Saturday 28 May 2011


Oh, Pinterest... where have you been my whole life?

I was thinking the other day that it'd been a long time since I'd been obsessed with something new and shiny... and then along came an invite from my friend Apryl to Pinterest! In my truly obsessive fashion, I'm hooked.

For the uninitiated, Pinterest is a place where you can 'pin' / bookmark / dog-ear anything you find on the web that's cool / useful / pretty / funny. Just like bookmarking in your browser, except (as I learned the hard way) you don't lose all the bookmarks you've fastidiously gathered over the years when your hard drive goes on fire. And the best thing is that it's dynamic. Like Twitter, you can follow people and their pins show up in your stream too so you can steal all their ideas and pass them off as your own marvel at how cool everyone else is. And if you want to search for anything specific, everyone on Pinterest's relevant pins come up.

There's a bonus feature for the self-obsessed (i.e. me), in that you can find out which things from your blog / shop content to find what people have pinned of yours. To find out, all you have to type is . Obviously you should replace the last bit with your address, unless you're my mum in which case you should leave my address and then phone me to discuss how proud you are of me that I have content worth pinning.

Speaking of my mum, I've made a whole folder of things she's going to make me! She doesn't know this yet. How exciting is that? So if you're on Pinterest please follow me so I can follow back, and together we can find loads of things for my mum to make me.

Disclaimer: Despite my extreme effusiveness, Pinterest didn't ask me to say anything about them at all.

Wednesday 25 May 2011


'I have no words' Wednesday

This has been The Week From Hell. To respect the privacy of my Scottish family I don't feel comfortable elaborating at this stage but please send any positive vibes you might have surplus through the ether.

Batman Jamie says: 'Stay Strong'

Photo courtesy of my good friend (and the amazing photographer) Gustaf

Sunday 22 May 2011


Girl's Gone Geeky

thunderflower tunic

There are friend's of Friend Sarah visiting all the way from Canada and, as everyone knows, a friend of Friend Sarah is a friend of mine so I made a tunic for their daughter. The last time I made a tunic for this little girl she was in the throws of Princess Phase One, but I'm happy to report that now that she is seven the Princess Phase has burnt out and the girl's gone geeky.

thunderflower tunic detail

So I fashioned one of my all-time-favourite fabrics into a flouncy tunic with polkadot waist shaping. I have to admit, tales of girls going geeky gives me Hope for my own girly-girl.... maybe the glasses will help?

Friday 20 May 2011


If Darwin was alive today he'd probably write about this evolution

Holy moly, guys... I only made the final four in the Spring Top Sewalong! I totally wasn't expecting that. I don't want to totally spam my blog talking about this top ALL OF THE TIME, but please forgive a tiny bit more navel gazing... The Train To Crazy mentioned on Twitter that it might be interesting to post the Evolution of The Never-ending Dress Quest (which culminated with the Spring Top) so here goes:

It all started with this Jamie dress, straight off the printer with no alterations:

After rotating the straps to vertical and removing most of the gathers along the neckline, I had this:

Then I removed all of the elastication from the neckline and lowered it heaps:

I didn't like the gathers, so I draped it to form darts. I also made it a v-neck instead of a scoop neck:

For my final(ish) dress I took it in as far as my body would allow without asphyxiating. I then failed to take proper pictures:

Don't worry this one is pretty much identical:

And, finally, I made it into a top with a lot more ease and greater neckline modesty:

So there we go then. Go forth and cast your votes! The other tops are fantastic so it's a real privilege being a finalist :)

Thursday 19 May 2011


The Pink Professor

Introducing the newest addition to Land of the Bespectacled:

New specs smiley

She makes looking for the bus seem 60% more intellectual of a pursuit.

New specs introspective

I'll admit that I was heaps a bit tearful when she first tried them on, she's still so little to me.

New specs cheeky

But I suspect she'll take it in her stride.

Wednesday 18 May 2011


Of Kitties and Cake Pops

Cupcake cake pops close-up

I know I've posted about the birthday suit but what of the birthday baking? Long-term readers will know that I haven't had a functional oven in over a year but that does not appear to lessen my ambition for elaborate last-minute baking using other people's ovens. And often a backpack.

Cupcake cake pops collection

I set my sights high this year after finding out about the existence of Cake Pops (from Regretsy of all places) a couple of weeks ago. For those unfamiliar with Cake Pops, they are small yet adorable confections on a lollipop stick, made from crumbled cake, binded with icing, dipped in candy coating, and then decorated with sweets. That right: Sugar x 4. They are so sweet that the roof of your mouth itches while eating them. A good kind of itch.

Hello Kitty Cake

Unfortunately, you can't stick candle in them so I also needed to bake a birthday cake for Maia and at least thirty of her closest friends and family. Falling somewhere between the realms of terrible baking and not terrible baking, a Hello Kitty cake was born. For the record: making your first attempt at piping, at 2AM, without proper icing bags is inadvisable.

Hello Kitty blowing candles

It was, at least, recognisable as a fair representation of Hello Kitty by a jury of four year olds.

Hello Kitty birthday girl
Note: I am actually 'wringing my hands' in this picture. Who thought that was just a figure of speech?

Alas, the last of the leftover icing was dispatched today. By myself with a spoon.

Tuesday 17 May 2011


I've made the cut!

I'm beyond pleased that my 'If it Ain't Broke' blouse has made it through to the Voting Round of Made by Rae's Spring Top Sewalong! How exciting is that? Heaps.

So, please head over to vote. I'm in a really strong pool, so I'll understand if you don't vote for me. I will, however, harbour a very bitter grudge against you. Kidding. Ish.

Sunday 15 May 2011


The Birthday Suit

birthday playsuit

As an uninteded consequence of Virgin and Blogger joining forces to deprive me not only the internet in general, but my blog in particular, I had the opportunity to knuckle down with Maia's birthday preparations. Of course, by 'knuckle down' I mean 'do everything the night before'.

birthday jumpsuit ties

Although she would have preferred a Princess Dress, as the celebrations were at the trampoline centre I jumped on the Jumpsuit Wagon with shorts to protect her modesty.

birthday playsuit 2

With bright pink leggings, sparkly butterfly sandals and Saccharine Bear she's upped the Girly Quotient to acceptable levels.

jamie and maia

Just look at how casual they are.

jamie and maia 2

For the record, Jamie does not normally dress like this. That's his pajamas.

birthday playsuit top

I used the same fabric as I did for her first birthday outfit, the very first year I sewed.

Jamie and Maia: Looking identical since 2008.

I have mixed feelings about the girl turning four; I'm not sure it's allowed for her to get big so quickly. At least she we have Jamie wearing PJs during the day as our constant.

Monday 9 May 2011


The 'If It Ain't Broke' Top

rose top front

Well, colour you all shocked to see another incarnation of the Never-Ending Dress. Wouldn't it be funny if I sign up for every sew-along going and adapt this pattern for it? Next thing you know, I'll be signing up to an Overall Sew-along and throwing some legs on it.

rose top full

A picture for those of you of the head persuasion. Nothing shocking and / or amusing is happening to my right, I promise. I'm just a little bit harrowed from sewing this blouse manic style on the deadline day. Too harrowed for make-up and hairbrushes. Let's see... changes from Never-ending Dress: it is not a dress (obviously), neckline raised a bit, straps shortened / narrowed a smidge, fabric has no stretch so ease added all over the place, and waistband given a curve at centre front under the bust. Some things have remained: Mega-darted bodice front (three below each breast, one to the side *sigh*), v-neck back bodice, smooshed waistband, and.....................

rose top back

That's right, I zipped it all the way through this time! I'm hoping the metal zip tones down the OMGGirly print. But refrains from burning me when it's hot.

Spring Top Sew-along, forty minutes to spare :)

Sunday 8 May 2011


If you go out to the woods today....

elephant tunic

It's been a weekend of birthday parties for small people and my machines have had quite a workout keeping up. How nice is it to rustle up clothes for gifts rather than having to go to the shops for pink-centric tat though? Heaps.

elephant tunic waistband

I kept this tunic a pink-free zone after seeing the mum's lament on FB about her daughter's (self-chosen) Disney Princess dress for her actual birthday. She is a children's clothes maker too, and I share that special frustration of one that makes clothes for our kids only to find they want to dress in store bought clothes. Often ridiculous ones. I'm steeling myself for battle this week as it's Maia's birthday party on Saturday and I'm making something that is not a dress. Will she forgive me?

Friday 6 May 2011


Sneaky Peak : #6

What is it...

Bonus question: Which of my favourite people is the recipient?
Double bonus point question: Which company did we inadvertently piss off?

Those of you on Twitter have an advantage as I was twit-pic'ing fabric choices to the recipient. The winner gets an internet high five.

Thursday 5 May 2011


Attempting again to 'Play Well with Others'

With spring upon us and summer around the corner (allegedly-- I think Scottish summer was last Saturday) comes something that I partook in last year...

Obviously, I did not participate in the 2011 version last year. I'm definitely not that organised.

The host Made by Rae is extending the Spring Top Week of yester-year into a month long Spring Top Frenzy so that people have longer to sew and submit. I was about to say how that was great news for me because I failed to complete in time last year. And then I noticed the month ends Monday. So again: I suck.

For poor souls who didn't follow my exploits last year, a reminder of my on-time entry:

And the one that was not finished in time but sewn in the Spirit of Spring Top Week:

Disclaimer: I have never worn either of these tops again. I'm totally notorious for things like that.

Anyway, I'm going to try to rustle up at least one entry before Monday. Who else is playing well with others?

Wednesday 4 May 2011


'Keeping Them Safe' or 'Scaring the Bejesus Out of Them'?

Pictured: Everyday occurrences

As a class, the Primary Ones at Jamie's school are working themselves through an initiative centred around 'keeping yourself safe'. They have to learn their names, addresses, phone numbers, emergency contact details and a series of books have been sent home to read through and discuss. To this point the books have depicted Criminal Minds-type scenarios like strangers trying to entice you to into their car or help them find their dog. They end with a multiple choice: a) do want the stranger wants b) do something random c) scream 'I DON'T KNOW YOU' and run away. So far, so sensible (ish).

But then there was last night's book... The little girl is waiting for her mum to pick her up from school, the mum is late, the girl decides to walk home by herself, the girl gets frightened and cries, a man asks her if she is lost. And then the multiple choice. According to the 'Keeping Yourself Safe' rules, the girl is supposed to scream 'I DON'T KNOW YOU' and run away. I'm really uncomfortable with that answer.

The man is doing nothing sinister, he's asking a crying child if she's lost. As an adult if I saw a child crying and alone, I'd ask them if they were okay. But would I if I was worried that they were taught to scream at me and run away? Or is it different because I'm a woman? And similarly, if one of my children was scared and lost, I'd like to think that there would be people willing to help. I mean, how scared and lost would you feel if you were taught that everyone you didn't explicitly know was a threat?

I'm interested... What do you think about the message in this book? Am I the only one who's uncomfortable teaching my kids that there aren't people in the world who would genuinely want to help them?

Monday 2 May 2011


Breaking News: Swish camera has 'Beach' mode. So we go to the Beach.

Sunday 1 May 2011


Final dress wasn't final. It was Penultimate.

dress front
Steven said: Look benign.

I totally tricked you guys. Final dress from last week wasn't final at all. We had another wedding yesterday and I made another dress to celebrate the busiest my social life had been in eight years. I made the dress in the morning and finished two hours before we needed to leave. This isn't advisable.

dress back
Yes: fitting issues. No: don't care.

I made a deep V to the back bodice, and moved the zipper round from the side to the back. And exposed the zipper (yes, Crafterhours, it is a thing). The zipper was very nearly long enough to zip the whole thing through.

johns wedding 019
New camera isn't sure what to do with my fake tan.

Steven looked so handsome tourists took pictures with him. True story.

johns wedding 044
Not a tourist. That's me.

And we got a night out without small people cramping our style.