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More sewing

Following on from my first successful skirt, I've enjoyed wearing it this week. Especially as all my shorts have got a little on the large side recently, and I don't want to wear trousers at the moment.

Actually, let's talk about that. I am brunette. I stopped wearing shorts and skirts so much because I had a lot of thick, dark leg hair, and the shaving and fretting about that had really kind of got to me. I know you're supposed to be all feminist and "I don't care" about these things, but I did care. So a couple of years ago I paid for laser hair removal treatment. It wasn't cheap, but it is the best money I think I've ever spent. I still have some leg hair, but it's fair. I go a couple of months between giving it a bit of a mow over with an epilady, and can entirely ignore it in between. Huge difference to shaving daily/ever other day! It has honestly made such a difference to my outlook. So much happier to throw a pair of shorts or a skirt on, and just loving it.

So anyway. I decided another skirt was in order, and I pretty much knocked this one up on Friday night.

Denim skirt

Sort of used this tutorial, I used the template I used for the hippo skirt and pulled it in a little at the waist, and reduced the flare a little. The fabric is some denim that my mum gave me (she's having a clear-out), and the edging is some left-over fabric from the first shirt I made. (Hm. Doesn't look like I ever blogged that. Whoops!) I've added a small pocket. It's perfectly iPod sized. I listen a lot while I'm working, and standing just makes it easier to put the iPod in the pocket.

In fact, I missed the pocket so much, I added one to the hippo skirt too.


I tried to match the pattern to make it almost invisible. Quite a different approach to the denim one! They are very easy skirts to wear. Really I ought to get the hang of zips, but I just pull them on over my head.

The other project I've had on the go is a shirt. I bought some fabric designed by Emma McCann on Spoonflower. I thought it would make a fabulously geeky shirt. I actually bought the fabric ages ago, but I was a bit scared. I'm not ever so confident with the sewing machine yet (although I'm getting more so), so I got some cheap, silly fabric (see the trim above), bought Burda pattern 8153 and had a practice run. Collars are fun. So are sleeves. I wussed out of doing buttons though - went with poppers.

Then I kind of ran out of time for about a year! So I almost forgot all the problems by the time I got back to it. I'm pretty happy with the result though.


(I sort of wish I'd brushed my hair. Oh well.) I didn't do a full collar on this one. I didn't think I needed it really. I also didn't go for any interfacing. I did short sleeves, and I added just a little bit across the chest. But get this! I did buttons! I sat down with my manual and the interwebs, and worked out how to get a reasonably even buttonhole. Only problem is I did them across the button band, rather than along it. I don't think it makes much difference, but the positioning of the buttons has to be that bit more precise to get the button band to sit correctly.

I think if I make another shirt I'll take a couple of inches off the bottom, and possibly make the sleeves another inch shorter. I might put an edge on the sleeves too, rather than a flat hem. I have to say though, I think I could get quite into this sewing lark. More fun than shopping!

Home-made outfit


A change to the wardrobe

I've been thinking recently about maybe expanding my wardrobe to include a couple of simple skirts. I'm pretty sure there's nothing in the lesbian handbook that rules it out, and I have at least two pairs of shoes that would work with a skirt. It's all well and good wearing shorts, but it doesn't help with the not-looking-like-a-12-year-old-boy thing.

Then I found (somehow, can't think how) a tutorial for making an a-line skirt. And I had some fabric I bought in Ikea that I thought could work. Then we went to visit my parents, and Mum gave me some fabric she'd found in a cupboard that would make a perfect lining. I did think about trying to get a zip, but then I figured I could just put it on over my head.

The tutorial includes making your own pattern. I used a sheet of newspaper. I used 8.5" at the top, 17" at the bottom, and a length of 19". It worked pretty well. The top measurement might be a 0.5" (or maybe even just 0.25") too big, but the skirt stays up.

Silly skirt

So, ok, white hippos may not entirely be sending out an entirely mature image. Still, I'm quite pleased with that. I've found a slightly different tutorial to try, so there could well be another one on the way soon... (Maybe in some slightly more sober fabric next time!)



Tonight is the first time we've been home on a late, sunny summer's evening this year.

I went out to water the back garden. It is covered with bindweed, and I need to re-attach a very thorny rose to the bird table before I can do anything about it.

I went to water the front garden. I stood on the edge of the veg (ha! No veg in it at the mo) garden, and all I could hear was the sound of snails munching. All I could see was weeds.

Was I down-hearted? Honestly? Yes. It's been that kind of summer, frankly. In the bright side, I found what I guess are probably toads - one out back, the other out front. I've just looked back at my garden overview, and it still looks much more vibrant than the flat lawn we started from. I think I just have to accept this hasn't been the best gardening year, grapple with the rose, give the bindweed my best shot, and try to get it semi-presentable for the knitters' BBQ this weekend...


A Fine Summer's Evening

Last Wednesday I did a nice little 10k on the seafront. Given that it was July 18th, I had sort of expected some reasonable running conditions.

18 Jul 2012 19:33

Not so much. That photo was taken by Clarkie at the start. At 7:30pm. She says the camera lightened the shot quite a lot, and you can see the lights on the pier and on the lead-out bike. If you look at the blue flag in the background you can see it was a little bit breezy too. Nice little 20+ mph headwind for the first 5k.

I was hoping (given my recent training form) to squeak under an hour. My previous PB was set in October 2010, and was 1:03:31. I've recently had my training runs drop by around 1min/mile, which has been a nice surprise, so I was pretty hopeful of the PB but really wanted the sub-hour. When I saw the conditions though I wasn't sure I wanted to run at all!

I had serious thoughts about giving up before I got to 5k! It was hard. Toughest 5k I've done for a while. I didn't check my watch, just tried to grind it out, but I can't say it was the most fun I've had with my trainers on! I just kept focussing on the Shoreham power station chimney getting clearer through the mist. I've not run out that way before, so I found it difficult to judge where I was. Once I turned round all became much better. A 20+ mph tailwind is much more fun! I even managed a big cheesy smile for the official photographers (seeing as my photographer decided that the car was a nicer place to be - and I don't blame her at all!).

I was slightly startled when I checked my watch to see 5.5 miles at 50 minutes. So startled it took a little while for my brain to process and I had to check it twice. I crossed the line at 57:40 gun time, 57:10 chip time. So 6:21 better than my previous best, or precisely 1 min/mile! I was ever so pleased.

The increase in speed seems to have coincided with starting to use a steroid inhaler for my asthma. Clarkie wants me drugs tested! It seems as though my asthma was affecting me more than I thought. I think I'm now used to running at a certain level of out-of-breathness, and now I can breathe a little better I can go faster before hitting that level. I don't think I've quite got the asthma fully under control yet, and I have no clue what my 'triggers' are other than not exercise. I start my exercise not being quite sure of my lungs, and I finish it at the same level. I do think the extended period of damp has not helped at all, but why that might be and what I could do about it I have no idea!

Bodes well for the Grunty Fen in September though. I have a bit of a calf niggle, but other than that I'm feeling good. Let's hope.


The fall and rise of a bathroom - conclusion

It is done!

bathroom shower/bath

We've got our new towels on the towel rail, our shampoos etc back on the bath, and a brand new bottle of bath bubbles that I tested on Saturday after my run. Lovely. 

You'll no doubt have noticed that you can't see the door in that shot, whereas normally you can. That's because the door was in such a lousy state that Clarkie took it off, sanded it, and we're still in the process of painting it before rehanging it. Sadly this probably means we'll end up doing the rest of the doors upstairs, and probably the rest of the woodwork too - something we've been avoiding since we moved in. It'll look better in the long run. 

bathroom sink

The sink, complete with splashback tiles. We're desperately trying not to put all the crap back in that we used to keep on the windowledge. Clarkie has hidden our toothbrushes on this end of the windowledge, and we've bought a shiny new bin to match. 

bathroom toilet

We've now got a skewer thing to store our toilet rolls on, but unfortunately the nice new loo roll holder we bought was missing a screw, so it's not quite made it onto the wall yet. Oh, and you can also see the nice chrome light pulls we got. (I say we, but the purchasing was all done by Clarkie after she got a PB at parkrun on Saturday and I was going for my run. She has excellent taste in accessories.)

Again, having removed the stuff from the back there, we're really loath to put anything back. However, there are certain things that belong in a bathroom, so we'll need to find something to keep them in. Not sure what yet. 

So barring the door, this little adventure has reached a very satisfactory conclusion!