Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Shine on, you crazy diamond...

Well the sun has kept shining and we spent a lovely day in Portsmouth, with a look round Gunwharf Quay and a long-awaited trip up the Spinnaker Tower.

It looked quite a long way up, and a long way down, but we are hardened tower 'climbers' and the children have happily crawled and walked the glass floors of the Auckland Sky Tower, so this was a breeze!

The dots at the bottom are the tables outside the cafe below. With clear blue skys we could see over to the Isle of Wight, along the coast and inland, and made promises of trips to HMS Victory below another day.

...and here's a treat for you ladies!!

I managed to find a super pack of 5 pairs of baby socks for £2 in the Next outlet store, so I am looking forward to trying to make some mini owls.

No sewing tonight, it was a very long day.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Monkey Business!

I decided to tackle the monkeys today! Rather than one at a time, I figured a mass monkey-make was going to be a little simpler.

I have all the ears, arms and tails all ready to go now, and I hope I might be able to get the ears on, and legs sewn tomorrow (but we are off to Portsmouth for the day, so I might just come home and relax!).

I did a bit searching online for other sock-based ideas, and found some really cute owls over on craft schmaft.

The amazing Claire had a baby on saturday and is still blogging! I found some similar patterns, so I think I might give some a go - I figure they will be really quick, and excellent as little gifts.

And the sun kept on shining!!

Jam - update!

I tried the jam on my Bank Holiday bagel this morning and I am pleased to report that the taste was wonderful, however the pips need to be approached with caution, and it does have the consistency of a wine gum! Not sure if that constitutes a success, but we will no doubt manage to work our way through both jars!

Sunday, 29 August 2010


We had a lovely morning picking our own! We have driven past the local PYO a million times, even been to numerous boot fairs in the adjoining field, but never ventured into the orchards and fields. So today was the day!

We spent a couple of hours gathering red currants, blackberries and Victoria plums. We even found the single large sweetcorn cob ready in the crop! The children loved it, and were on their best behaviour for a change. We then went into the lovely Tea Room for ice-cream, cake, tea and coffee, all delicious, and then popped into the Farm Shop to get a bag of preserving sugar for my first attempt ever at jam making.

I have since made 2 jars of red current jam - but I am not holding out much hope of them being more than jars of red glue, (I didn't read the bit about NOT STIRRING the boiling jam, until I had constantly stirred it for about 20 minutes!!). Oh well, I will report back.

Although I re-used the lids of the pasta jars, I have dressed them up in a couple of fabric scraps so that they look like a pair of pre-school nativity shepherds!

A good sunday for us, what have you been up to?

Saturday, 28 August 2010

The sun has got his hat on!

Finally blue sky, t-shirts and tea in the garden again!

We took a trip out today to scope out some more areas where we would like to live, and added a few more villages to the 'list', so that was useful, especially as we are being very particular. I was getting a bit worried for a while that nowhere other than one teeny-tiny village we found (with an over-subscribed school, expensive houses and hardly any ever for sale!) would live up to expectations.

We then we stopped off in Arundel for lunch, as it is the annual festival at the moment, with street entertainers, musicians, art exhibitions and the like, and the tiny streets closed off to traffic, whilst everyone enjoyed the sunshine. It was like being on holiday in a town we love and got married in almost 7 years ago.

Most of the shops are tiny and often change hands, despite the tourists; it must be pretty bleak sometimes, and I am one of those all too guilty of browsing and not buying. Today I discovered 'fabric buttons & beads', full of lots of gorgeous things, including the book Annabelle has in her giveaway. So I had to have a flick through, and I can see why she has bought and given so many copies as gifts. The children were traumatizing the owner's kitten and touching everything in sight, although I would have loved to too, given half the chance (well not the kitten bit!), so I promised to return alone!

And my old favourite Sparks Yard came up trumps with their Sale outlet shop. Look at my beautiful Gisella Graham gardening gloves...

(Only £3.47, but don't tell anyone!)

Now the weather is potentially going to be lovely for the long weekend, but the bank holiday means no postman, and that means no parcels for me, particularly disappointing as my lovely package from Saints & Pinners, (I think I forgot to mention that I gave into temptation and ordered some Meter Scrap Rolls), along with my Prints to Polka Dots bundle were dispatched today.

Oh well, I should actually get on with some of those things I've started! 4 more sock monkeys remain in pure sock state, and I have reached a dilemma with the Freebird quilt. I was going to back it in a blackcurrent purple, but now I can't decide what colour to quilt in? Purple/dark thread will look a bit odd on the top as there is so much white, but white/light thread is going to show every wobble on the back (I'm not sure my sewing machine is up to the job of free-motion quilting, but I may do a practise run and see). Any ideas of a what may work? I may just re-think the backing!

Well let's hope the sun keeps shining... x

Friday, 27 August 2010

TFI Friday!

Well dear son and I did a few chores and dropped off our signed papers at the estate agents today; so after the bank holiday, it will be all systems go!

Another rainy day, so I had to have a spot of online retail therapy over at Prints to Polka Dots again! I have also spent too long lusting over the fabrics on Saints & Pinners and M is for Make.

Hope you all have a happy Long Weekend, especially all those who are having a 'weather/what-to-do' predicament; and to all those with just a regular 2-day break, enjoy anyway!

Giveaway... Annabelle Serendipity

Annabelle has a lovely giveaway over on her blog. I have never tried to crochet, but the book she is giving away looks lovely. Annabelle's blog is full of excellent pictures and inspiration, check it out.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Interior Design Projects.

As promised, some (rather blurry, and a bit wonky) photos of my design projects. (If I can get my dear hubby to take some clearer shots, I will post again).

A Home Office was completed first, with Bedroom & Ensuite room schemes taking up the final third of the course. You can just about make out the Clarissa Hulse fabrics and papers, and if we make an unexpected extra grand on the house sale, I want the Mr Bright chair!

I cannot recommend the course highly enough, I had such a lovely year - one evening a week, great people, fantastic tutor, and it really opened my eyes to all things bright and beautiful.

Water and electrics!

This morning I was meant to be taking dear son and his friend to an indoor play centre, so that they could run and climb themselves crazy whilst I looked through some of my magasines and generally relaxed, but no.

Having driven through the biggest puddles ever to get there, we got to the gate to find that again rain had got the better of us - the torrential downpours of yesterday had played havoc with the electrics rendering the unit unsafe, so to plan B!

At that point there was no plan B, but I remembered reading about a 'place' that looked kind of interesting, something to do with the sea, but I had no idea what it was called or where in Littlehampton it was! Fortunately we spotted a tourist sign for Look & Sea, and everything flooded back (forgive the pun)!

We arrived before opening (9.45am), so the poor boys had to settle for mega milkshakes with cream and sprinkles and a pot of tea for me in the adjoining cafe, whilst we waited.

We spent a happy hour looking at the exhibits, games and info boards, then climbed to the top of the 360 degree tower with rainy views to the sea and surrounds. It was actually good fun and quiet - we were the only ones there.

We then crossed the road and were given a tour of the lifeboat station, including sitting on the tow tractor with helmets and a look round the dressing/drying room. There is nothing more guaranteed to make a pair of 5 year olds silent than a strange man dressed in galoshes asking them questions!
We were introduced to Dead Fred (above) the training dummy.

We then had to go into the little RNLI shop next door for an obligatory fridge magnet and a couple of frisbees (for when we actually see the sun again and want to venture into the garden).

So that was my morning.

The girls are now home, demanding attention from said friend, and I am hiding in the kitchen!

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

OK, I got distracted!

Sometimes twitter and facebook have their uses! I subscribe to the Clarissa Hulse updates and this quilt is absolutely fantastic.
I selected Clarissa Hulse fabric, wallpaper and bedding, including the Klimt range for my final project of my C&G Interior Design, and I just love everything she creates. I made a mini duvet for my client board, and I think this is when I had my love of sewing, fabric and all things lovely re-kindled - than you Clarissa!

I promise I will take some pictures of both my project boards for your perusal - I have one uploaded from the course final show, but my hubby, kids, lecturer and I are all standing in front of them, and you really don't want to see us!

Rain stopped play...

Well instead of a fun afternoon in the garden with grandparents and sunshine, we were confined to the living room with 6000 decibels of excited children, a helium balloon and more toys than honestly necessary. I can still hear them all nattering upstairs in bed; the girls (and mummy and daddy) missed their big brother.

Earlier I got home from the supermarket to find I had a lovely bundle of post, new Cath Kidston magasine, new Living etc and a Dwell catalogue. I am so jumping ahead of myself, trying to decorate and furnish our 'new home' before we have begun selling, never-alone found the house of our dreams!

I sorted through my mini stash of fabrics too, trying to decide what to use to make a mini quilt for my cousin's second baby due in September. Inspired by Tanya over at that Cheeky Urchin, I'd like to give something really personal, so I'm off now in search of some more colourful bits and pieces, and will duly report back.


The washing machine is on, it has just started raining, and I need to go to the shops, what happened to the summer!?

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

What a day...

Well I have sewn together my freebird quilt top.

I had second thoughts about the amount of white and I think it has turned out well - I didn't want it to be too huge, (I haven't measured yet but it is about 5' square), as I am still just getting to grips with this quilting mularky, and I don't want to get in too much of a muddle!

We had the house photo-call; so we can relax for a week until the viewings begin, (says She of great faith!).

The girls and I also spent an hour or so down at the beach eating ice cream and watching the completely mental kite-surfers. The winds have been tremendous the last few days, so it has been very busy on the water, and excellent to see.

Dear Son is back from my parent's tomorrow - missed the little monkey x

Monday, 23 August 2010

An apology...

I am very sorry for that last post, it was probably funny, until I posted it!

I have cotton, so I have completed the patch strips for the Freebird quilt this evening; tomorrow I hope to get everything pinned together. More photos coming soon.

We are also having the house all measured and photographed ready for sale tomorrow, so I have been tidying and re-arranging like a crazy woman today; no-one is allowed to touch or move anything until the man has been. I will post the link when we are on the market, so you can see where we currently reside - I'm sure we could negotiate a 'follower discount' should you want to buy it!


Just seen this - if you like ducks and dogs, you'll be sorted!

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Don't you just hate it when...

Sat down all ready to get the remaining strips sewn together last night, and only had enough cotton to do 2 out of the 6!! Sooooo annoyed, and as we have been having a family day at my parent's today, no chance of getting to the shops until Monday, pooh-sticks!

Ho hum, I suppose I could start pinning the sashing to the strips I've done already, but that just wasn't the plan...

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Today's delivery...

As promised, details of the girl's first quilts from mummy.

All the fabric I ordered the other evening arrived today from Prints to Polka Dots and I am very happy. Although there was no buzz from tissue paper and ribbons, sadly just a basic manila envelope and sandwich bags, the contents (and price) certainly made up for it.

This little pile will make a pair of complimentary quilts for the twins, and they seem pretty pleased with the lovely little birds and strawberries.

I think the Garden Friends by Jay McCarroll and Spring Fling spots by David Walker both for Freebird go really well with the Amy Butler Daisy Chain prints and the Jeane Morrison Picnic Parade stripes. The spots (at the bottom) are for the backings; one quilt will be predominately pink and the other purple.

I have got all my strips tacked for the Freebird charm quilt, so this evening I am going to concentrate on that. Is it just me, or does everyone have about 4 other quilts they want to get started on immediately they begin the first?

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Simply Charming...

OK, so probably the most unoriginal blog title, but I have been busy arranging, and re-arranging my charm packs to make a rather adventurous quilt, (this is keeping in mind that it will only be my 3rd!). I opted for a 100% cotton sheet for all the sashing, as I could get this locally and strike whilst the creative iron was hot hot hot!

I took this picture then realised that all my butterflies were flying the wrong way!

I have tacked about half together this evening, and will hopefully get as far as the sewing machine tomorrow. It's so brilliant 'cracking' the look I was after. I was initially trying to be too clever, but settled on pairing the squares by colour, then splitting them, so there is a sort of method to the madness.

I am not particularly looking forward to getting all the seams pressed away from the 'white'; it'll be character building. I am also worried this is going to be a bit of a whopper to actually quilt on my little sewing machine, but I'm going to give it a go!

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Monday, 16 August 2010

Holiday Report...

Well the washing has turned into ironing, but the sun shone today so at least we are not surrounded with soggy socks and towels.

Cornwall was great. The kids were not on their totally best behaviour, but they could have been a lot worse; they coped pretty well with the 8 hour car journeys (better than me!), and the weather was kind, only a day and a half of rain, which didn't affect our trip to the Aquarium, or a spot of retail therapy.

Our chalet at Notter Mill was perfect, the site was so quiet, the swimming pool a little chilly (but that didn't stop me) and the blackest black at night; we'd go back, and we are very picky!

Eden was as brilliant as ever - we had a great day, even did a bit of 'den-building' and a lot of shopping!

Other things we did included Looe Monkey Sanctuary, a Maize Maze (we spent an hour trying to retrace our steps to escape the 3 miles of paths of 8' high corn, managed to find 3 of the 10 puzzle stations, more than once, but admitted defeat and retired for pasties and the play area!). We also spent a chilly morning at the tiny beach at Cawsand.

My plans to make lots of 'felt things' fell at the first hurdle - eco-lightbulbs are not made for sewing! I tried and failed although I did take advantage of the rainy afternoon and made these for the girls and myself:

The pictures are a bit blurry, but you get the gist.

Last night I ordered some fabric to make the girls their quilts, a (hopefully) really good website - I will let you know the details when the fabric arrives. About £1.50 per FQ, and £2 for Amy Butler, which I thought was fantastic!

We have come back with itchy feet and are planning on moving along the coast, so bring on the stress! Having taken a drive round our preferred locale this morning we are are now raring to go... I will keep you posted!

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Hi ladies, I'm home!

So much to tell, but it will have to wait until tomorrow as I am shattered!! Lots of pictures to upload, but barely any crafty business to report I'm afraid.

Hope you are all well - will catch up with everyone after a good night's sleep and 8 loads of washing :(

Friday, 6 August 2010

One more sleep...

We are almost ready for the long haul to the west. Hopefully it will stop raining by the morning so we don't get drenched packing the car; that'd be another thing for the kids to moan about before we get to the end of our road!

There now follows a brief interlude, and I shall be back next weekend.

Have a good week everyone, take it easy.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Eden, here we come!

I have been browsing the Eden Project online store and I am already excited at all the gorgeous things they have to tempt me! The bamboo nesting baskets and Eden sketchbook already have my name on them, and I would love a deckchair to while away sunny afternoons.

For anyone who has never made the trip to Cornwall to seen the magnificent biomes and landscaping, it is fantastic. Eden is not to be missed. Their website just doesn't do it justice; we have been twice before, and are looking forward to see how it has evolved and changed since our last trip 4 years ago, when I was pregnant with the girls.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

We're all going on a summer holiday...soon!

OK I may be exaggerating a little, but this is how it feels getting packed for all weathers, five people, at least 3 of which will want or need to get changed about 4 times a day for a week! We need a bigger car!

Amazing Man

Topic of Cancer Culture: vanityfair.com

I have just read this article and I cannot ever imagine being so strong.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Hair today, gone tomorrow!

The girls got a haircut this afternoon, it wasn't too traumatic (for any of us, but the other customers may disagree!). So here are the before and after shots:

I also bought a few laser cut felt flowers and dragonflies on ebay to add to my holiday stash. I grabbed a few images off google to give me some 'direction'; I will try not to copy too closely!

I am excited about the dragonflies as they are my most favourite creatures ever so I am looking forward to making something extra-special with those.

Monday, 2 August 2010

All sorted...

Well Gaz and Charlotte will be having a wonderful weekend at Big Chill c/o yours truly, they seem like a sweet couple, so I know I have passed my win on to deserving folks.

I think I should pay my due to the designer of the sock monkey, KatieMac. Her monkeys are in a league (troop?) way above mine as you will see in her Folksy shop.

The house is starting to show signs of an impending holiday, piles of clothes, cases and towels in unexpected places, the children will now be clothed whatever the weather.

I have stocked up with felt, buttons and thread to try my hand with some 'smaller stuff' whilst we are away - I will try to remember to take plenty of photos of my attempts to be creative.

Winners and Losers...

This morning I won Culture Label's competition to go to the Big Chill Weekend. Unfortunately it clashes with our family holiday, and I never thought for a minute that I'd actually win, so I have offered my tickets (all £300 worth!) to a lad who follows them on Facebook a lot more avidly then me. Hopefully he will get back to me in time for the tickets to be sent to him.

Not quite as exciting, but Monkey number one can see! He is a bit scruffy, but that's 'character'!

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Mostly 'armless!

Monkey number one is almost complete, and I only started him after lunch!

Only arms and eyes to go, but I am waiting for better daylight tomorrow as my top-stitching isn't the neatest at the best of times, and I am feeling weary!

I didn't venture to the Open Homes after all this weekend. A shame, but I had a constructive and creative weekend, including post-it sticking all the things I want to try in the latest Sew Hip and back issues.

I need to start thinking about our holiday - less than a week to go, and I have written a list of 'things to do', but tackled none...

A very happy boy!

...and a very tired mummy! I was still sewing the binding at midnight, and was finally defeated as I was unable to focus to re-thread my needle! All finished this morning, and looking pretty good I think.