Saturday, 26 May 2012

Mission Accomplished

I'm happy to report that I managed to produce thirty metres of bunting in time for my friend's wedding today. There wasn't a cloud in the sky, and a stiff breeze kept the flags fluttering bravely (in fact it was tricky to get a good photo as they were flapping about so much!).

It was the kind of wedding I like best, a whole bundle of family and friends just hanging out in the garden. There was plenty of tasty food (I may have had a few glasses of wine too...) and in a genius move, a children's entertainer who certainly earned her fee doing everything from singing and dancing to balloon modelling and temporary sparkly tattoos.

Bunting is really simple to make, and really adds a festive air to parties and events. With the Jubilee coming up next weekend you ^could^ make some patriotic red, white and blue bunting, or maybe your tastes run to flags embroidered with republican slogans, it's entirely up to you. I chose three different fabrics, a sage green with white polka dots, a lighter green with pink roses and a cream with small floral print.

Then I simply marked out some triangles with my magic fabric marker and a ruler, then cut them out with pinking shears. I read somewhere that it's not worth buying expensive pinking shears as you can't sharpen them (unlike normal scissors, where it's worth investing in a good pair). By the end of this mammoth effort I can tell you that my pinking shears were definitely the worse for wear, but luckily just as I was cutting the last few triangles.

The tape I used was 13mm woven tape from the mighty Fabricland, it's 12p a metre or you can buy a 50 metre roll for about a fiver. I pinned the triangles at regular intervals and then used my sewing machine set to zig-zag stitch to fix the triangles onto the tape. I use zig-zag stitch mainly because I like the way it looks. Leave longer lengths of tape at either end of your string of bunting so you have something to fasten onto your fence, tent or what have you.

This kind of bunting won't last for that long as it isn't hemmed, but the flutter factor on a breezy day is high, which is what makes good bunting for me!

I'm off to swigs some Pimms now, maybe watch a bit of Eurovision. Just want to finish by saying congratulations to the happy couple, it was lovely to see you and your little family today. Enjoy married life :)

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Clear the Decks

Just a quick post this evening. Turns out that the thing I need to motivate me to get sewing is a deadline, who knew? I have a lovely friend who is getting married in 10 days time (waves at H) and I had airily promised to make bunting. Today I woke up to the fact that there's not much time left, eek!

So this afternoon I cleared the decks and unearthed my pinking shears in preparation. I've also been hurting my brain working out how many flags I can get out of a metre of fabric. Tomorrow I'm on a mission to buy some cool fabric (Fabricland here I come). And at the weekend I will become the Terminator of bunting, I absolutely will. not. stop... until I've come up with the goods. It's going to be Buntamagedon.

Wish me luck!

Friday, 11 May 2012

Fairies are a Feminist Issue

This is not a craft post, just a general rant about stupid gender stereotyping of preschoolers... Look away now if you were expecting something about 101 clever ways with bias binding.

Let me start with a little story. I recently took my children to the dentist. Prior to the event I had been doing the usual whooping up to encourage co-operation. Oldest is very good about opening his mouth for inspection, but youngest (who is only three) has so far clamped her mouth firmly shut and refused all pleadings.

The dental nurse knew how to deal with this of course, and held out the promise of a sticker for good behaviour. Anyone who has had any experience with the under-fives will know that stickers are practically currency, and my children are no exception. Wonderfully, both children opened wide, teeth were counted, all was well. So on to the stickers...

Now this is the bit that gets my goat - my son was presented with a Spiderman sticker, all good, happy child. Then the nurse turned to my daughter and offered her a sparkly fairy sticker, because 'all little girls like fairies'. Really?

Now don't get me wrong, my daughter was happy with the sticker, despite a general indifference to fairies as a whole. And of course I shouldn't get my knickers in a twist over such trivialities should I?

Except I do... because the fairy sticker thing is a symptom of this whole crappy categorising of things for boys and things for girls. Which is the start of telling our children what stereotypes we expect them to play along with purely due to their gender. It's the reason people make comments about my daughter liking 'boys toys' when she plays with toy cars. Because of course little girls don't grow up into women who drive vehicles do they?

Now I grew up in the shadow of 70s right-on parenting, where there was a strict list of banned toys: Barbie (too sexist) Action Man (too violent), any kind of film/tv tie-in merchandising (too commercial - although I was allowed a Muppets lunchbox, wonder how that slipped through...). My mother considered that there were no such things as boys or girls toys, just toys with good play value. I think I agree with her on that one...

And people love to tell me that my daughter only plays with cars and lego because she has a older brother. There may be some truth in that, but I have to say that I played with cars and lego and I am the oldest (have 2 younger brothers). Of course she plays with lots of things, including plenty of stuff for role play, but I really believe children need a whole range of play options open to them rather than the girls = fairies/princesses and boys = everything else (but categorically not fairies/princesses).

So I'll finish with another story. The photo shows my daughter's wings, they were a present and she loves them, often accessorising them with her wellies, style queen that she is. Her recent game with them is to play 'Tooth Fairy', apparently the Tooth Fairy 'fixes things, and then gets the money'.

Make of that what you will...

Wednesday, 9 May 2012


I seem to have a bit of a block about making things at the moment, so to try and counter it, I thought I'd have a bit of a tidy up in the spare room (which I refer to in my head as my craft room). No matter how hard I try I can't seem to keep it tidy, possibly because I know I can bolt the door on it when it gets too bad. I con myself that with the right storage I would, but I'm just kidding myself...

Anyway, in the course of tidying up I discovered an embarrassingly large number of Un-Finished Objects (that's where the UFO thing comes in, geddit?).

Some of the things I discovered, in no particular order:

  • Most of a navy blue sweater for a three year old boy - it just needs a button band, collar and making up. Just a shame that the three year old boy I was knitting it for will turn six in July...
  • A dismembered knitted dolly, with dress, just needs stuffing and sewing up
  • A knitting bag - needs a lining and just two more seams to attach the handles, plus tidying up of ends.
  • A denim handbag that I was half way through and lost enthusiasm for last year, that and I realised that I really should have used some interfacing as it's a bit floppy - can these things be retrofit?
  • A lamp-base awaiting a new shade
  • Patchwork cushion kit - not even started, but purchased for £1 from the Sally Army shop
  • Several tapestry kits, one technically 'in progress', two others that are actually finished but are languishing in a cupboard as I haven't had them framed or made into cushion covers
That's before I started counting the things that my children want me to make (a pair of rainbow socks and a dachshund draft excluder), my secret knitting project that has stalled due to chronic miscalculation on the yarn purchasing front, oh and any number of foetal blog posts that are hanging about in the ether, just waiting for a slide down the metaphorical birth canal.

So what have I done about it? Well to start with I decided that, fuck it, the knitting bag doesn't need a lining, and immediately took to my machine and sewed two enthusiastic if slightly wonky seams to attach the handles. I shall sit in front of The Apprentice later and tidy up any loose ends.

So that's my list of shame shared - what UFOs are lurking in your house?

p.s. thanks to wikipedia for the 'purported' UFO pic