Monday, 30 June 2014

Running - Inaugural Amba City Mile

Hi all,
The weekend before last I ran the Amba City Mile. Having just recovered from a knee injury after 2 months of physio, this race was perfect for me. And boy am I out of shape... It was only a mile (1.6K) but still, after being out of the running (pun intended) for that long it was tricky. Means I just have to try harder for the 10K soon!

Early-ish on Sunday morning near St Paul...

I was waiting for my wave to start. I had indicated to run it in about 10 mins (didn't want to injure myself again after all) so I was in the last wave, the 'general admission' as they called it. Not sure if I should be offended? LOL

Getting ready at the start line... and no head phone allowed! I was gutted! Music really helps my rhythm but alas I had to do without.

In the end I managed to finish in 8.56 min which isn't bad as it's about 5.15 kpm on average. And it's under the estimated 10 mins! And I even got a medal. I like races where I get a medal :) Yes, sometimes I am 5...

But it was a very cool medal!

After my wave came the family wave and the group wave and all that, and at about 11.30am came the pros. The elite men's first place result about just over 4 mins. 4 mins!! Wow.

As it happens, the run took place just outside my favourite ever cupcake place so of course I got myself a little treat. Then I walked 4K to the park to meet some people from my sewing group which I sadly didn't find but I went home instead and had my lovely cupcakes. Nothing wrong with that!

So now I really have to get in shape for the 10K... Fingers crossed! This will be a tough one...

Friday, 27 June 2014

Cinderella Running Outfit

Hi all!
OMG I am so excited about this project! Now, before anything else, I have to tell you that I copied this idea from a wonderful running blog Run Karla Run, she ran the Disney marathon and her outfit was just perfect for what I had in mind! This is the original outfit:

Isn't it the cutest?? Thank you Karla, I hope you don't mind I copied your costume *crosses fingers*

The costume is based on the pink dress in Disney's Cinderella. I just love this idea!

Now, back to the actual project. Remember the Race for Life I ran last year? Well, earlier this year when I was all healthy and hopeful and in shape (before injuring my knee with all that exercise and having lots of time for sewing), I registered to a lot of running events, including the Race for Life again. The difference this year: I'll be running 10K! I've never ran 10K in my life... with all the physio etc I am totally out of shape and I only have  a month to recover. But then I calculated that even walking I should be able to do it in under 90 mins so anything below that is a bonus really. So, in exactly 1 month's time I will be running 10K! As the Race for Life is for breast cancer, it's a pink race. Only women can enter and the pinker your outfit the better. The ads for the race clearly show the 5K runners in funny outfits and the 10K runners in serious running kit. Not really my style, where is the fun in wearing normal clothes? ;) So when I saw this outfit I just had to make it!

I tried to get as close as posssible to Karla's outfit, but I'm not quite sure if I succeeded. I ran into a few problems along the way...

I used the same sparkly fabric for the skirt. As was short, I only needed one meter so that was great. I made it way too big as first so I had to take it in quite significantly. I added a layer of white lining underneath with extra large hems to add a bit of volume to the skirt. The waist is elasticated by adding elastic between the lining and the outer fabric. As per the original, I added a wide light pink ribbon all along the edge.

The bows were a bit tricky, I was running out of ribbon! So they're a bit smaller, but I've added some dark pink ribbon behind the original bows to make it stand out more.

The top came from Primark so that was very cheap. They were out of the pink pink but this shade works as well I think. I sewed the straps together in the back, creating a mono strap. I used an old tshirt stuffed with wadding for the collar that I hand sewed onto the neckline. I then added more of the light pink ribbon across the front and attached this with a few stitches to keep it in place. The big bow was also hand stitched on. The trickiest part was to get the horizontal ribbon to stay put as it doesn't stretch. Velcro to the rescue! The back end of the middle ribbon can be attached with velcro, making it easy to put the top on and the run in it. One tiny detail is still missing though...

I found this necklace on ebay for about £1.40 incl shipping. I had more than enough time to wait for it to arrive so no rush there. It's heavier than it looks but completely perfect to finish the look :)

Unfortunately, I can't show you the final look yet. I tried to photograph this costume so many times but it's never perfect, so I will just show you at the run. Much easier that way! I just hope I can strike as cute a pose as Karla did in her picture above :)

All in all I am quite excited about running this race in this outfit. I just love it! This events raises money for Cancer Research, so if any of you would like to support this cause, please click on THIS LINK below to make a donation. So far I have raised the staggering amount of £10! Not quite what I had hoped for but then I really need to share this link more. I will definitely share more pics once I have them from the race itself. I made the bf promise me to come along and take pics and cheer me on. Let's hope this outfit will keep me going for 10K!

UPDATE 27 JULY 2014:
I did it! Check out more here, and here is a piccie of the finished outfit :)

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Brilliant Scissor Socks

Hi everyone!
I have been waiting a little while to post about this, I am so excited to finally be able to share this with you :) When I went through my stash of printed patterns, I came across this scissor sock pattern by Linda Walden. I got it a long time ago off one of those websites that send you a free pattern every day (I used to love those!). I tried to look for the pattern again online but couldn't find it anywhere. Even when searching for the author of the pattern gave no results, it has just disappeared. Luckily I have a print out :) I really hope Ms Walden doesn't mind, full credit goes to her of course.

Only a few months ago, I had only 3 pairs of scissors. Then it was my birthday and sister gave me another pair. Then I ordered the new sewing machine which came with 3 pairs! So I ended up with a few more than planned, and the worst part was that I never know where I've left them! I normally just through them into my (somewhat over-sized) sewing basket and then the hunt for the scissors starts. But this is the ideal solution :) Sure I've seen other patterns like this one online but not one that was a easy and cute. Also, remember what I said the other day of just using fabric that I already had and having bought the cutest sewing fabric? What better project to use it for than something to use while sewing? Clearly I adore these scissors socks :) So I just had to share. Ready? Check this out:

Aren't they the cutest? I had to make three to keep all my scissors together!

I used only prints with sewing items from my cotton stash, and some fun contrast fabric if needed. The one on the left has blue in it as a large part of this fabric actually has some blue sewing items. Sadly with the folding those all disappeared. The middle one is my favourite, I just love the busy fabric and the contrast! The one of the right is lovely also, it's a bit more calm I guess. All the fabric of the middle and the right socks was used to make that sewing machine cover I mentioned earlier so this is a great use for them!

I have one for the scissors that came with the machine (the blue ones), one for the scissors I use all the time, and one for special scissors (in this case pinking shears). You may notice that they don't have a loop to hang these anywhere. This was done on purpose as I don't have the space to hang them anyway.

As per the pattern, the bottom has cord with beads. I used to make a lot of drawstring bags when I re-started my sewing and had to learn so many things again so this was all stash I still had as well. I used wooden beads for two of the socks and enamel beads for the third one.

While making these I had a few crises to deal with, but it all resulted in some other good things. There two things in this photo that I'll tell you about soon ;)

Don't you just love these? When I finished these I posted a picture on Facebook and some friends already asked for the pattern! That must mean that they came out well :) I have a tutorial scheduled for this so not to worry, more will be posted shortly. I actually made some Christmas in July presents for some of the ladies in my sewing group and they will be getting Scissor Socks tonight too. I made them each one according to their personal taste in colours so I hope they will like them!

Monday, 23 June 2014

Viking Exhibition at the British Museum

Hi all,
During the same visit of our friends, we visited also the Vikings Exhibition at the British Museum. While I have to admit that it didn't start off with a bang, it surely improved and turned out to be a wonderful exhibition indeed :) of course, no photography was allowed, but once again the embed function has come to the rescue:

If you're into Viking history at all, this is very interesting. Of course one can't only sew all the time ;)

Friday, 20 June 2014

Wizard of Oz Zippered Pouch

Hi everyone!
I told you I had a lot of projects to share! Honestly, I LOVE my new machine. Putting in zippers has never been that easy! A little while ago, I'd cut some of the Wizard of Oz fabric to make a toiletry bag. After many failed attempts at a successful toiletry bag, I didn't want to ruin this lovely fabric. Plus the idea of actually using up my stash for pretty much anything really helped! I may not have told you this yet actually. Let me elaborate: when I see fabric I like, I buy it usually with a project in mind. I then keep said fabric until I have time to make said project. This has now resulted in an ever-growing stash and hardly any projects for lack of time or interest (or possibly not longer necessary). Case in point: I have this wonderful sewing themed fabric which I was going to use to make a sewing machine cover. My new machine comes with a solid plastic cover. Oops... so now I have this lovely fabric and no more projects! And one can really only so many bags ;) So in short: when I have a project in mind, I now check my stash and use what I like rather than thinking 'I was saving this for.... '. Where am I going with all this? Basically just to say that I didn't want to use a boring plain cream coloured polycotton for the lining of my lovely little bag. I'd already cut the outside fabric so I just cut some of this lovely turquoise/purple for the lining, added a blue zipper and off I went! Yes, I found a stall here with some really cool coloured zippers for only £1 each. The smaller ones are probably cheaper but I always buy zippers that are too short. Now I buy them too long and cut off the rest. Works so much better!

It's really plain and really simple but oh so handy!

I use it to transport small projects to work or onto the train. At least that way they get done :) 

This is the inside lining. I love how it matches, and the purply/pink on the outside even matches the inside! I bought this in a combo of turquoise/purple/turquoise+purple but this works too.

Hopefully soon I'll be able to show what I've been carrying around in this. It's still a surprise but I have a deadline so I'll be able to post about it soon (I hope). I have another one like this to make with Star Wars, maybe this weekend, who knows! Thanx Nancy for the Wizard of Oz fabric!! :)

UPDATE: I just realised that I wrote Us instead of Oz in the title so if the link looks a bit funny, just ignore it ;) 

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Wedding Dresses 1775-2014 at the V&A

Hi all!
A few weeks back we had some friends visiting and of course we had to do some touristy things. We visited the latest exhibition at the V&A: Wedding Dresses 1775-2014. It was amazing! Of course there is a no-photo policy (which sadly too many people ignore) but some pics can be seen below with the embed option. It was just too gorgeous :) I took one picture from way below the entrance so the quality isn't great but I just LOOOVE this dress:

It's purple, it's gorgeous, it's Dita von Teese's wedding dress! OMG I just can't described the beauty of this dress. I want it! 

Sadly it's not embedded as it wasn't available for the purple dress, but here is an image from Italian Vogue of the dress in action :) 

Here are some pics of the other dresses to give you an idea of what is on display:

#487427235 /

To see more about the exhibition, please see the below link to the V&A directly:

If you're in the area, it's so worth going :)

Monday, 16 June 2014

Italian Chef Apron

Heyhey everyone, I'm back!!
Yes, I have so many cool projects to blog about, it's crazy! Plus I've finally taken the pics so now is my chance to show you my new Italian Chef Apron. I found this cute fabric at Joann's and just knew that it was to become a new apron. Yet another one... Remember the polka dot fabric from yesterday's post about the backpack strap? There is a reason I'm using that for small projects like this. I bought it very cheap but when I washed it, a lot of the black washed out so it's not suitable for quilting projects etc anymore. But no matter, I can use it in plenty of other things I'm making, such as this apron.

This apron has 3 layers of fabric, as opposed to the usual 2 layers. I always try to add pockets to my aprons but they're somehow always too small. I wanted an apron with one huge pocket this time. So I had a layer of lining, a layer of apron, and in the middle I added another layer on the bottom half that would serve as the lining for the front to make the pocket. Does this make sense? It's a little tricky to explain...

This the finished apron. Do you see how to front is just one part with the pockets on the side?

I cut out a semi circle on each side of the apron and backed it with the polka dots. I then sewed this together by the waist band and the ruffles, creating one giant pocket.

 This is so handy! I never have enough space to carry the cutlery or put the recipe or something, and now I do!

The lining is also made out of the polka dot fabric. See how it's a little grey now? It's not the flash, it just washed out. Oh well, it works great like this :) And since I had so much of it, it really works with the lining of the apron and the lining of the pocket.

I also used the fancy stitch option on my new machine to add some detail to the straps of the apron. The polka dots were quite big so they kind of got lost in the straps, giving me plenty of room for a lovely decorative stitch.

I used the same stitch on the waistband. You can also see the topstitching there as I had to 'seal' the pocket lining as well.

And here it is! I just love it :) This fabric is just so cute! I also seem to have a thing for aprons with ruffles at the moment, it just makes the apron so much cuter I think ;)

I have about 3 more apron projects but they're on hold for the time being. Let's use this one first. Bon Appetito!

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Orange Feather Boa Replacement

Hi everyone!
It's the World Cup again so the Orange Feeling is slowly creeping through my veins again. Last night was our first match and we sure kicked ass! It was great :) I actually skipped yoga (bad me), went to the pub and even had a few drinks! This is quite rare for me nowadays, I must be getting old. 

But before all this happened, I had to find another solution for my feather boa. I usually wear a bright orange feather boa to the pub fr a Dutch match, but the boa has been slowly disintegrating over the last few years and I leave a trail of feathers everywhere I go. You may recall this picture from two years ago when I made the hat? Yes the feather boa is visible there too:

Replacing is wasn't even in the stars but during the annual fabric shopping with my sewing group, I came across this beauty:

These are the purchases of the day, lots of bargains including that bit of orange fur. I was a remnant and not even straight and the shop wanted £1 for it. As I also found a purple one of these, I managed to haggle him down to £1 for both, which means I now have a new orange contraption for only 50p!

The piece wasn't straight but I just used a blanket stitch to make a long tube and closed the ends. You can see that the side are uneven but only if you really look closely. And in the pub no one really does anyway... 

And I can always have one end up like so...

And it's much more comfortable and less prickly then the feather boa! Honestly, this is the way to go in terms of supporter neckwear :) I love it! And we won as well which is just icing on the cake. By the way, did you notice that even my drink is orange? Not intentional, but had some Pimms and just matched perfectly!

The next orange match is really early so I don't even know if I can leave the office on time but let's see what happens next week. I'm a little disorganised with all the events going on at the moment. Until then there will be some more posts am sure, I think My Busy Craft Life is actually getting crafty again! :D

Thursday, 12 June 2014

9 Year Anniversary!

Hi all!

I'm so happy, today the bf and I celebrated our 9 year anniversary :) We went out for a lovely meal, attended a party with a live brass band, and had a great time. Plus I got him the best pressie ever but more in that in December (yes it's a timed present). I got Frozen on DVD and we even watched it tonight! It's a bit sing-songy even for my taste but still a very entertaining movie. 

I'm so happy... (imagine song tune here)

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Quick Backpack Strap

Hello again!
Sometimes, you just need to have a quick and small project. And now with my shiny new sewing machine these are now a breeze :) I have this army style backpack that just needs a new strap every couple of years. I usually buy a cheapo scarf or something for it, but why not just quickly make a strap for it? I still had this polka dot fabric that had the perfect weave for it. Wait until I show you what my strap ended up that I was using before:

Because really, who can use this as a strap? This was the scarf I used before, it's pretty much gone really.

So I cut a long strap of polka dot fabric, sewed it into a tube with pointy ends, closed the ends and threaded it through the holes. Perfect strap for my lovely bag which is now as good as new.

I love quick projects like these sometimes!

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Warhammer Games Day Yoga Top

Hi all,
Yes, finally I can blog about my shiny new yoga top :) A little while ago, there was a sample sale near my office and I bought this fantastic top there which I now use for yoga. It is so comfy! So needless to say I needed some more. Well, I found a tshirt from the bf in my upcycling box so I thought I'd give it a try.

So this tshirt from Games Day 2011 had to be turned into... 

...this wonderful top from the sample sale. It is the only pic I have of me wearing it actually. It was taken on holidays in LA (yes that is the space shuttle from the TBBT!), I really must blog about that one day too really.

But back to my sewing project. I also had some tshirt material leftover from various upcycling project such as the Labyrinth Top so plenty of material to use in case I needed it. And boy did I need it! The original top has edging along all the seams which I to recreate and there just wasnt enough Warhammer shirt material for this. So despite this saying 'blue and green should not be seen unless there's something in between', I used the olive green on the navy blue and I think it really works! It helps that the print has multiple colours in it too...  Curious yet? Just remember, it's not supposed to look wonderful ;)

The shirt has been washed quite a few times and somehow the print was not at all centered anymore. But it looks kind of cool I think.
The back has this mono strap, so the whole strap bit is made of the green fabric. The sides of the blue shirt were cut in the round and then the green fabric was added just like in the original. Well, maybe not JUST like the original but close enough.

And this is me trying out the yoga top. It is so comfy! See how the print is off-center? For me it works though... I had to blur out some of the picture as another project is visible here and it's causing me some issues so let's see how that evolves.

This top took way longer than planned due to all the edging. When it was finally done, I had an idea of how motherhood would be. You work hard on something with blood, sweat, and tears, and no matter the outcome, to you it is the most beautiful thing on the planet regardless of what anyone else thinks. Obviously, I don't have children so don't take offense to this comment, it's just something I thought about when it was done at long last. And yes I did have to look at it a few times, but now I absolutely love it and wear it with pride. :) Plus how many others can say they have a Games Day yoga top? Namaste everyone!

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Visit to Harry Potter at WB Studios

Hi everyone!
The sewing is still going on, but I also wanted to post about some of the trips we've made over the past few weeks. After all, one can't be inside all the time! And sadly I cannot bring my sewing machine outside, so we just have to visit some really cool places. :) Yes, silver linings and all that...

A few weeks back, I had taken the day of for something or other which then spectacularly got cancelled. Woops! What do do with a whole day of during the week and nowhere to go? Buy tickets for Harry Potter! It wasn't a bank holiday anywhere in Europe (which is great because this place floods with people very easily on those days) so off we went. I have to admit, the prices are very high (entry for one adult is GBP 30!), getting there is a bit of a disaster (the bus fills up easily and there is no queuing system), but once you're there it's is so amazing and totally worth it! 

You can take pictures everywhere, see real life sets, props, and most important of all: costumes! I was in heaven :) I took about 200 pics which of course I'm not all going to share here, so I made a collage of some of the best ones. So in the end I only have 5 pics to post. I just love Picasa for that sometimes ;) Yes, as you can see I am positively thrilled that we went here. I loved the books, the movies were good as well (for both some were better than others) and since it's near London I just had to see this. So let me share some pics with you:

Costumes, costumes, and more costumes!

Various sets, some pics even have me in them! The pic on the top right shows the scaled model of Hogwarts they used to make all the 'flight' sequences. And yes, I saw the Knight Bus! Purple is definitely the best possible colour for a bus :)

Prop department, Weasley products, wands, and moving creatures

More sets (none with me in it LOL), I just love Umbridge's office here, way less creepy than in the movies!

Near the end you can walk through Diagon Alley. Of course I had to take this pic with the sewing shop :)

Really, if you're a fan and in the area (or even if you're not a fan), it's well worth a visit. Just try to make sure not to go on a bank holiday, or at a time when there are likely to be lots of school trips. Eat beforehand as there is nothing to eat around, and try the butterbeer when you reach the halfway point. Your teeth will feel like falling out it's so sweet but it's so yummy! And mostly: bring a full battery in your camera. Mine actually died at the end that is how many pics I've taken there. The shop at the end is also quite good, I found a shirt that was just too cute. Sadly I dont have a piccie with it yet, but I'll get one taken soon. It has a pixie on it, just too cute! 

I hope you enjoyed this post and maybe I've inspired you to visit as well? If you're too far away, then at least you got to see what all the fuss is about ;) A walk through Diagon Alley never goes amiss really. Magic regards from London!

Friday, 6 June 2014

Running Belt

Hi all!
A little while ago I found this amazing tutorial on how to make an easy running belt HERE. I normally wear a fleece while running (it is London after all) so I can put my keys etc somewhere, but at the Color Run I really didnt want to wear it. It would get way dirty and the forecast was quite good for a change. So I really wanted to make this and see if it would work. I made this just the evening before so it's really not great but it's a decent first attempt.

Of course I only realised after I had done all the fabric shopping (my group went for the annual fabric shopping trip in my area) that I actually needed lycra and not jersey, but jersey was what I had so I used that. It's a fabric I got from a swap once and I still haven't found the perfect project for it, so I thought I could spare a bit for this. I'd never worked with jersey before but there has to be a first time for everything, right?

The print on this is quite cool, except that there is a sort of golden pattern through the other pattern that I just cant seem to get used to... This project is easy though: measure waist, cut fabric to size, insert zip, make tube, bind tube. That's basically it. Easy!

The original blog post used fold over elastic which turned out to be impossible to find in my fabric area, so I used elasticated binding instead. It came in velvet black or white, or non-velvet pink or white. Sadly no purple. But as my outfit was going to be all white anyway, why not stick with white? The top is a bit ruffy though, I think I pulled the jersey too much there.

Here I am wearing it for the first time for the run. It didn't look too bad and the top bit stretched enough to make it less ruffly too. No jingly keys for me, and it fit my tube card also.

Very pleased with this! Just have to make a cuter version next really ;) Although it was covered by the tutu so it wasn't really visible here anyway. If you want to make one too, just go HERE for all the instructions. Happy running!

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