I AM Cassiopee

Oh I have waited so long to try this pattern out. Not sure what I was waiting for exactly but I I bought the perfect fabric from Higgs and Higgs at the Knitting and Stitching Show last Thursday. It’s a deep cerise babycord and it’s oh so soft. It cost £11.99 per metre and I bought three metres so it wasn’t a cheap make.

As ever, I have seen many of the I AM Cassiopee dresses made up, in all different types of fabric and different ages and body types on Instagram. I thought I could carry it off 🙂

I had read that it came up big but I hesitated to go smaller than my measurements, so opted for the largest size, which as it was a French pattern meant making a 46. I figured that I could always cut some off if it was too big but if I cut it too small then I was done for.

The pattern pieces had to be traced off and that took me a couple of hours. I then watched a You Tube video of a couple of girls who had made it, before I started cutting out.

At first I thought I had too much fabric but because the sleeves are bat shaped and the style is loose, it was just enough. It was lovely to be working with a natural fabric and it’s so easy to handle.

The pattern instructions are quiet brief and the construction is simple. However, when I had got it all together and tried it on, I didn’t like it and was massively disappointed. It was far to big and the neck gaped. So I left it overnight on Dolly and went back to Instagram to have a look at a few more finished ones. Everyone who made it raved about it and several people had made more than one, but I just wasn’t getting the love.

Next morning, I decided to take it in from the cuff of the sleeve, right round to the hem, by another inch. That did it, it looked much better, now just the neck to sort out. I didn’t fancy taking off the facing and reducing the size of the bodice, so I tried making a tuck all the way down the front bodice, like a fake placket. It looked ok.

I finished the sleeves and the hem and went back to the front and added three mother of pearl buttons ( which I already had in my collection) It looks great now!

I am so pleased I persevered and I am sitting writing this with it on, cos I don’t want to take it off!

Capsule Wardrobe – Autumn 2019

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It’s that time again! Time to swap my summer clothes over for a warmer set. This Autumn I have decided to use these colours for my capsule wardrobe:

  • Black
  • Purple
  • Cerise Pink
  • Lilac
  • Dark Grey
  • Lime Green
  • White

i decided on these colours a month or so ago so I could start making items of clothing for Autumn. I have also been through all of my clothes that I store away each season and picked out items which I like and which I want to be part of the capsule. I haven’t had to buy anything extra at all. 

These are the items in my Autumn Capsule 2019

Outerwear

Black lightweight jacket – bought from M&S when I was working 

Purple velvet coat – I have had this maxi coat for several years but have only worn it occasionally. I have now decided to shorten it so that I get more wear from it. 

Black hoodie – bought from Primark about 2 years ago 

Grey hoodie – bought from H&M last year

Tops

Black cotton polo – bought several years ago 

Black long sleeved tee – bought last year 

Black and white checked shirt – I made this last year but it’s too short so I am going to lengthen it a bit with some of the leftover fabric. 

Long floral blouse – I bought this from Joules when I had a bit of money and when I was working but I still like it and it has the right colours for this capsule 

White long sleeved tee – bought last year 

White linen top – bought 2 years ago 

Purple and white top – made this year 

Short black tee – bought from Spanish supermarket this year 

Bright Pink Tee – bought from Spanish supermarket this year

Lime Green Tee – gifted from my sister -in- law

Long cerise pink lightweight cardigan – bough a few years ago

Bottoms

Black leggings- bought this year from M&S

Black trousers – bought 2 years ago from M&S

Purple jeans – bought several years ago – can’t remember where from 

Black jeans – Christmas present 2018 

Dresses

Lilac dress – this is the Cinema dress I made – see blog post – cost £25 (fabric, thread and buttons) plus pattern 

Grey jersey dress – made this last week – cost £15 plus pattern 

Black dress – bought last year from Lidl 

Cerise Pink Joni Dress – made this year – cost £32 – plus pattern

Shoes and Boots 

Black ankle boots – birthday present Feb 2019

Grey lace up shoes – bought 2018 – Clarks 

Black slip ons – bought several years ago but not worn much – Dune 

Black patent slip ons – bought several years ago but not worn much – Clarks – they have them back in the shop now!

Accessories

Pink suede clutch – bought from eBay new last month 

Black Crossover Handbag – bought several years ago 

Lime Green Tote – bought several years ago – Sainsbury’s

Jewellery

I have been through my ‘jewellery’ and found some pieces that will co-ordinate with the colours.

 

Linda’s 60th Birthday Treat

Oh Lovely Linda, you keep my body and mind relaxed!

One of my many gifts to myself is to have a monthly full body massage. I believe that it has helped me to keep well over the years. Driving, a stressful job and using a keyboard all day meant that I was usually tense and my muscles tight and sometimes horribly knotted. Having a massage relieves the tensions and relaxes the muscles but is also a very nice way to while away and hour or so, thinking of nothing in particular.

When we  moved to our current house in 2005, I needed to find a new masseuse. Linda came to the rescue. I discovered her through a local magazine and have been going to her ever since.

Along the way we became good friends – we’ve listened to each others moans and groans and laughed and talked a lot too. We have a rule that we can talk up to the point she is massaging my face and then it’s just the soothing music in the background.

Linda has joined the ranks of the over 60’s now so I wanted to give her a special birthday gift. She kindly took me for a spa day and afternoon tea treat for my 60th and I wanted to give her something special for hers.   I asked her if she would like me to make her a handmade piece of clothing. She could, of course, choose the fabric and the pattern and I would make it up.

We trawled through my pattern box to find a pattern that Linda liked. She chose a dress pattern I had used before but wanted a few changes. She wanted the shape altered from an A line to a straight sided shift dress.

So off we went to Milton Keynes to choose the fabric, have lunch and have a nice day together.

After lots of discussion and looking, Linda chose some lovely teal print, cotton fabric. Unfortunately, the John Lewis at Milton Keynes didn’t have enough to make the dress, but store gave me details of the stores which had more fabric. I contacted Reading and they sent me what I needed, freepost!

As I was making changes to the pattern, I thought it best to make a toile first for a practice run. I used some cream curtain fabric, from my fabric stash, for this. After a few changes we were happy with the fit and I so I cut out the dress in the lovely fabric. Once it was cut out I quickly made the dress up and waited for Linda to return from holiday. It fitted in all the right places,  but just needed the sides taken in a little more, the pockets attached and the hem taken up.

I was very happy with the finished article.

I think she likes it too!

 

 

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The Cinema Dress

Don’t you just love it when something turns out just right!

I had admired this dress made up on Instagram but also the pattern photo made me want to make it. It looked so comfortable, stylish and wearable. The pattern is produced by Liesl and Co. I used the paper version and found it easy to use and the directions easy to understand. This relaxed-fit dress pattern features a front and back yoke, V-notch neckline, and back button closure. Both views have easy-to-sew welt pockets and cuffed, three-quarter-length sleeves.

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I bought some lilac chambray from eBay which cost £22.50. I chose lilac because I don’t have anything in this colour and I think it goes nicely with my now grey hair. I thought this could be part of my Autumn Capsule wardrobe if it went to plan.

The fabric was lovely to sew. The instructions were easy to understand. I really enjoyed making it and made sure I took my time.

I originally was going to make the longer length but after reading the measurements I decided that the shorter length at 45 inches would be best.

I wasn’t looking forward to doing the buttonholes as I always panic about the positioning being right, but I practised first and they turned out ok. I bought some lovely wooden buttons from Ebay to finish it off.

I am very happy with the final product and plan to wear it tomorrow!

 

What’s going on in the greenhouse in May?

It’s all coming along nicely, so far!

Flowers

Marigolds – I have grown these from seed to use as companion plants to the tomatoes. They appear to keep the bugs away so I will carry on doing it.

Love in a Mist – I grew some purple ones last year and as they are annuals I have grown some more. They germinate easily and look nice at the front of the border

Rudbeckia – I decided to have a go at a really bright colourful variety but unfortunately not many have germinated.

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Alyssum

When we were in Spain, there were loads of these in the beachside board walk beds. I didn’t realise how lovely they smell, so I have sown some pink and white ones for the front of the pink/blue border.

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Cosmos – these always look good and last throughout the summer. These are pink to go in my pink/blue border.

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Herbs

Basil – we love basil so I grow a lot for the scent, the flowers and to use in pesto and salads.

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Coriander – i fins that coriander bolts quickly do i he decided to grow successively in trays and use it whilst it’s young  and small, like a micro herb.

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Fennel – I love seeing tall fennel in flower borders, so have decided to try and grow some for the flowers and for cooking.

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Parsely

Use parsley a fair bit so always try to grow some. It does also bolt if it gets dry but I will give it a go anyway.

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Vegetables

Lettuce

We are trying a bit of an experiment with lettuce. Our dentist is a very keen gardener and he grows them in the greenhouse rather than outside. That way they don’t get eaten by the birds or slugs. So far, it’s a success, we snip off the leaves we want as we want them. I will sow some more over the next few weeks so we have a succession.

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Tomatoes – this year I am growing Alicante, a tried and tested variety. They all germinated and I have potted some up but have lots left to either give away or plant outside.

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Aubergines – the 3 organic aubergine plants I bought, are looking really healthy. I really hope they perform. I have potted  them on a couple of times but they are not yet in their final pots.

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Sweet Peppers – the 3 organic plants I ordered arrived last week. I have potted them on to develop before putting them in their final post in the greenhouse.

Butternut Squash

We’ve grown these for the past couple of years. We don’t get a huge crop but the ones we do get are very sweet and buttery. All the seeds germinated and are growing well. We’ll wait until the plants are about 6 inches tall before we plant them outside in bags against a warm wall.

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Gluten Free Christmas Cake

I usually make a Christmas Cake in October, using a recipe from the Delia Smith Complete Illustrated Cookery Course   This year I am trying out a gluten free recipe from the  River Cottage Gluten Free cook book. It has figs and prunes in it which is unusual and uses buckwheat and sorghum flours. The method is basically the same – soak the fruit for 24 hours and then make the cake.

I have made one to try out the recipe and if it’s ok I will make one for Christmas. It has to mature for a couple of weeks and then have a tasting by the chief cake tester. If it passes the test then I’ll make another one. Gluten free cakes can dry out quickly, but hopefully with top ups of brandy brushed on top, each week, it will be ok.

Update 16th October 2019

Well it was lovely and I’ve just made another one today. Not sure it will make Christmas though…

Saturday Morning Musings

Not sure what to do today? I have several ideas going round my head :

  • Make a ginger cake for Mark and try out a GF version
  • Plant some bulbs
  • Ironing
  • Cut out a dressing gown for granddaughter Nell 
  • Tidy the greenhouse
  • Write pieces for future blogs 

As its now started to rain, maybe I won’t plant the bulbs – although I could plant the ones that are going in pots as I could do this in the greenhouse.

Well I have have given myself 45 mins to write and then I want to get on with something instead of thinking about it. 

The ginger cake has won so that what’ll I’ll start with today. Then I will do some of the bulbs. 

I’ll let you know how I’ve got on! 

My Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me!

I’m a ‘young at heart’ retiree who gets a kick out of doing all sorts of ‘making’ and ‘creating’.This includes cooking, dressmaking, gardening and making home made gifts.  I have always had a creative streak but haven’t always had the time to indulge myself and see my ideas through.

I retired from work in May 2017 just after turning 60. I always thought I would enjoy my work and continue until I was 66,  but gradually I had a change of heart. I decided to find a way to completely stop working and to stop being tired, stressed and tense all the time. I didn’t mind being 40 or 50 something but 60 was different. It seemed very old indeed. I have already decided that I am going to live to 100 years old which means I have another 40 years to live, so I had better get on with making the most of it!

So now I finally have the time to spend my days doing things I really enjoy. I get a silly amount of pleasure from being able to produce something lovely, which, in most cases, is less expensive and nicer than shop bought stuff.

I live with my partner Mark and Mollie our 2 year old cockapoo. They are both forced to try out my recipes – successes and failures. I won’t be making the brownies made out of sweet potato again!

I decided to start writing a blog to share my ideas and to be part of the growing online community . I have found so many good ideas from other people on websites such as Pinterest,  I figured that some of my own creations and ideas may be interesting for others to see, read about and copy. My idea is to share :

  • gluten free recipes
  • my capsule wardrobe outfits
  • updates on our small vegetable garden
  • plans and progress on our new woodland garden
  • home organisation tips and tricks
  • sewing projects
  • handmade toiletries and gift ideas
  • how I’m going to live to 100!

 

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