Monday, 31 March 2014

Hillary's Blinds Country Crafts Competition

Free fabric!

Did I read that right?

Oh my... fabric... for free... how could any fabric addict pass up such an opportunity?

There must be a catch?

Oh look darn there is a catch, I have to make something with it, such a shame because you know I don't like being creative at all *sigh* :D

Yeah right I think Mr Mouse would be seriously worried if I not only passed up an opportunity for free fabric but then couldn't work out something to make with it.

The free fabric came courtesy of Hillary's Blinds as part of their Country Crafts Competion. I had a choice between four different designs in their new Country Retreat range and they are simply stunning but for me the Bird Paradise in Teal really stands out as a winner so this is what I picked.

I might have actually squeaked with delight when the fabric came as it is really gorgeous, I don't think pictures will ever do it justice.

But then the dilemma what to make.

I though about using it as panels in a skirt, but I didn't have any similar weight fabric in my stash, then I decided on a bag and I thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to take the mini bunny eared tote I designed and made last year and scale it up to a full sized tote.

The original mini bunny eared tote

So what was my inspiration for this tote?

Well I do love my bunnies.

But also have you ever been carrying a tote and wishing that it had different handles?

Well I have and its just annoying when you want to hoist that bag up on your shoulders but the handles are just far too short, or you want to carry your bag in your hand and the handles are so long that you end up wrapping them around your hand, which is a pain in itself. Even worse when the handle are just too short and long all at the same time.

So I came up with bunny ears for handles.

Simply tie for desired length, simples.

So here we have it a full sized bunny eared tote in the most gorgeous fabric ever:

Being a large tote I did add a little pocket on the inside:

actually its a little double pocket 

But in future I will also add an internal security zipped pocket and a magnetic closure to the main bag.



I still had some fabric left.......


Mini bunny eared tote
Another small version. This one I used a heavy weight interfacing on so it retains a rigid shape and would be perfect for an Easter egg hunt.

How cute are those ears?
How I would love a few metres of this fabric to play with.

I am still thinking a skirt with peak-a-boo peacock panels would be awesome.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Mother's Day

Happy Mothers Day. 

My Mummy was kind and gentle, but a dragon when needed. She taught me to be me. Yeah she sometimes forgot to feed us, when in the 'gardening zone' 🐞🐜🌷but that taught us to fend for ourselves and surprise her with cries of rumbly bellies to call her in when she would then discover dinner on the table. 

She was mad and never let being an adult get in the way of doing silly things, what's the fun in that 😉 

She extended our family with a motley crew of animals, mostly rescued and taught us to care for and respect them. 

No matter which direction our lives took she was proud of our achievements. 

She could see I was ill and battled to get me diagnosed to see if I could be fix, it never mattered that I couldn't be fixed. And where I would see disappointment and failure she would she achievement and remind me to be proud as I've battled with illness and still kept going.

My mummy was an amazing woman and I am proud of all she taught me. 

I miss you x

194O - 2010 

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Further Adventures in Sewing - Purse

I wanted to have a go at making a purse using a purse frame.

I picked a sew in frame found a pattern and hey presto -

I shall be making more :)

Friday, 21 March 2014

Budget Hair

I decided that I wanted to dye my hair but having no job means no money which left me looking longingly at the boxes of hair dye in Boots. But undeterred I decided to pop into Savers, now I have been into Savers before only I've generally also just walked straight back out but I am trying to embrace the budget stores so I did have a proper look and was really surprised at what was on offer.

So on the the hair dye, they had the big brands but I decided to be brave and try a more purse friendly budget dye (well not that brave as I at least stuck to a brand I'd heard of though obviously more familiar with the make-up) - Revlon Colorsilk in 04 Ultra Light Natural Blonde. This was around £3 per box.

So the before shot:

My hair was a real mix of faded red and pink with a little of my natural blonde mixed in and as you can see I have long hair so I brought two boxes. As always in preparation I mixed up both bottles of dye ready and this was a mistake because I actually only needed one, so I while I would recommend buying two boxes if you have long hair only mix up one and see how far you get.

Applying the dye was pretty easy, but I have to say it was very runny and I did make a bit of a mess with following the instructions so I ditched those and put the dye into my hands to then spread over my hair a little bit at a time.

The During:

this is my worried face
So once it was applied it was a case of setting the timer and fiddling about waiting. I have to say about 10 minutes in I was starting to get a little worried as it was starting to tingle on my head (oh yeah allergy test I never bother with that bit). But it wasn't burning and didn't persist to anything beyond a tingle so I kept waiting, I mean what's the worse that could have happened? Right!

The box claims that it actually leaves your hair in better condition and I have to say once I started to wash it out I got even more worried as my hair felt horrible. Now again I was surprised with the conditioner that came in the box, normally the little tiny tiny packets that are provided are not actually enough for my long locks but this one was hurrah. And hurrah again as after conditioning my hair did actually feel pretty good and was nicely conditioned and biggest thing of all hadn't fallen out.

The almost there:

waiting for it to dry for final colour
The after:
So would I used it again? Actually I would, I think the result would have been better with Garnier Nutrisse or something like Nice 'n Easy but I was (and still am) pretty happy.

the side by side comparison 

Adventures in Dressmaking - Skirts

I have been wanting to expand my sewing skills into clothes making for a while.
I can read a pattern but for some reason the idea of making clothes seemed very scary. Cushions, bags and toys are my comfort zone.

I am from a family of sewers and I grew up watching my Mum make clothes so some stuff must have sunk in. I decided it was time to give it a go.

I picked an easy pattern pack for my first project:

I did have to google how to do the zip as the pattern instructions were not very clear. But here is my first ever skirt made from scratch.

Look at the big bunny, not my big tummy

I love this fabric 
I was really pleased with it and I am proud to wear it, but I am not totally happy with the zip (but hey first garment zip) and I found googling instructions not really that great. What I really wanted was a book with clear step by step photos and instructions and I happened to find one in Home Sense while browsing last year its Dressmaking, The complete step-by-step guide by Alison Smith (you can buy it from Amazon). Its really good and covers the basics including how to measure yourself, understanding patterns and even how to alter patterns for a better fit. It does also include 12 basic garment patterns and also has a section on mending and repairs and customising.

Almost complete
So with the aid of this book I set about making the second skirt from the pattern pack and again I am really pleased with the result and I love my fabric choice.

Sorry about the really rubbish photo

P.S both fabric are from Ikea. The top skirt the fabric was discontinued last year and the bottom skirt is this.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Easy Muffins to Bake

I think I have been driving everyone crazy with pictures of all the Muffins I have been baking recently and then there was a little shout for the recipe.

When my fitness podcast tells me to have bit of fruit and a
glass of water this is totally what it means right!?

So here goes.

This is a really simple recipe and only takes a few minutes to get into the oven so perfect for morning bakes. I found the original recipe over on Attic24 only it was in grams and I don't do grams so I converted it (I cant say for certain how it works if you use metric weights).

I have tried other oil based muffin recipes before and always found them claggy and well not very nice but this is truly lovely and mouse recommended and I am sure you could use a non dairy milk to make them dairy free.

The Dry Ingredients
4oz (125g) Self Raising Flour
2 oz (50g) Caster Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder

The Wet Ingredients
4 tablespoons (60ml) Milk
2 tablespoons (30ml) Sunflower Oil (you could use other oil)
1 Egg
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract (you can use essence or flavouring)

The Extras
Fruit of your choice - fresh or frozen (I don't have a quantity as I add fruit to my muffin cases)
Granola to sprinkle on top prior to baking (optional)

180C / Gas 4 (for my fan oven I put it on at about 175C)
25 Minutes

Yield: 6
And according to MyFitnessPal when I put in the recipe details each muffin is about 175 calories (made with whole milk)
*Please note calorie information is not accurate as you know calculated by me and an app*

Weigh dry ingredients and place in a bowl (if you want to get all technical you should sift the flour, but who has time for that).

In a jug or another bowl measure out the wet ingredients and mix together with a fork.

Add your wet ingredients to your dry ingredients and mix together with a spoon, this will form your cake batter.

At this point you can add your fruit directly to the mix, but I prefer to wait.

Divide mix between 6 muffin cases and try to not eat too much of the raw cake mix (a weakness of mine). Now this is when I add the fruit, I generally use frozen (and in my case raspberries). I press in 3 to 4 berries per case - but experiment. I then sprinkle granola on top (you know that bit that's left at the bottom of the container that no one wants to eat? Yeah that, its perfect for use as the topping).

Put in the oven and then distract yourself while its baking. I feed the zoo, unload and reload the dishwasher etc.

And then ...


Whatcha got Momma, can weez have some?

Monday, 3 March 2014


You night have noticed that I haven't been here for a year. Last year was very hard for me and culminated with me losing my job at the beginning of this year. I wont go into all the details but I have historically written about my struggles with my desk job and chronic illness. But I will say it was a toxic situation that was making more poorly. 

So what now?

I am job hunting and times are a little uncertain (food to buy, mortgage to pay etc)
But I am also using the time productively. As my health is improving I am doing more to get fit and doing all I can to keep moving and better manage my complex range of health issues. I am also teaching myself how to make clothes and getting a better focus on my business and will be launching new things this year. I am trying to spend time each week de-cluttering and sorting through things. 

Moving forwards...
I am going to blog my journey and the life stuff is going to be a bit more of the focus.
Lifestyle, being a spoonie (living with chronic illness) and there maybe a review or two along the way - things I've tried, products I use, I have also become a Bzz Agent so there may also be the occasional Bzz. 

But most importantly it will all be my own views, my own struggles and (hopefully) triumphs. 

A new way to follow...

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