#mendsomejeans

Take one tired projectstarter, feeling two urgh to start a new project right now and reduced to surfing the web instead.

Add the inspirational Kelly Hogaboom to invite me to a Kickin Jeans sew a long.

Hide the jeans I have that I’m half way through fixing.

Find some outgrown purple jeans on the mending pile instead with a hole in the knee.

Unpick side seam (the side that isn’t flat felled so no stitching is visible from the outside).

Add some Twill tape to cover up the hole in a decorative manner.

Sew up side seam and finish raw edges.

And what do you have

#mendsomejeans

#menditmoday (ok, techincally it was Sunday, but you’ll give me some lee way on that right)

 

Scissor Saviour

A few days ago I was cutting through 4 layers of jersey with my scissors (trying to cut 2 identical skirt pieces on the fold simultaneously). Living on the edge? Maybe, but my scissors could take it.

What they couldn’t take was the pin inside the fold holding the jersey in place that I forgot about. At first I didn’t realise and persevered. I ended up with a huge ding in my scissors and could only cut fabric with the bottom part of the blade.

hard at work

hard at work

Luckily for me I number among my friends someone who sharpens knives and scissors (I feel at this point I should describe him but not sure I’m up to the task.. how about artist, woodworker, all round practical guy and complete nutcase to boot, it’s not a good enough description but it’s a start, if that sounds intriguing his current project is here) who arranged to meet me at school drop off this morning and sharpen my scissors! And when I stood him up (due to ignorance- I hadn’t read the text messages yet) he rang me and came round instead, sharpening my scissors and some knives in return for a cup of tea. Now that’s service!

Mending and Camping

campsite

The campsite

This week I am easing myself back into real life and sorting out all the camping stuff after spending a weeks holiday in Wales with Friends. While the weather was more what I expected than what I’d hoped for, we all had a great time. We took the bare minimum electronic equipment with us, one phone (as I mislaid mine when it was time to pack), hubby’s kindle and his camera. Which he took some great photo’s with.

I did take some hand sewing, but pretty much the only making I actually did was knitting. I finished the pair to my first ever sock, so now I have knitted a whole pair of socks! And I still think the Kitchener bind off thing is magic. No photo’s though (I haven’t unpacked them yet from the piles of stuff) so you’ll just have to take my word for it that the sock looks a lot like its brother (I even managed to start the yarn in almost exactly the same place in the colour pattern). I’m now half way down sock number three, in an interesting colourway that Regia seem to call snowflake, that is mainly grey and black. Hmm. This time I’m trying a variation I spied at a knitting group and I’m halfway from the cuff to the heeel.

defunct camping chair

defunct camping chair

I did manage some last minute sewing the day we left as one of my beloved Ergolife roll up chairs was well and truly broken.

all better

all better

Having seen some examples of Japanese visible mending on the Make do and Mend group I decided to do a modern take inspired by this (i.e. I was in a hurry and feeling lazy so I used a machine!). It held up pretty well, but now the chair has broken elsewhere and I need to find some heavy duty staples to fix it. (In case you’re wondering, I think the chairs are 8 years old, so whilst they’re not in constant use, I think this counts as wear and tear rather than poor quality construction).

Rivet gun action

Rivet gun action – “You’ll be wanting a photo of that for your make do group”

Finally, inspired by a conversation with a couple of other women about how we find camping tends to bring out gender stereotypes in our relationships, when our barbeque broke, I went out and bought a rivet gun and fixed it. OK, I confess, I had no idea rivet guns existed until I saw one in the shop and realised it was just what I needed. (Well done Twywn for having not one, but 2 shops selling useful hardware). I was also a bit gentle using it at first and had to be told to squeeze harder so that the rivets pop properly. But it did feel good to fix our old (10 years?) barbeque and the kids were certainly pleased at the opportunity for more chocolate bananas and marshmallows. And I think that counts as making do as even though I had to buy the rivet gun, it certainly has a lot less material in it than the barbeque it fixed. Now I have my eyes peeled for more things that could be fixed with rivets!

proof the sun shone one day

proof the sun shone one day

So now I’m trying to be good and pack some of the chaos away before making more mess by getting out my sewing. (It’s ok, I can go a day without it, I don’t need it, really, I don’t, look my hands aren’t even shaking). And I’ve added a simple bag for spikey BBQ tools to my to do list (as they keep breaking plastic bags) as well as a wood pole support that I saw in another friends Bell tent (I’ll show you if I manage it, but it would be very complicated to explain). (The friend is going to copy my trick of marking the one slightly longer side of the groundsheet with electrical tape so you know where to put the door when pitching).

What’s your proudest mend?

How my children stole my cupboard (and inveigled me into making soft furnishings for it)

Once upon a time, long before we lived here, this house lost a small bedroom and gained some stairs up to the attic extension. As a result of this, when we moved in we found a strange shaped cupboard, part flat floor, part sloped floor, under the upper stairs in our house. It had neatly arranged in it the paint left over from painting various rooms in the house, all carefully labelled (bathroom ceiling, walls in small bedroom, etc). We left the paint there and also put the sleeping bags and bed rolls in there, lying against the slope floor/wall. And so it remained.

the cupboard

the cupboard

Until one day, when I was showing a visiting friend around the house (supervised of course by both children) and she commented that she bet the children loved hiding in there. It had never occurred to them. Until she said that. And then they began to hide in there sporadically, especially if friends were visiting. And we said “mind the paint” and let them (because, you know, choose your battles, don’t spread yourself too thin amongst many fronts, that sort of thing).

Recently, den building/making has reached fevered heights in this house and we’ve been saying “are you minding that paint” more and more. Until the Man had the genius suggestion of moving it to a different cupboard, to reduce both the risk and the strain on our vocal cords. We shared this gem with the kids last night and as a result, this morning I took them shopping for lights to go in the den (bought with their own pocket money, they opted for head torches, shame they don’t work, so we will be studying consumer rights in action this half term holiday!). Then I used den refreshing as an excuse to get the Girl to help me tidy up all her junk that was strewn across the landing (which is just a narrow strip but the density of junk was high) and hoover up the cotton wool that was felted into the carpet (the amount in the carpet was mind boggling, especially since the 3 cotton wool balls I’d given her (for a specific and as yet unstarted craft project) were still the same size that they were to start with).

inside

inside

Finally, we had the floor outside it clear and so could empty out the cupboard and measured the floor. Then I gleefully set to work making a beanbag floor cushion from some really horrid synthetic, textured, orange and blue stripey fabric – part of a bundle of stuff that a neighbour gave me after rescuing it when her friend was about to throw it out. Why gleeful? Well one of the stashbusting sewalong groups challenges this month is to use your ugliest piece of stash and this is mine, huzzah! It won’t win any prizes, but it is gone!

helping

helping

The bean bag was stuffed with the beans from the remains of an ancient beanbag (origins unknown) and some of a blue beanbag (stained, unwanted, denoted to me as a Known Horder of Useful Things) that were both languishing on top of the kids bedroom cupboards. This in itself was a blessing as the kids got them down the other week and I’ve not been able to fit them back properly since and they keep trying to fall down again or trap the doors open. Anyway, despite being helped, the new bean bag was finished and it fit and they don’t seem to have noticed how vile the fabric is. I left them to rearrange the sleeping bags and bedrolls whilst I decided to make a clean sweep of beanbagball chaos and top up the cube beanbag that was also on top of their wardrobe and fix the hole in the lining of it’s (not quite identical) twin.

apparently they were clearing up at this point

apparently they were clearing up at this point

I managed this, with less mess and more noise as this time instead of helping they shouted and argued upstairs about the best arrangement of stuff in the den. When I finally got involved in negotiations I had a genius idea of my own. The cube bean bags can go in the living room (not sure why they weren’t there already, something to do with hubby I think) and make space for the sleeping bags to take their place on top of the kids wardrobes. Then I made a second bean bag cushion (more ugly stashbusting hurrah) for the slopey bit.

all done

all done

Peace has now resumed. Sort of. (They were fighting over the cube bean bags before I’d finished mending the second one). The cupboard is now officially A Den. Most of the beads are hoovered up (I’m realistic, I know I’ll still be finding them for weeks to come). I’ve used metre and a half of a full width of horrid fabric (Still just over a metre left, I’m putting it on one side for bag linings) and I don’t have to look at it as it’s shut in a cupboard, sorry den, hurrah! Hubby seems ok with this but is now muttering about having to up the priority of getting rid of the decrepid futon sofabed in the living room (which I’m fine with in principal, but is a little tricky to shift by myself and hubby is still broken).

close up of fabric, which is surprisingly photogenic, and the mitred corners to help give it depth.

close up of fabric, which is surprisingly photogenic, and the mitred corners to help give it depth.

So, I’m awarding myself double points for Making Do and Mending as well as Ugly Stash Busting with an added bonus as this was simple enough to do whilst alone in the house with the kids, thereby sneaking some daytime sewing in on a Saturday when I’d promised no post kids bedtime sewing (token romantic gesture due to valentines day, about all I can manage after nearly 15 years marriage). The only downer is that I appear not to have bought in a bottle of wine and chocolate pudding. But then, The Man is (in what is probably a romantic gesture of his own, or possibly a guilty one for being at band pratice all afternoon) actually putting the kids to bed by himself for the first time since he broke his rib, enabling me to write this post.

“Don’t cha luv it when a plan comes together?”

Monserous Mending

Recently The Boy has acquired several pairs of new trousers (in addition to the three pairs that I’ve made recently, his wonderful big cousin scored him 2 pairs of brightly coloured jeans and 2 pairs of bright lightweight trousers for the summer), so I thought it was about time to make a little room in his wardrobe and get rid of the green corduroy pair that have got to the Well-They-Do-Just-Still-Fit-But-For-How-Much-Longer stage. But then I realised that the fabric is almost threadbare in the knees (as well as stained with who knows what) and I couldn’t pass them on when they might rip upon a first wear from the recipient.

My oh so accurate fabric cutting - all ready to get stuck in to the mend now

My oh so accurate fabric cutting – all ready to get stuck in to the mend now

Time to do a bit of mending then. An excellent excuse to try more knee monsters. But I was right out of thick red fabric, so I ended up using a scrap piece of thin red fabric and the bottoms of some grey school trousers that had been slavaged into shorts. The grey added strength. I pinned both to the back and then stitched the design, err, I guess you could call it free hand, but making it up as I went in order to take in the worst bits was more like it.

Fabric pinned behind and design stitched on (via hole picked in side seam) prior to cutting

Fabric pinned behind and design stitched on (via hole picked in side seam) prior to cutting

Then I cut away just the green fabric to make a red mouth and and both the green and the red to make grey eyes. Reverse applique in action. Then I zig zagged over the edges to keep everything in place, and added some teeth and centres to the eyes while I was at it. Then it was just a case of resewing and finishing the side seam where I’d unpicked it. The other side I did in different colours, cos if it’s meant to look different you don’t have to worry about getting it to match!

Voila!

Voila!

They met with the Boys approval this morning before they got passed on in the playground – destined for the little brother of one of the Girls friends. I was a little worried he’d be jealous, but when asked he said he’d rather have his new starry trousers. Phew.