Thursday, June 28, 2007


Bags packed? - check
Housesitter arranged? - check
Kitties off to cattery?* -check
Emergency Kit Sock knitting ready to go? -check.
Still on yarn diet ? - check
Picnic, wait a minute ? Yarn diet? What Yarn diet?
Revised 'diet' plan ready? -Check

Ok, ok - Woolfest here I come!!!!
I'll be taking my new bag with me, so if you recognise it, and want to come and put a name to a face, come and say hi (the face isn't too bad, honest!).

*Housitter bringing dog with them?-check


Monday, June 25, 2007

Backpack III


Well, if I was chocolate, I would eat myself - but the credit should really go to Leisl

This is such a great bag. I wanted to do the whole 'in the garden' thing, but the weather in Glasgow isn't so good, so we're doing the 'by the window, looking into the garden' thing. Just peeking out of the top is the magnetic snap that came with the pattern, and that was really easy to fit. Adding the rivets to the handles was a bit more of a fiddle, but ok in the end.

I followed the instructions almost to the letter - the only two things I did differently were :
1 I applied glue from a glue stick to the right side of the zip tape, then used an iron to 'set' this onto the fabric. That way I didn't have to tack (baste) the zip or use pins It worked out really well.
2 I added a keyring loop, visible on the right side of this picture. If you know me, you won't have to ask why...

The pattern was very well written, so that even as a newbie sewer I managed to do a great job - I was slightly confused about the way to stitch the 'window' around the zip, but that was because I was a bit tired. Being a bit more sewing 'savvy' now, I didn't sew this section until I'd had a break, read the pattern again and then realised what to do.

One of the great things about this bag is that it is a tote as well as a backpack -here you can see the bag in backpack mode - cool, isn't it?

As I said in Backpack I , I was very careful about how I placed the pieces. As you can see, it was worth the effort - there's no point in using material like this if you're not going to make the most of it. I am definitely going to make more of these bags - I'm thinking some Amy Butler or Heather Bailey fabric. But I'm going to get that rotary cutter first.

In the meantime, I have a retro dress pattern that is next on my list, but before I go, here's what I whipped up while I was waiting for Number Guy to get the heck off this computer.


Sunday, June 24, 2007

Backpack II


After a marathon sewing session, the outer bag is complete. Right now I feel like I never want to sew again....actually, that's not true, but sewing the sides/bottom to the two main pieces was really hard going. The second side was easier, because I had the experience of sewing the first one. Although there is a 'jog' between the pocket and the main piece, I am still really pleased with the way it looks.

I remembered to put a needle on top of the button when I was sewing it on, so that a shank formed, thus making it easier to fasten the button loop onto it - this is the only tip that I couldn't see in the instructions - now that I've said that, I bet it's there somewhere, there are so many other handy hints in the pattern. One thing that was mentioned, which I think is really good advice, is to use a walking foot to sew the various layers together on the main bag. It isn't a disaster not having one, but for bag number two, I plan to have one.I also plan to use a rotary cutter next time - there aren't too many curves, so I think I should manage. It has to be better than all the cutting out with scissors

I've just pinned the straps at the silver rings in order to get an idea of how the straps work as a backpack and tote - it's so simple, but I bet I wouldn't have thought of it.

And now I'm off for a stiff gin and tonic.


Saturday, June 23, 2007

Backpack I

Coinciding with my decision to sew a bag, is Bag month at Sew, Mama, Sew!

My chosen bag is none other than the backpack from Disdressed - and the good news is that Leisl is reprinting this pattern, which I thoroughly recommend. The pattern is printed on one sheet of very good quality paper - none of that tissue nonsense - and there is a very clear pattern booklet which gives some useful tips as well as the actual instructions.

The pattern took only 5 days from the States to the UK. The envelope containing the pattern has a list of all the materials required, including the various metal rings etc - I decided it was worth the little bit extra to purchase these bits'n'bobs along with the kit, which just left a zip plus fabric to aquire.

Now, I don't usually have a strong idea about which fabric I want to use - I usually browse until something appeals. Not this time. I knew exactly what I wanted, even though at the time I didn't know the name - French Toile. I decided to go with this idea and was amazed to find it on my first outing - upstairs in the soft furnishing dept of John Lewis. (I saw a really hideous one today - thank goodness I didn't see it first, or I think I'd've changed my mind - it was so bad.)

And, unusually again, I decided that 'good enough' was not going to do. Even though it is a waste of fabric, and very time consuming, I am being very picky about the way I lay the fabric out. Instead of folding the fabric to cut two pieces together, and fitting them 'cheek by jowl' to minimise waste, I am centering individual pieces to make the most of the 'prints'. The front of the bag has a pocket - as well as centering the design, I chose two identical pictures - the front of the bag has the whole image, the pocket has the bottom half.

Have a squint at the bottom picture - when I lay one on top of the other, it matches up quite well, dontcha think? ;0)


Friday, June 22, 2007

Couldn't resist

One more pic in the daylight.


Say hello, wave goodbye

Four kitties would have been a little too much just now, so this Heather Bailey*one is off to a new home tomorrow.

*It's 1.35 am and I'm afraid the link to the site is the best I can do - the pattern itself is eluding me ;0)

Edit: No wonder I couldn't find the pattern - it's a Wee Wonderful pattern....


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Copycat? Me?

Any suggestion that any of this post....

Was inspired by this one is just a viscious rumour


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Comfort food

Honey, maple syrup, tea, coffee, flour, tinned tomatoes, pasta... a bit of an eclectic mix, that.

But the reasoning behind it is quite simple - I am living in a time of plenty. When I was growing up, we were almost on the bread line - in other words, money was very scarce

I was often hungry, but fortunately it was only that real hunger that comes from working up an appetite, with no rubbish inbetween meals to fill you up. I was never in danger of starving.

But treats were rare, and only ever bought one at a time.

Today, when I ran out of maple syrup, I went to the store cupboard and got another bottle out - and that left another spare. I looked at my neatly ordered cupboard (yep, Number Guy puts the shopping away!) and appreciated once again how fortunate I am that I can buy what I want, and don't have to strike item after item off my list until the bare minimum is left

A cupboard full of food - comfort indeed.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Coming to a blog near you.....


And they said it couldn't be done.....Number Guy has agreed to this:

Or maybe this:

Or maybe even one of these:

Yep, Number Guy has agreed to a Devon Rex. And one of these little ladies will be coming to us at the beginning of August. number Guy says I have chosen the one with the scrunched up prettiest face. And I agree with him. Trouble is, from the pictures, I can't remember which one it is.....

Now we just have one more problem -what shall we call her?????

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Monday, June 11, 2007


This is a month or so of jumbled emotions. Whenever I see little rosbud mouths, tiny fingers curled around a blanket edge, my hear gives a little lurch. I want one. It's not fair!!! - can you feel a tantrum coming on?

But one of the positive things about my whole infertility situation is, that despite my own heart-wrenching, I feel nothing but joy for those who are luckier than I. I wish all the bloggers and fellow crafters who are giving birth round about now the very best of times in the years ahead.

Not like me to be so soppy, is it, but if you don't tell, I won't ;0)


Thursday, June 07, 2007

Say Cheese!

Homemade mozzarella, following a recipe from Andrew of Geek Farm Life

This was SO easy to make. The hardest part was tracking down the citric acid and a thermometer which read low enough. Following a suggestion from Andrew, I got both at a Homebrew shop in Glasgow

Start to finish? About 45min including preparation, although Number Guy tells me that milking the local buffalo took a darn sight longer.
Yield - 1lb cheese from 8 pints milk. Although this will be best fresh, I am going to freeze 3/4 of it.
And what's next on the cheesemaking front? Well, I think I might be able to make ricotta from the whey (or I may be totally wrong about that). If I can, I'll try that the next time I make my very own mozzarella.

And in the meantime I'm going to track down some enzymes and have a go at some other cheese.


4 things

Ok, tagged by Roobeedoo

4 jobs I have had in my life: School technician - this was ok. The fun part was when I has been sent in by the Senior Technician( brave man) to collect the bullseyes from the local slaughterhouse and the bag burst. Eyes, like fried eggs, splattered all along the hallway behind me. Poor firt year kids nearly passed away on the spot...
Creche assisstant - hmm, not too bad. This was in the days before child protection was really considered. I think we did a good job - but no checks like we have today. Scary
Nurse - Registered Mental ;0) I enjoyed being a psychiatric nurse, but haven't practised for 10 years (where does the time go?)
Teacher - currently teach 3 - 5 year olds. I complain, but secretly I really like it. Just don't tell anyone.

4 films I can watch again and again:
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy - especially The Two Towers
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe - I cry every time. It's so sad. And I can never make up my mind about whether Miss Threadgoode is Idgy or not.
The Green Mile - I don't read any of Stephen King's horror, but this is a great tale of hope (and redemption?).
And just like Roobeedoo:- Truly Madly Deeply
4 places I have lived: Glenrothes - Fife
Great Dunmow - in an old Poor House
Arbroath - when I had my first teaching post
4 TV series I watch:
ER - Luca: what's not to love?
Doc Marten, or however it's meant to be spelt.
Grand Designs with Number Guy, 'cos he really likes this programme
erm, various history/green issue type things that I can't remember the titles of.
4 places I have been on holiday:
Skye – for a Gaelic course every year, and to eat at The Three Chimneys if possible
Venice - worth getting on a plane for
Paris - years ago. This time I'd like to go back with someone who actually want s to be there with me.
The New Forest.4
things I do every time I am on the Net:
Check my emails
Read my favourite blogs
Check the “what’s new” section of my favourite wool websites
Check my podcasts on iTunes
4 things I would NOT eat for anything in the world:
Foie gras - c'mon, have some compassion
4 places I would love to be right now:
Anns an Eilean Sgitheanach - in Skye
In my garden in the dappled shade
Provence, wandering among the lavender fields
terekking on horseback in The Rockies - now, this is a complete fantasy. I don't know how realistic it is, or how many bears would want to gobble me up, but a girl can dream.


Lazy hazy days of summer...Part II

So, this is what I was making.Yep - the cushion. Not the chair...

Simple, but fun.
I made this with an envelope opening at the back - less fuss with closures. Before I turned it right side out, I graded the seams
The corners were sewn on a diagonal, not a right-angle. I seemed to remember reading that this is the way to sew a corner and it certainly gave a good finish when turned out the right way.
And, having that urge to add every possible embellishment now that I have started, I restrained myself by just adding two buttons. It's impossible to tell, but the stitching on these two flowers is purple, having run out of the pink. There are three more flowers - 2 pink, 1 purple, but I think they've closed for the night.
Edit: forgot to say that the cushion is 55cm each side, but I made the cover 45 cm, so it is nice and squishy


Lazy hazy days of summer...Part I

When the weather has been the way we expect it during a Glasgow summer - rainy - I've been doing a little more sewing.
First up, Japanese jacket II First I made the lining - although I have made a skirt out of this dotty fabric, which I really like, it is not my choice for the lining of this jacket. However, it is what I had available, so I can live with that.
Having made the outer jacket, I got into a real pickle sewing the lining. One sleeve cuff had to be done three times. Thank goodness for seam rippers. Another tool of the trade which I have only just started using is a thimble. I know, I'm hanging my head in shame....what a difference this makes to hand sewing. In this picture I am sewing the lining to the outer fabric where the sleeve and jacket body meet under the arm - I decided that this jacket would have the traditional construction, where there are openings at this point.

Apparently, another feature of traditional Japanese sewing is that joins, knots etc are seen as an integral past of the jacket and are not hidden in the same way as in Western tailoring. Since I had to join the fabric strip for the collar, I decide to make a feature of it - making a mock seam by folding and topstitching the fabric in the same place on the other side.

Finally, it was all ready - just in time for my second Zen group meeting ;0)

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Look closely

Very closely. My first piece of machine embroidery. I went for the naive look ;0) Can you tell?


Saturday, June 02, 2007

holding my tongue

Can't say why, or that would defeat the purpose......


Friday, June 01, 2007

Currently listening to....

On the music front: Mumm-ra She's got you high - great little toe-tapping number
More Hip than Hippie - a North American 'cast about trying to make less of an impact on the planet - they have great 'teeny weeny greenies' - small steps that make a big difference.
Geek Farm Life A show about '2 geeks who moved to rural Indiana.'
The Naked Scientists 'Stripping the facts bare'. Ooer, missus!
In our timeAn eclectic mix presented by Melvynn Bragg.
The Snailwell Gazette A lighthearted look at life from a North American woman living in the tiny village of Snailwell, with some vege cooking tips and 'Just Clean Green' spot.