Wednesday, 30 March 2011

I got an award. Now give me your ideas. And a malteaser bunny.

Well, I feel like I have been neglecting my blog somewhat over the last wee while. I've been neglecting my crafting too if I'm honest. I started a new job at the end of February and am finding it very tiring being a newbie. They are breaking me in very gently, which is lovely, but I'm very keen to take on my own responsibilities and start managing my own time again, I find it a little stressful not to be in control. So the upshot is, I'm knackered every evening and just want to lie on the sofa reading, or watching 30 Rock. I am hoping to get back into the swing of things this weekend and get my red polka dot dress back on track.

Anyway. The lovely Jem over at Beautiful Clutter was kind enough to award me the Liebster blog award.

Thanks Jem! I believe the Liebster blog is one which recognises smaller blogs and maybe even helps them to get discovered by more people and become bigger blogs! If you don't read Jem's blog have a peep over there and be prepared to be very jealous of her marvellous collection of pretty things. The rules of the award are that you must link back to the person who nominated you and nominate some smaller blogs (I think it's under 300 followers - I'm just going by your Google reader subs so apologies if you have heaps of followers elsewhere, take it as a compliment!) to receive the award too.

Without further ado, I choose:

Scruffy badger whose smiley posts have been keeping me entertained all the way through Me Made March, which she has nailed.
Matilde heart Manech who is constantly posting beautiful things - "a blog for dreamers, crafters and optimists" - what's not to love?
Ree Ree Rockette - also hailing from Crouch End (although we have yet to meet IRL), Ree Ree is an inspiring rockabilly gal who is launching her own fabulous range of lipsticks.
Gastrobabble - I have the pleasure of knowing the gastrobabbler in real life (a co-library spod until I left for pastures new *sob*) - her foodie blog always has me chuckling away.

I'm looking forward to seeing what blogs they all pick.

Speaking of picking (nice segue), can I pick your brains? I bought some lovely wool at Loop a few weeks ago and I'm at a loss what to crochet with it.

Any ideas? If you are a crocheter what is your favourite thing to crochet or what are you currently working on? I need inspiration and I need it fast! I've been inspired by this gorgeous flower scarf from Attic24 but I'm not sure the colours really lend themselves to it, plus I don't have the pattern. Yet. ;)

And now for a nice cup of tea and a malteaser bunny. Yum!


Sunday, 20 March 2011

Tutorial: how to make an oyster card holder

Hello, hope you're having a lovely Sunday. I thought I'd share how I made my oyster card holder from last week - it's very simple and I don't expect that any of you experienced sewists wouldn't be able to figure it out for yourselves, but hey, it's as much a reminder for me as anything else! Also please excuse the mishmash of photos - I've made two versions and I've just used the photos that best illustrate what I mean at the expense of continuity.

It's great for stash busting and uses next to no fabric - you could use up the teensiest scraps if you didn't mind it all being mismatched. It's also good because you can knock it up in less than 30 minutes!

I used some scraps and one of the fabrics that I bought in the V&A last week:

Using an old plastic card holder as a template I drew around it and cut out two strips of the floral fabric for the main body of the holder and one of a plain navy for the pockets (although if you are working with very small scraps/want a different fabric for each pocket, cutting out the navy piece isn't essential at this stage, I'll tell you the dimensions they need to be in the next stage). If you don't have an old holder, the dimensions are roughly 7.5cm by 21cm but test it with a credit card when you're sewing it up to ensure it sits snugly. 

I then chopped the navy piece in half and hemmed it along one edge to make the 'pocket' pieces. These should be about a third of your length each, so roughly 7cm wide by 7cm long after hemming.  

You then want to iron some interfacing to the wrong side of each of your floral pieces. I think mine was a medium weight one, I just found it in my scrap box. 

Now it's time to make a sandwich. Lay the bottom floral piece right side up, arrange your pocket pieces (also face up) on top, with the hemmed edges pointing towards the middle, then lay your top floral piece face down on top of everything. Hopefully you can see what I mean in this photo, this is the 'sandwich' opened up like a booklet:

In the first version I sewed the ribbon on at the end (it was something of an after-thought), however it's neater to insert it at this stage, as shown here (my second version!):

You just need to ensure that the ribbon has enough ease to go around the card and close up the holder without scrunching the cover flap up, so you can't just lay it down flat as shown in the pic above - I learnt this the hard way and had to unpick, hence no photos, but all you need to do is put a teeny fold in the ribbon (held with a pin or a small running stitch) just to make it a bit longer, about a cm will be perfect. Told you I was making it up as I went along. 

Pin it all together and sew, leaving one of the small ends open (in this photo I've sewn a little bit of the end closed, but having had another go I think it works better to leave the whole end open):

Clip your corners and trim as close to the stitching as you can, then pull it all out the open end, remove the stitch/pin from the ribbon and press (if you are like me you may briefly swear and think you've sewn the pocket piece at the open end on the wrong way, but panic not, this is all right, you probably haven't!). Arrange your holder so that the pocket piece at the open end appears inside out (the other should be the right way out on the other side) like so: 

Stitch along this open end, clip away any excess material as close to the stitching as you can, flip the pocket the right way round, press, et voila! Done. 

The inside will look like this: 

I hope that all makes sense! If you have any questions or anything is unclear please just ask. If you have any tips on an easier way to do it or an alternative tutorial please feel free to leave a link in the comments. 


Monday, 14 March 2011

Complaints and card holders

Hello hello,

How is everyone? I'm recovering after a HUGE disappointment this weekend. One of my good friends from university got married on Saturday, we were all set to head up to Scotland on Friday, clothes ironed, bags packed, timers set for the lights (yes, I do that - I was burgled once when I was on holiday), car loaded...and then I turned my car on only to be greeted by an ominous beeping sound and an angry looking (!) symbol on the dash. Despite Matt warning me he thought that meant something was wrong with the brakes, I refused to accept it and pulled out of the space...oops, no brakes. Swiftly rolled back into the space and called the RAC. Long story short, my back brake caliper had gone so it had to go into the garage. Knowing it was a small job, I remained hopeful we would be able to set off, but it was not to be, the garage didn't have the part, blah blah blah. Unfortunately by the time I'd realised I wasn't getting the car back in time it was too late to sort out trains or alternative car hire. So I didn't get to go. Gutted is not the word.

Luckily I have a fantastic boyfriend who knows just how to cheer me up. Pizza at Fratelli la Bufala in Hampstead on Friday, then on Saturday a walk up Portobello Road followed by the V&A where I picked up these two lovelies:

I never made it to the Quilts exhibition and I think it's just the dregs of the fabrics left at the V&A, but I think these fabrics are pretty special. My McCalls 2401 has been put on hold due to lack of a zip (oh how I miss working opposite John Lewis!), so in the meantime I've whipped myself up a little oyster card holder:

Simple but effective, and way better than the yellow IKEA holder I've been using for nearly 3 years. I took photos to remind me what I did as I was really just making it up as I went along, so I might write it up as a wee tutorial here, as much to remind myself as anything else.

Happy Monday everyone, I hope you had fantastic weekends and enjoy your week.


Saturday, 5 March 2011

Pattern/fabric pairings - advice needed please!

Hello bloggy friends. I'm all a dither and can't decide which patterns to make with which fabric, so I have turned to you for advice.

I want to make this pattern (bottom left view):

Using this fabric:

My question to you is, will an entire dress made out of red polka dot fabric be...well, a bit much? If it was a swingy skirted affair I wouldn't think twice, and I am a massive fan of the bold and busy print, but the more sedate style of dress is holding me back from making the cut. Perhaps it's just the picture on the pattern sleeve that is skewing my judgement as I know both Tilly and Jane have made it in much funkier fabrics which looks fab...

What do you think? Yea or nay? How do you decide on your fabric/pattern pairings?

I probably won't get started on the project for a while, I'm totally zonked this weekend after my first week in my new job - taking in information and being 'switched on' all the time is tiring. But I am loving it so far, so big smiles even if it has meant my crafting energy has been reduced to zero recently. I'm off to a wedding in Scotland next weekend so I was hoping to stitch myself something to wear but it's completely not going to happen!