Sunday, December 31, 2006

on the eve...

So here we are at the last day of 2006. I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and are enjoying your holidays. I won't bore you with tales of our illnesses that are still lingering and persisting making for snotty misery. Or the fact that Wednesday saw me back at work. The family time between Christmas and New Year was always my favourite time and I really missed it this year.

We did have a lovely, if short, Christmas stay with family and we all got some wonderful presents. Lego was high on my son's wish list and Father Christmas didn't fail him. Some of my present highlights were the warmest, toastiest PJs ever, which I adore and a pair of tailors scissors - big, heavy, proper, metal scissors.

My thoughts now are turning to the year that has been and the year that is to come. 2006 has had its share of ups and downs just like other years. There has been some bad things and some good things that have happened but most of the time it just carried on in its own way. But I do cherish the fact that it was the year I discovered this amazing community of people who enjoy crafts of all shades and hues. A community that is so nuturing and generous in its offers of help, advice and support.

I have been thinking about possible resolutions for the new year and there are some of those which relate to trying to improve health - I must eat more fruit and drink more water as I am very bad at both. There are also all the skills I would like to learn and develop having discovered them on other blogs but maybe they belong on a wish list rather than as resolutions?

Anyway, this evening I will raise a glass to all of you - the new friends I have made and to hopefully many more friendships to come and develop in the year ahead. Here is wishing you all a healthy, happy, prosperous and crafty new year.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

eeeeeek ...


My son broke up from school today and as a little gift for his classmates we made lots of those Martha Stewart candy cane mice. Yes, I am one of those mothers who will dose your kids up with sugar and then watch them head off home hyped up to kingdom come.

The candy cane tails didn't sit too securely in their mice bodies so they had to be bagged up to save lost tail tears.

In other news, the Christmas present for my nephew is finished. He is a keen little 5 year old artist so here is an artists bag. Made of denim and lined with a lime green fabric. It is worn across your body like an old fashioned satchel.
Then inside are a few artist's essentials, paper, colouring book and pen roll.

Here's that pen roll again.
With so many pens and pencils it is quite a bulky affair but you can never have enough pens. I decided to fasten it with velcro as tieing a ribbon can prove tricky for little hands.

Now I have to get on with finishing a pair of knitted socks. Luckily it is a very simple pattern so I should be able to get it done before Christmas. Then again it is only 5 days away.

If you fancy joining a swap and fabric and patchwork are your thing then pop over to Flibbertygibbet and check out her January Strip.

Monday, December 18, 2006

oh dear, oh dear, oh dear ...

the blogging momentum I built up at the beginning of last week seemed to have dissipated by the end of the week. But I had a good excuse - honest. I have been desperately trying to finishing making the Christmas presents that I had such high ideas of.

Now last Thursday I promised a photo of the quilted hot bot cover I had made as a Christmas gift - so in order to keep my promise (if a little belatedly) here it is. The front is machine-pieced and hand quilted.

The back is just a plain yellow cotton flannel.

And I've used velcro to fasten the cover.
The design is from the Denyse Schmidt book but I have played around with the piecing and had to adjust the sizing.

On Saturday my parents came for a quick visit - and came bearing gifts. Ribbon and buttons from the Smedley factory shop. I love the ribbon colours a lilac and a sort of chartreuse colour - this could become my favourite colour combination.

I spent a pleasant couple of hours sorting through the buttons and putting them away in jars, it was incrediably theraputic.

I love these pink ones

Oh and I also received my Moo cards - I had ordered them on the 11th December and they arrived on the 14th - how quick is that? and I love them.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

twinkle, twinkle ...

today I have been mostly making more of these

and I have also been working on a quilted hot water bottle cover which I haven't photographed because it is way too dark now. I promise to try and take some photos tomorrow.

I have also been trying out those Martha Stewart felt sugar cane mice. Again - sorry - no pictures and, again, I will try and rectify that tomorrow.

Otherwise I have been writing lots of cards and making lots of trips to the post office. I discovered that the best time to go to the post office is about 3.30pm as in the morning the queue is out the door. And I really don't have time to stand in queues as I have too many presents still to make and oh my goodness there are only a few days left.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

it's all about me, me, me, me...

A couple of days ago I was tagged by Ali, but it has taken me this long to have a think about some of my answers.

So here I am indulging in a little naval gazing...

4 jobs I have had
administrative assistant in a bookshop
management assistant at a BBC local radio station
personnel assistant for BBC World Service
telephone answerer for children's television programmes 'Live and Kicking' and 'Going Live'

4 films I could watch over and over
Shadow of a Doubt (Alfred Hitchcock)
Eat, Drink, Man, Woman (Ang Lee)
Any Powell and Pressburger film
Amelie (Jean-Pierre Jeunet)

4 places I have lived (apart from where I live now)
Derby, England
New Ross, Ireland
Nottingham, England
Bromley, England

4 TV shows I love
yikes - I don't think I love any TV programmes but I enjoy ..
University Challenge
CSI be it NY, Miami, or original
The Simpsons

4 places I have been on holiday

4 websites I visit daily
and, um, I can't think of any others

4 favourite foods
main courses
what can I say I enjoy food - especially if someone else is cooking.

4 places I would rather be
New York
Norfolk coast
West of Ireland

4 people I am tagging
Sorry, I am chickening out of this one - I'd hate to impose.

Monday, December 11, 2006

production line ...

I have been working at getting all my Christmas cards made so that I can get them sent out in good time to reach their recipients.

So, with a glass of wine in hand and a film on the box I settled down to stamp my little heart out. And whilst it did feel like I was on some factory production line, it was very theraputic. Tune in, turn on, stamp away. No real thought necessary - just what the doctor ordered after a day at work. And en masse they look quite impressive - a veritable heavenly host.

I also made a stamp for my husband's business Christmas cards, his company logo is a blue cow. So to Christmas it up a bit we gave the cow a red nose a la Rudolph.

Now I just have to sit down and write them .... But at the moment I am thinking up my answers to Ali's tag which is far more diverting and fun.

oh Christmas tree ...

Yesterday we got our Christmas tree - so let the festivities commence!

We don't usually get a tree until our son has broken up for the Christmas holidays but this year we thought what the heck. The weather is grey and miserable so a pretty tree all lit up and decorated is the best way to lift spirits and start the Christmassy feeling welling up.

There are still lots of Christmas presents to make and buy but I am not going to panic myself about that - I am sure I can get everything done in the next 14 days! I have also seen alot of gorgeous ideas I would like to try out like Heather Bailey's yo-yo garlands or the lovely Little Birds soft Christmas trees and Anna Maria Horner's owl ornament and then there's Liesl's mitten ornaments too but I think have to rein myself in. No more new ideas until I have completed the tasks in hand. Maybe in the New Year I should just get a headstart on Christmas 2007.

A big thank you to everyone who convinced me that feeling guilty was just a waste of time and effort. And as pointed out it is better to actually blog. So this is my concerted effort to post more regularly as I realise I have been too sporadic recently.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

awash with guilt ...

I have been feeling so guilty. I have been so bad about replying to comments that have been so kindly left here. Words of encouragement, advice, fun, hints and tips so freely and warmly given. I have tried to keep up with my acknowledgements but over the last few weeks it has all got the better of me.

So to try and make amends I want to offer my heartfelt thanks to everyone listed below for taking the time to comment.

Liesl, Jane, Jessica, Pea, Samantha, Carolyn,Poshyarns, Jessica, Max, Ali, Mathea, Sonia, Mary, Simmy, Cricket, Lyn, Julia, Martina, Cally, Ingrid, Kirsten, Heather, Jackie, nuttnbunny, Penny, Tracey, Alice, Mahulia, Amy, Gracia, Soo, Kate, rebecca, Flibbertygibbbet, Tammy, Maggie, Melissa, Lazylol, Autum, Kristy, Pinar, Dee, Danielle, Stephanie, Hay, Monica, Beki, Megan, Paper-and-string, Stephanie, Atelier455, Donna, Babybug, Ferret, lorilaurielauri, Carolyn, Bigbucketgirl, Sunshine, Cherry, Lorenzstudio, Anna, Sarah, Liz, Karen, decor8, JuJu, Rebecca, Alicia P, Tabby, Kristen

Sunday, December 03, 2006

as promised ...

well I mentioned last time that I had been working on my Christmas card ideas and after much umm-ing and ahhh-ing this is it...

Originally I had been toying with a snowman design and using the orange ink for his carrot nose but everything changed and I decided to create an angel.

At least then it has some religous roots and remains a little truer to the Christmas message. But before you all think I have become holier than thou, my son has a chocolate advent calendar.

Yesterday, I made a trip 'up town' into central London to try and make a start on my Christmas shopping. I had very limited success. It was incredibly busy despite getting in early and attempting to escape early. I hadn't realised that Oxford Street and Regent Street were closed off to traffic that day as part of a grand Christmas shopping frenzy.

There was music and singing, street performers and all sorts of things going on along the lengths of both streets. I luckily came across a lady giving away free Krispy Kreme donuts just as my blood sugar levels were giving out.

Somethings I did get though were felt - for those little mice and ric-rac for adding to presents. I also got a dress for a soiree (sounds far more grown-up and sophisticated than party) I am going to on Friday evening.

But you know what put a smile on my face - my bus home - it was a Routemaster. Routemasters, for those that don't know, were the quintessential London bus that have been decommissioned over the last couple of years and replaced with modern buses. These modern buses are noiser, less comfortable, over-heated and provide no joy to me whatsoever. After a hard day shopping the thought of getting on one of those confounded new buses filled me with dread. So to find a Routemaster heading my way was like the gods were (finally) smiling on me - oh, and it was free, yes free. These guys were offering the service as a free art bus. I had a wonderful journey home.

On a different note, I really must update my links side bar. I have been discovering so many wonderful blogs recently that I would love to share. In the meantime here is a small list of finds which is by no means exhaustive.

irish craft worker
anna maria horner
sweet nellie
lazy lol

there are so many more - I must, must, must update the sidebar.

And finally, a message for Martina. I get my Martha from the Chocolate Box newsagent, 131 Lower Richmond Road, SW15. They only ever have a couple of copies and I noticed on Saturday they had none but I am sure they could order copies for you or your local newsagent may be able to.