State of Flux

Woah, guys!  I knew I hadn’t blogged in an eternity but had no idea it was fast approaching a whole year of radio silence.  As the last sentence of my last post shows – not intentional!

Gotta be honest; I’ve made up those kits and they remain un-sewn (apart from one Anderson blouse that I needed for a funeral, and haven’t been able to bring myself to wear since despite loving it).  I did finally hem that pencil skirt too and I adore it although I need to talk myself into refitting it.  Why do I detest doing that – making a whole new one from scratch feels like it’d be so much easier?  But wasteful so…


The only other things that I’ve made in the last year are robes for A’s book day (Gryffindor, I’m a Ravenclaw), a pouch for a swap and another pencil skirt for the same funeral that has since gone to a charity shop because again, couldn’t get myself to wear it again as it was made for that particular circumstance.  I’ve also made a really tentative start on a Queen sized Haptic Lab constellation kit I was given for my birthday.

Last year kicked my family, my Husband in particular, really really hard.  His Dad died of cancer within about 4 months of diagnosis.  He actually died of a stroke(s) as the hospital was able to treat them because the medication to thin the blood would have made the tumour bleed out – it was a Catch 22 situation.  Everything was put on hold from the point of diagnosis of the cancer and life has only recently returned to a new kind of normal now that Probate and everything else has been dealt with.

It’s certainly made us all reevaluate certain priorities and decisions we were making.  The effect that dealing with everything around that particular situation has affected me in two ways, that juxtapose each other.  It’s made me more generous but also more selfish.  I am more generous with my affection but I’m also making sure I take time to look after myself; physically and mentally.


That means I’ve learnt to say no and I’m saying it quite a lot.  Unless it’s something I really want to do and will benefit me or my family, I’m far more likely to say no now.  There are still things I end up doing that I’d rather I wasn’t but that’s because it’ll benefit someone I love in a way that will make a real difference to them (Hi, school fundraising!).

I’ve learnt that I have to put myself higher up my priority list, so that I’m fit and healthy and can enjoy life with my family.  This has meant putting myself into some situations that scare me and push me further than I thought I could go (hello Crossfit), and taking on challenges at work that may not be of immediate financial benefit but keep me engaged and enjoying my job.  I’m eating better and taking care of myself as best I can (mentally and physically) and that’s a whole learning process in itself.



I’m being far more intentional about where my and our money goes.  Fabric and pattern acquisition has nosedived.  Not from the lack of pretty temptation but more because I now look at it and think if I *really* need whatever sparkly, shiny thing it is!  The fabric I have bought has been from other’s Instagram destashes and each piece has been bought with a purpose (all as yet to be fulfilled…).  Pattern wise, the only thing I’ve bought is the Ogden Cami.  I also have a beautiful piece of Merino from Lizzy that is destined to become a cardigan / wrap of some sort.


There’s so much I want to cram into my days, but still only 24 hours in each one.  At the moment family and fitness is taking a priority over sewing but it’s never far from my thoughts.  I’ve realised that my wardrobe is now not ‘fit for purpose’ in that I have maybe twenty items in it and probably a quarter of those are ‘event’ dresses that are no good for climbing trees, adventuring with a 2 and 7 year old or going to work!  I’ve refined what I want my wardrobe to look like, what I want it to say and I’m now considering how to put that into action using what I already have.  I’ve been devouring and pondering ‘The Curated Closet’ by Anuschka Rees (as well as a couple of other books on the same subject) and it’s safe to say, those kits I put together last year are still needed – I just need to pull that poor sewing machine out and show her some love!


Working Out Who I Am Again

Dudes, I adore my two boys but I NEED to rediscover who I am when I’m not Mummy.  I need to reform my own identity and I’ve been trying to work out how to do that whilst juggling all the other commitments that make up life – you know; being a mother, wife, employee so I can help pay the bills, and supporting the school and Beavers (the youngest level of Scouting), swimming lessons…  The list goes on!

I have to admit that SewBusyLizzy has been the voice of reason on a number of occasions and I am so happy that sewing has brought me this friendship!  Lizzy is a one woman power house and crams an insane amount into each 24hr period but also manages to (mostly!) find time for herself.  So I’m following her advice and carving some time out for me.

Some of it involves sewing (hurrah!) & some involves a new gym membership (also hurrah for me, but boring for you guys!).

Sewing is my happy place, its something that easily gets me into a state of flow where everything else just melts away.  However, Husband is currently wandering around with a tape measure and is preparing to deploy the sledge hammer…  This means that I am going to have to clear everything out of the office so that it can be partitioned to create a utility room that will be accessed from our kitchen.  Holes will be knocked in walls.

I have nearly worn this Elisalex to death and it needs replacing…

I really want, in fact NEED, to do some sewing that isn’t repairing holes in A’s trousers.  So I’m planning to put together three or four ‘kits’ so that I can keep some projects accessible along with my machines on the dining table.  I want to be as sure as I can that these projects will be successful and really help kickstart my sewing again.  So I’ve been having a real think about what it is I want to sew and what it is I need to sew.

I’ve been reading into-mind a lot recently.  It’s a site that Sarai referenced as part of the Colette Wardrobe Architect series a few years ago.  I have always meant to work through that series properly but never really got round to it.  The guidelines and articles on into-mind have resonated more with me and I have actually been doing some of the exercises suggested.  This has really helped me define what it is I want to wear and also enabled me to put together a colour palette.

I find this really exciting as until now I have always been very whimsical with my sewing and simply made whatever I wanted with no real plan in place.  I have sewn for events where a little more planning has been involved but thats been the limit of my considered, thought out sewing.

Meredith from Cubicle Chic

I’ve created a whole Pinterest board with images of outfits and colours that make me happy and that I aspire to.  It’s all very predictable in a lot of ways – fit and flare silhouettes, shirt dresses, pencil skirts, flared skirts, jeans.  I aspire to be far more ‘put together’ than I actually am.  Two things that it has really opened my eyes to though are the proportions I like and also the colours!

In terms of form, I like a fitted top with a more voluminous bottom, and vice versa but the waist is always defined.  So pencil skirts with draped blouses or a flowing maxi or a circle skirt with a fitted tank or t-shirt.

Colour wise, I used my board to create a colour palette using Gillian’s tutorial on Crafting a Rainbow.

Colour Palette May 16

Those that know me will not be surprised that navy and purple dominate with other cool tones and the odd pop of red, gold, turquoise and cobalt.  I’m also drawn to tropical prints and large scale florals too.

As a result I’m re-evaluating the fabrics in my collection and re-homing those that don’t suit the wardrobe I now want to sew.  There will still be some crazy or whimsical prints in there though because I’m too weak to resist and every wardrobe needs a wild card or two!

I’ll pull together my final kits over the weekend (as well as a few Anderson blouses that need finishing and a pencil skirt that has been waiting for a hem since January…) and share them next week.  I haven’t been this motivated to find the time to sew for far too long!


Hello All!

I’ve missed connecting with you all, so I’m gonna try and visit this space a little more often.  I can’t guarantee sewing in every post – sometimes it’ll just be ‘what I would sew if I didn’t need to sleep!’.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know about the writeon campaign.  It’s a way to communicate and connect using the written word instead of email, text, twitter or other instant electronic forms!  Basically to “promote joy, creativity, expression and connection through hand-written correspondence”.


I love receiving letters through the post that isn’t official but necessary stuff like mortgage statements, utility bills, bank statements.  Something unique, personal and a bit different from the ordinary always makes me smile!

So, I want to join in on the challenge and write 30 letters over the 30 days of April.  I have some recipients in mind already, but if you would love to receive a little missive at some point next month, email me your address and I’ll try to write to you!

See you all soon; I have my Jungle January SOI pencil skirt to hem and that will be my first completed garment in far too long!  I also have the glamours task of making some fitted sheets and Husband has requested some bags to put water containers in…


Ah, another poetic blog post title!

I wish I had something amazing and couture to show you all, but in reality I’m just checking in.  Sewing is still pretty much non existent (but scheming… Oh my, the scheming!).  I’ve basically managed in a little over a month to make a teeny-tiny baby dress for my new niece with some matching baby bloomers, cut three shirts for Boy, order some fabric for a friend’s little girl who was born Saturday morning, order fabric for Boy’s friend’s birthday present shirt at the end of this month, lose a stone and a bit, start another course for another exam and still have a partially completed Mad Max Flora in a heap in the sewing room.  Sigh.


So, a lot to tell you but nothing to show I’m afraid (and this really is a space to show and tell!).  Having said that, by the weekend I may have assembled the new rabbit hutch for Buzz and Woody (who we have learnt are girls) if it’s arrived and be able to show you our latest project in the garden.

I’ve also recently done the summer bedding plants and I have enjoyed choosing the hottest, brightest most obnoxious, bratty colours I could find.  Cerise, purple, hot orange, lime green…  There’s going to be a riot of colour out there soon…

Anyhoo, hope you’re all well and sewing when you get the chance or just enjoying life in general.  Hopefully I’ll catch up again before another month as sped by…

Real Talk

I am in a funk. I’m not entirely sure why, but I am in one.

When I’m in this weird mindset, I want to buy all the fabric and eat all the things. One is no good for the bank balance, the other is no good for me.

I’m also stupid busy. Finding time to sew is just not happening and quite honestly this is adding to if not causing the funk. I’m fantasy sewing all the time in my head – my stash has been cut and sewn several times. Time is not on my side though, or at least it feels that way.

Work is busy, Husband’s business is busy, Boy is amazing and frustrating and life is what it is. I just need to find some equilibrium and some time to just be creative. To create and enjoy the process. Me and my machine, that’s my calm and happy place (unless I’m repeatedly attempting a sleeve or zip – then, not so much).

That’s why the blogging has become sporadic. I have so much I want to say, I have things I made a while ago that I haven’t blogged. I’m starting to put some crazy pressure on myself, which isn’t helpful. I’m just not sure where to start and my time is limited and there are a lot of things I want to do with it; blog, exercise, sew, sleep!

Please bear with me, once I’ve worked out how to get a bit of balance back, I hope to be back here a bit more. And not just rambling at half past nine on a Saturday night!

Friends and Macarons!

22 March 5

I’ve had a go at making macarons on a number of occasions but they’ve never been a rip-roaring success.  Dibs on the other hand is a master.  She makes them as stress relief for goodness sake – that most pernickety patisserie as a form of relaxation!  After commenting on one of her instagram photos she was kind enough to invite me to her home to make a batch (the whole reason I went to London in the first place) and whilst fabric shopping is always great fun, the baking was the best part of the day!

First we made a white chocolate ganache to sandwich the macarons together as it needed to cool before we could use it.  This Craftsy Blog post has some good ratios in it.  It’s simply melting chocolate into hot cream and stirring (vigorously – I wasn’t vigorous enough so we needed a bain-marie) until you have something smooth and glossy.  You then place cling film over the surface so that it can’t form a skin or crust as it cools.  Then it was time for the macarons!

22 March 3

Dibs uses an Italian Meringue method to make hers which involves making a sugar syrup that is then added to the whipped egg whites.  This makes for a more stable meringue and therefore more reliable results.  There’s a description of the different methods here and  I’ve found a similar recipe to the one Dibs used (from Piere Herme’s book) on The Baker Chic blog.  We also discussed why it’s so important NOT to use liquid food colouring (throws the moisture content off) and the demise of her favourite glass she used for filling the piping bags.  We also discussed CBeebies (Our weapon of choice in distracting Noah) and Claire educated me in how to pack my shopping trolley more effectively!

We all had a go at piping the meringue – Dibs is a ninja, me and Claire not so much!  It was great fun trying though even if, once you’ve carefully made all those circles, you end up being quite violent with the trays to ‘knock any air bubbles out’ by dropping them onto the table several times!  Once they’d been left to form a skin they went into the oven for just under quarter of an hour – apparently this isn’t an exact science with a domestic oven!

22 March 4

As you can see though, she got some phenomenal results and once they’d been paired up (mine and Claire’s attempts at piping had made their sizes somewhat irregular!) we sandwiched them together.  We used two flavours – lemon and caramel.  We piped a small dot of the lemon or caramel in the middle and then a circle of the white chocolate ganache around the outside before sandwiching the pairs together.  Once again, Dibs skills in this area outstripped mine and Claire was doing an awesome job of supervising us and looking after Noah.  Then there was time to quickly pack some in a box for me and Claire to take home before making a run for the train!

22 March 6

All bar three made the journey home where they managed to make it until Sunday (Dibs told me that they taste better the next day and it’s true!) and My Dad, Husband and friends who popped in all gave them a massive thumbs up.  The lemon combo was the favourite!

Thank you so much for inviting me into your home Dibs, Noah and Mr Dibs.  I had a wonderful time and have been shopping for the ingredients to have another go at home.  Boy has chosen purple as the colouring for ours (and yes, it’s a gel colour!).  I’m just waiting for the disposable piping bags and some appropriately sized piping nozzles to arrive and then I’ll be having a go at macarooning solo!

Crafting a Rainbow’s Top 5 is BACK!


Do you remember Gillian’s (of Crafting a Rainbow) Top 5 series of reflection posts that took the blogging world by storm last year?  Well, she’s doing it again this year (after a Twitter chat, the instigator of so much sewing mischief!) and has designed a lovely, shiny, new logo for 2013’s Hits, Misses, Reflections, Inspirations and, of course, Goals for 2014.  I’m so glad that this series is going to happen again this year – I found it so interesting to read every body else’s posts last year and did a similar thing myself in two posts (here and here) as I was late to the party.

Here’s what Gillian has to say about it for those new to the idea:

“Want to join in? It’s easy, and the rules are meant to be broken. Basically, between now and the new year, think back over the year and blog Top 5 lists about the following five topics: 

  • Top 5 Hits: Favourite Creations, most worn or most loved
  • Top 5 Misses: Sewing Fails, UFOs, worn once, or complete disasters
  • Top 5 Reflections: What did you learn about yourself or sewing this year? 
  • Top 5 Inspirations: What books, people, blogs, trends etc motivated you this year?
  • Top 5 Goals for the New Year”

If you want to know who took part last year, have a look on her blog.  It’s fascinating and inspiring reading and a great way to find some new blogs!  In fact, the Top 5 is how I discovered Gillian’s blog.

I’ll be posting my Top 5’s between Christmas and New Year.  I’ll also be including a bit about last years goals in my reflections… Hope you can join in the fun!