Monday, 29 April 2013

My Garden in April

Each day more and more bulbs are flowering in the garden,
in many shades of blue,
and purple.
The garden is starting to look very pretty
as lots of the tulips open.

Some of the double daffodils are so heavy they don't stand up for long.

Other flowers are so tiny and delicate!

In the front garden the trees are the stars of the month,
as the pink buds open to paler blossoms on the crab apple
and the Amelanchier is a mass of ephemeral white flowers.
I love my April garden!

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Crochet CAL

If you read my previous post you will know that I am taking part in the Canny CAL on Ravelry.
The Week 5 Pattern can be found here.  It is called Brighter Daze by Melissa Green.
 It involved a technique that was new to me - crocheting on a bar at the back of the work that had been created by a previous round.
 Week 6 was this Croco Dahlia Pattern by Joyce Lewis.
 I have seen lots of crocodile stitch patterns on the net recently, but this was my first attempt at it.
This week is Week 7 and the pattern is Just Peachy Blossom by SmoothFox.
A very pretty and quick to do pattern.  I altered the borders slightly to make sure the finished granny was 6" square.  The first round is htr, the second round -  htr, the 3rd - tr and the 4th dc.
 Last weekend I also finished and blocked my Pink Shell Scarf.
 I finished it simply with a border of dc, ch, dc, ch ...
 It took 3 skeins of Debbie Bliss Andes and is so soft!
 Also this week,  I couldn't resist making a sample of Sandra's, of Cherry Heart, Clam Shell Pattern.  I didn't do any more than this as I need to concentrate on my Springtime Throw.
 Slight hiccup with the Springtime Throw - I've run out of pink wool and the purple is getting low.  So far I have made 80 squares and I have decided to add some different colours.
I'm hoping that adding the extra colours will not only give me more wool, but that the finished throw will look better, as when I laid the above squares out together they didn't quite work for me.  So I will add the original blue, green and plum that I used in The English Flower Garden Blanket and I have ordered another ball of the pink, plus a paler blue and an eau-de-nil.  At least I hope it is that colour as you can never quite tell when shopping on-line, can you?!
Best wishes, Pj x

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Days 111 to 115

Five more photos for my 365 challenge:-
Day 111 of 365
Spring is really here now and there are lots of violets in the front garden.
Day 112 of 365
Maurice on our neighbours' shed, waiting for his breakfast!
Day 113 of 365
Not a happy photo!  My back is so bad that I have had to resort to a TENS machine to help with the pain. :(  It's been a long time since I've had to do this. 
Day 114 of 365
My back is still bad so I am consoling myself with a look through my patterns, after being inspired by The Great British Sewing Bee on TV.  I love the little girl's blouse - why isn't it in my size?!
Day 115 of 365
Still no better today!  The sun is shining and all I can do in the garden is take a few photos before I have to sit down again. :(  The garden is starting to look very pretty, but there are a few gaps that I will have to fill with bulbs for next spring.
 At least I can enjoy the flowers and plan my summer garden.
Best wishes, Pj x

My Dressmaking History - Part 2

Part 2 of my dressmaking history is all about my children.
It starts in 1992 with a pattern for a Christening gown.  I ordered the pattern from my Mum's Woman's Weekly Magazine
and sewed the gown for Fay's Christening, seen here with my Nana.
I also designed and made a bonnet and a bib for her to match the gown.
Three years later and it was Jay's turn to wear the gown.  We didn't make him wear the bonnet! :)
In 1997 Fay dressed as Esmeralda from The Hunch Back of Notre Dame for a Disney themed school disco.  I made her skirt, shawl and headscarf and we decorated a tambourine.
In 1998 I made these wings for Jay's first costume for him to go to The Ugly Bug's Ball at nursery school
and in the December I made a snowman's outfit, from a dressing gown pattern, for him to wear for his playgroup Christmas play.  I also made the top hat from card and felt.  It was scattered with snowflake sequins and had a robin sitting on the brim.
  He loved his first taste of being on stage, which was such a surprise as he was always so shy.
 1999 was the first time I attempted a ballet costume for Fay.  The dance was called The Birthday Party.  
In 2000 Fay had Victorian Day at junior school.  I adapted the dress from one that had been given to us and I made the pinafore from an old petticoat of mine.
Those wings were used again, this time Fay was a butterfly for a party at Brownies.
and again in 2000 she became a leopard for the Brownies' Rumble in the Jungle.  I altered a charity shop blouse and made the ears and tail.
In 2001 I had four costumes to make!  For Year 4 Tudor Day Fay became Anne Boleyn,
 I altered the Victorian dress by making puff sleeves and adding a sash and sequins for Fay's Chattanooga Choo Choo ballet costume,
 Jay turned into a wizard, complete with cape, hat and wand for Beavers' Halloween party
 and Fay was a Christmas Tree for Brownies' Christmas party.
 2002 was the Queen's Golden Jubilee and the red, white and blue theme was needed for the infant and junior school parties to celebrate.  (Jay wasn't too happy having his photo taken!)

 The infant school finished for the summer with a fancy dress day.  The theme was royal/fairy tale.
 Jay dressed up as The Frog Prince.
 Still in 2002 and Fay had Viking Day in Year 5 at school.  By this time I was getting a little worn out with all the costume making and asked her if she would be a male Viking so that Jay could wear the same costume when he had Viking Day.
 She jumped at the chance and was thrilled to be the only girl allowed to "battle" with the boys whilst the other girls did weaving. :)
 Halloween again and Jay got out his cape and hat.
 As I was a helper, Fay came along and I made a cape for her too.  I also had a cape! :)
 2003 and Jay had Victorian Day in Year 3 at junior school.  I made the waistcoat for him and he borrowed my Dad's flat cap.
 In the autumn of the same year he had Ancient Egyptian Day.  He loves cats and liked his leopard wrap and mummified cat.  We copied the necklace from a school library book.
 2004 and still in Year 4 he had Tudor Day.  Of course a lot of the boys were executioners.  His axe is made from cardboard covered in tinfoil with nail varnish "blood" on it!
Sometimes there was a theme for the school discos and this year it was fairy tales.  I felt it had to be something that a little boy could run around and dance in, so he became Jack and the Beanstalk with tinsel and leaves for the beanstalk sewn onto his shirt and I made pods of Jelly Belly Beans to hang on the stalk.  The added advantage was he got to eat these the next day! :)
Halloween and the hats and capes came out again.  This time with a face paint pumpkin and bat.
For the Cub's Christmas Party the theme was Robin Hood and his Band of Merry Men.  Jay wanted to be Robin Hood so I made his jerkin, hooded capelet, hat, pouch (for the gold of course!) from suedette and also used the same material to cover the quiver, which was a cardboard tube.  We collected a hazel branch and twigs from the woods for the bow and arrows.
The summer of 2005 and Fay was a Young Leader at Brownies.  The theme of their summer camp was It's a Bug's Life and Fay dressed as a ladybird.  Another year the theme was 101 Dalmatians and she used Jay's snowman coat as part of her costume, but I don't seem to have a photo.
In the Autumn of 2005 Jay was in year 6 at junior school.  I think they were studying Myths and Legends, so he dressed in his Robin Hood outfit that luckily just still fitted.    
For Cubs Halloween party the cap and hat came out again, this time with another Jack O'Lantern face paint.  As you can see I'm all about recycling outfits!
For the Christmas party at Cubs the theme was pirates and Jay was Captain Jack Sparrow.  He wore a pair of my boots and a ladies linen shirt I purchased in a charity shop.  All topped with a wig and a beaded scarf that I made.
He spookily looked like a girl in the wig until I painted on the beard and moustache!
Fay danced to the Fame theme tune and wore my old 1980's leotard, leggings and ankle warmers.  we added a few sequins to make it sparkle.
She also did a national dance and I made a circular skirt and net underskirt for the dance.  I also made the headdress and corsage.  She had my top on!
Halloween and guess what!  Hat and capes! :)  Skull face paint for Jay and a bat on the cheek for Fay.  Jay is wearing those jeans that he loved and I turned into a cushion for him when he outgrew them.
Cub's Christmas Party and I have forgotten the theme (spies?), but Jay went as James Bond.
2007 and I attempted to make a leotard for Fay's ballet medal test.
I made the pattern from another leotard and amazingly it fitted!
2008 and her final ballet medal test, as she was now leaving school and wanted a Saturday job instead of ballet lessons.  We recycled the skirt and I made a lace apron.  We reused the previous corsage for her hair.
2006 was also Jay's final year in junior school and the school play was Robin Hood.  Jay was a solider and I made a tabard for him and we bought the sword.
And then they grew up!  Well, Jay didn't have anymore costumes apart from a bought Halloween mask to go Trick or Treating, but Fay still dresses up for parties and she makes her own costumes now.  I guess she takes after her mother! :)
If you got to the bottom of this long long post, thank you for sticking with me.  I am truly glad to have documented this, as in doing so I realised I have already started to forget a few details.  Fay did have other costumes for ballet which we hired and there were some other outfits for school plays, but they made those in school so I haven't included them here.  I think I may do a post for all of Fay's dances one day.
Best wishes, Pj x