Sunday, 27 February 2011

Weekend round up: Cath, caravans, contact lenses and colleagues (and other things that don't begin with 'c')

Look! Look what my lovely LOVELY colleagues got me as a leaving present!

It's only the Cath Kidston sewing box I have been coveting for aaages! I cannot wait to get all my sewing bits and bobs into it. They also gave me a voucher to spend in VV Rouleaux - I adore this shop, it has every trim, button, embellishment you could wish for. What an amazing lot, I loved working there. I will especially miss these three:

Dewey Decibelles: the final line up
I start my new job tomorrow and I have to say I'm rather nervous, but excited too. You never know some of them might be crafty ladies too, I do hope so. 

In other news, my parents came to stay for the weekend. Sadly the soggy weather put paid to our walking plans but we managed to pack in a few excellent meals (Bistro Aix in Crouch End got a BIG thumbs up) and caught the Queen exhibition at the Truman Brewery on Brick Lane. It was very interesting, with lots of Freddie's costumes, fashion drawings and even the pattern pieces of one of his white jumpsuits on display. If you're in the area check it out, it's free. I also tried contact lenses for the first time and am a complete convert - why did I never try them before?!

So with all this stuff going on, the old crafting/sewing has fallen a little by the wayside. I have picked up this red polka dot fabric though:

Isn't it cool? I have been searching for a red polka dot fabric for ages, but all the ones I've found have been a bit cheap and see-through. This one was a bit more expensive but won't need a lining to prevent flashing my underwear! I don't have any specific plans for it though - any ideas?

I also picked up this pattern:

I have been looking for a plain dress such as this for ages - I'm going to make a floral version of the bottom left image, but I really chose the pattern as it looked easy to adapt. Yep, I'm going to try my hand at adapting patterns. Eep! These may be famous last words but let's hope not! 

Oh. And I also had a sewing disaster. One of those pieces that just seem jinxed from the start. A mixture of a bad fabric/pattern combination and general stupidity on my part. I'll maybe post about it here soon and see if anyone has any innovative ideas as to how I can save it!

What have you been up to? Hope you all had/are having fabulous weekends. I left my parents off at Stansted this morning, and now I plan to spend the rest of the day watching 30 Rock, eating crisps and trouncing my boyfriend at Streetfighter II (my parents brought me my old Sega Megadrive!!!) and generally resting up before my first day tomorrow - perfect!


Sunday, 20 February 2011

It's all about meee!!!

My first blog award - how exciting! Thank you to the lovely Handmade Jane for tagging me as a Stylish Blogger

So, the rules of the game mean I have to post seven things that you may not already know about me. I'm not sure I have 7 interesting things, but here goes!

1. I'm quite competitive. I do try not to be and used to deny it vociferously, but I have finally faced up to reality. After all, second place is first loser. 

Matt feeling the pressure at being on an Articulate team with me - WE NEED TO WIN!!!

2. I am originally from Northern Ireland - I moved to Glasgow when I was 18 and stayed there for 8 years before moving down to London in 2008. My family still lives in Ireland. They live in a pretty country cottage near the sea, very close to Dunluce Castle. The nearest town is Bushmills, which boasts the oldest whiskey distillery in the world. 

I get homesick for this place :)

3.  I love books and have an MA in English Literature from the University of Glasgow. My favourite book is Jane Eyre and I love everything the Brontes wrote. I hate James Joyce and have never managed to read Ulysses all the way through. Marian Keyes is my favourite chick lit author and I've read all her books. I also have an MSc in library studies from University of Strathclyde. Could I be any more bookish?! Big. Geek. 

4.I have a terrible memory and can re-read the same books countless times, re-watch the same films, re-have the same conversations...much to the boyfriend's chagrin! On the up side, my goldfish like memory means I'm rarely bored...!

5. I'm really nosey. Like REALLY nosey. If I was invisible for a day I'd just snoop on people, and one of my favourite things to do is poke around other people's houses (with their permission of course). It's also another reason I love blogs, because you get to find out what people are up to. I think it's one of the things that makes me a good librarian though - we just like to know things! 

6. Following on from the last fact, I was one of those kids who just never stopped asking questions. Why? Why? Why? After I'd been pestering my mum with lots of stupid questions one day, I made the fateful mistake of asking her 'mum, what happens if you eat the end of a banana?', to which she replied, exasperatedly 'oh I don't know, Carly, you die!' From then on I was terrified of eating bananas. How do you know how far down you can eat before you get to the poisonous bit?! Surely you take your life in your hands every time! And to this day, I still don't eat the last inch or so of bananas. Just in case. 

7. I'm scared of: dirty dishwater, daddy long legs, moths, butterflies, spiders, birds (particularly pigeons), cooked tomato skins in my mouth, people touching my feet...

Phew! That was harder than I thought!

The other rule of the game states that I have to nominate 7 other stylish bloggers to receive the award - I have chosen:

Amy from Diana and me
Lucy from Tricky Seams
Suzie at Su Sews So-So

Looking forward to reading your 7 things! :)

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Rooibos take 2 and a dressmaking first

Hello! On a roll with the Colette Rooibos, I had another go using a grey gabardine and floral cotton. I think it turned out pretty well, have a peek!

excuse the silly picture, I hate having my photo taken!

collar detail


I cut this one a size smaller than my previous version and I think it worked much better. I also took more care when fitting the bodice side seams, getting Matt to help me pin it evenly and mark where the seam should go. Moral of the story: if you take your time and do things carefully, they turn out better. Who'd have guessed?

I have to admit it was hard to sew something in grey, purely because I have an overwhelming love of bright patterns. But I wanted to sew something that would be nice for work, and I think this is perfect for a "worky" dress. The gabardine feels lovely and makes the dress feel that bit more expensive, although it was a bit trickier to sew with than my usual cottons as it's a bit slippery and pulls out of shape more easily. 

So what's this "dressmaking first" I hear you ask? Well, I actually wore this dress to work! All day! And the bust seams didn't burst Babs Windsor style, and the hem didn't unravel and the world didn't end. It's the first time I've ever worn one of my self-stitched garments out to meet people (as opposed to just wearing it wandering around Crouch End where no one will really be paying attention to me). I have to admit I was really nervous, particularly as I knew my friends at work would know it was self-stitched and therefore pay more attention to it than they perhaps otherwise would. But it was all fine, phew! Do you get nervous wearing self-stitched stuff too, or does it pass?

I have a few days annual leave now, so I'm hoping to whip up an easy Butterick dress in red. 

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

BHLDN: love at first sight. And gin.

BHLDN. Otherwise known as the website that made me throw a strop and demand Matt propose right this instant.* If you are planning a wedding, believe me, you need to check out this site. But this post is not about weddings, as I am not engaged. Luckily for us single ladies (oh oh oh, oh oh oh) the site also does a pretty spectacular range of fancy dresses. So this post is about gin. Gin fizz to be exact...

May I introduce to you, the "gin fizz shift"

and look at the back!

I'm very much taken with this dress, particularly the colour and shape (I'm not too fussed on the florals - a bit fussy for me, and I'd add a few inches to the length as my legs are not quite so gazelle like as the model's). It looks a bit 60s and I love the cut out detail on the back. Plus it's called a gin fizz shift, and I love gin!** Fate I tell you. It's going right into my 'inspiration' folder for when I am a more accomplished seamstress. 

Has anyone else been swooning over this delicious site? It only launched yesterday and it's already one of my firm favourites. 

* (tantrum only in head, am not a marriage crazed mental)

** my favourite gin is Hendricks. In case you were wondering. Or would like to buy me one.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

A weekend round up: cards, cloths and vintage buttons


I've been a little quiet on the old posting front, not because I've not been creating, just nothing has seemed worthy of a whole post to itself. I've been painting my furniture to brighten up my living room (duck egg blue if you're wondering). I've sewn a table cloth (you can see it in the background of these snaps), but that's not terribly exciting to blog about, is it. I've also finished my second Rooibos, but I still need to decide about which (if any) buttons/embellishments are going on the front before I post it here.

I mentioned in my last post that I was creating a silly, googly-eyed valentine's day card for Matt - well he obviously had a similar idea because this morning he presented me with a handmade card too. We don't traditionally celebrate, so this was a nice surprise. Perhaps he'd been noseying on my blog and saw I was making him one! Here are some snaps:

two exciting looking envelopes!

who's that peeking with the googly eyes?

it's a chimp!

my hilarious card from Matt - inside it has a lovely pic of me haha

We did quite a bit of vintage browsing this weekend too - firstly at the North London Vintage Market in Crouch End where I picked up these buttons:  

It seems a shame to take them off the card somehow, but it'd also be a shame not to use them! Does anyone else have this dilemma?! I also picked up this sequinned appliqué piece that I'm thinking of making into a headband:

I can't quite work out what it's meant to be (floral? I think it may be upside down in this pic) - answers on a postcard! This was the first North London Vintage Market, but hopefully it won't be the last - there was tons of interesting stuff, a lot of which was vintage fabric, lace, buttons and other sewing bits and bobs. I could have spent a fortune, luckily I'd only taken a limited amount of cash with me. 

We also went to The Old Cinema in Chiswick for more browsing (no buying unfortunately, all far too expensive). It's such a fantastic shop though, I'd definitely recommend it. They obviously take a lot of care with the displays and the way the stuff is laid out. We came across this delightful pair:

It's a set of 50s night lights - I don't know about you but I'd have been scared stiff if this was my night light - creepy! I also rather liked this scientific equipment, I'm not sure why. I was picturing it filled with fabric remnants and buttons! Sadly its £150 price tag meant it stayed on the shelf (much to Matt's relief - he prefers a minimalist approach to décor whereas I'm a junk shop hoarder).

I'll be back in a few days with my latest Rooibos, and potentially another dress too - I have some lovely red fabric (courtesy of Seamstar, whose speedy service impressed me greatly) that is crying out to be sewn up. I have Butterick 5305 in mind - a simple dress that I think will look good in a block colour but could also look amazing with bolder fabric choices. Now I'm off to Google Reader to see what you lot  have been up to over the weekend.


Wednesday, 9 February 2011

My heart radiates for you...

Do you celebrate Valentine's Day? Or do you think it's a load of over-hyped, consumerist nonsense? I veer towards the latter. Matt and I never do anything special. If we've been a bit bored in the days beforehand one of us might be the lucky recipient of a handmade card, but that's it. Over-priced, 'romantic' dinners jammed in amongst gawd knows how many other moony couples? Not for us thank you.



How cute are these hand made cards?

image courtesy of Kraze4Paper

...and inside:

image courtesy of Kraze4Paper

I'm smitten!

My boyfriend has nicknamed me 'Chimp' (it's really probably best not to ask) - not the most flattering of pet names I must admit. But seeing this I just thought how cute it would be to make him a similar card with a little chimp inside!

I'm definitely giving it a go. In fact I have already started my version, I will post back here when I'm done! Or you can buy them from the Etsy shop Kraze4Paper. They have lots of other quirky cards, although they are based in Canada so maybe not so good for us UK people. work we have also been swooning over these geeky sciency cards...

image courtesy of Oodles Etsy shop

My heart radiates for you!