Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Wednesday Wonderfuls #46

Hello there my lovely readers and a very happy Wednesday to you all!

Firstly I want to thank you all so much for your wonder comments on my first "I'd just like to say post". This is something I've been thinking about adding to the blog for a long time but I wasn't sure how it would be taken by all of you, my fabulous readers, but you have been so supportive I couldn't have hoped for anything more! This is definitely a feature I will be continuing with great gusto so here's to the next one, hopefully it will spark up as much discussion as the first one!

Secondly I have now moved venue, the show is now gracing the Alhambra stage in Bradford, which is a big relief to me after all the nasty things that happened in Sunderland (please don't hate me if Sunderland is your hometown and you love it, I just had some very stressful and bad experiences there!). I am also staying just outside of Bradford in some beautiful cottages with other members of the cast which is so picturesque and peaceful that I couldn't be happier, hopefully I'll get lots of time for crafting and blogging :)

Anyway, enough about me, let's get on with the task at home, the Wednesday Wonderfuls!

Well I'm feeling Christmassy after all that! I'm going to go off and continue with my presents now, but never fear, I'll be back very soon with more posty goodness :)

Bye for now!

Friday, 25 November 2011

I'd Just Like To Say...

*** For quite a long time I've wanted to add some opinion pieces to this blog, I loved writing articles at school and have really missed it, so I have decided to start posting an opinion piece every other Friday. These will always be about something relating to the craft/fashion world and I hope you enjoy them, please leave feedback as to whether you like the idea! So here is my first opinion piece on this blog, the first ever "I'd Just Like To Say..."***

... why is picking on other women suddenly feminist?

Kirstie Allsopp (Source)

Recently I have read a few rather biting articles online about TV presenter Kirstie Allsopp. I know that there are others around the blogosphere who won’t share my opinion, but I am quite a big fan of Kirstie. I have always enjoyed her no nonsense, blunt turn of phrase, and I’ve enjoyed watching her even more since she started all her homemade/handmade programs. 
For my international readers and those of you who haven’t caught these programs, over the past three years Kirstie Allsopp has released a string of different crafting type shows, ranging from learning new crafts herself, to bringing crafts into the lives of others and, most recently, taking the skills she has learnt and entering her handmade offerings in various competitive events (“Kirstie’s Handmade Britain”). 
I know that there are mixed opinions out there about some of the crafts that Kirstie tackles on these shows, as to how useful or stylish they may actually be, but as far as I’m concerned she’s a woman who enjoys making something from nothing, a woman after my own heart, and for that she has my respect and admiration. She’s like all of us who choose to blog about our crafting exploits, sharing our love of creating with the world, although of course she does so on a much more public platform. I think it’s these similarities that caused me to feel a bit disgruntled after reading the recent articles of Liz Jones and Janet Street Porter. Although their comments were directed at Kirstie, I couldn’t help but sense the general negativity that was being sent towards women who craft as a whole. I hope you’ll indulge me as I felt a real urge to put my opinions on this subject forward.
Liz Jones - who declares “I want a life, not a homemade beeswax candle” - takes a very dim view on people like myself, i.e. people who enjoy crafts and baking, calling us “passive aggressive nightmares” who seek praise for our “icing-sugar-dusted self-flagellation”. And here was me thinking that I just enjoyed making and eating cakes! She makes some really quite petulant comments about private education, polka dot aprons (shock horror!) oh and also did you know that most women who indulge in home crafting have high-earning husbands who all have affairs and get drunk? I know, me neither, I must inform my Sweetheart...
Lorraine Pascale (Source)

I honestly don’t know where all this negativity comes from, other than that Liz Jones has some hidden issues that she is trying to deal with by getting at crafty folk in general, with particular venom being aimed at Kirstie Allsopp, Lorraine Pascale and Nigella Lawson (and I own cook books by both of the latter, so I suppose I’m well and truly doomed in Liz’s eyes!). She goes on to say that women like her “who care about personal grooming (say, the female cat of The Only Way is Essex) get a lot of flak from these rotund baking types with their blue striped milk jugs” (even the milk jugs are getting blamed! Poor old milk jugs...) 

Nigella Lawson (Source)

Well, firstly, rotund? How rude. But more to the point, I have watched all of the above women in their various programs and not once have I heard any of them make reference to anything other than the task at hand, which is most probably just making a cake of some kind. I have never been watching Lorraine or Nigella whip up a sponge to then hear them berating anyone who chooses to fake tan and wear hair extensions a la TOWIE, and to be honest if they did I probably wouldn’t watch them or buy their books. After all, if a woman decides that dressing in that way makes her feel happy and confident then that is entirely her own choice and nothing to do with anyone else. I personally would look ridiculous with a fake tan (I would pretty much be the same colour as my hair all over!) but that doesn’t mean that I look down on anyone who does just because I choose not to. And anyway, who says that the cast of TOWIE can’t get their crafty on once in while? The way you look or your “personal grooming” habits do not determine what you choose to do with your personal life.
I can honestly say, hand on heart, that I don’t feel that crafting or cooking shows like Kirstie’s Handmade Britain or the Great British Bake Off are designed in order to make the viewer feel some how inferior or less of a woman if they don’t take part in these types of activities too. Surely if you’re not interested in the subject matter you just wouldn’t watch the show! 
Janet Street Porter is known for her biting remarks and her strong feministic viewpoint, but I think that in her recent article she’s rather missed the point a bit. She berates Kirstie Allsopp for her “empire” which sells us weak minded members of the public the “dangerous myth” that “women will be happy and fulfilled if they spend every spare moment busily making jam, repainting furniture and sewing cushions”. Now, forgive me for saying so, but that doesn’t sound half bad to me, not really all that dangerous but actually quite fun. Of course that may be just me... She then goes on to ask, in my opinion, an unbelievable question: “If she’s (Kirstie’s) such a relationship expert, how come her chap (and the father of her two children) hasn’t popped the question?” Excuse me, but in an article in which you put someone down for being “pre-feminist” are you going to then to make an argument based on the fact that the woman in question is not married? Now who’s giving an archaic point of view to the female public. 
This is my point. Why should any of us feel that our way of living our own lives is in any way inferior or superior to another’s? I was once asked by an acquaintance if I ever felt guilty about knitting because I was playing up to a female stereotype that was anti-feminist. At the time I was quite taken aback and didn’t know how to reply, but given my chance again I would say that the most feminist weapon in my artillery is my right to choose. I choose to sew, to make my own clothes, to bake cakes, to knit because it makes me happy. Crafting and making things brings me a lot of joy which in turn, whilst trying not to sound too cliche, allows me to give more joy to others. People may look at the way I live my life and think “I would NEVER do that. Not in a million years. Not if you PAID me” and that’s an opinion that they have every right to have, but the point is I don’t feel that in doing the things that make me happy I’m pressurizing others into living the same way. Maybe I’m naive but I really do think that when Lorraine Pascale, Nigella Lawson and Kirstie Allsopp started their shows they wanted to take something that they loved, something that they had a passion for and pass it on to a wider audience. That’s it, no strings attached, no hidden agenda. And yes, they capitalize on their passions and loves, but surely that’s something to be admired, after all who wouldn’t do the thing they adored for a living if they could? 
I am a woman who believes in women’s rights, and I believe in a woman’s right to choose to live in whatever way that makes her happy and fulfilled (as long as that life doesn’t involve mass murder or something like that...). I promise you that I won’t judge you if you look like you’ve stepped off the set of TOWIE (quite a few of my good friends do and my goodness they are beautiful!) and I trust that you’ll look beyond my second hand, handmade attire and maybe we could be friends. I'll bring cake :)
Now if you’ll excuse me I have a sudden urge to run and buy myself a nice blue striped milk jug...

( For those who are interested Liz Jones' article can be found here and Janet Street Porter's can be found here)

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Wednesday Wonderfuls #45

Well, what a week it's been! It's been a tough old time in Sunderland, I'm not going to lie, what with my terrible car mis-adventure together with other members of my cast paying visits to the local hospital and various others suffering physically with injuries, so goodness knows I need a bit of a lift!

I have decided to start this week off positively and hopefully if I put some happy energy into the world it will come right back to me (or something like that...!). I have a lot of things to be thankful for and happy about after all...

This week I poached my first egg ever. And it wasn't a complete disgrace. Result!

I know she wouldn't win a beauty competition but still...

I am well on my way to finishing my Christmas projects (see this post)

I have a box of Charbonnel et Walker pink champagne truffles just waiting to be nommed up

I'm greatly enjoying Kirstie's Handmade Britain, it gives me a real midweek lift :)

I am now the proud owner of a jug shaped like a cow, and the owner of a jug shaped like a cow can never truly be unhappy...


So things haven't been going badly so far! Plus I have all of you lovely readers and that of course makes me crazy happy like a kitten on speed :) So allow me to spread a bit of love and happiness across the blogosphere for you all, let's bring on the Wonderfuls!

  • It's definitely getting colder here in the UK winter is starting to properly set in, so why not try this yummy winter warmer from Joy the Baker, Beef and Sweet Potato Stew? It looks so good...
  • Joy is also releasing a cook book soon, I cannot wait! I love her recipes so I will most definitely be getting this as soon as it comes out :)
  • If you're a fan of Dita you'll love this post. No less than 4 videos of the queen of burlesque, covering everything from Beauty to Love.
  • I'm getting wanderlust again (or maybe I just want to go home!) and now I want to pay York a visit after reading this gorgeous post. I dare you not to want to pay it a visit after reading!
  • And finally I just had to include this post from Sewaholic all about how your partner feels about your sewing. I loved the post and the comments are also a great read, and this article also really made me realise how lucky I am that my Sweetheart supports me so much in my hobbies. It means such a lot when the ones you love understand you and your crazy creative needs :)

I hope you've enjoyed the Wednesday Wonderfuls of this week, let's all go out and have a fantastic time now, and get rid of any nastiness with the power of positive thinking!

Until next time, bye for now!

Monday, 21 November 2011

My readers are beautiful

Thank you all so much for your comments on my post about the theft or my sewing machine. I was really overwhelmed by the amount of people who offered advice on purchasing a replacement and others who just wanted to offer their support. You all just take my breath away with how generous you are with your time and your words, I can't begin to thank you enough. You are stunningly beautiful people and you have really made me remember that for every one idiot who breaks into a car and ruins your day there are a hundred who can brighten it up again :)

After reading each one of your comments I decided to take the advice that most of your put forward and to stick with what I know, so I went out today and bought another Janome sewing machine, the same model as the one that was stolen. I loved that machine so much that I didn't see the point in forking out more for a fancier machine just because it was computerised, so I stuck with a good old manual :) I can't wait to get some time at home so I can set her up and try her out, I'm sure it will be the start of a beautiful sewing relationship! Also the amount of people recommending their vintage machines has seen me trawling through ebay to find some treasure, so watch this space, maybe there'll be a new addition to this sewing family some time soon... :)

In other news I have written another post on the Crafty Christmas blog, so check out what I have been spending my time doing sans sewing machine. There's some finished bits up there that I'm really proud of, and really pleased that they're done in time for Christmas :)

Anyway, that's quite enough rambling from me for one day, I'll be back soon with some more blogosphere treats for you.

Bye for now!

Saturday, 19 November 2011

A Really Horrible Day

Hello lovely readers, you find me this morning in a slightly subdued mood after the events that took up most of my day yesterday.

I woke up yesterday to find that one of the rear windows of my car had been smashed and whoever had done this had proceeded to empty the car of anything valuable (and even not so valuable) that they could get their nasty little hands on. And the worst thing of all is that my sewing machine was being stored in the car.

Now I know that considering the circumstances I got off lucky, the car wasn't taken and no one got physically hurt, thank goodness, but the whole thing has left me feeling a bit sick and pretty darn angry. I feel so outraged that whoever did this really wouldn't think about the effect that their actions would have on others and even more so that they will probably get away scot-free. And of course now I find myself, for the first time in about 10 years, without a sewing machine. It's funny really, because I know that my poor old machine was just that, a machine, but I find that I was much more emotionally attached to it than I thought I would be. And to be honest it's no surprise really. I learnt to sew on that machine, it gave me my independence from high street fashion and therefore helped me find my own unique style, and sewing on it, particularly during the last year, has been a source of great joy and pleasure in my life. The idea of whoever has their hands on it now treating it as anything other than the delicate piece of machinery it is breaks my heart a little. I'm sure that many of you who sew regularly on one particular machine will understand.

Now I don't what to get all woe-is-me and down on this blog, I've always tried to make it into a warm and happy space filled with things I care about, but I wanted to let you know about all this because now I am in need of your help my lovely readers.

Having owned the same machine for about 10 years I find myself hopelessly out of the loop when it comes to looking at sewing machines and what specifications I may want on a new model. Obviously I would like to replace my machine as soon as is possible, but I don't want to  commit myself to buying without knowing my options first. Basically, do any of you have any tips when it comes to buying a new machine? The model pictured above is my old machine (the Janome Excel 5024) and you can see more details about her here. Do you use a similar model that you yourself cannot live without? Maybe you think that my original was a great model so I should just replace it exactly? Or perhaps you work on something a lot more fancy and would recommend it wholeheartedly? Perhaps after all this nastiness I should treat myself to an upgrade...

If you have any help or advice to give I would be so grateful, so please get in touch and let me know your thoughts. For now I'll say goodbye and let's hope that today is a better day :)

Friday, 18 November 2011

Oxford Adventures in Pictures - Part 1

I have finally got my camera sorted so I can share some of my pictures with you! Yay!!! So we are going to be going a bit back in time today, so that I can show you some of my Oxford pics, my goodness what a beautiful city it is!

I was incredibly lucky during my time in Oxford insofar as my Sweetheart's family live in Oxford so he knows his way around extremely well, and also my parents came to stay during my time there so we all got to go and explore together which was great fun. I have visited Oxford quite a few times since my Sweetheart introduced it to me, but I never quite get over how very beautiful it is, particularly the architecture.

I can't help but thinking that one could not fail to be inspired when studying in such a magnificent place, all the students are so lucky to be here! I must admit I am a little bit in love with the romantic idea of living in one of these towers, riding my bicycle to and from lectures all day and stopping for tea and cake in between. Of course I'm sure that for the students of Oxford it's not like that at all, but I still love the idea through my rose tinted glasses :)

My parents had visited Oxford previously but had not been there for some time, so they too were very excited to explore their surroundings. The following picture is one of my favourites, showing just how enthusiastic they were to see everything that Oxford had to offer. This just looks like a lovely snapshot of a tower, yes?

Well, let's take a little bit of a closer look, shall we?

Yoo hoo!!!

That picture really makes my day :)

We had a really lovely time exploring Oxford with my Sweetheart as the perfect tour guide. We wandered about outside the colleges (it's very difficult to get inside if you're not a student for obvious reasons), went to the Natural History Museum and also took a tour of Christchurch. 

Ma familia

They do Shakespeare outside here in the summer, can you imagine? :)

Inside the Natural History Museum

Beautiful detailing inside the Museum


Inside Christchurch

I would like to take this time to apologise to anyone who was visiting Christchurch at the same time as myself, as I did insist on singing the music from the Harry Potter films a bit too loudly as we walked around. I was trying to add to the atmosphere, but I guess not everyone was a fan...!

I have visited Oxford in almost every different season and every time it has struck me with it's beauty and the history that is literally dripping from every building you pass. It's a magical city and it will always have a very special place in my heart. I was so happy that during this trip I got to share it with all the people I love most, it was a perfect visit :)

Beautiful people + Beautiful city = Beautiful time :)

Join me again soon for Part 2 of my Oxford Adventures in Pictures!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Wednesday Wonderfuls #44

Hello there lovely readers! A very happy Wednesday to you all! I am no longer in Edinburgh and I miss it already, I have moved on to the fourth venue of the tour: Sunderland. Now I have several posts that need to be completed about both Oxford and Edinburgh, but thankfully I now have the means to share all my lovely pictures with you, so these should all be going live this week! Hurrah!

For now I thought I'd share something with you that has been a constant love of mine regardless of which city I'm visiting: Florence + the Machine.

I adored Florence's first album, "Lungs", and I must admit that on first listening I wasn't singing the praises of her new album "Ceremonials", but after playing it repeatedly during my journeys about the UK I have to admit I'm falling in love all over again. I adore everything about Florence Welch, her style, her love of vintage, her musical brilliance, and just the fact that she genuinely seems to be a lovely person in every public situation she's in. Plus she's a redhead which is always a plus in my books :) If you are yet to experience the amazingness that is Florence + the Machine (where have you been?? You're in for a treat!) then here is one of my favourite tracks from her new album to delight your ears. Plus this video reminds me of all my favourite childhood 80s movies like Labyrinth and Legend :)

And as if that musical beauty wasn't enough, it's now Wednesday Wonderfuls time! Here is my pick of the blogosphere this week, and in my opinion it's been a particularly good one...

  • Katie of Katie Cakes has written a guest post on the Laura Ashley blog all about the best tea shops in Newcastle. As you all know I'm a HUGE fan of cake, and as I'll be visiting Newcastle on this tour I'm definitely going to be taking this list with me when I go!
  • Salted caramel has recently become one of my favourite new flavours so you can imagine how my heart skipped a beat when I saw this recipe for a Salted Caramel Cheesecake Pie. Swoon!
  • Did you make that has written a post all about the fabulous Ray Stitch fabric shop in London, and I LOVE this shop! Check it out, it's well worth a visit :)
  • A big thank you to Florence and Rose for writing this post and introducing me to the magic of Tiny Owl Knits, it's my new obsession now too!
  • Yet again I am tempted to visit new places because of what you clever people write on your blogs. This time it's Harrogate after reading this post over at Advantage in Vintage, it just sounds lovely!
  • "So Zo..." recently posted about Elena and her fabulous blog Seamless. Elena has invented the Seamless Pledge in which you can pledge to buy no new clothes for any chosen about of time, and exist simply on second hand, vintage and homemade goodies instead. Now that's what I have been doing for the past (almost) year and it's the reason I started this blog so obviously I'm thrilled that some's trying to put the idea out there to the blogging world at large! I wish everyone who's taking part good luck, believe me you'll have the best time if you do :)

Not bad eh? I think that's a pretty good selection of yummies for your perusal :)

Anyway, that's it from me for today, I'll be back again soon!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Edinburgh Adventures - I may have been a bit naughty...

Let me start this post off by saying a huge "Hello and Welcome!" to all my new followers, I'm so thrilled to have you here! Yay for new followers! I hope you enjoy what you read here :)

And let me start off by saying that my naughtiness isn't really all that naughty, in fact it's made me very happy indeed, unfortunately my bank account is not so happy...

Remember when I told you in my previous post about my adventures with Debi that I was very good and left some of the yummy fabrics behind? Including some "beautiful soft netting"? Well I have a confession to make. I went back and I bought some. Two different colours. Three metres of each. Six metres of netting after swearing that I would take none home. What a naughty thing I am! But seriously, I couldn't leave such loveliness behind, it would have been a crime, you would have done the same I'm sure (at least I hope!). Just look at my yummies:

Dusty Green *swoon!* 

Dusty Pink *double swoon!*

Seriously, these pictures do not do the colour of these fabrics justice, they are so lovely and I am so excited to get to use them. They are destined to become 1950s style petticoats like this one, but hopefully the netting will have more body for a more poofy look but be soft enough to not be constantly itchy like many other kinds of tulle. I need me some more petticoats in my life!

And now let me distract you from my terrible fabric overindulgence by introducing you to my new sewing pal. I have named him Horace.

Isn't he adorable? :)

Bye for now!

Friday, 11 November 2011

Lest We Forget

I hope that today you all wear your poppies with pride!

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Edinburgh Adventures - Metting Debi!

I had the very great pleasure of meeting up with Debi of My Happy Sewing Place this week and what a lovely time we had!

I must admit I was a bit starstruck when we first met because I've been reading Debi's blog for quite a while now and her sewing skills are incredible (and she was wearing the beautiful shirtwaist dress she just posted about! And yes it was as amazing as it looks online!). And guess what readers? To top it all of she's the loveliest person and we got on like a house on fire!

We spent lots of time browsing through the wonderful Edinburgh Fabrics and I must admit I was tempted to buy almost everything I saw (seriously, I don't know how Debi lives so close to this goldmine and isn't bankrupt!) but I managed to restrain myself to only two purchases. 

Of course I could't come to Scotland without getting my paws on some genuine Scottish wool, and I just feel in love with this beautiful plaid. Hopefully soon it will become a beautifully warm cape with a chocolate brown fur collar *sigh*.

I love WOOL! 

I also bought some yummy red linen (I've been searching for good quality linen at a decent price for ages and this store had just want I wanted in about a billion yummy colours, swoon!) for a pair of wide legged trousers that I have been wanting to make for a long time (and yes I know that everything I own seems to be red, but at least I know that I'll wear them, right?).

Boring picture, but lovely fabric :)

Edinburgh Fabrics was an amazing place, stuffed to the gills with goodies (I very sadly left behind some lovely cotton prints and some beautiful soft netting in pastel colours) so if you are ever in the area you simply must pay it a visit! After our time at the fabric store Debi led the way to some of her favourite vintage and charity shops, including Armstrong and Sons where she picked up a huge length of tartan for only £10! (jealous...!) I also picked up this vintage table cloth at a charity shop for a mere £4, I think it would make a very sweet summer dress, although we couldn't decide whether of not the pattern was supposed to look like fish...!

Fish? Or not fish? That is the question...

We finished our little blogger get together with a cappuccino and a hot chocolate and a really good chat, all about sewing and blogging. Basically it was a pretty much perfect outing, I had a blast and I know that we'll meet up again soon. Thank you so much for your time Debi and for giving me yet another reason to visit Edinburgh again soon! 

(Check out Debi's post about our meeting here)

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Wednesday Wonderfuls #43

Hello there lovely readers and a very happy Wednesday to you all!

I have been having the most marvellous time in Edinburgh so far, exploring the beautiful city, munching some pretty fabulous food and also having the great pleasure of meeting the wonderful Debi of My Happy Sewing Place, I was quite starstruck I can tell you! But more on that later :)

Today I visited the Elephant House, the birth place of Harry Potter - where J.K. Rowling sat and looked out of the back window to the castle and scribbled down stories of Hogwarts :) - and I had a lovely old time! The food was delicious, I had the most yummy food, steak pie and mash followed by malteaser cake, and a lovely natter with my gal pals, it was great! A good time was had by all, if you've never been I would recommend it, it's a very atmospheric place and as a Harry Potter fan I must admit that it felt like a pretty special place :)

nom, nom, nom!

I can't wait to be able to share my proper pictures of my adventures so far with you all, I have seen so much, Edinburgh really is a fantastic city, I have quite fallen in love with it :) But for now I will have to tempt you with some Wednesday Wonderfuls to tide you over until the pictures come. And I've gathered some good ones this week!

Didn't I tell you there was some great stuff in there? :) That's it from me tonight, but I have some other great posts lined up, I cannot wait to share my adventures with you all! Seriously, Edinburgh is brilliant!

Bye for now!

Monday, 7 November 2011

Edinburgh Adventures - Bibi's Bakery

Happy Monday my lovely readers!

So remember when I said that I was going to keep things simple by posting about my Oxford adventures before I started with Edinburgh? Well that's not going to happen because I managed to forget that in order to get my lovely adventures pictures from my camera and onto my new laptop that I need to load the programs onto said new laptop (although I can;t be too sad because I have a new laptop, hurray!). I have yet to do this so obviously those Oxford posts are going to have to wait until I get back home and have a second to sort things out. Because after all, what's a blog post without piccies?? This also means that all my lovely fancy Edinburgh photos will have to wait a bit too, but for now I have been making do with my trusty iPhone, so that I can at least share some loveliness with you all :)

Long story short, let me show you one of my more yummy Edinburgh adventures thus far... Bibi's Bakery!

I was recommended Bibi's Bakery by a cupcake-loving friend, and as a bit of a self confessed cupcake connoisseur I couldn't resist paying them a visit, plus the bakery is just a 15 minute walk from the Playhouse where I'm working. But my goodness I didn't expect how glorious this bakery would be.

The second that I walked into the bakery I was bowled over by the smell of freshly make cakes and brownies, all of which are baked, iced and decorated on site. The trip was worth it for this smell alone! Everything was set out beautifully, with big window displays full of cupcakes plus counters heaving with all kinds of baked goods. I was in heaven.

I loved the variety of flavours on offer, you had your classics like chocolate and vanilla and red velvet, together with some more interesting and exotic choices (chocolate chilli!) plus a few containing classic chocolate bars (malteasers and smarties actually baked into cupcakes, swoon!). I spent a while umming and ahhing over what I might like to take back with me because of the sheer amount of choice on offer, and I have to say that the service was brilliant, I wasn't rushed and the lovely ladies were more than happy to give me recommendations and tell me what their personal favourites were. All in all it was a great trip and I would happily visit again (and let's be honest it's so close to work that I probably will!).

And yes, I did leave with some goodies in tow, and yes, they were as tasty as they look...

As it was bonfire night over the weekend I decided that the chocolate biscuit cake was also a good option, just look at the little chocolate stars, it was so pretty :) I didn't get to go to any proper displays this year (although we did have a little fireworks night at my Sweetheart's parents' house in Oxford, more on this later!) so I had to be satisfied with my bonfire night-esque chocolate covered treat. I can't say that I really had much to complain about, it was delicious!

So there you have it, if you're in Edinburgh go and visit Bibi's Bakery, if you're a fan of a good cupcake you won't be disappointed!

I hope you all had a wonderful Bonfire Night weekend hopefully filled with cakes and yummies of your own :)

Bye for now!

Friday, 4 November 2011

Three Dresses

Hello there lovely readers, I do hope you're all well! I thought to was about time that I updated you on some of my sewing plans for the rest of this year, it's really not that long until 2012 now, eek!

The end of the year is always a busy celebratory time for everyone, and especially for myself as me, my brother, my Sweetheart and my mum all have Birthdays that fall at the end of the year. Because of this I decided that I would try and make outfits that would work for the special events that happen at the end of the year, and so I have chosen to make three dress: Birthday, Christmas and New Year. I want to make some really special, fancy pieces that make me feel great on these special days and that also involve new techniques that I haven't tried before (after all the construction details are where I have the most fun!)

Now, of course you have seen one of these dresses...

My Birthday Dress!

For more details check out these posts

This dress made me ridiculously happy on my special day, I felt like a princess, so I know that this whole "special dress plan" is gong to be a good one :)

So let me share with you my plans for my other two dresses!

The Christmas Dress

My inspiration for this dress came when I became addicted to watching episodes of Pushing Daisies when working on my last tour. Who cannot fail to be inspired by the beautiful array of costumes that are worn in this show? I am a big admirer of all of the character Chuck's outfits, but when I saw this particular dress I just fell in love.

Isn't it beautiful? I adore the colours used and I love the clean lines on the dress. I decided that this dress is just too perfectly Christmassy not to become my Christmas outfit for this year so I am going to try and recreate it for myself. The only change that I'm going to make is omitting the asymmetrical colouring on the left side, I'm not crazy about it, plus it would take a lot of time to recreate this look, so I'm simply going to create a pinafore dress with the red and green bands of colour around the bottom. I think this will look gorgeous, I cannot wait to get started!

This is the pattern I'm going to use

I have already purchased the materials for this dress, I'm using loving soft flannel lined with cotton for a lovely warm winter dress. Plus I'm going to use a new technique: a horsehair braid hem for the skirt so blogged about by the fabulous Gertie (you have to love her, she's always teaching me new fun things to do with my sewing machine!). Also I may treat myself to one of these Doris Designs petticoats to go under the dress, but we'll see :)

The New Year's Eve Dress


Now this one may be tricky to get done in time, because I really, really, REALLY want to make Gertie's Bombshell dress for New Year's Eve (particularly after seeing some of the beautiful completed versions online!). However I have yet to make any headway on this dress at all, I haven't even printed out the pattern! I have however bought the fabric I want to use already from the amazing Ray Stitch shop on Essex Road, London. It's a cotton print by Sara Morgan and it makes me ridiculously happy!

How pretty is that? *swoon*

I am fully aware that finishing this dress in time for New Year's Eve is going to be a long shot, but I want to give it a go. Yes, so I want to finish making all my Christmas presents plus a dress for Christams and another for New Year and I've also been working on some this for my Palette Challenge, but I don't think I've bitten off more than I can chew, do you?

Ah well, I guess we'll just have to wait and see, I'm going to work like crazy to get all these things finished, and I will keep you updated as I go! Are any of you planning festive outfits this year? I would love to hear about them!

Anyways, must dash, I have a lot of work to do!

Bye for now!
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