Tuesday, 31 March 2015

'Frozen' bike bag

Oh my poor little blog! It's been totally neglected for months! I have felt so ill and tired that there was just no energy left for blogging. But, I'm starting to feel much better now, and so sewing and blogging can recommence. Hooray!

I will explain all in another post, but for now, I'd like to share a quick project I made for my big girl today. She had a new bike a few weeks ago and I have been promising to make her a bag for it. Of course, it had to be made with 'Frozen' fabric - what else?!

I am really pleased with how it turned out and it was a really quick and simple make, which is just as well, because of course the small girl wants one too and she will not wait!

I used this pattern from Sew Can She and made a couple of minor changes. I used Kam Snaps instead of Velcro, for the fabric loop that attaches the bag to the bike. I thought it would be stronger and look neater. My loop also goes over and then under the bar on the bike, rather than under and then over, as the pattern suggests. Again, I just thought it would look nicer that way. I also added a snap to close the flap to the front of the bag. I might also add a long shoulder strap, attached to both sides, so that the bag can be carried along, once off the bike.

There's plenty of room for all those 'precious' things, that change on a daily basis, and must be carried with us at all times!

We've been riding our bikes much more lately, now that I've swapped my sporty bike for a proper Mummy bike.

I love love love my new bike! The basket is big enough for a very decent picnic and the small one loves being towed behind. She will be joined in there soon, by a little furry pal. We're getting a puppy! The girls of the household are extremely excited. Daddy's yet to be convinced!

Here she is, three weeks old. Have you ever seen a cuter thing? She will be with us in 7 weeks, and will have us wrapped around her tiny paw in no time, I am sure.

Something I haven't shared on the blog so far is that I've started a little enterprise. I'm selling my sewn creations under the name 'Evie and Lola' through a Facebook page, Etsy and at local craft fairs. It's going well so far and I'm loving it. Pop along and give me a 'like' by following one of the links below.

I'm thinking I might just pop a couple of these bike bags in the store, what do you think?

Evie and Lola on Facebook

Evie and Lola on Etsy


Sunday, 11 January 2015

Customising Kids Jeans

It's been a while since I posted anything and I really need to catch up. I've got so much to tell you about. But for now, I thought I'd share a quick little project the biggest girl and I did this week.  

She's got some lovely skinny jeans from Zara, that were passed down to us. They have had lots of wear and the knees are finally giving out.  There's still lots of wear left in these jeans, other than the knees, so we decided to do a quick repair job. 

I had this image pinned on Pinterest for ages and to be honest, was glad of the chance to give it a go.  My girls usually outgrow clothes before they get to the point of needing repair, so this has been my first chance.  

I let Evie choose from a selection of fabrics in my stash, strongly pushing her towards one that amazingly very closely matched the accent fabric already on the jeans.  

Of course, being a 4 year old, the last thing she was going to do, was the thing I wanted her to do, so she chose some Frozen fabric. Of course!  Anyway, it turned into a cute opportunity to have Olaf peeking out from the hole in her jeans, so I wasn't too disappointed.  

For those of you with similarly clumsy kids, that fall often, and therefore get holes in their trousers, here's what I did:

Cut a scrap of fabric, bigger than the hole you want to cover, and cut a piece of bondaweb or similar, to the same size. Before ironing the fabric to the bondaweb, place it over the hole and trace an outline around the hole itself, and cut that middle piece out.  This is because you will want the fabric around the hole to stick to the jeans, but you don't want the fabric that shows through the hole to ge sticky, else you will end up ironing it to the other side of the jeans leg and sticking the leg together!

Next, iron the bondaweb to the fabric scrap. Remember that whereas you normally want the sticky side to be on the reverse of the appliqué fabric, in this case, you want the sticky on the front, so that it sticks to the reverse of the jeans, with the right side showing through the hole. 

Make sense so far? Still with me?

I then cut around the fabric so that it was patch shaped, with no corners (I find these are the bits that start peeling off first)

At this point, I noticed that the other knee was about to get a hole soon, so I made a little patch to reinforce that from behind too.  I didn't cut a hole in the middle of that one because the jeans are still just about in tact at that point and I wanted the glue over the weak point, to hold them together a bit longer.  I'm hoping that as the jeans wear out on that other knee, Elsa and Anna will start to show through!  

Peel the paper backing of your new patches and iron them on to your jeans, as per the instructions on your bondaweb/vliesofix.  

Turn the jeans the right way out and voilà, the hole is patched from the reverse and in this case, there's a cheeky little Olaf peeking through.   

The bondaweb should be strong enough that you can stop right there, especially if you got the strong stuff, but I fancied adding a bit of extra detail, as per the origional inspiration.  

Luckily, these jeans already had some decorative stitch details, and I had embroidery thread to match. 

So I just made a few cross stitches around the hole, which echo the features already on the jeans, and hold the patch in place a bit more.   This part was fiddly, since these are age 4 skinny jeans and therefore quite narrow. There was lots of turning inside/rightside out and muttering under my breath, but I really like the end result. 

More importantly, Evie loves it!

I secretly can't wait for Anna and Elsa to start poking through the other knee. And that won't be long, because I made the stupid mistake of telling Evie that's what will happen, so of course she's constantly picking at it, trying to get the hole open!!

Have you got any creative ways of getting more wear of your kids clothes? I'd love to hear about them.  

Monday, 24 November 2014

Operation 'Get Healthy'

This weekend I've been feeling rubbish. I woke up with a stinking cold on Friday morning and I've got all sorts of random aches and pains. I didn't make things better for myself by having far too many glasses of prosecco with friends on Saturday night. Yesterday was largely spent feeling sorry for myself. I slept until midday and didn't get out of my pyjamas all day. Thank goodness for lovely understanding husbands!!

Last night culminated in this, the ultimate comfort food following a hangover (albeit I had it for tea, not breakfast!)

Not too unhealthy. The bacon was grilled, the hash browns oven baked and the eggs fried in the tiniest amount of coconut oil. But at the same time, there isn't much on that plate that's feeding my body, helping my poor damaged coeliac guts to heal and my body to get better.

I followed up with some pineapple and cherries, but still, if I want to feel better, I need to eat better.

So, this morning, this happened.

That's a much better start to the day - all juiced up and then made into a smoothie with ice and the avocado.

It's the Juice Master's Turbo Express smoothie and I plan on starting the day with it for at least the next 7 days. I'm eating nothing but fresh, raw fruit and veg for breakfast and lunch, whether whole or in juices/smoothies and then we will eat 'clean' healthy meals in the evenings, based on meat and vegetables, no grains, no potatoes, nothing to slow our systems down. We will reassess after a week and see how to go on from there. I say 'We' because they hubby's in on it too.

I'm hopeful that after a week of healthy eating with no dairy, grains or alcohol, I'll feel the benefits enough to be motivated to continue. I'll let you know in a week! For now, back to my smoothie ......

Fancy following my progress? I'll be posting my juices, smoothies and meals over on my Instagram feed. Come and follow me! @Wannyrow


Sunday, 9 November 2014

My Sunday Photo

Time for this week's Silent Sunday photo. We spent this weekend in Loughborough with good friends. We had a great time eating, drinking, chatting and laughing, while our combined 6 daughters played happily.

On our way home today, we stopped at the steam railway at Quorn. It's such a lovely railway and the station is kept beautifully, just as it would have looked in the 1940's. Evie and I had a lovely time exploring, while a Daddy and Lola stayed in the car (Lola was asleep and Daddy had mild concussion after whacking his head on a low beam the day before!)

Definitely worth a little trip if you're in the area - the cafe was so lovely and atmospheric. Just like a step back in time!



Thursday, 6 November 2014

Easy Button Art

Back in the summer, I was lucky enough to be invited by Fantastic Ribbons to become part of their 'craft posse' that tests and reviews their products for them. I jumped at the chance to choose some lovely buttons and tiny ric-rac from their range, and started planning what I could make with them.

We had recently watched the film UP, which is such a lovely film, and when I tipped the buttons out over the table to have a look at them, they reminded me of the balloons in the film.
So, I googled for an image to copy, and came up with this:

I drew each element of the house out on the smooth side of bondaweb, back to front (mirror image). I cut roughly around each piece, leaving a few millimetres all around the end shape, and then ironed each little piece on to the back of various scraps of fabric. Once ironed on, you can cut around the shapes easily and the bondaweb stops the fabric from fraying.

Next is my favourite bit. It's like Fuzzy Felt for grown ups! Find some fabric the right size for your frame, peel the paper backing off each little fabric 'jigsaw' piece and lay them on the fabric, to form your picture. Once you've got all the pieces laid out how you want them, iron them on. The glue on the back of the fabric will melt and stick them all down. Genius!

I then did a little of free-motion machine embroidery around the outlines. There are good tutorials on the web on how to do this (I like the one by Urban Threads, here) but essentially, you just lower your feed dogs, change to a free-motion embroidery foot (or remove the foot all together) and off you go. Without the feed dogs, you can move the fabric in whichever way you choose and it's just like drawing, with your machine. Considering I don't really like drawing, and am quite frankly rubbish at it, I love free-motion embroidery. It's so much fun and looks so effective.

I didn't want the picture to be all machine stitched though, so I took some sparkly embroidery thread and hand stitched the windows. I then used a disappearing fabric pen and wrote 'Adventure is out there' in deliberately script-y writing. I hand embroidered over my outline using back stitch, and then sprayed the fabric with water, to erase the pen marks.

What I should have done next, and now need to go back and fix, is machine stitch straight lines from the chimney, to where the 'balloons' would go, to make the strings for the balloons. I don't know how I didn't realise I'd forgotten to do this, until after I'd framed the picture!

Finally, the really fun bit. I had Evie sit with me, playing with the buttons and choosing which one came next, as I sewed each one on with silver sparkly thread. I sewed the buttons close together, so that they would overlap slightly and look like the bunch of balloons used to fly the house in the film.

Finally I found some card, the right size for the frame, and stretched the fabric over it, taping it down with parcel tape on the back. I used a box frame from IKEA, so that there would be space for the buttons, without squashing them.

What do you think? What would you do with a bag of pretty buttons?

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

October in Pictures

Ok, I'm a bit late, but I thought I'd have a little round up of October, via the photographs on my phone. You'll have noticed that I don't often post photographs of my girls on the world wide web, especially not without having their faces obscured. This month, it seems to have left my photo roll a bit sparse. Either that, or we just didn't do much in October!
I've been busily turning Kitschy Coo's Skater Dress pattern in to princess dresses. I just love these. I spent a very pleasant evening drawing out lots of variations, including superhero versions, and can't wait to make them all. My girls inevitably love Disney princesses. You just can't avoid it, however much you try, but I can't bear to see them running around in those horrible, scratchy, polyester versions that you see every other four year old wearing. They are just as happy in these lovely soft jersey versions. In fact, they love them because I have made them (they are so proud when I have made them something, and tell everyone they see - something I am enjoying every minute of, as I imagine it won't always be the case!) I am happier with these too, because they last better, wash easier, and they can wear them to the supermarket without looking silly!!
I've also been making lots and lots of cushions, using TIDNY colouring book fabric from IKEA. I've been selling these through my Facebook shop and they are really popular. I knew that they were a good idea and would be popular, but I had no idea how much! I ended up buying an entire bolt of the fabric, and I am so glad that I did, because it seems to be out of stock everywhere now. I am just waiting for a break in the cushion making, so that I can make the girls dresses out of it - I think it would be so cool for them to be able to colour in their own dresses!
I have to make up for not publishing photographs of my girls by including pictures of my ridiculously cute cat at every opportunity. Here she is being very helpful while I cut fabric!
I haven't done much baking this month. Partly because we are trying to eat more healthily, but mostly due to the lost mojo that I have previously mentioned. But this almond banana loaf was lovely (GF of course).
It was our 5 year wedding anniversary in October and having never left our children with anyone overnight, and being badly in need of a full night's sleep, we treated ourselves to a night in a spa hotel. I will review the hotel in another post, but enough to say now that it was amazing and catered to my diet requirements really well - even producing a gluten free scone!
I had a really proud mum moment a few weeks ago when, on the way home from nursery, Evie asked if we could 'make her jeans prettier'. Oh my gosh, she was asking to customise her clothes. I was so pleased. So as soon as we got home, I pulled out some odds and ends of lace, some sequins and my glue gun, and we customised her jeans. It was so much fun, she loved it and her jeans look really cool. She was so proud of them too.
Lola loves her big sister so much, she wants to do and wear everything Evie does, so I had to make her a princess skater too. This is Aurora, from Sleeping Beauty.
Our day at the spa allowed me to read more of a book than I have in the last year. I read at least a chapter!!!
While I haven't been baking as such, I have been trying other things in the kitchen. The homemade marshmallows that I wrote about here were delicious. I've been trying out gluten free packet mixes too. My review of the chocolate cupcakes from Helen's foods is coming soon.
This month I had my first ever craft stall. It was a really fun day and I've got another couple booked in the run up to Christmas. I love making gift type items and hopefully other people will love what I make, enough to buy them!
So that was our October. Quite nice and chilled with lots of time at home crafting and pottering in the kitchen. November and December will be busy. We've got lots of weekends away planned, Lola's birthday, and of course Christmas, so it will be hectic. I can't wait!

Sunday, 2 November 2014

My Sunday Photo

I've decided to join in with the Sunday Photo linky over at One Dad 3 Girls.  The idea is to post a photo, just one, that sums up your Sunday.  

Today we went to London, to see the poppies at the Tower of London, and then a visit to the Science Museum.   It was extremely wet. This pretty much sums up our day: