DIY Yoga Mat

I’ve recently started a new yoga class which doesn’t supply mats so I have to bring my own. The only problem…I don’t have a bag to carry my mat to and from the class. Keeping my new year goals in mind, I decided that rather than go out and buy a bag I would make one.

I had picked up some pretty remnants of fabric last time I was shopping for threads so I decided to use them.

Fabric Remnanats

I measured my mat and sketched out a pattern idea, hoping that it would work! I’ve never really drafted my own pattern before but I figured that this was as good a place to start as any. I wanted a bag which fitted my mat, had a long enough strap that I could wart it as a cross body bag when I cycle and should have an internal pocket to fit my phone and any cash I might need.

I started out by cutting my pattern pieces and ironing interfacing onto the ends and internal pocket to try and ensure that the bag would hold it’s shape a bit and the pocket was stiff enough to hold my bits and pieces. I then sewed the pocket piece to the lining fabric.

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I decided to use the exterior fabric for the pocket to provide a bit of contrast to the inside of the bag.

Once I completed the pocket I joined together all the lining and exterior pieces and attached the zip. Next came lots of swearing and pinning as I tried to attach the ends and handle to the main body of the bag. This is where some more experience in pattern drafting would have come in handy. I realised that I should have changed the shape of my end pieces slightly and the handle could have been attached much more easily. However, I finally managed to finish and I’m really pleased with the outcome. It will be ideal for carting the bits and pieces I need for yoga as well as my mat. Having this nice new bag will encourage me to get out with my yoga mat much more!

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Food Gifts

Over Christmas I made a lot of hampers to give as gifts to friends and family. They were greatly appreciated and it made me feel great to give not only a gift people appreciated but also a gift I had made myself. Putting that extra time and effort was really rewarding and I love to hear people tell me how much they have enjoyed munching on the goodies I included.

All of the hampers had the same contents:

Lemon Curd, Chocolate & Coconut Truffles, Chocolate Dipped Meringues and Lemon Drizzle Cake. I printed up some wrapping paper, bags and tags using some cardstock and brown paper and all in all, I was pretty happy with the results.

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2015, Here I Come!

Like everybody else, I am starting 2015 by setting some goals. I don’t want to call them resoloutions as I feel it’s a bit more positive to achieve a goal bit by bit, rather than achieving or not a promise you make to yourself. I have always made a mental resolution in the past but usually, I’ve not stuck to them. I feel like actually writing down some goals and sharing them may help to ensure I achieve these goals.

Anyway, here we go for my 2015 goals.

1. Be Nicer to Myself: Like everybody else, I completely over indulged on rich foods and alcohol! I’m feeling completely unhealthy and ready to be kind to myself with some more fruits and veggies, moving a bit more and just replacing prosecco with water! I also want to ensure that I am not just kinder to my body, I also want to be kinder to myself in general. I am my own worst enemy when it comes to being self critical and piling on the stress. I want to try and change this behaviour, seeing the learning elements of mistakes and trying to reduce the stress in my life, by taking on fewer negative projects and replacing them with positive projects that give pleasure, rather than stress!

2. Be More Focussed: I love to start new projects, learn new skills and develop my experiences. However, my attention span can be a little goldfish-y and I have a mountain of unfinished projects. This year I want to really develop a coherent portfolio of completed projects. I also want to improve my non craft skills, using my blog and social media more effectively to share what I’m up to. I want to open and populate my Etsy shop.

3. Be More Frugal: I feel like I can be a bit wasteful. Whether that’s allowing food to go bad in the fridge, buying clothes and shoes I don’t need or being frivolous when I’m shopping, buying lots of cheap things I don’t need. This year I want to focus on buying and making quality, rather than quantity. If I need to buy something, ensuring it is well made and will last me a long time.

4.Do More of What Interests Me: This relates to Goal 1 a bit. I am guilty of agreeing to do things that don’t make me happy in order to keep the peace or make other people feel good. This year I want to be a bit stricter about what I agree to get involved in, if it doesn’t make me happy I want to avoid it. I know this isn’t always possible and obligations are always going to be there but I certainly want to cut down the amount of negative or unproductive things I have to do.

5.Be More Grateful: I’m not an ungrateful person but I want to look more at the positives in life. I want to take a little time each day to write at least one positive thing that happened or I felt that day. Even on the worst days I want to find one good thing to appreciate, no matter how small. I am hoping that in the long run, this will help me to have a more positive outlook on life.
What are your goals for 2015? How do you go about achieving your goals?

 

A Look at William Morris

He was ultra-modern, not merely up-to-date, but far ahead of it; his wall papers, his hangings, his tapestries and his printed books have twentieth century in every touch of them” George Bernard Shaw (Abrams, 2003)

William Morris (1834-1896) was a British textile designer, poet, novelist, social activist and translator. He developed a close relationship with the Pre Raphelite Brotherhood and became a forerunner of the Arts and Crafts movement. Morris was a strong advocate of the links between utility and art, he emphasized that design and production should not be separate from one another, the designer should be the maker;

Men whose hands were skilled in fashioning things could not help thinking the while and soon found out that their deft fingers could express some part of the tangle of their thoughts, and that this new pleasure hindered not their daily work, for in their very labour that they lived by lay the material in which their thought could be embodied; and this though they laboured, they laboured somewhat for these pleasure. (Morris, 2001)

Rooted in his social belief that art should not be a practice exclusive to the upper class, Morris emphasized the importance of the craftsman in the design and production of artworks. As in his literature, Morris often relates to a Medieval themes in his analysis of the designer/maker.

Morris further brings through the influence of the Medieval in his designs, many of his textile prints and weaves demonstrate a pastoral identity which show a development of Medieval styles.

In 1881, Morris acquired the Merton Abbey land and outhouses which were modified to become a mill and workhouse for Morris & Co. It was here that Morris was able to experiment with printed textiles and he produced Jasmine Trail;

(allposters.com, 2014)

 

and Tulip & Willow

Furnishing fabric - Tulip and Willow(Collections.vam.ac.uk, 2014)

 

Both of these early printed fabrics showcase beautifully the block printing technique that Morris is famed for.

Morris also created woven fabrics such as Peacock and Dragon

Detail of Peacock and Dragon(William-morris.co.uk, 2014)

 

This is one of my favourite Morris designs, I love the shade of blue used here and the clever interplay of the peacock and dragon motifs. Again, the block design is evident and the richness of the colour and design create depth and interest.

I identify with Morris’s ideal that the designer and maker should not be separated. for me, the act of creating one of my own designs is just as satisfying, If not more so, than the act of designing it in the first place. While many of his designs are not to my personal tastes, I can fully appreciate the innovation, intricacy and talent in the design and production.

And one of these strange choosing cloths was blue,

Wavy and long, and one was cut short and red;

No man could tell the better of the two.  (Morris 1850, quoted in Abrams 2003)

References:

Abrams, M. (2003). Norton anthology of english lit v 2 7th & cdrom. W. W. Norton & Company.

allposters.com, (2014). Jasmine Trail Curtain Design, 1868-70 (Printed Cotton) Giclee Print by William Morris at AllPosters.com. [online] Available at: http://www.allposters.com/-sp/Jasmine-Trail-Curtain-Design-1868-70-Printed-Cotton-Posters_i9043240_.htm [Accessed 19 Dec. 2014].

Collections.vam.ac.uk, (2014). Tulip and Willow | William Morris | V&A Search the Collections. [online] Available at: http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O78104/tulip-and-willow-furnishing-fabric-william-morris/ [Accessed 19 Dec. 2014].

Marxists.org, (2014). William Morris – The Arts and Crafts of To-day. [online] Available at: https://www.marxists.org/archive/morris/works/1889/today.htm [Accessed 18 Dec. 2014].

Morris, W. (2001). The Lesser Arts of Life. London: Electric Book Co.

Vam.ac.uk, (2014). Biography of William Morris – Victoria and Albert Museum. [online] Available at: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/b/biography-of-william-morris/ [Accessed 17 Dec. 2014].

Weinroth, M. (2008). William Morris’s Philosophy of Art. Canadian Aethetics, 15(1496-3140).

William-morris.co.uk, (2014). The Original Morris & Co – Arts and crafts, fabrics and wallpaper designs by William Morris & Company | A Full History | British/UK Fabrics and Wallpapers. [online] Available at: https://www.william-morris.co.uk/a-full-history/ [Accessed 18 Dec. 2014].

Wmgallery.org.uk, (2014). Collection | Themes | Peacock and Dragon | William Morris Gallery. [online] Available at: http://www.wmgallery.org.uk/collection/themes/william-morris/object/peacock-and-dragon-f26e-designed-1878 [Accessed 19 Dec. 2014].

My Creative Space

I love our spare room, it doubles as my craft room as is where I can house all my bits and bobs, work away til late and make a mess without getting in anyone’s way. It’s also a space where I can be a bit more girly.

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Crochet roses in a 2 litre beer stein I picked up in Munich, a collection of Orla Kiely storage housing a selection of haberdashery, Russian dolls and a pretty picture of wool.

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Crochet jam jar tea lights and some stuffed owls I made years ago decorate the bedside table. When the lights are lit they give a really warm, cost light to the room.

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My sewing machine has a cover made from a vintage curtain I picked up in the Rusty Zip in Belfast on a trip earlier this year. I love that this room has a mix and match policy as far as pattern goes. The curtains were also a Rusty Zip bargain but will soon be changed for some I’m making in Sanderson Dandelion clocks.

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In her time off from dressmaking, my dummy, Geraldine, gets decorated with some bowties and crochet flower bunting.

I hope you enjoyed your wee trip around my workspace. What kind of place do you work in? How do you make household spaces work for you?