Sunday, 16 March 2014

A book review & giveaway


Today is my stop on the book tour of my friend, Christine Haynes, who is celebrating the birth of her new baby, The Complete Photo Guide to Clothing Construction. When I met Christine for lunch in London last year, she'd told me that her forthcoming book would be a part of the same series of books that I'd actually been talking about on my blog around that time, namely The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting.


The Perfect Fitting book was so incredibly clear, helpful and in-depth, that I knew Christine would be given the perfect canvas on which to convey all the tiny details that really need getting across in a book like this to make it genuinely helpful and complete. As a beginner to any new thing, what most visual learners need, is an overdose of photos. It's such a horrible feeling to be being walked through something and to find that the author has suddenly let go of your hand and left you to fall down into a great big hole in the pavement, before merrily proffering her paw once more several steps down the road, oblivious to the fact that you're still stuck down a GREAT BIG HOLE because she started mumbling when discussing the one vital piece of information that you really needed to hear in order to complete the task without being covered in tarmac!


Anyway, back to Miss Christine, who will not let go of your paw; who will not let you fall down the cracks in between her perfectly styled photos; and who, instead, will guide you through each step of every element of clothing construction, like your own grandmother, who really just wants you to know the best way to do things to make life easier for yourself*. Christine teaches sewing in her day job at Sew LA, which I think probably keeps her very much in touch with what someone new to dressmaking might need from a book - it's easy once you can suck eggs to forget what it's like to need every single thing laying out for you and that it really isn't obvious, if you've never been told, what the difference is between a regular zip and a concealed zip or what all the markings on those tissue paper pattern pieces actually mean. So, the fact that Christine starts at the beginning and works methodically from basics, such as cutting out a pattern, to more complex tasks, such as inserting an in-seam pocket, with the same thoroughness throughout is really fantastic.


A book of sewing techniques isn't in any way a new concept, as evident by the cloth bound editions I have on my shelves from the early 1900s, however, the ones which I referred to most at the outset of my journey into dressmaking were from the late 1990s and, while comprehensive, they were illustrated with a line up of painfully ugly fabrics. I know that I should really have had more of an imagination…but sometimes I found it hard to engage with those books. So this is where Christine's book feels unique and as though it has something extra to offer: it's gorgeous.




And the fabrics, patterns and notions throughout all feel thoroughly covetable and as though you're taking advice from someone who relates to your sense of style, as well as your need to learn. I don't know why that should be important, but it just is. William Morris' adage about having nothing in your house that you do not know not to be useful or believe to be beautiful really rings true…but it's even better when something covers both bases!


So, lovelies, Miss Christine has sent me a copy of her shiny new book to give away to you. If you'd like to be in with the chance to win it, just leave me a comment on this post, telling me about something ridiculous that you've done. I know that Christine will totally support me in hijacking this giveaway in the name of post-trauma-therapy, so if you've done anything akin to putting your electric kettle on the gas hob and lighting it in order to boil some water, only noticing your error when your kettle is in flames and the acrid smell of burning plastic is filling the air, please do share it in the comments. If not, I'm tempted to say that only fallible human beings may enter, but I don't want to discriminate against perfection, so just some words of consolation will suffice. Luckily, nothing but my sense of my own sanity, the kettle and two tea towels were injured in this incident, but I will be starting my week with a trip to to the shops to buy a new kettle.

I'm happy to post the to anywhere in the world and I'll pick a winner at random later in the week.

Florence x

 * While Christine gives the kind of advice you'd want and expect from the best kind of grandmother, I feel compelled to say that she is not actually of grandmother age at all. If you'd like to learn more about Christine, you can read her blog here, or discover her sewing patterns, here. You can follow the rest of her book tour in these places if you'd like to see some more from inside the pages:

Friday, February 28 – Sew L.A.
Monday, March 3 – Coletterie
Tuesday, March 4 – Miss Crayola Creepy
Wednesday, March 5 – Whipstitch
Thursday, March 6 – Lucky Lucille
Friday, March 7 – Grainline
Monday, March 10 – Oonaballoona
Tuesday, March 11 – Paunnett
Wednesday, March 12 – Sewaholic
Thursday, March 13 – Lladybird
Friday, March 14 – House of Pinheiro
Monday, March 17 – Flossie Teacakes
Tuesday, March 18 – The Sew Convert
Wednesday, March 19 – Craftsy
Thursday, March 20 – Sublime Stitching
Friday, March 21 – Sew Stylish

131 comments:

  1. I'm sure my kettle type errors are too many to mention, I'm always doing stupid things and yet I can't think of one off the top of my head. I totally agree with you re having your paw held, I've found some great tutorials only for the authori to skip a step in the photos.

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  2. Well ... being lazy and using a knife handle to push some jamed food down the feeding tube of my food processor was not my best idea - neither survived the ordeal. At least it wasn't my fingers. Thanks for chance to win

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  3. Nothing quite like being put on the spot for not managing to think of anything to contribute!! Looks like a fabulous book.

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  4. I'd love to have a look through this book, so kind of you and Christina!
    I too often forget to use oven mits on the hob as well as in the microwave, so far I've never forgotten for the oven, but there's plenty of time for that to happen!

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  5. I can not tell you how many times I've put my freshly pealed dinner vege's in the bin rather than the peelings. These sorts of mishaps are a daily occurrence.
    Thanks for hosting this giveaway - I'm desperate for a copy of this amazing book!

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  6. Thank you for the give away!

    I don't know why but I managed to put my work USB in the vegetable compartment of the fridge and have been looking for it for days!!!

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  7. Me and stick blenders, food processors and even common or garden veg peelers result in veggie food not being veggie :o I'm a bit better with a sewing machine , but not much better! Fiona

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  8. That's completely something I would do. Stupidest moment in a kitchen: in shared uni accommodation, the electric cooker had no longer got markings on the hob controls. Even with markings I get confused as to which knob turns on which ring, so cooking with this was always rather stressful. One day the water for my pasta was taking a very long time to boil so I leaned forward to look whether there were any bubbles in the water. Though fully aware that I really had no idea which knob turned on which ring, I decided to steady myself by putting my open hand down flat on the front ring ... which of course was the one which was on. A moment that, 15 years later, I still look back on with a mixed sense of incredulity and mild hysteria. The book looks fabulous!

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  9. Well, I was peeling potatoes last week when the peeler slipped. I would up peeling my finger and it nail!!

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  10. I am so often berating myself for being the clumsiest/ most absentminded human that this should be an easy question for me, but it seems I'm not the only one having trouble coming up with a concrete example. Of course, I repeatedly forget important adages like "measure twice, cut once", resulting in some "creative/interesting" finishes. I've also hurried to get papers printed and get out the door, only to realize I left them on the car roof with my coffe cup as the flutter all over the rainy street... Thanks for the memories! And for the opportunity, this book looks fab for a quilter just attempting some dressmaking like me! Fingers crossed!

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  11. Many, many similar instances, but the most recent was fussy cutting into some prized fabric, then cutting some setting fabric without clearing the fussy cuts away, rotary cut right through them. You can take the girl out of Yorkshire.... But the air was blue

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  12. I've cut patterns with no seam allowance and then had to go and attempt to add some seam allowance with fusible interfacing. No, it didn't work.

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  13. I've been lazy about sorting the laundry into colours/lights properly a couple of times, and lived to regret it!

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  14. A few days ago, I stepped into the shower while still wearing a bra. And speaking of kitchen mishaps, a few days before that, I turned the stove off, only to place a plastic takeaway container right on top of it as soon as I turned off the burner. The container melted onto the stove. Sigh.

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  15. I was pouring coffee in my cup and my husband came to ask me something, so I stopped pouring the coffee to look at him. While I was looking at him, I grabbed the Pepsi bottle that was close to the coffee pot and started to pour Pepsi in the cup. My husband said: "are you going to drink Pepsi in the cup?" That's when I realized what I was doing. Of course I didn't drink that "drink mix" ☺

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  16. My husband has a nasty habit of putting the tea towels down on the hot plates. A few times lately I've left the flame going while cooking - no disasters yet but..... Fingers crossed our insurance is up to date!
    Happy kettle shopping,
    Abbe

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  17. Recently I decided to try to make tea in my plastic water bottle since all the travel mugs were dirty. It melted. :(

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  18. First, I absolutely LOVE your "hole in the pavement" - what a perfect description for that experience!
    Hard to choose just one thing I've done. Hmmm. Possibly the time I knitted the second sock with a different cuff style that the first sock? Didn't even notice until I was setting up a photograph!

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  19. Oh my gosh I'd love this book!!

    When my sisters and I were younger we decided we wanted hot chocolate using milk instead of water. So we put milk in the kettle!!! That was the last time that kettle was used. So funny when I look back at it especially since we thought that you'd do the same with milk as you do with water.

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  20. Unbelievably, I have TWICE put my electric kettle on the Aga hob and wondered what the burning plastic smell was as the black bottom of the kettle{s) melted all over the Aga!!! Me and my middle age brain!

    http://asaucystitch.blogspot.co.uk

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  21. I routinely try to unlock my door with my metro pass - I blame the lack of coffee in the morning... :D

    ivanaDOTjuragaATgmailDOTcom

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  22. I have dropped my house keys into an industrial size rubbish bin and had to climb in after them to get them- I was pregnant at the time! I've also left my car in a car park overnight and forgot about it. The next day when I walked home to get my car I initially though it had been stolen then remembered it was in the car park- needless to say I had a parking ticket.

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  23. I think the silliest thing I did was to drive away to do the shopping leaving my one month old baby in his carrycot on the pavement! Luckily I remembered before I'd got too far away. I blamed the hormone surge after giving birth.

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  24. There's some funny comments here, and I thought I was doolally.
    I really thought I was loosing the plot on my last visit to England. I made so many errors. One of which was whilst travelling on the bus from London up north, we stopped for a break. I got the timing wrong, (I must have misheard), and arrived back to the bus to find it pulling out without me! Fortunately another passenger had noticed my absence, (a young gentleman no less), and he stopped the bus. How embarrassing!.
    A lovely giveaway.

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  25. Sounds like a wonderful book.......does turning on the induction hob while the kids' homework and lunchboxes were sitting on top count? Especially embarrassing when your childrens' teachers are friends and your husband is fairly senior in the teaching profession too. At least the said teachers' days were brightened when they read the excuse for the burnt state of the homework. Oops. Juliex

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  26. There are many silly things that I've done but the most famous one within my family is strapping my toddler into her car seat, closing the door and not realising I was locking her, the keys and my phone inside the car! One hysterical breakdown and two very helpful strangers later my husband arrived to get her out but I'll never live it down! P.S. Would love the book!

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  27. Ahh the most ridiculous thing I've ever done was jump in to a strangers car only so that I wouldn't get caught with my boyfriend, as my mum, aunt and gran were crossing the road behind us. The owner of the car was actually pretty pleasant, we ended up having a nice little chat till he told me to get off his childs baby car seat. I would never suggest anyone to try this though

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  28. I keep forgetting to put water at the bottom of my steamer when cooking veg. Ruined many pans doing this!! I also once put my work USB in the dishwasher for some reason!

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  29. I love the look of this book. How about wondering Wat the beeping noise was and going into the kitchen to check out a funny smell to see that the rice had boiled dry and was burning in the pan and the beeping noise was the timer I had set so that I didn't forget and boil it dry. Oops

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  30. The book looks fantastic, it's definitely on my wish list. I'm always doing stupid things! Probably one of the most ridiculous was leaving a plate on an electric hob that had been accidentally turned on - the plate cracked in half and the kitchen roll that was on top of it caught on fire, although that was a combined effort with housemates so I can't claim all the "credit"!

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  31. I'm forever doing silly things. Like on Saturday I was weeding the front garden, and stepped backwards into the arm of the bench under the window. I have an huge bruise on my leg to prove it, and it's not the first time it's happened!! Thank you for the chance of winning!

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  32. A multitude of plastic melting kitchen mishaps- bags on the sides of metals and pans, things that are defrosting in the oven as a 'safe place' until I turn the oven on and melt them. Christine has such a steady and accurate approach to dressmaking in her Craftsy class, I am sure this will be come over in the book as well

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  33. I have to say, I am deeply reassured by all the comments here - when you are klutzy and absent-minded, it's easy to think that everyone else in the world floats through life unscathed ;)

    My regular problem - no, apparently I don't learn - is to take a baking tray out of the oven, put it down, turn away to pick up the plates, then forget the tray is hot and pick it up with bare fingers. Which is why my kitchen regularly resounds to the mantra of 'hot hot hot', to help me remember that just because it's not glowing or bubbling doesn't mean it won't burn me!

    Thanks for a such a detailed review. I really need pictures when I'm learning, so I think this will go to top of my wishlist.

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  34. Having just completed my first blouse in about 20 years I would love to own a copy of this book. My general life is full of all sorts of mishaps..my family don't call me Dizzy for nothing. Many Thanks.

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  35. I love the kettle story as I thought I was the only one to have done this! What made it worse was that my hob kettle is bright orange and the electric one was grey and a totally different shape. I've also managed to regularly forget to put the lid on it, get distracted and boil the kettle dry and turn the house into a sauna. But my favourite trick is to out things into the aga forget for days that they are there...3 days for a cremated baked potato is my record. I'd love this book as I'm an avid fan of the great British sewing bee t clueless as to where to start. Thank you for the opportunity. Jen xx

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  36. Saying hello to someone I thought was my friend yesterday only to realise straight away it wasnt. Would love a copy of the book!

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  37. getting on the train without asking whether the train actually has a stop where i want to get off! well, eventually it did stopp, lovely detour...
    would love to win! thank you for the chance

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  38. ahem. or entering as anonymous while wanting to win.
    my name by the way is martinamaria

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  39. This morning, as I was locking up my bike outside work, I also caught the straps of my backpack in the lock. As I turned away from the bike-rack to walk away, I was therfore yanked backwards to end up sitting on the pavement, backpack up around my ears, feeling like a fool.

    Unfortunately, this occurred in front of the GREAT BIG WINDOWS into my office.

    Hannah
    brown[dot]h[at]outlook[dot]com x

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  40. Something like sewing the table cloth together with the quilt I'm working on, and then getting really surprised when a) the sewing machine can't seem to feed any more quilt and c) where's the table cloth?

    Sorry about the kettle incident. I think the main reason I don't have many incidents at the kitchen is because it isn't me cooking on a regular basis.

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  41. Oops, Florence! This must be far from the silliest thing I've done but I am, months later, still kicking myself for leaving my music stand behind in a church after a concert. I'd had it at least 18 years and taken it on tour to 3 different continents, and then I lost it in London. So annoying!

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  42. Best give away comments ever! I am so very clumsy and absent minded sometimes it's good to know I'm not alone. One time I had taken my sons plastic bath tub out in the garden so he could play with water in the sun. I forgot so the tub sat outside overnight. When I gave him his bath the next day it didn't take long for him to give one of those ear piercing shrieks only little children and Justin Bieber fans seem capable of. There were snails big and small crawling all over the bath and the floor- they were everywhere! I had unintentionally put the poor kid in a bath full of snails. I had to spend a good 20 minutes picking up snails out of every corner of the bathroom - yuck!
    The book looks wonderful :-)

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  43. Did you know that if you are making a cup of coffee without wearing your glasses, a jar of cous cous looks the same (but doesn't taste the same) as a jar of demerara sugar?

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  44. What a lovely looking book. One of the silliest things I've ever done was to lovingly cook my husband (then boyfriend) dinner with steamed veg. After quite a few minutes a burnt smell invaded the flat and we discovered that I hadn't actually added any water to the saucepan......My husband still laughs about how I'm the only person he knows who can cook al dente veg with a burnt flavour (because, bless him, he loves me so much he did actually eat them!!!!!!)

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    1. Hahaha! I love that you did this. I did the same thing many years ago when cooking a roast dinner for some friends. I'd prepped all the veg beforehand, carrots in the bottom of the metal steamer. Turned it on, what a God awful smell after about 10 minutes! We were able to (sort of) salvage the other veg but the carrots were not rescuable, though they were cooked to perfection! The pan got completely tempered, as we had to immerse it quickly in cold water to get rid of the heat!
      Hahaha, we both laughed...we'll never do anything that stupid again! We did the same thing a few years ago! That steamer pan is now broken :(

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  45. The books looks really thorough and a valuable addition to my sewing library! One of the silly things that often happens to me while I am taking a swim in the sea is starting to chat happily with a complete stranger thinking he is my husband (I am myopic and I swim without my glasses). So embarassing!!!!

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  46. Haha so much fun to read all the comments above!
    And I realize I have soo many stories about my clumsiness. But lets pick this, yet another kitchen story:
    I should make falafel and used a hand blender to mix the chickpeas. The chickpeas have a tendency to stuck inside the blender behind the blades thou so one has to pick it out of there a little now and then. And so I did.
    Instead of using a spoon I was a bit lazy and just used my fingers while holding the blender in the other hand, with my fingers still on the start button, just not pressing it, obviously. This is not a good safety! I happened to press the on the button so the blades of the hand blender started to rotate while I had a finger in there removing everything that had got stuck.
    Luckily I had my finger out of there quite quick so its not cut in half but I bleed for a few hours, and are terrified for putting my fingers anywhere near those blades till this day, even when the power is out.

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  47. In Barcelona sitting on a packed open top city tour bus I was listening to the commentary on the headphones when a seat for two became vacant. I motioned to my mum (sitting two seats away) and jumped up to grab the seat before the next passengers got on.... however I forgot to take off the headphones which were plugged into the seat and hence got pulled violently backwards down the bus, flinging my arms out and shouting 'WAH' to the amusement of the whole top deck....

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  48. I did wash my three month Eurail pass in a laundromat in Scotland many, many years ago! Thankfully my boyfriends (now my husband) in Australia arranged to buy and send me another one! Ugh! What a ditz! BTW I would love this book! Thanks for the chance.....

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  49. Oh, I haven't done the kettle one, but there is still time, I have put my iron in the freezer and the frozen peas in the cupboard where the iron goes.
    I also always, fill my travel mug and then try and drink black tea straight away, even when I know it is hot lol

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  50. We are lodging my daughter's bike and some how her bike lock jumped into my bike basket. I carefully locked my bike up outside my village school while I was teaching. At the end of the day I couldn't unlock it - wrong key! Of course daughter has key in London so had to get my hero to cut it off with bolt cutters. Thought we would be arrested for bike theft! Book looks helpful as I am finding dressmaking scary. Such a great idea for comments.

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  51. Hi Florence - my list of ridiculous actions are too numerous to list, but usually involve my useless memory. I remember when we lived in Surrey and visited my parents in Bath, it wasn't until we got home that I remembered my handbag - sitting in my Mum's chair back in Bath. As it was Sunday night, it was too late to turn back for another 150 mile round journey - so my poor hubby had to go back the following day (I was at work) to collect my bag. I couldn't wait for the next visit, as it contained my purse, cheque book (yes it was that long ago) and everything a girl needs to function!!! My punishment was that I had to pay for the petrol that the extra journey had used - that and a very annoyed hubby! It hasn't taught me as I still leave my handbag in other peoples houses! Only the other day we were driving home from visiting a friend when hubby's phone rang; it was my pal saying she was looking at my handbag on her sofa! Luckily we hadn't got very far so were able to retrieve said bag without losing too much time - hubby now just raises his eyebrows and sighs loudly!!! Oh well - no-one's perfect! Love your blog. Take care. Jean.x

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  52. I would like to say thank you for the giveaway!
    A few weeks ago I did a silly thing, I made my first mug of coffee, I put my milk back in the fridge, turned round and for the life of me could not find my mug of coffee anywhere, shouted at my hubby thinking he had hidden it, we searched the whole house, decided that I would re trace my steps and eventually found my mug of coffee in the fridge! The same week I did some shopping and had ended up putting my purse in the freezer!

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  53. I was uncorking a bottle of wine with a simple corkscrew- one that looks like a T-. The cork was really stuck in there and I was pulling with all my might. I was looking down to see my progress as the cork finally came out...and I hit myself very hard on the chin...
    Thanks for the giveaway!

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  54. When I was a teenager I wanted to be a rebel and had a candle in my bedroom even though mom said no. I took one layer of a kleenex and it was so light it sort of floated and bounced in the air above the candle because of the heat convection (?) but then it caught alight and I had a floating tissue on fire in my bedroom. I panicked and swatted it to the floor (carpet) but luckily only managed to burn the carpet in a few places, which were covered up with a quick rearrangement of the furniture. I was very lucky and I definitely learned a lesson - or two...

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  56. Thanks for the giveaway! My most recent absentmindedness occurred over the weekend when I decided to reheat my tea in the microwave, I of course forgot that the mug it was in ( a very lovely mug from amsterdam) has gold detailing, that doesn't do to well in the microwave. Needless to say there were sparks flying!

    Sogol
    mssogol(at)gmail.com

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  57. I think one of the dumbest things i've done when i was a teenager. I was using the hand mixer and leaned down to listen to the motor ( don't know why i did that to this day).
    I had really long hair at that time, yep it wrapped my hair all up in the beaters! Had to get my mom who couldn't stop laughing to untangle me.
    Would love to win the book.

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  59. okay that was just a test....the dumbest thing I did recently was stick my hand in a can of glue to fish out something I dropped in it. I would up spilling glue all over my work desk gluing the papers and everything else to the desktop. Thanks!

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  60. I was checkin the post one day. I parked my car and started walking towards the post office door when suddenly my car was beside me! I didnt put the brake on!! Thank god it was a very slight slope so it was going very slow and that I didn't run myself over! .... I am a intermediate sewer but I think this book would help me tons with my ambitious idea of sewing my own wedding dress

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  61. Fab description of following guidance only to be let down just when you need it the most! Looks like a handy and interesting book to be able to reference to and work through all the mind bogging moments in sewing.
    Daftest things, I have definitely done the electric kettle on the gas hob to make a cup of tea. Then there was making toast on the stove grill ate toast and left grill on, only to get a text from partner asking me if i was aiming to burn the house down.

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  62. Great giveaway, book does indeed look beautiful AND useful ! If it's any consolation, the same kettle incident happened at our holiday cottage and the clients who caused the problem used an entire fire extinguisher on it!Oh and yesterday I sewed a sleeve on inside out :)

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  63. I would like to win this for my soon-to-be daughter-in-law who I'm teaching to make her own clothes at the moment.She would be the first to say she's a world expert on doing silly things, but the one she does most often is to put hot appliances down on the carpet, and then wonder a few hours later why there's a burn mark on said carpet! Perhaps she should be learning to lay heatproof flooring instead!

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  64. I am chronically clumsy and am always doing daft things, the most memorable of which was shutting my nose in a fridge door and giving myself a black eye (and suspected broken nose!). It was also captured on film!

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  65. I've developed a habit of getting distracted by something needing tidying or a design I need to sketch out, and thus leaving my coffee/tea somewhere in the house. I completely forget about it, make myself a new mug, and then find the full one later, sometimes more than one mug around the house.

    This would be a great book to own--I'm teaching my sister to sew and she only wants to sew clothes and I am not good at it (but I know enough to get by). The books we have are lacking in photos which is very frustrating, and hits your point about such books spot on. Thanks for the chance to win!

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  66. This looks a great book Florence!
    The daftest thing I can think of was filling the teapot with a whole packet of loose tea (instead of the caddy) then adding boiling water and yes I did try to pour it out!

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  67. These comments are great! Most of my stories are just clumsiness, like taking off part of my nail with a potato peeler last week. I am pretty sure that I broke my foot once while walking (completely sober!). My leg was asleep but I don't think that's much of an excuse!

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  68. Wow, I'm not sure I can top Amanda's story! I posted a chocolate bar once. I bought a chocolate bar and a stamp in the post office. I had the letter in one hand and the chocolate in the other and I posted the chocolate! Happy day for the postman! X PS great giveaway Florence, please enter me!

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  69. This sort of behaviour is normal, isn't it?
    Cat food in the teapot. Oven glove on the gas ring. Purse in the fridge. Drunken jam jar smashing. Falling off the bus (sober). Microwave food processor débâcle. Just a few of many. It's amazing I've survived nearly 40 years.

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  70. Puting the tv remote control into the freezer when storing some food and finding it two days later.

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  71. Good gracious, I've done lots of ridiculous things, lol. One of the worst was while I was sleeping. My husband had just come home after having back surgery and in the middle of the night I grabbed the edges of his pillow and yanked it out from under him in his sleep! I immediately woke up and frantically asked if he was ok - luckily he was fine, but he's never let me live it down. I still have no idea what I was dreaming about or why I would have felt inclined to do that.

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  72. My most recent special moment was when returning my library books. I must have accidentally also posted my hospital ID through the return book letterbox too. When I later went to use it I was stressed that I had lost it. So stressed I went home and bought an unhealthy amount of liberty tana lawn...........the library later found my card and have returned it to me!

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  73. WOW! this is awesome!! And where do i even start with the crazy stuff i do...maybe with the one i did this morning: chased a man down the street because from the back he looked like an old friend i haven't seen in a while...the whole stret looking at me :)

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  74. After reading all these comments I'm not sure any of us should be allowed to take charge of a sewing machine!
    I've lived in my house for almost thirteen years and I'm still walking into the door jambs and newel posts - swear someone comes round and moves them an inch or so to the side!
    I also once couldn't put my finger on a very familiar smell in the house and it took me ages to realise that the cause was a hand towel I'd put in the oven the night before to dry (taking advantage of a warm, empty oven) but had forgotten about when I started making my tea the next night. The reason the smell was familiar is that a towel that's about to burst into flames smells rather like ironing!!
    My favourite daft thing to do (or rather, my most frequent daft thing to do!) is to turn on the oven, set the temperature, put my tea on a baking tray and set the timer, only to come back when the timer beeps to find the tray (and my tea!) still sitting on the hob...

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  75. While shortening a pair of jeans for my hubby I got a phone call to say "slight accident, he's ok, been to hospital but dont worry, a friend was driving him home". Mild panic, must finish sewing before he gets home. Hemmed one leg of the jeans then cut the hem off the other leg. It was only when I came to fold them up that I realised I'd cut the hem off the same leg twice!! By the time hubby got home I was hysterically laughing - he thought I was in shock at the news of his accident but I was more concerned about his reaction to the jeans that would have to be made into shorts!

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  76. One day a few years ago I opened the cupboard to retrieve the hot chocolate to make a drink and it fell out, the top flung off and the whole lot landed on my head! This all happened in front of the man who I was to eventually marry!. He said that was one of the reasons that convinced him because I didn't throw a wobbly I just laughed my head off!

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  77. This looks like a lovely book, and I certainly could use some hand holding. Once I put a styrofoam take-out container in the oven. I don't know what happened -- I knew I shouldn't -- I just spaced. By the time I smelled it, my food was sitting on the oven rack and the styrofoam was melted down through to the bottom of the oven. I've done a few things like that. Sheryl up there just reminded me of the time I tried to make set chocolate ice cream bowls by dipping balloons into chocolate, letting them harden, and then popping the balloons. But if the chocolate is too warm, your balloon will pop prematurely and chocolate will fling to the far reaches of your kitchen. It is now about five years later and I can STILL come across bits of chocolate that I haven't yet cleaned away.

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  78. My silliest - I was preparing to meeting someone from an on-line dating arrangement. I texted my friend with the important question of should I dress - to show off my legs or my bum and within moments the phone rang... - she said her husband said 'bum every time'. I'd sent the text to their landline and he'd answered the phone! Needless to add that the tryst was not successful!

    Janet

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  79. Middle of the night and sleepy toddler needing a weewee. I scooped her up wandered to the bathroom and plonked her on the loo. Lesson learnt that you should always check the loo lid is up if you don't want a wee fountain!

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  80. I have done so many stupid things since three pregnancies and subsequent children stole all my short-term memory. My long-term memory is spectacular - I can remember precise details and whole conversations from 30 years ago, but ask me what three items I came to the supermarket to buy and I won't have a clue!
    My stupidest moment of the last week was taking the three kids (on my own) to the local National Trust house for a nice walk. I'd planned the trip in military fashion - as it was quite cold and windy and so I wanted to be as prepared as possible for the three of them (6, 4 and 2) to be out for several hours without disaster. I've even packed the hot chocolate and suitable snacks, change of clothes etc. I got there and parked up, put up the pushchair and loaded it with all the paraphernalia and then began to extract the children from the car...only to find I'd loaded them up wearing their slippers instead of their wellies! Not one of them had thought to tell me! Luckily it's only a 15 minute drive home again so it was a fairly swift matter to resolve but I felt like such an idiot, packing everything away again immediately!

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  81. Ooh, that's a book I'd love to win a copy of! Most of my sewing reference books, while lovely, have line drawings which aren't always so clear to follow. I like the look of Christine's layout and step-by-step photos here.

    I was sewing trim to decorate a ready-made cardigan a while back and, in my excitement, snipped off the trim and through the cuff of the cardigan at the same time. . . Oops! Oh well, a bit more trim covered that up, at least. I pretend I meant it to be there all along.

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  82. I'm ashamed to say that this occurs more often than I would like to admit . . .

    . . . I regularly leave the kettle on the gas cooker to heat and forget about it. I've had to replace the kettle a few times :(

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  83. I was so excited about trying to make popcorn on the stove, I didn't cover the pan and popcorn exploded everywhere. :-)

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  84. Would love a copy of this book! I have on more than one occassion, left my hair straight iron on the WHOLE DAY...it's a miracle the place didn't burn down. I need to get one with an automatic shut-off.

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  85. I wiped the stove down with a paper towel that had some olive oil on it. totally surprised me as it burst in to flames in my hand and I tried to throw it in to the sink before I realized that was a bad idea. I just stood there and thought.... what about a dirty pot of water? douse it but it's oil... baking powder? OMG! before the paper towel was burnt away and not much harm was done except to my heart.

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  86. Recently it was the kettle for me, too. Stove top kettle, boiled, poorer, set it back down on the stove. Only I didn't turn the stove off, and I left the whistle spout up, so it didn't "tell" me it was still boiling. Boiled it dry and the kettle and the element got stuck together. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  87. Great giveaway - this is a bit belated, but I meant to thank you for that tutorial on lined zipper purses that you produced that I stumbled upon a couple of years ago, love it! Best ever. Something ridiculous - sadly, today I rushed off to a fabric sale at Spotlight (30% off everything) and came back to my car to find a parking fine for going over the time because the queues were so long! So ridiculously, I didn't save much at all in the end as I had to pay the fine!

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  88. There have been many, many ridiculousnesses in my time, but for some reason, one event comes to mind; I rushed to answer the phone at my parentes' house, sitting down in the window seat to do so. The trouble was, I caught the curtains under my bum,pulled the curtains, VERY heavy wooden curtain pole, supports and half the wall down on my head in the process...and all this with my new boyfrend, parents and half my familly looking on. They were all in hysterics and I had a very sore head (and a very damaged pride!!) Needless to say I approach the dangerous combination of phone +curtains with great care since then...

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  89. Turning the heat up on food too high and burning it.

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  90. The book looks fabulous and the giveaway comments are just brilliant. I'm reasonably safe in the kitchen but one time I started to run a bath, then wandered off and got absorbed in blog reading. When I came back into the hallway, to my horror it was covered in 2 inches of water. Thankfully there was very little long term damage but I stay fully focused when running baths these days.

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  91. So many moments, truly which one to pick? At least yours was in the privacy of your own home.

    About eighteen months ago I parked illegally to quickly duck into the bank. I grabbed my wallet and my baby daughter, locked the car and promptly dropped the car key into a storm water drain. A friendly policeman came over to reprimand and fine me, then realised I just needed pity and assistance, so called the fire brigade. I didn't realise that in order to retrieve keys they apparently need to drive the fire engine through the town centre with the lights on and then no less than six of them need to disembark in order to use the giant wire coathanger thing to fetch keys.

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  92. the books looks great, I have one of her books and love it. I am very traumatised by your kettle story, you clearly really needed a cup of tea, and then didn't get one in the end anyway..........

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  93. I made my son a teddy bear - the front was fine, but the back was inside out - the wrong side of the fabric... It just made him an "interesting" stuffed animal in need of extra love ;)

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  94. So I have really really bad vision, and once misplaced my glasses. I think I spent 15 minutes looking for them high and low and getting myself all worked up when someone asked me what was wrong and pointed out I was wearing them. Urgh.

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  95. This book looks incredibly helpful and I love lots of pictures to show you what to do. I love the idea of being held by the paw! As for the kettle, buy a new one and just remember that you are not alone in your forgetfulness :) xx

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  96. Wow I have spent a bit too much time reading these comments - but they are so funny! Makes me feel like I'm not alone - I'm always doing stuff like this!! Last night I put my phone in the fridge - I could hear it vibrating away but could I find it? Nope!! It was only when I went to make my little girl's bedtime bottle that I found it there - luckily the cold hadn't damaged it - phew!!
    Anna x

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  97. I do lots of dumb things but hands down the worst is when my husband and I were still boyfriend/girlfriend and decided to take a trip from the UK to Bermuda. My cousin lived on the island and had offered us a place to stay. Trouble was she didn't come to meet us at the airport and I hadn't bothered bringing her address! So after 5hrs travel I had one very grumpy boyfriend on my hands.

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  98. Wonerful, gorgeous book! thank you for the giveaway.
    One of the most ridiculous things I've done...well, many years ago when I lived in England, I was waiting for my boyfriend to pick me up in his new white MG Midget. I was standing outside my place of work with some friends chatting and I see the car coming down the road and pull up next to the curb. So I said goodbye to my friends and get in the passenger seat, shut the door, buckle up and turn to give my boyfriend a kiss hello....but it wasn't my boyfriend...it was a complete stranger. I don't know what he thought about an unknown young woman just getting in his car but he didn't freak out, he just seemed surprised. Extremely embarrassed I apologized for getting in his car and quickly got out. One of the goofiest thing I've ever done.

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  99. On a trip to Denmark with some friends we had to change trains in Copenhagen's central station. As we were stood on the platform looking at the timetable, I spotted the train we needed and went and got on it. However, as I turned around to tell the others to follow me the train doors closed and it sped off, leaving me in a fit of giggles by myself and being stared at by the other passengers.
    My husband who, unknown to me, had just popped off to get a sandwich, didn't find it quite as funny when he returned to be told that I'd 'just got on a train and gone'. Oops..!

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  100. Getting my gran's sewing machine very soon so Christine's book will be very useful. When I used to have electric hobs I was forever leaving things on top of them while they were still hot and I regularly put my cup of tea in the fridge instead of the milk! The worst has to be when I was taking the lift up to my flat with a usb in my hand. Thought to myself I'd better put it in my pocket so I didn't lose it, missed my pocket so it dropped to the floor and skidded towards the doors, which just happened to open resulting in my usb falling 5 floors down the lift shaft never to be seen again. Whoops! Luckily for me I was petrified of ever losing my uni work so had numerous back-ups of back-ups!

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  101. something ridiculous? Hmmm...my husband and I have the strange tradition of giving each other "penguin kisses" (we flap our arms like penguins and give each other a smooch) when he leaves for work in the morning

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  102. These stories are hilarious! I've also thought I lost my glasses and they were on my face the whole time. I've also slept in contacts (when I first started wearing them, but I quickly found out they aren't my thing) and woke up thinking that my vision had magically been repaired. I've also locked my keys in the car plenty of times :oP

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  103. I haven't read all 103 comments but have locked keys in car, done what you did, Florence, actually melted a kettle a time or two..... And I am sure I can relate to quite a few more...... loved your description of what Miss Christine's book is NOT.....!

    Not a dressmaker so don't put me in the drawing, thank you , love your Nellington fabric though......

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  104. I melted a plastic colander at my mom's house -- I forgot she always puts her large things in the oven to dry and turned it on. We didn't notice until the fumes had us choking!

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  105. I am always doing ridiculous things but, just recently, I was cleaning my toilet bowl with the toilet wand (that Clorox disposable toilet cleaner) and I flushed the refill by accident. Needless to say, the toilet is stopped up.
    Thank you for the giveaway!!
    Ledys
    ledys.e.chemin(@)gmail.com

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  106. What a lovely book to win, it looks so helpful and good! Now for the embarrassing part- I've make the mistake a few times of forgetting to put the fabrics right sides together when I sew a seam. Ok... and put the hob on with a paper towel on a nearby hob causing fire (I have no idea how it got there!)

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  107. I once turned the hob on under a pan, then lifted the pan off to ask my partner if I'd put enough pasta in the pan before I added the water and he pulled it closer to him and burnt both his hands. Seems I'm a terrible forgetful human being but thank goodness he's kept on dating me hurrah!

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  108. I managed to pin myself to a quilt I was making this week. I hadn't realised that I had managed to push the pin through my finger nail as well as the fabric until I walked away from the table. I thought that was a tough pin to put in!

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  109. Locked my work keys inside the building THREE TIMES in two weeks, had to call someone to let me in each time, as I'm the only one there usually. Thanks for the giveaway, and sorry about your kettle!

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  110. Last night I gave my feverish, head achy daughter some liquid children's tylenol (paracetamol). She complained that it was so thick it was hard to drink, like drinking maple syrup or molasses, so I added a little water and told her to drink up. Turns out, the medicine expired 3 years ago. She is perfectly fine, and says it actually did help her head ache, but I have since thrown that bottle away.

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  111. Thanks for the giveaway and the book looks like a wonderful reference to have on hand! As far as crazy things I've done, well, having two small active children helps erase a lot of my memory of such events...thankfully but to get some sewing accomplished I often let my 21month old tear apart all my bias binding, zippers and throw buttons everywhere. Its a veritable disaster area after I sew!

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  112. I once turned my garbage disposal on, not realizing that there was a spoon in there. Then, I tried to get the spoon out without turning the switch off. I know, totally stupid. It was really late at night. Good thing my husband wasn't home, or else I would have felt REALLY stupid.

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  113. For the sake of consolation: I could so have made the kettle mistake. Recently my absent mind has stuck to the average swap of items that were meant to go in the fridge and in the cupboard, but I have melted plastic items in the past because the hob was still lit when I temporarily placed them there and burned items of food because I get distracted with other cooking tasks (pine nuts, why do burn so quickly???)

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  114. I have enjoyed reading all the comments before. I can totally relate to many of them. My most recent mishap was breaking my toe by kicking the kitchen stool (no, not on purpose). It is the third time I have broken that toe...

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  115. Hi, Thanks for the chance of a give away......here's a couple for you.......During a recent power cut I painstakingly spent twenty minutes arranging our two electric blankets to cover every inch of our king size bed, feeling rather pleased with myself that we'd be cosy come bed time. It was when I went to plug in the extension lead that it dawned on me.........
    There was also the time that I accidentally ended up at the local airport on my way to work, which is very nearly in another county......thought i was being clever taking a new route! This was of course before sat nav, which I immediately purchased after going to Liverpool docks instead of Cleethorpes on my way home from Wales. Look at the map. It's so wrong! I tend to stick close to my sewing machine these days, nothing has gone too wrong there so far.....

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  116. This book looks a fantastic resource ... Thanks for the giveaway Flossie.
    There are quite a few stupid things I can name, but I was recently reminded of the time I booked tickets to Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake for my mother's birthday. Invited her, her friend, me and my partner, and a friend of mine, all of us travelling from all over south-east England. We met and had a meal, headed for the theatre, went in, ordered interval drinks, made our way into the theatre, and there were people in our seats. Double-checked tickets, usher called over, everyone watching us, usher finally points out our tickets were for the day before. So we sat in the bar watching it without sound on a tiny television screen.
    Was reminded of this when my mum and her friend finally managed to see it properly this January, about 8 years later. I still haven't seen it, but I'm never allowed to forget the incident ...

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  117. I put a plastic oil bottle on a warm hob... no comments
    thanks for a chance!

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  118. A couple of years ago I was shopping and really needed some chocolate. So I bought some and ate it on my walk home. I wondered why everybody was smiling at me until I got home and looked in the mirror. There was a long chocolate stain right across my left cheek. I didn't even remember that I missed my mouth while stuffing myself with chocolate.

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  119. How about the time that I made a nice Sunday dinner for my then-boyfriend. I baked a chicken and made sage dressing from scratch, only I didn't think to question that the recipe called for 3 Tablespoons of sage (not teaspoons). We ate mostly chicken that night ... and he still married me.

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  120. Finding my keys in the freezer has happened more than once... fingers crossed for that awesome book!

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  121. I tried to heat some water with microwave using plastic cup.....luckily I found it out early before I hit that 'start' button!
    andri_chama (at) yahoo (dot) com

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  122. Ooo, lovely giveaway.... the book looks both useful and most pretty! I know I have done numerous daft acts, but they escape me now... Maybe closing the front door with my finger somehow trapped in it. I then couldn't find my keys to release my now rather sore finger. Ouch!

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  123. I was doing an art project for school and my pencil had lost its point so I decided to sharpen it with a "shank". Those who don't know what that means its a prison term for a homemade knife:) It was this long blade that had one end wrapped in thick tape for the handle. I have no idea why we owned this but I ended up slicing my thumb open and we took care of the injury prison style ;) We put it under hot water then taped it closed. We were weird. Hope I win! batresyohana@yahoo.com

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  124. When I was in high school, I was super intimidated by a teacher, and I was speaking to him, and I was nervously fidgeting, and somehow was standing on the sides of my shoes and somehow fell flat on my butt. He looked at me, and just shook his head and walked away. He wasn't rude about it, and thank goodness he didn't burst out laughing, but I still felt super stupid. ksmith8@emich.edu

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  125. What a great giveaway, I hope I'm not too late.
    My most regular senior moments involve putting something to warm up in the rayburn and finding its crispy remnants the next day, or week! No smoke to warn me as the oven vents to the chimney.
    nicolajlcooper@gmail.com
    Nick

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  126. Hello :-)
    I hope I am not too late for that lovely giveaway :-)
    I can't remember doing something spectacular and major like burning or setting fire, but mostly some silly situations, when commenting on somebody, and he/she been aware of that.

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  127. So many stories to choose from: I have dropped my car key through the sewer grates twice, (once when I had my kids and a friend's kids in the car on a cold december evening). My favourite though is making dessert to bring to a dinner party and forgetting to add sugar to the dough. I only figured it out when it was served....it was not very nice.

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  128. Thank you for offering this wonderful book.
    I have enjoyed reading your blog.

    In my household I am the one who does the DIY and sometimes things can just go a bit wrong. Extending a table light cable to sit on a cupboard. I do not know why I wired up the plug end. Plugged it in, measured and cut with my lovely Wusthof kitchen scissors! 10 years on my husband delights in explaining why our scissors have little pin pricks in them when asked to be borrowed by a guest!

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  129. I am probably one of the clumsiest people in the world and am constantly injuring myself while making things. Most recently I was sitting down to knit next to my partner on the couch and somehow managed to sit on my hand, digging the nails into my bare knee and leaving quite the nasty, bleeding cut! How I do it, I don't know, but luckily most of my projects turn out better than my poor body does by the end!

    Very excited about this book launch!

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  130. This book looks very nice and very helpful! Like many other commenters, I have far too many incidents to choose from, but a memorable kitchen one happened after I had seen a chef on television take the seed out of an avocado by holding the half with the seed in one hand and using the other hand to come down hard with a large knife into the seed to embed the blade, twist the seed, and quickly and smoothly pull it out with the knife still embedded......I missed the avocado, but not my hand. Not one of my finer moments. My husband still doesn't like for me to use sharp tools in the kitchen!

    Thanks for the chance at the giveaway!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a message - it's always really lovely to hear from people.

I now tend to reply within the comments section, so please do check back if you've asked a question or wish to chat.

Florence x