Sunday, 13 August 2017

My bathroom

This week, I had intended to give the flat a really good clean and tidy but I got a little bit distracted by my battered bathroom walls and ended up repainting the room as well. Predictably, it ended up taking me a lot longer than I thought it would to complete. I think I say this a lot, but I often feel quite surprised by the amount of time it takes me to physically do things. Even simple tasks seem to take me forever to do. I don’t know if this is because I am an unusually slow worker or because I seriously underestimate the amount of time I need to allow for each thing, but it is really frustrating. In spite of this, I have to admit that I am a fairly thorough person and truly believe that if a job is worth doing, it is worth doing properly. So time is not always a factor for me.

The walls were already cream, so I simply repainted them the same colour. 

I would have preferred to have painted the walls a stronger colour but my landlord is not really open to this. It isn't really a problem for me as I think it's fairly easy to add colour into a room with accessories anyway. It also keeps things from looking too cluttered, especially as my flat is very small.

I kept my ceiling white, but changed the gloss finish on the door and frame to satinwood as I think this is a bit softer and more modern. 

It seemed very bare without all the clutter which usually lives in here, but it was good to get everything out for a thorough clean. After I'd finished the painting, I decided that I needed some better storage for my towels, so I popped into Argos for this towel rail which also has a shelf.

It seemed a bit flimsy when I took it out of the box, but it screwed together quickly and it is super sturdy once it is fixed to the wall.

I've been storing my spare towels on a shelf in the bedroom so think that this will be a lot better, as all my towels will be handy for when I need them.

I think that it looks quite smart despite being inexpensive. I like that the shiny chrome matches with my taps and shower screen, too.

This wall mounted rail is a lot better than the floor standing rail I had been using and it holds a surprising amount. I feel like my towels will dry a bit better on it. 

I've nearly put everything back in the room but I've tried to avoid too much clutter. I've always loved my bathroom and it was a huge factor in my choosing to rent this flat 6 years ago, so I am really happy that it continues to be a very peaceful space. 

I still have a few jobs to do like putting my robe hanger on to the back of the door and picking up a new toilet roll holder etc. but it is pretty much finished. Apart from getting some nice new towels of course. I haven't quite decided on the colour I'd like for those yet but I am veering towards apple green or orange, which will give a nice splash of colour. 

I have to admit that I am very tired now and think that I need a holiday to recuperate! I also feel overwhelmed by the thought of cleaning the rest of the flat, which has become even more untidy and dirtier than it was this time last week. It looks like I have another busy week ahead! X

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Camper van tote bag and easy needle case pattern

A little while ago I started making a reversible tote bag. I never finished it because I ran out of red thread and kept forgetting to go and buy some more. It was eventually consigned to the drawer where my unfinished projects go to hibernate and sadly, sometimes to die. I suddenly remembered about it last week when I was looking at some fabric online, so it then became a bit of a mission to go and get the thread and to finish it.

I was thinking that there was a lot to do on it but there was actually very little to finish. It was just a case of sewing the two layers together and attaching the handles, which didn’t take very long at all. 

I’m a bit disappointed because there are a few marks where my (fairly new) pins had rusted in the fabric. Perhaps it has been sitting there longer than I thought. I also managed to get a twist in one of my handles, which is super annoying but not sufficiently so that I would unpick it and do it again. 

Sewing is not my first love and I’m always a bit relieved when things come out looking OK. I’m sure no one will notice that the handle is twisted and if they do and it bothers them, they are truly welcome to sort it out for me.

Anyway, when I’d finished, I turned my bag inside out (to admire how reversible it is) and some scraps of the camper van fabric fell out. 

As I had the sewing machine out already, I thought it’d be fun to make something out of it rather than just stuffing it back into the fabric drawer.There wasn’t much to work with though! 

I spontaneously decided that I would make a needle case for my shiny new yarn needles as I’ve managed to lose my yarn needle case (with all my best yarn needles in it) at some point over the last month. I didn’t bother looking online for a pattern and just used my everyday sewing needle case as guide. This one here ↓

It took me ages to figure out how to do it and I’m sure there are simpler ways and easier patterns. But I quite like how it turned out and it’s a good size for when I’m crocheting. 

I like a needle case to be small enough to rest on the arm of the sofa so that I don't use the actual arm as a pin cushion. Which I freely admit to doing sometimes. 

Mine is a bit wonky but it all adds to the charm.

I aren't sure that my sewing is particularly neat either but I'm happy with it. Sewing in a straight line is harder than it looks!

I wrote the pattern up so that I’ll be able to refer back to it if I want to make another one and also so that anyone who likes it can make one too. Happy sewing! x


The size of the finished needle case is approximately:

9.5 x 7 cm when closed and 9.5 x 14 cm when open.

Please note that all sizes are approximate and that my diagrams are (very definitely) not to scale. 


Cut three rectangles in main fabric:

I used a polyester/cotton blend but any light to medium weight fabric would work well. It is not suitable for heavy weight curtain or upholstery fabric.

  • 20 x 16 cm 
  • 16 x 7 cm
  • 8.5 x 7 cm 
One rectangle in coordinating fabric:

This can be anything you like as it is not visible when the needle case is finished. However it is best to use something which coordinates with your main fabric as it may show through if you are using a particularly thin or light coloured main fabric. 
  • 20 x 16 cm
One rectangle of felt:
  • 9 x 7 cm
Matching thread

Loop and Strap fastening.

1. Using the 8.5 x 7 cm piece of fabric, make the loop. 

Fold the fabric in half lengthwise (with wrong sides together) to find the middle. Press lightly. This creates a centre fold line.

Open the fabric back out and using the centre fold as a guide, fold the long sides (with wrong sides together) so that the raw edges meet in the middle. Press.

Fold the short ends over about 1/2 cm and press into place. Trim the corners.

Fold in half lengthwise and press into place. Sew around all four sides and place to one side.

2. Using the 16 x 7 cm piece of fabric, make the strap. 

Fold the fabric in half lengthwise to find the middle. Press lightly. This creates a centre fold line.

Open the fabric back out and using the centre fold as a guide, fold the long sides so that the raw edges meet in the middle. Press.

Fold ONE end over about 1/2 cm and press into place. Trim the corners.

Fold in half lengthwise and press into place. Sew around THREE sides and place to one side.

Assemble the needle case

Fold the 20 x 16 piece of the main fabric in half (with wrong sides together). Press lightly.

Fold in half again.Press lightly, and unfold the fabric.

There will be fold lines which divide the fabric into quarters and which make it easier to see where to sew the loop and strap on.

Sew the loop along it's short edges to attach it to the top left hand quarter of the fabric.

Pin the strap in the bottom right hand quarter of the fabric. The raw edge should overhang the main fabric a little and the rest of the strap should face inwards and across the section.

It should look something like this.

Lay the coordinating 20 x 16 cm piece of fabric over the main fabric and (with right sides together) sew the side seams.

Press the seams open and turn to the right side. 

Fold in half, making sure that the loop is on the inside, and sew the two raw edges together.

Turn to the right side and press.Top stitch around all four sides. 

Turn over and stitch the felt across the middle of the fabric. 

Give it a press and it's ready to use! x

*This is my own pattern and while I’d be thrilled to bits if you used it to make a needle case for yourself, as a gift, for charity or to sell, I’d appreciate it if you would acknowledge me as the author. Please don’t sell the pattern itself.

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