Thursday, 2 April 2015

Finished Crochet - Cthulhu

Another monster from the Creepy Cute Crochet book is completed!  He was sitting about for a while, waiting for me to glue on some eyes (kindly provided by Tam's aunt again), but now he's back on the mantelpiece with his Grim Reaper pal.  This one's name is Cthulhu which, lovely reader Jennifer informed me, is a creation of H.P. Lovecraft, the horror author.  I feel like I need to go read some of his books now to get a better idea of what I'm dealing with here!  

This little guy was so easy to make, even if I did mess up the wings and make two the same instead of reversing the pattern, but meh.  Having went up a hook size from the body to do the Grim Reaper's head, I did the same here.  As you can see, I probably didn't need to, but he looks fine anyway.  It was constructed in the same way, except with three holes on the front of the head where the stitches were picked up afterwards to make the tentacle things.  Overall, I'd say he's really rather cute for a monster, even if I still can't work out how to say his name...


Wednesday, 1 April 2015

The Buyer's Archive - March

Last year I started keeping a note of the clothes I was buying.  My spending habits had decreased in recent times and I was craving more space and less stuff.  Being mindful about what my money went on with regards to non necessities seemed like the logical place to start.  I had an idea to compare my purchases from this time last year to the ones I've made this year and see if there's any change, and if I wasted my money on stuff that didn't last, or that I changed my mind about.  I talked about all my purchases last month, but I have to limit it to clothing this month.  I don't think my purse had much of a rest in March!  I feel a bit terrible about that, but when I looked at last March's purchases, they told a pretty similar story, so maybe I'm just an extreme seasonal shopper...

Starting with last years buys, here's what I got in March 2014...

  • H&M knits - Navy £5, Grey £10, Burgundy £10, Pattern £10 - I had a bit of sale mania here!  I discovered if I went up a couple of sizes, the sleeves would be long enough, so that explains it.  The only one I still have is the pattern cardigan though.  The grey and burgundy jumpers stretched out of shape after a couple of washes and caused the biggest fluff storm in the washing machine.  Seriously, some of my face cloths are still suffering.  The navy one I just went off the style, although I did send it to E in the clothes swap and she seemed to like it.  The cardigan is a bit stretched in the sleeves too, but I like the overall style so it stays.  For now.
  • H&M stripe blouse £14.99, burgundy mini skirt £12.99 - I can't find a picture of the blouse annoyingly, but it's oversize and navy and white striped and I love it.  The skirt I fell out with though.  I don't know why I keep buying skirts from there, they always seem to get shorter over time.
  • Monsoon floral dress - £27.50 - I wore this dress just the other day, so it's still in rotation and getting some love! 

  •  M&S loafers in Navy and Red - £25 each - I wore those cream loafers constantly when I first got them, so when I found other colours in the outlet I had to pick up more.  I thought I'd wear the red more, but I've hardly touched them, instead going for the navy or cream.  They're really only summer shoes so they'll come out again soon.  Three identical pairs of shoes may seem excessive but I have narrow feet that usually don't work with loafers so I take my chances when I get them!

Last March's total spend was... £140.48.  I do not feel good about that, especially since a few of the items lasted so little time.  On the bright side, I tend to just shop H&M for tshirts now, so I learned a lesson there.  Speaking of which, let's move on to this month's buys...

  • H&M tshirts - 4 @ £6.99 each - I love the fit and variety of their basics range so it's the only place I bother to look for tshirts on the high street now.  My natural instinct for dark colours was present when I was shopping for these but I did manage to get a slightly brighter blue shirt too.  The burgundy one is this long style, the two grey ones are these v necks and the blue is the round neck with a pocket.
  • Charity shop tshirts - 3 @ 99p each, 1 @ £2.49 - I wear tshirts just about every day when it gets warmer outside, so I can kinda justify this one.  Two of the 99p ones are mens shirts that will be cut into vests and the other was for tie dyeing.  The more expensive one was a light coloured one with longer sleeves in new condition, which was a good second hand find.

  • Hand knit cable vest from charity shop - £2 - I love this top.  I have no idea how to wear it.  It hangs in the wardrobe, staring at me,  Sigh.
  • M&S stripe shirt from charity shop - £3.50 - My love of the shirt is also well documented.  I suspect it'll get a lot of love in the future.
  • Dresses from charity shop - 99p, £3.99 & £5 - My most recent purchases, the two cheaper ones are vintage styles.  One fits perfectly and the other will need a slight remodel...  The more expensive one was a Matalan number in navy (my favourite) with a drapey style (also my favourite) and is just waiting to be ironed.  It was one of those things I picked up and couldn't wait to wear, so I suspect it'll appear in an outfit post soon.

Yeah...that was another shamefully long list!  I realised it's not often I shop the high street these days, but staying out the charity shops seems like it might be just as good an idea.  Total spend for this March was... £48.90.  I actually hadn't added it until now and thought it might be more, so I guess I got a good amount for my money.  I'm just not sure I need that many clothes though - April might be the time for a clamp down on unnecessary spending!


Monday, 30 March 2015

Trying Tie Dyeing with Dylon

National Craft Month is nearly over!  I wanted to squeeze in this last creation before it ended though, and Dylon were kind enough to help me out with my long time wish to try out tie dyeing.  Now, I must have missed a trend back in the 90s, because everyone I told about this craft told me they'd done it when they were kids.  So yeah, I'm a bit behind the times over here.  After trying it, I can't believe I've never dyed anything before.  (Well, minus that time I got a dye-in-the-machine packet and attempted to turn some cream shirts black.  They came out dirty cream.  Sigh.)  Here's what I did...

I got a white tshirt from the charity shop and a pack of Dylon's China Blue fabric dye.  They challenged me to create a new look for spring and this colour is the perfect Easter shade.  I also picked up a plain tote bag from Tiger to have a go at dip dyeing while the tshirt was soaking.

Making sure the shirt was clean and damp, I secured some sections with elastic bands.  I covered my work table with a plastic bag, although (for a change) I managed not to get the dye everywhere.  I did wear old pjs just in case though, my track record for keeping clean is not great.  Next, I mixed up the dye as the packet instructs, adding salt and stirring it up.  I used chopsticks for this task since I didn't fancy risking my spoons!

The dye gets added to a basin of warm water and stirred up again.  I followed the guide to the letter and it was such an easy process.  I'd just recommend you carve out a reasonable amount of time for the task, as you're about to see...

The t-shirt goes into the basin and is stirred continuously for fifteen minutes.  I had gloves on anyway so I just used my hands to swirl it around in the dye.  Don't worry about how dark the water looks, the end result is much more pastel!  After the initial stirring, I gave it another mix every few minutes for the next forty five.  I also draped the bag part way into the water at this point and just let it sit over the side.

An hours worth of stirring later, the shirt is ready to emerge.  I removed the elastic bands and did an initial rinse under the tap in cold water, then I switched to the hot tap and added some detergent to give it a quick wash through.

The water got squeezed out and the finished items were hung on the radiator to dry off.  Aren't they pretty?  I want to refashion the tote into a drawstring bag, but I haven't had a chance to get near my sewing machine yet, so that's a project for another day.

Now, the tie dye was awesome, but I had to tamper with the design just a bit more to make it really festive.  I don't tend to suit high necks so, using a side plate as a template, I cut around the neckline to make it more flattering, and also removed the sleeves.  Some tiny pompoms and fabric glue got in the way too...

...and voila!  One totally refashioned tshirt, fit for spring time.  It's amazing how much of a difference a few small changes can make to an old white top, and I'll definitely be trying something else with the dye.  Tam very kindly took the dyeing pictures for me so I think I'll have to dye something for him next...

*I was gifted a couple of packets of the dye from Dylon to try out some crafts but all opinions (and effort!) are my own*


Thursday, 26 March 2015

Stripes and a biker jacket

I wore this on Saturday for a wander around Glasgow with Tam.  It turned out to be the first properly warm day of the year, so the scarf was quickly ditched on the walk in!  I found this shirt in a charity shop last week and I totally love it.  Obviously it's menswear, since it perfectly long enough.  My jacket was gifted from Long Tall Sally from my #dearsally post in November, and I'm just getting to wear it now, since a non hooded jacket in winter was never gonna work.  It was almost too warm for Saturday, but I was glad for it on Sunday when the sun disappeared as we went out for lunch.

This might be one of my favourite outfits lately, even if my good old boots tried to kill my feet.  How can that be when I've been wearing them for two winters with no problems?!  I have a few blisters now, and they're definitely relegated to the shelf for a while.  Pah.

shirt - M&S (mens) via charity shop
jeans - Long Tall Sally
boots - DSW
scarf - Jigsaw via charity shop

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