Christina Sparkle

  1. Laughing With – Regina Spektor

    Last week we both had a stomach bug and spent most of the week in bed. Not the best start to a new job!

    Getting back to my old favourite music, I really haven’t listened enough to Regina Spektor’s last album, and it has been so long since she released it. I hope for more new music from Regina some day soon. Her style is so unusual, especially compared to the rest of my music collection, but it is like comfort food to me.

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  2. Bye bye baby


    Since we moved down to Bedford we’ve been renting out our house to tenants. The idea was that if we decided Bedford wasn’t for us we would still have our house to come back to. I also found it very hard to let go of the place that we had first bought together.

    This week we had an offer on our house in Leicester and accepted it! That means if all goes well we will be looking to buy a new place in the Bedfordshire area in 2015.

    We’ve tried to play it safe this time, we hoped that we would be able to sell our house and then have our deposit ready for a new house with no chain. Our house went up on the market about 6-8 weeks ago and we didn’t seem to have much interest, but I guess it just takes one person. We did have a slightly unusual situation in that we are selling the house with tenants so we were marketing the house to potential landlords. That meant less people would be interested but luckily the right person has come along and made an offer this week. Here’s hoping everything goes smoothly!

    In Bedford we’ve been relying on sites like Bedford Blog and Board to give us tips on the best areas. However, we’ve also found that the popular areas don’t necessarily have the types the houses that we’d like. This means we’ve been considering different types of houses, and also different areas that might be less popular.

    One thing we do know is that new houses are just not for us. We’ve been renting a newer build and the walls are just so thin, we can hear everything our neighbours do. We also miss having simple things like a chip shop around the corner, hopefully an older house and neighbourhood will suit us better.

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  3. Stitch and B*tch


    Just a quick update today because I haven’t done the extra work on my new Clemence skirt quite yet. However, this week I started my new job in Bedfordshire so I no longer have to travel around for work. This means that I can finally go to some of the evening groups I’ve wanted to go to.

    Unfortunately it seems that the local young WI group, the Scone Roses, have moved away from the WI organisation and it’s not clear if they will keep meeting up yet. It’s a shame because I hadn’t made to a meeting at all yet.

    Last night however, I did get to the crafting circle at The Three Cups near Castle Road in Bedford. I didn’t have any crochet or embroidery on the go but I just picked up a bag of yarn and my hooks and went to the pub. I’ve decided to make another baby blanket in the Cath KidstonĀ -inspired colours that I had previously made for my friend Aurora.

    Blue, green. cream, pink and red make for an unusual combination but the result is very fitting for any Cath Kidston lover, and gender neutral too. I’m not sure who I will gift this blanket to but at the rate all of my friends areĀ getting pregnant at I’m sure it won’t be long till I have someone in mind!

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  4. Coco: week 4 finished!


    Ta-daaa! Here are my final Cocos photographed on a blustery day in Bedford.

    In my final week I attached the cuffs to the black and cream striped top, and hemmed both to finish. I hemmed with a double needle, rather than zigzag like the pattern suggests. I far prefer this finish and is much easier than I expected it to be. It is scary at first but even my old 1960s Bernina handled the double needle with ease – just remember to make sure you are set to straight stitch not zigzag every time.

    Luckily I have been able match the stripes on all side seams and sleeves which I wasn’t expecting to happen. When I cut them out they were distinctly wonky but I guess the stripe is just the right size to match up and then be able to hide uneven hems easily.

    The only place I wasn’t able to match the stripes was on the collar as you can see in the above photo, they actually match alternatively so cream meets black, black meets cream. I actually quite like the checkered effect, perhaps I’ll try that on something else with the fabric remnants?

    I’m not sure I would make this pattern with a collar again, I do like the effect but (perhaps due to the weight of the fabric?) I haven’t quite found the right position for the collar. It doesn’t roll over enough to cover the understitching and seems to weigh down the neckline. After a few more wears I will hopefully find the right way to wear it.


    The grey and black version I think will get the most wear. This is the most simple version of the pattern, no pockets or added detailing and therefore the most flexible. I’m wearing it here with a new Clemence skirt that is almost finished (more info on that next week).

    The fabric on the grey and black top is thick and more stiff than the black and cream version. This results in a top that holds its shape really well.

    Both tops are loose fitting, I may try a size (even two) smaller next time, but I think the pattern is supposed to fit loose. I’d be interested to try a more close fitting pattern to wear with full skirts, perhaps the Nettie? Before that though I have quite a pile of patterns and fabric building up that I want to get through.

    Things I learned this week: a hot iron will flatten out any bumpy hem.

    I hope you like the photos that actually include my head! Usually I take photos of me wearing my makes before leaving for work when I haven’t done my hair or make up yet but I made a special effort with these and went out on Saturday so that Janet could feature them on her blog. It’s very strange taking photos in the street while people are walking around.

    It was a lot of fun taking Janet’s course and I would highly recommend it. I’ve been teaching myself dress making from books and bits and bobs on the internet but there is so much you learn from having someone show you. I’ve also made two lovely friends in Janet and Charlotte – it’s really good to start getting to know people in Bedford. I’ve signed up to Janet’s Christmas course to meet some more people too.

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  5. Coco: Week 3


    They are both coming together so well now. The sleeves and side seams are now finished, next week will be hemming and then I’m all done.

    Last week when sewing the collar on to the black and cream top I zigzagged the seam allowances to the top, as per the instructions but this didn’t work out right at all. Firstly the zigzag stitch was too tight which resulted in a wavy effect, nothing a good press couldn’t iron out but still, not ideal. Secondly, the idea is that the zigzag would be covered by the collar but that really wasn’t the case on my top.

    I decided to unpick, painstakingly, and then redid the understitching with a double needle. This has resulted in a much nicer effect, far more professional looking.

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  6. Coco: Week 2


    Second week of my Coco course with Janet from Kitchen Table Sewing and now I have started to put the pieces together. For my black and cream top I am going to make the version that has a collar, a sixties style rolled neck that reminds me of the collar on my bridesmaid’s dresses. For my grey and black top, which I’m making on my own at home, I’ve gone for a standard neckline and this will be the most simple version. I’m not even going to do a pocket on the grey and black top because breast pockets are just a no-no with a bust like mine.

    Things I’ve learned this week: how to use a double needle for hemming (never ever try to zigzag with a double needle); it is important to hold onto the threads when starting to sew on a modern sewing machine (I’m so used to my 1960s Bernina); unpicking stitches in jersey fabric should be avoided at all costs (I’ve been doing it as delicately as possible!).

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  7. Pixel Heart Card DIY


    I saw this image on Pinterest this week but unfortunately I can’t find where it originated from. Only after a reverse Google image search did I find the blog that it came from and, what a cute blog it is… Mini-eco! I subscribed straight away.

    I think it is so important to credit the original creator of an image. Especially now when there are so many amazing bloggers and creators out there that we could all be discovering! I usually find that Pinterest pins are credited and there is no problem, they make it very easy to pin an image from a blog or website and keep the source. Tumblr on the other hand is quite the opposite! This time I’ve gone back and edited my pin to point to the right link so hopefully future pinners can find Mini-eco and all of her amazing creations.

    If you find an image and you don’t know its source you can do a reverse image search by downloading the image to your desktop, then browse to Google Image Search and drag the image into the search bar. This will search the web for similar images and you can usually find the original within the first page or two of links. My search resulted in lots of links to Pinterest and then on the second page I found Mini-eco’s blog with the full tutorial.

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