Friday, 25 May 2012

Operation Emergency Maxi Dresses!

It's hot. Most of my dresses are polyester, and are terrible to wear in this lovely weather we're having. The trip into town to pick up thread, zips, and elastic was very uncomfortable. I definitely need some cooler dresses! 
So Operation Emergency Maxi Dresses begins! Simply, it will be a tube of fabric with a zip at one side and elastic and straps at the top. Then I can wear a belt at my waist as tight or as loose as I want. Or no belt at all if it's super hot. It will be a good chance to practice invisible zips :)
Hopefully I'll have at least one maxi dress to show you soon!
Ashley x

Thursday, 24 May 2012

After a short break. . .

I had my last ever uni exam yesterday! How weird is that?! So revision was the culprit for the silence on the blog. I think the exam went ok though, so hopefully it will be worth it :)
During my silence, I've worked on my Chantilly dress a little and have finally nearly finished it! I need to finish sewing the yoke lining down, insert the invisible zip and finish that seam, and sew the hem. So close! Also in sewing news, my pre-order of the gorgeous Cambie dress pattern from Sewaholic arrived! I think this will be my next sewing project. Though I've been thinking about sewing up some quick and simple maxi dresses, as I'm seriously lacking summer clothes. 
In knitting news, I've made great progress on my Lauriel cardigan and it fits wonderfully! I've now almost finished the first sleeve, but here's a photo of the body:
Also, if you're wondering why there is no hair on my shoulders, I got it cut! It's been a couple of months now, and I still like it ;) There'll be photo's when I finish Chantilly :)
I've also taken an interest in my nails, and the wonderful world of nail art! I came across a thread on Ravelry where they were showing off their manicures. I discovered dotting tools, and nail stamping and fell in love :) I also discovered quick dry top coats. They work like magic and I haven't smudged my nails since using it! Here's my first attempt at nail stamping :
The shininess of the top coat and the gold I used to stamp with made this quite a challenge for Dom to photograph ;) Click the photo for a closer look. I need to get better at being neat and cleaning up, but I'm still pretty impressed :) If you're interested, here's what I used and how many coats:
Base coat: Sally Hansen Double Duty
Colour: Rimmel Lasting Finish, in double decker red. Two coats.
Topcoat: Sally Hansen Instra-dri anti-chip top coat. The top coat sped up the drying time and made it solid, so the stamping didn't smudge the colour.
Stamping: Stargazer Chrome nail polish, in gold. The nail plate is Konad M73.
Topcoat: same as before, but I did three coats to make it extra strong.

As a first attempt, I think it went pretty well :) It's very pretty and very subtle. Stamping is very fun to do, and I'm slowly building up a decent nail polish collection. I also bought a Bundle Monster 25 piece set of nail plates which is a great starting point, as well as a few Konad plates that caught my eye. So lots to choose from :)
Have you ever tried nail stamping? I've never heard of it before now, so thought I'd share in case you haven't either :)
Ashley x

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Socks and Narwhals

I love narwhals and I love toasty warm mittens. These mitts are both! They are lined with another plain knitted mitten. I forgot to take a picture, but it make them amazingly warm :) For yarn and pattern details my Ravelry project page is here. 
And I finally got to knit up a Zauberball! It's a Crazy Zauberball. The pinks are much brighter in real life. They are so cosy and warm :) This is the first pair of 4 ply that I've finished for myself that fit. Lovely :) My Ravelry project page is here for yarn and pattern details. 
And finally, do you remember that I had a cardigan on the go? Probably not, as it's so long since I've mentioned it. I split the sleeve stitches off so I had arm holes, and knitted about an inch more and then put it away. The more I looked at it, the more I didn't like the yarn. I bought it online as it was cheapish. I'm not keen on the colour and it doesn't feel too great. Plus, I wasn't sure on the fit. 
So. I bought some yarn that I love. It's Rico Essentials Merino Aran. The pattern calls for DK weight yarn, and although it says it's an aran, it doesn't look like it to me. I got perfect gauge and I like the fabric that it makes :) I've also gone down a size, as the 38 was a bit loose around the neck. I also took the advice of the pattern and increased at the front after the leaf collar to accommodate my bust. I'm much more confident in the fit of this one already. And the more I look at the yarn, the more I love it! :)
I had gotten about halfway through the raglan increases when I realised the armholes were wonky! On one side, there were six leaves before the arm and on the other there were seven! Argh! So I had to frog back to the leaves and start over from there. I'm almost back to where I was before.
The colour of the yarn actually has life to it. Does that make sense? It's not just a flat colour, it has subtle lighter and darker bits when you look at it closely. I like it a lot. The original yarn will get knitted into a scrap blanket instead :) 
Now I'm off to make some pizza dough. We're having pizza tonight! We took a look at a restaurant menu to come up with ideas for toppings. It's a great way to try new toppings that you wouldn't normally try. We're having olives, capers, red onion, roasted pine nuts, and sultanas on our pizza. I'd never have thought to put those things together on a pizza, but it's delicious! :)
Ashley x


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