Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Upcycle?

I'm not fond of that phrase, but recycle sounds so .... close to rubbish!

I do recycle though, I separate and clean our different waste and we clear out clothing on a regular basis, for the children at least (once a year is regular, right? ;) ) But what do you do with the items that are too roughed up to give to charity? And blue bag clothing drive at school has already passed for the year?

Well, now I'm able to create some sewing stuff.  So that's putting things to good use.  Although if the makers of Toy Story and Robots are to believed, recycling isn't what it's cracked up to be! Two of the littlest's favourite movies, along with Monsters Inc and Nemo ... though I'm not sure she agrees with all the characters' names.  Woody is Buddy in our house! 

Anyway, enough digressing!  I give you a pair of perfectly presentable jeans that once adorned the bod of my eldest, Ewan.  Not a broken jasp on them anywhere else other than the knees!  These were beautifully soft, casual but 'kept for good' jeans from La Redoute, and after a particularly energetic disco at school, came home without any knees!  What is it with boys and an open smooth floorspace that sends them to run around like beserkers and end sliding on their knees like some sort of star football player after another goal scored?!

I took them apart and decided a door draught excluder was a way of making something that wasn't particularly complicated yet functional.  Then I thought, add a handle so it can be hung out of the way when not in use!. The length was a little tight, so I had to add a gussett at either end, and even after all that I thought some hearty shaped decoration would make it more homely in appearance, so what started with a simple tube, became more complicated very quickly!  For some reason my machine has stopped winding on bobbins (argh!) and half way through the final seam to sew, a needle broke!  I took this as divine provedence and stopped there, stuffed it and finished it by hand.  My hand finishing is becoming better as well, though I am still very self critical.  I'm learning to trust a single ladder stitch rather than going over in the opposite direction and making it ugly. I also hand sewed on the patches. After stuffing. Which I would definitely do again! It was quite easy, if a little cumbersome to do, but it meant there was no 'pooks' in the fabric after stuffing! *happy*

Next time I'd just chop the jeans in half and seam them.  I thought I'd be doing grand to get rid of the torn pieces, but realise now I could have just patched over them! Durrr! I've got a few platypus to get on with now, and I'm going to try my hand at a dinosaur with an adapted pattern.  A skirt to take in and a bag to make ... a nice number of projects to keep things ticking over. 


Monday, 21 February 2011



Piper is in her element ... she's playing hostess to all her brothers' friends and enjoying the attention! Cameron has been particularly good with her, so gold stars to him :)

I've spent the morning clearing up whilst the boys game and Piper flits between them all... I'm amazed at how few of them eat breakfast, though I suppose the distraction of the Xbox360 and PS3 aren't helping.  I figure there's no point in forcing them, after all you can lead a horse to water.....eh? ;)

 
 
I'm also making my first cupcakes from the hummingbird bakery book ... Isn't it fab when you've started a recipe then realised you are missing a vital ingredient, with no hope of getting out to buy it?  ''Use what you've got and you'll not want,'' was a phrase that was heavily used in our house, so a tub of cream and some lemon juice later and voila, buttermilk :D Jiggery pokery aside, this recipe is much more frugal on eggs than the one I am used to, and the mixture was much thicker than my normal result as well but yielded 18 good sized cakes and would have stretched to 20 had I been willing to rake out another six hole tray! The mixture also resembled something out a horror flick, the 20mls (almost a full bottle) of red colouring created a rather evisceral looking mess in the midst of my kitsch old Kenwood! I should have taken a photo....it certainly impressed the boys! Now the cupcakes are out and cooling, they've risen in a very pleasing gentle dome and had I overfilled the cases, I'd have had a very successful muffin shape!  I've never before managed to have that rise and fill without a lot of spill! 

I shall do a photo post later to show the final results!

I shall also be going to bed early tonight, as I think my eyes look as if they are about to disappear under the luggage that they're carrying ;)

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Sleepless in Falkirk

Gah! I feel worse today having gone to bed early and not slept for a huge chunk of the night tossing and turning worrying about finances.... 

As you do...


So up and at 'em early to get cupcakes made today, Iron Brew ones for the boys' sleepover and Malibu ones for my Mum's GabFest function today.  She's having the neighbours in for drinks and nibbles and had wanted to make the Guinness Cupcakes but ran out of steam.  I figured if I made a double batch of vanilla cupcakes I could doctor one batch to have a sophisticated yet still cheeky and casual look for her shindig. I substituted some creamed coconut in the vanilla mix instead of milk and the marshmallow icing was made with a measure of malibu.  It wasn't til I iced them that I realised a wee spot of jam in each cupcake would have been a fun addition, as the company are all of an age that teacakes and snowballs are fondly remembered and possibly (certainly in my Father's case) revered.

I am supposed to be going to the gym with Sigrid later, but money is too tight to mention, and I've done a power of housework so, I figure I should be financially savvy and not get any further overdrawn!  Thankfully Steve (boys' Dad) has offered to get in provisions and pizza for the sleepover, so that's a relief....only three more days til money lands again...I wish the people who took direct debits off the account would stick to the same date and not an approximation of 'sometime within the same week'!

Ewan has reported that his side won two and lost one of their games as they were playing away to GHA in Giffnock.  That's the first game I've not been to watch since the season started and I feel terribly guilty ... but I did have stuff to organise for his mates coming round and I think he's had a fun time with just his Dad :)

Tomorrow I shall make more cuppycakes, but try one of the recipes from my beautiful Hummingbird Bakery book that Nicola sent me :) They certainly use less eggs than the recipe I currently tweak ... I may even make a proper cake, if I can locate the tins!

Friday, 18 February 2011

Meet

Montgomery,

my first door stop project and first sewing project without a pattern.  Ok not first sewing project without a pattern but certainly the one of which I'm most proud!

I was full of thoughts to run a couple of darted channels in the front and rear, but eventually decided I can do simple well and complicated less so.  He's free hand drawn, folded, then pinned to cut out two identical shapes, he has lightweight fusible interfacing and then stuffed with toy stuffing and ABS plastic granules for ballast.  The beautiful heart button is ceramic and made by his recipient Tan Grey ... I'm happy to say she got the Star Trek reference as well as a happy feeling when she saw him :D She's also the new caretaker of Elvis so it's great to have put a smile on someone's face today :D

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Sakura

Hito kioshi hitoboshi koro wo sakura chiru
"Yearning fills my heart
When the candles are lit;
Cherry blossom fall."
-Shirao

 

It's finally finished, my eggy oddessy into the beady unknown :)

I have thoroughly enjoyed this (with moments of frustration) and have learned how to bead around things (and what not to do ;) ) and how to form petal shapes



Piper has a lovely new egg to replace her plastic one, and seems well chuffed with it! :)
The idea was to have the blossom beginning to blow away in the fresh spring wind, as cherry blossom is symbolic of youth and beauty, reminding us both are fleeting and that life is too short.


Monday, 14 February 2011

Valentine's Day

the most romantic day of the year, for some, and just another day for others!

We're the latter in this house, not that we're not romantic in our own way, but on our own terms, not this 'holiday'

Anyway, been a long day yesterday filled with work, little sleep, cold fields of rugby ness, tidying and a smidgeon of beading, and some pattern cutting.  

Beading has been a bit lax lately, I'm entering a piece in a challenge set by a fellow forumite at Bead Buddies, which has the theme chooks, eggs and Easter.  I decided I wanted to make an embellished egg, a la FabergĂ©, but having never beaded round much more than a largeish cab or rivoli at most, it is taking much longer than I anticipated.  Piper is not impressed at the temporary loss of her white plastic toy egg either...


I have made a cod of the bottom end, but hope I have learned so that the top looks passably more interesting.  A big thank you must go to Aster Sadler for her inspiration tutorial in the latest Beads & Beyond Magazine.  I have an inkling that I want to make little cherry blossoms from a bugle branch embellishment on the egg's surface.  Being a lover of Japanese art and culture, I think that would be quite a fitting tribute to spring.  Of course now that Terry Pratchett has informed us that his latest book, Snuff, which will feature the fabulous Vimesy will be released in October, I can hardly contain myself until the dawn of winter again!  Must get Captain Jack over with first before I can swoon into the arms of another fictional character :D


Mum bought me flowers today, given that I've been a bit poorly of late, and the drugs didn't work!  She's a fine one to talk, but the flowers are beautiful.  So yes, a romantic VD (whoever thought of that had to have been having a laugh!) but from my good ole maw than the other half!

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Competition

It's been brought to my attention in a roundabout way, that there is no official collective noun for platypus.  In the wild they are solitary animals, and so there has been no need . . .until now!  I need a collective noun for my platypus, and with your help I'd like to find one, that has preferably not been used for anything else...

Of course, feel free to comment on your favourites! (I am partial to a murder of crows!)

So a ......... of platypus?

The prize eh?  Well I think it has to be a platypus, custom created of course, as either a baby or toddler safe soft toy, microwavable hottie or decorative toy for older children!

Just add your ideas to the comment box below, with a contact (email or whatever you prefer) and how you found me.  In accordance with facebook rules all competitions must be ran externally but you are more than welcome to use your id there if it helps.

Winner will be picked at random after the closing date of 28th February 2011 and notified within 24hours!  Have fun and go wild!

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Meet Elvis

the latest member of the platypus family.  With a trade mark sneering lip and a fetching skin tight white floral jumpsuit, Elvis is ready to grace the land again!



This particular platypus is all ready to get fired up in the microwave or be chilled out in the freezer to help you deal with any day to day aches and pains.  What music you play to help this along is entirely up to you!


Monday, 7 February 2011

Gack!

I has the cold!  I knew working with someone who kept sneezing and couldn't cover her mouth on account of holding boxes of wine bottles or beer cans was going to lead to this! 

Piper was sleepy so I thought a nap may happen, but it didn't.  So I decided to be productive instead.  I've fancied this pattern for a while but never got around to enlarging the image.  After wrestling with the printer I finally got it, and then hacked up an old top of Piper's to make it.  She's outgrown the fleece, and always liked it, but it was a bit tatty to give to a charity shop on account of her having fallen heir to it from a girl at work!

So armed with a fantastic tutorial Sigrid steered me toward on the net, I gave it a bash.  Having learned from my sesh on the sewing machine yesterday I took things slowly, and carefully. 

Piper is very happy with her new toy, who we've named Parma (as in violets) the funky little 'tattoo' heart is from Maggie (Pinkowl) on Bead Buddies, and was in a bargain mixed bag.  It just matched perfectly and Piper likes her tattoo'd pet!

She also likes posing for the photographs and tries to steal the camera if we let her.  Mostly because she wants to see what we've just taken!

Sunday, 6 February 2011

busy sewing bee

I've had a busy working weekend with more numpties per square inch than even I could shake a stick at!



I've gotten out the sewing machine today and tackled the pattern I had in mind for making a doorstop for Tan Grey. It's not meant as a doorstop, but I think it will look cute nonetheless. I finally got some replacement fabric on Saturday while I slept (benefit of having a postie as a hubby :) ) as the last lot went missing in the Great Snow Bound Mail Snafu of Twenty Ten!  I do have another plan in mind, but I'd have to do the pattern myself and it being a new machine I wasn't very confident - there was a lot of swearing involved with the making of the tunica!

I felt, if not in sewing nirvana, at least a sense of oneness with my machine (is it weird to like the smell of machine oil?!) and once I had started I didn't stop!  I will update with the pattern when I've completed the task and sent it on its merry way.  Obviously I want Tan to be first to see it, but I have stuck in a sneaky preview teaser shot! :D



So instead of having just cut out the pattern, I'm at the 'fill with ballast' stage, but waiting on the exhubby who has a source of good quality plastic pellets which will allow for machine washing! :D  Enjoy your Sunday evening and the week ahead ... I'm sure I'll have more to throw at you ;D x

Friday, 4 February 2011

Well, having started the year off well competitions wise I decided that entering these challenges stretch my mojo a little and give me inspirations, so armed with this new found enthusiasm, and laissez-faire attitude I enterd the Bead Buddies Monthly Colour Challenge with this piece.


I believe that everyone who enters a piece goes into a hat and the winner is drawn at random, and this month I was that lucky girl! 

I was going to do a simple stringing piece for February as the colours didn't appeal to me as much (amazing that, as I have so many that match it in my stash which I didn't discover until after I set about it) anyway, the simple stringing gave way to a beaded bail which in turn led me to beaded beads (Nod to Nicola for the great tute she has over at Beaders Online


On Tuesday at Bead and Banter, Sigrid and I picked up Mary and we went into town, town in this case being Embra. It sounds like we painted it red, but that's a mild exaggeration it was more a dusky pink, pink at least....possibly oyster ;)  I blew my budget on those pesky delicas.  Ok I bought swaros as well but they are so gorgeous and evocative of a time gone by :)  I have a plan on what I want to make with them but it's not translating well onto the finished piece. I did get my chainmaille piece finished, and Sigrid had a practice version of her piece on the go, instructions are all very well but sometimes I believe people think we can read their minds too!

The colours I had bought were a very faded elegant version of turquoise and brown, which happens to be the colours at Operation: Tackle that Bead Stash for February.  But I'm going to make a mess o' things if I rush what I see in my mind's eye..  Already I've started a cuff and abandoned it for OTTBS, and a necklace (which is what I have in mind for these lush swaros)but have ended up doing a brooch (again!) for my Mum, with a delicious Scarab bead crafted in Polymer clay, by the extremely talented Caroline Harvey . Mum loves all things egypt, and I had originally planned to turn this little fella into a necklace, but it was bigger than I thought and though Mum would appreciate a statement piece I don't think she would wear it.  I then thought of making a cuff around the chap, but again gave in at the thought of him being swamped by embellishments.   A brooch seemed the way to go, and I thought I'd go for something evocative of the era in which Carter discovered Tut's tomb.  A quick google later and I had a vision, all I had to do was translate this to beads and within my ability.  This is the first time I've glued a bead to a backing and I'm not sure what I'm doing but I think it's turned out all right :D though I can't get it to photograph particularly well ... it looks much better in the flesh, with my rose tinted specs on :D


I just want to thank Nicola for her beautiful gift, and rest assured the cupcakes will be baked and photographed on the plate, possibly with my charity shop find teacups in the background! 


Looking forward to the Bead Retreat in May, and the Tiara Walk for Strathcarron Hospice.  Sigrid and I have signed up for more torture.... just a cheeky wee ten miles this time! ;)