Wednesday, May 18, 2016

been sewing

I've overcome my fear of sewing with stretch fabric and have discovered a new addiction in the process!  I made these sweet baby leggings and matching hats for my friend's new daughter.  After two weeks in limbo (and me thinking they were lost somewhere between here and Denmark - waaaaah!) they have finally reached their intended recipient.  Dulcie wants the far-left pair made in her size, so that's the next challenge.  Then perhaps hot pants for myself?!  Look out, world...

I'm very excited The Great British Sewing Bee is back on our screens, though I've yet to catch up with the first episode.  I very nearly applied this year (in a why-the-heck-not moment) but was away during filming dates, so didn't.  Hopefully they do another series after this and I can attach a photo of me in my hot pants baby hats and leggings to my application.

Should you be interested, I used a couple of free patterns to make these.  Leggings here and hats here.  And sewing with stretchy fabric wasn't nearly as scary/tricky as I thought, so you should give it a go if you're tempted.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

love love love

Last night Graham and I went to see Rozi Plain playing at Mono.  I nearly didn't go, feeling tired and grumpy and demotivated, but am so glad that I did.  Wow!  She was just so good - so, so good - and we had a lovely evening, drinking some beer and basking in the beautiful sounds.  And we got a seat!  Sitting down at a gig is my dream scenario :)

This cover of a Shirley Collins song was new to me.  Beautiful.  I've always been more of a fan of Rozi's upbeat songs, but it was the slower numbers that really struck me when she sang live, especially Red Dot, which she sang as an encore, all on her own on stage, just her voice and her guitar making something so incredible to hear.  I'm feeling all inspired to create...something (?) now.

Her support band, Yama Warashi, were really fun too.  Well, I thought so anyway - they kind of divided our party of two!  Rozi Plain sang backing vocals for them and then they came back on stage as the band for Rozi, which gave the evening such a lovely, friendly feel.

What a good night, just what I needed to spark my soul back into action.

Friday, April 15, 2016

portraits of self

 Hanging out with a child is a great excuse to create mindlessly and without any pressure.  I'm not a great doodler under my own steam, but really enjoy messing about and making images with Dulcie.  Here are some doodly portraits of me (found on my phone) that have been created over the past couple of months.  

This first one I made for Dulcie when we were experimenting with drawing pictures using one continuous line.  The resemblance to my real-life face is uncanny, but was no more than a happy accident - the one-line portrait I did of Graham made him look more like Bruce Forsyth!

 And here's one I made using a geoboard and some gymnastic bands (as Dulcie calls them).  Not bad, given the restrictive medium...?

I regularly find unflattering (offensive?!) portraits of myself lying around the house.  "O would some power the giftie gie us to see ourselves as others see us..."  Ha! Thanks, Graham...

Thursday, April 14, 2016

taking stock

 Vintage Christmas Lighted Cactus Christmas by vintagesouthwest, $25.00:

Making : a crocheted mermaid-tail blanket for Dulcie (very slo-o-o-owly)
Cooking : lots of new things, mostly healthy
Drinking : alcohol, even though I'm trying to be on the wagon (but currently a cup of tea!)
Reading: The Inheritance Of Loss (I realised part of the way through that I'd read it before, but most of it still seems new to me.  I'm not usually a re-reader and it's depressing to realise how little of a book can stay in my mind, especially when it's so good.)
Wanting: to get my healthy-living mojo back
Looking: at Pinterest and caravan sites for a potential summer holiday with my best friend (and our children)
Playing: make-believe games (haven't played Bananagrams in weeks! Shocker!)
Deciding: to take it eeeeeeeasy today
Wishing: for world peace (no, really)
Enjoying: having no to-do list in mind
Waiting: for my DIY hula hoop supplies to arrive in the post!
Liking: Dulcie's new and improved attitude to bedtime
Wondering: what to write for a lot of these
Loving: time alone
Pondering: who to vote for in the Scottish elections
Considering: freezing a hideous wart off my foot after this
Buying: sweets for a "midnight feast" with Dulcie later on
Watching: MasterChef and Creme de la Creme while crocheting
Hoping: that the slugs won't eat my peas that have made the transition to outdoor living
Marvelling: at my vastly improved culinary skills/repertoire
Cringing: at my inability to stop eating crap
Needing: a shower
Questioning: my personal hygiene...
Smelling: bad [I joke]
Wearing: bright pink nailvarnish for a change
Following: my favourite pinner
Noticing: the abundance of fringes and top-knots on ladies' heads
Knowing: I need to be good - exercise, eat well and save money
Thinking: about what it means to be female
Admiring: Cate Le Bon's music
Sorting: my bundle of go-to recipes into a folder I bought for this purpose around 7 years ago!
Getting: better at coping with misery in public places
Bookmarking: recipes I want to try supplies! (but they're hula hoop supplies to me)
Coveting: other people's lives (as usual) and that cactus light, which sold long before I discovered it
Disliking: the wider world and the arsehole minority :(
Opening: the door for the cats
Giggling: over the ballsack v ballsac conversation at work yesterday
Feeling: somewhere in between up and down, also lazy
Snacking: more than I should be
Helping: Dulcie to make a skirt for herself...hopefully soon
Hearing: a clock ticking - peace and quiet!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

somebunny loves you

I get quite a kick out of making things without having to buy any materials, I think I got bitten by the bug after my frugal Christmas making.  It helps that I've hoarded every little scrap for decades!  I made this sweet brooch for my niece Ruth's birthday recently, to add to a bunny-themed parcel.  Cute, huh?  And perfect for a girl who loves red, tartan and rabbits.  Don't tell Dulcie, but I stole the little pendant from her Easter chocolate.  She takes after her mother and was planning to keep it FOR EVER.

Monday, April 11, 2016

post pals

 I've been on something of a mission lately to make sure Dulcie remains a decent human being.  Like most four-year-old girls, she shows worrying signs of ingratitude, lack of empathy and covetousness.  [DISCLAIMER: She IS lovely, I'm just frequently stressed at the thought I could destroy her inner goodness by poor parenting.]  While chatting one night about children around the world who were not nearly as lucky as her, Dulcie's interest was aroused and she brought the subject up again a few times over the coming days.  She started expressing a desire to help or cheer other children up, suggesting she could send a postcard to a homeless orphan in India.  This was admittedly very sweet, but probably not the most effective strategy, however it did get me thinking.  Maybe Dulcie (despite having no money and no real concept of money) could genuinely do good for others and feel proud of herself for doing it.

I decided it would be a good idea to start small, pick up on her idea of sending some friendly mail, seek out a girl of a similar age/demographic so that she might find it easier to empathise.  A little bit of googling later and I discovered a fantastic UK-based charity called Post Pals.  The basic idea is that children who are unwell/in hospital a lot of the time (and their siblings) can add their profiles to the site and people who want to cheer them up can send a letter/parcel to them via a third-party address.  How simple and how good?!  I figured this was the perfect charity for Dulcie to be involved with, as it was tangible and straightforward.  I read through the profiles myself before showing them to Dulcie and steering her towards the children who sounded most like her.  She decided to write to a little girl called Isla.  

Dulcie dictated the letter to me and I wrote it down exactly as she said it, figuring she'd know better than me how to talk to a five-year-old My Little Pony fan!  Here's what Dulcie wrote in her letter...

Dear Isla,

I don't know if you like pandas or not, but I have a toy baby panda and a mummy panda and a big-sister panda.  I hope you feel better soon.  When you feel better I wish you could come and play with me.  And my name is Dulcie.  I have two cats called Poppy and Lola who love me very much and cuddle me sometimes.  My favourite colours are black, red, blue and pink and purple and I love vampires.

Lots of love from

P.S. I love My Little Pony too!

Eeep!  I love it, especially the bare-faced lie about the cats loving and cuddling her.  Ha-ha! She also drew a picture of Dracula being blown away in a cyclone like Dorothy's house (why not?!) and popped in loads of goodies from her collection of stickers, surprising me greatly with her generosity.

This was a really positive activity for Dulcie to do - she really enjoyed it, felt proud of herself and thought about things she wouldn't have considered otherwise.  Hopefully Dulcie's letter put a smile on Isla's face too.  Maybe you know someone who'd like to do something similar.  You can find your own Post Pal here.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

a hex on me!

We have a humongous window in our living room.  It's taken me the best part of a decade to persuade Graham that curtains would be nice there, only to find out we can't afford the material, let alone afford to have curtains made.*  Years ago (in the pre-Graham days) my mum had ingeniously made curtains for said massive window from dustsheets - a clever plan, but they did look a tad...dustsheety and too neutral for what we want to do with our living room nowadays, which is quite a '70s space, I guess.  Unfortunately, dustsheets were really all we could afford at the moment, so I went ahead and secretly bought some with a vague plan to dye or embroider or applique them into something we'd actively like.  After much browsing around on Pinterest (see this board) I think I've decided that simple hexagons are the way I want to go, that they need to be quite precise/geometric and that I will still be making the curtains from beyond the grave if I do them sashiko style, so instead I've been making little "anchor stitches" where the corners meet and weaving another thread through these to make hexagons that sit on the surface. 

Above is my small trial run, in a random colour on a scrap of wrinkled white fabric.  I do like how it looks (surprisingly hexagonal/geometric) but I'm not sure whether it will work out on the real deal.  This method does mean there are large "stitches" sitting on top of the fabric which could probably be yanked and pulled and caught on things.  While it's fairly unlikely there would be any major pulls (they're not in a heavy-traffic area and Dulcie is quite well behaved these days, cats are another matter...) it's one heck of a big job to undertake knowing it could all be undone in a jiffy.  I'm only planning to stitch the design on the bottom two-thirds of the curtains, I think, but that still amounts to...erm...144 square feet?!  (Can that really be right?!  I'm fairly certain it is...)  Is there some other idea I'm missing that would work better?  Should I just bite the bullet and do it in real, little stitches?  I guess if I did the anchor stitches individually, knotting each one at the back rather than having thread running between them behind the fabric, then any pull would be fairly easily sorted...  But will they just end up looking a bit tatty?  Gah, I don't know, I'm really just thinking aloud now.  But if anyone reading this has any suggestions, please let me know.  Have a look at my Pinterest board and you'll see the sort of effect I'm  after.  We want curtains!

*Having made proper lined curtains for Dulcie's only-slightly-bigger-than-average bedroom window, I know I am not up for pattern matching and fabric wrangling on this scale, and the fabric alone would be mega expensive, so the pressure would be on to do a perfect job.  Plus we can't agree on a fabric!  Ha!