Officially Heading Towards Middle Age

To be honest it’s been sneaking up on me for a while now. The early years of my 40s passed by in a bit of a blur, but this last one has been trickier. It starts with that stubborn bit of spread around the middle sector which a couple of other bloggers have commented on recently. As I actually like exercise and eat fairly healthily (most of the time) a little bit of Christmas/ Easter / holiday indulgence usually shifts itself fairly naturally with a bit of time, but since I hit 43 it’s not going anywhere fast! Grrr…

My favourite hobbies have always been a bit ‘middle aged’, and I’ve always found it impossible to resist the raft of sewing magazines that come alongside them. But recently I’ve found myself gravitating towards the somewhat ‘older’ publications of Good Housekeeping (oh, how my younger self would have scoffed) and Prima (well, it does come with a free sewing pattern) and away from Grazia and In Style. Yes, I’m not ashamed to admit that fashion articles on how to incorporate a bit of Kate Middleton’s style or how to dress ‘beautiful at any age’ are suddenly more relevant than how to work a cropped top (heaven forbid) or conquer festival style (err, wellies and a good waterproof…).

But last month I officially embraced my middle ages by joining my local WI. Oh, yes indeed! My husband found this simultaeneously hilarious and horrifying. Anyhow, the next monthly meeting is their annual fundraiser, so I’ve been beavering away on my donations. Keen to increase my gift repertoire I attempted a new pattern for a Tie Wrap Glasses Case, which featured in Love Sewing Magazine (issue 25). I thought this would be the perfect gift for females of ahem, a certain age, but also useful for sunglasses for younger members.

This was the perfect project for using up pretty scraps and some fat quarters that I’d had for far too long. The pattern was really straightforward, but I must admit I found getting a bit of an assembly line going really speeded me up after the first one. I’ve never used batting before, so despite this being a pretty simple pattern, I felt I’d learnt something new too. I also found it daftly enjoyable matching the fabrics up together. Anyone else get a small kick out of this? 😉 Even the off-cuts in my bin were pretty, but I’ll spare you the photos… I managed to run up six cases over two short afternoon sessions and then used some smaller scraps to make some very, very simple lavender stacks, which again hopefully will have universal appeal.

I imagine there are some pretty skilled seamstresses amongst the WI members, so I’m hoping my contributions pass muster… Fingers crossed they sell!

Simple Gifts

Anyone else finding the array of new sewing (and knitting) magazines now on offer far too tempting? I’ve succumbed to the last couple of issues of Simple Sewing magazine. I’m blaming Tilly’s bow blouse sew along for my latest indulgence…

But I also found a useful tutorial for a trio of simple, drawstring bags. It was my sister-in-law’s birthday recently and I’d already found this lovely bag which I thought would be handy for transporting her cross stitch projects in when she’s away from home. But I really wanted to add something homemade to the parcel too.

 

The first addition was easy: a couple of already-assembled lavender bags. But I knew these bags would be handy for carrying smaller items such as needles and silks. I had a good rummage around my scrap heap and unearthed this lovely flower and leaf fabric, along with some perfectly coordinating old, furnishings trimmings.

This was a pretty easy project which I found really satisfying. The only tricky bit was pulling the linings through, which I had to have a good fiddle around with, before getting it right. I’ve mostly only sewn clothing so it was also nice to extend my range. Hopefully if I add a few more such projects to my repertoire, I’ll have far more ideas for future sewing Santas too 🙂 As with a lot of simple projects, beautiful fabric makes all the difference here. I’m really pleased with the results”

I’ve also added a quick snap of my homework from school this week. My school had a ‘balance’ week where all homework was suspended and a range of activities from yoga to hair care demonstrations was put on instead. Our weekly knitting club had 45 pupils and 6 staff signed up, so we’ve been busy casting on as many balls as possible in preparation…

Pattern: Simply Sewing Magazine’s Drawstring Bags

New Skills: sewing bags and adding linings

Soundtrack: Haim’s Days Are Gone

Anyone else have any good suggestions for projects to give as gifts that are actually useful? Lots of the ones I’ve come across seem to be more sewing for sewing’s sake rather than genuinely practical presents.

 

Tell ’em about the rabbits George!

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It didn’t take long for my daughter to discover the ‘Easter Bunny Garland’ pattern (or ‘bunny bunting’ as she named it) in issue 11 of ‘Love Sewing‘ magazine, which I subscribe to. To be honest, I think I got off lightly as a ‘bunny tote bag‘ and a ‘pop-up puppet theatre’ also featured in the same issue…

I’d been itching to do some sewing all week, but keeping two monkeys occupied doesn’t allow for an awful lot of sewing time. Sewing together seemed like a good compromise, although my nine year old son couldn’t be persuaded. He was more than happy to catch up on his latest Minecraft book though, with his younger sister safely occupied elsewhere 😉

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We purchased a fat quarter pack from HobbyCraft in some suitably, Easter-like colours, but I was keen to improvise with the rest and deplete some of my ever-mounting stash. The instructions seemed clear and straightforward, but apart from using the template, I just made it up as we went along: i used iron-on interfacing instead of Bondaweb because that was what I had in; the ribbon which wrapped up the fat quarter became the hanging loops; and we simply used string to hang them on. I was sure my daughter had some pom-poms in one of her many (many) craft boxes, but she actually came up with the idea of buttons instead.

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So button-tails it was!

We had great fun making this up together, although depending on the age of any children involved, I’d definitely recommend doing the cutting out in advance the night before. Apart from the ears, which were a little too tricky my daughter managed to do a lot of this project herself. It’s great to see her getting more confident on my machine and she particularly enjoyed selecting the fancy stitches for each one 🙂

Did anyone else get up to any Easter sewing or crafting?