May’s Acquisitions

Hmmm do I count all the things I have acquired since being paid on the 27th?? Honestly you would think that I had a lot more money than I do. I was one of those mildly mad people who were waiting in an online queue for the Irregular Choice Star Wars 2nd release of shoes, I got some and I will show them next month.

I only got one item of clothing during May and that was using the remaining money on the gift card that my sister kindly got me for my birthday in January. I was sensible and realised how often I was reaching for my trusty Braintree black leggings so bought another pair. I knew that these fitted perfectly in a size 12 and are lovely soft bamboo material, maybe in the future I may try to make my own leggings but that is further down the line. I also really like buying basics from somewhere like Braintree as many of their dresses and tops are not very my style, lovely as they are. They also have great underwear, tights and socks – I will be buying another pair of tights for winter I reckon, my chevron ones served me very well last winter and were super cosy.

bambooBraintreeLeggings

I also bought a dress from the lovely vintage inspired brand Tara Starlet, everything they sell is made in the UK which is great. I bought the petrol blue Peggy dress and the construction and fabric were lovely. Unfortunately a few too many cakes and my lack of exercise due to this ‘itis’ that is still hanging about has meant that I am a bit bigger than usual and so my normal size didn’t fit. I toyed with the idea of buying a size up as this was meant to be for a friends’ wedding but really I know that I will lose this extra weight. In fact currently I am cutting back on my cake and crisps in an attempt to help this while I can’t burn off my calories. So I returned it, I would definitely order from Tara Starlet again and currently everything in their sale section is under £20.

tarastarletpeggydress
This is the grey version but I just love this outfit

Finally I also bought a few things for the sewing machine, namely a walking foot, ball point needles and a twin needle. I have been using these in my sewing class to sew with jersey on my ‘normal’ machine, I did pay a fair bit for my walking foot which I know I could have got a cheaper version on eBay but I really want to sew more with jersey so thought I would just go for it. After I bought these pieces, I was able to sew bits and pieces of my dress at home which helped me spend longer on the trickier parts in class. I will do a full post on my finished dress but I have to say I am pretty pleased and getting more chuffed with it as the days go on.

So May seems like it was a frugal month however I ended up skint by the end so if someone can explain what the heck I was up to I would be pleased🙂 June has already seen me ordering some clothes like a loony but hopefully I have found some jeans! Oh and some “essential” shoes – silver glitter, Hans Solo on the sole and a droid on the toe. Definitely essential😉

 

On My Knitting Needles

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I thought I would start a new wee series on the blog trying to document my learning to knit. I’m also going to do one on sewing. Personally I find that documenting your journey when learning can be really helpful when you start out on something as it helps show how far you have come along. Sometimes we get so focused on our failures that we don’t remember that we are learning a new skill, that takes time!
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This month I am busy knitting up a storm, I am back on track with my Julia jumper after managing to get confused over my stitches and forgetting I was doing moss stitch. I am still on the first body piece of my jumper, it is roughly 108 rows until I get to start casting off. I am at row 65 and counting. I am focusing on the process of learning the stitch, when you look at people who are able to knit without concentrating on their needles they had to start somewhere! One day I will get there.

The Julia jumper doesn’t have any shaping in it really and is literally just two rectangles for the body then smaller rectangles for the sleeves although the sleeves do have increases in them which is something I have yet to tackle. I am toying with the idea of trying out one of Andi Satterlund’s patterns for her and Lladybird‘s Outfit Along which is running from the 1st of June to the 31st of July but I’m not sure what level they sit at so I am a little intimidated, I don’t want to get disheartened with my knitting at this stage. It is tricky to know what would be a good next step for my knitting, in the meantime I have another hat request from Mr IHR and I need to knit myself another one as I have managed to lose mine already (along with my beloved FitBit, honestly I feel bereft without my little flashing lights).

 

April’s Acquisitions

I mentioned in March that I was no longer doing the clothing ban challenge. I have continued to be part of the group on Facebook as they share interesting articles and are a friendly bunch. I have tried to cull my wardrobe and have put away a load of clothing under the bed so my wardrobe is much smaller and is worn constantly. Technically I *might* be doing a capsule wardrobe but it doesn’t feel that way yet as I am still working out what pieces of clothing need to be in my wardrobe. For example at the moment I do not like any of the pairs of jeans I have, I have 3 pairs – 1 skinny pair which tore at the crotch and were really unflattering but I could tuck them into my boots and I like stomping around like that, 1 longer length bootcut pair which are fine but I don’t like with trainers and rarely wear heels except at work – on the plus side these are Howies jeans and therefore are great quality, brilliant except when you don’t really like them🙂 and finally 1 pair of baggier jeans which make me feel like I am back at Uni, when I studied not you know where I work. However, I have gained a fair amount of weight recently and until I have that under control it seems pointless to shop for any clothing let alone jeans. So on that note… Continue reading “April’s Acquisitions”

Joining the Ethical Fashion Collective

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I follow the blogs of Mel Wiggins and The Owl and the Accordion written by Victoria, both are great blogs and have interesting, thoughtful pieces along with show casing various ethical brands and top tips for eBay shopping. Last week I read about an idea that they had come up with together (don’t you love it when you find out your favourite bloggers are friends!), the Ethical Fashion Collective and it immediately intrigued me. Basically it is an idea to save some space online to show off and share information about ethical fashion – this includes vintage/second hand/articles/small brands/big brands – you name it! The idea is to do this on the 1st Friday of each month, and I love it! While I have my own reservations about the phrase ‘ethical fashion’ and prefer ‘ethical style’ I see no need to prescribe that to others and I’m excited to join in. Continue reading “Joining the Ethical Fashion Collective”

Cheers Femurs

This month I have been dipping in and out of April loves, a month of daily reflective prompts created by Susannah Conway. One prompt really stood out for me – legs. Like many women I struggle to accept my body but I have come a long way and it started with my legs.

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Dear legs,

We have been through a fair bit haven’t we? I have always hated you – well throughout my teens and twenties focusing on your size. The wobble when I walked, the paleness of you in Spring and Summer. When I started running in my mid twenties it was always baggy numbers, full length or cropped. Any exercise class was done in baggy trousers, in fact most of my clothing on the bottom half were baggy. I remember measuring my thighs repeatedly – cheering when the number decreased. Continue reading “Cheers Femurs”

Back in the Saddle

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I made a foray back into hacking during the 1st weekend in April. It was the first time since January I had been outside on horse back and I only cantered for the first time since January on the Wednesday beforehand. The viral infection I have had since December last year, which wasn’t picked up by me until my body began screaming at me to ‘JUST STOP’ during January has really knocked me out. Unfortunately my balance has been most affected and I have been so tired at the weekends that I cancelled many hacks booked with the thought ‘Oh I will be fine’, at times my lessons have been really tough and my instructor Claire has been brilliant throughout. One lesson I simply walked Wee Gem around the arena as two strides of trot had made me want to vomit, another lesson I cancelled two hours beforehand and all they want to know was if I was okay.

This meant the April hack was a real highlight for me, I cantered twice – both times just myself and the leader but the first time was really good and a decent length of canter. I felt really balanced as I was concentrating more than normal and looking straight ahead. The second canter #FlameTheWonderHorse felt I was off balance before I did and we slowed to trot pretty quickly. The gorgeous chestnut dude looks after me like no other horse can, with Twix gone my fondness for Flame grows each time I ride him. I felt full of joy for my hobby again until it struck me I have been riding again for 9 years! Yes, let me repeat that 9 years! Suddenly I started analyse everything – why wasn’t I better? Why were my nerves still around? Should I continue to do this if I can’t even trot in a group without being a little nervous? Why do I bother? You know the totally normal* things people say to themselves about a hobby.

I floated these ideas to Claire at my last lesson and as she stood rolling her eyes at me, explaining patiently to a 34 year old woman to stop being an idiot she suggested I set some goals for my hacking and my lessons. She also pointed out that I can walk, trot, canter and jump so really I can ride, I just still don’t believe it. To that end I have been thinking about what my new horse riding goals can be and have decided to set three and start to work towards them throughout the year.

  • Hacking wise I want to canter in a group, that’s all, nothing fancy just straightforward cantering in a group.
  • Lesson-wise goal 1: Learn 2 new dressage moves for flatwork, if Claire agrees I would like to perfect leg yield in trot and try it in canter
  • Lesson-wise goal 2: Jump a small course of jumps in canter. I don’t need big jumps I would just like a wee course. I haven’t done this for years! This one will wait until my balance is fully restored

So that’s it! I have written them down and will chat to Claire next week to see where we go from here. On a different note, I am planning on changing the blog slightly and will focus on reviews of riding establishments and quarterly updates of my riding – this applies to the horse-y part of my blog other posts will be written and published but I have realised that it might be helpful for other nervous riders if I write up where I ride and let them know my thoughts! Any comments on my goals or the horse-y plans for the blog I would love to hear them.

 

*sarcasm on the go here🙂

More Making Plans!

While scrolling through my Instagram feed I came across a photo from t*rexes and tiaras showing the start of a lovely coloured cardigan, she mentioned this was one of her Make Nines for 2016. My interest was suitably piqued so I started searching and it turns out a lot of makers out there have been giving lists of nine things they would like to make this year and sharing it out. I like this idea, nine items doesn’t sound too much and I can combine crocheting, knitting and sewing into a wee ideas list.

I had tried to pull together a list of knitting, crocheting and sewing things i would like to have achieved by the end of the year but I never got round to writing them all up. Instead here are nine things I would like to try and make and my progress so far. My vintage pledge still stands and two of the items here are vintage style so I would still meet my target!

JuliaJumper

  • Cardigan (knitted)
  • Julia cardigan – jersey cardigan that I first saw on Franca’s blog and have aspired to sew ever since

JuliaCardigan

ColetteMoneta

  • Pencil skirt – a casual knit fabric one preferably
  • Shirt/blouse – I am loving the casual looser styles and so far eBay has not been my friend on this front
  • Tshirt from the Simplicity pattern I already have
  • Casual/smart skirt – the McCalls 6993 pattern
  • Simplicity sleeveless top

Julia Jumper

I am currently knitting this one up a treat. It is a simple pattern, moss stitch mainly and for some that might be boring but for me it is good practise. I am a little nervous about joining in a new ball of yarn but I am sure it will be fine, I have the internet to guide me! I can see that this kit isn’t great value for money in some respects but it has inspired me to actually try knitting a jumper for my 3rd project and I think that is a good thing.

Collete Moneta Dress

I start a new dressmaking class to make this dress out of jersey(!) fabric today. I really want to sew with jersey, most of my favourite items are made from this material so to continue with making things in woven when this class was available seemed a little daft. I still plan to sew with woven fabrics but I am excited by learning about this new fabric.

Any tips for patterns for the items that I haven’t specified a pattern for would be great. Does anyone else have a make nine list they want to share?