Saturday, 10 September 2011

Adventures with fabric dye - Part 1


You will need - 
* One washing up bowl sized container that is no longer used
* One tablespoon of salt
* One packet of fabric dye for hand dying
* Plastic or preferably rubber gloves (these are important!)
* A stirring implement, I used an old paintbrush
* A smaller plastic container (not pictured)
* One really nasty coloured dress (which is a nice style)


I did not think to write down the instructions from the packet for this post as I am a fool!
Make sure to stir it up really well and not to splash it everywhere, a sensible option would be to place it on an old towel or some newspaper unlike myself who got it on the worktop - it came off thankfully as I was quick enough to spot it!


It was also warm water for this dye, the instructions will reveal all to you!
If you have a curious cat shut them out of the room, Biggins nearly became a black cat due to her idiocy!


Again, be careful to stir thoroughly and wear the gloves! I got a hole in one of my gloves and ended up with weird black stains for a few days!


Poke it about a bit to ensure it is all covered with dye.
Then stir continuously for FIFTEEN MINUTES!!!
You will then need to stir it regularly according to the instructions, I had to do it for about 45 minutes.


I didn't take a picture of my washing machine to add here..... I think everyone can use their imagination!


Find out what happened to the dress in part 2!

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

The countdown begins.....

...Take a guess!

No, surely not already, it's not even September....

Afraid so!!

I have already started my Christmas planning and with lots of handmade presents and cards to make I have to get cracking! I have started on the anally-retentive file with pages of lists, designs and labelled plastic wallets ready for templates to go in. Colour schemes for the tree have been chosen and the gift wrap will as usual co-ordinate with the tree :) 

This will be the year I have waited for - the one where I'm not gift wrapping on Christmas day or hastily filling out cards 10 minutes before the recipient arrives! By December all I want to have left to do is wrap gifts - any earlier and the double sided tape tends to lose its sticky a little bit. 

I'm even going to make the crackers I never got around to last year, the banging strips are still in my craft room and I even have the toilet roll tubes I had saved too!

So is anyone else starting with the Chrimbo planning?
Or am I alone in the madness?!

Monday, 29 August 2011

Skirting IS the issue....

.....Because you can never have enough!
They are also quick *cough* lazy me *cough* and easy and use up less fabric, perfect for culling the amount of odd bits lying about.

All the skirts have been made with the basic sew a long strip, turn over the top and sew down to make a channel then elasticate method *cough* yep really lazy in fact *cough* perfect for those err fat days which is pretty much all the time for me ha ha ha!
I have used all recycled fabric for these, I hate throwing things away and even more hate throwing away fabric which is perfectly decent and sometimes as a result of buying clothes that just do not look right at all, which is my fault for not trying them on... We all do it right?!

This skirt was made from an old skirt that I never wore (to be fair I didn't buy it). It started life as a tragically unflattering wrap skirt that was also a rather dubious length. I kept hold of it as the khaki (the picture doesn't really show it) broderie-anglais was pretty in a feminine but masculine way (yeah, I'm having one of those days ha ha!) and I occasionally branch out from my uniform of black.
Basically I chopped the bottom off, chopped an equal amount of the lining as well, pleated/gathered it onto some black fabric then sewed on the longer strip leaving the channel for the elastic. The elastic got threaded in and the ends of the black strip were tied concealing the hole the elastic went in through - sorted!
It is a bit short but I don't really get my naked legs out so it doesn't matter!

This one started off as a dress, really didn't do anything much to it, a quick measure and mark, hacked it off and then did the aforementioned turn over and elasticate job. 

Aaaaaarrrrrgggggghhhhhhhhh!!!!! Who let the florals into my world?!!
In a fit of madness I may have decided to try to bring a bit of old fashioned floral girliness into my wardrobe!
With pink bows too........ 
.......I must have hit my head!
Anyhow, this was a valance sheet, I snipped off an appropriate length, turned, sewed, elasticated, added bows and was good to go! I have enough fabric left to make a dress too, was thinking a wrap dress, with a circle skirt or a skirt like the one above with two layers maybe? Not sure if I can handle a whole dress in cream with florals yet, I have a sneaking suspicion it will look terrible on me! 
Only one way to know for sure!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

New Mario crochet!

Finally I can blog about these bad boys! As they were gifts I couldn't risk putting them on here in case they were seen and the surprise ruined!

First up is my version of a big Bob-omb, saw him on a google image search and fell in love with the moustachio!!

Big Bob-omb is about 9 inches tall at a guess without including his fuse. I actually used a mixture of patterns and genius to make him, the main part of the body was from this King Boo tutorial from the delightful Wolfdreamer OTH, and the rest was made using the normal Bob-omb tutorial which I have previously made here, as a rough guide and guesstimating it to fit the dimensions required!
I was supposed to make him a crown (found on the King Boo tutorial) but it kind of didn't happen!

I also made a Boo from the King Boo pattern but decided to stick to the non-regal variety.

I used felt and some scrap white fleece for the mouth, the eyes were done using a tulip pen as I'm not too good with the embroidery on stuffed toys. 

Finally I made a Luma (the star....yes I know it looks like a spiky tear drop but just go with me!) which is pretty cute. Wish it was a beanie (or in my case a popcornie as I'm not buying expensive poly pellets when the corns do the same thing) but the little legs wouldn't have coped with the weight.

The Luma also came from Wolfdreamer, it can be found here.
I think if I did it again the arms and legs could do with a few extra rows to make them bigger as mine did not come out the same as the pictured one on the tutorial!

There are a few other "easy" Mario tutorials I'm going to do before trying the hard stuff!
We were getting a little silly and ambitious last night dreaming up an entirely crocheted Mario world and doing crazy things like a rideable sized Yoshi! It would be cool but my wrists would probably give up entirely and err.... crochet hooks are kinda small.....and I don't have a million hours to commit to it at the moment! Perhaps one day!

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Coming soon!

Been a bit quiet on the blogging front but I promise there are things on the way!!!

A tutorial type thing on how to use fabric dye - well I know it says on the packet how to do it but I got some quite unexpected results! Perhaps it should be a tutorial on how NOT to use fabric dye ha ha ha!

Got a few garments cut and ready to sew up, a few things I still haven't photographed due to naughty laziness and the thought that I might actually coerce a friend into modelling for me....

Also will have some more crochet delights and a couple of mystery items that will be blogged at some point after August 15th as they are birthday presents and I don't want to give the game away!

Might also do a gift wrapping post, if you know me personally you'll probably have received a substandard gift with wrapping so good you couldn't care less about the actual contents! This is something I like to do through boredom and random urges to show off.....well everyone does it.....

So stay tuned, I haven't forgotten about blogging, hopefully the posts coming up will make up for it :)

For some reason Blogger isn't letting me add pictures at the moment, is anyone else experiencing this?

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Rainy Saturday afternoons....

....Are meant for baking!
 Today's recipes for weight gain and diabetes are - 

* Carrot Tea-cake*

First time I have made carrot cake and it won't be the last! 
The cake is lovely and moist and the cream cheese frosting sets it off wonderfully.
I got the recipe from Martha Stewart's website - Check it out!!

* Chocolate Orange Cookies *

Proper American style squidgy delicious cookies!
These will not last long!
So much better than ones you buy from the supermarkets and way better than the ones made from a box of cookie mix, really quick and simple to make so no excuses not to make your own!
I got the recipe from a great new blog I discovered a few days ago called Eat Cake For Dinner - not that I need any more encouragement ha ha ha!
The recipe can be found here - the only changes I made was to substitute orange rind for orange flavouring as that was all I had to hand. Check out the other recipes on the blog, every last one of them look mouth wateringly tasty, I simply HAVE to make the Neapolitan whoopie pies!

Hope everyone else is having a great Saturday whatever the weather!

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Inspiration of the week 9/7/11

Obviously you all have seen inspiration posts many times before so I'll just give the briefest bit of info on this - here is a bunch of pictures and links to stuff that got my attention this week!
Will be a bit of a mixture of things as I'm not exclusively into any particular area of creativity, feel free to comment on my choices or give any suggestions for similar things!
Please note that these images were not taken by / are not owned by me, if I have used an image that belongs to you and you are not happy with its use please let me know and I will remove it.

Here goes....
This is the image that started it all off! Click to enlarge it to appreciate it in it's full glory!
It is a 1:12 scale themed dollhouse display and I wish I saw it when it was on sale!
Absolutely amazing details and colours, I love, love, LOVE the purple glitter on the top of the pumpkin and ummm basically just want one!
For those of you out there with patience and talent there is a tutorial on how to make this HERE

I would really love to have the talent to make something like this, perhaps I could have a go in secret and not tell anyone if it turns out super rubbish ha ha ha!
The genius lady behind this also has an etsy store - the link on the tutorial doesn't seem to work but once I get hold of it I will add it to this post.


Going along with the fairy tale magical theme, the film Legend directed by Ridley Scott is amazing! Featuring a young Tom Cruise, unicorns, a Tim Curry devil/demon and enough glitter to fill your entire house with! There is even glitter everywhere in hell!

If you haven't seen it then you should! Seriously beautiful set designs and did I mention loads of glitter?!!

Saw some beautiful dresses from the Paris Couture week, Valentino as usual had a load of stunners but the real treat for me was the Elie Saab dresses. I wish I could afford the beautiful flowing fabrics used to make his gorgeous romantic fairytale gowns!

 If money was no object hey?!


Last but not least a tutorial from Martha Stewart for fabric pumpkins.
Don't they look awesome?
The tutorial can be found HERE.

I realise that my inspiration this week has been a little unseasonal but the weather has been pretty unseasonal too! Thundered for over three hours yesterday complete with a torrential downpour... English summers.... don't know whether to laugh or cry!

As I said above, let me know what your inspiration was this week and if any of my inspiration has in turn inspired you!

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Sorry for the absence!

Well the blogging went a bit downhill didn't it?!
The reason for this is that I have a new job! I now work repairing and altering work-wear at a local company and I enjoy it so much! It might not sound like the most exciting job in the world but being sat at a sewing machine all day is great. Although the work isn't the same as making clothes, it is all good expeience and I am well and truely a mistress of zips - I can whack in one of those bad boys faster than the speed of light ha ha ha! I also feel that by using an industrial machine I have so much more control over my domestic to the point that my domestic seems snail paced now.
The hours are a huge bonus point, 7am - 3.30pm Monday to Thursday, 7am - 2.30pm Friday..... No weekends! No evenings! No bank holidays! I am spoilt!
I get to work with loads of really nice people both in the sewing room and those who work in other parts of the building too. Even the company is a nice one, 200 years old, still family run and loads of niceties from easter eggs to a birthday card put in the post for you. We even got bought ice-creams last week and everyone stopped work to enjoy them despite it not being anyones tea break or lunch break or second tea break, shame about the weather that day but the gesture was really nice :)

So my apologies for the lack of posting, understandably the routine has been difficult to get into, I am not used to getting up at 5.30am so the first few weeks I was asleep on the sofa by about 6pm! This week I have been doing my best not to nap, so far so good! Next week I will be trying to do a bit more during my afternoon/evening, this week has been a stay awake but not do too much kind of week, one step at a time in routine establishment works better than all at once.

I do have some things to photograph and post about including something I made for myself to wear on a night out, perhaps with a dodgy tutorial to go with it.
I was also thinking about doing a weekly inspiration post sort of thing with some of the things that my incessant internet trawling has dug up, might get a bit random though - you have been warned!

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Baking extravaganza and special banana bread recipe!

Having been unable to do any baking for a while I went into mass production mode when the lovely Tesco's delivery man brought me all my basics with the grocery shopping....

First of all I made about 2 dozen of these -
I got the recipe here, from Land Girl 1980's blog, recently discovered on one of my many late night blog crawls!
They are WW2 scones, flattened into cookies. I did make some scone sized versions but fell in love with the crunchy outer texture and decided biscuits were the way forwards!  I did make some slight amendments from the original recipe by adding some cinnamon (about 1 tsp) and some raisins and sultanas (a few handfuls, I didn't really measure them, just dumped a load in ha ha!) to the mix.
They are best fresh from the oven but will go soft (still really yummy) after a few hours. This might be because I don't have a biscuit tin to put them in. I will have to either dig out an old tin from somewhere or splash out in Poundland ha ha ha!

Later on in the day I made two massive banana breads, one chocolate chip and banana, the other sultanas, raisins, cinnamon and banana. I had a lot of bananas to use up!
Still munching on the banana and chocolate one, great with some cold custard. The other beast was given to some dear friends as sustenance whilst in the process of moving house :)

 On the left is the chocolate, the right is the cinnamon.

How to make your own banana bread beast.....

Monday, 30 May 2011

Motivation, never leaving the house and leggings.....

Well, this post is sort of blogland current affairs with many of the blogs I read mentioning the topic.
This will be in two main parts, my struggle for motivation and the curse of awful clothing choices because I hardly leave the house.

Ok, motivational this lazy so and so...

My dear sweet Biggins is a bad influence!
Well, it's not really the cat's fault, it's my poor adjustment to not being at work and having to organise my own time. Being laid off sucks! I really need to adjust to this situation before I reach the point of no return, it's been about a month now, and I have been so unproductive in this time.
Laurell K Hamilton (best selling author of the Anita Blake series) has been doing a series of blog posts and a couple have hit on the issue of motivation, especially this one, it's good to know you're not alone, however, it would be better if it mentioned a quick cure for the lazy-itus!

I know I need to deal with this, I won't always have the luxury of so much time on my hands, it is frustrating to know that when I was at work all day long, getting home at 10-10.30pm I would come home and get cracking on the sewing and have a pretty good completion rate given the time spent on things, and now I am home all day I rarely get anything started let alone finished.

How do all you ladies who work from home do it?!
I worry that it is a sign I would never be able to work for myself, and that is something I really really want to do, at least to the extent a part time job outside my home would be able leave me financially secure.

The second part of my post is related to my being at home all day too.
I have become a slob! Leggings are now my most worn item - nooooo!!!!
This issue of sloppiness has come up over at Gertie's blog, because she has just started working from home. A funny but very true post, based on a reader's comment - here - highlights that the problem I am facing with dressing for comfort and neglecting style. The leggings first appeared as a trial for an alternative to footless tights, meant to be worn in the same manner, under dresses, for extra warmth and to last a bit longer. So far so innocent right! This quickly turned into a case of wearing them as an alternative to trousers for when I am sewing, I sit on the floor a lot and buttons dig in and get uncomfortable.
Then it promptly became a case of "well I'm not leaving the house so it doesn't matter what I look like".
Such an easy habit to slip into!
Just for the record I really don't feel comfortable just wearing leggings to leave the house in, a bit too exposing in the bottom area, not a good look!
Take into consideration that despite working in a hot smelly kitchen I always wore tailored trousers with my chef jacket and a full face of make up so I didn't look too awful when I left the kitchen!
So there is no excuse not to make the effort at home.
Especially when Leigh Ann over at Voodoo Stitches wore this dress to clean her home in!
So stunning! And a reminder that ditching the leggings as anything other than a little added warmth/modesty under something pretty is an absolute must!

As mentioned at Gerties blog, the key to keeping it pretty whilst at home is ensuring that everything is comfy, so I think it is about time I made a few things for myself that look pretty, not too over the top, which also are as un restricting as leggings.

Perhaps this is my motivation, not the motivation I would ideally like, but a start at least.
Sorry for the lengthy ramble here, sometimes you just have to get it all out!

Things I forgot to put up.

A couple of items that I had brought upstairs to photograph and put on here but forgot about! 
I made the skirt about a fortnight ago, it's so small, probably fit a child! The halter top was made shortly afterwards, same pattern as normal, edited to have tie up straps instead.
 I made the pattern for the skirt using an A4 piece of paper, measured the top of it to determine the amount of panels I would need...... and completely forgot about seam allowances! Which is why it ended up so small, I have got another similar skirt on the go (being lazy and not finishing it because it is one of those time consuming and completely boring bits left to do!) which is more grown up sized!

I only had enough of this purple ribbon to do two bows, had wanted five, perhaps I will pick up a metre next time I'm in town, but it looks okay anyway :)

Used up the last of this fabric with this top, well, a few scraps left that I'm sure I will use for something!
Really satisfying knowing that I've got so much use out of half a duvet cover! The other half of it was the blue with ivory daisies, I got it from a charity shop but it originally would have cost more than I would ever contemplate spending on a bed sheet! Some people have more money than sense, especially to give it away in perfect condition to a charity shop! 

Apologies for the usual reason of terrible photos, when the weather co-operates I'm going to take some proper photos (still with my phone but it can't be helped) outside, in the sunshine with my good friend Bethany as my model because she is far slimmer and far more photogenic than I am! This has to be the biggest problem with making clothes that don't fit me, but I wouldn't ever sell them if I could squeeze into them!

Saturday, 21 May 2011

New look blog!

Well, it isn't that exciting but I've spent several hours today battling with technology (in particular the scanner grrrr) trying to sort out something a bit better than the crappy font header I had before.
I get major blog envy when looking at other peoples blogs with their swish headers, fancy backgrounds and general look of wonderfulness! I will get there eventually I suppose but until then this will have to do.

Here's a better picture of the centre of my header, very dodgily hand drawn and coloured in (I use pencil crayons because paint is too grown up and scary ha ha!) by me.

More posts to come soon, have some clothing all ready and waiting to be photographed and a few others near completion. I have been a bad lazy blogger!

Saturday, 7 May 2011


I guess these are a little out of season but I crocheted some slippers! They are in fact bright cherry red not pink as they appear here. I started off with a pattern for Mary-Jane style slippers but as I crocheted them up it became apparent that the pattern was wrong! Or some unknown weird thing was happening.....

Anyway, I ended up unravelling the whole thing and made up my own pattern - yay! I wanted a more ballet pump look to them anyway so making my own pattern was the perfect thing to do, I'm proud of myself for taking the plunge rather then consulting the internet for a different pattern.

I plan to make more of these to sell at an event I will hopefully be doing, there will be ones the same as above, black ones with a red trim and a cherry motif on the toes, navy blue ones with pink trim and a flamingo motif and finally pink ones with a navy blue trim and either  navy polka dots or a navy rose. I haven't decided which yet! The event is in September so slippers will be more appropriate, they're super cozy!

Friday, 6 May 2011

Summery Circle Skirt

Here is the product of this afternoons sewing, a super summery full circle skirt with scalloped edge trim!

Below is a shot of the cute bow detail on the front, couldn't resist adding a little bit more cuteness to it!

And finally a shot of the scalloped edging, my first attempt at this and definitely not my last! Just adds that little something to the overall look of the skirt and now I know how to do it there's no stopping me!!

This was overall a simple skirt to make and fairly quick too which is always a bonus!

Sunday, 1 May 2011

One for the boys....

Mario crochet toys!!
A mushroom to make you grow bigger and a bombomb :D
Here's the mushroom next to Colin to give you an idea of scale, they didn't take very long, about an hour and a bit each so when I get some more yarn I'm going to make more mushrooms (green, yellow with red spots and a purple one, all my fellow geeks will know what they do!) and create my own Mario universe! Will eventually make the main characters but they're a bit more advanced than the level I'm at now.

The bombomb even has his own little key detail as well!

I got the patterns for the bombomb here, and the mushroom here.
I did alter the mushroom pattern by adding a few extra rows for the stalk/face part.

Saturday, 30 April 2011

Part 3 of the finishing week!

Finally got around to finishing this, one more thing complete!
I made this using the contour bust tutorial from Lex over at
As you can see I've added a ruffle edging around the top, straps and two layers of ruffles/gathering round the bottom.

The straps cross over at the back, I was going to have this as a halterneck but the back kept falling down so I decided upon this type of strap, a halterneck look at the front but keeps the back from slipping down. You can't see in the photo but I have elasticated the top part to keep it tighter and still let me get it on, I really didn't want to mess about with zips or buttons.
I have also added in a few pleat/gather type things along the centre of the back as it was a bit too baggy. It creates a nice effect even if its purpose is more practical.

Lastly a close up of the front detailing, probably should have took this picture with the top on my body form but that involved too much messing about!

Well this is one more thing out of the way, few more things to complete before I start creating a whole load more half finished products!

Friday, 29 April 2011

Prototype Rockabilly Amigurumi

Okay, this is what I got up to last night! I know I should have been finishing things but when an idea hits you, you've gotta go with it!
This is only a prototype of a design I made up, just wanted to test out various things such as hair (which previous to this I have never made) and lips.
Below is the front view, everything is a little bit wonky but I would sort this out on further versions.

The picture below shows the side view, I know the head placement is a little off. The polka dot pattern is made up with sewn on beads, perhaps when I am an expert crocheter I will know how to incorporate this pattern with the yarn alone, however as a beginner the beading suits me fine!

Last but not least, a close up of the face! I wish I could style my hair into such a magnificent pomp/bouffant but realistically speaking it would be about 6-8 inches tall! And a 2 inch one looks plenty tall enough whilst not getting weird looks in the street!
I think I will need to use some slightly larger eyes, had to use what I had in my stash though as it was late and I'm trying not to spend money on new things when I have enough stuff downstairs to open my own craft shop!
The lip shape could also use a bit of work but for a first attempt it isn't too bad!

The stitching joining the head to the body is also visible, obviously if it was one for sale I would put more effort into making it as invisible as possible.
I think that the next one I make will have to have more hair to go round the face and an additional strip of hair placed behind the pomp as when the hair is elevated it shows through to the white of the head.

But overall, I'm well proud of this! Hard to believe that less than a month ago all I could crochet was a dodgy chicken egg cosy....which does just about resemble a chicken but looks nothing like the picture in the magazine!

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Part 2 of the finishing week!

Remember my algebra headache? Well click on the link if not! For those who do remember, after two months of not actually doing much to this I finally finished it! I'm very proud of it because I used my algebra and some other basic maths, along with a little imagination to make this knitted shrug, no patterns required! I really love not using patterns because patterns give me a headache, I don't really understand them so I avoid them!
Anyway, below is the back view....

I've ensured a decent back coverage to keep the cold at bay whilst enjoying those summer evenings (or just for inside when someone is feeling too stingy to put the heating on ha ha!).

Then we have the sleeve detail, shows my fantastic chunky knit, gathered at the end to attach onto the ribbed section, which finishes it off nicely and stops the ends rolling up.

And lastly a (deceptively slim) shot of the front!

Well, that is all for the finishing week at the moment, if I stop wasting time on the internet and go downstairs into my craft room then I'll get a few more things finished, a 'so close to being finished I am actually insane for not spending those two minutes to get it done' type of dress and a top that's about halfway there. There are probably more things hidden away all over the place that are in a state of unfinishedness, I will resolve to finish things before starting a new project in future!

Part 1 of the finishing week!

You know how easy it is to get distracted from what you were doing by something new and shiny? Well I have been getting distracted by all sorts of things and ended up with a whole load of stuff that needed finishing off! Things vary from just started to practically done, with some things recently cast aside and others have been neglected for months!

I've finished quite a few things in the past couple of days, with plenty more to be sorted!

First up.....

.......A crochet cactus! Pictured here with my coconut Colin. As I can't seem to keep any real plants alive I decided a woolly one would be better! I have killed off three cacti before! I might make a few more cacti when I can afford some more yarn :)

Second up there is a skeleton groom amigurumi, which got included in finishing week because he finishes off the pair of bride and groom! The picture doesn't show it very well but he does have a little top hat on :D Unfortunately his days are numbered as his face is terrible even for me! Another problem is that the groom is significantly smaller than the bride. This is annoying because I thought I had bought the right thickness of wool and although it wasn't expensive I can't afford to go out and buy more :( So I also can't mix up the black wool or the white wool with any other wool I have in my stash - so annoying!!! Perhaps the new wool is the correct sort, the wool previously used came "free" with an expensive craft magazine's crochet issue, so I had assumed this would be the correct sort, it is only marginally thicker but makes a big difference when crocheted up. Really really annoying.

For some reason the damn picture thing won't appear to let me upload any more pics, will have to do the rest in part two!

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Recent sewing

First up is a top I made yesterday, same fabric as the daisy circle skirt, lace trim and ties made from the same material. Very summery! The bust part is from a tutorial by Lex (Contour bust tutorial) and the elasticated back was my own addition because I didn't want to mess about with zips or buttons! I will be doing a version with a zip when I get around to it on my big list of thing to do!

Second is the dress that I made for my mum, isn't the butterfly print cute?!
Just a basic halterneck dress like the other ones, finished all the seams really nicely and even hand sewed the excess material around the elastic casing! Mum has promised me a picture so when I get it I'll post it up to show what the dresses look like when they are on a person as opposed to on my living room floor!