Being Frank…

Accepting my failings

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It’s not you…it’s me…oh alright it really is you

When things go wrong there are 2 ways of dealing with it…the first is to press on through, keep on keeping on until you manage to work out what you are doing wrong, sort it out… get through it and come out on the otherside a stronger person having learned and conquered… and hopefully also with a new piece of handmade clothing/accessory/thing

The second way is to toss the offending item in a corner (time out on the naughty step) moving on to something else…hopefully something that isn’t going to kick ones backside in the same way…if it does then maybe give the sewing machine/yarn stash some space and a bit of me time !

Guess which option I go for… yep I opt for the thrill of the new crafting liaison every time.


Unfortunately I am not capable of wiping the slate clean and just forgetting the affair ever happened…I hang on to the baggage and it haunts me…in fact the UFO box taunts me every time I open the cupboard…



Let me tell you about the bag that broke me…and possibly Gary (my brother PS31).

Now I was no stranger to this bag…I had made it twice before and admittedly neither had been the fastest of makes purely because I dislike making 5cm bias binding but both bags had turned out well…so when I decided to make a project bag for a friend and work colleague JJ I turned to the Reversible bucket bag pattern from Lisa Lam.




It’s a good pattern. It’s well written and, when complete the bag is quite impressive, especially if you get your fabric choice right. Get your fabric choice wrong and you will hate the entire process and it will take forever…as aside from the bias binding there are quite a lot of steps involved before you can step back smiling to take your “happy project” photograph… not so much a labour of love as the road to hell (and possibly divorce from your sewing machine).

Gary as I have mentioned before does not like tough fabric – so what  possessed me to use the leftovers from the trousers of doom heaven only knows…and a reversible bag needs two outside fabrics…so I ensured that this project was not going to end happily ever after by choosing a similar fabric in pink for the second outside

I was hoping to have the bag finished in time for the Knitting and Stitching show at Ally Pally…the one I went to with JJ in October 2012…but the experience of sewing even part of it left me so drained that the bag spent an eternity on the naughty step…I finally finished it in September 2013…and it has then taken a further year for me to face photographing it.


 (I dislike this bag so much I can’t be bothered to photograph it in daylight)

I hated it so much and had made so many basic errors that I couldn’t bring myself to give it to JJ…so I’ve kept it…and it is currently acting as project bag for my latest UFO… Liam which is a jumper for Spider which I love in theory….but the reality of knitting it is dragging me down…and yes when faced with the option of knitting on Liam or casting on something new guess what I choose.

The bag that broke me was only finished as a result of a day off and extreme carrot and stick technique… Carrot and stick involves doing some of something you hate with the reward of something you like doing. Extreme carrot and stick involves doing something you hate (cleaning the oven) for an hour and then doing something you also don’t want to do, but hate marginally less for an hour…and keep going until you finish both activities…

Sometimes you have to be tough with baggage…you can’t let it hang over you forever draining the pleasure out of what is meant to be done because you enjoy it…you either finish it or fling it where UFO’s belong, outer space….


(Image borrowed from the


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Blog Header

 I am contemplating a blog revamp and it occurred to me that I probably should explain why a picture of the Thames Barrier adorns the top of this blog

 The barrier is of course a marvel of 1950’s engineering and does a remarkable job in protecting London from flooding. It is staffed by a loyal and devoted bunch of people, loyal and devoted to the aim of protecting London from flooding and I have the remarkable privilege of being their lawyer…well one of them

 So putting this as my heading was mainly so I could check the blog in office hours (lunchtime honest) without anyone getting too nosey about the contents. Being Frank is my slightly more personal blog which I don’t tend to shout about…the more public version of me prattles away on Appetite For Cake.

 However since putting the header up I then as you know disappeared down a rabbit hole…mainly because of worries about that same job…and also the pressure of work !

 So to celebrate coming out of my silence I really should come up with a more interesting picture…unfortunately the planned picture of my apple handbag is not going to happen now having discovered that another blogger with a very wide following has  recently purchased the same handbag and I would rather not look like a stalker…I also must remember not to use it on the days I go to our Solihull office as she is usually standing on the same platform as me for the train before mine…

(my handbag came from Gloucester Docks and was purchased last autumn but hasn’t seen a great deal of use as its not really a winter bag…and the catch is not the strongest and there have been several incidents of the bag exploding leaving me red faced picking my purse and other such from the floor in front of me !)

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Spring cleaning…and a bit of sulking

Happy Easter and finally Happy Spring…it’s been so long I thought we were in for Endless Winter…ok it’s still not exactly warm but it’s getting better.

I probably should say “hello again” and “how are you all ?”. I hadn’t intended to be away for almost 2 weeks but I sort of got caught up in things and the next thing I knew it was the other side of Easter…

So the last time I was here I was bemoaning the temporary shattering of my skirt dream…well what do you do when you have your dreams shattered ? Er, well sulk for a few days and then try something else, something you know will work. Yep, did that…only that went and bit me on the backside too (it was another skirt)…so I sulked some more …and then did something I knew would work as I’ve already made 2 of them…and it doesn’t involve me having to wear it and look in the mirror.

The problem is the more I have made of these the less happy I have been…in fact I think I got it right first time with this…even if I did make a mess of the binding…ok enough blathering…I am talking about THIS129

So this is the outside…or it might be the inside because THIS is the reversible Bucket Bag from The Bag Bible…only I didn’t have enough of the polka dots so the outside also has a left and a right side128

and then this is the inside or possibly the outside130

The polka dot version was made April 2012 and then in July I made it again as a present for Spider’s teacher….



So then I started making a third version is September as I still wasn’t happy with how I attached the binding…only this one was made with that denim/Camo fabric that I used for the Treasure Pocket Trousers  (aka the trousers of doom)…the material that broke my machine… this third one has not been a happy experience at all and it’s taken a lot lot longer than it should because I’m just not having fun…or I wasn’t…it’s been pretty much finished since December, apart from the binding…

The binding, which also forms the handles is 50mm bias binding…not sold in many shops and where it is the colours are limited, so you have to make your own…and that is just not a fun experience…at least making the larger size isn’t as it’s not as easy to make as the narrower which work quite well with tutorials such as this...

Anyway, after having my butt kicked by the second skirt I decided to try a bit of spring cleaning in all areas of life and bit the bullet and made the bias binding. The bag is for a friend so I will post about it later when it finally gets delivered…which hopefully will be after I have found my camera…which is currently buried by the other thing I’ve been doing…which can wait for another day…


FO: Easy as Pie Bag Encore (The Bag Bible)

For some reason it has been 21 days since I last posted. Probably due to not having my own laptop and not wanting to upload photographs onto a borrowed machine.

Not that there has been a lot of “making” recently…almost everything I touch recently has been going wrong 😦 so here is something that didn’t go wrong and which I was so pleased with I made it twice more !

Once upon a time a girl wanted a house…but she was studying…and had a very low income…so instead she hung around Habitat and occasionally bought things for the house she would one day have and dreamed of dinner parties at which she would have a blue tablecloth and crystal wine glasses…

16 years later it was time to retire the blue tablecloth as the girl no longer had the sort of life that involved dinner parties and the tablecloth (being linen) creased and was hard to iron…oh and attracted stains more than a white shirt attracts bolognaise sauce…

So I recycled it  once


Three times

The pattern is from The Book Bible by Lisa Lam(U-Handbag) and in order are the Easy as pie Bag, the Flat bottom bag and the Pleated tote the bags provided wrapping paper for a Secret Santa present, a present for Spider’s teacher and the last one went as a cover for a bottle of wine for KTCupcakes (I also delivered her last years christmas present at the same time which was another Easy as pie bag in red and black)

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I have a commission…

At the end of October my friend KTCupcake had her hair cut, accompanied by my god daughter Cookie…Cookie had with her a knitted handbag made by her ever loving godmother…

The hairdresser liked the bag so much that she sort me out through Facebook and has requested something similar…

This is the infamous fluffy fairy monster bag…not sure I can recreate it as it is  bag of spontaneity and circumstance…and it’s construction is a saga that I have not as yet felt up to blogging…but I suspect it’s debut on the web is now imminent…


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FO: New term, new bag

At the end of the summer term I decided it was about time that Spider had a gym bag…6 weeks off ? Plenty of time…there was a pattern in Vintage Style for Kids: Fiona Bell for a laundry bag, that would do. I then put the book down and skipped out to enjoy the sunshine…

It was with a sense of shock on the 1st September that I realised the summer was over and school was back the following week.  Who had stolen my summer ?

At that point I picked up VSfK and read the pattern…hmm that was a lot of material…hmm again, that sure was a complicated method of making a sack like bag with a draw string and I’ve got less than a week, I’m busy at the weekend and I’m working every day between now and the start of term…

If I’d followed the pattern then this would have been the first item I made out of VSfK but I chose to make an oversized marble bag instead and use a nametape instead of appliqued letters… I’ll make the bag again properly another time.

It’s nothing special but it’s distinctive…and Spider likes it (would have preferred Star Wars or Dr Who, but this’ll do)


FO: Not quite a pretty petals bag

Sometime ago I decided that as part of  learning to sew I would work my way through all the “Beginners” projects in the various sewing magazines I have lying around the house…

…however I don’t really have the need for a hairband or a fabric necklace or a doorstop…or a fabric envelope…so I’ve been trying the “intermediate” instead.

What I  mostly learned was how to rescue projects when the projects go skewey because the instructions in the magazines are incorrect. Most of the time it doesn’t matter but I am a bit annoyed with this one.

Pattern: Pretty Petals Bag from Sew Hip 24

Material: Cotton print which seems to be based on the Alexander Henry Skulls and Roses pattern but much much cheaper…the original bag is a very girlie pink with flowers and the recipient…isn’t…

Lesson learned from this project was that if when you trace the project from the pattern in the magazine and it looks suspiciously smaller than the picture in the magazine then trust your instinct and don’t accept the statement that 1.5cm seam allowance IS included in the pattern.

Unfortunately I didn’t realise this until after I’d cut the material by which point it was too late…searching the internet I discovered that for once this was not my fault, everyone who has done this pattern complained about the same thing.

The bag was due to delivery in April…fear of installing the zip in the accompanying purse meant it didn’t get completed until this week…and because there is a sewn in ribbon with a loop in the lining of the bag that the purse (which has a lobster clasp on a ribbon sewn into one of the sides) is attached to I couldn’t not make the purse.

Apart from the size and the fact the purse is a little lopsided this one worked out quite well.  I finally feel as if I am getting somewhere with the sewing machine but I need to up my FO count and try to get something sewing finished each week…it is just so easy to go back to my craft comfort zone (knitting) and  pretend I don’t have boxes of material under the bed.

Likes: the lobster clasp fastner holding purse to bag, the blood red lining, the way the interlining makes the handles seem so crisp, the gentle puffiness of the bag.

Dislikes: it’s so small ! Wouldn’t matter if this was for my 9 year old goddaughter Cookie but this is for her 40 year old Mum KTCupcake 😦