Thursday, October 20, 2011

Portland Vacation ~ Part 1

I visited Portland, Oregon, in August. I was invited by a friend, Merry, over a year ago and she had reminded me about the invitation more recently. I have never been there before now and it a beautiful place. There are snow-capped mountains; rivers; seemingly hundreds of waterfalls; amazing azure lakes; wide sandy beaches; and flowers, fresh fruit and forests everywhere we went.

Merry had a ton of things planned for us to do and see and it couldn't have been a more fun-packed trip. She is the ultimate hostess, for sure. Here's a little taste...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Baby Blanket #2

Yes, I've been very neglectful of this blog. However, I have been sewing and knitting and traveling a little and getting a kitten and training for a marathon. I just haven't posted about any of it!

So, I've decided that I need to give myself a mini goal: to post at least twice a week. I'm pretty sure I can manage that.

One of the projects I completed - quite a while ago now - was this baby blanket. It is for Emma. She's not born yet; but her mother is a woman I work with. Emma is due in late November and I thought I had plenty of time to knit this, but someone in our office decided to throw a baby shower last month. I worked constantly to try to finish it but didn't make the day of the party. But, I did finish it about a week later.

The pattern is supposed to take one 16oz ball, but I still had several rows of pattern and the border to do when I ran out and had to buy a second ball.

As you can see by the close-up it's a really simple pattern - garter stitch, seed stitch and stocking stitch - worked on size 8 US / 5mm UK needles.

Emma's parents loved it and were thrilled that this was the first homemade item they had received.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I Won!

Thank you so much to Chicky Chickita - I won two of the prizes at her recent blog giveaway. Yay!

First this Guy Laroche pattern. Pretty darn sexy with that deep V back, huh?

And also this vintage Singer 'Junior Miss' Sewing Machine! How cute is that?!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Chicky Chickita is having a Giveaway!

Chicky Chickita collects vintage sewing machines and patterns. She is having her first giveaway - a pattern for a Guy Laroche gown and a 70's 'toy' sewing machine. If you want to check it out click HERE for giveaway!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Creating a One-of-A-Kind Photo Frame

As I mentioned in my last post I recently visited Portland, Oregon. I stayed with my friend Merry and her daughter. Merry was the most amazing hostess and spent a lot of time and energy showing me the around the Portland area and making me so welcome. So I wanted to send Merry a special 'thank you'.

I decided to create a unique photo frame, using a map of Portland and some Mod Podge.

Step 1: I measured the size of the frame and cut the map into strips.

Step 2: I placed the strips where I wanted them, overlapping the corners. Then I trimmed off the excess.

3. Finally, I Mod Podged the pieces thoroughly, let it dry, and this is the finished result.

I'm really happy with it and think it looks great.

This is so easy. Just take a map from any city or even a country and make a one-of-a-kind photo frame for youself or as a gift.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Let's Get Our Sew On!

My Finishing the Unfinished month is now two months! I was in Portland for a week so I didn't get as much time as I would have liked to tackle some items. I did finish the skirt I was working on as well as knitting up half a baby blanket. And another little project; my first time with Mod Podge! Pictures of all these will follow shortly.

In the meantime, let's celebrate the first day of National Sewing Month! Woohoo!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

All Free Knitting 'Stitch London' Giveaway

Stitch London: 20 Kooky Ways to Knit in the City and More

How cute is this book?
Inside you'll find 20 adorable designs including patterns for Big Ben's Tower, Tiny Tower Bridge, the London Police and more.  There is even a pattern for a picnic blanket made entirely of plarn (plastic yarn) that's perfect for an impromptu meal in London's grassy Hyde Park.

All Free Knitting is giving a copy of Stitch London: 20 Kooky Ways to Knit in the City and More to one very lucky winner. To enter the drawing Click Here

Book Details:
Stitch London: 20 Kooky Ways to Knit the City and More
by Lauren O'Farrell
Publisher: David & Charles Publishing
ISBN: 0715338676

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Finishing the Unfinished #3

A few months ago I started the Twin-Prufe Design No. 4295 Spring Magic. A thank you to Bex for  generously provided the pattern for free on her web site. I finished the knitting and sewed up the pieces fairly quickly...and then, of course, I had to try and find 16 'perfect' buttons. As you can imagine, this part took much longer and the cardigan has been sitting, waiting.
I eventually bought some "definitely-not-perfect" buttons and sewed them on yesterday.

So, ta-da, 3rd finished item.

This was my first time blocking, even though I had made several jumpers and cardigans before when I was much younger, this was a process I wasn't even aware of until I saw it on Liz's blog. I pinned the pieces to some flat foam over which I had put a plastic table cloth (the cheap ones you use once and throw away). It worked out pretty well, although, since my house isn't big and I have a cat that will sit on everything you don't want her to, I did end up moving the foam and knitted pieces to different spots around my house depending on which area was not being used.

More pictures of the cardigan....

Wow, I really need to improve my photos! I think the problem is that I should take them earlier in the day when there is more light. At night, even with the lights on, it's too dark and with the slow shutter speed I inevitably move the camera and end up with blurry pictures.
Verdict: I'm extremely happy with the knitting. The tension is even and neat; the pattern is quite pretty. The one problem I have is the size. I want it to be snug and it's more of a blousy fit. I'm thinking of handwashing it and then drying it without shaping in the hope that it might shrink. If that doesn't work, then someone in my family might be getting a little gift! 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Finishing the Unfinished #2

This dated, mustard colored lamp was being thrown out by my neighbor and I thought I could salvage it and paint it into something interesting. Some people might think I destroyed a lovely vintage piece but in reality it was truly a horrible color and the palm trees looked like they were made out of some kind of plaster and then glued on.


I'm not sure how I feel about the finished look, but it's an improvement on the old lamp and now a very unique piece. Perhaps, the shade is too much of a contrast. Is the chocolate too much? Should I replace it?

The picture is very poor quality - the blue of the lamp is actually darker than it appears and my walls are more coffee colored than the grey in the photo.


It is currently on a small entrance table and because it's quite large it overwhelms the space. Once I've purchased a more bigger sideboard then I think it will look good.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Everybody Everywhere ~ Mixed Prints

Tuesday August 9th, Everybody Everywhere will be wearing Mixed Prints.

What will you be wearing?

August: Finishing the Unfinished

Well, I haven't posted for a while, not due to a lack of activity but due to too much! I've been adding more and more projects to my list and squeezing in 'little' things and neglecting the bigger ones. The problem is that when you only have an hour here and there you just want to do something quick and easy. This results in the more involved projects getting left - and sometimes I don't even finish the 'quick-and-easy' projects.

So, I've decided that for the month of August I will try (yes, I will, try very hard) not to start any new major projects and complete all the ones that I have started. I'm going to Finish the Unfinished.

I can mark off the first item...

1. Read all seven Harry Potter novels back to back. This was because I wanted to read the Harry/Voldemort battle before I saw the final movie on screen. I'd only ever read the first two books, so I went back to the beginning and read one after the other. Wow, they are so great.

I've got some sewing and knitting projects to revisit and will be back with a progress report.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Red, Pink and Orange Lisette Skirt

I receive a lot of discount coupons for Joann Fabrics for 30% and 40% off, as well as emails and flyers advising of sales. So if I'm passing a store I often 'drop in' just to "see" what they have!

Well, recently I was in a different area of town and there was a new store having it's Grand Opening sale. So, I wandered in and ended up coming out with two new pieces of fabric, some knitting needles and two balls of wool. Of couse, everything was discounted or I could use a coupon.

One of the pieces I bought was a Lisette fabric with a wavy, stripe in red, pink and orange. I bought it specifically to make a second version of Simplicity 2698. I like this pattern; it's straightforward and a good beginner pattern. I can see myself using this pattern over and over again. On this version I decided that I would make the scalloped waist band from the free skirt pattern designed by Vivat Veritas, just to add a little more interest to the design.

So, far I've made up the front of the skirt with pockets and the waistband. I added some interfacing to the waist band for extra stability, and in my attempt to improve the finish on all my garments, I am using French seams as much as possible. Here is a picture of the scalloped waist band.

The challenge for me is matching up the stripes on the side seams. As well as a scalloped edge, this is my first time attempting a pattern using a striped fabric. It seems the more I sew the more fussy I am about the fit and finish....which is a good thing, in my opinion. If you are going to dedicate your time to create something shouldn't you want it to look as good as possible? I've learnt so much in the last six months by just reading other people's sewing blogs and I really want to improve my skills too. As I'm so new to sewing there are a lot of things I've never done before, and I really enjoy learning different techniques.

So, I need to add sew the front to the back, add the waist band and zipper, and sew up the hem. Piece of cake.

Pussy Paw Baby Blanket


In May I finished my first knitting project since....well, since I was in my teens! Which was some time ago. I decided to take up knitting again when I heard that a friend was pregnant, and I wanted to make her something special.


This is an 'up-close' photo of the pattern that looks like little cat paw prints, thus the 'Pussy Paw Blanket' name. So cute. It wasn't difficult at all and someone with an understanding of basic knit-2-together and yarn overs, could make this. The yarn I used was Bernat Baby Coordinates in White. It actually has a silver thread running through it too, although the pictures didn't catch it.

My friend's baby shower was at 2pm and I was finishing the blanket at 1:30pm!! So, I arrived a little late. But I was very happy with how it turned out. And I hope little baby Kristian is enjoying it too.

If you would like to make your own Pussy Paw Blanket you can get the free pattern here: Pussy Paw Blanket Pattern

Update on Butterick 5455 Dress

I've made a toile of the bodice because I have quite a skinny and long torso and want to make sure the waist band isn't floating around my middle. I want it to fit closer to my body. The rest of the bodice seems fine, but as you can see from the picture the waist band comes away from the body form. So, I will have to adjust this.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

New Sewing Project ~ Butterick B5455

I'm hoping this Butterick B5455 Maggy London pattern (view B) is pretty straightforward. It requires lining in the bodice and this will be my first attempt to include one.

Happy 40th Birthday Michaela!

Me and my 'little' sister, about 31 years ago, in Lyme Regis, Dorset, UK.

New Knitting Project

Well, after my successful return to knitting with the Pussy Foot Blanket and the Spring Magic Cardigan (an F.W. Hughes Production) [pictures and reviews to follow] I was eager to begin a new project.

I've chosen this pattern, the Petal Yoke Cardigan, from Coats and Clark (1955) using Sensations Sublime in red. It's a light 3-ply acrylic and rayon mix. 

Here's the progress so far.

And this is how it should look when it's finished.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

30-Day Photo Challenge

White Peach Photography is running a 30-Day Photo Challenge. I'm a bit late to the challenge but I'm ok with that. For the next 30 days I will take a picture of the item as listed on the challenge list. This could be fun! Let's see what I can come up with.....