Once you choose hope, anything is possible.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Lenten Challenge Update 3 (half way to my goals)

Hi All, I have finally managed to get 20 items in all four columns.
This means I am half way to my challenge totals and I still have quite a few weeks to go, so lots of time to really make an impact.

I was really struggling with the last two columns, but then I had a go at sorting paperwork and generally tidying the study, which seemed to unblock the recycled column a bit.
And then tonight I managed to find a few things to add to the donation bag, I must say this part was quite hard to do, however I tried to be rational about it. So for example I had four tan coloured bags, I kept the two tone leather one and the larger structured one, but released a very small leather one (too small for my uses and scale I felt) and one which was very floppy and had a lot of zipper detail as I thought I would always choose one of the other two. I also found a paperback and some uncomfortable boots to donate. Phew! It felt like a challenge today.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Lenten Challenge Update 2

Here's my update since last time (just over a week).
I have paused on creating new things but I have fixed 4 more things, recycled 8 more things and donated 9 more things. So it is looking a bit more even.
If I can get all the columns over 20 then I'd be half way to my target, how great that would be. Obviously I have a bit of a way to go there, but definitely made progress in the recycling and donation columns in the last few days.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

SWAP update (or lack thereof)

I don't seem to be doing SWAP any more. I lost some weight and its now slowed up so a lot of existing older clothes are now back wearable so I don't have the driver that I need clothes. I also have quite a heavy workload at work, had a trip, am sewing for a charity craft stall in May and am catching up on all the minor repairs and shortening curtains etc. I have put off for a while. I am still enjoying seeing what everyone else is doing but currently don't feel the urge to sew new clothes for me. I might join in with the Summer 6PAC on Stitchers Guild once I get the summer clothes down from the loft and see what I've got up there and how it pans out for work.

The main thing I've done recently wardrobe wise is buy items which help support wearing the clothes I have (if that makes any sense), so
ankle boots in various colours in the sale.
XL tights so they are comfortable to wear.
little shoe liner type socks to wear under the tights with the boots.
Belts in toning colours which hold trousers up,
also some elastic belts for a smooth finish under tops (did these myself)
new bras as the old ones were a bit stretched out.
And I'd also caught up with lots of minor repairs so favourite items are back in circulation.

So I've been making a bit more effort to wear nice outfits. I have worn suits, dresses, skirts, trousers + jackets, shirts instead of just knit tops. I've used coloured bags instead of just the black one and I've thoroughly enjoyed myself

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Lenten Challenge - Update 1

Today is actually the start of Lent but I've been going on the challenge since 18th February and I'm including those things here.
Some people might see this as cheating and giving myself extra time, but my thought was if I wanted to do something good why would I wait until an artificial start time. The 40 number is a minimum starting target and I'm hoping to go way over that, but saying 40 is the target will hopefully spur me on.

As you can see as I'm making small items for the charity craft stall I have done quite well in the 'Created' column, less well on 'Fixed' and even less on 'Recycled' and 'Donated'.
However I now have the whole of Lent to work on this and really make some progress.

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

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

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.

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.


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!