Saturday, 27 September 2008

A little of what you fancy



Don't they say 'a little of what you fancy does you good!' or did I just make that up? Anyway it sounds good.

I was perusing the latest Cath Kidston brochure when I spotted these beeeeeaaaautiful pyjamas and dressing gown. My eyes twinkled, my heart gave a little jump and my mouth drooled, just a little. Then I spotted the price. My eyes watered, my heart nearly stopped and my mouth dropped down to my boots! But it was too late, I was already hopelessly in love.



Now usually a purchase of this financial amount takes me weeks of umming and aaahing, much proing and conning, but before I knew it my little fingers had tippy tapped on the computer and hey presto, I was the proud owner of not just a dressing gown and pyjamas, but my fingers had also managed to order a couple of metres of Rose Sprig cotton duck too! (naughty fingers!)



They are so soft and cosy and the pj bottoms are unusually long (which is great for me as they usually look like they've been cropped!) lets hope they don't shrink. Each item came prettily tied up with yards of CK tape, which I eagerly gathered up, mind racing 'what can I use this for?' Well I soon had an answer. I had to make a hanging loop for the dressing gown with it, as CK neglected to provided one. Thinking about it, she probably does it on purpose so that people like me feel they've got a use for their yardage of tape! Yep. That'll be it.


The rose sprig fabric is just scrummy, but I must admit my ignorance here. I didn't know what cotton duck was and now I have it, it's a lot heavier than I was expecting. So I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do with it. I tried it as a table cloth on the kitchen table, but it didn't look right. All suggestions would be welcome.


Time to get ready for bed now. Oh the pleasure, I've never looked so co-ordinated at bedtime! Just incase my wonderful man drops in... they sell matching red slippers (size 6).

night, night. x

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Wedding Castle

It's 8:43am. I'm trying to write this before I go to work, because when I write my blog in an evening I'm sooo darn tired; and that means, quite frankly, you're not getting the best of me. When I go back and read some of my old posts, it makes me realise how concise, short and to the point they are. Not that I want to waffle you understand, but I want you to get to know me, my personality. This is a double edge sword of course, you may not like me deep down, but I feel I'm not being true to myself. Gosh, that's all starting to sound very deep. (and deep I'm not) I'm tempted to go back and delete this whole paragraph now. Nope, I'm gonna be brave.

So here's to the new me or the real me anyway ( I'll try my best)

Now I must tell you all, of my fantastic weekend. On Saturday morning wonderful man and I said goodbye to our children (my lovely parents had travelled up 120 miles to look after them for us) and set off for Scotland.

Neither of us have ever been to Scotland before and to be honest I wasn't sure we were going to get there this time as either, as the destination wonderful man had typed into the computer was only the nearest large town, not the remote castle we were headed for! But hey ho, the sun was shining, the sky was blue, and the scenery was fabulous. WM was in a good mood, which was surprising really as we were late setting off and I hadn't zipped up the suitcase in the hall way. Yep you guessed it, he picked it up and every thing fell out! Whoops! (yes he really is a wonderful man)

Two hours and several text messages requesting directions later and we arrived here


This is Comlongon Castle near Dumfries. The venue for the wedding of my best friends sister.


Isn't it beautiful? This is the view from the grounds at the back. The weather behaved itself beautifully. Just as well really, as the wedding ceremony took place in the garden under a lovely old tree.

Yep. That's me. In THE dress. You know the one, the dress that was impossible to find matching accessories for!!!


The bride was radiant, the groom very handsome in his kilt, the vicar was funny

and the bridesmaids look gorgeous in their purple gowns. Here I am with my best friend. We've been best friends since the age of 13 and practically lived in each others pocket through our teenage years. Consequently I feel like one of the family and have always been treated that way. I feel truly privileged to have been part of their special celebration, and I love them all deeply.

Here's the bride flashing the garter I made for her. Saucy minx!

And here are the shoes I had to dye and the bag I made. By the early hours of the morning my stockings had a lovely greeny blue tinge to them, but by then nobody cared, least of all me.

No, I had a smashing time.

So wonderful man and I would just like to wish the bride and groom a future full love and happiness. Oh! and we also wish they would book the castle for their first wedding anniversary, and invite all their guests back again to celebrate it with them... I'll be the first there!


I must just tell you all, that its now 8:15pm; So much for my early morning blogging, needless to say, I was late for work!

I'll finish with some pics of the castle.

Fi x


WM's choice of subject matter, 3 mummified cats found walled up, when they were doing renovation work to the castle.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Wedding Accessorise Finished at Last!

Hi all! Gosh it's been a busy few days, but I'm not going to whinge about work etc on my lovely blog. No, blog land is somewhere to escape to, where everything is bright and colourful, shimmery and shiny. Bloggers are kind and caring, funny and inspiring, creative and crafty. And I love it here!

To bring you up to date on my preparations for the wedding we've been invited to at the weekend... I have a floaty dress, I have a wrap, I have shoes, and now... TA,DAA!!!

I have a bag too.

I spent Sunday making myself a bag to match my wedding outfit. It was a bit of a suck it and see creation. I had a rough idea of what shape and style I wanted the bag to be, but no pattern. So it was pretty much stick a pin in there and stitch that bit to there and see what happens.

I made a few simple sketches in my sketch book. I find it really useful to have a sketch book, we were encouraged to keep one at college, somewhere to empty your head! Although right from being a teenager I've always had a book where I would doodle and roughly plan the items that I made. It's quite nice to look back through it and remember all the things that I've made over the years, as quite often items are made for someone else or given away. It's also good to look back with a critical eye, and think, well actually that was quite good, or actually I should have made that this way instead. All in all, sketchbooks can only be a good thing, there's never a wrong doodle, or an incorrect sketch, after all it's a private place for me to empty my creative thoughts and ideas!


The bag is made from silk dupion that I dyed myself (as you've seen in the last few posts!) I machine embroidered the silk onto a stiff iron on interfacing, to create a rigid top that the rest of the bag would hopefully drape down from, in scrunchy crinkles. I also needed to attach a magnetic fastener. (unfortunately I didn't take a photo of that, cos I was too busy swearing at it!)

This is the lining, made from an old curtain sample I picked up in a charity shop years ago. I needed something quite firm and strong on the inside as the silk is quite soft and floppy, and I need it to hold my camera and mobile phone. I didn't want it to look like a wet sock with a brick in it!

Here's the lining with the silk outer fabric stitched on to it. I got the silk to crinkle by wetting it and then twisting it up and leaving it to dry. The silk hangs down about an inch longer than the lining at the bottom. (to avoid the brick in a wet sock effect!)

The hardest part was trying to fit the crinkly gathered up part into the embroidered top piece. (There were a few choice words, I can tell you.) At the same time trying to insert both ends of a little secret wrist strap (for those moments when you need to carry your bag, a wine glass and shake hands with someone)

The finishing touch is a large green fabric flower that I cut off a hair band and stitched onto a brooch back, and then pinned to the front of the bag.

All in all, I'm rather pleased with the finished ensemble, and I would just like to say thank you for all the encouragement you've given me with the fabric dyeing over the last few posts. It makes all the difference having a little bit of feed back from some crafty friends. Especially when you're short of time and you don't really know what you're doing!!!

Monday, 8 September 2008

Living in the Clouds.

I love being a mum. As far as I'm concerned it's the best job in the world! In fact, if I could stop my children getting any older I would have stopped them at about 4 years old. Don't get me wrong, I think my children are fab, and I love every moment I spend with them (on the whole), and those moments are becoming more and more precious as they are now 15 and 13. I know they are nowhere near adults and still need me to take care of them, but I also know that I won't be at the centre of their world forever and that time is approaching faster than I want it to.


That's why I love these jam jars full of caterpillars. Child number 2 has them lined up on the back porch windowsill. They simply shout childhood to me, how many adults do you know who would collect Caterpillar eggs from the cabbage patch and then religiously feed them every day, spending hours recapturing them when they escape. We no longer have toy ponies and paddling pools in our garden but I'm very glad we have cabbages.



I took this picture from the attic at the end of last week. I often remark to my husband how living here in the Dales is like living in a cloud. We often can't see the tops of the hills, it's as if someone has taken an eraser and rubbed out the top of the picture. Well here are the clouds, peeping over the horizon, just waiting to sneak up on us!

I took this one just because I could. That is, I could actually see right down the Dale for a change! No fog, mist, drizzle or low cloud today. No gale force wind preventing me from sticking my head out of the Veluxe window, ( I have to stand on my sewing chair. It's not very dignified!) Across the car park, past the church, over the rooftops, I can see almost as far as Aysgarth, a good 9 miles away. Just thought I'd take the picture... while I could!

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Wedding Shoes, Another Part!

I know I said I wasn't going to put any more dye on my shoes, but I just couldn't resist having one more go.

And I'm so glad I did! They're now much darker (more like the dress) although the photo further down doesn't really show this, but I'm sure you'll take my word for it!

While I had the dye mixed I thought I'd better dye some fabric to make a matching handbag. The photos are courtesy of child number 2.

I used a piece of cream silk I had left over from making the wedding garter. I got this far painting the dye on, when it suddenly occurred to me that, maybe I should have washed it first to get the 'dressing'out of the fabric and make it accept the dye better. Oh well, too late now!

Changing the subject. This next picture is for my dad.

This is Sam Turners in Northallerton, well part of it anyway, see how far back it goes! We're sat up in the cafe looking down over about half of the sales floor. They sell just about everything or at least it seems that way. They stock everything for the farmer, gardener, and contractor, and much more besides. This is the place if you need meal worms for the bird table, tools for the shed, brick cheeks for your hearth, ride on lawn mowers, toy trucks, wash powder, sundae spoons, strange implements for grooming cows, you name it they've got it. Outside is a gardening section with sheds, fountains, stone paving, fencing etc. Back upstairs next to the cafe is kitchen equipment and then outdoor clothing and wellies. The cafe is small but the food is good and inexpensive. We had the most fantastic bacon, mushroom and mozzarella toastie with a side salad and crisps for £3.5o! I find a good rule of thumb is watch where the grey haired folk eat, its always tasty and cheap!

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Wedding Shoes, Part 2

Thank you so much for the lovely comments you left, and so encouraging too. You made me take a fresh look at my little project and realise that the shoes, did look good, they just weren't the right shade.
So I've set about them again, well actually I've put that many layers of dye on, that I wouldn't be surprised if the glue disintegrated and the soles fell off!
I decided that they were too bright peacocky, blue and needed to be more sea green. Unfortunately I only have one blue, one green, two yellows and a black fabric dye, but I got to work mixing a little of this and a bit of that, gingerly adding some black to dull everything down.



They're not a perfect match, but they're a darn sight better than anything in the shops. Anyway I daren't put any more dye on so this is the colour they'll have to stay, that's providing that I can 'set' the colour. I asked Lesley over at Lesley's Creations how I should go about this, as ironing them will be a tad difficult. After a bit of a con flab, I decided that I'll start with a hair dryer, then if that hasn't worked try dabbing them with the iron, and as a last resort pop them in an old pillowcase and give them a blast in the tumble dryer!

This photo's not very clear, but you can see I have some sheer green ribbon, that I'm hoping to stitch on to the front of the shoes to tone down the lime green sections a little. Watch this space!

Thursday, 4 September 2008

It seemed like a good idea at the time!*%~#


Yes, it seemed like a good idea at the time, buying this dress for a wedding in a couple of weeks. I even managed to get a dip dyed wrap to match. Lovely I hear you say. Ah but what about the shoes?

Yes the shoes!

Very kindly my mum offered to help search and search we did. All of Hull city centre for either navy or green shoes, to no avail! I don't mean there weren't any I liked or that fitted, no there were none at all! Plenty of black, wine, burgundy, red, you name it. Next wonderful man and I searched Darlington city centre, guess what? No navy or green shoes to be had there either. So undeterred I purchased a pair of cream satin shoes thinking I could maybe somehow colour them myself (stupid woman I hear you snort) and yes you would be right!

I did try to buy some shoe dye but the obvious places didn't have any for satin shoes. For leather - yes, suede - yes, canvass - oh yes, yes, yes! Satin - no, no, no!

Never mind it'll be okay. This was my mantra on the way home in the car. I stashed the shoes away until today.

And I have to say, it's not looking good!!!


This is the dress and matching wrap, the colour is more greeny at the bottom of the dress than it appears on here.

These are the shoes, a bargain I must admit, but they'll only be a bargain if I make them look good!

Then I did this to them... not good!!!

I also did THIS to them... even worse!

Now I'm waiting for them to dry before I abuse them any more. I'm thinking dark blue marker pen next, and when that fails I'll have to resort to this lot...

Ideas? Anyone? Pleeeease?