Sunday, 30 June 2013

What a difference a day makes!

I have been thinking for a while now that I could really do with a new handbag. I completely love my old one which I made pre-blog, but it is a bit tired, no longer comes up clean when I wash it, and doesn't fit my new handbag requirements. You see, we have just passed a major milestone and no longer have a Small in nappies. That means I don't need to tote a nappy bag around with me everywhere. I can leave a change of clothes in the car and just carry some wet wipes, drinks and snacks.


So the new handbag has to be bigger and have more sections and pockets  - one for Giant Baby's stuff and one for mine...

A couple of nights ago I got a second wind about 9.30 and thought I'd just have a wee look in the trunk where I keep the fabric stash and see if I couldn't find something I liked.  I drew a little sketch of the new bag, worked out how much material I would need and then had a rummage.

I found these: on the right an offcut of upholstery fabric in gorgeous bright colours which came from my sister-in-law's mum (an upholsterer who passes on the best of her offcuts to me and makes me a very happy girlie indeed). On the left some IKEA cotton for the lining. I like a bright lining, it gives you a lift every time you open your bag.

I ironed and I measured and I snipped, and before long I had cut out all of the outside fabric. It was a bit late by then, so reluctantly I paused.

The next day I ironed and I pinned and I sewed and I ironed and then....

my machine broke. It started tangling and trying to chew the fabric, and the Smalls got hungry and whingey, and I had to make the tea and then go out, and I felt very sad about my poor half-made bag, and my poor sewing machine, and the 5000 miles between me and my nice sewing machine man.
I posted my sad tale on face book and had some good advice from fellow sewing friends. I took a step back and a deep breath, waited for the Smalls to be safely asleep in their beds and got J to hold the light so I could actually see inside the sewing machine. I little bit of detective work later and we had it detangled and running like a dream. By now it was again later than it ought to have been so reluctantly I left the half sewn pieces and went to bed.
This morning, a new day dawned, and armed with my newly fixed machine I pinned and I sewed and I ironed and I thought and I sewed and I ironed and... Ta Da! My gorgeous new bag which I completely love and is exactly what I hoped it would be. 

It is bright and beautiful with a pocket on the front, and two sections on the inside, a big one and a small one.

There is an inside pocket and a magnetic snap fastener (not used one of these before - very cool!).

Now I want so fill it with goodies and go out on the town to show it off. I love it!

I think I am going to call it my Extremely Useful Smiley Bag.


Monday, 24 June 2013

Tarn-tastic Ta Da!

Ta Da! 

I am totally and completely chuffed about how lovely my new bathmat is. It is made from the t shirt yarn (tarn) that I made the other day.

I used 15 mm needles to knit it up in simple garter stitch. I tried crocheting it, but the biggest hook available was 12 mm and not really big enough. Anyway I like the simplicity of the rows - like fields of flowers for cutting.

30 stitches per row, as many rows as each ball would allow (although an even number each time to keep the colour changes all on one side).

I put an edge on each side because it seemed like a good idea, and actually it has stabilised the stretchiness which can get out of hand because it is quite heavy.

The success of the edge inspired me to use the left overs for a little log-cabin something. I'll have to see what it turns into!

I think I may need to buy more t shirts really quite soon...


Friday, 21 June 2013

Five happy moments

It has been a stressful few weeks what with the elbow, and I am not completely out of the woods yet... but my Mum arrived yesterday which means the Smalls have a new focus. I thought it would be good for me to have a one off go at the 52 weeks of happy that so many lovely bloggers do.
For those who don't know, you pick usually four things that have made you happy over the last week, share them and be thankful. Since I am bending the rules by not taking part every week, I am also going to bend the rules and have five things...
Preparations for Tiny Boy's birthday party tomorrow - these bad boys are cooling down in anticipation of icing.

Post! The ship brought this little lot along with my Mum, and it is awaiting the ritual opening once we are all together tonight.

Tiny Boy picked me some flowers for the table and I cracked and jumped on the succulent band wagon. No longer is my table unadorned.

No blooming use for drying washing, but we are in the throws of a severe drought and I am trying to feel good about every soggy drop.

A sneaky peek of the tarn project...

What have been the happy moments in your week?


Thursday, 20 June 2013

Why a pile of old t-shirts is very exciting.

So, a few weeks ago I read this post by Jules over at Little Woollie and followed her link to this tutorial, and I was smitten. I needed to make tarn (t-shirt yarn) at the earliest opportunity!
I took myself down to our one and only charity shop, at the lovely Sally Army, and picked out all the t-shirts and vest tops I could find that were in silly little sizes that won't sell, or had little marks or holes. (As a regular visitor I am quite familiar with their stock and know what has been hanging about for a while).

For the princely sum of £5 I brought home a fantastic colour explosion.

Following the instructions in the tutorial I cut each t-shirt into 1 inch strips like a weird sea creature,

Then cut the remaining portion on the diagonal to form one continuous strip.

See, we have fancy diagrams here at stitches and seeds! I then stretched out the strips from each end and wound them into balls of loveliness.

Interestingly, I hadn't noticed that some of the t-shirts were plain stocking stitch which curls to form a cord, and some were very narrow rib which stays ribbon-like.

I almost just wanted to keep them like that. Balls of tarn in a bowl - they are soooo beautiful!

But I didn't, I started to make... but you will have to wait until next time to see what I did with them.


Monday, 10 June 2013

A walk and a natter

Hello there,
I took a load of snaps of Longwood House, the place Napoleon lived when he was exiled here, but I am not really in the mood to chat about a dead bloke and his taste in interior décor. I have failed to upload photo's of anything else recently so I thought we might take a little walk around Napoleon's garden and have a natter.

WARNING: Moaning and whingey post approaching...

I am finding things a bit tricky at the moment. J's broken elbow is a pain in the, well, elbow. Metaphorically and literally. He was given some stronger pain killers today but still is pretty much confined to sitting very still.

It is not just that I have to do all the things he would normally do, as well as the things that I would normally do, but I have to do extra things too - he can't butter his toast or cut up his food, and he is very sore and wary of being bounced by a Small.

The Smalls are also testing the boundaries, with me and with each other. They seem to be fighting constantly.

And all around, entropy is creeping up on me. The piles are growing, the mess is multiplying and the grime is gathering.

Reading books are unread, homework is last minute and packed lunches are unimaginative.

I have no idea how single Mums cope, let alone working single Mums. Running a household and bringing up a family is most definitely a job for two.

I did draw the line today though - broken arm, or no broken arm, removing the dead bird from the shed was still his job.
Lovely people keep saying to me: Let me know if I can do anything... 

But sadly none of them is a willing and eager house-elf, which is of course, what I really want.

ALL CLEAR: Moaning over.

It is a very strange garden - lots of formal, single species planting gone slightly wild.

Lovely specimens.

Gorgeous features.

But in need of a bit of TLC.

I know the feeling.