Sunday, 8 August 2010


Using my tried and trusted self-drafted a-line skirt pattern I made myself a new skirt the other day.  I got some black linen/polyester blend and made my usual skirt with french seams, concealed zip and blind hem. 

I also used bias binding on the waistband, previously when I've done this I've just sewn the binding on but this time I used the crease and stiched in the ditch on the other side. 

I think I've done quite a good job

I also went back to the first skirt I drafted where I had made a very basic waistband and sewn onto the skirt.  Unfortunately this made for a very unflattering and uncomfortable waistband so I took it off and replaced it with bias binding instead.  It makes a much neater, more comfortable and pleasing waistband. 


Wednesday, 4 August 2010

More Geocaching

After posting about the bag I made for Geocaching the other day a couple of people wanted more information about it. 

This comes from
"Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. Geocaching is enjoyed by people from all age groups, with a strong sense of community and support for the environment."

There are over 1 million caches dotted around the world, it can be completly random as to how many there are around you.  We're quite lucky, the town in which we live has over 700 caches in a 10 mile radius, but they are all over, theres even some on Mount Everest (haven't done those ones yet!!!!) 

Caches can be any container but so far the ones we've found have been small film canister, plastic food boxes or old ammunition case.  There are some really cunning containers such as rocks, moss,  snail shells, grasshopperbolts, pine cones, sticks  or even a coin, all of  which would be a nightmare to find!   The coordinates you are given will take you to a particular area but as they can be quite small and well-hidden there is usually a clue provided as well.  Sometimes the clue can be exact and tell you where the cache is, sometimes they can be a bit vague and continue the game. 

Here's an example of one that was found on the beach under the corner of a drain with stones piled on top.  If you weren't looking for it you certainly wouldn't find it!  In fact sometimes you can't find them even when you ARE looking for them!

Here's another film canister which has a magnet taped to it and hidden on a bench!  You'd never know it was there!  Its handy having little kids for these ones as they can get underneath benches and into bushes without arousing as much suspicion as the adults!

when you find a film canister you usually find a roll of paper like this.....

.... this is the log which you sign and date and whatever message you wish to leave. 

The great thing about geocaching is you get to discover parts of your own town that you didn't know were there, like this lovely woodland we went to on Sunday. 

Here we found a bigger ammo case cache, hidden under sticks and logs.  We found this one easily as you start to notice odd piles of stones or sticks as possible hiding places but you wouldn't have looked twice before. 

Once inside you can find all sorts of goodies!  This is the bit the kids like!  The idea is to swop items in and out, they are usually Happy Meal toys or party bag items but can be anything.  There is a rule that you don't put anything biodegradable, illegal, harmful or controversial in there as its open to anyone who has the coordinates. 

Sign the log book.......

There are some caches which are puzzle caches, e.g. you have to find more than 1 cache for get the coords for the final treasure cache.  Some caches are laid out in circular walks, or have themes (Churches, ponds, railway stations) some are even underwater! 

Its important when you do find a cache to be discrete about it.  Caches are secret and people who don't do caching are referred to as 'Muggles' and you don't want to draw Muggles attention to the secret caches.  This does sometimes mean pretending to be very interested in a particular tree whilst the dog walkers go past and then diving into the undergrowth! 

We like caching as it
  • gets you out and about, the kids are happier going out to find caches rather than 'going for a walk'
  • you discover places & views you might never have found before
  • its like a secret world right under your nose, we often check a couple that are close to our house to make sure they are still there and laugh about no-one knowing what we are doing
  • the problem solving aspect is great
  • the kids love the secrecy aspect of it, when we first started doing it the kids wouldn't let us talk about it in the car if the windows were open!!
If you have a GPS device give it try, its so much fun but can also be extremely frustrating when you don't find them!  We're going to France soon so we're going to try some there as well!

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Can't I get anything right?!

After making and loving Miss M's skort I felt it was time to make another one, especially as we are off on holiday soon and they are great for playing.  I used a different woven this time and set about making the skirt, in doing so I decided my life wouldn't be complete unless I had a ruffler as I find the whole sew-a-line-pull-the-thread method although successful a bit time-consuming and tricky to get the gathers evenly distributed.  I've been umming and aahing about one for a whole and decided enough was enough!  So I've ordered one now and can't wait for it to arrive!  Anyway, skirt was done and all beautiful french seams, overlocked edges and OK gathers, onto the shorts......

OMG even though I had made them before I had a nightmare!  I had made a pattern based on a pair of her leggings and they were OK last time but I wanted them a little closer-fitting so I had trimmed the pattern slightly but not made another pair yet.  I cut out the legs and then proceeded to sew the legs up but when I came to sew the legs together I found that I had sewn one inside out!  I'd used stretch stitch which is really tricky to un-pick.   I was doing them late one night and I wanted her to wear them the next day as we were going to a play centre and they are perfect for that so rather than unpick them I decided to cut another one out.   So I sewed that one up and did exactly the same thing!!!!!!!  Aarrrggghhhh!  So I cut another pair out and guess what I did?!  Yep!  So now I had like 7 legs none of which seemed to fit together!  At that point I threw the towel in and went to bed!   

When I came back to them a couple of days later I decided the problem was the pattern and admitted defeat and went to the fabric shop to buy a commercial pattern (I know, I know, surely for something as simple as shorts I should be able to do it on my own!?  Did you not read what just happened?!)  So anyway came home, got the knit fabric out again, cut out the view I wanted sewed up the legs and guess what I did?  Yep yet again!  How can I make the same mistake so many times!!!!!!!!!!!  I managed to quickly unpick this one and do it properly and once I had the shorts I was able to finish the garment quickly!  Finally!  I can't believe how much trouble I had with this, I'm not even sure how I kept making the same mistake but now at least I have a better pattern than my original one as it does fit better, its closer fitting and the crotch junction looks neater and more comfortable.  Also it brought Burda patterns to my attention, what great, modern, clean-lined, easy to wear clothes they have. Especially for Miss M who at 7 is needs more mature designs (but not as mature as the clothes in the shops!) so I shall come back to their collection after the summer I think.

So finally a great skort, she wore it the next day to the park and was climbing all over the equipment and flying high on the swings with her modesty intact!  Now I just need to sort out all the legs I have left over........

Baby Shower Gifts

A friend is having a baby in the next month and so we're having a baby shower next week for her.  Surprisingly I've never been to a baby shower before and I found it much harder to chose a gift for a baby that hasn't arrived yet and we don't know if it is a girl or boy.  Usually I buy a gift after the event so I know whether to go to the pink section or the blue!  I wanted to make something for this baby so after getting inspiration from the blogosphere (as ever) this is what I made.

A taggie blanket and ball

I had this great Maisy Mouse fabric and the beige fleece is a baby blanket both my kids used so I thought it was fairly gender-neutral.  I thought it would be nice for the blanket to comfort another child.  The ball and blanket was made using this tutorial from New Conceptions.  The blanket was very easy but the ball was a little trickier, the fleece slipped a bit as I was sewing so the points don't quite meet as neatly as I would like but it looks good.  I also tried to make some matching shoes but as the fleece was slipping I've ended up with one shoe bigger than the other!  There was no way I was going to give them to  my friend so now the girls have some shoes for the dolls!  I think if you used fabric for both layers you would have no problem and they would be absolutely adorable! 

After the disaster of the shoes I wanted to make something else so I settle on a baby busy book. 

More fleece.......

Continuing the Maisy theme......

Busy/Quiet books seem to be quite popular across crafty blogs (I think a lot of kids have them for church and there seems to be a correlation between church going and crafty bogging esp in the US!)  Most of them were for older kids so I just blagged it with mine, must admit there was a bit of trial and error and some of it was determined by the size and colour felt I had.  When I know the baby's name I'll offer to put the name on the back of the book.  In my searching I found this great blog to make a quiet book for an older child, there were other tutorials out there but this one was comprehensive. 

The pink corduroy came from a old pair of trousers that both Miss M and Miss C have worn but how have an unrepairable hole in them!  The orange triangle is left over from the Superhero cape I made for this baby's big brother.  I made that ages ago but will give it to him at the Baby Shower.  I quite like the fact that I managed to recycle some fabric in this project to make it a bit more meaningful.  I hope the mum likes them, just in case I bought some babygrows and bibs in the sales!