Sunday, 31 August 2014

Upcycling Skirts

Hi everyone!
We've been really busy these last two weeks so I haven't had time to post anything. But so much has happened that I have a ton to share :) First of all, let me share my two new skirts with you. T he summer is nearly at an end but the weather is still nice for a few days so I just have enough to take them out for a test run. The first skirt I bought at the quarterly TRAID sale for only £2. Not a lot of upcycling happening there, it was only two sizes too big for me, so I just chopped a bit off the top and added a new elastic. The photo didn't come out very well, but the skirt has a lot of material and is lovely and purple :)

I also may have a crooked line somewhere but as it's a skirt no one is going to notice.

The second project is definitely an upcycling project!

One of the girls from work gave me this dress. Not entirely my style but I like the bottom part with the lacing so it has potential. Before it went off to the charity shop, I had a go at improving this.

Again I chopped off the top and added elastic. Simple but effective :)

I now have a lovely new skirt for at work!

These were instant gratification projects, some of those are needed too every now and then ;) I still have so many projects in the works, especially as I decluttered my crafting area and found a lot of stuff I actually forgot I had! My creativity sense is tingling... 

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Tourist Tuesday - Winchester

Hello again!
After our lovely trip to Dover, I just had to organise a trip as well. The bf got such a good deal though, there was no way I could even come close to that. I didn't want to go to the same area (although I really have to take him to Canterbury one day) so I looked for other areas of England instead. The mark was to have travel of less than 2 hours from our doorstep, anything longer and it just gets annoying really. Plus what's the point in a one night break if you have to travel for half the day? So after many days of searching, I kept on ending up on the same place. I guess it was a sign. We were going to Winchester!

Winchester is a small town in Hampshire with a lot of Viking history. As we had just seen the Viking exhibition in the British Museum, it was great seeing some Viking history in the flesh so to speak. We stayed in a lovely little hotel near town with a nice garden (though WiFi was broken). This was a trip I'd arranged so lots of visiting was on the menu.

We visited the Great Hall of Winchester Castle. Only the this hall remains, the rest is gone. The original castle dates from 1062! You can see why it's called 'Great Hall', I took a piccie of the bf to give you an idea how enormous this hall was.

In the Great Hall we also saw King Arthur's round table. The facts on this are little blurry, everywhere I look there's a different story. But was it fun to see. 

 Behind the Great Hall were the Barracks, which are actually 5 military museums. I think we saw maybe one of them but the weather was too nice to stay inside for very long.

 From the barracks we walked back toward the town centre, and I got some really nice piccies of the architecture.

 Winchester Cathedral, built in 1079. I love this building! We just had to go in. Forget the weather, we had to visit! There was an entrance fee but it was so worth it, even though we had our doubts when we entered. There is so much to see!

 I mean, the entrance alone is amazing!

Sadly, the catacombs were closed to the public due to flooding earlier this year. It's been a while but at this rate it looks like they will be closed for a while longer. 

 AND Jane Austen is buried here! I only found out about this from the brochure in the hotel, but this is really cool. Apparently, she used to live here for a while and was buried here. 

The cathedral didn't even know about her until lots of people started visiting (way back when of course) so now it's all displayed and they made this memorial plaque as well. I sadly missed visiting her old house, but seeing this was amazing!

 Just outside the cathedral is this statue. What is a diver statue doing at a cathedral, right? It turns out that the cathedral was in trouble once with flooding (seems to happen a lot here) and he was a deep-sea diver who worked under water to fix the church between 1906 and 1911. So he is hailed as the saviour of the cathedral.

After all that walking and visiting, we were starving, so time for dinner! The hotel had a restaurant but there was nice Italian across the road which caught my eye. :)

The weather the next day was not as nice as the day before, and we visited the Winchester City Mill (which we walked past about 3 times LOL). We arrived just in time to watch them start up the mill and grind the flour. I have some pics from the inside of the mill, but none of them were fantastic. It's just one of these places where you just have to go and see for yourself. The backgarden was great though :)

Before any possible rain, I really wanted to see Wolvesey Castle. Well, it's ruins anyway, there wasn't anything left of it really. It was built somewhere in 1130 and has a ton of history attached to it. We spent a good while here trying to figure out what was what (there were signs to help).

The rain held off and after the visit to the ruins, we had a last pit-stop before heading home. We found this adorable tea place in town and stopped for tea and cake.

Winchester was a very quaint little town, and I definitely want to go back one day to visit more. There is so much to see! It's not on my to-do list just yet but who knows, maybe one day it will just be on my way....

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Star Wars Applique Top


After all my Star Wars projects over the years, I still had some fabric leftover. Not enough really to give to anyone as they were all cutoffs, but I did still have one of the plain black tops which my friend gave to me a few years back that I wanted to make something nice out of. Having gone to several conventions and my LOTNA meets, I realised that I didn't actually own a Star Wars top. Well, that needed to be changed :)

I used the cutoffs I had and positioned them on the shirt. I then used my usual applique technique (LOL that rhymes) and my shiny new sewing machine to sew them on. I am so pleased with the result!

Originally, I wanted Yoda to be on the front, but due to the funny cut of this piece, the back worked better.

I added the large Darth Vader piece on the front, and a small Storm Trooper on the bottom side.

I needed something with the Star Wars logo, so I added that too on one of the shoulders, the opposite side of the little Storm Trooper.

I finally have a Star Wars top!

And it was all made from leftovers too, so didnt cost me a penny. I love projects like this :)

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Tourist Tuesday - Dover

Hi everyone!
It's Tourist Tuesday!! A few months ago, as a belated birthday surprise, the bf took me on a weekend (or mini-break as Bridget Jones would say) to Dover. Since I normally book our trips, I really wanted to go somewhere where I didn't have to look after anything and I was not disappointed!

We did go on a lovely birthday dinner on the day itself of course!

We had a lovely late start and arrived in Dover in the afternoon. The weather was cold but nice (this was early April by the way) so we took a stroll along the pier. Blue skies!

One has to take some touristy pics after all ;)
After our stroll we went back to the hotel for a nice massage followed by dinner and a nice relaxing evening.

Dover has a castle which we had to visit of course! As you can see, the weather had turned a bit nasty by then though, it was so foggy we couldn't see anything! And yes it was very windy too. But we were determined and battled through the weather.

It was a very cool castle though with so much to see! It belonged to English Heritage so the entrance fee was quite steep but it was so worth it. We did every tour and saw absolutely everything! I think we spent 5 hours there in the end.

When it started raining, we sheltered in this small chapel. I was delighted to see these cross-stitch cushions :)

After some more visiting, a break was needed and we headed to the cafe for a nice cuppa. Honestly, this was so needed! I am obviously in love with it ;)

The weather cleared up a bit and we walked up to the vantage point. It was so windy!! But there was a very interesting display on WW2 and how this castle was involved, it was amazing!

By the end of our visit, the weather had pretty much cleared up, the sun even came out a bit! We didn't get to walk along the famous Cliffs of Dover (we would have been blown off am sure) but the castle alone was worth going here. Plus of course the massage and the fact that the whole trip was arranged for me instead of by me :)

Slowly we're seeing much more of the country. Really, why not visit more places if they're easy to get to (and have a castle?) so I really hope we're going to do more of this. But then there is always something to do in London as well... argh I need more free time in the day!

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Re-Upholstered Desk Chair

Hi everyone!
I finally did it, I finished my chair! 

At the Knitting and Stitching Show in Olympia earlier this year, my friend J. and I came across this fabric and fell in love with it immediately:

We did our usual thing and bought one meter to split it later when we got home. I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my share, re-upholster me chair! 

I had read so many cool and easy tutorials on how to re-upholster a desk chair, so it really couldn't be that difficult right? But when I got home and saw the size of the chair cushions, I knew there was no way that half a meter would cover it. So I could do one of two things: find a different fabric or buy more. Luckily, J. didn't have an immediate project so she kindly sold her half back to me (which was then used for sponsorship for one of my run, she is so sweet!). Now that I had my full meter, I needed the other supplies, most importantly: a staple gun! The bf was a bit worried about  me handing heavy machinery being clumsy as I am, but we got a good one that was quite idiot proof.

For some time now, I have sneakily tried to get the backing off the cushion but it being the only desk chair I have (and a really comfy one at that) I didn't want to ruin it. But today I had a burst of courage so today was the day this was going to happen! Of course I had to take a 'before' photo:

This was my boring blue chair. I only had two options at the time, neither was particularly great but the blue was the best. I was never really annoyed with it, but it's been a while and I really wanted to make it all pretty and girly. (ignore the mess, this is my craft area).

The bf was out on a run and I got going on disassembling the chair. When he came back I was still disassembling but had gotten a good chunk of it done already. I only needed his help for the top part of the backing as that was wedged in real tight.

But four hands make light work and with his help I managed to get the back cushion off its cover too. Yay!

 The backing was held against the cushion with 4 of these. Just pry them apart really hard and they will come out. The chair now only has one small crack but nothing visible.

I left the old blue covers on as I didn't really want to take out all those old staples. And lots of blogs I've read about did the same so why not? At the worst it would be more cushiony (nothing wrong with that). OMG I LOVE using the staple gun! It was great fun!

I got the entire back cushion covered, and man was I tired! Staplegunning was fun but surely much easier when you have big manly hands. But I had momentum so I kept going!

And that's when I hit a blip. I finished the seat cushion as well and it looked amazing. But when I turned the cushion over I realised I had done it upside down! I could leave it that way and be annoyed every time I looked at the chair, or I could take all the staples out and start over. With a heavy sigh I Googled 'how to remove staple gun staples' and got to work. A while later, having removed the staples, I redid the fabric the other way around and stapled it all together again. It still looked amazing, and I happily started assembling the bottom part of the chair. *silence* I was right the first time!!! NOW it was upside down! I could have cried (and think I did a bit actually). I was so frustrated!! The bf now felt really sorry for me and happily shared his IKEA experiences with me, saying it's all part of the process. Yes, but I was right the first time!! So I started removing all the staples again (no Googling needed this time). I guess it was a good thing that my hands were starting to hurt because the second set of staples was nowhere near as tight as the first so they came out fairly easy. At least now I knew which way was up, and I made sure to write that on the bottom of the chair in thick marker in case I ever wanted to do this again. Stapled everything back the way it was the first time and it was done!! I only have two washers left from the arm rest that didn't really fit in anymore but no one is going to notice

I just love my new chair!!! This is exactly what I had in mind when I bought the fabric.

It came out really well, and I am majorly proud of having done this :) Even if it took me two hours longer because of my stapling error. But at least I didn't get injured ;) I LOOOVE IT!

This post has a few how-to pics, but there are so many tutorials out there for different kinds of chairs that I am sure you can find a very detailed one if you need to. I put some up on my Pinterest and they really helped. 

I really want to eat some cake now though, I wonder if that could be the influence of the chair? ;)

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Hot Water Bottle Cover

Hi everyone!
I had a fantastic and active week last week! I ran about 7K on Monday and Wednesday, followed by some additional classes on those days as well as my regular yoga classes that week. So super busy! Well I had to try my new shoes :) Yeah, and that's where the fun ended... I somehow managed to damage the area between my toes and the top of my feet so now I'm out of action for a few days :(. I have no idea of it's the new shoes as had to go half a size bigger due to my current shoes giving my blue toenails which am sure isn't healthy. But I'm trying to stay positive (with the exception of Tuesday when some MS symptoms flared up and I was very worried) and am taking this opportunity to share my shiny new hot water bottle cover with you!


During our last cold spell I got really annoyed with my hot water bottle cover as it only had one layer of fleece and I kept having to be really careful with it (I'm sure I have a picture somewhere). In a (happy?) accident, my bottle also started leaking, so time to throw the whole lot out and replace it. I still had lots of the cupcake fleece leftover from the bathrobe, so that was to be the fabric I would use. Stash reduction and all that... I measured the old bottle cover and got started.

Cute, right? WRONG! The new bottle was slighly bigger than the old one so only juuuust fit. Plus I didn't create an overlap so I added these ribbons. Also very cute. Wrong again! These were a pain to put in and take out all the time. So this one had to go too. I would have to start again.

But the next version was much better :) I used the same pattern just a little bigger. Still a little tight around the bottle neck, but nothing that was a problem so this was it! And I even got to have a whole cupcake on the front :) The pointy bit at the bottom was still from the old pattern as the old bottle was this shape. The new one was just square. But by then it was all sewn up, so it just has to stay this way now.

And I remembered the flap! Granted, the top should fold over the bottom, but again not something I'm too fussed about. You know, one of these days I will make something that is perfect ;) I even added a little press stud to keep it from opening. Velcro was just too annoying to sew in...

I didn't want to throw away the 'wrong' cover so I made it into a drawstring bag but just cutting the top off and hemming it. I then wove the ribbon through the fleece directly. It's fleece, it doesn't need hemming!

And it still has a whole cupcake ;)

So even if it's not entirely perfect, at least now I can use my shiny new (and not leaking!) hot water bottle to ice and heat my feet as needed. According to my osteopath I should be ok in a few days if I keep this up.

Fingers crossed! I'll keep you posted anyway though. You know I will ;)

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Tourist Tuesday - Hastings

Hi all,
I have so many pictures from places we visited and never the time to tell you about all of it, I have decided to host a Tourist Tuesday for a while. I have no idea if this will be a forever thing or just until I get my backlog managed, but let me show you some of the wonderful places we've visited :)

As per yesterday's post, we did actually have a reason to be in Hastings, but of course we had to visit a bit of the town as well ;) I'd only been to Hastings for the Pirate Record before so didn't really see a lot to be honest. Given that we only arrived at about 3pm and went to have something to eat first, we still didn't see a huge amount though. LOL yes it was a bit of a lazy day.... 

We had a nice long stroll through town though, and saw the beach at least. It was not as cold as it looks though very windy...

I also discovered various settings on my camera phone ;)

Due to the Old Town Carnival Week, there was a parade that evening and we just happened to be in the perfect spot for it :) We arrived in time for the rehearsals...

Best costume ever for this running club! I laughed so hard at this! I have a better piccie in a minute though.

 We slowly made our way back to the main street and walked past these wonderful settings... 

There was this really steep train that took you up to the castle (which we have yet to visit)

And then the parade started! Everyone collected money for charity for St Michael's Hospice. Kids love putting money in buckets so they all had a ton of pennies and were delighted :)

Now THIS is a balloon animal!

This was one of my favourites, the detail!

Better pic of the 118 group! For all of you who don't know this, this is the reference. It was hilarious!

There were even some cheerleaders

After the parade, we walked some more and I saw this lovely fabric bunting outside people's houses. Too cute! And of course veyr piratey :)

More pirate deco in random pubs... we found a nice restaurant and had some dinner and went back to the hotel to enjoy the evening...

...where we got fireworks! I could just about see them from the hotel window. It was a lovely surprise :)

I was knackered though from all the walking but it was a good day! Hastings is rather charming, even without the Red Arrows Show ;)
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