Friday, 31 December 2010

Out with the old -

- and in with the new!  I was going to get all philosophical & debate the wisdom of disposing of the old rubbish & starting afresh with the new but I'm too tired!!  In fact I've turned down an invite to stay home & be very lazy.  But I know that I need to rest more than I used to as I'm living a more stressful life than I used to.  I must be number one in my life some of the time!! Selfish?  Maybe.  But in order to look after the rest I must take care of myself.  I need to re think my own plans & goals for the coming year & find a balance.  It will be a challenge but I like the odd challenge!
I have resisted the urge to join in the 2011 SWAP on Stitchers Guild.  I've started a couple of times but never got very far, so this year I'm not going to try as I know time is in short supply.  I will however try & make what I do sew in to some kind of co-ordinating wardrobe.  Unless of course I need something specific.  Like the LBD I made earlier this year.  I have worn it more than the one occasion & it works well.

Sunday, 5 September 2010


Well today I'm of to work at the Alexon womanswear outlet at K village, my Sunday job.  Extra income ya know.  Not much but I get to play with clothes all day.  I plan on wearing the new pants from that divine details pattern, they're not brilliant but they'll do.  Meanwhile we gathered brambles & they are going to be turned into jelly, & checked the sloes out for when we make sloe gin, looks like a good crop again this year, better start buying the gin next week.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

4th September

The usual dog walking!  Mans XXXL tee restyled to fit me a few years ago, with the words "Teach a man how to fish & you get rid of him for a whole weekend"  Poop bag carrier.  Oh how sad...........
Sooty the cat got in the pic too.  White cat - Sooty?  Blame the previous owners.
Customer support at is brilliant.  I now have a working copy of the Curves program.  Just need to input the measurements all over again as the back up file has my older, bigger numbers in it!

Friday, 3 September 2010

Today update

Well I've no photo for today at this point in time but I am wearing a top I drafted in PMB a couple of years ago based on one I saw in a Burda magazine.  I have been trying to reload programs on the laptop which crashed a couple of days ago.  So far only one won't go back on because the disc is cracked & I'm not happy as that is my Wildginger Curves program - my tees drafting marvel.   Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
Mary I do so agree about what seeing what we really wear on a daily basis.  I'm in danger of being seen as very boring before long!!

Self Stitched September.......

This isn't going to be so easy.  However yesterday & the day before I did manage it but boy do I need to do something about my dog walking gear.  If nothing else I will need to sew some replacement clothes sooner rather than later!!

Blackpool Zoo on the 1st was lovely & warm.  I didn't manage to look very glam but I was comfortable.  Hand drafted skirt from several years ago, can't see the A-symetric hem, & top from I think  Simplicity pattern that I can't find.
2nd Sept. Dog walking gear doesn't vary much but serves it's purpose for now!!!  Burda WoF magazine waistcoat from years ago that I customised with hidden zippered pockets as part of a travel wardrobe muslin.  I made another that I preferred actually that might show up later in the month.  PMCurves drafted Tee that fit well a few years back, worn a lot & dreadful pattern & colours!!  Whatever was I thinking?  I was thinking it was cheap & cheerful for a muslin.
As for today, will have to wait for a photographer.

Monday, 30 August 2010


Of sorts.  I am not far off finishing the wearable muslin trousers of the Divine Details pattern mentioned in the last post.  The photo on the envelope is misleading, to me anyway.  It clearly shows the pants sitting below the models waist & I wrongly assumed (even though the description didn't say they were meant to be below the waist) that they would fit below the waist.  They reach to my waist & a little higher.  Now higher is to be expected as I purposely didn't do any pattern alterations so that I could clearly see what I would need to do with the next pair.  I have retreived them by taking the waist in by about 1.5" & will put the waist binding a bit lower so they aren't so high around my waist.  Now as I have a tummy which I never had years ago (!) I wrongly thought the alteration I used to do of shortening the body by around an 1" wouldn't be needed (extra fabric & all that)  but I was wrong.  I've been using a self drafted pattern for some years which still needs tweaking so I'd opted for a purchased pattern to start again.  The next version will have the pattern altered before I start, at this stage I don't think I will need to alter the waist circumference as it will hit at a wider point if it's lower than it is currently.  Overall I like the style, though I'm not sure whether I will do the piping on the back yoke again or not.  If I do I think I will choose a contrast rather than use the same fabric. 
I have lots of fabric staring at me & no time to get stuck into it! 
I'm on leave but trying to rest & take it easy just doing what I feel like as for the first time in 7 years I don't actually want to go back to work & face the people problems that ruined the day I finished for my holiday.  It shows that I'm not out of the woods yet as far as the mild depression the Doc diagnosed a few months back.  I was always stronger than this but life has taken it's toll this last couple of years & I need to adjust I suppose.

Saturday, 28 August 2010


Don't you just miss them when they up & die on you?  This laptop died on Wednesday & the old desktop went to join it, much to the anoraks disgust but that's only because he needs me to update his CV for a job who's deadline is Monday.  Well a geeky friend got the laptop going again but I've lost everything on it.  All but the most recent photos are backed up but nothing else was.  Note to self - get backing up when normal service is resumed!  I'll have to start over with all my teaching stuff, everything.  All programs need to be put back on.  To be fair not much was worth keeping apart from the pics but I'm even having trouble remembering which blogs I was subscribed to.  I'll get around to those when I remember.  I have started to make a pair of trousers but I've also started a Sunday job so I'll not get much sewing done tomorrow.  I will however be playing with clothes all day in the shop.  Sew Direct here in the UK has a buy one get two free, pattern offer this weekend so I've sucumbed as I did last time but I have only ordered six this time & no duplicates. 
I'm making these in a dark grey pinstripe.  Didn't have quite enough fabric so the hoped for play with stripes on the yoke & piping hasn't really materialised.  I'm not adding back pockets either.  These are hopefully a wearable muslin for a wool mix that I bought a couple of weeks back.  I've made no alterations to the pattern as I've lost weight a preliminary measurement checks with the pattern indicate I might just have a pattern I can sew straight out of the envelope.  We'll see.  The only trouble with Divine Details patterns is the number of pieces!  Then the lack of room to get two machines out at once.  I've done all I can with one, next I need the other out.   So why did I choose another trousers pattern?  Well this Claire Shaeffer one has good reviews on Stitchers Guild (can't be bothered to can't find the topic) so I thought I'd try a couture pair at some point.  I like this Michael Kors dress too but not sure when I'd get to wear it, hasn't stopped me buying the pattern though!!

The details on this white jacket are lovely, though I'm not sure I like the pleated sleeve cap.
The top is a good basic for winter.

Kinda like this cape pattern too.
I chose another pattern but can't remember which one it is now, must be getting late the brain's giving up.  I've just had one week off work & have done very little but take it easy & next week have a couple of things to do but intend to carry on taking it easy.  My last day at work was incredibly stressful & I'm still not over it but I will be soon.  Must be hot chocolate time.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Time, where did you go?

Time has just flown lately.  I am working evenings as well as mornings & have been too tired to do anything much when I get home, so no sewing but some pattern browsing & daydreaming.
I have a sideways promotion at work which I take up at the beginning of September on a temporary 3 month contract but "temporary" at our place tends to mean permanent!  I'm shadowing the current post holder for now & then I have a couple of weeks off before I jump in the deep end.  I've already said I willl likely ruffle a few feathers including the bosses but hey they know it needs doing & have said they'll back me up - the proof will be if changes actually happen.  Like communication.  Communication is a big deal in my book, without it the department will just continue to muddle through & I don't like it as it is, as I'm temporary (?) I can make some noises.  If it becomes permanent then I've succeeded.............  Or I'm another mug.  We'll see in 3 months time.
I did take a day off yesterday to go to Preston with a friend & I have some fabric to drool over & hopefully get some things sewn up while I'm off for two weeks.  That is the plan, the reality is I have DS who needs some attention & we'll have Henry the black lab, my step-daughters dog, staying for a week as well so two lively dogs that will need lots of long walks.  I was lookiing forward to that but today my ankle has swollen up so I'm hoping resting this weekend will help.  No idea what I've done to it, feels a bit bruised like I've bashed it on something but absolutely no idea what!  Is this a sign I'm ageing?  Senior moments? 
Back to the fabric.  I was restrained by my sensible friend & only bought to make a smart casual capsule wardrobe that I need rather than what I want to sew but don't actually need!  So a dark aubergine wool mix textured print for a jacket & trousers & probably a waistcoat that will likely be on the casual side.  A pink tweed for a jacket, & a grey wool for trousers.  I will have to find time this weekend to start fitting the patterns.  Ho hum.  Time, I'm tired but a lie in will help if I'm allowed that is!!
Have to say I've had several months of not sleeping properly, sometimes not at all, the doc has me on anti depressants which have helped in some areas of my life but not with the sleep.  Whittards of Chelsea opened a store in Kvillage 3 weeks ago & I bought some of their "dreamtime" hot chocolate & most nights I have slept far better than I have for at least 6 months, not every night but at least I have had more sleep than I was getting, must be something in the drink!!  I don't care if it is psychological, it's working!!

Friday, 9 July 2010

Finally a photo

I have a completed dress, in fact I've got 3.  Well one still needs hemming, but I have to wait for the camera battery to recharge before I get pictures.  I do have proof of me wearing the 1st one though.  Last night was our local NHS trust learning & development awards evening, where I received my certificate for completing the manual handling trainers course.  It was a BBQ & the dress code was smart.  Now some wore outdoor smart casual, some wore casual, quite a few were in long patterned maxi dresses & me?  Well I went for elegant & make a long lasting impression on the management (networking - I told them I was destined for management!) & I think I succeeded.  My hairdresser did a fantastic job of an Audrey Hepburn inspired up do.  Even my charity shop handbag decorated for a wedding last year was revamped with a black velvet ribbon.  Edited to add the pattern is Vogue 2988.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Self Stitched September

I think I've got the sewing mojo back again, spurred on by the fact I have a dress to complete by 8th July for a works award evening where the dress code is smart for a BBQ?   Naturally as I sew I am expected to produce my own outfit.  I have chosen a 50's style Burda download that no longer seems to be on their site but I've made it before with many changes.  This time it will be as the original, in a black with small pink embroidered flowers that just happen to be the shade as a linen jacket I made two years ago.  Can't find the line drawing right now to show you!
 Self Stitched September   has found it's way to my reading list & I've decided to commit myself - I make my own undies anyway so I automatically wear one item of me made clothing everyday anyway!!  Finances are hellish tight but I had budgeted £30 for fabric for the above dress & got 3 lots & lining for less than that amount so I've got a start, all of it's destined for dresses but one might be a jacket!  The reason for dresses is that I'm hoping to get some promotion that may involve wearing something other than a uniform & I need to be prepared!!  Well I can live in hope.
I wish I could work out how to add the logo for this challenge.  When I do, I'll add it.

Getting kind of fed up of having to reject spam type comments

So I am!  Go find something better to do, lifes too short to spend it trying to irritate others, get on with living & making the most of the time you have on this planet, you'll find it more worthwhile.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Bit of this & that

On the bread making, I borrowed a library book on breadmakers this week & so far what I have produced tastes (& feels) heavy compared with the hand kneaded product.  I'll persevere with other recipes, having produced passable results before but I think know where my preferences lie! 
More yoghurt made & strained for cheese, my daughter wanted to polish off the last lot, it was so good.  Have to drive to Barrow in rush hour traffic & road works tomorrow morning to take her for a final appt with the knee specialist.  Hopefully he'll sign her off, 12 months after rebuilding part of her knee.  Still we're going to make a day of it, bit of shopping (window only for me)  & lunch out, my friend is coming too so I won't get to go ogle caravans at Bardsea Leisure to dream about later.  I want a caravan but it's still so out of our budget. 
My tame & friendly manager told me today that my course is a go for after April.  Yea!  Just need to make a decision about tailoring or corsetry.  Hmmm, I really can't decide.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Following on ....

.......... from bread making in the last post.  I am hooked, I've made more baguettes using a starter dough & they turned out well, even the 50% wholemeal ones.  So there's another starter fermenting tonight ready for tomorrow!  I've made more yoghurt, this time for topping with fruit or whatever takes our fancy -it's nearly all gone & I think I'll have to buy another pot as a starter I don't think Joe has left me enough to start the next batch, I'll also need to stock up on long life milk as well.  Relevant to this post is one I just read over at Simple Green Frugal Co-op about making from scratch.  I've a long way to go but I'll get there, well as far as the Anorak's lack of interest in the process will let me.  While we make just about every meal from scratch, he's as happy to buy some things that I'd rather make.  Time will tell.

Sunday, 21 February 2010


I borrowed a book about bread making from the library last week & have been busy trying some of the recipes.  The family is just about full up now!  Some of the recipes contain more salt than I would have expected so will alter them for next time, & yes there will be lots more next times.  You can make the dough & leave it overnight in the fridge to rise as long as you allow it to fully reach room temperature before using it.  I did, & it was a tasty loaf.  In fact I can see that it is fully possible to make bread by hand during a busy week, just needs a bit of forethought, ie planning!  The Anorak is a committed supermarket white sliced type but even he conceded that tonights baguette was quite good!  Not as "heavy" as previous attempts but he still likes the one I make the dough for in the bread maker.  Oh dear.  That baguette is good but not as light as tonights offering.  Partly because it contains porridge oats & partly because a breadmaker can only mix ,not knead, the dough!!
We used tonights bread to mop up the gravy from a chicken cassoulet based on a good old M & S recipe from the 1980's not in any particular order: Chicken breasts, chopped sausage, tin of baked beans, onion, garlic, dry white wine, chicken stock.  The sausage happened to be an Asda special from last summer found in the freezer, pork & sweet chilli, I thought I'd get it by the Anorak in a casserole but he decided it was too spicy for him.  Yet he'll eat prawns dipped in  sweet chilli sauce?
I made another pair of baguettes tonight from half wholemeal, half white bread flour & they too have risen nicely, having used the remainder of the starter dough from earlier.  Tomorrows lunch.   I also dug out the yoghurt maker yesterday & made some using semi skimmed long life milk.  I've never had much success using anything less than full fat before & this didn't look like it was going to be any better but I decided to strain it & make cream cheese.  8 hours later & the cat is demanding the cheese (no chance) it is gorgeous on this fresh bread, & I just used some of the whey to make up fruit scones & they are nice & light.  Morning break me thinks tomorrow!  Soon I'll be back to overweight if I'm not careful!!

Monday, 15 February 2010

Progress, backwards or forwards?

I have managed to find a helpful manager at work to assist me move up the career ladder.  He doesn't know it yet though!!  He is willing to push some funding my way.
Simply I need to earn more.  Not so simply - it isn't that easy to do.  So I decided I need to further my skills with a useful qualification.  Then I can offer a wider service to clients at work as well as privately.
Now my dream is to be able to make bespoke bras.  Hopefully the new area cancer centre is going to be based where I work.  Masectomy patients, bras ........... you get my drift?  BUT while it isn't easy getting suitable bras (you have to travel, Windermere seems to be the nearest so not that far) or buy mail order, choice is a bit limiting, talking to patients, it is obviously possible & a bespoke bra is going to cost far more than the dearest RTW bra & are these vulnerable women going to be able to afford or even want what would be a luxury purchase?  I'm not sure.  It is a plausable argument in my favour for the funding to be made available to me.  IMHO. 
I suspect though that it may be more beneficial to get some funding, to do a tailoring course.  Now I have always wanted to do this too & I'm quite sure that asking for funding for both won't result in a positive outcome!!  So do I venture down the tailoriing route, knowing I will be vastly undercharging at work to keep a steady supply of work coming in, which I know will infuriate me, my work is of a standard that demands a higher price, but will keep the bosses happy that we are providing an income generating,  non profit making  business, or what?  Currently I do lots of alterations that I hate doing & a fair amount of curtain making that I am qualified to do.  What a waste of my C & G level 3 cert, in soft furnishings.  OTH work funded that course & seem happy enough with the outcome so why should I worry?  I worry because I feel my sewing work at the hospital is way under valued & it gives a false impression of true price to joe public who will then expect our prices to be the norm when they are SO not.  I do have a few clients there who appreciate the value of my work & compensate me accordingly but this is stricly off the record.  You didn't read it here!
Actually what I need is a change of direction altogether into management but I'm not sure about wanting to be so involved in the politics at our place, having just seen at first hand how bad it is!  Oh decisions, decisions.  Now what would make it all so easy would be a nice little BIG win on the lottery instead. 
The other drawback to doing another course is that this time it would have to be distance learning & right now I'm having a hard time getting motivated to do anything much.  I need to be getting on with the ironing right now but here I am sat at the computer, then it's TV for an hour, first, The Lakes, followed by Raymond Blanc with a programme on chocolate.  Wish I had some chocolate, I feel a need.  It helps you know.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Dillon my favourite animal!! And that cat!

Dillon charms the socks off everyone he meets.The anorak & I  love him to bits.Dillon loves chasing a ball.  Other dogs mug him for it!!  And he lets them!!

Sooty the cat.  Why Sooty?  Who knows, blame the previous owners.  He's just cost me £41 at the vets, he's developed an allergy to ..............fleas!!  Now I've just got to gut the house all over again.  he meanwhile is quite content to taunt the dog.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Confusion reigns.

Talk about confusing.  I had the bright (?) idea of knitting up some yarn to give me some knit yardage to play with for the SWAP, but of course the colours are all DRAB.  Olive green, some beige, lots of grey - OK grey I can use - some navy but not enough for a top.  Bright pink cotton, & maybe enough white for a simple top.  I've twisted different colours together to see what they look like & they still look bleh to me.  I'm going to have to experiment with tuck & slip stitches to see how they look.  The problem stems from having a little stash left over from when I knit my Dad jumpers, he looked good in drab colours, & the stuff that came with the freecycled knitting machines I collected.  Obviously colours that no one else wants either!  Oh & I can't wear acrylic which is what the remainder of the yarn is.  Better go & set up a machine I suppose & see if it will work.  That'll be the next problem.

Friday, 1 January 2010

Thoughts on SWAP

I've got my pants base pattern sorted.  I will need to rehash it for jeans & make some changes for dog walking pants but the base is good.  I was inspired by David Page Coffins "Making Trousers" book that  my DD gave me for Xmas.  I haven't put it down - well apart from when I was drafting & amending muslins that is.  It re-enforced the need to get the fit right before I began on the details of construction that this book is all about. 
Now what to do about the plans?  I've been given a LBD by my daughter that I really need to shift the last 7lbs to look better than OK in, but will it fit in with the SWAP plans?  My lifestyle doesn't really involve getting dressed up but as we all know a LBD can look good in the right place / occasion as long as black is a good colour on you.  It is on me fortunately.  And should I ever need to go someplace all dressed up then it fits the bill perfectly.  So do I include it?  Or not?  Or do I start a second SWAP?  Or even another for all the other possibilities that keep entering my head? 
The current loose plans are based around the Smarties jacket which is a black, but looks dk grey, denim with pink & purple buttons.
The 4 bottoms will be :
black(ish) jeans
dog walking pants - probably lined for the cold weather as I have a lighter weight pair (though as they are currently being used with thermals under they may need replacing sooner rather than later)  Not sure on colour though something that goes with my pink or red fleece jackets might be a good idea.  I don't fancy black though.  Grey perhaps?
Smarter pants - probably black pinstripe Marlene style for going out & teaching (if I get the required student numbers next term), & all my black pants are too large & don't appear to be that straight forward to take in.  When they fit I wore them a lot.  The only hiccup is that I'll need to buy fabric as all I have suitable in the stash is navy wool & that don't fit with the rest of the plans!
Do I go with a skirt for the 4th piece?  I've stuck with pants as I've not had a suitable pair of shoes/boots for skirts the last few years but my DD gave me some Ugg lookalike boots for Xmas & I could get away with a longish skirt now.  Black seems likely but that means I have a lot of black,  then again I wear black as a base colour a lot if I'm  not in denim jeans.  Hmmmm, maybe a denim skirt?  Not sure on this one.
6 Tops:
Possibly a number of variations on basic long sleeve tees.
A couple of shirts - I fancy a couple of stripe ones, & maybe a warm western style check one to go with the dog walking pants. 
I do have a bought long sleeve tee that I could substitute in place of a sewn one if I get stuck, in purple, tha would go with the jacket that is my own choice garment.
But of course I could base my SWAP around the navy wool pants I plan on making now (as I already have it) to test the pants draft properly, then I'd need to rethink a few things.  I know I don't need to make it all matchy matchy but if I have random colours then I run into the snag of pairing up what with what?  And it won't look like it all came out of the same woman's wardrobe (closet).  Of course whatever I decide will involve buying more fabric as I have little if anything suitable in the meagre stash & money is in short supply right now.  May even mean I have to pull out of SWAP altogether but I do need clothes that fit me now.  Oh bugger. Decisions will have to be made somehow.  Maybe I'll just have to go with whatever I can find in the cheap shop & make it work.
Now I've hit a snag - these constitute two separate clothing needs I think & may not fit into the SWAP rules so I'll have to await confirmation of possible solutions to this.  I don't need a full SWAP for either casual (dog walking) or smart casual (ie teaching) so I'm stuck.  Better just get on with the navy pants I guess.