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Thursday, 24 April 2014

Free to Stitch

Little Bun and I decided to go out foraging on the last day of the holidays. Miss Rosey's teenage ways meant she could do what she wanted which was snuggle up at home with films. We miss her company a lot these days, but times change I guess.

It wasn't long before we were a three again though. We did a double take as we walked past a shop window and then rushed inside to purchase the happy gnome. He travelled home with a seat belt round him as I was afraid he might smash. Little Bun named him Mr Digby and being a slightly frail gentleman he's taken up residence on the kitchen windowsill.


Before heading off to for afternoon tea we had a quick rootle around in the old shop of all sorts of stuff.

Straight in the door and my thrifty girl spied a basket full of lace bundles, all a £1 each. She also required some invisible thread to do convincing flying of things in the mini videos she makes.
 

Now those Easter holidays are over and here I am with a couple of days holiday before I head back to work next week. 

 Today my man did the school run so I didn't have to leave the house once. That meant even more uninterrupted time to get on with my sewing plans.

When I realised I hadn't eaten my Easter egg the day just got even better

 

I'm saving my eggs (donated by Miss Rosey) in my Easter basket(made for me by Little Bun) for another day as half an egg finished me off.

 

I chose the bottom fabric for a simple top I'd planned to make a few weeks back. It's a mixture of the silk vest pattern from the first Sewing Bee with my own tweaks. 

Tweak no 1. I really don't like the exposed zip's on dresses and tops so I opted for making a placket, and a rouleaux fastening. 

I didn't have enough fabric to make the back facing which is usually the way when buying vintage fabric. Actually, I think the contrast of this yellow sheeting looks so much better. 
Which reminds me, I still have a dress half made in this fabric to sort out


A first for me was choosing to bind the edges of the facings rather than simply hemming them. I've always loved the internal finishes in Noa Noa clothes (often thin ribbons of velvet or lace with spotty satin linings). Now I have a top that looks as good inside as it does out. 

 As the front is darted and I'd taken out some of the ease of getting the top on and off by removing the zip bit, I decided to leave the bottom edges open. To tidy them up a bit I added a small bit of spotty yellow ribbon.

 

By mid-afternoon I had a finished top. 

One that I'm thrilled with and it fits perfectly too. 


 Being on my lonesome means there was only me to take some odd pictures to try and show you what it looks like on.


 I'm thinking I could add sleeves perhaps, make is longer, or even add a belt. Whichever I chose to do, I do know I'll be making a few more of these tops. They're the perfect way to get a brightness fix, they're really comfy to wear and I think they'll look just right with bare arms in the summer.


I do love it so when a days sewing ends in success not nasty disaster.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Strolling here 'n' There

Last week we had the kind offer of a Pug babysitter.
This meant we could get away from home longer than usual and so at 7am we were London bound.

We have so many things we want to show the girls and so we pick a different route each time we visit. 

We park at Gants Hill and get the tube in so we get there as quick as can be. This time we got off at Green Park so we could stroll through as much green space as possible for our country loving Little Bun. Cities tire her out if she sees tons of people and too many pavements so this was good planning for a long day. Miss Rosey on the other hand craves cities and shops. A balance has to be struck. 

First stop was the monument opened in 2012 to commemorate Bomber Command.
Then underneath The Wellington arch and past the 1914-18 Artillery Monument, which was being renovated, to hop into Hyde Park.

I used to love coming to see the shouty people at Hyde Park Corner in the years I lived here. All very quiet today, public shouting of beliefs doesn't seem as popular as it used to be.

We strolled towards the Serpentine enjoying the morning air and getting excited about the day ahead.

After touristy bridge shots we crept past the geese, avoided falling in the Lido and stopped for breakfast by the water's edge.





We planned our route so we'd be able to take in the biggest monument probably ever built by a wife for her dead husband. Our heads and hearts were weighing up the reality of those who would have been living in poverty and ending up in the workhouse alongside the size of this creation. Nothing changes though as I can think of quite a few modern day elephants that have been built while people still languish on the borderline of society.
Directly opposite Albert's memorial is the Albert Hall. Miss Rosey has the chance to sing in the Albert Hall later this year with her school choir, still not sure if she'll choose to go or not.

Not suprisingly after this we headed down Exhibition Road to one of our favourite museums and a first for the girls. We had planned to go to the Imperial War Museum (most favourite of all), but strangely in this significant year 2014 it's closed until the summer?

At the bottom of the road we found the V & A. I was all bubbly with excitement.


We entered by the side doors so first stop was the Fashion displays. Joy of joys. 


I've missed out some era's as I didn't want to overload you, so I picked some of Little Bun and I's favourites.
I adored the late C19th velvet evening coat. Little Bun fell for the Schiaparelli coat.

Clothes from the 1920's that remind me of those worn in Thoroughly Modern Millie.


Women's fashion full circle from the crinoline to the fullness of Dior's skirts.


These beautiful gowns from the 1930's have small features that I'm wondering if I could try making myself. I'll certainly have a go and if I don't make a pigs ear of it then I'll show and tell.


After the delights of the clothes we headed upstairs to see the drawing, paintings and performance areas.

This Widow Twanky costume made us jump out of our skin.


Once we had taken in the visual feast and seen the Great Bed of Ware we headed outside for lunch.

Next stop on the tour was Covent Garden.  First visit was the Moomin shop for a few purchases. 
Afterwards we wandered and then we heard the most wonderful Opera singer's voice filling the market. 

Peering over the balcony we were treated to the most wonderful show. The singing was sublime and all acted out with the greatest comedy act. This is what we'd brought the girls to Covent Garden for and we couldn't have asked for a better street performance. A few pounds in the hat to show our appreciation and off we went hungry and thirsty again.
 

We ended our day lazing outside the market before deciding we were ready to head off back homeward bound. 

On our walk back to Holborn tube luck of luck we passed a Hope & Greenwood shop. Easter egg shopping was quickly sorted, no peeking in the bag. 

I even got to do a spot of knitting on the way home as my man took over the driving.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Bouncing Along

I was about to start by saying how much I love Spring, but then I thought, you know, I actually love all of our seasons as much as each other. I love how our year is broken into four bits all with different festivals, foods and changes in nature to look forward to. 

For now though it's Easter time and that means chicks and bunnies to me (oh and family feasts and chocolate too).



It also means lots of lovely days doing just what we please. 

Mid-week we headed to Foxley Woods. Foxley is an ancient woodland with the most stunning displays of bluebells.


 We had a leisurely meander with Little Bun and her friend following behind lost in chatter.


Spring also means a beautiful play of light on the walls. It makes getting up early less of a hideous thing for a night owl like me.

We actually managed to rise at 6am this week so we could drive down to London for a day of this 'n' that (I'll show you what we found next time I pop by).


 Another thing I'm hugely in favour of with seasonal festivities is the baking that goes with it. 

I made fairy egg buns for the girls, a Simnel cake (slightly burnt so it's best to just eat the middle bit) and a few cheese scones for the cheesy addicts. 

Little Bun and I still plan to knock up a few bunny and egg shaped lemon  biscuits as they've become a tradition of ours.


Today I've been playing chauffeur. Little Bun and her daddy have been planning a long off the beaten track walk for a while now and today was the day. 

Once I'd delivered them to the track I did the horrid food shop and then was greeted with the lovely sight of a sleepy bee waiting on the doorstep just for me!


 Miss Rosey got on with our lunch while I hung washing and generally faffed about with some of our animals.

Maggie and Bluebell in synchronised dance routine. Little Olive was busy in a bush laying eggs somewhere so missed out on the dancing.


 Further up I found Pixie had made another break for freedom. Not surprising as her outdoor run is very Heath Robinson (badly made and falling to bits if you don't know of the bloke).

 I left her to it. She's old and doesn't get too far, plus I needed the crack team to help me catch her.


 Walking back to the house I saw the ladies were still prancing and a dancing.


 No sooner it seemed than I got in to eat my lunch than I was called to come and collect the hikers. Six miles in and they found the path was blocked off so back they'd come tired, but happy.

Once home I sat down with my latest knitting and hooky obsession while uploading pics.

I opened up my bag of 4 ply cottons a couple of days ago and ever since I've been in colour heaven.


I'm loving working on these beautiful doilies and already have lots of other colourways planned.

I tried them in DK cotton at first, but they grab me best of all in the finer 4 ply.

 

Alongside these, last minute as usual, I started knocking up an egg cosy or two or three for friends who don't eat chocolate (hard to believe these people exist, but they actually do).


 Well it's been a lovely old week so far of Springtime goodness. 

Now thoughts turn to whether or not the Easter bunny will show up, will I burn the lunch and is it rude to squeeze in a spot of knitting when we have guests? 

Happy Easter to each of you.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Stop the Clocks

Sometimes being very tired can be so so good for you. I know it has been for me the past few days. I just wanted to do whatever I fancied with a bit of chat about what we all wanted to do thrown in too.

Seems we just need to go with the flow. We chucked out the work/school timetable and just did as we felt at the time and it's been a perfect few days because of it. 

Like most mum's I wear guilt well, finding it hard to switch off from providing a long list of essentials. Nowadays I'm slowly learning that I can step back more. My girls still need me, will always need me, but just not in the same ways when they were wee. Neither of us made lunch the other day, did the world end? No they just sorted themselves out instead.



We all did our own thing for a whole day.

I needed to fiddle about with random things. Consider making something, anything. Eventually I ran up a couple of new quilt covers for the girls. These have been a long time in my head and in the end they took less than 30 minutes to make. Perhaps it's because I chose the quick cheat method. 


Once I'd chosen the right sheets for them I realised I'd grabbed two that were actually double duvets. What a result. That meant no buttonhole making for me as the end bits were already there. All I had to do was measure from the middle, trim the sides and then re-stitch the edges. Two duvet covers done - hey presto. 

 Even better, they love them and they're all soft and cosy after years of washing. 


While I sewed, Little Bun spent the morning designing a dress for Handy one of her dolls. I showed her how to measure and make a pattern. As she's left-handed she struggles with the cutting bits. Once all the pieces were ready, she handstitched a lovely green spotty dress with a flower sewn on for good measure.


The rest of the day was spent with hook, yarn and a magazine.


I started working on a shape I've been mulling over, then I picked up the potholder I started a while back.


As I caught up with Endeavour on the ipad I somehow finished the pad. I was pretty impressed as it was all from a chart and normally my eyes go skewiff after a while with these.


I doubt I'll use it as it's far too pretty. It's destined to be a cheerful hangy thing in the kitchen. Which as my man cooks far more than me is pretty much my role in the kitchen too. 

*

The rest of the weekend was spent seeing and doing.
In the front of the library was this amazing pergola covered in knitted flowers, birds, insects and animals sent from all over the world to fundraise.


Our favourites were the budgies. Now I'm looking for a pattern to try and knock some up for us too.


Today's adventures involved taking great big gulps of fresh sea air.


Walking along one side of the river to cross the bridge that takes us to the beach on the other side.


Morning ices before lunch in the tea gardens.


Followed by a stroll through the village past amazing Arts & Crafts houses to walk the path of the old railway line that once used to bring holidaymakers to Walberswick.

On this part of our walk the smell of coconut was so strong. Turns out it was the yellow flowers on the gorse bushes.


Miss Rosey and I followed at the rear with her speaking to me in German. My favourite was "I'm friendly, but I'm not rich." A most useful statement I think for life's journey.

Hope you're all enjoying this lovely weather too and being kind to yourselves as well.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Light Time

This week my head got into holiday mood for two days and then I had to go into work to finish up two more days teaching as we have four terms to squeeze in this academic year. 
Now it's time to relax (apart from blinking stinking paperwork), catch up on sleep and all the things I really much prefer doing. 

We had plans today, but being so pooped we just wanted to flop at home. Only two days away at Grandma's and the girls miss home. We're all pretty content in our world. It's just as well we are really as we're not ooozing the money needed to go exploring anywhere far away either. Sometimes I wish we could, but we've made our choices and I know they're the right ones.

On holiday day no 1, the girls and I had the most lovely day. It poured with rain which meant no need to feel bad about hiding away. Little Bun had a friend come over in the afternoon and I heard not a peep from them. Miss Rosey and I fiddled. I cleared loads of old tat away, cleaned hutches in the rain and then while Miss Rosey drew I got the urge for a quick make.


For a while now I've wanted to cover another lampshade and hang it where I used to have a 1930's glass one on chains. I actually bought a book on covering lampshades an age ago which has some great ideas in it. This is not a make from it, instead it's a quick cut and glue job. Impatient to cover a shade and not wait for an order of proper lampshade paper and double sided tape I searched the garage instead for an old cast of drum shade.

Luckily I found one with a fairly faint pattern over it. I took a while choosing the right fabric. Once chosen, I measured up, cut out and then all I had to do was lather lots of glue with a big brush all over the fabric and shade. The first glue was pretty stinky and I ran out of that half-way through. Not good. Luckily I found some old UHU that hadn't dried out. Not stinky and much easier to use.


Then I stuck one end down to the shade, borrowed Miss Rosey's hands and as she rolled I smoothed and stuck the fabric to the shade. After a wee spot of trimming overlaps all was done. 

I hung it straight away to dry and marvel at how pleased I was with my quickie make. Close up like this you can see some of the blue flowers of the original print showing through. Other than that I'm really pleased with it.


My next plan for lamps is a wee project with glue, fairy lights, fabric and plastic cups. It's been on my mind for weeks now and I might finally have the time to do it at last.


Once I'd hung the lamp we did a spot of early Easter decorating with some of the honeycomb decorations I'd found a while ago. I think we'll sort out an Easter tree this weekend.

The end of our relaxing first holiday day ended with friends coming to eat with us. Miss Rosey asked if she could help me cook, Little Bun had wanted to make the breakfast that morning and then late that night they both insisted on staying up to help with the washing up.  What stars they were that day. Sometimes we have right old screaming matches about helping and who does what. All normal.