Summer holidays so far…

We’ve made a good start, I have managed rather a lot of sewing today, plus done all the laundry AND cleaned the oven. ¬†Ok, so actually the oven cleans itself, I just have to switch it to the correct program and ignore the burning smell that fills the house for the next hour or so but it still feels like an achievement considering we are now into the Summer holidays (insert Psycho screams here ūüėČ ).

I have allowed the boys to create a cinema in their bunk beds complete with blankets hung on the walls, lots of cushions, popcorn and DVD’s playing on the in-car player we bought for our loooooong Germany drive a few years ago that attaches¬†to the headrests. ¬†I was against any kind of player in the car but it made 16 hrs¬†bearable and I concede I was wrong. ¬†I feel suitably guilty that they aren’t running about outside or playing some educational game but they LOVE it, there will be a long walk tomorrow to make me feel better.

I have mainly been clearing unfinished projects and preparing boxes of hand sewing for our Yorkshire trip. ¬†I will get about 2 hours every morning to sew (M goes back to bed after he kindly takes the early shift with the boys, as most of you know one or the other often gets up at 5.30) so I would like to make the most of the time. ¬†It will be good to get ahead with the hand stitching as I often find it quite…well, slow. ¬†Therapeutic and calming but slow.

I’ve also been making mini clothing. ¬†I LOVE sewing mini clothing, I’m not sure quite why it brings me so much pleasure but it does. ¬†I like the whole process from dying the linen (all the coloured linen I use is hand dyed) to stitching on the buttons. ¬†It’s also pushed me to finish some open projects that have been hanging about since last Winter, but more on that later.

The colour palette surrounding me is generally very Autumnal in tone, lots of purples and greens with some berry reds thrown in. ¬†I recently bought some Tana Lawn, Betsy print in a purple colourway, I wasn’t expecting to like it¬†quite so much as I’m firmly in love with the pink and pale green/blue versions but now it’s here I love it.

On which note, one of the last Betsy Bunnies went off to a new home the other day. ¬†I’m kind of sad to see the last ones go but it’s time to make way for new designs.

I bought myself some new books for our holiday. ¬†Despite my love of the Kindle I do still like real paper books as well, especially when they come so beautifully packaged as the Penguins Classic Hardcover range. ¬†I’d happily buy every single one of these, the only thing I was a little disappointed ¬†about was the lack of ‘decoration’ inside, I think I was expecting at least a nice book-plate but it’s all very plain.

It was the perfect excuse to buy some book clips from Hidden Eloise,¬†I’m a terrible corner folder and I know it’s wrong, especially on lovely hardcover books so I thought why not. ¬†¬†I’d buy pretty much everything from her shop and as always the presentation was spot on with the clip delivered in it’s own tea bag style package and a great business card bookmark. ¬†Two bookmarks, there’s no excuse ūüôā

UPDATE sorry for anyone getting loads of emails but I totally forgot (again) to thank Jenny of Gifts by Jenny for kindly passing along some blog awards. ¬†I am so bad at getting on with these things and didn’t want to leave it yet another post before saying thanks and linking back to Jenny so I’m adding this update. ¬†As I find tends to happen in the amazing world of blog/twitter land it turns Jenny’s husband is a friend from my teenage years back in my Bolton Abbey. ¬†Small world ūüôā ¬†Lovely blog, go have a nosey and thanks Jenny!

Teachers Gifts 2011…

It would appear that there are many of us on that fast train right now, for me it’s slowing down a little and I hope it’s the same for you, thanks for all your lovely comments.

I did a little *ahem* fabric shopping a while ago, it was love at first sight so I had to buy

Spira Haga in Sand by Bitte Stenström

Körsbärsträdgården in Mustard by Marianne Westman

and in a little more detail.

I also bought the Haga fabric in the Nougat and they all came from my new favourite online shop Hus and Hem.

Now, they are not cheap by any means but the quality shines through and I have a special plan for the beautiful bird fabric given some extra hours in the day. ¬†As for the Haga, I had recently earmarked this tutorial¬†which comes from the book¬†1, 2, 3 Sew¬†by Ellen Luckett Baker (the tutorial being released by the book publishers), to make a Market Tote bag. ¬†The fabric was perfect and even though it meant cutting into my lovely new stash it had to be done. ¬†I striped it with some hand dyed linen in red and a rustic linen fabric for the bottom and lining of the bags and I’m very pleased with the results.

I needed to make two bags altogether, one for C’s Keyworker (she was also F’s when he was at pre-school) and one for F’s teacher. ¬†I wouldn’t normally make something so major as teachers gifts but both have been great this year and really deserved something a little extra.

Although the bags look the same in these photos they are quite different in ‘real life’. ¬†I have used both of my Haga fabrics and the red stripes are not the same (one is a pink red, the other more of a brown red). ¬†The bags were super easy to make, the only thing I have changed on the pattern is making the arm hole slightly deeper as on the first bag I found it difficult to get it over my shoulder.

The bit that took forever was making labels to put inside.

These were printed on fabric transfer paper (which I HATED using, my printer didn’t like the make I chose at all) and then sewn inside.

For the teaching assistants I made blackcurrant jam with the boys, using berries from our garden and packaged them with some little birds made in matching colours.

Phew, all done ūüôā ¬†Just need to get F to write the cards now!!

Stop, I want to get off..!

I feel like everything has just speeded up and I’m on a runaway train holding on by my fingertips.

I wasn’t quite expecting this, I was on course for a nice neat run up to the Summer holidays. ¬†I’ve thought about (and nearly made) teachers gifts, the house was clean and tidy plus I was getting a grip on the garden ready for six weeks of mayhem and madness. ¬†Sadly since then it’s all gone a bit crazy and I’m a tad stressed. ¬†In fact the above photo is a ‘typical’ event from recent days when I accidentally knocked a pot of seed beads down from my shelf, they went everywhere. ¬†Seriously, it took me 2 hours to collect them all back up and boy can glass beads bounce – it was like the Sony¬†Bravia advert only instead of¬†Jos√© Gonz√°lez¬†as the soundtrack, there was just my voice shouting ‘noooooooooooooo!’

On the plus side, I am more prepared than ever before for the Autumn/Winter change over in my shop. ¬†My workspace is a bit crazy but I am half way through many products and others have been cut and boxed ready for sewing when I get the odd chance between entertaining the boys. ¬†I haven’t achieved quite what I had hoped to but it’s a good start and certainly makes me feel a little more relaxed.

I also feel like a smart arse for making my life easier but actually writing the making notes on many of my pattern pieces from last year. ¬†Blimey that makes a difference. ¬†When I am making something for the first time, it takes a while to work out the pattern and construction and I feel at that moment that I’ll never forget as it’s all so fresh in my mind, but I often find when I come to make more that I need to work it all out again, to this end I’ve started writing everything down as I go along. Smug, me? No ūüėČ (bet you were all doing this anyway and I’m just a bit useless).

Since starting this post (yesterday) I really have pulled my finger out and today have completed most teachers gifts so in the next few days I’ll show you what I’ve made with this lovely pile ūüôā

And the Winners are…

As picked this morning by the good old

Which are the comments left by:

Emily M,¬†Lola Stanley, Jane Marland and Chris Karling. ¬†I’ve emailed you for your addresses, thanks for entering, your parcels will be on their way as soon as I get your addresses.

Big thanks everyone that took the time to comment, it was a great response to this giveaway and I’ve found lots of lovely new blogs and websites to browse around, which is always the best bit for me.

It has been a while, I’m sorry, I hadn’t intended to leave it so long between posts but we are busy with all the end of term activities, which seem to be going on for ages. ¬†The boys still have a few weeks left but that time is packed which along with the hot sticky weather, ¬†doesn’t exactly make me want to sit indoors sewing so I’ve already slowed my pace ready for 6 weeks (eek!) of little boys dominating my day.

There’s been some on-line shopping. ¬†This lovely parcel comes from Flora of¬†Through The Round Window¬†and contains

I just couldn’t resist the sunny colour (this is Flora’s photo) of the Nasturtium. ¬†It’s actually for a present but I have quite a few pieces of Flora’s lovely glass including some egg men that stay up all year around in our kitchen window.

I was very quick off the mark at the Orla Kiely sale and managed to buy this shift dress, I love the buttons in the back and the Airtex fabric. ¬†I don’t buy clothes very often so I do try to treat myself to something from the OK sale, even though the prices still make me wince slightly.

I also treated myself and F a while ago to this great leather pouch from Ren at Fairy Steps. ¬†It’s really mine, I plan to walk to and from school come September and wanted something stylish that could be attached to my belt to carry my key in. ¬†F has taken rather a liking to it though, he thinks it’s perfect for his pirate costume so we have agreed to share it. ¬†Of course the stylish romantic image of myself tripping along to school in my tweed jacket with belt and fancy pouch will be ruined by all the bags I will no doubt end up carrying for the boys and my cross, red face from repeating ‘hurry up boys, keep moving’ but a girl can dream.

I also bought (some time ago but keep forgetting to blog) this Blyton Picnic Tin. ¬†I’ve been after it for ages and see that many of the new version have different crockery. ¬†I really, really wanted this vintage powder blue version so had a hunt on the internet. ¬†This is definitely a picnic set for the car as it’s actually rather heavy but I so love it, especially the cheery enamel red tin. ¬†I haven’t linked to one online, as prices vary a lot, so it’s worth googling the name and having a good hunt around.

I’ve also been distracted¬†by the garden, we are finally at the eating stage, which is the best bit. ¬†In fact I’m about to go and pick up C from preschool and then we’ll spend the rest of the afternoon outdoors, may as well make the best whilst the sun shines ūüôā