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I believe this is technically known as an IKEA hack. Take a cheapo IKEA basic piece of furniture and make it look a bit less cheap and basic with paint/knobs etc.

This is for Martha's new bedroom and kept me busy today before the early school run for end of term. The Rast unit was £20 from IKEA last week. The teak colour woodstain/varnish was from Homebase (chosen to match an existing wardrobe) and I gave it an extra coat of clear on top. I picked the knobs up in TK Maxx, they were in packs of 4 hand painted vintagey knobs I like the mix and match look of them the wardrobe got some of these as well!

The hack involved making the flat pack unit (without the back board and drawer runners) and painting this and the drawer fronts 3 coats of teak varnish then one of clear to seal it properly – I imagine a few bedtime drinks will be spilled over it in the future! Then finishing the drawer build adding the new knobs and adding the runners and backboard to the unit.

Can't wait to get it in her new bedroom, but I need to wait for the carpet fitters first.

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It’s been a while, but am returning to posting with this costume made for my now 7 year old (how has that happened?). Her best friend is having a Frozen themed party next week and it seems this current Disney Frozen kiddy craze means there are no costumes to buy anywhere! And as the best friends have been Anna and Elsa every playtime since Christmas I felt I should get the sewing machine out!
I am in the middle of a house overhaul and in a recent cull of my collection of vintage fabrics found this 60s Regency Stripe fabric in dark olive green and cream, perfect for Anna’s skirt as worn to her sister Elsa’s coronation in the film. Before I found this I did have a plan to use a solid green dress lining I have and sew a contrast colour satin ribbon in stripes which I still think would work pretty well.
To make the skirt I sewed box pleats in 6″ lengths at the waist of the skirt, hiding the cream stripes inside, my fabric was only about 36″ wide so I used double width and sewed two seams to join the front to the back. I sewed a generous hem in the top and elasticated the waist gathering the pleated fabric to the size of Martha’s waist. Then cut and hemmed the bottom.
The corset top of Anna’s dress is a black spaghetti strap ladies vest from H&M in XS (£3.99). I had to shorten the straps by about 6″ unpicking them from the back cutting them shorter and reattaching. I then cut the hem of the vest into a point at the front and straight at the back a little lower than Martha’s waist so it would hide the waistband of the skirt. Then I edged the top and bottom with gold ribbon, I didn’t bother to hem the vest.
For the little capped sleeves I cut two squashed semi circles out of doubled over emerald green satin fabric. (The fold is the straight edge) and sewed them together right sides in leaving a gap in the middle of the curved edge to pull them right sides out. Then I attached the gold braid with bobbles on around the curved edge with a zigzag stitch also sealing up the gap. These were attached by hand sewing the end points to the vest top where the straps are joined to the body of the vest.
I know Anna’s sleeves in the film are edged with green lace, but I didn’t have any, however I found the gold bobble trim in another box of collected vintage sewing stuff and they reminded me of the bobble trim on Anna’s travelling cloak! (Yes I have done my homework!) I also had a plan to embellish the front of the corset with blue and pink fabric paint, but Martha is happy with it as it is and I am slightly afraid of spoiling what I think is a pretty decent job!
If necessity means that any readers out there are driven to trying out this make for their own Frozen costume, I would recommend looking for a similar curtain/upholstery fabric on eBay or Etsy, useful search terms would be regency/brocade/jacquard stripe. Or try the ribbon stripe effect. Please let me know how your projects turn out?

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This is a project I had been meaning to do for a while. I found these cute cross-stitched bibs in a charity shop last year – clearly made for a little one and never used. I really loved the cute retro mouse, but the little birdys were lovely too. I thought they would make a nice embellishment for a holiday t shirt so I carefully cut out the designs (as they had been stitched onto cotton aida fabric it made it super easy to cut out). I used bondaweb to iron on/stick each in place onto plain colour t shirts bought from H&M then sewed round them with a complimentary colour cotton thread.

My girls love them and they got a few compliments while we are on holiday over the half term as did the t-shirts!

Girls’ Bedroom

February 28, 2013

Just after Christmas Mr Peacock and I decided it was time to get the girls their bunk bed. These things always seem so simple!
We found a bed we liked (eventually) as most didn’t seem too solid for climbing up and down (repeatedly most nights) so it took a while to find one that didn’t look like it would collapse/tip over that fitted with the rest of the (antique pine coloured) furniture and didn’t require a remortgage! However it would only fit in the room with a complete refrigeration which meant that the enormous calpol stain on the carpet would not continue to be hidden under the bed. So a new carpet was ordered. So then we thought ok a lick of paint would be best before the new carpet was laid, and of course the girls wanted pink.
I hate pink. But I compromised (its not my bedroom) but we settled on a pale milkshake pink (Dulux ‘Sorbet’), it still makes me feel a bit queasy but at least you don’t feel it should be Barbie branded.
After that I thought I should make new bedroom curtains, but as none of this was in the budget I decided to re-use the old curtains lining and header tape and used a pale blue flat single sheet (£4.50 from ASDA), cut in half, so it was already hemmed, then sewed the sides to the lining, turned over the top and hid the raw edges with the tape. I did add a panel of patchwork towards the bottom to tie them into the patchwork quilts I promised the girls.
The quilts/patchwork fabric all came from my collection of vintage fabrics I have been lining the loft with for years, picked up at boot sales and charity shops they were once, curtains, bed sheets, duvet covers and the odd dress once. I cut nice big squares, 20cm square (plus seam allowance) I like the look of oversized patchwork particularly on kids beds the scale makes the beds and kids seem smaller! So each quilt was 7 squares wide by 10 squares long. I backed them with plain dye flat sheets (again) with a white sheet sandwiched in the middle so the thinner cotton fabrics in the patchwork didn’t show the underneath colour through. All sealed in with a strip of 1″ bias binding turned over the edge.
The other room dressings are a new painting (by me) of the ‘Owl and the Pussy Cat’ with Martha’s favourite toy cat in the pea green boat. A new white ‘lotus’ flower shape lampshade (Argos). And vintage blue ‘Antler’ suitcases for storage on top of the wardrobe.
It is a proper little girls room, they love it, but it still amazes me how a little bed upgrade snowballs into a major project!

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As promised, here is Martha’s Wednesday Addams costume prop, Pubert Addams. The freaky, moustachioed baby brother of Wednesday, who saves the day in ‘Addams Family Values’ the second Addams Family film.
I took a normal baby doll from the charity shop, he had blue eyes originally but I coloured these in with a brown sharpie, gave him a greyish skin tone, by lightly spraying him with a car spray primer, I painted on his hair with black acrylic paint and drew on his eyebrows and ‘tache, with a black sharpie. I added some eyelashes and a pinkish pva glaze to his mouth after a google image search of Pubert revealed a much prettier baby then I had remembered!
I made him a baby gro, out of a grey tshirt, I roughly drew round the dolls body, drew a spider on it and stitched it together on the doll.

Halloween Costumes

October 23, 2012

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I was going to call this post ‘Wednesday and the Wild Thing’ as I think it would make a great title for a kids book, but Halloween costumes is what they are.
I have wanted to make a Max from the Wild Things outfit for one of my kids ever since I can remember, the wild things was my favourite book when I was little, and fortunately Alice agreed to be a Wild Thing for Halloween this year. I used a butterick kids costume pattern, (I had used for Martha’s Halloween Pink Cat costume a few years ago). I started with the jumpsuit with a fluffy wolf tail made from cheap furry leg warmers from eBay. The fabric I used was brushed cotton or winciette in off white /cream, to give it more of a vintage feel. I made the hood part plain (no ears) and made and stuffed two triangles which I hand stitched into place.
Martha decided she wanted to be Wednesday Addams this year, from the Addams Family films she has recently become obsessed with. So watched it a few times to get a good idea of Wednesday’s outfits. I decided on the classic dark grey floral shirt dress with bright white collar. I managed to find a man’s shirt in the charity shop with a suitable size floral pattern and then dyed it black with a Dylon black hand dye, just dipping it quickly (not for the full 20 mins) before rinsing it out. When it was dry, I cut the collar and the sides of the shirt and sleeves down to the width of a 5 year old, and cut 2 new sleeves out of the old sleeves, then sewed up the sides, attached the sleeves and hemed them. I cut the white collar off and old one of my husband’s and sewed it onto the dress. Easy Peasy!
I am painting a charity shop bought baby doll as the moustached baby Pubert Addams, from Addams Family Values, as a prop for Martha and might make Alice a big fork, from the illustration where Max is chasing the Westie Dog.
Trick or Treat?

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I have never made ‘curd’ before, but my sister made lemon curd last year that was delicious, and while making the gooseberry jam the other day found a note for this recipe in my ‘River Cottage Preserves’ book. It is actually a recipe for Bramley lemon curd, but a note at the bottom suggests replacing the apples with gooseberries.
So I took 450g of Papa Peacock’s gooseberries (topped and tailed) and the zest of 2 unwaxed lemons and steamed these in the microwave (8 mins), then smushed the fruit through a sieve to make a smooth purée. I put this in a metal bowl over a pan of simmering water and added 125g of butter and 450g of sugar and the juice of the lemons and melted the butter. Then slowly poured in 4 large beaten eggs, whisking them in with a balloon whisk. Then I turned up the heat and cooked the mixture for 10 mins, my jam thermometer confirmed it had all reached 82 degrees c. Then when all smooth, glossy and creamy, I poured it into sterilised jars.
I have to say it is a bit of a faff, balancing the bowl on the saucepan with the thermometer and whisk threatening to tip the hot curd all over the hob, but absolutely worth the bother the curd is yummy scrummy, like the filling in a posh french ‘tarte au citron’, with an added fruity gooseberry fragrance. The book says it will last 4 weeks – yeah right!