What if animals were round?

Happy Friday! This is a totally randumb post but this video made me laugh so much I had to share!

Click here to see the embedded video

I’m curious – what’s your favourite animal?

Oh! In fact – what are your top three and why?

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The bedroom

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When you walk into our flat, the doorway to our bedroom is the view that greets you on the right. It’s also what you see from the sofa if you turn your head to the right down the hall.

Our bedroom is teeny. Our bed has to be pushed up against the wall. There’s a tiny cupboard (seems to me like an average American hall linen cupboard) and no room for a wardrobe. But, it’s filled with light and has a huge lovely window.

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That green curtain at the top is green ikea fabric plus a closet rod.
Mr V had to risk his life to put it up (it’s a 11 foot high and he got
it up by climbing the window frame), but it’s worth it to not get
woken up by the light as soon as it’s up.

I’ve decided it’s time to love it exactly as it is. We’re nearly-newlyweds, living in a teeny flat is par for the course! My future-mother-in-law was telling me that their newlywed flat had huge gaps between the floorboards that let in freezing cold air and they’d get ice on the inside of the windows. It’s okay! We’re still just starting out our lives together.

The whole flat looks nicer with the bedroom door open (because then light is coming in from both directions), so our bedroom is a lot more “public” than it would be in some other flats. This makes me pleased that we’ve been able to sort out the hot mess that the bedroom used to be.

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Before > After (I’d hope that was obvious!)

Ah, that’s better! I’ve written before about adding the rast dresser, but the garnityr hanging clothes cover has really helped hide even more clothing clutter from view.

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But the real reason I wanted it was that our clothes were getting crazy dusty. I don’t know if it’s the high ceilings or the fact we’re living in the city centre (beside a pretty busy road) but this flat has more dust than anywhere I’ve ever lived. You can dust, turn your back and it’s covered in thick dust again.

bedroom 3Drats, everything moved slightly in a recent shuffle and I forgot to recentre this poster!

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That bluey thing you can see down the side is an Ikea hanging storage thing that I can’t find on their website,  where I keep my tights, belts and slips. Mr V’s work shirts don’t get dust protection because they get worn and washed weekly, which is just enough to keep them clean out in the open!nook

 

Oh weird nook, you are weird. I would love to make a feature of you but I need you for storing underwear, art we don’t have room for anywhere else, Mr V’s grandma’s handbag, a knitted rat muskateer and the homemade chewbacca I sewed for Mr V. Those hooks I added under the overhang are handy for worn-but-not-dirty clothes and the lint roller. I painted that mini chest of drawers in those two colours as swatches for something else, but ended up liking the way it looked just like that!

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Favourite map and curtain bought for €1 a few years ago are both from French brocantes (long before we moved to this flat). Globe lamp shade from a local toy shop! Badly made bed courtesy of the fact it’s up against a wall and our duvet has lost all its poofiness.

bedroom 5

See? No poof. Sad duvet. This picture also shows our incredibly handy tall and narrow tables (one is tucked under the other). I bought both of these for £4 when we were first moving in together and they’ve been endlessly useful as we live in these tiny flats. I may give them a lick of paint one day (the tops are all kinds of cruddy) but they do an okay job of hiding their flaws (and I like that they’re already ruined so it doesn’t matter if I spill water or coffee on them). bedside tbaleIkea lamp, bunny night light (the best for late night toilet trips), five year diary, pens, Anthopologie catch-all bowl. This picture illustrates how tight a fit our bed is in this room! Also, check out that lovely molding. I still need to show you the original (1745!) molding in the front room, it is ridonkulous (about three times the size of this!).

And that brings us to the end of this little room tour. I hope you liked it. The room is too small and has been too cold all winter, but I do love it. The light is incredible and those silly-high ceilings keeps it from feeling pokey or claustrophobic. Plus, we’re only young. There’s plenty of time for bigger bedrooms!

For now we love where we live enough to deal with the compromises. (Enormous living room means all the other rooms are tiny. Location makes us so, so happy. The rent is really, really affordable.) I’ve been idly looking for our next place (one where we could get a dog) and none of them have anywhere near as good a balance of size, location and cost that our flat has, despite the many downsides of this place.

I guess it’s like anything else, it doesn’t have to perfect to be perfect for you in the here and now.

New Home 611 sewing machine review and manual

Sewing table

Do you ever post something just because before you did it / learnt it you couldn’t find it on Google? Well, this post is one of those posts. I love my sewing machine but there is NOTHING out there about it and I wanted to remedy that, in case anyone in the same situation I was two years ago (in a charity shop, googling a review of a sewing machine to see if they should buy it or not!) Sorry that this post will be boring for most of you… I’ve put everything behind a jump to make it easier to skim!

 

New Home 611 sewing machine manual

So, without further ado, after the jump you’ll find my review of my New Home 611 sewing machine and pictures of every page of the manual. (One day I’ll photocopy the manual into a PDF, but that day is not today, too lazy.)

Continue reading

Pisces baby quilt

If you follow me on instagram you’re probably bored of me teasing you with pictures of this quilt buuuut it’s all done now so here it is with our resident newborn model, Kermit the Frog!

salt water constellations quilt 1

I put Kermit on it for scale so you can see that I accidentally made it totally massive (42 x 52 inches). Oh well, the baby can use it until it’s old enough for sleepovers, plus it’s a nice size for using as a lap quilt on the sofa (as I discovered when I was hand finishing the binding in front of the TV this week!).

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This quilt is for the same baby that got those little trousers a few weeks ago. The baby will be a Pisces like me, so (even though I don’t really believe in horoscopes), I thought this mix of sea on the front and stars would on the back would suit the little one. The salt water fabrics that I used for the top are so much fun, with all manner of sea creatures (and submarines!) hiding in the patterns.salt water constellations quilt 7

I made up the pattern on the top as I went along. It was nice to take a lot more risks with quilt, compared to the last baby quilt I made where I was quite “safe” with my fabric choices and the pattern. I started from the top with full stripes of all the different fabrics, and then worked in strips down from there, epiecing the fabrics together. I started with some bits precut, but in the end I was just cutting the fabric and playing with it like a jigsaw and then sewing it together. It was fun! One thing I learnt was that some of the fabrics that I wasn’t that fond of when they arrived (like the stripes), actually looked sooo good once they were cut up into little pieces and up against other patterns.

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I ordered the fabrics online and when the arrived I was a bit worried that the two different hues of blue on the front and back didn’t really go…. But once it the top was all sewn up I took into into my local quilt shop with the backing fabric and spent my lunch break browsing fabrics. Once I found this beautiful yellow the two blues really started to sing and I fell in love.

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Here’s one of my favourite bits! I had this seagull ribbon in my stash and at first I just sewed it into the binding, but then I figured it would be nice to reinforce it so that the baby’s mum (my friend) could use it to hang the quilt up on a hook if need be.

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Here’s a better view of the backing fabric with all its funny constellations. I quilted it with a triple zig zag stitch on my machine for some more wavy-ness. I wasn’t thrilled with the way this turned out (I have got to figure out how to work the walking foot I got for Christmas!), but I think it works.

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I attached the binding using the machine for one side and then secretly hand stitching on the other. I did all this using yellow thread that matched the binding, but as I was doing the hand stitching, I realised that I should have matched the machine thread to the quilt not the binding, so that it would be less visible if any bits did stick out of the binding.

salt water constellations quilt 2

Materials:

Front: six skinny quarters of various Salt Water by Tula Pink fabrics in the ‘aqua’ colourway from the Village Haberdashery (I emailled Annie the shop owner and she cut them skinny not fat for me so that I could do the long stripes at one end of the quilt).

Back: 1.5 metres of Lizzy House constellations night blue from Backstitch (this was the harrrdest blue to photograph ever but look at the gorgeous pattern!)

Binding: about half a metre of Kona Solids mustard yellow (I think! It doesn’t look like any of the swatches online but what does that mean?!)

Batting: Bamboo Blend 50/50 bamboo cotton batting (I bought this off a roll at my local quilt shop though).

(I really like this batting! It’s snuggly and warm but still folds up really well so the quilt isn’t too much of a behemoth. I think the technical terms to describe it are: high drapability, low loft and high resilience. The lady in the shop said it wasn’t really necessary to pre-wash it before use (unless you were making a very pale quilt – the washing is recommended to remove any traces of oil from any cottonseed husks left in the batting). It will shrink about 5 per cent in the wash for that wrinkly look.)

Time: Started after work last Wednesday, finished Tuesday lunchtime. Two solid evenings and a Saturday morning, the rest in bits and pieces.

Cost: quilt top £24 (I have scraps left over but nothing else), quilt back £18, binding £3.50 (I used half a metre of £7/metre fabric), batting £8.10 (1.5 metres of the baby quilt width). Total = £56.50 (Plus p&p on some items and three – count ’em! – three 100m spools of gutermann thread at £1.55 a pop) (two blue and one yellow) (I only finished one of those fully though)

(I put the time and cost just to show why custom quilts cost so much on places like Etsy and why I won’t be going into business any time soon! I also thinking quilting cottons might be more expensive in the UK than the US?)

My favourite quilting tutorials: All linked up in this blog post

Let’s finish this up with one more picture of our beautiful baby all wrapped up!

salt water constellations quilt 6

I love making quilts for babies! I spent a lot of time while I was making this quilt, just thinking about this little baby that we’re all so excited to meet. One of my other friends said that maybe I should be careful of setting a precedent that everyone’s babies get quilts, but for now I’d rather work on getting faster at quilting than give up on giving them! (Ask me again in a few years though.)

Baby trousers! (Winter Pinterest Challenge)

Here’s a short and sweet post for a short and sweet project.

 Rae's basic newborn baby pant lined

Kermit loves modelling, and he’s so good at it too.

The first of my close friends is due next month and we are all SO EXCITED, yet also a little unprepared because we’ve never done this before! I plan on making the baby a baby quilt, but when one of her friends organised her a last minute baby shower dinner thing, I wanted a quick project to give her (the quilt won’t be finished till the baby is born).

 

So I turned to my pins and found this lovely free pattern from Made by Rae and got to serging (oh yeah! I did all the guts of these on my new overlocker). I was going to just make them unlined in this black and white elephant fabric, buuuut then after cutting them out and sewing them up, I realised I had cut the elephants out upside down. Ruh-roh.

So I pulled out my copy of Anna Maria Horner’s Handmade Beginnings and copied the construction of her quick change trousers to make a these into lined pair of trousers.

To do this, you make two identical pairs of trousers and sew everything except the waistband and leg openings. Then slip one pair into the other, right sides facing. Sew a seam along the top of both pairs of trousers. Turn inside out, then top stitch about half an inch under the waist band, leaving a small opening to slip quarter inch elastic through. Thread the elastic through and then zig zag stitch the ends of the elastic together and complete the top stitching so it looks all nice. I didn’t take any pictures of this but thankfully I used horribly clashing thread for the top stitching so you should be able to figure it out…. Once you’ve turn that, turn all four leg openings up quarter of an inch with the iron and top stitch all the way around. You’re done!

 Rae's basic newborn baby pant lined

And those upside down elephants on the inside? Perfect turn ups!

This post is part of the Pinterest Challenge, organised by Katie (Bower Power), Sherry (Young House Love), Michelle (Decor and the Dog), and Megan (The Remodeled Life).

Thanks guys!

Joining the Brother 1034D club

Madeira in february

The week before last, I spent a lovely week in Madeira with one of my best friends (and bridesmaids). We didn’t really know what to expect (we booked our flights last minute so just went as far south as we could without spending a fortune.

It was gorgeous, but such a funny place. It feels like you’re in Portugal (and technically you are), but you’re actually off the coast of Africa.You can be lazing on the beach in the sun and then get in the car and 15 minutes later you’re up a mountain in the fog. The food was incredible (including lots of lovely Portuguese pastries and vino tinto!). It really is a wonderful place, and the people were so, so nice. (When we couldn’t find our hotel, a man hopped in his car and told us to follow him, then drove ten minutes across town to show us where it was!)

Anyway, when we got back, Mr V told me that he’d bought me my birthday present (my birthday is next month) and needed me to check out whether it was right because it was second-hand and if there was anything wrong with it he needed to send it back asap.

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That lovely sneak had paid attention when I was babbling about wanting an overlocker/serger and found out which one I wanted and there it was! Waiting for me! (If Mr V was down with his photo on the blog, this is where there would be a “Hey girl, I bought you that sewing gadget that I don’t understand because I really want another noisy machine in the flat.”)

(I wanted this one because I’d seen it lurking in the sewing rooms of some of my favourite stitchers, including Karen, Andrea, Tilly and the Colette studio. I normally research things like this death, but I figured those guys wouldn’t have bought it if it was a duff and I really really wanted a machine that lots of other people had so there would be lots of tutorials and YouTube videos on it, plus this Pattern Review thread was really reassuring.)

I was both incredibly excited and utterly terrified. This is a complicated machine with four threads and two knives. KNIVES!  Normally I’m a real stickler about waiting till my birthday to use my presents, even if I know what they are, but after putting this back in the box and leaving it for a day, I realised I was just making The Fear worse, so I got it out and having been playing with it ever since.

I LOVE IT. Yeah, I’m still scared of rethreading it, but I’m in touch with a local sewing tutor and will be on her introduction to overlockers class as soon as it runs again (spending some the money I’d been saving up to buy an overlocker!). (Or I might buy this Craftsy class with Andrea’s 50 per cent discount.)

Anyway. My exact overlocker (The 1034D AV Limited Edition, whatever that means!) came with three extra feet (yaaay!) but nothing to catch the trimmings and lint, so I popped it on this Ikea tray WHICH MATCHES THE COLOURS PERFECTLY (I’m a leeetle excited about it). (I’d also read that having it on a tray made it easier to move around without getting your hand tangled in the threads). (That tray doesn’t seem to be on Ikea’s website anymore, but this one would look cute too!)

I wanted a little box to keep things like the tweezers and lint brush in, so I went to my stash of empty boxes (everyone has one of those, right?), and found this fancy Prada box that I rescued from an optician’s recycling bin as I just knew one day I’d find the perfect use for it.

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PERFECT! The box fits perfectly in that little nook of the machine and then when I’m using it, I just take the lid off and use that to catch the crap and use the bottom to hold all the bits and pieces I need nearby. PERFECT! I must save empty boxes from the rubbish more often!

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Those hand sewing needles are for weaving in the serger ends.

You can see in those images above that I also stuck labels all over it to help me remember what’s what (and what order it needs to be threaded in). I saw this idea on Tilly’s blog and also in the Pattern Review thread and shamelessly copied it.

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I also wanted a little pouch for all the less everyday accessories that came with the machine, so I serged one. (Like how I threw that in there all casual? Really I was grinning a manic-happy-scared smile the whole time like a 10 year old who was allowed to get behind the wheel of a bus.)

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(I added the velcro on my other machine, and no I didn’t change my thread to match).

And then to round out this weird little recap of things I did with my overlocker during its first week, here are two dusters I made out of an old t-shirt. You can wear them on your hands. JAZZ HANDS!

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No but really. I’m a proper boring grown up now, I made my own dusters and was really excited about it.

 

Giveaway winner and some wedding bits

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Just a quick post today to belatedly let you know the winner of the vintage button giveaway is….drumroll please….Ainhoa!

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Congratulations Ainhoa! Send me an email with your address and I’ll get these buttons in the post ASAP…

Bonus picture from the jewellers this weekend when we were looking for wedding rings. Do you think this band looks ok with my engagement ring? I’d like to keep them both on one finger if possible…

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My dress has arrived and is now with the dressmaker for safekeeping and a few adjustments. I LOVE IT. I’ve ordered a veil, bought my shoes (they’re incredible) and the bridesmaids are on the hunt for mismatched dresses. The church, venue, caterer, band and cake are all booked. I’ve found a local florist but not booked them yet (we’re only ordering bouquet and boutonnieres and I will DIY the rest with our mums). We think we’ve settled on what we’re doing for the honeymoon and hope to book it all down tonight. If anything, I’m a little worried about how easy it’s all been! Makes me feel like we’re forgetting something….