Tuesday, 4 December 2012

It's Not the Oscars...

Hello all! The house still looks like a hurricane has been through it and I felt like I was on a different planet on Thursday and Friday, but I'm feeling a lot more positive at the moment. A bit of time in the sewing room has helped enormously (but also served to remind me of the huge pile of mending/altering I have up there!).

I've been tagged and awarded the Liebster Award by Melanie of The Folly Bird (check out her blog for lots of dressing up and frolics). I'm delighted as I don't usually get tagged for awards!

The 'Rules'
write eleven things about yourself
- answer eleven questions from the blogger who nominated you
- write eleven questions of your own for eleven nominees of your own
- All nominees should have less than 200 followers

1. The fact is I can't ride a bike. I've tried and tried, but I just can't. 
2. I've moved house 11 times in my life.
3. Though I'm scared of flying on a plane, the idea of trying hang-gliding fascinates me.
4. I thought Dirty Dancing was one of the dullest films I've ever seen. Maybe I missed something?
5. I've never read Dickens. Just can't be bothered!
6. I seriously dislike cinnamon. Cinnamon in apple pies in particular is just plain wrong!
7. One day I would love to own a farm and preserve rare breeds of animals.
8. I'm messy, disorganised and nearly always late for everything - and I really wish I could change!
9. I have a Twitter account, but I've failed to be bitten by the bug.
10. I can recite 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' and 'Each Peach Pear Plum' (amoung others) from memory because I've read them to JB1 so often! 
11. I've recently discovered a love for 70s British sitcoms (thanks in part to ITV3) - some were awful, but most were genuinely funny an didn't rely on swearing for laughs. Where did it all go wrong?!
Melanies' Eleven Questions ..

1. What would your ideal fancy dress costume be?
 Anything that fits! I've always quite fancied Cleopatra though.

2.  Who is your favourite Bond?
Daniel Craig, sorry if that's too predictable! I just find him the most 'real' Bond - the others are way too cheesy, although the young Sean Connery has a certain something.

3. What is your earliest memory?
Being late for school aged about 5 because I was listening to ABBA records. 

4. What is the most exotic place you have ever visited?
Depends what you class as exotic, but the furthest I've been is Venice, Italy.

5. Who was your first crush?
This is very sad, but it was a children's TV presenter called Simon Parkin. I'm embarrased that I can remember.
6. What is your favourite film?
I guess I would say Labyrinth, but The Dark Crystal is a pretty close second.

7. Can you play a musical instrument and if not would you like to and what would it be?
Yes, I used to play the flute (badly) at school and I sang, so I suppose you could kind of count that too. I'd love to get back into it when I have time.

8. What is your favourite scent? Not perfume, just smell?
I suppose it's a non-smell really, but I love the really pure, fresh air smell that you only get in very unspoilt places.

9. Do you believe in ghosts? Have you ever seen one?
I don't belive in the white sheets and chains variety, but I do believe in spirits and that certain places can hold onto strong feelings and emotions. I wouldn't say I've truly seen a 'ghost', but I've had the odd flash of something at the corner of my eye and have lived in a house where we used to get feelings that we weren't alone at times.

10. What did you want to be when you grew up and did you fulfill that dream?
Although I don't have a career as such, I suppose I have ended up doing something I always wanted to. My parents always said I would never be happy in a conventional 9-5 job, but now I have a 24/7 one! My dream is still to work for myself as a designer/maker, but I feel it will happen soon.

11. What is the most adventurous thing you have ever done?
Having children.

 My Questions..
1. What's in your handbag (purse) right now?
2. Did you do any sports at school and do you still play them?
3. You can invite 3 guests, living or dead, to a dinner party. Who would you invite and why? (don't have to be famous)
4. What's your favourite room in your home and why?
5. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
6. Would you go on a commercial space flight, disregarding the cost?
7. If you could visit any country in the world, where would you go and why?
8. What's on your record/CD/MP3 player right now?
9. You're offered three wishes, what would they be? (and world peace doesn't count)
10. Do you have a favourite family Christmas tradition?
11. Did you have a favourite comfort object/toy as a child and what was it?
I nominate:

Thursday, 22 November 2012

When I Needed Sunshine I Got Rain

 Random picture of a water lilly, taken on our honeymoon

Yesterday morning the rain came down as if someone had left the tap on 'upstairs', but by the afternoon it was brilliant sunshine. Yesterday morning I didn't even really feel like getting out of bed (I had too - toddlers are pretty effective at dragging you out), but by the afternoon everything was right with the world and I felt like I could actually get something done (the reality of having two small children is very different, but hey, the thought was there!). Today, the good old 'can't be arsed' fairy is fluttering round my head and yep. it's windy, grey and cold out there.
I've never been diagnosed with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder),  but like many people I do get very down in the winter due to the lack of sunlight. I have thought about investing in one of those UV lights, but to be honest the ones that actually work cost a lot more than I can justify at the moment.
The house is frankly a disaster zone, with so much needing sorting, but with the fairy of can't be arsed in near-permanent residence, that's way down the list. In fact, I don't even particularly feel like doing anything I actually enjoy as something started usually ends up as something never finished!
Even this post was going to be longer, but I'm not really managing to put my finger on what I actually want to say. I'm not even sure what I am trying to say, really!
Our situation isn't great at the moment (not that we are any different from many others) and we just seem to be in limbo, unable to make any kind of move, which is what's so frustrating.

Anyway, hopefully I'll be back soon with happier things to say and share. Thank you if you've made the effort to read this x

Monday, 5 November 2012

When Saturday Comes

Back to the old routine of not blogging very much! Unfortunately myself and the JBs have been suffering with nasty colds for the last couple of weeks and I haven't felt much like blogging or commenting recently. JB1 and I are pretty much recovered now, but JB2 is still hanging on to his cough and is showing teething signs as well so isn't the happiest camper at the moment.
I set myself the challenge of making the majority of the boy's Christmas (sorry Vix, it's that C word!) presents this year, so that's also going to take up a fair bit of time. Lots of ideas for JB1, but JB2 is a little more difficult although he won't have a clue what's going on!

Anyway, despite having this cold, I went on my first blog meet-up the Saturday before last. I headed on up to Walsall to meet Vix, who is just as lovely in real life as her blog would suggest.

Up bright and early on the day, I still managed to only just make it to the station in time. Throwing myself onto the first train, I quickly realised it was the wrong one and I couldn't get off until the next stop which was Swindon! After heading back to Bristol and catching a later train to Birmingham (thanks to the nice conductor who let me use my ticket for that train), I eventually then made it to Walsall, only an hour and a half late! In the meantime, Vix had been ringing me, except I'd left my phone at home!

Never mind, we headed for coffee and chat, then on to Second To None, probably the best vintage shop in the country. I think if that shop was closer, I wouldn't even bother with ebay any more as the prices are so reasonable and the stock so fabulous! We tried on lots of things, but I was very good and just bought 3 things (all pointed out by Vix, she has such a great eye).

Next was lunch in the less salubrious Wetherspoons, a lovely veggie chilli and a bottle of rose between us (purely medicinal, of course).

 Hmm, I almost match the carpet here! 

 A turn around the charity shops, sadly very little to be had here, though we did have a giggle over one or two things!

Then back to Vix's for tea and a tour of the house. What a fantastic house, so many lovely things and really homely and welcoming, thanks to my fabulous hosts Vix and Jon (who very kindly made the tea).

Sadly it was time to catch my train all too soon and then I was off home (without incident, I'm glad to report).

I had been a bit nervous about meeting fellow bloggers, but I'm so glad I did! Hopefully it's the first of many.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012


For this week's Ta-Dah Tuesday, a couple of finished items for the Junior Birds:

The romper suit for JB2 was a nightmare - using woven bias binding for facings on stretchy fabric is nigh on impossible, despite what the instructions said. Next time I will trust my instincts and do it my own way. The no-sew poppers on the legs are great though, I think they look a lot more professional. Oh, and it took me so long to make, it's actually a bit small! I knitted the pieces for JB1's jumper some time ago, but I hate sewing up knitting so it's taken me a while to get round to it. With the help of some YouTube technique videos, I finally finished it a couple of weeks ago. The pattern was published about 4 years ago, despite being in a knitting magazine this spring, and the main blue colour of cotton yarn was discontinued about 2 years ago. Luckily I found some on ebay!

Monday, 15 October 2012

Book Review: Minxy Vintage

Having read one of Kelly Doust's previous books (Crafty Minx) and found it rather basic and repetitive, and also a few less than positive reviews on Amazon, I wasn't expecting great things from this book. However, I was pleasantly surprised.

The book starts off with a section explaining how to source vintage clothing, what to look for when choosing clothing, useful equipment and embellishments for re-vamping what you've found. The Crafty Repairs section tackles cleaning clothes and makes suggestions for small changes, such as dyeing, adding embellishments and chopping sleeves, hemlines etc to turn an unworn dress into a new treasure. The book is then divided into eight chapters covering dresses, wedding outfits, jackets and coats, tops and blouses, skirts, knits, accessories and lingerie and nightwear. Each chapter contains several items from Kelly's own wardrobe which she has made over. They begin with a mood board style layout of the 'before' pictures, then each item is lavishly photographed in it's new incarnation, along with a brief description of how it was transformed. In between the revamp chapters, there are overviews of the key styles of each decade of 20th century style from the 1900s to the 1980s.
I would like to have seen better pictures of the pieces prior to reworking and less experienced sewers might be put off by the somewhat sketchy details of the transformations. Overall, this is a beautifully presented book with many lovely photographs. What it isn't is a detailed 'how-to' on revamping clothes. I'd buy this if you're looking for inspiration, rather than a practical sewing book.


PS This isn't a sponsored post, just my own thoughts on the book.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

In Memoriam

Sadly Coco passed away some time this morning, I found her lying in her cage when we got back from toddler group. I got her about 5 years ago from a lady who had too many pigs and was downsizing a bit. She was about 5 and a half, which is fairly average for a Guinea Pig.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Black Velvet If You Please

Another outfit post, and look, I even had time for makeup as eldest son is staying with his grandparents for a few days.

Talbots USA-made velvet waistcoat (about £2, eBay), 70s handmade maxi dress (about £7, eBay), boots (about £15, eBay), scarab beetle necklace and acrylic bead necklace (50p each, boot sale)

Off to a jumble sale in the morning, wish me luck! Have fun whatever you're up to this weekend x

Thursday, 27 September 2012

You Wore What?

 St Michael zip up top about £7, Patchwork waistcoat about £5, boots about £15 (all ebay), 
skinny jeans 20p (jumble sale), earrings gift from Helga

Peacock bangle 50p (boot sale), metal bangles 30p each (charity shop), 
wooden bangles (high street, years ago)

Saturday, 22 September 2012

On Reflection

Looking at the history of my blog, I can see that I post very infrequently which is annoying to me as I'd love to do more with it. I know that some of you will tell me to take it easy - blogging shouldn't be an obligation or a chore, but something you do for the fun of it (unless it's work-related of course). With this in mind, I'd like to invite you, dear readers, to make some suggestions for things you'd be interested in seeing here. Keep it clean(ish)! I'd also love to know how you fit blogging into your life, especially if you have children.
It goes without saying that more pictures are required and I should definitely comment more on other people's blogs, but it's hard to come up with something other than 'great dress/shoes' type comments, nice as they are. All of you that I follow look fab anyway, damn you ;-).
I also have lots of thoughts that I could use that don't necessarily lend themselves to a full post straightaway, so now I'm keeping a notebook of ideas for future use.

In some ways, it's a scary thing to put yourself out there as the Internet can be an excuse for people to say things they'd never dream of in 'real- life'. Luckily my experience so far has only been good ( though I know some of you have had problems) and I've 'met' some lovely and interesting people through blogging that I would never have come across in real life. I've always been a bit nervous about the idea of meeting up with other bloggers as I feel like I wouldn't measure up (and if you're thinking 'just get over yourself', I would be too), but I'm just going to throw it out there and say I would love to meet up with any of you that are up for it. Though I can't offer you any gems like Vix's fabled Second to None, we could always go on a voyage of discovery together!

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Ta-Dah Tuesday Treasure

A veritable smorgasboard of finds for your viewing pleasure this week, you lucky people!

 70s seersucker fabric and thread 50p, vintage threads £2, car boot.

 Love those old names, so much more interesting than boring old numbers.

 Books 10p each, jumble sale. I imagine most of the walks don't exist anymore as the book was last updated in 1950!

 Skinny jeans, 20p, jumble sale.

Curtains 30p, jumble sale. I ummed and aahed about these, but I knew I'd regret not buying them. Will use the fabric for something.
 Shoes (ripe for a makeover) and belt, 50p each. Jewellery 50p the lot, jumble sale.

Brocade curtains, apparently they came from the 'Lord Mayor's house' (don't know which - Bristol doesn't have a mayor yet), and cost the astronomical sum of £2. Again, I'll use them for the fabric.

Dress, 20p, jumble sale.

Save the best til last - this Carnegie dress was £8.95 from the local Hospice charity shop. Looks like it's never been worn as it still has it's original tags.

Linking to Lakota's Ta-Dah Tuesday.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Looking Back Over My Shoulder

Firstly let me tell you I'm now 21 + 10 years old! Back when I was actually 21, this seemed a looong way off and I had no idea what I'd be like in 10 years time, though I don't think I expected to have a husband, mortgage, 2 kids by now! I wonder if anyone actually turns out the way they think they will?

A few of you asked to see some more pictures of the junior birds, so here's one at least. This was taken in the Walled Garden at Mells, which we visited for my birthday. Shortly after this, oldest son decided to see if apple juice is better worn all down your clothes than drunk.

I recieved a lovely suprise parcel from the delicious Helga last week. It was all the more lovely as she hadn't realised it was my birthday a few days before it arrived. Her witchy powers were at work again!

 Pull along Buzzy Bee toy for the small folk. Apparently Buzzy Bee is a houshold name in New Zealand and every kid has one.

 Patriotic 70s scarf and handknitted (?) gloves/mittens. I'm sure I'll need these at some point this winter!

60s washbag/purse, lovely earrings and fab craft book. Lots of reproductions of 60s/70s patterns from the NZ Woman's Weekly magazine, plus a few modern ones as well. I can dream that I might one day have time to make some of them!

Hope you've all had fab weekends x

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Pasta Presto

A few little makes for Ta-Dah Tuesday . Especially for you Lakota, 'cause I know how much you LOVE fake food ;-).

Firstly we have tortellini:

It's all gone too far-falle now:

 Eat your heart out Haba:
 (felt sheets from ebay, supporting vegetables from a well-known Swedish furniture retailer)

These tagliatelle (no, they're not chips that decided to stay in Britain for their holidays this year), are just thin strips of felt. There is a toy company that makes something very similar, that costs around £5 in the shops. Mine are a little irregular, but I don't think Baby Bird will be getting his ruler out to check. Said toy company also sells fancy farfalle in THREE different colours (show-offs) for around £7, but nothing I can't do with a sheet of felt, some pinking shears and a glue gun!

Tutorials for the tortellini and farfalle can be found here:



Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Wait A Minute Mr Postman

A quick update while the boys are asleep. Four weeks since baby boy arrived and things seem to be going well. We have some sort of a routine going, I at least know roughly when he'll want feeding and he's sleeping lots, though I'm sure that won't last - babies have a habit of changing their routine just when you think you're sorted!

I'm afraid I just haven't had the time or energy to do much blogging or commenting, so apologies if I usually comment on your blog, but haven't recently. Also blogger doesn't always update properly, so do feel free to let me know if I've missed a post!

Lovely Curtise sent me a sweet parcel a couple of weeks ago (check out her Hawaiian maxi dress today). There were goodies for the boys and Mama too!

A printed cotton height chart wall hanging, a retro story book illustrated by Richard Scarry (I had a jigsaw puzzle as a kid with an illustration from one of his books), 2 scarves for me which were wrapped around a child-sized little boy blue cup. I think it'll be a loooong time before either of the boys will be allowed to use it, if at all!

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Here's One I Made Earlier

Introducing Baby Bird mark 2:

Oliver James arrived last Monday afternoon at home as planned, weighing 7lbs 6ozs. Now in training for the Olympic speed milk-drinking and sleeping events!

Linking to Ta-Dah Tuesday.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Hot Stuff

There being no money for treasure-hunting after a £280 car MOT bill last week (with another £500 worth of advisory notes), I'm having to raid my extensive craft stash for thrills this week. Amazing what you can do with a glue gun, some felt and some fake flowers!

DIY hair decoaration.

Linking to Ta-Dah Tuesday!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Old Mother Hubbard

A quick one from me today, linking up with Ta-dah Tuesday (never mind it being Wednesday).

Using Lulastic's fab homemade chalkboard paint tutorial, I painted up some storage jars and reorganised my baking cupboard. I'm really bad for missing dates on dry goods, so the idea is to write the name and date on the jar, then I'll know what I have and how long it has left. I hope this isn't the start of nesting behaviour - if anyone spots me with a mop in hand, please shake me!


 After (okay, I ran out of jars, I admit it)

Of course, this may now confuse the men of the house as they're used to the shop packets!

Friday, 8 June 2012

Lulastic and the Charity Shop Blog Hop

Thanks to Lakota at Faith Hope and Charity Shopping, I've found a lovely new blogger - Lulastic and the Hippy Shake. Lulastic has been running a Charity Shop Blog Hop (check it out here) this week. I'm a little late to the party, but I'd love to share a taste of my local shops with you.

You may know I live in Bristol.What you won't know is that I have eleven charity shops within reasonable (normal) walking distance of where I live. As walking distance is a bit limited at the moment, I'm going to concentrate on the five shops in my high street. These are the ones I visit most often anyway.

A nice little shop, although clothing stock can be limited. Usually has an interesting selection of bric-a-brac and books. The volunteers are lovely, definitely the friendliest of the bunch and actually say thank you when you make donations. I've found the odd vintage piece in here and I've picked up a Mini Boden and a Joules top for Baby Bird for £1.25 each in the past.

This is a fairly new addition to the high street (think it was last summer it opened up). This one is quite pot-luck, some stuff is very over-priced, others very cheap and it's more in the rummaging tradition of charity shops. I haven't found much in the way of clothes for me in here - I'd say this one is best for bric-a-brac and jewellery.

St Peter's Hospice
A local hospice shop which has always had a reputation for being on the expensive side for a charity shop. It's  in the 'Mary Portas' model of shops and priced accordingly - £10 for a Next dress, anyone? I've actually found some good vintage pieces in here. I've found 3 dresses by Carnegie, Trina Lewis and Sidgreene of London for £8 each and a Scottish mohair cape for about the same price in the last year or so. They also have a pretty good selection of books and other clothes.

British Red Cross
Not always a great selection of clothes here, but fairly middle of the road pricing. Good selection of books, quite often on 'BOGOF'. Used to have a fairly good selection of children's clothes, toys and books, but they've recently had a bit of a re-fit in the shop and this seems to have been reduced quite a lot. Also has a large section of new items (my biggest pet-hate of charity shops).

Lastly, we have

Another Mary Portas-esque emporium, although a a bit more reasonable on prices and a really wide range of stock - something for everyone in here. They have a dedicated 'Vintage to Vogue' section of clothing, homeware and books. The definition of vintage is a tad stretched at times, but I've seen some pretty good things in there and not massively expensive either - recently saw a 50s Marshall and Snelgrove dress for £15, although the majority of pieces are under £10.

So there you have it, a quick round-up of my humble hunting ground. I will try and do a review of a couple of my other haunts soon.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Jungle Book

This was supposed to be a Ta-dah tuesday post, but I just haven't had time to sit down at the computer until today!

Anyway, here's a round-up!

 Baby Bird's 2nd birthday cake. He's been obsessed with Button Moon for months, so it was the natural choice for a cake. If you've never heard of Button Moon, click on the link to be enlightened!

 Posing in our jungle of a garden! I made the skirt on Sunday afternoon from a 70s (Style 4601) pattern I found in one of the charity shops last week. The fabric is modern and it's been in my stash for about 4 years, waiting to be used. I had a mild panic when the warm weather arrived last week as I only have a couple of warm weather maternity outfits. The shoes I found on tuesday in another charity shop for £2.99.

 Close up of the shoes. They're platform-type ones. Can't tell if they're 70s or something that's been brought back from a holiday as they have no label, but I like them anyway.

The patterns I found last week, 50p each. I found another pile of kid's ones in the same shop this week as well.

I'll leave you with a rendition of the Button Moon theme tune - nostalgia for those that remember it!

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Ta-Dah Tuesday

I've got round to photographing some of the things I found over the last couple of weeks, so now I can actually show them to you - and I'm linking up with Lakota's Ta-Dah Tuesday for the first time.

 Handmade edwardian style blouse £5 flea market, crochet waistcoat 30p jumble sale - both destined for a future date with some Dylon I think.

 Charlston anyone? Charnos 60s? frilly nighty that will be a dress, £4 (I think) flea market.

 Namaste! Indian made kaftan (rather tent-like), £7 flea market.

 It's Abigail's Party and I'll cry if I want to. Where's the Babycham? 70s handmade dress, £8 flea market.

Metal pendant (think it might be 60s or 70s), shell pendant, chunky red beads all 25p jumble sale. Scarab necklace 50p, boot sale.

70s leather bag (sold), 50p jumble sale.

I did pick up a few other bits, but I forgot to photograph them. Never mind, they'll get included at some point!

Monday, 14 May 2012

Blue Sky Thinking

I haven't felt up to blogging or much of anything for a while due to a lack of sleep and horrible weather recently. Baby Bird has also been playing up a lot as well - possibly the so-called 'terrible twos' making an appearance, but more likely the weather has been affecting him too. Fortunately, as soon as the sun decided to show it's face again towards the end of last week, things have been looking up. I've also been fruitlessly searching for old furniture to do up for BB's new bedroom, but I kept getting outbid on ebay and hadn't found anything suitable in secondhand shops. I did find some stuff last week, although it's brand new and flatpack, which I didn't really want, but at least it's bought now. Just needs a weekend to be put together and painted.

I did complete the Kids Clothing Week Challenge and I've also nearly finished a new dress for myself, along with starting knitting a new jumper for Baby Bird. I even found time for a (little) bit of housework and baking.

KCWC Day 5
 Sleeves and collar completed, just the cuffs and hem to finish.

 KCWC Day 6
The completed shirt, along with model!

Now I'm off to google birthday cake ideas (though there's only really one option), as above model is two at the end of the month!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Kids Clothing Week Challege - Part 2

Further progress on the clothing challenge!

Day 3
Front seam sewn, finished and topstitched.

 Day 4
A grand total of a minute's sewing tonight - I ran out of thread so I was only able to stitch part of one arm.

Saturday's purchases have been washed and dried, so I might treat you to a little fashion show tomorrow!