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!” 

Easter Half Term

The kids have had two weeks off school to celebrate Easter and we’ve done a fair bit. The weather has been pretty kind and it’s coincided with both my birthday and a friend’s wedding. 

We’ve been out and about, we’ve celebrated Easter, my birthday, and a wedding. We’ve baked (those ice creams are really cake!) and I’ve done a bit of sewing.

We even went to the seaside for a couple of nights. 


How was your Easter holidays?

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. 😀 

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!

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 😀

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. 🙂

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?

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!   

Make Do and Mend-able Back to Basics

i have been a big fan of Jen Gale since the end of 2012 when I caught wind of her Buy Nothing New year. Since then she has been promoting the idea of Make Do And Mend everywhere she can.

Now with her own Make Do and Mend-able website and host of #makedoandmendhour on Twitter (Thursday 8-9pm if you are interested) she has also put together her own book!

  

The book is made up of 19 chapters, each one written by different contributors. The book isn’t one that is meant to be read like a novel, but more as an instruction manual, an Essential Guide to Make do and Mend, as the tag line says. Topics range from how to sew on a button 

 

To how to replace a plug

 

 

The book is a back-to-basics guide and as such the sewing chapters were a bit basic for me. However they are ideal for people who are beginners or those who are coming back to sewing after a break. It’s not just sewing though. There is something to learn for everyone. I loved reading how to unpick old woollens and re-use the yarn as I hate the wibbly-wobbly effect you are left with. 

 

 

There are a number of projects in this book and I â looking forward to having a go at some of them.

This is a fab book to have at home on your e-reader or tablet and I would definitely recommend it as a present for someone moving into their own home for the first time – think students going to uni or young adults leaving home for the first time, as well as for people like me who just want to live their lives with a smaller impact on the world.

The book is being released on the 21st of this month and is priced at £8. However you can pre-order it now for a reduced price of £5 from here

**I was lucky enough to be sent this e-book free of charge for the purposes of the review. However all opinions are my own and I would only recommend something if I would actually pay for it myself, which in this case, I would have bought the book anyway. 

Jersey sewing

I told you about the Make Me A Wardrobe challenge in this post. I didn’t join in the challenge until very late in January but I did manage to get an item made. I signed up to a t shirt making day at The Midnight Atelier in Bristol. I have made t shirts before but the neck never sits right so I thought if I signed up to a course I could finally learn how to sew the neckline properly. 

I took my own fabric along on the day, some plain white jersey that I had left over from all the snowflake dresses I made last year. I hit a lot of traffic driving into Bristol and by the time I got to the Atelier I was very stressed. Although I tend to act confident especially in my job, where I can stand up and talk in front of a packed church or school assembly hall, I actually have very low confidence levels. New people and places put me out of my comfort zone. Add that to the Bristol traffic and the fact I was the last one to arrive at the course, I was very tempted to turn around and go home! 

Thankfully Laura is lovely and helped me calm down a bit. I didn’t feel rushed to start even though everyone else had pretty much chosen their pattern by the time I had arrived! I eventually chose mine and set about tracing and cutting it out. It has been a while since I have been on a sewing course and it was great talking to other people about their latest and past projects. I love hearing what other people are making. 

After cutting out and then sewing the shoulder seams together, Laura suggested making a sample of the neckline to practice on before attempting it on the real thing. She showed me how to pin and then sew the neckline and it was surprisingly easy!! I was rewarded with a cup of tea and a biscuit 😀 then got on with setting in the sleeves before sewing up the sides.



I should have taken more photos really but I didn’t really think. It was so nice to just be able to sew without the kids needing me or having to move things out of their way. Just pure uninterrupted selfish sewing. Bliss!!

The t shirt came together very quickly and although I was a bit gutted to start with that I only had plain white jersey while every one else had a lovely patterned Jersey fabric, it actually turned out pretty nice. I have worn it since and it feels so comfortable on. I already have fabric lined up for the next one.

So here it is – the finished article, hot off the sewing machine as Laura has a huge mirror on one wall of her studio!



Yes there she is pointing at my bottom!! Lol!! She’s not actually pointing at my bottom. If you look at the bottom of my make, I didn’t hem it. Jersey naturally curls at a raw edge and I left it unhemmed purposely to create that effect. 

There you are, two months late, my mmaw2015 January make. :/

Make Me A Wardrobe 2015

Jen over at Make Do And Mend Year set herself the challenge to make one piece of clothing a month, meaning she would expand her wardrobe by 12 handmade items in a year. Although I thought it was a great idea I didn’t actually get on board with it until the end of January. I didn’t think I would have time to commit to this along with all the other things I want to get done this year. But the more I thought about it the more it made sense. If I handmade items that I would definitely wear then it would be a big boost to my wardrobe that has been bursting at the seams with “nothing to wear”

Last week I set to work decluttering my wardrobe. I bagged up all the clothes that I haven’t wore for a while, those I have no intention of wearing again and those that don’t really suit me. I filled a bag and my wardrobe looks a lot less cluttered. I can kactually see what clothes I have now.

As I work mostly from home, I live in jeans, casual tops and cardigans. I have a few handmade dresses which I wear but only one handmade skirt.

Over the course of the year I would like to add the following handmade items to my wardrobe

*casual tops
*skirts that can be worn with tights/leggings and boots
*A couple of new cardigans
*3/4 length trousers for the summer
*and possibly some jeans

As we are already half way through February I need to get cracking. Anyone else taking part in mmaw2015? Why not follow #mmaw2015 on Twitter to see what everyone else is up to?

2015

I have put off and put off writing this post as I look for the “perfect” thing to write about! I wanted to publish my goals for 2015 on New Year’s Day but I kept changing my mind over and over again about what to actually put on the list. I am going through a pretty tough time personally at the moment which has really affected my self confidence. Comments have been made which has made me question everything I do. I won’t bore you with details but the whole situation has saddened me more than I would have thought it would.

My main aim in 2015 is to simplify my life. I am guilty of trying to do too much and then stressing when things are getting too much. I really want to do my part to reduce my impact on this world but I am afraid of failing. Everytime I decide how I will do this, my self doubt tells me I will fail 😦

So what I have decided to do is set out smaller aims and update them as and when I claw back a bit of self confidence. In keeping with the “reducing my impact” theme I am “reusing and recycling” a lot of last year’s goals 😀

1.Curtains for D’s bedroom I have bought the fabric so I have no excuse really. Just procrastination!

2.Decluttering I really need to get on top of this. I am fed up of the house being so full of clutter. I still don’t have my craft room in the attic properly due to all the stuff in there. I will concentrate on sorting and getting rid of items that I no longer use, ethically of course, not just throwing them away. I will also aim to use a lot of the fabric I have in boxes in the attic. What a waste that they just sit there!! I’m so embarrassed! 😮

3. Running I want to imporve my running again this year. I am looking for a sub 30min 5k and a sub 1hr 10k. The 5k is definitely doable but I will have to work harder at the 10k. I am also planning on running another 2 Half Marathons and would like to get 2:30hr for at least one of those.

4. Be more adventurous in the kitchen I want to bake more. I want to know more about what foods and snacks my kiddies are eating and what goes into them. I would like to buy more from local independant shops rather than big supermarkets but I can’t commit to going supermarket free like westywrites

5. Sewing Jen has posted about her aim to make one item a month in order to produce a handmade wardrobe. I don’t think I will achieve this as I want to make dresses for Little Lady and I would also like to start dabbling more in boy’s clothes so that I can make something for D. I will however, commit to weighing up whether or not I can make something before I buy anything new. If it can be made (out of fabric – I’m not that good!!) I will make it instead of buying it. Which leads me onto….

6. Handmade presents I was embarrassed by how little presents were handmad this year. In fact the best handmade present all year was the one made by hubby for his parents. Good for him!! I’m not committing to ALL presents being handmade as I don’t think, at this moment, that I would cope with the stress, but I would like as many presents as is possible to be handmade.

So there you go. My goals for 2015.They are not earth-shattering but they are good enough and I need to be content with that!