Recycling and the Common Good

“When people become self-centered and self-enclosed, their greed increases. The emptier a person’s heart is, the more he or she needs things to buy, own and consume. It becomes almost impossible to accept the limits imposed by reality. In this horizon, a genuine sense of the common good also disappears” – Pope Francis on consumerism in his encyclical Laudato Si.

I’ve finally jumped on the recycling bandwagon. Yes I know, I’ve lived in this country before but you can get away with ignoring the recycling truck if you live in a flat. For the record, we are still living in a flat, but it’s a smaller building with only 7 apartments and a rather dodgy rubbish shed. So yes, the final push factor to start recycling stemmed purely from a desire to reduce my visits to the smelly and filthy rubbish shed and a morbid fear that the waste collection men would find out I wasn’t recycling!

In the beginning, I didn’t even know where to get the recycling bags! But our trusty local residents facebook group pointed me towards the Council website where a few clicks gets you a pack of 26 sacks sent conveniently to your mailbox. I always thought recycling was complex, simply because of how they differentiate recycling bins in public spaces – I believe it’s one bin for glass, another for paper….another for mixed use recycling? Anyway, so thankfully with residential recycling it’s fairly straightforward and the sacks are helpfully labeled with what’s recyclable – paper, food tins and drink cans, glass, plastic bottles and pots, aerosols and cartons.  I was nervous my first week of recycling as I know the recycling truck can reject your sack if there is stuff in there that’s not recycable, but off I went at 7am on Wednesday morning to put out our very first 2 sacks on the street. I know this sounds silly but it was immensely satisfying to peek out the window and watch the truck collect my sacks. Perfecto!

Since then, I’ve been recycling with enthusiasm. On a weekly basis, we have 2 sacks and it’s rewarding to see just how much can be recycled. It’s also made me more aware of what I throw out in the rubbish and led to a desire to reduce what we consume and save what we can. I know the law on plastic bags has come into effect, but I’m still proud to say that I bought recycled shopping bags from Waitrose and Asda beforehand! I don’t even know why we didn’t before…it makes packing groceries at the counter just so much quicker.

I hope to teach the bubs to live wisely, to think deeply and be socially conscious about the world we live in. I know that one of the best ways to teach our young is to set an example and a reduction in consumerism, care for our environment, and reusing what we can,  is one that I hope to impart.

 

Autumn (mis)Adventures

Autumn in London is always a curious experience especially when you’ve experienced the colorful canopy of red and gold leaves cascading everywhere in other parts of the world. Predictably, it is a wet and cold day today and I’m waiting for the bubs to wake up before taking him for a stay and play session. We have had a busy schedule this September without even meaning to. I suppose its part and parcel of integrating with local community life and being inevitably drawn into the rounds of mums and bubs sessions.

My sewing has been much like Autumn in London. Rather unpredictable, indifferent, and at times, dispassionate. I blame it on spending too much time ogling at Tamal on the Bake Off…

I started and then stopped sewing this Vogue pattern for a long sleeved shirt and now regret the waste of a pretty cotton lawn fabric.

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I suppose this happens when you try to take shortcuts and leave out interfacing which was what happened. I was a little too lazy to interface the neckline and while it turned out okay-ish without it, the hemming was rather awful to look at and barked “HOMEMADE” rather than “handmade” if you know what I mean (see pic below).

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Setting in the sleeves was similarly a ‘meh’ experience with too much bunching on one side.

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By the time I got to cutting it through the front to sew buttons I was ready to trash this project….

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I know, I know…its a great waste of fabric and truth be told, it’s a lovely comfortable cotton lawn that looks great with jeans and is just right for this autumn weather. I got as far as sewing buttons on, but then realised that I needed to sew in another button right on top and was just too demotivated to switch the presser foot again. So the blouse is currently on the backburner and folded away in my sewing cupboard to take up again on another day where hopefully flashes of sewing brilliance will inspire me with it.

For now, I’ve returned to my comfort zone of sewing for my son. I managed to squeeze in a long sleeved envelope neckline shirt for the bubs and here he is with it looking like he’s pole dancing 🙂

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We have moved to London!

Just a short note that we have finally made the move to London! It’s been madness settling in and sorting out phone lines, internet (I am typing this entry using my mobile as we dont yet have wifi), new play areas, new nap routines…. but as you can see, the bubba is enjoying it! 🙂

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At the QE Olympic Park

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At Millwall Park

We sadly lost our beautiful and beloved Milo last week in Singapore.

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(Wanting to join in the bubba’s pool fun)

He had a heart condition and was on meds for it. But it was time, I think, for him to run free in happy hunting grounds. We were really sad that we couldnt be there for him, but it was very quick when the end came and we are grateful he didnt suffer. We will always love him and remember him.

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Pictured here with Duffy.

We are still settling in and my boxes with my Husqvarna have yet to arrive. I have always liked the John Lewis sewing machine with its vintage colours and couldnt resist buying one even though it’s a fairly basic machine!

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I only managed to fit my cutting board in to my suitcase and so had to buy new scisscors, pins, threads and a rotary cutter. You can never have too many sewing equipment anyways!

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I have been wanting to sew Sewaholic’s oakridge blouse for the longest time but we are still settling in and ordering a ton of household things through amazon so I thought Id wait a little and use this Vogue pattern as practice first. I am seeing version B.

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I chose a pretty pink cotton lawn from the John Lewis store and am so excited!

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Wish me luck. In between waiting for deliveries and taking the bubba out to the park, I’ve just about traced ONE sleeve out. Hopefully my sewing productivity will improve once all my boxes arrive and we’ve set up a cosy home during this beautiful (if slightly wet) summer.

Pea Fritters

It doesn’t quite seem to be the blog thing to cook something and then write how awful it is.

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But there always is a first time. Pea fritters is what I like to call “Pinterest food” – good to look at, widely hailed as yummy, with exhortations all over the internet that you have.to.try.it.NAO.

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So I did, because I read a Baby-Led Weaning recipe version of it.

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There are various versions of the Pea Fritter. None stray very far from peas, flour (you can also use wholewheat), eggs, spring onions, lemon zest, and baking powder. For more depth of flavour, you can add salt, herbs, and cheese.

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I’m not seriously convinced salt and/or cheese would make this fritter anymore interesting, but I do believe eating it together with a Yoghurt dip would make it more refreshing.

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I ate my fritters with Tomato Cheese Fusili as I had no dips in my fridge to speak of. I remain puzzled about Pea Fritters. The internet keeps saying it’s ‘a healthy recipe”, but seriously how healthy can it be when it’s fried? And yes you do need to add that much vegetable oil otherwise the fritters stick and burn. I originally planned to give a fritter to the Bubba to try, but decided against it in the end. Thoroughly disappointed and so I’m giving this Pea Fritter food fad a big fat 0!

Onesies

A quick browse through Etsy will show that many shops sells customised onesies but few actually sell onesies sewn from scratch.

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Dont ask me why but the idea of sewing your own bubba a onesie from scratch appeals 120% to me. Yes it involves knit fabric. Yes it involves snapping on fiddly poppers. But knit fabric and poppers are just really so much easier when it’s for someone who weighs less than 10kg 😇

What I used

I know there are quite a few PDF patterns that you can download on the internet to sew up a baby onesie. The one I contemplated using was by Shwin and Shwin  but in the end I decided on Simplicity 2291 as I wanted the flexibility to sew a long-sleeved onesie for the bubs. Nonetheless, Shwin and Shwin’s webpage is a really good tutorial/pictorial on how to put together a onesie which is pretty invaluable. Plus what an adorable baby to look at as well! 🙂

I used knit fabric for all three versions I sewed from Spotlight. You need about half a metre for a onesie, and this includes bias binding if you choose to make it yourself. Also, poppers, as well as matching or contrasting threads.

Sewing the Onesie up 

Simplicity’s pattern is a teeny unconventional insofar that it doesnt have an envelope neckline, but rather 2 poppers each on both shoulders. This can be quite tricky because quite frankly, there isn’t much time to measure equidistance between poppers when you’re looking after a teething baby 😉

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Version 1 was a fun doggy print. In this version, I made my own bias binding and used white thread. The pattern instructions are pretty clear and I had no real issues with it at all. My seam allowance was clearly over-generous but heck, babies grow!

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Version 2 was a really sweet bird themed knit print. In this version, I hacked off the sleeves to make it short as its much better suited to tropical weather.

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Word about the poppers, you need to source for small poppers otherwise they take up too much space. Also, put in the poppers AFTER you sew the bias binding on the neckline and set in the sleeves. Otherwise, it’s a really tight squeeze as you have to maneuver around them.

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In Version 3  I decided to play around with the poppers! I thought, since they are so fiddly, why not just use one big popper per shoulder instead?

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This was the least successful 😂

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As you can see from the pic one big popper doesnt do the trick.

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It just didnt sit flat at bubba’s shoulders and makes a rather messy neckline. I also had some serious haywire sewing on the bias bindings!

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The bubba was a good sport about it, however ☺

Sewlosophism

Sewing a onesie entirely from scratch may seem daunting. The commercial world will try to convince you, that there is no point reinventing the wheel when thousands of factories churn out thousands of onesies every day. Why not just customise a onesie with appliques? Indeed I have (my next post! :)), and customisations can be really fun and cute. But there is nothing quite like sewing something 100% handmade for your nearest and dearest, even if the poppers and bindings aren’t perfect and are somewhat of a mess.  Plus, you can go wild on fabric choices and really stand out from the baby crowd! 😉  Handmade clothes are always full of love, good tidings, and fond memories, even if it has the odd sewing mistake here and there 🙂

Jumping Into June with the Great British Sewing Bee Jumpsuit

Jumpsuits for June in the sewing world’s calendar and I jumped right into it after reading about it here. HandmadeChris promptly listed all who dared jump into this challenge and there was no ignoring it after the post! 🙂

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So Wikipedia tells me that none other than Yves Saint Laurent invented the jumpsuit. I have never sewn a jumpsuit before but have had 2 in my closet after catching Samantha in a gorgeous flowy white jumpsuit in SATC. I like the jumpsuit for its comfort and wear-ability, and most of all for being able to accommodate and visually slim down my thunder thighs.

I chose the Great British Sewing Bee : Fashion with Fabric pattern. I must confess that Simplicity 1355 came very close in the pattern stakes but after considering the number of boxes left to pack I decided to go with the #GBSB pattern. I had also previously sewn the #GBSB camisole top and was curious to see it in jumpsuit form.

After toying with a red gingham fabric (yes what was I thinking!), I went with a cotton floral print. The process itself starts off with making the pants first and that was easily done within an evening.

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I did a couple of things differently with the top this time. A rolled hem instead of pin hemming for the frill.

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I also skipped inserting a facing and sewed it directly on to the main body. Sorry! Facings can be such a pain and I didn’t think the fabric needed it :p

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Finally, pants were joined to the camisole with bias binding and elastic.

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And voila! In its jumpsuit glory. Not quite the sort Mick Jagger prances dances around in, not quite the sort Lewis Hamilton crashes races around in, but just what it is, my very own #handmade jumpsuit!

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So what happened when I Jumped into June with this Jumpsuit?

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There was a huge amount of trepidation when it came down to the fitting crunch as this is a no-zip-no-button jumpsuit. But not too bad! The fit was essentially fine but I was too generous with the length of the straps and the frill was quite a disaster from the back as I didn’t match it properly.

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My favorite bit of this jumpsuit? The rolled hem in gorgeous blue thread that makes it so fun and flirty!

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Paired with a nice silver glittery shoe and you have a perfect party outfit. I prefer jumpsuits with a wider flare at the ankles but I suppose the #GBSB pattern was drafted this way because of the various hacks you can sew off it. In all honesty, without a pair of heels this jumpsuit can look a little frumpy if you have a long torso with short legs like me!

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And here we have Milo wanting to join in the camera fun together with Boop 🙂

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So there you have it, #jumpingintojune with all its fun and laughter. Here’s to a wonderful month ahead 🙂

Now what are we sewing for July!? 😉

 

 

 

 

 

Flying Ducks craft kit from The Makery

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This craft kit looked like a box full of absolute fun when I first spotted it in the John Lewis store at Oxford Street. Kitsch and classic at the same time, using a sewing machine? Sold!!

I confess it was a little daunting at first as I saw the pattern sheet before the instructions when I opened the box. A quick glance through the instructions, however, revealed that as long you can trace patterns and sew seams, the ducks are relatively easy to put together.  The instructions itself were clear, and I started off with the largest duck on The Makery’s advice that it would be the least fiddly. The tracing was slightly tedious as there are many parts, but once you match up the material and stuff in the wadding, it all becomes smooth sailing and in fact you don’t really need to refer to the instructions as everything falls into place logically.

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There is some hand sewing involved along the top of the duck when you sew in the wings. The kit comes with a needle and thread for this, as well as the flowery fabric that you see for the duck, as well as felt material for the beak and legs.

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The kit also contains a polka dot material to differentiate the front from the back of the duck. It’ a nice effect.

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You can hang the ducks up on a wall and the kit comes with an aid for this. However, I discovered that the size and shape of the duck is actually perfect for Boop – just the right size for him to grab and play with, with a lot more surface area for him to grab and throw around than say, a teddy bear.

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(Yes that’s my dog lying in front of him watching duck playtime).

wpid-20150528_195250.jpgThe beauty of this craft kit from The Makery is that it taught me how to put together a soft toy and/or 3D craft project. I’ve made dog pillows before with wadding, but it just never struck me that if I pushed myself that bit more, I could create something as beautiful as this flying duck that my baby is having so much fun with (and which is helping him develop his fine motor skills!).  For some reason, I just thought that making soft toys like ducks and other animals were just hugely complicated and so I never really bothered to see if I could make them.

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I’m now scouring the internet as well as Pinterest for crafting patterns to put together. There are some fun ones, like a giant squid sleeping bolster in the shape of Cthulhu. I have yet to put together the remaining two flying ducks, partly because I’m still relishing the creative experience and partly because I’m in the midst of moving halfway across the world to London.

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I would encourage anyone to reach out for a kit by The Makery (and no, this is not a sponsored post). The beauty of these kits, is that it not only teaches you new skills, but also piques your innate creativity to encourage you to go beyond the project itself, to explore the world of sewing and craft. So go on!  And make something today 🙂 #MakeryMakes.