Thursday 31 July 2014

Organisation: Jewellery Storage

Hi and welcome to new followers!  Thanks for all comments recently too, they are always great to read.

We sorted out some in-cupboard storage for my jewellery a month or so ago.  I thought I would share it here.

This tangled pile of costume jewellery (and a few random bits) had been hiding away in this box since we moved last May.  I thought it was about time they were freed from entanglement and put back to use again.

You may remember my hair station, hidden inside the old airing cupboard - turned wardrobe (when the hot water tank was removed).  I have added to it...

With the help of a few cheap supplies from Ikea, my jewellery is now untangled and easy to see and use.  Then it is tucked away out of sight when the door is closed.

Supplies were:

Bygel Rail (2 x 55cm rail) - £1.50 each

Bygel S-Hook (4 x pack of 6 - black) - £1 per pack

The back of this cupboard door has become a very practical spot!

While we were at it, we added a few hooks just inside the cupboard - to get my handbags out of a pile on the floor of the wardrobe, and into a more handy system.  My current 'in-use' handbag fits onto the bottom hook with the other bag, but it was probably dumped somewhere in the house at the time of these photographs!

Actually there are a load more that I need to sort through in a chest in the spare room (aka store room - it isn't used for anything other than junk at the moment... but things are in progress!)  But let's pretend that they don't exist for now - as they haven't been used for ages, and will hopefully soon be purged.  (Maybe I shouldn't have mentioned them, and given the impression of a highly organised and decluttered life!)

The hooks used are:

Bygel Hooks - (1 x pack of 2) - 85p per pack

So, the very cheap Bygel range worked wonders for all these jobs!  I suddenly just realised this sounds like a sponsored post - ha, it's not!  Who the hell would contact me to sponsor a post?!

Right, bed time for me... until next time...

Thursday 24 July 2014


Hi!  Thanks for all the great supportive comments on my last post - I enjoyed them all and had a few laughs at some of them!  Work on the Sorbetto top continues - the day job is getting in the way.  Hopefully I'll have something to show you before long.  I've not given up yet!

I took pictures of our wildflower border a couple of weeks ago, and have been meaning to show you.

Earlier in the year the Lumberjack cleared the turf and planted some wildflower seeds.  For ages it was just a dusty old patch of earth... I found it hard to imagine it changing.  But it did!

These pictures really don't do it justice - I think the sun was too bright (not that I'm complaining), and washed out the colour a bit.  Hopefully you get the idea.  Just imagine these pictures even more vibrant and colourful!

Every day we go for a stroll to the bottom of the garden to check out what's appeared!  Over the last month or so it's been amazing seeing the different flowers popping up.

I absolutely love it!  It's just so wild and natural and pretty.

And here's a rose growing elsewhere in the garden...

Couldn't resist getting a shot of that.

Remember the Blog Hop?  Alex's post is ready to read over at Hydrangea Girl - so go check it out!

Hopefully back soon with a Sorbetto to show you... fingers crossed!

Sunday 13 July 2014

Sorbetto Hell and a Touch of the Sway Backs!

OH. MY. WORD.  I have spent yesterday evening and all of today trying to make the "quick, simple" Sorbetto top.  I am rubbish!

If you have any interest in clothes sewing, you will have heard of the Sorbetto top.  Everyone seems to have made it - and it's a free pattern!  Let me make it clear - I am not blaming the pattern for my issues - I'm blaming my body and my lack of skill!

The picture above is my toile/muslin - I appear to have bough vast quantities of some lilac fabric many moons ago, so I thought I'd make use of it as a practice piece.  I'm so glad I didn't rush into making the 'real thing' and cutting into the good fabric, as this has given me no end of trouble.

It all started when I couldn't print the pattern to scale - stupid pdf viewer in Windows 8 wouldn't let me change the setting to 'actual size' rather than scaling it.  We had more luck with the Lumberjack's laptop - except that the printer then ran out of ink!  So, a quick dash to Asda at 8.30 yesterday evening was required to buy some more.

Once that obstacle was resolved, I stuck and cut the pattern, chopped the fabric, and sewed the top you see above.  It actually sits better than it looks in that photo - the skewed result of me trying to take a selfie.  However, the bust darts are too high and the back of the top had a load of bunched up fabric.

After much faffing about and lots of Google searches, I learnt about Sway Back.  Who knew I was afflicted with such a thing?!  This link explains more.

So, following the instructions at the link, I pinned up a horizontal wedge of the back fabric.  When trying on it made a big difference to the fit:

Excuse the terrible photos!!  The Lumberjack wasn't around, so I had to make do with bizarre over-the-shoulder-mirror shots.  (Could've brushed my hair too - it's lucky you can't see the state of my face!)

I didn't take a 'before' picture, so you'll have to take my word for it, that pinning out that wedge of fabric made the back hang much better.  Also, surprisingly, the hem was straight all the way round the top when it was actually on me.  (Which is how it is supposed to work, as this gets rid of access fabric my weird shaped body doesn't need, but I was still surprised when it worked!)  However, I had to transfer that missing chunk of fabric to the pattern pieces - a complicated business!  (Instead of having a horizontal dart removing that fabric, the excess is taken out in another way.)

So, I spent countless hours researching online and trying to adjust the pattern pieces for these three things:

  1. Lowered bust darts
  2. Sway Back adjustment (using the link I mentioned)
  3. 2 inches of additional length (as I wanted the top longer - my toile was a bit short for my liking and wasn't hemmed yet)
Eventually I had something that might work.  I cut out another toile as I had to test my alterations.  By this time it was getting late and I accidentally sewed the box-pleat on the wrong side.  No harm done really, as I only need the toile for fit, and that won't affect that.  But the stupid thing still isn't looking right!  Still too much fabric in the back - and I don't know whether it's because my Sway Back adjustment didn't work - or whether it did work but was then thrown out by the 2 inches extra length I gave to the whole top.  Who knows!  So, I stopped for the night... and thought I'd tell you all about it.

Any helpful hints and tips would be appreciated if anyone has any??!!  If you can understand any of this garbled post - I've got Sorbetto exhaustion.......!

Oh, and thank so much for the lovely comments on my Blog Hop post.  Anna has got a great post up already - so go over and check it out if you want a lot of gorgeous crochet eye candy!

Monday 7 July 2014

Blog Hop!

A lot of you have probably been seeing/partaking in the Blog Hop.  The lovely Sam of Betsy Makes has passed the baton onto me... so here is my post!  You can see Sam's Blog Hop post here - I recommend you have a good snoop around if you don't already follow her blog.  Sam makes such gorgeous things, and everything is photographed so beautifully - it's a pleasure to spend some time there!

Now, onto the questions...

What am I working on?

Well, there are always a few things in progress around here.  I think you can all identify with that!

This is my cotton stripy blanket - I started it in September, so it's been lurking around for some time.  I think it's about half way through now and it's got to a size where I can have a snuggle under it - and if there's one thing I like, it's snuggling under a blanket!  (Yes, I know it's summer, but I still like a dose of cosiness!)

I'm also working on a cross-stitch project.  It seems this might be about two years in the making - ooops, how did that happen?!

  However, in the last week I've got quite addicted to it and things are progressing...

I absolutely love the colours and the retro pattern.

The last project is in the very early stages and involves these fabrics...

When I say early stages, all I've done is washed the fabric.  I have to confess that is a rarity for me - I'm usually far too impatient for such things as fabric washing.  (Unless it's an ancient pair of the Lumberjack's linen trousers!)  You can see I haven't moved onto the 'iron the fabric' stage yet.  You'll have to wait to see what these pretty fabrics will become - if I ever stop over-thinking my plans and actually get cutting...

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

You know, I'm not sure my work really does differ from others of its genre.  It's hard to identify your own style I think (well, it is for me).

Waterlily Blanket

I would like to say my style is bright, colourful and funky.  That's the sort of thing I like, but I'm not sure the funky side comes out in what I make.

Cushion Cover

Maybe I'll just say 'colourful' which definitely isn't anything new or different!

African Flower Cushion Cover with Stripy Back

Why do I create what I do?

Well, I just love making things!  I can't really explain why I have this need to create.  My sister-in-law always laughs at me if we go shopping and I spot some miscellaneous item and start poking and prodding at it, "hmmm, I wonder if I could make this?".  "Why don't you just buy it?!" she says.  Sometimes when I'm in the middle of something fiddly and tricky I wonder the same thing myself.  What was I thinking???  Why have I created all this unnecessary work for myself?!  What was the point??  Usually, in those happy times that it all works out, I'm glad I made the effort.  I love that feeling of looking at something and thinking "I made that".

As to the things I make... sometimes it's something I need, such as a phone case.

Crochet and Cross-Stitch Phone Case

Or a make-up pouch.

Zipped Make-Up Pouch

Other times it's something I fall in love with and just HAVE to make...

Sidewalk Shawl

...even if, let's be honest, I never wear shawls!  Sometimes I put it on if I fancy a stroll in the garden and it's a bit nippy, but that's about the extent of it's use.  And I only do that so that the poor shawl can fulfil it's purpose in life in some small way!

How does my creating process work?

I'm constantly being inspired by things around me, by blog posts, by Pinterest images... it goes on.  Ideas pop into my head all the time and I try to get them down onto my ever-growing craft 'to do' list.  There are things that sit neglected on that list for years until the right moment comes, if it ever does.  There are other ideas that I jump straight onto because I can't wait to get started.

Lots of the things I make are using patterns that other people have created.  Even if I think I've come up with something new, a few Google searches usually reveal that someone has already thought of and written a pattern for it!  I'll either follow it, or adapt it to what I want.

My Christmas Star Jar Cover was one exception.

Free Tutorial

I had such a clear image in my head of what I wanted to make and was sure that someone must have made something similar already.  If they had, I couldn't find it.  So, I got to work attempting to turn the image in my head into reality.  That process involved playing around with yarn until the vision was realised!

In general, though, there isn't really much of a process at all - if I feel like making something, I make it.  Or at least give it a go.

Well, that was rather waffley and picture-heavy!  Maybe I went a bit overboard...

Enough about me... onto the blogs for you to hop to!

Anna of Nummer Elva

I used to work with Anna a few years back and we became firm friends - cemented by our crafty passions!  It was Anna who taught me to crochet - she really is a crochet whiz.  Her blog is written in both Swedish and English, and is full of beautiful photos and amazing crafty creations.

In her words...

My blog is called Nummer Elva (Number Eleven) after a little red cottage in the Swedish woods. I mainly write about my first craft love crochet but also about some other crafty bits and flowers and gardening. These are things that make me smile and make me happy. I am Swedish but I left Sweden several years ago and now I live in a crochet covered (if you ask my husband) 1930-ies house in Hampshire with my family and a black cat. Welcome to my blog!

Visit Anna here.

Alex of Hydrangea Girl

Alex and I have been following each other's blogs for two or three years I think.  A couple of months ago we met up for Blogtacular.  It was great to meet in person after so many virtual comments and conversations, and we had an excellent time together!  Alex has a very stylish interior design blog, full of perfectly styled images and great DIY projects.  As the Lumberjack once put it, "she's far too cool for us.  Why does she read your blog?!" - ha!

Alex has been frantically busy lately, and has now sailed off on holiday, so I've taken a few words from her blog...

Hello!  Welcome to my website.  My name is Alex and I'm addicted to all things design.  Here you'll find me talking mostly about interior design, DIY and incorporating affordable design into your home.  I also write a bit about felines, skulls, graffiti and anything unusual or out of the ordinary.

Visit Alex here.

Anna and Alex should be posting their blog hop posts next Monday 14th July (or there abouts).  Make sure you go and check them out!

Phew - a long post.  Thanks if you managed to get through the whole thing.  And welcome to any new followers, it's great to have you here!

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