Tuesday, 30 March 2010

2 rolls of duct tape, cling film and a half naked lady...

I'm guessing that everyone that attempts making their own clothes, soon realises a dressform would really come in handy. However, as a newbie, I'm not sure I want to fork out for a pretty expensive piece of equipment that I may or may not use. Plus it most definitely won't be the exact measurements I need it to be... I can rarely find clothes to find my shape, what're the chances of finding a dressform?

Well as soon as I got interested in sewing I subscribed to a magazine called "Sew." Coincidentally, it came out at exactly the same time as my (renewed) interest and was aimed at beginners... perfect! Anyway, think it was maybe the forth issue? there was an article by a dressmaker who recommended making your own dressform out of an old t-shirt and some duct tape!

Cool, looked like a good idea! But then I forgot about it...

A few months later I was looking at the sewing forum and again came across the idea of a duct tape dressform, except this time using cling film and with more detailed instructions from someone who had tried it.

Again cool, but again I forgot about it... but not for long!

Think it was a few weeks later I was reading another blog and again the diy dressform was mentioned. Well I can take a hint you know, so I sent Danny off to the DIY to get some duct tape (I also called my parents to get them to save their old newspapers...)

The weekend just gone we finally got around to taping me up, lol!

I striped down to me undies and Danny wrapped me up in cling film. Easy! Although I probably shouldn't have stuffed myself silly on pasta before starting... Belly was a little rounder than normal... What can I say, I love carbonara :-9

Once cling wrapped, we began the lengthy process of taping me up! I knew it was going to take a while, but somehow I convinced myself that Danny and I would be naturals and be able to get it done super fast! I was wrong... well I think... I don't actually know how long it takes anyone else, so for all I know maybe we were pretty quick! It took us around 3 hours, plus extra time for coffee and cake :-)

Not too bad I guess, except we didn't start till gone midnight...

We did 3 layers in all, I've since seen recommendations for 6-7 layers, would definitely make the finished shell more sturdy, but there was no way I could have stood around for all that time. Once the cling film was on I didn't want to move as it came off so easy, then when the first layer of tape was on I couldn't move even if I wanted to... I could do a pretty good robot walk and hold the tape for Danny, but that was about it. As you can probably imagine, 3 hours of hardly moving = a very achy Michelle!

For anyone that's interested we did 3 layers first taping horizontally, next vertical and finishing with another horizontal layer. The different directions help to stabilise the tape. We used 1 and a bit rolls of B&Q multipurpose gaffer tape (50mm x 50m), the kind with the threads running through it to help stop any stretching and distortion. The tape was cut at varying lengths depending on the area being taped, longer pieces for the larger curves and flatter areas (thighs, stomach, back, etc) and much smaller ones for tighter curves (shoulders, neck, waist, etc). The breast area is very tricky, we tried to do a kind of cross your heart thing, but it didn't work at all. So we cut it down the length to make short narrow strips, the key is to not stretch the tape as you put it on else you flatten out the bust, rather than getting the true breast shape. Incidentally, for the torso I tried to always inflate my chest when I was being taped, didn't want Danny to have to cut me out too soon due to me not being able to breathe!

So here's how it looked before we cut me out :-)

Pretty good I think, quite tempting to sew a zip up the back and wear it as a dress, although I'd probably have trouble sitting down and would definitely want it longer :-S

I decided to make some kind of tube to fit inside that I can fit over my Hangaway (when not in use!) Here is my hangaway cover... (yes I confess, I shop at QVC!)

 And here is my completed dressform!

Not bad I think :-) Filling it was pretty tricky. I used old newspaper (thanks Mom & Dad!) and stuffed through the various available orifices... thankfully I hadn't sealed them up as I had planned to! The tube in the middle helped it to keep its shape, rather than going a rounded shape. I also added some card board at the shoulder to support the shape as well as pieces above and below the breasts and a piece on the back. If you're wondering how much newspaper, I used 4... 1 for the torso and 3 for the bum! lol! Oh and I also put a hanger in the top so that I can hang it if I need to and also to again support the shoulders when its got whatever fabrics hanging on it.

So that's about it, I've decided to leave the holes open for the time being. Ready for further filling should the need arise, although I have put a few pieces of tape over the base to stop the paper falling out!

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

10 CLOVES OF GARLIC??? Now that's my kind of recipe!!!!! :-D

So for my birthday a few weeks ago, DH bought me the latest Jamie Oliver book, Jamie's America. Unfortunately, my birthday coincided with a bout of stomach flu, from which I'm still kind of recovering from. That said, understandably it took me a while to even look at the pics in the book, let alone feel the urge to cook any...

When I did start to feel better I grabbed my new book and had a look to see what I could cook for dinner... A few years ago we started having organic veg delivered from a company called Riverford, who are fab by the way!! So on this particular day we had received our box containing, among other things, broccoli.

I love broccoli, it's one of my favourite veg and have cooked it in many different ways, all good. After a quick scan through the index I found a recipe for a broccoli salad... I'd never tried broccoli salad before... I'd never even heard of it before! :-S  This instantly became the recipe for the night... Then having a quick scan through for something to serve with it I noticed "Killer Mac n Cheese." I love mac n cheese so this was a definite possibility! I had a quick scan through the ingredients and noticed it required *10 cloves of garlic*


Woo! Hoo! Now that's my kind of recipe!!!

This was definitely going to be cooked!!!!

Ok, calm down now :-)

So anyway, I cooked up a storm and this is what came out of the kitchen... I was missing the bacon for the broccoli salad, but other than that it was all good :-)

Why is it that photographs of food never seem to look as good as they do in real life? Unless you're a food photographer I guess...

The mac n cheese wasn't the best I've ever tasted, but it was very good. Nice garlic twist and some nice tomatoes, making it feel a bit healthier :-S The broccoli salad was gorgeous :-9 And one of my new favourite ways to serve this veg. The dressing is quite similar to a salad dressing that we make from the Wagamama Cook Book, which is also a favourite, needless to say there was no left overs at the end of the meal!

Happy Mothers Day.

For yesterday that is...

It's been so long since I did any paper crafting, like Christmas 2008! Oh actually just remembered I made a kind of scrapbook/birthday card for my Granddad in August 2009... But, it seems like so long ago!!! Since blogging some of my previous card attempts, it made me want to have another go. So I decided to have a go at making a card for Mom :-)

From a cluttered up and trying to keep the house tidy point of view, I feel I have too much craft stuff... yet when I go to make something I never have enough and struggle, trying to find new ways of using the same bits... I have loads of lovely papers, but hate to cut into them for card making, I can barely stand doing it for scrap booking... just want to keep them whole...

Anyway, the flower stamps I used were in the first set I bought. I also used them in the card I made for my nan here. The large flower stamp is also from the same set. I've also used them in scrapbook pages, that I'll get round to blogging about at some point! Come to think of it the diamonte things were in the set with the stamps too... It was a qvc today's special value from a few years ago... had a lot of good stuff in there :-)

It's such a simple design, but it took me sooooooo long to do!

I have no idea why, it was one of those days when the creative juices just weren't quite flowing in the right direction. I did the flowery paper quite quick and the letter tiles, but then took me forever to lay it out and come up with a way to finish it of. I toyed with the idea of leaves and flower round the border, adding butterflies and whatever else I can't remember now.

I like it, but still not happy with it... just kind of frustrated that whatever it was that I was trying to do, just wasn't quite meshing

This post is a bit jumbled too... Still channelling the card vibe I guess?

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Seema Beans :-9

Baked beans have always made a regular appearance in my diet. Growing up I always found them boring and only started to enjoy them when my Dad introduced me to the joys of beans on toast with cheese on top. Since then, I have struggled to eat them any other way.

That is until I met a lovely lady named Seema...

After giving birth to my son, Seema and our other lovely friend Jen frequently came to visit... obviously leading to the conundrum of what to eat for lunch. Together they introduced me to the delights of crisp sandwiches. I never admitted to them, till now, that I'd never had them before! Especially good with Quavers :-9 One day we also suddenly made a decision to make waffles and had to make an emergency trip to the corner shop for necessary ingredients...

Anyway, back to the beans...

One fateful day, we decided to have a more sensible meal of beans on toast. I'm not sure how it came about, but Seema mentioned that she never ate beans straight from the can at home and always added various things to spice them up a bit.

WOW! I don't know whether it's just me, but I'd never even thought about doing anything like that before (I know, I need to start thinking outside of the box!!)

I love trying new recipes and stuff so was more than intrigued to see what Seema meant... It is so simple I'm ashamed I never tried it myself in the past. We chopped up an onion and fried it with some dried chillies and some pepper... Not sure if she makes them the same at home, but at my house this is what we did.

I sat down to eat my beans, not sure if I would like them... there was no cheese!

One mouthful and I was sold... They tasted so good :-9

These days I have no problem eating beans without cheese... Now I have more of a problem eating them not Seema-fied.

Thank you Seema, Love ya!! xxx

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Mary Janes

So as I said before, when I found out I was pregnant with a girl I couldn't wait to get knitting cute girly projects. I love my son to bits, but you have to admit, girls are so much more fun fashionwise. You go into the clothes stores and like three quarters of the stock is for girls. To add insult to injury, the girls can even choose stuff from the boy's section... I guess truly liberal parents would let their son shop in the girls section, but it rarely happens.

Apart from the poncho in my previous post, I came across this pattern for a pair of Mary Jane Booties. Soooo cute!!!

With quite a bit of yarn still left over from the blanket I'd made/was making :-S I decided to put some to good use and have a go at knitting a pair.

I had to learn how to do the cable cast on method, as I'd never done that before, it came out a bit loose so I'll probably do it on smaller needles next time. Plus I found that the button hole was a bit too close to the end of the strap. If I ever make any more I think I'll try moving it in a stitch or two...

Other than that they turned out pretty well and took hardly any time to make :-)

Of course one lurked at the bottom of my knitting collection for quite some time waiting to be sewn up... Finally finished it in the car on the way to a local shopping centre after deciding she could wear them that day. Think I took the picture when we got home. Sorry about the poor photo quality... Artifical light, a wriggling new born and being too close to attempt the use of a flash, does not a good picture make :-S

Hmmmm, is it just me or has the spell check disappeared? Forgive any spelling mistakes until I find it :_(

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

So cute :-)

When I found out our second child was going to be a little girl I couldn't wait to get knitting. I hit the net in search of free patterns and came across this one.

I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it and knew that I would really regret it if I didn't make it!It took awhile to get round to, but I finally took the plunge and ordered the yarn and needles.

The package arrived very quick and I was so excited, couldn't wait to get going on it. It is the first, and so far only, time I've worked with such a chunky yarn. It's good seeing your work growing so fast, I much prefer it to working with fine yarns like 4 ply.

The pattern also required me to crochet :-S

Seeing this I hit the net again (mainly YouTube) in search of tutorials... This led to more projects that I NEED to make in the future...

Having finally sussed the crochet part, I was able to complete the poncho. The best part is it's all knitted in a big circle, so the only bit I needed to join was the top of the hood! Whoop! I need more projects like this :-)

All finished...

And in time for our Christmas holiday to Paris.

Just finished and in need of a model, I grabbed baby sized Tigger and popped it on... Poor guy has been used to practice swaddling, by the midwife to demonstrate breastfeeding positions, to model new baby knits and probably other things he never counted on being used for.

Shoshone finally woke from her nap and was immediately plonked into model mode...

Here she is pulling off a classic catalogue pose, the "I wander what's going on over there?" Just need to work on the "checking your watch" and we're all set :-)

Monday, 1 March 2010

3 years plus!

As in it took at least that long to complete.

I think it was my second knitting project. I started it while pregnant with Wiyot and completed it just in time for the birth of Shoshone :-S

It is made up of small garter stitch squares, which are then sewn together... it was the sewing that was the problem!

All but a few squares were knitted during my first pregnancy. I used to knit the squares on the bus on my way in to work...

And then began the sewing...

It took so long to join each square, probably because I didn't have much experience, so it took a lot of concentration, only to have to unpick at the end as the edges weren't coming together level. ARRRGH!

I'm still don't enjoy the joining process and usually have all the knitted components finished for some time before I get round to the sewing. You'd think it would be exciting as you finally get to see your work coming together to form a wearable garment.


Surprisingly, after giving birth to Wiyot I didn't get much time for knitting, let alone the sewing part. As he got older there seemed no point as he wouldn't need the blanket anyway!

When I found I was pregnant with Shoshone I realised I'd better get it finished! We aren't planning any more babies, so if she didn't get to use it all the hard work would be for nothing.

I didn't finish it all in one go. I kept coming back to it, sewing a few more squares here and there. My sewing skills must have improved as it took much less concentration and I could do it right first time round. After finishing it I decided it wasn't big enough and ended up adding a few rows at the bottom and sides... luckily I still had some left over yarn.

Well, it took ages but I love it! I took it to the hospital for when we bought Shoshone home and it's still the first blanket I choose when we're going out :-)

BTW, if anyone is wondering, the pattern is from Baby Knits for Beginners by Debbie Bliss