My jumper coat

As many of you are aware, last year I spent a year buying no new clothes. I did pretty well and have only bought footwear since (a pair of boots for me and shoes for the kids). 

The weather here has been changeable recently and so I needed something that was lighter than a coat but thicker than a cardigan. 

I have been following The Woolly Pedlar on twitter for a while now and I love her creations. Not just because they are a great way to use textile waste but they are really unusual and I just love them. 

At the time that I messaged her she didn’t have anything in my size in the colours that I wanted but I was happy to wait. 

Then I got a sneak peak


(Picture courtesy of The Woolly Pedlar)

Then another one a short time later


(Picture courtesy of The Woolly Pedlar)

I really loved getting updates throughout the making process and couldn’t contain my excitement when the final photo came through. 


(Picture courtesy of The Woolly Pedlar)

It was finished! I fell in love with it instantly. 

I’ve been wearing my jumper coat for a few weeks now and get compliments everywhere. It really is the most amazing piece of clothing I have ever bought. Even if Hubby finds it funny to comment “how can you say you’re cold? You’ve got 20 jumpers on!” 

Two for One

Before Christmas I was swamped with orders through my crafty Facebook page. It was nice as it’s the busiest I’ve been for quite a few years but it was also nice to have a break from that and do some personal sewing for a change. 

D nearly gave me a heart attack on Christmas Eve when he told a family member that the only thing he wanted for Christmas was a Pokemon cushion. He has been obsessed for a while but until that moment had made no indication that he wanted a Pokemon cushion! I tried to soften the blow slightly by saying that Santa was really busy and we couldn’t always have everything that we wanted blah blah blah. I also told him that if Santa didn’t bring him his cushion (knowing full well that he wasn’t going to!!) I would make him one instead. 

Christmas morning came and surprise surprise no cushion. He was easily distracted by an internet search for Pokemon fabric. He chose what he wanted and I ordered it. 

Once the fabric came he asked if it was made Every. Single. Day. I eventually found time and made it for him. 


He was pretty pleased. πŸ˜€ 

I had actually ordered more fabric than I needed as I wasn’t sure if he was suddenly going to decide he needed two (he loves cushions!) but he was pretty happy with the one. So while he was at school I made a shirt out of what was left. 


My first wearable make of the year and it was a big hit. He changed straight out of his uniform and paired it with a pair of shorts. He actually had really good style. Although slightly out of season with all this rain we’ve been having lately. I made an Age 6 size wise so it should definitely last him through the summer and hopefully into next year too. 

Although to make it fair I now owe Little Lady something handmade lol!

2016 Roundup

Wow! Can you believe it’s 2017 already? Little Lady will reach her double figures this year! Time really does fly as you get older. Last year has gone in a flash. I think I have achieved quite a bit in 2016.

I did quite a bit of running


We did quite a few things as a family


I made a number of things from fabric and wool

And food featured a lot in 2016 too


I love looking back at highlights of the year and can’t wait to start making “highlights” in 2017 too. 

What was the best bit of your 2016? Can you pick one?

A Homemade Fashion Collaboration

In my last post I mentioned that Little Lady and I had worked together to make her a top. It started when Little Lady brought home a letter from school asking us to send in a plain white t-shirt. Little Lady has very colourful tastes and so only owns one plain white t shirt and that’s the one that is part of her PE kit! I couldn’t go out and buy one but I did have a lot of white jersey upstairs. 

I found a lovely t shirt pattern online and set about making it. I do most of my making when the kids are in bed so Little Lady couldn’t try it on til the morning. 


The fit was perfect so we labelled it with her name and sent it into school. Apparently they had been learning about design and had been asked to draw a t shirt design. They had experimented with various ways of applying the design to the fabric and it seems most of them chose fabric paint. Nice easy option for the children although maybe a bit messy for the teachers lol! 

Little Lady’s design centred on the things she enjoyed doing ie reading and watching the football (this was right in the middle of the Welsh Euro16 fever!) 

Little Lady said she enjoyed making the t shirt but did say it was boring waiting for the paint to dry and as a result she could only decorate the one side. 

I’m pretty impressed by her thinking and design and she loves wearing it. A great result for the mammy-daughter t shirt collaboration πŸ˜€

No New Clothes – a year on

This time last year I sat and wrote about the challenge I was about to embark on. It was pretty scary I have to admit. I wasn’t sure how well I would do, or if I could actually manage it. But then, isn’t that the point of a challenge? To push you out of your comfort zone? 

I set some rules that I hoped would make it a bit easier for me:

  • underwear does not count. I will not buy secondhand underwear for any of my family. I am, however, planning to make some of my own underwear again.
  • Running clothes and shoes. My current running shoes should last me until early next year but when they do need replacing I will be buying new. I won’t risk injury by buying secong hand. Running clothes, I will try to make do with what I have or buy second hand if I can.
  • Uniform/work wear. I wear my own clothes to work and therefore can get away with this but hubby can’t. He is provided with a polo shirt but some of the other kit he needs may need to be new due to safety reasons. We will shop around and try to buy second hand if we can but I will not compromise his safety. School uniforms will be second hand as much as possible, however, due to the school logo, if it poses difficulty in buying second hand then at the last resort we will buy new.
  • Shoes. I won’t buy second hand shoes especially for the kids. They have both recently had new shoes so should be fine for quite a while.
  • I am allowed to make new clothes and buy second hand. I cannot however, buy a lot of new fabric in order to make new clothes. (Copied from original blog post) 

So a year on. How did I do?? Let’s see shall we?

New items bought for me:

  1. Two pairs of running trousers
  2. A pair of denim shorts 
  3. A new sports bra
  4. Two pairs of compression socks
  5. My running club hoodie
  6. A pair of running shoes (not shown)

I’m pretty pleased with that! Both the running leggings and running shoes were allowed under my rules, as was the sports bra. The compression socks were needed but on the other hand did I really need two pairs?? And the shorts? Well I could have made some if I’m honest but I really didn’t want to. They were an impulse purchase bought about a month ago. πŸ˜” So in all honesty I could have avoided buying them. 

In the interest of transparency I also received some clothes as gifts:

  1. Two pairs of jeans for Christmas
  2. A pair of furry boots (not shown)
  3. A pair of pyjamas (a Christmas Eve tradition – not shown)
  4. A running top which I had for my birthday

I have also received a few new training tops as prizes for completing races. I use these to avoid buying training tops. I do sometimes wish that races would give out trousers instead of tops occasionally so that I wouldn’t have to buy those πŸ˜‚

The kids had new pyjamas from Santa on Christmas Eve. Little Lady had a new leotard and two pairs of hot pants for her dance show and D had a new pair of bathers for his swimming lessons. Little Lady’s dance items were very specific so I would have struggled to find them second hand in time, if at all and D’s swimming lessons can be such a source of stress for him as he hates showing his body, or “performing” in public. The SpiderMan bathers helps to ease his stress as he knows SpiderMan is brave and if that helps him overcome his social anxiety then it’s worth every penny. 

In regards to making things I failed miserably. I have made a lot of outfits but unfortunately none for me. I do have a post to show you at another date of how Little Lady and I collaborated on a top for her 😊 

We’ve talked about buying, gifts, and making but what about mending? I have done a LOT of mending this past year! 

I made shorts out of a pair of school trousers with holes in the knee:I also:

  1. Repaired a seam in my running tights
  2. Patched every pair of jeans I own over the year
  3. Repaired a seam in normal leggings
  4. Repaired a pair of shorts I had already made from a pair of jeans
  5. Fixed a jumper
  6. Replaced missing buttons on a cardigan 
  7. Shortened a dress to make it wearable
  8. Re hemmed two pairs of trousers
  9. Repaired a hole in the underarm of a cardigan

And I’m sure there were more but that’s all I seem to have kept a record of. 

All in all I think I did okay. There was room for improvement but I don’t think it was a complete failure. The big question now is: where do I go from here? Well pretty much all my clothes are looking tired. My jeans have been mended to within an inch of their lives. A very kind friend has just gifted me two new-to-me pairs of jeans so they will last a while but I could really do with some new clothes. I don’t intend to go out and buy all new and I will use charity shops as much as I can. But I do think this next year may be spent replacing the majority of my clothes. 

Pin Up

Wow I have neglected this blog haven’t I? Let’s just move swiftly along and pretend it didn’t happen shall we? Fab. πŸ™‚

Okay so I’m going to start back with a crafty post. I am slowly starting to sort out my craft things in the attic and whilst doing so I found an unused canvas. I’m not really one to paint or draw so I decided to use it to make a notice board for Little Lady’s bedroom. I had some pink fabric in my stash and some ribbon so I had a go while she was at school.

Hubby was a bit wary of allowing me to use the staple gun unsupervised after last time when I pinched my thumb in the handle lol! You’ll be glad to know I came away unscathed this time yay!

I roughly measured the fabric by folding it around the canvas.

IMG_0949

I then cut it to size, folded the corners neatly and stapled it to the frame. Of course you could finish the edges of the fabric but to be honest I didn’t bother.

I didn’t have enough of the ribbon I wanted to use so I had to space the strips very carefully. Once I was happy with their position I stapled those to the frame too.IMG_0950

The process was repeated with the ribbon going the opposite way.IMG_0951

And as easily as that it was done.IMG_0952

Little Lady loves it and has it hanging above her desk for her “important papers”. She is also pinning her dance rosettes to it which are looking good.

If I did another one of these I would use more ribbon to make the criss- crosses closer together but as I made this with only things I already had, I am quite pleased.

Have you ever made a noticeboard like this?

Growing Up

At the end of last summer we were lucky enough to be gifted a much bigger greenhouse. I was thrilled as it doubled my growing space. Unfortunately Hubby was not so thrilled when he realised that it meant cutting the shed in half to accommodate it πŸ˜•

Last year we didn’t use it much as we were pretty much coming into winter by the time it was all up and running. I had high hopes for this year though. 

You know what they say about best laid plans and all that. Well I’m a bit behind. I haven’t planted half as much as I wanted to and was a bit late getting what I have got, into pots. Our garden is completely concrete so everything has to be grown in pots. I dream of the day we can afford to buy somewhere with a bit of land so I can finally plant my fruit trees in the ground. 

So what have we planted?


Cherry and plum tomatoes. We have 6 plants so three of each. That won’t really be enough to keep Little Lady in tomatoes as she loves them but it’s a start. 


A lone cucumber plant. I am always wary of cucumber plants as I haven’t yet managed to yield fruit from a cucumber plant. I’d love any tips you may have on how to keep it alive long enough to harvest the fruit. 


One tiny Sweet Pepper plant. 


Three Honeydew melon plants grown from the seeds of a melon we bought from the shop. Little Lady collected the seeds, gave them to my stepdad who has grown these little beauties and gifted them back to us. I’d love to think we’d get a melon growing πŸ˜€ 


Strawberry plants are coming back strong. As are the herbs we planted. Chives and mint shown below. 


Tiny cherries starting to come on our cherry tree. Hubby will be pleased. And last but not least we have two pots of various weeds growing to feed our tortoise. 


I’d love to eventually grow enough to cut our shopping bill but that won’t happen this year. This year I’m just trying to keep everything alive. 

Do you grow your own? What to you grow? Any tips for me?

The Impossible Dream?

Last weekend brought D’s 4th birthday. Now let’s just take a minute to wonder how on earth my baby could be 4?? Argh! Time moves so fast!

Anyway moving on. So D turned 4 and he decided he wanted a party. With a bouncy castle naturally!  So I booked a hall and the bouncy castle but then my mind turned to the waste side of things. How little waste could I produce at the party? I knew I couldn’t go Zero Waste as it’s quite difficult to get ingredients without packaging here but I could at least try to reduce unnecessary waste.

The main culprit at parties are party bags. Plastic bags filled with plastic tat that break and/or gets thrown away the same day. I decided to make my own party bags out of fabric I already had.  

The bags were all different sizes depending on how much of that particular fabric I had. D wanted a dinosaur party and I did have some dinosaur fabric from a few years ago. Each child also got a toy dinosaur in their bag which seemed to go down well.

Food wise we tried to keep waste to a minimum and I made the birthday cake using items we already had to decorate it  


Cakes were made in reusable cases 

And all the food was placed on proper plates instead of disposable ones

 Drinks were served in plastic beakers we had borrowed from church so no cartons to throw out afterwards.  

Despite all this we fell down in a lot of places. I had surgery the week before the party and was quite poorly afterwards meaning I didn’t  concentrate fully on the zero waste aspect. I panic bought crisps and other party foods that have a lot of packaging at the last minute. We also used tea bags instead of loose tea as I wasn’t well enough to concentrate on a lot of things at the same time. I also panic bought sweets and surprise eggs to go in the party bags.

Next year I plan to start preparing early and make reusable napkins to wrap the birthday cake in for the party bags (we used paper napkins) I would also like to make more of the food myself.

Although my surgery didn’t help our zero waste quest we still only took away one small bag of rubbish at the end of the party. Which I was quite pleased about, considering.

My one sadness though is the one thing I cannot control and that is other people. Any tips on cutting down the mountain of wrapping paper we were left with?

Or is a Zero waste party an impossible dream?

Wiping up waste

We are slowly settling in to a bit of a school routine now, and thankfully I have had time to get some sewing done while the kids are in school. I have been trying to take a look at our lives and our routines to see where we can improve waste and environmentally wise. 

With 2 young (ish) children we have a lot of spills in this house and the easiest way to wipe them up is with kitchen towels. I also use kitchen paper to clean the worktops. I know it’s paper so it can technically be recycled/composted but I’m still using it once then throwing it out. What a waste. 

While decluttering the bathroom I found a lot of baby towels that are really no good anymore as they barely fit around my “babies” anymore but are too big for hand towels. So, one afternoon while D was in school I cut the towel into squares and overlocked the raw edges. I could have neatened the edges with a sewing machine or by binding them but I went for the quick and easy option of my overlocker. 

I folded them and put them in a pretty basket which sits on top of the worktop in the kitchen. They are then to hand when I need to wipe up a spill etc. Once used they go in the washing machine with my normal washing. No more paper towels in this house. Nice one!   

Zero Waste Giveaway

GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED!

Zero Waste Week seems ages ago now but when I wrote my pledge I promised a giveaway. Being a bad blogger πŸ˜‰ and also extremely busy with the start of the new school year, I am only now getting around to it! Oops!

In keeping with the Zero Waste theme, I am giving away 5 handmade, reusable make-up remover wipes. 

These wipes can be washed in your machine at 40* and reused. By using and reusing these wipes you can cut your dependency on cotton wool pads and/or balls. 

These reusable wipes have been handmade by me and can be purchased over on my crafty Facebook page. However, if you would like to win your very own set of 5 complete with a knitted basket to store them in, all you have to do is comment below telling me whether or not you took part in Zero Waste week this year. The names of everyone that comments will go into a hat and a winner will be randomly chosen by either myself or Little Lady who loves being in charge of picking giveaway winners πŸ™‚ 

The competition opens as soon as I press the publish button on this post and ends on Sunday 27th September 2015 at 5pm BST.

Please feel free to share the giveaway with all your friends πŸ™‚