Me Made May Update (a bit late!)

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My “Me Made May” so far –

Wow! Half way through May already! Have been rather poor at documenting the challenge, and actually within the first few days it became very evident that I have massive gaps in my handmade wardrobe! Well, I’ve only been making clothes since the summer, so I am still learning! Have also had to make lots of bags and things to restock both the Etsy shop and the Norwich one! But here’s the story so far…

The first few days of the Me Made May challenge saw me camping. A bit of a challenge for wearing things I’ve made, because I’ve mostly made dresses and skirts (not great for pitching the tent!)

But I did my best!  May 1st, I had an informal interview for some supply work. I wore my red spotty Coco, which I love. Then we went off to Lincolnshire for camping. I wore my hand-knitted Noro yarn cardigan – turns out I needed lots of fleeces as well! What a cold night that was – took about an hour to get warm inside the sleeping bag, then had to get up in the middle of the night to visit the loo. When I came back, I saw that there was ice on the tent! Brrrrr!

May 2nd – again, cold, so needed to layer up, but I wore the pistachio knickers I made on my knicker-making workshop. No photos here, guys!

May 3rd – Raining. And when I say rain, I mean something more akin to the deluge that Noah might have experienced! Not in a great mood to start the day because we discovered that our tent had tiny gaps in the seams that didn’t quite hold up to 8 hours of solid rain! Wet towels, jeans and sleeping bags, plus the inability to use the gas stove and make a morning cup of tea means a grumpy Lucy! But it cleared up into a beautiful day and we had a great time with our friends in Lincoln at the castle.

May 4th – our last day. I cheated a bit by counting my handbag as my made item (I did make it – and I did say that my pledge was for clothes and accessories!)

May 5th – I wore my red spotty Coco. Did I mention that I love, love, love Coco? I have two and they are the constant staples in my wardrobe! This challenge has shown me that I get them out to wear a lot, so maybe I need another?! I have seen some stripey jersey that I really like, but am a bit scared of matching stripes…eek!

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May 6th – The Other Coco – my helicopter one. Every time I wear it, I get compliments about it, and today was no different. I feel really chuffed when people like things I’ve made myself! It’s still tights and boots weather here, so am making the most of it and layering it up with a cardi too.IMG_5052

May 7th – Today I wore my Skater Dress in navy pinstripe wool. This is a Simple Sew pattern that I wished I’d done a toile for, as the waist is a couple of inches too high for my liking. However, I wore it with a wide elasticated belt to hide that, and it is ok. If I make it again (as with my Ruby – by the same pattern company), I will extend the waistline down a bit if I can figure out how to do it!

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May 8th – Went quite casual today in my Delphine skirt from Love at First Stitch by Tilly Warnes. Someone I know commented that this looked like a White Stuff skirt they’d seen (compliment!) – again, coloured tights & boots.The back

May 9th – Helicopter Coco again!

May 10th – No garments today, but wore a brooch I’d made (felt flower).IMG_6098

May 11th – Ladybird Coco. It’s good for teaching as you can just chuck it on and it’s smart-ish, but also comfy enough to get down with the kids (so to speak!) Didn’t wear it for long before I had to change into my PE kit!

May 12th – Again, no actual clothes but wore a wooden brooch that I made from a Mollie Makes kit. Went for a lovely afternoon tea with a friend.IMG_6103IMG_6106IMG_6100

May 13th – Helicopter Coco again! Am realising I need to make at least 2 or 3 more Cocos! They really are my go-to thing!

May 14th – Me-Made handbag, as I couldn’t wear Coco AGAIN. It’s getting ridiculous, and my other clothes are getting jealous!

May 15th – Maroon pants!

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May 16th – Pistachio pants!

May 17th – Margot pyjamas from Love at First Stitch.IMG_5814

So, that’s the end of the halfway-through update! Am already noticing that I need to make lots more clothes! Brilliant! Bring it on! Have chosen and cut the pattern for a new dress that I am about to make – maybe in time to wear it during this challenge! Also see the need for a jersey cardi or two! Plus some more pjs, and some dresses that aren’t Coco!

The Me-Made May 2015 challenge

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‘I, Lucy from http://www.luckybearnorfolk.com, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’15. I endeavour to wear something I have made, refashioned or altered each day for the duration of May 2015′.

This is my pledge for the Me-Made May challenge. I hadn’t come across this before, and I happened on it by chance while browsing t’internet, and thought “why not?!” So, I am going to try to wear something I have made or altered each day during May.

The first problem is that the 1st of May falls this Friday, when I’m going on a camping weekend with friends. Out of the window goes the idea for wearing my flowery Ruby dress, or my pinstripe wool Skater Dress. Hmmm…the first few days might then be the opportunity for the self-made knickers, and of course my lovely Tilly pyjamas! I am also allowing my rules to cover accessories I have made, like brooches and scarves.

But it also offers the opportunity to make some more clothes (yippee!) – I don’t have enough things I have made myself to wear different outfits every day during May…yet! Yes, the challenge states that it does not condone or encourage panic-making. But it’ll be a good opportunity to get my patterns out and make some decisions (I have been good lately at dreaming and sketching, but have been making bags rather than clothes). I have two already, but feel I would benefit from another Coco dress! I love my helicopter one – any suggestions for the next fabric?

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It looks like a fun challenge. I won’t promise to post every day (you’d get bored), so will try to do a round-up every few days or so to let you know how it’s going. And if you see me in real life, you can ask me what I am wearing that day that I made. Although no, I will not show you my knickers!

One whole week without Jeremy Kyle!

It’s been a funny old week for me. A weird one. But one that I have really enjoyed.

Just before the Easter holidays, I gave up the full-time teaching job that I have loved for 12 years. I won’t bore you with the details; just a few words will suffice – stress, exhaustion, Ofsted, paperwork and lack of family time. Having thought of nothing else for many agonising weeks, the final straw was when my 5 year old son, just a week after the Christmas holidays, said “I can’t wait until the summer holidays Mummy, because then you will have time to play with me again”. Ouch! My life had become a refrain of “Not now, sweetheart, I have work to do”, and putting my job before my family. Because that’s what teachers do.

People that know me will know what a hard decision it was. Yes, I am giving up a regular salary. Yes, I will miss the children. Yes, I feel that I am abandoning the job that I love. But really, something had to give. Either the job, or my mental well-being, family life and relationships. In the end, it was a no-brainer. My little boy’s comments really hit home.

So, at the end of the Spring term, I said goodbye to the lovely school I had been teaching at for 12 years. Twelve years! Where did that time go? I had a fabulous last day full of lovely comments, presents and a super assembly from all my friends and the children. I have refrained from writing about it until now because I wasn’t really sure how I felt about everything.

But now I can tell you. The Easter holidays were the best two weeks I have had for many years. No planning, marking, assessment or preparation for the new term. Just winding down, enjoying time with my family, taking my little boy on outings, actually cooking proper meals and of course doing some sewing. Yay! Time for sewing! Much excitement!

But that was the holidays. The first day back at school was weird. Being a parent first and foremost, and not a teacher (my little boy goes to my old school). I met a couple of other teacher-parents on the way in, one of whom said “I’m really jealous of you”, the other who said “You lucky thing – enjoy it”.  Once I got home I thought “Now what?! Jeremy Kyle and Homes Under the Hammer?!” I don’t know how to be unemployed – I haven’t done it since I was about 19.

But I have filled my 5 precious days with sewing (I have my things in this shop in Norwich and online in my Etsy shop, both of which really need restocking); organising things that I haven’t had time to do for ages (filing, decluttering, etc.) and generally just regrouping and thinking about the future. I also did a day’s supply at a local school, which was great because I went in at 8:15, taught the lovely kids, then left at 3:30. No, people, this is not what teachers normally do!!! But it was good. The best thing was that one day this week, I picked up my little lad after school and then we went to the park! Yes – the park, after school! No getting home, throwing some food together and having just half an hour with my child before bath and bed. It was just lovely.

I have had so many positive comments from colleagues, friends, other parents in my son’s class, and relations. One lovely ex-parent (of a child I taught a few years ago) bumped into me at the castle and gave me a huge hug and said “Well done for getting out!” (her husband is a teacher too, so she knows what it’s like). That really made me feel good. I feel like I am finding myself again. And I hope my family thinks I am a bit more chilled out and less shouty! The house is marginally tidier (miracles don’t happen in a week!) and the home cooking has improved.

Not quite certain yet what the future holds. I am not sure if I can leave completely – I am a teacher and I love to teach. I just don’t like what the teaching profession is at the moment. So I am looking around for what I might do come September. Maybe a short-term teaching contract, maybe part-time, maybe something totally different? In the meantime, I am looking forward to doing some supply days here and there, but I am also busy making bags and bits and doing the family thing. I am really busy and enjoying every minute.

And daytime telly hasn’t even gone on once! Sorry, Jeremy, you’re just not even on my radar.

Some seriously selfish sewing…sweet!

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So, the Easter holidays are nearly over. It’s been such a lovely holiday. The hols are great because I can stay up and do my favourite type of sewing – late-night! I have recently discovered the amazingness of a bluetooth speaker and GooglePlay combined so I have been creating my sewing playlists and listening to suggested playlists. I loved the one suggested for me the other day – “Britpop: the Blair Years” – brilliant!

Anyway, I did make quite a few new bags & bits for the shop (some of which are in the new window, in case you didn’t catch my facebook updates and tweets!) A big thrill to see my stuff on display in the window! I need to make some things for the Etsy shop now as it’s looking a bit sparse!

But this week I did some ME sewing too. Selfish sewing! I made two things for me. Two useful things, not mere fripperies, I’ll have you know! The first was a lovely new cover for my sewing machine. My machine is my pride and joy, as you know, and therefore needs protecting from dust and other yukky stuff. The cover that came with it is well naff and now getting somewhat tatty with being taken off and on. It’s a rubbish pvc material that is splitting.

A sad-looking machine
A sad-looking machine

So I decided to draft a pattern from it and make a new one, in one of my favourite fabrics (you will recognise this one if you know me well!) I also added a handle aperture so I can lift it with the cover in situ and a front pocket to store my manual (I’m always misplacing it), along with a couple of other bits and bobs should I need to transport it. I lined it in a contrasting red polka dot (left over from my fifties dress, about which I shall blog soon!) What do you think? One dapper sewing machine, is he not?!

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So. The second thing. Made it last night, and felt very naughty as I didn’t start making it until 11:30 at night – eek! But I do like to see things through till the end once I start (this is why I enjoy bags and stuff like that and not anything that takes way too long!) and so I finally plopped the laptop into the finished bag at 2:00 am and then plopped into bed myself! Very satisfying result for a Saturday night.

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I love it. I wanted a messenger-style bag rather than a briefcase-type case as I have to carry lots of other things to work of a morning. I have made it to fit like a glove (totes custom-made, guys!) and the fabric is a gorgeous Marimekko Kivet print brought back from California by my lovely mother-in-law. I do love a bit of orange and red, have you noticed yet?! It is well-padded for protection and fully lined in another cute piece of fabric (first outing for this one too – given to me last Christmas by my equally-lovely sis-in-law in California!) If anyone is ever stuck for anything to buy me for birthday or Christmas, some awesome fabric is ALWAYS a winner!

So, that’s my selfish sewing! What have you been making lately?

The wonderful Norwich Lanes

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I spent the day today manning the shop at Norwich Gift Emporium, where I have my bags for sale. Wow, what a talented bunch of people there are exhibiting their things here! Just beautiful, unusual things and all handmade by local artisans.

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The shop is situated in Lower Goat Lane in the Norwich Lanes district. This is a part of Norwich that is full of lovely small shops, cafés, galleries and other independent businesses.  Down the road there is the Birdcage bar, at the top of the lane there is Imelda’s for fabulous shoes, and there are loads of great eateries to offer coffee, cakes and other yummy delights!

The Norwich Lanes offers the chance to escape the mass-produced generic experience on offer on the high street. Here you will not find Primark or Starbucks. It is fun to wander around looking at all the interesting bits & bobs on offer. I love stopping off for a pot of tea and a cheese scone at Biddy’s Tearoom or browsing the unusual books on offer at The Book Hive.IMG_5962IMG_5953 IMG_5952IMG_5944

I thought I’d tempt you with a selection of photos of some of the goodies that the Norwich Gift Emporium has to offer. Come and have a look! While you’re here, explore the rest of the Lanes – Norwich is really lucky to have such a lovely quarter – come and use it!

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Cute seals to wish you all a Happy Easter!

I'n no bunny but Happy Easter anyway!

Happy Easter weekend, everyone! I missed out on contributing to the slew of posts yesterday, but here I am now. Just a quickie to share some sweet pictures.

Have had a lovely weekend with family and friends staying and then today, a super walk on the east Norfolk coast at Horsey, to see the colony of hundreds of gorgeous seals (cute pics alert!) A lovely way to spend Bank Holiday Monday, with my husband and son. We followed the seal-watching with an al-fresco lunch (still a little chilly here in Norfolk for a picnic, but it was lovely.)

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You can’t beat Norfolk for wildlife – it is truly lovely and really special to be able to spend some time with these gorgeous creatures.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Is this any use to you? Yes please!

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One of the lovely things about sewing is that once people know you sew, then they will bear you in mind when having a clear-out! You may become the destination for all sorts of goodies, if you’re lucky!

I write this post because this month, I have been fortunate enough to have several things donated to my stash! Some fabric, a boxful of mixed threads and some pins, a couple of cones of yarn and the thing I got most excited about…three reels of bias binding!

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Sewists are by nature hoarders, I think. Am I right?! There is not a scrap of ribbon, a spool of thread or a tiny square of fabric that is useless. Seriously. I always say yes (or actually “WOW, YES, PLEASE!!!” while trying not to drool on the item in question) when anyone offers me anything remotely to do with sewing. You never know when it’ll come in useful. In fact, my Margot pyjamas (see previous post) and my Skater Dress were both made out of fabric that someone gave me last year when their aunt was having a clear out!

Tools and gadgets are also most welcome, aren’t they? Some of my most treasured items came from my grandmother’s sewing & knitting things, which I inherited when she died. Every time I use her darning mushroom or needle roll I think of her. I also have a large tin full of knitting needles of all sizes that have come from friends, relatives and friends-of-friends that know about me!

Earlier this year, I inherited a cute book on crochet from a friend at work that found out it wasn’t for her. I also have become the lucky owner of a whole set of Golden Hands magazines that I have been lusting after for years (oooh! I love them for their seventies macrame and lurex gorgeousness!)

So the message to you all is to say “Yes please”, whenever anyone offers you anything. You might not use it straight away, but if you keep it squirrelled away, you never know when you might want to use it! Now, what can I do with 75 metres of bias binding?!!