Thursday, 30 April 2009

I spy with my little eye....

On the way home, Cara asked me, "Do you want to play I Spy?" So she started. "I spy with my little eye, something beginning with C" "Is it car?" I asked her. She thought about this for a second before throwing her arms up in the arm and cheering "Yayyyyyy! Your go" she told me. So I thought carefully, bearing in mind she is only 3 and doesn't yet know her alphabet. "I spy with my little eye" I said, "something beginning with S". She thought for a brief moment, had a glance around and then asked "Is it sky?" She was right and I was so proud that she knew 'sky' began with an 'S'. "I spy with my little eye" she said, "something beginning with K" I had to think carefully about this because I couldn't see anything beginning with a K. So I thought outside of the box. "Is it kite?" I asked. "No" she told me. "Kiss?" I asked and blew her one "No" she told me. "I don't think I can guess it Pickle" I told her "I think you might have to tell Mummy". She gave a little sigh. "It's Grass" she told me.

Maybe we'll work on that alphabet over the weekend!

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Paying it Forward

Continuing Silky Sue's Pay it Forward, which I just couldn't resist joining in with, this is my Pay it Forward post (is it wrong that I am stupidly excited about this!)

The first three people to leave a comment will receive a hand made gift from me.

The only thing you have to do to participate is carry on the gift by giving to three more soon as you have left a comment do a "pay it forward post" on your blog and continue the giving.

I'm not going to say what the three things are, but they involve these fabrics (one of them has the two fabrics on the left, the next has the three orange fabrics in the middle and the last has the two fabrics on the right). (I'm more than happy to post internationally if anyone from overseas wants to join in as well)

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

More fantastic giveaways

Blogland never fails to amaze - so many people spreading the love and doing fantastic giveaways on their Blogs. I can't wait for when I get the 'courage' to do one of my own. Maybe when I reach 50 posts - which the way I'm going, won't be too long!

Gracie Lou is giving away scraps this week. I think scraps are fantastic - an opportunity to see and use fabric you may not have otherwise given a second though to. There are also some fab groups on Flickr all about scraps, so lots of inspiration there. All she is asking is "where do you sew?"

Next up is Red Ruby Rose who has just started a new blog and is giving away one of gorgeous clutch bags to the value of $75. All you need to do - I say all, but trust me, it's tough! - is check out her etsy store and tell her which design is your favourite. I choose this one:

You then also need to tell her which animal you would choose to be if you weren't human. I went for a goat, as they are my most favourite animal. Whenever Cara and I go to the farm we always have a discussion about whether we could smuggle one out. She thinks we could! Entries close 1st May.

Last up is Clara at The Rainbow Room who is celebrating her 100th blog post. She is giving away this fantastic bundle: in return for you visiting her etsy shop and telling her which is your favourite product. There are so many bright and wonderful colours over there! I choose these:
which I think Cara fell in love with as soon as she saw them! Entries close 30th April.

Good luck if you decide to enter them.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Pay it Forward

I've just left a comment on Silkie Sue's blog to join in her Pay it Forward. All you need to do, is be one of the first three to leave a comment and then she will send you one of her gorgeous paintings. In turn, you then Pay it Forward. I'm already thinking about what to pay forward and am already excited! I'm going to aim to do it over the weekend so watch this space.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Watch this space

Since writing the tutorial for the reversible dress, I've decided I enjoyed it so much that I'm now going to do a tutorial to make a reversible summer hat, like this one:

I'm going to (hopefully) start on it today, so watch this space!

Oh...and the interview? I got the job :-)

As of September 1st, I will be the new Head of Faculty for Social Education.
I'm very nervous but also very excited. They advertised for 2 i/c yesterday (my old post), so time will tell who that will be - I think there are 3 contenders within the faculty. I just hope I don't have to choose which one!

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Manic week...and it's only Wednesday!

I returned to work on Monday after my lovely two weeks off and it's been a bit manic since then really!
I tried to start off on a really good foot and started on my pile of marking as soon as I get home. How is it that I can spend two weeks marking and within one day, it is back to being a mountain again? I remember a recent discussion/article saying that teacher;s shouldn't mark in red. At the moment, I am marking in pink. One thing that 'encourages' me to do my marking is if I have a nice pen to do it in. One that feels nice, writes nice and looks nice. At the moment, it's pink (I think the girls' secretly like their work marked in pink as well!)

I also managed to complete two more reversible dresses. I wanted to check the tutorial I wrote and plus I had some lovely fabric that I just couldn't resist.
I made this one in a one year size:

reversing to:
(I've only just discovered the Katie Jump Rope fabrics and I must say I love, love, love them!

and I made this one in a two year size:

reversing to:

I made them in different sizes as I was thinking about maybe seeing if someone I know wanted them for their little girls, but now I don't know. I don't really 'know know' them and don't really know how to approach the subject. Cara's pre-school have a summer fair at the end of the year to raise funds for the outdoor area, so maybe I'll see if they want them (and maybe some summer hats?). Or maybe I could do a giveaway on here? So many decisions!

The next good thing happened last night. I joined Weight Watchers last week and I had my first weigh in last night. I wasn't overly hopeful, but I lost 6 and a half pounds!

Cara went back to pre-school this afternoon and came out clutching this masterpiece.

I love it when she brings home her art work!

Finally, I went to Tesco this morning and look what I found....

I am so excited. I have been waiting for this book for the past month and was so disappointed when they put the publication date from the end of March till tomorrow. So...I'm off to bed to snuggle up with Jack Reacher.

Oh...and on a final note, I have my interview tomorrow. Fingers crossed.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Back to work

So, my lovely two weeks holiday are up and I go back to work tomorrow. As usual, there is marking I haven't done and a whole heap of work to sort out. Sigh. The time has just flown by and although we haven't done too much (although that said, we've been to the farm 3 times, the park umpteen times, the family picnic, played with cousins loads, swimming - so more than I thought!), it's been nice spending time with Cara and just chilling out.

On the brightside, going back to work isn't all bad I guess. Firstly, it's pay day on Friday. Following the discussion on the Amy Butler fans group on Flickr about the Belle and Lotus lines being withdrawn in the Autumn, I'm going to stock up (big time!) on my most favourite fabrics - namely the wall flower and polka dot patterns which I have fallen in love with all over again!

Secondly, we've only got two weeks and then it's Bank Holiday Monday.

Lastly, it's a mega short term - only 5 weeks till May half term (plus I've got Jury Service smack bang in the middle of it, so it will be extra extra short!)

I actually asked H if I could give up work and just stay at home and sew all day. He just looked at me.

We finished the holiday with (another) trip to the park.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Saturday morning project

I've had this idea in my head for a while now and finally got around to doing it this morning - in all of about 10 minutes!

I bought a set of 4 t-shirts for Cara from Next with the idea that I would decorate them. So, a piece of Sandi Henderson's Farmer's Market Apple Dot Pink, some wonderfully easy to use Steam-A-Seam, five minutes on the sewing machine and voila.

When I showed Cara, her response was "I like green apples." So, it's a good job I love this pattern so much, I've also got it in the green!



Friday, 17 April 2009

My first ever tutorial - Reversible A Line dress

There are so many tutorials that people have posted to their blogs and I thought I would join in. I love making this reversible A Line dress as it doesn't take any time at all and it looks lovely on, but each time I do it, I always have to stop and re-think how to do it. So, not only am I hoping that this will be useful for others, but it will also be useful for myself!

I use New Look pattern 6578 for this dress, but anything similar would do. I think, depending on how talented (or brave) you are, you could also easily draft your own.

I use the 3 size from this pattern, which has been fine during the winter as Cara has been wearing the dresses over leggings. However, if she were to wear it on it's own (as I am hoping in the Summer), it is possibly a little short. I therefore decided to add a little to the length. In the end, I added 6cms (it wasn't calculated scientifically - just a rough guess!)

So, pattern selected, you only need the front and back pieces. Nothing else. You now need to cut two front pieces from each piece of fabric and two back pieces.

Two front pieces - one from each piece of fabric:

Two back pieces - one from each piece of fabric:

You now need to take the two back pieces and place them right sides together. Pin and sew where shown on the photo (the red line)

Turn in the right way and press where you have just sewn.

You now need to do exactly the same, but for the front. Place the two front pieces right side together and sew where shown (red line on photo)

Again, turn in the right way and press and then do your button holes.

You now need to sew the front pieces to the back pieces. To do this, lay each piece out lengthways - you have to sort of fold down the part you have just sewn and then it will lay out. Place the fabric right side together, but so that you have one of the patterns on the left side and the other pattern on the right hand side:

Your next step is to sew the two pieces together. Starting on one side, sew the entire length of the dress (red line on the photo) - take care where you move from one dress to the other, because the better you match the seams up, the neater the finished article will look.

You can now turn your dress the right way and you should be able to see it clearly taking shape.

You now need to press and pin your hem. If you made your original pattern longer (as I did) then you can take the time to try it on and measure it properly. Obviously, the more time you take with the pressing and pinning of the hem, the neater the match between the two fabrics you can get. When you sew it, you need to try and get as close to the bottom of the hem as possible. Once you have done this, you can top sew it if you choose (I don't).

All that's left now is to sew on your buttons. Work out where they need to go and then sew two on back to back on each strap.

That should be it (fingers crossed!)

Here is my finished one being modelled (whilst bouncing on the bed!)

Three fantastic blog giveaways!

The generosity of bloggers never fails to amaze me - there are some truly wonderful and beautiful things being given away out there!

Here are three of the moment:

First off, bagladee is giving away one of her lovely bags to celebrate her 1st anniversary. There are loads to choose from, although I think I'm being drawn to the one in the top right hand corner. The colours are just yelling 'summer'!

Secondly, The Farm Chicks are giving away 2 yards of Pixie Dust Fabrics. This is the first time I have seen these fabrics and I think I've fallen in love! Choosing two was so hard, but after much deliberation I think I'd go with the Watermelon Lattice and the Aqua Pagoda.

Lastly, Bumble Beans is giving away a gorgeous reversible shopping bag and a whole stack of fabric lovliness! The possibilities with that little lot are endless!

Good luck to you if you decide to enter.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Parenting woes

I need to get this out and I figure here is probably the best place to do that. I well may delete it later, but for now, I just need it to be somewhere other than in my head.

Despite being married, despite Cara having both a mum and a dad, I am truly fed up with being a single-parent with two full time jobs and I just want my husband to realise that. I work full-time as a Secondary school teacher. I have done so since Cara was 6 months old. It's not something I particularly enjoy - it's done more as a 'need' than a 'want'. My other full-time job is obviously being a mum. Cara is at a age where she has dropped her afternoon nap, asks endless questions and it just all-consuming. Don't get me wrong, I love her to pieces, but just find everything so exhausting. I obviously have a fair few holidays as a result of being a teacher, but I also have a hell of a lot of work to do during that time. I am incredibly conscientious when it comes to my work and I feel really stressed out and worried if I am at all behind. I teach a lot of coursework courses and this obviously needs assessing (and often re-assessing) - it takes a lot of time.

What I would love, beyond anything, is when H is off (as he has been this weekend) is for him to say to me "I'll take Cara out today so you can do some marking". Does he do this? No. It's always a 'deal' with him. He has just said to me, "I'll do you a deal - if you take Cara to the farm, then I'll take her to Bluewater with me later on." WTF is that all about? He is her father and yet does everything he can to 'get out' of looking after her. Maybe I should have said to him when we planning a family, "I'll do you a deal - I'll carry this baby for 9 months and give birth if you help me in bringing her up." So - why didn't I say that? Because it's just ridiculous. Parenting is a full time job that we both went in to with our eyes fully open - so why is it, I'm the only one of us doing that job? Gahhhhhh

His idea of childcare is to put the TV on, sit on the settee, ignore her and play on his phone. He doesn't talk to her - he doesn't know how to, because he has never tried. He can't understand what she says and she often has to repeat things three or four times before she even gets a response from him.

I am just so fed up with his 'contribution' right now. He needs a very serious wake up call.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Fabric lovliness

I got two pieces of lovely new fabric this week.

The first - Michael Miller Eiffel Tower in black was an absolute bargain. It measures almost 2 metres long and cost me the grand total of £1.04. Got to love eBay at times!

The second - Pink Stripes by Tanya Wheelan - was even more of a bargain as it was free (sort of anyway)! My most favourite fabric shop have a customer loyalty scheme, whereby you get a stamp for every £10 you spend. When you get 10 stamps, you can get a free metre of fabric. I filled my card this week and choose this as my 'prize'.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

My first quilt (and a little confession!)

I've decided that during the summer holiday, I am going to decorate Cara's bedroom. I'm going to let her help choose the colour scheme, but I can see lots of pink (I'm thinking pale pink with white).

I decided that I would love to make a quilt for her bed, to finish it all off. So, this week I started. I have never made a quilt before, but just feel so inspired by all the fantastic examples out there, that I decided to just go for it. confession is that I don't really have a clue what I'm doing. I'm just sort of 'doing it' and am going to see how it ends up (probably not the best way of doing it!)

I've made several blocks so far and am really pleased with how they are turning out.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Good Friday

Last year, on Good Friday, we visited the Rare Breeds Centre in Ashford where we saw the lambs, sheep, pigs and goats.

We were going to go there again today, but our car is a little bit poorly and so we didn't want to go too far in it. Instead, we decided to go to Leeds Castle as they had lots of Easter events on for children. When we got there, the queue was massive and wasn't moving very fast. With two young children (one of my neices came with us) both impatient to play in a park we decided to try the newly re-opened Kent Life just up the road instead. I'm really glad we did - it was fabulous. Live music, lots of lovely farm animals, lots to see and do and a fantastic outdoor park. The girls were having a great time - so great infact that Cara got carried away and wet herself. She was so upset bless her. A lovely lady near by offered us a spare pair of her son's pants, which was so kind of her, but we had some for her in the car. Unfortinately though, I hadn't taken any spare trousers, so our trip was cut short.

I bought an annual pass for myself though, which at £21 I thought was a bargain. I think we'll have another trip there next week to make up for today.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Summer is on the way!

After a pretty gloomy start to the day, which resulted in us having to cut Buzz's walk short as it started to rain, it really brightened up around lunchtime. We spent around 3 hours out in the garden - I mowed, trimmed and tidied. Cara happily played with her water table and watered the (as yet, non-existent) flowers for me. She then insisted she wanted her pool filled with water, so we did that. She kept asking if she could get her feet wet, which I wasn't too keen on, but I compromised and made her put her Crocs on first so she wasn't just bare-foot. She clambered on it and exclaimed "it's freezing! Can we put some hot in?"

It makes me long for 'proper' summer. I'm going to get my finger out and make some more sun hats for her. In the meantime though, I've been looking at this fantastic tutorial for a twirly skirt.