Wednesday 31 August 2011


The Redundant Pouch

makeup pouch zipped

Even excluding present company, all the best birthdays fall in the last week of August... my Dad, my best friend from university, the object of my obsession, and Friend Sarah.

makeup pouch unzipped

After the success of last year's capacious make-up pouches, a request was put in for a smaller model. Ostensibly, it's for her handbag; rationally, it's because she doesn't need that much makeup.

makeup pouch side

Using my body as inspiration, this pouch has a flat bottom. Also like me, it's able to stand up by itself.

makeup pouch filled

I have it on good authority (Friend Sarah texted me) that it has already been trialled and deemed sufficient. I have very stringent quality control though, and have secured a night out tonight to confirm.

Tuesday 30 August 2011


Hiring: Geek required

When you go sightseeing does it look like this?

Or.... When you peruse your snack options does it look like this?

If so, I might be looking for you.

Due to lack of time / mental block, I'm looking to hire someone to do some coding for my shop. It shouldn't be more than a couple of hours of work but html/css knowledge is required. If you're interested, send me an email at with details of your rates and why you are more awesome than other people. Special consideration will be given to those who can make a CSS joke as Google doesn't have a single one.

Monday 29 August 2011


The Reverse Engineer

stokke sheets 004

I was contacted by a customer recently about making some custom sheets to fit her Stokke crib. I really wish I could see her nursery because the cruise-ship fabric she provided is ace!

stokke sheets 006

It took some doing to get the pattern right because the Stokke mattress is oblong rather than rectangular... thankfully she provided another sheet for a template as my geometry skillz are not quite up to the task of determining the volume of a oval mattress and transferring that into a paper pattern.

stokke sheets 005

According to the customer, the sheets she could find were either bland, prohibitively expensive (or both), so if anyone is interested in custom Stokke sheets, send me an email.

Friday 26 August 2011


The Death Roll: now with less alligators

Hot Couturier needle roll closed

Remember when I said 'if you geek me I will geek you back'? I should have added a caveat that I might take so long you'd be tempted to hate me.

Hot Couturier needle roll

Approximately sixteen years ago, Louiz sent me some lovely fingerless gloves that she knitted after I bleated on and on about my Raynaud's disease and consequential non-functional purple lobster hands. Although I had every intention of returning my affection in a timely fashion, I hemmed and hawwed for ages on what to make her. As far as I am aware, she doesn't have silly schoolgirl crushes like me and Apryl so Viking Vampires couldn't be involved in my gift. She is a respectable woman.

Hot Couturier needle roll open

Finally, I felt so terrible that I hadn't gifted her back that I decided to make her a needle roll in her favourite colour purple. Knowing nothing about knitting (as evidenced by my illustrative use of paint brushes in the pictures above), I perused lots of tutorials to see what sort of features should be included. Dimensions that will accommodate needles? Check. A variety of different sized pockets? Check. Rollable? Check. Tie-able? Check.

Hot Couturier needle roll- vinyl pocket

Being a innovator, I decided to add some vinyl pockets at the bottom for these mysterious things called 'stitch markers' and whatever smaller knitting notions one might have. I was impressed with myself for thinking of such a handy feature. It turns out that there's a good reason why other people don't add vinyl pockets to their needle rolls: because it's evil to sew. But not as evil as me for leaving Louiz hanging so long.

Monday 22 August 2011


In which I Exercise Restrait

You know how I normally come back from the States with a bajillion new fabrics to torment everyone with? Not so this year, I exercised restraint. Bet you didn't think I had it in me. To be honest, restraint really didn't come into it; I've been alluding to Top Secret Going-Ons in Kitschy Coo Towers for the last six months or so, things are changing soon and bringing back heaps of fabric from the States is not part of the master plan. I did bring back a bit though, restocking my ever-popular geek stash:

And adding to my organics collection. If you can't remember things that happened yesterday (like me), here's the Monaluna Fox print:

And a bit of Monaluna Soar:

A dash of this Birch bicycle print:

And the Monuluna Scooters in Teal that I missed out on last summer:

It looks like I have a thing for blue this year. And the one new-to-me, non-organic fabric? The only grey fabric in my stash!

I really love the whole Sherbet Pips collection, but I admit to being irritated that the scooter prints have kids with winter clothes on as I think that really limits their use. Does anyone else get annoyed by 'seasonal' prints?

Sunday 21 August 2011


The Foxy Foxes

Monaluna Foxy Kindle cover

By virtue of also having a birthday this week, Friend Sarah joined Club Kindle and quickly commissioned a cover from me. With only a tiny bit of persuasion required, I steered her in the direction of one of my Stateside fabric acquisitions.

Monaluna Foxy Kindle cover

If I was a bigger person and didn't care about people judging me, I'd totally french kiss this fabric.

Monaluna Foxy Kindle cover

I also found out from the woman I bought it from that this was the last bolt ever of this fabric. Guess who immediately doubled her order?

Friday 19 August 2011


Situation Vacant

This really isn't the first picture of Jamie and Robbie, just the first on this current computer. They're two.

Another one bites the dust, guys. I've mentioned before that I appear to trigger a diaspora within my (admittedly small) circle of super-close friends, forcing them to move outwith my immediate clutches. First BFF back to Australia, second to Northern Ireland, and tomorrow the first very close friend I made post-children is moving to the very south coast. Liz and I met in antenatal group when we were pregnant with our boys and we've spent somewhere between 1500 and 2500 hours since then eating biscuits, walking like it's our full-time jobs, and swapping tales of horror and schadenfreude. We had our boys, we had our girls, and the (two- four-) six of us have been a constant feature for the last six years. I can't even verbalise how much I'll miss her, my first mum friend. When we said goodbye this week Maia and I cried our faces off (Jamie alternated between playing his DS and offering us platitudes of comfort). But our loss is your gain: I have a situation vacant within my cosy coterie.
Female, 31, seeks similar for friendship and possibly more (and by more I mean intense friendship). Must enjoy lamenting fate, self-deprecation, being a dork, and coffee. Interests include Vikings, fabric porn, obscure films, travel*, and books.
And here's the bonus: TRAVEL. Steven is currently in Spain visiting his parents (post-accident, they are still there). Four full days. And he has taken all of his holidays so I will spend my birthday next week by myself / with the kids. Ergo- I deserve a holiday of my own.

Those in the UK, I await volunteers for travel companions. Those in Europe, fight amongst yourselves as to who will host us. I am at least 73% serious.

Thursday 18 August 2011


Splish Splash (and a burning question)

splish splash 020

I've been slowly making over our house in Operation: Save Our Collective Lives for the last forever, but one room that has escaped my clutches is the bathroom. Because a) it's the bathroom and b) it's the bathroom. But ever since I snatched the canvas off the wall to make the Orla Kiely organiser for the kitchen, the barren picture hook has been tormenting me. Luckily I have a million fugly canvasses awaiting decoration, so I snatched one today and got to work. (Those awaiting the burning question, scroll down to the bottom...)

Step one: Question my motivation for ever buying fugly canvas, find answers lacking.

Step two: turn normal striped fabric into chevron fabric by cutting strips on the bias.

Step three: sew them together in a nearly precise fashion.

Step four: staple and trim.

Step five: print words and trace them onto freezer paper.

Step six: use a craft knife to cut letters out.

Step seven: Iron the words on.

Step eight: Daub with acrylic paint.

Step nine: Peel and reveal.

Step ten: Hang and admire. Sigh that it's still the bathroom and therefore uninteresting to you (or more accurately: me).

Right, burning question time. Rather than just using Pinterest merely to organise my personal deficiencies into handy folders, I've actually been forcing myself to use it. Example: I'm obsessed with chevron fabric and have no chevron fabric, ergo I search Pinterest to tell me how to make my own. I know that Linky posts are a bit controversial, but would anyone be interested in a regular group feature (I mean a Linky *sigh*) of the things we've made using Pinterest for instructions or inspiration? Obviously, because I'm me, I reeaaaaaaallllllllllly want to see some Nailed It ones submitted too. In fact, that's the force compelling me. Like Cookie Monster, and this one:

Who's game?

Wednesday 17 August 2011


And so it begins again...

p2 048

Another summer draws to a close and school begins afresh. Can you believe it's been a year since I wrote tender loving sentiments through the tears as his uniform was put on for the first time? *

p2 010

Although it looks like they might have, don't worry, his little legs didn't break on the way to school. Like 98% of his physiogonomy-- not my genetic contribution.

p2 020

Look who's popped in to share the joy of the first day back at school. Alas, a very short lived joy as it dawned on her at the school gates that her constant companion for the last seven weeks has been wrenched away.

p2 031

If she could have, I think she would have glued her face to his.

*Rhetorical question. No pressure to leave a comment saying 'I can't believe it's been a year' or 'I totally thought it was a year.' Although feel free to start a dialogue about the speed in which this year passed like 'OMG, girl, this year!' and someone else can say, 'I know, right?'. Hold on, let me install Disqus.

Tuesday 16 August 2011


Technicolour Yawns for All

technicolour yawn quilt v2 lines

The sheer injustice of a single quilt between two kids was a situation that had to be rectified, and fast. Obviously, it would have made sense to delay the inveigling of quilts until both were completed, but logistically this was impossible when every stitch was supervised by the ever-present recipients. If I was able to weave the words, 'Are you done yet? Are you done yet? Are you done yet?' into a tapestry it would reach to the moon. And back.

technicolour yawn quilt v2 detail

Although I cut the pieces for both of their rainbow quilts on the same day, I ended up dividing each colour into three pieces for Jamie's so I could quilt the lines slightly farther apart without them becoming inevitably crooked. For the interested, Maia's quilt has 182 stitch lines and I didn't want to do that again. Jamie's has a slightly more reasonable 115 lines. Between the two, I completely decimated my thread stash.

technicolour yawn quilt v2

The extra seam allowances meant I had to add two strips of white to the mix so it'd still be single-bed length. True fact of the day: it's impossible to take a good picture of a quilt on a top bunk.

Sunday 14 August 2011


Tutorial: A Hook Hack with Playmobil little people

little devil

Breaking news: I got a couple hours by myself yesterday. I haven't been more than twenty feet away from my kids for twenty days now. I've been too depressed frustrated angry busy to blog. Playing babies, and animal babies, and shopkeeper of a baby merchandise store, and going on an airplane with a baby sitting next to you: full time job.

retro girl

Anyway, yesterday I used my precious solo time to clean the garage and pee without bystanders. It was glorious. I also got my big girl toolbox out and did a spot of DIY. The wood was repurposed slats from a broken crib base that I painted green and fixed together to make a shallow shelf. The Playmobil people I bought off Ebay especially for this project. I power-glued the little people sitting on the shelf with their feet sticking out and..........

playmobil coat hook hack 2

Snazzy new coat rack for the six billion hoodies they've amassed in their short lives.

Edited to add: So many people wanted to make something similar so here is a mini-tute!

What you need: Playmobil figures, acrylic paint, two wooden slats (mine are 23" long, 1" tall and 1/2" deep), a strong adhesive (I used UHU Power All Purpose Adhesive), hammer and nails, screws to fix to the wall)

The slats I used were repurposed from an old cot base because that's what I had handy. If you need to find something else that will work for this hack, the ultimate goal is a L-shaped shelf where most of the legs are supported but the feet overhang a bit. This means it'll be nice and sturdy with the weight of the hanging clothes being taken by the wood. If too much of the legs are overhanging and you were hanging heavier things like coats or grown up clothes, there might be too much pressure on the glue and the figures would want to tilt forward. Have a look at the top two pictures to see what I mean.

Right, use your hammer and nails to turn your two slats into an L shape. Paint the whole thing with two coats of acrylic paint and wait for it to dry. Lock your figures into the sitting position and mark the wood where you want them to sit. Apply adhesive liberally to so that the figure is glued to the wood both on the legs and along their back (i.e. wherever it makes contact with the wood, not just the legs). Firmly hold in place until the glue starts hardening, you can do two at a time. Repeat with all your figures. Once all the glue is dry, give each one a tiny wiggle to make sure it is secure. Re-glue if necessary. Secure to the wall with your screws and you're done!

playmobil hook hack 003

Monday 8 August 2011


The Technicolour Yawn Quilt

technicolour yawn back

I pretty much always sew ill-advised things when I return from the States. And then blame jet-lag.

technicolour yawn edges

Now I can blame Pinterest too, for showing me lots of rainbow lovelies to put in my 'Imitation is the Sincerest form of Flattery' board.

technicolour yawn detail

Do you remember last week when you were a kid and played too much Tetris and then you couldn't sleep because you were thinking about how you could slot all your furniture together and make them disappear? The last couple of days I haven't been able to look at anything without mentally quilting it into little tiny rows.

technicolour yawn on the bed

Pre-quilting I said to Steven, 'This is fairly heinous.' He made non-commital noises in my direction.

technicolour yawn 016

Jamie will not leave me alone about making him one now.