Saturday, 20 June 2015

Bicycle Race

Well, that was an exciting morning!  Stage Four of the Women's Cycle Tour came through Hertford today en route from Broxbourne to Buntingford - so I was up early (gardening at 7.20am, no less) and then up at the top of my road to see them come through.  There's a very steep hill coming out of Hertford (it can be a tad tough on your legs walking up, never mind cycling at full pelt)  
I stood at the Queen of the Mountain stage finish - or just opposite the Co-Op in real life.
There was no end of motorcycles and support vehicles, and I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

And then the cyclists appeared - and they were still peddling furiously (I'm sure I'd have had to get off and pushed my bike up the hill, which perhaps explains why I wasn't taking part)
 They whizzed past in a flash ....
 And then they were gone.
As cycling is so popular with the masses now, I'm surprised that more people hadn't turned out to support them or just to enjoy the spectacle - it certainly doesn't happen every day.
I'm just glad that I did.

Bicycle Race - Queen

Sunday, 14 June 2015


No stitching this week I'm afraid, but I've still had a lovely week - my parents have been visiting and I took my Dad for his belated birthday present into London and up The Shard.  It's very tall.

Not a very sunny day, but nice and clear, so we had fantastic views - to Canary Wharf
the Olympic Park
the Tower of London
and down into little gardens that you'd never normally see
We spent about an hour and a half trying to pick out particular buildings and we both really enjoyed the trip. We worked out that Dad hadn't even been on a train for about 25 years, so the whole day was an adventure.  Dad declined the offer of a window cleaning round though.
Still, I obviously couldn't allow him to laze about enjoying himself for the whole week - so on Thursday, Dad (87) and I (old bird, rapidly approaching buspass status), with considerable assistance from my friend Jill's husband (70's) built a shed! 
It was delivered on Thursday morning, we started work after lunch and by tea time it was built and the roof was felted.  Not bad, eh?  
The only job remaining on Friday was to glaze the windows.  Fortunately, my cousin and her husband came over to see Mum and Dad so we called upon Mick's glazing expertise to help finish the job.
There IS no such thing as a free lunch!
I have to admit, when I saw the size of the shed 'kit', I did wonder if I should have employed a professional to construct it, but having done it, I'm really glad we did it ourselves. I think it rates as one of my best "Me Mades"
The photo was taken on Friday, after we'd tidied ourselves up a bit.
And, just so that my Mum isn't left out - here she is enjoying the sunshine in the garden.
The week finished well too, with the week's second trip to London to meet Zoe and pay another visit to the Alexander McQueen exhibition at the V&A.  It's the third time I've been, but I dare say it won't be the last - there's such a lot to take in.  It was really lovely to meet Zoe in real life too!

Glasshouse - Young Knives

Sunday, 31 May 2015

The End

Days 30 & 31

Day 30
Although I was only going to my beading group today, which doesn't normally involve any dressing up, I thought I'd have a fancy frock day - SewLaDiDa Sweetheart dress - I love this dress - it's one of my few dresses which suggests I really do have a waist - although sadly you can't tell from the photo cos I forgot to remove my jacket (second hand from a vintage fair)
I spent the day finishing the bracelet that I started at beading last month at a workshop led by Shona Bevan
Day 31
Final day of the challenge - and I wasn't going anywhere, and it clearly wasn't going to be a day for gardening, so I put this dress on, mainly to decide whether to keep it or not.  It's definitely not one of my favourites.
It's another Laurel, but I don't know if it's the fabric, it just looks a bit sack-like.  I don't like the neck much, nor the length of the sleeves - nothing to do with the pattern, which I really like, just my treatment of it on this occasion.  I'm beginning to think in future I should make a size down.  
Added to that, I hadn't done my hair, or put any make up on, so let's just have a close up of the only redeeming feature of this outfit ...........
Absolutely no reason to wear these indoors, except I love them.  As my intended day in the garden was thwarted, owing to inclement weather, I've had a day in my sewing room, crossing things off my 'to-do' list.
And I've finished another bit of beading
Very pleased with this, and it's reversible
So, that's MeMadeMay over for another year.  I've enjoyed fulfilling my challenge, and I've definitely exceeded the frock wearing element of my pledge.
The only slightly tricky days were when I was away on holiday - I probably need to make more sensible day-to-day outfits and leave off the fancy frock making.  
But I don't suppose I will.
The End - Kings of Leon

Friday, 29 May 2015

48 Hours

Days 27 -29
Day 27
Denim Schoolhouse Tunic and grey jersey leggings made from McCalls 6173 (couldn't be easier!)

Day 28
 I was off to see the Prism exhibition at Hoxton Arches, so I wore my Comic Book skirt (I've done a close up and mirrored the photo so you can read the speech bubbles, if you are so inclined) I wore it with a John Smedley cotton jumper and a denim shirt - both at bargain prices from a charity shop a year or two ago.
I've been to see the Prism exhibition several times in the past when it was at the Mall Galleries, but this was a much 'edgier' venue and I loved it - in fact I think it's the best Prism exhibition I've seen.
My friend Gina's work was stunning - Graffiti style images with very dense free machine embroidery
and a close up ...
I also like these tattoo-inspired pieces by Julie Harper, again very densely stitched
and another close up ....
and these beautiful appliqued and machine embroidered images mounted on cotton reels by Jacqi Adkins -
in fact, I liked them so much I bought one (with the pink and orange cotton reel at the front, towards the right)
This clever piece was also by Jacqi -
The work was incredibly varied, and whilst I liked lots of the work, including some of the delicate, ethereal pieces, it's the smash-you-in-the-face colours that draw me in to look closer.
The puppets by Charlotte Sewell were fun too..
As those who know me are only too aware, I have boycotted Tesco for about ten years, so I was amused that I liked this piece

Having spent a couple of hours wandering around the exhibition, I made my first visit to the Geffrye Museum, which was just around the corner.  The Geffrye is set in almshouses built in 1714 by the Ironmongers' Company, and shows how homes have changed over the past 400 years, and shows period room settings from the 1600s.  Well worth a visit, with gardens and a restaurant.  Needless to say I stopped for cake.

Day 29
Tartan dress using the Colette Laurel pattern
 Only two days to go.

48 Hours - The Clash

Tuesday, 26 May 2015


Days 21 - 26
Day 21
I've been up to visit my parents in Norfolk for a few days, so there's a slight variation of scenery for my photo backgrounds. It wasn't quite as warm as it looks here (it's windy up in the Flatlands!) so I wore my handknitted denim jacket over the birdie Camber top, and self-drafted snakeskin denim skirt, 
Day 22
Fine weather, so I helped out with some gardening for Mum and Dad - denim jumper and starry denim Ultimate trousers
Day 23
On Saturday I took my Mum and my niece Sarah out for afternoon tea at a posh hotel.  The occasion was a treat for my niece, who is expecting her first baby in a few weeks time.  She's enormous! You'll have to take my word for it because, although I took her photo, she may never forgive me if I post it on here.
So, instead, here are a pair of the booties I knitted.  Like Sarah, they, too, are enormous.  In fact, they are so big that when I showed my Dad, he asked if I was going to put studs on them.  Saz said she was seriously concerned about the whole 'giving birth' thing, if the baby was going to come out with feet the size of these boots.
I also gave her a quilted play mat that I'd made - I bought the fabric as soon as I knew she was expecting, but I only got around to making it a couple of weeks ago. The picture was taken in the Creative Sanctuary, which is where I got the fabric).  Since my lovely sister is no longer with us, I thought I should step up to the quiltmaking mark. I've never machine quilted before, but I used the walking foot that came with one of my machines, it went like a dream. Anyway, Sarah said that her Mum would have been proud of me, so I'm more than happy with that.
Back to MMM.  Afternoon tea at a smart hotel called for a ridiculous frock, so it was the Christine Haynes Emery dress made in black and white gingham with a couple of rows of Russian dolls appliqued around the skirt.
Day 24
Black Ultimate trousers, with a Laurel top
Day 25
Pottering in my own garden today, so I wore shop bought jeans and a very bright Jalie top (I can't ever see myself stitching my own jeans, but you never know)
Day 26
Working in the shop today, so I wore another Merchant and Mills Camber dress that I made with this fabric that I bought there, (but I forgot all about getting a photo taken while I was there)
Well, we're on the home run now, only five more photos to inflict on you!
Flatlands - Mark Lanegan

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Mirror Mirror

Days 19 -and 20

Day 19 - I always feel a bit conspicuous in this top, so I decided to wear it today as I'm not planning on going far.
I screen printed the fabric myself on a course years ago, and eventually got around to using it, a year or so ago, for a Schoolhouse tunic
The leggings are a recent make, using McCalls 6173 and grey Ponte jersey.  I'm really pleased with these, I cut them longer in the body, and in the leg than the pattern said, but other than that, the fit is fine. They only took about an hour to make, so I'll definitely be making more, as soon as I find some suitable jersey.
That may mean a shopping trip, or there again, it may just fall out of the cupboard onto my head.

Day 20 - My original Coco dress (I've made two since this)

I think I've now found the best place to take 'selfies'.  One day I might try a bit of Photoshop-ing to take out the backgound. Of course, if I master that, it'll only be a short learning curve to lose two stone and maybe a few wrinkles.  As if.

Mirror Mirror - Pinkerton's Assorted Colours.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

In These Shoes?

Days 17 - 18

Day 17 - Sunday, working at the shop this afternoon, so I wore two recently made garments
both already blogged and both made from fabric purchased in the shop, (which is HERE)
To prove it, here's the fabric I used for my skirt, 
what I can only describe as a kind of snakeskin denim with a bit of stretch
I might have to get a bit more for another pair of Ultimate trousers.  Talking of which .....

Day 18 - back to taking my own photos - a hand knitted denim jumper (when is it going to properly be summer and warm enough for no sleeves?) and my Ultimate trousers in the navy denim with white stars.  I really love these trousers, and although the pattern says to use a concealed zip, for these I made a lapped zip and attached a zip guard, and added a trouser bar to the top of the facing.  These are close to perfect now fit-wise, just a bit of fine tuning to be done.
Oh, and you know I said no new clothes since Chritsmas, weeeell, obviously that didn't include shoes - I can't make them.  So I did make one wearable purchase in Whitstable
a beautiful pair of Irregular Choice shoes with small heels.  They only had them in two sizes, and luckily, one of them was mine.  I'm wearing them around the house at the moment, just because I can.

In These Shoes? - Kirsty MacColl