Tuesday, 31 July 2012

A Skirt for Boo

I have been wildly intimidated by the very idea of making clothes, despite becoming reasonably proficient with madame sewing machine.

Alas, 4 children results in copious amounts of outgrown clothing and hand-me-downs, but huge age gaps do not make for particularly handy hand-me-downs... waiting several years before they fit is less than ideal, storing several years worth of outgrown clothing is even less appealing (4 kids take up enough space as it is), so I needed to get smart on the upcycling front, and decided to invest in a wee book to help me along with making little clothes out of bigger clothes, and other handy dandy wee fabric things.

After reading oodles of reviews, I plumped for Reinvention by Maya Donenefeld.
Lots of sweet patterns in this book, far from intimidating, I got to work straight away and set about making the Gatherer Skirt for Miss Boo.

It is called the gatherer skirt on account of there being a detachable apron pocket, with which your wee one can stash gathered goodness. It was this feature that appealed to me, and yet I actually did not complete said apron pocket, because I was woefully distracted by some other more serious mothering duties, such as tackling bastard washing pile and other mundane activities. I shall, however, return to make apron pocket at earliest convenience.

I also attacked my stash, instead of using an old t-shirt. Mainly because I had no t-shirts to recycle and because I have very recently "tried" to have a fabric clear out by creating a "use it or lose it" pile, so actually no recycling took place exactly, but I do have a pile of ready to recycle clothing which will likely sit in said pile a while longer, until I muster the time, energy and enthusiasm to actually recycle them.

I let Miss Boo choose the fabrics, and she also completed the final styling. Needless to say she has a penchant for bright colour and leggings with everything. She also likes sharing her footwear with the Bear....


I am rather pleased with myself, and am now hoping to embark on much more complex and mind boggling clothing projects which may, or may not, make me want to gouge my eyes out with a spoon, but I will try....right after I finish that apron pocket thingy.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

I see a Tree

I unwrapped the bundles, no leaf prints, and one cloth was a bit dissapointing so I tied it back up and popped it back in the dye bath to steep a while longer.

But I like this one, alot.


I see a tree trunk! Do you?
It dried darker than it appeared when wet, the luminous lime greens turning a pale muddy brown.


I am delighted with the results, but really want some leaf prints. No luck with Oak, perhaps the leaves are too young?
Does anyone know what leaves found in the UK might print nicely?

Wednesday, 11 July 2012


I have been absent for a few days on account of a small trip to France. After the spate of burglaries (3 in 2 years) and lack of funds to maintain the land and gardens, we were becoming increasingly concerned about it. It rather got to the point where we were just grateful it hadn't burned down. The last time it was burgled we were not even able to go over and tidy it up again, due to financial and work constraints. Needless to say, knowing our home lay in tatters and not being able to get there, was quite a horrid feeling.

My brother stepped in to save the day, by agreeing to live there for a while. So early this week I headed for the airport, to pack up our little house and make room for my brother to move in.

To say it was an emotional few days is quite an understatement. I cried the whole time, though it was lovely to catch up with much missed friends and to breathe in the scent of home (albeit a bit musty) again.

As we drove to the house from the airport, the route being mainly farmland, I remembered each little house and garden we passed....the pretty maison d'maitre with it's blue shutters and glorious hydrangeas decorating it's front wall. The petite maison with green shutters and wysteria... the way the wildflowers bloomed especially brightly as we turned the corner into our village... Monsieur Honesty's house, now sadly empty since he moved to the Maison de Retraite (old folks home), but his rose garden still living on in his absence, and the light, the glorious french light.
I had a lump in my throat the entire way there, it was bittersweet.

I was quite overwhelmed by the state of the land surrounding the house, it has been little over a year since a gardner popped by, nature has well and truly taken over.
Whilst I was at first taken aback by the sheer amount of work that would be involved in getting the land in some usable order again, it was nice to note that the 8ft high brambles shielded the house from view and made it quite difficult for any subsequent burglaries to take place. It felt very much like mother nature had put her arms around our home and taken care of it for us.

Here are some picture you may remember seeing here a long while ago, when we lived there.



Here are the same spaces now...



Quite spectacular growth, isn't it? We can't see the lake, or reach it...

I miss France terribly, and still hope to return, it may be a while yet, but while I breathe, I hope.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

In Bloom

Last year nothing flowered, we had a short wet summer. It was our first summer at River Cottage and I was so dissapointed with the lack of colour in the garden, so imagine my surprise when June came around this year, and there are roses abound, and many lovely wild flowers too.

What does one do with a garden full of roses and wildflowers? Well, aside from sit outdoors getting drunk on their scent all day long, we bring them indoors of course.