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January 2014

Brit Sewing Thursday Linky (30th Jan 2014)

This week’s sewing project has been a bag to put all Theo’s Lego in. Probably a sack is a better name for it, as it’s huge, but then again he has a lot of Lego!

legobag

The fabric is from Ikea. It’s canvas weight, extra wide and a bargain £6 a metre. I used half a metre and have another half metre ready for making into a second sack (for something else, not more Lego!)

I was intending to do my usual thing of threading the pull cord invisibly through a folded hem at the top, but my husband suggested using the rivets and weaving in and out. The rivets weren’t cheap (£6.50 for a pack of 15, of which I used 9) but I love the result. It seems appropriately nautical and together with the heavyweight fabric and french seams, should mean this bag will last a long time.

I myself have a pull cord bag my mum made me about 30 years ago which is still in use, so I’d like to think this one might last long enough to be Theo’s laundry sack when he’s at university!

legobag2

legobag3

The lettering is felt which I attached with Heat N Bond Ultra (a bit of a cop out, but…) and I used a pull-cord-plastic-widget-thing from my stash to secure the cord.

It’s too heavy and big for Theo to lift at the moment, so it gets dragged round the house a lot, but I think it will stand it.

What have you been up to?


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5 weeks to go – And something exciting has been ordered for the garden!

With five weeks to go before our build begins things are really starting to pick up a pace. I met with the Harbour Conservancy yesterday, new fencing is being installed tomorrow and a skip arrives on Friday to dispose of the remains of our damp garage.

Talking of which, I told you last week that we were considering our options with what to replace it with. Well now we have FINALLY made a decision… and we’ve placed an order. I obviously don’t have a photo of the one we’ll be getting (it’s being made in a factory somewhere as we speak) but this is the (half painted!) model at the show village we visited…

Outside room

It’s 5×3 metres externally and about 4.5×2.5metres internally due to the width of the insulation. The idea is that when it arrives (in about 6 weeks) it will provide much needed storage during the build and then will become my sewing room – yes!

On this subject, I asked Jim how he would feel about me escaping into the garden “for a couple of hours at a time” (I was feeling brave) and his response was “If it means I can get away from the drone of that sewing machine, it will be wonderful!” (That’s spousal approval right?)

You can finish these buildings in any colour you choose, so ours will match the cladding on the house and I have so many ideas for the inside. I’d like a small space for photography (probably something like a backdrop that can be rolled away) a big table for sewing and somewhere to hang all my mini quilts. It’ll be the end of the summer before I claim it as my own space, but I can’t wait!
 

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Living Arrows 4/52

Living Arrows 4/52

by Clare Mansell

I’ve really struggled since Theo was born to find the right balance of kiddy pictures and parenting content on this blog. For a while I did an update once a month, but even that started to seem self-indulgent and so I stopped. But the problem is without the reason to capture the photos I start to drift with recording his life.

Last night when I was browsing round blogs I found a link-up that I have decided I want to take part in. The idea is to capture one photo of your child every week as they grow. Just one photo, I can commit to that.

Nursery hands

And so we came home from nursery today and I took the first photo. His hands are covered in glue and pen, a little glimpse of the morning he has had. The time I didn’t see.

Theo loves nursery. He never hesitates as I leave him, just dives in to whatever activity is laid out for the day. We recently started allowing him to stay for lunch on one of his three mornings and he really enjoys it. In fact he’s tried his luck a few times with sitting down and helping himself on days where I am collecting him at 12. Last Friday he got away with it. Sat there with a big grin on his face while I had to wait for him to empty his plate of his free lunch.

He smiles at everyone and I believe that if he keeps that up, he’ll go far.

living arrows

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Picking colours for our house – your help needed!

Tomorrow I have a meeting with Chichester Harbour Conservancy to discuss the materials we are using to finish our house. In our local area the Harbour Conservancy have a lot of input into planning decisions. They have an extensive policy document which details how building design can minimise its visual impact on the environment and the local council takes a lot of notice of their advice and recommendations.

By consulting with them tomorrow I hope to achieve their approval on the finish before I apply to get it officially approved by the council. We do already have planning permission, but this is a separate stage of approval we have to go through with materials prior to building.

As you can see from the artist’s impressions, the finish of our house will be part render and part weatherboard. We are hoping to be able to finish the roof in something that looks like slate (but not slate itself as it costs a fortune!) and we hope to stick with white UPVC windows (all the windows at the front will be new, but many elsewhere are staying and are already UPVC.) However we do need to make decisions about he render and the weatherboard.

So, this is what we fancy for the weatherboard colour…. It’s called Boothbay Blue and is one of those colours that looks grey or blue depending on the light. It should also meet with approval from the Harbour Conservancy as it blends in to the landscape well.

But what colour for the render? Should it match the weatherboard or contrast with it? I fear a light render won’t meet their approval, but if we match the weatherboard will the whole house look like a battleship? Our front door will be red by the way, that bit fortunately has never been a matter for debate!

All opinions and comments much appreciated!

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Surviving my first semester as a mature student with IDI…

 
When I decided to become a mature student last summer, I cast around the internet for information about the organisation I wanted to study with and found hardly any. I was about to commit to 4 years study and a large student debt and I was desperate to find experiences of real people to tell me what it would be like and whether it would be worth it.

I’ve now completed my first semester and my first module and I know the answers to the kind of questions I was asking 3 months ago, so I wanted to do a blog post about it to help others in the future…

Firstly I’m a part-time student studying Graphic Design with the Interactive Design Institute. IDI advises that this involves about 20 hours study a week and I’d say that so far that’s been pretty accurate. Theo is in nursery three mornings a week and by the time the dog walk is done, I have 6 hours across those mornings to work and I’m very strict about doing nothing else in that time. In addition I work every lunchtime when he has his nap and I do a couple of hours every evening. I very rarely watch TV during the week and I don’t have time for sewing. It’s a heck of a commitment and I have no idea how you’d manage it if you work full-time. In fact from what I’ve seen discussed online I might be pretty much the only person who didn’t fall behind to some degree this semester and that has a lot to do with my own personal determination and obsessive organisational skills.

As far as the course content goes. A lot of the reason I wanted to study was to learn how to use Adobe Illustrator and in some ways that target has been met, but not directly by the course content. IDI introduces you to the very basics of Illustrator, but if you want to learn more you have to teach yourself. As I now have a motivation and purpose to do so I have been doing exactly that and its been very fulfilling, but again so much of the course is about what you put in yourself.

Distance learning institutions like IDI often advertise themselves as a cheaper higher education alternative for school-leavers and it’s true, they are, but if I was advising a school-leaver I would never recommend this route. At 18 you do not have the discipline to keep the momentum of study up and you miss out on loads that you’d experience at a bricks and mortar university. Going the other route might mean your debt is larger, but personally I think you are more likely to end up with a qualification to go with it too.

Anyway, the point is I have survived and completed my first module! Our brief was to design a poster to advertise a typographical conference, but of course it was much more than that. There was copious research, many hours of idea generation and development work and then there was at the very end, one poster. As a graphic designer you must fight the urge all along to over-complicate your design and you need to get the message across in a simple visually compelling way. I have a long way to go and a steep learning curve to climb, but I have my first poster and I have the knowledge that with one semester under my belt, I have now surpassed my previous record of university attendance 20 years ago!

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