LastMinuteLucie and the search for time

Archive for March, 2013

Easter ‘make a day’ – Day Three: over the shoulder boulder holder

I have to tell you from the outset that I suffer from a fair quantity of boobage.

Whilst this is ok and sometimes even attractive when well strapped and supported, in a standard swimming costume it simply takes on a life of its own.

The reason I am sharing this somewhat personal information is that I recently went back to swimming lengths as a form of exercise. I hadn’t swum for some time and needed a new cossie, which I bought at a well known sports discount store, as I didn’t have £50+ to spend on one made with proper bra sizes. The down side of this purchase was the generic fit – well and good in all aspects bar the bust.

I have, incidentally and it turns out serendipitously, been tidying the room that purports to be my bedroom. I have my suspicions that it has been replaced by the cupboard under the stairs while I slept, it’s so full of STUFF. However, in amongst the piles I found an old moulded-cup bra – a little soft and saggy, a little too well worn – and I decided to marry it to my cossie!

My lovely daughter pinned me into the two items and having managed to get it off again without spearing myself, I have sewn one to the other. It’s not the sexiest cossie in the world, but now at least I can tell my bosom from my waistline, which is always a plus…and I’m looking forward to trying it out at the pool this week.

cossie with support-you can see the black straps sewn to the blue costume

close up

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Easter ‘make a day’ – Day Two: Oz Owl

I had within easy reach a pair of needles, an oddment of wool and a pattern – how could I resist a quick knit?

Cast on twelve stitches, garter stitch approximately 25 rows, cast off, fold in half, sew, stuff, sew and add a face.

Please Welcome, Oz Owl.

little knit

Easter ‘make’ a day – Day One: Nail Art

It’s the Easter holidays-Hurrah!

I am lucky having a job that runs term time because I get to spend time with my girls and spend time with myself, away from the rat race every few weeks.

In the spirit of making time to create I have issued myself a challenge for this first week of the break – a ‘make’ a day.

Here ‘make’ covers all art forms I am interested in: painting, drawing, sewing, cooking and so on and includes all media: beauty products, recycled materials, paint, food, fabric etc. As I have an overflowing mending basket I may allow myself to include these pieces if I make a change to a garment as well as fix it.

So.

Day One was yesterday. I went the fancy nails route.

I love fancy nails. It’s the miniature art thing.

I really never thought I would be any good at painting with a four hair brush, but apparently I can. Thank goodness really, because my youngest daughter requested leopard print nails! Her faith in my abilities is gratifying and I was glad I could oblige. I used a yellow gold base and, lacking black, used navy blue polish to paint each little spot.

handpainted leopard print

handpainted leopard print nails

My older daughter had a nail art kit for her birthday which consisted of fake nails and some glitter bits and pieces. We had fun with glueing on the nails first of all – she was terrified she’d never get them off again and I suppose they would feel weird the first time you wear them ever. We got over that bump and I went for teal with one nail in pink, each tipped with teeny tiny beads from the kit.

cupcake nails

I think they look like hundreds and thousands. I may have to make cake.

No plans yet for today. Perhaps an opportunity will present itself. Perhaps I will have to make time.

Aside

any excuse!

Any Excuse!

My oldest daughter had a couple of friends to stay last night – a birthday party of sorts – usually referred to, without any sense of irony, as a sleepover.

Lack of sleep aside, it gave me many more opportunities for small bouts of creativity.

before disaster struck

I watched my daughter use an icing bag recently, with royal icing in it (she has her own blog Ilovecakeandcakelovesme@wordpress.com) and I thought ‘I’ll give that a go, looks easy enough.’

Well I was right – if you can use a pen you can pretty much use an icing bag. Unfortunately for me my royal icing mix was a little soft, so when I tried to lift my handsome blue owls off the greaseproof and place them on my little squares of iced cake for the party bag, they broke spectacularly! Being of a waste not want not nature, I used them as sprinkles. They made a change from hundreds and thousands…

we ❤ bath bombs

I like to let my girls spend time doing nothing.

What I mean by that is I like to allow them time to find something to do by themselves, something unscheduled or not adult led. It’s worked a treat – except that when they come up with ideas for activities when their friends come, I can hardly say no.

With her party in mind and not wanting her guests to be bored, my daughter took due note of the Blue Peter instructions (see link below) for making bath bombs with bicarb, cream of tartar, food flavouring and colouring and water.  It was like making bicarb sandcastles.  As with sandcastles though, the water content is crucial.

When we freed these from the silicone mould we had a bit of crumblage, so I wrapped them artistically in foil to maintain the heart shape for the party bag and instructed the girls to ensure they opened them over the bath!

I’m sure they will fizz beautifully at the appropriate moment…

When I was a girl and ‘Why Don’t You’ was still on TV, shrinking crisp packets in the oven was practically a national pastime.

I can’t actually remember what we did with them after they were shrunk, but I was happy to see this particular fashion come full circle, apparently featuring on ‘Totally Rubbish’ recently. (that link doesn’t seem to be available, sorry.) Basically, heat your oven to around 120* C and line baking sheets with greaseproof paper before putting your (plastic) crisp packets on. Some shrink quicker than others. They will curl, but you can flatten them when you take them out, under another sheet of greaseproof but remember they are H.O.T !!

My only recommendation is: really make sure you preheat the oven and then watch them like the proverbial hawk. 30 seconds can mean the difference between a perfectly shrunk recognisable crisp packet and an unrecognisable blob of strange stretchy springy plastic.

I love googly eyes. They just make anything they are attached to funny. We made these fellas into brooches with a little safety pin duct- taped to the back.

what just happened?I think we just got zapped!

what just happened?
I think we just got zapped!

Finally, I have an odd penchant for patterned fingernails. I think they just appeal to the paintbrush holder in me – an opportunity to do something in miniature (remember, I bought the magnifier light).

Plus it seems to make me the best mum ever. Which is a bonus.

Aside

last minute lucie strikes again

Unusually I have had a creative moment at the beginning of the week.

Not so much a case of making time, but a case of having to – my daughter’s birthday is tomorrow. I have shoehorned in a decorated cake as well as the owl motif t-shirt I’ve been meaning to make for ooh, let’s see, a fortnight…

Anyway, here is the cake.

owl on a branch - in case you were wondering...

owl on a branch – in case you were wondering…

You can see I went for sweets as the easy option, but I love the way he’s come out. I find him most amusing.

The thing that took the longest however was the t-shirt. Here are the ingredients:

ingredients

a lovely french blue t-shirt from Primark, various pieces of old clothes fabric from my ever expanding stash and some bondaweb.

I took inspiration from the wrapping paper I’ve used on my daughter’s gifts so far ( her first phone, house keys…you can see we are growing up here) and drew some freehand shapes on the fabric. This first attempt I wasn’t very happy with – the pink stripe is way too strong.

a bit Batman and Robin this one

After that I got into the zone and the fabric started to make sense, inasmuch as the patterns began to show their affiliations, and I put together the pieces using bondaweb. Finally the built up owls took their place on the fabric branch and made this lovely design.

Unfortunately I won’t fit into this t-shirt, but as I’m pretty sure my daughter will like it we should be ok….. I am still contemplating hand stitching the edges of the motif, but for now I am happy with it and my daughter – who knows me well – will understand if I take it back at a later stage to add a little more.

11 already. Sheesh, where does time go?

a facelift for an old bag

the before shot

the before shot

revamped!

When we go food shopping we take our trusty bags with us. They come in all shapes and sizes – Bags For Life, hessian bags, fabric bags, freezer bags, plasticised tote bags, canvas bags…and most of them I have been given or acquired somehow.

Recently however, two of the hessian bags had started looking a little worse for wear – the handles are good and the print on the outside is fine but the inside finishing had come away, leaving them soft and saggy.

I understood how they felt and was compelled to give these perfectly good shopping companions a facelift so that it we could continue stepping out together and they would hold my purchases with pride once more.

I had some material in my stash that came from a man who makes cushion covers for garden furniture. It is strong and durable – if not in the frontline of fashion design – and slightly waterproof toboot.

Measuring each section of one of my bags I cut out two ‘front’ panels (or a front and back if you prefer), two side panels and a bottom panel. These I stitched on my machine using a standard seam allowance. Trying it on the old bag for size, I found that it was a little too big, so to remedy this and to add a little design detail, I ‘french seamed’ them so that the seams had a decorative ridge on the right side of the fabric.

As the inside of the hessian bag had become unsightly as well as soft and saggy I turned it inside out so that the lining of my bag would be the decorated fronts. I also used an old Amazon cardboard wrapper (see, there’s a reason I keep everything!) and some duct tape to make a new card base which I placed into the bottom of my new bag before inserting the old one.

Keeping the handles free, I stitched (slowly because it was pretty thick) the turned in top of the new bag to the top of the hessian bag and ‘eh voila!’ one useful and attractive revamped shopping bag.

As I have more than one piece of the aforementioned fabric in my stash, and it was so easy to do, I have no excuse for not giving the second bag its facelift in the next few days…

Aside

the psychology of pancakes

serendipitous expression of love

serendipitous expression of love

In our house pancakes are a treat.

They are Friday’s breakfast if we get up early enough, because that’s the day we don’t have to go to Breakfast Club.

They are the reward for tidying your bedroom on a Saturday morning.

They take time to make – the measuring (or in my case guessing until it feels right) of ingredients, the standing time, the heating of the pan to ‘just right’, the standing over the stove watching for the right moment to flip each little morsel and judging when they are perfect for stacking.

They are a labour of love.

So when I turned a pancake and saw this heart I felt that the love I put in had a physical form.

They were tasty too.

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