Monday, May 24, 2010

Me Made May Monday - Barcelona Skirt

I think its a bit spooky that I own a skirt that's almost exactly the same colour as my kitchen cabinets, but I take some comfort from knowing the skirt came first.

This is not the garment I should be showing off for my fourth Me-Made-May-Monday, it SHOULD have been a McCalls tunic top, but I've reached a small bump in the road of its production, so it's going to be a little while before it's finished... Alarmingly the fabric of the tunic also matches the kitchen cabinets. What does this mean?

So, today's MMMM item of clothing is an old make - in fact the first ever skirt I made back in Canada, with help from my lovely friend Fiona.... She and this skirt have a lot to answer for, they started me on a bit of a journey, a journey that lead to a wardrobe that matches my kitchen....

Friday, May 21, 2010



Last month I blogged about the Red Arrows being on exercise in Cyprus. It was the start of their visit to the island, and they were spending a lot of time buzzing around the skies above my office at RAF Akrotiri. It was initially quite exciting, but after six weeks of displays three times a day, I became a little blasé to it.


What I hadn't realised, was that I was almost always seeing the tail end of an aerobatic manoeuvre as the aircraft repositioned themselves over our building, and then flew off to do the impressive stuff elsewhere, so I'm a little embarrassed to admit I hadn't realised the half of what they do.... until today.


I was contacted by fellow blogger Blueberry Heart earlier in the week, she was visiting the island and wanted to see the Reds practicing, which got me thinking... I really should take the camera out and capture some pictures before they leave.


So at 8am this morning, having phoned the Reds PR to find out where the display was "centered",  I found a spot on a virtually empty beach and watched the display.


What I didn't realise was this was actually their very last day flying here, and the only other people watching were their assessors a little further along the beach from me.


What can I say? An (almost) private display of mind-blowing aerobatics over the beautiful blue Mediterranean sea... Not something you see every day.

More photos on Flickr

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


 Small parts of our garden are looking very lush at the moment - most unlike Cyprus in May.

We are battling the heat and the lack of rain to cultivate a few things. A herb garden rampantly growing next to our new patio fence, some chilis in pots for Jim's spicy curries, flowers just because, and lettuces. The latter seem particularly hard to come by in the shops here, and to date the best salad leaves we've had have been from a friend's garden.

So despite the fact we have a long barren summer ahead of us and that logic dictates nothing can survive the heat of August here, we are having a go anyway.

Going through this process here I have learned a lesson. Wherever in the world the army post us, whatever logic (and the neighbours) may tell you, it's important to create a small part of the garden that is beautiful... just to keep on the right side of sanity.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Me Made May Monday

A "Me Made" bag for today's Me Made Monday. This is the second bag I have made recently, the other, a beach bag for my sister will have to remain under wraps till she comes out to the island next weekend. This bag is the Everything Tote from Heather Ross's Weekend Sewing.

Regular readers of this blog will know I have a difficult relationship with the book, but I held out for a third project just in case... and I'm pleased to say I love the results!

However, it must be said that I'm sure that at least part of the reason the bag was successful was because I almost entirely ignored the pattern instructions. I took on board Lorna's comments about the design, then lined the pocket against the pattern's advice, added a button close, and blind stitched the outside binding by hand.

...So it doesn't say an awful lot for the book, that my first successful project from it was the one where I ignored the instructions... oh well

Monday, May 10, 2010

The "surgical gown" skirt

In my post on Friday, I mentioned that I was midway through making a skirt from Heather Ross's Weekend Sewing and was having some trouble with the errors in the book. After a weekend of frustration and wasted fabric, I can now tell you the full story.

The skirt is the "Yard Sale Wrap Skirt" it looks completely different in the book to any of the made up results on Flickr, but I thought it was worth a shot. After all how hard can a skirt with no zips, no buttons, and no darts be?

On my mother's advice I decided to use an old sheet to try out the design. I traced the pattern, cut the fabric and sewed the six panels together. At this point I was convinced I had found the easiest skirt in the world to make, and I would be running up another half dozen by the end of the week, and then I wrapped it round me...

Despite the fact the size I was using was supposed to accommodate a waist size up to 14 inches larger than my own (!!) the skirt did not meet round my waist. Back to the pattern to check that it wasn't a stupid error of mine. It wasn't.

So I went online and started googling "Yard Sale Wrap Skirt", lots of mentions of the design taking more fabric than they'd thought, and then I found the extensive "errata" on Heather Ross's website!

Almost everything about the design was wrong. The amendment said it required two extra panels (which I just about managed to scrape enough fabric together for) and that the waist ties needed to be lengthened by 16 inches each, by the time I had finished cutting fabric, the skirt had EIGHTEEN individual parts... ridiculous!

Despite being rather cross, I carried on, determined to see what it looked like, and when it was eventually complete, I discovered a new problem. Yes, the wrap did now wrap (just) but the overlap was now positioned at the back of the skirt and not the side... hence the surgical gown reference!

There's no way I could wear it out. I'd be convinced I looked like this (or maybe that's wishful thinking!) So my planned outfit for today's Me Made May Monday fell apart, I did however use a homemade bag to transport some stuff to work, just to cover my bases.

This is the second project I have wasted my time on attempted to make from the book, and you'll be astonished to hear I'm going back for a third, the Everything Tote. If that one fails, then Heather you're out...

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Breakfast at the Bomb Buoy

A beautiful calm Mediterranean sea at 8am, as we left Episkopi and headed out to the bomb buoy (just visible on the horizon) for the charity breakfast.

The bomb buoy close up, it is used for target practice by aircraft, though not frequently and hopefully someone had checked there was none planned for this morning!

The first boats rafting up.

The chef who brought the kitchen table and a barbecue with him! There were eggs, bacon and sausages.. basically anything that could be stuck in a roll and passed along the boats. He'd removed the seats from his boat and had to sit on an ice box to helm it.

A quick dip in the sea... and a glass of Prosecco to go with our breakfast...

If only raising money for charity was always this much fun... There are more pictures on Flickr

Friday, May 7, 2010

Harvest time

 What a topsy turvey climate we have here in Cyprus. Everything grows in the winter and then dies in the summer, and of course that means the harvest comes early.

I see these bales of straw in the fields as I drive around the island and it feels so wrong. I associate them with shortening days, a chill in the air in the evenings, the start of a new school year and the end of summer, not the beginning...

But there is a whole lot of summer ahead of us, and this weekend we are going to do something you'd only ever do on a sunny Cyprus posting... We are attending a charity breakfast which is being held 1km out to sea, at a buoy that is used for target practice by aircraft. We are taking our own supplies, but there will also be some sort of cooked breakfast/bacon butty affair provided too... Canada had its rodeos, Cyprus has its floating breakfasts!

And I have sewing to do...

This should have been the most straight forward project in the world. It's a wrap skirt from Weekend Sewing, no zips, no buttons, a fairly simple construction. My mother suggested to me that I made it in some inexpensive fabric, in case it didn't turn out how I was expecting....How could it not turn out how I was expecting I thought? And then, after I'd started it, I realised how many errors this book has in it...

It'll be interesting to see if anything wearable comes out of my efforts...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Oooh post!

A very exciting day today... I have been waiting to get my hands on this bit of kit for about six months.

It's a House On Hill Road camera strap. Erin who makes them, sews very limited numbers. She made the last batch just before Christmas, I managed to get one for my sister's birthday, but missed out on getting one myself.

But at last my patience has paid off and I have my own.... isn't it great?

And here it is employed into immediate use... This by the way is what our garden looks like at the moment.  Summer is here, so it's goodbye grass!

Monday, May 3, 2010


This month I am taking part in Me-Made-May. Being rather new to dressmaking, I've had to opt for the "lite" version - in my case a "me made" item every Monday in May.

This is the skirt I finished yesterday, it's an Amy Butler pattern and fabric... Bella seemed to be rather impressed!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Making the most of a long weekend

It's Sunday evening and STILL not time to think about going back to work. How I love long weekends...

This weekend we've been painting our newly acquired patio fence. The fence was part of my sanity saving garden makeover - spending money on a house we will only live in for two years, but paying it forward for the next military tenants. We painted it a shade I like to think of as Mediterranean sky blue!

And then of course we needed some cushions to match the paint. I've lost count of how many cushion covers I've made this year, but I think I'm done now...

Of course there has been creativity in the kitchen too. Back in January when we enjoyed the first of the Cypriot strawberry crop, we were told by someone that later in the year they'd be so plentiful and cheap, that we'd be making smoothies out of them, and they were right...

(That glass really is as big as it looks by the way!)

And finally there has been skirt making... This month I will be taking part in a very small way in a brilliant project called Me-Made-May. I don't have a large enough homemade wardrobe to commit to wearing clothes I've made for every day of the month, so I'll instead be doing Me-Made-May-Monday... Starting tomorrow.

AND we'll also be spending a couple of hours in the kitchen of one of the best restaurants in Cyprus... They'll be lots to post tomorrow!
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