Thursday, 31 January 2013

Thank you to my sister.

I am off to see my sister this weekend for another crafty weekend (probably the last before she returns to work from maternity leave).  I have a few exciting projects lined up for making, so hopefully I will be able to crack on.
I thought I would make my sister a little something to put in her sewing area to hopefully make her smile, and to give her a little inspiration when she’s lacking…  She’s inspired me from the start, so I think I owe her one.  This I felt was a good way to start re-paying her!
Something we are familiar with (coming from Wales) is rain.  There’s always going to be rain…so lets embrace it and make it a happy thing.
Lets turn the thought of a dark, imposing rain cloud to something of a light, fluffy, happy cloud full of promise and inspiration…
She likes bright colours and I thought these colourful P1020138raindrops would do the job. Hung on silver thread to hint at the thought of our cloud having a silver lining.
Embroidered writing on the back “Every cloud…” (it’s not centralised enough for my perfectionism so you only get a small picture of this side!)P1020134

This is my happy cloud raining inspiration.

- Hopefully this will give my sister something to smile at when she gets bogged down in the sewing room. 
- Hopefully it will help to give her some project inspiration.
- Hopefully she will think of me and feel happy that she’s inspired me…

Thank you Rachel!
Love from me and your nephew! x

Monday, 28 January 2013

Cheap Hooker…

I’ve been quiet lately, but I have been steadily continuing with my granny stripe blanket in the evenings and am seeing some good progress.  I am at the stage of feeling a bit disheartened that I didn’t plan my wool purchases pre-project so I am making do with the colours I had and the colours I found along the way…  P1020125They are not my chosen ideal colours, but I think they do work together well, in that rainbow kind of way!  I shall keep crochet-ing on.  It’s very loooooooooooong…it may take a while…….

My best friend came down on the weekend, and she has taken inspiration and borrowed her mums sewing machine.  That’s all she’s done… so far!  But she has plans to set it up, to re-learn winding of the bobbins etc. and then she’ll be on her way.  We were chit chattering away, and keen to give crochet a go, I gave her some wool and a hook and she followed the pattern for the granny stripe.  There were ups, and there were definitely some downs!  We bodged here and dodged there…but in the end she accomplished this…!P1020130

Not bad at all for an ad-hoc try. She enjoyed doing it and she thinks she’s going to get a hook and give it a go…  My sister suggested buying some cheap wool…and then she could be a cheap hooker! That did make us giggle…

On the side, I’ve been looking for some inspiration for sewing projects and I have a few things written down to get my teeth into… they should be fun.

The snow’s all melted, the sun was (dare I say it) shining yesterday and I had a spring like feel in my step.  I am looking forward to sunnier times…

Love from me and my little man x


My little man’s been busy doing a couple of “first things”…so to keep you updated…

1) First Shoes!  His walking has taken a new level… he’s walking from room to room, crawling only occasionally (I would say 80% walking, 15% crawling, and 5% being dragged along as he clings to our legs..).  He looks like a little munchkin, chuckling to himself as he excitedly chases the cat around the room.  Since the snow adventure, when we felt bad for not having proper outdoor shoes, and with the sudden increase in his walking we felt it was time for his first trip to Clarks.  He didn’t like having his feet measured much, but then we chose some snazzy (tiny – 3.5 F) pre-walking shoes and he was off.  Girls shoes admittedly are more of my comfort zone…so feeling out of my depth in the “boy zone” I had to choose the pirate ships as I thought they were almost definitely a “boy” thing. 

A giant picture of his tiny shoes...

He strolled around the shop, behind the counter, pulling trainers off shelves…he liked them I think. First shoes photo He had his obligatory FREE First Shoes Photo, he was entered into a FREE prize draw, he had his FREE shoe measure chart thing, his FREE shoebox…all for the not FREE price of (sharp intake of breath) £26! Eeeeek! And the goodbye greeting came with a “…We recommend re-measuring every 8-10 weeks”.  I have a feeling his feet are going to require their own bank loan!P1020129 








2) First Hair Cut!  This was fun.  His blonde locks were so long they were beginning to creep in his eyes,  were almost definitely being used as ear warmers, and when swimming we discovered he had a rat tail bit of hair down to his shoulders…gross! Time for a chop.  I’m not an incompetent mum…but the idea of a bowl haircut, wonky fringes and all the dodgy hairstyles I was subjected to, I felt I owe it to my little man to ensure he looks tip top, cutting edge, cool and groovy (…oops…groovy…that’s one of those un-cool parent type words…).  We went to “His and Kids” which was brilliant.  Certificate for first hair cutHe sat in a racing car chair, had an apron put around him, had Thomas the Tank DVD put on and snip snip snip…we were off.  He did really well for his first go, and I only had to hold him toward the end (15-20mins worth of cutting!) when he was doing around the ears so all in all not a bad experience.  We brought out the choccy buttons when needed…but for a 13month old, even the man said, he’d done exceptionally well. We got a First hair cut certificate, and an envelope with his first locks to keep. So now he’s looking fresh, funky and ready for the ladies!




Pre-hair cut - looks like he's enjoying! 

It’s exhausting growing up with all these new experiences…I wonder what will be next?! He’s started being more vocal with definite inflections in his tone…we are getting “door” sound a lot…but we don’t think that’s his first word…!


We’ll keep you updated in his adventures!


Love from me and my little man x

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Challenge: Pretty Fabric…


My sisters’ challenge for me was to start cutting into my pretty Pretty fabric stashfabric stash…I’ve been admiring the prettiness of my stash, and I have found many an excuse to avoid the first cut.  I’ve been thinking of a project that would do the material justice…and not just use it for the sakes of using it.   I think it’s hard to use things when you’re still building up your collection as you will ultimately be left with less.  My sisters words of encouragement… “it gives you an excuse to buy some more pretty material…”  Too true. 

So I was going to give you a “Squeak" Preview of this project…but, true to my word, I’m a completer-finisher…it’s done!  If I draw your attention back to my Christmas cushion cover, you will remember that our notoriously deep sofa is short of cushions.  My mam had some cushion pads going spare, so I got my mitts on them, and they’ve been waiting to be covered…

I had a few designs in mind - I was thinking of an applique design (I almost went with patchwork, but applique won out).  For once I steered clear of felt…

Inspiration came from the quietness of the snow that has been falling… What is one of the quietest animals…? Why, a little mouse of course.  I thought a whiskery floral mousey would fit in nicely into my home.  I’d rather the floral fabric type mousey, rather than the brown lively variety that the cat prefers…  I love the Tailor of Gloucester by Beatrix Potter, the image of the tailor mouse sitting upon his cotton reel ready to  make fine clothing for the mice.  My cat is like Simpkins…

So here are a few pictures…


My mousey friend.









A running stitch for the writing…

Running stitch

Chain crocheted tail

A chained crochet tail sewn into place.








The backing fabric to match the body of the mouse.  I got my envelope sewn the right way around this time!

Pretty fabric

I had to then wash it as my disappearing ink…it just didn’t disappear!  All cleaned, quickly ironed…and stuffed…and….



Sitting proudly on my sofa.


I’m really proud of it. I met my challenge, and I feel like making more! 

Oh..and I need more fabric….!


Love from me and my little man x

Friday, 18 January 2013

Mae hi’n bwrw eira… (It’s snowing…)


They said it was coming…and it did...SNOW!  A light dusting at 6am (time dictated by the little man…) turned to a few inches by 8/9am. I don’t mind getting up early, snuggling into a quilt in my PJ’s with a fresh cup of tea, lights down low, watching the snow…it’s just so peaceful.  Everything feels more cosy indoors, and time seems to slow.  I enjoy seeing the news reports from up and down the country, the status updates on facebook…it’s like a gossip grapevine with one thing on everyone’s mind.  There’s an air of excitement and then you get plagued with thoughts of how long it’ll last…

Me and my little man had a day at home today.  My big man ummed and ahhhed for a while…and he ended up working at home.  Nice to be all together…

This is the view from my crafting conservatory… Our very own wintery kingdom. 


It was freeeezing in there…although the snow occluded the roof panels so it made me feel like I was in my own igloo.

It was little man’s first snow, so we had to get him togged up to go outside to see what he made of the fluffy white stuff.  We put his snowsuit on, a very funky hat, a pair of daddies socks (which made him look like grandpa longstockings!), and we had no wellies/boots…so we found some wet-suit type shoes given to us from our cousin, and they did the job.  Out we went…



  He looks like he’s enjoying!













My beautiful blue-eyed boy.













  Ready to go back indoors to get toasty and warm.











I think he loved it…for the 10mins before he got cold and hungry! I hope as he grows so will his tolerance, so that we can embark on the adventures of snowmen and sledging!

The atmosphere suited some crafting today… Unfortunately I wasn’t feel so good, so I started a sewing project (I will give you a squeak preview soon)…but I retreated to the sofa with my crochet in hand.  It felt very right to be crocheting a woollen blanket today…


Here it is all curled up…  I’m going for a granny stripe…I’m really enjoying the rhythm of this blanket…I’m finding it quite relaxing…







Purples/Pinks so far…I need to buy some more wool…I’m going to enjoy choosing the colours, however I feel I’ll probably be pondering for a while!


So that’s a sneak of what I’ve done today.  I know I said my granny square would be my first blanket…but actually I think this one will!  We’ll see which one makes it to the finish line first.

I hope you’ve been enjoying the snow.  Wrap up warm and stay safe.

Love from me and my little man x


Sunday, 13 January 2013

Birthday Robot


My friends little boy is One years old at the end of January.  I visited them in their new home on Friday, and what a home! They’ve done so much building work, changed the layout and decorated their home to such a high standard.  I had to pop my eyes back as they were leaping out on green stalks!    I think I can say they have the nicest kitchen I’ve ever been in…and they have a true family home.   Magazine standard for sure! It’s been a long time coming for them whilst there’s been a slow market affecting the sale of their first home, so I am so excited to see them settled.

On the drive home my head was buzzing with lots of ideas…and below is the first idea….

I wanted to get her boy a birthday present, but thought…hey…surely I could make something for him?! I toyed with a few ideas, but settled on a personalised picture for his room.

I thought of all things boy…  and jumped from idea to idea…but I always came back to a robot theme. I think I’ve been secretly drip-fed robots into my subconscious for the past few months (my little man’s robot bath mat, his new robot plate, my man’s robot toy making kit…)

I got a frame, and got out my fabric stash.  I must admit…I went for the felt again.  I’m not addicted, but I thought it would give the best effects.

Robot Design

Firstly I drew my Robot design.  Thankfully a Robot is full of straight lines…I’m really poor at drawing…

I wanted a friendly Robot, with an element of personalisation so my little mans’ friend has something for himself.

I chose a small 1 on the Robot, and I toyed with adding his name on somewhere…






I then set about cutting out my template and cutting up my material.  I chose to hand stitch the heart and body panel using blanket and running stitch… I like the red/blue combo.










I machine straight stitched the body outline…some bits were a bit tricky as the felt kept getting sucked into the machine!

Now…I promise he is not a Stumpy Robot…his legs are covered as you will see later…

Now to add a face…I went with button’s for eyes…these seemed the friendliest button eyes that I had in my stash!  I went against a smile in the end…I don’t think he needed it… What do you think? I then embroidered the 1 in place.

For backing I had a choice of plain red/plain blue/blue and white stars…the stars won as backing.  I thought I would place the pieces in the frame so my friend could always take it out in the future for use elsewhere if needed/wanted…but as it’s like a box frame the head kept withering when the frame was moved.  Cue my first encounter with bondaweb! Well…it worked to stick the robot to the backing fabric.  I then pulled the fabric taut and stapled the fabric to the cardboard inside so that it wouldn’t sag through the mount! I did feel a bit like I was “bodging”...but it worked!


I cleaned the glass so excuse the reflection in my pictures.  I think he looks super cool.

I then sat and pondered whether to personalise further by adding lettering/letters to the mount. I had a cup of tea and considered… and then considered some more… If I tried and it was rubbish I could chuck it away…so I embroidered his name onto a “name plaque” so to speak…and here is the result….




It doesn’t come up well with all the reflection….but I think it works…and I think the name makes it that bit more personal…P1020028


I promise I wasn’t drunk when I took this but it is a tad wonky…! But here is my Ta-Dahhh….


My first personalised picture!

Now to wrap and deliver…and hope it gets approval to be in the “magazine home”!


Happy 1st Birthday Ben!

Love from me and my little man x

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Never Smile at a Crocodile…



I love Quentin Blake’s Illustrations.  They remind me of reading much loved Roald Dahl’s books when I was little.  I’ll have to get the collection for when my little man’s ready to absorb the adventures and tales…

Well seeing as this project was all about a Crocodile, I thought I would pull this Quentin Blake image up to get us in the mood…


How troublesome can a Crocodile be?!

VERY…especially when it is the length of an A-Z, multi-coloured and bright as can be…with a missing I!


Here is my little man’s Crocodile! Troublesome indeed! Now where is that missing letter I?!  I’m sure many a parent have these issues of having puzzles and games with lots of pieces to go astray.  A One year old who likes to demolish (not construct!), like to fling pieces, chew pieces, hide pieces…  I retrieved many from the bottom of the toy box, some from the sofa…almost a whole Croc…but missing a thoracic vertebra along the way! 

I thought I would be helpful and make a bag for this croc, so all his bits and pieces could all be stored safely. 

I chose a teal stripe with teal spot ribbon for the drawstring.  It was relatively easy to knock up following a few tutorials on the web for different ideas/techniques (Here's one and here.)   I decided against lining as I thought (I know it sounds bad) I didn’t want to waste my lovely fabrics on a toy box destined item!

Here are my results…

drawstring bag

drawstring bag

I am quite pleased with the result, there are a few things I’d change next time…zigzag internal edge to prevent fraying, consider lining, continuous drawstring loop instead of two openings…

I was going to do an applique on the bag to identify what is stored in there…I thought a croc would go nicely on there. I think I will think about an applique with time (I know it would have been easier from the start, but I think he needed a bag quickly before anymore pieces strayed!)

I have to make a few more of these, and use them for storing other perilous puzzles.  They can also be used for many other purposes and in different sizes, toy cars, marbles, lingerie travel bag, jewellery bag, gift bag, PE kits etc.

The crocodile and his teeth are safely bestowed in his treasure sack…!  I do have to find the missing I…but it is in the lounge somewhere, so it shall be returned to its place in time! 

Remember never smile at a Crocodile…

Love from me and my little man x

Parents’ Meeting…


Parents’ Meeting?!  For a One year old?! Yes…I had the same initial thoughts of “what are they going to say?!”

Were they going to tell me my little man’s been a terror? Were they going to update me on his nappy habits? Or were they going to tell me he flings his food around at lunchtime?

It was a lovely meeting with his keyworker to convey that my little man has settled well into nursery and she said it’s like he’s been there for months.  He has developed a good relationship with all the nursery workers there, and even the manager said he was the cutest of them all! (She probably says that to all parents and “Make parents feel they have the cutest baby in the place” would be listed on an itemised bill!…although…he IS the cutest there…!…but I may be biased). 

They do lots of different activities at nursery to challenge theirRecord book development and they keep an observational record book to make sure it is documented that they are meeting their developmental targets.  From playing in their huge soft play room, to going outdoors, to finding bears in custard, or playing with flour and water, to playing with musical instruments and singing, playing in the sensory room, to painting…

They do a lot…  I think we are definitely getting our money’s worth for the care and attention that they give.  I think it is the best start for my wee man and he has come on leaps and bounds since starting nursery and socialising regularly with other children.

Here are some pictures of the inside of his book to show you some of the things he gets up to…

Here he is having a hug from one of his friends…already a hit with the ladies…

Ladies man...

Here is a very creative fireworks picture made with brightly coloured paints and a straw.  I was born Guy Fawkes night so I love fireworks, and I love this picture…

My Favourite Fireworks Picture!

And here is a Wintery piece of art…a lovely fluffy snowman…all he needs is a snow dog to come alive…

Fluffy snowman

There are many other delights within the book showing his progress over the last 3 months.  It was lovely to sit and go through this with his keyworker, and it gave us an opportunity to discuss other issues like feeding, sleeping etc. as we are entering a slightly new stage at the moment.

On the way out I spotted missed opportunities for granny/gran dad Christmas presents!

Canvas Christmas Shopper

Lovely canvas shopper bags made with foot/handprint.  I snaffled one up straight away with the resolve that I would buy anything my little man has been involved with.

There’s a close up of his darling footprint below.  I know it’s got a big Father Christmas on it…BUT…bags (well footprints) are for life not just for Christmas…







One little footprint


  Love from me and my little man x

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Fame at last!


I always thought I’d be destined for fame, in one way or another.  Who thought it would be for the creative side of life…?!…


Intrigued…?!…read on…


My sister admitted to sending in a letter showcasing our stockings and it got given “STAR LETTER”!!! Well done Rach for putting them forward.  We are FAMOUS!

I’ll start practicing my autograph in case the fans come flocking…

Love from me and my little man x

Sums up my 5 minutes of fame



I am loving exploring my new sewing projects, however sometimes I wish it would be more of a sociable hobby. Aside from the gossiping and blogging side of sewing, it can be quite a solitary sport often being engrossed and squirreled away in the crafting corner.

I love listening to music (all kinds) and I love choosing some tunes to play during a sewing session.   Music influences my mood greatly.  In the cd player at the moment is the album “What Sound” by Lamb (my ultimate favourite – also my first gig as they were supporting Moby in Manchester). 

Sometimes though…I just want to chat.  My sister would agree with me I think.  I like to  talk.  I like company.

I have already contemplated the merits of planning sewing projects in order to have a couple on the go at one time so that I could do bulk cutting, bulk hand-sewing etc. which could be done in the living room.  I’m not sure this will work for me…well not yet.  I like to complete/finish one thing before moving onto the next so the idea of skipping here and there with projects is daunting.  There are also times where I am away on holiday and need a more sociable and portable hobby in order to stay productive, and enjoy the company of others.  My sister recommended Crochet, and she left me a 4.00mm hook (pretty pastel pink) and a small ball of yarn (also pink) in my Christmas gift hamper to get me started!

I did a bit of googling… crumbs Crocheting speak is a complete foreign language.  I made sure to stick with UK rules from the start so as not to get too muddled.

I looked at some tutorials for beginners at Crochet Hooks You. These made much more sense when I was following with my own yarn in hand.  My sister and mum have tried showing me before, I manage a chain and then everything goes down hill! I think the Teeny tiny heartdifficulty was understanding what the “holes” were…I just couldn’t see these “stitches”.  So I’ve been practicing and persevering and so far I have been able to follow tutorials to make a teeny tiny heart and a granny square First Granny Square!following Attic 24’s tutorials which are quite easy to follow (with photographic steps also).  You can check out Attic 24’s tutorials and blog here – it’s full of colourful inspiration.

I picked up 3 coloured balls of wool at the shop the other day:  deep fuscia, a dark purple, and a lilac.  First balls of woolThey are all DK (Double Knit), they are 100% acrylic and they are machine washable at 40 and cool tumble.  My granny squares look cute in these colours, so as I’m practicing, these first granny squares will go in my maiden blanket! Granny Squares They’re all slightly different size – I must have different tension or an extra stitch here and there…but I’m sure I can use them. A social project for the days I want company.


In amongst doing granny squares my eyes have drifted towards Amigurumi.  Just to keep me entertained, I managed to create this little fella….

I followed this pattern, after discovering the treasures on  He’s “Flippit”, a little bunny with a pom pom tail…  Timber did start to attack when he started to make himself comfy on the chair so he didn’t stay there for long.

I then started to make a kitten amigurimi to test myself, but within dashing in/out to check the cottage pie I was making, I rather lost count of my spiralsPickles and the head turned out massive in comparison to the body.  I was going to unravel…but then I slip stitched the bottom together and it kind of resembled ears…so I was going to transform it into an owl…but then I thought it could be a cat of sorts…. I messed up the whiskers on the right side, and the ears aren’t really big enough to be ears…and it is a bit weird to have made a cat head… but he’s made and he shall be called “Pickles”.

The beginnings of my crochet adventure…I have a long way to go… but I’ve made a start…

Love from me and my little man x