Sunday, 6 November 2011

Knitting in New Cross

Sat in a cafe the other week with Eleanor (debating a suitable name for our theatre company) I saw a notice for a free afternoon of knitting. I signed up thinking if I was free then I'd enjoy a Sunday of knitting with locals. Might even progress past regular stitching!

By some miracle of scheduling on my part, I was actually free to attend. I had a lovely time whiling away 2hours with yarn, needles and cake. Under the patient instruction of Emma, our knitting guru, I even learned to purl. I can now knit one, purl one. Actually it was more like knit one, purl one, have one bite of cake, knit one, purl one (you get the idea).

I feel this is achievement enough and was perfectly happy to butcher a ball of yarn with my childish knitting while others created moss and stocking stitch creations. Someone had even done a Fair Isle pattern!

But hey, I'm not striving for knitting Nirvana. I'm perfectly chilled out from the afternoon's activities (which is more achievement for me than any knitting pattern). Definitely returning on the 4th December. Might attempt another stitch... Who knows...
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Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Finished Jeremy Kyle Skirt!

Finished! One simple elasticated floral knee length skirt. A very good JK episode too. Cheating Italians, confused gays and paranoid (and ugly) guys suspecting their innocent (and way more good looking) ladies. Standard.

I think I might add pockets to the skirt at a later date. But I can wear it out happily. An excellent morning's progress.
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the Jeremy Kyle Skirt Challenge

Its begun!
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The Jeremy Kyle Skirt

Currently on my bus home after a lovely night at work Had a drink and a gossip with my boss afterwards, a very nice night. I'm also enjoying my ability to blog on the bus using my BloggerDroid phone app and newly acquired 3G internet!

I've been so busy travelling about and working that I've been neglecting the sewing. I do enjoy seeing my floral material covered pride and joy sat on my desk. Its definitely keeping my projects at the forefront of my mind. Just need time!

But (as I sit on my bus mentally planning beautiful items and despairing at my lack of free time) sometimes these things are so simple and quick that they can be whipped up in no time at all. There's just no excuse.


I'm setting myself a challenge. I intend to sew a skirt tomorrow morning, during an episode of Jeremy Kyle. God help me I do love that show, its so chavvy!

It would be right to wear my skirt out on my lunch date with Lucy tomorrow, thats the ultimate deadline. But I did just buy a beautiful dress in Camden and I'm determined to wear it immediately. I refuse to be precious about new clothes. Otherwise no occasion is ever good enough. I did also buy a cute Pulp Fiction hoodie which would look great with a floral mini. We're hoping to have a work social to a matinee of Broken Glass at the Vaudeville so I'll wear it then.

Ok! Tune in tomorrow for my finished breakfast skirt!

Its my stop now. Bye!
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Monday, 17 October 2011

Relocation, Relocation, Relocation

The Magenta Machine is officially in Lewisham! I've also got today off work so its most definitely sewing time. Settling down with a cup of real coffee (real coffee!) and a slice of toast with homemade jam (homemade!) courtesy of housemate Eleanor's mother. Sketch book is out and I'm already planning some lovely projects :) stay tuned!
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Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Magenta Machine Is Relocating...

This weekend I went home to pack up some more bits and bobs to move to my new place in London (yes, I now live in London, but thats another post for another day). And I've packed up the MM, my sewing drawer and my bag of cloth, ready to be moved down to jolly Lewisham. In other news, the bag of cloth has TRIPLED in size, courtesy of my lovely aunt, Anjie and her gift of remnants (thank you Anjie!!).

The Machine will be driving down with my mum and dad mid-October and I can resume my love-affair with sewing, which has been sadly postponed since July thanks to excellent developments in my theatre career (win some, lose some :P ).

But soon both will live in harmony, with me, in London. And I've already got a list of things to sew waiting.

It's going to be a fun Autumn :)

xx

PS: Also on Twitter now, search amyPgunn :)

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Fabric Covered Beads



Still using my (copious, but soon to end) free time by making some fabric covered beads. I used the tutorial on Twirling Betty's blog which was very helpful and easy to follow.
I bought a long string of wooden beads from a charity shop for the bargain price of £1 a while ago and now I'm finally round to doing it.

I covered a few beads in scraps of a very cute japanese children print that I've used on my patchwork quilt. There are some lovely flowers in it which fitted well onto the small beads. I threaded them together with the smaller wooden beads from the string to make a cute necklace I intend to wear with my outfit for my boyfriend's graduation.


I also covered 10 beads with scraps of my patchwork fabrics to make a cute little bracelet. I threaded them onto some elastic et voila! Very easy. I got somewhat carried away with the theraputic glueing of fabric and now I have two bracelets and a necklace!


I also made a cushion cover for my mum's birthday and made her a matching bracelet with leftover fabric on some more beads! Happy birthday mum!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Patchwork Part One


My quality time with the machine continues, in the fulfilment of a long-time ambition - to sew and own a patchwork quilt.
All the squares have been cut out and lovingly ironed, and a design has been laid out on the living room floor. I've begun sewing and have the 9 centre squares attached and ironed to perfection (I've never ironed so much in my life-I bet my mum is concerned at this unusual behaviour!)

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Palazzo Pants

I've been no-sew for a while, due to travelling all over the place - which makes me rather sad. But now I'm home for a while I've got out the MM and got cracking on many a project! First off, a pair of delightfully comfy (and even a little bit on trend) palazzo pants, courtesy of a piece of fabric my aunt gave me on my last visit to St Albans. My aunt and uncle have been putting me up while I work in London and I'm extremely grateful for their help and generosity - AND Anjie gave me material!! Bonus.

Thanks Anjie: It was fairly simple - sewed the piece into one giant tube, cut up the middle and re-sewed into baggy baggy trousers, then hemmed and made a tube at the top to thread a thin piece of the same fabric as a drawstring. Because of the forgiving volume of the fabric, my dressmaking skills (or limit thereof) aren't visible. A lovely pair of trousers for the summer.


Oh. And I've had my hair cut - a lot!

Happy Birthday Mum


Its my mum's birthday today. And the bunting ninja has been hard at work after she went to bed last night. Hope she likes her surprise :)

Happy birthday Mum!

Friday, 3 June 2011

Brighton Skirt

I have put the Royal Pavillion fabric from Ditto to good use, by making a tiered mini skirt. I saw the idea on Burda, but their skirt had two separate pieces, dividing the skirt into two parts. I went a little further, folding the skirt twice, making three sections.
I kept the piece of fabric complete instead of cutting out the individual tiers. My boyfriend helped, and I think he enjoyed himself working out the logistics of the folds of material. I ironed the folds to make them sharp, then sewed along these to keep them in place. I hid the stitches beneath the previous crease for neatness.

I sewed in a tube for an elasticated waist. I was always dubious about an elasticated waist. I don't own any garments with one so it didn't feel "proper". It still feels a bit odd, but it is a simple solution, so I might use it again.

Me in my skirt

Monday, 30 May 2011

Brighton Photos - Finally Uploaded

Officially back from Brighton and all the photos from my posts are now uploaded, so re-visit this months posts for photos!
And yes Mum, it was the tea shop with Diana stuff :) check out the photo.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Brighton Part Four: My Last Week By The Sea

My time in Brighton is nearly at an end. I'm back working at Sunny Arts for a few more days before I go. A few of the tech people were away for yesterday's show, which meant I had to rig the entire venue on my own, something I am most definitely not trained for. Thankfully I completed everything within my (short) time limit and the show went well. I was complimented on how calm I was, but I've never seen stressing out (in any visible way at least) as a constructive and positive use of my time. So I don't do it very often. We've got a matinee and our final evening show tomorrow, and with yesterdays success fresh in my mind, I'm not concerned about tomorrow's workload - although it will be a long day. 14 hours at least!

Today was my last entire free day so me and Shaun did something fun. We began by visiting The. Most. Amazing. Tea shop in the whole country.We had some delicious Earl Grey and scones with jam and cream. Then one last wander around the lanes before dinner in a Japanese restaurant.


I'll be heading back to Sheffield on Sunday and I'm excited to be going home. It will be fleeting as I'll be in London a week later. Then I'll return to pack up my Sheffield home before moving to London again for more directing work. Very exciting stuff, but I'm all over the place! I've got a number of projects I want to get cracking on while I'm able to, so hopefully I can post on these next week too.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Brighton Part Three: Bake 'n' Beebz

This weekend I stayed with my cousin Alice and of course we did some baking! We made some delicious blondies (see Alice's blog) which are like brownies but pale. The secret ingredient is... chickpeas! Delicious and nutritious, I kid you not. Alice did the math and with no butter and very little sweetner, they work out very healthy for you.


We went to Eastbourne and hit the charity shops, but we didn't buy much. The only things of note were some sewing-themed fabric and a london bus purse (I can't wait to upload all my photos!!). I got mugged by a seagull and Alice kicked it in revenge, then we wandered the pier and sat by the sea. A fairly eventful day.


I'm about ready to return to Sheffield now. I miss my boyfriend (and sewing) so it will be good to see him (sew) in a week's time. Just have a week in Sheffield before I'm away again to London. And there may be more London work on the horizon.... how exciting.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Brighton Part Two: London Calling

Having a very low key day today, hanging out in Shaun's living room while he's going to work. But I've had a very busy couple of days so doing nothing is alright. Yesterday I went for lunch with my cousin Alice, who's at uni in Brighton. Then I had a quick meeting with Will and Cliff at Sunny Arts about next Thursday's show (lots of tech people aren't in on Thursday so I'm preparing to orchestrate a get in near-solo, should be a fun challenge) before dashing off to London for.... a job interview. And I'm pleased to say I got a phonecall this morning offering me the job. I will be working on my first directing job in London next month. This is a big step for me and really exciting.

I also visited London on Sunday to properly see my friend Ellie. We went to Camden (standard) and took in the gorgeous shops, looking for lovely clothes and ideas. I'm hoping to stay with her while I'm directing. The job is only for a week so its not too long for her to put up with me!

Its been handy being in Brighton this month, as I can pop to London fairly easily. Trying my best to visit people around the South while I'm here too, because I don't usually see them when I'm in Sheffield.

I bought some really cute fabric from Ditto yesterday. Its the Royal Pavillion at Brighton on a blue background. Once I return to Sheffield I hope to make a Brighton-themed skirt to commemorate my time down here.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Brighton Part One: Crap From The Street

Greetings from Brighton. Work is going very well. The play, Keep Taking the Tablets, has been well received in previews, now to kill two weeks doing nothing while I wait for the next show!

I love being in Brighton. I've visited twice before, but in January both times so the weather this time is a massive improvement. I enjoy looking around the fascinating shops and sitting on the beach. The nightlife is pretty vibrant too and we've had a few nights out already.
One thing I've noticed about Brighton, is that it has an interesting "culture" (for want of a better word) where people leave their unwanted stuff on the roadside and others can pick it up and take it home. For instance, if you're cleaning out your bedroom and you no longer want those books, or clothes or furniture, you can just leave it outside your house. And someone, somewhere will find your junk a good home. I've never seen anything like it. The house of my friend Shaun (where I'm staying) is full of cute furniture, interesting vases and other knick knacks, all from the street. Its brilliant!

So when we were walking home at 2:30am the other morning we came by one such by-product of a clear out. Shaun, now a seasoned "recycler" began to look through the piles of stuff. We found:

a set of beside drawers
a candle stand (for the garden)
3 board games
a big rug
a small display cabinet (to hang on the wall)
a vase
some hatpins
one of those fancy jars with the metal handle and rubber seal
a pile of material, including a scarf
an ornate table filled with...bobbins!

AND

a Singer sewing machine


And the sewing machine works! It does something funky with the stitching on the underside of a piece of fabric, but it sews and the light works too. It was a pretty profitable raid. My cut includes some of the hatpins, the handbag (a brown mock-snake-skin affair) a couple of the bobbins (of course), the scarf and the fancy jar (I've always wanted one). Obviously I have to consider what can be brought home in my suitcase. But you can bet that once we get the sewing machine running I'll be knocking up a "street skirt" with the material, sewing machine and bobbins we found.


My cut of the loot :) a handbag, a scarf, a jar, some hatpins and some fabric


The Magenta Machine now has a Brighton counterpart - but I still love my pink pal, all alone in Sheffield. And I thought I'd have to give up sewing for the month I was down here!

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Photoshoot.


My housemate Harriet is working on a mock up of a magazine for her journalism MA and her chosen subject is... customising clothes! So last weekend was spent taking lots of photos of my room and projects and ME! Mutually beneficial because she now has content for her project, and I have some new photos which have been taken by another person - no photos at arm's length.
So I found out all the things I have made/customised and we chose our favourites and got to work.



The outfits are very crazy, Hatty needed something that screamed "customised" and I would like to state that I wouldn't go out in these outfits as they are, I'm a bit more subtle!



A couple of these photos are of things I'd forgotten about, like my measuring tape rosette, so it was great to revisit these. The rosette was made by dividing a Christmas cracker tape measure into eight equal lengths, folding each in half and stitching through, with a bead on the top for decoration. I also found out a top with my name in cute print fabrics, which I made last year. Harriet liked this and used it in photos.


In my interview I said I loved bows and loved making them, so we rounded up all the home-made bows in my room:



Glorious.


The final shot is a little foreshadow of my next project.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Tuesday 26th April 2011.

Good day to you all. As promised here is a photo of my new top in action.
I took my mum to Jam Jar Beads to show her the wonder of all the beads and treated myself to another lucky cat. I have fashioned the two cats into earrings with a length of aqua blue waxed cotton. Pretty darn simple, just took a couple of knots and I'm done.
If I ever get bored of the earrings I can easily cut the thread and recycle the pieces into something new.

I've recently discovered Thread Banger on Youtube. Its a channel for DIY fashion etc and its got some nice ideas. I'm really keen to try making my own body double for future dress making adventures. Just need to find a willing volunteer to cover me in parcel tape/duct tape/plaster. I've wondered about saving up for a tailor's dummy but they're so dang expensive. So in the meantime, maybe this DIY version is the best idea.

Monday, 25 April 2011

My First Ever Piece of Clothing (From Scratch)

It has been done. I have finally made myself a piece of clothing completely from scratch.
Behold my new summer top!
I'm really happy that I've managed to make something original off of my own design. I created a pattern out of my own measurements and greaseproof paper. I've stashed the pattern so I can use it again. I'm going to wear it when I see Mum tomorrow. Hopefully I can get a photo of me wearing it to show how it looks on.

Yay.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Birthday Presents (Part Deux)

Presents have officially been made. One of my friends has received her gift so I can now post on it. I made Cat a bracelet using gorgeous porcelain and glass beads from Jam Jar Beads. I always walk past this little shop in Sheffield and never go in. But on Friday I made it happen and was very pleasantly surprised. I treated myself to a tiny Japanese lucky cat bead - how cute!

I threaded the beads onto suede cord in a dusky pink colour, tying each bead into place. Cat was quite pleased with her birthday present and put it on immediately. I have finished the present for the second friend and I am rather pleased with the result. I hope I can meet up with her soon and give her the present so I can show photos of it.

Me and Cat dropped by a craft fair on our trip round town and I treated myself to some more cuteness - this time owl buttons.

I seem to be becoming obsessed with owls by default. They're simply everywhere so they are growing on me. I bought a selection of sizes from Blossom Buttons' stall and will stash them for something in the future. I buy loads of stuff in the hope I will use it later. Maybe a little foolish, but then I'll be inspired and have a treasure chest of cuteness to delve into. Just like finding the fabric for my sewing machine cover.


My next post should be something quite exciting, I'm currently working on it this evening, and hopefully it shall be finished and blogged in the next 24 hours. Watch this space.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Birthday Presents


I have got a day off from working at In The Night Garden Live so I'm working on birthday presents. I have two good friends turning 22 in April so I need to step up the gift-age. I'm currently working on a project for friend number 1, a fellow sewing fanatic, so I can break out the machine and make something unique. Friend number 2 is less craft-minded, but I'm hoping to make something for her in addition to her present, as I like the personal touch to handmade gifts. I prefer to spend time rather than money - this sounds so cheap but the effort involved shows a lot more thought in my opinion. I'm not cheap, honest.


I bought a book on dressmaking in Bradford last week (in the picture). Its full of technical instructions for dress making and advice on clothes for body shape etc. I thought it would be a sound investment as a go-to reference. I'm hoping to make a summery top after I've finished presents and will be consulting the book lots.


Now I must wander into town to shop. I'm going to take some sewing and relax in a coffee shop for a mid-shopping break. I won't post any p
hotos of the finished presents until they've been given (in case the surprise is ruined) but I shall pop some photos up afterwards.

To tide you over, here are the shorts from the previous blog:

Monday, 11 April 2011

Sunshine!

The weather was so beautiful yesterday that I decided to relax my total leg ban and wore shorts for the first time in a long time. In honour of this special occasion I took a pair of scissors to an old pair of khaki combat trousers. They had begun to rip along the bottom and were looking less than their best. To add a feminine touch to the new shorts I added a floral piece of fabric as a belt, tying the ends into a bow at one side. Very nice for a picnic in the sunshine with my boyfriend.




We were going to have a barbeque for dinner but we couldn't find any disposable ones in Morrisons (although we did spot a suspiciously large empty space next to the barbeque coals - maybe other people had the same idea) so we just cooked the food under the grill in the kitchen. We had lamb kebabs with rosemary and chilli and sausages. Delicious, less smoke and no fear of food poisoning :)



I also made some great biscuits for pudding. All it took was 175g (6oz) of flour, the same of butter and 5tbsp of sugar. I added vanilla for some extra flavour and they were great. Just cook for roughly 30mins and done. They went pretty quickly though, so I'll have to make some more very soon!



Photos of shorts to follow soon.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

A long overdue update.

A lot has been going on in the past few weeks, which has taken me away from the magenta machine, and the blog – but all for good reasons. So now that I have a spare minute, allow me to update.

I’ve gotten a new job as an ASM (assistant stage manager) at a play in Bradford. Its called The Mill: City of Dreams and we’ve been experiencing some very nice reviews. The hours are epic (hence the no blog situation) and the place is freezing, but all the people are lovely and friendly and its a welcome change from epic sandwiches.

After I finish this current job in Bradford, I’ll be doing a front of house job at Meadowhall for the In The Night Garden tour. I’m really pleased because this means I have paid theatre work until May!So things have picked up dramatically work-wise, which brings me endless joy.

Working in Bradford is lots of fun. The show I’m working on is in Drummond’s Mill. It’s an abandoned cloth mill which drew workers from around the world, hoping for better things for them and their families. The play explores their dreams and the reality of working in the mill. Its really moving stuff – and its sold out! But the best thing about the play, hands down, is the fact that there are bobbins everywhere:






My cousin’s dog is called Bobbin and everywhere I look I am reminded of her. In town there are endless haberdashery stalls and markets

too. There’s so much adorable fabric that I am definitely going to stock up on my days off. Here are the patterns I’ve already bought:



Upon returning to Sheffield for my weekend off, I passed the time by performing in a play I wrote myself. With a pen. Its all about the cup of tea, and its magical properties for making bad situations better. We met up at 12noon on Sunday and rehearsed and made tea bag flyers to hand out before performing at 4:45pm on the same day. And we pulled it off! It was well received and I’m really proud of my achievement, and the two other actors who joined me in this breakneck speed rehearsal period!

Our poster and our flyer (which IS a tea bag)



And now I have updated, its back t'mill wi' thee!

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Handbags (Two)



I found a gorgeous leather briefcase/satchel thing in my trusty RSPCA charity shop for the bargain price of £2.50, but it didn't have a strap. So a trip to John Lewis and 40cm of contrasting green fabric was definitely called for. I folded up the material up to make it sturdier and then sewed it up. I attached the strap to the metal rings (still attached to the bag) with some hand stitching and it was done. Flicking through my housemate's latest ASOS magazine and seeing the abundance of satchels made me rather pleased. And there was enough spare material to make a matching wrist cuff too.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

My Week Off (Sunday)

My week off is coming to an end (so sad) but I'm ending on a high, relaxing at home working on some felt ducks. I brought a bunch of felt and thread home in a recently cobbled together sewing bag. The idea of pins and needles roaming free in my handbag (which they have been recently) was not desirable so I've made a simple floral drawstring bag with yellow lining, which I can shove in my handbag and take with me wherever I roam.

I'm also working on my tea play. I've been accepted to do a performance at the student drama festival Platform (1st-3rd April). I am excited and very nervous! I'm hoping to finish the first draft of the script today and find some willing volunteers to join in.

Next week is my brother's 18th birthday party, so the hope is to finish the orange skirt to wear for the occasion. I've been given a random 7am-10am 3hour shift on Thursday, so if I can't get any extra shifts I'll be sewing like a mad thing.







My duck project. Please note that the owl is now a voodoo owl (pincushion)

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

My Week Off (Wednesday)


I have begun my skirt project today! The pieces are all cut out and pinned together. All I need now is to stitch stitch stitch (and buy exciting buttons and bright zippers, to stitch some more).
Here are the exciting fabrics, the floral is the main body and I'm using the orange for a contrasting belt.

Will keep you posted

Monday, 28 February 2011

My Week Off (Monday)



I have taken a week off evil work to have a breather and relax. So today I wandered into Crookes to look at all the lovely charity shops. I did
n't buy any clothing but I found Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 6 boxset on VHS for a collective price of 60p. So I'm very happy about that. After shopping I sat in a coffee shop sketching some new ideas and planning a little felt owl as seen on Bugs and Fishes. I made my owl during the first two episodes of season 6 and now enjoying an afternoon on the sofa blogging.
Here he is!