Me Made May 2015: Days 11 – 31

Why doesn’t WordPress have an autosave function? Why don’t I save draft posts while I write them? Why does my laptop never crash when all I’m doing is binge watching Revenge? Anyway, last weekend’s MMM15 post disappeared with a blue screen of doom, so now there is one mammoth update for the rest of May.

Day 11 - 12 | Pattern . Paint . PanDay 11: Viscose dress (pre-blog)
Pattern: Self drafted
Fabric: Black, blue & yellow floral viscose
Sewn: Spring 2014

Day 12: Lace contrast yoke top (unblogged)
Pattern: Rub off from RTW top
Fabric: Aqua jersey and cream stretch lace
Sewn: April 2015

Day 13 - 14 | Pattern . Paint . PanDay 13: Denim skirt (pre-blog)
Pattern: Self drafted
Fabric: Denim
Sewn: Spring 2014

Day 14: Contrast yoke, wrap back top (unblogged)
Pattern: Hacked from RTW rub off
Fabric: Upcycled black jersey & zebra print jersey from Ebay
Sewn: April 2015

Day 15 - 16 | Pattern . Paint . PanDay 15: Floral shirt dress (pre-blog)
Pattern: Vintage
Fabric: Floral viscose & purple viscose lining
Sewn: Spring 2014

Day 16: Shirt dress (unblogged)
Fabric: Upcycled men’s shirt
Sewn: January 2015

Day 17 - 18 | Pattern . Paint . PanDay 17: Repeated Lady Skater from Day 5 (pre-blog)

Day 18: Contrast yoke, faux back button placket top (pre-blog)
Pattern: Self drafted
Fabric: Black viscose, black linen, black & white floral chiffon
Sewn: Spring 2014

Day 19 - 20 | Pattern . Paint . PanDay 19: Denim skirt (unblogged)
Pattern: Self drafted
Fabric: Upcycled denim from unworn dress, white cotton lining
Sewn: May 2015

Day 20: Handbag (unblogged)
Pattern: Self drafted
Fabric: Mystery 50p/m green loose weave fabric, stash scraps of pleather, polycotton lining
Sewn: November 2014

Day 21 - 22 | Pattern . Paint . PanDay 21: Upcycled skirt (pre-blog)
Fabric: One of my mum’s old skirts
Sewn: Spring 2014

Day 22: Repeated jersey peplum from Day 1

Day 23 - 24 | Pattern . Paint . PanDay 23: Floral dress
Pattern: Hacked Simplicity 2444
Fabric: Floral viscose & plain poly crepe du chine lining
Sewn: June 2014

Day 24: Floral dress
Pattern: Hacked Simplicity 2444
Fabric: Floral polycotton
Sewn:August 2014

Day 25 - 26 | Pattern . Paint . PanDay 25: Underwear (unblogged)
Pattern: RTW rub off
Fabric: Cream stretch lace & jersey
Sewn: April 2015

Day 26: Repeated Ava from Day 2

Day 27 - 28 | Pattern . Paint . PanDay 27: Repeated floral peplum from Day 3

Day 28: Jersey dress (unblogged)
Pattern: Lady skater bodice & self drafted skirt
Fabric: Zebra print jersey & upcycled men’s t-shirt
Sewn: Summer 2014

Day 29 - 30 | Pattern . Paint . PanDay 29: Repeated lady skater from Day 4

Day 30: Upcycled white lace dress (pre-blog)
Fabric: My Nan’s wedding dress – I took a few inches off the skirt and lowered the armholes, and considering it’s nearly 60 years old and originally handmade, I think it’s in amazing condition and totally wearable today. I haven’t worn it many times, thinking it’s too precious and I should save it for special occasions, but that feels a bit silly now.
Sewn: 2012

Day 31 | Pattern . Paint . Pan

Day 31: Collared top (pre-blog)
Pattern: Self drafted
Fabric: Mystery silky, slightly textured fabric
Sewn: 2012/13

Phew. I’m kind of surprised I managed Me-Made every day with only one use each of the underwear/handbag cheat, and not too many repeats. I thought I’d be frantically sewing mid-month, but with work being busier and several projects for my nephew, I’ve only been working on one dress (still unfinished, grr) in the last half of the month. I think trousers and more work appropriate dresses should be on my sewing list; as much as I love my floral cotton dresses from last summer, they are mostly relegated to weekend wear now. Jersey is the new cotton, and solids/prints the new floral. Well, maybe.

Me Made May 2015: Days 1 – 10

As promised, here is my first batch of (dodgy) MMM15 photos.  MMM15 | Pattern . Paint . Pan Day 1: Grey feather jersey peplum top (unblogged)
Pattern: Hacked from the Lady skater dress by Kitschy Coo
Fabric: Upcycled men’s grey feather print t-shirt & dark grey jersey
Sewn: April 2015

Day 2: Floral Ava dress. Pink cardigan (not me-made, but knitted by my Nan for my Mum over 20 years ago)
Pattern: Ava by Victory Patterns

Fabric: Floral polycotton & contrasting broderie anglais
Sewn: Spring 2014

MMM15 | Pattern . Paint . PanDay 3: Floral peplum top
Pattern: Simplicity 2444 hack
Fabric: Floral polycotton remnant
Sewn: Summer 2014

Day 4: Floral lady skater dress (unblogged)
Pattern: Lady Skater by Kitschy Coo (with altered neckline)
Fabric: Grey and black fleece backed jersey from Birmingham Rag market. The print is on the fleece side.
Sewn: Winter 2015MMM15 | Pattern . Paint . PanDay 5: Feather jersey lady skater dress (pre-blog) & Gaptastic Cowl (pre-blog)
Pattern: Lady skater by Kitschy Coo
Fabric: Grey, navy & green feather print jersey
Sewn: Spring 2014

Day 6: Black & white print jersey skirt (unblogged)
Pattern: Self drafted
Fabric: Black & white textured heavyweight jersey from Bham Rag Markets
Sewn: April 2015

MMM15 | Pattern . Paint . PanDay 7: Upcycled skirt (unblogged)
Pattern: Self drafted – box pleats, exposed zipper, faux waistband, lined
Fabric: Gathered skirt from an ancient Primark dress I never wore because the bodice had weird pleats on
Sewn: May 2015

Day 8: Knitted hoodie
Pattern: Divi hoodie from Ravelry
Yarn: Super cheap acrylic
Knitted: Feb – Sept 2014
This is definitely my most delayed blog post item, purely because after finally finishing it (my first proper garment), I realised just how crap the sizing really is and I didn’t really know how to fix it. MMM might finally make me attempt to make it wearable.
MMM15 | Pattern . Paint . PanDay 9: Floral Ava dress (& another Nan-knitted cardi that I’ve permanently borrowed from my Mum)
Pattern: Ava by Victory Patterns
Fabric: Floral and navy polycottons
Sewn: Summer 2014

Day 10: Floral strappy top (pre-blog)
Pattern: Self drafted
Fabric: Floral cotton
Sewn: Winter 2014

So far, so good. I haven’t had to resort to bags and underwear to get my 1 handmade item in, nor have there been any repeats. That no doubt will change over the next week!

Selfless Sewing: Baby Boy Rompers

Baby Boy Rompers | Pattern . Paint . PanTwo of my closest friends (who’s wedding I made this dress for) recently welcomed their first child, which of course is the perfect excuse to make more tiny clothes.

Annoyingly I didn’t have access to a printer, so I spent a while drawing out a pattern from a downloaded PDF on my tiny netbook screen. I based my pattern off this baby boy romper by Melly Sews, which is available as a free download (if you sign up to her newsletter or have a Craftsy account) in age 0-3 months, and in her shop in larger sizes. I did make some changes though:

  • Rounded the corners of both front and back straps
  • Eliminated the side seam between the front and back leg pieces to make a single leg piece
  • French seamed the front and back crotch seam
  • Added a doubled over strip for the snap closures instead of turning the edges under
  • Finished the leg hem with binding

The construction is simple enough, not that I read the instructions. I was pretty worried about the sizing because they simultaneously looked too small and too big, but my sister half convinced me they were ok.Baby Boy Rompers | Pattern . Paint . PanThe first fabric is Jungle Animals from the Makower Jungle collection that I bought from the Remnant House in Bude last summer. The shoulders fasten with buttons, and the crotch with snaps.

Baby Boy Rompers | Pattern . Paint . PanThe second fabric is A Musical Affair by Fabric Freedom in the blue colourway, from Mo’s Fabric and Dance in Rugby, my new local fabric store. I wanted something slightly less traditionally baby-ish, and had seen this guitar pattern months ago in Birmingham, but unfortunately could only find the burgundy colourway in Rugby, so ended up with the musical notes instead. I added some coordinating teal for the pocket, initial tag and leg binding. The shoulder straps are also closed with snaps.

I used sew on snaps, which is probably my only regret; I should have been organised enough to get some hammer on ones as I think they look much neater. Plus I kinda wish I’d redone the topstitching on the front pocket. But overall, they’re pretty cute. Though not as cute as their recipient!

Me Made May 2015

MMM15I am officially the crappest blogger ever, but I shall attempt to catch up with my recent makes as part of Me Made May 2015. In 2014, I completed my 15 days of wearing at least 1 handmade item, so despite my sewing being a bit sporadic since my move, my possibly unachievable but definitely belated pledge for this year is:

‘I, Briony of Pattern.Paint.Pan, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’15. I endeavour to wear 1 item of handmade or upcycled clothing or accessories each day for the duration of May 2015’.

There will most definitely be repeats and the accessories part is totally my cop out for the days when I want to wear RTW items, but hopefully the challenge will inspire me to wear some items that just sit on my shelves, finally start some of the planned pieces from stash fabric and highlight what I’m missing/wear most/don’t need to keep. Hopefully there’ll be weekly updates, but who knows, maybe it’ll be a mid June whole month summary again.

Christmas 2014: Pyrography Coasters

I’ve split my handmade Christmas gifts into a few posts (all with equally dodgy photos taken too late at night before my mad wrapping session).
This post involves burning cork.

For two of my sisters and their families, I made these pyrographied (is that even a word?!) coasters as part of their presents.Pyrography Coasters | Pattern . Paint . Pan

These are cork coasters from Ikea which annoyingly are too soft to use graphite transfer paper on. So I had to cut out each of my printed out template letters (EcuyerDAX font) and draw round them with pencil before burning. The cork obviously was quicker to burn that wood, but it didn’t burn so quickly that it was hard to control, as I feared it might be. Also, the divots in the cork didn’t really cause a problem, so altogether, I was just worrying for no good reason beforehand! You can see where I messed up the meant-to-be horizontal lines on the first ‘S’ and I just noticed there totally should be a line through the tail bubble of the ‘J’. Oh well. I totally love them, even if they are slightly flimsy.

Christmas 2014: Knitted Gifts

I’ve split my handmade Christmas gifts into a few posts (all with equally dodgy photos taken too late at night before my mad wrapping session).
This post involves my new-found love of knitting multiple strands of DK yarn.

Owl Mittens

Owl Mittens | Pattern . Paint . PanThis was the first ‘complicated’ pattern I knitted last winter/spring, and I love mine so decided to knit each of my sisters and my mum a pair as part of their presents. I love that they are almost just extensions to your jumper/cardigan sleeve and so are totally acceptable to wear inside and out! Plus the owl is cute and the pattern is just the right level of complicated. I used 2 strands of DK yarn instead of what the pattern states. The first pair (blue) was knitted on 4mm needles and ended up a little tight for my (fat) hands (but still fine for smaller women’s hands) so for the subsequent 4 pairs, I switched to 4mm for the rib and 5mm for the rest. I also added 2 extra rows of ribbing to the top end of all the pairs. The only other change (which had no effect on the result) was where I put the stitch marker on the right hand glove, but that’s just personal preference. The bonus is that these hardly take any wool when using DK, so there’s plenty left for me to make more for myself in each of the colours I used!

Cowl 

Cowl | Pattern . Paint . PanThis was a ridiculously simple knit while rewatching old seasons of Scandal. The most tedious part was splitting the 2 balls of yarn so I could knit with 4 strands of DK (buying 4 balls would have been way too easy!). I added 3 sparkly buttons to match in with the headband flower and owl eyes, and tacked the two sides of the ‘v’ together. I didn’t write down how many I cast on but it’s just garter stitch with stockinette stitch accents, knitted until it was long enough to wrap around my neck and overlap.

Headband

Beaded Headband | Pattern . Paint . PanA moss stitch (totally my favourite stitch ever) headband, knitted flat with 2 strands of DK until it was long enough to wrap around my head and then seamed. I drew out the flower on matching felt and then hand sewed various beads and sequins on before hot gluing a felt back to cover the stitches. It’s attached by brooch pin to the headband.

Cowl, headband and mitten set | Pattern . Paint . Pan

Minecraft Hat & Mittens

Minecraft Hat & Mittens | Pattern . Paint . PanThis set is my first attempt at writing a pattern that involves more than knitting a square/rectangle. I used the internet for help with how many stitches to cast on and then spent too long on OpenOffice Calc figuring out the rest of the pattern. I decided to forgo any research into how to knit with two different colours of wool, so I’m not sure if how I did it is an actual method or just my own way. Basically, I just twisted the colour I wasn’t using behind the colour I was inbetween each stitch so the back was all neat and didn’t have loose loops of the colour not being used.

Minecraft Mittens | Pattern . Paint . PanAnyway, these are the mittens from the outside and inside, knitted using 2 strands each of green and black DK yarn and 3mm needles for the rib and 3.75mm needles for the rest. It is knitted flat and then seamed. The fit is good (for an 8 year old) and I’m happy with how they turned out.

The hat is less of a success as it needs more width and length. I ended up knitting another ribbed band and sewing it onto the bottom (hiding the seam with a folded up brim) to add length. But it fits him at a squeeze and perhaps wear and some aggressive tumble drying might stretch it out a little. It was also knitted flat and seamed, using double strands of DK on 5mm needles.

If anyone is interested, I can put my pattern up (plus alterations for the hat).

Fox Hat

Owl Hat | Pattern . Paint . PanThis is another made up pattern that needs some tweeking design-wise but the size is fine. It’s knitted flat as a long rectangle from back to front and then seamed at both sides, with the square corners forming ears when the hat is worn. Basically, after casting on, K1P1 rib and lots of stockinette, I put the 5 stitches at either end onto stitch holders and worked decreases (k2tog and k2tog tbl) with the remaining middle stitches to create the nose. I then transferred the held stitches to my needles and used white yarn to K5, cast on 32, K5, then moss stitched for 12cm before switching back to orange wool and K1P1 ribbing. After seaming the sides, I tacked the white and orange together at the top of the nose and added buttons. If I did it again, I’d make the nose wider, it’s a bit evil looking now!

Christmas 2014: Painted Gifts

I’ve split my handmade Christmas gifts into a few posts (all with equally dodgy photos taken too late at night before my mad wrapping session).
This post involves various paints and tiny brushes, and ended up all being gifts for boys.

Stark Hoodie

DIY Stark HoodieMy (not-so-little) brother has been desperate for a Game of Thrones hoodie with the House Stark sigil on for ages, but they’re pretty expensive, so I decided to stencil the direwolf logo onto a RTW hoodie (I did debate sewing the hoodie as well, but in the end took the easy route). Basically, I then took the super long route and printed out a black and white line drawing found on a google images search, then converted it into a stencil, but I could’ve just used this free stencil. And then realised I couldn’t stencil it because my spray glue was at my sisters, so I drew round the stencil holes with silver metallic gel pen and then hand painted it with black Dylon fabric paint. I could’ve done a second coat in places to completely even out the amount of paint, but I think the slight variation kind of goes with the image and the edges are very defined, so I’m really happy with how it came out (and might have to make myself one to wear round the house!).

Minecraft Hoodie

Minecraft Hoodie | Pattern . Paint . PanMy oldest nephew is massively into Minecraft and after a fruitless search to find a RTW Minecraft hoodie (sold out in every store I went to due to my last minute shopping) and a frantic search for a plain green hoodie (who knew they were so rare), this came about. I drew the design onto the back using a ruler and gel pen, then hand painted it with the same black Dylon fabric paint, as it seemed quicker than faffing with cutting out a template or even using masking tape along the edges of the squares. It’s a bit giant on him (there was only one size of hoodie left) but at least it’ll fit him for more than a couple of months.

Painted ShoesPainted Shoes | Pattern . Paint . Pan

These are super cheap Primark pumps that I painted with regular acrylic paints. They’re pretty simple to make, although there’s a few steps due to using dark coloured pumps, with drying time in between. For all except the Minecraft pumps:

  1. Design, copy or trace your logo onto thick paper or card.
  2. Cut out around the outside to create a template.
  3. Use a metallic gel pen to stencil the outline onto your shoe.
  4. Use white acrylic to paint inside this line to create a base (I did 3 or 4 layers, waiting for each to dry before the next).
  5. Cut out the subsequent layer of your design (eg: for Batman, I cut out the bat logo, for Spiderman I cut out an eye, and for Superman I cut out the S).
  6. Transfer this outline to the white base layer using a pencil.
  7. Paint the rest of your design from lightest to darkest colour.

For the Minecraft pumps, work out how big your grid squares can be to fit in the Creeper face (mine were 1cm x 1cm) and use a metallic gel pen and ruler to draw the grid onto the shoe. Mark which squares are black, then fill in the other squares with various shades of green before painting the black squares.

Painted Shoes | Pattern . Paint . Pan

I did end up outlining the Superman logo in black (which was super annoying to do) and I really wish I hadn’t used such dark green right next to the Creeper face. But the kids liked them!

Christmas 2014: Sewn Gifts

Apologies for the complete lack of posts recently; life, and a dodgy internet connection have gotten in the way, but hopefully I’ll be better at posting now.

I’ve split my handmade Christmas gifts into a few posts (all with equally dodgy photos taken too late at night before my mad wrapping session).
This post involves needles, thread, fabric and lots of buttons.

Heart Cut-Out Girls Dress

Heart Cut Out Dress | Pattern . Paint . PanI told my only niece that I’d make her whatever dress she wanted, and this is the (slightly toned down) result! I self drafted a bodice and added a heart cut out at the back, slightly squared off neckline and flutter cap sleeves with a scalloped skirt hem to make a dress that’s wearable for more than dressing up!

Heart Cut Out Dress | Pattern . Paint . PanThe main fabric is a cotton and the skirt and sleeve lining some kind of poly, both from a visit to Tahim’s Drapers in Coventry (online store here), with a scrap of pink cotton from my stash for the bodice lining and hem, and a navy scrap for the waistband and sleeves. I used pearl-ish flower shaped buttons on the full length button placket at the back.

Berkshire Blazer

Velvet Berkshire Blazer | Pattern . Paint . Pan This is my 4th Berkshire, and it’s definitely my favourite yet! However, it’s been over 6 months since I last sewed this pattern and I had totally forgotten how annoying the pattern is. Seams don’t match and there’s so much ease in the sleeve cap. Anyway, I’ll draft my own pattern next time. This is navy cotton velvet from the same trip to Tahim’s Drapers, with navy and white striped polycotton lining and some ancient store bought navy satin bias binding trim. I decided to use the bias binding as I thought it would make the welt pocket easier as it’s so much thinner than using velvet for the welt flaps, and it worked; I think it’s probably my best welt pocket yet. I added the bias binding to the top of the patch pockets and at the sleeve hem too. Velvet Berkshire Blazer | Pattern . Paint . Pan

Campervan Shirt

Campervan Shirt | Pattern . Paint . PanAnother nephew is campervan-crazy and saw this cotton fabric while we were at the Birmingham Rag markets back in the autumn. I didn’t buy it then, but found it again when I visited Tahim’s Drapers. The pattern is a RTW rub-off I made for the first time last Christmas but that still fits now. I tried to make it easier for myself by not having a proper button placket and didn’t add a back yoke or front pocket as I thought they’d just get lost in the print.

Campervan Shirt | Pattern . Paint . PanThe underside/inside of the collar, collar stand and cuff, and the cuff placket is plain blue from some ancient Ikea fabric, and the button placket on both sides and bias hem is a scrap of cream polycotton. I really thought it’d be way too crazy, but I think it’s actually quite cute, and I’m quite happy with all my pattern matching, despite the headaches it gave me at the time!

Personalised T-Shirt

Personalised T-shirt | Pattern . Paint . PanThis was meant to be a super quick make to use up some iron on letters my sister bought years ago, but due to my serger refusing to serge more than 2 layers of fabric, it turned into one of the most rage-inducing projects ever! I nearly chucked out the whole thing since I was pretty sure my sister had totally forgotten about the existence of the iron ons, but I eventually persevered, mainly because I really liked the personalised back yoke. I used grey jersey scraps and a navy t-shirt in my up-cycle box, so essentially this was a free project!

Christmas Pyjamas

Boys Christmas Pyjamas | Pattern . Paint . PanThese weren’t a Christmas present as my sister bought the brushed cotton stag fabric and asked me to make my nephews new pyjamas for Christmas Eve. My guestimating on how much fabric I needed (£3 per metre from Birmingham Rag Market back in the Autumn) meant I needed to add contrasting panels using some dark grey jersey I’d bought to make myself another Lady Skater variant, but I think they actually look better with the stag pattern broken up a bit. I drafted a cross over neck design into the front yoke, and a matching back yoke. I learnt my lesson and serged all my pieces before sewing them together so my serger couldn’t have a sh*t fit. The sleeve hems are finished with self fabric bias tape, and the leg hems are turned up twice and machine stitched. The trousers in the photo are pre-elastic which is why the waist is so straight. Apparently they are the most comfy PJs ever, so that’s a definite win!

Holiday Packing: 2 Weeks in Carry On Baggage

2 weeks holiday with only a carry on? Crazy?

At the end of 2012, I took a 3 week trip back to Malaysia and Australia which was my first long haul, multi-week holiday since I’d gotten back from travelling and living in SE Asia and Australia. The novelty of having (the biggest) suitcase (ever) with seemingly unlimited weight rather than a backpack, and some ridiculously last minute packing resulted in me hauling around a giant case filled with stuff I didn’t end up wearing. Combine this with a super short layover and my case not making the transfer in time (thankfully on the return trip so it didn’t matter as much), and I haven’t checked a suitcase since then.

So, why would you want to travel so light?

  • No checked bag fees – admittedly this is probably the major factor for the flights I’ve been on since 2012. If I can fit what I need in my carry on, why would I pay from £30 (low season, 15kg) to £90 (high season, 20kg) to check in the same stuff? And that’s without the crazy excess baggage fees. I’d prefer to have that to spend at my destination!
  • No queuing to check in bags at the airport.
  • No waiting around at the baggage carousel at your destination.
  • No chance of your bags being delayed or lost.
  • Less weight to drag/carry from the airport to your transport to your accommodation, and back again. This is more important if you’re using public transport or have multiple destinations.
  • Less to re-pack at the end of your trip.

Of course, there are some disadvantages:

  • Having to drag/carry the smaller case/bag throughout the airport with you.
  • Depending on your airline, possibly not being able to have a second piece of carry-on baggage and so having to fit your handbag into your carry on case too.
  • Liquid/gel limitations mean you may have to purchase some toiletries and sun-care products at your destination.
  • May have to do some laundry while away.
  • Less space for souvenirs and new purchases.
  • Slightly more effort involved in choosing what to pack.

So, how do you pack lightly?

  • Research your destination: location, climate, religious and cultural clothing etiquette.
  • Research what activities you may do: do you need trainers, trousers, long sleeves etc?
  • Limit your toiletries: will 100ml be enough? If not, decide whether to take 100ml bottles and buy more at your destination, or just buy it out there.
  • Limit your make up: sample sizes or decanting into smaller pots will save space.
  • Roll don’t fold: rolling makes a massive difference to volume. I even roll my underwear and bikinis, and then use them to fill in any small gaps.

Folding vs. Rolling | Pattern . Paint . Pan

  • Don’t fill your case too full: leave space for any purchases on the way home, and it also seems to make the airline staff less likely to check your baggage dimensions if they are on the borderline of size limits in my experience.
  • Choose your clothes and footwear carefully: for me, this means pulling things from my wardrobe that I could take (bearing in mind the first two bullet points) and putting them into piles (tops, bottoms, dresses, long sleeves), and then reducing each pile by trying everything on, removing similar items and making sure the majority of things mix and match. Then double check coordination with underwear and footwear.
  • Wear your heaviest items and add layers: for this trip, that was my converse, trousers and cardigan, and I layered in a peplum top and jersey shirt.

So what did I actually pack? This was for 2 weeks in southern Spain (late summer/start of autumn):2 Weeks, 1 Carry On | Pattern . Paint . PanIn closer detail:2 Weeks, 1 Carry On | Pattern . Paint . PanClockwise from top left:

Travelling outfit: chinos, cardigan, peplum top, lightweight jersey shirt, converse, messenger bag.

Dresses: 5 cotton/polycotton, 1 viscose, 2 jersey (this was my unpared down section as I had to take all my me-mades!). A mix of beach/pool, casual and more dressy. 1 pair sandals, 1 pair flip flops.

Tops: 1 beaded evening vest, 1 loose fit short sleeved t-shirt, 1 tighter fit short sleeved t-shirt, 1 jersey vest, 1 cotton strappy top.

Bottoms: 1 pair navy shorts, 1 pair black shorts, 1 denim skirt, 1 pair navy leggings. 2 leather belts.

2 Weeks, 1 Carry On | Pattern . Paint . PanOther clothing: PJ shorts, vest & socks, swimming costumer, 3 x bikini tops, 2 x bikini bottoms, beach towel. Not pictured: underwear.

Other items: chargers (netbook, camera battery, phone, kindle, iPod), hairbrush, toothbrush, razors, ziplock bag with cotton buds, hair bands, head band, hair clips & tweezers, playing cards, 2 x plug adapter. Not pictured: fabric shopping bag.

Handbag: netbook in neoprene case, kindle & clip on reading light, iPod & headphones, phone, sudoku book, small guide book, tiny notebook, pen, camera in case, sunglasses, 2 x fabric coin purses (for one pounds with bank cards and driving license, one with euros), 1st aid (plasters, antiseptic wipe, painkillers, baby wipes, tissues), plastic wallet with passport, boarding pass & extra euros, ziploc bag with liquids/gels (makeup and sample vial of perfume as I bought toiletries and suncream in Spain as 100ml wouldn’t have been enough).

So, how did my clothes taken : clothes worn ratio work out? I didn’t wear the beaded black vest or my white dress, the swimming costume or bed socks, and didn’t use my camera battery or iPod chargers. I could easily have taken less dresses, but with England’s horrible winter weather fast approaching, I wanted one last chance to wear my me-made without loads of layers as well!

Cooking for a Crowd: Whole Weekend Menu

Apologies for my crap posting schedule; September was crazy with house moves, family reunions and holidays.

Summary

Location: Away from home.
Equipment at venue: Small fridge, oven, hob, slow cooker.
Numbers: 16 people (10 adults, 6 kids), 5 meals plus soft drinks, £4.21 per adult and £3.16 per child.

Buying presents for my parents is virtually impossible, so for their last couple of birthdays, my siblings and I have sent them away for a surprise weekend, which is about the only time they get to spent quality time alone together (my youngest brother is only 13. He’s counted as an adult in these numbers btw). Invitations |Pattern . Paint . PanThroughout this summer, my mum had been saying how much she’d love to have all her children and grandchildren at their static caravan near Padstow for a weekend. That’d be fine for a normal sized family, but there’s 18 of us, the caravan site is 4 hours away (if you don’t hit traffic) and 2 of my sisters (plus associated 3 kids) don’t drive. Anyway, transport and sleeping arrangements sorted (yay, broken tents, cheers Sinead!), we (I) moved onto food.

The main considerations were ability to pre-cook at home and reheat at the caravan, fridge space at the caravan and cost. The kids aren’t fussy (with the exception of one refusing to eat potato!) so that wasn’t a problem, although my Dad is gluten free (except when it comes to cake!). We ate our own food/snacks in the cars on Friday night and Sunday evening, so we needed meals for Saturday breakfast to Sunday lunch inclusive. There ended up being 16 (10 adults and 6 children) as the older of our brothers had just moved abroad and my sister’s boyfriend had his masters dissertation due the next week.

Menu

Breakfast x 2
Cereal & milk.

Lunch
Day 1: Slow cooked gammon joint.
Day 2: Sausages, hot dog sausages and chicken drumsticks.
Both days: Homemade coleslaw, homemade potato salad, homemade tomato & sweetcorn pasta salad (plus gluten free version), lemon and coriander couscous, vegetable rice, sausage rolls, veggies (lettuce, cucumber, carrot, celery, tomatoes, beetroot), boiled eggs, homemade garlic and herb dip, homemade tomato salsa, crisps.

Dinner
Chilli con carne, baked potatoes, green salad, grated cheese, tortilla chips.

Desserts
Fruit platter: watermelon, grapes, blueberries, peaches, pears.
Traybakes: chocolate brownies, vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream, lemon drizzle cake, rocky road.

Drinks
Apple and orange juice (breakfast), squash, lemonade, milk for hot drinks.

I had intended to prepare almost everything at home, but I realised it would be a bit ambitious with time after some totally unrelated errands took much longer than I anticipated, and looking back, had I prepared everything it wouldn’t have all fitted in the fridge anyway.

I ended up making the chilli con carne, salsa and 4 traybake desserts at home, and the rest at the caravan.

My total food bill came to £61.10, which after some weighting for adult:kid portions, worked out at £4.21 per adult and £3.16 per child for 5 meals and soft drinks.

I shopped for the vast majority at Aldi with some fruit from the local greengrocers and market, and a few items from Asda, and some non food items such as foil traybake trays and plastic containers came from Home Bargains.

We already had tea and coffee, and various paper plates and bowls at the caravan. I used already purchased baking powder, baking soda, sultanas, mini marshmallows, various dried herbs/spices and gluten free pasta. People bought their own alcohol.

Summary

The only real problem arose with the dodgy gas oven when cooking the jacket potatoes on Saturday while we were at the beach, and sausages and chicken on Sunday. There was plenty of food, but without there being loads of leftovers on Sunday when we came to leave. It would have been better for me socially if I’d been able to prepare more in advance, but practically that wouldn’t have worked. Financially, it worked out so much cheaper than eating out (a Cornish pasty at lunch can be £3 each and fish and chips even more) and easier/fairer than sorting out a bring-a-plate-buffet type thing.