Thursday, 5 March 2015

For the love of Sherlock and Miss Marple

Authors A to Z challenge
This month I am going to tackle authors beginning with C and hopefully D too.  We are huge fans of the Sherlock series starring Benedict Cumberbatch and I took my teenage drama queen to visit the Sherlock exhibition at the Museum of London during half term.  She loved every single bit of it and spent time looking with intense interest at everything.  The exhibition starts by walking through a secret door in a bookcase and takes you around walls filled with photo's, paintings, illustration from The Strand magazine and glass cases filled with Sherlockian artefacts.  (We were thrilled to put out bags and coats in locker 221!)

Following our trip, the TDQ was keen to read some Sherlock Holmes stories and I thought I'd join her. She is a voracious reader and so with my challenge in mind we downloaded The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for 99p on my kindle.  I'm sure in the distant past I have read some of the stories before but certainly not since I was a teenager.   

At a young age I began my lifelong love affair with Agatha Christie. I would pick up second hand copies of the books wherever I could and I'm pretty sure that I read all of them over the space of a couple of years.  Back then, I was a huge Poirot fan, but ever since I first saw Joan Hickson as Miss Marple in the 1980's tv series, I've had a huge sleuthing-old-biddy-crush on her. 

For me, these were the most perfect interpretations of the Marple books, with Joan Hickson being the embodiment of the divine Miss M.  My box set of 12 discs are what I turn to when I'm in need of some peace, comfort and escapism.  I love the step back in time to an era that was filled with elegant clothes, charming cottages nestled in quaint country villages and do not get me started on the tea services!  I'm fairly sure that this is where the flame of my love for all things vintage was sparked to life.  To have afternoon tea and hot buttered crumpets on the lawn with Miss Marple is my dream date. Especially if Mr Cumberbatch dropped in for a sniff of sherry and a bit of a gossip. Swoon.

I haven't actually read any Agatha Christie books for about thirty years, so I think it's about time I revisited them.  But where to start?!  I cannot tell you how excited I am about re-reading these well loved books.  I found the book above here on Etsy; I remember this cover so well and Nemesis was one of my favourites. 

Thanks again to Claire from Clarina's Contemplations for inspiring me to take part in her Authors A to Z challenge.  She is way ahead of me on this challenge, but I shall keep plugging on.  You can see how I started the journey in this post

Who is the better sleuth though?  Sherlock or Marple?  Who would win in a fight?!  I know who my money's on and she makes a mean pot of tea and knits a darn fine matinee jacket.

Happy World Book Day!

TTFN Galx 
PS This post is hooking up with the All About You linky :)

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Cut up your curtains! Review of latest Great British Sewing Bee Book

I'm hooked on series three of The Great British Sewing Bee and particularly loved the vintage inspired theme in the third episode.  My favorite bit of every show is the re-fashion challenge and I think Lorna did a super job in creating the skirt above from an old pair of curtains.

Inspired by the GBSB, I was really chuffed to find this lovely vintage cotton bedspread in a charity shop for five quid.  My head is spinning with possibilities for the fabric.  It's been handmade and the fabric has a gorgeous fluidity and weight to it that would work for a skirt, dress or blouse. 

I'm regularly hacking up old curtains to use the fabric for some other project, mostly aprons and bags so far.  What I love is that you can get a decent amount of fabric from a pair of old curtains and the fabric is usually of a good weight cotton and pretty cheap.  It's not all florals either; I've found some great blue and white striped cotton curtains that I've used to make reversible aprons.  The poppy curtains above have enough fabric for a lovely little skirt or dress for a little girl I think.

I was such a lucky gal last week, because I won the newly released Sewing Bee, Fashion with Fabric book. Woohoo!  The competition was run by Fiona from The Sewing Directory.  If you haven't already discovered this great resource then you should head on over to The Sewing Directory and have a look.  There are weekly competitions to win super sewing gubbins so don't forget to go and like the Facebook page as well.

Anyway, I love this book!  Some of the sewing projects are for garments that the contestants have already tackled in the Sewing Bee such as The Walkaway Dress above(this is one of my favourites), The Capri Trousers and The Elephant Ballerina costume.  It comes with a separate pack of full size sewing patterns for the 30 projects in the book, which is not bad for £16 (current Amazon price).  I also have the previous GBSB book, Sew Your Own Wardrobe, and I've found the projects really easy to follow.  

The book is aimed at people who have had limited sewing experience and explains all the basics but it also has a lot of projects for more experienced sewers too.  It tackles sewing with stretch fabrics, leather, lace and wool and each pattern has a 'pattern hack' for adapting the pattern which is a great feature of the book.  I'm keen to have a go at the Drapey Knit Dress, The Tweed and Faux Leather Jacket, The Kimono Jacket, The Capri Pants and....hang on, I actually want to make everything!  

There are only a couple of projects for men and three for kids but if you want to start making clothes for yourself (and your a gal), then I would recommend this book.  I think my first make is going to be the simple top above; perfect for some floaty cotton lawn and swanning about in the warm spring sunshine when it eventually arrives.  An easy project to jumpstart my sewing mojo.

So, back to this lovely vintage cotton and dreams of a swingy skirt or pretty tea dress.  Anyone else out there making clothes with old curtain fabric?  And who are you backing to win the Great British Sewing Bee?!  I think that army engineer Neil has my vote.

That's all from me; Sewing Me, Sewing You, Aha! Galx

PS We are linking up with the All About You linky at Mamma and More

PPS  I am also linking up with Michelle at Bod For Tea with her #ShareTheJoy linky for the first time

PPS Also, linking up with ClaireJustine for her #CreativeMondays bloghop for the first time :)

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