Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Temptations and Time

Unable to resist the lure of gorgeous prints I gave in and I've bought some more to add to the pile. The bottom ones are destined for dressmaking projects with the leftovers being used in patchy projects. The top floral ones I've no plans for, I just loved them, but couldn't quickly decide in the shop what I was going to do with them. In the end a half metre of each came home with me so I have enough to do something with them.  For now I just love looking at them and dreaming of the possible things they can become.


Like me, Mr B is similarly drawn to print and gorgeous things. When I emptied out my shopping bag to reveal a purchase for my Sunday stall he whooped with delight. He'd spied these Johnson Bros. dishes in the charity shop window and had fallen for them. Yet another thing that will stay here. Hopeless. Now I'm thrilled that I live with a man and girls who love all this old stuff, but when it comes to finding somewhere to put it all and then even remember we have it so that it gets used there lies a problem.


For now the dishes are living on the kitchen counter filling up with cat hair. Our house is slowly getting covered in cat hair as Lily clambers over everything and is breaking a fair few things on her travels.


Now we're in full on holiday mode leaving the temptations of the shops behind. We started our touristy trails yesterday having just grabbed a National Trust membership in time for the summer. As thunder storms were hanging about overhead we decided an indoorish trip was needed so we headed to Oxburgh Hall. We'd never been before so it was a real treat to see this moated hall. The Bedingfield family have lived here for 500 years, but as a Catholic family have had various up's and down's over the centuries (to put it mildly). The parts that we could visit were fascinating, Little Bun braved the Priests Hole while her daddy peered down chatting to her. There were letters written by Henry V111 and Elizabeth 1 to the family which made us realise how central they were to the court of the time.
We managed to be in the hall while the storm raged and then headed outside when blue skies returned for a wee while. Luckily we'd just made it to the chapel when the storm came back with a vengeance. As Little Bun and I stood in the doorway watching the rain the chapel had a direct lightening hit. Apart from jumping out of our skin at the noise it also made us feel like we'd been punched in the chest. Basically we got recharged for the day so I'm hoping we'll feel more energised now.

Thank you for all your lovely comments about our girl. I do always mean to pop back and say thankyou, but time doesn't always allow does it. At the moment I should be getting dressed to get Mr B to his bus to Brighton for the friendly football match and making our picnic up for our park date with pals. Always should be doing something other than what I'm doing, is that modern life or am I just disorganised?

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Rounding Up

The summer holidays somehow started here before term even ended. It's been a heady social rollercoaster already and so today we're stopping for breath and to get some of those jobs that just won't go away get done. 

Over the week I've tried to get a bit of much needed making time in for me. I'm back with the BubbleGum Blanket having had a stern word with myself that it will be done before this winter.


One extra row nearly completed making it six so far (that's 60 squares to be exact). I'm hoping for a 10 x 10 row at least. I did want 12 rows, but since the Amy Butler yarn has been discontinued I can only find enough to get me to 10 rows I reckon.


I've managed to get to the zip stage with Miss Rosey's dress. Everything was seriously held up by me needing to make two lined bodices. Yet again I completely forgot that being tall we have longer bodies than the patterns allow for. The first bodice was five inches too short with the bust darts in her armpits. After jiggling around making my own pattern it all fits thank heavens as I love this sheet and I'd have cried (probably screamed loads first) if I'd wasted it


Most impressive of all - to me that is as I'm the slowest of slow knitters thrown in with a personality that flits from project to project - I've sewn up my cardi and added the neckline. Only another arm and the buttonband to go. 


It's going to be a bit of a squash and a squeeze, but it will fit neatly into my waist all the same. It does look good with Miss Rosey's dress doesn't it, so I wonder if I might be losing the cardi to her?


Next Sunday I'll be at Little Vintage Lover Fair in Heydon so I've been bag making and what-notting. That's meant a sort out of all I can fill my stall with and tidying up my making bits so I can find them quickly.


The major event of this week has been Little Bun's last week of primary school. Now she will be off to high school with her big sister and three friends who are coming with her. Wednesday was her last day and she felt all bubbly inside like it was Christmas. Her exact words were it was the best day ever, followed by a low later on at the reality that they wouldn't all be together again. As she's going to an all girls school she said she'd miss the boys and the little ones the most. Little Bun is the only girl in her class who never rowed (she just doesn't get the need for all the wind-up complicated bitchy stuff). She was always trying to get anyone who'd fallen out make-up and looked after anyone who needed a friend. Alongside all of that she's just good fun, hardworking, honest and loyal.


As her primary is a church school the Leavers Assembly is always in church (that's her with some of her class in the blue dress far right getting gifts from Howard the Vicar). We sang my favourite hymn Shine Jesus Shine which has tons of clapping in and sums up our girls primary years for me. I was fine until the songs each time and then I welled up as the words were so poignant. After the leavers read out their speeches the awards were given out and our Little Bun won the final one which was for most outstanding year six. It's the only award voted for by the children, not the teachers and boy were we proud of her.

After a very emotional service, which was heightened as our wonderful vicar is leaving too, the children went back to school to get their uniforms signed and have fun. For after school I'd organised a beach party so they could have a final blast together. All the class came with siblings so there were about 30 kids plus parents so it was great. We stayed until the sun started to set after we'd fitted in fish and chips for tea. Even Maisie the horse came along to give beach rides. She's been a major part of Little Bun's friend's life and has always been at school events so it was only fair that she joined in.


The rest of the week has been a whirlygig of woodland picnics with friends, beach dates, curry nights and staying up far too late chatting. Next week we're all off together for lots of fun days out so we're making lots of plans for all that we want to pack in.

Here's to a great summer, thanks for stopping by and I'll see you soon.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Chop Chop

Looking back over the week I guess quite a lot of things have happened, but to me it just feels as if we've been sleepy and ambling along. No bad thing of course, except I have a problem with ambling, I like to be doing. I've never been one to just lay on a beach, I'm bored in five seconds. I always want to discover things and get involved with stuff. As much as I dream of time off when I'm at work, now it feels odd not to be at work. I've just got to used to the slower pace that's all and then we'll be fine.

I've had Miss Rosey with me all week, as her school broke up last Friday, plus we have all the end of year stuff for Little Bun. This has made the pace decidedly different.  On Monday I tackled lots of hideous paperwork first thing and then we went on a picnic bike ride. Miss Rosey ended up with my lovely sit up and beg bike with its soft squishy saddle while I rode her clown bike. For some reason the day I forgot the tool kit was the day the chain fell off and the day the saddle came undone. All the way along the saddle wobbled back and forth and swung side to side. Let's just say I was bloody sore when we got back home after clenching my muscles and gripping on tight. As I moaned on and on about how my bum wasn't made to perch on a swivelling postage stamp Miss Rosey crashed into the back of me as she was laughing so much.


With all of this palaver we didn't go as far as we'd planned, but we did make it to this field to sit with our picnic gazing out across a peaceful landscape and to think life is good, bad bikes, sore bums and all.

Little Bun has also been baking again this week. This time a wonderful lemon drizzle cake. Then baking had to stop as the hens started laying their eggs somewhere else so I couldn't find them. Then out of the blue this morning I found a huge pile of eggs. Bluebell dashed out of bush just as I was throwing down last nights rice for them. That well and truly gave the game away where the stash was. Ha Ha.


Sandwiched in the middle of the week was a visit to my mum, an awards ceremony for our students and Little Bun's Sports Day. Not much time either side to do much of anything really, so I went for a big attack approach with the dressmaking when I had the chance. Instead of patiently cutting out each outfit I want to make, stitching it together and then dreaming for an age about making something else I jumped in and cut out a fair few in one go.


Miss Rosey wanted a dress and a halterneck top, all she needed to do was choose the fabric. I on the other hand have some fabric I love, but wasn't absolutely sure what I wanted it to become. While all the fabric and pattern selecting went on Lily pounced on fluttering papers and dived under the fabrics, don't be fooled by this still shot, she's a loving lunatic. 


In the end Miss Rosey chose flowers and polkadots for her halterneck. Although I did jump in and chop up the shapes for a few more things I'm going to fast forward to show you how the top turned out. We had a home day today so I managed to get it all stitched up and done this morning.


Very pleased with how it's turned out I must say, but now we need a strapless bra apparently. I also doubt we've beaten Jack Wills into submission either.


The next thing I chopped up was a tunic from the Great British Sewing Bee. I love love love this fabric and so I wanted to make something I can wear all year round. I thought if I made a skirt then it would most definately be a summer skirt which means about two weeks wear a year in truth. I also fancied a tunic with a slightly different shape as well, so I thought I'd try this one. I might add patchy pockets if I feel so inclined. For now nothings happening to this top as I only had a metre and I stupidly cut out two halves the same in my hurry.Let's just hope the shop has some of this left.


This fabulous 1940's French fabric came from the lovely Donna Flower's emporium. Again I cocked up and didn't buy enough for a dress. As it's a drapey kind of fabric it really would suit a dress best and failing that a skirt. So a skirt is what it will eventually become.


Last up I chopped up the shapes for one dress for Miss Rosey, although she wants two - one in the pink and one in the blue. I cut out only one as I want to see how the pattern works out before I cut into another bit of fabric.



Now job lot pattern cutting suits me very well I've decided. It's my least favourite part of dressmaking so knowing I have a few outfits already cut and waiting to be sewn means I can now just jump on in with the bit I really enjoy.  It's all about clothes making for me at the moment. Do you get all hooked on one kind of making at a time too, then just as quickly move onto the next thing? Do you ty and rush some bits and savour others or do you have more patience than me I wonder? Wonder what will grab my attention next?

Alongside all of these things, I have a girl who is coming to the end of her primary school years. Three more days to go now in fact. Last night was the excitement of the summer disco. Miss Rosey and I helped Little Bun primp and preen herself before walking her to a friends in the village where she was being taken out for dinner for other friends and then off to dance the evening away. She giggled all the way through the village at being so glam while we were all mucky in our shorts. Look at those grown-up Primarni nails on soft sweet hands.

 


Here's hoping you've all had a great week too with all of this glorious feel good making sunshine we've got right now. See you again soon.

Monday, 15 July 2013

I've Started so I'll Finish

What am I to do? My head is always a buzzing with things I want to make, colours I want to try mixing up, yarn I want to play with, shapes I fancy fiddling with and fabric that needs to become a thing. As a result I end up with all sorts of just started, halfway there and almost finished doings. Just occassionally these doings become an actual thing. Then we can oohh and aaah over it before it becomes something we use everyday and love having in our world.

Now this weekends diversion was this cardigan which I saw on the front of The Knitter. Countdown to pay day a week and a half, pennies dwindling, so no magazine buying I reasoned. All the way round the supermarket I kept thinking about the gorgeousness of the pattern and the fact that there was at least one other pattern in there that I fancied knitting for Miss Rosey (thereby making it a bit more of a worthwhile buy). In the end I gave in, rushed back and chucked it in my trolley before dashing off to Little Bun's last ever primary school drama play. Miss Rosey was being collected by Grandma as I can do many things, but be in two places at 4 o'clock isn't one of them.


I had a good old think about this pattern and realised I had to wait over a week to buy any cotton yarn, or I could see if there was anything in the stash. I have a few bags of yarn, bought for projects that never happened or I just got bored to tears with, hidden in our big old school cupboard. After a rifle through this is what I came up with. Now as the pattern needs at least 8 x 50g balls and I only had at the most five in one shade I decided I could mix up a couple of colours of similarish weight. I also knit pretty tightly which takes my knitting down a size. I reckoned the fact that the pattern says 3.75 needles and Rowan Calmer and All Seasons Cotton needs to be knitted in a 4.5 or 5mm needle meant we could kind of meet in the middle somewhere.


So this is where I'm at so far. I absolutely love the leaf shape motif of the lace pattern and how it drapes in the actual proper DK Cotton, but hey ho impatience and finance demands I give it a go in what's to hand. To be honest I really rather like the combination of these sea colours. Somewhere nice and hot on holiday type of sea of course, not the murky North Sea. I'll carry on and see where this yarn takes me and if it all works out swimmingly, then I might even be investing in another one in a full blown cotton version.


Now with my head always fizzing with ideas alongside normal family life, it can be a juggle finding time to ever finish anything too. Weeks and weeks ago Little Bun had asked me to make one of her favourite dresses into a skirt after I'd announced there was life in the old girl yet. I removed the zip at the time and then it ended up in a bag with all the other mending (some of which has been in there years). Today we were going to the beach, but it was a yucky old day in Norfolk so we all fancied a home day instead. I decided that alongside starting something new I'd better get on with finishing a few things off aswell, so number one was the beach skirt.


Now this was originally a Joules dress that had a crossover bodice. It was a bit tight when we bought it in the sale, but you know how it is when you simply love something so the squeeze is worth it. All I did was take the side zip out and chop slightly above the waistband through the lining and main skirt so it was still all pouffed up. Luckily the dress had a pink sash so I recycled this into a quick waistband by folding it in half over over the top and stitched all the way round.


After all that delay it was surprisingly quick to do in the end. Little Bun was thrilled with and whipped and whirled around while I took a few snaps of her in it.


Now I was most definately on a roll so I tackled the next thing asking to be finished. A dress this time, for Little Bun again, so it was her lucky day. I'd just about finished making it before last week got all sociable. All I had to do today was put in the zip and hem it before it was ready to be tried on too.


One very happy girly who wore her new dress for the rest of the day. Now I have two dress requests from Miss Rosey to get on with, thank goodness my man doesn't wear dresses too or I'd be sewing non-stop.


Before I allow myself another row on my new cardigan I've blocked and pinned my bubblegum cardi for sewing up. I'm halfway through the second sleeve and then there's just the buttonband to knit and buttons to choose before the excitement or disappointment of seeing if it fits or not. I also need help to sort out the shaping on the yellow dress I made a while back and there's a half cut out dress for Miss Rosey to get on with here.

 

Then there's this basket full of a Bubblegum blankie that I really must finish so we can use it this winter. Not to mention the poncho wrap, hanger covers and the small matter of playing with knitting bunting the other night. It's all seriously good fun and keeps me sane.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Whirlimagig a Jig

I've had a real holiday week this week with weather to match. I've dragged my lovelies into my holiday mood when I can. On Monday we went to see Despicable Me after school and ate tons of popcorn in the dark (you know the supermarket stuff we all smuggle in trying not to make our bags rustle).

On Tuesday I had a long lazy pub lunch with a friend near Miss Rosey's school and then on Wednesday morning I attacked the car boot in search of any goodies that might be hidden there.


I came away with a pyrex platter (for selling until Mr B saw it and said "oh please let's keep it"), several trims and a couple of patterns (one given away). I also added a punnet of raspberries and some heady smelling French Lavender to my pile before I headed home for my next soujourn.


I've been trying to meet up with C for a while now and finally we managed to pull it off. It's one of those odd meetings where you don't know one another, but you feel you do. You see she knows a few people I know, she reads my blog and leaves a comment or two, I read hers and chat back. We live not too far from one another and have a fair old bit in common so it seemed to make sense to meet up really.

How wonderful when you have a visitor who not only turns up with the sweetest smelling roses all dip dyed the most fabulous shades, but also has a beautiful tin bearing a Victoria Sponge Cake.


I'd whipped up a few chocolate chip buns, but we made inroads into the cake instead.


My head is buzzing with lots of new ideas. I'm not sure which ones will come to be anything, but it sure was good to chat with a likeminded soul who is a supertalented seamstress.


The rest of the day was spent dealing with the practical matter of hiding my grey roots under a paint job of chocolate dye and getting on with Little Bun's dress.


I cut the pieces out for this one on Monday. Really it should be a quick job, but I've been distracted by being sociable and you just can't do both (I surely can't anyways).


I also started chopping up a few fat quarters as I want to re-stock my etsy shelves early next week. With Miss Rosey breaking up on Friday and then a round of sports day and other activities at Little Bun's school I'll be having to be even more disciplined with myself if I want to get things done when I plan to.


Now the week has come around to its end. Thursday was the most glorious of days. I'd suggested to my man that we needed a special day, just for the two of us. Being self-employed he finds it very hard to take time off as there's no one else to do his work for him. Our plan was to pack up a picnic and go somewhere we'd never been before. My mum did the school run both ends of the day so we could go to our own time clock. Being a parent that's the one thing I miss the most and so it made the day even more perfect. We could do and be as we wanted when we wanted and it was bliss.

We chose to head to Ely for the day and it turned out to be the perfect choice.


We ate our picnic lunch under the trees watching the houseboats, afterwards we strolled along the river just as the sun began to shine in the bluest of skies.


Without realising where we were heading we entered what we thought were park gates and found ourselves in the grounds of Ely Cathedral. Horses and a donkey grazed just in front and not for the first time that day we said the girls would love this. As good as time just the two of us is, we still feel odd without our two gorgeous sidekicks.


The stillness of the horses added to the tranquility of the setting.


We only made it to the first door in the cathedral as there was no way we were going to pay £15 for the pleasure. I could have tagged on to the Italian group, but we thought my blondie 6ft 5" man might stand out as not being with them.


Anyway it was no matter as we could still wander around the grounds through the gates and explore the small city (apparently the smallest in England don't you know).

We found stage coach signs, visited Oliver Cromwell's home and oohheed and aaahed at lots of buildings we fell in love with.


After a fair few miles of exploring here and there we decided it was time to head back to the river where a pub terrace and some cold shandies beckoned.


After sharing our adventure with the girls, we've been made to promise we'll take them to explore too. They love discovering new places as much as us.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Celebrating Hot Style

When it's hot hot hot the best places to be are being busy doing nothing in the garden or dipping our feet in the cold North Sea. We'd usually avoid the city and all the crowding people, but when there's fun to be had from the once yearly Lord Mayor's Celebrations we head straight in.


I decided it was the day for another new dress. I had to take down the hem on my sale dress as shop bought ones are never long enough when you're over 6ft. Usually I avoid Joules, other than for the girlie clothes (which they're now too big for). It just isn't my kind of style, but when I saw this dress in the window I was instantly attracted to the print. It needs a bit of altering around the bust and perhaps removing the ever so shiny gold zip at the back (if I can really be bothered, which is probably not).


Lily had the right idea and had flopped out completely. This is her first experience of real sunshine and she was soaking it up in bucketfulls.


We managed to get a great spot for the parade on the shady side just beneath the castle. Alongside dancers, bands and cute kids there were some great artistic floats, this being one of my favourites.


The strange tall figures at the bottom were all whizzing about attached to walkers for elderly people. It was a great atmosphere and really brings the city together.


After the parade we headed off to the river, away from the crowds where dinner in a Mexican restaurant awaited us. However much we miss our girls being wee because it was such a magical time it has been replaced with lots of new magic too. Now we can do more grown-up stuff aswell like staying out for meals until late and fill them up with spicy food.

On Sunday we headed back in again for the Lanes Festival which we call Brighton days. This is how we remember Brighton as a vibrant and ecclectic place where impromtu street performers popped up and there was a real buzz in the air. Only very occassionally do we get that in Norwich, which is not to say we want Norwich to be any different either because we love it for being such a fascinating and stunning city.
We pitched up awhile on a cafe doorstep to listen to the ukele group while further down the sounds of Big Band Swing played out. Vintage stalls were laden alongside great makers so there was plenty to see and do. Later we headed up to the Castle Gardens to see a spot of Midsummer Nights Dream. The English teacher in me was thrilled when I heard Miss Rosey explaining who was who and what was happening to Little Bun. Amazingly we've had more requests for more Shakespeare which is ok by me as they're just great stories about the complexities of being human.

Sadly we missed the duck race, but when there's so much on you just can't be everywhere can you. 

Much much later lazing in the garden with Paul O'Grady on the radio (we adore him and would ask to adopt him into the family, but he would probably be freaked out by that request), sipping wine and timing Little Bun's races to and fro (sports day prep as she's fed up being last) we said this most definately is the Life.