Sunday, December 05, 2010

The Pop-Up Shop

Hello everyone!  Where does the time go?  I've been a bit off the radar lately ... but I have been up to something.  Since the summer I've been steadily making things in my spare time with a view to opening a Christmas Shop.  Think of it as a kind of  'Pop-Up' shop in my very own kitchen.  

I invited friends and work colleagues - and I'm pleased to say it was a success.  Mind you, I don't think I could have done it if my lovely Mum hadn't helped me and I was really nervous beforehand.  The fact that it went well then spurred me on to book a stall at a Christmas Street Fair near to where I live in the University area of the City.  That was today ... and it was awesome!  I pretty well sold out - it was so busy I didn't even have chance to look at any of the other stalls.  Luckily the snow has gone and the sun was shining - couldn't have been better.  I think I might have hit upon a way of satisfying my creative urges in a way that fits in well with my day job (which is very important to me - it pays the bills and besides, I like it and I like the people I work with so it will always take precedence).  This way I can pick and choose when and where I set up shop so that I have time to build up stock in my spare time without feeling pressured.  Could be a win-win situation!
I sold lots of these clown tree decorations - good job as I got a bit carried away and made a gazillion of them. 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Christmas Fairy Comes Early

This year I am thinking ahead for Christmas.  Do not be fooled by this.  I will still be running round like a headless chicken come the middle of December. I bought some wooden clothes pegs and spent this morning making a prototype Christmas Angel.  There are several things I will do differently if I make any more but I'm pleased that it worked out roughly how I thought it would.  I'd like to make some more but I don't know when.

Like a lot of others I was aghast to hear that Bloglines was closing - I've changed to Google Reader and what a revelation!  Turns out that Bloglines wasn't picking up feeds from some of the blogs on my list and hadn't been for a while.  The demise of Bloglines prompted Chooky Blue to write this interesting post about the different ways we access blogs - well worth a look.  I'm also pleased that Blogger seems to have sorted out the Spam issue and I'm no longer having to delete comments all the while.

I promised The Girl I would make some bunting for her to put up in her student house - bright fabrics this time.  Every week I send her a parcel with something in - maybe a sachet of hot chocolate mix or a face mask - something small that doesn't cost too much to post. I write a little note on a postcard and I try to send a different one each time.  If only I were so diligent about posting on my blog - sigh!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

This and that

The summer has got away from me somehow, and we've done some fun things but there hasn't been  much time for creativity, what with the decorating, picking The Girl and all her belongings up from London and taking her back again and various other days out and family occasions.

We spent a week in Wales (all four of us, in the caravan, and no arguments) - here's The Husband on the sand dunes - the dog is not ours!  The weather wasn't brilliant but we had a good time nonetheless.

All I've really had chance to do is a bit of knitting - the teddy bear posse is getting bigger and I've started a Tea Cosy - goodness knows why because I only ever make tea in a cup with a teabag.

I haven't even read much - I have eventually finished The Seamstress and I read half of Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises but didn't manage to finish it by the time our Book Group met.  This is most disappointing as I was aiming for a book a week in 2010 - epic fail, as The Boy would say.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

What next?

It's been a bit hectic round here - we're having all the interior walls stripped, repapered and painted.  This would be bad enough if we were a tidy, non-hoarding family.  But being as we are, giving the decorator room to move necessitates the movement of piles of stuff.  A fair amount of this has gone into bags to go to charity shops but my sewing room is also being used as a temporary home for boxes too - I can't get to the table with my sewing machine.

Meanwhile I'm planning what to do with these felt flowers.  I've been doing some knitting too - pictures next time.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

World Cup (?) Bunting

In our house, you have to have an excuse for putting up bunting.  I have mentioned before that the husband does not 'get' the concept of house decorations, seasonal or otherwise.  I try my best, but even after nearly 21 years of marriage I haven't quite converted him.

So - World Cup Bunting! (We'll gloss over the fact that The Girl was heard to say, "Why have we got American flags up?". )  In truth, I just like the red, white and blue combo and it goes with my blue and white crockery. This was my first try at making bunting and it was really quick and easy - I used bias binding and attached it to the flags with a zig-zag instead of a straight stitch - I know my limitations and I would never have 'caught' in both sides of the bias binding and the flag with a straight stitch.

And ... I made cupcakes.  I was desperate to use my new cupcake wrapper die cutter - I bought some pretty wrapping paper from Paperchase and used that.  Think I should have used smaller cake tins but not bad results and the kids were impressed. 

Friday, June 11, 2010

Ooh er!

I had these 3 1/2 inch crumb blocks that had been maturing for about a year and a half so I decided to make a doll quilt with them.  Couldn't quite get the hang of the perfect on point setting but it'll have to do, even with the misaligned seams.  I don't aim for perfection on the grounds that your goals should always be achievable.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

A day out and a finish

It's half term here in Leicester so on Wednesday The Husband, The Boy (a.k.a. DS) and me went to the Black Country Living History Museum.  We have been several times before and it is a great day out.  Despite all the modern attractions of the X-Box, Wii, Nintendo etc. the Boy really enjoyed going down the helter skelter on the fairground and was fascinated by hoop rolling which he went back to more than once.

I also finished my Dad's birthday quilt - a week late, but what's a week between family?  He was pleased with it anyway.

Sunday, May 30, 2010


When I was little my mum always called me 'Untidy Idy' - things haven't changed much.  This is my kitchen table - I just throw scraps on the floor.  I cut fabric on this table too and do the same with any fabric scraps - I just sweep 'em up afterwards. 

The room that I sew in has a (very old) carpet on the floor - how rubbish is that for sewing?  All the bits of thread stick to it like nobody's business.  I've been making gift labels with my Die Cut machine. 

I never buy card, I hoard cardboard from packaging and recycle that.  I'm not saying that I never intend to buy any card but I really like the idea of getting something for nothing so I save any packaging that could be made into labels.  You'd be surprised what you find - you really look at packaging in a new way.

Yorkshire Tea packaging.

Strawberry Crisp Breakfast Cereal.

The packaging from the Birthday Cake my Dad bought for me in February.

Various food and (chocolate) packaging.  The grand plan is that if (and when) I make some biscuits as a present, I can add a biscuit label!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Out and About

Up to London again last weekend where we went to the Quilt Exhibition at the V&A and the Victoria and Albert Art & Love Exhibition at the Queens Gallery, Buckingham Palace.  I know it sounds like heresy, but I think I actually liked the Buckingham Palace Exhibition the best.  We had a meal at the Italian Kitchen on Saturday night and my Mum and I headed to Liberty's and Anthropologie on Regent Street whilst The Husband and DS went to HMS Belfast.  DD was meant to be joining us but overslept! 

Couldn't quite bring myself to purchase anything at any of the shops - outrageous prices -  I did wander round Anthropologie clutching a blue bowl but eventually put it back as I am absolutely convinced that sooner or later TK Maxx will have something similar for half the price.  Anthropologie was a lovely shop though, we stayed in there for ages having a good look at everything.  But then again, what's not to like about TK Maxx?  My last purchase from there was this lovely hand painted lantern made in India, which you see here cunningly displayed with my latest make, a little bag for a friend's birthday.  I have no pictures of London - owing to the fact that I forgot my camera.  You will note that I also have no candle for my lantern - one of these days I'll get my act together.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Home Sweet Home

This week by coincidence two of my work colleagues became home owners for the first time.  I saw some nice mugs with 'Home Sweet Home' written on them at the weekend - to jazz them up a bit I cut out some flower shapes and stuck lollipops through them to make a 'bouquet' of flowers to put in them.

And in a further burst of creativity I made some 'New Home' postcards for each of them.  I don't have much novelty fabric but I am a sucker for anything with houses on - which came in handy. 

I must apologise because I think I've been coming up as 'no-reply' on comments on other blogs.  I don't know why this is - I haven't changed my profile for years, anyway, I've put it right now.  And another thing ... am I the only one who has to put their Google password in twice when they are commenting on blogs?  Seems like blogger doesn't recognise it when I put it in the first time and I always have to enter it again.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Tiny Bear

I like knitting bears - they're fast and easy and don't take much wool.  Would you believe that this little chap is made of just 5 knitted rectangles? 

You tie off the corners for the ears and make a neck by tying wool tightly about 1/3 of the way up the rectangle and the snout is made by making a circular running stitch and pulling it up a little.  The arms and legs are just rectangles sewn up and stuffed - attach them with wool and a button at the top of each limb and there you go.  Really quick but ever so effective.  The pattern is from my favourite knitted toy book, The Knitted Teddy Bear by Sandra Polley.  He's about 6 inches tall, I made a similar one to put in my daughter's birthday box. 

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sunshine in London

Not a great deal of crafting going on this weekend - we went up to London to see my daughter.  She loves it there and we hadn't seen her for a while. My son misses her a lot - here they are together - you wouldn't think there was seven years difference between them.

It was such a lovely day, the sun didn't stop shining.  We went to Tate Britain and Greenwich. Top tip - if, like me, you prefer nice strong tea, on no account order a pot from the cafe in the Tate - it is unbelievably weak. I would have complained, but the family said they couldn't bear the embarrassment - so English!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Quilt Top

Were you taking bets on whether I'd pop up again any time soon?  The sun was bright today so here's a pic of the quilt top for my Dad.  For such a simple pattern it sure is taking a long time to finish.  The colours aren't very seasonal are they?  They were when I started it.


I was going to try to do something a bit more fancy with a border but I'm thinking that it's going to be better to cut my losses and quilt it as it is - I don't think my Dad will mind.

Sometime soon I'll also update my side bar - I have read lots of books this year already.  I need to get rid of the 2009 books and get with the times.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Dipping a Toe Back in the Water

Well, it's been a while, hasn't it?  Hopefully not too many of you will have removed me from your bloglines in the meantime.  I didn't intend to be away for so long, though I have been shamelessly lurking on lots of blogs.  Truth to tell, I just haven't been that creative lately.  At the risk of boring you, things have been a bit up and down workwise, my job role was made redundant and although I had some project work to tide me over, I had to go through what seemed like a long period of uncertainty until I got a new role in the college.  Whilst this isn't the worst thing in the world and it happens to a lot of us nowadays, it just wasn't conducive to the creative juices!

But now ... the clocks have gone forward, I'm feeling more motivated and I'm ready to blog and roll!

It was my daughter's 20th Birthday in March and I filled a (large) shoe box with 20 wrapped presents and posted it to her in London.  I had fun choosing little items that would (a) not weigh too much - got to save on the postage you know, and (b) all fit into the shoebox.  The presents included: a silver wig, an alice band complete with pink velour cat's ears, a set of battery operated fairy lights, super sour jelly beans .....etc.,etc.  I didn't get a picture of the box or all of the presents together, but I did make 2 of them myself - a tiny knitted teddy bear (no photo) and a tote bag decorated with machine appliqued flowers (which I did remember to photograph).

I've also been working on a quilt for my Dad, I started it in October with all good intentions of completing it for Christmas. Ha! What was I thinking?  Christmas came and went.  I bought him a jigsaw.  It is his birthday at the end of May: he'll be 75.  I am convinced I can complete it by then.  I'll post a picture of the flimsy soon. 

Meantime, I have booked places for me and my mum to go and see the Quilt Exhibition at the V&A next month.  It has had loads of coverage in the media here - patchwork and quilting are the flavour of the month, though Germaine Greer didn't approve in her Guardian article.

It's good to be back!


P.S. Of course I bought my Dad more than a jigsaw for Christmas.  But I always do buy him a jigsaw because he likes them.