Monday, 31 December 2012

That Was The Year That Was...

2012 had some amazing points, I can't deny it, but for every action there was an equal and opposite reaction.  I had the best of times, and the saddest, most heart-wrenching of times.

And all the way through I have been surrounded by the crafty, blogging community both in spirit, and also in person.  Thank you all for every comment, every email of encouragement and support.  Thank you for making me laugh, and for sharing your great and hard times alike, and basically just for being there.

I was going to make a whopping mosaic, like I did last year, but to be honest, I am itching to get into 2013 and move on.  I have a lot of hope and faith invested in the New Year, are you listening 2013?  You better be a good one.

So here, as they say, are some of my favourite bits...

Sending you all my best and heartfelt wishes for an amazing, productive, happy and healthy year; I think we all deserve one of those xxx

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Almost but not quite...

Christmas is almost over; I gauge that by the quantity of food left to consume; the turkey is no more, I might actually have to cook something tomorrow as we are now running low on cheese, biscuits and other festive fayre, although I do still have a mountain of chocs, so it's not all bad.

I have spent the afternoon Sizzixing pieces for round two of Brit Bee as I will be Miss January 2013 - lots and lots of HSTs all prepared; I was hoping to give you photos of my lovely piles, but I have only just finished, so you will just have to wait.

In the meantime, I have also pledged to join in with the in crowd and Trip Around The World.  I have pulled 36 Denyse Schmidt FQs, but they may have to wait in line, as I need to get that BB fabric all packaged and mailed, along with making some inroads into the first of 2 commission quilts that need to be finished by the end of January.  Hopefully I will go forth into the New Year all teched-up and using the #scrappytripalong mularky.  Here's hoping!

Having had a quick look back, I have also failed to show you a lovely Chrustmas pressie I received from my special blogging friend Annabelle, a leather sewing pattern purse!  (I know!)...

It is superb and will be used lots, especially when I head back to work.

I can also show you the Secret Santa gift I made for fellow Brit Bee Fiona...

I was getting my Panto-groove on when planning this, the Postcard from the Peeps pouch, using Lynne's paper pattern from FQ Retreat and a precious scrap of Lizzy House as a starter.  So although not overly festive, I know that Fiona is planning on using it after the pine needles have settled and mince pies are a distant memory!  I am yet to receive my gift, if you were wondering; my partner is a very amazing and busy lady so I told her not to stress it pre-Christmas, and so, the festivities live on.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

The Girl In The Christmas Bubble...

Well hello - anyone still out there?

I hope you have all had a great week.  We had a quiet family time, spending part of Christmas Eve at Gatwick hugging my sister and brother-in-law as they have come over to stay at my parents for a fortnight; Christmas Day was spent all together with them, eating and sleeping.  There has been copious amounts of watching good and bad TV, and yesterday's highlight was a game of 1980s Trivial Pursuit with hubby, parents, sis and b-i-l.  I won.

It appears that I haven't really taken any photos of the festivities, but here are the last of the handmade makes that I had to keep under wraps until Christmas Day...

Flannel open wide pouches for the aforementioned chaps, fabric from Quilt Me Happy, updated pattern from Anna-Noodlehead.  All the handmade gifts were well received, so job done, for another year.

The infamous lurgy hasn't quite left the building; the pre-Christmas trio were back on form by the 25th, t'other twin succumbed to a bad cold and then a little too much chocolate and cranberry juice for breakfast on Boxing Day.  I have had a low-level cough, cold and sore throat which has been pretty much beaten into submission with ibuprofen and Strepsils, but a nagging backache is beginning to get me down, possibly the result of cornering the aisles with a heavily-laiden shopping trolley before the big day.  Ho ho hum... it could have been a lot worse, so I am not really complaining!

A whole week in a tinsel, chocolate, family, non-blogging bubble has been rather nice.  I think I have looked at a sum total of 2 blog posts, signed up for Elizabeth Dackson's Lucky Stars Block Of The Month Club and had a restrained spending spree at Pink Castle Fabrics, I may well have bought one of these as well as some of this

So I think it is time to get back on the good ol' stitchy-bloggy wagon.  Better battle through the Inbox first me thinks.  See you tomorrow xxx

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Ready or not?

Well Christmas is coming ready or not...

So here are the last couple of makes that I can show you before the big day.

Lovely Sarah sent me a couple of Doctor Who cuts with a certain someone in mind.  So, as I was already planning on making dear son a drawstring bag, it was a bit of a no-brainer...

He is going to be thrilled!  Thank you Missus xxx

My long-term Christmas project was the low-volume hexie cushion for my Mum. 

I finished this up at the beginning of the week when the fear of the lurgy was starting to make me panic.  I used some natural Essex Linen for the sashing and back, and it measures up at 20" plumped with a feather insert...

I did a (reversed) french seam instead of binding it, and I am really really pleased with how that turned out.

Apart from the present wrapping I am as ready as I can be... I think!

Today I have cleaned and tidied, and now I have a slight sore throat, so am going to try and fend that off with Chocolate, tea, Christmas movies and napping!

I've decided I won't be posting again until this time next week, so I really really hope you all have a wonderful Christmastime, surrounded by the ones you love, and time for thoughts for those who may be missing. 

Have fun, and see you on the other side of the big dinner xxx

Friday, 21 December 2012

Is it really?!


If it is, I won't have to clean the house before Christmas, so I'll wait until 11.12 before I get my duster out!  xxx

Edited 11.12am  OK, as you were; time to get cleaning then xxx

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Random Christmas...

Leave your girls apparently drawing in the lounge, and this is what you find...

Linking this tiny slice of life with Cindy's Really Random Thursday, from a warm and cosy lounge complete with a new thermostat adorning the wall ;)

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

The Good, the Bad and the Snuggly...

The Good... in the form of great mail days.  I have had a couple recently, but haven't yet shown you.

Benta went into production-line-mode on her lipbalm holders, and I was a lucky recipient... 

How brilliant that i. it has MY name on it, so the girls know it is not theirs for the taking, and ii. that it will clip onto the key fob in my handbag, so no more rummaging, and even better, no more searching the footwell following those sudden breaking episodes!

More Good from Alyce - Blossom Heart Quilts.  I was so lucky to have won her brilliant SMS Giveaway Day prize of some lovely Japanese Christmas fabrics, and also one month of her splendid Etsy shop's Japanese Bundle Club; so I am able to extend the joy, and have another parcel of lovelies to look forward to next year.

Thank you again ladies, I really appreciate The Good in my world right now.

The Bad... the central heating, or rather, the lack thereof.  We woke up cold, and I managed to finally trick the system into action at about 2pm, the engineer arrived at about 4.30pm, but because it was working, he was none the wiser; but they will return tomorrow, with their electrical testing gear, and hopefully we will be sorted this side of Christmas.  The lurgy is slowly beating a retreat, so hopefully we can put the Calpol/Night Nurse back in the cupboard soon.

The Snuggly... where I am planning on being as early as possible this evening. I will hopefully get the chance to catch up with a few blogs too, have I missed anything huge in the last couple of days? 

First though, I need to cut the pieces for the last 3 Christmas gifts that I have to make, and who knows, I may even get the chance to move onto the optional extras!

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Bad Stripper!

Yesterday I was meant to blog about my fantastic Secret Santa presents as part of the Stitch Tease Bee; I think all the others did, although I haven't had time to catch up with their blog posts yet, but I was so chocolate-fuelled I just went ahead and did my own thing... oops, sorry Strippers.

Well you may have been able to add two and two together, but if not, I was one of the lucky recipients of Susan's 2012 stiffy-fest and star mug-ruggery...

I could have sworn there was chocolate there, for a split second!
All have been residing in their respective festive positions around the house for all to see, admire and assume were made by my fair hand; I'm saying nothing to shatter any illusions!

What I did make though was for the Bee Mama herself, Di.  As soon as I saw Anna-Noodlehead's Liberty tree garland, I knew this was what I wanted to make in lieu of 'bunting'.

I think we can say Di was happy!

I missed out on my work's Secret Santa this year, BECAUSE I FINISHED WORK AT MIDDAY TODAY AND AM NOT GOING BACK UNTIL JANUARY 7TH, so I am not complaining.

Nor am I complaining at how empty Sainsburys was at 12.15 when I bought 95% of the remaining Christmas shopping... a trip into the village on the weekend will fill the gaps in the fridge, and so I am free to crack on with the remaining Christmas sewing... I am not even contemplating the lurgy!

Monday, 17 December 2012

Craft It Forward...

Look what arrived for me today...

I had completely forgotten that I was lucky enough to get into Charlotte's Craft It Forward group, so this was a wonderful surprise and went down very well with me and all the ill people in the house right now!

(Don't ask, but let's just say the fear of impending debilitation is making me shift into warp speed, I am planning on being ready for Christmas by this time tomorrow!).

The chocolate-peppermint lovelies probably won't last the week night!  Thank you Charlotte, you are a splendid choco-genius xxx

I am sure you are waiting to see how you can be in on the Craft It Forward action!

The rules are simple...
The first 5 interested people with blogs to comment below, will receive something handmade from me in the next 12 months.  Simple.
When those 5 receive their goodies, they must blog about it and then repeat the offer, ad infinitum.

No reply bloggers are welcome but MUST leave an email address in their comments, (NB.if you regularly leave comments on my blog, and do not receive replies from me, then that'll be you then!).

Please don't make me ask twice!  And don't expect anything edible from me either, I use the kitchen for basting quilts and pressing seams ;)

***Edited to say - I am off to work, but seems like there is one place left if you are interested***

Sunday, 16 December 2012

On the Cards...

Today has been busy busy; cleaning, food shopping, ironing (so much bloody ironing) and Christmas cards.

I have thankfully got the family's cards all finally written, stamped and addressed; and between them, the kids, with a little help from Daddy, probably got 100 done too, oh the joy of the school mail box.

We, on the other hand, have a group of friends that reduce in inverse proportion to the rises in the price of stamps.  I am one of those nerds that bought a bunch of stamps before the prices went up in the Spring, but it is still an expensive business!

So tomorrow I will have the joy of queuing at the Post Office, again.  I have a horrible feeling that I will need to go again on Wednesday too, but then I can be there before the doors open, and I can move way faster the rest of the clientèle!

I haven't therefore had the chance to play with my new toy, which is a bit frustrating, but not as frustrating as the things that need making, and remain unmade!

I hope you have had a busy but constructive weekend, I only have 2 more working days, and I can't wait!!  I have to fit in a carol concert and a Yr3 Dickensian play; Friday is Christmas party day, and end of term, and at some point I need to get a turkey!

Keep smiling xxx

Saturday, 15 December 2012


OK I know it's late, sorry, but we hit Bluewater today whilst the kids went to see Aladdin with my parents...

There was a little Christmas shopping, but we also upgraded our mobiles, so we have spent the evening playing with new iPhones!  I am finally rid of Android technology, woo hoo!

PS.. The Deer cushion was received with the love I had hoped for, and flukily it matches the rug in their lounge, which I had completely forgotten about!

A good day xxx

Friday, 14 December 2012

Hello my deer!

I mentioned yesterday that the cushion for my Dad's birthday was finished, so here you are...

I'm sorry, dodgy indoor photos are all you can have I'm afraid, and now it is all wrapped up and ready for delivery tomorrow.

This is a fantastic pattern, and easy to piece, even with my mechanical complications; so if you are thinking about it, stop right now, and get on with it! 

I used some great crossweave fabric I got at C&H, really soft and I love the way the colours change in the light.  I picked up some grey and aqua too.  A little light quilting with green Aurifil 40wt, having backed the front panel with some lightweight fusible fleece.  Simple envelope back, and a 16" insert.  Done.

So another tick; plus I just finished the hexie panel for my Mum's Christmas cushion, and sorted through all the bags of pressies I have been snaffling away for the last month.  I have all the supplies I need to make the last Christmas presents, so my plan to be finished by this time next week doesn't seem so crazy after all!

I hope you all have a peaceful weekend; my thoughts, as I suspect yours are too, are with all those poor families in Newtown, Connecticut.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

The Clock and the Inn-keeper...

We saw the girls' Nativity performances in full today; a dancing clock, and the inn-keeper with a stable...

They did really great.

The heating is still on, the Deer cushion is finished, but my To Do list needs more ticks and my Inbox is still full.  12 days and counting xxx

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

My 12.12.12

Loving the date!  If only it had all been so perfect.

Last night the heating decided to switch off at 7pm and not come back on for love, money nor swearing loudly.  So we went to bed early, but I was so annoyed, and cold, I could not sleep, so I was up at 5am, again switching the thermostat, timer and boiler on and off again.  After doing the packed lunches and de-icing the cars, minus 4 degrees, at 7am I finally got the bloody thing to work again; so at least I was warm after the sleety school run.

I set to making my Dad's birthday cushion.  As soon as I saw Julianna's paper-pieced Not So Spring Deer pattern linked up as part of Jennifer's Deck The Halls blog hop, I knew it was going to be the one!

I printed, taped and cut my paper templates; traced onto freezer paper, cut and affixed those and then cut all my fabric, all with a decent amount of time left before Nativity-duty; so I plugged in my sewing machine; tried to wind a bobbin, foot to the metal... nothing.

More swearing, switching on and off again, fiddling about and then I saw this...

The foot pedal cable had pretty much sheered off at the point it goes into the box!  Arrrrgh!!  How???  With a little perseverance, wiggling and squeezing, I could get it to work, but having to use my hand not foot, making precise paper-piecing a little interesting to say the least!

Well I managed the cushion top before heading out, which I am completely pleased and relieved about!  And I reserved a replacement pedal at The Sewing Machine Shop, which kind hubby duly collected and bought home with him after work so I could get on.

To cheer my day, I did receive a lovely parcel from Julie of The Intrepid Thread; I won this bundle of lovelies from Market in her Thanksgiving Giveaway...

I love those mini Charm packs so much, and I got some Posy, so very very happy about that.

The Nativity assistance was relatively painless, and I got to sneak into the back and watch today's performance; hubby and I are officially in the audience tomorrow.  My girls did great, more on that tomorrow, but who could hold back a tear, standing next to the headmaster whilst he sang along to Take That's Rule The World!?

So there you go, the reason I have lots of emails waiting for replies and blogs to be read, and I want to get the cushion finished before bed; the binding is on.  I am so tired, I feel like I have jet-lag, but needs must... so I'll be off xxx

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Bag Lady...

I still have a couple more to make from scratch, but I have completed the rest of the Drawstring Bags I prepared a week or so ago...

I love Jeni's pattern, and I think I may have to shell out for the full pattern of many sizes, as I think the few dollars it costs, instead of working out the maths, will be money well spent.

I was queuing for ages in the Post Office today, and it won't be the last time in the run up to Christmas, but it means I am starting to get things moving, and that feels good.

Tomorrow I have to make a cushion cover for my Dad's birthday, delivery due on Saturday; and I will also be assisting the Year 1s getting in and out of their Nativity outfits, so wish me luck on both accounts.  

For now, my fingers are so cold, wrapping them around a cup of tea is my first priority of the evening, TTFN xxx

Monday, 10 December 2012

Spruce Up Your Life...

I am on an achieving roll, so after yesterday's frustrations, I am only popping in so I don't lose momentum!

We have trees....

Lots of trees, and smiles xxx

Saturday, 8 December 2012

View From The Loo...

I'm sorry, bad title, but a little more tasteful than my first thought, Does Little Red Cr*p In The Woods?

The cover-up wall hanging for the downstairs toilet has been hung...

Complete and utter nightmare to photograph, sorry.
A 30" x 35" slightly improv, a little bit wonky, almost log cabin of Walk In The Woods scraps courtesy of the lovely Mrs H.

It was a quick make, does the job I intended it to, for now, and will be destined eventually for the girls' room, once we get busy with the paint brush in the new year, or whenever

I am already planning another mini in my over-crowded head; I envisage the smallest room becoming a bit of rolling gallery of experiments... is that a bit weird?

In other news, I pretty much nailed the shop-bought Christmas pressies in one stress-free trip out today; a slightly more trying time will be had tomorrow with the girls and husband in tow, whilst lucky son goes laser-questing.  And the Christmas tree is in the garage waiting to be decorated tomorrow evening; it's another beauty from my favourite back of a lorry, and I can't wait for the others to see it.

Hope your weekend is going to plan too xxx

Friday, 7 December 2012

And the Winner is...

Dah, dah, dah...

Congratulations Catherine, I will email you in a second xxx

Thank you to everyone who took the time to enter my Sew Mama Sew Giveaway, I am completely blown away by the number entries and all the lovely, and also barking mad comments.  Welcome to all my new followers too - it has not gone unnoticed that I have raced over the 500 mark, so I think another giveaway in the New Year may be in order, but only if you want one, obviously!

I am recovering from the school Christmas Bazaar right now, so please excuse me whilst I try to get the ringing of Christmas bells out of my ears.  Here's to a good weekend everyone xxx

Thursday, 6 December 2012


The Christmas lights were switched on in our village this evening; carols were sung, Santa made an appearance, or two, and it was rather lovely...

Then the freezing rain started... and two hours later I still haven't warmed up!  So I am going to sit on my hands and watch Kirstie on +1 xxx

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Just as we headed out the door for school this morning the snow began to fall; by the time I got home, everything was white, but then the sun came out, it all melted and that, as they say, was that!

But coincidentally, I finished up a little embroidery, another of Aneela's Little Stitches festive beauties.  There were many, many french knots, they were a challenge that provoked a lot of swearing, but now it's finished and ready for Christmas...

The second picture is the wall hanging I am hoping to get finished this evening.

I also got to the point of boxing the corners of the 5 remaining draw-string bags, but they will have to wait.

I have load of blogs to catch up on, my MacBook seems to be feeling the strain of Giveaway Day and is going incredibly slowly, so I may be reading and not commenting, because the sight of the Mac beachball of doom is driving me round the bend!

So on that note, farewell for now, I'm off to grit my teeth!

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Full Circle...

You may remember back at the beginning of the year I got really excited at the prospect of a new UK quilting magazine, signed up for a subscription and eagerly awaited a year's worth of modern loveliness, well I think most people know how that one turned out!

I still get my bi-monthly pamphlet of Ads, blank pages and missing pattern pieces, for things I don't ever want to make, but I won't be renewing, despite the rare smattering of friends, those diamonds in the rough, who have graced its pages!

One of the contributors to issue One was the amazing Sara of Sew Sweetness, she made a bag...

...not any old bag, one that had me swooning the minute I saw it!

So can you imagine how I felt, when I discovered this complete and utter beauty waiting on the doorstep when I got home from work today...

Honestly it is that vibrant - it was a grey day and these pics are tinker-free!
Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! (Yeah, that doesn't really show the full force of my excitement at all!).

Thank goodness I knew it was coming, otherwise I would have probably had a heart-attack!

The Conversation Bag had been finally returned to Sara after a tussle in which I provided a little UK-based muscle; I am the self-proclaimed Jason Statham of quilting; and then after a visit to Sewing Summit, a road trip to end all road trips with this lovely lady and the other one, thanks Kat Cam; it got over its jet-lag in Glasgow, and has now come home to me!!!

Sara is so wonderful, talented and frustratingly pretty, we all know that, but she is also so generous and kind hearted; I really can't thank you enough Sara, and I shall show it off with pride xxx

And so, moving on seamlessly, almost as if I had planned it, with that HUGE gap in the market for a quality, reliable, trustworthy modern UK quilting magazine, what are we all to do?

Look no further than here, that's what!

Kerry aka PennyDog (that's Kerry not Kerrie!!!) is hoping to raise the funds to fill that gap; she is doing this by selling subscriptions and advertising for a March 2013 launch.

Please have a look at the video, have a read of Kerry's bio and do what feels right ;)  I did.

Should she, perish the thought, not reach her target of £5,000 by the end of the year, all monies will be refunded; so what have you got to lose!?

What goes around, comes around my friends, what goes around, comes around xxx

Monday, 3 December 2012

Giveaway Day!

*** The Giveaway is now closed - Winner to be announced shortly***

Hello hello hello and welcome as always to the regulars, irregulars and stalkers who frequent these parts, and thank you too for stopping by if you are purely here to take a look at the loot, I won't hold it against you.

It's Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day and I am ready!

After a shocking failure to get finished yesterday, I came in from work this afternoon, stitched a bit, did the school run, then stitched a bit more.  Took some slightly dodgy photos, fed the family and here I am.  If this is your first time here, that pretty much sums up most of my days.

So what do I have on offer for you this time... one of Jeni, In Color Order's drawstring bags, the first I have actually completed, 5 more are all cut and ready to go for Christmas, and I don't think I will be stopping after those; it's a brilliant pattern.

And what do you need to go inside a cute bag?  Well hexies, that's what!  I have cut 100+ 1" hexie papers to get you started, and just because I want to spread the hexie love to one and all, I've cut a rainbow of 100 scrappy 1.25" hexies, so you can make yourself something fun straight away with no time-consuming chopping required.  I did use my Sizzix in case you are wondering, I am not kind enough to have cut them all by hand!

So what do you have to do to be in with a chance of winning this bag o' fun?

Two chances, with one separate comment for each... any additional comments will be deleted, and if you answer both in one comment, you'll only get one chance...

1. Tell me what you would pop in the bag after you have stitched up all those hexies; and
2. Followers get a second chance, just leave a comment saying that you are; you can even start following right now if you feel so inclined; I will then tick you off the class register!

International entrants are more than welcome; I will use Random.org to draw a winner on Friday 7th at 9pm GMT (which I think is only 1pm PST, but I will be asleep at 1am/5pm PST, sorry).

No Reply Bloggers must leave an email address in your comment(s), otherwise I will re-draw, sorry.

Good luck chaps - as with previous giveaway posts, I will not be replying to all the individual comments, but I will read everything xxx

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Sunday Unwrapped!

Rather than wrapping up a productive week, and crossing off everything I had hoped to get finished, I came up a bit short...

Mum's hexies are still not a panel; I am about a third of the way there, but as I could, in theory, finish this on Christmas Eve, it got bumped down the priorities.

I made what was intended to be my Brit Bee Secret Santa gift, then had a wobble because it is not Christmassy in the slightest, but then figured today, what the heck.  I love it, made it with my partner in mind, and think she will take it in the spirit in which it was intended, so I am sticking with it.

I finally got to the post office on Friday and mailed my Bee Blessed blocks, Stitch Tease Secret Santa gift and LV Swap fabric; phew.

The wall-hanging is 2/3rds quilted - again, this is to divert attention from the paintwork over Christmas, so it can take a back seat to more pressing makery, but I will get it done in time, I hope.

My Christmas Gift sewing list has been made, and it's not so bad.  Fabric has been ordered for the gents and other things were started today.

And then, I had big plans for tomorrow's Sew Mama Sew Giveaway day, but I am just not ready!  I spent all afternoon preparing and cutting, and generally trying to get myself sorted, and then I ran out of steam.

So if all goes to plan, I should still be able to get finished and link up tomorrow evening, but it might be late, just in case you are interested; but I know how you all hate giveaways!

This coming week then, I am not going to set myself up for a fall, so anything will be a bonus.  If all goes to plan with everyone else, I will get a proper day off on Wednesday and make the most of it.

Oh and no photo today, sorry, what has become of me!? x

Saturday, 1 December 2012

No wonder I'm exhausted!

I thought I better throw a couple of pics together for Fresh Sewing Day as it is December already!
Lily's Quilts
I actually thought I would have very little to show for the birthday-ridden month, but chuck in a couple of November 'reveals and finishes' and I am shocked!!

Blimey, I think I need a holiday if I do say so myself.

Today I have made a couple of Super hero capes and a would-be Secret Santa gift which may become something else and I received my first Christmas cards and a gorgeous parcel of goodies, but you will have to wait for that reveal, because I am off to put my feet up! xxx