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2017 Make Nine Challenge

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New Year, new challenges – there are so many interesting ideas around, and I’d like to join in with lots of them, but I must be sensible and not over commit!
 
I am going to add one more to my #52weeksofblockprintandstitch though, because I really like the #2017makenine challenge.
 
The nine I’ve chosen to sew this year are a mix of patterns I’ve had for ages, a year old UFO, some which need me to learn new sewing skills and a few for my smallest niece and nephew.
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1. This Burda 6987 coat has been hanging unfinished in my wardrobe for over a year! Top priority.
2. Another Banksia top – I loved the first one I made, but the fabric wasn’t great. I have a beautiful soft chambray for this.
3. Vogue 1395 – one of the many patterns I bought with great enthusiasm, and didn’t make up.
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4. Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers – I haven’t made trousers before, and these have had great reviews. I love the shape.
5. Colette Beignet – bought it, didn’t make it. I have some denim for this and the trousers.
6. DKNY Vogue 2941 – the skirt is a beautiful shape, with a gathered hem. I like the camisole and kimono top too…
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7. I’ve had Girls Style Book for ages, waiting for tiny niece Greta to be big enough for the patterns. There are some beautiful things for summer, including this dress, some bubble shorts, a wrap back top – I like almost all of them.
8. Burda kids 9482 – I want to use up some of the larger knit remnants I have left over from other projects. Hoodies seem ideal, and it’s nice to have a pattern for nephews too.
9. Gigi dress by Olive Ann designs – that bow back! And it comes with a matching pattern for an 18″ doll dress. Perfect.
 
I have masses of other patterns I would like to make, and plenty of fabric to make them, but if I can make these nine I’ll be very happy.

2017 Weekly Resolution Project

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My New Year resolution for 2017 is year long, as I’m joining in with Kristin of Brooklyn Haberdashery‘s #our52weekproject on Instagram.

I took part in the 100 day project a couple of years ago and loved it.  It can be a life changer, and was for me, but it is a huge commitment.  I’m sorry to say I gave up after a month last year.

Committing to a weekly project over the year seemed more managable, and I think the steady commitment will help me grow creatively and establish good habits.  The main lesson I took from my 100 day project was that if you keep doing something you will get better at it!

My project is #52weeksofblockprintandstitch.  I’ve kept it quite broad so I can carve blocks, print with them, or stitch with the fabric I’ve printed – or do all three if I’m feeling inspired that week.

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This week, I printed some hares onto gold and silver metallic linen, and I’ll be incorporating them into patchwork panels for pouches.

If you’d like to keep in touch with my project, I’m dottie_doodle on Instagram.

UPDATE! In February, I changed my project to #52weeksofquilt.

The quilt of purpleness

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My Mum loves purple.  I don’t – or didn’t.  After making this quilt, I’m coming around to the idea!

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It was truly a pleasure choosing the fabrics to make a lap quilt for her birthday, and I love the way they work together.  I added in some pink from my stash, but everything else was bought for this project.

The pattern is adapted from the Day to Night Quilt from Quick and Easy Quilts  by Lynne Goldsworthy.  It’s a great book, because it combines some more tricky techniques with simpler ones, making the quilts relatively quick to make, but still being interesting to look at.

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The triangle/pinwheel centre took some time, but the brick pattern around the outside was very quick.

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I backed it with some daisy print cotton in grey/blue, made wider with a line of colourful bricks.

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And finally, some scrappy binding!

Quick and Easy Quilts  by Lynne Goldsworthy

Purple fabrics from Sew Hot

Make & Review – Sewing Happiness

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I’ve been making a few projects from Sewing Happiness by Sanae Ishida this month.  A while ago, I volunteered as a pattern tester and Sanae very kindly sent me a copy when it was published.

As well as a book of projects, Sewing Happiness is part memoir, and account of how Sanae came to sewing.  Like Sanae, I’m a huge fan of enjoying ‘the practice’ and doing something regularly to get better at it.  Without pressure, but also wanting to improve.

Last year I took part in the 100 Day Project.  Every day for 100 days I cooked a new (to me) recipe. And guess what – I got better at cooking.  I’m more confident, more able to substitute ingredients, more willing to give a new technique a go.  Some days were more successful than others, but it was always edible!  Sanae’s experience of sewing sounds very similar.

I also like her take on using social media “There is an overarching sense of terror about creating something that didn’t exist befoe and putting it out into the world for judgment, but when you do it repeatedly, the confidence muscle strengthens”.

I’ve made four of the projects from the book so far.

The fabric origimi butterfly above is for a tooth fairy pillow.  There is a little pocket formed by the wing folds.  It took me a little while to get the folds right, but I’m delighted with the result.  It is so pretty and delicate.

Then I made a fabric bucket to hold bottles in the bathroom.

The blue triangle bag was my tester pattern and is another project that uses origami folds.  I especially like the strip of contrasting fabric used as the handle.  The infinity scarf is made from double gauze – melissa makes made me one as a gift, and I’ve since made several for friends inspired by her use of contrasting fabrics.

It’s unusual for me to try so many ideas from one book.  The projects are straightforward, but have some interesting and unusual techniques too, and they are perfect for showing off special fabric.

Is still want to make some aprons, a dopp kit and try some sashiko.  And surely  there is room for a floral crown in my life?!

If you want to make beautiful presents which don’t take forever, it is a wonderful book to have.

I’ve been reading…

dottie-doodle-books-october-2016When I’m not sewing, I’m often reading. Here are some of my favourites this year.
 
A three-month old baby girl is the only survivor after a plane crash, and she is claimed by two very different families. Beautifully constructed, with memorable characters, and it kept me guessing until the very end.
 
This is brilliant. Nearly 500 pages, and I read it on holiday in a day. I couldn’t put it down. Kate wakes up in hospital after an accident with post-traumatic amnesia. But she does have memories, which belong to a lady who lived 400 years ago. Reminded me of the BBC series The Living and the Dead.
 
A series of interconnecting tales. Absorbing and covers so many aspects of modern life – from reality tv to the supernatural.
 
Frank is 82 and decides to risk his home and life savings to fly to help his daughter in Los Angeles. Funny, sad and crazy. I loved it.
 
Yasmin and her ten year old daughter Ruby set off on a journey across Northern Alaska to search for Ruby’s missing father. This is recommended on the back as a thriller – and it is – but the narrative of most of the book moves at a slow pace and Rosamund Lupton writes beautifully about love and having trust in a person. It made me want to watch Ice Road Truckers too – I never thought I’d say that!

The 100 Day Project – favourites

I told you last week about my 100 day project – which is to make a new recipe every day.  I enjoy taking part in challenges, and I think this one must be the most inspiring so far.  My challenge is creative, but mainly practical.  Many of the other people taking part are artists, and the work being produced is just amazing.  Especially when you know they are planning to produce something every day for 100 days!

Here are some of my favourites –

andilanuza is creating these beautiful illustrations of what she is wearing, and I love this glitter dress by tracy_drawz

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Please, please have a look at what animatedpaperpack is doing!  These animated balloons are hypnotic.  hey_jules_studio is creating a rainbow every day from everyday objects.

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Lovely flowers from kristiinaskilton and joycharde.

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masillustra draws groups of animals – these cows especially appealed to me as we live beside a farm.  The cows really do jump around like this when they are let out of the barns in the spring.

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You can find out more about the project here, and the hashtag #the100dayproject

Favourite Podcasts

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I wrote about how much I love listening to podcasts back in November, and since then I’ve found more and more to enjoy.

One or two  are quite new, so I thought you might be interested to hear about them, if you haven’t already.

My top three at the moment –

Dear Sugar Radio – based on the Dear Sugar advice column, with Cheryl Strayed (author of Wild) and Steve Almond.  Thoughtful and complex advice.

The Weekly Creative – Derek Walker chats about creative principles and how they apply to everyday situations.  I always feel like I’m catching up with an old friend when I’m listening.

Gretchen Rubin – the author of The Happiness Project discusses with her sister strategies for improving happiness.