Archive for July, 2012

Frugal Christmas #1

As some of you may already know, S- has decided to freelance full time. This means that whilst we’ll be better off in the long, we’ll be fairly skint in the run up to what is arguably the most expensive month of the year. December.

Still, never one to shy away from a challenge, I have decided to celebrate regardless and to go all out in my effort to make this not only the most cost-effective Christmas ever, but also the most stylish and hopefully ethically sound festive season I’ve beenin charge of.

I thought that as I start my preparations – and I do always begin this early! – I would post about my progress so that anyone else looking for some ways to save a few pennies could join in. Hopefully, I’ll have a few guest posts for you too, from people whose areas of expertise lay in different areas to my own. Incidentally, if you have any ideas regarding decorations, foods and gifts, please feel free to drop me a line and I’ll include your blog post/link to your site.

So, keep an eye out for new posts and I’ll start a new tab at the top of the screen so they’re all kept together.



It’s been a fair old while since I had soap ‘go right’. So I cheated. I bought a soap base, melted it in the microwave and poured it into moulds after adding poppy seeds, lavender and honey.

Wrapped in celophane and packed with string and lavender, they look super pretty.

I’m off on my hols tomorrow. Expect me to return with knitting!


I return!

And come bearing a finished tank top. I started this in November, and based it on the same pattern as the Pacman one which I did for my brother. I decided to try knitting it in the round though, so that I didn’t have to endure any purling when unnecessary. This was a lot quicker than traditional knitting, however as I had such a massive break between starting and finishing this garment, my tension was totally ‘off’ and I ended up with a flared vest.

Excuse the lack of technical merit. My patience in getting arty shots is very limited at 5am. You should be able to see the tapering though…

What makes this worse is that technically, this is the best bit of kniting I’ve done. Only 2 seams on the shoulders – grafted, not sewn – and knitted on a round needle. Even the v-neck came out looking exactly right this time. So yeah, I’m gutted that it was tight on S-, making the chances of it fitting my dad – if you’ll excuse the pun – very thin indeed.

It’s fairly short too… didn’t really notice that until I took this picture. And it’s not like Dad’s a fat giant, he’s just fractionally wider than my husband, and around the same height… Poop.

Looks like tank top two for baby brother. Nuts.

In other news, the completion of this latest  failure has left me open to finishing a few more small projects which I started and never completed.

I also picked some flowers:

Lavender and some ‘pink ones’ in my upcycled vase.

Wider view of my mantlepiece.f

The dress that Bub built

I attacked my fabric stash with a vengeance last night. I wanted to get Bub’s little dress finished for today because I was worried she might have lost interest in the components she’d chosen. No such thing happened. She woke up, saw it, squealed and tried to pull it onto her head. Below are pictures of it finished.

I used the Vivienne pattern from Burda style if anyone is interested in replicating it.

The armpits are very squiffy. It still looks fine on though and for the amount of time she”ll be in it, I’m not going to bother unpicking and restarting.

Close up of the buttons.

The “dat” pose – the girl knows what she wants.

“Dat” in this case, was the computer…


Today, I tried a very interesting exercise. I took Bub with me to a fabric shop and let her out of her pram. She walked reverently round the shelves with their colourful materials, pausing occasionally to point to a few which caught her eye, proclaiming ‘dat’ was the object of her affection. Then I took her to the button rack, and I don’t know what compelled me, but I said,

“Choose some buttons, then we’ll get some fabric to match and I will make you a dress.”

Dutifully, Bub pulled out a tube of turquoise buttons and instead of shaking them as I’d expected, she held them close to her chest like something precious, and walked them to a basket of fabric  off cuts which I hadn’t even seen.

And I kid you not, she placed the buttons on the floor and tried different bundles of cloth beside them, before finally settling on one called Victorian Roses by Fabri-Quilt.

Other finds today included an original water colour for £3.99 and a vintage Yorkshire tourist tea-tray. Score. I really lucked out today!

The fabric on top is the one daughter picked to match the buttons below. The other fabrics are for a top-secret project.

The water colour of somewhere in Kent, I’m told.

The awesome Yorkshire tray! 🙂

Bub’s summer dress

Exactly as the title says. Bub needed a dress which would cover her all over and keep her cool*. Drawing inspiration from the kaftan I bought in Marrakech, I used a little square of strawberry fabric and some ribbon which came with a flower bouquet to make this little frock.

All you do is fold the fabric in half, cut a neck hole in (I added elastic to make sure Daughter’s shoulders didn’t burn), attach the ribbon to the waist on the inside, then cut two holes for it in the back… done! You probably want to hem it too, depending on which fabric you’re using.

I love the way this hangs at the sides. I did sew them together to make sure Bub remains the demure little thing she clearly is (ahem) but I don’t think it detracts at all.

First time I’ve used elastic to bunch anything up but will be doing it all the time from now on! When not done with a baby on your knee, you get a really great, professional look. Guess where Bub joined me… ?

From the front now – I think it I was doing it again (and I probably will using a heavy wool weave come winter) then I would mark the waist with ribbon to make it stand out a bit more. I think it looks a little like a sting-ray with just the star buttons at the point where the ribbons attach.

From the back – again, were I doing it again, I’d co-ordinate the colours a little more. The yellow is a little sickly compared to the pretty red and white pattern of the fabric.

In other news, I went to the 9th Ladies Tractor Road Run in Norfolk today. Around 130 tractors, kitted out in pink bling and driven by similarly embellished ladies, took to the rural roads of my adopted home county. It was an incredible sight, seeing them all decked out in support of Cancer Research UK and lining a random field. The lady we went to support – the writer of One Stitch at a Time – has done an incredible job of fundraising, earning 430% of her original target (at time of publication). If you could find a few pennies to add to her total, that would be super-awesome.


*I’m aware I could technically have slathered her in sun-screen but I hate the sticky feeling that comes with it, so if I can avoid buttering Bub, I will.