Paper Trophy

Over the summer, I have been gradually adding art to my flat. We’ve lived here for 5 years and it’s taken me a while to work out what I wanted to do.

I decorated the corridor with 7 framed Harry Potter graphic art prints. I had to recut the mountboard because the posters were a little too small for the default mountboard.

 

 

I also wanted to put something in my living room, which has a large expanse of white wall. I saw some Paper Trophies online and thought this would be perfect.

Paper Trophy is 3D art that arrives in pieces. You need to glue it together, but it is really easy as all the pieces are numbered. The order came with a practice piggy bank, which took me about an hour to glue together.

 

 

I ordered the Unicorn head to ‘mount’ on my wall.

 

 

You have the pre-fold the pieces and then find the edges that match. This was more complicated that the piggy bank (unsurprisingly) and took me about 3 hours to build.

I tried to attach it to my wall, but it wasn’t sturdy enough to push on. So I decided to stick it on mountboard and then frame it. I could then attach the frame to the wall.

I tried out gold and black mountboard, but as you can see the black worked a lot better.

 

 

Finally, I attached the frame to the wall using Command Strips (which are fantastic by the way!).

 

I had been hoping to sew the Eve Dress from SewOverIt for a while. But the pattern was only available through one of their classes. I was stalking the website, waiting for a class to be scheduled at the Clapham branch, when they released the Eve dress as a paper pattern.

 

I purchased the pattern from the Clapham branch, with this beautiful navy fabric. But as the fabric was quite expensive, I knew I needed to make a toile first. Especially as I usually need to adjust patterns to fit me. I also wanted to work out how I was going to finish the inside, as I don’t (yet!) have an overlocker.

 

 

I really liked version 1 of the dress, with its floaty sleeves and dipped hem. So I found some cheap fabric, which was unfortunately bright purple – a colour I can’t really wear, and made up version 1.

 

 

As you can probably see, my cheap fabric was a little too stiff (hence the sleeves sticking out, instead of draping). But it did show me some important things. My hand shows where my natural waist is, so the dress waist is too high.

 

 

This is more obvious here, so I’m going to lengthen the bodice by 1″. I also didn’t really like the cap/floaty sleeves.

 

 

They felt impractical for a work dress, so I decided to unpick them and make the longer sleeves to see if I preferred them.

 

 

I much preferred the longer sleeves, but they were a little too tight around my upper arm, so I am going to make the sleeve a bit wider. I also decided to change the skirt to version 2 as I don’t think the dipped hem suits me (so in summary, I should have just made version 2 to start with!).

 

 

One thing that worked perfectly was the finishing of the raw edges. I decided to go with Hong Kong finished seams, using bias binding.

 

So I’ve got some coral bias binding that will go really nicely with the pattern on the navy fabric.

So to summarise the changes needed:

  • Change to version 2.
  • Lengthen the bodice by 1″.
  • Widen the sleeves.
That’s not bad, compared to how many changes I normally have to make (the joys of being tall). Now I need to find someone my size, who suits wearing bright purple! Any ideas?

I’m a teacher (something you may have picked up on this blog). I teach mainly woodwork, in a dusty messy workshop, while wearing a ‘suit’ and fancy shoes (I’ll put a picture of my shoes at the end of this post, so you can see what I’m talking about). I hate wearing lab coats, they get too hot and look really frumpy, so I’ve always made my own apron.

As my current apron is approaching its 6th birthday, and is looking very tired, ripped and covered in glue, I thought it was time to make a new one. I hunted through Etsy looking for a reasonably flattering apron pattern. I could have drafted my own, but I really couldn’t be bothered! I came across this Sweetheart apron from The Seasoned Homemaker and thought it could be what I was looking for.

I made it up in a basic polycotton to check the fit and unsurprisingly needed to make some minor adjustments. I had to extended the bodice by about 2″ to bring the waist to where my natural waistline is. I also extended the top edge of the neckline, because I wanted a bit more coverage to protect my clothes from dust and dirt. Finally, I made the skirt slightly more rectangular and added 4″ to the length as I felt the flared skirt could be a little dangerous and my legs needed more coverage.

A friend at school had designed me my own logo, so I used PrinFab to get some custom printed fabric. They were incredibly fast, and my new fabric looked lovely. I got it in a classic plain cotton, which feels quite sturdy.

I bought some Navy Cotton Drill for the main apron and found some coral coloured bias binding that matched the flamingos. The finished apron is perfect. I added in an extra pocket, as you can never have enough storage as a teacher!

As you see, I used the bias binding to edge the whole apron, but I am particularly proud of my Hong Kong finished princess seams on the inside.

The pattern was easy to follow, very clear instructions. Hopefully, this apron lasts another 6 years…..

Finally, as promised, a picture of my new school shoes (and yes, they are as sparkly as the picture suggests).

I’m in the process of updating my work wardrobe ready for the start of term. I’ve been buying a few pieces but also making some myself. I’ve almost finished the ‘Anderson Blouse’, I just need to redo the bottom hem as I’m not happy with the way it turned out.

I’ve had a pattern from Burda for a panelled stretchy skirt for a while, so I thought it about time to start making it.

I had this textured black jersey in my stash. I thought it would work well with the panels.

Annoyingly Burda patterns that you print yourself require all the seam and hem allowances to be added. Fortunately, I had a little sewing gauge that makes this so much easier.

I also had to get out my other sewing machine (which I got at a car boot sale for £6). It does a lovely zigzag stitch, but it is a little fiddly to set up. These are the controls for setting the zigzag.

It was really easy to refurbish and now works like a dream. I keep thinking I should get a more modern machine, so I have a choice of straight or zigzag (without having to change machines!).

After cutting out all the pieces for the skirt, I did a test sew to check the zigzag worked ok on the fabric. Fortunately, I had lots of spare fabric.

It worked perfectly, so now I need to start sewing together the numerous panels.

I’ve taken a break from sewing, mainly because I got a little obsessed with finishing the body in my Paulie Cardigan. After what seems like months of knitting stockinette, I’ve finally finished the body.

It is in desperate need of blocking, but that will have to wait until the arms and button band are complete. I love the thin blue stripes, but I’ve got a lot of ends to weave in…

Now to start on the arms.

Work on the Anderson blouse continues (I’m sure you’re getting bored of these posts!). The sleeves are made, but completing the flat felled seam inside the sleeve was very tricky.


On the first attempt I managed to catch part of the sleeve, so had to unpick and try again. The first sleeve is now attached to the body.

I went to the local market to pick up some buttons for the cuffs. As they were so cheap (15p each), I chose an ivory coloured pair and a black pair, so I could try and them out against the fabric.

I think I am leaning towards the ivory button.

Sewing is going to have to wait for a bit, the sewing machine is away so I can tidy my flat as I have my parents visiting for dinner tonight. So enough blogging, off to wheel out the vacuum (there are bits of thread everywhere!).

While my daughter was at her friend’s house, I managed to get some more work done on the Anderson Blouse. After unpicking the shoulder seams more than once, I managed to get them lined up in such a way so I could create the flat felled seam. I tried on the blouse shell (sleeves come next), and it fits really well.

My daughter returned home late in the evening bearing cupcakes:

Apparently they are ‘accidentally gluten-free, and taste a bit like rice’, I shall try one later!

I’ve been making homemade lemonade this week and was going to write up the adapted recipe I used for this blog. But the weather was grey and overcast for most of the day, so I’ve been struggling to take a good picture to finish off the post – hopefully, tomorrow…..

I found a Sew Over It kit to make a tie when I was last in John Lewis. As it was on sale for £5, I thought it would be perfect for a first attempt at tie making. The kit included the pattern, fabric, domette and thread – so a bargain!

The fabric included was a dark blue cotton with polka dots. There was a small amount of pale blue cotton to make the lining at each end.

The pattern instructions were easy to follow, but it does help if you read them carefully! I made some basic mistakes and had to unpick and try again. But the second time around it worked fine.

Annoyingly the domette pattern seemed too big (either that or my sewing was really off, despite being really careful with my seam allowances). So I had to trim it down.

The finished tie had slightly wonky ends, but I suspect that it due to my poor domette trimming!

It only took an afternoon, and I think I will make more ties in the future. I just need to get some more fabric (and domette fabric) and be more careful with trimming the pieces.

Every summer my daughter and I use a ‘jar of stuff’ to plan our summer activities.

At the start of the holidays, we write lots of activity suggestions on pieces of paper, fold them and put them in the jar. Then each Sunday my daughter pulls out 4 or 5 pieces of paper and we arrange them over the week. Duplicates can be swapped, as can 1 activity each week (in case something comes out that we don’t really fancy that week). There is also a mix of stay at home, free out and about and paid for activities.

Here you can see the activities that came out for next week. I then write them on post-it notes and arrange them over the week in my planner. Along with other things that we know need to happen, like going to the gym.

Some things have been pre-booked, like our trip to the cinema on Tuesday.

I then make stickers to replace the post its. I use my Xyron Sticker machine to turn printed out pictures into self-adhesive stickers.

We also plan out our menu for the week (again using post-it notes), I save all the previous post it’s so we can reuse things that worked well.

Finally, the stickers are complete and everything we know ahead of time is written in, leaving plenty of space for to-do lists and essential things to be added in.

Despite my lack of postings, I have been quite activity sewing this year. One of my favourite patterns has been the Arielle skirt from Tilly and the Buttons. I’ve already made two for school and am planning on making another before term starts again.

But as I needed a new ‘summer’ skirt to wear this week, I thought that it would work well in a lightweight denim.

I found the lightest denim I could at my local Haberdashery and also picked up some fabulous buttons and almost matching gingham bias binding.

My Singer has a really good buttonholer, especially when you consider it’s from the 1930s. It is oddly soothing to crank the handle and watch buttonholes being created!

This skirt is really easy to fit. Plus as I seem to be a lot taller than Tilly (or her target audience) the long line skirt finishes almost exactly on my knee. I did shorten it by one buttonhole for this skirt as I wanted something a little above the knee.

Lastly, the finish on the inside is really nice, I like how the bias binding completes it.

When I have access to another person I’ll try and get some photos of it on…

My back has now been diagnosed as being a prolapsed disc. While I wait to be summoned for surgery (I can’t wait, as then I will finally be out of pain!), I have been decorating.

My daughter and I moved into a newly built flat just over a year ago. We weren’t allowed to do anything to it for a year, while the new building dried out and settled. But now we can decorate! The whole flat is white and beige, it desperately needed some colour.

Of course, I am still broken and am very limited in what I can do. It’s taken quite some time to paint 2 door frames and a door as I can only do a little each day.

My daughter has planned a complex mural for her bedroom walls, but we started with her door. We painted the middle sections with blackboard paint and the outside with a pale purple. When the walls either side are also purple, it will look quite good (but at the moment all I can see is a giant exclamation mark!)

The hallway proved to be more of a challenge. It has no natural light and it quite narrow. I decided to refresh the white walls (I’m trying to find a light-enhancing paint!) and paint each door frame a different colour to reflect the room inside.

So far I have painted the 2 bedroom door frames, I’ve still got to paint the main room’s frame green and the bathroom purple. But as this amount of paint has taken me almost 2 weeks, it’s going to take a while.

I am also looking forward to painting the kitchen cupboard doors, as I really don’t like beige. We have about 4 more weeks of the summer holidays, let’s see how much painting I can do in that time!

It has been ridiculously hot recently and so my normal caffeine fix has been too hot to drink. So I went scouring the internet for a recipe for Iced Coffee (as it is far too expensive to keep my coffee fix in hand by buying iced coffee in Starbucks etc.).

After converting, experimenting and tweaking I have finally settled on a recipe I like. So I thought you might like a copy as well. There is a recipe summary at the end.

To make it you need to start preparations a day in advance. Find a jar or plastic container that can hold a litre of water. I used an EasiYo yoghurt maker jar. Put 70g of coffee grounds in the jar and fill up with about a litre of cold water. Screw the lid on tightly and give it a good shake. Leave this to stand and infuse for about 12 hours.

After 12 hours (or overnight) filter the coffee. I put a coffee filter bag in a sieve balanced over a jug. The carefully put a little coffee at a time through the filter. It took about 20mins to filter all the coffee (and about 6 coffee filter papers). Decant this ‘coffee concentrate’ into a clean jar and store in the fridge.

Now you are ready to make iced coffee.

Put 4oz of coffee concentrate in a pint glass (or jar – if you want to take it travelling! Mine survived a 40min drive in a hot car in a Kilner jar) and top up with 4oz of milk. You can change these quantities, but make sure the coffee and milk are equal. Add some sugar (I normally have one tsp of sugar in my coffee, but found that this needed two). Give it a good stir and add in lots of ice cubes. Drink through a straw.

If you don’t drink too much, then the coffee concentrate should keep in the fridge for a week (or more), but I drank all mine in 2 days!

Iced Coffee

Homemade coffee concentrate means you can have iced coffee at a fraction of the coffee shop prices!
Prep Time12 hrs
Coffee Prep Time5 mins
Total Time12 hrs 5 mins
Course: Drinks
Keyword: coffee, summer
Servings: 6 servings
Author: kati10705

Equipment

  • 1-litre sealable container
  • Coffee Filters
  • Sieve
  • Jug
  • Funnel (optional, but makes life easier)
  • 1-litre Storage Jar for the fridge
  • Travel Container to take your Iced Coffee in.

Ingredients

Coffee Concentrate

  • 70 g Ground Coffee
  • 900 ml Water

Iced Coffee

  • 4 oz Coffee Concentrate
  • 4 oz Milk Any Type
  • Sugar To Taste
  • Ice Cubes

Instructions

Coffee Concentrate

  • Place grounds and water in a 1litre jar, seal and shake. Leave for 12 hours.
  • Pour coffee mixture through coffee filter paper and sieve into a jar, seal and store in the fridge.

Iced Coffee

  • Put coffee, milk and sugar (if needed) into a travel container (I use a Kilner jar)
  • Add ice until the container is full.
  • Either take with you or drink straight away.

 

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