Wow, the weeks are flying by!
My photos for this week include this beautiful mug. I love love love the Emma Bridgewater mugs with birds and flowers and wildlife, but I can never usually justify spending almost £20 on a single mug.
Today I decided to treat myself using the vouchers I got for my birthday from my father in law and step mother in law.
Initially I was going to be sensible and buy something we needed, but Woody pursuaded me to buy myself one of these mugs instead.
I could only afford one, so spent quite a while crouched next to the shelf in John Lewis trying to decide which one it would be. eventually I decided on robins in honour of the robins that nest every year in our garden. and one special little robin who sat on the swing and kept me company almost four years ago while I was in labour with Florence. I'll never forget that little guy. (or girl?)
Gorgeous just woken up toddlers.
And something pretty waiting to be made up.
I've been helping India and Eden prepare for the Teenage Market that's taking place in Stockport tomorrow, and while sorting fabrics for India decided to make myself a couple of new scarves.
Both are infinity style, ie loops of fabric that can be worn in a variety of ways. Mostly I simply loop them round a couple of times, more if my neck is chilly.
The first is a lightweight drapey chiffon. the second a gorgeous cotton lawn.
Both are simply long strips of fabric with one long seam, turned right way out, pressed and the shorter ends french seamed.
A super busy week. Angus got his first ever short haircut. He looks so grown up!
India turned 17, and in true India style managed to drop her birthday cake.
I had a rare night out with good friends and got to wear my new dress.
And I found a beautiful old treadle sewing machine in the charity shop.
Last week was rather lovely, with days out,lunches out and heaps of birthday cake.
Oh and before I go, the winner of the bloggy birthday giveaway is Liat. Email me Liat and I'll give you details of your voucher code. jeanette at lazyseamstress dot net
This weekend though we decided it was time for a treat, and since my birthday was on Thursday and India's is this coming Tuesday, that seemed reason enough to try the Vegetarian and Vegan Bistro 1847 in Manchester.
I emailed ahead and booked a table easily online.
The waiter who met us at the door was really friendly and despite us being early led us to our table and brought us drinks.
The bistro is small, but doesn't feel crowded. The high ceilings and large windows give it a more spacious airy feeling, as do the ornate mirrors.
We took advantage of the three courses for £15 offer, Sid had half size portions for £7.50, but honestly they didn't seem half the size at all. Not thinking Ernest would eat much we asked for an extra plate for him, so he could graze all of our food. (We were right, he just nibbled bits here and there, then fell asleep in Woody's arms, missing dessert altogether.)
I think between all six of us ordering we managed to sample at least half of the menu. And there was lots of swapping of forks and tasting going on.
It was so lovely for India to have a choice of vegan options for every course.
Highlights include the pancake with goats curd and nasturtiums starter that Eden ordered, and the warm hemp apple muffins with green apple sorbet that India ordered for dessert.
The chocolate tart was also delicious, so much so that woody wouldn't believe me it was vegan!
We will definately go again, next time we'll order the other half of the menu.
Ernest and I caught the train into Manchester to meet Woody for lunch. We had lunch at Teapot on Thomas St. Which I can highly recommend. The staff were friendly and efficient, service was fast, and the food was yummy.
We had the choice of the breakfast and the lunch menu, I think because we arrived at noon. Ernest had scrambled eggs on sourdough toast, while Woody and I shared two warm ciabatta sandwiches, sheeps cheese and chutney, and falafal.
The tea came in two little pots, along with a timer. The waitress explained that when the sand had run out in the middle timer, we could pour the tea through a strainer from one pot to the other and then it would be ready to drink.
I quite liked that little touch, but Woody thought it was a bit silly.
When the children came home from school, Eden helped me lay the table for my birthday tea.
Woody baked this beautiful cake for me. I had given him rather precise instructions, and he did pick out the white stars from a tub of multicoloured stars because I didn't like the colours of any of the other stars. He is far too good to me.
The cake was delicious!
And we had tea in my new teapot, a present to myself bought in Buxton earlier this week.
Now to start planning for India's birthday tea next Tuesday. April is a busy month here for birthdays.
During the last eight years I've had three more babies, experienced the worst ever times, and some good times too.
When I started this blog I was heavily pregnant with Sid, and running my little cloth nappy empire, that soon gave way to my little business making Zidee Podeagi, and all throughout that time I was making children's clothes for sale too.
To celebrate still sticking around after all this time, I'm having a giveaway.
Leave me a comment, tell me something lovely that you remember from the past 8 years, and I'll add you into a random draw for a £20 voucher to spend at my little Etsy Shop, Flossie's Garden.
I'll keep this giveaway open for one week, and choose a winner using random.org. Giveaway open to everyone, no matter where you are in the world. Looking forward to reading your comments.
I am a huge bodger when it comes to home decor and diy. I think it's because I have so little time in which to do all the millions of things I want to do, that I tend to rely on bodging some things so that I can concentrate on other more enjoyable activities like sewing.
Over the easter holidays I've been spring cleaning and having a good sort out. There have been several trips to the recycling centre (also known as the tip!), and there is currently a mountain of items in my hallway waiting to go to the charity shop.
I've swapped furniture around between rooms, and "gone shopping" around the house for pieces I can re use or upcycle.
One of those pieces is this old piano stool. I picked this up about four years ago for free from the church we used to hold Manchester Slingmeet, (Slinging In The Rain) in. Ian, the minister was giving away all sorts of items that would otherwise have ended up dumped, and I snagged this stool. I gave it a quick clean up and re cover at the time, but was never very happy with it.
Yesterday I decided it was time to give it another overhaul. I started by giving it a clean, stripping off the old cover and giving the wood a light rub down with some sand paper.
I then gave it it's first coat of egg shell. I used Homebase Sanctuary brand egg shell in Aloe, simply because I had a pot of it to hand.
I waited for that to touch dry then added a further two coats waiting for each to dry before adding the next. I wasn't particularly careful about my paint application, in fact in places I left it quite thickly coated, but not so much that there would be runs.
I dream of the perfect sewing space. Sometimes when I can't sleep I plan in my mind my perfect sewing room, light and airy with a dedicated cutting table, desks for different machines,shelves filled with stacks of beautiful fabrics and haberdashery....I have a whole pinterest board full of studio envy.
The reality though, for most of us is far from my dream sewing space. Certainly it is here.
Most people are not lucky enough to have a whole room at their disposal, if you do, that's wonderful, and I'm very jealous!
You can still sew in even a very small space with a bit of imaginative organisation.
As I mentioned in a previous post , I have moved my sewing space as my family has grown. I live in a fairly average (UK) sized semi detached house. Of course in my case, five lively children in a four bedroomed house doesn't exactly leave much room for anything else.
Teenagers tend to drape themselves and their general detritus everywhere I look, while toddlers leave a trail of destruction. There are always shoes, and coats strewn about the floor, no matter how many times I pick them up.
My sewing space is a tiny little nook of my bedroom. I have a small desk which holds my main sewing machine, a small tin of essential tools,and a good lamp. During the day there is usually good light into this nook from the large loft windows, but the lamp is essential on a dull day. (all too common here in the north west)
There is a drawer that holds tools and notions that are in regular use, (scissors, sewing machine needles etc)
To the right of my desk are baskets filled with works in progress and haberdashery. There is also a hanging rail I use to store current projects, inspiration and patterns, as well as a desk top ironing board which is adequate for smaller projects. (For larger projects I have to use the large ironing board downstairs, which does mean lots of running up and down the two flights of stairs, but that's one way to stay fit right?)
I usually set up the desk top board and my overlocker on the larger desk I share with Woody.
Under the eaves of our loft bedroom there is lots of storage space, and that is where I store all my fabrics and tools less often used.
I cut out on our dining room table, though I do have a lightweight cutting board I picked up in a local charity shop that I can use on the floor or on the bed if I need to. I would only do this for small craft projects, not for dressmaking. I'd be afraid I'd be compromising my accuracy, and I'd end up with a sore back too.
My tiny space is far from ideal, but it's workable, and for me, more importantly is away from the hub bub of life in our busy home.
I have tried to sew downstairs, but it was too stressful an environment, with food and drinks left too close to precious fabrics, not to mention paints and grubby toddlers.
Sewing for me is a kind of therapy, it's time to create and relax, something I found impossible while dinner was being cooked around me, and children were walking past me in their muddy boots, or dripping their ice lollies.
So, with all that in mind, here finally are my top tips for creating your own sewing space:
- You don't need a huge sewing space, but if you have one, lucky you, there is lots of inspiration out there on the web, especially on Pinterest to help you create that perfect space.
- Look around your home, can you squeeze in a desk somewhere, an alcove in the dining room or your bedroom? Or even a cupboard? I've seen photos of sewing spaces fitted in to old pantries and even large wardrobes, that way everything shuts away when not in use. I have used furniture designed for housing home office equipment very successfully in the past.
- Ideally choose somewhere with good light, but also consider artificial light for duller days or evenings. A good angle poise lamp, possibly fitted with a daylight bulb is essential.
- Make sure your chair is comfortable and a good height to work at. You'll be spending lots of time at your machine, you need to be comfortable.
- Can you fit shelving or pegboard above your machine to store essential tools, and threads? I use an old printers tray to store my threads, above the larger desk I share with Woody.
- Think about fabric storage, sometimes a blanket box will work well, and double up as a window seat. I've often found under bed storage crates work well for fabric storage too. (They hold a surprising amount!)
- If you can, having your iron and ironing board set up in the same room is best, but if there is no space then a table top ironing board is an adequate compromise, especially for smaller craft items, and children's clothing.
- A full length mirror is essential if you are making clothes for yourself. I'm sure most people reading own one. It doesn't have to be in the same room, but it is helpful if it is. I have a full length mirror in my en suite bathroom.
- Finally, I know I've said here that I prefer to be away from the hub bub of family life when I work. I realise that for some people that is not an option. In which case, consider setting up your sewing space in a corner of your children's play room, if you are lucky enough to have one. Otherwise look for a space nearby, so you can work and interact with your children at the same time. For several years I sewed while Sid played quietly at my feet, Ernest though is whole other kettle of fish, he doesn't do anything quietly ever!
As I mentioned, Pinterest is fabulous for inspiration , as is Flickr .
I borrowed this book from a friend a few years ago and found it very helpful.
I'd love to hear about your sewing spaces, or plans for a sewing space, and links to photos would be even better. What are your top tips for a successful sewing space?
Firstly some flowers, these little yellow carnations look so sweet in this milk jug.
Secondly my little nest of eggs including the new wooden egg from Mindy at Indie Bambino. I love my new Florence egg, thank you Mindy. x
I've also treated myself to a new dress.
My boots look very scruffy in this pic, there's no doubt they need a polish, but I think the morning light shining directly on them is making them look worse than they are.
And finally got the hang of granny squares!
I finished these while sat in church for the big boys Easter service. (Yes I am atheist, but my small children attend a CofE primary school, quite normal here in the UK, even for non christians.)
The little ones were napping at the same time (almost unheard of), and I sat quietly in the creche area listening to the singing and crocheting away, it was rather lovely. I even got some helpful tips from a lady passing by who was a more experienced crocheter.
Having a large family in an average sized semi detatched house means my sewing space has shrunk with each child's arrival.
Way back when the girls were small, and Angus was just a baby I had a whole room at my disposal, then I moved into the dining room, then up to the loft, then back downstairs again, and now I'm back up in the loft but in the tiniest space.
Yesterday this little nook looked like this:
The chest of drawers has found a new home, and I switched desks with Eden, bringing this tiny desk upstairs.
My overlocker is under the desk, but I can bring it out and use the larger desk behind me if I'm working on larger projects.
To the right of the desk is a large space under the eaves, that's where I store all of my fabric and notions and rather a lot of other things too.
Maybe I'll give you a tour of that space when I've tidied it up!