Saturday, October 2, 2010

Yippee!! Marathon completed and new top

Well, I'm rather proud and smug to say that I, Phill Sharpe, completed my first ever marathon! : ) i know some of you might think i'm a bit sick for saying it, but i thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing...when's the next one; or more importantly where?

Ben and I had a fantastic time in Berlin - it's a great city. We got to re-visit some of our favourites from last time (the Bauhaus archive and the Daimler Art space), and discover some new places too.

I managed to sneak in a quick sewing project just before we left for Berlin. It's an adapted version of a Wendy Simplicity top. I chose not to insert elastic but use ribbons instead for the shoulders only. I then cut out circles from two different black materials and attached them. I was really pleased with how it came out - not sure if the detail comes through.

Now it's all hands on deck for the Lady Grey pattern which finally arrived yesterday!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

i have been doing stuff...honest

I know it's been a while since I've posted. The green dress from the re-fashion I've been playing around with cos i wasn't quite sure...i took off the sleeves, reduced the width of the shoulders and re-attached, but didn't re-attach them quite right. So I'm still playing with it.

I've also made a really cute black blouse for work with a tie collar...will post photo's the next time I wear it.

Marathon training has been a bit hit and miss, there's been tears, limping, sore knees and more tears. I'm hoping great success will come with the next run.

Now you know how much i love my pashley - and i really really do, I've ridden her to work and meetings a couple of times this month and I adore her but...and there is a but...she's just a bit heavy for long weekend rides or putting on the back of the car to go further afield - I'm not sure totorro could take it!
So my lovely husband got me an early birthday present... a new speedy bike and oh my it's so much lighter and quicker and easier to ride than pashley. Now, I adore my pashley and do not panic out there, she will still be ridden and from my point of view she is a bike for selling for me..but for a quick dash up the hill to work, or a long ride with bento on a sunday I'm lucky to have a new alternative. And I plan on making my own version of the po campo this space

I have been doing sewing but just little bits - like a little bag, and our new coffee pot cosy for breakfast sundays...(improved with the re-discovered checked table cloth

I love these owls on the bag - I've had the material for a while and wasn't sure what to use it's become my new day to day bag. 
That's all for now...

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Refashion Saturday

So me, and two friends Amy and Mel decided to scrounge around in our local charity shops and see if we could find inspiration and some re-fashioning opportunities.

And I had some great success.
 I found a great Margaret Howell dress at the bargin price of £4.99. However it wasn't quite right for me (please excuse the photo with my dress underneath - i couldn't be bothered to completely undress) - so with a quick snip off the length and some elastic into the arm cuffs voila! I'm really happy with it. And it's got lovely big pockets....and its Margaret Howell (who i only just discovered in last month's Vogue - Ageless style issue - She's a uk designer, and the dress is really nicely made and 100% cotton - yay!

My next great find was a Diesel skirt- for the slightly steeper price of £8.99 (ouch). The skirt was too big and a little weird with loops and straps that meant you could kind of hitch up parts of the skirt - (I think, i was a little confused by it).

Anyway, i little unpicking, some taking in and hey presto a new dress!

Oh..and I ran 20 miles in the morning - phew! What a day : )

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sticky hot

Oh its been hot by British standards this past week.
We had to get up at 5am on Saturday to do our 18 mile run before the heat crept in. We did it though!
And my Red Cross Running Shirt arrived. Oh it's so glamorous! I know i need to work on the stylings but at the moment i figure everyone will be too astonished at my bright red, breathless face to worry about what I'm wearing. Remember though if you want to sponsor me just head on over to my site

Speaking of shirts though, whilst recovering from the 18 miles, I managed to make headway on my work shirt. Oh and can i just highlight the wonder of my wardrobe edit - i really like having my work clothes separate from my play clothes - it really helps in the morning - no more dithering! (Sorry to all those who have to wear a uniform!).
So here it is - it had it's first outing today and received two positive comments. I just hope it doesn't unravel in the wash!

Monday, June 28, 2010


No knitting or sewing on this post - I've just had the most splendid holiday. It was relaxed, quiet, beautiful, serene oh and there was plenty of wine and good bread.
I'm very proud of my little car Totorro making it all the way to France and back without a mishap. Here is Totorro proudly sitting in a French town square, with Ben proudly showing off the redcurrant sparkling wine that is made in the region.

The beaches were beautiful - we kept up with our training and ran 16 miles along the coast (yes, on sand - ow my thighs). And we saw two seals that came onto the beach to cheer us along.

And my little holiday present - was a little cat milk jug - perfect for our new tradition of Sunday morning breakfasts at the table.
I even asked for it in French and had a little conversation with the shop owner (how proud).

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Wardrobe spring clean

I was a woman on a mission. I  managed to go through my entire wardrobe, colour code it, filter out the work from the play clothes, note those items that needed adjustment and I tried to be really strict with removing those items that either just didn't fit me; were no longer in keeping with my style (I know..what sniggering please), or i just didn't wear.
Some have been sold on e-bay, some are destined to be used in my quilt, and some may have potential re-fashion potential.
I rediscovered this dress that i made a couple of years ago....the fabric is really soft, it's really simple, falls to ankle length and i really like it (I know i have to tidy up the top a little now that my sewing skills have improved a little).

Oh and here is a pic of the nightie i made (please note, i had only just got out of bed when this pic was taken - but i had a good nights sleep so it does the job); i also made a dressing gown - albeit from a men's pattern in blue and white striped material - it's very 80's, lots of material and Ben said it looked like a stock brokers is not staying.

As part of the wardrobe clear out, i worked out what i needed, namely two more work tops as the first requirement. So i went to Masons in Abingdon, delved around and found the material for my first top. I also went to the V and A quilting exhibition and found these lovely buttons in the shop...perfect.

I'm also taking part in the  japanese pattern sew along being run by Cecili - I've taken a gamble and ordered material should arrive any day now. Pattern drafting later on may take me a while

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Mad hatter

So finally, here is the hat I made...i'm wearing it on our anniversary weekend away in London. Ben even took me on the carousel.  Seems strange to think it was quite a cold weekend when now we are bathed in glorious sunshine.
The hat was made from the same pattern pack as my cape (still yet to blog a picture of that). I pinned a flower brooch onto to the hat which i got from the Uniform Project. I'm pretty chuffed with it. It's even got a marimekko print lining.

I also made myself a little nightie - Also with marimekko print - i really love it and it almost seems too lovely to keep inside the house! Next plan is a lightweight dressing gown. I found some great stripey material at a local shop which will be perfect. I also found some floral curtain material which looks good. Do you ever feel weird about dismantling someone elses work - i felt a little bad about unstitching the curtains and lining - it was all handstitched so neatly.
We've got a holiday in France coming up and i wanted to make something for that....i'm not sure what yet. My friend suggested a little jumpsuit/playsuit thing but I'm not so sure.....suggestions welcome

Monday, May 3, 2010

Purple bamboo

Here;s the purple bamboo vest I've been working on - i really like the feel of it. I worry that the weight of the bamboo will stretch the straps and it will become indecent, but i guess i can always unstitch, shorten the straps and sew back up. I've not blocked it yet so don't know if that makes a difference with bamboo?

On other knitting.. Ben's jumper is complete, but huge, and looks a bit too home knit - I'm afraid it's a frogging job and i'm on the look out for something else to make with the wool.

We had a really rainy weekend which meant that we only lasted for one race at brands hatch for the motor racing (shame, shame). And we didn't even run...which makes me feel a bit rubbish, so it's a fresh start tomorrow when hopefully the sun will come out.....

Sunday, April 25, 2010

It's not so grim up north

Just come back from mi hols up t'north : ) We managed Durham, Newcastle, Whitby, York, Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield all in a week.
Highlights definitely included La Rosa hotel in Whitby; yummy fish and chips; the bridges and warehouses of Newcastle, last minute luck with laura marling tickets in York, tiled hall in Leeds; drunken champagne and fried chicken on canal st Manchester, and spotting snooker stars in Sheffield.
All in all a fun trip but we are both knackered.

On the crafty front I decided to make myself a top for the holiday - inspired by  Lex again, using some of those remnants and bringing back to life an old top that i'd made too tight around the arms. (I loved the shell mirror - courtesy of La Rosa Hotel and of course my paperbag waist skirt)

Oh and I was inspired to make a quilt for Ben and I. I initially thought of making a quilt for 2010 with a different patch for each month incorporated into it, but then Ben said how about a patch for each of the years we have been I'm going to try and work a patch or two each month 12" x 12" and hopefully have something to put together come the end of the year. My only experience so far is of a wonky quilt i made for my friends baby but never gave it to her. (So i might steal some patches from that one).

On the purchased front: I fell and bought a People's market top on e-bay (to be blogged), and i got two brooches from the uniform project auction (but surely that counts as a charity donation doesn't it!). I'm just waiting for them to arrive. Back on the no-shopping wagon for next month.
Oh and also over the holiday I got to wear the fab dress that Ben bought for me in london (I'm a very spoiled girl).

Friday, April 9, 2010


OK I've been inspired by Lex's paperbag skirts - they look really comfy but a bit quirky too - she hasn't published the tutuorial so i thought it was time for "lets try and make it up"! I've had some blue cotton material that's been around since my failed trousers experiment and it seemed perfect for it.....and voila...the skirt - with some white edging which i'm not sure about (i did a white contrasting belt too but it seemed a bit "hobbs" (UK clothes shop). I really like it and wore it all weekend.
The weekend by the way was an adventure. It was mostly spent in East London checking out:

  •  whitechapel gallery (great sandwiches and interesting photo exhibition on india, pakistan and bangladesh); 
  • Spitafields market where Ben bought me a dress and i bought him a yellow ukelele; 
  • Brick lane (where crowds queued for the american apparell sale); 
  • Drinking champagne in threadneedles hotel
  • Design museum for an amazing African exhibit (enlightening but still not a continent high on my wishlist),
  • Visit to the Barbican to see the birds in the curve by Celeste Boursier-Mougenot - an incredible space with zebra finches landing on guitars and cymbals creating music - and one landed on my shoulder : ) (Barbican birds)
  • Memory lane in the form of going to our old house, having breakfast in the old cafe down the river
Finally we headed west - homeward bound via the Tate Britain to see the Chris Ofili exhibition. I really liked it the colours and textures were so vibrant and just didn't translate in a postcard/book for me to take away. I even liked the elephant dung!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Birthdays and visitors

Eek I'm behind again. My excuse... it was Ben's birthday - i took him to london for dinner, to see the play Enron (what a thinker that was, billions of dollars my mind can't compute but at least i know what a hedge fund is now - a weird topic for a play but i really enjoyed it), we stayed over in a new hotel (which bar the 4am fire alarm was fine).

Then we went to the Ashmolean museum in Oxford which has just opened a new restaurant on the top floor - it was ok...the food was salty, it had a weird atmosphere but i think it will come into it's own when the terrace is open in the summer

Then Friday we went to Crufts! It was good fun seeing all the dogs, checking out the behind the scenes action afghan hounds in scarfs and clips and enourmous wolfhounds. We've decided that a pointer is the dog for us...just need to convince smokey the cat!
We stayed over in a hotel nr Tamworth (thanks mum and trevor for the christmas vouchers) and then had another dinner out when Ben's folks visited on the Saturday.

Oh and the wool arrived for the library book of mens knits and I made Ben a really quick knit hat - it's made with British sheep wool that is undyed and it still smells of sheep! : )

My sis and nephew Jack were visiting from Texas, so i had a few days with them....for someone who is a bit unsure around children (I just don't know how to entertain them) Jack made it really easy for me - he is really great and i adore him! Had good fun with my sis too, a bit of sister sister time in london window shopping and eating fish and chips - it was fun.

AND....this weekend we ran our first "official" Reading half marathon race - we made it in 2hrs 4mins - very pleased, even though we were overtaken by a camel at the last hump (get it!, but really putting a hill near the finish point, now that's just mean)

So that's why i haven't written in a far as projects go - there is a blue jumper for Ben which is knitting up quite quickly (my bamboo camisole is on the backburner whilst i knit this one), and also i sewed my car freshner, some cushions, and my first to follow at some point.

Sunday, February 28, 2010


Good news we managed our second half marathon run - phew - it had a couple of hills in, the one towards the end was a bit of a killer and i almost cried..but we managed it; and only 20 seconds slower than the last one.....bring on the reading half marathon race - yippee!

Other highlights this week including watching the original movie Fame and realising that i hadn't ever seen it before (musta been confused with the tv series); the yummy dinners, soups and desserts that Bento keeps making with the goodies from our new veggie box. It's proving a great success (only because of Ben's great prep and cooking (and a little bit of help from my new found friend Nigel Slater - who i often remarked was a bit of a book review tart, until i saw his tv series and he seemed like a thoroughly nice chap who cooked yummy food with lots of butter and salt and buys his custard in a pot!)).

I'm working on a new knitting project -i have some purple bamboo to use and after much deliberation i'm making a little camisole type top -it's quite a slow knit though

I've done a little bit of sewing also and although it's a little bit overworked cos i had issues with the neck of it and it didn't go quite according to plan - i like the overall look of it and want to wear it, regardless of it looking a bit homemade. It's a variation of one of Lex's dress/t-shirts (Lex's website) - i just did the ruffles and added a band/tie to the bottom.

Other plans include making a lavendar bag to hang in my car (instead of a bought car scenty thing); and also i need to decide what to put forward to the shopping court (held on a monthly basis to try and kerb the needless shopping i do and use the great wool, material, books, clothes, dvd's i already have - so far, so good - i think it's just going to be sewing cotton); oh and run 14 bloomin miles next weekend cos we misread the running schedule - doh!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

twit twoo

Well, as is the course of february, the resolutions have slipped, i've barely begun lent and i've already stuffed my face full of chocolate and biscuits> so apologies for the delayed post. I'll try and keep to my weekly schedule (and i really must do some french)
However, I'm pleased to say the owl jumper is finished and i love it. The colour didn't come out nearly as badly as i thought and actually in some of these photo's the colours and the hair perhaps give it a real 70's feel. The owls i think didn't turn out quite right, so they look like quite fat, really old wise owls - i kinda like it.
Next project is going to be a bamboo camisole i some more sewing at some point : )
I had a great weekend catching up with some old uni friends who i haven't seen for about  3 years. I like the fact that it didn't matter that we hadn't really been keeping in touch - we could just continue where we left off - some of them are quite different to the friends i have now, which was kind of refreshing - different conversations, different views - it was lots of fun so thank you vix for organising it.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Oh i've run away from my sewing for some time cos i haven't known what to make or what to make it with. I went out to dinner with my friend who told me about the infinity dress - it sounded amazing so i reached for my material box and found this weird pink/purple patterned stretch that i thought would work well. I didn't have quite enough to make a circle skirt so i made a straigher one.....urgh disaster - it really didn't look good.
So i tried to make a simple top - the neck was too scooped for me

and so i turned it around...i kinda like the idea but i'm still unsure about the pattern - thoughts are welcome...

but at least it broke my sewing drought and i decided to make another white top - i need to run it through the washing machine as i have a feeling it might shrink a little which wouldn't be a bad thing.

I started looking through my stash thinking i have all this material but a lot of it is just scraps and not big enough to do anything with.. and then I came across Lex's website - of course i can embellish, create broaches and all sorts - duh! So maybe I'll have a go.

On other news - Project Runway season 7 has started - i love that show but i can't seem to be able to download the episodes - i'd gladly do it legally but Lifestyle won't let me subscribe. hmph.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Proud I am!

Yay, we did it, we ran our first half marathon. Amazing. It was ok actually. And of course ever since we've been gorging on beer, cake, papad and biscuits because "we earned a treat".
Anyway i can't believe January is over already. I'm still working hard knitting my owl jumber and have been neglecting the sewing a little bit. Day off on Friday so maybe I'll do a little bit then.

The no shopping pledge is going well. I've just passed through the shopping court a new pair of running socks and a running bra.... not something i feel i can make. So it's to the shops for me.

Oh and I've discovered a French radio station on my car radio so i get to listen to a little bit of French everyday. I know it doesn't replace the learning but at least it helps keep my ear in (I'm sure I've greatly confused news stories about train station toilets and drug detection but at least i'm trying).

Monday, January 25, 2010

Better late than never

My resolutions are slipping..i'm falling behind with my french, i missed by weekend blogging session and i almost shopped! (aghast). I know!
However, I'm trying to claw my way back before January ends, so I here i am blogging about my new cardigan - which i love, and also the scarf i made with bargain wool (i think it cost me £3 for the entire scarf).