Friday, 29 July 2011

Introduction and pics.

Hi all.

Claire has already mentioned that she's away doing a charity team to China for the next few weeks. So she asked me to carry on with her blog. I was very amused by her claim that I'm "more creative" than her -it's simply not true. I dabble; but I'm always amazed by how things magically appear when Claire gets going. From knitted bags; to crocheted (is that how you spell it?) cardigans; to amazing artwork.

I thought I share some photos I took on recent photo day Claire got me for my birthday. I still like to take pictures on film and develop them in our sink (more of that another day). Really I just like the chemicals and the mixing; but you do get great results from film.

On the photo day my film camera had mishap so I reverted to my digital SLR, The course leader suggested that I take the pics in Black and white (which is what I prefer) and then showed me that you can emulate various filters on the camera.

The photos are all taken along the route of Hadrian's wall. It was a wall built by the Romans to denote the Northern boundary of the empire and there's still quite a lot of it left running from Newcastle upon Tyne to Carlisle in Cumbria.

What I'm most pleased about these photos is that they are exactly as I took them apart from me converting a couple to a more traditional aspect (again I'll bore you with that another day).

I hope you like them.


Monday, 25 July 2011

Introducing John

This is My Husband, John. While I'm off around the other side of the world he will be taking care of my blog.  He is one of the most creative people I know, but in a completely different way to me. He loves Music, Films, Photography (some of which I hope he'll share with you), Cooking and recently he's got into home brewing.

Straining the raspberry liqueur - or massacre of the raspberries.
His style is different from mine, he's a better wordsmith than I'll ever be and he's got a great sense of humour. Please keep following, comment, and encourage, be kind and most of all enjoy something a little different from this blog for a week or two.

Future projects

Whilst visiting family this weekend I managed to increase my stash of fabric. My Mother in law has a cupboard full of off cuts and dress lengths that she allowed me to plunder. She'd also picked up a 70's pattern from the local fabric store for the bargain price of 50p - well done Mother.

While at my mum's house she told me she still hadn't got around to making the wrap dress that she's had the pattern for for years - and the fabric for that matter. Her machine is bust and needs some serious attention. So I've offered to make it for her. She has this lovely soft drapy fabric - which is crease resistant.

However all this stuff is going to have to wait a few weeks, as I'm off to China tomorrow and I will not have time for sewing, although I may do a bit of sketchbook work.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

crochet it

This is my first attempt at an actual crochet garment. I learnt how to crochet when I was young, but only ever made samplers. I found the pattern on the Drops website. It was simple and easy to follow.  I made it in white cotton, to match the polka dot dress I bought in the sale last week.

This will probably be my last make for a while as I'll be away for nearly a month. Hopefully my Hubby is going to keep my blog going for a while. He's much better at writing than I am and will blog about different stuff. Keep your eyes peeled for his posts in the near future.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Sunday Sketches

Over at Blue Chair Diary it's Sunday Sketches. I've decided I'll take part in this. It will encourage me to keep drawing and sketching. I love painting, but when I get a bee in my bonnet about something I tend to just focus on that. For the last few weeks I've been on a sewing mindset. I've prepared some canvases, but haven't quite go the ideas refined as to what to paint on them. I'm torn between continuing my Butterfly work and starting some landscapes.

I've been taking walks this week down to the prom and past the new heritage centre. I sit at Church point gazing across the bay, frequently berating myself for forgetting camera or sketchbook. However this week I remembered. I took my book and did a quick (and I mean quick) sketch.

Maybe this will become the starting point for a painting - maybe not.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Social Parade

Pop on over to smart & trendy moms and follow the parade - great opportunity to see what others are doing and folllow some mew blogs.

Smart and Trendy Moms

Thursday, 14 July 2011

TR Dress Part 2

I thought I'd share this with Handmade Monday. I know some of you folks already follow Wendy's blog - it seems like she's had a bit of a mare at the latest craft fair. Hope everything gets sorted out. So this is my contribution for this week.

Well I'm on to the second toile. I cut the pattern pieces nice and flat and marked the notches to enable me to match the pieces accurately. I was surprised how easily I managed to do this.

I used some remainder curtain fabric and a valance sheet that doesn't fit any of our beds - hence the slight ruffle on the bottom edge. There is a little puckering on some of the curves, but given that this is my first attempt that's not a problem. Now to find suitable fabric to make the real thing in.

I'd appreciate your thoughts on this, any suggestions for improving the curves and avoiding puckering? Fabric suggestions? Thoughts on the design?

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

TR Dess Part 1

I've become a little obsessed with the Transformation Reconstruction method of pattern designing. and have spent hours looking at videos on you tube documenting different techniques.

I thought I would have a go at a ribbon dress. I used the coffee date dress pattern from the burda website as a basic template. and made a muslin.

I then cut into the skirt and added sections to part of the skirt to create fullness. Being rather slapdash and rather impatient I stuck these in using sellotape.

Then I traced the line of the ribbon.- apparently you need to hit 3 dart points to ensure the pieces will be flat. - this did seem to work.

I adjusted this line and blocked the area with cross hatching to ensure I didn't get the pieces mixed up. The checked the line and adjusted where necessary, adding  notch marks to aid matching when reconstructing. then I cut carefully along the line.

That's it so far. I don't always make a muslin, but for this I will make a second one. I need to know that it will work before investing in some nice fabric - as it is rather heavy on the amount needed. Keep checking back and i'll update you as I go along. Hopefully it will work and look good.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Social Parade

Pop over to social parade and take a look at all the interesting blogs that are linked up. It's a great way to find new and interesting blogs and friends.

Smart and Trendy Moms

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Batik Workshop

On Monday this week I ran a taster Batik workshop at  Newbiggin Arts Forum. This is a local arts organisation who aim to encourage the community to take an active part in the arts. They promote all art forms and have photography groups, creative writing groups along with performing arts and visual arts.

Each Month they hold a meeting, which usually has a themed competition for the members, A speaker, who comes and shares some of what they do, and a short workshop. This week it was my turn.

I introduced the Forum to the very basics of batik - using hot wax to create a barrier on fabric to dye or paint. this can be built up to form intricate layers and patterns. Although it is a simple technique it takes some practise to be able to control the tools carefully. As the workshop was only an hour or so long, we stuck to the very simplest of batik forms. using wax and fabric paint on white cotton fabric.

 The photos are some of the members enjoying their first experience of batik. The youth arts forum will also be doing a similar workshop with me in September.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Which Sewing Machine?

I'm after some advice on Sewing machines. I'm looking to spend under £300. but need a machine that is good and solid, will handle a range of thicknesses of fabrics, fully adjustable stitch width and length, a few decorative stitches, one step button hole, drop feed. and very reliable.

I would love to know which machines you use and how you rate them.
And if you can recommend a good machine.

Come on folks I need some help here.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Summer Ruffle Halter

After making the coffee date dress the other day I had enough fabric left over to make my daughter a dress. she wanted a halter neck dress with a cross over front and ruffles - not picky at all!

I cut the bodice fronts. I used the chest measurement divided by two and about 3/4 of that for the width of each piece. The pieces were cut in a triangular shape with fabric added on at the top to create a tie. I used the chest height (gained by draping the tape measure around the neck to the line where I wanted the bodice to end and halved that measurement. I then added enough to the bodice top to enable me to tie it. I cut two of each front piece to form the lining. I sandwiched a gathered ruffle between the bodice front and lining and stitched.

The skirt was made using a simple tube of fabric. The front was about 1 1/2 times the width of the bodice. I used a double later of gathering stitches and eased them into a central front position before sewing to the bodice. The back was cut higher than the front. the extra folded over to make a casing for elastic at the back. I used three pieces of elastic, and stitched them into three sections on the casing.

Once in place I ajusted them to fit and stiched firmly. (You could make a shirred back as an alternative to using a casing).

Bethan loves her new dress.

Sorry for the rather garbled instructions. I'll try to but illustrations and a better step by step guide on sometime this week.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Clothes Swap Party

 Yesterday I went to my first clothes swap party. I have to tell you I loved it! It was a Fundraiser for my friend Nikki, who is off to Mexico to lead a team of young people (it's called M10)

I arrived quite early with my stash of clothes. and helped set up. Dresses were pinned to a washing line and we piled clothes, jewellery and accessories into different categories around the living room. Most of the stuff was 8-12Uk sized. which was great as that was the size of most of the guests.

Much trying on was had. Advice on altering was given. Chilli was eaten. donations were made. This has to be one of the best ways of updating your wardrobe for next to nothing, having fun, recycling and raising money.

I can highly suggest it as a fundraising activity :)

I acquired: two pairs of trousers, A jumper dress, a jade green beaded blouse and a slinky black dress.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Steels, Dresses & Coffee

What a busy few days I've had. Yesterday as the kids were off school due to the strike, we headed into Newcastle to pick up the Mac mini and go to the Chinese supermarket. As we arrived it just happened to be lunchtime, so we indulged in Lau's Buffet King -all you can eat Chinese buffet. It's safe to say we came away completely stuffed.

In the evening we attended "The Steels" warm up gig with their new bassist. It was a good gig - if you haven't heard some of their stuff, check out their website and you tube.

This morning I decided to give my summery 50's (ish) styled dress it's first outing. off for a coffee date and walk along the prom with My Hubby and Alli. Great Mocha in Dinkys Coffee Shop. It's been open for a long time now and I'm ashamed to say today was the first time that I'd been in.

I'd also made adjustments to the coffee date dress I made. I altered the back darts to allow more ease, and adjusted the armscye for a better fit. However the bodice was still too short and I'd not left enough seam allowance to lengthen it. (have now made adjustments to my pattern so I won't make the same mistake next time) When Alli arrived I suggested that she try it on. We wear a similar size in clothes, but I've wider shoulders and am taller. The dress looked great on her - much better than on me! so now she has a new dress and I'll make myself a version that fits next time.

We had noodles together for lunch, Alli headed off - she'd got plenty to do for the Danusha sale tomorrow, at Hepscott Village hall. I'm looking forward to see all the beautiful hand crafted bead jewellery made by women in Nepal - it's a great project which uses fair trade as a way to improve the lives of women in an area of Nepal. Check out their Facebook page here. Look out for a Danusha giveaway soon!

Smart and Trendy Moms


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