Friday, 1 August 2014

In which I make a skirt and three bags

Here at J and P towers, I've been sewing like ermmm.... a mad sewing thing.   

I've made a skirt.

Did you notice the nonchalant way I said that?   As if making a skirt is no big deal for me.  Well, let me tell you, dear readers, that it IS a very BIG deal indeed.


I wanted to make a skirt without a zip (I'm a bit scared of zips) and my colleague, who makes clothes, recommended the Miette wraparound skirt from the  Tilly and the Buttons blog.  Yes, Tilly from the first series of the Great British Sewing Bee.  My colleague said that the pattern was so easy that even a fool could do it.  Well, I have to say that she was damn right.


I used a vintage sheet.  Not my favourite vintage sheet.  I was going to go for yellow but I was worried that I might cock-up on my first foray into skirt making and ruin a perfectly acceptable yellow sheet.  So I went for the green so I wouldn't have been too disappointed if I'd made a mess of it.

Mad twirling action

It took me a while to do but only because I lost pieces half way through (clearing up before and after builders *heavy sigh*).
Close up

It's two sizes too big (don't ask.....) but fortunately, because it's a wraparound, it hides that fact quite well. 

And I'm wearing it back to front (I know, what am I like?) but I prefer it that way.

Buoyed up by my skirt success, I've also made three drawstring bags.

And they double-up as perfect pillowcases for camping purposes.

Yes, you read that correctly.  A bag- come-pillowcase.  Who knew there was such a thing?  Well, there isn't.  Until now that is.  I've actually just invented it.

Take an ugly blow up camping pillow.  A quid from the pound shop.  Too small for a normal pillowcase.

Take one drawstring bag and place the ugly pillow inside:

See what I mean?  Perfect for when we go to Canada for our hols.

Note the casual way I said that.

Canada.  For.  Our.  Hols.

Toronto.  Followed by camping out in the wilds of Ontario.  We're taking our three-man tent, sleeping bags, camping mats and our ugly blow-up pillows encased in their beautiful pillow slips come drawstring bags of course.

Here's hoping we don't meet any black bears *gulp* (grizzlies are further north I think). 


See you on the other side...xx

Monday, 14 July 2014


It's great having an allotment.  Not that I spend much time down there.  That's Mr J and P's domain.

I do, however, help water occasionally and pick the odd produce.  

I also like to prance about taking photos and marvelling at how creative and inventive our fellow allotmenteers are.

Take a look at the lion heads that adorn this frame for a hanging basket:

What I especially like is the clever re-use of stuff found in skips like these old shower screens as a cold frame:

This rusty old cooking oil can has been re- used as a herb planter:

Ingenious use of discarded wire drawers to protect lettuces and the like:

Roof tiles or some such thing used to make a path:

Blimey, some clever sod has fashioned these tree trunks into stools:

I always like a bit of scarecrow action:

 Poor ickle teddy looks a bit worse for wear doesn't he?

See how this swing doubles up as a frame for runners:

And there's always the odd aluminium watering can to drool over:

I love how this allotmenteer has painted their shed and bench:

Cute planter:

 These sweet peas look divine growing on this painted wooden ladder:

OK, that's enough prancing about, taking photos.  I've got serious work to do.  We're awash, at the moment, with Mr J and P's rather perfect plums (er hem) and I need to get harvesting.

Adios amigos.  xx

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Mr That'll Do Desmond and Ms Bare Minimum Betty strike again

Hello world.

It's been a while.

We've been busy.  Reluctantly so.

You see, Mr J and P and me (aka Mr That'll Do Desmond and Ms Bare Minimum Betty) are becoming dab hands at cleaning up after builders.

Yes, we've had them in AGAIN and yes, we've spent an age clearing up after them.  It's so boring.  All I want to do is fritter round the edges.  You know, sew a few cushion covers, make paper bunting, play with vintage wallpaper and washi tape.  Frankly, I'm sick of this heavy duty cleaning lark.

One thing that we've got the builders to do is something that we've ALWAYS done ourselves and that is painting.  So we've had the kitchen and the back bedroom painted.  

The kitchen walls are now green and for some inexplicable reason they almost made me want to go out and buy loads of green accessories.  Yes, me!  As you know, I'm not a matchy matchy type of person. 

Peer through the bottles of wine and you can see the green we chose:

Very feeble attempts at green matchy matchyness:

The back bedroom looks very minimalist at the moment.  Just the bed at the moment. 

 and a little vintage metal container which I sprayed white and which is being used as a very small bedside table.  The little lavender pillow you see is from lovely Jenny.

I've painted one Billy book case which needs to go back in (more about the Billy book case debacle when I feel strong enough to blog about it).  We had a second Billy book case in the room originally but I've decided that it's for the chop.  The room is too small to accommodate both.

 Mr J and P is not a happy bunny because getting rid of the book case means that we need to pare down our books *gulp*.  He's a little bugger when it comes to books and even more useless at culling his collection than me.  Even worse, he's still buying books when I've actually stopped (I know I'm buying every damn thing else but we'll gloss over that for the mo.....).

I hate to sound like an uneducated moron, but his books are so darn thick.  They take up far too much room on the shelves.
Thick tomes.

At least I've found a good use for his four volumes (yes, I said four volumes) of Don Quixote:

Propping up the telly very nicely:

Bye all. xx

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

DIY Dolt

DIY Dolt....
That's me.
In case you were wondering.

I talked recently about being slapdash and impatient about making things - see my wallpapered clock here.

Well, I'm sorry to say, here are a couple more tales of crafting mishaps.  All you perfectionists out there, look away now...

Buoyed up by the success of my Suffolk puffs here, I thought I'd make a big Suffolk puff and turn it into  a round cushion cover.  Only I didn't measure up properly and when I'd finished gathering the puff around my cushion, there wasn't enough fabric.  Doesn't matter, I thought.  I'll make a second, smaller suffolk puff and stitch it to the gaping hole where the fabric didn't cover the cushion  (I hope I'm making sense here).  It looked OK.  But a little off centre.  So I thought I'd shake the cushion, hoping that it would lose its skew-whiffness.  No chance.  It made it worse.

See what I mean?  And this is looking at the cushion dead on.
 And I'm not unpicking the stitching.  Because I can't be arsed.  I've just turned it round so no-one can see the mess I've made of the other side.

Perfectionist?  Not moi.

I'm also a bit of a twit when it comes to following instructions.  (At least I read them unlike some people in my family who shall remain nameless).

I bought this dinky suitcase from the charity shop recently and discovered some fabulous old legs on a table that was literally rotting away in our damp cellar.

I thought it would be a good idea to make a suitcase table.  Lots of these on the internet.  Instructions say that you should put a piece of plywood or mdf  in the bottom of the case and drill the leg attachments in.  I'm embarrassed to say that I ignored that bit.  I didn't think it was necessary and attached the legs straight onto the case.  With the result that the table was VERY wobbly.  VERY WOBBLY INDEED.  Mr J and P reminded me that the reason you need the wood or mdf in the suitcase bottom is to make the whole construction sturdy and stable.  Aaah yes, that would be a good idea.  So I had to remove the legs and find a bit of mdf and do the whole damn thing all over again.

Here it is in its finished, only slightly wobbly state (it is SLIGHTLY wobbly, as the mdf I used was too thin and I really can't be bothered to remove it and start the whole process yet again).

See what I mean?  A DIY Dolt.  With First Class Honours and a Distinction in Can't be Arsedness *sigh*.

Some people never learn eh?  My mum used to say to me "you get older and you get more stupid every day".  Dammit, she was right after all....


Monday, 10 March 2014

Suffolk puffs on my jeans

I'm very much a jeans and t shirt kind of gal.  So recently, when both my favourite jeans (my 50p skinny jeans from a jumble and a pair of flares that I've had for ever) developed a few rips and holes, I was not a happy bunny.

I hate patching jeans.  In fact, I can't do it properly and it never lasts. But I'd seen this lovely hexagon flower patch here and was very tempted to try something like it:


The only thing was that the big flower hexagon thing wouldn't have worked very well on the numerous little rips on my flared jeans.

I'd seen suffolk puffs being used to embellish cushion covers, bags and even tops but never jeans.  So I thought I'd give it a go.

Lots of instructions everywhere on the net and they are super-easy to do.  Super-easy is always good in my book.

I sewed them on the offending holes and rips and voila!



Little Miss J and P could not take a decent shot of my backside - too much camera shake (I can't think why):

This is best of a bad bunch
A less scarey shot of  my behind
Not sure how long they'll keep further rips and holes at bay but I think they look cute.  Practicality was never my strong point......  xx

Friday, 7 February 2014

Attention to detail is not my strong point

I've always liked the white acrylic cuckoo clock in our hallway but felt it looked a little bland against the yellow wall.

So, I rediscovered some glorious 70s wallpaper from the fabulous Vintage Sheet Addict which was languishing in a drawer.  I traced round the clock and hacked away at the outline using a (virtually blunt) craft knife.

I wasn't able to remove the clock hands so I cut the wallpapering covering in half (badly) and glued it on the clock easing it around the middle bit and the hands.

Et voila!

If you look very carefully you can see the joins of the two halves of wallpaper and a fair few bubbles. *Sigh* I did say that my attention to detail was rubbish didn't I?

Mr J and P says that the solution is dim lighting.  The man has a point.

Little Miss J and P says that I needn't worry, she won't be looking at it anytime soon as "it's so disgusting." Errr thanks.

Oh well, I'm quite pleased with it and it doesn't look too botched....from a distance... [STOP PRESS:  when I last looked at the clock this morning, I couldn't see any bubbles whatsoever *huzzah*]

How about you?  What are you like when you're doing a spot of diy or being creative?  Are you, like me, a "devil-may-care dumb-ass"?  Or a "picky perfectionist"?  I'd love to know.  xx