Tuesday, 26 October 2010

To blog or not to blog?

The more I blog the more I find myself interested in other people's blogs. I find myself clicking into half a dozen of the ones I visit most regularly instead of doing the job in hand - blogging myself.

I think of myself as well behind the curve in the blogosphere, in that I am technically challenged and only just getting to grips with the idea of sharing some elements of my life with a very public audience. But some of you out there have been doing this for years. And years and years. Some have even finished one blog and started another.

I do find myself becoming a bit of a blog snob though. Huge pictures from other people's sites / brochures / catalogues with no dialogue other than 'I just love this' doesn't do it for me, and nor does a blog which has clearly turned the corner and become a commercial website. A link to etsy or folksy is fine, as is a page of the kinds of things you make, but front page ads? In fact, ads of any description are offputting.

If I ever head in this direction, poke me with a Mac pointer.

But I do love the blogs that chat, give insight and illustrate. There is certainly a dialogue that I as the reader am happy to play my part of, even if it is only as a stat in the page traffic. I like to go back and find out what happened next (or before) and to link out to the blogs which have inspired the writers I enjoy.

I guess what I am stumbling towards is the conclusion that one of the reasons I enjoy blogging is other bloggers. You are all just far to good at it!

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Stitching and a bit of bitching

These are the remnants of the very first (but still long overdue) sewing group evening last night.

I think we all made some progress, caught up on a bit of gossip and got a bit of inspiration for new projects. Which, of course, is the whole point.

It was also nice to get a reminder that other folk are doing the same things as me even though it often feels like a slightly isolated world. Taking a planned break from work is an incredible luxury, but does have the down side of increasing the amount of time spent alone. With a sewing machine. And, on occasion, a distinct lack of inspiration.

Looking forward to the next one already.

And in case you were interested, the projects in progress are shirt alterations for a husband who is hard on his cuffs, the making of a beautiful blouse and a very funky handbag. More later...

Monday, 18 October 2010

Things I discovered today

Today, I walked into the city from home, a journey of just over an hour on foot each way.

On a mixture of country lanes, suburban roads and city streets, this affords a pretty good opportunity to have a mooch about and mull over stuff in general. Today though, I was distracted. And these are the reasons why:

1 - I was badly dressed. Two hours of walking requires sensible shoes: a ladies lunch calls for Jimmy Choos. Or at least shoes of a far less sensible variety.

2 - Aforementioned sensible shoes have developed a squeak. Annoying on any level, but particularly because it sometimes did it and sometimes didn't.

3 - A threat of rain called for an equally sensible coat which blew about like a flag all the way there and has now got fluff from my scarf attached to all of it's velcro bits. Wrong scarf, wrong coat, wrong everything!

On the up side, I caught up with a great friend, resisted the cake in the cafe, bought a fantastic and less flappy bargain coat, acquired a few library books and got some exercise. And the sensible shoes did mean that I could swooosh through all of the autumn leaves that are already starting to pile up everywhere. Beat that, Jimmy Choo!

Friday, 15 October 2010

Bunting bonanza

More bunting!

This lot was for my niece and I am pleased to say that
a - she liked it
b - I liked it too

This is important, because it means that I have now experimented enough with techniques and materials to be pretty sure I have something I would be happy to share with other people.

Maybe, even, paying customers...

It seems silly talking about experimenting with something as simple as bunting. I have made ballgowns that have given far more stretch to the grey matter. But there is something genuinely scary about putting your name onto a product in the hope that someone will pay good money for it. It has to be worth it and worth having my name attached to it.

I think this lot is just about there. Feels like a landmark!

Monday, 11 October 2010

Starting a saga

Has anyone else read these?

I must have heard the Forsyte Saga mentioned a thousand times but have never read it. Not quite sure how such a classic has passed me by, despite years spent doing nothing much else but read novels of a similar era at university. And a friend has just put me to shame by reading the lot, and loving it.

So, having 'borrowed' them from my Mum (my bookshelves are full of books 'borrowed' from Mum!) I got started. Five books in, I can now quite honestly recommend them. There really are some fantastic characters and great plotlines.

While it isn't quite un-put-down-able, it is a lovely one to curl up with, or take on holiday. I'll miss Soames, Jolly, Holly, Fleur, Annette and their houses, pets, cars and businesses when they reach their conclusions.

But it will open a gap for Mma Ramotswe and her many investigations, which have also been borrowed from a friend. She has a lot to live up to.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Bags of fun

I have to say, I loved making this!

As something I can actually use rather than look at, it was really very satisifying. It also used some fabric that I bought on an impulse but that has not been quite right for anything so far. The little blue flowers seem to match the stripe pretty well and the white stars are an upcycling bargain. £2 for some curtains, which once dismantled turn out to be Laura Ashley fabric. My favourite kind of bargain!

I have also just received a bundle of festive fabrics which spell the start of the season to be merry. Can it be October already?

Monday, 4 October 2010

Stopping doors

This has been languishing in the UFO box for a while, after being employed as football by a number of nephews. Having established it has great aerodynamics, I have finally finished it off and given it an identity as a doorstop.

I adapted it from a web based tutorial and am quite pleased with the way it turned out. It is trickier than I thought to estimate the size of things from a number of pattern pieces, which has resulted in this being bigger than I origanally intended, but better that way around. Pieces are easy to trim down.

The 'stalk' is a roll of felt handstitched together. As no-one can help using the stalk to pick it up I may have to make it a bit more robust!
It has been a busy few weeks for sewing, more posts to follow.