Sunday, 30 August 2009

Rescue Mission

Tomorrow it is my Dad's birthday, and after his family, cake and honey the number one thing my dad loves is his allotment emporium. Originally he started off by tending my Mum's secret allotment, his empire grew to 7 at one point (helping other people set up and tend theirs) but now cares mainly for 2 charity plots for Autistic adults and his own.

But sadly, he has been very busy the past year setting up the charity plots and recovering a few dying allotments and so his own has been left to suffer. Therefore, for his bir
thday I decided we should spend a day doing what he loves and rescue it!

This is the before....
Poor sad allotment, I couldn't tell what was supposed to be here for quite a while. And this is half an hour later just as we went in to escape the sudden downpour.

We then did the second best task at the allotment, which is to sit in the shed making tea and sandwiches and talking nonsense. The idea was to wait until the rain went off, but it never did! So i cunningly suggested we should clean the poly tunnel instead.

As you can see, it's in a bit of a state. If I'd have taken this picture a week earlier you would have seen sweetcorn plants bending over and growing along the roof they were so tall!

We had a lot of rubbish so we made somewhere to put it, it's still undecided whether this is a compost bin or somewhere to dry out material for burning... we daftly but tomato plants in there and they are not good for compost...

So here is our invention with a swinging door! Ultimate recycling, i think these palettes where supposed to be for fencing but they have been there for months doing nothing. They look much happier now they have a purpose in life.

Our speedy work was then interrupted by thirst and Arthur (national newcomer champion!) so we had a (lengthy) chat about compost and welding, then went to get refreshment in the form of more tea and a biscuit in the shed.

If you have ever seen the movie "Grow Your Own" you will agree that it is very accurate as to it's depiction of allotment odd-bods, if you haven't seen it, DO!

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

How I turned an old skirt into a new bag!

I had this skirt. This wonderful skirt that once was a wardrobe favourite and has since fallen into disuse. I had kept it for months because I couldn't bare losing it with all those beautiful colours! But I never wore it because I don't have anything to match anymore.

I tried to give it to a charity shop, I really did but some things just can't be parted with. So instead, having been inspired by a few refashionista articles, I made my self a new book bag for when I go back to Uni in a few weeks time.

I knew what I wanted to do, but actually figuring out a design took me a surprisingly long time, the main problem was that this skirt flared out a fair bit, and therefore I couldn't cut out a flat piece of fabric from it to make the bag body. I attempted to cheat by smoothing it out every way I could think of but in the end I had to suck it up and undo the seams of each panel (painful!) and sew them back together to make a flat fab
ric. The thought of ripping out all that thread made me want to scream, but once I'd made the decision it wasn't as emotionally draining as I'd thought it would be and I actually found myself enjoying this task! It also meant I had a chance to use the zipper from the side of the waist, I had hoped I could salvage this. I don't have a good zipper selection round here so when a cool one comes my way it's too precious to waste!

Next, after much thought as to what shape the bag would be and how i would construct and reinforce the handles I decided to go for a very simple rectangle big enough to get a couple of textbooks into and sewed up the edges nice and tight. It started to look like a bag!

I had bought this dotty fabric from my local fabric heaven for 40p. It was the last 50cm of the roll and was so beautiful I couldn't leave it there (especially not for 40p!) when I new it would come in handy somewhere along the line. Fortunately for me not only are the colours a perfect match, but it was also the perfect size to line my bag and make a handle! So I whipped this up nice and quickly! I also made a quick little zipper pouch using the original skirt zipper which I sewed onto the lining fabric to keep my keys and phone safe.

The strap is just a simple tube of leftover lining material which i then pinned in between the outer and the inner fabric where the side seams where. Two lines of stitching later and a quick reinforce of the bag straps and it's good to go! 

After all the effort I put into this bag, I am so glad I didn't get rid of that skirt. 
Now I can wear it forever!