Archive | June, 2013

It looked sew simple

24 Jun

I decided a few weeks ago that with John Lewis having a sale on their mini sewing machine in a charming purple and yellow colour I would indulge and make sewing my next thing to learn.

The purple machine was sold out so I have Arriva bus blue and green but that has not put me off!

A few more weeks passed where I only had the machine and no fabric what with living in the middle of nowhere and working in London. I still have the mission to trudge into town when I have a free Saturday to find a fabric market but until then I will stick to the shop I found in Tunbridge wells – I only discovered this shop after buying a board game in a charity shop and being given a 70th Birthday bag. The woman then pointed me to the fabric shop that was only a few doors down. 

I headed straight upstairs to the more clothes based fabrics and had a good look around, being tempted by the many remnants on sale but finally settled for a skull and rose fabric that I thought would look great on a dress!


Then it was to the pattern corner. I have never looked at a dress patten before so just went for the first dress I could find that I knew would suit my style paying no attention to difficulty or skills needed. 

The best course at this point was to ask the lady serving for help. She then helped me pick out all the fabric I needed, zip, hook and eyes, and lining and also laughed at my bag as that weekend was their 80th Birthday so I had a 10 year old bag.

Back home I went with all the good intentions of being patient and not cutting anything first off…and for once I listened to those intentions! I made a baking paper version of the pattern and stuck all my pieces down – It later was worth doing this as I made a few whoopsies but not unfixable ones!


The task was made that much harder as I had a very helpful helper helping me, but I now know that my bodice is 1.45 cat furlongs long not including tail.

I made the top part without too much hassle – only one mistake with the ribbon as I didnt know what “cut on fold” meant so was no wonder the waist didn’t fit! Second cut round it did. phew.



From there I moved onto the skirt which I just pinned all the pleats into place as I was too impatient and wanted to see if the dress fitted or not. That was a time wasting point as I now have to go back and put all the pleats back in and stitch them to hold them. Pins do not work with that much material weight. Image

The dress doesn’t quite do up at the back so I need to go back and do something with that but for my first ever sewing project after my year 2 school badger I made (it was a great badger!) I don’t think it is going too badly but I don’t think that I am getting on with patterns very well! 

An update will be made when finalised!

The other thing I learnt from this is to learn how to read pattern packages. The lady who helped me was lovely and very helpful however I did end up being given almost 7 meters of fabric…I did not need anywhere near that much even with my mistakes. But hey, can make some other things.




Organising your first BBQ!

4 Jun

This June was my husbands 30th Birthday and stupidly I thought I know, I’ll organise a semi surprise BBQ for him. He knew family were coming but didn’t know friends were also invited. And so began the food and booze shopping.

Food suggestions:

Look for sausages in the end of the day reduced basket. These can be frozen ahead of the day and defrosted the night before and save you a bundle!

Make a big bowl of chilli. Its cheap, filling and goes with burgers or hot dogs!

Make a big bowl of mac and cheese, the extra choice will make people want to fill up on sides rather than copious amounts of expensive meat.

Ask others to provide salad side dishes taking a burden off of you.

BBQ chocolate stuffed bananas for a cheap easy pudding that uses the leftover heat of the BBQ.


1st Problem: Numbers! I knew family numbers however with friends I had some certains and others “maybe” or cancelling a few hours before so buying food and booze was a task made more difficult with the other half telling me I was buying far too much..if only he knew! Try and make facebook replies into text or phone call replies, they are more likely to stick!

2nd Problem: Seats. I have two small benches and 4 seats in the house and as it was a sunny day we needed to be in the garden. With 30 odd people due, 10 seats was not enough. Enter the inlaws bringing a supply of extra chairs galore! Never be afraid to ask others for help in your organising, they may even come up with stuff you never thought you’d need!

This was also handy as I live nowhere near a Card Factory which is the god send for cheap decorations which for a 30th you obviously need. Banners and bunting and confetti, buy it all! But if you have a family member ask them to buy for you, then it is a good excuse to visit them to collect the items.

3rd Problem: People. People will be stupidly hungry and panic that you will not feed them if you are just an hour late. Don’t take this personally. Even when they eat the amazing homemade brioche burger buns with salad. Never waste the good bread with salad!

People also mean well but kindly ask them not to crowd your kitchen. This will avoid burns from handling oven food.

Handy tip: Start off burgers in the oven then just finish off on the grill to speed everything up and ensure you have no raw food.

Sausages: Just do them on a griddle on the hob. Again this speeds everything up if you only have a small BBQ.

Always overprovide food and booze! If at the end of the day you have leftovers do not see this as a bad thing. See this as an excuse to have BBQ leftovers for the next day or two. Delicious BBQ leftovers. In sandwiches or soups or stews. However the hell you want them, eat those leftovers up!

If like me you have on going jokes between yourself and the birthday boy/girl and decide to incorporate them into decorations do not be surprised when asked “Why are there pictures of Robert Downy Jr all over your house?” enjoy the injoke, and just tell everyone to hide them somewhere in the house for the birthday boy to find later.

Above all, try and relax, chat to your guests and dont worry about anything. It will either all come together or it wont and if it doesn’t you should have listend to the above point of having too much booze and just drink that.
If you have a pet, be sure to clean upstairs as well as downstairs. Guests will go a wondering to find your pretty kitteh or dog and you dont want them finding yesterdays pants by the side of the bed. But be warned your cat will be extra needy following this influx of pettings and attention from 30 new people.