Don’t Throwaway Threads

Fashion has become so fickle. And it’s boring the pants off me. Quite literally.

It’s looping and looping around,  and age-old ‘staples’ that I claim as fashion have slid back into the ‘popular’ stream, meaning that all the lumberjack shirts and leggings I’ve been wearing since…well since I pinched a couple of Papa Pigeon’s old shirts aged 14… are finally back ‘in’. I’m not saying the most fashionable bird around…far from it…I know that some of my clothing choices are down right ridiculous, but I like how they make me feel…and that my friends is what clothes are for. They are meant to work for you…not the other way round.

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I’m not saying that fashion is a bad thing, but we need to see this beast for what it is. A money-making churning machine. I am appreciative that disco pants came back in…I’ve been aching for a pair of skin tights shinys since I saw Sandy in that last scene from Grease as a little girl….I know…issues…but I’m not willing to buy plastic ‘futuristic’ see through high heels, when we all know that tweed and english heritage will be back in this winter… just you mark my words (EVERY YEAR!).

So to help myself step away from this big churny machine and to save pennies…I’m not buying any new clothes for 365 days. Don’t fret clothing hoarders… I will get some new-to-me clobber, but you’ll find me making it a mission this WHOLE year to only buy from carboot sales, charity shops, clothing swaps and to upcycle things I already have lurking in the back of my wardrobe. Women on average have over 3,000 items in their wardrobe (I think mine is about that…glup) and 60% of us whine about having nothing to wear for a night out…. that is insanity.

We also throw out soooo much fabric in this country and it drives me batty. NO fabric leaves this house in a binbag. All my old clothes are either shredded and used as stuffing for a multiple of things or the fabric picked apart at the seams and turned into housewares or items for my shop. I don’t actually think we have even thrown out so much as an old dishcloth… (they get boil washed multiple times and reused before I shred them and put them in the composter)… since we moved here….

So I’ll also be trying to show you what I do with all my old stuff that is honestly long past dead.

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My biggest fear is basics and jeans. I already know that my black ballet pumps have had it and that I need another white vest, so they are going to be hard to find second-hand. Jeans for me are my holy grail. They have to be long enough and fit me both around the waist and the bottom…a seriously tall order that only Uniqlo has been able to fill recently…argh! My biggest weakness is going to be when all the jumpers come back into the high street….oh gawd I love a jumper. I’m however excited about trying out new shapes and things out of my comfort zone as I will have less choice.

Wish me luck!

wpid-signoff2013.pngI will be instagramming and tweeting with the hashtag #dontthrowawaythreads if you want to follow or join in! :D

 

Cranleigh Show with Lucy Made Me

If you follow The Pigeon’s Nest on Facebook….which you TOTALLY should by the way…not only am I witty and do I upload pictures of my latest makes in super quick time…. it is also where my lovely buyers get to see all the backstage action from the fairs I do with the gorgeous Lucy from Lucy Made Me.

I have officially stopped booking fairs and shows that require me to go solo as spending the day selling with Lucy is honestly the only way I want to sell face-to-face from now on. FACT.

I thought I’d just share some of the photos that Lucy took of our grand day out that started at 4am and ended at 6pm, which included playing shops, a very helpful and dishy platter man, our next door neighbour playing JAZZ music ALL DAY, us planning world domination, a large box of sausage rolls, free wine from a nice lady, being asked where our brick and mortar shop is….(eeeeeek we wish!) and stuffing our faces…a lot.

Enjoy!

Lucy Made ME & The PIgeon's Nest at Cranleigh Show Lucy Made ME & The PIgeon's Nest at Cranleigh Show Lucy Made ME & The PIgeon's Nest at Cranleigh Show Lucy Made ME & The PIgeon's Nest at Cranleigh Show Lucy Made ME & The PIgeon's Nest at Cranleigh Show Lucy Made ME & The PIgeon's Nest at Cranleigh Show Lucy Made ME & The PIgeon's Nest at Cranleigh Show Lucy Made ME & The PIgeon's Nest at Cranleigh Show Lucy Made ME & The PIgeon's Nest at Cranleigh Show

The day ended with me sitting in a Kaboodle Bag that I will be reviewing VERY soon as I think it is flipping aces!

I mean HOW ELSE do loooong days like that end?

Lucy Made Me & The Pigeon's Nest at Cranleigh Show

If you want to come and have a giggle with me and Lucy in the flesh we will be at Godstone Village Fete on August Bank Holiday Monday. We will also be doing 3 DAYS (don’t get me started – I’m flipping terrified!) on the first weekend in December at the lovely big Christmas show at Caverley Grounds in Tunbridge Wells….we have a chalet and EVERYTHING….

We love having visitors and we promise not to be too over excited…. ok….that last bit is a fib…

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How To: DIY a Laundry Bag

Laundry is a bone of contention at our house at the moment…I mean…how can one task take up SOOOO much of my life?

To ease my headache of ‘the dreaded sort’ we purchased two new bins and labelled them whites and darks….I know… how where we living like heathens before only having ONE bin? That simple addition of two bins has shaved at least 15 minutes off sorting time per load…hooray.

What I needed next was a laundry bag for the bathroom (I use a clean flannel daily and I use reuseable cotton pads that need hot washing) and a delicate bag for the bedroom for undies and whatnot.

Using two 12″ embroidery hoop (yeah…I actually had these lying around), some ribbon and two pillowcases I created two matching laundry bags by trapping the pillowcases in the hoops and attaching a hanging ribbon. These actually lay really flat against the wall so are great for small spaces.

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This is looped over a hook on the interior of the door so it doesn’t fall down every time we open the airing cupboard.

I tend to take them out of the hoops and whack the whole bag in the wash. It helps keep away nasty pongs…especially from the bathroom one…boys seem to be able to make everything reek….including flannels! How is that possible?

So yeah, we have more laundry bags than people in our house…I’m the same with rubbish bins though…. got to have one in every room! There is probably a name for that right?

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Lasting Til Payday: Why Basics aren’t boring…

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Is your purse heavy with cash? Can you barely shut the zip around the pound coins spilling out of your purse? Nope…. me neither.

I make it my aim in life to spend as little at the supermarket as possible…not for buying from the high street reasons…although I really should frequent our local butcher more often…but for ‘I’m so tight I squeak’ reasons.

I know a lot of people turn their noses up at the supermarkets ‘basic brand’ on the shelves, but we buy them on a regular basis and it keeps our food costs down. Yes, yes, I can already hear you harking that you aren’t poor and you deserve to buy nice honey roast ham….yes you do, so buy it. I’m just saying that there are some basics out there that are just as good as some products you are already buying for less money. We always try them once to test them out, if they are truly rubbish and taste like socks we go up to the next expensive, but if they are alright we stick with it, driving down our bills so we can afford more fun things.

If you cook from scratch there is really no need to buy fancy schamncy peppers when good old basic peppers are STILL peppers…THEY TASTE THE SAME. Come on…let’s not be cuckoo about this.

We shop at Sainsbury’s as it is the  local supermarket to us…and yes, I hear it’s one of the more expensive…but we manage our weekly shop at between £20 – £30 a week for two, which includes treats, and down to £15 a week during the late summer/early autumn when the garden veg kicks in to overdrive!

Here are a few of the Basics that  we buy over and over again.

Basics Chopped Tomatoes – 35p for 400g

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Now come on…. who is really THAT fussy about tinned toms? I love the fact these come in a square carton (much better for cupboard and pantry stacking). Combine with a smidge of garlic found at the back of the cupboard and some pasta for a quick and cheap dish when you are reaching payday. We also buy the basic kidney beans…because they TASTE THE SAME as every other kidney beans…yes…even thouse bought tinned from Waitrose.

Basics Peanut Butter – 65p for 340g

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Oh I DIE! I am a bit of a Peanut Butter fiend and I have tried every jar I can lay my hands on and nothing…nothing is as good for my mass consumption as the Basics Peanut Butter. It’s cheap, it’s cheerful, it’s the right combo of smooth and crunchy, it comes in plastic jars that I reuse all over the place and we buy it 5 jars at a time.

Basics Milk/White/Dark Chocolate – 35p for 100g

Best basics to buy (4)I bought this one Christmas as I was in a hurry to make a million christmassy present treats and have never looked back. We don’t buy chocolate bars and whatnot in our house as we would just gorge ourselves on them so these double up as cooking chocolate and as ‘oh my life I may die if I don’t have chocolate’ chocolate. Perfect to dunk in Peanut Butter when I am feeling low and need a Reese’s style hit without the price tag.

Basics Dishwasher Tablets – £1.75 for 30

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I know, I know what you are thinking…. your Finish tablets do an amazing job….well… these get my dishes clean and that is all I’m asking for….and you don’t have to pay a ridiculous price for the privilege….like £9 for 30…that’s crazy. We also buy the cheapest rinse aid and salt…our machine works fine!

Basics Low Fat Fruit Yoghurts – 35p for 4

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We went through a stage of just buying those Wildlife Fromage Frais because they were cute and cheap, but then I thought we’d try these bad boys, and at under 9p a yoghurt, they are actually pretty damn tasty. We load these up and freeze them too….mmmmm…frozen yoghurt…..

Basics Tortilla Chips – 50p for 200g

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We don’t do Doritos…we do tortilla chips. These are nice and salty but can be a bit plain on their own, so we always whack out some sweet chilli sauce or home-made (read flung together) garlic & herb mayonnaise out with them so you can dip….or we make nachos. They are always devoured at every gathering we have.

 

When it coms to buying basics, be brave. Leave your inner snob* at the door and have a try, you might find something worth stocking your cupboards with!

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*Mr Pigeon’s inner snob demands nice toilet paper. My inner snob can’t buy fresh tomatoes from supermarkets as they don’t taste as good as homegrown.

 

 

How To: Make a Tea Towel

For all my hand stitched makes and crochet creations, I am still a bit nervy around my sewing machine. The only lessons I have had on it are from my GCSE Textiles (where I scraped a C….silly girl…I think not embracing my GCSE Textiles is deffo one of my biggest regrets). I feel a lot more confident stitching by hand as I feel I can predict how it is going to come out, and I am still to find and follow a simple dress pattern to make myself something pretty to wear.

What I can do however is whack together simple shapes and make owls and whatnot, so when our friends bought a beautiful new house, I thought I’d make them a housewarming gift….tea towels.

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Isn’t this fabric bloody gorge? I TOTALLY need to lady up and make a 50’s style frock from the remaining fabric….le sigh….

Firstly I measured up using one of my tea towels from the kitchen, ensuring I cut it large enough to be able to fold the seam allowance on itself to ensure a nice clean finish.

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I then ironed…this is the only action my iron ever sees by the way… a sharp crease about 1 cm into the fabric.

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I then folded the seams over on themselves again and ironed again, pinning them together ready for stitching.

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Using a small straight stitch I ran these bad boys swiftly through the machine.

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Ending up with two lovely tea towels with a nice straight edge which took about 15 minutes to make.

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I folded them together and wrapped them with a pretty ribbon, because when fabric looks this fab, why cover it in paper?!

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I’m tempted to make a dozen more…despite the fact we collect tea towels from our holidays rather than souvenirs, so we have about a million!

Have you ever made tea towels?

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What I Wore: London Gathering

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When I left living in London after 18 months of pretty hardcore immersion and after living in pretty liberal studenty Bournemouth for 3 years, I quickly noticed how conservatively dressed people were living in the ‘burbs. Being a girl with a desperate love for ‘those’ trousers from the last scene of Grease (thank GAWD disco pants have come into fashion…my 80’s rock chick NEEEEEDED those bad boys…) and having a rather large collection of leopard print items, for the first 6 months of living away from the Big Smoke, I capsuled my wardrobe into more outlandish ‘London clothes’ and more introverted ‘Burb clothes’. Thankfully after getting closer to P’s friends, who I now count as my own, I wear whatever the hell I want wherever the hell I want…I think that confidence also comes with age and realisation that I don’t give two hoots.

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We recently high-tailed it back up to London for a friend’s baby announcement, which in hindsight felt quite mean…the mother-to-be sipping on a lemonade whilst the rest of us all got quite merry in the roof terrace of a bar. And this is what I wore…sort of casual rockabilly.

This will probably also be the last WIW with naked shoulder skin as I have an upper arm tattoo planned for my right arm next month…eeeeeeeeek I’m excited! Can’t wait to show you all.

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I struggle to dress for summer, I never want to feel too dressy during the day and a 50’s frock does that to me. Bring back autumn, I have about 30 flannel lumberjack shirts that need wearing STAT!

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A Day in the Life: The Dream Job

As some of you may or may not know, I work weirdy weirdy shifts in my new job and it means that I have random days off during the week. I use those days to work towards pushing forward the business. I thought I’d share a little day in the life of my dream job…I wish every day was like this!

7am

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Argh…I’m awake…even if it is a day off from the real job. Thankfully this guy is normally scrunched up behind my knees and he makes it worth while getting up. yeah, yeah…we are those awful people who let the dog sleep on the bed with us….

My husband also works from home, but he doesn’t normally wake up till 8, so I normally check emails and faff on social media from my iPhone for a while till I can sneak away without waking them.

8am

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I start garden pottering pretty early by collecting the eggs and doing a bit of absent minding weeding, throwing them to the chooks. Sometimes the neighbours even experience me doing this in my jammies…because you know…Wellies and jammies are totally going to be in next season.

Miss Moneypenny tends to lay quite late in the morning so I tend to pop down and collect hers after lunch…lazy mare.

If Mr Pigeon is doing the morning walk with Chekhov, I’ll let the girls free range in the garden whilst the boys are out and I’ll potter about with them clucking all over the garden….them clucking…..not me…that would be weird.

9.30am

ditl

Breakfast time. If you haven’t experienced a Lidl Pain au Chocolat fresh from a 10 sec microwave spin, you have not lived. These bad boys are lush when warm, as discovered by Papa and Stepmumma Pigeon. I normally team this with a glass of juice and eat at the table in the kitchen, whilst making my to-do list for the day. I like to create goals that I would like to complete by the end of the day, not just business stuff, but household chores and whatnot too.

10am

I have normally hit my productive morning stride by now and have a load of washing on the line, have completed a room cleaning spin and have tidied up around the house behind the boys. How is it that men can leave coffee cups and side plates EVERYWHERE? I’m confused by this…

12pm

snail crochet creating day in the life

I spend a lot of my day at my desk creating, either fulfilling orders or replenishing my stock that I take to fairs. I normally fling a box set on my computer to watch as I make, as it stops me getting too distracted on social media. I am awful at looking at Facebook….and I just mean other people’s business pages!

2pm

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After a brief pause for lunch, I crack back on with making and tackling orders. Talking to customers is one of my favourite things to do. I love getting pictures of my creations in their new adoptive homes.

4pm

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Mr Pigeon and I share the dog walks, so I do the afternoon canter about. It’s such a good break from my desk and some fun time with the pooch and rejuggle my thoughts. I have  been known to tap away on my iPhone as we wander round the fields taking orders and sending out confirmations. Sometimes if the day has been particularly heavy, I’ll leave my phone at home and have a full hour break.

6pm

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Dinner time! I normally do the cooking from a meal plan I plan in advance, and I prefer to cook from real ingredients, not from packets or cardboard boxes. I think it gives us so many more options for meals and leftovers that way. This was oven roasted chicken, onions, courgettes and peppers with pasta and red pesto. Yum.

8pm

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On a dream job day, I try and put the business away by 8pm and focus on some personal things. I am currently making a hexagon quilt so I sit down with that and watch a DVD and Mr Pigeon, or I read for a while. Sometimes I am naughty and I don’t put the business away and create new ideas. This is my most creative time for coming up with new things to make….Mr Pigeon thinks of it as danger time….

10pm

Bedtime. I try to shut down the house, room by room, as not to wake up to a mess in the morning…which seems inevitable with a husband like mine…I mean how does he do it?! I take off my slap if I’ve actually put any on…I mean if I’m not seeing real people (ie. not family) I don’t normally bother. We will watch some  history programme in bed…I think I know everything there is to know about World War Two now…. and I’ll set my alarm if I have an early shift the next day.

 

How does your day compare?

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