Paradigm Learning At Work Week ….

It’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it 😍

My wonderful employer who I’ve been with for nearly 3 months now and truly have never been happier are a pretty forward thinking innovative organisation. Whilst being very focused on excellent customer service delivery they also put their colleague experience right up there. Revolutionary huh!? Happy workforce equals low staff turnover, lower sickness and folk who will happily go the extra mile.

This is why I was more than happy to share my love of sewing during LAW week. The idea being for us to share ‘stuff’ we know and do with our colleagues in short workshops. One colleague shared her vast experience in floristry with some colleagues making some fantastic floral displays. Another used their experience to share skills in self marketing, how to become an excellent communicator, mentor, advocate and such likes. I know this too was a cracking success as an immediate colleague attended and the following day she was actively employing her new skills and genuinely loving how positively is impacted her that day.

Me…. Well dear reader you know me well enough…. The creative in me has a leaning toward near madness sometimes, but as a creative yourself you will understand this all too well..

How to enthuse 2 lovely ladies so they want to go home and sew????

I threw myself in with some of my vast fabric stash and the idea that a kaftan for the beach (my up and coming Carribean adventure) was a plan. Having made plenty before it was a good plan BUT what I really should have done is check the width of the fabric I was using….. I didn’t and had to deal with the potential for disaster with an audience. What do they say, fail to prepare, prepare to fail ….. Ha! But I a the Queen of bringing it back from the brink of disaster!

So armed with my enormously wide chiffon from Walthamstow, sewing machine, one hour and 2 gorgeous ladies I set about proving that you can just throw yourself at a sewing project, no pattern, little in the way of a plan and still get a result.

No iron to make my seams look lovely (time was tight …. Did I say that already)? Cut, pin, hem raw edges and throw a very nervous Charlotte at the fabric with scissors …… Just cut a gentle curve from here to here I said …… Hesitation and BINGO by Jove I think she’s got it, the one bit of shaping required was done perfectly 😃

Whizzed it through the machine and as I was turning through to put on I had that thought that flashes through your brain …. I hadn’t brought a belt with me to tie the kaftan …. So first imagines I look remarkably like a deflated parachute, then my tape measure caught my eye PERFECT, a belt. As you can see I demonstrated with a belt of sorts. TBH had I chosed a less wide fabric and a non sloppy fabric I know for certain the result would have been awesome BUT I know Charlotte and Faye enjoyed the hour and it gave them a taster.

To get them hands on I had bought 4 tea towels from Sue Ryder for £2.29. Gave them 2 each and using the kaftan principal had them sew the towels….. Hey presto beach doobrie for little ones. Perfect for toddlers straight out of the ocean, get them warm and dry, cozzie off without public display of bottoms and they can cuddle up in it until dry personally I think they turned out brilliantly.

So all on all a wonderful hour sharing my love albeit in a CURAZEE sort of way.

Huge thanks to my lovely ladies for being so welcoming and appreciative, get sewing…. Anything, even if only a couple of time a year, you get to say I made that!

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Passing It Along At Last ….

DD1 and DD2 wanted an excertion down to Walthamstow yesterday and despite the miserable Autumn weather it really didn’t dampen the trip.

Tint in place and waiting .....

Tint in place and waiting …..


Having our eyebrows threaded and tinted with a bunch of lovely ladies at Naz we set to looking at what joyous winter fabrics were on offer.  Well DD1 and I did, DD2 hasn’t quite got the bug yet so she yo yo’d between the market stalls providing entertainment for the locals as she bartered like a professional for her purchases.

DD1 and I don’t need to worry about losing DD2 her laugh carrys over a crowd without difficulty and given the Eastend banter that is so readily available on a London market, she was laughing enough that her location was known more accurately than having a tracking device on her 🙂

Some wonderful wool mixes are available right now and SAEEDS never ever disappoints. He has such an eye for what is on trend so you are pretty well guaranteed to get whatever you need, want or desire there and all at very reasonable prices.

Whilst wizzing around in there like whirling dervishes we saw Did You Make That? With her lovely Ella.  Ella is as lovely in the fur as in her pictures … A real little honey.

The owner of SAEEDS tipped me the wink that he has some spectacular wools coming in next week and knowing his taste, will be bang on the money…. in texture, colour, quality and price.  So if you are in Walthamstow make a point of popping in to take a look.

DD1 found a perfect wool mix for a smart work skirt ….. Just one minor problem, that being after one attempt at teaching her to sew clothing several years ago, which resulted in WW3 we have never gone back down that path of Mother passing along knowledge.  This is highly remiss of me given that my abilities are down to my own darling late Mum bothering to take the time to teach me.

Nettle grasped this morning we set to ….. right from the beginning of reading warp,
weft, tailor tacks and so on we spent many hours working at a steady pace and I have to say as a proud Mother, by gum I think she has got it! The all important hand finish to hem is being done at home as she had started to get pretty tired but I think you will agree from the pictures she did a sterling job.  Matching the check superbly at all seams, invisible zip and perfect darts …… my girl did good.

So I have finally made a start to passing the knowledge along,  next step is to get DD2 engaged enough but hey oh, let’s not hold our breath 😉

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Father Forgive Me For I Have Sinned ….

… And keep on sinning! Bad Gal 😦

Here dearest reader I lay before you my confession for the day, the week,  ok the year!

In the workplace I am a highly disciplined person. To do lists that are tackled by priority, meet targets and deadlines as NT would I believe attest to. So how come in my home life does chaos rein?

Could it be the Gemini in me? That old two-sided personality … Or maybe the only child syndrome?

The attention span of a gnat quite frankly. Well in truth if things are going well I see it through to the bitter end BUT I can be given to tantrum if things go against me. Not the stamping, hissing type of a teen but the obstinate, petulant sort of a toddler!

Case in point … Hidden in the airing cupboard is a real kimono that I know Del will remember as she offered words of wisdom when I hit my wall.  I miss calculated on the belt, as a result just couldn’t turn it through (fabric isvery very old and quite delicate). Rather than be a grown up and listen to my buddy by Re cutting a wider version I hid it! There it has sat for a year … OMG a year!  It’s so close to finished but oh no Mrs cut off her nose to spite her face, there it still sits.

Fragile package by the cupboard in which NOBODY is allowed to go is a couple of cork boards to decorate as Del did.  So loved the effect I thought YEP I’m going to do a couple of them for DD2 for her photos BUT because I couldn’t find my staple gun, there they sit wrapped …. This one in my defence is just a couple of weeks old.

On the wardrobe door is the DD1 blanket which is a work in progress, as is the one hour kimono whose neckline is driving me berserk.  Theres the tantrum talk again 🙂 All I need to is bind the neck and front edge. Sewing machine is set up, have lovely satin bias from Walthamstow BUT it annoyed me so can’t bring myself to touch it.  What’s that all about LOSER!

How shameful is it that I have stash taking up valuable space in DD2 bedroom? Big bottom drawer MINE, top of wardrobe MINE ….. Drawer is Walthamstow, wardrobe is the carefully collected vintage fabrics. Not sure what caused that particular fit of sulks…. Think my brain finds it too painful to deal with so has erased the memory 😉

Attention span so pathetic I even meandered off from the actual pics you need as evidence and took pics of bling and stuff just because they please me.  Whilst I say I like order and method me thinks I am also a serial liar (to myself) if I spot a bit of blingage or a doobrie that makes me smile I have to fill a space and believe me, space is limited in my little piece of England.  Praise the Lord I married a man who accepts my foibles else I would have been a divorcee time ago!

The crochet heart thing started last night. DD2 has a much-loved cardigan that she just won’t bin so I started some granny square mid DD1 blanket action …. They are cool but then I thought what else could I do so You Tube got it.  There I found my desire, very quick but super effective crochet hearts. 7 in half an hour and more have followed this morning. Started stitching to the dying cardigan and at this point am very happy with the result, just a few more to do. Then it popped into my head, ENT kimono, sitting cut out in my living room. Now I love this lady like a sister so should be highly motivated to get it done so why the failure …… It’s Georgette like the kimono of failed neckline!

I lay before you my confession to being a serial starter and non finisher IF things don’t go my way.

Have fingers and toes crossed that I don’t stand alone in this affliction? I seek your absolution dear reader. Am I forgiven?

Happy Sunday x

Update picture .... The hearts and granny squares start the rescue :)

Update picture …. The hearts and granny squares start the rescue 🙂

 

Whoops! Walthamstow Wins Weak Woman Over …. AGAIN!

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Master plan, little visit to wonderful Walthamstow street market to introduce bestie and DD2 to the wonders of the East End of London.

My sales pitch was as follows : we can just take a leisurely wander down (Europes longest street market, not biggest though) the market. Grab a cappucino and soak up the magical multi cultural atmosphere as we go.

I knew in the back of my mind … LIAR …. Right at the front of my mind that I wanted to go to Saeed’s again for a couple of pieces of fabric for the one hour kimono craze I have going right now.

Saeed’s didn’t disappoint, never ever does, such variety at fantastico prices 🙂 In fact turned into a bit of a feeding frenzy. 3 of us ooooo-ing and aaaaaah-ing at his latest offerings. Evidence Of which can be seen in the picture’s.

DD2 has been wanting a pair of army combat trousers for the longest time but being long and skinny never has much luck until today. No longer fully reliant on the Bank of Mum and Dad she was able to treat herself to several things, she is one very happy wanderer.

Another want of DD2 was to have a henna decoration on her arm as in the wedding party decoration the asian bridal parties have. Well as ever Walthamstow didn’t let us down, a wonderful wee shop with 3 Indian ladies working busily on threading and tinting eyebrows were also able to offer the henna she so wanted.

Bestie and I were transfixed at how fast the henna decoration was painted on to her arm, a true art! Oh well as we are here lets get groomed, so by the time we left we all had perfect eyebrows too 😉 Very reasonable prices too. Thread and tint finished with a mini massage just £8.50, I couldn’t show you anywhere else you can get such service and craft womanship for so little monetary outlay.

Tired to the bone with all the walking we struggled back to my car weighed down with our purchases. Who would think fabric could weigh quite so heavy? Ha! Me of course ….. As we know dear reader I did the exact same thing last summer :). Will I ever learn …. I hope not 😉 xx

 

One Crazy Hour …..

Walthamstow stash

Walthamstow stash

Look no pattern just some pins and bombs away

Look no pattern just some pins and bombs away

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Modelled by the lovely DD2 with monster puppy looking on

Modelled by the lovely DD2 with monster puppy looking on

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Slim little mare, would like to say I had abs like that once but I would be lying!

Slim little mare, would like to say I had abs like that once but I would be lying!

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…. Well one hour and ten minutes!

The itch to sew something quick and easy to satisfy me was dealt with this evening.

Having seen a rather nifty cheat method to make a fashion kimono for DD2 on You Tube by Mighty Mannie, I had it set in my mind to crack on with supplies from the Walthamstow stash on my return from work. Well best laid plans and all that, I got started at 7pm and by 8.10pm job done 🙂

A few changes next time, I simply have to bind the neck can’t be faffing with the cheat. For me the finish is too bodgeville. As ever french seams for me, a must actually with this Italian laser print as it sheds like crazy. If I had chosen a fabric less inclined to zoot off in a direction other than the one I wanted it would easily have been done in 50 minutes which for a quick fashion accessory ain’t half bad me thinks 😉

DD2 is a UK size 6-8 so pretty tiny thus kimono-esque jacket is a bit big but she totally loves it and at the end of the day that’s why I do it.

Hope you like the pics and the hastily thrown together blog but wanted to share as all in all really happy with my one hour wonder!

Who Let The Lunatic Out Of The Asylum?

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Dear Reader

You can firmly place the blame at the foot of DD1 (Darling Daughter 1). She’s a teacher you know? A so called professional yet she deems it appropriate to totally encourage the Bank of Mum to get down to the Old Smoke (London).

As if my previous Walthamstow jolly wasn’t enough I have (confession time) had another complete spendathon. Not as big as last time BUT a bender nevertheless!  How many concealed zips does one woman need? Well at 20 pence each LOTS I hear you join me in chorus :0)

The intended purpose of visit to the wonderful East End was to do a reconicense mission as we intend to take a stall at a vintage fair at the Old Spitalfields Market in November and try to sell our wares (of which I will tell more when I actually have something to show you). It’s called Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair and is held once a month at Spitalfields.

My recent haul of totally poptastic vintage buttons, lace and trim from the 1920’s, 30’s, 40’s and 50’s are to be turned into a variety of hopefully desireable items. Wherever possible we will also be using vintage fabric’s when we find them. Partly to cater to the vintage lovers market but also in a nod to the Planet, upcycle something that may have hit landfill and turn it into something beautiful and of course unique!

They say an army marches on it’s stomach and this army truly does. When I saw the cost of a good old bacon sandwich in this boutique area decision made to go off road… 4 wheel shoes intact we trundled off down Brick Lane. There are many asian restaurants here, apart from the fact they weren’t open at this time of the day, I don’t eat spicy food, so onwards and upwards. On our travwls we saw some incredible street art. Brick Lane is clearly an area where the talented come.

Just by chance we stumbled upon a little place whose name I didn’t get….DANGIT!  They had bagels in the window. By now my tummy thought my throat had been cut so food is food and in we marched. It was packed with locals (always and excellent sign, my darling Father in Law taught me this tip). Hot Salt Beef????? Never heard of it but in for a penny, in for a pound. Ordered up 2 rolls with hot salt beef and mustard. While waiting I was mmore than slightly dazzled by a beautiful smiling face coming across the road toward the shop. As this beautiful mixed race man walked in, still smiling as though the smile were for me and me only I was lost in the warmth of this lovely face. I am a firm believer in credit where it is due and as he walked past us in the queue I told him ‘what a beautiful face’. “Thank you” with an extra flash of smile. Could this experience get much better?  YEEEEEES, by gum the hot salt beef and mustard roll was just GAWJUS! I am a convert thats a fact.

Given that this part of the mission went well and we were if I do say so myself uber efficient there were choices to be made. Choice 1. Sensible but boring, go back home Choice 2. Go check out Goldhawk Road in West London (many fabric shops).

Now for those of you who are not familiar with our fantastico capital. It’s small, really small compared to other capitals of the world BUT it is build on a foot print hundreds of years old. Therefore, best way to travel is by foot or tube. Tricky when you have your car with you!

SatNav at the ready, our 8 mile journey took 50 minutes. Not that this was a problem. Excellent car company and superb views from the traffic jams. Our architecture in London is phenomenal. We arrived to another micro climate having had mizzle in the East End it was bright and pretty darn warm in the West of London. Enthusiastically we dove into the shops, less than 30 minutes into our jaunt we looked at each other……. it was apparent that this was not matching our Walthamstow experience. At thhis point my expectation of DD1 was to be the grown up and say Mum we’ve had a lovely time lets go home now but NO! The single most dangerous question ….. what do you want to do now. Well quite frankly I’d say that is blindingly obvious.  Drive all the way back to the East End to Walthamstow. Planet friendly NO, lunatic friendly hell YES!

Yep, you’ve got the drift. Another excursion, SatNav chose a new route for us strangely but it was cool, new stuff to look at in the traffic jams. So all in all traffic jam quality was excellent.

Walthamstow was superb even those we had to do it at double pace as time was a ticking. An amusing sight for on lookers as I have a full hip replacement so have an interesting gait but motivated by fabric I can be speedy gonzales albeit I pay big time for days after (who cares when booty has been bought)?

Given we have been very recently it helped tremendously as we knew exactly which shops we wanted to head for. Mateen, superb selection, wonderful staff and even better prices! A couple of stops in between but a no brainer for our last stop. The lovely Jay at New Fabric Shop. He has lots of end of stock and the like, but in a demonstration of how we buy from people nearly as much as buying the item, Jay is such a cool, easy guy…. it would feel rude to go to Walthamstow and not visit him!

All in all an excellent day, productive and not too costly. Today however my hip is paying the price, small price to pay I’d say!!

Saeeds Fabric

Saeeds Fabric

A couple of pictures on the bounce for you, this shop yet another that took our breath away and YES I was still buying, ignoring my own counsel!

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D’el Especially for You …..Don’t Worry

D'el Especially for You .....Don't Worry

Did keep our strength up in a traditional East End Pie and Mash shop. This is still in it’s original state from the late 1800’s. It’s peasant food but the very best sort. Would have taken a picture but it didn’t last long enough so YUMMY! Gave us the final push required to get to the end of the market and here in lays a tip for anyone considering going down to Walthamstow.

DON’T fly out of the gates too fast, there is soooo much to see and midway and beyond there is even more choice for us creative souls.

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