Tuesday, 16 April 2019

My Very Own

It has been a long time since I have posted a sewing project that I have truly enjoyed and got stuck into(apart from Meg's hoodie). My sewing machine has been broken since the start of March so I have been plodding on by using either Heidi's simple machine or by borrowing a friends while she was on holiday. Add that to the fact that I have moved all of my sewing stuff to another room and it makes for quite disjointed sewing moments. 

This blouse was from the Sewing Bee book Series 3. My friend and I swapped books for a few months and this is what I chose to make.

I chose this fabric all on my very own - and paid for it - which is rare for me when I am usually either sponsored fabric or given fabric by other people who do not want it anymore. I made a pair of marigold trousers last year and this blouse is made from the fabric I had left over. 

I thought the drape of the fabric would be ideal for this sleeveless collared blouse.

I took about 7cm off the length but fit-wise, I think I could have taken 2cm off each shoulder to give a more flattering shape.The collar is not interfaced because it is supposed to be soft but I think I would use a lightweight one next time to avoid it collapsing on the collar roll so much. Luckily, because of the drape of the fabric it looks fine.

The collar and the sleeves are finished with bias binding but I didn't fancy messing about making my own out of the fabric scraps (not without my regular machine anyway) so I used a ready made one I had in my cupboard. 

The collar is large but I like it when worn with a cardigan because  it shows the shape of the collars off well.

This pattern is definitely worth another visit when I have some more left overs to use up. I enjoyed wearing it today because it is so effortless to wear with jeans and a cardy. 

Have a good week. Jo xxxx

Thursday, 11 April 2019


Dancing - for a local charity in town which has a Big Busk of local performers all collecting for vulnerable and homeless people in the community. I am in a Tribal Belly dance group and I must say, it is as much fun as it looks!

Making - A new shell top from the most wonderful Michael Millar fabric

Getting - The keys for our new house once the doors were fitted. I made up a couple of key rings from four spare crochet squares I had left over from a baby blanket.

Eating - We dug out our fondue set. The children absolutely loved it!

Building - Starting to assemble our kitchen units. Sooooo many little pieces. I labelled each pile meticulously.

Wearing - Still wearing Dickies trousers most non work days!

Feeling - heartbroken that our dog Bruce had a seizure and had to be put down at the end of March. Our girls were devastated, they loved him to bits. I had grown to like him too, we had done all the hard puppy work and he had just become the dog we wanted him to be. He was only just two, it was too soon for him to go. There is a huge hole left in our family. I never knew this was what losing a pet felt like.

Buying - A subscription to Pom Pom magazine to cheer myself up.

Loving - That our girls built an impromptu table from flat packed kitchen packaging and set out a picnic while we carried on working.

Avoiding - Cleaning the cooker and grill...again!

Thinking - About a big idea to change how we live in our current three story house. Room changes, furniture moving and major de-cluttering is on my mind. The lounge is now a guest room and the contents of my sewing cupboard is alarming when all out on the spare bed but all is fine because it is about to move to its new home in the office...

Disliking - Disturbing all of our rubbish behind the sofa, under the beds and inside the cupboards.

Enjoying - A little Easter decor for our kitchen window

Sewing - A quick T-shirt from a £4 remnant of fabric on my overlocker and loving this sleeve length.

Fixing - So much broken stuff. Our house seems to be full of it at the moment.

 Deciding - Finally to take my sewing machine to the professionals. I have replaced all of the footplate parts which I damaged sewing with rubber swimwear elastic on a swimsuit toile about a month ago but no joy - off to the menders. More sewing will be done on Heidi's simple Necchi machine like the T-shirt because I simply can't live without sewing, it is not humanly possible for me.

Looking - Forward to happier times in April.

Sunday, 7 April 2019

Toe Over the Line

Following on from a post on Spring which then proceeded to leave us all shivering, I thought it was time to get my latest pair of cosy socks over the finish line.

These socks have been on the needles for a long time, too long for me to actually remember when I started them but that is OK. Socks are a background knit for me. I like to have a pair in a little project bag just sitting in my basket. They are an ideal project for picking up to take to work during breaks, waiting for an appointment or a few rows are sometimes done while waiting for a cake to cook. 

This is my second rib pair. I really like this pattern from Colourful life. They are so comfy in the way that they grip to your feet giving your sole, and indeed your soul, a little hug. On Friday night I was determined to finish the toe and pop them on.

The yarn is by Stylecraft and this colourway is from the Blogger All Stars range. This one was compiled by Lucy at Attic 24 called red pots. I liked it on the ball but wished there was more red and less of the coral colour on the actual knitting.

I am rather pleased that the yarn comes off the ball in even colour runs making a perfectly matching pair of socks. 

Next up, I would like to make a longer DK pair to wear inside my farm boots which turn over at the top. I'm off to find a pattern and have a rummage through my yarn stash.

Have a good week. Jo xxx

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Springing into Life

We have been waiting for Spring. I have really been waiting for Spring. The light nights, the brighter days, drier weather. It just makes everything so much easier. 

We really need the grass to grow so that we can stop buying sheep feed! We have two main fields which are sheep proof where we let one grow while they graze the other. Up until now they have been nibbling at a bit of everything so we have to supplement this with bought food. The grass is greener every weekend we go.

We are not lambing this year. The ram was sold and we have a flock of older ewes and last years ewe lambs. It was so stressful last year trying to do lambing when we were not living on the farm. We live eight miles away and with paid jobs, children and our normal lives;it was all a bit too much to try and lead two lives in two different locations. It seemed silly to think that we could, but my dad was so ill last Spring we did it for him really. I think he will be looking down and thinking that we have made the right choice. When we move there lambing will resume. Natural flora is abundant at the farm and it really makes me want to live there right now.

The Spring weather changes our outlook on building a house. It can be so depressing in the Winter on a wet, cold day when everything is muddy and dirty. The sunshine sends energy and feelings of positivity even during the dreariest of menial jobs.

Work continues clearing the yard, fields and sheds even though it was a little wetter this week. Four generations of my family's rubbish is getting smaller every weekend. Tasks inside the house have slowed down now that we have been working in the spring sunshine. But there will of course be wet days to go inside and build the kitchen piece by piece.

These succulents grow in the stone walls around the farmyard. I remember picking them as a child, poking a hole in the centre and threading a primrose head through the hole to float them in water. My nan used to let me put the bowl in the middle of the table while we ate Sunday dinner.

The girls wandered off for an hour or so this weekend and I found them pond dipping. They were so excited to see that the pool at the bottom of the field was full of tadpoles - a sure sign of Spring. Big Sis doesn't mind touching them but her sister is not so keen.

We found four colonies of ladybirds on a piece of board when we were removing the wood from a shed. One ladybird looks cute, but I must say, these looked slightly more creepy.

How are you 'Springing' into life?

Jo xxx

Errata: These photos were from this week. It was sunny this morning and now it is snowing!! 

Sunday, 31 March 2019


It feels a long time since I have made something that I have been really chuffed with. I make things all the time and am mostly satisfied and happy with what I make. 

Today is Mothering Sunday in the UK and my family asked me what I wanted to do. I asked for a few hours sewing time without interruptions. I made this top in two very pleasurable hours this afternoon.

I was even more chuffed because Megan loved it and wanted to wear it straight away. 

My day got better as I took some terrific photographs;not always easy in the winter months. Today signals the time when I can get camera happy to take much better blog photos for a good few months.

The top is a hash of an Ottobre top I have made twice before. It has a zip placket but I always make a mess of it. Trying to sew a placket and a zip in jersey is a tricky business. I altered the pattern to make a keyhole with a button loop instead. I drafted a facing for the inside to make this possible.

The fabric was kindly given to me by my Auntie who had made a cape for her grand daughter and had no use for the leftovers. I even managed to use her hood which she had cut out and sewn ready but didn't end up using. There was just enough fabric to squeeze out a front pocket. The reverse of this fabric is as good as the quilted front so I used it to make the cuffs and hood band.

I am really chuffed with this project all round and so is my little girl. I can't think of a better way to spend Mothering Sunday than sewing for my family.

Jo xxxxx

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Button Jar

Just like the bottom of a cereal packet where all the small bits gather, my button jar seems to do the same. I don't even remember buying these. I think sometimes when you buy a mixed bag for crafts, there are a large proportion of the small ones. In reality they don't get used in my garment making, they are just too small.

I decided to make a set of jewelery inspired  by the colours of spring. 

Rummaging through my jewelery box I found some fish hook earring findings and metal stems. There was also a pretty packet of seed beads.

It made a lovely set of earrings. Unplanned, I made a necklace because it was half made in the craft box. The wire had the clasp all fitted and some odd beads threaded. I don't know where it was from but I randomly added some buttons. 

Really pleased with my little bit of happy up cycling. 

Have a good week. Jo xxxx

PS. Apologies if I flashed up a knitted item blogpost. I was missing a photo and clicked the wrong one to publish. Whoops!

Friday, 22 March 2019

Something out of Nothing

There has been a bit of a mission here lately to use up some of our unwanted stuff. There is a new Guide badge book out and my Big girl and I had mixed feelings about it. It is supposed to reflect the modern girl but we were left a bit wanting on the creative side of things.

Rightly, gone are the days where girls are only expected to cook, sew, hostess, flower arrange etc. I was quite a tom boy as a teenager and the guide leader had to specially order the farming and woodwork badges that I achieved in the 1980's. Now badges include: vlogging, your personal brand, campaigning, mixology for non-alcoholic cocktails! To name a few. We were not sure what to think about them. 

We agreed that girls shouldn't think that their role is solely to be a housewife but in our house of creative makers we all like to be engineers, problem solvers and skill builders.

After much discussion about feminism, Big Sis chose the upcycling badge in order to shoe horn in her own interests. She is a keen recycler with green credentials. She decided to turn a shirt into a summer skirt. She had watched the Sewing Bee episode 5 where reusing fabrics was the key theme. 

This was her inspiration as well as a shirt skirt that was now too small, see the tutorial link on the left hand side. This shirt was a wonderfully soft Boden linen mens shirt but it had a tear hole in a prominent place on the sleeve. 

She removed the pocket, and cut it just under the sleeves. She made her own elastic casing and decided to keep the shirt hem shape. 

To add to it she spotted a piece of cotton lace to trim the edge. She reattached the pocket. The look on her face when she thought this was a completely original idea was priceless.

Next she went through her clothes looking for things that she could change. She found a chewing gum coloured t-shirt and remembered she had been given a tie dye kit at Christmas. She dyed the top with her dad and was really pleased with the results.

We love having these skills in our family, it makes us who we are. She is hoping to get her upcycling badge next week and has started on an art apron next. Whittling was a close second so she might start that badge in the summer.

Any thoughts on the new Guide badges? Do you remember one you worked particularly hard on?

Jo xxx