Monday, 3 August 2015

Shopping in Totnes

Today I went shopping in Totnes before heading back to Southampton tomorrow and as normal I headed round the plethora of charity shops. I also introduced my mother to Revival which is a complete Aladdin's Cave, we may have spent some time stroking fur coats and marvelling at sequinned dresses. We managed to tear ourselves away from there in the end and reached my goal for the day which was Stones the fabric shop at the top of the high street.

From the charity shops I managed to get some fabric and notions:

Fabric bought at Save the Children in Totnes. A pale mint green crepey fabric and a greeny patterned Poly blend that was once a roller blind I think

And a Knitting Stitch Book

Stones Fabric:

In stones I bought some lovely fabrics from their yardage and a few unknown fabrics from their remnants bin.

Stones Fabric
L-R Teal Crepe like Fabric, Flower print Viscose, Black Polka Dot Viscose, Blue woven 'scarf' material, White Bamboo Jersey.
I am so looking forward to making something out of these fabrics, it is so nice to go into a shop which has predominantly fashion fabrics and isn't catering to just quilters.

I am particularly looking forward to using that flower fabric and if I have enough material I think the Teal one has to become a draped skirt.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Pattern Haul

This weekend I have travelled around the South Coast seeing family. I was on my way down to Devon for my (non-maternal) Grandmother's Birthday Celebrations, a nice sit down meal at Exeter Golf Course which was lovely and nice to see her side of the family which I haven't seen since a similar gathering 10 years ago.
It was also nice to get to go somewhere to wear my new dress that I made this week (photos to come soon).

On the way down there we stopped in at my Grandparents near Poole, whilst there a was tasked with helping Nan move some stuff in the spare room during which we uncovered a box with sewing patterns (and one with knitting patterns that apparently got back to the 20's but we didn't open that one this time!) when sorting through the sewing patterns I found a few interesting ones which I ended up going home with :)

Welcome to the Pattern Stash

Simplicity 7786

I thought the jacket (minus the pockets) looks quite a lot like the one that I have recently bought and that it is simple enough to try as a basic pattern and the trousers look nicely office like. I would probably leave out the lovely crease down the front.

Butterick 5981

Another simple jacket pattern which looks like it could be nice for an over jacket, I might have to combine the tailoring of the previous pattern to make it a little less boxy, but I like the collar. I would probably avoid the elasticated waist trousers though.

Simplicity 6773

This is probably going to be the first pattern that I make up from this haul as I have recently come to love big wide (crazy) trousers but can't seem to be able to find any in a plain fabric ie not a crazy print, and would like some more plain ones. I just need to look for a light and floaty fabric now... Shame...


Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Fitting for my Body

I have managed to get some sewing in recently which is good and have spent some time working out how to fit a few staples to my weird body shape, ok so I have only done a small amount of fitting and have still got to work out how to deal with my sway back but that is another issue...

Renfrew T-shirt (top) and Sorbetto Top (bottom). I have finally modified these patterns to fit my shape/tastes.
Some of the Modifications. Top L Sorbetto FBA, I also lowered the Armscye. Top R, Creating facings for another Sorbetto
Bottom, Adding some volume to the Sorbetto sleeve template.

I'm very glad to have finally sorted out getting the Sorbetto pattern to fit me as I think this is such a good shell pattern that I can modify in many ways to get what I want. It did take me a while to work out what I needed to do and now I have to just suck it up and realise that I need to do an FBA which is what I did on my New Look 6123 muslin and other than needing to take some length out of the bottom of the CB seam it pretty much fitted me out of the pack after that.

Left and Middle, Wearable Muslin for New Look 6123, Right self drafted floaty top.

Again I'm quite happy that I have fitted this pattern as the plain version is a nice sheath dress which I think is going to be a nice base for modifications.
I am trying to make another version of this dress that I ended up buying for my friends wedding, which is a fantastic dress, well made, nice fit (which is surprising for me) and when I teamed it with a bright orange jacket, totally out of my comfort zone colour wise.

Closet dress, bought at TK Maxx
I think that with some dart manipulation I could make a bodice similar to this and then just replace the sheath skirt with a more flared skirt and this would be a similar style dress.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Making a Raised Bed

In an attempt to make our garden more productive (and reduce the area of lawn we have to mow) we decided to create a raised bed on one of the sections of lawn. We recently purchased some scaffold planks from Southampton Wood Recycling Project and some 2 by 2's for the corners.



We screwed the planks into the corner posts and not into one another as this meant we could go in from the front of the planks and not into the end grain. We also lined the sides of the bed with pond liner to increase its life span a help hold in water/soil.



The finished bed is 3 planks high which is quite high but it means that we will not have to bend down too much to work on it which is nice. We are also trying out a new (to us) technique of Hugelkultur so lined the bottom of the bed with logs that we had lying about with some other bits of wood and garden cuttings on top. After the wood we layered straw and then soil on top of that.







We have not finished filling the bed yet but are looking for a good source of manure/soil to fill up the top of the bed. We are looking forward to seeing what this bed can produce over the next few seasons.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Slow Cooker Tagine

We have been looking on Freecycle a lot lately to source things for our new raised bed (more on that soon) and I have expanded out to also look at FreeAds and GumTree, well the other day I saw a post for a pair of walking boots in size 7 and as I'm looking to sell my old too small hiking boots I thought I'd check them out. Since they were in Lymington we decided to make a day of it and took a picnic to the New Forest and hiked to Hurst Castle.
To make the day even better we put a Tagine on to cook in the Slow Cooker before we left and came home to the most lovely smell of a cooked meal.

Tagine 1

Beef Tagine:

450g Diced Beef
1tsp minced Garlic
1 Onion, chopped
1/4 Red Cabbage, Cut into chunks

1pint Beef/Chicken Stock
2tsp Cumin
2tsp Ground Corriander
1tsp Ginger
1tsp Turmeric

2 tbs Honey
1can Alubia Beans
1can Chopped Tomatoes
Large Glug of Red Wine (optional)

Brown the diced beef in a frying pan, in batches if necessary, add to heated Slow Cooker.
De-glaze the frying pan with a small amount of the hot water for the stock and add to stock jug, make stock with one stock cube. Add the spices and honey to the stock.

Combine all ingredients in the Slow Cooker, leaving cooking on 'medium' until you are ready for it. At least 3 hours.

Serve with Cous Cous and fresh coriander to garnish

Tagine 2

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

First Proper Harvest

This week we had our first "proper" harvest from the garden, we have had bits and bobs here and there in the past and quite a lot of certain vegetables but this week was the first one where we had a half decent quantity of a range of veg.

This weeks harvest

This selection contained some carrot thinnings which whilst being very small tasted very carroty so we are now really looking forward to the main harvest. One decent sized Beetroot and some onion thinnings which we generally have been treating like spring onions.We also had a number of Green Plums because I took some poorly looking branches of our 'wild' plum and these were attached to them, I don't want to just throw them away but I have got to find a way of using them, any ideas?

Most importantly in this group was our First Ever Potato harvest! This is the first tie we have tried growing them and admittedly started them a bit late as these were a 50p reduced price pack at our local B and Q so we thought we might as well give them a go. We are looking forward to the next two barrels of them :)


We have been slowly picking a few berries here and there from the one raspberry cane that we have and the blackberries growing into the garden from the train line behind.


On Monday I thinned out our beetroots in both the bed and the "window box", you can see the difference in size in the foliage if not the actual "bulb" size.


More Onion thinnings, the white ones are definitely doing better than the red ones which is annoying as we tend to use more red than white but, oh well any is good.


and finally a few lone Broad Beans from our three small plants, these have always been struggling and are never going to give a great harvest...

Broad beans

Friday, 17 July 2015

Abstract Maxi Skirt

When looking for a dress to wear to a wedding the other week I had a very limited time to find something so ended up with an "If I cant find anything else" dress which was nice but didn't really flatter me (and part of it was not on the grain properly which bugged me), but knowing that I might not be able to find anything else I bought it and kept my fingers crossed I might find something else. Thankfully I did, the day before the wedding! So my Maxi Dress was relegated to the 'To Modify' pile where it got a surprisingly quick turn around.

I cut the offending ruffle off the top of the dress at the waist line, removing the elastic that gave the dress a little bit of shape

I then made a simple waist band from thick black elastic that I use for almost all my waistbands (I now have a reel of it so it is always there when I need it)

Sewing the elastic right side to right side with a small zig-zag stitch.

I then finished the inside of the seam allowance on the serger ( I have to use the blade up at the moment as it is playing up when you try and use it down, I think it might have to go and see the doctor soon)

Voila one skirt from a rather unflattering Primark dress (strapless ruffle tops do not flatter my figure...)

Here is the skirt modeled the other day and I did actually wear it all day despite doing some gardening and cleaning the gutters! But the first day I wore it i found it was very clingy so made myself a 'slip' to go under it from white viscose (what has to be my favorite fabric) and now it feels/hangs much better when worn.

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