Monday, 27 May 2013

Cider and Castles

I always panic when the sun comes out. You know that panic you get when you really feel like you should be outside making the most of the sunshine but can't think of anything to do? And I live in Lewes...castle, river, gardens, parks, duck pond, outdoor swimming pool, rolling countryside. Yet I still panic. So whenever I do something worth doing I'm going to share it here! In case I need a reminder, or for anyone else who gets that feeling too.

Well, Monday was a belter. Plans had already been made with my parents for a picnic and then a visit for a cuddle with a new baby within the extended urban family. Welcome lovely little Leonie! We love you already! Anyway, my mum is the picnic queen and Monday was no exception; cider, asparagus parcels, merguez sausages, carrot salad, eggs mimosa, cheese and fresh bread. And she took us to Bramber Castle.

If you like 1066 and all that, you'll like Bramber Castle. The ruins of the Norman castle sit on top of a hill overlooking the River Adur. On your way up you're greeted by the practically monolithic remains of the gatehouse. The health and safety officer inside me quivered a little, but fortunately the rest of me (the better bit) appreciated the brilliance and history of it. Spread out over a large and lush plateau, there are other ruins to explore and historical information, thanks to English Heritage. We sat and enjoyed the view and our picnic, while Jola ran round and round and round. And round. She had a ball!

Good on a warm sunny day for picnicking and running around, as well as learning and exploring a little Norman history. Not so good if it's not warm and you want to fill a whole day.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Oh Scrappy Day!

When does scrap fabric become such a tiny useless piece of fluff that you really must throw it in the bin?  For me?  Never.  

My ever-growing bag of felt scraps - some can only really be described as fibres!
Unfortunately this means I am now drowning in scraps.  I've got drawers and drawers of the stuff.  My big dream is that one day I'm going to sew it all together to form a beautiful quilt full of wonderful memories connected to each little fragment.  This is unlikely.  But I'm holding onto it.  In the meantime, I'm always on the think and lookout for lovely little projects to help me work my way through my trove.  And I imagine that I'm not alone.  So I'm going to attempt a regular scrap-based tutorial for others like me.  Or anyone who'd like to give something a go!

So head over to my 'Scrappy Days' page and check out my first effort - a pretty Peter Pan collar.  Let me know what you think!  Thanks!

Peter Pan Collar Tutorial

There are a number of different ways of creating these, and this is my way!

Materials needed:
  • Fabric of your choice – enough for 4 collar pieces (approx. 30cm x 30cm)
  • 2 pieces of ribbon, about 30 cm in length and 5mm wide
  • Paper pattern of collar piece – can be traced or printed from here
  • Thread
  • Pins
  • Needle
  • Sewing machine (although could be done by hand)
  • Buttons, beads or sequins for embellishing
  1. Using paper pattern, cut 4 collar sections.  I've used 2 different fabrics, one for the main fabric and one as the lining.  

  2. Place one collar piece right side up. Pin one end of a piece of ribbon at the 'stumpy' end of the collar, with the long tail of the ribbon lying inwards – see photo.

  3. Place another collar piece on top, right sides together and pin in place.

  4. Leaving an opening of approx. 1.5 inches on one edge, machine stitch around the collar (with a 3/8" seam allowance).  I've done mine on the inside curve but would probably try it on the outside curve next time.   Be careful not to catch the ribbon in your sewing; you can use the opening to keep the ribbon out of the way.

  5. Trim corners and clip seams.

  6. Turn inside out. Press.

  7. Blind stitch the little opening, or you can top stitch the whole collar piece.

  8. Now repeat from point 2 for your second collar piece.

  9. Using needle and thread, stitch your two pieces together (as shown in photo).

  10. You can sew a button or bead in the centre of the collar if you fancy it! Buttons look particularly cute on little girls!

    You could of course use this as a base and add additional embellishments on the collar, either on your finished piece or before stitching it together.  It's also possible to make it a safer fashion accessory for little ones by extending the length of the pieces (at the end where you'd normally put the ribbon) and attach velcro tabs instead.

As this is my first tutorial I would appreciate your feedback!


Sunday, 19 May 2013

Just Like Starting Over

It's safe to say that I have not paid this page the attention it deserves.  So I'm here to rebuild our broken relationship.  I've updated information and links and plan to restart and be a better blogger; I think it would be a bit dramatic to say 'relaunch' but I've got a game plan!  I'm also hugely inspired by the amazing blogs of some lovely friends old and new (namely Chloe at Gannet and Parrot and Hannah from Make Do and Push and Fritha who writes here) - not in a 'well if they can do it I certainly can' sort of way, more 'oohhhh, so that's what you're supposed to do'!

Things have also moved on from my last post - which is now almost a year ago!  I'm back at work 2.5 days a week, I now have a toddler instead of a baby, and I'm taking pretty regular orders through my Etsy shop.  In other words I'm incredibly busy!  But also incredibly happy!

I don't want to bang on but I will be back soon with more.