Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Lucky finds!!!

I am so happy!

When we packed up and moved here, I was 5 months pregnant with the twins, chasing (waddling) after a 20 month old, and working more hours than I do now. 

So when I carefully put all my prized possessions, my Tag Heuer watch I'd been given for my 18th by my parents, a diamond eternity ring from my grandparents, some jewellery from dear husband and the earrings I wore at our wedding, in a little organza bag for safekeeping, I hope you will understand that I wasn't exactly in the best of mental states!

Over the last 4 years I have sporadically searched for said organza bag to no avail.  I had resigned myself to having lost it in the last move, or it had been thrown out in the pocket of an old coat.

But tonight we have been re-united!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

The bag, in a glasses case, in a shoebox, in a bigger box, in a packing box, in the loft, was on tonight's sorting agenda.  I can quite happily throw everything else out without even looking now :)

I also stumbled across a few wonderful photos of dear son as a baby, and the manual for my sewing machine!  It really doesn't get any better, as I know for sure that there sadly isn't a suitcase of money waiting to be found.

Oh, and it snowed!

Monday, 29 November 2010

An evening off...

No sorting this evening, just a little online browsing for lovely things... dreaming...

Let's wait and see how many I end up with!

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Pillowcase Angels...

This evening I have spent a disproportionate amount of time on angel costumes!  Sequin belts, tinsel halos and pillowcase frocks...

Nursery nativities last about 15 minutes, and if the cast keep their costumes on for even half that, it's a little miracle!  So a couple of hours cutting and tacking sparkles may seem a little excessive, but I thought I should make the effort this year as the girls have been promoted from last year's donkey and sheep!

I have not made them any outfits before and I am quite pleased with my no-pattern, completely improvised design, and coupled with some shop-bought white and sparkly butterfly wings, I am hoping the girls will look angelic... I will photograph them, all dressed up for sure, promise.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Cath Kidston has sent me to the Dark Side!

Ok, I love my Stitch! and think I want to make absolutely everything in the New Year, but today's magazine fix included The World of Cross Stitching... and I am beginning to doubt my sanity!

It included a free kit to make a 'cute' Christmas card, that will be destined for my Grandma, and a pattern for a pair of Charlie and Lola cards that the girls will love, but man, there are some hideous creations nestled amongst the cool stuff!

If I start showing you any stitchery that purports to show lifelike faces or elephants grazing in the Savannah, in more shades of beige than you knew existed, please please please contact my husband and ask him to hide the needles immediately!

Friday, 26 November 2010

Don't get too chilly - enter a giveaway!

It is literally freezing... I put the heating on at 1pm and it still feels nippy!  I knew I should have put the electric blanket on the bed on Monday :(

So I have snuggled up on the sofa with a mug of hot chocolate and biscuits and hope it really won't be -7 degrees tomorrow and snowing.

A quick check around my favourite blogs and yippee another giveaway.  Lovely Rebecca, of Merry Made Quilts has a 100th post giveaway

Rebecca has a brilliant blog, sharing super bargains, tutorials, patterns and her excellent quilts and photographs, and she makes me laugh, a lot!  Take a peak.  Keep up the great work Rebecca!

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Junior Crafting...

Tonight, it's not about me! 

Dear son was given an outline of a Christmas bauble to 'decorate' as he saw fit, to be displayed with his school friends' at a local store. 

This creation was all his idea (made easy by my current sorting of all things unnecessary, like all the Christmas cards we have ever received!), so I was told what to cut, under close supervision, and he stuck this little collage together and is justifiably chuffed.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

The Black Hole...

This evening I saw inside our garage for the first time since we've lived here (over 4 years!).  It was very cold, very dark, and very very full!

So on we plough, reducing, re-using and re-cycling.  We are single-handedly keeping all the local charity shops and bin-bag sellers in business. 

All these good deeds are all well and good, but they are not getting 'Christmas' made.  And I have the little matter of a pair of angels to make outfits for, so watch this space for some ethereal pillowcases!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

It's Tuesday...so Kirstie time!

Another cracking Kirstie's Homemade Home this evening, and rather than watching whilst wrapping presents, as I have done for the last two episodes, I was sorting through more old paperwork... I mean, has anyone ever needed to refer to a 6 year old TV License?

I did manage to get a little bit of quilting in though; the two runner-type Christmas quilts now have simple lengthwise stitching which, once bound, will be unfussy, and one will make a welcome addition to our table, or more likely draped over a packing box! 

The other one will be destined for my Grandma.  She is in a nursing home, and anyone familiar with such places will know that they are never chilly, so she would never need a full quilt, but I thought hers would look nice across the foot of her bed.

Today I booked a boiler service for next week, and it'll be on 2nd December - when did that happen... help!!?

Monday, 22 November 2010

Sock Owl Tutorial...

As promised, this evening I've photographed a sock owl in the making. So here we go...

I use a pair of size 12-18 month baby socks as they are not too tiny, but are still cute; some white felt for eyes, some matching felt and fabric for the wings plus embroidery silk.  I use polyester filling, but I suppose rice or wheat could be used for a heavier birdy!

Turn your sock inside out, and flatten out so that the toes and heel are centered; the heel will become the tummy.

Stitch a semi-circle across the toe edge seam; I used my machine, however as this really is only about 5cms, hand stitching would probably be just as easy.

Trim off the excess 'toe' leaving about 1/4", and trim off the ankle cuff elastic.

Squeeze the ankle/cuff end into thirds, so that one point faces the back of the owl, like a tail, and the other two points will be the feet (if you use your imagination!!).

You could pin this in place, but again it is all so tiny, so I don't.

 Stitch half way, raise the needle, and move the 'tail' over, and complete the row.

Turn the sock back to right-side out through the tail hole.  It looks like a very small hole, but it is very stretchy, ('Hello' to those who have googled expecting something a bit more racy!).

Fill to the desired firmness and shape.  Make sure you pull the ears out with a needle from the outside, or push out with a pencil.

When filled, turn in the raw edges of the tail, and again pinch to get the shape.

Hand-stitch the tail opening closed.

 If you are lucky, your sock owl will be able to stand up all on his ownsome!

Cut two teardrop shapes from the coloured felt, by folding in half to cut both at the same time.
Then cut round the felt wings to get two patterned wings.

You should have two matching pairs.

Cut round the edge of the cotton fabric wings with pinking shears, (I find it easier to do this in two stages to ensure the cotton ends up the right shape and slightly smaller than the felt).

Using 2 threads of silk, doubled, attach the cotton to the felt with a running stitch, starting at the top point, sewing through to the body of the owl along the back edge of the wing, securing with a knot under the 'armpit'.

Cut two white felt eyes; I use a bobbin as a template to get a nice wide-eye size.

Stitch the centre pupil before stitching the outsides directly to the owl, burying the thread ends inside the owl.  If your owl is heading no-where near small children, or you have more confidence in your stitchery, you could use buttons for eyes.

Stitch a beak, or make one from felt if you prefer.

...and there you have it, one little sock owl... and repeat for a pair! 


Sunday, 21 November 2010

Good Intentions...

I had all good intentions of making and photographing sock owls in progress this evening, but no.  I have been sorting through old bank statements and other thrilling papers that are now all destined for the shredder! 

It's taking ages, but I am clearing out so much - I can't believe I have kept practically every piece of post I have ever received by the looks of things!  Dear husband took a couple of bags of books and toys to the local Marie Curie shop today, and another few bags to the tip, and we haven't even looked in the loft or garage yet. 

We took advantage of the dry morning and took the trampoline apart, cleaned off all the sandpit toys and rescued Buddha from the bindweed!

Last night I finished the cross-stitch, now I have to wash the soluble mesh off and sew the purse together.

So this week I promise to complete the purse, try and produce a tutorial for the sock owls and get a bit more of the Christmas quilts ready for binding... if I don't, I expect you to point it out to me in no uncertain terms!

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Saturday sorting...

Today has once again been consumed with the house, sorting, chucking, re-cycling, and generally getting in a de-cluttering frame of mind.

I have an old book, which, to be honest has probably sat on the shelf since I bought it way back pre-children, Mary Lambert's Clearing the Clutter.

I am going to have that as my bed-time read this week.  I think it is aimed at getting you to 'let go' of things that you really don't need.  It must be said that I am already being pretty ruthless; this evening I have disposed of payslips from year-dot, all the duplicate tax credit notices and car insurance documents for cars we no longer own...all gone!

Just in case we are at risk of going too minimal, I picked up the second issue of making;  I've only had a brief look, and it's looking jam packed with quilty, crafty loveliness.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Children In Need...

 OK, you can take this two ways - but here are my Children In Need

The girls had to go to nursery as favourite children's book characters, so Meg & Mog seemed appropriate, and dear son had to wear some things with spots on!

Happy Friday everyone...time for some more cross-stitch x

Thursday, 18 November 2010

A little bit more...

Today, more chucking out and re-cycling of old magazines and papers that I have been hoarding for too long, which means a clearer home and a clearer head; I am on a roll!

This evening I stitched a few spots onto dear son's jeans for Children In Need tomorrow, and got on with a little more of the cross-stitch.  I really am loving it.

I also had a really good chat with our buyer, and I am feeling at ease about all that...long may it last!

Blonde moment of the day though, dropping my mobile phone in the sink (full of water!).  Thought I had dried it, but it kept making crank calls, so it will be spending tonight in a bowl of rice to dry it out! Doh!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Another birthday and other good stuff!

Dear son is now 6, and as the girls were 4 last week, I better update my 'profile'!

Lots of presents and a very happy boy, the house is now bursting with Lego, Toy Story and Star Wars, thank goodness for the little space I cleared yesterday!

This afternoon I cleared out the old linen and toiletries that had been festering in the back of the airing cupboard for a good few years.  Too many lotions and potions I would never dream of washing my hair in or washing my face with, without worrying of some very unpleasant side effects!  Again a couple of bin bags full and a lot less to transport when we 'move'!

So after a successful day, and following on from last night's blog, I pulled out the Cath Kidston Stitch purse and began the cross-stitch.  I ended up doing quite a bit of unpicking, but it's looking quite sweet, considering I probably haven't done any embroidery since I was in primary school, a long long time ago!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Busy, busy, busy...

I have sorted through toys - got rid of one bag of total rubbish, and packed one bag for the charity shop.  I've worked my way through a mountain of ironing, and wrapped all dear son's birthday presents for tomorrow.

To top it all off, I've just watched the lovely Kirstie attempt some Emily Peacock tapestry - a very constructive evening!

That'll be my Christmas list sorted then, are you reading this Santa?!

Monday, 15 November 2010

A teeny tiny bit of quilting!

I know I have been a bit 'all mouth and no action' lately, so to make amends and to get an instant buzz of a completed project, I have made a rather basic 'mug rug' out of some of my scraps! 

OK, it's not up to the standard of fabulous Fi, but it was a fun little trial for the evening.  It isn't actually as wonky in real life (honestly!), that's just my unsteady photography hand, not my unsteady quilting hand for a change!

Although the idea is to hold my cup and biscuit, I actually think it will end up next to the bed to throw my glasses on at night, as they tend to get plonked, usually lens-down on whichever book or magasine I've discarded.  Hmmm, I need to think of a catchy name for that now!

Sunday, 14 November 2010

More partying!

Today was our dear son's turn to party with his friends at Flying Fortress, an indoor adventure play centre, full of screaming and shouting children and worn out parents! 

However the only effort I had to make, was taking a tray-bake cake, rescuing twin2 when she got stuck every now and then, and making sure we could match the right number of children with their respective parents at the end!

Dear son loved it all, so another success.

This evening I ironed all the backing for the Christmas quilts and I began my sister's, as I figure it has the furthest to travel and the last day for posting to NZ in time for Christmas is always earlier than I expect!

I opted to try some random straight line quilting (anyone familiar with Ashley over at Film In The Fridge will correctly guess that's where my inspiration has come from!), and I am liking the effect. 

It would be great to get all five quilts ready for binding in the next week, and then I think they will keep me going until the reality of packing up the house becomes too pressing to avoid!  I might throw in a 'mug rug' or two... maybe!