Saturday, 24 December 2011

Secret (ish) Santa

This year the ladies in the Brit Bee decided to do a Secret Santa. If you're not familiar with the term it means buying (or in this case making) an anonymous gift for your allotted secret partner.  You then receive a gift in the post and have lots of fun a) marvelling at other people's talent, and b) trying to guess who sent you it.

It's all the more fun because although most of the Brit Bees have never met, we certainly know each others taste and style. 

So what did I get....?

Oh my, the most fabulous little package arrived last week, and I'm afraid to say I opened it straight away...and tucked inside was the most marvellous of goodies!

Firstly, this fabulous fabulous embroidery hoop, made all the more wonderfully relevant because rabbits are James' favourite animal, and we both ski (me rather more slowly!)

Look, how fab is this?!  Based on a vintage embroidery pattern, I just think it's super lovely, and I'm afraid that despite sneaking outside to take these photos, I did not do it justice.
And if that weren't enough, in the package I also found this gorgeous little house decoration (I've been meaning to try one of these for a while, and then I get my very own!)

Plus, some yummy fabric scraps, both vintage and new (because my partner clearly knows I'm a scrap lover)

and some chocolates which I'm afraid I can't show you because James and I wolfed them when the kids were in bed :)

I'm overwhelmed with the generosity and all-round cleverness of my partner....whose identity I should now make a guess at...

Well the little houses I've seen before somewhere.... and the embroidery hoop has a vintage style I recognise too..

is it...

Could it be....

actually, I'm not going to say just yet, I don't want to spoil the guessing game for the others!

But Santa, huge thanks, I'm SO SO chuffed with my goodies

Merry Chrimble everyone ! x

Wednesday, 21 December 2011


I admit it... I totally over-committed myself this Christmas.  What with a few commissions, plus a whole heap of Christmas gifts I decided I was going to make, I find myself in full on panic mode with a ginormous list of sewing left to do, no Christmas cards sent and no present wrapping done!

And this kind of panic leads to sewing disasters....

but first the good stuff :)

One doorstop completed for a commission due on Christmas Eve.  A remake of the hungry caterpillar to match is on it's way too.

Another commission, two kids book bags (for twin girls) and a large cushion cover.  The cushion was fun because I was handed the old one (on the left) and asked to replace it "in the same colour scheme but a bit more interesting"....I really hope this will fit the bill!

And a large washbag destined as a Christmas pressie for someone who I think doesn't read my blog!

There's more, but I can't show it just yet.

Did I mention a sewing disaster?  Sigh. 
It all started pretty well. The request is for four dining room chair cushions destined for brother number 2 and his girlfriend (also hopefully not blog readers).  I've never made these before so I'm in "make it up as you go along" mode.  I started by purchasing four cheap cushions and unpicking the covers on them (Tip: this worked out at half the price of having foam cut to order!)

Using the old covers as templates, I cut my fabric for the first one, added a zip (ha ha, so easy to type, but not so easy in real life) and stitched the top and bottom together, with piping and cotton tape for the ties.

It's a bit messy at the zip ends, but it's passable.

Encouraged by this, and with the learnings of zip number 1 under my belt, I embark on cover number 2.  It goes like a dream, the zip, the piping, the corners...I even finish the insides with a zigzag stitch.

Number 2 is on the left...can anyone spot why I am officially a Doofus?

Yes, the fabric is upside down. I think I want to cry :(

James says it won't be noticeable when people are sitting on them....had to smile at giving up for this evening and am going blog surfing...goodnight all!



Monday, 19 December 2011

Wowzers! a winner!

First off, can I just say "WOWZERS!!!!" Huge thanks for all the lovely comments I've had regarding the giveway.  and if you are a new follower, thanks too for adding me to your probably long reading list.  I'm just sorry I didn't get a chance to answer everyone personally.

The sewing machine has been running really hot this week but unfortunately I can't share much as most of it is destined for under the tree.  Instead, I'll announce the winner for this weeks giveaway.  My bloggy friend Helen (aka Archie the Wonderdog) used her dog Archie to choose her winner, so I followed in her entertaining footsteps and used my blog muse, Felix, to do the honours. We devised a convoluted random number selection plan, involving these jigsaw pieces and this classy bag.

Since I had 275 entries, I needed three for step 1, I put the numbers 0,1 and 2 in a bag and asked Felix to pick...

It was tricky, but she got the hang of it in the end and picked 0.  I on the other hand was too busy laughing to get a picture to prove it!

We repeated the process for the second digit (this time with the numbers 0-9) and Felix picked 8, before emptying the other numbers everywhere.

(sorry about the blur, as you can imagine this was a rather frantic exercise!)
And finally for the third digit we gave up on the bag and let her pick from the face down pieces, and she picked 5 (please I actually managed to snap this moment!)

So, without further ado...the winning entry is 085

So Jessica from a Quilty Habit!!!! - You win a made to order zippy make-up bag, plus the Melody Miller, Lotta and IKEA fabrics...Congratulations! I have emailed you...

Back tomorrow with some of the christmas makes that I can show you :)


Monday, 12 December 2011

1 year / 18 month giveaway!

Cor blimey, how did that happen?   My little blog that I started after Felix was born, was actually one year old on the 8th of December!! Now, I can't even boast 100 posts cos this post is my 95th according to my Google dashboard, but still, I'm pretty proud that I made it this far...and since today is actually Felix's 18 month birthday, I thought I'd do what is customary and have a little giveaway.

The prize?  Hmmm..I've been thinking about this and because some of you like homemade and some of you like fabric (don't we all!) so I've decided to give away a two-pronged prize!

Part A) one of my make-up bags - like one of these..

I'll make this part of the prize to order so you can have some choice about what you get!

And part B - fabric!
- A generous fat quarter of  Melody Miller's Ladies, from the Ruby Star Rising Line

Two fat quarters of Lotta Jansdotter's line, cos I just ordered it from M is for Make and it's yummy!

Plus a half yard of this funky IKEA flower power fabric which is great for bags.

So, no hoops to enter, just leave a comment, and I'll pick the winner by some kind of random method after the 16th December. International entries welcome and followers get an extra entry if they like, just to say thanks for reading my waffle, but please don't feel obliged!

Oh, and as the timing is perfect, I'm also linking up with SewMamasew's giveaway day, so a big hello and welcome, if you're visiting from there!

Thanks for sticking with me/ visiting my blog!


Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Extreme sewing!

And before you say it, no, I am not sitting naked at my sewing machine (!), it's not that sort of extreme. Nor am I sewing at high's more about the amount of sewing that's been going on round here.
This is evidenced by the following facts:
  • I'm on my third 500m of white thread this week
  • I haven't written a blog post for over a week
  • There is a serious washing backlog
  • My blog reader stands at 786 unread items (I'm so sorry everyone, I will try and catch up!)
  • I've broken two needles
  • I've done another two craft fairs and updated stock in both shops
  • I've learnt some new skills including piping, and inserting zips into cushions
  • Felix has spent time with her Dad, Granny and Grandad, and Nana and Gramps and our childminder (I know you've had fun little lady, but sorry to pass you around :(   )
  • My Mum arrived on Saturday and ordered 5 items for Christmas presents, some of which are to be taken with her when she leaves today (I'm not moaning at this, since she is a big fan of my work, she pays well, AND she and Dad are brilliant with Felix!)
and finally, the most compelling evidence of extreme sewing...

I broke a bobbin!  This has never happened to me before and was a bit of a shock when I was hit by a flying piece of plastic and then thread cascaded all over the harm done, except that I'm down to three bobbins, which is just not enough! (Christmas present hint, Mum!)

So sorry I've been AWOL and not reading everyone's blogs, I will remedy that this week...but in the meantime, here's some pictures of some of the latest makes:

Zippy overload:

Make-up bags:

Cushions made from single fabrics (trying a different tactic at the craft fairs), but snazzed up with piping and a covered zip on the back

Bucket bag with leather straps:

and finally, a little travel tissue holder for Mum's friend (and fabric benefactor) Mavis!

Whilst the craft fairs have been fun, I am looking forward to a little respite and some "me" sewing in the new year!


Monday, 28 November 2011

Splendid swapping!

The Great Brit Quilt Pillow Fight is over!  This is the package I sent to Lynn (Rainingcatsanddogs), my lovely partner.

(which she says she liked - yeay!)

And in return I received this amazing package from Jo (Sewjo2009).  Such a beautifully made cushion in lovely rainbow colours, plus a Moda pre-cut pack and a cool hoop for storing all those sewing knick-knacks.

Jo, I love it, thank you so much!

And if that wasn't enough, Miss Laura (Needles, Pins and Baking tins) and I had an impromptu little swap when, in exchange for some relatively boring but useful furnishing fabrics, she sent me this veritable mountain of rainbow scraps, and her first ever zippy pouch (you wouldn't know it was her first!)

Many thanks LJ, I'm so chuffed with my goodies :)

Oh, and Laura is having a super giveaway for some "It's a Hoot" fabrics, pop over and have a little look!


Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Craft fair fun and frolics

First of all, many thanks to you all of you for the best wishes for Felix.  She is fortunately now fully recovered and the only lasting symptom seems to be a complete aversion to eating anything other than fruit, yoghurt or  baby Wotsits.  Not the best diet in the world... hmmm... any tips for getting a 17 month old to eat casserole? or carrots?!

In other news, the products of my stitching have had two outings in the last week.  The weekend before last, everything I'd sewn went to a large Christmas fair near Lewes with my friend Clare who is a talented buyer (and, as it turns out, seller!), and then this Saturday, five of us shared a stall at a local hotel.

I didn't make it to Clare's fair, as that was the weekend that Felix was ill, but got feedback on the Saturday that she'd only sold badges. However, the clientele was completely different on the Sunday and the more pleasing grand total was:
  • 17 badge sets
  • 2 Makeup bags
  • 1 purse
  • 1 washbag
  • 1 tote bag
  • 1 cushion
  • and......believe it or not....The Hungry Caterpillar!  (Apparently, he could have sold twice as someone came back and asked for him later!)
I quickly sewed up a few more make-up bags and here was our stall this Saturday!

And my little section:
(I can't claim credit for the handstitched (!) bunting which belongs to felt queen, Perdita)

The sales tally:
  • Lots more badges
  • A tote bag
  • A wash bag
  • 3 make-up bags
  • 2 little purses
  • And some fabric covered handbag mirrors (that we were making on the day!)
  • ooo plus a friend has since asked to save her a doorstop and a cushion..
It was a lot of fun, having some grown-up time, talking to people and having a nosey round the other stalls so between us we've signed up for another three in December...well I've got the stock  (...except for make-up bags!)

The learnings?
  • Some of my stuff is a little too bright for the more traditional customers that seem to attend smaller fairs round here.  People admired the cushions but couldn't see where they'd fit in their homes
  • Pocket money purchases are essential to keep your morale up
  • Order your business cards well in advance, so they are not still in the post when you want to be handing them out (doh!)
  • REALLY REALLY don't be disheartened if things aren't selling. It's easier said than done, but from Claire's experience...the same products at the same fair sold much better on the second day.
The sum of all this efforts?  £170!  Doesn't sound loads but I'm really pleased with it...a couple more fairs and my Tesco's vouchers are going to fund Christmas (well almost!)


Tuesday, 22 November 2011

I think this sums it up!

Happy Birthday gorgeous James

PS Craft fair update later, when I've got the pics sorted!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

My little lady has been poorly...

It's been a scary few days here.  Felix has had a bad cough all week, which was diagnosed as a virus on Wednesday.  On Friday afternoon her breathing got much worse so we took her back to the doctors.  He sent us straight to the hospital where we spent a long and worrying evening with chest X-rays and nebulisers and antibiotics.

It turns out it was a nasty virus with possible signs of a chest infection, but fortunately she responded well to all the treatments and Saturday morning was spent running around the ward eating the nurses' Quality Street (like mother like daughter!)

We got to come home on Saturday, and have had a quiet time, so hopefully (everything crossed here) she's well on the mend now.  

As you may imagine, my sewing mojo has completely left the building, but I do need to ask for some advice as I have a swap item to finish this week..

Remember my powerpoint designs?

Well, I turned the two on the left into reality...

and for my partner think I'm going to stick with the first option, the random squares in orange, green and turquoise on linen. 

The only thing is, I have no ideas on how to quilt it.  I don't own any hand-quilting thread, and have never hand quilted before, so I think that's machine quilting-wise..what would you do?

Without my mojo, I'm stumped so your thoughts would be very much appreciated


Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Panic stations

No time to attempt to draft a witty/interesting/ or even just an average long post! Nor any time to talk about my progress on the Brit Quilt swap... Like a few fellow bloggers I'm in full scale production mode for a craft fair in 10 days time...but I did just want to pop in and say hello (and please don't leave me!), and show you the stitching progress to date:

Zippy purses and make-up bags

Cushion tops galore (doing the backs is less fun!)

A few solitary chrimble decorations - more needed...!

Some fabric badges - stocking fillers?

And here is a washbag I've made for the fair.  It's made with what is likely to be my most expensive fabric purchase EVER.    This is Lyric by Villanova and it's a lovely soft furnishing weight fabric that was dressing a local design shop window....I've been ogling it for a while, so I bought the 3 metre length from the window.  Even with 25% off it cost me nearly eighty quid and I'm supposed to be on a spending diet!

It was so worth it though, because that washbag makes me happy.

So, the question is, what was your most expensive fabric purchase...and was it worth it?!  I'd love to know...and it might make me feel less guilty about this purchase :)