Sometimes It’s Fine To Give Up

So the Moneta party is coming up! If you’ve not heard about it, It’s an Instagram in which we make the Moneta dress by Colette.

As happens with anything with any form of deadline or pressure (even if it’s imagined) I panicked and messed up.

And then gave up.

Previously I made a small version, it fit fine but I thought I could use a little more give around the waist.

moneta

This time I tried the size up in a Cotton and Viscose Jersey blend. The fabric is gorgeous but unfortunately, I managed to stretch it out beyond any recognizable shape. After yelling at my sewing machine a few times and snapping several pieces of clear elastic, it was time to give up.

Next time I’m going to just stick with the smaller size and use more stable fabric. Any further rescue attempts are not worth my sanity.

20170123_192051.jpg

This fetching fabric caught my eye at Crafty Sew & So, I’m somewhat smitten with it. Normally I go for more of muted tone but who can resist the allure of peacock feathers? It’s a Viscose Jersey, and shouldn’t stretch too easily. If I use the Sewing Cafe at Crafty Sew & So  I can make my next Moneta on an overlocker should make things a lot simpler and quicker.

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year?

I am trying not to apologise for not posting in some time. I can only post when I feel mentally well enough to do so, recently I have not.

 The madness of Christmas has passed, after four days of intense socialising and festive fun I collapsed under the weight of a migraine. It passed after a couple of days but I can still feel the heaviness lingering at the edge of my temples, ready to strike at the slightest provocation.

As anyone with mental health issues knows, the Christmas season is an intensely difficult time of year. The pressure builds steadily through late November and December culminating in one day in which it is of the highest imperative to be merry. Heaven forfend if you don’t see every family member on this holiest of sacred days.

There is an extra pressure when issues around food arise. Anyone who has been reading this blog for any amount of time knows I suffer from an eating disorder. in the past few years, I have gained two stone and am now at a healthy weight. Although I am physically well the psychological issues around eating have not vanished. I have a sneaking suspicion they never will.    There is a strange association with emotions and eating around Christmas. I find people using languages which I associate with having an ED. They ‘allow’ themselves to eat certain foods. An indulgence often followed by a promise to diet, even from people of a healthy weight. This isn’t helped by societal and commercial norms. Christmas is for bingeing. The new year is for restricting. When I worked at Waterstones the new year was the most loathsome time of year. Books insisting fasting is a healthy lifestyle choice littered a table with the heading ‘New Year New You.’

There is nothing wrong with the old you!

 I did not intend this post to be a rant,  In truth, I wasn’t going to write much at all. All my frustrations came all too easily.

On to happier things. This Morning my eagerly awaited delivery from Fatface arrived. On boxing day I took full advantage of the sale and spent the majority of my Christmas money on a fine array of clothes. I’m wearing as many as I physically can in one go right now.

There’s only a skirt and coat which is set to one side…for now.

Sewing my own clothes has made a huge difference to my shopping habits. I’m finding myself looking at the composition of fabrics and avoiding certain shops, knowing I could do a better job of making the clothes. However, Fatface clothes are impeccably made with good fabrics and sturdy finishes. I’ve found this to also be the case with Cath Kidston, Joules, Seasalt and others with a high price tag to match. Thank goodness for sales.

I hope everyone survived Christmas, it’s over now. There’s a whole year to go before the next one.

Thanks for reading

x

This Cake is Damn Good

My last post was about taking inspiration from Great British Bake Off.This week’s inspiration came in the form of Earl Grey and lemon drizzle loaf cake, originally it was going to be lady grey because I prefer the flavour but  it turns out I don’t have any so I went for the good old Earl instead. I essentially followed Urvashi Roe’s recipe, but used a normal loaf tin, instead of mini loaf cases. Unbeknownst to me she was in series two of GBBO.

My first stumbling block was not actually reading the recipe properly. I managed to get a nasty skin on top of the milk. After a mild anxiety attack,  I threw away the first lot, read the recipe and started again!

The mixture was exceptionally light and fluffy with  only a small amount of tea-infused milk.

A lovely cup of tea is the perfect accompaniment.

 

My Makes…

Things are not perfect. However, I am now able to gather enough focus and energy to write this post. Last time I wrote about obsessively making things in order to avoid negative thoughts. I’m not quite comfortable having photos taken, that will have to wait for later posts.

This is the first time I ever worked with viscose. My advice. Start simple. Although this top is not complex there are a few fiddly bits, such as the collar and pocket, which were a nightmare with the slippery fabric.  It didn’t help that I decided to add cotton to the collar. although it added stability, it was difficult to piece the cotton and viscose together.

I made sleep shorts next, using a pattern from one of the Crafty Sew & So Workshops. I managed to complete the shorts in less than four hours. Essentially, I copied a pair of Pj bottoms I brought from gap a few  years ago. The little tab and button create a nice cuff.

I was on a roll. Having a bit of viscose left over I made the shorts from Tilly and the Buttons Fifi set. they came together in no time, so I added a tiny pompom trim.The band was so thin, apply the trim probably took more time than making the shorts.

My next project is the Alder Dress from Grainline. I’m really looking forward to using the ditsy flower print. Just to add a bit of interest, and because I’m falling in love with viscose, I will make the yoke out of a dark navy viscose.

 

 

I’m exhausted now. Time to crawl under a blanket and ignore the world.

 

 

An Illusion Of Control

I’m shutting myself off again. Pushing through days, focusing on minutia and ignoring my emotions. There are many ways in which I isolate myself.  Over the past couple day’s my method has been sewing. I finished a tricky viscose top and made two pairs of sleep shorts. These projects have filled my mind, taken focus and concentration. I regain the illusion of control.

Issues arise when the project is complete. All those negative thoughts and feelings crash down on me. I grasp out for something else. Anything to stop the sick twisting of my gut. I pick up another project. All is well until fatigue takes me. I fall, crumpled in a corner, alone, crying.

It’s my friends birthday coming up at the end of the month. I’m too scared to say I’m not well enough to go. I know if I wait I will feel worse.I’m scared she’ll think me callous or uncaring.

My old work colleagues are trying to arrange a reunion. I cannot reply to any messages. I was at my lowest point when I worked with them. An unexplainable fear overwhelms me each time the memories leak into the present.

My husband suggested I should write a list of things I did today as that can often help put things into perspective.

  • Pilates
  • Cup of tea with ladies after pilates
  • Tidied back bedroom
  • Made Tilly and the Buttons Fifi bottoms in viscose

It doesn’t look particularly impressive, though the shorts took me about four and a half hours and I added cute little pompom trim to the hem. I don’t have the energy to share pictures right now. I don’t even feel particularly happy with having completed them, just desperate to do something else to regain that numbness.

I hope soon that I will feel in moderation. Then I can post about all the wonderful things I’ve created. I can explain how it was all just a blip and my life is a bunch of fucking roses (sorry mum).

Wish me luck, or health, or whatever you think will help.

Featured Image by one of my favourite artists, Chiara Bautista

Mountain Walks and Handmade Clothes

The Dolomites were exceptional.  We stayed in a beautiful town called Selva Val Gardena, or Wolkenstein if you’re a German speaker.  Writing every day, I’ve managed to collect snapshots of the holiday. I’m hoping to get that all written up  by the end of the week on my other blog, but for now, I thought I’d share some of my homemade outfits.

One of the great things about this holiday, besides the mountain walks,  was the routine. Even though I was away from the comfort and safety of home I still felt as though I was in control of my own environment. there were definitely times when I wobbled, mostly when trying to explain what vegetarian meant, whilst only remembering the german word for meat (Fleisch, by the way). For any vegetarians out there it’s Ich esse kein Fleisch.

P1030558.JPG

Anyway back to the point. The hotel we stayed in was fantastic. At around eight I meandered down for a breakfast buffet and cup of tea. After that, it was time to change into walking clothes and off for a walk around the mountains.  Then it was back to the hotel in time for tea and cake at three o’clock. The Spa was open from four til seven. Dinner was then served at quarter past seven. This routine gave  the delightful experience of being able  to dress for breakfast and dinner.

 selva1

This was the very first day, I changed out of my yucky travelling clothes and into my handmade circle skirt. The was a thunderstorm which was a blessing after the long journey.

selva2

My circle skirt to the rescue again. Walking, the day before, left me with sunburn. I borrowed my husbands cotton shirt to keep my tomato red arms protected.   Despite the bulky shoulders I actually really like the style.

 

dress1 (1)
Sorry for the bad lighting here, it was so bright!

 

20160701_155954

These were really useful dresses to slip on of an evening, particularly on the hotter nights, It’s lovely being able to throw on a loose fitting dress after an afternoon in the spa. You can see in the second photo I am somewhat floppy from the spa.

 

20160702_111120

My final piece of home made clothing is the Coco jumper. I only wore it on the final day of the holiday, it was great when the air-conditioning on the couch and aeroplane kicked in.

If I were to pack again (and there’s already talk of going back) I would make another skirt and bring another dress with long sleeves to protect my delicate delicate skin.  I have this gorgeous dress which I wore a couple of evenings. However, it’s too nice for an everyday wear.

 

20140623_102739
This is an old photo, I think  it was taken about  two years ago. It’s uncomfortable to look at. The smile is strained. I fill the dress very differently now I’m at a healthy weight.

 

I love the sleeves on the Sewaholic pattern, but I think the overall pattern on the grainline (left) will suit me most. Also, the collar would be useful to protect my neck from the sun. I’ll have to figure out how to make those long sleeves.

Thanks for reading

x

When things go wrong

It’s been  a tough couple of weeks. I’ve coped with it by closing in on myself. Isolation is my go-to defense mechanism. As such blogging has been on the light side.  Writing posts ensures I look outside my own shrinking world and gain a little perspective.  Things have settled down a little now and I’m ready to rejoin the world again, or at least my own little, safe corner of the world.

Recently I haven’t made much. I started making a blanket from a gorgeous robot cotton and mint dimple fleece. I laid it all out flat and pinned together. I then embarked upon the quest of free hand quilting.

Suffice to say, it didn’t work, the stitches looked great on the top layer but terribly puckered on the dimple fleece side. Unfortunately, I didn’t see this until I was about half way through.

I’ve been un-picking ever since. I’m still planning on making the blanket but it will be with a simple stitching around the edge. I think it’s best I have another go at freehand quilting on a much smaller project with cotton backing.

 

 

 

Little Crafty Things

I’ve got lots of lovely things to share this week. Most excitingly, My Dottie Angel Frock  is finished!

dress2

I’m really happy with how it has turned out. There was a lot of superfluous bias binding but it ended up being useful for backing my embroidered top stitching. It’s really comfy to wear. I added interior pockets which complicated things a little as the pattern called for French seams. I’ve never added pockets before but, besides on being slightly smaller, they turned out just fine. I want to make another dress from the same pattern with some lovely light denim we have at Crafty Sew & So.

I’ve received my first ever Buddy Box from The Blurt Foundation. It’s full of lovely goodies including this kit from The Make Arcade.

IMG_20160417_162932

It was a perfect little activity, not too complicated just enough to keep my mind, and hands, busy.

Last week I went for a lovely Blogger’s meet up at Sew Essential, Crafternoon tea brought in some lovely fabrics and embroidery thread. I found this pretty Bicycle print in their stash.

IMG_20160417_164202.jpg

I finished embroidering the bikes at home, I’m enjoying my little crafts at the moment.  I took my mum to a workshop at Crafty Sew & So, in late March, to make a pretty fabric doll. I’ve finished mine the other day. Here she is in the garden.

IMG_20160417_163456.jpg

Finally, yesterday I went to another workshop at Crafty Sew in So with my friend. We got to  grips with an over-locker and both left with gorgeous cowl scarves.

here’s mine.
image

Thanks for reading x

So Many Unfinished Things

I’ve fallen out with my jersey tank top. it’s a very fiddly material. I was full of confidence after my first attempt and then flippantly began the next one. So flippant was I, that I didn’t think I needed jersey needles for this new tricky material.  I then, in my impatience, began sewing the neckline with brown thread because I ran out of black. It doesn’t look great.

20160312_181539

I have now brought some jersey needles and black thread.  However I  feel somewhat soured toward the project. I want to have the top but am not inspired to unpick the neckline.  There is another top of the same pattern that I need to make as a sample for the shop, but as that is a beautiful satin material, it is going to be more difficult than the jersey one.

My next unfinished object, I don’t feel too bad about, as it’s not been too long since I started. I booked a workshop for me and my mum at Crafty Sew & So to make an adorable hand stitched doll.

s470722780538407747_p78_i2_w596

Out of habit, I ended up using back stitching. I also chose the doll with fantastic hair, which meant it had the largest outline. I  took forever stitching around the doll. She is waiting to be finished in a bag full of wadding.   I’ll pop a photo of my doll on here when I’m done. 

The final thing I have yet to make is probably the  main reason I haven’t finished any of the previous projects. I recently ordered the Dottie Angel Dress pattern as I saw it advertised in Mollie Makes. I wanted to get started on it straight away. dottie-angel-dress-patter

 

I couldn’t decide what fabric I wanted to make it out of so I picked up a lot of lovely fabrics from Crafty.

20160331_105810 (1)

20160331_114047 (1)
Lanni was very helpful up until she started chewing on the pattern. 

 I used the two spotty cottons, green for the main part and navy for the base. I was going to use a white cotton with deer print for the pockets, but on a whim, I decided to do some satin top stitching along the join.  I didn’t want to hide the embroidery  so I am not going to add pockets for this dress. I’ve already cut the pockets out so will make another dress or tunic for them to go on.

20160403_115219.jpg

20160403_115318
I love these tucks

I am working on trying to get back into a routine. I can feel that I am throwing myself into  this project. Last night, after getting back from crafty, I worked until half ten making the dress. By the time I got to bed I was exhausted and found my head spinning. This morning I have spent   a long time resting and writing. This is not my routine. By now I should be up dressed and feeling ready to face the world. Instead I am hiding in my room, not wanting to start the day again. I wrote a post yesterday on disrupted routines, after going to Wales last weekend it’s been really difficult getting back into my routine.

Routine is a tricky thing. I know it helps, but at the same time putting pressure to keep to a routine is counter intuitive. essentially I just need to give myself a break. It is difficult doing new things. The trip to Wales was incredibly tiring. I deal far better with small groups. As it was Easter there were a lot of family gatherings and meals out.

12063516_10156676574165291_2822427157341487536_n
Easter Sunday Lunch
12512228_10208152574908752_2246326652602817168_n
Big Family Meet-up
6802_734553669293_2289473095663916799_n
Tom and Me at the Rabbit Hole with Tom’s Cousins, Leanne and Charlotte. Small gatherings are just better.

 

Asthma, Bunnies and Pie Charts

This week I’ve been struggling somewhat with the precarious balancing act of recovery. I am slowly becoming an active and autonomous person in this world. That fact is absolutely terrifying. I am attempting to be part of the world but not letting it overwhelm me.

I now exercise…yes it’s true. I have been to two whole pilates classes and am attempting to start kick-boxing. though I pushed myself too hard on the cardio at the kick-boxing on Thursday and my chest is still aching from my asthma attack. Attack sounds dramatic but I’m not sure what to call it. Incident? Episode?

Either way it was rotten.

I’m pretty keen to keep this exercise routine put. The problem is exercise was one of my negative coping mechanisms when I was suffering severely from my eating disorder. My therapist says that classes are good because there is a set end time so I cannot exercise to excess.  I was thrown entirely at pilates last week when Courage by Superchic came on the playlist, a song about living with an eating disorder.

The Internet is a major issue here. If we ignore all the horrible and depressing articles about  we are still left with disgusting adverts encouraging to ‘loose weight with this one simple trick’.

Ok thats is my rant over with…for the time being anyway here are the things I;ve been up to this week

Monday

scribbled novel.jpg

Scribbling though the first part of my novel and having lots of fun with pie charts . I’m ensuring I have all the elements of my novel stuck in my head before I go on to write the next part.

 

Tuesday

image (9)

More pie charts! It only took two days of writing every minute detail of each page to make me feel a little bit like I might be loosing perspective. to see more strange ramblings check out my other blog Today I Wrote…

Wednesday

comic

I left the house, read stories to the little ones at the library then went into Crafty Sew & So. It felt good to get out of my head for a day. Freya and I came up with a wonderful story all about two women who  become superheroes after training in the art of kick-boxing. I had so much fun sketching a comic of the story when I got home. At some point I aim to refine the it and find someone who can actually draw to complete the work.

Thursday

hanging bunnies.jpg

I created a great little Bunny tutorial for Crafty Sew & So. It was a lovely day so I decided to take the pictures outside.

theo
My cat, Theo, was delighted I’d gone outside with him and wasn’t ashamed to show it

I went over to see Freya in the evening for the aforementioned kick-boxing class. On the way I couldn’t resist taking a photo across from the old liberty building.

liberty.jpg

 

Despite the horrid asthma affair I did have lots of fun at Kick-boxing and will hopefully be back on Thursday, though I’ll probably be a little more cautious with the cardio.

 

Friday

20160319_085350.jpg

I was feel  exhausted still from asthma, but determined to have a good day. I got myself all prettied up in the morning, and googled how to wear a head scarf. At the shop I got started on gorgeous kit that has just come into Crafty from The New Craft House. The fabric is so easy to work with. I like sitting in front of the tv with  a good cup of tea and hand sewing the hexies together. Hopefully it will be done soonish and I can show you all how it turns out.

English Paper Piecing Cushion Kit

 

Saturday

20160318_222642 (1).jpg

Manically crazy busy day at Crafty Sew & So, It seemed everybody wanted fabric, I tried to do a bit more of the cushion but I just ended up stopping and starting because of all the lovely customers. In the evening, however, when my husband was busy playing destiny I started trying to edit my novel. It didn’t particularly work as I ended up drawing a scene from  one of the pages.

And finally…Sunday

image (13)

Today I have been once again going through my novel, I managed to get through two chapters so far and hope to get at least another one done today. It was my plan to have finished by the end of the week. Above is the pie chart for characters mentioned and present in the first nine chapters.