Wednesday 27 August 2014

At Home with Modern June

At Home with Modern June: 27 Sewing Projects for your Handmade Lifestyle by Kelly McCants
Published by Stash Books
10th March 2014
Paperback Edition

Whether you're moving into a new home, launching a home makeover, or just sprucing up a room, this book, At Home With Modern June, by Kelly McCants provides plenty of ideas on how to infuse individuality into every room in the house. The 27 budget-friendly projects have a retro style and use materials such as oilcloth, laminated cotton, and chalk cloth in addition to quilter's cotton. Easy-to-follow instructions and helpful photographs guide you to success. You'll make drapes, bed skirts, floor mats, and much more. All that's required is a bit of ingenuity, a little time, and some basic skills.
This book reminded me, in a way of those by Cherry Menlove.  Kelly McCants is an American author who started out blogging, and now has an online store plus two books to her name.  She's a bit of an oilcloth addict, and this is reflected in her first book Sewing with Oilcloth, this new publication focuses more on fabrics.
At Home with Modern June is divided into
Kitchen and Dining Room
Bed and Bath
Closet and Pantry
Living Rooms - inside and out
and there are 27 projects to be completed, ranging from repurposed bunting, an embellished café curtain, bar stool makeover, makeup tray, and a sewing machine cover.  The concept also isn't 'modern' but much more 50s retro which is preferable to what you may think 'modern' entails! Is there anything in here that I haven't seen before?  Probably not, but then most books spin off the same ideas; there are only so many original thoughts one can have.  Though I particularly liked the chalkcloth place mat which I haven't seen before!
Photo courtesy of Modern June website
Bar Stool Makeover
Grr's Chicken Scratch Apron

Shower Curtain
It's a bright, cheery publication, with lots of illustrations and clear instructions.  If you haven't checked out the blog yet, you can find it here.
G x

Tuesday 19 August 2014

Taking a trip in Enid

Yes, Enid got a dusting off and a pulling-away last week as we ventured off on our summer holiday.  We decided that Wales was our destination this year, and we did have a lovely time - apart from being stuck in the middle of hurricane Bertha arriving not long after we did! However, it didn't dampen our spirits and we got out and about as much as possible seeing the coastline of Aberystwyth, Borth and Barmouth.

We managed about 2 minutes on the beach at Barmouth before the wind decided to fill out bags and clothes with sand and we left! Rapidly!

No filter - it really was this blue!

Girlies loved roaming the campsite and being allowed down the track to the playground where they made lots of friends, and just 'hung out' with them.  It was nice to be able to let them go and relax knowing they were safe too.  We also had some 'life changing' moments for the girls too, as the now 8 year old had her ears pierced as a total surprise (we had told her she had to wait until she was 10) and the almost 6 year old lost her first tooth!  Thankfully the tooth fairy found the caravan and all was well!

While in Borth, I found a fab shop selling vintage and retro items - at reasonable prices!  I know, I was shocked too and went back 3 times in all!  I managed to get some old Country Living magazines for 25p each, and a brilliant crock-pot and cup too.  If you are ever in the area, do drop in, they have some great treasures!

I was very tempted by this coffee pot set

I got one of these fab orange print cups and the crock-pot on the bottom left shelf

I managed to read my way through 3 books in the 10 days we were away, which was quite good going.  It turned out to be a blessing because I came home to this pile of post - honestly, we were only away for 10 days I tell you!  My review pile is now into triple figures.  I need more days in the week!

The girlies have now gone away with my outlaws for a few nights in their campervan, and then its off to my parents for a few nights, and to go and visit London again with them.  They went last year and loved it so much they want to do it this year too!

I have plans to do so much while they are away.  It's day 2 already and the sewing machine hasn't seen the light of day yet.  I plan to make loads but I bet it doesn't pan out that way.  This afternoon though I'm continuing with the nearly 6 year olds poncho in the hope that I can get it completed asap.  Then I plan to get the machine out!

This gorgeous book arrived today for review but I'm not allowed to show you any more until 1st September so you'll just have to wait to see what's inside!  I am a lucky girl!

I also ordered this which comes out in October.  Hoping for lots of original content and to not be disappointed.  I hate ordering crafty books without a proper look inside first as so often I get them and then don't want to do anything that's inside.  Is it just me?!

I've also got my #grannyhottie to finish from foxs lane as the final step went live today.  Strange as it seemed initially to be making this in August, we actually lit the log-burner last night as it was really cold.  Today hasn't been much warmer, and oh so wet.  It's looking and feeling a little autumnal out there - but I don't mind as I'm an Autumn baby and it's my favourite season by a mile!

G x

Monday 18 August 2014

The Simple Life

The Simple Life by Rhonda Hetzel
Published by Penguin Books
8th April 2014
Kindle Edition


Rhonda Hetzel feels passionately that living simply leads to a richer, more fulfilling existence. Having made the decision to live frugally, embrace sustainability and opt out of the capitalist consumerist mindset, she set about working out how to achieve her goal, learning traditional skills, reducing her spending and environmental impact and focusing on the simple things that make life worth living: family, friends, and a home-cooked meal.

This is the story of her journey and the lessons she has learned along the way. Rhonda relates why she wanted to change her lifestyle, what simple living means to her, and offers guidance to those thinking about taking the same path.

I found this book via Net Galley when it was offered up to readers in Australia at the end of last year.  As I couldn't get hold of it, I promptly forgot about it, until a few weeks ago when I suddenly decided that I wanted to read it.  However, apart from knowing that it was a) Australian b) published by Penguin and c) had a chicken on the front, I was scuppered if I could remember anything else about it.  I did many a fruitless search on the internet, and on the Penguin website trying to find it, to no avail.  Then my brain decided to concentrate, and the title sprung into my head.  I double-checked on Amazon and there it was, in all it's Penguin glory, chicken and all.  The best bit was that the kindle version was only a mere 60p so I downloaded it straight away and began to read.

The Simple Life is only a short book, if it can be classed as such.  I'd term it novella but it's factual so I don't think that applys in this case, anyway, I digress.  The author, Rhonda Hetzel makes the decision to live her life a little easier, a little more simply.  She starts to work from home, learning to love the place where she lives, and making use of the land that she has around her.  It's a dream that many more are aspiring to, and it's a brief, but lovely glimpse into her life, and the changes that she makes in order to be more frugal, and overall, happier.

I thoroughly enjoyed this journey, and it's certainly one I want to concentrate on more and more.

G x

Thursday 7 August 2014

Polaroid and Pretty Nostalgic Loving

I don't know if you have seen these so I thought I'd add it to my blog today.  Over on Instagram (which I'm never off), fellow bloggers Hettie Brown and Daisy Jones posted that they had just had some polaroid pics made up from their instagram shots.  What a terrific idea I thought.  I'll check it out!

I used a company called Polargram who offer a minimum of 12 photos in either traditional polaroid style, or a newer full square design for a measly £6 - and this includes postage!  All you do is select your instagram photos - I did mine via my phone and order away.  It takes a few days for them to arrive, all boxed up with a sweet to chew whilst perusing your choices!

I'm definitely going to use the service again.  This photos are to go in Agatha van (one she is ready to move into that is) but it's brilliant to have a permanent memory of something that is only actually on my phone, like the photo my 5 year old drew of me a few years ago.

And the one of me, Daisy, and Mrs B together at Hope & Elvis.

For 50p a print I think this is a great idea.

By the way, I've just seen the cover for the next edition of Pretty Nostalgic Magazine (due out first week of September) and I think it's gorgeous.  The other fabulous bit is that I have a second article in there - I've written the 'taking tea with' section on my idol Agatha Christie - squeal.  If you can, do grab a copy, it's worth every penny for a magazine that is page-to-page articles that you want to keep forever.

Happy snapping (and reading)

G x

Tuesday 5 August 2014

Step away from the machine!

Which is exactly what I should have done yesterday!  I decided, as the girlies were at the first of their week long bible club sessions (3 hours mummy time available), that I'd have a go at sewing another top from the first GBSB book.

I made my first one earlier this year, and whilst it proved to be traumatic, I thought that the second time around it would be easier.

I was so, so wrong!

Things went swimmingly until putting the zip in (step 2) came along - I hate zips.  I cannot sew them according to the instructions.  Though I do try.  I tried twice.  I couldn't do it, I kept slipping the fabric and just sewing the zip itself.  I probably should have tacked it according to the instructions, but I thought I knew best.  Anyway, I finally worked out that if I turned the zip over and sewed it face upwards, I could do it perfectly! RESULT!

Then onto the darts - and here I had a brain freeze.  I forgot everything I knew and couldn't remember how to sew a dart.  I must have pinned that fabric a dozen times and still couldn't work it out.  Then I had an epiphany and remembered what to do - only it had now taken me three hours and I had to pick the girlies back up!  All I had managed was to cut out the pieces, sew the sides together and add a zip - in 3 hours!!!!!!

I fed the girls, and hubby, and continued. The next part was the facing - all fine and dandy until I discovered that I'd hemmed the top and not the bottom so had to begin again - I did an awful lot of stitch ripping yesterday I can tell you!

Once that was fitted it was time to do the dreaded armhole stitching.  Thankfully I had mastered my own way around this last time, so knew that I could manage it with a bit of patience.  I ironed said top and got the shock of my life - the zip was in the wrong place!  I had deliberately bought a zip two inches smaller than instructed as on the previous top it went all the way to the bottom, and this time I wanted it to be slightly shorter.  However, in doing this, it meant that I had a gaping hold where the zip should have been, but wasn't!!!!!  How I kept my cool I don't know.

Hubby said, 'why don't you go and get a new zip?'  I worked out that the haberdashery in town closed in 15 mins so it meant leaving immediately.  I rushed the 4 miles into town.  There was a set of temporary lights and a 'delay' sign just outside my turning.  I did a three-point turn, stuffed the car into a supermarket carpark and legged it to the shop - she sometimes closes earlier than my watch says!  Thankfully she was still open and I got a zip!

Home again to unpick original zip and now sew new zip onto almost completed garment which was a tad awkward but achievable.  Then it was onto the armholes and a quick press to finish.  Phew!  However, on closer inspection there is about 2mm of fabric that hasn't caught in the armhole properly so I'm going to have to unstitch it and re-do it, but that's for another day.

I'm telling you, I'm not sewing with zips again!

Mummy time today was instead spent crocheting small granny squares for my Foxs Lane grannie hottie.  Kate mentioned a hook-a-long last week and I was contemplating it when Rachelle (aka Ted & Agnes) said she was doing one too over on Instagram.  Kate told me to join in too - so who am I are to argue!  It does seem odd be making a hotwater bottle cover in the middle of summer, but I can't wait to see how it looks!

I also got some new review post yesterday too - doesn't this look fun?!

G x