Lego Moleskine week 29 & 30

Lego Moleskine Week 29

Week 29

Bastille day and some time off work!  A nice week!  I also “discovered” a place in town that does real Italian pasta takeaway, which is delicious!  I see much pasta in my future!

Lego Moleskine Week 30

Week 30

I had loads of items in the post in this week, after doing a bit of naughty shopping online!  Also, check out my wax stamp, which is the Batman logo!  (Also new black wax to match it!)  In this week the sun shone every day, and it was very hot.  Combined with all the muck-spreading, the town was quite unpleasant!

My cat fabric, and why I am sad

I recently came across a fabric company called Frumble, who stock a fantastic range of fabrics (seriously, I could buy most of their store). I ordered three fabrics at 2m each: a red owl fabric to make a Christmas top, a yellow wolf fabric and a cream cat fabric, also for tops.

When I received the fabrics, I threw the whole lot in the wash, along with some towels and other miscellaneous items (I hate running a half-empty washing machine!). Because I intended to use the fabrics to make clothing, it’s a good idea to wash them first, then they do any shrinking before you’ve cut and measured them (no-one wants to spend ages making a top only for it to shrink the first time you wash it!).

This is where my tale of woe starts, because the red owl fabric leaked, and dyed all the white and cream items in my wash an inconsistent shade of pink. For the tea towels that got dyed, I didn’t care, but my lovely new cat fabric that I’d just spent £24 (40$) on was one of the pink victims.

Dyed cat fabric

At this point, I contacted Frumble to let them know what had happened, to see if they could replace the cat fabric. My reasoning is as follows:

1) There was no warning on the red fabric that it was liable to leak and dye everything pink

2) I’ve been sewing regularly for four years now, and I’ve never had a new fabric leak in the washing machine (and I wash quilts after I’ve sewn them so if I did have this problem it would be a disaster!)

Frumble replied that red fabrics often leak, and suggested I buy a colour corrector detergent thing to wash the fabric with, which I don’t want to do because a) I’d never use it again so it’s a waste of money, and b) I go out of my way not to put chemicals in the wash so I’m not going to start now.

I emailed them back to point this out, and also to point out that saying that reds often leak is not an adequate response, given that I haven’t had this problem before and the fabric didn’t carry a warning (either in the shipping note or on their website). Frumble ignored my second email, and I’ve not had a response.

If the cat fabric had been dyed pink evenly, I would probably have used it to make a top, as I’m really not fussy. However, it hasn’t dyed evenly and as such is unsuable.

The reason I wrote this post is because I wanted your views on the issue. Do you think I’m being unreasonable with my request for a replacement?

Is it my fault that the cat fabric got dyed since I mixed my colours and whites, or is it Frumble’s fault for knowing that the red fabric might leak and not advising customers to be careful?

I’m not going to do anything with your responses (i.e. launch a campaign or anything like that!), I’m just genuinely interested in your thoughts on this. Who is wrong?

Pink and blue crochet mat

I love putting clashing colours together.  It’s very satisfying!  A couple of weeks ago I had an urge to crochet, so I picked out some pink and blue yarns from my stash (it grows ever bigger!).

Crochet mat 1

Originally, this was going to be a scarf, but I made it in single stitch crochet and I had nowhere near enough yarn to do it!  So, I decided to make it into a mat for my spider plant.

Crochet mat 2

My bedroom is pinks and blues so it matched nicely.

Crochet mat 3

I think it looks good!  (I never block anything so it’s a little wrinkly, but I don’t care!)

Product review: Monologue ruled notebooks

Monologue ruled notebook 5

Months ago now, I was contacted by a company called Monologue, who are launching a new range of notebooks. They asked me if I’d like to review some of their products, and they looked great so I said yes! (As a little insight into the world of a blogger, I often turn down product reviews, either because they’re not in keeping with my blog or my lifestyle, or because the product doesn’t look good!)

Monologue make their notebooks with acid-free paper, and in appearance the notebooks are similar to the other brands out there: Rhodia, Leuchtturm, TeNeus, Daycraft, etc. The notebooks have an elasticated closure, a ribbon, a back cover envelope and a sturdy fake leather cover.  They’re different from these brands though because they include an elastic pen loop in the design of the notebook.  It’s fixed to the back cover of the notebook, underneath the envelope.

Monologue ruled notebook 6

The loop is tight, which is good as it means it fits an assortment of pen widths.  However, it does mean with a Lamy, as photographed here, it’s very tight and difficult to use.  I assume though it will loosen a little with time.

Monologue ruled notebook 9

The elastic closure on the notebook is tight too – tight enough to leave a mark on the soft cover. However, I again assume this will loosen with time.

Monologue ruled notebook 7

The paper in the notebooks is cream, and 80gsm.  The pages are ruled with a narrow rule, and they don’t run to the edge of the page.  I’ve said this before, but I much prefer lines that stop before the edge of the page.  It looks much neater, and as such I’m a fan of these lined notebooks.

What we all care about really though is the ink test, am I right?!  To be honest, I didn’t expect much for 80gsm, as in my experience you need 90gsm plus in order to use a wet fountain pen happily with no bleeding.  The ink test below shows that my assumptions are largely right.  I only had two fountain pens to hand when I did this test, and both were small nibs.  The first is a fine nib, but you can see it still has some bleeding on the page.  A medium nib is likely to be even more pronounced.  My Sailor extra fine nib (bottom) had no bleeding though, so if you’re a fan of small Japanese nibs this paper won’t bother you.  The PITT pens didn’t bleed at all, but given their cost and intended market (artists), I’m not surprised at this.

Monologue ruled notebook 8

This purple notebook is an A6 notebook, but Monologue also sent me a mini version to review.  Is it not the cutest notebook ever?!  I’ve put it next to my iPhone for scale, and you can see it’s truly tiny!

Monologue ruled notebook 1

They also did a brilliant re-design of the elastic closure.  If you look at the photos, you’ll see that the elastic closure is horizontal and starts in the middle of the cover.  It works perfectly, and even when open it lies flat against the cover.  They should find a way to use this closure design for all their sizes.

Monologue ruled notebook 4

The notebook, although tiny, is still fully functional as a notebook, and is lined inside just like its larger sibling.

Monologue ruled notebook 3

This miniature notebook is great for keeping in your bag/pocket to jot things down on the fly.  I’ve been keeping shopping lists and things to remember in it.  Its size makes it brilliantly portable, which is the problem with most to-do lists!

Monologue are a new company and aren’t trading in the UK yet, but if you come across their notebooks I recommend picking up one of the miniature notebooks for your pocket.  They’re great!  The A6 notebook is similar to others on the market, but the addition of a pen loop makes it a good choice for notebooks you keep with you all day.  For stuff you leave in a drawer at home, I think Rhodia is better (nicer paper), but you don’t get a pen loop with their notebooks.

I will be doing a giveaway of some Monologue products in the near future, so keep an eye out!

A final URL reminder

Afternoon tea in the evening 8

The URL of Planet Millie has changed from www.mslogica.com to www.planetmillie.com.  The mslogica.com URL gets “switched off” next week so please make sure you have updated any saved URLs you have before this happens.

Thank you!

Wildlife and other bits

These are actually the first ever rabbit photos I’ve taken. These rabbits are wild, but they were quite tame and let me get quite near and photograph them.

Rabbit 1

Rabbit 2

Rabbit 3

Gatekeeper butterfly:

Gatekeeper butterfly August 2014

Greylag geese:

Greylag Geese

Swan feather:

Swan feather

I love squirrels!

Squirrel

I also love fungi!

Giant fungus!

Moo moo cow in a field :)

Unripe hazelnuts:

Unripe hazelnuts

Archie’s nose!

Archie nose!

New cushion covers for furniture

While I was off on my break, my Mum and I made new cushion covers for the conservatory furniture. We bought the fabric for covering the cushions a year ago, but my Mum hates sewing and kept putting it off. Eventually I told her she had to do it!

Making chair covers 1

Making chair covers 2

We used the original covers as templates for making the new covers.  There are actually two ways we could have done this, and the alternative would have been to use the foam inners as the templates for the covers.

Making chair covers 3

Making chair covers 4

The original cushion covers had worn through, but the new ones are made of regular weight cotton so they’ll wear through in time too.  To slow this down, we lined the larger cushion cover with wadding.

Making chair covers 6

And here are the finished pieces!  Don’t they look lovely!  The sizing is a little off with the blue cover, so you can see a corner is a little wrinkled, but we can live with that (it’s Archie’s chair anyway!).

Speaking of Archie, she supervised the entire process to make sure we didn’t do anything silly.

Making chair covers 5

And here is the furniture together!  It’s not a big room so it’s hard to get the angle right for photographs!  I made the pink cushion covers a few years ago.  We’re thinking about getting rid of the rug on the floor and just leaving the floor bare, but we haven’t got round to it yet!

Making chair covers 7

Product review: Jord watches

Jord watch 1

I’ve been sitting on this review for a few weeks now, and I did wonder at one point whether to do a review at all. I’ve seen Jord watches mentioned on several blogs recently – their PR team have obviously decided to target the blogging community, with some success! As a result of one of the blogs I read, I ordered two Jord watches – one for my Mother and one for me.

Jord watch 2

Jord watches are special because they’re made of wood. I love the idea of a watch made of wood; it’s a sustainable material and can look great if handled properly. Sadly, I found these watches disappointing, and since numerous bloggers are promoting the brand, I decided it was important to share my opinion.

Jord watch 3

Firstly, although the name of the brand is Nordic, the company is based in the U.S, the watch is made in China and the timepiece is Japanese. This is my first dislike of the product, and it’s a big one. Manufacturing the watch in China brings with it the usual issues of worker rights, but also negates the value of a wooden watch as there’s no way of knowing whether the wood was sourced ethically and if the factory used is environmentally-friendly. Most schemes that promise to accredit Chinese systems have major flaws and for now can’t be relied upon. Assuming the brand did any research before choosing their country of manufacture, they know all of this, and so are presumably motivated by cost (as is true of most countries that manufacture in China).

This brings us to my next issue. I ordered two watches, and both are faulty. They have not been handled by people that understand wood as a material, and as a result one watch has cracks where the timepiece was screwed in too tightly and the other had a faulty strap link where the screw was not secured in place. Wood is not metal: it responds differently to stress and as such using it to make a watch requires care.

As a final complaint, one of the watches itself didn’t work: it would stop sporadically for no discernible reason, making it constantly read the wrong time. I did get a full refund for this watch (including return shipping), but I kept the other watch in spite of the crack.

I’m not averse to spending money on watches; I’ve loved them since I started collecting them at 11. As such, I didn’t balk at the price of a Jord watch. However, I really don’t think it’s good value for money, so for now I wouldn’t recommend buying one. I had one last niggle with the watch, which is that the second hand doesn’t line up with the second markers on the watch face. This doesn’t matter on a £10 analogue watch, but when you’re paying £70+ for a watch you expect it to be perfect.

I think Jord have demonstrated that wooden watches are possible, but I feel like the final product they’ve put on the market doesn’t live up to expectation. They’d have been better as a brand staying local with US craftsmen, US timbers and if needed a smaller range and prices that reflected this increased level of skill. Keen environmentalists like me would pay more to know the job was done properly, as would watch collectors, and in the shrinking market of watch sales they’d have stood out more as a unique brand.