Monday, 31 August 2009


A really annoying companion

What's the best way to get over the headache that was 'The Bag'? By making an over-complicated wallet of course! I bought a wallet when I was in the States, and although it is very pretty, the card slots are too loose and my cards keep falling out. Just about the worst feature for a wallet, ever. It's also a bi-fold, and I really wanted a tri-fold. 'How hard can it be?' I thought? Totally freaking hard, as it turns out. But I'm done and I'm ready to share...

It has six (incredibly tight) card slots, and the two side slots also have pockets behind them.

On the back there is quite a big change purse, because as you Brits know, there's a lot of coinage here.

The center pockets are looser so I can fit about 25 business cards, in the unlikely event that I ever give one out.

The money section is more generous than my financial circumstances require, but we can live and dream, right?

The change purse was an absolute bugger to do and I have no idea why I didn't put the zipper all the way around (I suspect it was mania). Because of this, I might have to make another one... Anyone interested in a tute?

Sunday, 30 August 2009


No one can say I didn't try

A great big thank you to everyone who left comments and advice on my bag-in-progress post. Except for Nifty, who can basically bog off for offering to buy it for two quid. That wouldn't even cover the cost of the thread I ripped out. But I did indeed persevere, and this is the finished article:

If you can tear yourself away from the fact my t-shirt is massively unflattering and I appear to have no legs, you will see that I put two short straps perpendicular to the base (as per my over-loved bag), and a long strap through the rings. I wear my bags across my chest rather than over a shoulder. Not only does that mean that it isn't constantly falling off when I'm pushing the buggy / dragging children by the hand but it highlights to innocent bystanders (yes, I mean you, pervy janitor) that I have two breasts and not a massive uni-boob.

The lining is rather pretty, no? Not pictured is the inner zippered pocket where I can put my new prescription for Xanax.

So I learned many things in my first bag-making endeavour:
  • If in doubt, interface. And then some more. Maybe even interline. The only thing I interfaced (with sew in lining) was the base and I wish it had more structure. Poking my finger into a hole in the over-loved bag, I think the base even has some cardboard-esque structure in it.
  • Find some tutorials on bag making before you start.
  • I need to practice sewing zippers in blind (as in when the zipper is sandwiched between fabric rather than where I can see it). And I should have double-sided taped it in place rather than pinned it.
  • I should have had my sewing machines while I was only holiday so that I could have returned to wonderfully working machines.
  • There's a reason that shops sell handbags: It so you don't have to make them yourself.

Friday, 28 August 2009


Fear Ye Not, bag makers

So the sewing machine came out for the first time yesterday. I've had a quite a few requests for clothes since I've been back but one whole month without sewing means I wanted to practice a bit first to get back into the swing of things. 'Hmm, why not make myself a new bag?' I thought yesterday. Because as I said the other day, I love my current bag, but it's is gross now. And being an internationally renowed childrenswear designer (my family in the States think I'm awesome, all right?), how hard could it be? The answer: So. Freakin. Hard. Here's a reminder of my gross but well-loved bag:

It's slouchy with a rectangular bottom, a long strap going around the perimeter, shorter straps with rivets at the bottom and sides to hold the long strap in place. Also, out of shot it has two rings that hold the long strap, and an integral zippered pouch pocket. So there we go, that was my task. And here were the obstacles:
  • Problem one: I've never made a bag before and I don't know what I'm doing.
  • Problem two: I couldn't bring myself to cut my gross bag apart, so I had to wing the pattern and construction.
  • Problem three: My sewing machine is fecked. It won't sew in a straight line, it's pulling to the right. Cue some ugly sewing and way too much seam ripping.
Despite working on it all day long and into the wee small hours, I still haven't finished. And maybe I won't. Just the short straps and long strap remain, but I'm not sure if I'll give it anymore of my time. Some of the sewing is so ugly. Exhibit one:

And here's the base, which despite giving me a headache of mammoth proportions looks pretty good if I do say so myself:

So Fear Ye Not, bag makers, your crown is safe. But I would appreciate some friendly advice.

Thursday, 27 August 2009


Career counselling. Or maybe just counselling.

After dressing myself up for dinner last night, my heels and bag were left out. So, in sauntered Jamie this morning:

Any one have any guesses as to what workplace would allow you to come into work like this?

And while we're on the subject, can anyone tell me why both of my children can walk in heels better than I can?

I'm hoping that this image isn't Maia going to her work.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009


I might have to grow up now

The picture above was taken last week. But this is probably how I look today:

I'm not being facetious, I did actually pull out find three grey hairs last week. And on top of that, today's the Big Day. I have officially left my twenties behind and I'm now 'thirty-something'. I'm not sure what's going to change (if anything) but I probably should start thinking of myself as a grown up now, and maybe act like one occasionally too. I don't think it bothers me being 30, if anything I'm excited about the advertising offers that will surely come rolling in. Just look how happy our diapers make us:

If you want to see a Photoshop Wizard at her best, just click on the picture. Can you tell I pasted myself in? It's totally not noticeable, is it? I rock.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009


If found, please return to owner

Anyone seen my mojo? I've always found it hard to get back into things after a long hiatus, and it's no different this time. Despite being back in the UK for almost a week, my website it still down and all my shops are still shut. I haven't sewn in almost a month and I'm needing kick in the backside to get my momentum going again.

So let's do some navel-gazing. Here are the culprits for my inertia:
  1. We brought back Series One on DVD and I'm hooked: But the tide might be turning, we only have a couple left and Steven was more interested in watching football last night than having another marathon. Perfect opportunity to sew, right?

  2. Nope, I started reading this over the weekend: And stayed up to 3AM last night finishing it (thank you, jet lag). Awesome book.

  3. So my nights might be full of vampires and Swedish thrillers, but surely I could still get my shops up and running again during the day, right? Step forward, needy children: After a month of at least one adult giving them their undivided attention all of the time, they've forgotten that they could play nicely independently or with each other for maybe 15 minutes or something. Don't get me wrong, I like Hide and Seek as much as the next woman, but two hours is pretty excessive when they hide in the same freakin' spot every time and Jamie tells me where to hide before counting.
I'm confident(ish) I'll get my mojo back, but what's going to be the first thing I make? Something like this is tempting:

But before I can overhaul my wardrobe with a Homesick t-shirt, I absolutely need to do something about my accessories situation. Yes, it is serious enough that it's now deemed a 'situation'. As you might know, I hardly ever sew anything for myself. I don't normally have the time, I don't want to 'waste' my fabric on me, and I completely lack the confidence to try to make what I see in my head. Or even recreate something physical, right in front of me.

No matter what Picked Weasel says, I'm not cool. But even I know the difference between shabby chic:

From Wheatie Bags on Folksy

And just plain shabby:

And the difference between distressed:
And distressing:

That's right, folks. Those specimens are my everyday bag, and my wallet. I've had them for about five years each and it shows. They embarrass me, they embarrass my husband. I tried to buy suitable replacements on Etsy, but in actual fact I want exact replicas. So I'm gonna have to make them myself. And I'm seriously obsessing about it. Any advice from bag or wallet makers? Or does anyone just fancy kicking me in the bum and get me moving again?

Monday, 24 August 2009


Calling all geeks!

One of my favourite things about my bloggy / cyber life is meeting kindred spirits. One lady that I've found I share a lot in common with is Apryl from Meridian Ariel. We're both American ex-pats living in the UK and missing American family, shopping and sweeties. We're both crafty (as in craft-making, not sneaky). She's been very helpful in my quest to find an inappropriate love interest. We share the same sense of humour and a love of all things geeky (TV shows, books and people). I highly recommend following her on Twitter, she's hilarious and a fount of knowledge of all the funniest sites on the internet. And now another reason to love her: she's organising a swap based on my favourite movies!

I can't even tell you how many times I watched Labyrinth, The Neverending Story, Willow and The Princess Bride. When I was younger, my friend Alex and I could recite all dialogue from The Dark Crystal. So cool. Today's the last day to join the swap over on her blog. I've signed on the dotted line and invite you all to join too!

Sunday, 23 August 2009


Dear Bank Manager, I'm terribly sorry...

Coat fabrics: Greens

Coat fabrics: Blues

Coat fabrics: Raspberries

Coat fabrics: Oranges

The coordinates / sets

My favourite

The Randoms

Boy Fabric

Friday, 21 August 2009


Holiday Roundup

I don't want to bore you silly with holiday snaps, so instead I'm going to issue some awards, American Yearbook style....
  • Biggest Lovefest: Me and Calvin
  • Serena Williams Bubble Butt award: Maia And look, it's makes her incredibly buoyant!
  • Least Reciprocated friendship: Maia and Mister Bo
  • Big Kid Award: Four way tie (Steven, Grandma, Grandpa, me)
  • Least observant person: Steven. For a laugh (and, yes, I am hilarious) I moved the car twice while Steven was inside a shop and he never noticed. Or at least he never said anything, probably so as not to encourage me.
  • Future Supermodel Award: Calvin
  • Silly Sunburn award: Me
  • Farmer's Tan award: Steven
  • Most Impressed by Creatures Award: Maia, upon meeting a salamander
  • Most Eccentric Child: Maia
  • Campest Moment: To get up here, Jamie has to tell a tween goth who was brooding on the top tire, 'Excuse me, big boy'
  • Biggest control freak about sand castles: me
  • The 'Really Loves Swings' Award: Maia
  • The 'Really loves Tunnels' Award: Jamie
  • Future Architect Award: Maia
  • World's Strongest Toddler Award: Maia
  • Harry Potter Appreciation Award: Jamie
  • Most Redundant Paddling But We Won't Tell Him Because He's Having Fun' Award: Jamie
  • The Y Chromosome Bonding Experience Award: Liam, Conor and Jamie playing the Wii
  • The Eat your Body Weight in Ice Cream Award: Jamie and Maia
  • Buy Your Bodyweight in Fabric Award: Me
  • Audry Hepburn Sunglasses Award: Isla
  • We All Love Each Other Award: Too close to call
  • We Specifically Love Calvin Award: (Just between me and you, I'm the winner)
  • Sainthood Award: Despite getting more than 200 bugbites, I didn't scratch a single one. Truly.