out with the old

Farewell to a pretty darned good 2011 and here's to a brilliant and even better 2012. I can't wait to share the journey with you.

Wishing everyone the brightest, the healthiest, the craftiest and the very happiest of New Years.

Kate x


merry merry

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year. Thank you for popping in, for all your support and for leaving your thoughts, they have been so much appreciated.
See you in 2012.

Kate x


christmas tree

Well, the tree is done. It went up yesterday but was still wet. Within hours, Alfie the tabby cat had been up to investigate the top but it's a good solid one so we're hoping it will last the course. The children decorated the tree today and we had the grand turning on of the lights this evening, amid Christmas carols and general over excitement. Christmas has begun and now I think I could be feeling festive.

I notice there isn't an even spread of decorations on this tree. There are areas where it practically bows and then there are parts where it looks positively bald. But I won't interfere. I'm not going to. I'm really not ..

Four more sleeps.


a wool dress

I've been trying to get decent photos of this dress all week but the skies have been quite grey, the light so low and now the husband has arrived back from Nairobi with some weird bug or other and taken to his bed. It's also freezing cold and what you don't see is the thick socks, vest and hat I'm wearing to keep the blood circulating. I shot these with the self timer .. always a challenge focusing on yourself when you're standing the wrong side of the lens so, after a lot of tinkering with the camera settings, I'm going to have to call it a day with this lot!

The minute I saw this wool I had to have it. The colours, the pattern, the feel of it .. it's gorgeous. But it was also pricy, so I hesitated to cut until I was completely happy. I wanted to make a dress totally simple in style, absolutely no gathers, darts, elasticated anything .. I just wanted to show off those lovely checks without distraction.

A long search led me to lesson 3 in this book. I liked the flared skirt and the fact it is roomy enough for me to wear a top underneath if I want. I left the sleeves till the end, not cutting out until I had finally made up my mind as to whether to plump for short, three quarter length or long. The pattern gives plain, loose, three-quarter but I settled on making a cuff and did similar sleeves to my Tova dress, which I love. Once I had the pattern drafted, the dress itself was a cinch to make and the wool, I hasten to add, was a dream to sew. No shifting about and fraying like the flannel and it feels so soft and silky.

I deliberately chose not to try matching all the checks but concentrated on marrying up just the sleeves instead. I'm quite happy to have a little discoordination, perfect isn't always best. I didn't bother to line it either, to eliminate bulk, I have a navy slip which I might wear instead.

One irritation about this book is the fact there are no body measurement sizes included, only finished garment measurements. You mustn't always assume that these books follow a standard sizing chart either, when comparing the garment size to those printed in other books there were slight discrepancies. I went up a size to make my dress (to give me the option of layering) but took in the side seams a fraction so it's not so sack-like. I also added a fair bit to the overall length as these Japanese patterns are normally a little short for me.

I wasn't sure how to prepare the fabric in the first place. I can't bear the idea of regular dry cleaning so after chatting it over with both the shop and with the font of all knowledge (my Mum), I put it all into the washing machine on a hand wash cycle and crossed my fingers tightly. I intended to give it the quickest of spins but then promptly forgot and it went the full cycle. Thankfully it survived, so no misshapen, felted mass of fibres and if there was any shrinkage it was evenly done and I'm non the wiser.

Perhaps by now you may have picked up on the number of checked garments being created in the harmony and rosie household. Well, I'm thinking this may be the last but you never know. Never say never. And am I crazy about this dress? Oh yes, siree, I'm going to be wearing it on Christmas Day!

Happy frantic preparations!


wool love

I was really excited to get hold of a bundle of vintage wool recently. Good, weighty stuff in perfect colours, shades that positively shout out vintage. And beautifully thick too, the equivalent of a pair of cosy, comfy slippers.

Of course some of it is being turned into purses. I adore woollen bags and purses and even more so at this time of year. And I'm actually enjoying decreasing the stash of crochet and lace that I've accumulated over the years, it's like a mini spring clean, almost.

I love taking a piece of fabric and marrying it up with its future lining, playing about with colour combinations and different prints. The mustard and grey have been paired with remnants of the fabric used for this shirt and the green checks are partnered with the Liberty lawn originally bought for the Model's dress back here.

The mustard and green purses have made it to the shop but as for the charcoal grey, I just can't quite do it yet .. my heart's holding on but my head is fighting hard. I got just the one piece of it, a perfect size to make this purse with not one thread of wastage involved. Can I part with it? I just don't know. You must know my feelings towards grey!

And talking of wool love, I've made a start on that wool dress I mentioned but it's going to be a slow process I think. What are you doing?


a flannel nightie

Well, she had to have a flannel nightie, didn't she? The nights are becoming quite cold now, don't you think? So I upped the ante and finished off this project that was started a week or two ago. It's all busy busy busy here.

I used the same Japanese pattern as for this nightie .. possibly because I still had the pattern already drafted out and probably because I'm all for an easier life. In any case, it's a winner of a pattern. The fabric is left over from the Tova dress I recently made and I'm thinking it may just have been growing in the darkness of the cupboard as there's still some left for something else.

I bought some fabulous wool the other day and am itching to get stuck into that. Perhaps it'll have to stay on the back burner a while longer, after all January will doubtless be cold so there's still time for woollen dresses.

Keep warm, everyone!


kicking leaves

These recent gales we've been subjected to have blown down any remaining leaves I would say and before the rain started, they were deep and crisp and decidedly crunchy.

We had to have some repair work done on the roof this week and my eyes are still watering at the thought of how much money we had to part with. It would appear that roofing is quite the industry to be in, although I didn't envy the guy when the wind was howling around the chimney tops. But at least there's hope for a dry house this Winter and now I don't flinch quite so much at the merest mention of any snow that may come over the next few months.

I've been beavering away in my little space all week, only taking time out to watch the childrens' various school activities and presentations as they begin the run up to Christmas. Just a couple of weeks to go before it's school's out, can you believe it?

I added another cashmere purse to the pile, this one's a lovely conker-brown shade, with vintage Liberty lawn and 1920s appliqued blossoms which look as though they're being blown about in the wind too.

Have a great weekend, everyone. It's a beautiful day today.