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19 February 2011 @ 05:38 pm
Okay, so I'm going to show off some more stuff i've made. I've been working on vintage inspired aprons for a little while now, and decided to branch into matching tablewares. I'm pleased with how these turned out. I can't wait till we have our own place so I can make a set for us and throw dinner parties (dinner parties where I'll be staring lovingly at the set up and keeping my apron on throughout the meal)

1950s inspired apron: gingham and strawberries

setting the table - gingham

more picturesCollapse )
Current Mood: productiveproductive
Current Music: Moving, supergrass
28 January 2011 @ 05:21 pm
A very good friend of mine is getting married next week and I wanted to make her, her 'something blue', which would also count for her 'something new'. Although I wanted to do a garter, I didn't want to do a really lacey traditional one... She's also making her own regency style wedding dress and I thought something like this would go better. I found this great tutorial by the purl bee on how to make a garter from liberty fabric. Well I didnt use the same fabric, but something very similar:

something blue garter

close up of garter

I found the step by step guide really easy to follow, although I wasn't convinced my fabric was going to gather as much as the one in the tutorial after I completed my first line of stitching. But if you stick with it, it turns out right in the end : ) Plus it was really fun to make.
Current Mood: busybusy
24 January 2011 @ 04:34 pm
You may remember at christmas I made some gifts for friends. One of these was a 1950s style apron, so enthusiastic was the recipient along with feeback from others, that I decided I might do a range of vintagey aprons and kitchen/tableware for my site.

Just thought I'd share th first two aprons with you, the pink one is 1950s inprired and the read and blue, 1940s:

50s apron: cupcakes and polka dotsfront

40s inspired apron, front view

If you're feeling really interested, there's more detailed pics on my facebook page.
Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
Current Music: creeque alley, the mamas and the papas
23 January 2011 @ 09:06 pm
The one thing I seem to be keeping on track with so far this year is reading : ) Possibly it's because of this that I am behind with other things! Maybe.

So I've finished three books this month and am in the middle of two more, so here's a quick low down on them.

Firstly we have 'The Gargoyle' by Andrew Davidson. This book has many good reviews and just it's appearance, the book appealed to me, the edges of the pages being black already gave the book an interesting atmosphere - for me they did anyway. However, it might be because I was expecting something else from the afore mentioned atmosphere or perhaps the blurb on the back - either way I was expecting Neil Gaimany type story with an exciting new world to explore. It was not that.

However I did end up enjoying the story, but it took me a while. The thing that put me off at the start was I didn't like the main character. I've always been taught that it's a big no no in writing to make your main character unlikeable, he can have flaws, but there must be some redeeming qualities, something to like about them. But with The Gargoyle, I just didn't care if he died : /

The thing that turned it around for me was the love interest - Marianne Engle, even her name is lovely, I completeley adored her character, you are never quite sure if she's just completely nuts, or if she really has been alive for centuries and centuries as she claims. She wanted the main character to live, so I did. He, in turn, changes as he gets to know her, and becomes more likable.
The story wasn't what I expected, but it turned out to be quite clever, I loved the bits where Marianne was telling stories from the past, these were more compelling than what was happening in the present. In this story you dot about from the present, set mainly in a hospital burns ward to 14th century Germany. This ultimately is a story about love, as the cover says "Love is as strong as death, as hard as hell"

January books: the gargoyle

January books: it's me or the dog

So whilst reading that, I was also reading a non fiction book, something I don't do too often, at least not from cover to cover, unless it's an autobiography... I digress. As we've been thinking of getting our own dog, I thought it was high time I read this book, which I got ages ago in a book sale, knowing that eventually I'd want to get a dog.
Victoria Stilwell knows her stuff, if you've ever seen the 'it's me or the dog' show, you'll know. She seems to have any dog under her thrall within in seconds of her taking control. Well his book is how to do that. At least how to train your dog right from the beginning and how to get them out of bad habits if they develop or if you have an older dog already with bad habits. It's easy to read, makes sense, and I'll definately be keeping it by my side when we do get that dog : )

This was my suprise read of the month. I think I've said before that currently I'm living with my partner at his parents house. Now they keep a steady supply of reading material in the bathroom... yes, by the toilet, and picking up this book, when failing to remember to take one of my own in the bathroom, I was pretty instantly hooked. 'The uncommon Reader' by Alan Bennet is an amusing tale about what might happen if the Queen were suddenly to discover reading and became hooked by it, so avidly that she starts to neglect her duties. It's easy to read, very amusing, and also quite short, you could finish it in two afternoons. Alan Bennet always seems to know how to draw you in, so that you must know what happens! I shall therefore keep my eyes peeled for other gems lying along side the toilet, lol!

January books: the uncommon reader

january books:pride and prejudice

And this is my re-read book of the month, I haven't finished yet , as I'm reading along with kellyrfineman 's journal entries on Pride and Prejudice, which means one chapter a day, I'm really enjoying her chapter break downs and her knowledge on Austen and the regency period, it really enhances the read for me : ) You can find her post on chapter one here. Pride and Prejudice, as always, is very entertaining with so many comedic characters, such as Mrs Bennet, Mr Collins and Lady Catherine de Bourgh, and also has one of my favourite literary heroines - Elizabeth Bennet. If you're an enthusiastic reader, Pride and Prejudice is a classic and a must : )

I was so excited when this book arrived last week... it was on my wish list but didn't appear at christmas, so I thought why not treat myself. I just love Jasper Fforde, especially the Thursday Next series (Thursday being another of my literary heroines), a treat for anyone who's an avid reader, and so gets some, or all of the literary references. I also enjoyed the Nursery Crime books. But I've been very much looking forward to getting my mitts on 'Shades of Grey' and this one, which is a YA novel. I haven't even read the synopsis, I just saw Jasper Fforde, Young Adult and the title 'Dragonslayer' and thought this book has to be an absolute win. I'll let you know, this will probably have to wait until next month, as I've still got another couple of books on the go this month : )

<February books: The last dragonslayer

Current Mood: groggygroggy
Current Music: kula shaker - hollow man
15 January 2011 @ 11:40 pm
Just a quickie!

I was featured on Heart handmade today, which I was just a little pleased about! If you fancy checking it out, it's here:


Thanks for looking : )
Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
03 January 2011 @ 12:19 pm
I don't like to call my aims for the year resolutions, I always used to feel so bad if I didn't keep them, so now I tend to start off the year with some aims, that I know might carry on in to the next year, but I try to keep to them any how.

So I've started off the year feeling at a bit of a loss, our aim was to own a house by the end of the year and it didn't happen, but this year I'm certain it will, our financial adviser seems pretty positive, all we have to do is find the right house. So I guess that's aim number one...
  • Find a house (it's prettty essential really because as much as I like my in-laws they're starting to drive me round the bend and I'm sure the same could be said in reverse
  • Next up I really need to promote my business better... I'm really a bit clueless, but I think probably I need to get some of my items into actual physical shops and then that might help matters, a friend who used to own a shop, gave me the name of somewhere she thought might suit some of my stuff, so I intend to do some wooing to try and get them to take some of my stuff... their shop and site look pretty awesome, they're based in Brighton, and they do have such wonderful shops there.
  • And so on to writing : ) I have a couple of projects I'd love to work on thoroughly this year, one is my 2009 nano story, I got so far with editing and stopped... I really would have liked to have got the edits finished last year, but it didn't happen. So I need to get on with that, I did loads of planning for that particular nano, used a couple of  Holly Lilse courses to plan and was pretty pleased with how it turned out. But it does need work and I need to get on with it.
  • So the other writing project... I had a pretty cool dream the other night, I awoke and started scribbling it down immediately, I thought it would make a good YA fantasy story, but whenever I start trying to write YA I end up wanting my main characters to be slightly older than they should be and wanting them to get it on, so it never quite works out... so I really want to try this time and keep it YA, if anyone has any hints or tips I'd be grateful : ) I thought I might try using Scrivener too, since everyone sems to love it : )
  • Reading! Well I'm already off to a good start here, I have a huge stack of to-read books, made bigger over christmas : ) And am already reading three : ) Okay so one is a re-read: Pride and Prejudice : ) I'm reading along with kellyrfineman 's excellent journal on P&P, we all read a chapter a day, and she discusses it - it's wonderful, and you can find the chapter one here. I'm also reading the Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson... it took me the first third of the book to get into it, but I'm finding it more compelling now. The other book is a non fiction - 'It's me or the Dog' by Victoria Stilwell - we intend on getting a dog at some point this year, whether it's post house getting or pre and I thought it would be a god idea to read up on how to do it right from the very beginning : )
             That said I have loads to read, I particularly want to read the new Trudi canavan books I got for christmas, and the sequel to 'Pillars of the earth' But I have loads of others to get through too, including a self published book of a friend of my sisters - 'Rosabel' by Carla M Land. I shall post about it when I'm through with my thoughts. I might make that one next on my list : ) Maybe my goal should be to halve my to read pile...
  • I would also very much like to get better at growing stuff - as we do intend on growing as much of our own food as possible once we have our house and preserving it too. I love cooking, I've been given two lovely new cookbooks this christmas and I'd like to try some stuff out from those too. My father is someone who owns many many cookbooks, but rarely cooks from them, he just likes to look through them - I myself don't want to fall into that trap.
  • Maybe my last aim for this year should be to watch less rubbish on tele, there's so many films I haven't seen that I'd like to, plus I recieved some lovely box sets of series' for christmas, but somehow I get sucked into watching a load of junk on tv in the evenings... I'm going to try and only watch stuff that I intended to watch : )
Well I'm sure there's more I ought to add, I'm sure I'll think of more, but for now that's it, my aims for 2011
Current Mood: chipperchipper
Current Music: Jace Everett 'Bad things'
24 December 2010 @ 01:23 pm
Just thought I'd share my favourite christmas poem as it's christmas eve : ) And also at the bottom there's my favourite film for watching on christmas eve...
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

Current Mood: festive
22 December 2010 @ 09:51 pm
So I've heard lots of people talk about making gifts this year and I thought I'd share some of what I've created. I also made some fudge and sloe gin which don't feature, but here's the rest:

First up I have the two nieces and nephew, I wanted to make them critter related items (critters have featured in a previous post) The oldest is the easiest, she's ten, loves purple, handbags and dogs... so here's what I came up with:

kids hand bag with puppy critter

The other niece is far more tricky, she's a tom boy, good at sports and music, hates anything that's typical for girls of her age, doesn't have a favourite colour but hates pink and purple. I came up with this draw-string sports bag, with a critter in the outside pocket wearing her team's football shirt. Also inside both bags there are some little gifts too : )

sports critter bag

Next, my nephew really likes pirates, he's 6 or 7, we got him some other bits, but this is his pirate notebook, I forgot to take another picture with the finishing touch - a sign that the creaure holds saying 'this be jimmy's':

pirate notebook

And here's an apron I made for a friend who's just started getting into cooking, she also admired this fabric when she saw it : ) I went for a 50s style look for it. Next to that is a top I made for my sister, the photo isn't brilliant, it's gathered under the bust at the front and then flares out:



Am feeling loads more relaxed now they're all finished, plus the last parcel I was expecting managed to get through the snow today, just in tie for me leaving to go back to my folks house. I'm here now feeling smug that everything is wrapped, tagged and ready to go under the tree, just wondering how i'll fill the next couple of days!
Current Mood: relaxedrelaxed
04 December 2010 @ 01:58 pm
Finally I have time to do stuff other than furiously write and I'm flitting from one thing to the next, not being able to settle on one thing. I think I may need to leave the house, it's been snow, snow, snow for the last week and after falling down once, hard, I haven't actually been out unless it's to attend to the animals.

Anyway, I did get up to some other stuff whilst doing nano, so I thought I'd share. I've been trying to boost my stock for christmas, which was difficult whilst doing nano, here's a few of the things I've made:

Big button bag

glamour bag

You can't really tell in this photo, but there's gold stitching detail on the flowers:

cushion with gold stitching

And now I'm considerin this fabric that I've had for a year and a half now, it's about time I did something with it. I'm a big fan of wearing tunic-y style dresses over trousers, especially in the colder weather, as I have a long body and it keeps my bum warm. And as there was very little of this fabric left, I had the last on the roll, I thought I'd make myself a new one. I quite like the idea of having it sixties ispired, plus if I don't make it too short, I could also where it as a dress. Fabric and doodle below : )

fabric for 60s dress

dress doodle

Reading wise, I've just finished Trudi Canavan's 'The age of the Five' trilogy. I loved it. I loved her first trilogy - 'The Black Magician' trilogy, and they were probably on the whole a lot tighter. But I adored the concepts in The Age of the Five. She's so excellent at world building, and her world in this is really quite large, she has at least five seperate races, and so many characters. I realise some people don't like having too many characters to follow, but the way she does it you barely notice you're gaining another one. She starts you off slowly with your main character and perhaps another couple, then when you've got used to them someone else appears. She's an expert at weaving a story together, pulling in different strands. Her worlds are so rich because of these individual characters as you get a insight into each section of society, which makes you understand how the story is all slotting together.

I love the way magic works in this world and religion. She's also very good at managing to change your opinion about a character so that you barely know it's happening and so you don't mind when a character that you thought would do one thing does something else.

I don't want to say too much about the story in case I spoiler it for someone, and having just read the last one, that's what is fresh in my head and I wouldn't want to give anything away!

If you want to find out more about them, look here.

Have just found out there's a prequel to the black magician trilogy and book one of her next series, am now very excited! Although I might like to read something completely different next. I am wondering whether to get the next book in the pink carnation series, I've read books one and two and thoroughly enjoyed them... we shall see, I also have a huge stack of books in my to-read pile, so I probably shouldn't be getting more new ones.

And here's what it looks like round these parts at the moment, not so pretty now, as the snow is on the thaw, but I'm thankful, it hasn't been too pleasant, and most of the animals have hated it.

snowy scene

Current Mood: hyperhyper
Current Music: KT Tunstall - Black Horse & the Cherry Tree
30 November 2010 @ 04:42 pm
Yay, am so happy, finally finished nano today!

I was a little disheartened this morning, because the past couple of years I've finished early and already verified my word count, because I hadn't already done this I got agitated, thinking that the site might crash on the last day, or we might get a power cut (which we did, but only for a few minutes) as we have snow here now. So I verified when I got to 75k, but I still hadn't finished the story, so I didn't get that sense of satisfaction I usually get. In fact I'd been thinking of just leaving the ending in note form, as I really couldn't settle down to it today. But I really pushed myself to do it. First day of snow and I only went out in it to feed the chickens and fetch some logs.

I'm so happy I managed to finish the story, it isn't pretty, but I feel more like I've achieved something now - another first draft - yay! I ended on 77, 909 words

I've ended up with a story that I didn't expect, with very little planning I've been riding by the seat of my pants, and although I haven't much liked that feeling when I get up in the morning and sit down in front of the screen, the gems it's brought me have been almost worth it. Twists that I just hadn't considered magically developed beneath my fingers. It's been an entirely different journey this year, but one I'm glad I took.

Going to celebrate now by watching some strictly come dancing, this has to be my favourite of this series so far:

Current Mood: happyhappy
Current Music: Hit the road jack: strickly come dancing