Oh what a beautiful morning (2)

spring blossom 2010

Greeted by this view of blossom on Saturday, this productive spring weekend was brought to me by the letters ‘F’, ‘R’ and ‘B’ and the numbers 7 and 452.

london bus route 7

7 is the bus that got me from my brief haberdashery run  (shirring elastic – more of that anon) to Oxford Street to Ladbroke Grove.

kefir in jar apr 2010

F is for free, and the noise this stuff makes when it starts fermenting: kefir. Through the newly discovered treasure trove/cashless flea market/online skip that is freecycle, at about 11.00am, I found myself in the kitchen of a friendly stranger called Bill. He briskly, yet thoroughly talked me through the basics of making your own kefir, plopped my ‘starter kit’ of kefir into a large jar and poured milk over it, handed me a printout of instructions then off we both set, into the spring sunshine, to play squash (Bill) and trek across town for another bit of adventuring (me).

Grateful thanks, Bill –  so far so good! I’m enjoying a very yummy raspberry /banana /mango kefir smoothie as I type. More about my kefir making another time.

london bus route 452

452 is the number bus from Ladbroke Grove that takes you to Battersea, where I went to pick up another bit of baby kit. Which leads me to…

…R, pronounced phonetically, as in ‘Aaaah’, is to express my thanks for the generosity of my colleague HMcL, who gave us the stairgate. Our lnaguid, lo-fi amassing of baby paraphenalia can now tick ‘stairgate’ off the list. Good for setting boundaries to cat, houseguests and the like when our home gets turned over to child-rearing.

HMcL Thanks for gifting us the stairgate AND carrying it down the road for me – I expect we’ll wonder how we ever managed without it!


And finally, B is for the bumble bee in Battersea Park who bumbled around us as we had our picnic Brunch, and for the Bread we threw at the ducks.  Oh and B is for brrrr – spring sunshine is not just bright, but COLD.


Maggie goes to Brussels and scores big time

My mother rejected a ‘thank you’ letter I wrote, aged about seven, for a relative, on the grounds that it a/ didn’t actually include the words ‘thank you’  or b/ refer to the gift received and c/ it wasn’t a letter, rather a detailed list of things that I’d received that Christmas, including stocking fillers.

Unsurprisingly, I was asked to rewrite, this time with firmer guidance on the defining features of a gracious ‘thank you’ letter.

Now, this post is neither a ‘thank you’ letter, nor will I seek any maternal approval before publishing. But this IS a list.

A list of things that I found, during a MOST enjoyable weekend’s thrifting and looking at Different Things in a Very Groovy European city. I just wanted to share my joy of acquisition!

So, dear reader, this weekend Maggie went to Brussels, found a 3-day brocante in Petite Suisse  and foraged for stuff and found:::

red pop flowers

::: red pop flowery cotton fabric – enough for a shell top


fruity flowery fabric

::: fruity stripey fabric, two curtains’ worth


red trees fabric

::: some red-y tree-y fabric – oddly, the lining of the fruity stripey curtains above. I don’t think I’d have combined the two – they seem such different characters.

hem marking kit

::: a device for self-farting a chalk dust line onto your skirt to give it an even hem, complete with bag of white powder and instructions. Not an enema kit, despite appearance to contrary.

cat pot stand

::: an enamel pot stand decorated with rather pissed-off looking cat.

simone bag

::: a beautifully faded denim bag with tan pleather trim, which used to belong to the seller’s grandmother, who was called Simone. It included a faded blue hankie, neatly folded up inside.

Femme d'Aujourd'hui cover

::: a November 1940 Femmes d’Aujourd’hui magazine, parchment-soft and not even yellowed with age – oranged with age. Unless it was supposed to be like that and only uses three colours in the print (which on inspection it seems to). Must have been cheaper?

Femme d'Aujourd'hui 3

::: with a centrefold feature on “For decorating, repairing, transforming – knitting!”. I’m seeing some pinchworthy refashioning ideas there!

brussels pics

::: a photo of a hair-do, the like I’ve never seen before, but think, given the right kind of brushing and barmy abandon, I could emulate. The hand written inscription on the back reads “Emmanuel de Longrée et sa belle fille Margie (femme de Stanislas)” which roughly translates as “EdL and his daughter-in-law* M (wife of S)”. Never mind her shield shaped hair, what’s Dad got on his head? A sock? Loving Margie’s choice of puffed sleeve canoe-ing ensemble.

*08.09.09 I mistranslated this as ‘beautiful daughter’. Thanks for the correction! I do think she’s beautiful though.

::: oh and some chocolates, but I’m afraid they’re not available for pictures right now? If you want to just *look* at the really posh chocs I indulged in, check out Pierre Marcolini’s website. The chocolate is quality confectionary indeed.

Hope you enjoyed the trip as much as I did. Next post, the spectacular vintage pattern donation from the very lovely Monsieur Taibi, my host.

I’m off to scoff savour a wee choccy now. Nom nom.

Bubble skirt – refashioned

Yesterday I promised in print to spend some of my bank holiday Getting On With It. Then promptly took off to enjoy a DIY breakfast in the sun at St Katherine’s Dock, some husbandly trying on of jeans Up West, and, long after I’d had enough, being jostled about in the human pinball of the Apple store. What was I thinking?

Well, I was thinking about explaining how I made a bubble skirt from a long panelled skirt.


It started life as an ankle-length gored skirt – £1 from East Street market. I loved the slightly two-tone effect of the fabric (no idea what it is) but it was just too long and stuck straight out like a lampshade cover. Always got comments when I wore it, but mostly of the ‘What did you come as’ type. Ho-de-bleedin-ho, what a wag  you are.

So I added a lining and scooped the skirt up into it. This didn’t quite shorten it enough, so some scrunched up irregular handfuls, handstitched down, gives it a sort of Ann Demeulemeester look and the texture brings out the heathery sheen of the two-tone colour.

This isn’t quite a tutorial, but to get the general idea of how I did it, dear reader, read on and then just

  • shorten skirt to 65cm [60cm=required skirt length, 5cm=’bubble’ allowance]
  • make a flared a-line or quarter circle lining in two pieces that has
    • the same waist measurement as the skirt
    • a smaller hem measurement as the skirt
    • 5cm shorter than your required finished skirt length
    • sew side seam, leaving 12cm (or length of zip) open at the top
  • gather skirt hemline until the same length as lining hemline and sew lining to skirt at hemline, right sides together
  • unpick the waistband and, wrong sides together, baste the lining to the skirt in the skirt’s waist seam allowance
  • reattach the waistband
  • handstitch the lining to each side of  the zip

I feel I should sign off by saying something cool in flemish. But I actually don’t know how to say ANYTHING in flemish, so Voilà will have to do. Or allez!

bubble skirt seated aug 09

bubble skirt behind aug 09

Crossposted on Wardrobe Refashion.

Wardrobe Refashion vs The Sun Has Got His Hat On

the sun has got his hat on 290809 lo

Bank holiday weekend means three glorious, non-work, consecutive days. Some, if not all of which can be used to Get On With It. Woop!

So I’m challenging my creative self to a duel – to the finish – to:

  • alter bright print shift dress that I broke my Wardrobe Refashion pledge with. Ironically, it needs refashioning cos it’s two sizes too big for me
  • tee-shirts for hubby – there’s a stack needing taking in and tweaking
  • finish off turning green lampshade skirt into a bubble skirt, as I pledged to do as one of my Wardrobe Refashion projects
  • AND, if I’m not creatively spent, write up a tutorial of how I converted a long skirt into a bubble skirt.

But dammit, the sun’s shining in a very alluring, promise-I’ll-stay-up-till-bedtime way,  even at 7.45 in the ayem. And there’s a gorgeous slight chill in the air – not enough for socks, but enough to make your skin tingle.  I feel some careful negotiation between creative self and knackered self, mixed with a good dollop of steely dedication coming on.

First, find your blackberries

First, locate your blackberrying spot.

wood sign

Don’t pick mushrooms – not compatible with blackberry crumble/cobbler/fool.


Note: not all mushroom-like things ARE mushrooms. Do check first.  A hat tastes terrible in a crumble, even if it is Italian.

mushroom hathat mushroom

 Pick blackberries.

hubby picks blackberries

If carrying babes in sling, remove before entering thicket.

remove child first

Brambles + child = screaming.

scratches causes screams

Pick blackberries until full blackberry collecting receptacle is full.

full of blackberries

Walk in woods until tired.

walk in woods

Go home, make tea.

nice cuppa

Then rustle up some cobbler – which goes just like this:

100g sugar, 100g flour, 1 tbspoon baking powder, 50g ground almonds, 100ml milk, 75g butter. Blend until blended. Plop globs (or dollops, either will do) on top of blackberries in dish. I added about spoon of sugar and a bit of water to the blackberries. And a handful of plums. Bake for 30 mins on gas mark 4.

blackberry & plum cobblerStand back and express admiration with cream and a spoon.

About me

I started this blog to help me Get Things Done: sewing and knitting mostly.
But now I have a daughter! So I continue to daydream in enormous detail about what I'd like to make, but squeeze the 'doing' into precious naptimes and evenings.

Can I keep it up? Time will tell!

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