Another ottoman upcycling project

Remember my recent ottoman upcycling project? Well, I have four ottomans dotted around the house and they are all in need for some TLC and DIY.
This one is in the same room as the first one I did up. I kept within the colour scheme and went for a stripey cover this time. I think I almost like it better that the polka dots. The trim is the same. That's two of them done, two more to go. One in my sewing room and one in the bathroom. I haven't decided on fabrics and paint yet.
I like quick and easy projects like that. Very satisfying.


Mailorder 8111 a slightly different shirt dress

As I mentioned in my previous post, I have been sewing and a new shirt dress to present.
The pattern is another mailorder pattern number 8111 and I am again unsure which pattern company this is. The design is a bit unusual and not something I have made before.
I wasn't too sure about the big front button flaps as these details often look quirky in the drawing but then not that great in real life.
I made the version in the big picture but forgot the belt loop.Oh well, the belt I ended up wearing with it would have covered it up anyways. It's not the perfect belt to go with it but it's the best I could find in my collection. It's vintage from the1970s.
I also shortened the hem by about 5". Not as much as I took off on this dress but I kind of like it that length.
The skirt is a four piece skirt again. I do like how they drape but I'm still not a fan of the center seam. I also could have done a better job pressing that seam, looking at this picture.
details: the "flappy bits" (that's the technical term for them, trust me) are a bit tricky to get right when you turn them out. Lots of very careful, very close clipping necessary.......
I love the pocket. I think I will stick some pockets like that on future sewing projects. Maybe on the skirt?
Thanks everyone, I hope you likey.
What do you think: Flappy button details yey or nay? Also what are they really called?
I think I need to make something that is not a shirt dress next.


So I swam in a lake.....kinda a big deal for me.....

I hope you have all enjoyed a wonderful weekend. I definitely had a great one. Actually the whole last week has been very eventful for me. Since I have been writing a lot about the past in my running posts here and here, I want to share a bit of what I'm currently up to.
Last Tuesday I went for my very first open water swim. This is such a big deal for me that I have to share it with you readers instead of waiting for it to fit into my running/multisport story.
As I mentioned in my last post I am currently training for my first sprint triathlon which will be on the 9th of June (not long now!) The whole event will be a 750m swim in a lake, 20k bike ride and 5k run. Now, I only started swimming last September when I enrolled in an adult swim class at a local swimming pool. I built up some strength and stamina since then and swim quite well now. But swimming in a pool and in a lake a very different things. A pool is kept at a comfortable temperature, you can see what's below you and around you (this is not always a good thing though, I must say....pools are gross, even nice ones) and you are always close to something to hold on to in case you need a rest.
How do you like my new look? I wish they did polka dot wet suits...
None of these things apply in a lake. It's dark, there is stuff living in it that you can't see, it's cold and there are no walls etc to hold on to in case you run out of steam. I am not at all happy with any of those aspects and was super scared of the moment I had to get into a lake and swim. I had pushed this experience as far away as possible but now with the race so close I had to face this last step that kept me from competing in a triathlon. So I went and bought a wetsuit and a trisuit last Monday. I didn't think I would get both items so quickly but I was lucky to live near the warehouse for www.mytriathlon.co.uk and they people there were super helpful and got me sorted out in no time.
There is a lake just outside Reading where you can go open water swimming at the Copthorne hotel on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and weekend mornings. So I took my new kit and my very nervous self to the lake and went in. I also brought my husband along to document the whole event and for moral support. I was very scared of having a panic attack in the lake and having to be saved by "David Hasselhoff in a canoe" (had to mention him as we Germans are always said to be his biggest fans....) and be pulled out of the lake. Fortunately he never had to come and save me. I went in and started swimming pretty much straight away. The swimming itself was VERY bad. I swam like I used to, awful breaststroke, head above water, all over the place (even ended up floating into the banks at some point) and I was very uncomfortable the whole time. The wetsuit was very tight around my neck and felt like it was choking me. But the things I was most afraid of, the dark water, the stuff in the lake and being away from anything to hold on to, didn't really bother me much at all. It's cold at first when the suit fills with water but it warms up very quickly and it keeps you very straight and afloat. Drowning is virtually impossible. So when I ran out of breath (basically every two minutes) I turned on my back and floated until I was ready to swim some more.
I floated on my back a lot on this first swim and took forever to get around the buoys.
The water was very fresh and clean and much nicer than pool water. As you get water in your mouth when swimming, this is much more pleasant. My skin felt great afterwards as well. Not dry and smelling of chlorine as it usually does after a pool swim. So that was great. When I got out of the water I felt like I had just done the most amazing thing ever because I had managed to conquer my fear of swimming in dark open water including all it's "lake monsters" and I didn't panic.
My actual swimming was appalling which crushed my spirit a bit. I thought I was getting kinda good in the pool but this is sooooooo different. It was like learning to swim all over again and on race day I will have to swim almost twice as far. But for now I had managed to get a step further by not freaking out. I know now I can do it and swim in a lake. I don't have to like it, just do it.
I went back on Saturday morning to have another go. The fact that I am so slow and uncomfortable made me want to have another go as soon as possible. I didn't do the suit up as tight around the neck and pulled legs, arms and torso of the suit up as high as I could to try and avoid the choking feeling as much as possible and it worked. I also realised once the choking feeling was gone that the cold water on my face (lake was 14C) was what took my breath away and made me swim mainly head above water. Once I had acclimatised to the cold, swimming felt so much easier. I managed two 400m laps and felt quite good during the swim. I was also twice as fast as on my first swim.
On Saturday morning, feeling so much better after the second swim and all the improvements I had made from the first time. And no, I don't swim with sunglasses on but I wanted to spare you no-make-up-albino-ginger-face. It's not attractive.

I'm still not in love with lake swimming but I can see myself getting there in the future. I want to treat open water swimming as I treated olives. I used think they were gross and I hated olives. Something made me try them again and again though and now they are a weekly buy for me and go in most of my meals because I really love them. I hope this will happen to my relationship with the lake. Have you ever swam in a lake? Do you like it?
What was the scariest thing that you have ever done? Is there anything you really would like to do but fear is holding you back?


An eventful weekend.......

I hope you have all enjoyed a wonderful weekend. I definitely did.
I did get some sewing done
Pictures of the finished dress coming soon.
I went for lunch and dog walkies with a friend wearing a new dress. It's basically my landgirl dress without the sleeves and in red polka dots.
I swam in a lake for the second time, which is a huge deal for me. More on that (first and second time) in tomorrow's post.
And I went on a long bike ride with my husband all day Sunday.
What have you been up to this weekend?


About my other passion.....how I got into running part 2

Last Thursday I started sharing my running story with you readers. If you have missed Part 1, here it is. 
After that very first 5k race I continued training without really setting any other goal than getting better at running and increasing my distance. I ran about 3 times per week for 20-40 min (3-5-ish Kilomerters -about 2-3 miles) and got stronger. I didn't do any other specific running training than just get out of the door and do it. At the early stages improvement is rather easy and you build up quickly. That is great as it keeps you motivated. I also decided to stop smoking, once again. I had tried many times before but this time it stuck and I finally got over it. This is one of the biggest improvements I have made to my lifestyle. I am so happy to have kicked that awful habit for good.
from around that time
 I July 2009 my boyfriend and I finally moved in with each other. We both moved to Colchester, where he was posted to for the next 3 years. I loved living there.  It is close to the seaside, surrounded by lots of green countryside and about the same size as the place I moved from in Germany. The best part was of course finally living together with my awesome boyfriend.
After moving I had to find a new job as my freelance work wasn't paying well enough and it was hard to do, away from Birmingham. I ended up working in a local wedding dress shop which also led to the rebirth of my sewing and dressmaking hobby. But that's another story.
Cheap days out. Still my favourite way to spend time with my husband
Dave and I were rather "poor" at the time. We didn't really have much to bring into our new home. He had been living in army accommodation and I had been living in a furnished place for the past year. All my stuff was and actually still is now  (5 1/2 years later..ooops) stored in Germany. So at the time we were saving for a house, getting the essentials for our current place AND (how could I forget) we were also planning our wedding for the following year. Dave proposed to me just before we moved to Colchester. This left no £££ for fun and we had to be clever with how to make the most out of an empty purse.
country walking
We started walking and hiking all over Essex and Suffolk, brought picnics along and had the best time for free and we were getting fitter. (well I was Dave is and has always been an amazing athlete)
I was also still running my little 3-5k loops and decided that maybe I could aim to run a 10k race. I started reading running magazines, found a training plan and learnt a lot about how to train efficiently and also how to fuel myself properly. Until then I used to be a serial dieter buying every fat free diet food product under the sun. I thought I needed to lose weight for some reason or other. I have never been much bigger or much smaller than I am now.
Since I first started running, my whole body composition has obviously changed dramatically from my unhealthy, unactive student days until today as have my energy levels. I stopped eating all that processed crap and started eating real whole foods including all their full fat varieties and surprise!!! my running improved, my mood improved and I didn't gain any weight. I also stopped yo yo-ing and generally haven't been ill for the past years. I must be doing something right. If you are interested in further information on the way I eat, research "clean eating"by Tosca Reno and various other resources on that subject. I'm not an expert so I would not want to give any advice on it. It's basically a very common sense approach to nutrition.
Back to the running bit. I ran the my first 10k, finished in just under one hour. I then spend the next three years running on and off for a few months at a time. I usually trained for a few months to prepare for a race followed by a "rest period" that lasted until I booked the next race.
being silly
Then in September 2010 my husband went on tour to Afganistan for just over 6 months. In that time I used running as a tool to keep positive. I was made redundant from my job at the time and started working for myself again. Since I was working from home, spending most of my freetime there as well, running helped me to get outside. It was a tough time for me and I think I needed to prove to myself that I'm a tough cookie that can handle times like that. I did so by wanting to conquer the next distance and run a half marathon. This has never been something I thought I could do but since I wanted to proof something to myself, I had to aim high. But more about that next time.
I hope you enjoy reading these non-sewing related posts. I am currently in need of motivation as I am training for my first Triathlon. Looking back down memory lane makes me realise how far I have come in the past 5+ years and that I have accomplished many things I would have never thought I could. It helps pushing myself to the next level.


Style and sewing inspiration Lemon Breeland

I never know if everyone is past a new (or better: new to me) TV show already or if there just isn't a lot of hype around it... I don't own a TV so I'm usually behind on everything that's new. If it's not on Iplayer or the other channel's equivalent I usually don't know about it unless I find out about a new show via the blogging community. Anyways I have recently gotten into watching "Hart of Dixie" an American TV show that's been running for two seasons already starring Rachel Bilson. I kinda like Rachel Bilson so I thought I'd check it out and get the DVDs on Lovefilm. When my husband asked me after a few episodes what it was about, I described it as a modern day Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. I think that is a pretty much the whole show in a nutshell. Young Doctor from New York City moves to Bluebell, Alabama to spend some time in a practise as a GP before moving on in her career as a surgeon.
Upon arrival the local people dislikes her immediately and she's struggling to fit in. With every episode and every challenge conquered she wins over the community bit by bit. There are also some possible love interests build in, one she can't have and one she doesn't want.... the usual. It's very easy entertainment and great to watch while doing something else e.g. sewing, knitting.... on the side.
Now the main reason I kept watching the show is because it has kind of a Pushing Daisies vibe to me. Some OTT characters, the kind of look/mood of the way it's filmed (I hope I'm making sense here) and the costumes of the women in Bluebell.
My favourite character Lemon Breeland is played by Jamie King. She s basically Betty Draper with a Bree Vandercamp personality. Her costumes are very 1950s housewife-ish and she is the perfect little homemaker with a hidden agenda of course. Gotta keep things interesting, right?
If you haven't already seen the show, go check it out. I recommend it more for costumes and the beautiful setting than the story line.
source 1 and 2
Anyone else watching the show? What do you think?


New shirt dress Mailorder? pattern 4882

I indulged in some me-sewing again last week. When we last went to visit my in-laws I purchased some fabric in a local shop and wasn't quite sure what to actually make from it.

I had a selection of vintage shirt dress patterns to choose from and asked on twitter, and Instagram (@beatricewinter) as well as my personal Facebook which one to use.

The majority went for the top left pattern.
The envelope is missing. I believe it's a mail order pattern but I can't seem to be able to find it on Vintage Pattern Wiki or anywhere else. If anyone knows what pattern company it is and from what year, please let me know. I got the pattern a few years ago from Andrea who was so generous to send me a bunch of vintage patterns from her stash. Thanks again Andrea. This is the first time I have made this particular design.
And here it is. I decided to opt for the sleeves instead of the sleeveless version so I can wear it on bike rides without getting burned on my shoulders. This is a perfect dress for cycling  as it's a bit blousy and I won't get too hot in it. At first I wasn't too sure about the big collar but it has grown on me and now I rather like it. Maybe some pipeing along the yoke would be nice to show that detail off would be nice. Next time I would also cut the skirt differently to avoid the center front seam (not too keen on seams all the way down the front) and maybe make a full circle skirt. This four piece skirt also takes a lot of fabric due to the odd cutting layout. It hangs nicely though and the center front seam doesn't show too much. I also shortened the skirt by about 9". I need my skirts to hit just above the knee or slightly below. Any longer and they make my calves look even bigger than they are. Hello running muscles!!!

And because I like red and went for red buttons, I accessorised with more red today.
And then hubby and I spend the afternoon in Maidenhead, walking along the Thames
eating cake
and taking in some scenery and charity shop hunting but no pictures of that part, sorry.
I hope everyone else has had a nice Saturday. I'm off to bed now (at 9:30 pm on a Saturday night!!!) because I have to get up early to go and spectate at a Sprint triathlon tomorrow. I have never been to watch one live but I want to see what it's like, what to expect and so on so I'm not a complete idiot when I am doing mine in June. I hope I get to learn some tips.
Anyways, have a great weekend everyone.
Any suggestions what pattern from the selection above to try next?


Another passion of mine...How I got into running

Today I would like to share a bit more about another passion of mine, running. It has been a hobby of mine for 5 1/2 years now and it is slowly growing into a multi sport obsession. I have realised a growing interest in all kinds of sport and fitness around the blogging world/ social media. And since I  have just signed up for my very first Sprint triathlon in June, I thought it might be interesting to share my running story with you readers. Maybe it inspires one or two readers to give it a go (or some other sport).
I have to break this story down into a few posts and hopefully this is interesting to you. I am very passionate about my sport and only have a few friends that are any kind of sport so I have to bore you with this passion of mine and hopefully find some more like minded people that way.
To start off with, I must say I was never the sporty type. Far from it. I didn't like Sports at school very much, probably because I wasn't very good at it. I did like being outdoors building houses in the woods and riding my bike but I was mostly a geeky kid who preferred to read and craft and hang out with pet friends.
The years at uni weren't super active either. I was studying popular music and media and worked in a pub. So my exercise was going to gigs a lot and carrying (and drinking) trays of beer. I was also a pack a day smoker and serial dieter (to compensate for the weekend benders). Yup, super healthy and balanced student lifestyle.
I moved to the UK after I finished my degree because my boyfriend (now husband) was due to get posted back here from Germany. He's a soldier in the British Army. I went ahead and moved to Birmingham by myself because I could rent a place from friends there and he moved to Reading three months later for a 9 months course. We ended up leading a weekend relationship for nearly a year. It was awful. I worked 2 jobs leaving me with little free time, didn't really have any friends and since I only moved with a few suitcases, no creative outlet either to keep me sane. I ended up very depressed and unhappy all alone in Brum, fell into one of those I'm fat and ugly depressive mindsets and cried to my boyfriend on the phone nearly every night. Bless him he listened to my self pity over and over again. He's a good man!!
One weekend in March I asked my boyfriend if we could go out for a run together as I decided enough is enough, I need to get myself together and do something. He's always been super fit which made me want to work on my own non existing fitness. So out we went in whatever trainer like shoes I could find on my first run since (I believe) school. It was painful. I could barely breathe (hello smoker lungs!!!) and the running was more a shuffling along the pavement than anything else but I managed to keep shuffling for 20 minutes. Dave would not let me stop until we got back home. The whole run was only about 3 kilometres, I was in great pain but super chuffed with myself for doing something I thought I wasn't capable of. There and then I decided this is what I want to do. So I shuffled my way through the next few weeks, increasing the distance slowly as well as the speed.
Unfortunately I haven't got race pictures from that time. I wasn't a blogger then and didn't know the importance or photographing everything hahahaha)
One day at work a colleague mentioned that she was running a 5k charity race in a couple of weeks time if I was interested in running it with her. I didn't know anything about running races and thought only proper runners and athletes would take part in things like that. But I was wrong. Anybody and everybody of all abilities, shapes and sizes were there. Lots of neon tutus, superhero costumes and a great and very positive and welcoming atmosphere.
So I ran my first 5k, got my fist medal and decided that I was a runner now.
I have never gotten a medal for anything before. I wore it everywhere for the rest of the day. I still do with every new one I get. I'm cool like that ;-)
After that a whole wave of training and racing kicked loose. Some wonderful health choices followed...bye bye stinky cigarettes and bye bye weekend benders to name the most important ones but more on that next time.
Any other runners out there? Any beginners? Any veterans?


A little wardrobe organisation DIY

I have a very quick and easy DIY project today to help organise a small wardrobe space.
I have quite a few belts and never seem to be able to find the one I want to accessorise and outfit because they end up all over the place. So I decided I need a place for them all to be together. I bought a small rack of coat hooks and screwed them onto a wooden hanger and boom all belts in one place. I think I might screw another rack of hooks to the other side as well since this one is already full.