Friday, 24 April 2015

Disappointing days

Some days are just that - disappointing.  From not being able to
sort out a new phone without hassle, to arranging journeys
without getting lost.  And in amongst all
those disappointments comes bad fettle.
Let's be honest here though, that's purely down to me.
So yesterday, after all these small episodes, and being
in one! I took myself in hand.
Number one on the list?  Apologise to the
surgery receptionist. Wasn't really ready for the response - expecting frosty
but received warmth and kindness instead.
The next on the list was to sit quietly and actually look at the day -
one spent mostly in the garden in glorious sunshine
and warmth. Yeah, not so bad then really?
Added into all that, a lovely lunch out with other half.
Catch yourself on, is the phrase that comes to mind.
So, back into the garden this morning, catching glimpses
of gorgeous colour, new growth and bright, fresh green
leaves. All happy bunnies now.

I also realised - calmness is to be recommended - that one of the reasons
for the poor mood was definitely in me.  A little sense of unease, or
maybe unrest?  Or even unsettled.  Whatever, when looked at, and turned around
to see from lots of angles, I am becoming too caught up in 'work'.
Now that very 'work' is actually a joy, but if it's everything then the joy
is hidden away.  Time for action, and time for creativity.
Most people will tell you that direction is a good thing - for a while.
After that, well, it's up to you to find new ways for yourself.
There has been a little bit of shopping from somewhere new and
it's all aimed at making for pleasure and fun.
Sounds good to me.
P xx

Monday, 30 March 2015

Late bloomers

This amaryllis was bought on a whim, when heavily reduced.
Really, I bought it because it came with a beautiful bowl - that
lovely shade of milky green - so wasn't too
bothered if it flowered or not.
There was a tiny strip of green showing at the top of the bulb for so long;
not moving, yet not withering and dying.
Then one day, it just seemed to sprout away, producing three
large stems.  You could fair sit and watch it grow.
And now - beautiful white blooms, so
crazily big and blousy they seem unreal.
Maybe they haven't bloomed at the right time - but who cares?
One of the stems grew so full of flower heads, it began to topple so
I cut it and added it to a jam jar of hazel twigs and daffodils.
What's not to love?
P x

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

A saucerful of Spring

The weekend was not the balmy start to Spring I was expecting.  But today, oh yes! The house is in uproar - plumbers, decorators, carpet fitters, furniture deliveries - and I can cope with it all just so long as I can get outside and breathe clean air free of dust.
The sewing room is also on that list and just waiting for the new (to me) sewing table to be painted and placed.  Already I'm loving the way it feels - so fresh and bright with space to move.  Though as it's a smaller table than the previous one, I'm hoping it won't feel too mean.
Before I started wallpapering I did manage to get this done:

The fabric is from here and it may have been the first time I've used this shop, but I don't think it will be the last!  Speedy delivery and lovely to talk to - immediately understanding the phrase Coco top!

There's a skirt pattern that is constantly popping into my head; I don't wear skirts anymore, but this really appeals.......what's to lose?  I think I'm just going to go for it.

P xx

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Getting through

Sometimes you just get up, make the bed and start the day.
Do that enough times and it seems you stop thinking so much about doing it or not!  The little things in life are beginning to bring joy again, and they soon add up
to a rather large dose of feeling good.
Sewing has been a great help of course, but so has the
bright weather - it may be extremely cold, but
the sun has shone.  Which may, or may not, be more of an indicator
of my mood rather than actually!
But more than that, looking out of the window into the garden
is bringing its own joy - shoots of green, and looking forward to the Spring jobs list.

And just a few colourful flowers.
Finding fabrics in the right colours can be its own
piece of work, but at last
I have found a patterned jersey for the next Coco top

It's from a shop I've not used before, but will very probably do so again.
Having rung to ask about its suitability for the pattern yesterday lunchtime,
they very quickly took the order and it was here for me this morning.
Paying postage is absolutely fine when it makes delivery this quick!
The blog is pretty good too - see here - and I'm definitely
going to take a look at Laren's book too.
Maybe Spring isn't too far away after all.
P xx

Friday, 13 February 2015

Grey and, well, just a little bit dark

It's probably just because of this cold/flu/coughing and spluttering lark
which has been hanging around since New Year's Eve, but this
past week has seemed so very heavy. Sick and tired
of feeling sick and tired!  There has been a few highlights
though.  Just not enough to completely lift the gloom.
Hey ho.  Time to just get on and do it I suppose.
In the cheerier/more energetic phases there has been this:
A second Coco top in a softer, more drapey jersey this
time, but still with the neck adjustment.  Am liking that and it makes
the neck lie so lovely and flat.  The colour is that perfect mix of
navy with a hint of violet and looks great with a cornflower
blue cardigan.  I read some where - but who knows
where! - that the things you should try to make are those
that you look for each morning, disappointed if they're in the
wash.  These tops definitely fall into that particular category.

A new string of bunting flags for the FGT studio in the
 studio colours too.  And those colours really do sing out Spring!
The quote in the top image is one that the owner of the studio
lives by - she has based her whole business on it in reality.
The studio is a definite help in those
gloomy moments - all that colour and enthusiasm shines out
like the sun.

Packaging for the notes and pattern for a new workshop
started last week - pyjama bottoms.  The first two
participants were a mother and daughter and it
was great fun.  The patterns were totally
adjusted to make sure of a good fit and then they could take
it away to make as many pairs as they like!
It's probably time to start thinking about the garden, new
patterns for lighter weight tops and maybe even a
pair of trousers too.
But not today.
Today is about tidying, throwing away, and keeping the fire going.
P x


Thursday, 5 February 2015


It seems I'm on a bit of a roll....
After the Coco top success it was time to tackle another
knit fabric - this one is much finer and more suited to
The same approach to sampling stitches, tension, sewing needles etc
was used again here.  But....I ended up using a different stitch altogether
and the only thing that stayed the same was the needle.
Looking through the machine manual, I noticed an
overlock stitch and gave that a go.  Brilliant.
It doesn't look exactly like a real overlocked seam, but
perfect for a pair of pyjamas. And as there's a workshop
this coming weekend making pyjama bottoms it was also
time to have it all fresh in my mind!
Just right for sitting watching tonight's Sewing Bee.
P xx

Friday, 30 January 2015

And here it is

Because everyone was saying how easy and quick
the Tilly and the Buttons Coco dress is to
make, then obviously I assumed I'd be the one
who couldn't quite manage it.
Nothing could have been further from the truth.
It was cut out late one afternoon before
preparing dinner then sewn up today in a couple
of hours.
To be honest, I probably did more practice sewing
than I would normally, but then stretch knits are
just a little bit scary aren't they?  Not any more it seems.
There are so many tips everywhere and it really is
just a case of seeing how your machine sews when
faced with that stretchy fabric!
So, there was a Jersey needle, a twin needle, triple stretch stitch
and my machine's own stretch fabric stitch.
Some things were great and others not so much.
But all of it was great practice. I think there could very well
be a few of these hanging in the wardrobe
over the next few weeks.

The eagle-eyed of you will have realised that the neck
looks nothing like the original pattern.
What can I say?  Some of us have narrow shoulders
and wide hips so rather trying to alter the pattern
in any way during construction or cutting out, I
opted to add a small pleat/tuck at the neckline, both
front and back.
And do you know what? It works!
P x

Sunday, 25 January 2015

That Coco dress

You know the one - it's pretty much everywhere you
look on Pinterest and on almost every sewing blog out there.
So although it has been swirling around, it hasn't become part
of the 'must make soon' list here.
Until yesterday, when I did a 1-2-1 workshop
with a lovely woman who was making this as her first proper
step into dressmaking.  We first met when she
came for the Sewing Machine Basics workshop and she has
so much enthusiasm it rubs off on everyone
around her.  Including me.
It feels as though my makes lately have either been homewares - cushions,
quilts, bunting etc - or dresses for small people.  But I really want to make this
for me now, with the added bonus of looking for some fabric thrown in.
After coming home last night I also realised that it was time for a cover for
the tablet as I'm increasingly taking it outside with me:
This fabric has all the colours I love right now, only the green missing.  So that went on the inside
in a lovely flannel fabric which has been sitting in the basket for way too long.
As the old camera purse had been taken by one of the small people for her new phone,
it was also time to make a new one of those too:

And yes, they are definitely not in the dressmaking category,
but very much in the 'let's make while we can' category!
Although it's still January, I'm sensing a real change in the light levels and that is always
 A Good Thing in this neck of the woods!
P xx

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

New studio

Unfortunately not mine!  But I still get to use it so that's ok.  The French Grey Tales workshops are usually held upstairs, above the shop, but Layla (whose shop it is) has naturally
concentrated on the downstairs section first - paint is the core of her business
and drives it - but now she is putting
all her considerable efforts into the studio area upstairs.
We're talking about walls coming down, new electrics, decorators
and so much more.
To say it's a little exciting is a whopper of an understatement.
All those windows making such a light-filled working space.

All the walls will have electric points and beautifully smooth paintwork.

The mini kitchen area is about to have its own little makeover too.

And this is what I've been busy with in my own sewing room, using a
mingo and grace pattern.  It was a download and yes, it did have to be stuck together, but at least it was layered so it was possible to print just the size required.
This one is fully lined and I'm not quite sure where it's destined for right now,
but sometimes it's better to do what you love without any real outcome in mind.
All of the fabric was sitting in the stash, so no outlay there, but
I do need to replenish my supply of zips.  One day you look and there hundreds,
then there are.......none!
But watching the FGT studio take shape (with its huge cutting table!)
has made me realise that the storage in my own workroom
could be better.  Much better. And soon.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

The joy of a new coffee mug

Especially when a) it's a present, and b) it's the perfect colour and size.
And of course it can only be used by you as it has your
initial on!
Hope there was something joyful for everyone this year,
P xx

Friday, 2 January 2015

Making the time

It really isn't enough to know that it takes time, time has to be found and used.
Who knows when the time won't be there?
So, here is what I made time for this morning:

Nothing momentous, or worth shouting about, but it was fun to make
and came about quite organically - picking up
a piece of fabric, deciding to use some
embroidery threads and looking out of the window.
The sky this morning reminded me so much of this fabric and the
rest just came along for the ride.
No real resolutions, but I'd like to try to do
something for each month.  Let's see.
P xx