No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

In the bag - Ta-dah!


My iPad cover.  What I made.  All by myself.  Gosh, how clever am I!

I would like to tell you it was nothing really, just something I knocked out in an afternoon.  But this has been tormenting me for about a month now.  I even got up early one Saturday recently because I thought I'd cracked it, only to find myself ripping it apart again in frustration later in the day.

Never one to make it easy on myself, I didn't think to look up a pattern.  Or at least I did, but I didn't think any pattern would accommodate the beautiful piece of fabric with the car that I wanted to form the front flap, and I knew if I found a pattern I wouldn't be able to adapt it, so I ploughed on.  To give you an idea of how many times I re-did this, I went through a whole spool of thread...  I know, right?

And now that I've got it sorted, I can't believe how stupid I was being all along.  And of course the answer was so simple, and had been staring me in the face.  All I needed to do was to follow the way I made my bags (sort of).  I knew I didn't want any exposed seams on the sides because they would come apart after awhile, but I must have tried every possible variation of folding and stitching before it dawned on me that I needed an inner pocket sewn right sides together and left that way, and an outer pocket sewn right sides together and then turned inside out so that the right sides faced out.  And then the inner pocket could, well, sit inside the outer pocket.  Genius!

That only left the flap, and I knew I only had this little piece of fabric to work with so necessity made that bit quite straightforward in the end.

So, there you go - my first ever made up made thing, ever.  Isn't it pretty?  Do you like it?  Do you really?  And doesn't my iPad look the business tucked away in there?

If I'm honest, I will tell you that in fact I didn't make the pockets high enough, so that when the ipad is inside, the flap comes over but you can't see all the car, which niggles me.  But I still love the colour combination and the travel motif (nothing if not obvious) and the general feel of the thing.  And did I mention that I made it?  Me.

And just in time - I am off on my travels tomorrow (Afghanistan and Lebanon - not sure how I feel about that...) and will be out of touch for a week or more.  Will be thinking of you all and looking forward to hearing how you're getting on.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Madison Square Park

This weekend was all about staying indoors out of the rain and generally moping around.  But I still haven't told you about the perfection of last Sunday, when the sky was blue and Mr. P. and I meandered down to one of our favourite parts of the city.  Madison Square Park lies on 23rd Street, where 5th Avenue and Broadway converge.  It's also next to one of my favourite buildings in the whole city.  I don't know how many photos of Flatiron I've taken over the years, but I can't be near it without trying to capture its magnificence.

The park was packed because there was a food festival going on...

... complete with a stall that made ice lollies the old fashioned way, sprinkling cordial over the shavings of a glistening iceberg....

But we weren't there for the food festival.  

New Yorkers are an impatient bunch as a rule.  They don't wait for anything.  But, rain or shine, they wait for Shake Shack...

... Which gives everyone time to admire the blousy tulips...

... and the calming hydrangeas...

... and make new friends...

Though even he got a bit bored in the end...

But, finally, we made it to the top of the queue and scarfed down burgers and shakes with the best of them.  

And afterwards, through the trees, we came across this fabulous creation...

It's by Jaume Plensa and is called Echo.  He took as his inspiration a 9 year old neighbour of his in Barcelona.  I can't tell you what an electrifying thing it is to see amid the buildings all around the Square and the people milling around.

It's made even more impressive by its 44ft height.

Just breathtaking.  And the perfect, tranquil end to a busy, happy day.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Hoola hoops

Seen yesterday in the late afternoon light...

How on earth did they do that?


Sunday, May 15, 2011

(A bit of a cheat, but...) Ta Dah!

Mr. P is in England at the moment, taking to an architect and builder about the old lady house. I had to stay here and work, which I'm feeling a bit peevish about even though I know we both didn't need to be there, and that gallivanting across the Atlantic every couple of weeks is all very well but we have to watch our pennies at the moment if we are going to have any money to spend once the house is bought.

And it's raining. And will keep raining for the next 5 days if the weather forecast is at all accurate. So to take my mind off my strop and the weather, I decided to do some crafting. (It was either that or endless episodes of Lie to Me...). I tried first to fix the iPad cover I started to make a few weeks back. All I achieved was to understand how to use my seam ripper. If anyone needs lessons in using this nifty little tool, I'm your woman. I can tell you that an empty flat is just the place for this exercise, because I had free reign to swear liberally and loudly all afternoon.

I eventually abandoned my efforts in favour of repeating an earlier success. If in doubt, stick to what you know...

So I made another bag. Smaller this time, because I had less material, and because I wanted it to be useful for my 8 year old niece.

I'd found this lovely fabric at Purl Soho when I made my first bag. It's so Springy and happy and has this lovely pattern on a deliciously slubby thick cotton...

Very Princess and the Pea... I decided to use grey thread which would blend with the darker colour way and provide contrast to the yellow fabric...

I realise this was a bit risky since my days of sewing in straight lines are obviously yet before me, but still... It has all the same feature as the first bag, with a magnetic snap for the outer pocket and two smaller pockets on the inside...

And, of course, it's reversible and washable.

Having made it once already, this came together pretty quickly and I'm chuffed to bits with it. I only hope my niece likes it too. Do you?

P.S. I realise I've been completely crap lately, not really crafting much, and not commenting on all your lovely blogs. But I am reading them all and planning lots of future projects, so please bear with me. There's just lots going on right now.
P.P.S. The quality of photos is appalling because Mr. P. went off to England with the cable that connects my SLR to the computer, so these were transferred using the Blogger App on my iPad, which clearly doesn't do photos.  Humph.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Only living boy in New York

When I was 17, I lost my heart to a boy called Adam.  I spent a Summer moping after him when he lost interest.  But what has stayed with me like a stone in my shoe is not that he stopped calling.  But that he had seen Simon and Garfunkel play in Central Park and I had not.  Now I live in New York.  And tonight, I saw Paul Simon live in concert.  There were so many songs I wanted him to play.  And I was nervous that somehow it wouldn't be the same after all these years of hankering to see him.  But I needn't have worried.  He played so many and I loved every minute of it.

Call me Al,  Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes, Kodachrome, 50 ways to Leave your Lover,The Obvious Child, Hearts and Bones, The Sound of Silence, The Boy in the Bubble, Mother and Child Reunion, Late in the Evening, Slip Slidin Away, Still Crazy After All These Years.  And of course, The Only Living Boy in New York....

I really wanted him to play Kathy's Song but he didn't.  So I thought I'd play it for him (and you).

It may not have been the reunion concert in Central Park, but I have seen Paul Simon play in New York City and I am a happy woman.

And welcome welcome welcome to new followers.  So lovely to have you here.


Sunday, May 8, 2011


I'm very excited about my latest ebay purchases.  These beauties arrived in the post yesterday and I LOVE them.  I've been seeing these horses in all the interior magazines recently but wasn't sure how to find them.  And then in an idle moment I put 'wooden horse' into the ebay search and there they were waiting for me.  They have their original stickers on their bellies, which tell me that they are Olsen horses from Mora and Nusnas in Sweden.  I love the folkloric nature of the background to them, that these Dala horses were first made as wooden toys for children, carved in the long winter months in log cabins up and down the land.  But most of all I love the colours, their subtle variations signifying where they came from, like the patterns in an Aran jumper revealing the family that knit them.

These are bigger than I expected (despite the accurate measurements by the seller).  Or maybe they have even more presence than I expected.  They are now standing guard on my bookshelf, protecting my precious collection of short stories.

Aren't they just beautiful?

Oh and before I forget again, thank you all very much for your suggestions as to how to clean the "my first embroidery" picture.  I'm sorry it has taken my until now to come back to you.  And I have good news.  It looks so much better than it did when I brought it home, looking like this ....

In the end I took rather drastic action and splashed soapy water on it and rubbed it gently with a nailbrush and rinsed it with cold water.  (It was kind of kill or cure).  Fortunately the blithe approach worked and now it looks like this, hanging happily in my hall...

(There's still a little stain in the bottom left hand corner but it's kind of in shadow so I don't notice it so much.)  I think it came from a smoky house because lots of yellow water came out as I was cleaning it.  Now it looks so jolly and Springy and I love it.  Not bad for $5.  Thanks everybody.  You're lovely and amazing.

Hope you're having a lovely weekend.  Fabulous weather here (at last) so off out to the flea market down the road.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

April Sampler (better late than never...)

I love making these.  I thought I hadn't taken any photos this month, but here they are after all.  I was going to do some of the old lady house (I'm obsessing about this at the moment).  But all the ones I took are of weird angles or long shots so that I could remember the detail of each room.  There are no pretty photos.  But I promise I'll do before and after shots when the time comes.  For now, here is April.


Monday, May 2, 2011

Random distractions

Thank you so much lovely ladies for all your birthday wishes.  In truth I am feeling thoroughly discombobulated at the moment.  And no real crafting to speak of either (though my acquisition of material for future projects goes on...)  So I thought I'd apply a scatter gun approach to this post and let you in on what I've seen and done over the last couple of days in the hope that you won't notice that there are no granny squares or sewing bags or knitting or the like to pique your interest.  Bear with me.

I know that the blossom has been out in the UK for some weeks now, but we're just playing catch up here. This weekend was the cherry blossom festival held every year in Brooklyn Botanical Gardens.  I'd not been before.  But everyone else was there already...

I'm told that the BBG is usually quite a quiet place to hang out.  Not on Sunday.  Despite that, the blossom was pretty amazing...

... and almost enough to make up for random Westerners dressed in Kimonos made in China and socks and flip flops.  Whatever you're into I guess...

On the way home I called in to see a friend and passed this amazing display on the way....

And today I saw these pretties all lined up for a team talk before taking up their positions in Saks' window.  ...

Amazing how much attitude plastic mannequins can exude, even from behind....

(Btw, if anyone knows how to turn the background noise of window reflections down on photographs, I'd love to hear from you.)

And someone else I saw with attitude of another kind, riding on the bus....

You got a problem with that?

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