Archive for January, 2009

Mama’s got a brand new bag

I am supposed to be making bags to sell, but, truth be told, I am having a hard time letting go of this one! I am so pleased with this little beauty. The exterior is decor weight fabric, lined with a coordinating quilting cotton and interlined with fleece for a softly structured feel. I haven’t quite got the hang of working with iron in interfacing and I like the feel the fleece gives the bags. The interior of this has a key clip and a divided pocket for a cellphone, pen and notepad. Guess who is a list-writer!

Floral bag with bamboo handles

Other side of floral bag

Interior of floral bag

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My sewing space revamp

It was starting to feel a little cramped in my sewing space, so I have swapped the wheeled office chair for a dining chair, just to see how it goes. It was a really big chair and I had my cutting table really close so I could reach everything easily, but it meant that I never had to get up. It was nice in a way to close off the space so the girls knew the boundary between the play area and my work space, but they know it now and, to be honest, I needed a change! I love to move things around, so I have shifted the table to the other side of the patio door and now there is space for the girls to play and draw next to me. I now am forced to get up and stretch when I need to cut something, which is a good thing! It is perhaps not the best view from the living room, but this is no showhome! We are thinking about putting up a curtain between the rooms as it will provide a backdrop for photographs, close the room off when we need to and will also give the girls a “stage” for their performances.

My sewing space

This way there is more room for the ironing board when I need to press larger items than can be accommodated on the sleeveboard. The suitcase in the bottom right hand corner is for carrying my stock when I need to show it to anyone outside the house. There are quite a few projects lined up on the cutting table, from a handbag that I need to get lining for, to bibs, aprons and crayon rolls for birthday gifts.

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I did it, I did it!!

I managed to run my 5km (3.1 miles or so) tonight!! I am so excited. I still need to get outside and try it in the real world, but for now I am content. No, not content. Thrilled.

Now, to reward myself for reaching stage 1 of my goal, I am going to make another bag! But first, some blog surfing…..

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Last night’s run was really good, so I am motivated and enjoying it again! I managed 2.6 miles, so am getting closer to my goal of being able to run 3.1 miles (5km). Once I can do it comfortably on the treadmill I will attempt to do it outside, which I know will be quite different.

I made another bag this week for a custom order. The original bag I made for this order did not work out as I had hoped, but this one is great. It is an across the body bag with 2 outside pockets and several inside pockets for cell phone, pens, notebook etc and a key clip. It makes a great weekender bag and is really comfortable to carry.

Custom across the body bag

Milly’s 2nd birthday is coming up and I am working on a few things for her. I have started a “Happy Birthday Milly” banner, well, to be accurate, I have made a “Milly” banner. I will work on the “Happy Birthday” part soon!

part 1 of the birthday bannerI finally got my mending basket out of the closet today and am going to work on clearing it out tonight while we watch a film. Now I know where all my winter tights have gone! Pip was happy to find her favourite skirt, so I promised to fix it for her.

We have ordered a new, more efficient front-loading washer dryer pair, which I am very excited about. We have been saving up and looking around and thought we had finally made a decision, then stopped in one more place and found a different set that will work out in our space. We should get them in a week or so, so we are going to get the old ones out and paint the space this weekend. Unfortunately, our dishwasher also gave up the ghost last week, so we have had to replace that too. It is going to be a busy weekend!

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Yeah, like it says. Not loving the running so much tonight. Once upon a time I was moderately athletic. Not talented, but I tried hard. I, like many, many people, reduced my exercise and subsequent fitness level as I got older and busier. Then I discovered the gym and loved it. When I lived in London I would go regularly, then again when we lived in Brighton. When we moved over here and got married we continued to go to the gym together. which was great. Very motivating and enjoyable. I would go early in the morning after dropping my husband off at the ferry, right up until just before our first daughter was born. Now I know it is important to make time for oneself etc etc, but we made a commitment to each other and our family and we spend as much time together as we can. We don’t often go off and do things separately, so going to the gym is not something we make a priority. However, we understand the importance of exercise and setting a good example for our children, so we invested in a treadmill a couple of years ago. That way we can run when we feel like it, stop when we need to and it is there as a constant reminder! Not folded away or hidden, right out in the open in our dining room.

Anyway, sorry for the rambling – brain not functioning too well just now. I made it a personal goal at the end of 2007 that in 2009 I would run a 5km race. Now this might not sound like much to you fit and healthy people out there – or even to those sewing machine potatoes like myself, but I wanted to set a reasonable, achievable goal. The point is that I have restated my goal publicly and am working to make it happen. I am running just over 2 miles (3.5km) every other day. Doesn’t seem to be getting any easier yet! It really isn’t as much fun as sewing, but hopefully the thought of being able to make clothes for myself will spur me on!

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Nothing much to talk about right now! I am having trouble sleeping, which is unusual. Everyone else is sleeping peacefully, but I am sure Milly will be awake soon. It is actually really nice to have quiet time in the morning. I like to be able to get up before the children and get myself sorted for the day. It is so much more pleasant than being dragged from sleep by the sound of the crib side being rattled and the yell of “Mummy, wee wee!”. That said, it is awesome that our little one has grasped using the toilet so quickly. It took less that 2 weeks of no diapers during the day and running back and forth to the bathroom for her to be accident-free! Yay for dry floors!

I have been working on a custom bag order and it hasn’t worked out very well. It is the first time I have been seriously unhappy about one I have made and it is really bugging me. Going to have to give this one to my Mum and start again. I hope Mum doesn’t mind a dud! The structure is fine, but the topstitching is uneven, right where it is most visible. I will not sell things I am not totally happy with, but I will hopefully learn some lessons from this experience. My problem now is choosing a fabric in my stash that might be suitable to a 23 year old woman, who I have never met! That was the only guideline I was given and I have no idea if my taste will appeal to her at all. The fabric I originally choose was great, as it was a pattern of circles woven in black, then I used colourful fabric for the lining and pockets. The outer fabric was not particularly nice to sew with, though, hence the difficulties. A bit too stiff and, to be honest, a little too synthetic. As much as I love the fabric store, I think a third visit this week might be pushing the endurance limits of my little girl! And the staff might start to suspect that I have “issues”!

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I think everyone in England knows the marmite catchphrase (as above). If you don’t understand, you probably never will – and I can’t say you are missing much! I cannot abide the taste of it on its own, but it is the not-so-secret ingredient in our older daughter’s favourite dish, mince and pasta. She is firmly convinced that it is a secret Ballard family recipe and the most super-secret ingredient of all time is Marmite. This is a by-product of the brewing industry, so why anyone thought it would be a good idea to eat, I will never know! However, my two little girls fought over the Marmite spoon today! They even like it on toast, which really makes me cringe. I blame their Dad.

If you are interested in learning more about this “love it or hate it” product, go check out the Marmite website.

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