Being Frank…

Accepting my failings

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K.I.S.S  aka I’m my own worst enemy

At the end of May my sewing bit me on the backside and it took me all of June and part of July to man up and face the sewing machine again.

 In these circumstances a sensible person would choose a nice easy project, something that they have made before and can whip up in an hour…what you should not do is tackle something that involves 5m and a requirement for “piece work” in order to construct the yoke…

 “Well I’m just not very bright…I guess…”

I had a day off…and I cut out Gabriola (sewaholic) which is, apart from the fact it is very big (4-5 yards of fabric !),  and  apart from the yoke actually pretty straightforward…except…   

 Well the day didn’t start very well as the new batch of tracing paper I bought turned out not to be very see through…not to be defeated so early in the day I taped the pattern to the living room window and used it as a very large light box forcing the not- tracing paper to do the job it had been advertised as…

 Cutting out was simple…but never-ending… when I finally got on the machine it came together quite quickly…and then Tim came home and I put it all away to do something else.

 Saturday morning I picked it up again and may not quite have followed the instructions…I may have sewed things in slightly the wrong order…but that doesn’t quite explain the difficulty I had in matching things up… or why the waistband was now not long enough to go all the way round the yoke… I have a horrible feeling that because bits of the yoke are cut on the bias that it may have stretched out with handling…

 [Bias is becoming my nemesis…of the 3 unfinished big items in my work basket all of them have gone awry because of cutting on the bias…or accidentally off grain in the case of the kimono]

 There may also be a little issue to do with possibly cutting the Gabriola out to small…I went straight in with a size 10 based on the fact that when I made the Hollyburn in the 12 it was far too roomy in the waist…

 By this point I was rather upset and may possibly have whined to OMT that I was “fat frumpy and over 40”…at which point he advised me to “Be British about it”…by which he meant, shut up, have a G&T and then think about gardening instead…

 I may still be fat frumpy and 40…but I have a garden full of fairy lights  and we have started planting up the herb garden… Gabriola is on the naughty step and having a long chat with Tiramisu and the Kimono about what they want to be when they grow up… finished possibly might be the answer…

and I can do something about the fat and frumpy part at least…



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FO: The Fairy Gothmother

A long long time ago I decided to make things for all of my friends who turned 40 the same year as I did… last month one of my friends finally received a 40th present…

Now I am known to not be very good at making it to the post office on time but I am not usually this bad…and to be fair we kept thinking that we would be seeing her shortly and we could hand it over then… except we never did… O Mighty Tim did take the present round a couple of times but the Fairy Goth Mother wasn’t in…she’d forgotten to tell us that she’d moved in with her boyfriend (now husband)…

The Fairy Goth Mother is Spider’s Fairy Goth Mother… she is also a very talented cake decorator (our wedding cake was the first she ever did) and provides cakes from “The Witchin’ Kitchen” she is also a a good good friend… so it was wonderful to finally rekindle the friendship at the house of some other friends (we were all helping out with their very last “Open Garden” under the National Open Gardens Scheme).

It was also a relief to finally hand over this young lady…


who had been waiting to go to the ball for a long long time – hell why should it be Cinders who gets to party ?

Unfortunately I was unable to quite capture the facial expression of the one in the book which was our FGM to a “T” however I think the tumbling locks of unruly curls is a pretty close representation on FGM’s real life hair…

Happy 40th FGM…I will try to do better next time

Pattern – Victoria by Annette Hefford
Yarn – various leftovers
Needles – 3mm
New – Nothing new this time round…need to practice making hands though as they were quite difficult

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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 !)


Spring Sewing Swap

I am not known for my ability to post things on time…I have a fear of the post office these days as the one in Reading has become very automated but not in a way that speeds things up… however I was tempted into the post office queue by the chance to take part in Kerry’s Swing Sewing Swap…

When the swap partners were announced I was delighted to discover I had Maryanne aka Mrs C  (who used to blog as Hectic Eclectic but can now be found at Sent from my iRon)…I have been a long term lurker of Mrs C and had in fact spent a happy 2 days one Christmas working my way through her archived posts (instead of working…).

But then I suddenly thought, “Oh my God, she runs a craft shop/haberdashers, how am I going to find something she hasn’t already got…”  I needn’t have worried however as not only is Maryanne very nice and friendly…she also has an alter ego called Constance Craving who turned out to be very easy to buy for…my share of the swap can be found over here

Despite the panic and worry, there is very much an upside of swapping with someone who runs a haberdashers…because…they run a haberdashers !!!

I very much hit the jackpot with my allocated swapper and I am very happy about it as I was gifted such wonderful goodies



That yummy wool you can see in the photo in the most beautiful of blood reds is not just genuine New Zealand merino, nor is it just genuine New Zealand merino with possum but genuine New Zealand merino with possum and silk…wooohoo… so so soft

And on top of that a fabulous length of material with kiwi birds all over it…which fits in great with my recent birds obsession…plus some funky tapes for sewing into projects or tying on to parcel….

I know just the pattern for the merino, and this one is for me…time for some selfish knitting I think

Thank you Mrs C, it’s been a blast corresponding with you…and legitimately stalking your blog !

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Note to Self: Don’t forget to stuff the owl

The other night was hot, we were sleeping with the window open, and in the distance through the still night air I heard a peacock call and it brought back some memories…

Memory 1: Warwickshire 1993. I’m lodging with some old friends, one of whom I also work with. As usual I’m the first one up. I go down to make tea, feed the cats… I open the curtains and find a peacock looking straight back at me…turns out the people in the big house opposite have them and one escaped.

Memory 2:  1997. I am working for a firm of solicitors down near southampton, commuting from Reading. They have a skeleton office staff on saturday morning. Me. 7am and I am on the M3…I pass a swan walking down the fast lane…

Memory 3: 2006 heading back from Banbury after a morning at a soft play centre I spy an owl in the middle of the road…it looks dazed and confused as its obviously not used to being awake in the daylight…with more emotion than sense I stop the car, the Owl lets me move it to a bush at the side of the road.

Birds have been on my mind of late…since Christmas I have made a Robins Egg hat, an Owl sweater, a Hollyburn skirt with the most fantastic bluebird print (and Fabricland have the same fabric in 3 different colourways…yay! They also have peacock and flamingo themed fabric or did I may have bought the shop ) and this evening I am stuffing an owl…with plans for a second before the week has finished.

Note: As I sat here drafting this I realised I was being watched. This evening I came home and found feathers all over the kitchen floor but no sign of the inevitable dead bird…several hours later I noticed a blackbird being everso still and scared perched on the curtain rail…fortunately O Mighty Tim was able to persuade it to leave out the living room window

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The shirt that broke me…the pass the parcel cowboy shirt

Today in Spider’s schoolbag I found a note from school asking parents to provide costumes for this years school play, I was somewhat relieved to discover it involved dark T-shirt, dark trousers and if possible “anything to make them look like a witch or wizard”…yay ! Nothing for me to do.

Now before you go marking me down as a grump let me tell you about last year, how I did my bit, and how as a result I didn’t touch the sewing machine for about 3 months.

The School was doing “Yehaaaw!” a musical about cowboys, Spider was in the chorus and needed a checked cowboy shirt, no problem I said he has a loud green checked one…I’ll just go get i… oh! Yep I’d had a clear out and got rid of anthing he’d grown out of including the shirt. “No problem” said Mum “I’ll pick one up in Tesco”.

However, shocked at the sudden rise in the cost of kids clothing Mum decided “No problem, I have checked material, I have a pattern I have a sewing machine.”  Well Mum got as far as tracing the pattern and cutting it out and then remembered she had social commitments for the rest of the week so sent Spider home with the bits and the words “Just tell your Mum to follow the instructions, and by the way it needs to be finished by Tuesday”,

This was I think Friday…  “whaaat ! Mum, I’ve never done a shirt”

“I told you, just follow the instructions”

Well after swimming on saturday morning I sat down and struggled to work out which bits were what and which way up they went…some of the paper patterns had become detatched…and by the end of Saturday I had the yokes attached to the back and the fronts, the yokes attached to each other at the shoulder added the button placket…and then attached the collar upside down…time to walk away from the sewing machine…Sunday I unpicked the collar, reattached it the right way up, and sewed in I think 1 sleeve and then came a cropper on the cuffs…

The cuffs were button up cuffs which not only had a strange folded split in them but involved sewing through double layers of fabric and interfacing and Gary, my sewing machine who had already been making uncomfortable signs about the yokes then threw a major hissy fit snarled up, refused to budge and then the needle broke…

By now I was hot bothered, getting panicky, I am really no good when made to sew to deadline, and I was getting worried that Spider would be left without a shirt, so Sunday evening the shirt was parcelled up and passed back to Mum  “can you do it by Tuesday ?”

“No problem, forgot to tell you, Tuesday is only the dress rehearsal, the actual performance is at the end of the week. I’ve got you tickets !!!”

suffice to say that Mum sorted out the tricky tough cuffs, added the second sleeve, sewed the side seams and added button holes…her side of the story can be found over at Is it Finished ?

It’s as wonky as hell, but boy does Spider make a cool cowboy – photos of him are at Is it Finished? (including the waistcoat made several years ago by Mum when the school asked the kids to dress as Victorians)…all I managed was a quick snap of the shirt before he put it on




So, no more sewing for a deadline…and no more heavy duty fabrics until I get around to upgrading Gary…but whisper it, I’m not ready to replace the Brother PS31 yet…and I don’t want him getting upset…although, this year it doesn’t matter quite as much as I’m not making the costume

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Stash Down

Sometime ago I made a sewresolution that I would find the perfect skirt pattern by making 3 skirts a month, different skirt each month… then I came down with flu and lost my sewjo for almost a year…

I started again this January…because lets face it I wear skirts a lot both for work and for home…and 12 months on I was still in the same clothing crisis I was in the previous January – I hate buying clothes, I’m sorry but there it is, I know I should be drummed out of the girls club… don’t fit in, never have, never will…stopped trying anyway…

Anyway this time there is a twist…a twist because I am feeling guilty and afraid that I may be turning into a cloth hoarder (but the prints are so pretty and the knits feel so goooooood !)…so wherever possible I shop the stash first before I buy

These are the results so far…I can’t give percentages as “stash” is an ever changing state of being… and I take a loose definition in that its anything that’s been in the house for more than 6 months…

January – sewed just under 7 metres from stash out of a total of 9.5 metres

February – 3 metres sewn from stash, 3 metres sewn all told

March – 6.5 metres sewn from stash out of a total of 6.5 metres

April – 4.5 metres stash, 4.5 metres sewn total

Then thing started to go a bit wrong

May – 5 metres, all out of my Mum’s stash, although tecnnically 2 metres were mine just were living at Mum’s…all of which were charity shop finds so I guess if we were keeping score I’d get points for that ?

June – none, not sewn there is still time and I do sort of have a skirt on the go but I’ve been lost in a house reorganisation…besides this is a skirt out of leftovers and I’m not sure how you count that