Little thoughts

Little thoughts: Knitting baby clothes shouldn't be this complicated!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

These past few months I've been mostly making...

This little person!

We're really excited and scared and hopeful and overwhelmed by the whole thing! I've decided that I will try and make some of the soft furnishes for the baby's room but I'm not going to sweat it if I don't get it all done. I'm super busy in work as got a temporary promotion so everything has all come at once as it usually does. 

I'm just moving into my 17th week tomorrow, the baby will be due in January so I've knitted a hat in super soft baby alpaca as it's not hairy so there's no loose fibres to worry about. I'm going on a sock knitting course next month so will be able to put what I've learnt into practice and knit baby socks. I've already taught myself how to knit booties thanks to Ravelry but am still stumped on how to knit a baby cardigan as have no idea how to use circular needles and when I've tried I end up in a mess! The rest of the clothes will be bought because I'm not super woman and I've decided to cut myself some slack. 

As for maternity clothes, thankfully my three sisters had pooled their maternity wear together so my sister and I got to share it as one of my sisters is pregnant too! Our mum is having kittens as were only three months apart for giving birth! Our dad is just keeping calm as usual and making sure we're both getting enough to eat and drink and taking all the right supplements! Even mum was impressed he knew about such things! But back to the clothes, I've yet to make anything for myself, I'm considering a simple jersey dress as it's my new best friend along with leggings and free flowing tops! I know! Leggings! I always swore after being a child in the 90s leggings were firmly going to stay in my past but they are sooooo comfortable as I can pull them up past my bump! 

We won't be finding out the sex of the baby before it's born as think it will spoil some of the magic for us so anything I make will either be in a soft grey or bright colours.  So if anyone has any recommendations of simple maternity wear patterns or simple knitted baby cardigans or anything non gendered I can make then I'd be most grateful. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Back to sewing

I've got this week off work, we've just had a new boiler fitted, bliss! So I thought I'd take the opportunity to get back into sewing clothes for myself. I've spent the past two days, well day and a half I suppose, making a modified Sorbetto as suggested to me in my last post. Instead of using the bird print fabric I used the Liberty peacock print voile I've been saving since my last visit to Goldhawk road. I've decided that I'm going to try and deplete my fabric stash and that no fabric is 'too precious' to cut.

I decided I wanted an inverted pleat at the front of the top instead of the full pleat it's just at the neckline. I've tried my hand at tulip shaped sleeves and I learnt to make my own bias binding out of necessity but am still bewildered as to how to make it in a continuous loop. (I think I need to see if I can find a video on You Tube or something as the diagrams look great until I have the fabric in front of me!) I'm proud of myself for getting back into the sewing habit even if I did cut a few corners *cough* machined on the bias binding on the hem on the side I should have hand stitched *cough*. Despite those misdemeanours though, it's a top I'll be happy to wear.

This is it hung up in the glorious sunshine we're having at the minute. I've already decided that I'm going to make another Sorbetto variant using the Liberty mushroom print voile I bought on my first excursion to Goldhawk road and to make another using the bird print voile. I'm also going to make a Prima pattern top I've made before but will endeavour to make a bow sleeve as I've seen a tutorial on Pinterest that's very good to use another voile I have that's an Anna Marie Horner print.

Once I've done all of that I've got a pair of high waisted button up trousers to make myself! I found on eBay a seller who does them like the old cloth kits that were available in the 70s and 80s. The kit comes with all the fabric pre cut, the tailors tacks in place, the tread, buttons, even the interfacing has been ironed on, and most importantly the instructions! I'll trace all the pattern pieces before I start sewing and altering so if anything goes wrong I can start again with new fabric or just make myself another pair!

I'm hoping to make myself all these items in time for our holiday at the end of June. I'm not setting it as a target or a challenge as I don't want to hinder myself this early on in getting back to sewing. I want to enjoy the experience as much as I can without the pressure of a deadline. It would be wonderful if I could get them all done in time for our camping trip but I'm not going to beat myself up about it if I don't.

So what do you think? What summer sewing plans do you have?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Hoping to be a happy camper

Quite literally! Last year we went glamping for our honeymoon and I loved it! Which surprised me I can tell you. I'm not high maintenence all the time, don't get me wrong I do love glamour and sparkle as much as I can, but can be happy with my hair in a pony tail jeans and shirt combo. So this year we've decided to do it properly and get a tent and go camping! Don't believe me? Here's the trial pitch of our tent

We snuck up my father in laws and put it up in his back garden as thought it would be big enough. But as you can see it's a bit of a squeeze. So I've been happy with this new project squirrelling away things as I see them from my list that I made using good old Pinterest! - on a side note, I may need to go to addicts anonymous for that addiction- Then I got to thinking, "whatever will I wear?" And so my crafty little brain has been whirring. I've treated myself to some new hair accessories (as let's face it, sometimes I may not have chance to wash and dry my hair properly) so I bought some beautiful headscarves from Vintage Mamma on Etsy and as a bad hair day/cold night saver a turban from By Frankii on Etsy.

My favourite butterfly headscarf that I nearly lost this morning as I ran for the bus! Thankfully hubby went looking for it as he left after me. Nearly in tears I can tell you!

My lovely kitty print scarf that I've yet to wear, I also have a rose print one but no photo yet.

And last but not least my turquoise turban with sparkly brooch, feel all 20s flapper in this!

So that's the head gear sorted, now the clothes. I bought a meter, and it's a generous width, go cotton voile from John Lewis the other day in this gorgeous bird and flower print and am thinking of making a top with it. I'd like it to be a style I can wear tucked in or out as love my high waist trousers.

It's lovely and soft and drape-y. I don't think I have enough for the Colette Taffy blouse and probably not enough for that new vintage inspired PDF pattern I've seen doing the rounds on the blogosphere sadly. Any suggestions? I'll be trawling through my pattern stash this weekend as have next week off to have a new boiler fitted! Hurray! Hot water whenever I want!!! First world problem I know, and even more hysterical when you consider that I'll be paying goid money to pretend I'm homeless...well, we're not that flush and it means we can have a cheap holiday, but still the irony isn't lost on me!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Shameless selfies or the recording of my forays into vintage hair and make up

In an attempt at making myself feel better I've tried to make myself look better. I've always loved old Hollywood glamour and the thrifty stylings of the 1940s and the fabulous 1950s hence why my wedding was vintage inspired. Getting my hair and make up done for the big day and doing the research for it beforehand reminded me it's fun to play with make up! So here's a quick run through of some of those play times!

These photos will be in no particular order, this is me the other day, just in from work. I've used an elasticated hair band from Primark in the sale for £1 and tucked my hair in all the way round. I pulled a piece of hair either side of my head around the elastic first and pinned in then tucked in the rest. It's quick and simple and gives a nod to the Gatsby glamour of the 20s. It's also good if your hair won't cooperate or if you're pushed for time as it's quick.

Here I'm wearing the fascinator I won from Bit on the Side - Vintage Inspired Fascinators who can be found on Facebook and Etsy. I've done a full face of make up, lining my lips and using lip brush to put on lipstick, I've used Arch de Triumph eyebrow pen, blusher, cats eye eyeliner and highlighter. And teamed it all with my 50s screw on earrings. 

Here's the fascinator again. I really should take photos outside but the weather has been prohibitive recently. The top is from Voodoo Vixen and feels fantastic on. I treated myself to another top from them here

I love the little hearts and the sheer bits with red polka dots. Again I've done a full face of makeup and I've put my pearl pins I made in my hair. I made the pins by threading wire through the bead and then wrapping the wire round the end of a bobby pin.

I was chuffed to find different sizes of pearl beads, again a bargain refashion from Primark sale. At the moment I have more beads than pins so will be getting some more pins shortly. I made little sets of these at Christmas as a present.

The pearls here are all the same size but I personally prefer the mixed sizes to wear in my own hair. 

This has been an interesting post for me as when I've looked at these photos again I've realised I'm not sure I'm really smiling and I look tired. If you follow me on Instagram then you'll know I'm doing the 100 days of happiness challenge whereby you have to take a photo every day for 100 days of something that makes you happy. It's been an interesting experiment as I thought 'hey, this'll be easy. One photo a day' boy I was wrong. It's not that I can't find even one small thing that makes me happy, but it's usually something I can't really capture on film. Then there's the whole thing I have of not wanting to repeat things and not wanting to show too many things I consider as 'mundane'. I've come to realise that no matter how mundane I may think people may label it, if it makes me happy, it makes me happy. That's all that matters.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

It's been a long time

Life's been tough the last year or so and something had to give and sadly it was this blog. I think I'm ready now to start blogging again, but there's going to be some changes round here. For starters I think I'll try the short and sweet approach, so you'll probably see more post but they'll be a lot shorter compared to what I used to write. There will be less sewing posts. I'm sorry folks but my sewing mojo has gone for now. At one point I felt a crushing pressure to turn out home sewn clothes and it's killed my joy for sewing for the moment. I think I'll go back to just showing you guys the random stuff I make to keep me happy and my forays into teaching myself vintage hair and make up. There will probably be a lot of outfit posts as I love dressing up still and value the opinions of those of you who followed me regularly and hope some of you may like what I'm wearing and feel inspired to go out and buy, sew, whatever. I'm guessing that not all of you will like the change but at this point I'm trying to keep myself happy. Hopefully in the future I'll be able to sew myself some outfits.

Take care everyone, speak soon! Xx

Sunday, July 21, 2013

And so I'm married

After much virtual prodding from Allison from A Fabric Fixation, here's the ins and outs of the wedding! 

I didn't make my wedding dress and I'm glad.  I tried to knit a bolero for the day in lace knit and got bored halfway through the back and in any case it was too hot to wear anything like that, so I think if I'd tried to make the dress not only would it have been stressful but I would have run the risk of falling out of love with it and giving up.  I bought my dress online after seeing it on Pinterest.  I LOVE Pinterest.  I spend hours on there if I'm not careful, but I have to be thankful for the beautiful things I've found on there.

This is my plum coloured wedding dress, copy write
This dress was cheap as chips but made me feel a million dollars with the underskirt and seamed stockings and my Irregular Choice shoes, even if I did have to take the shoes off as soon as we'd been married!  It was so hot my feet swelled and I'm not used to high heels of that vertiginous height and had to admit defeat.

My bouquet was the talking point of the day and I was very sad to dismantle it yesterday so I could start giving back the brooches to those who had lent them to me.  I have to warn you though if you're thinking of making your own brooch bouquet for your wedding, lift some weights first.  Seriously.  These things weigh a LOT.  However, they do come in useful in crowd control!

My hair and make up went perfectly, my stylist for the day Sophie was so excited, I think she had more enthusiasm than I did at first as I was just nervous.  She made sure I got the look I wanted and we were both thrilled with the results.  She's now got her own page on Facebook if you want to check her out under the name Rusty Cherry, she was working for Emily Rose Vintage at the time though.  I cannot recommend her enough as she talked me through everything giving me hints and tips so that I could try and recreate the look in my own time. I say try as I'm a bit useless as I'm still learning!

Here's the three taster shots I've had so far from my lovely photographer Kate Carrington:

Me and J copy write Kate Carrington photography

My beautiful if painful Irregular Choice heels and J's stripy socks!  Copy write Kate Carrington Photography

Me looking out the window at our beautiful grade II listed venue. Copy write Kate Carrington Photography
I'm so very happy with the shots I've seen so far and can't wait to go through the rest.  I know I was there and everything but she does such wonderful things with light and composition, I just beam every time I see these!

I have such happy memories of the day; I didn't fall, everyone turned up, the weather was perfect and the food was delicious!  I've had nothing but compliments about how relaxed the day was, which is what J and I wanted.  Nothing too fussy, just family and a few choice friends to share our day with good food and good drinks and fun and laughter.  Speaking of good drinks...I as the bride got to have a VERY special welcome drink!  C'mon see who can guess what I had waiting for me??  Have you guessed yet? 

A margarita!!!!  Woo Hoo!  Everyone else had Pimms or a non alcoholic version of Pimms and I had the lovely lime, tequila, salt mix that is a margarita!  Can you tell I like being spoilt?

And then we went on our glamping honeymoon.  If you've never tried it go for it.  I'd never been camping before but this was bliss.  It was a bell tent with a double bed in it and furniture and enough room to stand up in and a little stove and everything!  It was so peaceful and luxurious...yes you read that right, luxurious!  We were both so relaxed and had such a wonderful time, it really was the Seventh Heaven it goes by the name of!

Outside of the tent looking in

Inside of the tent looking out

view of the tea light chandelier
I would go back there in a heartbeat.

So that's it.  I'll have to show you pictures of the bouquet and cakes another time as I didn't get photos of them myself and am waiting for pictures from friends and family who attended.  Thank you all for your lovely comments leading up to the wedding, you all kept me going as sometimes I thought I would loose the plot!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Crafting a Wedding

I'm finding that having tried my hand at almost every craft so far has been a blessing in disguise as it means I can turn my hand to having a go at making lots of things for the wedding.  I'm not sure if I've said it here before but I'm not having real flowers at the wedding as although I love them, they're expensive and I have the issue of a couple of hay fever sufferers coming to the wedding and I don't want the issue of pollen staining clothes or risk them drooping if it's a scorching hot day (finger's and toes crossed everyone for a fine day!) so I thought, if I'm not having a real flower bouquet or decorations why should the button holes be real flowers?

I talked to J about this and asked him what sort of thing he'd like to wear, I'm nice like that sometimes and consult him on something to do with our wedding! I gave him a few different options and he chose to have a needle felted flower in the same colours as my outfit.  It was the first time I'd needle felted a stem for a flower, but think it's turned out well.

Dark purple petals with a jade green silk self covered button as the centre and mid green felt for the stem and leaf with a light green for the veining on the leaf
I'm really chuffed with it, so chuffed in fact that I thought I'd make everyone at the wedding a button hole if they wanted one...I know I know what on earth was I thinking?  It must be the endorphins...

So with this rod for my own back I made my three nieces a pink felt flower each and I've been told they want them on hair clips.  I'm under strict instructions you understand, they've all got very specific ideas, my eldest niece (8 years old) on hearing the news that we are getting married announced 'I know the exact dress I'm going to wear!' THEN said congratulations.  Fashionista in the making methinks.  So all three are wearing the same dress, I did wonder whether there would be fights over who looks best in it but apparently they're having different shoes and cardigans to differentiate themselves from each other and that it's not a problem.  So nice to be told off by an 8 year old, 5 year old and 3 year old...

Three little button holes all in a row. They're a light sparkly pink, each with white stamen and self cover buttons in white and pink but each button is different.
Alas I cannot acclaim fame for the crocus in the background of the photo, this was taken in my soon to be mother-in-law's garden.  No one else has decided on an outfit yet so I don't know what colours to make them.  I get the sinking feeling that they may all want one at once...

I've also made good progress on my bouquet.  J and I sat round the table one day me wrapping the wire round the brooches, him wrapping florist tape round the wire; it was all very romantic...and then gathered them all together and popped them in a vase for safekeeping until I get the rest of the brooches and wire and tape them up, here's a sneaky peaky!

A mass of big shiny sparkly brooches in a vase
If nothing else it's a good discipline keeper as if anyone gets out of line they're getting a knock on the head from this baby and take it from me it's a fair weight!  I'm pleased with the overall effect, I've just got to get the last few pieces in and then tie a ribbon round the stems to keep them all in place and give me something non slip to hold as the tape is quite shiny.

If anyone wants a photo tutorial on how to do this bouquet I can make one or you can check out the ones on Pinterest. There's a few different options you can go for. I've probably chosen the most time hungry method but that was because I wanted the brooches on individual stems, you could get a Styrofoam ball and cover it in wadding and fabric and pin the brooches to it or ball up some wadding and do the same but at the risk of it being a funny shape if you don't evenly distribute the weight of the brooches. I've also seen people intermix real or faux flowers with brooches which is really pretty too.

I've started to think about the finer grooming details and had my nails done professionally for only the second time in my life yesterday.  I'm a wuss, the first time I had my nails done the girl sliced my finger open with the nail file and I bled all over the table and the polish smudged before I'd even left the shop so didn't want a repeat performance. I also find it hard to talk to hairdressers and beauticians as I find it just so weird to have someone doing something rather intimate like washing my hair or holding my hand and asking me questions that normally someone doing something so intimate would know.  It's also that I can sometimes tell they're bored with what they're asking me about and don't want the answers and I know I would bore them with things I'm interested in as hair and nails aren't something I usually take a great deal of care over and feel a bit of a fraud.  I also have this thing that when I have my hair washed by someone else I find it so relaxing that I'm on the brink of falling asleep at the sink. 

Take yesterday for example, I end up in the back room of the nail bar as that's the only free space with the young nail technician and she's perfectly pleasant and polite but can tell she's just going through the motions and answering almost every answer I give her to her questions about the wedding with "that's nice" in that sort of high sing song voice you only reserve for when you're doing something else and not really paying attention.  I almost laugh out loud!  I'm slightly nervous as we're one on one with no other distractions and I'm dying of embarrassment as I'm 30 and this is only the second time I'm getting my nails done and I have no idea about what I should ask for or anything. I am umming and ahhing about explaining that I'm perfectly happy to sit in silence if she wants, until she asks me whether I have my dress.  I tell her it's purple. I tell her it's 1950s and it's got a lighter purple underskirt.  Her face is amazing! She's suddenly giving me all her attention and realises that I'm not going to be some bridezilla telling her my nails have to be done in this specific colour because it won't match the groomsmen's sashes or that it won't match the table decorations and things go on well from there, here's the result

Grey green sparkly nails
 It's a gel nail treatment thingy they tell me will last 2-3 weeks, the girl even explained I could go to the chemist and get the chemical myself to soak it off, she was so nice to me and my nails are perfect!  I booked to have them done again the day before the wedding!  I'm so glad I got over my little phobia with small chat and found a common ground!  I may even be brave enough to go and have my eyebrows threaded...wish me luck!

And just so that you don't think that all I talk about is the wedding, I've knitted some wrist warmers from a book my lovely friend in work gave me as a present 'for putting up with her' she said. It's a really comprehensive knitting book for beginners, although there are a couple of instructions on bobbling when knitting that I think I may need to have someone show me as even with the idiot proof instructions I can't get my head around it!

Two tone purple wrist warmers
Knitting with smaller needles now doesn't frighten me like it did at first and I've learnt how to do a rib stitch and they match and fit and everything!!!  I'm working on another pair for my soon to be mother-in-law but think I've knitted the colours the wrong way round to what she wanted so I'm going to knit another lot up and give her the choice.

My other non wedding related make was paper related. I was told once by my sister that if someone makes 365 paper origami stars and gives them as a present, the receiver gets a year of good luck according to Chinese culture.  As she's in desperate need of good luck I sat down last Sunday whilst watching two films and made 365 paper stars after getting a refresher on how to fold them off the internet.  I had sore thumbs from pushing the paper out I can tell you!  Especially since I started off using a rather thick white paper. I soon learned my lesson and found the thinnest paper I had in the house that wasn't tissue paper and carried on from there. At this point I will mention that I didn't cut the strips by hand, I used a guillotine and could cut five sheets of paper at a time.  Otherwise I would still be cutting them out now!

Here's the jar of good luck
multicoloured fluorescent stars in a jar
 It reduced her to tears which wasn't what it was for, but I've heard tell that she's very happy with it and my niece has made it very clear that she would like sole ownership of it because it's pretty!!

Today I shall be hand delivering the wedding invites that are too close to post, saves money and would be silly sending our parents their invites in the post when they only live up the road.  I'll probably get told off for wasting time and paper giving them one anyway...can't do right for doing wrong I guess!  The only things left now you'll all be glad to hear is getting the final quote for the food, doing a trial run of setting up the flowers for the background for photos, going through a trial run with my hair and make up and then paying for hiss!  And of course the big day itself. So things should be getting back to normal round here pretty soon and I can show you more sewing and knitting things that aren't wedding related.  Hurray!