Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Make Do and Mend - the dress revamp

I was going to post this over the weekend, but couldn't face it after coming down another throat infection. I'm starting to feel better and less sorry for myself now. Thanks to everyone who gave me running tips after my last post too. I actually made it out for twenty minutes of running/walking on Sunday evening and to be honest, it nearly killed me, but I surprised myself by enjoying it so will definitely be making a habit of it.

Anyway, back to the making do and the mending. Last time I fixed our bowing clothes rail with an old bit of wood found in the shed. This time around, it was my tunic dress that got the old fixeroo.
This was the first dress I ever made myself. I made it before I studied dressmaking and hadn't got a clue what I was doing. It was one of my favourite summer dresses and I wore it as much as I could get away with. That was, until I went and got printer ink down the front! No matter how hard I tried, no amount of washing and stain remover was going to shift that bad boy.

So I went rooting about in my crafting cupboard and got creative. With a little bit of lace and some black buttons you would never know it had an ink stain down the front!
I also decided to add bell sleeves as an after thought. I didn't want to wait until next summer to wear this again, but it's too cold for a sleeveless dress and I wanted to be warm. I am SO glad I did this. It gives the dress a 70's vibe that it didn't have before and it's once again, become my favourite item of clothing.

I was also wondering if I ought to make something similar for the shop? What do you think? I might add one as a test run and see how popular it is. Either way, I am definitely making myself some more of these!

Saturday, 19 October 2013

My body is a temple. A neglected one, covered in weeds

I've done it again. I've spread myself too thinly and come down with yet another throat infection. It says something when your toddler, who likes to spend her time licking other children's faces, has a better sickness record than you. Usually I just end up feeling tired and run down, but not enough to grind to a halt completely. Right now though I feel flat out sick. Yesterday was the worst, I ached all over. My hands, feet and oddly, scalp just hurt and I felt like crying. So I took my mopey, achy arse home and slept on the sofa.
The aches have gone today, but I woke up with a painful throat and once again berated myself for not having looked after myself a little more.

And therefore, also once again, I am vowing to take better care of myself and this time I bloody mean it. I've come up with a plan and I hope that by publishing it here, I'll be more inclined to stick to it.
Here we go..

Start running..or maybe yoga
I really do want to take up running, but urgh. It rains so much. Yoga however I can do anytime, indoors, in the dry and more importantly, with Pip. So yeah. One of those.

Eat more often
After giving it some thought I've realised that I usually skip at least one meal every day. WHAT?? I knew my diet wasn't great, but I was genuinely shocked when I realised that this week, there's not been one day that I've eaten properly. And I wonder why I have no energy?!

Put down the coffee
It's not big and it's not clever to run on fumes and caffeine alone. Plus lately I've noticed that I can drink coffee all day with no effect until 6pm then BOOM! Wide awake for the best part of the night. Good going Kim. You flaming genius.

Take time out once a week to just relax
Anyone remember the cider and bubble bath I promised myself the last time I spread myself too thinly? It took me a week to treat myself to the cider and I never found the time for that bath. Relaxation will be made more of a priority. No really.

Here's the thing though. I am utterly crap at looking after myself sometimes. And more often than not, relaxation gets pushed to the bottom of my list of priorities..who has the time right? Well we all do, if we make time for it and we should. It's just that we incorrectly believe that it's not as important as the rest of the things on our to do list.
What I want to know is what do YOU do to relax and unwind? Even if it's only for 10 minutes. Do you make time for yourself or like me, do you just tend to forget? Also do any of you run? How did you get into it? Any tips on that would be greatly appreciated.

These may seem like silly questions, but I really want to make these things a life habit, not just some flash in the pan idea that I'll forget about in a few weeks time so I'd be really interested to hear other people's thoughts.

In the meantime, I'm going to be sat over here with a mug of honey and lemon, trying to pretend it's as good as coffee.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Little Projects

I try to limit myself to one non-work related project at a time.

I never manage it. 

I mean, take now for example. I've got three projects on the go. Is it any wonder that I've spent this past week flitting from one project to another without making much progress on any of them. These are the three things I'm working on by the way..

Another Granny Square Blanket
I bloody love making these and something about these dark and wild nights make me feel antsy if I don't get my crochet hook out. I'm well behind on this one though..it's going to be a Christmas present..shuuush.

Tunic Dress
This was the first item of clothing I ever made myself and a few months ago I went and ruined it when I was changing my printer cartridges and got ink down the front. It's in a really awkward spot and I couldn't hide it with a brooch so I've had to get a little bit creative with the cover up. When it's finished I'll be posting some photos so stay tuned. I'm chuffed to bits with it so far.

I've also decided to make some lockets for the shop and they're actually quite lovely (even if I do say so myself) so I've decided to make a couple for myself too. Weeell. What's the point of making dresses and accessories if you can't occasionally snaffle a little something for yourself eh?

Once I've finished the lockets and dress I think I'm going to have to be more strict with myself and just focus on one thing at a time. Any one who knows me in real life will know how hard this is for me though. Anyone else working on some creative projects at the moment? Tell me about 'em!

Thursday, 10 October 2013

An Autumn Garden and a Clear Mind

I love this time of year. I wait for a sunny day, pull my boots on and tidy the outside ready for the colder months. It's hard work, even with my small garden and I absolutely ache at the end of the day, but it feels wonderful.

Last week when I looked out on to my lawn, I kept seeing all the things that needed doing outside. And then I'd start thinking of all the other things that needed doing inside and my thoughts felt muddled and chaotic.
Then on Sunday evening, I sat in my spot in the conservatory, looked out on to the garden I'd spent all weekend getting winter-ready and felt calm again. Not a lot has changed and those other things that need doing, still need doing. But some how, tidying up the space I like to gaze out on to has made the biggest difference to the way I feel.
Right now, sitting on the sofa in the conservatory watching the world go by outside is my new favourite thing to do. Especially when the sun streams in through the windows and shadows dance along the floor. The conservatory has become my sanctuary these days. To that end I also spent a little time tidying it up and making it a little pretty, fairy lights, glass jar lanterns, the lot. Now even if the sun and dancing shadows make way for dark and gloomy skies, I have something to brighten it (and me) up again.

The other reason I love this time of year, apart from being a chance to declutter, is that it's also a chance to look back on the gardening year gone and take stock. To think about what worked, what didn't and what you might do differently next year.
Personally, I've realised that it might be sensible to knock the homegrown thing on the head for a couple of years. Or at least limit it to the odd pot here and there. I'm thinking of setting the veggie patch to seed and turning it  back into lawn. There was far too much toddler chasing done this year for my liking and next year I expect to have even less time to keep her from mud chomping. I might grow a pumpkin or two just because I love them. Oh and strawberries because, well, I don't have much choice there to be honest. This year's strawbs had little strawberry babies and now I have more than I know what to do with! One season on and I have double the amount I started with. So that's next year's Eton Messes sorted then I guess!

So that's been me lately. Considering how reluctant I was to see the end of summer, I'm well and truly loving autumn right now.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Apple & Blackberry Crumble Recipe

I only ever seem to get the urge to bake around this time of year. When the days become shorter, darker and my body starts screaming at me to eat stodgy foods and hide under a blanket. Who am I to argue?
That said, I am no baker. TV chefs annoy the hell out of me. All of them insisting I use ingredients that add to my weekly food bill, will rarely get used again and then trying to palm off their recipes as easy and simple? Oh please. I miss Delia.

When I bake, and admittedly that isn't often, I use the most simple version of the recipe I can get away with. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but when it does it's a thing of beauty. Well actually that's a lie. No one could ever describe my cooking as a thing of beauty, but it does taste good and that's the important thing.

So without further ado, here is my easy peasy recipe for the autumnal staple, apple and blackberry crumble. Enjoy.

You will need:

Plain flour 120g
Margarine 60g
Sugar 60g

Fruit filling
Apples 300g
Blackberries 115g
Margarine 30g
Sugar 30g

STEP 1: Make The Crumble
Put your plain flour, margarine and sugar in a mixing bowl and rub it altogether with your fingers. Then cook it in the oven for 10 minutes. You don't have to do this bit, but it stops the crumble from going all soggy later when you sprinkle it over the fruit filling.

STEP 2: Make The Fruit Filling
Peel and cut your apples in to chunks. Big ones, little ones, s'up to you. Heat the butter and sugar in a saucepan and add the apples. Cook until tender then mix in the blackberries and cook for another couple of minutes.

STEP 3: Cook The Crumble
Pour the fruit filling into an ovenproof dish, sprinkle the crumble on top and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.

See? Very basic. Very quick. Very do-able. And it's freezable too so you don't have to worry wasted leftovers. What's not to love?

Oh and as an aside, the blackberries in this recipe were picked with my darling daughter on one of the last hot summer days. I thought it would be a nice mummy/daughter bonding experience. She hated it. She cried. I was hot. She was hot. I got stung by nettles and the whole affair has probably taken five years off my life due to the stress involved. In short: it's ok to buy frozen blackberries.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

New In The Shop

I'm excited as I've added two new items to the shop just in time for autumn! The first is this cobalt blue dress with white polka dots. 

And the other is this burgundy skirt made with crushed velvet.

I'll be taking some more photos of them both as the light hasn't been great lately - a downside of this time of year unfortunately. In fact I'm working on an idea to make a 'photo corner' type thing in the conservatory. It has ALL the light so it makes sense. More on that to come too.

I hope you're all having a good day. And if not, remember. You cannot underestimate the power of a good hot chocolate. 

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