Why I Love Handmade: An Incredible Gift

I'm sitting here weeping, happy sad tears. I've just received the most wonderful, truly special handmade gift, and it has just brought home to me why I love handmade things. The love, time and care put into a handmade gift is never lost, it stays there, and can be felt years later. 

A dear family friend has just sent me this gift, a beautiful crocheted shawl my mum made for her when she was having her youngest. Of course our family friend treasured it, used it often and her son and first grandson were even christened in it. Now she has sent it to me, so my baby will get to use it, a shawl made with love by his or her grandma, who would love them so so much. 

My mum passed away almost ten years ago, and of course I miss her very much. She was an amazing lady and she also loved making things, and she instilled in me my love of making and sewing. Since being pregnant I have been thinking of her a lot, thinking of what it would have been like if she had been here, and also what an incredible mum she was. If I can be half as good a mum as she was I will be happy! Being pregnant and already feeling the bond between me and my unborn baby, I have a new kind of appreciation of her as well, for everything she went through for me and for everything she gave me as a mum. I couldn't have asked for more and I'm just so grateful I got to spend 20 years with her!

So now, having this shawl that she made has made me so incredibly happy. It's a way for me to feel that she is here with me and the baby on this huge new adventure, and it will remind me of her in the best way. When I'm finding things difficult hopefully it will help remind me of mum and remind me to follow her example. 

I'm incredibly touched and grateful that our family friend has treasured the shawl for so long and made the thoughtful gesture to pass it on to me. It's so so kind and it really means the world to me.

It has also reminded me why I love making things, why it is a special and wonderful thing to create, and that the time and care put into special handmade items will always transcend the years and be much much more than just a beautiful gift. Friends, when we make we put a little bit of our soul into what we are making. Energy cannot be created or destroyed, just transferred. I think this applies to crafting, too. 

Love to all. Keep making, beautiful people. 

A Quilt for Our Baby

The first thing I have made for our baby is this triangle quilt. I wanted to include lots of colours, and was pretty set on using solid colours. As a print lover, it came as a bit of a surprise, even to me, that I was so drawn to making a solids only quilt!

Baby's first quilt
In the end, I found a quilt on Pinterest that I loved so much that I completely copied the colour scheme. I went for an equilateral triangle quilt this time, and since I had purchased skinny quarters of all of my fabrics, let the length of each piece dictate the size of my triangles. I cut each piece in half and cut my triangles from those strips using this method, so these triangles are 12.5cm tall. If I were making another equilateral triangle quilt I would definitely make my triangles bigger than this, just to reduce cutting and sewing time! I'm a lazy quilter!

I went for a layout with no particular pattern or order, but just made sure I was happy with the overall balance and that no colour was immediately next to itself. I'm so so happy with the finished design, it's exactly what I had in mind.

The quilt is 45" square, which I thought might be a useful size as a playmat, receiving blanket or pram blanket.  Once baby is here I can report back on how useful it actually is!

I deferred to Liam again when I couldn't decide on a backing colour, he loved the maroon colour so I went with that. Unfortunately I was a bit stingy with my order and didn't have quite enough, so I had to break it up with two rows of triangles. I like this design, the only thing that bugs me slightly is that the seams don't match up with the quilting. I kind of knew this would happen, but I also knew that I couldn't bring myself to care enough to line it all up exactly! Sometimes close enough is good enough for me.

Anyway it's certainly nice to look at, so I'm already calling it a success. It was pleasure to sew, which I did in short bursts, and to watch it come together was so satisfying. I've grown to love this quilting lark! 

(My previous quilts are here, here and here).

Swishy viscose maternity T-shirt dress

Well travelled apple dress (maternity dress hack of New Look 6217)
I have finally finished my first maternity make, and I have to say I'm so glad to now have another piece of clothing in rotation! I'm now down to about 5 outfits on rotation so I desperately needed this dress.

It's a hack of my favourite woven T shirt pattern, New Look 6217 (which I've made here and here before as tops), which I began right back when I had just found out I was pregnant. Then the sickness hit and this poor project sat, all cut out, in a bag waiting to be sewn up. Of course, once I got round to it over the last couple of weeks, it was a quick and easy sew, and it is so comfy!

My maternity hack

My first port of call was to lengthen the top to a dress length. Pretty straightforward. 

Then I created extra room in the belly by slashing and spreading from the new "hem" up to just under the bust. I wanted a really swingy, swishy dress so I thought this would both give me room for the bump and also extra volume at the hem. I was right! 

I also slashed and spread a tiny bit on the back piece, though nowhere near as much, since I won't really be needing more room in the back. 

The only back shot I got! Oops!
I dipped the hem down at the front, so that when I get reaaallllly big it won't ride up indecently at the front, it will hopefully be more level. The good news is I think it will fit me all the way to the end of the pregnancy, there is so much room! Maybe even too much room! 

I also added ties into the side seams, just under the bust. I like to be able to create some kind of a waistline, so that I don't look like one big lump in a sack. It's nice to define the bump a little and it means I don't look like I'm drowning in all the extra material there is to grow into. 

Since my bust has grown with pregnancy, I decided to sew the side seams at 3/8" to give me slightly more room than in my T shirt version, which worked really well and hopefully allows for a bit more expansion as I keep growing!

The dress is so lovely and comfy, and in the springtime when the weather gets a bit warmer I think it will keep me nice and cool. Perhaps I can find a nice viscose print to make a brighter version in? This was such a quick and simple make (once I got my act together and actually sewed it up), and I have the pattern all altered so why not?! Birthday fabric maybe? 

I felt the fear and did it anyway!

You may notice something a bit unusual for me... my photos were taken outside for once! Honestly, my dark indoor photos have been bothering me for a while, so I decided to bite the bullet and go for it in the park with my tripod and remote. I don't know why but I've always had a daft mental block about taking pictures of myself in a public place. It makes me a bit self conscious! But I decided that I should just give it a go. I'm so glad I did. In all honestly no one else in the park was bothered (to be fair, every second person passing was probably a blogger anyway!!). I do have a long way to go in taking better photos! I know these aren't the best but hey, it's a step in the right direction. Here's to feeling the fear and doing it anyway!

Bump Update

I'm 27 weeks now, and baby has had a huge growth spurt over the past few weeks. I'm definitely feeling more and more pregnant! My bump is growing too of course and it's funny to see it change shape when baby moves into a new position. I can't believe I'm nearly in the third trimester already. It has all gone so quickly! I'm doing well, but getting more tired and out of breath on hills and things. I'm trying to shake off a cough and cold so that has taken it out of me a bit, but other than that I'm AOK. This week was good as I finally got round to having a hair cut. I'm not quite used to it yet but so far liking the long bob! Also I got the boots I'm wearing in these pictures (they're from Office). I loooove them, and it will be nice to have another comfortable footwear choice.

The case of the disappearing bump...
Ah, there it is.

Over and out friends, see you soon. x