Friday, 30 March 2012

celebrate the ordinary- friday am

Marmite on toast all round.  It's an acquired taste! A big thing round here is that T is now able and willing to make toasr and marmite himself. 
Part of what I like about reading blogs are the little glimpses into other peoples' lives.  I am nosey - yes I know. But I also like the celebrate the ordinary and everyday.  Too soon this will all be over, the kids will grow up, leave home and I will be a crazy old woolly hat wearing, catinapram lady, talking to myself.  Although probably I will be having to go out to work in my dotage given the way the world is changing!  So in the spirit of celebrating the ordinary and being nosey, here are glimpses of our weekday early morning, two weeks ago on a friday to be exact.
A quick bit of Cbeebies in slippers and pyjamas

I like my muesli with fruit and yoghurt, the kids like it all separate, so they have cereal, then fruit, then yoghurt.

While I do a nappy change and feed, there's a few minutes for T to do a bit of  his new jigsaw

And time for Ittle I to draw

Some of us look a lot cuter than others on the school run

A quick supermarket stop-off for lunchbox smoothies

They may be old and battered but they are comfortable

This is the height of village traffic action, a skip holding up the road
Soundtrack: Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros is on repeat play in my car.  
It is Little I's favourite song and she shouts to have it played over and over whenever she's in the car.  We hear it four to five times before we reach school. 

Back from school, I have my morning coffee - yipee

And breathe out....after today we have two weeks of school holidays so no more morning rushing.  Hurray.
Now, over to you, please feel free to share your own early mornings, I am curious to know what everone else eats for breakfasr. 

Monday, 26 March 2012

train them young- thrifting weekend

Picture this : Saturday morning at about a quarter to eight.  I got dressed and then said to the children "Come on we are going out.  Get dressed now".  "What??" Indignantly from T who likes his pyjama time at weekends. "Where are we going?"
Me:  Oh, it's really exciting... we are going to a table top sale in a village hall"
"Wha-a-tttt? What's a table top sale?"  I then filled in with an explanation, he was unimpressed. Me:(in excited and probably highly patronising voice) "You can bring your pocket money from Grandma.  It is a bit like a treasure hunt"  Him (in weary tones): "But without any clues" 
So they got dressed, got their pocket money and we got there at about ten past nine.
As the village hall was quite small and the sale was not too busy,  I let them wander and choose.  They did keep checking with me before buying. 
Want to see their loot?
1 lizard, 50p
notebook,25p sticky labels, 20p
mini highlighters 20p (all brand new, a lady was selling new stationary)
 a Mario dvd 25p, a china frog, 50p.

The beautiful frog with a paper mache space alien

I love that he showed me the frog at home and said "I chose it because it is so beautiful".  It may not be beautiful to me, but I am happy that he is developing his own aesthetic sense.  He then went to put it on his display shelf.  (His display shelf is a special place to put treasures out of the reach of his sister.  You need that if you have a little sister like his!)

 I may be hopelessly misguided, but I think I am teaching T and Little I not only to thrift, but also to think about the value of things, the possibilities of buying second hand and how to decide how to spend and manage their own money in little baby steps.  Like it or not, they are growing up in a consumer-driven world and they will have to learn how to make choices.  T sometimes finds it hard to talk to new people and after the intial shyness, he relaxed and was able to ask stallholders on his own for prices.  Little I is also learning about money at school and she was very keen to use her new knowledge.  She does need a bit of help as she confuses pounds and pence.  Here is her loot:

A purse she can open and close on her own (always a bonus), 25p

Sticky labels (because her brother had some) 20p
Fireman Sam and fire engine 50p
Small plastic house 25p
A stall holder gave her a bracelet
And me?

3 necklaces for £1
2 glue sticks and some handmade paper for collages - 20p each
A crotcheted blanket £1
A hanging pink thing for Little I's new bedroom 50p
An ikea picture frame with plastic not glass,  destined to be painted pink and for Little I's bedroom  50p (not photographed)
a pink tee shirt for me and a pink polo shirt to make into a polo shirt dress for Little I - 50p each


Pink hanging "rocket"
Both children wanted the colourful blanket so are supposed to be sharing it.  Little I claimed it last night and slept wrapped up in it.  After orange squash and biscuits at the sale we went to a nearby village to collect T's new school shoes from the shoe shop.  One thing I buy new for my children is shoes.  They both have narrow feet and can be hard to fit.  I try and go to an independent small shop for our shoes and have found a very good one in a village near to us.  Their prices are not higher than those of Clarks who are probably the main children's shoe brand in the UK. Having had a few visits to Clarks where they have been unable to fit Little I, and unable to order in for me, I gave up on them.  In the small shoe shop the owner ordered T's school shoes and they came in two days later.  I sound like an old lady here but I realise how great it is to have good service like that. 

Anyway, shoe-based rant over, we went in the charity shop opposite the shoe shop and I found this perfect cardigan for Little I.  It is handknitted and fits her exactly.  I love it, the colour and the shape, the double breasted-ness and the buttons and the pattern.  Can you tell that I was really wishing this cardigan was in my size?  I also found a notice board for T's bedroom. 

Finally to finish off our thrifting weekend I got this green stool for T.  I am in the middle of trying to organise  his room.  A few weeks ago my friend helped me move an old desk of Mr Minnado's into T's bedroom and he needed a stool or chair that will go under the desk when not in use.  I found one this morning at a second hand shop near school for a couple of pounds. 

Shouldn't we all have a display shelf?

Friday, 23 March 2012

family fashion archive

Today, I have an exciting new project to share - together with Alessa from Farbenfreude.  I was intrigued when Alessa recently posted some of her family's old photos and was compelled to post some of my own.  Well after a bit of thought (though not too much) we have created a new flickr group Family Fashion Archive.  It is a place to share photos of past fashions and inspiration for future sewing.  I hope you will be inspired to join in.  You can go to the group  and see Catherine's amazing 19th century pictures, Alessa's images which span the 1940s to 1960s and my own which are from the 60s and early 70s.
My mum, somewhere in Minnesota, in the early 60s.  I love the sleeve shape on the coat
This lady is unknown - my mum cannot remember who she is!  But she is by the Mississipi River in about 1962
  We have set the group up so that you need to be invited to join if you want to post pictures but you can still comment as a nonmember.  Please either contavt us via the flickr page or comment here or over at Alessa's blog(with your flickr contact name).   Despite being super busy with her internship, Alessa found time to make a button.  My problem today is I cannot figure out how to add the grab box code.  I hope to amend this soon!

I am hoping that eventually we will be able to see new outfits inspired by some of the archive photos. Hope to some of you over in that there flickr.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Sunny sunshine

The lovely Donna from nid du tissus nominated me for a Sunshine Award.  Thank you, Donna.
 I have to answer some questions and nominate 10 blogs which bring sunshine to my life.  Donna and I share a similar reading list so some of the blogs I would have automatically nominated were on her list, so I have tried not to repeat any nominations!

completely irrelevent illustration

Anyway here are my Q&A:

Favourite colour:  Yellow
Favourite animal: um...I don't really have one...
Favourite number: 8
Favourite non-alcoholic drink: Coffee (real not instant)
Facebook or twitter: Facebook, in a very limited way.
My passion: um, after my family...making and making, oh and making
Getting or giving presents: Both
Favourite Pattern: Sew U skirt block, so easy to adapt and reuse
Favourite day of the week: I like them all!
Favourite flower: Peony or dahlias

Favourite celebrity role model: I don't have one, I am not drawn into celebrity culture, unless you count Louise Burgeois or Frank Auerbach? Hang on, does Katherine Hepburn count as celebrity? I see a difference between celebrity (a bit vapid) and proper film star.  Am I getting too serious here?

And blogs:

Tors at girlmeetswolf
Luna Landing
Mari at Pieces of Fab
Clare at A zigzag path
Caroline at Gran Plumley
Jackie at Blissfully Imperfect
Magpie Mimi
Tamsin at pimpmycurtains (love the blogname)
Rachel at Orange and Green

and one extra: Miss Dibs who I am keeping fingers crossed for as she's stuck in a waiting game.

Friday, 16 March 2012

FO: Nora tee shirt

Detail of fabric
 Two weeks ago I was having a bad day, nothing major but a more than usually sleepless night, feeling so crappy, squabbling children before school, Little I getting soaked while teeth cleaning and having to change all her clothes just as we were due to leave, then instead of being able to go home and have a rest, I had to be at the doctor's for my routine postnatal check and the baby clinic.  To top off  my bad mood I stepped in some dog poo outside the surgery.  Who takes their dog for a poo right outside a doctors' surgery?  And leaves it there? 
By the time I got home I was fed up. But then my day brightened up as a friend dropped by bearing gifts.  A gift that would brighten any sewer's day I think....a bin bag of old fabrics that her mum was going to throw out.  Dog poo, arguments, sleeplessness were all dissolved. 
Finished top
 The fabrics were mostly manmade and there are some that will make good lining fabric - something I am slack at buying.  There was also this patterned fabric - I am guessing it is a polyester.  It has a slight stretch and a slight sheen to it.  The pattern reminded me of an old friend's art work from when we were students together. 
I set to and over the next week, in little tiny steps, made myself a Nora top.  The pattern is from Ottobre Autumn/Winter 2010.  I made one before so already had the pattern pieces traced and cut out. 
The Nora pattern

I have to confess I sewed this up really quite badly.  I used a zig zag setting on my machine.  There is no high quality finishing - but luckily no fraying with this synthetic fabric.  I omitted the interfacing for the yoke.  I handstitched the hem and the sleeve hems.  This was because I can do handsewing in the car outside school while Rocket Girl naps.  I am not sure how long this top will last.  But right now I am in an awkward place with what to wear, lots of my old tops are a bit too tight in the chest and I don't want to spend lots of time and energy making new tops when I will be changing shape again once I stop feeding Rocket Girl. (I hope)  So this top fills a gap which in turn fits with my sewing plans and aspirations - to make a wardrobe that fits my life and I actually wear.   

You cannot see this season's accessory du jour: baby sick on the left shoulder.

Nora tee over Lumpy Me (hey, I am a poet)
Now you may think I am mad to even attempt sewing with an eight week old baby but it is a kind of therapy and relaxation for me.  I have made a little summary below of some dos and don'ts if you sew with a baby:
DO: choose a pattern you have sewn before, something simple and something already cut out
DON'T: Choose a new pattern which requires a muslin, fitting and thought
DO: Use cheap or old fabric you are not attached to
DO: Keep your sewing machine and equipment in an easy to reach place - for once not having a special craft/sewing room is a bonus as my sewing stuff is in the dining room and I don't have to walk far or make any effort to get it out
DO: Pick a project that can be broken down into ten minute bursts of activity
DON'T: Beat yourself up if it goes wrong, or set yourself any time-related goals
DON'T: Try to be a perfectionist
DO: Enjoy it!

Sunday, 4 March 2012

1960s style in family photos

After reading Alessa's post (at - I can't do links at the moment. My blogger interface is only showing half the usual buttons) with her photos of her family, I was inspired to respond with a few of my own. Mostly they are of my mum and my sister. As the eldest by a good few years there are lots of pics of my sister in the collection. My favourite is her red trousers summer outfit. I would like a pair of red trousers like that myself. I'd also like my mum's monochrome beach outfit in the top photo.

These pictures were all slides, as my parents had a slide camera as a wedding present. The slides cover a period of about 6 years. Then I guess my dad got a film camera as the "normal" photo albums strart and the slides end. A few years ago I began getting my dad's slides put into digital format. I started printing them into book format for my dad when he was ill with dementia.

Oh and I am in one of these photis...guess which one? Clue: my love of red shoes started early.