Thursday, 31 May 2012

Bursts of Creativity!

I've got a very large fabric stash, which is magnificent, but probably not the best way to get good at this making lark. Today I decided that I was GETTING GOOD at something...but I didn't want to use any of the wonderful fabric that makes up my stash. So I went to a cheapo fabric shop near Bumbaleerie Mansions and set about merrily chopping up a vintage apron pattern, pinning it to my cheapski (but still nice) fabric and sewing happily into the evening. I didn't finish it, but I got pretty far:

That's my kitchen. Here's some things that are good about this apron:

 - I got to practice cutting out patterns
 - I got to have another go at bias binding, which didn't work so well last time I tried it
 - It fits me

Here's some less good things about this apron:

 - I cut the fabric wrong and ran out, so the bodice part is one-sided (it should be double-sided)
 - I'm fairly certain I did the bias binding wrong
 - It fits me, but it's supposed to be for my friend, who is smaller than me. So it's actually too big.

But it looks better than my first attempt, which is proper dodge:

Those are my hands. I made that binding, which is why it looks mank. I didn't have a clue how to do it, BUT I still tried so I should definitely get some points for that. I also cut that fabric wrong, so what should look like romantic bird-and-butterfly print actually looks like some horrible, twisted headless-monster-bird freak show.

This week I learned how to make these cool bows, from a brilliant tutorial you can find at 'How About Orange'. It's amazingly easy, and you can make them out of old magazine pages which is MAGNIFISAUR if you are like me (i.e weird) and don't like to throw anything away.

I've started a new tea cosy, but it's getting ripped. I think the pattern is dodgy, I've been knitting for ages, and am fairly good at most patters but I've never been able to make sense of this one.I thought I'd give it another bash last night but it didn't turn out well, so I went in a sulk and flung it over to the other side of the couch. It's still there, mocking me for being a quitter.

That's my dress, legs, baffies, bag and bottle of water. Baffies is a Scottish word ( I think?) for slippers, and it's one of my favourite words EVAH. I am sitting on our leather couch and Husband was on the other one which is called........the cuddler! Isn't that a lovely name for a couch? And it's amazeballs, it's huge and squashy and just big enough for two cuddlers. Husband hates sitting on it with me though because I fidget every two minutes and insist on going on the inside, so he has to get up ALL THE TIME to bring me stuff, such as cheese, knitting, my phone, scissors, something to amuse me, a bouncy ball, some juice.......oooh, ANYTHING! Here's Husband on the cuddler:

He is WELL comfy, I think you'll agree.

P.S. If you look closely at this picture you can see my knitting pin poking out sinisterly from the bottom of the picture. Husband clearly has no idea it's there MWAH HA HA HAHAHAHA!

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

A Play of Today

Scene: A Scottish branch of Starbucks.

A young (ish) girl enters, clutching her arm from whence blood has just been taken by a horrible Doctor, whom the girl suspects may be trying to build a new version of her with all the blood he has STOLEN from her poor now-bloodless arm. She shuffles over to the desk because while her shoes are BEAUTIFUL (30s style pinky-red peep-toe pumps with a bow), they are not exactly comfortable. She smiles at the obscenely young gentleman behind the counter.

Girl: Could I please have a mocha frappachino?
Boy: Of course! Your wish is my command! *he makes it* Would you like cream?

Several minutes pass, in which the boy noisily makes a mocha frappuchino and the girl thinks about Batman.

Boy: *passes mocha frappachino over counter*
Girl: *reels in horror at the mountain of cream adorning it* Soz, I said no cream. Could you take it off please?
Boy * looks FURIOUS, as if the girl has committed some kind of third-world atrocity RIGHT UNDER HIS NOSE*
Girl: *thinks about saying she's allergic to cream, but can't remember if there's milk inside a frappuchino, so says nothing* Em, could I please also have a slice of banana loaf?
Boy:*throws banana loaf and now creamless frappuchino over the counter and flounces off to serve next customer, who presumably isn't as difficult as the girl*

The girl leaves fairly contentedly with her mocha frapp and banana loaf, and heads towards her car. Within a few steps however, it becomes clear that all is not well in Mochafrapp Land. The girl slowly begins to realise that the boy has served her the new cookie-flavoured mochafrapp, with little crushed up bits of cookie in it. AT EIGHT THIRTY IN THE MORNING! IN THE GOOD MORNING! COOKIE MOCHAFRAPP!

But the girl is trapped in her nightmare as she feels boy would have a hernia if he was asked to remake another creamless, cookieless mochafrapp, so she bins it. She then eats the banana loaf too fast and feels sick for hours but that's another story.

The girl heads into work where a fairly uneventful eight hours passes. She glances amiably at the clock every few seconds as it gently tick-tocks its way to five beautiful o'clock. The girl skips merrily to her car, and drives home in skittish anticipation of the parcel that she knows will be waiting for her.

The girl enters her kitchen. A dark cloud descends over the scene. The girl slowly makes her way to a vicious slash of red on her kitchen table. Closer and closer she creeps (her shoes are still sore), her heart beats faster and faster, a light sweat breaks out on her forehead and she begins to tremble.

Girl: *whispers shakily*, it can't be....

But it is.


The girl loses her mind.

Monday, 28 May 2012


MyFriendsNephewsQuilt is finished! Here it is, in all its glory:

 It started life as this:

and then, as you know, I changed my mind about the starry one and replaced it with more red. I cut out a pile of 4x4 inch squares and moved them all around until I was happy with the layout. This took AGES, ages and ages because I wanted to get it just right. I asked Husband if he preferred the stripes better next to the planes or the spots. He said 'Hrgfyfy', which I took to mean 'Everything you do is wonderful! You're the light of my life! You're a creative GENIUS!' It is much nicer if I change what husband says as he's saying it. So, if he says 'I've been painting the shed and I think with a bit of careful planning, we could put some guttering around the outside to stop the water leaking in', I hear 'Look! A RAINBOW!' so I just look for a rainbow until he's finished talking. He does the same to me, whenever I say 'Husband! I've decided that the best way to create bias binding is to gently iron the folds in place, and then and only then, go MENTAL with the iron to get the creases sharpy sharpy sharp sharp. Good idea heyhey?!' he hears 'My dear, I was researching interest rates online and I think that we could seriously reduce how much we pay per month on the mortgage. C'mere, I've drawn up a spreadsheet and pie chart to fully illustrate this information'. Marriage is all about communication.

Anyway, after the squares were cut and laid out the way I wanted them, I stitched them in rows:

 and then stitched the rows together:

then I put a floating boarder on:
then the outer boarder. Then I pinned it, which I always think it the dangerous-looking part of quilting. It looks a bit mental:
then quilted it in diagonal lines. THEN put the edging on, then cut away all the loose threads and voila! Done! I really hope the nephew in the name 'myfriendsnephewsquilt' likes it, and WRECKS it. I like the idea that he will eventually show it to his grandchildren and it'll be all wrecked and mank because he loved it so much when he was wee.

*wipes away a tear* So that's myfriendsnephewsquilt, and it is DONE! So Eilidhbelle, I hear you ask, what's next in the pipeline? What creative sparks are tearing through the ol' cranium at the mo? Haha! you'll just have to wait and see! But I will say THIS:  I'm waiting for another package....

I also had my first dressmaking lesson this week, thanks to Len Goodman* and treated myself to a proper pair of fabric scissors. So my very first apron is underway and I'll be blogging about it once it's finished. I really love it, I think it might turn into another addiction. Probably not addicted to enough stuff anyway, in my opinion. Husband just read this over my shoulder and laughed out loud. We've been watching a programme called Britain's Worst Hoarders about people who keep everything, piles and piles and masses of STUFF and just have little tunnels in their house through it all. And Husband and I agreed that I would DEFINITELY be one of them, if given free reign. I keep everything and I love STUFF. We've been drinking a lot of the new Innocent fruit juice recently and the bottles are very cool, and I have to force myself to put them in with the recycling. Because, Husband says, what would you ever do with fifteen empty juice bottles? And I nod miserably and put them in the bin, but really I'm thinking 'But I could build a RAFT! I could tie them together and float somewhere! I could fill them with water and put flowers in them! My home is not complete without minging empty juice bottles filled with gradually decomposing flowers! Wouldn't that be lovely?!'

Monday, 21 May 2012

I love the Royal Mail (sometimes)

I don't want to give the impression that I'm always buying stuff, but it just so happens that recently I've gone flippin' mental with Paypal and bought ALL THE THINGS! Brace yourself.

Are you braced?

Feast your eyes on THIS:

You tell me if that is not the most beautiful fabric you have ever seen in your entire trouble and strife! Isn't it wonderful?! It's a Michael Miller what I bought from Etsy, and it is going to maybe bayby turn into one of these bad boys:

also from Etsy. It probably won't though, I think that fabric is too nice to cut. Is it just me who has this problem? Anyhoo, I've never made anything from a proper pattern before, but Len Goodman (my mum) (not her real name (obviously), see explanation below*) said she'd show me. Len is a proper maker - she's made loads of stuff and most weddings in the entire, gigantic extended Bumbaleerie family have at least one Len Goodman original on show, usually a bridesmaid dress.

*Len Goodman's real name is Eileen, but she gets called Leenie. I started calling my parents by their first names for a hilarious laugh but it turns out that it's really difficult to go back once you've started doing that.I was texting her a rude picture one day and predictive text changed 'Leen' to 'Len'. And I was quite literally over the moon to have a new nickname for her. (ASIDE: I thought I'd invented the name myself but it turns out he's some kind of dancing judge. Whod've thunkit?)

Similarly, we were playing that game with my Dad when you work out your 'adult entertainment name' by putting your first pet's name with your mother's maiden name. My sister introduced my parents to this game and said it was to get their 'stage name' but I put them right as I am the daughter that DOESN'T lie to them, and that makes me their FAVOURITE. Turns out my dad's first dog was called..........wait for it........ ROY! ROY PRATT! True story. So he gets called Roy now, which I think you'll agree is a marvellous name.

People say I must be unbearable to live with, but I'm not sure why.

Anyway, anyway, anyway. One last parcel that I've been waiting AGES and AGES for is this:

Stamps! Stamps that I am turning into artwork! OoooooooOOOooooooh! I do like a good stamp.

And that's all today's news. Glad to say Farewell to Monday though. Why is it ALWAYS Monday and NEVER Friday? Someone should look into that.

Sunday, 20 May 2012


Today, Scotland has been lovely! There really is nowhere nicer to be than Scotland in the sunshine. It was so nice that I took my makey materials outside:

And I made a whole heap of stuff! I made a neck cushion, to send away for injured troops:

You can find more information on this here. I also made this flower, all by myself!

All right, FINE, my sister had to give me a step-by-step-by-back-a-step-by-back-again read through on how to do it. My sister is truly a magnificent person, although she's a bit annoying. Here is a list of things she does that are annoying:

- she grows her eyelashes really long. 
- she has lovely long, thick blonde hair and she is a very slim beautiful person, the polar opposite of me (I'm a curly brunette, who could at best be described as dumpy)
- she is good at jewellery making. Her blog can be found here, go and say hello
- she's doing FORENSIC BIOLOGY at uni, and she's very clever.
- she's an exceptionally patient person. As proved by this conversation we had recently:

Me: Teach me how to make that flower.
Her: OK. *hands me wool and a hook*. Right, first you make a slip loop...
Her: I'll show you. *she shows me*
Her: No! You can do it! Come on!!
Me: *suddenly motivated because she's so good at motivating folk* Ok-doke, maybe I CAN do it!
Her: Right. Right, you're doing really well . It's're not really making a loop....but it still looks nice, what you're doing!
Me: *throwing the whole lot across the room* This is RUBBISH! I HATE THIS!
Her: No, it's fine, I'll start it for you...

(I should point out that she recently turned twenty, and I'm six and a half years older than her but I'll leave the maths to you. In my defense, I'm only thirteen in my head.)

Anyway, after a lot of gentle guidance (her) and stomping about (me), I finally learned! Or rather, she finally taught me! She's wonderful, even if she does smell.

Right, parcels! Oh, so many lovely parcels! First, fabric for myfriendsnephewsquilt, which I love very much. It's a combination of cloud9 and Michael Miller, which is the best combination in the world if you ask me:

although after a lot of deliberation, I decided not to use the starry one. Instead I ordered more red and I am happy with the way it's all coming together. I got a very, very exciting other package too:

tied up with string and everything! And inside it was:
Her Maj!! Well, a jelly mold of her head, for the Jubilee. Isn't it WONDERFUL? Husband was so thrilled* by this, he had to lie down for several minutes** before coming downstairs to shake my hand*** and thank me profusely**** for introducing such a magnificent item into our house******

* frightened
** run upstairs to check the joint account, to see how much I'd paid
*** yell 'you paid TEN SCOTTISH YEN FOR THIS?!'
**** shake his head in disbelief
***** 'bringing even more junk in here' sez he, which I found a tad unkind. Luckily, I was too busy pretending to be Betty the Second to pay attention to him properly.

And that's this week! Whatever will arrive in the post next week...?

Saturday, 19 May 2012


Lads. The technology in Bumbaleerie Mansions has gone mental, I was lucky to escape WITH MY LIFE.

The computer started making a weird noise - you know that sort of noise that makes you go AHHUSBANDTHESKYISFALLINGDOWN ? Well, that.

I have taken refuge. Husband is trying to fix the motherboard. I don't know what this is, because it really is spectacularly boring talking about motherboards and my brain miserably sloped off while husband was talking about it. As I understand it, it's a sort of magic plate. Possibly made up of electric and internet.

Anyhoo, the long and short of it is THIS. I can write. But never a picture can be uploaded.

Hopefully the problem will be fixed tomorrow so I can write about all the parcels I'm waiting on, all the making I've been doing and just exactly what's in THE SPECIAL BOX.

See you then.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

I've been eBuying

Bumbaleerie Mansions was built in 1932 and I love it with my whole soul. As soon as we stepped over the threshold, I felt that the house had been waiting for us. Probably to paint over the lurid yellow the previous owners had in the living room, but that's neither here nor there. It still brings a tear to my eye, the memory of finally shaking hands with Steve 'Wide Boy' Estateagent, making small cuts on our index fingers and becoming blood brothers with the bank, signing our names in tears on the contract and skipping merrily to OUR (original 1930s) front door.

It's hard to say when the obsession with buying 1930s stuff happened. LIES! It started the minute I saw the house for sale on RightMove! Hahahaha! So now I'm on eBay roughly every four minutes, bidding for what I call 'Nice Stuff' and Husband calls 'What is this doing in my house?'

Here are some things I have bought from eBay for Bumbaleerie Mansions:

A sideboard for a FIVER! 

(Husband says I should tell the truth about this magnificent bargain. And I AM telling the truth, but he wants me to add that we had to pay £70 to get it shipped from Wolverhampton or somesuch so it TECHNICALLY didn't only cost a fiver. But actually, it did.)

Four Govencroft Jugs for a varying number of bucks. Don't want to be too accurate because I don't think I ever told Husband how much they were, and I really am too fatigued to get into THAT now.

Handy, isn't it? It's a bookend, a knitting needle holder AND a jug all in one! It's the Optimus Prime of the jug world.

A picture of a dog, from I think 1935 which turned out to be not only hideous but also very scary and sinister. It is now in the loft.

A postcard from Blackpool, dated 1932 from one lady to her friend. I love this very, very much due to my obsession with handwriting and also with 'things what are old'. It is the perfect combination for me.

Anyway, the point of this is: if you, like I do, simply type '1930' into eBay and gleefully scroll through twenty bah-millzon pages of unadulterated BLISS then sometimes you find yourself bidding on what others might call 'have you lost your senses?'. BEHOLD:

 Or, to put it another way:
A hundred million old hankies! Some with roses:
A lot with lace:
A couple of mad ones:

and a very special one INDEED:

a KING GEORGE VI CORONATION ONE!! FROM 1937! Can you even IMAGINE my excitement? I was BESIDE myself. I immediately summoned Husband, who refused to acknowledge the magnificence of the moment, apart from nodding and muttering 'Oh nice', which I don't even think he meant.

Listen, I have to confess, I was a bit worried about coming across an eighty-year old bogey but it didn't happen. They were all as clean as an eighty-year old handkerchief would be.

Now! Some making news! Due to not being able to start myfriendsnephews quilt, I decided to crack on to making a hexagonal one. Ooooooh, I hear you say, a hexagonal quilt? You must have nerves of steel! You are the bravest person I have ever even HEARD of! Yes, that's true, I am.

Well. I'm also pretty lazy. Making a proper hexagonal quilt takes ages because you have to cut individual paper templates, then pin them to the fabric, then tack in the seams, then overstitch them BY HAND, over and over and over again. And I obviously COULD do it if I wanted to, OBVIOUSLY it's not that I COULDN'T do it, which I COULD but maybe I think life's too short. So I am machine stitching mine. And I am cutting the fabric in piles. And I am not top stitching anything. Here's how it's going so far:

 The sharp-eyed will have noticed that there is not a picture of the hexagons sewn together. That is because the sewn together bit possibly does not look as good as the rose-tinted vision of perfection that my inner eye conjured. But it might if Husband irons it, which he is refusing to do.  I tried to explain that probably no-one had ever thought of doing this before (not true - there are millions of tutorials online, but Husband doesn't know that), and PROBABLY even just ATTEMPTING such a project made me some kind of VISIONARY in the making world, and PROBABLY HRH Michael Parkinson HIMSELF would want to come out of retirement just to interview me, but he won't have it. And it's not going to iron itself, so it is resting quietly in the sewing room until my next bout of creative genius.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

The one in which I hate the post office.

Over the last few days I have been waiting on some very exciting packages to be delivered. One, ordered on Monday, arrived at work on Thursday. One, ordered on Tuesday, was delivered on Friday. One, ordered on Tuesday, came this morning. Two, ordered on Tuesday, have not arrived. One, also ordered on Tuesday, was not delivered by our postman this morning, because 'it is too big to fit through the letter box.'


I have a few issues with this. The package is relatively large because it contains enough fabric and wadding to make my friendsnephewsquilt. But it is only fabric and wadding, which, as I'm sure you're aware, is bendy and not heavy. Part of me finds it really hard to believe that the postman carried it ALL THE WAY to Bumbaleerie Mansions, tried to no avail to squeeze it through the letter box, and then valiantly carried it ALL THE WAY BACK to 'My Local Sorting Office'. Also, Husband and I were in the crib when the post came - would the Brave Knight Sir Postman not have just left it in the garden for us? Ah-ha, I thought to myself, he hasn't even bothered lifting it! So, I phoned MLSO and here's how I got on:

MLSO: Hello, ________ Post Office
Me: Hello, could you tell me if there's a package waiting for me?
MLSO: *suddenly inexplicably angry* NAME?!!.
Me: Em... Baroness Pilkington-Smythe the first
Me: Probably this morning, I got a red slip through the...
MLSO: Well, if it was THIS MORNING that you got THE SLIP then it WON'T BE HERE YET, WILL IT?
Me: I dunno, I thought I would check. I'll phone before you close to check again. Thanks for your....
MLSO: *sound of the dial tone as they have already hung up*

Me, to Husband: The post office have STOLEN from me! I am the victim of a CRIME! Phone someone!
Husband: I'll collect it on Monday.
Me: That's NOT THE POINT! They are the ROYAL MAIL! Do you think the QUEEN KNOWS ABOUT THIS?!
Husband: Em, well, she knows about the post office probably.....
Me: Someone should TELL HER! I bet SHE wouldn't stand for this!
Husband: Well, they close at 12.30 so phone again at 12 and maybe it'll've been dropped off.

At 12.05:

MLSO: Thank you for phoning _________ Robber Mail Post Office. Our opening hours are, Monday: 3.01 - 3.06, Tuesday : Closed,  Wednesday: 4.18.00-4.18.31, Thursday -
Me: They've gone home EARLY! My package is sitting abandoned and they won't give it to me! They have left it alone! I need it! They've stolen it!
Husband: *has given up trying to rationalise with me and is outside painting the shed*
Me: ...and they PROBABLY take the stamps home too, and they PROBABLY are having a good laugh at the people they have ROBBED, AND they'll have a lovely weekend doing things THEY like and I've got to WORK with NO SEWING to do! One day I will OWN My Local Sorting Office and THEN THEY'LL BE SORRY! They'll be SORRY when I'm in charge of the Post Office and I CLOSE IT DOWN!

I am still furious. I hate the post office.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

What I talk about when I talk about making

Granny Matchy (not her real name) has her quilt! And what a dodgy quilt it was too. But I think she was pleased, even though it was so OBVIOUSLY handmade, as opposed to charmingly so. She wasn't so pleased when I gave her the invoice for the five (FIVE) needles that HER quilt had wasted, but that's another story (and also, not a true one.)

And THEN, my friend gave birth to the most beautiful baby in the entire universe so I made her a quilt too. Here is a rubbish picture of it:

It's such a rubbish picture of the quilt I was actually most proud of. It's Cloud9 and Rachel Riley fabrics, bits of it, and I really, really liked it. I wanted to keep it but husband put his foot down with a firm hand and I gave it over. And I was glad I did because I think my friend liked it.  Or else, it's doing a good job of lining her bin so win/win! AND another friend asked me to make one for her nephew so I got all the fabric ordered and now I'm in the horrors waiting for it to get here in case it is minging and un-matching and too baby-ish. It's no fun, this quilting lark.

AND THEN, I went charity shopping, after being spurred on by Loo at Jumbles and Pompoms, and got a fantastic-shmantastic pile of junk. First, an Accessorize clutch for £2.50:

Unt a pile of fabric-y type things:

Oh, nice! And I can't remember where I saw it, but I saw a picture recently of a patchwork blanket but the patches were all knitted. And I thought to myself:

Me: Eilidhbelle?
Other Me: Yes? What is it? I'm busy.
Me: Oh sorry. Sorry to interrupt. I was just thinking, that'd be a good use for the wool-pile.
Other Me: What wool pile?
Me: THIS one:

Other Me: I can put my hand on my heart and SWEAR I've never seen this wool-pile before.
Me: Husband can't hear us.
Other Me: Oh, yes. Of course. Good idea, Me! What a good team we are.

That isn't even all of the wool-pile, sadly. Here's some more:

And that's not all but I couldn't get a good picture of the rest of it. But you know how sometimes you have a fierce need to buy ALL THE THINGS related to your new hobby? And then you get them but you don't want to use them because then you wouldn't have them any more? And then you get a new hobby? And then you have to have a special sewing room to house all your crap? And then your husband makes you tidy it up, even though you hate tidy things? It's RUDE is what it is.

Right now I am waiting for four wonderful parcels to come in the post. I will be blogging about them when they arrive, but I'm not telling what they are so that when I write about them, you'll be like: That is quite literally the best thing(s) I have even seen in my LIFE! If I had ordered that(those) I would never let it(them) out of my sight! I wish with my whole soul I had that(those) item(s). Tell me, where does one purchase that(those) purchase(s)? And I'll be all: Here's where to get it(some). And you'll be like: You spent (insert insane number of Scottish bucks here) on THAT(those)?!?! Are you MENTAL?!

And I'll be all: Helz yez, I did!