The first of our adventures for this summer was to the Firepit Campsite in Norfolk...Sam and Hattie are now obsessed with playing buses, making up stories about where they are going to go, and holding the obligatory fire drills...
Find out more about our adventures by checking out my new 'Happy Holiday' page!!
Friday, 31 July 2015
Friday, 24 July 2015
There are loads of free printable scrapbook pages, calendars and to-do lists out there at the moment, and they are a cute way to organise stuff. As soon as school was out (less than 30 hours ago as I write), Sam was asking what was happening on what day...over, and over again!
So I sat down and doodled a quick week planner that we could put on the fridge and scribble it all on. It's really straight forward- and if you have a printer that scans at home, you can make multiple copies!
I used these awesome marker pens by Edding to make a clear image -keep it simple and make sure there is space for doodling. I didn't have to worry about sizing as my scanner sort of figures that out to print on A4, but if you are doing it all by hand, you might want to make sure it's the right size to fit in a plastic wallet.
Then I scanned the image and tweaked it a little (sharpened the contrast and brightened out any smudges) using the simple edit tools in iPhoto. Printed off 6 copies for the holiday weeks and bunged in a plastic wallet.
Our planner is stuck on the fridge -Sam can see it and so can Daddy (always handy as he asks me what's happening too). I've also stuck up another plastic pocket next to it to keep all the tickets, pics, labels and invites that we might collect over the summer. At the end, the calendar can be used as a scrapbook for us to remember what happened, sticking in the collected treasures on the right pages.
You can swipe my planner by saving the image at the top of the page, or if you want crisp pdf copy, send me a msg xx
Saturday, 4 July 2015
If I work very hard, and I'm very lucky, sometimes I get to combine teaching and crafting. And it's brilliant. Today I was honoured to be asked to run a Hen Crafternoon for a lovely girl I knew from my school days. So armed with a glue gun, fabric, buttons and beads, needles and threads I set off into the Fens...
The bride had requested that her hen party made fabric flowers that would be put together to make her bridal bouquet. No pressure then. Zoe (our Pinterest savvy friend) and I worked up some Pinterest boards, narrowed down the colour scheme and fabrics, then I set to prepping and sourcing materials.
The prep work is also great fun -sourcing the right tones, finishings and trims over the internet and local shops, making up examples and writing up the instruction manuals. Each of the ladies was given a fabric flower as an example (with a handy brooch back to use again as a memento of the day) and instructions...these were in case we didn't make enough during the session and the bride needed to press-gang them into making more before the big day!
Then it was up to me to arrive just before the event started, to set up and make everything look pretty. All I ask for is a space in which to work, preferably a table and a plug! Once all the ladies were ready with fizz in hand, it was a quick demo of the two basic styles and then pitch in...
The ability ranged from non-crafty-but-give-it-a-go (resulting in an amazing lace and pearl representation of the male anatomy) to full blow ex-Costume Design students, so it was important to try and have a range of materials to suit everyone, as well as a basic design that could be adapted and made more complex.
The results? Hopefully the bride likes them -a stack of flowers in yellows, creams and greys with sparkle and pearls all over. I can't wait to see the wedding pictures! xx
Wednesday, 17 June 2015
So if you follow me on FB or Instagram you know that I left it bloody late to sew and entire 1940's style frock for a themed party (which has already achieved epic status!) last weekend.
Jim bought me the Sew Over It pattern from Duxford Museum (where all good men do their shopping!) over a year ago for my birthday. My birthday treat was a day, alone, meandering in London, and ended in Liberty buying fabric. Both pattern and fabric had sat neatly in my cupboard waiting for an excuse...
Have to admit, I was pretty darn terrified cutting the most expensive fabric that I've ever purchased, but once I got over that fact, it was fine.
In terms of instructions and layout, the pattern was very straightforward and clear. I think you would have needed some skill to start with (you have to be able to insert a zip and there are sleeves which are a bit of a fiddle), but for someone who gets their sewing machine out now and again, it was fine. Specific terms are explained in the front (such as 'under-stitching') and there are diagrams throughout.
The pattern paper is brilliant quality, and heavier than traditional patterns -which prevented ripping and it really stayed put on the fabric.
It really was important to measure yourself before deciding upon the size to choose. I'm awkward and a size 10 across the boobs, a 13 waist and a 12 hips, so I went for a 12 all over, then reduced the seam allowance slightly around the waist sections. This did result in the dress being slightly too big across the back, but with some crafty seam work it was easily remedied. Pay attention to the seam allowances given -they are generous and unless you want acres of spare fabric all over, do as they say!
I was really chuffed with the end result -a comfy, nicely fitted frock that I will definitely wear again -not just to 1940's events.
If they could improve on anything, I would say a cotton quantity guide (I used 1 1/2 reels of Gutermann thread, but none is suggested) would be a big help when purchasing. I'd also ask them to look again at the pattern piece layout -with some careful adjustment I managed to save nearly a 75cm stretch of fabric at the bottom which I can use to make my daughter a skirt (well chuffed I was too). Luckily my pattern didn't need matching specifically so this might not always be possible, but in the spirit of 40's 'Make Do and Mend' saving the scraps is essential!
Wednesday, 10 June 2015
My lovely friend Timea wanted a swoopy, swooshy summer wrap, something in a strong colour, but light enough to wear in summer. It couldn't be itchy-scratchy either (you know the way natural fibres can often be?).
After some Pinterest collaboration (you can have look at my Summer Wrap board here)and some yarn searching we settled on 'Cumulus' by fyberspates in bottle green (903). This yarn is light as air, and looks like moss.
For someone who usually crochets the brightest most chunky yarn I can get my hands on (and at a push some really dry fibrous cotton) this was really tricky for my fingers to get used to. Eventually I learned that it is much stronger than it looks, and after a practice swatch (something I rarely have the patience to do!) my tension wobbles were sorted.
This piece has travelled some miles too -first stashed in my bag on a trip to Dorset, then up to the Highlands. Sort of seemed right to work on something like this in a big natural space.
Anyway, it went to it's new home this morning and Timea really liked it. Phew xx