Category Archives: Everything else

Removing lace window treatment with cornflour / cornstarch

Just a quick post to update you on how it went when I removed the lace window treatment with cornflour / cornstarch.


When it came to be time to move out, I sprayed the lace down with water and just pulled it away. The lace came away really easily but there was a lot of residue on the window. It took me a few tries to work out how to get it clean but what eventually worked best was a scrubby sponge and VERY HOT water (so hot you need rubber gloves). Vinegar also seemed promising but the hot water worked best.


While we were waiting…

Hello blog friends! I can’t believe it’s been so long since I last posted. I was a little busy growing a tiny human, but that’s no real excuse!

In and out

Baby Vita was born  in July, 13 days late at the end of a long, hot, heat wave. You should have seen the size of my ankles by the time he was born! Since then we’ve been getting to know each other and I am pleased to report that at seven weeks old he is a shmooshy, smiley little chunk. He probably won’t be showing his face on the blog, but trust me, it’s a cute one!

Unfortunately, as some point during the two-week wait for him to finally make his appearance, I got antsy decided to mess with the server of my blog and all the pictures from the last year or so disappeared! I will eventually get my act together and sort this out (for my sake, I’m sure you didn’t notice or don’t mind) but until this baby starts sleeping a little better, you might just have to bear with my sloppy appearance.

Here’s a few other things made while we were waiting for Baby Vita…

IMG_8937 IMG_8949 IMG_9011


I made the baby a quilt. It’s pretty big for a baby (lap size) but we’ve been snuggling under it together in the mornings and I really like it. IMG_9112

I made a pair of tiny harem trousers using this pattern (although I made it a bit bigger, which was lucky as Baby Vita was 9lb 6oz!). He’s wearing these asleep on my chest right now! IMG_9121_2

I made him a sunbonnet out of one of his dad’s old work shirts (using the collar for the stiff brim so I didn’t have to bother with interfacing). I used this pattern from Purl Soho, which I highly recommend. I made the neck ties velcro because my pregnancy hamster brain was worried about strangulation. (My new-mother brain laughed at this because my new-mother brain wouldn’t leave the baby alone wearing something as dangerous as a sun hat!)
IMG_9538I grew tomatoes, herbs and green beans in the garden. These lucky few made it into a bolognese, sadly the rest rotted on the vine while we were too busy keeping the baby alive!


I made these bloomers from this Knick Knack Knickers pattern from Anna Maria Horner, also using one of Mr Vita’s old work shirts (this was a Pierre Cardin, so nice to sew with!). Writing this reminds me that he hasn’t actually worn these yet, which is probably because they’re very silly! Luckily he will fit in them a while longer so I have plenty of time to embarrass my poor son by making him wear pantaloons. IMG_8499Finally I made these trousers from an old dress and this pattern. They are a little funky, but that’s the charm of homemade, right? Ask my baby again when he’s ten and I’m still making him wear mama-made clothes!

What I’ve been up to

So, I read somewhere that bloggers shouldn’t apologise for a delay in posts. But I’m thinking they meant when it’s been a few days, not something like six months!

So, I’m sorry. We moved, and that was really stressful as the workmen who’d done some fixes to the house before we moved in had accidentally pinched an electric cable and nobody noticed until all our stuff was moved in! So we had to move to my mum’s house while they tore up all the floorboards looking to find the problem. (Not going to lie, it felt like a pretty good time to be a renter).

Then, our new teeny weeny house is so perfect for us and where we are in our lives right now, but it’s also pretty modest and has a horrendously ugly kitchen, so while I’ve been enjoying making it a cosy neat, nothing really feels blog worthy. Which is fine! I just thought I’d warn y’all that Annabel Vita is probably going to be a little more focused on sewing from here on out, with (even) less house stuffs.

But! That said, I haven’t even got my sewing machine out in the five months since we moved, as not long afterwards we learnt that somebody else would be joining us for the ride…

(Sorry for the dark picture! It’s also a little out of date now, but oh well! Imagine me a little tubbier…)

So that’s fun! We have a little baby boy due to join us in July and we are SO excited!

I’ve got my energy back now and am feeling a lot better than I was for the first few months (I didn’t even have the energy to find my sewing machine in all the boxes still unpacked), plus I feel ready to get sewing some bits and pieces for the baby.

So that’s what’s new with me. Thanks for sticking around!

Our old flat

I thought now that we’ve left London I could share a few more details about where we used to live.


I loved our little London flat. Everyone else thought it too teeny for two but Mr V and I found it the most wonderful cosy nest for our first flat together (we’d shared a single room in a shared house for six months after all).

Our flat was a strange sort of fill in extension between two Victorian mansions in Putney, near the Thames. It was the windows that sold us on the flat and they were always my favourite thing about it (catch them in action here and here).

We had four of those windows that you can see in this picture. Sure, our flat wasn’t as fancy as the ones in the old mansions themselves, but as soon as we walked in to view it we got the feeling. We fell in love with our flat hard, and even though leaving was the right thing to do and it was the right time and we had a titchy bit of a damp/mould problem caused by all those windows, we still loved it when we left. I got all defensive on its behalf when the landlord struggled to find new tenants. Who wouldn’t want our lovely flat?

Here is a picture of one of the mansions from when the founder of Jaeger (with the dashing hat and beard) lived there with his family a long long time ago.

Lewis Tomalin (founder of Jaeger) and family at 20 Cambalt Road, Putney, c. 1895

I hope they were as happy there as we were.

Kooktouw for everyone!


Remember when I wrote about finding bakers twine in the most amazing hardware shop we found during my Dutch holiday with Mr V?


Well! Imagine how happy I was to get an email from Bernadette, the owner of the store. She thanked me for writing about her shop, pointed me in the direction of some great pictures of it and said my post had inspired her to start selling bakers twine (kooktouw) on their online shop.


She said they post to the UK and over 60 other countries so if you need a bulk order of the stripey stuff at just € 2,25 a roll, head on over to her website (use a bit of google translate or email – their English is excellent) (of course).

Of course, if you buy it online you’ll be missing out on this real treat of a shop. If you’re ever in Holland and anywhere near Alkmaar, be sure to pop in for a visit. The floor to ceiling cubbies full of household goods and clogs will make your heart happy. Also make sure to check out the bike shop across the road, it’s a cyclists dream and has the same totally charming feel.


PS. Check out the amazing vintage till! I saved my hand written till receipt as a souvenir from our trip, I love it.


All images taken from J. Boom’s Google places page or webshop

Make a fabric party hat in under a minute


Ok, so there are other blogs out there where you can go for your perfect Martha-Stewart style crafts. I’m more of a I’m-already-five-minutes-late-when-inspiration-strikes kinda crafter. The sort you don’t feel in the least bit intimidated by, in other words (mainly because anything I make always looks a little like your average eight year old could have done better).

Anyway. The other day I was putting together a birthday parcel for my mum. As I was digging around in my wrapping drawer I found a bunch of ugly but fun party hats and some fabric I’d been saving (actually the cut off legs of a pair of pyjamas that had sadly died). Even though, as I said, I was already late, I thought I’d use the two to make my mum a unique little birthday hat to put on her cute head.


Here’s where we started. If you don’t have an old hat, I think the best template is here on oh happy day. (Whilst there, you can see the sort of beautiful hats you can make if you put a bit more time and effort in.)

The rest is so easy you’ve probably already worked it out, but just in case.


I lined up the already hemmed edge of the fabric (the bottom of the trouser leg) along the bottom of the party hat with a couple of centimetres overhang, then pulled it taut to the tip of the hat. (If you’re using unhemmed fabric it would also be fine, I just put my hem where it made most sense as I already had it)


Tape along that line with tape.


Line around the inside of the hat with double sided tape and rip off the liner bit of the tape. (Mine’s dirty from something in the junk drawer… luckily that was the bit that got pulled off!)

The next bit required two hands so there’s no pictures. But you need to stick the bottom of the fabric to that double sided tape. Then trim the fabric just past the point where the two ends meet (you want a bit to cover the masking tape.

Then I swept the excess height of the fabric up and around the cone (I was going for a princessy vibe!) and tied it in a bow.


Is it perfect? No. Would it make you smile if you received it in the post on your birthday? I reckon.

I’ll be back tomorrow or later in the week with more details with the rest of the party-in-a-parcel I sent my mum.

Here’s the finished party in a parcel!

Bakers twine and booties

So, it happened. I finally got my hands on some bakers twine. I’ve been refusing to spend more than, say, twice as much as I would spend on a normal ball of string on the stuff. (Seriously, Anthropologie, £15/$30 on a bit of string?) but at the same time just really wanting it.

So you can imagine my joy when I found it cheaper than normal string in Holland.


I forgot my camera this day so that blurry blackberry picture is the only one I have of the totally amazing shop where I procured this string for a mere €2.60 per roll. It had all manner of amazing household goods (and clogs…) piled high in wooden cubbies. And bakers twine at a price so cheap that when I asked Mr V what colour I should get, he said: “All three.” Yay!

I also found these truly scrumptious knitted booties in Amsterdam. It was love at first sight.


As luck would have it, two days after I got back from Holland, I was off to a baby shower for a dear friend in the West Country. So I bought those booties (for about €7) and put my bakers twine to good use when I got home.


Hip hip hooray indeed!

How to turn a shopping bag into a nifty piece of art for your wall


My friends and I (and now mr vitra!) go to the Hay literature festival every year and I love it. The Guardian used to sponsor it and sell papers with these beautiful free reusable shopping bags. I thought I’d celebrate my love of books, the festival and the Guardian in our flat by framing one of those bags and putting it on my wall.

Ready? Let’s go.


This is so easy it’s not really a how to, but here you are any way. Assemble your bag and a very large Ribba frame from Ikea. At this stage you should probably iron your bag, but mine had never been used so wasn’t too crumpled and I kinda liked the way the slightly creased, slightly cream fabric made a contrast with the crisp white mount so I left it. If you do want yours to be super neat and flat, you could also cut the bag, but I decided to leave mine totally as it.


Spend some time using the mount and the bit of liner paper working out exactly where you want the motif on your bag to go. You’ll notice mine didn’t quite fit and I had to cut off the grass and the logo, but I don’t think it matters. Stick your bag in place using masking tape. You want to stretch it a bit (like a canvas) so it stays nice and straight.


Carefully put it into your frame and put the back on. I measured down each side and put the grippy bits that hold the picture wire in place first, so that it would hang straight.I put the handle out of the back because I figured it would keep it out of the way. You could sut the handles if you really want them out of the way.


You’re done. Nice work.


Now hang it and enjoy. Possibly open a beer. Relax.