Tuesday 31 August 2010


Well, this is embarassing...

God Bless Steven. He always buys me books that he thinks will be relevant to my interests. Like when I was pregnant with Jamie, for my birthday he bought me loads of books that involved babies. And then those babies died, and were kidnapped, and broke up their parents' marriages, and grew up to be serial killers. The interests: correct. The details: incorrect.

Amanda likes the internet and oversharing! This is the book for her!

Umm, Steven... I don't want to die because someone on the internet discovers my deepest fears and uses them against me. (Lazy Prospective Killers, click here.) And I certainly DO NOT WANT TO DIE FROM SECONDARY EMBARRASSMENT.

It is very hard to read a book through your fingers.

The author, Jeffery Deaver:

Thank you for making me feel young.

Monday 30 August 2010


Measure thyself, find thyself disappointing, soldier on

So there we go then, Cool Girls (and passengers), I've been well and truly measured. Sadly, a bit bigger than the last time I did my measurements with roughly an inch gain at every point. Except my knee circumference, ladies, that is thankfully the same. I do not need to put my knees on a diet.

There is, I hope, a small chance that my disparities in measurements are down to more than sheer piggery on my part. I give you a visual aid of my current trousers:

Amanda's toddler-rise trousers

Yes, that zipper really is two inches long. The combination of a less-than-streamlined midriff and a torso approximately 12 inches long means that I normally wear trousers on my hip line in an attempt to restore balance to my short but top heavy figure. The downside to this is that I have no discernable waist, as well as the inherent disadvantage of being 1.8 times too old to expose my hip bones.

So these are the style of trousers I'm hoping to make:

As such, I had to adjust almost all my original figures (waist moved up, hips moved down, and length added to all vertical measurements). There's a real possibility this high waisted endeavour could go horribly, horribly wrong and I'll cry and flail and write a post saying I'm giving up blogging forever. Or I might just make a graph plotting my anguish. But next week we'll be drafting the pattern!

Sunday 29 August 2010


Lazing on a Sunday afternoon

When you live in Edinburgh, you either love or hate August. As hosts of the largest cultural festival in the world, half a million visitors converge on Edinburgh to enjoy the thousands of shows, plays, concerts and book-related events. Me? I love it*. For eleven and three quarters months of the year, I have little to show for a social life. But... with a birthday that's always in the last week of the Festival, not only do I have an excuse to go out, I also have things to go to!

Here are clips of some of the comics I've seen this week**. Don't click if you're at work, have lucid children in your vicinity, or if you are my parents.

Carl Barron- He's a very big name in Australia and we saw him last night in a tiny little hall. He was very funny.

David Kay- My favourite comic of all time, I've seen him four times in the last ten years. No one else knows about him except Friend Sarah and my much-missed friend Michelle in Australia.

Daniel Slosser- I'd never heard of him but found out he's been on a pilot show for ITV this week. Adorable. Also, this clip was filmed at The Stand which is where we saw him on Tuesday!

Comment suggestions: your favourite comics / tales of visiting Edinburgh during krayzee August / congrats for getting a life

*Except if I'm using public transport. Or desirous of a seat in a restaurant or pub. Or attempting to buy any thing from any shop. Or trying to walk down the street in a non-irritated state. Then I hate it.

** Not clips from the actual shows because piracy is a crime. Just other clips, from other people, of other shows.

Friday 27 August 2010


The post where I demonstrate my ability to segue

Good afternoon, folks. Thanks for all your birthday wishes yesterday! I had a very nice day with a trip to the cinema, a lunch outside the confines of my house and a caterpillar cake that I didn't carry around in a backpack:

So... birthdays. With my (justified) reputation as a bookworm, I am always gifted books for any and all special occasions. Look at yesterday's haul! Has anyone read any of these beauties?

And speaking of delectable reading materials, look what Pickled Weasel sent me! Admittedly, it wasn't for my birthday as such. But do you really need a special occasion for True Blood and Alexander Skarsgard? No, you don't. Steven has been rolling his eyes at me for about six days straight because I am not getting more mature with age, I'm regressing into a silly, mooning teenage girl. What - ever, Steven.

So... let's jump right back to the subject of my birthday. My lovely in-laws gave me money to buy a much-needed new coat. What's that, a coat? Oh yes, speaking of coats, I'm participating in the Lady Grey sew-along on Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing.

Click here for more info

Anyone else playing along? I can't decide what fabric to use but I'm leaning towards a raincoat fabric. Can you believe that I don't have a waterproof jacket? And I live in Scotland? The sheer madness of it.

While we're on the subject of sew-alongs: Cool Girls, I have not abandoned you. Starting Monday I'll be doing the weekly update on the process, starting with the dreaded body measurements. Get your tape measures and tissues out!

And finally, while we're on the subject of meta-sewing, anybody seen this and been tempted?

Shabby Apple are having a Design a Dress competition! For more info and the rules, click here. But you can't do it, because I might. I call first dibs on winning.

As always, I eagerly await any comments. To help you navigate the meanderings, a summary for me and you:
  1. Caterpillar cake: comments probably unnecessary
  2. New books: please share enthusiasm
  3. Viking Vampires: exchange tales of being silly in this respect (or any other)
  4. Sew-along Lady Grey: tell me what fabric to use
  5. Cool Girls' sew-along: forgive tendency to procrastinate / confirm tape measures
  6. Shabby Apple design comp: pat my back / stroke my hair

Thursday 26 August 2010


Another year closer to shuffling off this mortal coil

No birthday is complete without a card from Maia's range of Boobie Cards for Special Occassions.

Maia might be a breast girl, but Jamie is clearly a leg man. Or an ear man. I'm sticking to legs.

Wednesday 25 August 2010


Tutorial: Drawstring Gym / PE Kit backpack

13 model

Because Sew Scrumptious asked so nicely, here's a tute for the drawstring backpack that I made for Jamie's PE clothes.

1 cutting

Cut two 12" by 13" pieces of outer and lining fabrics.

2 loop

Cut two 2" pieces of ribbon (I used grosgrain), fold in half and pin one inch from the bottom corners with the raw edges of the ribbon against the raw edges of the fabric.

3 stitch

With right sides facing, sew the outer fabrics together and then the lining fabrics together as per the red line. Leave two inches at the top unsewn for both (making sure that they are exactly the same distance or they won't match up!) and front and back stitch several times here because this point will be under pressure. Also leave a four inch opening at the base of the lining bag.

4 clip

Clip your corners.

5 insert

Turn your outer bag right side out and place it inside the lining bag so they are right sides facing. Pin them together along the top edge.

6 finger press and pin

At the unsewn slits at the side seam, finger press the seam allowance down and pin together. Press with an iron to make sure they match up.

7 stitch together

Starting just before the slit, sew the bags together using your normal seam allowance (I use 3/8"). Along the slit, switch to a narrow seam allowance, right along the edge. Stop exactly at the base and secure your stitches, snip, lift up and start a new stitch exactly at the base on the other side. Italics used to denote a date with your seam ripper if you stitch further down or too far away from this point. Ask me how I know. Continue along the top edge and do the same at the other slit til you get back to where you started.

8 slit stitch and clip

Clip these corners.

9 fold

Reach through the hole in the lining bag and pull the bags right side out, pushing the lining bag into the outer bag. Press with the iron and poke your corners out so they're nice and square. Fold down 3/4" of the top edge to the inside of the bag and press in place.

10 stitch fold

Stitch the fold down close to the edge, and also topstitch around the slits.

Close hole

Press the bottom edge of the lining bag at the opening so the raw edges are neatly inside and then sew close to the edge to close the hole.

11 thread and toggle

Run a length of cording (I didn't have any so I used shoelaces!) through one channel and an identical length through the second channel. If you have toggles I recommend putting them on at the right and left sides, holding both cords together. Determine the length that suits your child, thread the cording through the tab at the bottom corner and tie in a knot to secure.

12 inside

Put stinky gym clothes / shoes in and ignore. You're done! Don't forget to post in the Flickr pool if you make one :)

Tuesday 24 August 2010


God, school is so exhausting already. For me.

11 thread and toggle

I totally tricked you guys! You thought I'd be posting the lunchbag tute, but due to yet another note requesting more school accouterments, I had to make a gym kit bag first. I hope I don't get a note telling me to sew something else tomorrow, I'm not sure I can keep up with this pace.

13 model

My sister in law said about The Lunchbag of Injustice yesterday, 'Its so cool that you can need something and just make it!' Of course it's cool. It's very satisfying to make things that people need one day after when they need them. But it's also a bit of an albatross: if somebody needs something and I can conceivably make it, I feel too guilty to buy it. Even when time is against me and my material costs are higher than a completed store-bought article.

Do other makers feel this way? Have you found that the ability to make things has influenced your ability to buy things without guilt? Or do you just let yourself off the hook?

Monday 23 August 2010


The Lunchbag of Injustice

The primary one pupils don't have lunch at school for another month (because of the settling in process) so I thought I had plenty of time to give proper thought into lunch bag construction. But Jaim came on Thursday with note saying he was one of the pupils being accessed for literacy and numeracy today and he'd be having his lunch at school! So absolutely no time to give proper thought to lunch bag construction, only time to give half-*ss panicked thoughts. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the Lunchbag of Injustice:

Apologies for the quality of photos on offer today; these pics were taken with a certain three year old angrily throwing herself on my back, railing at a world where siblings not only get to go to school, but they also have lunch. A world without Maia.

It's a boxed construction with my trusty Thinsulate as inner-lining for stability and to keep contents cold. And it looks like I'll be making another one to redress the lunchbag / injustice dichotomy wreaking havoc through my family. Tute anyone?

NB. Thanks for all the volunteers on the hoodie pattern! I'm working my way through all the comments to figure out who will cover each size and I'll email people soon.

Sunday 22 August 2010


With The Cassette Hoodie comes good tidings


I may have to abdicate my (self-appointed) title of Queen of The Cool Fabric Findings. As well as the sneaker print, this amazing cassette fabric slipped under my radar. Many thanks to Soph4Soph for sending it on so I could make a hoodie for her daughter!


Of course, I'm now forced to buy my own haul of this fabric -- good for me emotionally but not good for me fiscally. It's called Priorities.


Hello again, sneaker fabric.


Notice my new coloured reversible zippers? They cost £2,000,000 but I now have fuschia, royal, red, turquoise and jade. They're so lovely I'm not sure I can be parted from them.


Good news all round: new fabric to love, new zippers to use sparingly. And (drum roll).... the hoodie pattern is complete! It only took 14 months or so. But I have sizes 18m, 2T, 3T, 4T, 5Y, 6Y, 7Y and 8Y ready for testing. So who has the time / inclination / fabric / zippers / coffee / barbituates to test for me in about a week (after I type up the tute)? Leave a comment with size, gender and an email to contact you through.

Saturday 21 August 2010


More adventures with geriatic neighbour

Scene: The foyer of our building.
Characters: Me, Jamie, Maia, Geriatric neighbour, Geriatric neighbour's daughter

Geriatric neighbour: Why, hello there!
Me: Hello!
Geriatric neighbour: Have you met my daughter?
Me: I think so! Hello again.
Neighbour's daughter: Hello.
Geriatric neighbour: And this is Jamie.
Jamie: Hello.
Neighbour's daughter: Hello.
Geriatric neighbour: And this is Maia.
Neighbour's daughter: Hello.
Maia (pointing): And these are Mummy's boobies.

The End.

Thursday 19 August 2010


Ode to Boy

Jamie, when you woke me up yesterday morning with your small hands on my face, shouting, 'Mum, mum! One more sleep til I go to school! Are you excited to see me grow-up?' my heart broke a little bit. I've been thinking about this day in the wrong way.

Here I've been, watching you grow, willing you to grow, counting the sleeps with you towards each milestone, sharing your excitement. I didn't realise what this meant.

While I've been busy looking forward, I didn't appreciate that from now on, I will see you less than I ever have before. Maia and I will miss you.

While I've day-dreamed about the day you no longer want to sleep on my head, I didn't appreciate the closeness you crave with me. Who else will ever love me so much that they need to hold on to my ear even when sleeping?

You, my wee boy, are no longer just part of me.

You are no longer just part of your father.

You are no longer just a devoted brother to your sister.

You are still all these things, you will always be a son and brother: but now you're more. You are part of your school, part of a community, the big wide world.

The world will love you.

I will hold your hand along the way.

Onwards and upwards, pal. But not so fast.