Thursday, 30 April 2015

Running - Glow in the Dark Running Skirt

Hi everyone!
It's been a month, and it's time for another run. After the half marathon I really needed to recover and I'm not sure my knee is entirely up for it, but I'm going to give it a go anyway. It's only a 5K, whoever would have thought I would ever say that? Really, like ever? LOL. I've also registered to the Virtual 5K run by Sean Astin so I'm doing both races at the same time. I have until 11 May to run the Virtual 5K and this one is so much fun that I wanted to combine them. Technically it's not cheating as I'll still be running 5K and the Electric Run doens't have a medal so at least this way I get one, whoohoo!

Last year's run was great and I had a wonderful shiny tutu, which I really started to dislike after running several races in it, and I wanted something new. I found an image online that showed a tutu with a neon cord in it. It looked amazing! I just needed to buy the cord and make a new tutu. Yeah, that sounded really nice a few months back but now with only a couple of weeks to go it would be dicey time wise. A new plan was needed, so enter Poundland! I happened to be there with a friend when I saw this pink tutu, made for bachelorette parties. Let me tell you, this turned out to be a tiiiiny tutu. But it was pink, and it was a pound which is less than the material would have cost me so I bought and hoped for the best.

Once at home, a brilliant idea struck me. When I was visiting my mother, she put a surprise in my suitcase just before I flew back. Yes, not a great idea, putting stuff in people's suitcases without telling them! Not to worry, my mom now knows this. Anyway, the surprise was a string of red heart-shaped battery powered LED lights. Lovely present, not something I would use easily. But you never know so I put them aside at the time and kind of forgot about them. Until now. LED lights were exactly what I needed to make a killer skirt for the Electric Run!

The tutu had 2 layers of pink tulle so I sewed the cable by hand onto the bottom lawyer. I just tacked it on here and there with a few stitches. I did change the placement somewhat afterwards as I wanted it more central, you can see the new placing in the final pictures.

I made a quick pouch from some leftover cotton for the battery pack. 

Once the top layer of the tulle was folded back normally, this was the result.

Something I probably should have checked before: a lighting test! Obviously it was still daylight but the lights seemed to work!

I added a layer or dark pink/burgundy lining fabric under the tutu to give it a bit more fulness and colour. I thought the lights would wash out otherwise or be too red. Getting it to stretch was tricky but I pulled the pink jersey waistband tight while sewing o the lining and it seems to have worked. 

I also added one layer of red organza. I didn't have pink and I really wanted to spend as little money as possible on this and I still had a large piece left of red. With the pink it kinda worked I think :) It's not a bright pink, and now the red looks better too.

I tried taking some pics after dark, and forgot to turn off the flash. This way you can see quite well how it came out :)

Here it is, the end result :) The organza meant the waistband doesn't stretch an awful lot anymore, but I still fit it so all is well. Since the race is after dark, this will be just perfect!

Today I also collected my race pack with my running number (which is red so it matches!) and my twinkle bracelet. A few weeks back I bought some LED hair extensions which are going to be fantastic, and for Christmas I got some UV makeup that is going to look fabulous in the blacklight tunnel. Now if only my knee can play along, all is well. I'm not even too worried about the weather, not like I can change it anyway... I'll post pics asap so watch this space!

UPDATE 11 May 2015: my skirt has been featured :) 

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Gorgeous Costumes as Hobbycraft Excel Show

Hi again everyone!
As promised, finally a post about the craft show I went to the day before my half marathon. I got cheap tickets via Groupon, I only paid £4! Excellent bargain although the show was tiny despite Excel being huge so I was kind of glad I didn't pay more. There was not much for sewing purposes, a few fabric stalls, but it was mainly focused on crafts like beading and cardmaking. I did get some excellent decoupage bits for card making, my mother is very pleased as she is the recipient of most of them and I'm getting better at it! :)

There was, however, one bit that I particularly wanted to share with you. There was one display which was just amazing. I could have stayed there for a looong time, had it not been for the crowds. I took a ton of photos but made some collages so the post isn't too photo-heavy. 

First, I spotted this display, it's all movie costumes! The one in the middle is from The Duchess, the ones on the right from Sense and Sensibility. Arent they amazing?

This was the stall with all the gorgeous dresses, there were so many!

I liked some better than others, this one had an enormous bustle. It looked great! I always wonder how their bustles never look like aprons. Mine always do somehow... 

This was a goldish/blue dress. There was so much detail! The dress itself look fairly plain but the detailed flowers really made it special.

Finally, my favourite. Yes, it's blue and pink but I couldnt get away from it. I just love it! It's so well made and looks amazing from every angle. 

These dresses made it totally worthwhile visiting the show. I think until Ally Pally in October or so there are no more so lots of time to focus on more projects, whoohoo!

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Waterproof Swimming Tote

Hi everyone!
I've been going for a weekly swim for a while now, and every time I carried my stuff home, everything was wet from the towel and the suit. Surely there had to be a better way to carry everything home without soaking the rest? Then I had the answer: waterproof fabric! You know, that kind of laminated fabric you can find these days that is kind of plastic-y? So I brought a friend and went on the hunt for the laminated fabric. We found some, but the prints were awful, very flowery and not in the right colours.

However, on the way back from the show, we stopped for tea at my friend's house and he showed me some fabrics he wasn't using anymore and if I wanted any of them. Lo' and behold: raincoat fabric! It was perfect :) Not only would it be waterproof, it also had big purple flowers on it, I was instantly hooked. So I took the cutoffs home and got started. Are you curious yet? Oh alright, I'll show you the result:

Not a great pic but this was first use, I was so pleased!

I used an existing tote bag as a template for size, but rather than having it completely flat as most tote bags are, I made the bottom square so that my towel and slippers would snuggly fit. The straps are just tubes with leftover cord inside for extra strength.

My tote bag has a divided pocket. I basically sewed two pieces together (my pieces weren't big enough that I could just fold on piece) and with the right side out left it on top of the wrong side of the tote bag as I sewed that right sides together. Then, when I turned the bag the right side round, the flowers were on the outside, and the divider inside. Yes, it took a while for me to get my head around it but I'm happy to say that it worked the first time! No unpicking for this lady for a change :)

I also used some magnetic buttons (in purple, they match!) so I'd be able to close the bag properly. Now THIS part I had to redo a bit. You can see there are two stitch lines. Basically, what I'd done it sew the sides together but not the bottom half of this extra bit that had the button, which meant that it was constantly kind of open. Really annoying. And the sewing on the top inside wasn't great, to I took that part out, sewed the top edge down properly, and now it's perfect :)

 Funnily enough, when my friend saw it, his first response was: the water proof bit is on the outside!' which makes sense for me because the outside needs to be dry so that I can put the bag everywhere without making a mess. And surely it won't leak through. It hasn't yet anyway!

On a side note, I have a small tip: as I'm sure most of you do, I have been rolling my wet bathing suit into my towel for years. You then put the towel in your bag and head home. Sound familiar? As you also dry yourself with said towel and you have now added your wet bathing suit, chances are (more likely than not) that everything in your bag will be damp to say the least. Your bathing suit has soaked into your already partially wet towel and there is just no stopping. This may be obvious for some, but I have taken to putting my bathing suit in my swimming hat. The towel is usually only a little bit damp and will be fine, it's the suit that ruins everyhing! So put the wet bathing suit into the swimming hat (which is plastic and therefore waterproof) and put the swimming hat into the bag. Stay away from the towel! Once you're home, you will see there is now minimal flooding in your bag :)

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Fabric Covered Journal

Hello again!
I was going to tell you all about the Hobbycraft show, but I've just finished another one of the projects I meant to do during Fabulising February, better late than never...

I'm so happy with it, I just had to show you :)

A few years back, this notebook was offered on Freecycle. Freecycle is a network where you can offer anything you want to throw away (and is still in good condition) and see if anyone wants it so it stays out of landfill and goes to a good home. I got this cute notebook. It's about A5 with thick pages and silver edges on the page. At the time I loved the fairy. 

While I still like fairies, the part where I loved this has come and gone and I think I wrote in it once in the last year or so. I now use it to keep a log of updates for running and medication, that kind of thing. So something needed to change. The book itself is gorgeous, it was just the cover that annoyed me. I checked my fabric stash and found a fabric that my wonderful sewing friend G. gave to me one day as it was purple and she had no use for it anymore. It was perfect! Strong quilting fabric with a silver sheen which matched the book's rims.

Enter Mod Podge and away we go! This came out so well, I am so pleased with it :) 

I used the outdoor MP as it just gives the best results. It's the thickest so there was the least chance of the fabric bobbling up.

When I got the book, the first few pages had been ripped out (I was aware of this) so I had to find a way to make it look nicer. I used some card stock I had leftover and washi tape to cover the edges of the fabric, and I also used the washi tape to cover up the gap the torn pages left. It took a few tries to find the best solution but this seemed to work *fingers crossed it holds* I also added that cute little ribbon sticker for no reason at all.

The back as it is supposed the look. That purple page is missing in the front. The same card stock and washi tape is used.

I had no idea this would work so well, I am chuffed to bits with it! I can't stop looking at it and think of things to write. LOL

Slowly am getting through my backlog over here, although I didn't manage to get as much done as I wanted it, this was an amazing start! Let's write something else...

Monday, 6 April 2015

Running - Hampton Court Palace Half Marathon

Hi everyone!
It's been a week and I am now sufficiently recovered from my first ever half marathon!!!! *eek*! 

I don't have one of those lightweight running tops and I didn't want to wear my heavy charity t-shirt over the raincoat for 13 miles, so this time it had to do without. Instead I ran in my trademark purple :) And yes, you read correctly, I ran a half marathon.

Well, technically I finished it as what I did was not running exactly, at least not all the way. I actually ran about 6K easily and then my knee started to be all funny, so I put on the knee brace and continued. I'd only ever done about 12K in one go before so I thought if I could just run 10K then I could walk the rest. Yeah right, I couldn't even run 10K... but it wasn't all bad (although I'm having a hard time being all happy about it really).

To start off, I was nervous for like a month. I think I drove the bf a little bit crazy... The time would change to summer time right that morning so I'd have to get up even earlier. I didn't want to sleep on site as the last time I tried that it was horrible. Nah, I'd take my own bed thank you very much! So I got up at 5am (new time 6am), having spent the entire day before doing practically nothing except going to the Hobbycraft Show (more on that later) and making goulash. There are no tubes that early in the morning so I had to take a bus as far as possible, then a tube which by then was running, and then a train. But I got there in the end with time to spare :) 

The weather was horrible and even though we were hoping for a break in the clouds, none came. As you can see from this piccie, it was really quite wet outside.

As I knew my phone battery would die in the middle of the run, I'd brought my camera to take some pics on site. So I asked a fellow runner to take my picture and gave him my camera. Error error, missing memory card! OMG I could kick myself! Home was hours away so no chance of quickly getting one. Luckily said fellow runner kindly took my piccie on his phone and emailed it to me. It was so sweet!

 At 9am, about 3000 runners crossed the starting line under watchful eye of Henry VIII. 

The race itself was not too bad, for obvious reasons I don't have any 'during' pics, I'm still waiting for the event pics to come through but they seem to be taking their time with those. Afterwards, I spoke to some people on the way home and they said it was one of the toughest courses they'd ever done for a half marathon. The course had road, gravel, grass, and dirt so it pretty much had everything except for obstacles! While I did enjoy the scenery, the weather didn't really help the enjoyment factor. The staff was amazing though and stood in this cold and wet to cheer us on. A big thank you to them!

Once I'd reached 11 miles (who counts in miles anyway? It was seriously confusing) I hit the infamous 'wall'. I'd read about it but had no idea if and when this would effect me. At this point my knee was seriously hurting and we'd just rounded a corner meaning we were facing very strong head winds. I was so done with this! I was annoyed about my phone dying, my memory card which was at home, the fact that I'd dropped behind so much that there was no way I could make a remotely decent time, and I could see the finish line but the course was going into the opposite direction. I was about ready to cry. In hindsight it's quite funny really and I seriously hope no one has photographic evidence of me between mile 11 and 13 as I was just grumbling all the way and I imagine my facial expression left something to be desired. Then, as we rounded mile 13, a fellow runner appeared on the side lines. Having finished her race, she came back to cheer on her friend for the last bit. Somehow that really helped me going as well, and I started cheering said friend on too and we sped up and raced across the finish line together. I immediately lost sight of them in the post-finish chaos, claimed my medal (it's enormous!) and my t-shirt. I'd done it! 

My finishing time was 2:48:01, at least it was under 3 hours!

The lovely people from Lornah Sports UK had an actual throne and a 'lion' that you could pose with. As I had no camera myself, this was the perfect chance to get a piccie of me and my shiny medal :) Clearly the dog was very sweet and calm but I still managed to look a little worried...

I did it!!

I saw some amazing pictures of the race on Twitter and Facebook, and hope no one minds that I borrowed them for this. I just love the above picture! I had no means of taking this (can you tell I'm kicking myself over this the most?) and it's just so awesome!

Another gorgeous picture, it completely sums up the event. And still no break in the clouds ;)

The baggage people were very nice and understood the emotional bit which was nice as I couldn't stop crying for about 10 mins or so. It really messes with your emotions this stuff! I slowly gathered my stuff and headed home....

...where the bf was waiting for me with flowers, bubbly, and a pizza! Best homecoming ever *swoon*

I spent the rest of the day admiring my wonderful gigantic medal, and sleeping on the sofa. Now I could finally take my own photo of the medal :) 

Isn't it wonderful? Something I only noticed once home: the medal has the 'Mo' pose and the t-shirt has the 'Bolt' pose hihi, excellent!

I also discovered an importance difference between a 5/10K and a half/whole marathon other than the distance. In a 5/10K you get the t-shirt at the start as a motivator to run the distance. At a half/whole marathon you get the t-shirt as a reward at the end to show you finished it!

In the end, I probably stressed about the whole thing too much, but I really hate running in bad weather. It does nothing for my mood and takes most of the fun out of it for me. I try and think positively about having finished, one of my friends pointed out that at least I ran a PB which still makes me laugh! After I'd crossed the finish line I thought I would never do this again, ever. Now that I feel better, my toes are looking better and there is actual sunshine outside (really, why could this not have been one week ago??), I think I might just do another one later on in the year when the weather is all lovely and I actually have everything I need, including a memory card for my camera ;) Who knows? My aim is to finish in 2:21:00. Don't ask me where that time comes from, but it's what I'm aiming for. Until then, I have nothing planned for this month and have 2 races in May and some more after that. And do you know what that means? Lots and lots of sewing :) :) :)
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