Sunday, 31 July 2016

DIY Anxiety Bands

Its a change from my usual sweetness and light posts, but I figure if something as silly as this can help me then chances are it will help someone else.

I've had anxiety since I was about 13 years old [which I've just worked out means I've been dealing with feeling less than human for 10 years, seriously I can;t believe there's people who get through the day without feeling worried or anxious! In fact I can't believe that at one point I was one of those people]

I get anxious about lots of things, meeting people I don't know, Big crowds, Meeting people I do know, Getting sick, Being sick, What people think of me, The dentist, The doctors, The supermarket [I know even I'm embarrassed at myself], Travelling, Being a good mum, What people reading my blog think...... the list goes on.

Basically I'm a bit of a mess, I'm not sure why it started. But it hasn't stopped and it likes to team up on me with my IBS in the evil circle of, "am I going to have an IBS attack?" panicking about having a IBS attack and then the stress resulting in one. That coupled with severe acid reflux and I'm a walking perscription.

Now this isn't all doom and gloom, I've got a lot of coping mechanisms now and I'd say about 60% of the time I actually feel like a proper person [which is the highest its been in years!]. Anyway one of my coping mechanisms used to be writing motivational things on my wrists in biro. However I'm a grownup now, and nothing quite says stare at me like having "Be Brave" written on your wrists.

So I had to come up with a new solution just for me [actually I came up with this whilst having a panic attack about having to take lil man to the doctors and wondering if last nights takeaway was going to give me food poisoning]    

So I made some wrist bands out of some old fake leather I had knocking around, you know the stuff that doesn't fray and is quite soft?] 

The only sewing I did was putting on a button, I didn't even sew the button holes I just cut them. The bands are 3cm wide and I just kept trimming till they say snugly on my wrist.

I sounds weird but I just wanted something that made me feel a bit less like a scared little girl hiding in the corner and more like a gladiator/Xena/Khaleesi badass. 

But this is the best part, my motivation I'm going to be okay stuff is hidden on the inside, just for me to see. 

I feel a bit calmer and a bit more human. But that could be because I actually did something rather than sitting and wallowing in my own self pity. 

Anyway I thought if it helped me it might help someone else! and if its doesn't they still look pretty badass!

Much Love


Friday, 29 July 2016

Lilou Tie Shoulder Dress Hack

I like Pina Coladas and getting drunk in the rain. Actually I hate cocktails and well I live in England so I have been drunk in the rain, In fact its probably a statistical fact that I've been drunk in the rain more times than drunk in sun.

Anyway ! This dress! I mean THIS DRESS! Sometimes you can have an awesome pattern and awesome fabric and its still a bit lacking but not this time! I love this dress, Rikki likes this dress, I think I might want to be buried on this dress [well this one or my wax cotton one]

I mean its a Hawaiian print, so lets just start with that. I don't normally do colour but as soon as I saw this on the craft cotton company website I fell in love. Suddenly I had visions of myself strutting down a sunny street with the beach boys playing in the background.

Its like someone took the whole of summer and wove it into a print! Anyway its a 100% cotton, didn't shrink in the wash, ironed beautifully and no colours ran at all! And it was a dream to sew with and cut out, it doesn't shift and yo can finger press a lot of your seams! I didn't bother pattern matching but I did cut all my pieces the same way up.

In fact my only fault with this dress is that the zip is about 0.5cm out, but I've added a big button and it doesn't really bother me to be honest! At least it doesn't bother me enough to unpick everything and start again! 

So lets get to the nitty gritty! the top is the lilou bodice from love at first stitch by tilly and the buttons. But I hacked the bodice so I could keep with the 60's beach boys theme and have tie shoulders! 

It really was a simple hack and I think it looks awesome!

First I traced a copy of my front and back Lilou bodices.

Then using my ruler I just extended the strap by about 4/5 inches and rounded it off. I also curved in the edges where the original strap ended to reduce bulk. [sorry for the rubbish pictures they were taken on my phone]

Then cut of your new pattern piece!

Construction is pretty much the same as in the book, you stay stitch the neckline, but when it asks you to join the front bodice and the back bodices at the shoulders you just skip that part! Then you attach the front bodice to the front bodice lining right sides together and stitch all the way from one armscye up the strap around the round strap end through to the neckline and up the other strap and to the armscye again!

Then you do the same with the left back bodice and the right.

Then you just turn all the pieces through [after your clipped the edges] and then you can follow the instructions again for joining them all p at the side seams and adding the skirt and zip.

Here's me demonstrating the toe of the shoulders with the creepiest look on my face ever.

In hindsight next time I would only extend the straps by 3 inches instead of the 4/5 I used because I think mine are a touch long. But you live you learn! And it think it looks really cute and summery! Although you do have to line your bodice to have these straps so I'd recommend picking light fabrics.

The skirt is from the 2nd Great British Sewing Bee book. Its the box pleat skirt again, however I altered it to have a centre back seam and I omitted the waistband. The skirt was actually a touch too long for the bodice so I used a 2cm seam allowance on the skirt side seams instead of a 1.5cm one. Its definitely worth basting it in before you have to do lots of unpicking! or even worse MATHS! 

I think this might be my favourite Lilou dress hack so far! 

In other news! 

So if you had a burning desire to see my actual face talking about sewing then all of your dreams have come true!

But in all seriousness its something I've wanted to do for a really long time and I'm glad I took the plunge! I do have to give a HUGE thank you to my lovely brother in law Keith though, because he has been patiently watching my failed video attempts and providing feedback since about March!

So yeah you pop over there and actually watch me talk about sewing! I can guarantee its far more awkward than any pictures I've ever posted on here!

And there's a cheeky video about this dress as well!

Much Love



Thursday, 28 July 2016

Twycross Zoo Review

I know its a bit different from what I usually post but I love a good review so here we go!

On lil mans day off from nursery last week we decided to go out to the ZOO! Now lets just let it be known I love the zoo, I love animals and I love spending days out all together!

I did not love that we picked such a ruddy hot day to go out! It was scorching!!!!!

We actually opted for Twycross Zoo over Chester zoo because its far less spread out, and it has less animals! If it had just been me and Rikki I would have forced him to go to Chester zoo. But seen as there were three of us going and one only had small legs we decided that the smaller zoo was the better option.

As always the zoo was clean and tidy, although many of the animals weren't doing much because of the heat. I mean seriously when the the kangaroos are lazying around you know its hot!

The penguins however didn't disappoint! They are one of my favourite animals to see!

There's plenty of places to get food and drink although we took a picnic! We did have a drink in the cafe later though, mainly so we could cool off! 

Now here's the most important thing! What we wore! I put both the boys in cotton shirts and shorts! [actually Marcus is wearing swim shorts so he could go in the water play area to cool off if he wanted. As it goes he just wanted an ice cream] 

I wore my Me made Wrap skirt, which I can highly recommend, I was nice and cool and I could loosen it off when I felt too hot, or had too much food!

The top is an old one that I'm going to bin, I thought it looked okay in the morning but then I saw all the pictures and was like eurgh! I look like a troll! it also blends into my skin on some pictures! But it does mean I've added sewing some cool cotton tops onto my to-do list! 

Anyway here's my top tips for visiting the Zoo! [especially when its hot!]

- Take a picnic, whilst its nice to eat out it can get expensive and when its hot we found it easier to snack throughout the day instead of eating one big mean! and take a picnic blanket! We nearly ended up on the grass so we could sit in the shade, I took this one that I made,

- wear comfy shoes! I always forget how much walking is involved at the zoo! In fact we did so much that me and lil man both fell asleep in the car!

-Plan your meals! we ate breakfast at home, packed a picnic for lunch and stopped off for tea on the way home. This worked far better than me cooking at home when I was tired from a big day out.

- dress comfy but stylish, If i had a penny for every photo I have of me wearing a horrible outfit just because its comfy I'd be a rich women. I know it sounds vain but if you want to put your pictures up on the wall your going to want to make sure you look awesome!

- Take lots of pictures! not just of animals but of kids looking at animals! Lil man spent a good ten minutes watching the penguins!

- Wear sun cream, I was the only one who got burnt, on my back, which was the bit rikki was in charge of!!!!!

Much Love


P.s hope you don't mind that I did a slightly different type of post!!!!

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

David Bowie Painting

I haven't painted for ages, and I mean a really long time. I used to paint everyday, every single day.

I painted when I was happy, sad, tired, under pressure and drunk.

I never really needed a reason to paint I just always did.

And then I just didn't sort of do it for a while, I'm not incredibly sure why. But I do have a theory that its because I was trying to sell what I painted and I was trying to get commissions and to be honest I just wasn't very good at it.

I like painting what I want to paint!

Which is why one evening when I actually didnlt feel like sewing [I know its really rare!] I got out my brushes and found the paints and canvas my mum and dad had brought for me and got cracking.

I sat myself on the carpet, stuck on desperate housewives season 5 [Mike you know you love Susan stop being a moron] and got cracking.

I did actually have a terrifying moment when I wondered if I would be able to remember how to do this,

and then two hours later I had this.

Well this and cramp in my foot!!

I'm not sure why I chose David Bowie, He has a interesting face so that factored in but I really love his music as well!

I'm pleased with how it turned out and it was actually pretty nice to take a break from sewing for an evening!

I dunno what I'm going to do with it now though, I never put the things I paint up on my walls so I'll probably try and sell it!

Much Love



Sunday, 24 July 2016

Knitted Diagonal Baby Blanket - How to!

Okay so this is my go to baby blanket pattern, Its quick its easy and you can use scrap wool if you want which is a glorious thing in the knitting world! Because all of those wool scraps add up!!!

Anyway this one is for my sister in law and brother, so I used all the colours!!!!

So here's how you do it!

you will need:

scrap balls of wool [it helps if you sort them into colour order, like a rainbow!]
your biggest knitting needles [ I think i used a size 5 or 6?]
a couple of free hours [and a good box set!]

1. Sort all of your wool into rainbow order

2. Grab your first two balls of wool and tie the ends together. cast on 3 stitches and treat these two strands as one. [you will continue to knit the whole of the blanket using two strands so the colours will "fade" into each other. Now the cool bit is one ball will inevitably finish before the other so then you just tie on your next ball of wool! this is what creates the ombre effect!]

3. Using your three cast on stiitches, knit 1 row and increase 1 stitch at the end

4. Continue knitting a row and increasing 1 stitch until your width is approximately 70cm or more if you'd like it to be longer!

5. Knit one row

6. Knit 1 row and decrease one stitch at the end.

7. Keep knitting a row and decreasing one stitch until three stitches remain

8. Cast off your last three stitches and weave in ends!

9. You can also add an optional crochet trim! which I did because I ran out of wool!!!!

Its such a versatile pattern! Heres some ways yo can make it your own!

- use a different stitch! try stocking stitch or moss stitch!
- Instead of two strands use chunky wool!
- Be eco friendly and recycle tshirts to make tshirt yarn! [this might be a lil thick though!]
-Knit all in one colour for a more neutral feel!
- Skip to colour ordering and just use one colour scheme like various shades of pink or blue! 

Hopefully the mummy and daddy of my new niece or nephew will like the blanket! I personally like the bright colours because OMG so much fun!!!!!! But I think they will because they are bright colourful people!

My only regret is that it isn't bigger but I think it will work nicely for a car seat layer or a Moses basket one! I wish I could have knit it bigger but I ran out of wool! Which is pretty hard to believe considering I used scraps!!! 

Im going to cast on another one of these tonight, But I can't decide which colour scheme to go for, blue or pink? 

Maybe this time I can make it bigger!

Much Love



Thursday, 21 July 2016

End of Year Teacher Gifts

I have serious issues with the idea of teacher gifts. I don't even remember buying my teachers gifts when I was at school. In fact im pretty sure when I left college I just went to the pub and brought my teachers a round of drinks.

Anyway at Lil Mans nursery some of the mums were starting to trot out the gifts (one per teacher I might add, and there's like four of them) and whilst part of me thinks yes they do a lovely job of looking after my baby boy bu they also get paid for it?

Yeah I know I'm mean but I don't remember anyone getting me a worlds best barmaid mug.

So I decided the best way to not feel like a massive cow who doesn't appreciate them was to make something for the nursery. So I decided to embroider some cushion covers with some of mine and lil mans favourite book quotes.

We opted for winnie the pooh "as soon as I saw you I knew an adventure was going to happen"

"There's no such thing as a gruffalo?"

and Dr Seuss "You're off to great places! Today is your day, your mountain is waiting so..... get on your way!"

It kind of turned out as a win win! I got to give a gift but I didn't have to buy anything! 

I handed them over this morning and I think they went down well!!!

In other news boy have we been busy!!!

Thursday, I had Lil mans end of year assembly [He didn't participate apart from to say his one line, In his defence he was tired but still!] 

Friday, we went to see Rikkis Grandad because he'd had a knee op, and then I went out with my friends because one of them is leaving to teach in Thailand. I had a lovely night out and wore my tartan pencil skirt although I did have to let it out a bit and reinforce the side seams because I had visions of them splitting when I sat down!

Saturday , we were suppose to be at a BBQ but the bad weather meant it was cancelled! which was actually pretty lucky for me as I was suffering from a Mumover![Mumover- When you wake up the morning after a night of not drinking but feel like a big bag of dying because you've stayed up past 11.00pm]

Sunday, the boys went to the football and I stayed in and watched movies with Rikkis Grandad. Which was lovely until I banged my head on the bathroom cabinet and had to spend an hour with a bag of peas on my head [Yes I had a massive lump on my head and fully sulked because I hurt myself! And I had a massive headache to boot!] We did manage to fix my hand crank sewing machine between us though [more on that another day!]

Monday, went to finalise some wedding stuff! Which was lovely, and the venue is still the absolute bomb!

Tuesday, went to the zoo! I got sunburn! [Review of zoo will be coming this week!]

Wednesday, Rikki went to help his brother move and I looked after my two nephews with Rikki's Nan and Grandad [note: Children do not like warm weather it makes them grouchy!]

and today? well today I'm going to try and put my house in some sort of order!

And them maybe sit down and have a little rest!!! 

Much Love



Sunday, 17 July 2016

Latest Fabricgasms

Okay so it dawned on me that its been a long time since my last Fabricgasms post!
And seen as the weathers been pretty grotty I decided to theme this one around summer!!!!!

How perfect would this be for a coco dress!!! I mean a velvet coco dress, I might die!

This is all of the adorable, I have very found memories of travelling around London on the tube with my Mum so a dress in this print would be pretty fabulous!!! 

It has tape measures on nuff said. I especially like the pink colourway.

This has rainbows and skulls and flowers and its pinks. It might be the best print in the world. EVER!!! 

These are little tiny bows, its literally the most adorably twee print I've ever seen! It would make the cutest full skirt!

Yet another awesome print, can you imagine strutting around in a star print dress? this comes in 19 colour ways! And I love about 80% of them!

It has sewing machines in it....... Do i really need to say anymore?

I think I might have fallen in love with border prints, I love the cutting challenge and this one gives me all the vintage vibes!!!

I love the hippy style this has and I just think the Batik looks so pretty! This comes in a few colourways but I think this one might be my favourite!

This reminds me of some of the beautiful prints that high street fashion brands use. I love the 90's style and the colours are just AWESOME!

So that's my latest fabricgasms! What fabrics are you loving at the moment!!!

Much Love



Friday, 15 July 2016

Worlds Softest Coco Dress

So after making my first coco dress by Tilly and the Buttons I just had to make another! 

This one is made from a poly knit from Abakhans. I had no idea what I wanted to make from this when I brought it home, But Its insanely soft and fluffy so I knew it was going to come home with me even if it was just so I could wrap myself up in it whilst binge watching desperate housewives!

I tried my very hardest to pattern match the sides which with stripes can be a bit of a killer! But I managed pretty well I think!

This is still in the size four, and now I'm definitely sure I need to go a size down.

Because its a bit loose so I've been wearing it with a belt. I had also cut the longer sleeves but I can't them for the 3/4 length because I didn't think the length suited me. 

Its a really great comfy casual dress and its so warm! Honestly its like being cuddled by a giant teddy bear! So I'm looking forward to wearing it in the winter when the weather turns colder [or ya know some point this week, hey British summer how you doing? fancy coming over to play?]

I think it'll be pretty good for the school run especially if I can get some thick tights or leggings.

Here's another shot of my pattern matching! I cut the sleeves on the cross grain though so I wouldn't have to deal with trying to match those. The effect ended up working out pretty well! 

I did ignore some of the pattern instructions for this version. Nothing major I just didn't hem the neckband until the end when I was doing the rest of my top stitching. Basically I'm too lazy to switch between my ball point needle and my twin needle so I just saved it all till the end.

In other news:

-the weather sucks, I honestly nearly did a cry walking to and from nursery today, I just felt so down in the dumps.

-and I started knitting a baby blanket last night during the football, at first I kinda hated it but now I think its really cute! I just don't think I'm going to have enough wool to make it big enough which means I'll have to do some sort of border which is a bit soul destroying!

Much Love