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Once you choose hope, anything is possible.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Lenten Challenge

I'm thinking this year of doing a challenge for myself during the period of Lent (from 1st March) inspired by this
and also the approach Alison from Acorn Cottage Artisanry has been using for a long time of
THINGS MADE     THINGS FIXED     THINGS GONE

So between 1st March and Easter I will commit to
donating 40 items (things to charity which others could use)
discarding 40 items (things to recycling which are filling my space)
fixing/finishing or repairing 40 items (some of these may be getting a professional to repair the item).
creating 40 items (for the charity craft stall or for others, not for myself).
I will also include anything I do this week to spur myself on (and not put anything off until next week).

I will share progress here on the blog.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Infinity Scarves for the Charity Craft Stall

The charity craft stall is only 11 weeks away and although I do have some inventory left from previous years I would like some new items too, especially as people do return each year and want something different.

I decided to make lots of infinity scarves using fabric I already have, in particular poly fabrics with lovely prints, which I chose because I liked them but then found I didn't want to wear garments made from the fabric. Any I really like I may keep one for myself as generally you can get two out of a piece of fabric.

Ivory georgette with a print of lavender plants.

Next up a viscose print in olive and wine. One longer, one shorter.

And a single ivory textured scarf (not enough fabric for two).
I have another 10 fabrics which look to be good candidates so this should be a productive avenue.
I also picked up a small mirror so my customers can see how the scarves look when they try them on.

I loosely based my scarves on this online video Tutorial: How to Sew an Infinity Scarf

Saturday, 11 February 2017

February Fantastic Fabric

Work recently had some changes which massively increased my workload meaning lots of extra hours and quite a bit of stress.
I am ok but it's seriously impacted the sewimg.

However on my recent holiday I did manage to get a bit of time in a local fabric store which I have visited before and thought I would share my purchases. I bought remnants by the piece.
Lovely viscose Jersey in a leaf print. A dark red colour way and a sage green colour way. I love them both.
Next up a soft grey green silk and another Jersey in dark red on deep burgundy. More tops.
A remnant of what seems to be official desigual fabric, and will make a great casual tee or two.
And a bunch of invisible zips as they were 35c each, much cheaper than back in the UK. I got 5 black, 2 brown, one greyish and one burgundy. Great for side zip trousers.
I got these in the Funchal branch of Feira dos Tecidos.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

January Sewing Update

Well its the last day of January and in previous years I would be madly sewing away on the SWAP, but thats not really happened this year.

At the start of Jan I did sew a cream top which could be in the SWAP
Its OK but the neckband pulls up slightly in wear so I don't love it.

After that I took the Christmas decorations down and got a rearrange and declutter type phase going.
I put a different set of curtains and lampshade in the living room (taupe) and moved the cream script curtains into the study. I added a leaf print curtain to the landing window.

I've moved a shelving unit into the sewing room for my patterns and put some fabric in the loft until later. Moved the furniture round in the study and started moving study things out of the living room.

Tried on most of my clothes and got rid of the tired, badly fitting and wrong colours, and spent some time making work suitable outfits from the things which were left.

I have recovered some old chair back, but not the seats yet, and still need to put them back together.
I made some cushions from the same fabric for the wicker chair in the conservatory.
I also shortened the linings and curtains in the living room, though something isnt quite right and I may need to re do at least one of them.

More curtains need shortening and I need to sort paperwork which is something I tend to put off.

Happily Stitchers Guild is back, if in a new cleaned down format. I've found the break quite helpful and maybe will spend a bit less time on there in future, we shall see.

Monday, 30 January 2017

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Another Stitchers Guild update

Still on the PR thread at https://sewing.patternreview.com/SewingDiscussions/topic/81539/42

DragonLady writes
Date: 1/28/17 3:13 PM

okay; just left off from chatting with our hosts, and I think we may have a plan that will work for getting us back online.

We're going to "shelve" the current database for now, and start over with a fresh, clean, empty forum. It *should* work, and later the old database can either be merged with the new one we create, or the individual threads can be archived. We'll cross that bridge later.

But this should put us back on the map, and ready to move forward.
 Some responses on that thread about how to recreate content on SG which you may be interested in.

Also some people are now members on a new site http://www.textillia.com/
I have joined but not posted much. It seems like a nice site.

My work is still too busy to have anything much to share sewing wise. I was even in the office on a Sunday writing reports for several hours.
I did shorten some curtains but sadly one is 1/4" longer than the other which is visually very jarring. I will get them sorted out at some point.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Further Update on Stitchers Guild

This is from the thread on PR
https://sewing.patternreview.com/SewingDiscussions/topic/81539/38

DragonLady writes


Date: Today at 10:33 AM
Sorry for not updating you all sooner.

Truth is, I've reached a point of mental exhaustion with everything, and need to take a break.

The problem, for those of you are computer-minded, is the paths. The paths seem to be correct, as *most* of the page elements display just fine. However, I get constant errors telling me the paths are wrong -but if I change them, everything crashes. As a result, nothing is working correctly. The uploaded images, the avatars, the gallery photos, the site themes and other components don't display at all or -even more baffling- only partly display. If it partly displays, the path must be correct...or is leading somewhere. ???

This problem isn't confined to the SMF forum; rather my "plan B" isn't working for the same reason.

To complicate matters, I guess I really made our hosts angry when I rather sternly suggested that as they had broken the site maybe they should fix it -they've stopped answering my emails altogether.

Finally, I've gotten sick. I guess with the stress and lack of sleep my immunities haven't been great, so now I have a touch of flu.

I'm going to take a couple of days break, and try to come back with fresh eyes.

In the meantime, I'll also explore other options for hosting, etc. in case this just isn't gonna work out.

I don't want to make any decisions when I'm this stressed out, but I know that having other choices on the table will instantly make me feel better, and solutions usually surface when the outlook improves.

So...a short break for sanity and recuperation, and then I'll be back at it.

One way or another -or day or another- we'll be back. I'm not giving up or walking away. I just need to shelve it for a while so I can think more clearly.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

More News on Stitchers Guild

It seems that Stitchers Guild did come back briefly, and there was a test thread which I managed to post to.
Unfortauntely after that a few more issues seem to have occured, I've been away for a few days with work so missed them, but have been onto the PR thread and dug out the latest update I can find from DragonLady

Date: 1/25/17 4:13 AM

just poppin' in to say: SG is down again, as some more errors became apparent. I've been working on it ever since, but now it's after 2am so I have to sleep for a while. I'll be back at it tomorrow.
and

Date: 1/25/17 12:44 PM
I'm looking at options for a Plan B right now

I'm trying to update the old files to work with the new system, but if that just won't work, I'm looking at other options.

Either way, we'll be back online. It just might not be the same familiar system.

We'll see...I'll know far more when I'm done with the processes I'm running now.

Meantime, button orders and household chores, too. My RL often doesn't much respect my online life.... ;)


So wishing DragonLady all the best with her endeavours.

I have some time for sewing this evening but am very weary from my work trip so may not actually have the energy. If I do manage something I think it will be related to curtains linings or shortening curtains.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Chair backs and musings on budget home interiors

Here's what the chair backs looked like recovered.
On the back I need to make some holes in the fabric for the screws, which means they are not really removable.
I sewed the fronts to the backs on three sides, matching the corners and easing the top seam to fit.
I then slipped the back into the casing and pinned the bottom in place and slipstitched it. The stitching should not be visible once the chairs are reconstructed.

I have overlocked all the way round the edges of the seat pieces. These will be carefully stapled in place with a staple gun avoiding the screw holes in the seat. Then I'll be able to reassemble the chairs and put them in place in the conservatory.

Budget Home Interiors
My house is filled with second hand, donated, inexpensive and a few new pieces of furniture. When I started over after getting divorced (6 years ago now) I had some random things from the old house, some old things from my parents and friends and a few things I bought. I replaced a few things over time and had a pleasant rented home. 2 1/2 years ago I bought a little house, a similar size to the rented place, but a different layout and shape of rooms. I started with all the same furniture but gradually have replaced the pieces that did not sit too well, donating the previous pieces to charity and a friend also starting over.

I noticed I have developed a consistent approach which I thought I would share in case others would like it too. The house is a small 1980s place in northern europe, so I have kept colours light.

- when assembling a room from mismatched furniture it is more restful to the eye if each room is in roughly the same colour of furniture. Mine mostly boils down to two options (though I've not been able to completely stick to it) - Ikea beech (now discontinued) and white melamine. Where possible within one room I try to have most of the furniture in the same 'wood' tone, so the living room is mostly Ikea Beech as is the study, the bedroom is pine painted cream and the sewing room is white melamine. I had a few outlier pieces in dark wood, these got donated.

- I try to have mostly shades of neutrals (ivory, cream, taupe, light brown) and one accent colour per room. This is a medium blue in the living room, pale green in the kitchen, terracotta in the conservatory.

- Woodwork and radiators are kept white, walls are neutral or light in colour. The pine built in wardrobes were painted cream, the faux mahoghany fireplace taupe.

I am currently debating the study, as I have quite a few grey metal accessories (wastepaper basket, drawer unit, storage boxes, noticeboard, in trays etc) which doesn't fit with the cosy aesthetic in there. though the desk has grey metal legs.
I could use them in the garage for storage, spray paint them white or embrace them as they are, though at the moment they are a little jarring. They are also full of stuff, so the answer may come organically as I sort and tidy the contents.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Further Stitchers Guild Update

Hi all, here's another little bit about SG from Dragonlady on the thread on PR (page 27)

Date: 1/22/17 7:28 PM

Hello again, everyone. :)

I'm just letting everyone know that we're still working on SG. The forum itself is working, but I'm keeping it turned "off" for now as we continue to try to install a newer backup of the database than the one it is currently running on.

If we don't have success with it soon, I'll call it "quits" and turn it back on so we can just move forward with what we have. I just hate losing the posts, private messages, new registrations and other information, so I'm still in the fight to get those things restored.
and then a little further on (p28)
Date: Today at 12:37 PM

Everyone, I *believe* SG is ready to go. However, the guy who worked on it all night left without leaving a progress report, so I'm not certain.

I'm going to leave it turned off for another day, just to play it safe. I don't want to risk anything breaking again after all the hard work.

So...unless there's been some new development to say otherwise, I expect her to be back online -and up to date- tomorrow.

DL

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Another Stitchers Guild update and Household sewing: ivory cushions

First up another update on Stitchers Guild from the PR thread for those who are not members there.
DragonLady wrote on 18th Jan.
Hello again, everyone :)

I'm just posting to let you know SG is still being worked on.

The forum actually works now; but the database it's connected to is from November. We've been trying to get the recent backups installed, but as the files are huge it's a long and laborious process.

I want to reassure everyone this is not a hacking issue, nor is it a financial one. All websites -all of them- go down occasionally. Larger sites often straddle several machines or have mirror sites that take over when one machine goes down. But SG only sits on one server, and so when it hiccups everyone feels it. When something goes catastrophically wrong, we all just have to wait for the engineers and web elves to fix it.

In the meantime, I'm unable to send or receive email, and unable to post any messages on the server because it will just contribute to the ongoing issues.

But I promise no one has abandoned the effort, and that we're all working together to make sure we do everything we can to get back up-to-date if at all possible.

Although some SG members are now posting more on PR, I'm not one of them although I am a member there. I've gained extra workload at work and thought it would be sensible to get back into sewing again, so I've not spent lots of time on PR.

Back in November I had some chairs I was going to change to fit more with my colour scheme.
These will go in the conservatory with an old Ikea kitchen table.

Original Post about the chairs

I didn't have enough of anything a suitable colour in my large fabric stash. (I wanted an ivory colour that toned with my other chairs in case I did something where I extended the large table and used all the chairs together).

So I went along to the local roll end shop and bought I think 3m of a slightly stretchy cream home dec fabric.

Original post about the home dec fabric

Then I painted the chair frames with 3 or 4 coats of vanilla radiator enamel left over from several houses ago. It needed a lot of stirring and was a bit thin hence all the coats but it did cover over the grey metal eventually.

Then I just had to park any further work, so I put the painted chair frames in the garage out of the way and decorated the conservatory for Christmas.

Now I've just started to work on them.

I made a template for the front of the back rest, the back of the back rest and for the seat out of newspaper and used these to cut the pieces out of fabric. These newspaper patterns are very rough and ready, not symmetrical etc, however they helped me use the fabric economically and whilst fitting to the actual pieces is still needed, there is less excess fabric in the way.
I cut these out first so I then knew how much fabric I would have to make covers for other cushions to co-ordinate in the conservatory.So far I have made matching ones for the back and seat of the wicker chair I have in the conservatory as this makes it more comfortable, and have some left over for a foam seat pad on a storage box and maybe some small side cushions as well.
This just uses soft squishy cushions, with inners that are homemade from a sheeting remnant in a neutral tone, filled with pillow wadding and a simple wrap style closure. I realise that I could have cut foam to fit, made more fitted covers with zipper closures etc, but this is super comfy and the square cushions can be used on the sofa or elsewhere instead when wanted. Plus it only took one evening to make. I quite like the relaxed vibe the oversized cushions give. It seems quite inviting to me in a way tailored cushions don't.

I'll share again when I've done some more sewing.
And after this I have lots of curtains to shorten. I dislike shortening curtains, but I also dislike them hanging over the radiators or crunched onto the windowsill so I WILL get round to shortening them very soon!

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Stitchers Guild Down and Other things

I love the Stitchers Guild sewing discussion board.
It has been down for a few days now, I'm not sure what the issue is, I just read something on Pattern Review where DragonLady posted yesterday saying

"Lo everyone!

I'm just popping in to let everyone know that SG is being worked on.

Please be patient, as this is happening over a holiday weekend, and everything takes time -and patience.

But I promise the hosts and I are working together to resolve the issues to bring us back online ASAP."

I've not been posting much as not had much to share really.
After Christmas/New Year was over I packed up all the holiday decorations and then got the urge to change things round a bit, so moved furniture about, changed curtains etc. This isn't finished yet but has made some progress.

I've now lost 16.5lbs so had a first go through office suitable clothes, got rid of some things I never wear, tried lots of things on and worked out what some possible outfits could be for work. A whole load of things have gone into the sewing room for repairs or minor alterations.

Whilst shopping for other items I noticed this unit which has cute button effect drawer pulls (from a bathroom storage range) and am trying to work out if there is somewhere it could go in the sewing room.
It is H63cm x W26cm x D32cm which I have measured would definitely fit underneath the table so I think I shall give myself permission to go back and get it.
(I'm trying to be a bit more concious with my shopping and really think about whether I would use something).

Monday, 2 January 2017

Cream Raglan Top plus some hemming

Here's a new version of the raglan tee (based on the Santa Monica tee) which I made in black for SWAP and several prints as tests, I have been wearing them all.
In the SWAP plan I have an cream eyelet blouse and that may yet get sewn, however I decided to sew up this cream coloured tee as I wanted to do some other cream/ivory things and can use it in the SWAP if necessary. Otherwise it will be a great basic in my work wardrobe.
I did originally cut a wider neckband but it looked dreadful so I unpicked it and cut the band down to the usual width and reattached it. I had only sewn the initial stitching on the normal sewing machine, not the overlocker so although it was a little fiddly it was not as bad as unpicking overlocking!

Whilst I had cream on the coverhem I also shortened two overly long RTW items.
I also turned a dress I sewed in 2010 into a top. The weight of the skirt had caused it to drop and it wasn't flattering to wear, however I thought it would get worn as a top, so hemmed this also on the coverhem machine.
I can see it with brown trousers and a camel jacket for work.
This was the original dress from 2010

I'm going to try and do some mending/alteration type work alongside the other things I want to sew to get these little jobs done too.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

New Year Thoughts

Happy New Year.

I know some sewists like to go back over all the things they have made this past year but I think I'd rather mostly look forwards, so here's just a few thoughts.
From memory I did SWAP again, a red collection and started a green collection, made lots of charity craft things and a few items for other people. I managed to post on the blog every day in November. A few projects went wrong as they do.

DBF and I had an amazing holiday in San Diego and Mexico at Easter where I actually got to touch a whale in the wild - an amazing trip.

Work was relatively demanding and will continue to be so, however it is interesting and helps me in my financial goals.

I lost some weight in 2016 and am continuing the healthy eating journey in 2017. I haven't really got started with the exercise yet and need to do that as a desk job and a sedentary hobby like sewing are not a good combination health wise.

I want to have another round of decluttering/sorting/tidying with the main areas being
- sewing room  - fabric, patterns and other craft resources
- dealing with paperwork
- another go through the wardrobe and books
(I have a donation bag started and want to add more to it)
- use up toiletries/throw away out of date medication and food
(medication goes to the pharmacy for safe disposal)

 Maybe I'll have a different challenge for myself each month so it doesn't get overwhelming.

My Sewing Goals are
to sew trousers which fit reasonably well (ie as well as my favourite rtw),
complete the SWAP (including 4 pairs of the aforementioned trousers) and hopefully two woven shirts
make at least one thing for someone else (unselfish sewing)
sew and craft lots of items for my charity craft stall
make a few home dec things
but mostly to enjoy sewing

My overall goal is that I want to have balance in my life - spend time with DBF, friends and family, work hard at my job, look after my health and enjoy my home, hobbies and holidays and also give something back.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Burda 12/2016 #134 "Whale" Stuffed Animal

Christmas prep seems relatively under control so I decided to have a go at the Burda Whale for whale mad dbf, as a sort of crazy cushion for the sofa.

I absolutely love the result, though the embroidered eyes would have been easier done on the flat.
I used a dark grey ponte for the top, lighter grey jersey for the bottom and thick black embroidery thread for the eyes. He's now been tucked up and wrapped ready for Christmas Day.