Monday, 31 January 2011

Bring back the Kaftan

I went to a 70's fancy dress party on Saturday night. I managed to borrow the most fantastic vintage 70's kaftan. It was amazing. I say bring back the kaftan. It was really comfortable and basically covers everything up. Result! What do you think - does it suit me?? I modelled myself on Margo from The Good Life (one of my favourite sitcoms from the 70's!).

We all really went for it with the fancy dress. We don't get out much anymore so we all got a bit over excited.

We actually went into a pub dressed like this and drank shots of Jagermeisters like teenagers

Even bumped into Wonder Woman and the Green Cross Code man.

Felt slightly delicate on Sunday tho. I am NEVER drinking again!

Monday, 24 January 2011

First fabric splurge of the year

Its nearly February and I haven't bought any fabric this year. That can't be right can it? I was having withdrawal symptoms so took a little trip to my local fabric shop.

I love this bird fabric. I'm going to make a dress for Izzy I think.

I spotted a fabric from this range on Mary Poppins lovely blog and she very kindly gave me the details as I was going to try and find it online. I was very pleased when I saw they had this similar fabric locally. Sam fell in love with it too and insisted on carrying it round the shop for me. I feel a litle drawstring swim bag in the making.

Some more lovely spotty fabric. Baby blue and deep pink.

Some calico, denim and red gingham.

and a few fat quarters to play around with. Just need to get sewing now!

I actually went for a run yesterday!! It was only 3k but I felt physically sick at the end of it and today I can't move my legs. I beginning to feel a bit scared now about the prospect of running 10k. What have I done????

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Sewing Sunday

Izzy and I had another sewing session today. Shes still really interested in the whole sewing thing which is so lovely. We practiced hand sewing again with another kit.

We kind of adapted it though to make a mobile for her bedroom

While Izzy was busy sewing I made her a little present

I had this gorgeous Cath Kidston box lying around from Christmas which was filled with really pretty shredded tissue paper. It was crying out to be a little house for someone

So I made this little pink felt mouse to live in the box

I'm really pleased with the silver whiskers

It only took 5 minutes to make and Izzy loved it!

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Introducing Granny and Grandad Snuggles

Izzy bought Granny and Grandad Snuggles home from school yesterday.

She has been desperate to have them for months but they are only given to children who have been exceptionally helpful. Granny and Grandad Snuggles come home with you for the week-end and have a diary which you have to complete with stories and photos of things you have done with them.

I kind of decided that as we were going to the school barn dance that night I should make them suitable attire to wear. Is that a bit mad? I made both of them help of course

Granny Snuggles made herself a scarf and denim skirt

and Grandad Snuggles made himself a bandana scarf and a waistcoat. I had a go at making him a sheriff badge using my new freehand machine embroidery skills which clearly need a bit more practice. I REALLY do need to get out more!

. Izzy and Sam got dressed up too and off we all went to the barn dance

We had a great time. We just need to think of cool things to do with Granny and Grandad Snuggles tomorrow. Any ideas?

Friday, 21 January 2011

Toy Stories

Izzy and I have discovered a fab new game on the IKEA facebook page. Its called Toy Stories and your child can basically write their own story book which they can save to read later or print off.

Your child chooses the story and which character they want to be and they then make up the story after looking at all the pictures.

 Izzy has absolutely loved doing this on the laptop. She loves using her imagination and making up stories and she particularly loved the fact that we could save them and read them back. She also really enjoyed trying to type the words herself as I spelt them out to her. Its a great game to play and is absolutely free to use. The only problem we have is that there are only 3 different stories available at the moment and we have done all of them several times! New stories please IKEA!!

Talking of toy stories Izzy bought Grandma and Grandad Snuggles home from school today. Who I hear you ask? They are 2 teddy bears given out each Friday to a child who has been particularly helpful all week. Grandma and Grandpa Snuggles have a diary which you have to fill with tales and photos of their exciting week-end with your child!! I have to admit to being ever so slightly competitive about these types of things and clearly each diary entry has got bigger and better than the last! So I have spent the evening making new outfits for the pair (mad I know!) but you'll just have to wait to see what they are..........

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Christmas drinks at last!

I went out last night to finally catch up with my friend Debi. We had been planning a Christmas drink but the snow and illness got in the way. We discovered a fantastic pub close to where we live which is really tucked away. Can't believe I didn't know it was there before. We had a few of these...

and then my lovely friend Debi presented me with 2 presents! They were so thoughtful and just perfect. Some lovely shiny love heart quilting pins
and a gorgeous handmade book mark which is just perfect for my new reading club book and has been put to use already...

Thank you Debi. I LOVED my presents and the night out! It was such fun.

Anyway my new training schedule has now started ready for the 10k run in May. On Thursday I actually did this....

An hour of Zumba which was really good fun even if I don't have any rthymn! However my hour of exercise was followed by this which I don't think is really what you are supposed to do..........

Izzy and I had our second sewing lesson today. I thought Izzy needed to practice doing hand sewing as well as using her machine. She's only 5 so a proper needle is still quite tricky but luckily I found a couple of starter sewing kits and they were prefect for practicing her handstitching. Izzy got the hang of the stitching really quickly and managed to do it all herself. It was great because with the plastic needle and pre-cut holes I could let Izzy do it by herself while I pottered around doing other things and she liked the fact I wasn't looking over her shoulder.

I think we will do more of these kits. They are a great way to learn the basics.

Another lovely day!

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Help I think Aliens have taken me over

What has happened to me? First of all I signed up to do a 10k run and now I've organised the next book club meeting. Its not like me at all. I really hate exercise AND organising.

So I have 6 weeks to read this

We meet at the end of Feb to drink wine discuss the book. I've been a bit lax with reading lately so its good to have something to motivate me.

I then have 3 months to train for this

Look this is me after a 5k race a couple of years ago.

Look how exhausted I look, this time I would still have another 5k to run! I'm not sure I can do it. My sister in law is going to run it with me. Shes teaches spinning  classes and is very fit. She'll probably have to carry me round.

I couldn't resist this book when I ordered off Amazon as Izzy and I are having another sewing session on Saturday. Thanks for all the lovely comments about her lavendar bag. She was so chuffed seeing herself on the blog.

I'll do a little review when I have a proper look. My mum gave me this yesterday. Its a doll I made when I was about 8 years old. I can remember making it. I think it was out of old ballet tights but I didn't have enough fabric so I had to make one of the arms out of an old vest! It brings back happy memories of sewing as a child.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Sewing and Supporting

I have been inspired recently by a couple of bloggers who have posted about supporting a charity by using their sewing skills in some way.

Abby from Mutterings from the Moor made some mini bears to be part of 'Towards Tomorrow' Packs that are given to bereaved parents who have stillborn children or children who die shortly after birth. You can find out more info here and Birgitta from Birgitta Designs blogged about supporting Refuge by making and selling some gorgeous fabric hearts and donating the proceeds.

They have really made me think about how I too might also support a charity in some way. We sponsor a child through Action Aid and donate money every now and then but it feels like I should be doing something more actively to make a difference. I have decided that this year I am going to have a nominated charity on my blog that I will actively raise money for. I've been thinking all weekend about who to support and what I can do and I have finally decided. A few years ago I watched a documentary about the lives of abandoned and disabled children in Bulgaria which shocked me to the core. Young children were starving to death and being ill treated and neglected in a European country that had just joined the European Union. The images that I saw have never left me and that is why I have chosen The Bulgarian Abandoned Childrens Trust as the charity that I will fund raise for this year.

If you want to see why I have chosen this charity please watch this film. You will never forget it.  Its called 'In the bleak midwinter' and says what I want to say much better than I ever could. It WILL make you cry.

Such was the outrage following the original documentary that things have changed for the better. The care home shown above has finally closed and all of the children have moved to better facilities but there are still hundreds of children living in appalling conditions in Bulgaria. All deprived of love and attention and basic care. If you want to see the second documentary where they revisit some of the children see here

To get the ball rolling I have just signed up for the Bristol 10k run in May (I must be insane!). I thought that I had better put my money where my mouth is and having signed up and made it public knowledge I now have to do it now and I can't back out. Any sponsorship money I raise I will donate to the charity. I don't want money from fellow bloggers though - I know that we are all bombarded by sponsorship requests etc all the time. It would be great though if you could blog about this post to raise awareness for the charity or even better if you too decided to support a charity on your blog this year. Now that would be great!

I've also got some really cute little sewing kits for sale in my Folksy shop. I'll donate the money from all of the sewing kits to the charity so if anyone is interested in buying a present for someone where the money does something good as well then check them out

Finally I'm going to organise a coffee morning for all my mum friends and charge them for their tea and cake!! I might do a bring and buy book sale too. Any other ideas? I need a target to set myself too I guess. What do we think?

I'm giving myself a final week of being a couch potato and then I'm going to start my new training schedule. I'm scared!!

Saturday, 8 January 2011

First Attempts

Here goes, my first attempt at free hand embroidery........

I got out the manual and tool kit

Put on the new foot and lowered the feed dogs

and had my first attempt with some sparkly new pink thread

It was great fun and I can't wait to have another go when I have a bit more time to play around. The possibilities are endless. What was hard was knowing what I wanted to do but not yet having the skill to make my hands and sewing machine do it! It made me think about how Izzy must feel now that she is learning to write. Its really hard!

Izzy and I also did some sewing together this morning. She said that she didn't want to go dancing as usual but wanted to spend some time in my sewing room with me making something.

We decided to make a lavender bag. Izzy drew around a template and cut out the fabric. She then pinned it together inside out

She was a natural at threading a needle

We then tacked it together

and then sewed it up on the super dooper spotty pink sewing machine

Izzy turned the bag inside out

Filled it with dried lavender (kindly donated by a lovely blogger last year when i was doing my 70 presents challenge)

We then stitched acrosss the top after adding a ribbon handle. We added 2 sparkly pink buttons and a tiny fish charm we found in my sewing box.

Voila! A mermaid lavender bag. We had such a lovely morning. I managed to stay calm and patient (mostly!) and Izzy really seemed to enjoy herself. She wants to do more next week so I'm keeping my eyes open for some new ideas. The finished item is now hanging on her bed!

What a lovely day.