Fabric - Designer Fabric - Dress Fabric Suppliers

Dressmaking Fabrics - Quilting Fabrics - Interiors Fabric - Designer Fabric - Dress Fabric Suppliers


I have been stressing today about a hospital appointment my daughter Martha has tomorrow at Addenbrooke's hospital in Cambridge.  Not only do i have to work, leaving me only just enough time to get there with her, but it is a 90 minute journey each way and they have informed me of lots of tests that will be run whilst we are there.  So, apart from deciding to eat chocolate, drink tea and ignore housework today in an effort to calm myself I have also decided to make MArtha an apron for Christmas.  She really loves to cook from casseroles to cakes (although can not always taste due to her many allergies).  I have always oggled the lovely fabrics here but today have bought this one.  Lovely dont you think?  If it goes well a link to the shop should come up in my next post. (she says hopefully)

Monday, 22 November 2010

Basket case

Back when i was teaching myself to sew and making my first bag, Lisa Lam's site U-handbag was my sewing bible and i am assuming a lot of you are major fans as well.  The goodies that she sells in her shop ensure that you are able to add the necessary bling to your bags.  It is amazing what a silver ring or a wooden handle can do to a bag, it adds another dimension and takes it up a level in the handmade world.  I think so anyway.  One of the first bags i made was using Lisa's tutorial for a basket bag.  Lisa very kindly allows you to use her free tutorials for your own commercial use which is just fantastic.  I found some handles in my stock and some Amy Butler fabric that i had bought a while ago so I got cracking on making another basket.  It was really lovely to make this style bag again.  A sense of calm came over me.  The shape is simple, showing off the fabric's design and this simplicity gives a sense of class to the bag.
What do you think?
If you have never encountered Lisa's blog and you like to sew then you really really should.

i wish my bottom was a neat as this.
I am planning to make a ring today, photos and a possible tutorial will follow soon.  What have you been up to?

Friday, 19 November 2010


So yesterday was a day at the computer for me.  Adding things to my shop and working on the gallery blog. I had treated myself to some yummy soup by a company called Gorgeous - very tasty and low in fat.  I cannot find a link for them but when i do i shall post it.  The skinny range is beautiful. I then bought a pomegranate to mix in with my Greek yoghurt for pudding.  After i had cut it open i realised how pretty it was so took a photo.

So then as i was browsing around reading all the other lovely blogs that are around, i read Jo's and look what i found.  Although Jo's was more than a pretty picture and i wish i had read it before i tried to eat my fruit. Pins are a good idea.

Added these to my shop today.  Hope you like
cheeky little purse

Funky lining

red rose hair grip

Have a fantastic weekend xxx

Woo Hoo

The purple bag is sold.  Yay

Thursday, 18 November 2010

At last

I have finally got a couple of new items in my shop.

Cute little evening bag

Funky retro glasses case

Very pleased with myself. Let me know what you think.

Monday, 15 November 2010


Well to say that last week was stressful and busy would be the underestimation of the year.  But everything turned out okay.  Martha ( my youngest) chose a particularly bad week to be ill.  Bless her, she had full blown flu and is only 4.

As a weight watchers leader it was big launch week last week, so i was extremely busy with my meetings.  However it was also the Ladies Evening for the gallery and i had promised to bring some goodies.  I decided quite early on that i would just take a sample of each design so that people could then order a custom made bag.  From previous experience, people generally say "oh yes i really love that, but could i have it .."So i got cracking with the sewing last week and managed to knock out a few things.  Photos will follow in the next post (hopefully today) when i have finished cropping them etc as some are going into my folksy shop.  On that note, what do people prefer Etsy or Folksy?  Would i get more traffic if i reopened my Etsy shop?

One thing i did get at the Ladies Evening was a do it yourself Mural kite from here.  Sarah the owner is so lovely.  When Martha and i get round to painting the mural by numbers i will post our progress!

Hope you lovely people are well and i will be back shortly with photos.  First must eat - Tostadas here we come.  Yummy

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Is it just me

I have re-started my fitness regime after half term, although I was able to get out for a walk during their week off I didn't get to the gym.  It started off with an absolutely glorious day at the London yoga show.  I went with my school pal Sarah. We are both yoga enthusiasts (other people may refer to us as yoga bores) and have known each other since we were three. So after meeting up, topping up caffeine levels, and trying to work our way around the ridiculously badly designed guide we went off for a wander.

Although i have practised yoga on and off for15 years, my regular weekly practise has only happened for the last two and a half years. Throughout my relationship with yoga, I have tried many different strands of what is  a beautiful discipline. Firstly with Iyengar, then Hatha, Anusara and now Ashtanga.  I have fallen in love with Ashtanga yoga.  It has a beauty about it, coupled with extreme discipline that is addictive.  It is also (I believe) one of the purest forms of yoga and stands tall amongst the onslaught of celebrity yoga's that are flooding the market at the moment.  Sarah encouraged me to try Ashtanga as she is a fan and has been practising Ashtanga regularly for the last ten years.

Due to an injury in her back Sarah and I had decided to have a relaxed wander round and so had not signed up for any workshops.  We sampled teas, back massages, a very strange form of meditation with people waving their arms behind us which reminded me very much of an episode of friends in which Phoebe picks at Ross' bad aura. Finally we got our asses moving in a taster workshop with the wonderful (and slightly sexy) Michael Gannon.  Although just 30 minutes it really was an incredible experience to witness his yoga in action.

I also bought two incredibly pretty scarves and after sampling different teas, finally settled on purchasing these which I can tell you are incredibly tasty and calming.

So continuing on with my fitness regime, i went to my normal Body Combat class on Monday and then for a quick swim at the gym on Tuesday.  It is here that i discovered that I must be a complete prude.  I am one of those that when in a communal changing room takes underwear off as discreetly as possible.  Or if getting dressed after a shower, gets underwear on as quickly as possible.  I am reasonable happy to wander around in my undies but would not wander round completed naked.  Well it would seem that i am completely on my own in this.  A packed aqua aerobics class emptied into the changing room and without fail all of them were not only skipping around naked, but bending over to apply lotion, coming over to chat to me - the list goes on. I would so love to have that amount of confidence in my body but I obviously i don't.  Am i alone in this?  Am i the only one who feels inhibited in such an environment?

On a final note, have you ever seen the site called Misi.  It is a lovely site, obviously similar to Folksy and Etsy but very nice nonetheless.  The teacup that you can see in the link arrived on Monday and it is truly beautiful and smells gorgeous.  Check it out.

Still nothing on the sewing front but i have high hopes for this afternoon and tomorrow.  I am just off now to interview a photographer for the gallery which will appear on their blog.  Plus another interview with an artist this evening.  Any tips gratefully received.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Still no sewing but....

The sewing for the ladies night is not going too well.  Well actually it is not going at all, but i am sure as ever it will all come together in a last minute panic.  I will not be making thousands of bags to sell on the night but more of a selection of styles.  In the past i have found that people generally go "oo yes i really like that but could i have ........." So i think a couple of new styles will suffice.

I went to my first art lecture on Friday night at the gallery and i will be blogging about that soon over here.  It will be a new style of blogging for me.  Rather than just prattling on about life and stuff, the writing will have structure and may even be planned.  Yes please do not fall down in shock!

So i may not have been sewing, or writing and definitely not cleaning but i or should i say we have been walking.

This was the view, or rather part of it, from the top of the tree top path at salcey forest.  Absolutely stunning and if you live within easy driving distance of Northampton it is well worth a visit.  The tea rooms are gorgeous and the walks and scenery breathtaking.

Friday, 22 October 2010

One of those days.

Have you ever had one of those days when simply getting to the end of it seems even too big a task for Bruce Willis?   For me to wake up in a completely good mood is rare. I like to think that I am a happy, smiley type of person most of the time but it does take a fair amount of caffeine to get me into that state.  But for once, yesterday i woke up smiling.  It was obviously a bad omen. I have to get up early on Wednesdays to load my car for work prior to the school run.  It is also my delivery day for Weight Watchers. So, car loaded, marvellous, coffee made, FANTASTIC. Youngest still asleep? slight timing problem but not a major deal.  WW man arrives with more boxes than will fit in my garage so that  by 7.30am my living room is like a scene from Starsky and Hutch.

 In between all of this, I have nipped upstairs to shout at sleeping beauty and turn computer on. Not only am i working today but i have work to do for the gallery in time for a presentation tomorrow. Then the fun really and TRULY begins

After not so gently reminding my daughter that she has school, i went to check my emails.  Computer frozen completely.  Not to worry i thought, i will just reboot and come back.  The next time i came in the computer was working but the screen looked like an Andy Warhol work of art. So i wracked my brain for every last vestige of technical know how, and put it into action by hitting the computer and turning it off and on three million times.  STILL NOTHING. Now after three years of regular yoga practise one would think that i would be able to draw in deeply, take a few cleansing breathes and radiate calm.  Unfortunately for a  taurean red head, calmness is not a thing that comes naturally and i think that it will be many more years of yoga practise before it does.

Not only did i have figures to get in for WW but also a presentation looming the next day at the gallery.  With Andrew in Saudi Arabia i had no access to a laptop.  SO i did what i do best in any stressful situation, I overreacted, got tearful and shouted a lot - mainly at Andrew because even in Saudi i am sure it was all his fault!

Sometimes when a day starts off so badly, it is best just to go back to bed, obviously i couldn't. So after getting flashed for speeding (not flashed in the mac sense!!) tipping boiling water down my leg, losing a helper at my meeting, I was ready to climb into bed never to be seen again.  However, I managed to make it to my yoga class in the evening and sanity was restored.

As for the presentation at the gallery, I got through it with no notes of any kind.  Lets just say  it is a good job i have a big smile.  How has your week been?

I started this post two days but one of those days ended up turning into one of those weeks.......(i have new computer though)

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

inspiration hunt

Well, November 12th is looming and although i have got the facebook page up and running for the gallery I am seriously falling behind on getting stuff ready for the ladies evening.  So, after looking through my collection of bag handles, i found this one.
I think i may have won it in a competition run by the lovely Lisa some time ago.  Anyway this is what i will be using, and now i am just wondering about whether to use pleats, how big (it will be an evening bag) and whether i will have time to make a tester bag first.

For now i am off to Zumba, i have heard so much about it but have never tried it.  If you do not hear from me for a while it is because i am collapsed in a heap in a corner somewhere!

Sunday, 17 October 2010

yes i did go to the ball

This is the official photo that was taken and it looks like i am about to fall over.  There is a photo of the dress that i wore which i will get from hubby's i-phone at some point.  I wore a green velvet dress, absolutely beautiful.  It was my mother-in-laws and she wore it for her 18th birthday.  50 years old and in perfect condition.

The bag in the previous post looked beautiful particularly with the silver chain.  Unfortunately we were so late getting ready, and then too busy drinking wine we forgot to take photos

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Gallery Glory

Wow have i had an exciting day today. I mentioned previously that the  local gallery are holding a Ladies Evening and i will be showing off some evening bags that i have made, including this one that i made a long time ago.  Well my sister in law - a hugely talented lady called Naomi - holds art talks at the gallery and i was thinking about publicity.  This in turn got me thinking about a blog for the gallery, facebook page etc.

As of today, I am now officially in charge of all emarketing for the gallery, including setting up and writing the blog.  This will include interviews with the founders, local artists etc. The gallery itself is in a hugely historical building in the heart of the village so my research will include some interesting facts.  I invested in a picture from the gallery about a month ago and some of the works they have are just amazing.  For example, who knew that Timmy Mallett was such a good artist

I am so excited so watch this space for all details of this fantastic opportunity that somehow i have talked myself into.

As you know i am a huge fan of yoga and not just the physical side but its spiritual importance. So often in life we follow the expectations of others as opposed to following and believeing in our own dreams.  I have been hugely guilty of that in the past.  By being proud of yourself and your own capabilities and talents (my talent is being gobby!) and following your own dreams, then happiness will follow.  It is better to live your own life imperfectly than live the life of someone else perfectly. (paraphrasing The Bhagavad Gita)

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Singer for the girls

just have to show you a little treasure that came into my posession when my mother in law had a clear out during the summer.  How lovely is this.....

Monday, 11 October 2010

The finished Bag

The Ball is on Saturday, my lovely vintage frock is hanging waiting to be worn, hair appointment booked and the bag is finished!!  Woo hoo.  i love bags made using bag frames, but the fear when it comes to the gluing part is pretty immense.  It can all go hideously wrong at that point and somehow having made the bag out of silk made the process a lot worse.

But i took my time, and limited the caffeine intake and i am really pleased with the result.

The beading is not particularly intricate but i wanted a simple pretty pattern.  I wanted some beading to break up the blackness but not to detract away from the stunning bag clasp.

The photos are not brilliant as i am having severe problems taking good photos at the moment.  Maybe i should hand the photography side of it over to my 7 year old son who managed to make a working radio at the weekend!

I have made the bag very padded to give it some structure.  The green lining is an incredibly thin satin fabric but i loved the colour and i like the shine and the feel of it.  So to add bulk i used heavy interlining for both the outer fabric and the lining.  I have also added darts at the bottom to give it a more rounded shape.  I am pleased with the shape so the pattern will definitely be added to my stash to be used again.

Off to prepare my meetings for work but let me know what you think about the bag.  Happy Monday

Friday, 8 October 2010

part red-head, part magpie

Sometimes, you stumble upon a shop and you walk in and it is love at first sight.  Craftability was a little shop in the local garden centre and a place that i used to frequent to get my beads etc.  The only other local place is hobbeycraft and although it has it's place, it is to haberdashery what Tescos is to food shopping.  Then Craftability disappeared, and although i had more money in my purse I was very sad.  After googling them, to my joy i found that they were still in existence and only up the road in Fenny Stratford.  As my folksy shop is now up and running i decided to go and have a look and am i glad i did, because i stumbled upon a little peice of magic; Threads and Patches. Unfortunately they do not have a photo of the outside of the shop on their website.

It is a fairly old building, as most of the roadside buildings are in Fenny Stratford, and the character is maintained throughout the shop or should i say shops.  Inside there are about four or five little businesses running, all of them based around the crafting.  In one room, there were 8 or so people busy at sewing machines around a large table, it looked like a patchwork workshop.  The fabric shop was lovely.  No Amy Butler or Martin Miller but lots of pretty cloth.  Round the corner was a huge wool store, up the stairs were lots of different card shops, scrap booking and then lastly Craftability.  This is not to mention,the other large rooms for workshops and BEST OF ALL, a little tea room, where you help yourself to a cuppa and then sit and keep yourself busy with your purchases.

I will not be exaggerating to say that i was shaking slightly as i left.

It has been an exciting week.  Not only is the bag finished, my folksy shop is up and running and to top it all off a new proposition has come from the local gallery.  So watch this space.

I have a busy evening ahead of me, with all of my purchases from today, including a big bag of purple buttons.  I have decided that i must be part red head, part magpie.

Have a lovely weekend people xx

Thursday, 7 October 2010


It was just too green.  Still thinking of a banner but much happier with the reduced greenness.  what do you think?

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Daisy Delight

Well the gorgeous bag frame arrived today from Lisa this morning.  So much better than in the picture. I have drawn the pattern, even dug out my protractor to work out angles for the darts at the bottom.  Whilst digging out the protractor i also found lots of lovely beads so may also make some more jewellery and stock up my folksy shop again. I made this necklace whilst watching Downtown Abbey on Sunday night?  Does anybody watch it?  I am very much in love with Hugh Bonneville.  Am i alone in this infatuation?

I was sensible today and tried out the bag pattern on some spare fabric to make sure it works.  It does, so will summon up the courage to cut the silk.  I have decided to hand sew some beading onto the black silk to add a touch more bling.  So i am also being reasonably wise and testing some patterns on scrap fabric.  The Ladies night at the gallery is on th 12th November.  No pressure then!

Friday, 1 October 2010

Workshop worry

I came to the decision today that i will take part in the Ladies Night at the local gallery but not hold a handbag making workshop.  Although it was a fantastic idea and i was blown away by the proposition, I am not experienced enough to answer peoples' questions or try and solve their sewing problems.  I can get round mine with lots of swearing, unpicking, more swearing and lots of coffee.  i am assuming people will not pay to come and see this.  I feel a big sense of relief since making this decision and can now concentrate on the Ladies night  in November.  I am going to focus on evening bags.  I enjoy the design process behind these, the glam and individuality of them and hopefully it is the right time of year for the orders to come in.

So, in what has been an emotional roller coaster of a day, for lots of other reasons, at least two decisions have been made.  Also, I found a gorgeous bead last night so turned it into a ring.  Pretty hey?