Saturday, 20 January 2018

Top 10: Tu Clothing

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I popped into Sainsbury's the other day to pick up some milk and some supplies for our guides meeting and I was close to falling down a Tu Clothing rabbit-hole.
I don't know whether it's been substantially colder this winter, or whether my circulation issues are getting *even worse* but I've been feeling so cold lately. I'm actually not joking when I say that I can't remember when I last felt my feet. So lately, I've been layering jumpers over some of my dresses and tights, rather than cardigans so they've been catching my eye.
These green and blue cable knit ones would make perfect staples for layering and I love the sleeves on the pink one, which I think would look great under this floral pinafore. The polka dot jumper is super bright and cheerful and frankly that jacquard suit has kind of stolen my heart. So pretty and so many mix and match possibilities!
I really like the bow on the grey handbag - very Kate Spade, in my opinion.
Somehow, I managed to stick to my shopping ban and resist the urge to add any of them to my basket, but these are basically haunting me now.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Top 10: Sammydress

Sammydress10 Collage
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I've got to admit, I've been rather enjoying picking out a selection of favourites from some of the websites I find myself browsing lately. Today's features a bundle of pretty dresses I'd love to style up, all from Sammydress, purveyors of vintage style prettiness most definitely inspired by other brands...

These sunflowers look great on their navy background colour and I love the space prints -the blue with the collar (002) reminds me of an episode of Blue's Clues which my little sister used to be a bit obsessed with, as there was a song for remembering the names of the planets in the solar system and the illustrations are very similar.

I love that the newspaper print features cats and dogs as part of the design and the Peter Pan collar looks great on those turquoise polka dots.

Obviously anything with vintage-look dogs, dinosaurs and crazy dancing cats gets my vote.

Which is your favourite?

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Alice and Betty..

Fabric: Rifle Paper Co Wonderland fabric for Cotton & Steel, Cameos Green
I was thinking about my sewing projects lately, and how I seem to have slowed down my productivity levels so much over the past couple of years. Looking back over my handmade dresses, which I always share on my Instagram account, a few years back I was making upwards of fifty of sixty dresses per year. Last year, I think I managed just eight.
I don't think this has been a conscious decision so much as a result of circumstance. More commitments have meant I just don't get a lot of time at home to myself and I guess when I do, I spend those hours catching up on housework, errands and chores first and then split what's left between various hobbies and pastimes. And a string of makes which I ended up not really loving once they were done, made me fall out of love with dressmaking a little, I think.
But, over the past few weekends and some time off during the festive season, something seems to have shifted where I'm no longer trying to rush my way through making something just so that I can say it's finished and I can wear it. I'm taking a little more time about things - properly ironing and pressing where I'm meant to and finishing things like overlocked edges and hems much more neatly, even adding linings to most of what I'm making. 
I finished this dress a couple of weekends ago and have already worn it four times, because I really love how it turned out. Instead of rushing, I spent a little more time on this and tried to make sure everything was done neatly. I even hand-stitched every heart on the heart trim around the hem and the neckline so that it would stay nice and secure and because I thought machine stitches would end up looking too messy.
I picked up the fabric at one of the sewing shows I went to last year, having loved the C+S Alice collection but having ummed and ahhed about which print was my favourite, until it was almost too late and they were almost all sold out. I do really like this forest green background though. And I lucked out with finding this trim in my ribbon tin - I'd picked up a couple of metres on a whim whilst at the counter in my local haberdashery, with no idea what (if anything) I'd use it for, but I think it's worked rather nicely on this.
I think my efforts have paid off and I'm learning that it's okay to enjoy the process as much as the finished garment.

Pattern: Sew Over It Betty Dress

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Tuesday Titles 149..

Her Frozen Heart
Her Frozen Heart: Lulu Taylor

It feels as though I've been reading six or seven books at once lately, but not actually finishing any of them. Which has pretty much been the case, if I'm honest. But finally, I'm starting to have some books I can share.

Her Frozen Heart was my first introduction to Lulu Taylor; a writer I've heard a lot about over the past year or so. I love a good duel timeline and it rather seems that Taylor does these well. This book tells two stories set seventy years apart, both of which are engaging and intriguing in their own way, before there's any hint of a connection.

In a bitterly cold 1947 winter, Tommy Carter is dealing with the loss of her husband and trying to keep her family warm and fed dealing with the wartime rations and shortages of the day. As her brother and various friends put upon her hospitality, she struggles to make ends meet, and does she also have reason to be suspicious of one of her guests' motives?

In contrast, Caitlyn is anything but suspicious about her marriage. As she pieces her life back together after receiving the shocking news that her husband Patrick has been killed in a car accident, she finds it hard to believe that anything had been wrong with her perfect marriage.

Sara, who has been her friend since university days is there to help her through these times, too. And it isn't until Caitlyn finds herself talking to an old acquaintance that It starts to become clear that Sara might not be as good a friend as Caitlyn had always thought. She puts the niggling doubts to the back of her mind, but eventually clues about Patrick's secret life come to light and she finds she can no longer ignore them.

A slow start, but I liked the way that gave both stories the opportunity to bed in, and I found that they got right under my skin. Some of the characters were downright loathe-able, which I also found refreshing in a way - it's sometimes nice not to have to like everyone.

A definite page turner towards the end, as the pieces begin to fall into place...

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Top 10: Zaful

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I have a new little feature to share: a different kind of wishlist, I suppose. Rather than a round up of lots of different items from the depths of the internet, I've decided that I'll focus on one particular site and pick my top ten from them. This week, my top picks from Zaful, which has so many lovely bits and pieces at the moment.

I'm off to a spa day next week and so could do with a new swimsuit of some description and really like the tie around the back effect of this red one.

I'm a little obsessed with cute collars, cute elbow patches and I just think these sunglasses are pretty awesome. The rainbow jumper is a pretty similar dupe of a Lazy Oaf one I've seen about, and those cat earrings are just an amazing kitschy dream come true.

What's your favourite piece? Have you shopped with Zaful in the past...?

Friday, 12 January 2018

Friday Favourites 266..

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Oh, it feels good to be back into something of a routine. I've been trying hard to avoid the January sales if I'm honest, but some things are just too amazing to pass up on. Here are some of my favourites to kick off the new year:
001: I only discovered rockcakes Etsy shop recently and placed an order with her Black Friday code for some amazing little festive brooches etc. She does some really rather clever designs though - the little pen pins which read "Mightier", for example. I love these little veggies and they make me think of springtime and all of the things I SHOULD definitely be achieving at the allotment.
002: Could this new Joanie Clothing jumper be more spring-time appropriate? It's bright and cheerful and everything that the new season should be, I think.
003: This might be the cutest Vendula bag I've seen, to date. Which is high praise indeed, considering some of the *amazing* bags they've come out with in the past. My collection is absolutely longing for this little birdhouse rucksack, though. How is it even possible that I don't own a rucksack of any description?!
004: One thing I actually really *need* to replace, I realised as I was writing my thank you letters after Christmas, is my address book. I've had it since I was about ten years old, most of the alphabet is filled with the addresses of school and university friends who have long since moved on or lost contact. I'm definitely in the market for something new and this Kiki K one would fit the bill rather nicely.
What's caught your eye this week? Any Spring must-haves?

Thursday, 11 January 2018

My thrifty gift swap..

Although it rather seems like a while ago now, I signed up before Christmas to take part in Janet's Thrifty Christmas Gift Swap. She runs it every year in the run up to the festive period and I enjoy thinking up a suitable selection of gifts for my recipient. The idea behind this one is that things are supposed to be either thrifted or homemade, which adds a little more of a challenge, but rather appeals to my bargain-hunting ways.
This year, because my recipient was based in the US, I was in a bit of a hurry to try and make sure it reached her before Xmas and I completely failed to take any photos. Thankfully I have had a message from her to say that she loved the parcel. But here are some photos of the contents of the parcel I was lucky enough to receive from Louisa.
A new mug, which might be destined for my office because my previous work mug was a heat-sensitive one and the transfer design has been peeling off lately. Dinosaur themed socks, chocolates and a bookmark which fits over your book to eat the page, which is awesome.
Also coffee and a letter-set and a rather great magnetic photo frame, which gave me the push I needed to clear out the front of the fridge, getting rid of the old post-it notes and shopping lists and put a photo of a recent trip with my sisters on there instead.
All in all, I think Louisa has me pretty well sussed! Did you take part in any gift swaps this Christmas?