Saturday 31 October 2009


Halloween non-humiliation

These are the costumes that I've been slogging over for at least eleven years. Or maybe the last two days. It felt like eleven years though due to the amount of bleach fumes I've inhaled.

I wasn't organised enough to buy blanks to embellish, so I made the tops and leggings from stratch as well. And I had to draft the patterns. So it really was close to eleven years work.

And to add to my workload, I did the backs too.

I started the project chalking the outlines on the fabric before attacking them with the bleach, but then I got so bored skilled I just freestyled them. I should probably get an honorary medical degree based on my knowledge of anatomy.

If anyone else is wanting to get in on this bleaching action (and you should because it's fun), make sure you get brushes with synthetic bristles. The bleach ate through an entire pack my natural hair brushes!

Friday 30 October 2009


Halloween humiliation

The kids are going to a Halloween party tomorrow and in my typical procrastinatory fashion, I worked all day yesterday making them matching costumes. Then I found out in the afternoon that Jamie was having a Halloween party at nursery today, with costumes. I didn't want him to wear his special costume today, so what's a girl to do? Ritual humiliation of course!

And as per our regular status quo, anything that Jamie does / has, Maia had to get in on the action too. Please can no one tell her that her hood isn't special like Jamie's. She totally thinks she has ears and a mane too. Shhh...

Thursday 29 October 2009


Destination: Lovefest

Last Friday we trekked through to Glasgow to visit The Museum for Transport with Vonnie and her brood. It was a day truly dedicated to Transport as we took a bus, a train, a car to admire all the modes of transport at the musuem, and then a car, a train and a bus to get home. Not even the fact that Maia pooped herself, Jamie got stuck in a lift and no one on the train would give us seats so we had to sit on the floor by the toilet could put a damper on our day out. Because these kids, they love each other:

Jamie and Maia having a cuddle on the bus. Or to be more exact, Jamie cuddling 'Baby', who's having a sleep

Greer admiring Maia

Maia admiring Greer. She practically begged me to take out my coil and have another baby.

Everyone enjoying the old tram. Much more than I'm enjoying the new trams. Or the prospect of new trams after they have dug up every single fecking street in Edinburgh. About 45 years and 200 billion pounds from now.

Being a ham

These girls love each other. Fact.

And, in a fortuitous turn of events, Rhubarb Crumble and her lovely younger daughter came to the musuem and were much loved by us too. I have absolutely no photgraphic proof of that though, so you'll have to trust me.

Wednesday 28 October 2009


Advice from a supermodel

I've watched a lot of America's Next Top Model in my time. I used to think that it was just frippery, but since I've become the supermodel of my own blog I've realised it's actually heaps educational. Many a Not a day goes by without someone emailing me to ask how I've become such a successful supermodel of my own blog. Well, now I'll tell you as I walk you through two of my new tunics.
  • Choose your photographer carefully. I've tested a geriatric neighbour and my childminder with good results: But my go-to photographer is always my husband. I make him take so many shots that when the brief is 'smile benignly', I nail it. And, the massive height difference between us means that he's always looking down on me and this really helps me look like I've got feet that are so small I shouldn't be able to stand upright. Again, editorial. That's some pretty edgy stuff to have non-functional feet.
  • Staging photos. It always helps to have a good backdrop for modelling. Unfortunately it rains all the freaking time here in Scotland so you can't always take your pictures outside without getting pneumonia and dying. Inside shots are trickier, but not insurmountable. My friend Nic recommends standing on a table if there's clutter and debris, but if you're really good at Photoshop like me you can just crop everything out of your photo. Like the fridge. But don't go too over-zealous, because sometimes a prop like a light switch makes it more editorial.
  • Styling. I recommend tying your hair back, it hides the fact that you've been drenched no less than six times today and have the hair to prove it and to be honest it's probably time for a haircut again anyway really accentuates your bone structure. Feck it, just crop your head out in Photoshop (see above):
  • Have your finger on the pulse fashion-wise. Everyone has leggings these days. I've had mine for one whole day. But what I have that you don't, is an octopus tunic: You'll not see one of those on the runaways of Paris or Rome. At least not until next season.
All that aside, what do you think of my tunics? I didn't add a back tie to the Andalucia one so it's very smocky, but the octopus one has a tie because it looked like a muumuu without one. And the world's probably not ready for an octopus muumuu.

Tuesday 27 October 2009


Tutorial: How to turn adult socks into babylegs

I briefly mentioned the other day that I'd been making a lot of babylegs for the little toilet trainer. Not everyone knew what they were so, in short: legwarmers. Now that it's cold and dreich here she really needs something on her legs but tights don't come down as quickly as the bladder demands. And they outgrow tights so quickly. And they sag at the crotch. 'Gah' to tights.

Babylegs are great because they don't need to be pulled down, they fit for years (and even double as arm warmers) and it's an absolute doddle to make a pair from a pair of woman's knee highs. Fifteen minutes, honest. So here's how:
  1. Procure a pair of crazy adult socks. They should be at least knee highs, although these are over the knee ones. Yes, really.
  2. The sock should naturally have a cuff / band at the top. Leave that alone as this will fit your child's thigh. Maia is a tall 2 year old (and I wanted them to fit for a long time), so I decided to cut these off at 14 inches.
  3. I could have made the cuff from the harlequin bit left over but I wanted red cuff's so I'm going to use the foot. If your socks are knee highs you'll have to use the foot. Cut off at the heel and at the toe seams.
  4. Just to confuse you, I've rotated this picture. So that's raw edges at top and bottom and folds on left and right. Your cuff should be slightly narrower than your leg bit for a nice tight fit. Depending on the age / size of your child you should cut your width between 2 and 3 inches (on the fold). For Maia, 2.5 inches is perfect.
  5. Repeat for the other cuff. So now you have raw edges at the top, bottom and right side. Left side is still on the fold.
  6. Open your cuff and refold it so right sides are facing.
  7. Sew or serge along the long side about a 1/4 inch in. You now have tubes that are raw at the top and the bottom.
  8. Fold the bottom raw edge up to meet the top raw edge so that right sides are out.
  9. Pull the raw edge of your sock through the centre of the cuff, right side out.
  10. Pin the cuff to the sock all the way around. All three raw edges will be matched up. As your cuff is narrower than your sock you'll need to stretch it with your fingers to pin it evenly.
  11. I would normally use the serger but these socks had incredibly curly raw edges so I decided to use the normal sewing machine. It's fine, the raw edge will be hidden and as long as you're using a normal sock (not a tights-esque one) it won't unravel. If you're using a normal machine set your stitch length a bit longer to retain some stretch. Sew all the way around, stretching just the cuff gently. Because it's so small, you'll need to be careful to pull the other fabric out of the way at the same time.
  12. Admire your work. If you'd like, now that they're attached you can run it through the serger more easily.
  13. You're done! Now make an outfit to match the crazy babylegs.

Monday 26 October 2009


Ode to Joy

Dancing a jig

I'm ecstatic to report that the computer is back from it's second visit from the repair shop with all of my photos and documents. I'm slightly perturbed that there's a massive 100GB free that wasn't free before but the most important things are there. I think. I guess I won't find out what's actually missing until I look for it, but the most precious things are there. The CD drive wasn't working either, but it turns out that one of my delightful progeny (I'm guessing Jamie) had crammed a CD deep inside that had jammed in there. Probably on Sunday morning when I woke to find he had put stickers all over the computer. And the camera, including the lens. But, hey-ho, embarrasment with the repair man aside, it does rather brighten up the keyboard:
Thank you all for your kind words, sympathy, and technical support!

A week later than planned, here's the winner of the bigger girl's asymmetrical coat pattern:

Congratulations to Louise of Sew Scrumptious, hope your spoils doesn't interfere with your winter fair making...

And a final bit of good news... my mahoosive roll of Thinsulate arrived this morning (only 25 days after I ordered it) so I'm back in the coat-making business!

Mermaid party frock

Another project completed in my prolific computer-free week: a mermaid party frock! When I think back on my childhood, the thing that strikes me now is that I was abused or at least neglected. Because I never had a mermaid party frock.

The cut of this dress makes me happy, I think it has quite a old-fashioned retro look. Like the little girl in Mad Men but about 14 inches longer.

Like Erica's party frock, it has a very gathered skirt (58 inch hemline) so it's good for twirling.

And the other side is a lovely heavy linen. I took pictures as I went along so hopefully a tutorial will follow shortly. Yes, I realise I have whole post dedicated to asking people to test but if anyone wants to shout out now that'd be awesome.

Sunday 25 October 2009


Wardrobe of a potty-trainer

If there was one good thing about being sans computer for most of last week, I was very prolific on the sewing front. Being a masochist practical, I used the opportunity of the half-term holidays from nursery and childminder to toilet train Maia. To minimise accidents and laundry, she needed lots of skirts. And how many did she have in her wardrobe? None. So I whipped up a bunch of bubble skirts.

You might remember this fabric from my post on misfit fabrics. I've had it forever.

It very fortuitously matches her shoes. And it's reversible, to plain ol' fuchsia.

We spent so much time this week taking baby for walks. It's not embarrassing.

And another misfit fabric. As you can see from the picture, our back garden is only one fence away from Heaven.

And I bought a ridiculous amount of socks to turn into babylegs but these are the only ones she's had on. I was so overwhelmed by the crazy-ness of the socks that it didn't occur to me that they wouldn't match anything. And that it would look like she was going to a rave.

This skirt is my favourite. She wore it on our jaunt to Glasgow and earned quite a few tsks from older ladies who thought the fingers facing the other direction. I almost gave them a demonstration.

It's not reversible, but it does have a very cool polkadot lining.

And this is Jamie modelling the final skirt. For Social Services the record, it was at his request.

Cross-dressing and kissing his sister? Jerry Springer, here we come.

Saturday 24 October 2009


The post I don't feel like writing

My computer is back from the shop. First I needed a new motherboard, and then my hard drive died while in recovery. The man in shop said this happened after most ('most' being a nebulous term) of my files had been migrated to their backup system. As I handed over the GDP of a small nation, assurances were made that my new hard drive contained most of my old files. Oh, the witty banter I planned for you all today! Tales of toilet training Maia, Jamie getting stuck in a lift, photoshopped goodies of how the internet missed me. But instead, here's a montage of my current mood:

Why is the hard drive empty?

I can't believe all her photos from the last two years are missing.

You mean the pictures from Maia's first couple of weeks?

And Jamie's second, third and fourth birthdays?

Wait... what about her business?

All of the photos of everything she's ever made are gone?

What?! All of her tutorials are gone too?

I can't believe it, she's worked so hard.

So I guess I don't know where to go from here.