Creative changes


For those who read my blog in their Google Reader(or similar app) or aren’t as eagle-eyed as others, this blog has had a little make-over! Yesterday I wasn’t just lounging around in my pjs and surfing the net all day*, I was actually deciding on a new look for my little part of the internet.

New Blog

I figured it was time I updated the design and banner to reflect my more recent projects (not my pre-blogging days). In the summer I got some cards for my blog, since the name is too long for people to remember, and so have created a banner to match. The layout is the same, but the colour scheme matches more of my makes and hopefully looks a bit fresher ready (hopefully) for spring. What do you think?

*This also is delaying tactics as, after lots of muslin fitting, I’m still not feeling brave enough to cut up my silk prints.


Patchwork in Purple (of course)


I have spent the past week sitting and playing with all the fabric scraps and samples I got last week and looking for inspiration on line (click on the pictures for links to the quilts and blocks).

SewMamaSew Quick Piece Tiny Squares

SewMamaSew Simple Triangle Block

Oh, Fransson Nine Patch Lattice

Oh, Fransson Improv Block

Due to the totally random assortment of fabrics I had, I didn’t think anything too structured would work. Plus it would involve too much planning and arranging, more than my brain can handle after teaching children on windy, rainy days. So I decided to have a go at the disappearing nine patch blocks.

Disappearing Nine Patch

After lots of working out measurements and counting, I eventually decided to take the smallest piece of fabric and work out the size of the square that would fit using my patchwork ruler. I cut out almost 60 squares, joined them together, cut them up again and re-joined them, and added some strips to make a border until I ended up with this…

Crafty chats

Conversation in the pub after work on Friday was all about school politics and debriefing the dramas of the week.
J: We need to stop talking about school. Has anyone got any news?
Someone mentioned the cinema, but then talk turned back to work for ten or fifteen minutes.
J: We need to stop talking about school. What else is going on?
Conversation changed to someone’s friend visiting, but turned back to school chit-chat. This happened a couple more times.
J: Doesn’t anyone have anything else to talk about?! No exciting news?
Me: Oooh, I’ve been using my new rotary cutter this week! I’ve been cutting all my scraps so quickly and easily *miming fast rotary cutting*
I was met with blank stares, as I tried to explain what a rotary cutter is and why it was so amazing to use.

rotary cutter

I’m really hoping someone who reads this appreciates that this is exciting news… I didn’t realise how great a rotary cutter would be – no measuring or marking, just aligning my patchwork ruler and *swoosh* fabric is cut.

Versatile Blogger Award

Last week Hannah nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award 🙂 I was really touched and pleased to know I have inspired her crafting, so thank you again!

The award comes with the following rules:

  • Thank the person who gave you this award;
  • Include a link to their blog;
  • Next, select 15 bloggers that you follow regularly or have recently discovered;
  • Nominate those bloggers for the Versatile blogger-award;
  • Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.

My brain was frazzled last week with end of year data and wondering if kids in my class can count 9 or 10 things (frustratingly, it makes a big difference). But now that is all sorted, I have had time to have a proper look at my Google Reader account* so here are my nominations, in no particular order:

A Girl In Winter has only been sewing for 6 months, but has already made some lovely things. I wish I could have got such good fits in my first year of sewing.
Monkeysocks hasn’t posted for a while (busy with uni work) but I love reading about her pile of UFOs as it makes me feel less guilty about mine!
Did You Make That? Karen is a great sewer who isn’t afraid to make mistakes and her posts are always fun
Pincushion treats has made some fun clothes (lobster skirt!) and I like seeing all the different variations of tried-and-tested patterns.
Matin Lapin posts mini galleries of gorgeous etsy-finds – very inspiring but potentially purse-damaging!
Struggle Sews a Seam always makes me smile – her posts ooze character and fun. And she sews lovely clothes too!
Gingermakes posted an inspiring blog about dying fabric using natural materials recently.
So Zo has such an inspiring attitude towards recycling and materialism.
Scruffy Badger makes great clothes and is fun!
Crayons and Milk has the cutest photos of her little crochet creatures (see the bumble bees!)
Sew Smug has lots of great tutorials and makes loads of fun bunting 🙂
Yes, I like that makes the type of clothes I like and want to make myself-  classic casual pieces, in nice fabrics – I like seeing high-fashion inspiration, but it is nice to see things I could actually wear myself!
Teen Granny is 16 and spends her time knitting and baking. I wish blogs were around when I was 16, so I could have discovered how cool I was at the time instead of spending years feeling abnormal for my love of craft!
Pillows A-La-Mode has some great tips, like this one for organising bobbins!

So now for 7 facts about me:

  1. I hate toes and always have to have my toenails painted. Yesterday I wore sandals and realised I had naked toenails, and felt weird all day.
  2. I keep things “just in case” and get criticised by my dad and my deputy head at school for this. One of my best work moments this year was when the deputy asked if I had any tracing paper his class could borrow, and I replied that yes, I did have some in my cupboard, that I had rescued a few months earlier when he was clearing out the stock-room. I knew it would be useful!
  3. I accidentally set fire to my kitchen a few months ago while baking a birthday cake – greaseproof paper caught fire, I threw it in the sink but a tiny bit didn’t get extinguished and melted a hole in my washing-up bowl. The smoke alarm didn’t go off because I opened the window, turned on the extractor fan and did lots of tea-towel waving; this is why I am extra annoyed when people in my building set the fire alarms off at 1am!
  4. I am annoying everyone by complaining about my age – next month I am no longer officially a young person (holder of a 16-25 railcard) and will have to start paying full price train fares.
  5. My birth-certificate may say I am 26 but mentally I am nearer to 56 – my radio is set to Radio 4, I like doing puzzles before I go to sleep, and one of the reasons I like shopping in John Lewis is because it is nice and quiet and I can hear myself think!
  6. I find it hard to “do nothing” – I can’t sit and watch tv without doing something else, whether it is sewing, crochet or a sudoku.
  7. I usually agonise over minute decisions and check everything lots of times, but when it comes to crafting I jump in impulsively and get started. I currently have at least 6 different projects on the go.

* I usually read blogs on Google Reader, downloading latest posts as I walk to the tube and then reading them on my journey home. However this makes it hard to comment on what I read. What apps (Android please!) do you use to read blogs? Do they let you comment easily?

Technology fail :(

Just a quick post to say my internet has been down all week 😦 Luckily I have internet on my phone, so I am not totally stuck in the dark ages, but it is taking some adjusting to get used to (hopefully not for too long, hurry up BT!) – socialising in the sun meant missing Neighbours but I can’t catch up online!

I have a few blog posts ready to share, including a great crochet technique tutorial, but I can’t upload photos a the moment. I think the wait will be worth it… here’s a clue – I used the new stitch to create a fluffy, white woolly animal…

Without being able to waste time online, I should be getting extra sewing done, but the sunshine means it is too nice to stay inside. I might have to take my crochet to the park.

p.s. Does anyone update wordpress from their Android phone? Are there any good apps for this (if my phone memory can cope – somehow I don’t even have enough memory to play music today)?

Spring has sprung

Spring is here and so are the holidays!

I’m planning to do a bit of sewing over the next few weeks and have planned a few gaps in my wardrobe that need to be sewn ready for spring and summer.

Sewing plans

  1. First on the list is making another V8560. In the new year I picked up some navy and white polka dot cotton which I have been itching to make into a summer skirt. I am going to attempt some piping along the horizontal seams. I have made this a couple of times already and settled on somewhere between view B and C to get the correct length.

    Vogue full skirt

  2. Next up is a shirt-dress. Every summer I see them in the shops and think what easy summer dressing they would be, but they always look weird on me. I saw this pattern free with Sew magazine and thought view C would be worth a try as it is more fitted than the usual shirt dresses in shops, and should be easier to add FBA and accurate positioning of the waistline. If it works I can see myself rustling up a few of these, starting with

    Lisette Traveler - View C

  3. Recently my favourite jeans have worn away at the seams, and I thought that instead of buying a new pair I should try and sew some! I haven’t decided on a pattern, but am wondering whether I can adjust the trouser pattern I fitted last year…
  4. I normally wear knit tops but last year decided to make the blogger’s favourite Sorbetto top from Colette patterns. I made a couple, making adjustments on each, and they fit but don’t feel right. Maybe it is because I am not used to wearing woven tops, but I want to get it right so I can make some tops using all the lovely printed cottons I keep seeing (especially if they include cute animal or flying-bird silhouettes)
  5. A spring-summer jacket. There was one in the March issue of Burda style that looks promising. I think I need to get some more fabric to make a muslin.
  6. Finally my staple wardrobe outfit – more modifications variations of my basic t-shirt pattern. I’m not sure how much modifying needs to be done to a pattern before it becomes self-drafted, but my favourite quick sew is a combination of Burda’s Lydia and Sadie tops, with some tweaks to fit me. I have been exploring ways of jazzing up the pattern (Peter Pan collar, pussy bow tie neckline, contrast hem and cuffs…) but I think there are still more adaptations that could be made.

    Burda Lydia-Sadie pattern mash-up

So those are my immediate spring sewing plans, although there is always room for more inspiration. What are your sewing plans for the summer?

p.s. I also have baking plans for next week, more details to follow next week!







Hello and welcome to my first blog!

I have been following a few blogs this year and thought it was time I created one so I don’t miss out on all the excitement.

My name is Alison and I love all things crafty. Here I will be letting people know all about the different crafty things I get up to – sewing, knitting, crochet, baking, papercrafts, and many more – and most likely lots of random musings about weird and wonderful things.

Thank you for reading, and enjoy!