Feathers everywhere.

Sunday night again? That rolled around fast. Sigh and so begins another week at work. But there are still a few hours of weekend left and with an exciting looking Super Furry Animals documentary on  TV there is time for a quick post!

This week I resumed one of my back projects, Alison Glass’ Feather Quilt.

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It is my first time working with paper piecing and to be honest after a long break between sewing sessions it takes a while for me to get my head around the method of this again. Paper piecing feels like I’m working backwards and back to front. Constantly having to line up the pieces of fabric backwards while holding them up against the light to cover the sew lines is a bit of a pain. When using navy fabric this becomes even more difficult.

I try not to sew too late into the night with this , If I lose my sewing mojo and make too many mistakes  unpicking the paper more than once really compromises the  integrity of the paper.

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Also the strips become quite small so when trying to place fussy cut fabric, I have to pray I have cut them perfectly centered. There’s not much room to move the position of the seams.

Each one is taking its sweet time, I have to trim and press each seam line before I move to the next line. Not the fastest to make.

More on this eventually..

wpid-20150426_145131.jpg‘scuse the not so bright photos, Britain has been plunged into a crap, non stop soak you through,  frizz creating drizzle.

On the baking shelf this week.

Not sure what the baking revival with me is at the moment, but I had a sudden urge yesterday to make Madeleines . After all I had bought a half price tray in Lakeland so rude not to.

I used Nigella’s recipe from “How to be a domestic goddess” (I will never be a domestic goddess, I’m never going to  be organised enough). I had the impressions that making them was going to be difficult (I have that impression about all French food). It wasn’t at all difficult to make but…..

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Makes 48, mine made 12..I know I’m not the best at maths but even I know somethings wrong..

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They turned out nice, just a bit too eggy for my liking. I wonder if there’s an egg free version? I might try Rachel Khoo’s version next.

That is all for this evening!

 

 

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In the jungle

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Amazingly in a shorter time than I thought, I got Rockette’s Playtime dress finished over the weekend. That’s no small feat for me. I feel bad that I did ignore Rockette for a lot of Sunday… but she got a dress out of it, im sure all is forgiven.

 

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I’m loving the pattern for this Oliver + s dress/ tunic/ legging thing. I went for the dress as leggings are so cheap to buy in the UK that I don’t know if I would make a pair.

I normally get my patterns out of sewing books which generally overlap each other. It made for a nice tracing experience.

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The sewing was all straight forward and both parts of the dress were quite similarly constructed to other of clothing I had made in the past. I only got a little excited when I was finishing the inner seams and….( important lesson here, if your on the phone put the scissors down), I cut a bit of the  seam too far and hacked into the dress. What a donut I truly am .But  I think I’ve hidden it well,  It’s mostly inside the seam now.

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I love the cute little hot pink detail round the neckline. So sweet.

It was also my first foray into pattern matching…was crapping myself just a bit. Everything you read and hear on the matter is so intimidating. Look at the Great British Sewing Bee ” oh you haven’t matched your pattern” “look at that complete lack of pattern matching”  “that’s not aligned”, “You’re going to hell because you didn’t pattern match” (alright not the last one, but you get my drift).

So I was super careful and used the lion heads for guides. To be honest I’m pretty pleased, nay amazed at the results. I expected it to be upside down here, back to front there etc etc.

Yeah yeah it’s  not perfect ,the GBSB would have kicked me off the show but It’s good enough for me.

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It’s a bit big and roomy for her (super long and skinny) but I wasn’t brave enough to adjust the pattern yet. Maybe when I make it next time.

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The reason for the bias binding in the middle was to break up the pattern it. It was just a bit too much to have an all over print.

wpid-20150420_172816.jpgIt’s really hard to get a kid to pose properly…

The fabric was Michael Miller Origami Oasis.

Next I really need to get on with the unfinished quilts. But I also want to go to Goldshawk and buy some more dress making fabric. I’m a bit addicted.

On the baking front?

This week I made the Australian classic Lamingtons, which was fellow antipodean’s  Dan Lepards recipe from his book Short and Sweet. Bloody delicious! Sponge, jam, chocolate and coconut. What more do you want?

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Ohh I can make a blouse now.

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Continuing in the clothes making vein, I have taken another detour (kind of) from the quilting to make another item from Tilly Walnes “Love at first stitch”. This time around it was the Mimi blouse.

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The general advice is the make a toile first, but the fabric I was using was some cheap polyester stuff I picked up at one of the fabric stores at Walthamstow market. At £1.75 a meter I wasn’t going to get much cheaper. It was heavy to work with!

It was my first time using a dressmaking pattern. The first half of this turned out great, the other half turned out not so aligned . For example the collar on the left was longer than the right, the hem on the right was longer than the left, the arm seam on the left didn’t perfectly align with the seam of the bodice. But these are all my dumb school boy errors.

Maybe it says more about how my brain works,  I concentrate really hard on the first attempt and then get a bit cocky when I come to do the second part. This also explains why I had to make 2 sleeves for the right arm because the seam at the bottom became randomly frayed.  Also annoying me is  that I took too much off the  back neckline, I did try to add some bias binding to hide this, but it looked weird so I left it.

Considering that this was my first attempt I’m pretty pleased with it.

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And I put buttons in! I had a great fear of this, but it took no time at all. I just did the colossal error of going a bit nuts with the seam ripper and ripped the top off. Idiot.

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I can’t tell if it’s nice and modern or something that my Nan would wear , thin line. But that’s just down to the weird fabric. The pattern is great and I’ll make it again, next time in a more stiffer material like a cotton.

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Again for more info you can visit Tilly’s wonderful website.

http://www.tillyandthebuttons.com/

I’m moving onto kids wear next. I’m starting on the Playtime pattern by Oliver + S

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I haven’t stopped quilting, I do have many ongoing things. The main project  I can’t write a lot about because it’s going to be a gift, but I’ll put a block here and there up.

I love this cube block, which is from Tula Pink’s book 100 modern quilt blocks. One day I’d like to do a whole quilt made up of just these and featuring my favourite prints.

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I just happened to be listening to Split Enz while making that. It’s a brilliant album.

The Glitter of Eurovision

Rule 101 in blog world is apparently not to confuse your readers by blogging about random things.  But I would hope that all the lovely people who do read my blog will not freak out. This is a blog about sewing and music, and today this is about music…well almost.

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Loved around Europe but ridiculed in the UK , the Eurovision song contest turns 60 this year.

For those unaware of what the Eurovision song contest is, it is a competition for the best song in  “Europe” in which 40 countries compete. After two semi finals participating countries are knocked out of  the competition via public vote to the final, where they are joined by the winning country of last year and the big 5 (UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain) who are the main sponsors of the competition so instantly qualify .Each song is then voted for by each participating country who can score 12 entries a maximum of 12 points descending in order to a minimum of 1. This year will be different as Australia will also join them in the final as an extra country..as a one-off 60 year special. (No you havent lost your mind the geographical map is still the same)

I stated watching the competition properly with parties in 2003. I’ve been devoted ever since. It is a thing of strange beauty, it’s full of farce, strange gimmicks, bizarre dance routines, block voting controversies and really odd intervals.

The UK has done poorly in most years since they last won in 1997. Considering the UK’s rich tapestry of musical input past and present, to the novice they should walk it. But they generally don’t  send good representation. They send the likes of  Daz Sampson (creepy & pervy ), Scooch (they thought camp would do well), Jemini (the uk’s only nil points result) , Bonnie Tyler (love her, bad song) and in my opinion the worse entry Josh Dubovie meets Pete Waterman. Someone forgot to tell the selection panel that it wasn’t 1988 anymore. There have been decent attempts with Andrew Lloyd Webber and Jade Ewen in 2009 but it was against Fairytale (see below) it really didn’t have a chance making it to a decent 5th.

There concludes this history bit, I could write a book on the bloody thing. I can go on.

Eurovision Song Contest's Greatest Hits Part 2

So as I started, Mr CM was incredibly lucky  to get tickets to the Greatest Hits show  on Tuesday at the Hammersmith Apollo in London (but not in the west end, as it may be broadcast as). I was thrilled and to be honest I can’t remember the last time I genuinely had a really great joyful time at a show.

I’ll say now that we were prohibited by the BBC to take any photographs or videos so I’m going to have to use the promotional ones from the Eurovision website.

http://www.eurovision.tv/page/timeline          Thomas Hanses (EBU), Guy Levy / © BBC 2015

Hosted by the very funny Graham Norton and Petra Mede,  It was a show of winners and then some. Quite a few were before my Eurovision time such as Bobby sox, The Herreys and Anne-Marie David  but they were still entertaining.

The atmosphere was pretty festival like, full of devoted enthusiastic fans which made it so much more fun.These fans were hard-core who put me to shame. They had been to most of the finals night in past years around Europe and had travelled quite a distance to be at the London performance. It made quite a difference from watching it at home with people who really are not bothered about it.

They all did sound amazing, even acts like the Brotherhood of Man who appeared in 1976, still sounded the same. Other amazing performances were some of my favourites such as Loreen and Lordi who probably got the biggest applauses of the evening.

Eurovision Song Contest's Greatest Hits Part 2

I didn’t realise that the lyrics to 3 time winner Ireland’s Johnny Logan’s “Hold me now”had lay dormant in my head since 1987  (It was massive in OZ, I think I had it on some now ’87 compilation) and magically all spouted out of my mouth like a spring. You see I can’t remember how to do long division but random lyrics, this I know.

Eurovision Song Contest's Greatest Hits Part 2

What you won’t see in tonight’s broadcast is the what is becoming mandatory booing  (not  from me) poor Dima Bilan received because he is Russian. This happens every year at the Eurovision shows due to Russia’s political stance. I did feel sorry for Dima, it’s really not his fault (unless his involved somehow that I’m not aware of).

Graham Norton got (rightly) quite cross with the audience and reminded them where they were and to behave. After that scolding the audience behaved and Dima took it in very good grace. In the end he did a great performance and was appreciated by the audience. They made us re-record the clapping to dub the introduction.

The highlight of the evening was Conchita, she sounded even more amazing live. But the bigger highlight was Dana International and Conchita performing Waterloo together. Amazeballs.

Eurovision Song Contest's Greatest Hits Part 2

I just hope I wasn’t filmed shamelessly singing like a nerd in the second row..(on the side).

With over 1,400 songs ever entered into the contest I have picked  up my top 14 favourites over the past years making this 1% of all entries. I could have written the top worse but that would just make me no better than the cynics who think Eurovision is pathetic. I suppose I could do the most strangest entries which would included singing pirates, boastful bands, bad rapping, the elderly, and DJ Bobo letting us know vampires are alive. Not today tho.

Bar 2 all of  these are after 2003, and there’s not a “Waterloo” or “Making your mind up” to be seen.

14. 1979-(West) Germany – Dschinghis Khan-

This did not win, but its a good introduction to what to expect from Eurovision. A German group performing a disco pop number about a 13th century invader. The dancing Genghis  is what makes this, his really a bit scary.

13 1982- United Kingdom – Bardo- One Step Further

I’ve just added this, to be honest I forgot about this until last night, it was bugging me that I had excluded it. Not sure what happened to this on the night because the recorded version of this sounds a lot better.  Whats with that crazy on all fours dance? I think she over exerted herself. Tipped to win, came 7th. John Peel quoted at the time that this was his favourite Eurovision song of all time.

12.2011 -SWEDEN – ERIC SAADE-POPULAR

Almost but not quite, coming in third. Love a bit of smashing glass. Not to worry, Sweden won it the following year.

11. 2003- TURKEY-SERTAB ERENER- EVERYWAY THAT I CAN

Since this won you will now find that in most years there will be a song that sounds like it from any number of random countries. The singing is a bit off, and I’m not sure about the rapping/talking bit. Nonetheless, winner.

10. 2007- MALTA- OLIVIA LEWIS-VERTIGO

I said this at the time and I still stand by it…how did this not even make it through the semi-finals? It scored pathetically low. There was a lot of blame of block voting in 2007 stopping quite a few western european countries getting through to the final.

When I was visiting my grandfather in hospital about 6 months after the event ,a loud debate broke out in the next room which included most of the ward patients, visitors and staff (this is Malta after all) as to why Malta didn’t get into the final. The general consensus was that Europe was racist and  that going with a Japanese theme was her big mistake…, that is that.

9. 2006 -GREECE- ANNA VISSI- EVERYTHING

Rock ballads away! Bit Bonnie Tyler a bit Meatloaf. It never had a chance against Lordi but some years are just better than others. If this was entered in 2010 it may have done a lot better. (I say this just becuase I though 2010 was a poor year)

8.2004-GREECE-SAKIS ROUVAS-SHAKE IT

Eurovision is full of pretty boys, but none of them are Sakis I have a little crush on Sakis.

7. 2011-IRELAND- JEDWARD-LIPSTICK

This is the kind of stuff people watch Eurovision for. Poor Jedward should have done better but 11th isn’t bad. If that wasn’t enough they returned with the pretty unforgettable Waterline in 2012.

6. 2008- BONSNIA & HERZEGOVINA-LAKA-POKUSAJ

It’s so quirky, it’s not in english. Something about the sea and love. This song doesn’t require translation for me I just love the song.

5. 2009 – NORWAY- ALEXANDER RYBAK – FAIRYTALE

Norway are better known for receiving more nil points than any other country in history. But that was changed with fairytale. Isn’t he sweet? Having the ability to play a violin also helped this win by the biggest points difference in Eurovision history with 387 points.

4.2006-FINLAND- LORDI- HARD ROCK HALLELUJAH

It was loud, there were costumes involved, and axes and fire. It’s novel but the song is also great. Possibly the first rock track to be crowned victors. Dont know how much it harmed their “metal” reputation.

3. 2014-AUSTRIA-CONCHITA WURST- RISE LIKE A PHOENIX

Austria has had a bad run in the past, so bad that they left for a few years. Like a phoenix they came with this song .It’s all class, you forget about the beard or if it’s a man or woman.  Should be a Bond theme. 2015 is probably going to be full of copies.

2. 2013-SWEDEN-LOREEN-EUPHORIA

The beauty of this performance was there was no gimmicks. There was nothing to distract you from the song other than the shadow lightning. Wonderful dance track, It won deservedly.

1. 2008-FRANCE-SEBASTIEN TELLIER-DIVINE

We all know I love Tellier, and its something that must happen once or twice in a lifetime where your real life music loves crosses into the world of Eurovision. Its bizarre, and so was this performance. It had everything , a drunk Frenchman, women with beards before Conchita, a golf buggy and helium filled globe . Sadly the rest of Europe didn’t feel the same (including the French who weren’t happy that it was sung in english, hence the one line sung in french “why must I sing in french?”) and it finished 19th.

 

While were on the Subject of Eurovision I have to mention the greatest episode of Father Ted ever made. In “A song for Europe” , egged on by father Dick Burn  Ted and Dougal enter the song “My Lovely Horse” into the contest representing Ireland. It makes the final chosen because it’s so bad that Ireland can guarantee they wont win (and therefore not need to host ) it again.

There are calls from fans every year for Ireland to enter ‘My Lovely Horse’ (written by the Divine Comedy), it was put for consideration to  the Irish  government for this year’s contest. It was turned down… maybe they don’t want to win.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-28066759

 

 

*Eurovision Greatest Hits is on the BBC 1 tonight at 9pm.