In which Alfie gets a bed…

IMG_3900Alfie had taken to sleeping on my pillow. This was, in equal parts, adorable and frustrating. Adorable, because catcatcatcatcat, obviously. Frustrating because he didn’t really like sharing, so my head kept getting bitten and kicked. Also, it didn’t seem super hygienic.

In the end, I decided that he was probably trying to tell me he wanted a pillow of his own, and I was happy to help. I bought a cheap pillow, dug some African wax print from my stash, and got to work. It was an incredibly simple make – I used a pillowcase I already owned as a template, and then kind of made it up as I went along.

Forty-five minutes later, Alfie was happily ignoring his new bed.

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And a while after that, he decided that he bloody loved it. IMG_3936

Now if I could just persuade my brain that having a pillow to itself should help it fall sleep, we’ll be set.

Sewing for the Home (aka Boring Sewing)

IMG_2498I don’t have much time to sew anymore, which makes me sad. It’s nice to earn money doing a job which I enjoy, but I would like to do more sewing. In order to break the monotony of my ongoing wardrobe architecture, and my new interest, reviewing Birchboxes, I thought I’d show you a bit of home sewing I’d been getting on with while ignoring the curtain fabric sitting in the corner.

During the Christmas break I managed to rearrange our bedroom so that my desk is in the brightest corner instead of the darkest, and make myself some fabric coasters. They’ve got wadding in the middle, so they’re quite absorbent, which is good when you’re as clumsy as me. They’re made from a duvet cover which I got from Primark last year. I really loved the birds on bikes print, but I haven’t found any use for it until now – I’d thought about a dress, but it’s not very soft.

We thought they went so well with our new sofa that I spent a couple of hours this weekend knocking up some cushions in the same fabric. The other side of the duvet cover was white with grey print, and I decided to use that for the back of the cushions, partly for contrast, and partly so I might have enough of the grey left over for a skirt.

Happy Shopper

When my auntie came to stay recently, she admired both my curtain, and my tote bag. “Aha!” I thought, “Aha! I shall combine the two!”
 
Can we call this a self drafted pattern? I mean, it’s only a tote bag, but I did make a pattern for it all by myself (with a slight pause to watch a video on how to make a square bottomed bag on youtube). Yeah, lets call it self drafted and make me feel very pleased with myself indeed. 
 
I was so happy with it, that as soon as it was finished and photographed, I headed straight up to the post office to send a nice surprise all the way to Yorkshire. Hopefully she’ll like it; you can fit A3 paper inside, so she should be able to get her Daily Telegraph in, as well as some groceries (which won’t fall over thanks to the flat bottom – yeah!! ). 
I used the curtain’s natural resources (massive eyelets) to form the strap holes, and used french seams for added strength. They make it a little bit bulky, but I think it’s ok. The cotton is pretty thick anyway, so I don’t think it’s a fold-up-and-keep-in-your-bag-bag. Ben thinks it looks like an owl.

Oh, and by the way, I learnt from my mistakes and used a denim needle, which made all the difference to my sanity with this project.
The two dressmaking projects I’ve been working on at the moment have come to a bit of a standstill after various blunders on my part. The 70s tunic is just a disaster partly through strange instructions, and partly through stupidity (let’s call this version a toile). The Kelly skirt is probably too small for me, and I’m disinclined to finish it – also, sewing that corduroy is akin to punching myself repeatedly in the face. Today it began shedding wildly all over the flat. It’s everywhere. I have corduroy up my nose. Does decent corduroy do that? Is this what I get for buying cheap shit?

Inlight Glass Fusion Workshop

A couple of weeks ago, my mum and I had the BEST DAY EVER(!!) at an ornament making workshop held by Chantal of Inlight at her studio in Hove.  

I found the workshop on Groupon and got it as a Christmas present for my mum – I had to tag along of course, just to make sure she was enjoying herself. My mum is like me, and loves anything crafty or creative. She’s also always happy to have a nice day out. We were joined by another mother and daughter combo, these ones had both received the workshop for Christmas from their daughter/sister. 
 

The three hour session started with cups of tea, and an explanation from Chantal about the basics of glass fusion, what we could do with our glass, and what effects different decorations would have on the finished product. Before we went, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, but I was quite worried about serious burns from molten glass, and the effect that those might have on my life. 

I needn’t have worried, as it turns out that you start with a solid sheet of glass, which you cut into the shapes you want. First of all, we drew out some templates and practised cutting them out on sheets of cheaper glass, then, once Chantal had checked our work, and explained how to avoid any of our mistakes in future, we were set loose on our allocated bit of nice glass.

The technique used involved scoring the shape you want into the glass, before snapping the excess off with some pliers. This was a bit scary at first, but it all worked out fine, and we were soon cutting out squares, icicles, owls and birdies to our hearts content. Once cut out, they were decorated with small bits of glass, copper wire or foil, special paint, and silver glitter.

There were so many ideas floating round, not to mention Chantal’s beautiful work hanging above us, it was hard to decide what to do!I settled on a crazy-eyed red owl, an abstract square and a blue bird, while mum went for a partridge, a blobby rectangle, and a kitty cat (modelled on her own cat, Hank).  It’s funny how we both work in such different ways – she’s much more abstract in her designs, whereas I like everything to line up very neatly (strangely, I’m the messy one). You can see my designs after and before cooking at the top, and mum’s below.

Chantal took our creations away and cooked them in her kiln, before we picked them up a few days later. I was really pleased with how they turned out, and I loved the opportunity to try out a different craft for the day.

I’d love to go back and try another of the workshops – the jewellery making one really caught my eye!

Home Made Jewellery Display

What do you do with a blank wall and a jewellery collection which is rarely worn because it’s stored in boxes and you forget about things which aren‘t in front of your face? 
Well, one option would be to make yourself a pretty jewellery display from an old pin board. You could also probably manage to take a nicer picture of it than I have.
It was all very simple, really:
  1. Pop some eye screws into the top corners and wind picture wire around them (you could also use ribbon)
  2. Stick washi tape around the edges of the board to brighten it up a bit
  3. Grab some dressmaking pins (as they are what you have to hand) and pin your jewellery up neatly (or messily, up to you)
  4. Whack a picture hook into the wall, hang your jewellery dislay up, spend an hour straightening it
  5. You, my friend, are DONE! Stand back and admire your work.

100 extra points if you manage to match your tape colour to that of your duvet by accident.

250 extra points if your cat deems this piece of DIY worth walking past.

Apologies for the dreadful pictures. Bad weather, bad light. Too impatient to wait for something better.