Saturday, 31 December 2011

This Year I....

Suffered from really bad stress.
Created a whole exhibition's worth of paintings.
Held my first solo exhibition.
Refashioned more items than I can remember.
Was made redundant.
Went on a shirt term team to China with International China Concern.
Visited London Twice.
Holidayed in Wales.
Had a new sewing machine and got my first overlocker.
Drank lots of my hubby's home brewed wine, beer and cider.
Learnt how to draft patterns (by myself).
Got a part time job.
Made clothes that I'd drafted myself.
Went to two clothes swaps.
Sold lots of my art work to fund my China trip.
Had my large scale paintings displayed in a local venue.
Had the most marvellous hubby supporting me through it all...I couldn't have done it without you.

2011 - rubbish when it began - but hey look at that list  - it ended on a good note!

Friday, 30 December 2011

Ni Hao...

by Vic Chapple
...the greeting that my Hubby and eldest will be hearing for the next few weeks!
They arrived in Beijing today -upgrade on the flight out :), lost baggage for my son :(

They are off to do a team with International China Concern after spending a few days in Beijing. I wish I was with them. I love visiting China with it's massive contrasts. Good stuff and bad (like everywhere). I really hope it's a great experience for my son and some good bonding time for the two of them - oh and I hope he gets his pants back soon!

Via Sweet Sassafras
I've been thinking about what I'm going to do creatively over the next year. I have a list, Are you ready?
  • Avoid buying new clothes unless necessary - so that means self made, thrifted and refashioned.
  • Make items from Pattern Magic.
  • Make movie inspired outfits (see previous post).
  • Make the bridesmaid dresses for my friends wedding.
  • Make the wedding dress of another friend.
  • Create more art - painting.
  • Create clothing inspired by my art or wearable art.
  • Get better at taking photos!
Egress - Claire Cooper
Can I manage all this? Who knows?
All I know that as I go into 2012 life looks very different from how it did a year ago. I'm a different person, and despite there being some big unknowns this year I'm looking forward to it.
I'm open to a new challenge and to seeing where God leads John & I and the family - whatever that may involve.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

The Movie Project 2012

At around about this time last year, my husband decided to watch the top 100 AFI films during the year. However, withing a few short days the list had grown to include films from the BFI and IMDB.
The list eventually grew to about 460 films and he managed to get through about 180 of them during the year.

As I've watched them alongside him, I've been struck by the costume design in some of these films, from the sublime to the ridiculous. From the refashioning of Maria (Sound of Music) and Giselle (Enchanted) who both make use of curtains, to the totally way out high end designer pieces - Gaultier in Fifth Element.

I've decided that one of the things I wanted to accomplish next year is to make a number of outfits inspired by films that I see during the year. I'd like to challenge you to join me and share your film inspired fashions.

If you'd like, grab a button and stick it on you blog to show you're taking part. Make as many or a few as you want and share what you make. Come and join our group on Facebook " The Movie Project 2012"

Monday, 26 December 2011

Boxing day dip and trying out the pressies.

This morning was the annual Boxing Day Dip in Newbiggin by the Sea. Where all sorts of folk gather to brave the freezing North Sea for a charity. some run straight in and out while others linger in the icy water slightly longer.
This year my eldest son and his friends decided to take part... They were the type that linger a little longer before complaining of the cold, and head home for a warm bath and hot chocolate.

After our traditional (and favourite) meal of cold meat and chips I decided to have a look at the sewing items that John had bought me. First I got out the overlocker, it was second hand, and already threaded, all be it rather tangled. So I set about untangling the threads and gave it a go. Wow first time I've ever used one and I'm impressed. Still have to get to grips with it though.

I would really welcome some advice on the best way to use my overlocker as a beginner - what should I attempt to do on it? What should I avoid?

I also checked that the invisible zipper foot and darning foot fitted me sewing machine. In the words of Kirstie Allsop - Free machine embroidery is the crack cocaine of the sewing world!

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to you all. Feeling rather full after a delicious lunch cooked by my wonderful hubby. I must have been a good girl this year as I've had an overlocker and pattern magic 1 & 2. Now that will keep me busy for some time.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Done... Finally... At least I think so!

A huge part of our Christmas pressies this year has been home made hampers. These have consisted of several home made items - food, textiles, drink, smellies.

Yesterday was an epic finishing off session. We made Chocolate fudge with the kids as part of the Jesse Tree activities. Then John made Honey and Ginger fudge and we broke the hand whisk again (note to self - never whisk fudge with a hand mixer).

John Whisking the Honey & Ginger Fudge
The Hampers - just awaiting final items

I finished off sewing stuff and we sent off 5 Hampers yesterday. Three more delivered this morning and just one more to go this afternoon. and rest.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

It never rains

The last few months there just seems to be one thing after another. We got the roof fixed and discovered the toilet cistern was leaking. The pressure keeps dropping on the heating system (leak somewhere). Then I discovered to my horror that the cooker was bust. Thankfully the local church had one going cheaply, John and one of our friends, Martyn, collected and installed new cooker yesterday. It has 8, yes 8 burners on the hob and two good size ovens. (see pic below).

So today I decided to head off into town. Off I went in john's lovely 78 Citroen Dyane. Only for it to die just down the road. Looks like a trip to the garage for the little car. It's a good job we only need one car over the next couple of weeks.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Catching up

I can't seem to catch up with myself.
Usually my on the weekend I get time to do something creative - and blog about it. However the last few days have been rather busy.
My last day at work on Thursday and then practices for the carol service tonight. Friday saw Bethan's School performance at 9.30, followed by taking the floor up to find the leak on the hot water system - no joy! then kids home early. and out for a lovely meal with friends.
Saturday seemed so busy as well. trying to get tidied up and ready to go out for the Church Shindig - which was excellent-. back late last night. and well today... the alarm sounded at 7.30, and we needed to be at Church (the school hall where we meet) at 9.30 to set up and practise for the carol service. it took longer than expected and we finally arrived home at 1.30pm. we have to be back there by 5.15pm - no rest for the wicked eh?

On the plus side I got to wear my bargain dress for teh Church do and got loads of great comments. Here's hoping the next week isn't quite so manic!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Jesse Tree - day 11, 12 & 13

I've been sooo busy the last couple of days I've not had chance to post up the latest Jesse tree activity.

Sunday's task was to put up and decorate the Christmas tree and we talked about the story of Joshua and listened to Michael Buble while we did it. As usual it looks fab (
a bit too tasteful though - almost everything matches).

Monday's Story was Samuel - so to reflect the story we played a Listening game. We loaded up itunes with songs and the kids had to guess the song, by listening to the Intro. The clear winner was Cai - he could get songs on the first note - and then proceeded to sing along and add harmony; not bad for 10 years old.

I missed out on Tuesday's activity as I was at my school's carol service - which was excellent-. the kids and John told the story of Gideon and how he defeated the Mideonites  with just 300 men horns and lamps in pots. So they made Candles - we had some candle making stuff in the loft from when John used to make them way back. A fantastic time was had by all and we have some lovely coloured candles to show for the efforts. I love the ones in the Champange glasses.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Jesse Tree - day 10 - The 10 Commandments

After watching the Prince of Egypt on Friday, we came to the 10 Commandments. The Children wrote their own.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Oh Na Na, What's my Name?

After berating myself the other day for not being able to draft stuff well; and needing to follow a pattern, I finally produced something - that looks good, fits, is fully lined and is drafted by me.

You may remember the post a while back when I mentioned that Bethan wanted a Rihanna style dress. just like the one she wore on X factor. Like this...

Simple style, if a bit short - so I decided to make a slightly more modest version for Bethan (although at the rate she's growing it won't stay that way for long!).

I drafted a block - using Metric Pattern Cutting (Aldrich) as a guide and scaling down to fit Bethan's measurements. After fitting the muslin I extended the waist downwards (she takes after her mother), added slim waist darts to the back and adjusted the neckline and armhole. you can see the adjustments in red on the photo.

After cutting out the fabric pieces in the outer and lining fabric I neatened the edges by turning and straight stitching.

I sewed the darts and shoulder seams together. then cut a collar from one of my son's old school shirts. and attached it to the neckline - cutting the collar at centre back and neatening with satin stitch.

I then used this technique to add the lining to the bodice. I discovered this earlier this year and I always use it now.

And the bodice is done.

I used a rectangle of fabric three times the length of the waist and about 10cm longer than I wanted the skirt to be - as its a puff ball style. I turned the top edge twice, pressed and stitched a narrow hem as this will sit on top of the bodice. Then I sewed two rows of gathering stitches and eased the skirt to fit. attaching the skirt to the outside of the bodice to create a ruffle.

I did the same gathering stitch to the skirt lining, this was not as full, just slightly eased to allow movement and sewed it to the lining in the normal way.
The bottom edge of the skirt outer was also gathered and sewn to the bottom of the lining to create the puff ball effect. Then I sewed a lapped zipper and hand stitched the lining to the inside of the zip.

So there we have it. One finished dress, One happy girl, One pleased sewist. Hey I know it doesn't really look like Rihanna's dress - but it's so much more appropriate for a little girl.

Pattern - Self Drafted.
Fabric - from a stash at work, and an old school shirt
Notions - Thread (I already had) Zip  - 95p

Soundtrack - Mostly BBC6 Music and a bit of Phatfish (Higher)

Jesse Tree - day 9 Moses

This Jesse tree is one of the easiest to organise. We simply watched "The Prince of Egypt".
I love this film and the kids do too. It holds some great truths and we get the opportunity to recap on the significance of the passover, and how it points again to Christ.

If you haven't seen this film I strongly suggest you do. It's a story beautifully told, it handles difficult ideas really well and the music is fantastic.

Friday, 9 December 2011

jumper - almost refashioned

At my clothes swap a couple of weeks ago I got this jumper. One of my friends had take the cowl neck off of it and then given up with the refashion.

I liked the jumper, but it's not a really good colour for me, so I decided to add some pink into it.

First I used a similar colour yarn, from the wool shop down the road, and used a size 5 crochet hook to secure the neck edge. I added two rows of double crochet, making sure I caught all the loose threads.

Then I threaded pink poly-satin ribbon through some of the gaps on the front. securing with a few hand stitches.

Et Voila...

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Jesse Tree day 8

(yes day 7 was missing - manic day with international phone calls at all hours. Parents eve etc)

Today we recapped the story of Joseph. The kids illustrated some aspect of the story. Yi decided to write an escape plan for Joseph when he was in jail. (see poor quality photo below).

John dressed up as an Egyptian in an effort to disguise himself and fool his family. It didn't work !

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Reality Check

My ambitions and ideas far out way my skill - FACT.
I love designing and making things - FACT
My drafting skills leave a lot to be desired - FACT
I can draft, but it's not perfect.

I spent most of today (after cleaning the kids rooms) working on self drafted projects. I made the muslin for Bethan's Rihanna dress. and did some work on one of the bridesmaid dresses I'm making.

I have several ideas for the dress, and it will be the first time I've used a boned bodice. I've made a muslin, but am not sure how it will fit/ hang when tried on. It looks OK on Vera (my dress form), but not sure how it will fit Nikki - who will be wearing it. Time for a fitting, methinks.

I need to take it a bit easier on myself with regards to the things I'm going to make.
I will use patterns to make my stuff and will adapt them.
I will clear my stash of fabric.
I need to do a pattern cutting course - properly.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Jesse Tree days 4,5 and 6 and Giveaway Winner

Well - so much for posting about our family Jesse tree activities daily!!!

After going to see the fantastic Phatfish in Durhan on Saturday - life has just been sooooo hectic.
Our Jesse tree activity for Sunday was Bowling (if you can work out how that fits with the story of the flood!), and we went straight after Church, calling at Greggs for a pasty on the way.

Monday's jesse tree story was the promise to Abraham that he would have many descendants. We made a prayer tree from branches from the garden and fairy lights. The kids wrote their prayers for others on paper leaves which we tied to the tree.
And finally today's story was Abraham and Isaac. We talked about the story and how God provided the sacrifice. and then cooked Lamb for tea - eaten with flat bread and roasted tomatoes.

Finally The Winner of the Danusha Giveaway is Nicsock.
Nic  - email me your address and the bracelet will soon be on it's way to you.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Jesse tree - day 3. The fall

Today's story was that of Adam and Eve. We talked with the kids about the story and made toffee apples. Tenuous link I know.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Jesse Tree - day 2 "Stars"

Today as part of our Jesse tree advent count down we planned to go to the beach and look at the stars.

The theme is Creation and how it was created through the word (Jesus). John 1 & Genesis 1 - for those of you who want to have a read.

We'd been out at a friends this evening and planned to stop at the beach on the way home, drink hot choc and talk about the whole idea - but it rained - just a bit, but the sky did not reveal one star - all covered with clouds. so we'll have to do it another day.

We still drank the hot choc and talked about the creation. hopefully it will be clear in the next day or two to go and see the stars.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Jesse Tree - Day 1

Several years ago we decided that we wanted to mark Advent with more than a chocolate filled calendar. Having heard about the Jesse Tree Idea we decided to give it a go.
The idea is to tell the story of the old testament and connect it with Advent and the coming of Christ. It begins with the scripture from Isaiah 11.  - which talks about the coming of the Messiah.

We found our basic information here. But we found this a bit dry for our very young children, so over the last few years we've put together activities to do as a family - some of which have a direct link to the bible story and some are rather more tenuous. It's provided a great way to focus on more than the hype. try it and give it a go.

We made small clay tablets which we hang on a small tree. Today we put up the tree and talked a bit as a family about what the Jesse tree was about. I think we're gonna make a family tree - It kind of fits.

Rihanna Dress

After Rihanna was on the X factor a couple of weeks ago, my 8 year old announced that she wanted a dress like Rihanna's.

I told her it would be difficult to find the right sort of fabric to make it from - not many fabric shops near us stick this type of tartan fabric.

The I found a piece of this Barbour plaid at work.

Just need to get her measured up - more details to follow.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Vortex Dress Fail!

I don't know why - but I thought this would be easy.

Muslin made - OK.

Vortex Drawn on - OK

Pattern Pieces Drawn seemed to be ok...

Stitching together - um, not ok - looks appalling. I think I need to be more mathematical with this, as it's a train wreck!
I like the idea, but it was just not accuarate enough - need to find and follow instructions far more carefully!

Cross with myself for wasting a whole day on this!
I'm Linking up with Tea Rose Home.


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