Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Wednesday Wonderfuls #107

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

Images, Each Row from Left to Right:
1. I love a red hat! 2. My very own LIttle Red Squirrel! 3. Our new (to us) beauty :)
4. Mac + Cheese 5. Hanging with my pal Paddington 6. My belated Christmas gift from my Sweetheart
7. New styling for my hair 8. My knitting is growing! 9. Practising my pin curls :)
This week I have been:

Working on...
my 1940s onesie pattern! I cannot wait to start sewing up my toiles, the pattern is so cute I can't get over it, but first of all I have to do some serious adjusting. The pattern is for a teeny tiny little girl, so I'm going to have to do some pretty intense scaling up, but I'm looking forward to the challenge :)

the new series of "Call The Midwife". I cannot tell you how happy I ma that this show is back on, I love it so much! The acting is fabulous and the stories are great, but mostly I just can't get over how divine some of the costumes are! I will definitely be posting about some of these outfits soon, they are just calling out to be shared. Plus I have some CTM inspired sewing and knitting projects in the works too, so watch this space!

quite a few lovelies from a relative of my Sweetheart. I cannot get over how lucky we are to have been given some of these treasures (including the typewriter above, in practically mint condition!) that have been so well loved and preserved over the years. I will write about this in more detail soon, but I'm overjoyed that we can offer a loving home to some of these gorgeous bits and bobs and that because of us they've avoided being thrown out or lost forever. Moments like that make me very happy :)

to wear more hats! I bought the prettiest red hat this week (pictured above) and I have decided that hats need to be worn more in modern life. I have quite the budding hat collection, so maybe it's time to dust them off and give them an airing!

to be recognised on the street for the first time by one of my lovely readers! This week I was stopped by  the wonderful Nazneen, author of the blog The Postcolonial Rabbit. Nazneen, thank you so much for stopping to say hello, it was so nice to meet you and you genuinely made my week!

And to round of the day, let's see what else has been happening on the old blogosphere this week...

Have a wonderful rest of the week my lovely readers, I'll be back soon!

Katie xxx

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Wednesday Wonderfuls #106

Hello there my lovely readers! I hope you are all well and having a great week so far.

Images, Each Row from Left to Right:
1. Fun with friends! 2. Adding to my Hitchcock collection :) 3. My new trousers!
4. Knitting joy 5. My new-to-me winter coat 6. My delayed Christmas present from my Sweetheart
7. Carrot cake and pattern cutting 8. Sweet potato fries 9. Hot chocolate is needed in the snow!

This week I have been...

absolutely freezing! Any of my readers in the UK will know what I'm talking about, the snow has hit and hit hard. I know I'm playing to a British stereotype in talking about the weather, but seriously it's been insane! Thank goodness it's starting to warm up a bit and the snow has started to melt, because most of the road/train/general transport routes in this country seem to completely shut down at the merest hint of snow! There are some good things about the change in the weather, however, as it's made me feel quite festive all over again. Plus I get to wear gorgeous snuggly winter coats which I love, so there is a silver lining :)

and finishing Rebecca! I loved this book so much, even though I found the ending a little sudden. I read so many Gothic novels when I was at school and this book reawakened my love for that style of writing. I'm chomping at the bit for my next read, any suggestions my lovely readers? I'm also feeling very chuffed that I've already read 2 books this year. I'm well on my way to my 12 book goal!

Dreaming about...
all the outfits that I could draft with my new found skills. I'm seriously considering putting together some mood boards of different looks I love from my favourite eras and having a go at drafting my own pattern. I can't tell you how liberating I've found my whole pattern drafting experience so far, I feel like I could do anything at the minute! Plus I think I could save a pretty penny on vintage patterns if I coud create my own...

two dishes this week: sweet potato fries with a feta cheese dip and low fat macaroni and cheese with spinach (I have a cheese addiction!). I'm trying to cook once a week and I'm loving it :) Even though my kitchen is uber tiny and tending to look like a bomb has hit it when I start cooking! I think that this week I'm in the mood for some baking :)

Let's see what else has been happening on the blogosphere this week!

Have a wonderful week, my lovely readers. Keep warm!

Bye for now,

Katie xxx

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Wednesday Wonderfuls #105

Hello there my lovely readers and welcome to a slightly delayed Wednesday Wonderfuls! Oops! I apologise for my technical difficulties...

Images, Clockwise from Top Left:
1. I love my new-to-me Thermoses! Winter picnic anyone? 2. My suit gets a night out on the town 3. Spiced apple and cider cake.
4. Surprises gifts make me so very happy, 5. My watch has been fixed and I can wear it again, yay! 6. Fancy new wool :)

This week I have been...

"Metric Pattern Cutting for Women" and "Rebecca". Two very different books, but both of them are making me incredibly happy! I first read "Rebecca" for my English A-Level and I wanted to reread it before watching the Hitchcock adaptation (which arrived in the post this morning, yay!) and it's already completely sucked me in. I'm so happy that my love of books is returning to me, nothing is more satisfying than sitting down with a really good book and being taken to another place and time :) And as for "Metric Pattern Cutting", well let's just say that it's starting to make to make a lot more sense since I started taking lessons!

my new pattern cutting skills! They may be few and very new but I'm loving them nonetheless. I am already dreaming of the designs I'm going to create, all the vintage designs that I could never find in my size or were too rare or expensive, I'll finally (eventually!) be able to make them. It's a very happy thought indeed :)

with fancy wool and bamboo needles. This week I received my first ever order of Excelana wool and I really can't get enough of it. It's such a joy to work with, I can't really see myself using any other kind of yarn anytime soon! I will be writing more about it in detail soon, but if you haven't let tried Excelana then I suggest you do, you won't be disappointed!

some amazing films: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Psycho and Marnie. I'm overwhelmed by all these classics, they are really making me look at all films in a completely new way. I'm on my way to becoming a huge Monroe and Hitchcock fan I can tell you! I cannot wait to watch more! My Sweetheart and I have also started watching Foyle's War as we were given the first season for Christmas. How has it taken me this long to realise how wonderful this programme is?? I love pretty much everything about it so far, the stories, the actors, the costumes, and I'm thrilled there are so many seasons to come. I'm pretty sure I may make some Foyle's War inspired outfits in the future :)

my trousers and they are pretty much finished! I will be posting about them as soon as I can persuade my Sweetheart to take some pictures of them :) They are a very different look for me, but I think I like it.

out for dinner with close friends and realising how lucky I am to have them. It was so lovely to catch up on the gossip with my girlie chums and talk the only way a big group of girls can. We ate great food and enjoyed great company and it was wonderful. I definitely hope for more nights like this in my near future!

And finally here are some of the Wonderful things going on around blogosphere this week:

Have a lovely rest of the week my lovely readers!

Katie xxx

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Intro to Pattern Cutting - Week One

Hello there my lovely readers! I have been having some adventures this week...

Yesterday I had my first lesson of "Intro to Pattern Cutting" at the fabulous Sew Over It in Clapham. I have been wanting to learn how to make my own patterns for a long time, and I've struggled to understand how it all works from instructions in books, so I thought I'd treat myself to some proper lessons. I'm so glad I did!

I loved learning new things at school, and this course was just like the best parts of a school lesson, but even better because we also had tea and cake (apple and sultana cake to be exact, yum!). During four three hours sessions, spread over four weeks, we are going to learn how to draft a basic skirt and bodice block to our own measurements, and also talk about how we can adapt and manipulate these patterns to make a whole myriad of different designs. It's pretty exciting stuff! I was also thrilled to find that our instructor was none other than Zoe of So Zo, What Do You Know? so I knew we were in the best possible hands! Plus we had a lovely chat about Me Made May :) 

During this first class we focused on our skirt patterns, drafting our front and back pattern pieces using our measurements, some calculations, a patternmaster and some pattern paper. It was incredibly satisfying, I loved every minute! After drafting our master pattern we traced off the individual pattern pieces separately and added seam allowances and pattern markings. I can't tell you how interesting I found this whole process and how much I learnt about all dress patterns in general! For example the notches on this skirt are created from the placement of the hip line marked when you first start drafting. Every single mark on a pattern is there for a reason :)

The pattern we have drafted is a simple knee length pencil skirt with two darts in the back and one in the front. Next week we will be discussing different ways in which we can alter this simple pattern to produce different kinds of skirts. Before next week I need to make a toile of my personal skirt pattern in calico. I'm very excited to see how it looks as it is the first pattern I have ever drafted!

Watch this space for more pattern drafting adventures very soon!

Katie xxx

Friday, 11 January 2013

My Just-A-Bit-Late-For-Christmas Beret!

Hi there lovely readers! Remember the Christmas jumper that I knitted at the end of last year? Well that jumper is actually part of a matching set, so I thought why not knit up the beret too? Because I'm trying to hold onto Christmas for as long as possible! (even though I am well aware that it's January now and I really should just get over it...!) Anyways, here it is in all it's glory, my just-a-bit-late-for-Christmas beret!

Any excuse to wear my cosy Christmas jumper again and I'm taking it!

In comparison to knitting the jumper this beret was a breeze, it was dead quick and dead simple and lots of fun to work on. Plus I think my colour scheme works just as well on the hat as it did on the jumper :)

I must admit I do feel a bit "over" fair isle after all this colour work, however much I love how the finished pieces look! I think my next knitting project will definitely be in a block colour, maybe with some fancy textured stitching thrown in to make up for the lack of colour work! 

For now it's time to say goodbye to my reindeer friends. What a shame I won't be able to wear this hat until next Christmas! Or won't I......?!

Bye for now!

Katie xxx

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Wednesday Wonderfuls #104

Hello my lovely readers and welcome to another Wednesday Wonderfuls post!

Images, Each Row from Left to Right:
1. Do you like my Christmas Pom Poms? 2. Strawberry bon bons, my favourite! 3. Knitting + Bletchley Circle = Bliss!
4. Peach and honey green smoothie, 5. Homemade Chilli with roasted sweet potatoes, 6. Blueberry and banana green smoothie.
7. Newly painted nails, 8. Seeing the Boy with Tape on his Face! 9. A fluffy capelet? Don't mind if I do!

This week I have been:

The Bletchley Circle, I cannot believe I missed this when it was on TV in September! The costumes are stunning, the story is very addictive, plus it stars the marvellous Anna Maxwell Martin (of South Riding, Bleak House and The Night Watch). If you haven't yet seen it I would definitely recommend it. I also watched my first Hitchcock film of the year (keeping up with my resolutions!), Rope. I can see why it isn't considered one of his best films but I really did quite enjoy it, and I'm looking forward to watching my next one...

green smoothies! My Sweetheart and I decided to try green smoothies to try and introduce more veg into our diets in a fairly painless way, and this week we tried our first two recipes (if you're interested I used this post from a Beautiful Mess to get us started). The first contained peaches, honey and oats and I really didn't get along with it, it was much too sweet for my taste! But this morning we gave the banana and blueberry recipe a try and it was scrummy, even if the colour was a little off putting! I think that adding ice to the recipe makes a huge difference, with ice the smoothie is really refreshing and tasty and without it, well, let's just say it's not my cup of tea! So far I'm finding the whole smoothie experiment great, even if they do look pretty scary :)

Going to see...
"The Boy With Tape on His Face"! My Sweetheart got me tickets to this show as a Christmas present and I was so excited to finally see "The Boy" perform live. In case you don't know, "The Boy" is pretty much a stand up comedian only he cannot speak as he has a large piece of gaffer tape over his mouth. His show involves a lot of physical comedy, props and audience participation, and it was absolutely fantastic! I can't remember the last time I laughed so much. I am so glad that I got to see "The Boy" whilst he was in London, it was a perfect present!

my first ever pair of trousers! The muslin fits so all that is left to do is sew up the fashion fabric! Dun dun DUN!! It's pretty scary, I'm not going to lie, seeing as I've never sewn trousers before (except pyjamas!) and I hardly ever wear them because I hate ill fitting trousers. It's a nerve wracking business, but hopefully it will all turn out alright!

Dreaming about...
owning my own house. After Christmas I find there is always a lot that needs sorting out, and I tend to completely reorganise everything I own, and however much I love our little flat there's really not that much room for manoeuvre! My sewing space (i.e. my little desk that houses all of my sewing equipment and supplies) is getting so overcrowded that it actually putting me off sewing, sad but true. And the rest of the flat is all ready full to bursting, every bit of storage is being used, so trying to reorganise is hard. It feels me feeling quite downhearted to be honest, because I'm a nester and I want to home to really feel like one and not have very surface covered in stuff that doesn't have anywhere else to live. So can you blame me for dreaming of a little place of my own that has space for all our things and that I can decorate exactly as I'd like (one of the sad realities of rented accommodation is that I'm stuck with furniture I don't like and I can't change it or the even the colour of the walls *sigh*). It's a far off dream, I'm pretty sure, but I want it so much. For now I guess I'll just have to work out a way to keep things organised as best I can!

But enough about me, here's what's been going on in the rest of the blogosphere this week!

That's it for another week of Wonderfuls, but I'll leave you with a little treat, a clip of The Boy with Tape on his Face! Enjoy!

Katie xxx

Saturday, 5 January 2013

My Resolutions/Goals for 2013

I love making New Year's Resolutions. I tend to feel a bit blue in January, what with the festive season being over - especially because I put so much work into Christmas, it kind of takes over my life! - so I find it very uplifting to set a few goals or make resolutions to make my life a bit better and/or more exciting for the new year. I'm not saying I always keep to them, my success rate in recent years hasn't been too good, but  I still like to try, and I love making lists so it's win win whatever way you look at it! I like to make a combination of resolutions and small goals, because you get the contrast of the long term benefits and changes of keeping a resolution together with the short term and more instantly noticeable successes of achieving small goals. So, without further ado, here are my Resolutions/Goals of 2013!

I can't say that I ever dressed like this whilst knitting...
I have already posted about these goals here, but I'd thought I'd write them here as well, just so that everything is nice and together!

Knit a jumper/cardigan with long sleeves
Knit a project using one of my vintage patterns
Sew my first ever pair of trousers
Sew a coat
Use my new found tailoring skills to make a suit

Read More
I think she's cute enough to get anyone to read!
Books were a huge passion of mine at school, I would carry a pile of them around with me everywhere and I was pretty much always reading (even sometimes when I was supposed to be working... oops!) but recently I have become incredibly lapse with my books. I find myself spending more and more time watching television or movies and less and less time with the written word and so I have decided to take a stand. I will read more books this year and I think I will much happier for it! So here is my goal:

Read at least twelve books this year

The Hitchcock/Monroe Challenge
I realise this painting has nothing to do with Alfred Hitchcock or Marilyn Monroe, but Gil Elvgren didn't ever paint anything vaguely to do with them, so I picked a pretty blonde for the Marilyn part and see what she's holding? Birds! Do you see what I did there? :)
This is a goal that I've been wanting to set for a while. I have watched a lot of costume dramas but very few films actually made in the time periods that I love. Because of this I have decided to educate myself in the ways of classic film, and to get myself started I have chosen two of the best artists of their ages: Alfred Hitchcock and Marilyn Monroe. I am so excited to start watching these films I cannot tell you!

Watch as many Alfred Hitchcock and Marilyn Monroe films as possible over the next year 
(a minimum of four of each)

Tidy House, Tidy Mind
Yup, I always knew there was I reason I disliked cleaning, it's clearly dangerous...
I can be a little messy in my everyday life, I work in a world of organised chaos, and basically I have decided that unless I start making some permanent changes I'm going to be living like this for the rest of my life! So I am resolving to live a clean and tidy life from now onwards. This resolution has three parts: my home (cleaning and general organising), my clothes (taking good care of everything, mending and organising) and my crafting (my sewing space needs some serious organising!). I'm really looking forward to the process of making my life neater and therefore, hopefully, happier!

Live a clean and tidy life

Get Out and About
If I had luggage like this I would constantly travel!
This is another twofold resolution! Firstly I want to go out walking more. I am naturally a stay in kind of girl but I want to explore more around the place that we live and spend a bit more time in the great outdoors. I really think it would be good for me, even if it is a big change! And secondly I would like to travel to a few choice places in the UK. My touring over the past year took me to some beautiful places that I would very much like to revisit, namely Edinburgh, Brighton and Bath (where I've never actually been but I'm sure I'd love it!), so hopefully I'll be planning some day trips for this year!

Go out walking more
Take trips to Edinburgh, Brighton and Bath

 Get Artistic!
Yes, if I could paint like that I'd look smug too!
This is a little extra goal that I thought I'd tag onto the end of this post because I've been thinking about it for a while, and although it may seem a small thing to some it would mean a lot to me. This year I want to paint a picture, preferably a canvas, to hang in my home. I always loved art as a child, painting and drawing, but since getting older all my crafts have moved into the more useful direction, mostly making clothes! And don't get me wrong, I adore my sewing and knitting, but I'd like to be a bit more artistic and creative just to make something beautiful. Plus I was ridiculously inspired by Cassie's stunning Christmas paintings - is there anything that this talented woman can't do?! - so much so that I'm determined to give it my best shot this year. And hopefully it won't be so awful that I can't bear to hang it in my house!

Paint a picture

Phew! I think that's enough to be getting on with don't you? Right now I'm really looking forward to everything that 2013 has in store :) How about you, have you set yourself any goals or made resolutions for the New Year?

Katie xxx

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Wednesday Wonderfuls #103

Hello there my lovely readers and welcome to a slightly new style of Wednesday Wonderfuls...

Images, Each Row from Left to Right:1. I've got my pattern and fabric for my 1940s onsie!! 2. A new-to-me sweater for New Year's day, 3. Brownie!
4. Peppermint Patty Brownies! 5. Look Sweeter in a Sweater :) 6. Treats!

This week I have been...

Thinking about...
How lucky I am to have such a loving support network of friends and family around me. This is the first festive season in three years that I have been at home and been able to spend a significant amount of time with the ones I love. It has been a real blessing and I'm so grateful :)

The Girl! I absolutely loved this little piece of drama so much that it has inspired me to make a Hitchcock themed New Year's resolution, but more on that later...

My sewing and knitting projects for 2013. The pattern above is definitely on my to-do list - I want me a 1940s onesie in retro space fabric! Hell yeah! - but first up is a project I've been dying to try for ages: trousers! My first ever self-sewn pair of trousers using this pattern to be precise, an I can't wait to get going :)

"Let's Pretend This Never Happened" by Jenny Lawson and it's been an incredible experience so far. I have laughed, cried, laughed some more, been deeply shocked and been deeply moved, and so far I've only read four chapters! I would recommend it to anyone who likes a blunter than blunt female voice (think Caitlin Moran but with even more bite). I can't wait to see how the rest of the book pans out. 

Excited About...
The endless possibilities that this New Year could bring. I'm currently in the rather scary of position of being between jobs, but instead of letting this terrify me I'm determined to see this as a chance for exciting new things to happen. I have no idea where I will be this time next year, I don't even have a clear idea of where I will be a month from now, but that's really quite exciting isn't it? Maybe this is the time for me to try something that I've always wanted to but never thought I could...

And now for some Wonderfuls from the blogosphere this week:

I hope you've been having a wonderful New year so far!

Katie xxx

I have taken the inspiration for this new kind of Wednesday Wonderfuls post from Danielle's "Currently" posts over at Sometimes Sweet. I want to share a bit more of myself on the blog this year and thought this would be a good way to do it. What are your thoughts on this new style of post? I'd love to know what you think!

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

My Makes of 2012

Well hello there my lovely readers, and a very Happy New Year to you all! I thought I'd welcome in 2013 with a look back over 2012, I've certainly been busy! I had assumed that my being on the road for pretty much the whole of 2012 had restricted my ability to extend my wardrobe, but it seems I just forgot about most of the things I made :) So without further ado here are my makes of 2012!

Knitting of 2012
Images, Each Row, Left to Right:1. Sweet as Sugar Shrug, 2. The Most Glamourous Dressing Gown in the World, 3. My Pink, Frilly Girly Bed Jacket,
4. ASIT Volume 2 cardigan, 5. Fair Isle Sweater, 6. Christmas Jumper

This year I was so thankful to have such a portable craft as knitting, it's great to pop into a suitcase and take anywhere! It's been my constant companion on the road and in every theatre I visited you would have been sure to find me tucked up in a corner knitting either before or during the show :) I think I'm most proud of my dressing gown just because of the amount of time it took to complete, weeks if not months of my life are knitted into every stitch! And I also seem to be working my way slowly through A Stitch in Time Volume 2, as three of this year's projects were taken from that beautiful book. In addition to these knitted lovelies I also took out crochet this year and made two snuggly blankets. Pretty good going on the knitting front this year I think!

Knitting Goals for 2013:
Knit a jumper/cardigan with long sleeves (I'm solely lacking in this department!)
Knit a project from one of my vintage patterns

Sewing of 2012
Images, Each Row, Left to Right:
1. Swing Dress, 2. New Girl Dress, 3. Stripey Summer Top,
4. Stripey Sundress, 5. 1950s Novelty Print Book Dress, 6. Perfectly Parisian Patisserie Pyjamas,
7. Matching Cape and Skirt, 8. Bombshell Dress, 9. Christmas Dress

I was genuinely surprised at how much I have sewn this year, constantly travelling and even getting my sewing machine stolen has not put a dent in my sewing productivity! Granted I didn't beat last year's total of 14, but I don't think that 9 is too shabby, particularly considering how much more time and technique that goes into my projects now :) The big highlight of my year is definitely my cape and matching skirt, I still can't believe I made something so beautiful! I am addicted to tailoring now so I'm predicting quite a few further projects in my future! I feel that this year has also taught me a huge amount about my personal style through my sewing projects. I look at the person I was last January and the person I am now and it' quite a transformation! I really feel that I've found my look and I'm throughly enjoying it :) Most of my projects are dresses, but I live in dresses so it works for me! But perhaps this year I'll try something new...

Sewing Goals for 2013:
Sew my first ever pair of trousers
Make a coat
Use new found tailoring magic to make a suit :)

So all in all 2012 has been great on the knitting/sewing front, bring on 2013!

Bye for now,

Katie xxx
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