Wednesday, 27 June 2012


As you can imagine something has to give when on top of a busy life I added in studying for a degree too!  I hate to say it but housework was shafted to a degree. Not the hoovering/ dusting/ mopping/ laundry that gets done every week, but those bigger less frequent jobs.

We moved into our flat 5 years ago and at the start everything was pretty organised and had a place, but as time goes on we have acquired more stuff, the children have aquired a lot more toys and things haven't been kept up as they should have done.

We have 2 big cupboards in our hallway, one is the "bike cupboard".  It has my husband's bike, spares, tools etc in there.  He is a one man workshop!  The other we have organised by using medium and large plastic boxes with lids from Matalan and Asda.  They are all stacked on top of each other. Or on the shelves in the cupbroard.  Each box is for a different thing eg gardening/ light bulbs/ paint & painting tools/ xmas decs and so on.  Plus our drill/ tool kit etc.  We don't have a garden shed or a loft/ attic/ basement to store any of this stuff in so we have to find a space in the flat.  The hoover is also in there!  We have put some hooks on the back wall to hang bags with our welly boots and walking boots in.  Plus an over the door hook for more bags of wellies and the Ocado shopping bags for online food shopping. 

The kitchen is another story, and hasn't had the same attention to detail of late.  I shuld have taken a before photo but I was just too ashamed!  I only have 3 drawers in my kitech (screams NOT ENOUGH!).  The top one is for our cutlery and a few other bits and bobs.  The bottom two are pretty deep so all kinds of stuff has been dumped in them.  Sometimes because there is nowhere else for the item or out of laziness.

On the weekend I finally tackled these two drawers and a big awkward corner cupboard.  I got rid of old, no longer fit for purpose kitchen linens.  Moved items to their rightful homes around the flat. In doing this relatively quick job I've made a ton of space!  The bottom drawer has the kitchen towels and teatowels folded nicely and ready to use.  Plus I utilised an old icecream tub for the bits and bobs that I DO WANT in the drawer.  It's not perfect, and I'll see if I can find something a bit bigger for the job.

The middle drawer has utensils in it now, I'll probably get some kind of divided container for them to stop them moving around so much.  What frustrates me is how much DEAD space is above this drawer.  I would really like some removable tray to sit on top that I could store some things in.  If anyone knows of such a thing please point me in the right direction.

It's small steps and I still have to do our larder cupboard which is full of CRAP!  The door is organised as husband fitted a load of handy hooks on it for the broom, dustpan and brush etc But inside it's just not working.  See?  NOT PRETTY!  The wheely rack (which used to be our veg rack in a previous home is just wasting space) and I have too many plastic bags that are not really needed.  This is my next task, along with the upper corner cupboard which is a disgrace too!!

Having had an inspirational look on Pinterest I came across this brilliant blog The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking and a series called 31 Days to an organised house.  I love this series, loads of great, cheap ideas to sort your home out with.

I will be tidying, sorting, binning, recycling as necessary and I haven't even mentioned by bedroom wardrobes!!!!  That's a whole other post!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

It boils down to this

Tomorrow I have a lovely 3 hour exam to cover this little lot on the table, I'm not feeling that confident.

The above is to blame for my time away from here.  It's all for an OU course.  I have 2 more years after this, as long as I pass.

Wish me luck, and I'll see you on the other side!  xox

Monday, 11 June 2012

small raccoon anyone?

Yesterday we went for a walk in the countryside and suddenly a small furry mammal appeared right by our feet.  Here's our video of it.  My eldest son is aiming to become the next Steve Backshall, he has a long way to go as he called the shrew a small raccoon (no they don't live in Britain!)

We had fun and then on our way home a ferret/ stoat/ weasel ran across the road in front of us, unfortunately the camera was not on at that point!

It all made the trip that bit more exciting!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

free craftsy classes

If you haven't been tempted to dip into Craftsy yet (which I thoroughly recommend that you do) then there are a few free taster classes to wet your appetite.

The first is a Sewing Machine 911 - which as it says on the tin is about maintaining your machine

The second for quilters is the Craftsy's Block of the Month.

I have signed up to both of Gertie's courses (more for techniques to apply to projects that I want to make and to the Susan Khalje class, the Couture Dress.

Have you tried any of their classes?  What do you think of them?

If you are after some other free tutorials, then there are some great sewalongs for different clothes patterns on the web.  Also check out Tilly's tutorial for her button down picnic blanket skirt that she made in gingham.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

talking it over

I turned on BBC Radio 4 and started half listening when I realised I recognised the story.  It's a dramatisation of Julian Barne's book talking it over which I would highly recommend.  Catch it on i-player for a week or buy/ borrow the book and its sequel, Love Etc.

Friday, 8 June 2012

independent pattern companies

Firstly an apology.  I've taken a lot on in the last 9 months, hence the lack of posting.  Pretty soon I'll have a bit more time to do some things and with that in mind, the following, new (to me), pattern companies have caught my eye.

In no particular order here are my views:

Sewaholic is a Canadian company run by Tasia.  She only has a few patterns so far, but they are already getting great reviews on blogsville.  I have nearly finished the Cambie dress, and can heartily recommend the pattern. Photos coming in a week or two!

Image of 1202 Cambie Dress

Colette Patterns, have been around for 2-3 years (I've mentioned them before)  Again well written patterns, great blog with tips and tutorials. Also Sarai has written a book, which I have and would recommend.

Salme Sewing Patterns is a company that I discovered via Craftsy that looks really appealing.  It's a British company with lots of contemporary simple tops, dresses and skirts.  I love this pleated T-shirt, I'm pretty sure I'll be making it soon, maybe in a navy chiffon fabric.  These patterns are downloadable, so a bit more faff, but cheaper and quicker to get.

  Image of  PDF Printable Sewing Pattern - T-shirt with pleats

Grainline Studios is small with just 3 patterns, but I'm sure more will be coming soon.  I've downloaded the Scout Woven Tee (below)  for $4.50 which looks like a wardrobe staple pattern.  Good reviews around the web as well about it.
Image of Scout Woven Tee

Pattern Runway has an informative blog and is selling downloadable patterns via Etsy, here are a selection:  I like the style here, again a contemporary look and good feedback.

Easy Short Sleeved Dress Pattern - Elastic Waist,  Short Kimono SleeveGorgeous Pussy Bow Blouse PDF Pattern that you can make at homeGathered Sundress PatternWomen's Draped Skirt Pattern

Here are a few other sites that I still need to look at:

Victory Patterns

Megan Nielson - who also has maternity sewing patterns.

And a recent blog post by Gertie on fitting dress patterns helped me choose more wisely what size Cambie Dress Pattern to cut out.  I suggest you take a look!  It's about looking at the finished garment size rather than the measurement table e.g. if you are 34 bust, 28 waist, 36 hip you need an x which usually leads to a wrong size dress.  I've certainly found that, ending up with huge waistbands on skirts etc.

Happy looking and hopefully I'll have a few projects sewn up soon!