Friday, 28 June 2013

Saying Goodbye to Google Reader... + Please Carry On Following My Blog!!!

Remember my post back in March: So, How Will I Read My Favourite Blogs Now?... Google Reader ends in only a few short days folks! From Monday 1st July 2013 it will be no more (report in the Guardian here).

Click for Image Source
So what are the alternatives? Many other feed-reader service providers are offering 1-click type options to import your current blog reading list into their service - you pretty much tell them your current Google Reader username/email address (+ password) and bingo-presto all done....

However... I strongly recommend that everyone currently using Google Reader saves a back-up of their subscription data (which list all the blogs that they follow) to their computer. That way if your "import" into a different service-provider (e.g. Bloglovin / Feedly etc.) fails or goes wrong you still have your information saved safely - as after 1st July you will not be able to access it peops!!! You can save your data using this process: How can I download my Reader data? (It uses Google's Takeout function).

Below are some of the popular providers out t
here :)

If you're on Bloglovin - just use the button below to follow me:

Follow Sew, incidentally...

If you've signed up to Feedly - then click here to follow me.
follow us in feedly

There's also The Old Reader - a desktop based, much more basic reader.

And, there's Digg Reader too.

    A quick note about FEEDLY:
   Feedly seems to be a very popular option for people transitioning away from Google reader -
   as it works across multi-platforms, with apps and on iPhones, Android, Desktop etc. etc.
   Check out this link 
Transitioning from Google Reader to feedlyQuote: "When
   Google Reader shuts down, feedly will seamlessly transition to the Normandy back end. So if
   you are a Google Reader user and using feedly, you are covered: the transition will be
" Unquote 
   - I found this webpage about 
How To Import Google Reader Tags To Feedly And Get
Everything Working!
   - And, this one on 
How to Export Your Starred Items From Google Reader 

    Read more about the demise of Google Reader here: Powering Down Google Reader  and here for How can I download my Reader data? 

    Quote from Google's own official blog:
    "We have just announced on the Official Google Blog that we will soon retire Google Reader (the actual date is July 1, 2013). We know Reader has a devoted following who will be very sad to see it go. We’re sad too.
    There are two simple reasons for this: usage of Google Reader has declined, and as a company we’re pouring all of our energy into fewer products. We think that kind of focus will make for a better user experience.

    To ensure a smooth transition, we’re providing a three-month sunset period so you have sufficient time to find an alternative feed-reading solution. If you want to retain your Reader data, including subscriptions, you can do so through Google Takeout."

    For what it’s worth, this petition has been set up: Google: Do not remove Google Reader on July 1, 2013

    Saturday, 15 June 2013

    Birmingham Meet-Up: Saturday 15th June 2013

    Please forgive my tardiness in posting this write-up!
    It's nearly 2 weeks since the lovely day happened, and time just flew away with me (bad, bad Claire!!!)

    One of the entrances to the indoor "Rag Market" in Birmingham, UK
    One of the entrances to Birmingham's Rag Market
    Well now, what can I say that hasn't already been said better by my 2 comrades in arms Kat 'n' Marie? Not much I'll warrant LOL!

    We came, we met, we wore cute brooches (especially made by Kat and Marie), we swapped, shopped, the sunshine was gorgeous and we ate made baked goodies! What's not to love? :)

    Below are a few photos I remembered to snatch during a busy 'n' fun-filled day, plus a few borrowed from other bloggers too (all duly credited to the original sources). For a great run-down of folks see the huge list below :) - where possible the links will go straight to their own blog-post about the meet-up day in Birmingham.
    Alana - Lazy Stitching
    Deborah - DFabrication
    Louise - Thread Carefully
    Amy - Almond Rock
    Anna - Get Crafty
    Caroline Bones - Cotton Heiress
    Hannah - Hugs and Kisses
    Caroline B. & her daughter Phoebe
    Helen - Helen Made
    Caroline N.
    Sarah - Not Found
    Charlotte - English Girl At Home
    Charlie - Charlie Says Sew
    The day was very well structured - thanks to the organisation set in place by Kat , Marie, (& yours truly LOL!). Folks met up at Birmingham New Street station in the morning, then the sewing-troops decamped to Barry's Fabrics. There, we enjoyed browsing and shopping the huge warehouse of great fabrics (sorry they don't sell online peops). Here I was clearly seduced by the super 10% off they'd offered to our merry band as a fair few metres of fabric made their way home with me.

    Inside of 'Barry's Fabrics' at Birmingham UK
    Inside of Barry's Fabrics  - this is only part of the store - it's huge!
    Fabrics bought at Barry's where starting middle-left working around clockwise:

    Floral 100% cotton, Polyester-Viscose Mustard Yellow Twill, 100% White Cotton (Medium Weight), 100% Cotton Polka Dot, 100% Cotton White/Blue Checked, and 100% White Cotton Lawn. (The floral fabric reminded my of the first ever dress I made from a Prima Magazine pattern when I was 15 or 16 years old - I may even try to reproduce it LOL!)

    Fabrics bought at Barry's Fabrics
    Items bought at Barry's Fabrics
    Fabrics bought at Barry's Fabrics
    Close-up pic of the floral cotton & the mustard twill
    I also picked up 4 spools of polyester Gutermann 'Sew All' thread in subtly different shades of cream / off-white, as I don't know about you but I never seem to have just the right shade of cream thread when I need it. So, they'll be a handy addition to my thread stash.

    After eating our yummy lunches at 'Cafe Soya', we cleared the decks on 2 large tables in preparation for Le grande Swap. We had one whole table dedicated just to fabric, and another for patterns, and yet a third table for notions, magazines & other sundry crafting bits 'n' bobs.

    Unlike, previous smaller meet-up gatherings where everyone takes individual turns to pick out "new-to-them" goodies from the vast array; here there was plenty of room for everybody to dive in at the same time :)

    Fabrics I donated to the swap!  Fabrics I donated to the swap!  Fabrics I donated to the swap!
    Pics of all the fabric that I donated to the swap-pile!

    Counting down to the start of the grand swap
    Counting down 3-2-1 still the start of the grand-swap!
    Photo originally from: 
    Emma at My Oh Sew Vintage Life

    Fabric table for swapping!
    Fabric table - ready to swap
    Photo originally from: Louise at Thread Carefully

    Table of patterns ready for the swap!
    Table full of patterns!Photo originally from: Charlotte at English Girl At Home
    I picked up some nice deep pink cotton fabric and a length of red grosgrain *ribbon (*which I shall be using to experiment with covering and making my own pattern weights!).

    My intension for the swap was not to return home with anything that I'd brought me. And, thanks to Anna who mid-swap volunteered to take home with her unclaimed items, no had to reclaim any unloved swap items. Anna very kindly took the things home to be donated to New Life charity.

    We then traipsed around the Rag Market, where I picked up some large cones of overlocker thread, buttons, and some Singer-branded hand sewing needles too (which are for my Mum - who's a bit funny about buying only "Singer" made stuff LOL!) other bits from one of the indoor stalls.

    Notions bought at an indoor stall at the 'Rag Market'
    Thread, buttons & needles
    Those red button above I thought were bright pillar-box red, but they're more of a lurid flourescent orange red... oh well! That's what you get for examining colours indoors under artifical lighting LOL!

    At the outdoor fabric stalls I picked up 2 metres of a lovely soft drapery petrol-petrol-blue fabric with dark-cream polka dots (a few other ladies we're taken with it's charms, and also bought it too).

    Petrol blue with dark cream polka dots fabric
    Mmmmmm.... polka-dots!
    We then reconvened at 4pm outside one of the doorways to the indoor market, we made our goodbyes to some ladies who headed off home on their trains (not before sharing out the cookies and chocolate brownies that I'd baked for the occasion). If anyone wants the recipes - let me know ;) !

    Then we headed off to our last stop of the day... the Fancy Silk Store! 4 floors of fabric heaven :) I managed to finally locate a plain non-stretch denim to match up with some beautiful printed denim I received from Karen at the Walthamstow swap in February earlier this year. (I plan to use the printed fabric for back of the pockets, waistband and hem-band on the 'Moss' skirt pattern by Grainline Studio.)

    Plain dark denim bought to match the patterned fabric
    The (new) plain denim matches the patterned denim really well - yay!
    I picked up some strong 100% white cotton too (for making more Pressing Hams!).

    100% White cotton fabric, and plain dark denim
    100% White Cotton, Plain denim & notebook  - from the Fancy Silk Store
    And, I was given this natty little notebook and pen too :)

    Notebook from the 'Fancy Silk Store'

    Then, all to quickly for my liking the day was over. Much hugging and fond farewells and bunch of happy tired sewists said goodbye to sunny Birmingham.

    I had a lovely long chat on the train home with Julia and Helen. And, it was lovely to meet up with so many friendly and familiar faces again, and to make new friends too.

    I can definitely see a return visit to the West Midlands in my future!

    If you fancy visiting Birmingham for a sewing/fabric shop yourself - here's a Google Map I put together that may help you :) :-

    Fabric & Sewing Shops - Birmingham
    A few fabric stores & sewing resources in Birmingham City Centre.
    I have listed the following onto this map - you can save the link on your Smartphone to view on the go if you fancy :)! :-
    Birmingham New Street - Train Station,
    Barry's Fabrics,
    Cafe Soya,
    Bullring Indoor Market (Rag Market),
    and the Fancy Silk Store Ltd.

    View Fabric & Sewing Shops - Birmingham in a larger map

    Friday, 7 June 2013

    Should Be Feeling Warm 'n' "COZY" Soon...

    Can you guess what I've been up to today... ;) ? Something in my sewing room should be feeling warm 'n' cozy soon enough LOL!


    Much fiddling with tracing paper, scraps of calico and basting in by hand with a zipper.

    Other Random Stuff...
    I wanted to share this paper-bag from the William Gee shop (which I blogged about before here). I love the old-fashioned wording e.g. "Synthetic Cottons" clearly when this was printed thread must chiefly have been available in Cotton verses the modern prevalence of Polyester thread readily sold nowadays. And, "Zip Fasteners" it's almost as if they have to remind customers that the purpose of a zip is to fasten something together (hehe).

    William Gee  - Paper Bag (Spring 2013)

    Plus, (this one is aimed at UK-residents) can you spot that the telephone number shows a very, very old area-code for London? Yup, "01", according to Wikipedia the 01 code was assigned to London in 1959, and stopped being used in May 1990. So, the paper bags (which seemed to be in plentiful supply at the shop counter) must be at the very minimum 23 years old... I'd say more likely 30-40+ years old. Talk about buying ahead in bulk huh!?! :)

    Tuesday, 4 June 2013

    PRIMA Pattern, June 2013 - Chic Peplum Dress

    The pattern from the June 2013 PRIMA Magazine issue is still currently available to order by phone until the end of this month.

    Prima Magazine - Pattern, June 2013 (01)  Prima Magazine - Pattern, June 2013 (02)

    The pattern for June is a really pretty chic dress - perfect for weddings, parties and other celebrations - maybe a classy dinner-date too ;) ?  The slim-fitting peplum dress has above-the-elbow sleeves, soft-tucks at the front neckline, and fastens with a centre back zip. Sizes 10 - 20 (UK). 

    Prima Magazine - Pattern, June 2013 (03)

    I think you could easily use this pattern to make yourself a cute peplum-top too. Also, I think the addition of a waist-stay (perhaps some pre-washed/shrunken soft cotton-tape?) would help to maintain the shape and definition of the waist. For less creasing and easy wearable fabric - how about some double-knit or ponte (with minimal stretch) :) too?
    Prima Magazine - Pattern, June 2013 (04)    Prima Magazine - Pattern, June 2013 (05)

    See my old post here on tips for ordering their patterns: PRIMA Magazine: How to Order Their Sewing Patterns.