Friday, 30 November 2012

Artificial grass and RUGBY!

It is time for the best weekend of the year again; this weekend it is Dubai Rugby Sevens. A full weekend of rugby, sweat, toned bodies and egg shaped balls.
Do not run away from this blog as you think rugby or sport in general isn’t your thing because it gets better!
This weekend I will not think about nor use my sewing machine, but every year I do spend a lot of time before the event to stitch up costumes or gadgets. The theme is usually grass oriented; as one of the sponsors of our local rugby club produces artificial grass. Every year we try to brighten up the event with some grass.
A T-shirt with some grass on the front and in the grass we attached a little plastic toy –a frivolous link to the country of origin of each player. The rugby pitch in Kuwait can use some grass, as you can see we play on sand only over there.

A hoodie with grass on the hood.

Close by this looks this.

An A-line dress completely out of grass. Pay close attention to the finishing of this dress; completely with lining and biais binding on arm and neck openings.
In the side there even is a zipper. The child’s size dress is a simplified version, velcro on both sides of the dress en no biais binding nor lining.

 Foto: Michael Hook - Lightbulb Studio

A beanbag with grass on the top.

Do not leave the plastic bag with styrofoam balls wonder around. Your kids might find the bag, jump on it and you will lose precious time to do fun things as you will have to remove styrofoam balls out of the whole backyard.

This weekend –for the second time this year- I represent the UAE and with the National Team we will play rugby against some big rugby nations such as Canadian Maple Leafs, South African University, Russian Regions, Swedish Vikings, and Kenyan Lionesses!
Wish me luck!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012


Unexpected and sad circumstances made us travel to Belgium last weekend. We were greeted by cloudy weather and sad friends.

Luckily glancing through the books we bought in Belgium brought some solace.
I marked my favorite ‘must-do’ projects with homemade fabric bookmarkers (the idea came from pinterest).

The books are in Dutch so the text is maybe a little useless for all English-speaking people among you, but the images are very self-explanatory.

As you can see plenty of projects in the pipeline!

Some tips for making your own bookmarks: Stitch the fabric together close to the side of the paperclip. Consequently slide the fabric to the curved side of the paperclip.

Before cutting the fabric, I ironed fusible interfacing on the backside of the fabric and iron-on-vinyl on the front side.
The sides of some fabrics are really nice and it is worthwhile making some bookmarks with those parts of your fabric scraps.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Fabric shopping

The local fabric market is rather poor if you compare to the various printed cottons available online, all over the world.
Nevertheless you do not really hear me complain. Scouting the local market sometimes results in finding real treasures.
Also treasure hunting in Ajman –an Emirate about 20 kilometers away from our habitat- is mostly a thrilling experience.
Most fabrics are plain, but there is a lot of cotton; even jersey and interlock. Usually cheap stuff, good quality, but only sold per roll. Consequently I have an overload of overstock wondering around in the house. A fabric might be really nice, but a whole roll is mostly just impossible to finish, even for me.
At Bengali market the fabric warehouses are full to bursting.

If you happen to wish to purchase a roll from the bottom of the pile of fabric rolls you will need to be very charming and look the Bengali salesman in the eyes as otherwise you end up going home without your desired roll.
Luckily they know me already, if they do not want to take the roll I want I do start moving the whole pile myself until they take over.

This picture was taken, sitting on top of the mountain of fabric rolls.

Also haberdashery is sold per roll, so bias binding, elastic with button holes, webbing (the roles in the pictures are about 40 yards and the price of a roll is about 5 euro – disadvantage it regards satin and not cotton).

Other haberdashery such as buttons, metal buckles and so on, can be bought in bags of minimum 50 pieces. Although I usually do not use 50 I do not hesitate buying these wholesale quantities, because in the local quilters shop I probably pay the same price for only 2 pieces!

One day I will have to organize a massive overstock sale at our house.
And yes I am not only interested in fabric, this bicycle shop –Islam Bicycle Trading- got some attention to!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012


When people find out you owe a sewing machine and you actually know how to use it, you get the funniest requests.
The coach of our kids’ gymnastics club asked to repair the covers of two of the mats.
I hardly ever say no, so after checking the thickness of the fabric I gave my usual answer: yes I can. 

I repaired it, but it was a very troublesome job! The covers are too bulky, too heavy and too smelly to move easily under the machine.

I got the best of the struggle with the covers, so the kids can train safely at gymnastics.

But our Bernina needs a day off and I need a shower.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Sewing project or family trip?

Yesterday afternoon I received a package. Packages always make me smile, especially this one!
I had a great night and dreamed about my next blog post.

At the break of dawn our kids decided that the content of the blog post would not be the one I dreamed about. They unanimously decided to do something fun all together and more specifically something fun WITHOUT a sewing machine.

Mister P invited us earlier this week to join him on a trip to the mountains. As our ‘pater familias’ was absent this week, I told him I did not have the courage to go on an off road trip with all five of our kids on my own.
So mister P was asked ‘last minute’ if the offer that was turned down earlier was still standing. Luckily mister P was happy to take us on the trip. We agreed to meet in an idyllic mountain village and where he would guide us to a secluded lake.
The way to the village was long and dry. Luckily there were some distractions along the way. Construction work pipes, which –according to the kids- looked like bombs: exciting!

A stack of shriveled palm trees (enough for a huge bonfire).

A couple of goats, who were eating the only patch of grass for miles around.

A house with an outside sitting area, with a grandstand view of the desert.

And a very lonely fruit seller.

After kilometers of sandy scenery we finally reached the mountains.

We tried to call mister P who seemingly did not have network! So we were left to our devices to find the idyllic lake.
After some climbing and clambering our efforts got rewarded.

A little hour and some nice pictures later we left to go back home, disappointingly enough without the promised swim as the local authorities put a ‘no swimming allowed’ sign on the shore of the reservoir.

To soften the disappointment of the kids, we did a pit stop in the desert on the way home. The love horse around in the dunes. Like real locals we stopped on the side of the highway and picnicked 50 meters away from heavy evening traffic. The photo’s look way more romantic than the actual spot really was.

Omar got his whole face covered in sand when he fell over.

Finally the sun started to go down and the wheels of our off road toy car were getting stuck because of an overload of sand; time to go home.

Back home, a phone call with mister P taught us that we were at the same lake but at other sides, we were hidden from each other by a high rock formation. On his side of the lake there was no ban on swimming. Next time we take dad on the trip and we go for a swim too!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Beach Wedding

Our kids’ school finishes at 2pm, till that time there is a little time for myself but afterwards the driving around starts: after school sport activities, visiting friends, going to the dentist,…
Thursdays –for us the last day of the schoolweek, as our weekend is the Friday and the Saturday- are especially busy for ‘driver mummy’.
Thursday afternoons I have to drive 3 times to the gymnastics club. The first time I drop our four year old and one of the boys. As they are under 7 years of age I am expected to stick around during the class. So usually I take some needlework that needs to be finished: attaching buttons, repairing a seam, attaching darts by hand,…
Not last Thursday! I allowed myself to relax with a book. Just before starting to read I consulted my Iphone todo list and I got a small panick attack when I realised I did not yet start making the dress for the wedding planned the day after at 3.30pm.
The cover of the book I planned to read, was instantly transformed to a piece of drawing paper and the dress was designed during my kids’ gymnastics class.

After two more trips to the gymnastics club driving and dropping the rest of our tribe I drew the pattern and cut the fabric. The Friday morning I started the needlework on the darts and pleats by hand, while I was watching my daughter play a rugby game. Returning home I assembled the dress in about 2 hours. Nevertheless there was no time left before the ceremony to finish the arm openings, nobody really noticed as I covered up the unfinished parts with a vest. 

I finished the inside of the collar and arm openings between the ceremony and the dance party!

The sleeves I initially planned to attach were eliminated after I calculated how much time there was left to assemble the dress. The finishing was minimal (no liner, but biais binding to hide the borders!) nevertheless I was happy with the result.
The kids enjoyed, especially as they loved the little parasols they got, as well as the ‘pull-a-little-brother’ game they played just before driving off to the wedding.

The newlyweds, well they were only looking at each other!

Any attempts to take a picture of our whole tribe ends up being catastrophic! At least one person always looks the wrong way.

In February we have another Beach Wedding, remind me that I do have to start a little earlier on the making of the dress, so I might actually be able to add some sleeves.