Saturday, 31 December 2011

Quilty pleasure

Now I have finished my squares, my chairmy blanket, and my skirts, the next big thing on my list was my quilt (last seen in May)

Here she is - complete and lovely:

it looks nice on the bed

Although I am quite pleased with myself, I have decided that quilting is not really the craft for me. I really enjoyed working out the pattern and seeing it come together, and i am pleased by it now it's done, but it was hard work to keep motivated with it and I think I was a little slapdash. It was probably quite a lazy attempt, but I really like the design and think i will be pleased of it in the summer for picnics and beach days. And for a first go perhaps i have learnt some good lessons.

I do have another project up my sleeve so watch this space for at least one more attempt at quilting success! But not until next year...

And today is the last day of 2011! There are still a couple of items left on my list to do - those are a handbag i still haven't got round to making (but as I haven't actually started that yet, I don't think it counts), and my cardigan (but news on this soon) The big thing really is that I have not picked up my sampler for a very long time. There is a new years resolution in that for sure! But I am pleased to have whittled that list right down and to have my blanket and quilt finished and in use.

And tomorrow is another year and plenty more time for making.

Yours wishing a happy new year to you all,

Emilia. xx

Thursday, 29 December 2011

success with skirts

It was a long time ago when i was thinking about skirt projects for my autumn term of dressmaking classes. I finished the term at the start of december and was very pleased to have completed my classroom project, my Chanel Keira inspired design.

Here is headless harriet modelling (a little crooked photography)

It was really nice to take ten weeks over this and to take time to complete each small step. It really paid off and I am so pleased with the outcome.

You probably won't really remember now, but I had bought some black wool crepe at the same time and planned to make another skirt step by step alongside this one. However, although it seemed really a reasonable task, it really just didn't happen... but inspiration did hit last weekend (or maybe it was the once before?) and i hunkered down for a good sewing session.

I completely changed my mind over what I was going to do after seeing this picture in one of my picture books:

I decided i really wanted a wrap around skirt. I have a kilt, but that's not really the same and so this was definitely a grand addition to my wardrobe.

Unfortunately as the fabric is black, you can not really tell, but maybe can get sort of an idea:

You can also see in this picture a little bit of the jacket i made but i will save this for another time to really tell you about. 

I fear there are still a couple of lumps and bumps but i would rather these sort themselves out with wear than murder the wool with a hot iron - It is such a dream to wear though. As i cut the pattern myself it is a perfect fit, and was even comfortable after my christmas dinner! This was the ultimate test also because I was worried about fastenings. There is no waistband, only a facing at the top, so i really needed the fastenings to be discrete, but as well very sturdy. I think it would be quite easy to completely lose a wrap around skirt if the fastenings failed. I've got some good plastic poppers though which are really flat, but very secure, plus a little hook for extra security measures, but christmas day was a good test and i am pleased to report there were no incidents at all.

I have been reading and very much enjoying my couture sewing techniques book from last christmas. It's really inspiring to see what amazing things can be achieved with real care. I made a real hash of a dress a few weeks ago, and only because I rushed so much (and the fabric wasn't very good). I surely must have learnt by now though. I think it's one of my traits but I am working on it... a good lesson for the new year!

And another achievement from my list! nearly there!

Yours truly,

Emilia. xxxx

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Christmouse presents

hello and hello.

i hope it has been a happy christmas for you reading this. i have been so busy with christmas shopping and eating and also have had 2 colds, but also many festivities and joyful times. And now much to catch up on before the year is up!

Some things i have been doing have been secrets because they were gifts. I try to keep christmas crafting to a minimum as it can be quite stressful, but i decided to make some small gifts for some of my friends. i decided a nice treat would be to knit the little mouse, marisol.

the pattern was a free download from ravelry - but there is also an updated version of the pattern, or even a kit for your own marisol  from the yarnigans shop (lovely)

i like the name marisol for a mouse.

I was quite ambitious and wanted to make loads and loads of mice, and knitted a few heads

but in the end i only managed to finish a couple in time for christmas.
here are  the marisol mice i made.

Also i was very pleased because my sister knitted two little mice for me! Rich says they look like they have moustaches.

sweet ones i think!

I will be back soon as I have not forgotten my list.... 3 days left!

Yours festively,
Emilia. xxxx

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Pig in blanket

Hello everyone - what a long time i was away for - but now i am back - and despite my silence, and much time christmas shopping, i have been productive with my time too and have a little bit of show and tell.

The main triumph of the past week has been finishing my blanket which i started earlier in the year and last shared progress of in May!

sorry about the shadows - today is a very bad lighting day!

I am really really really pleased with it. Because of all the lovely woollens it is SO warm. So very very warm. And also because of the loose knit and feather and fans, very stretchy so a little blanket goes a long way.

I still have a nice amount of wool left to make tassels for the ends, but i am thinking that they might get in my way a bit, and perhaps i will save those wools for some other little projects.

Another thing to tick off my list - and a real joy to behold!

And another joy is this pig in blanket i knitted in pre blog days. it was for rich because he had never heard of pigs in blankets. he is vegetarian though.

And now time for another hot strawberry ribena and a nap!

but back soon!

lots of love,
emilia. xxxx

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Crochet Items for your home

This morning i have been busy listing some more items in my shop. I was overjoyed last week because I sold my first item - the lovely gloves. They are going to be a christmas present - wonderful!

I was very happy about it, but my shop was looking very bare, so i thought it was time to put some more things there. I had done some crochet a little while ago, but hadn't got around to taking some photos and writing some descriptions. I am finding it hard now the evenings are dark - I don't like to use the flash.

But here I just want to share some of the pictures of the finished items:

I love them all as they're so bright. The items are a set of greek cross square coasters, a set of granny square coasters and a popcorn stitch teacosy. The teacosy is so wonderful! I will be happy if no one buys it so i can keep it myself. Such a bobbly delight (but i will happy if they do as well as it is nice to share)

And here is another thing to tick off of my list. Now i just want to go back to crocheting squares, but i think i should wait until the new year before making more shop items as there is still much to do. I have started making some little christmas gifts too as inspired by this blog the Crafty Christmas Club blog. It's lovely to see all the handmade presents!

Yours busily,
Emilia. xxx

Sunday, 6 November 2011


Last week we were given this chair which my dad rescued from his friend's garage.

well - you might be asking why - but it is really a lovely retro design - little swivel egg chair. it just had got covered in oil and paint and holes.

But i like a challenge and decided to try a spot of reupholstering. 

(this might be a picture of the wrong side of the fabric!)

i got a very large piece of this fabric, which i hoped was in the spirit of the original and was suitable for the task (and because rich wanted it blue and nothing flamboyant. although i had fun imagining all the possibilities) and set about tucking and pinning.

Here it is in an early stage to try to demonstrate what i did. the fabric had a really good drape and a slightly loose weave so moulded really well over the curves of the chair. I just pinned it in place and set about hand stitching all the seams.

And here is the finished chair! Perfect for guitar playing and knitting alike.

I am so proud of this chair. i have never tried any upholstering before so am feeling very triumphant. And feel like this was a good job of recycling and saving a nice old chair.

and one thing ticked off my list

Yours sitting comfortably,
Emilia. xx

Blooming Marvellous

The paperwhites have bloomed!!

They have been in flower for most of the week now, but it's hard these days to be at home in natural light to take any photos. They are really adding a touch of spring to the place, and although i was at first quite worried about the scent (i have heard mixed reviews) it has mellowed now and very pleasant. Rich says it smells like custard.

They were so quick growing - just a month from planting to now. I am not really sure what will happen next. I have heard that it takes a long time for the bulbs to recover after flowering so might be a long time before they can grow again.

Yesterday i bought a little pot of hyacinth bulbs as i love these ones. They are already planted and growing so they too may flower soon too! I have gone mad - i know - but i very much enjoyed my bulb growing experience. It's so nice to be able to grow flowers even without having a garden.

Yours florally,
Emilia. xxxx

Saturday, 5 November 2011


I can't believe it. November. wow.

I am setting myself a challenge to complete my outstanding projects by the end of the year. I think it will be good to clear the air for starting lots of new projects next year. And also because i hate having things unfinished so long term.

I only hope this is a realistic challenge.

Here are the unfinished things:

My quilt: Well - this was a project from very early in the year - i have got further with it than i've reported here - the borders and backing are on and wadding within - it is just the stitching along all the lines (in the ditch that's called!) I think this one was shelved when i realised it wasn't all so straight, but when i got it out recently, i realised it's not actually noticable that it's not straight, and that it's going to be a real delight. Also i loved Alexis' wonky quilt so am embracing the wonkiness!

My blanket: is another one from the start of the year, but this does grow so fast - it is just making sure i pick it up and do some. I am really happy with how it looks though - and it'll be good to finish it so that there is a clear space next to my bed!

My Cardigan: what a slow one this has been. I began in the summer and have just started the second front. Still sleeves to go, but i think all i need is some focus. i know that i have done some nice things inbetween so i don't mind that this is still not finished - but i would really love to wear it soon!

My Skirt: i am not worried about finishing this, as progress is good with my classes. but i thought i would put it on my list. The black skirt i was planning to make has sort of lost focus though so i think that might be a good one to push for.

My Squares: are more or less finished. and a teacosy for my shop. i just need to put them up for sale!

My Sampler: Is the one thing which i know i am not going to finish - it's so time consuming. However - it has been quite a long time since i picked it up and I would like that to change at the very least.

My Chair: i haven't mentioned, but i am reupholstering a chair which was rescued from a garage. it's looking lovely, but it has been sitting unfinished for a week... wait and see.

My new handbag: i bought a clasp to make myself a new handbag. i am using the fabric from a very old handbag to recycle. it is in progress, but another yet to finish!

Now i think this is everything. I really hope so!
We have 8 weeks left of this year... and 9 weekends including this one.

better get up!

Emilia. xxxx

Thursday, 27 October 2011


now i have a loooong weekend so i hope i will get lots of things done...

firstly i thought it would be good to catch up with myself a little and show you the progress of my little green friends:

I did not mention this little one before as had given up hope - but this is a cutting of a piggy back plant my mum gave me weeks and weeks ago. i put it in a pot and it started to rot, so i decided as a last ditch attempt to save it put it into my little vase of water - and now there are many very small new leaves! There is something magic about this little purple vase - remember the tomato? (that by the way is now potted, but not grown at all yet - it's still strong though so perhaps just resting for a bit)

And look at the paperwhites! They are the fasted growing of anything ever! I think they are going to flower long before chistmas!!

My spiderplant is still doing very well too and has some little seed pods - i might try planting them when i get a minute!

Yours the house gardener,
Emilia. xxxx

Friday, 21 October 2011

Handy Mittens

Now the weather has turned to ice - but luckily for the last couple of weeks i have been working on these delights from my knitting book of olden days.

These are men's mittens - for a man who must use his fingers (so it says). But i used smaller needles and they have come out quite a good fit. Possibly a little bit long though.. but not to worry.

here you can see the fronts and backs! 

And i used some wool from my stash - some lovely vintage colinette (my mum gave me from a long long time ago!) and so it means these are lovely in blended inky colours. I am very pleased.

Yours warm of hand,
Emilia. x

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Pied Piper

Oh my - it has really been a while. But here I am, with much to show and tell!

Tonight I will tell you about my progress with my Keira Chanel skirt project.

A couple of classes have passed now so I have done my cutting out, and last week was focus on seams. Julia showed me how to do piped seams and as I have not been able to find any velvet trim in the colour i want (i want periwinkle blue - which is very slightly purple - but only very slightly) I have decided that instead of trimming in the same way as keira's skirt, I am going to do piped seams in their place.

Last night i made my piping using some chording and bias binding which i found in exactly the shade i wanted! triumph. (in these pictures it doesn't really look like it matches at all, but to the naked eye in good light, i think is very nice)

And here is where I have got to tonight - i have piped the tops of the pocket panels and lined them now, and sewn the piping in place on the panel seams, but only pinned those seams so far. But i think it is an idea of how it is going.

Although it won't be so much the same as keira's, i think this will give a lovely finish - and grand to use a new skill.

I still have my black fabric which i haven't yet cut (i have realised it's a bit much to have two class projects, so this one is my homework project -  although i have fallen a bit behind with it - more on this another time!) Although i had a grand plan for it, i am wondering if perhaps i could use this pattern and make it in black with velvet trim. Oh the decisions. 

Well, soon i will have some more things to show you too, but for now this is all.

Much love,
Emilia. xx

Wednesday, 5 October 2011


At the weekend my paperwhite narcissus bulbs arrived and i managed to find a good pot to plant them in.

And they have started to sprout some shoots already! Richard says it looks like i'm growing claws. But i'm not.

There they are just peeking!

I am really hoping they are lovely in time for christmas. More floral, less clawry. Some flowers will help fit in with Richard's Hawaiian christmas theme too (not that I am thinking about christmas just yet).

Yours bulbously,
Emilia xx

Monday, 3 October 2011

Be square

over the last few weeks, crochet has been the order of the day.
I am enjoying trying out some different square styles for some shop items.

I started with a set of traditional granny sqaures:

 Then made some greek style squares:

And am now working on italian squares:

I think after these i will make some big sqaures, and maybe some circles! And hopefully put some items in my shop quite soon (i am quite slow with stocking that shop! I keep being thrown off course by things like sunny days!) i hope there will be someone who will really like to have some of these on their coffee table!

Lots of love,
Emilia. xx

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Give us a toile

Last night i really did a lot of homework on my skirts. Here you can see all the pattern pieces drawn and cut out.

and this is my Keira style toile made up (with Keira for comparison) 

 I am really pleased with it. It was a good exercise as there are a couple of minor adjustments i need to make to the pattern (raising the line of the pockets is one) - but hopefully it will mean a happy sew for me now.

Here is a peek of the fabric i am going to use (little bit of linton tweed!):

I have cut the toile for the other pencil skirt out in some nice fabric (rather than curtain lining) as I have high hopes it will work out okay. Now that this one has fitted so well i am really optimistic so will let you know when it is sewn together.

Working on the patterns last night made me realise how good the classes are for me. It is great to have a reason to slow down and focus. And i am enjoying all the steps.

Yours sewn up,

skirts skirts skirts

For my next evening class, i really need to have my mind set on my project and to have a pattern ready to use (i think next week will be for cutting out) so knew that i would need to spend some time this weekend to get myself prepared and am pleased to say i've had a most productive day!

I have decided now that i want to attempt two projects to be finished by Christmas. I think this should be okay as the focus is on the construction and not on all the drawing of patterns which did take up a lot of our class time with the pattern cutting course (of course!) and i will hopefully be able to go on wednesday with my patterns ready to go (at least something!)

Here is a small presentation of my design ideas. I've managed to draw the paper patterns already AND cut out the toiles, so i just hope they will sew together okay so I can full steam ahead on wednesday.

Item 1: Black Pencil Skirt (made in the black crepe fabric)
reeba skirt

I have decided to go for this one! I made the pattern really easily from my blocks - just adding an extra dart to the front piece, and putting in the seam and vent at the back. I haven't drawn the waistband piece yet, but would like to be able to create that corded effect.

Item 2: Trimmed Panel Skirt (To be made in grey white and lilac houndstooth check)

a little bit of chanel

I saw this chanel skirt as worn by keira (here you can see all the pictures) and think my patterned fabric will look nice in this design. I love the trim detail too and would like some lilac velvet ribbon to pick out the colour in the fabric (i hope i will find some). I was really in a dilemma about the back, but after walking home behind a girl in a panel skirt on friday, I have decided to split it into three to mirror the front, and then split the middle panel again so I can still have a centred zip and split. 

I will let you know how the toiles go! fingers crossed!

Yours skirtingly,
Emilia. xxx

Friday, 30 September 2011

autumn is ... springing?

Although the summer has come to a close (officially, although the weather this week has been HOT!) my little collection of plants have been doing very well indeed. Here is a little show and tell of all their new shoots - i am so pleased. I have never really been one for plants so am feeling very happy about their success:

First i will show you my hoya (wax plant) this was really touch and go over the summer as these are some cutting's from my mum's plant - but there are so many new shoots on there now I think she is out of the woods.

I really love the flowers on this so i really hope i will get some next year.

Next i must show you this photo I took back in july of a spider plant i rescued from work:

not so hot back then.
but NOW look.
the same plant on the magic windowsill:

It has even got a branch with flowers! and little baby spider plants. i've had a lot of spider plants in my time but none of them have ever done this! Perhaps it was the tasteful pot i put him in. Although i think a lot of my success has been finding the right windowsills for the right plants. This one as been on the south facing side all summer and must love the sun.

Next is my christmas cactus (on the north side!)

there you can see the little tiny bobles of growth (the darker bits). I am pleased this is growing - it is just some cuttings from Rich's mum and some from my mum so i like that this plant runs in the family. Although not all of the leaves have new growth yet, they all have new roots so I am happy with this one.

And do you remember the tomato plant?

Well, it appears that little root was no fluke as now there is quite a lot of root from that tiny shoot!!

I decided (on Deb's good advice) that it was perhaps time to pot them so they could reap the nutrients of the earth. So here he is in his new home. Not looking so healthy i suppose, but i know that below ground he is doing well! He is on the magic windowsill now with the spider plant so i hope there will be some more magic.

This week also i ordered some paperwhite narcissus bulb. I heard that this is the right time for planting bulbs into your garden for the spring and it got me looking about for something i could grow indoors. I thought it would be nice to have some bulbs over winter which would flower in the spring to give me a sign of hope. However, i think with these ones growing indoors, i might have flowers for christmas which would be even more lovely i think. I hope my chirstmas cactus will flower too so i have a home full of blooms in the deep mid winter.

I have quite a lot of plants now, even more than i told you about here - they are a lovely new hobby to have. And lovely for making the house a home. My cousin has started a blog now and she has a whole garden so you must definitely take a look! We have a lot of shared interests I think.

Yours horticulturally,
Emilia. xxx