Monday, 18 April 2011

And she's back in the game...

Well, I'm still in a lot of pain! But I've decided that it's time to cowboy up and just get on with things :)  After a lovely relaxing weekend that was mostly spent drinking tea (gin) in the garden, I finally finished my curtain dress project.

I love it. I really really love it! Other than taking some measurements from another dress of similar fit, it was done with no pattern and just my brain going 'errrr, what next?' It's a super-light cotton and will be perfect for summer.  It was vaguely 20s inspired in shape, although I don't think the fabric / pattern is 20s at all.  But yes, I think it's going to get a lot of wear :)

The only problem with not doing a pattern is, how am I going to make another one?!

Jen xxxx

Monday, 11 April 2011

I guess I've been taking a bit of an unplanned hiatus from everything...

At the end of last year, I somehow managed to give myself tennis elbow. And wow, is it painful.  Sadly, over the last few weeks it's been coming back again.  I've got myself strapped up, and will hopefully get to the doctors tomorrow, but essentially when it's sore I can't do anything that puts too much strain on it.  So that's no sewing, no baking, no playing piano... sad times!

However, when things haven't been too painful, a lot of fun has been going down :)

On Saturday some friends and I went to our local bit of greenery, Ferry Meadows, for a picnic.  I love picnics!  A few of us rode our bikes there and back, it felt quite Enid Blyton-esque.  Except with more Prosecco :)

Kayla and I took some time out to go cloud spotting too!

Some other snippets of life-at-the-moment:

Making a very cute dress from these curtains the mamma bear thrifted for £1!

Rediscovering my love of playing piano, and Simplicity patterns being on sale in John Lewis

Learning new songs on my ukulele

Hanging out with Lilycat, because she's all of the adorable :)

Hope you're having fun whatever you're up to!

Jen xxxx

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

(Belated) Weekend Round-up, and the Sew and Save dress premiere!

I've been meaning to write this post for a couple of days but, in all honesty, I've just been too too tired!  After work I've been turning over the garden to prepare some vegetable plots - there's going to be a lot of digging for victory happening this summer :)

So anyway, on Saturday my friend Bob and I went to the March Into the 40s event.  And it was super fun! It started fairly early in the afternoon with some short films about WW2; I may have squeed slightly at the land girl part - they're a bit of an obsession of mine at the moment!  And there were lindy hop classes, where I'm proud to say neither of us fell over or broke the other's toes.  The dance in the evening was also great fun, although the only song we danced to was the Hokey Cokey :) - at these smaller events the dance floor tends to be filled with amazing dancers so I feel a bit more self-conscious.  But the good news is Dave the Spiv, who hosted the event, is trying to set up some dance classes so soon we'll be stepping with the best of them.

Lola Lamour also did a couple of sets, and she's just a total cupcake.  If you've never seen her, here she is singing my favourite song!

But of course, the star of the night was my Sew and Save dress.  Well, not quite.  But I was immensely proud of it.  And here it finally is in all its glory:

Bob was in Navigator dress... ironic considering the amount of times he started driving the wrong way!

Overall, the night was fab.  I managed not to spend any money on the stalls, the gin was cheap, and I found myself doing a couple of victory roll tutorials for some girls I got talking to (as well as swapping tips on setting lotions and how to wash your stockings!).  Thoroughly looking forward both to the next dance event and next year's march.

What did y'all get up to this weekend?

Jen xxxx

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Summer Inspiration

Hi everyone, hope you're all having lovely starts to the week!

Now, I was *hoping* that I'd be able to proudly show off my new 'Sew and Save' dress this evening... but alas, I still have to finish the neck trim and hem the bottom.  I'm feeling very pleased with it though!

So instead, here's some lovely summer outfit inspiration.  As I said, I'm off to Malta at the end of May for a family wedding, and I'm determined to only pack beautiful vintage / vintage inspired outfits.  Especially because my grandma will be there and we love chatting fashion and sewing... she still likes to talk about seeing me get off the train last summer, and how I looked like a filmstar!  I didn't, I'd been on a train for 6 hours in late August, but what a lovely thing to say :)

I love this little nautical inspired number... supercute!
[Image from here]

I would wear all of these dresses... but my absolute favourite has to be the green one with the cherries on
[Image from here]

Bows! And ruffles!
[Image from here]

I've been thinking about needing a new swimsuit too (any excuse to go shopping!)

[Image from here]

Maybe a Jane Russell-esque swimsuit will help me hook a Robert Mitchum-esque chap!
[Image from here]

Yep, definitely feeling the need for summer now!

Jen xxxx

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Weekend Round-up: Events and Observations

I can't believe it's Sunday evening again already! Where did all the days go?

This week seems to have been non-stop, yet not a lot has happened.  Somehow I haven't found time to chronicle or photograph anything that's occurred (including my gravity defying victory rolls last night, I was so proud of those babies!).  But anyway, here's the edited highlights of my week :)

1. I started sewing the frock from the Sew and Save book.  Seriously, I cannot recommend this book enough.  It has loads of useful information on repairs and alterations, but also has a section of patterns to sew.  Because it was published for your average 1941 woman rather than super-talented seamstresses, the patterns are fairly simple but I'm still learning a lot.  However, both my sewing machines are heading to the great craft room in the sky so it looks like I'll be spending tomorrow evening hand-sewing the sleeves and the hems!  I'm off to a 40s dance next Saturday so on a tight deadline if I want to show it off :)

2. I sorted out my community placement!  As part of my Masters, I have to do a 180-hour placement in a community setting.  It's been a real struggle to find anything interesting in my town, but my supervisor had the idea of working with our local credit union.  It sounds really exciting - I'll be learning to be a debt counsellor and working with different community groups - and I can't wait to get started.

3. Yesterday, the mamma bear and my little sister came to visit and we went for shopping and food, the two things we all love!  I found the most beautiful dress in French Connection (I know, I didn't expect that!) to wear to my cousin's wedding in Malta.  And the best bit... knocked down from £185 to £35!  I'm saving it for the wedding, but will most definitely be getting a LOT of photos :)

4. Finally, I've been working my way through the 'Thin Man' movie series.  Nick and Nora Charles are my absolute favourite on-screen couple. Ever.  If you've never seen it, you should!  A perfect blend of detective story, amazing comedy and gorgeous dresses.  Here's a little preview: 

Obviously, there's been a lot of baking and gardening too, but that goes without saying these days!  I'm so looking forward to having all my evenings free (3 more weeks left!) so I have time to both do fun things and talk about them too...

Has anyone else had fabulous weekends?

Jen xxxx

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Weekend Round-up: Cambridge Vintage Fair and not much else!

Hello lovelies, hope you've all had fabulous weekends!

As the post title says, this weekend I headed off to Cambridge with some friends to check out Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair.  There was more than a little excitement involved, as I'd been to the last couple and had always come away with some fab dresses and skirts.  This time around, I sadly didn't find much at all.  There wasn't a lot of 30s/40s stuff (the things that were there were beautiful! but also way more than I could afford this month, sadface), but I picked up some supercute commemorative coronation hairpins from 1953.  I'll put photos of those up soon, but I bought some for my sister too and don't want to completely ruin the surprise :)

The fair always has a lovely tea and cupcake shop, but we've never actually sat down and sampled the goods before so we made damn sure it happened this time.  It was so yummy, the carrot cupcakes were to die for!

I think the best part was that you got to choose your own china!  I'm a sucker for old mismatched china, and there was so much of it!

This is us enjoying our mid-shopping sit down :)  At the beautiful-but-expensive stall, a lady came up to tell me how nice it was to see someone actually dressed vintage at the fair, which was lovely and made me beam.  The fact that my blouse is from Topshop and the skirt's homemade will be overlooked right now...  And check out Amy's polka-dot dress, I squealed when I saw it, it's absolutely darling and I'm so envious of it!

As I spent very little at the fair, I treated myself in wider Cambridge to some yummy biscuits from Crabtree and Evelyn, rose perfume from Cath Kidston and of course the obligatory girly shopping cocktail.  A lovely way to cheer up what had been a most dreadful week.  Can't wait til Judy comes back into town again!  

And as for today? I've been super relaxed... homemade soup, Casablanca and The Thin Man were all that concerned me.  Heaven!

Jen xxxx

Monday, 7 March 2011

What Makes You Happy?

It's been a tough day round here... work has been 'trying', my housemate has been bordering on useless and I quit my job.  Everything is a little bit emotional and skewy to say the least!  But instead of going to bed feeling down in the dumps, I thought it would be nice to think about the top 10 things that make me smile instead :)  So here we go...

1. Lilycat
She's such a cutie!  I think she gets annoyed with me constantly taking photos and singing to her, but that's just how I roll.
Hehe, see what I mean?!

2. Spring
It's starting to get sunny (although still freezing cold at night), the daffodils are poking their heads out and my broccoli is almost 10 feet tall already (I may be exaggerating a little...).  Spring always makes me excited and happy!

3. Baking
In my afternoon break between work duties, I went home and made bread.  Just the smell is enough to make everything feel that little more homely and lovely.  Hmm, might nip downstairs for some toast and jam!

4. Hats
Something about wearing a hat really makes me feel better!  Here's my favourite one from last week...

5. Making things
I go through phases of productivity when it comes to making things, and this is definitely a productive phase.  At the weekend, I changed a too-small dress into a most lovely blouse (must get photos!).  And I'll hopefully be starting on my dress tomorrow for a dance at the end of the month.

6. Audio books
Hehe, I'm such a nerd!  I find listening to people talk really relaxing, so audio books are a mainstay in my life... at the moment, I'm listening to 'The Seven Dials' by Agatha Christie (and read by the beautiful Emilia Fox).  Next up is a double bill of Raymond Chandler!  Highly recommend Audible for anyone who nerds it up like I do :)

7. South Riding
This is a 3-part series that's just finished on the BBC.  I've yet to catch up on the last episode, but so far it's been fab.  It's all about a 'radical' headmistress in the 1930s.  Some of the outfits are just beautiful.
I want this suit! [image and more info from here]
And this hat! [image from here]

8. Ginger wine and apple juice
All the hard work from the last week or so has put me a little bit under the weather, and my voice is always the first thing to go.  Ginger wine and apple juice makes my throat feel so much better, and is just so tasty.

9. A film noir video game?
I like playing video games... sometimes.  It doesn't enthrall me the way a lot of things do, but when I like a game, boy do I like it!  I've just seen this is about to be released, and am already preparing for what could be a good few weeks of hermit-like behaviour...

10. Curling up in bed with a cup of tea, the kitten and an episode of Foyle's war
Which is exactly what I'm going to do now :)

What makes you happy when you've had a bad day?

Jen xxxx