Bah-humbug!

You may be wondering where I’ve been….or not….let’s face it my blog postings can be quite erratic so you might not even have noticed that I’ve been rather absent.  I’ve opened this post with a shot of the fabulous Christmas Mouse sock advent calendar that arrives every year from M’s Mother in Germany.

It’s a total highlight and the boys get very excited over opening their sock and on the occasion that there is also a card inside, hunting in the ‘mouse bag’ for the corresponding gift.  A huge amount of work goes into putting this together and is much appreciated by us all (I have cheated and used photos from last year as you will see when you read on, I’m rather struggling at the moment).

Unfortunately this is the shot I should really have opened the post with, it’s the mixture of my and M’s meds that we’ve been happily chomping on over the past few weeks.  Me, I got ill as in proper ill, as in couldn’t do the usual ‘I’m-from-Yorkshire-and-don’t-do-ill-just-get-on-with-it-and-stop-moaning’ bit but had to just manage surviving the day instead.  To illustrate, as I write this F has wandered into the living room and has said (quote), “Mummy, when are you going to be jolly again, because you’re not jolly and haven’t been for ages, not since you got ill.”  Hummm, oh well, some antibiotics and a bucket load of Ibuprofen (other pain relief is available;) ) and I’m on the mend.  I can’t talk properly and have to mainly whisper but many would say that’s a bonus 🙂

M on the other hand is not looking so great, after an emergency brake and fall off his bike whilst doing 30 mph thanks to a car pulling out of a side junction in front of him he is slowly mending broken ribs and collar-bone. Or not, actually as we discovered today from the specialist, he now needs an op to re-set his collar-bone correctly.  Oh we’re having a jolly old time over here!

Enough, I’m done moaning now so on to some pretties because it is after all why most of you lovely ladies come visit, and I know you don’t mind my moan, but I like to think of my blog as my ‘happy place’ and ideally moan (ish) free.  I have finally managed to get out a few decorations, the above robin is new and comes from Indigo and Rose.  M doesn’t really do festive decorations, you should have seen his face when I brought the robin out, I have learnt to ignore him and go ahead anyway.

I cheered myself with this hugely festive and vintage cushion made by Felicity of Eclectic Handmade.  Felicity had blogged it a few days ago and I simply couldn’t resist, I have  a soft spot for needlepoint as my Gran used to stitch many and that bobble trim sold it!  It’s going to live on my studio chair but as that’s a bit scruffy at the moment I’ve sat it in out window seat instead next to last years winter cushion from Belle and Boo, where it can be properly admired over Christmas.

I’ve bought and made quite a few things I can’t show you, most frustrating but that’s how it works this time of year. I had a sudden realisation that this is the last week of school for the boys which means I should have made the teachers gifts which I had planned ages ago (oops!) and I only have a few days to complete the boys secret handmade goodies unless I plan lots of night time sewing.  I am this far into some special mice, can you tell what they are yet?

Ok I lied, I’m not done moaning, I started this post over the last weekend but having gone to the doctor’s today, I find I have pneumonia and am now on super high dose ‘they-might-give-you-c-diff-so-eat-lots-of-live-yoghurt’ antibiotics.  I’m actually quite pleased, at least I know what’s wrong and now I’m back on antibiotics it’ll hopefully be gone soon and I’ll feel normal and can get back to sewing/cleaning/being a jolly mummy 😉

And on a completely less miserable note, I did make it down the road to buy our tree on Saturday, I have to say, considering my slight lack of enthusiasm and rush to get it done we did pick well as it’s a beautiful tree and sets Glenda off perfectly and who knows, I may muster the enthusiasm to make gingerbread stars with the boys to hang on it this weekend:)

Pirate Mice…

Now, I forgot to hide these one day and the boys found them almost finished, I felt rather mean gently taking them away but before you think I am an evil mother, they would gladly have one of pretty much everything I make if I let them plus I have promised a special one each in their Christmas stocking (which I have explained I will post to Santa so he has it ready for the big day).

These were really good fun to make, my brain is already buzzing with Linen Mice Specials for next year!  I do hope to make some new Super Hero mice this side of Christmas but I’m not making any promises, I need to try and reduce my handmade present list and finish the acorns first.

They are listed here.  Acorns next 🙂

This and that…

I’m gradually getting through my Christmas list, both in shop products and presents and I don’t feel nearly as stressed as I did last year.  I have also been ‘home alone’ for a while as M has been working in the US, the bonus is I get some new (cheaper) fabric (good old Etsy), the down is I usually get very tired with the sleepless nights due to our boys not being the best at actually sleeping.

It’s been OK though, C likes to keep me company when I’m sewing and spends many happy hours building various creations from whatever box he has dragged out of the playroom.

Felix is happy making picnics to eat in the ‘cinema’, the above made me laugh a lot, I usually have a firm say in what makes it to the picnic tray but he sneaked downstairs at the weekend and collected some things ‘all by myself Mummy,’ ah yes, that would be why there is a mountain of chocolate and a single carrot….with butter on it….hummm.

I have managed to finish some new lavender birds based on last year’s design so now ‘Snow Blossom‘ and ‘Gold‘ lavender birds are listed over at The Linen Cat.

As I am being very random in this post I feel the need to show you some new goodies that I photographed but have never blogged about.  Above it a fantastic plate by JIMBOBART which I bought ages ago for M’s 40th as a gift from the boys; we made a nice cake to serve on it.  I had fully intended to include this when I was blogging my Mr Badgers but forgot, I would buy everything in this shop and was lucky to receive a free print due to a (very slight and well communicated) delay in the order.

Bonus.

I am also getting ahead on buying some lovely Christmas gifts from other folk in the handmade community.  These are for the boys who both love having secret notebooks to scribble, draw and stick things in.  They are by the fabulously talented Fiona T who I have bought from before and who very generously made me the ninja notebook as a special request.  I am so in love with her zombies and ninjas but there are some lovely things for girls and grownups as well so do pop over and check the shop out.

Finally I’d like to say a HUGE thanks for the lovely comments on the last Mr Badger post, I am way behind with my replies, there just aren’t enough hours in the day. I was so pleased they received such a positive response and quite sad to see them go, even though that’s a good thing.  I have also found some great new blogs recently from people leaving comments and have enjoyed some lovely email conversations with online ‘friends’, it reminds me just how great this whole internet malarkey is.

Right, I am surrounded by linen mice limbs, tweed purses and acorns so I’ll crack on 🙂

Half Term Holidays…

I’m not quite sure what I was thinking but I kind of forgot about the half term holidays.  I knew they were coming but I think I might just have been in denile…maybe.  It’s not gone too badly, the boys were in need of a break and in all honesty are playing really well together, some of the time 😉  So far the boys have:


Made Pumpkin lanterns and gingerbread vampires, ghosts, cats and some sheep (the last completely unrelated to Halloween but I really wanted to try out my sheep cutter from Hus & Hem, I’ve just bought the Elk set for Christmas).  These are C’s he doesn’t do scary so he just made normal gingerbread men.

Removed all the bedding, blankets, pillows etc off the boys beds and made cinemas/caves/boats anything that involves lounging in a pile of nice clean bedding on the floor.  On which note, we vamped up the boys room last week with an Ikea trip.  They chose a rug, a light and a clock so F can see what time it is when he wakes at some ridiculous hour and thinks he should get up (bloomin’ 4am this morning and with C in our bed from 2am I wasn’t a happy bunny).

I bought blankets for the boys beds, you can get the same from Hus & Hem (I really love this shop, can you tell?), they were out of stock when I ordered mine but I see they are back in at the time of writing this.

and I made cushion covers for the boys from their old cashmere/cotton baby blankets to try and stop them taking the ones off the sofa for den building.

We have also watched far too much TV and Apple movies.  I know, I’m a bad Mother but it has allowed me to have a moment’s peace and make a start on some new little birds.

I also dyed my hair yesterday, it was supposed to be a mid to dark red brown.  It’s more like purple black, I have a wedding to attend soon so there will be a lot of hair washing in coming days (it’s a semi-permanent but I fear may be more permanent than semi!).

On a final note, thanks for such a positive response to the Foxes, I wasn’t sure how well these would go this year, as I know most of you lovely bloggy peeps who wanted one bought them last time around, but I’m very happy to see them flying out of the shop.  Always a huge compliment to have things so well received 🙂

Have a spooky Halloween!

Monster Letters…

This will to be a super quick post as I am in full multi-tasking mode today.

I have just been checking the boys uniforms for tomorrow, stitching in any final labels and feeling slightly embarrassed about just how huge F’s new jumpers are but as everything is pretty much in order and smugly I only have to re-heat a beef stew for lunch (I thought today might be a bit hectic so I made it in advance – NOTE I am not normally this organised, this is a rare occasion) I decided to make some quick monster letters for the boys’ book bags.

All the kids have the same bag and many put small toys on them but as I’m a bit mean and F is so easily distracted I’ve never allowed toys on his so today I made each of the boys a felt monster letter, with their names stitched on the backs.

They are much brighter in real life, the blue is turquoise and the lettering a gold yellow and they are about 12 cm tall.  I’m pleased for something made so quickly with scraps (don’t look too closely, they are not the neatest things I have ever sown!) and hopefully it will allow the boys to ID their bags a bit more quickly from all the others.

I’m most excited for C starting ‘big school’ he is very ready and I’m sure he will settle well.  Of course I will miss having him around but I am more excited then I can say about having so much time for my sewing and adding a daily walk to school with a run back to help get me back into shape.  It’s all good stuff 🙂

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 🙂  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 José González 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 😉 (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 🙂

New Birds…

I’m feeling a little melancholy today, not necessarily in a bad way, I’m listening to ‘girly warbling folk music’ as a friend of mine would say (she once made me a mix tape with this as the title, back in the olden days when people made mix tapes) and it’s raining outside which I LOVE.  I’m a big fan of rain, I kind of assume that’s because of being brought up on a farm in the Dales in the middle of no-where on a windswept hill…..maybe.

The music and weather fit the pace of my sewing perfectly as I’ve spent the last couple of days hand stitching flower brooches, which is generally taking a lot longer than I’d anticipated although it is nice to work at this slower speed.  I’m slightly worried about the pricing of these now though as there is a lot more work involved than appears, which is never good.

I’ve also been stitching eyes onto some new Lavender Birds, in orange

and pink

they can be found here and on Folksy.

On a completely separate note, F lost a tooth the other night, I wasn’t quite ready (I’d planned a Monster tooth pouch) so had to write a hasty note from the Tooth Monster (the Fairy was busy, apparently, or so the note said ;))

I *borrowed* (ahem) an image from Jamie Hewlett, because he rocks and so I could add a PS the note which reads:

‘I don’t look like the picture, that’s my cousin doing his shopping, I am green’

I plan to put a different photo on each time that isn’t the Tooth Monster so F can make up his own image in his head.  I may have created rather a chore for myself as he already has 2 more wobbly teeth but I couldn’t resist starting a Tooth Monster dialogue.  F doesn’t do Fairies.

I also wanted to show you this great Dotty Baby Bib I bought a while ago from Jenny from her shop Sew Vintage Obsessed, oh how I wish these options were there when my two were small, how fantastic to have such a stylish (and very well made) bib, it almost makes me want to have another baby (not really).  In case you don’t know her, Jenny also writes a lovely blog here.

Ok, the sun has come out and it’s time I stopped swishing around in my studio listening to lovely harmonies and wishing I still had long hair and not very short, very red hair instead 🙂

Nearly forgot, thanks for all your comments re housework, I’m glad it’s not just me and I’m a bit behind in my blog reading so apologies if I haven’t commented for a while.

Disjointed…

I’m still a bit all over the place at the moment, we are fast approaching half term (but wait, didn’t we just have school holidays??!!) and I have rather a lot to get done in the next few days.  We will be visiting the in-laws in Germany (ash cloud permitting) and it’s the first time the boys have flown that they will remember; so for the occasion, we’ve bought them a Trunki each so they can pack their toys and if needs be, be dragged along when they get tired.

I remember these being pitched on Dragons Den and thinking ‘what a brilliant idea’….I seem to remember the Dragons weren’t all that impressed, especially by the plastic catch which wasn’t strong enough on the prototype, oh how wrong they were.

I’ve also made myself a skirt for the trip, it only took half a day and has been made out of fabric I already had in stock.  It’s a copy of a favourite one from Jigsaw that I wore for many years and has quite an unusual cut that produces a gentle swing to the bottom.  Now, HUGE  apologies for the really awful photo but I wanted to show you the pattern pieces laid out ready to cut so you can see how they might work once sewn together

the final skirt is a really flattering fit and I have been meaning to take a pattern from the original for some time.  Inside I lined it with some liberty tana lawn in ‘wiltshire’, one of my favourite designs.

I’ve been buying new fabric; also for clothes making, whilst I’m on a roll

some lovely ‘Little Folks’ voile by Anna Maria Horner from M is for Make (in the sale so a bargain).

I’m also trying to get some samples made up for new products and for this have bought some Metro Dots in Marigold from the fabulous Saints and Pinners, one of my favourite fabric shops.  I have a very special project in mind for this and it was inspired by the Buttercups I have been sewing for new brooches for the shop.

I’ve really been enjoying stitching these, they are such a lovely sunny yellow and have been brightening up my work bench.  I just need to keep going and finish them, I’m still finding myself jumping from project to project and not being able to settle.

Finally and actually the most important part of this post is a big thank you to Justine, who surprised me with a wonderful gift in the post this week

She made me a gorgeous Hoop Travel Bag with linen and red riding hood fabric, it’s perfect and reminds me what a wonderful community there is in blogworld.  It’s most definitely coming to Germany with me, probably with some nice little hand stitching project to keep me happy.

Sorry for the slightly disjointed post, I need to focus and have a big tidy up this afternoon, the house and my workspace is quite frankly, a bit of a mess and for me it always makes me feel unsettled when this is the case so I shall be spending the rest of today putting everything away and will no doubt feel happier for it 🙂

This and that…

My sewing mojo is a bit all over the place at the moment.  I think it’s party the on off holiday situation with the boys and M being away quite a lot, plus I am very distracted by the garden.  I find if I force myself to do some sewing (usually after a break for a few days), ideally a small, fun projects; then I find myself back to normal and itching to get things done again.

I have been beading new tags, I am forever running out of these and it’s a nice to do whilst I have the boys around.

Planning some dyeing sessions (I’m washing bedding and towels today to get all the whites out of the way as you need to do this just before bulk colour washes for obvious reasons).

Admiring the posh notebook that my generous sister bought for my Birthday ages ago,

now it has a home in my nice new bag.  This is my first none Orla K bag for many, many years but I couldn’t resist as it was half price for a few days and I’ve always fancied a nice leather satchel style.  I was going to treat myself to an original Cambridge satchel one day but this was a lot cheaper with the discount (it’s from Boden).

Planing some cushions for the living room with this

and finally, I’m all excited by working out the new flower brooches, again it’s a nice little project for doing here and there in amongst the gardening and school runs.

I say finally but we had the important event over the weekend of C turning 4, and thanks to inspiration from this post over at Scented Sweetpeas I made him a Pinata in the shape of a fish.  It was hastily made, I have to be honest and the fish part was a last minute thing after a school Mum asked me what shape Pinata I was making (errrr a balloon shape?!) but the boys loved it, especially being able to bash something with a stick until it breaks – the highlight of the day for them 🙂