Sunday, 5 July 2015

Finding Time to Sew

So I am having issues finding time (and motivation) to sew at the moment. I find its hard to sit down at the machine knowing that there is so much else that should be done (DIY etc) and I have so little time. I am currently counting down the hours till I leave again, I'm off at 6 in the morning tomorrow for 4 days and then off again on Sunday evening... 
I had been thinking that I might be able to participate in Lladybird's OAL and I think sewing the dress would only take me a couple of days at max, I even have the material for it! But I am a long way from finishing the Jumper, even though I cheated a bit and was thinking of using the one that Nan gave me which was part completed in the first place... 

Still so much to go...
Sometimes I feel busts of energy to sew and I get something done, I have a few new floaty T-shirts from the pattern I made from a RTW top the other day. Mostly this was necessitated by the hot weather we are having here atm.

First Version.
I have been enjoying wearing them and made myself a lovely new PJ top from the pattern and some gorgeous Viscose fabric from our local Fabric Land which is one of the nicest tops I have worn for a while, I never want to take it off in the morning... 
I have some jersey lined up to try another one out of when I can find the time, but the pattern might need a little modification to cope with the stretch.

Over all at the moment I feel like my 'time off' should be spent relaxing and not trying to finish something. It doesn't help that I'm shattered at the moment which is reducing my motivation to do anything at all...

I have two and a half days off at the end of the week which I will have to try and make the most of. Does anyone have any tips on how to make the most of limited sewing time?

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Wood Recycling - DIY Projects

Earlier in the week were considering our DIY projects in the garage and trying to find a set of legs for our IKEA worktop. We didn't want to put cabinets under it and it turns out all of the other legs sold in IKEA and other places are all designed for coffee tables. So instead we turned our thoughts to whether we could make a frame to go under the worktop instead. 

The design isn't particularly difficult but would require a reasonable amount of sturdy wood as the worktop is quite heavy and would need to be well supported. We were also looking at getting some wood to build raised beds in the back garden so we can continue our foray into vegetable growing. 

Hopefully our raised beds will look as nicely constructed as these (I wish we could fit that many in...)
We looked at buying the supplies from places like Wickes and B&Q, but the prices were really high for the planed wood and scaffold boards (for the beds). Then we thought that we didn't really need brand new wood, just something that wasn't going to break on us. 

Cue searching the internet for hampshire wood recycling/reclamation... and to our amazement we came across this wonderful place - Southampton Wood Recycling which is just down in the middle of town nestled just behind the high street. We couldn't believe that we hadn't discovered this place before...

They take wood in from a number of sources, separate it up into different sizes and remove the nails/screws from the wood and then it can be sold on from their warehouse. The stock they have changes quite regularly but we decided to go and have a look and see if we could find wood for the table frame. 

Well what was it like?

I can definitely say it was an amazing place! They had a section which sold items made from reclaimed wood, such as planters, scaffolding shelves and even an archway. It really is amazing what some sanding and a coat of paint/varnish can do to wood. 

The rest of the sales area was given over to stacks and stack of wood of all sorts of sizes and lengths. If you were looking for short lengths of wood it was easy to find what you were looking for. Even looking for longer bits of wood we found enough wood with a little bit of searching. We also found some scaffolding boards for the raised beds, although they didn't have lots so we bought enough for the first layer and we will go back later to see if we can get some more. Although we decided to stop there before we bought the whole warehouse of wood...

The wood is priced up by the meter (except for a few offcuts which are just a complete bargain) and you can even borrow a saw to cut it up after if you need to fit it into your car. Since one of the pieces was 3m long to start with we definitely needed to cut it. Luckily most of it was shorter than that and fitted (fairly comfortably) into my car.

All the wood we got in my car (even some scaffolding boards at the bottom there)

The entire of our shop of wood came to £38, which is probably a fraction of the cost that we would have paid buying it new, plus it reused wood so avoided creating more waste and the money raised at Southampton Wood Recycling goes towards training people and providing jobs in the local community. A win, win, win situation. 

When we got home we found that one of the pieces had some great colouring on it, which when we sanded/ oiled up it looked so amazing! Unfortunately since our table frame is going in our garage under a worktop there isn't really anywhere to showcase this. So we decided not to use it for the frame and we would find something to make with it instead. Such a shame, this means we'll have to make another trip to the warehouse again to get more wood to go with it...

Such beautiful colouring on the wood - we definitely didn't want to hide this away.
We've decided that from now on, if we need wood we will try to go to the warehouse first to see if they have suitable pieces, and then only if they don't will we go to buy it new. If you are careful with the pieces you select, the wood is just great, and more than suitable for most projects.

We will post soon about what we make with the wood. First to get out all the tools and get the wood sanded up and looking beautiful!

Wednesday, 24 June 2015


Well I Am officially zonked out after a very long but very productive day.
This morning I was up around 0730 which is early for me... And I made myself a skirt to go under my newly converted maxi skirt (from a dress), out of some white viscose material from my local Fabric Land, which is fantastic as it stops my maxi skirt from clinging as much as it did before. :-)

After this Nikki decided that we needed to take all the shelving out of the under stairs cupboard, as we are in the process of giving this a makeover. So there I was this morning testing out my new underskirt with the maxi skirt hammering the shelves out!

Once it was all out we sat down to lovely home cooked Leek and potato soup whilst working out what exactly we needed to buy from ikea.

Before going out I decided to modify a tshirt of mine to see of it fit better. So Nikki found me cutting the sleeves off my top as she wanted to leave...

Returning from ikea I had a lot of shelving to paint and Nikki started painting the cupboard itself. I finished helping her at 2230 and went on to draw up a pattern for the tshirt I had been wearing today (removing some of the excessively wide neck line)

Friday, 19 June 2015

Making time for sewing

Reading Sewaholics post about making time for different hobbies and being sat here reading blogs early in the morning thinking that I need to get up and do things I think that I'm going to have to follow in Anneke's footsteps and start scheduling in my time more...

To be able to do this I need to work out what it is that I want to do in my free time this summer. So far I have thought that I want to plug the holes in my wardrobe that I have recently identified, I want to make a summer dress and some shorts. I also need more smart casual T-shirts, I either have bog standard tight T-shirts or posh silk tops, no casual baggy tops or ones that would carry over into the evening (I just need to find a style that suits me now!)
I quite like the idea of going for something that is a bit more boxy rather than the Renfrew that I always make as my standard T-Shirt, although I will have to spend time fitting anything else that I decide to use.

Although since I have seen lots of tops in shops recently which look like the sorbetto with out the middle pleat and I think I have finally sorted out my fit issues with this top I might have to make some up as summer tops.

Primark Blue printed Top there is a whole wall of tops like this in my local Primark
I also need to put some time aside to finish my jumper, I have got one sleeve finished, I need to start the second sleeve and add extra length to the body, but to do this I might have to buy more wool! :(

Please excuse just how tired I look in this photo!
 I also need to make a case for my new Laptop ( :D ) , and a stuff sack for my sleeping bag I am also thinking of trying to make a silk "blanket" to top my sleeping bag with for those cold nights on the yachts.

Lots of things to do with my life atm but I'm off to my Nans at the moment so watch this space as Nikki and I are likely to come back with all sorts of goodies like fabric or wool.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

To Do Lists

Nikki has been holding down the fort here recently but I'm back now, my stint on the Pelican is over for a few more months so I shall be back home for longer periods now and as with every time I return home I have started creating To Do lists of the things that need to be completed during my time off...

To Start with there are boring things like:

All the Washing

Cleaning and re-aranging my room to make the most of the small space

Fixing the Electricity Meter,
and the Radiator,
and the Fence...

And some less boring:

Keeping on the top of all the new plants,

Earthing up the potatoes,

Staking the beans,

Regularly feeding the plants growing in pots.

Drying Lemon Balm for teas.

Making a sourdough starter

making a Peg bag for the new washing line.

Make a Cafetiere cozy for my 1 cup Cafetiere 

Currently I'm home alone so have been keeping an eye on the garden and catching up on cleaning the house. I have the fun task of a dentists appointment this afternoon :) But hopefully I will belatedly celebrate my birthday with the other half tomorrow (I can hope)

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Colour Inspiration: Hydreangea

This colour combo seems to be very popular for weddings at the moment.
Original Image from here

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Garden Improvements

Well I've been very busy in the garden the last few weeks trying to tidy it up and clear a few areas, but unfortunately there is still quite a long way to go. But I've accomplished quite a lot...

Compost Bins:

Well the transformation was quite impressive. Originally the area was very overgrown and messy (top left) and although there was meant to be a path along the side of the grass it was completely covered in weeds/grass and the corner section wasn't actually big enough to house the 2 compost bins.

I wanted to make the path look like an actual path again so I pulled all of the weeds out of the border and levelled out the soil. In the corner section I expanded the border to a diagonal by pulling up the bricks and relaying them further out from the corner (top right). Not the easiest task in the world but most of that was accomplished in a day.

Then time for relaying the border. I put down a weed barrier to hopefully keep the weeds at bay and then laid bark chips on top of it. It looks sooo much neater and nicer now. The corner of the lawn now houses the compost bins and looks very tidy =) (bottom right)


With the whole improving borders thing I wanted to try and de-weed the borders around the driveway. This is a significantly more difficult task... One border is meant to be a stone/pebble border, but most of it is unrecognisable as this.

This requires removing all of the weeds from the border, removing the soil and levelling the border, then separating the soil from the stones, laying a weed barrier and then finally relaying the stones.

Unfortunately the separating stage is quite time consuming as you have to pass the soil through a sieve, and then remove any remaining roots/sticks etc from the stones. So this job is taking a lot longer than the lawn border. But the final result is going to look much neater. You can see I've managed to get a few metres of it completed, but I've still got a fair way to go.
Top row: The driveway beforehand
Bottom row: the border work in progress

Back bed:

In the past we have wanted to grow vegetables in our back bed (and some have been successful) - before we could use the bed at all we had to turn it all over and remove the ridiculous amount of stones/rocks that were in there. This year I wanted to try growing vegetables in there again but I wanted to clear out the whole bed, including removing the tree roots in the bed. (You can see a massive root that I got out here...)

In order to try growing some root veg, I had a desire to grow carrots and parsnips, or at least to try... I needed to make sure the bed had decent soil, and not just rocks for at least 20cm - 30cm. This is no easy feat and we got a ridiculous amount of rock out of the bed. I think they must have built the bed over a wall...especially since this is the second time I have removed a large amount of rock from the bed...

I decided I was only going to work on 2/3rds of the bed as that would probably be enough size for our vegetables and I didn't think I had enough compost for the whole bed. Once the stones were removed I forked in a large bag of manure (not the most fun task) and 5 bags of compost.
Top left: The bed after some work removing roots/rocks, Top right: the rocks we got out...
Bottom left: after adding manure and 5 bags of compost, Bottom right: nicely divided after planting
The soil is so much better looking now, which is reassuring. I 'built' a small path into the bed so we avoid stepping on the soil when we need to tend to the plants, the foundation for this was some bricks that I found in the bed and then it was topped with pebble and stones that came out of this bed and the other borders when I had been doing the other work.

Now it is nicely planted up with carrots, parsnips, courgette, winter squash and beetroot. So hopefully some of them will start to come up soon. Looking at some of the rest of the veg that we planted a few weeks ago some of them might need to be transplanted into the bed soon as they are growing quite large. Possibly some onions might grow quite nicely in there. I have a few sections of the bed that aren't planted up yet.

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