Panic Saturday..?

Not around here it’s not.  Here it’s more like ‘Smug Saturday’, as all my jobs are finished and I’ve just sat down with a nice glass of wine, ready to watch ‘Murder on the Orient Express’, as I feel like a bit of snowy, period drama.DSC_0138 DSC_0172 The tree has been up and twinkling for over a week now, DSC_0153DSC_0154I’m really pleased with the new mice and they fit in well with my existing decorations – bonus!

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As always the house is peppered with things the boys have brought home from school…
DSC_0183Charlie has made a table decoration….clearly he doesn’t take after me! (JOKING!!)

DSC_0175I received a really wonderful gift in the post (thanks J!), some of my Gran’s cross stitch cards.  I’m sure I’ve mentioned these before, she used to stitch them constantly throughout the year in order to have enough to send to everyone.  It’s lovely to know that people have kept them all these years.

DSC_0176 I finished, and wrapped, my last gifts earlier today.  I’ve shown you the above felted goodness by Miss Bumbles/Ruth Rivers some years ago, Ruth makes the most amazing little animals that always make me think of the illustrations by Racey Helps or Molly Brett, I noticed a while back that she had some felting kits in her shop and was unable to resist.DSC_0178 I’d hoped to take lots of making photos for you, but the light wasn’t always great, plus I got rather carried away with the actual process and forgot to grab the camera.DSC_0180 The only thing not included in the kit is a felting block, I was too impatient to order one and used some polystyrene that I had hanging around instead – worked a treat!DSC_0163I really enjoyed my first foray into needle felting.  One of my early jobs in life was as a visual merchandiser for a company I hated, there was a total split between management and the floor staff, lots of people with big egos trying to lord it over the minions below them, something that I can’t stand, and when I got annoyed, I used to sneak into the back area where a friend of mine worked in the stockroom and stab his empty piles of collapsed cardboard boxes with a screwdriver (in a jokey manner, clearly, this does make me sound a bit psycho), the process of needle felting felt similarly therapeutic, I could happily get rid of all my frustrations stabbing away repeatedly at felt.

DSC_0187 F keep coming to watch and asked if he could have the finished deer for Christmas, as I don’t like to disappoint and I can’t give to one without the other, I bought a second kit to make another little critter for C.  I gave them extra scarves and a little pile of gifts to hold.DSC_0189Sorry about the crap photos, I was in a hurry to be done.  They are now wrapped and packed away ready for the big day.

So that’s me ready.  The house is clean(ish) I just polished my nails and tweezed my eyebrows. I’ve planned a nice outfit for the big day itself (I’m morphing into my Mother, who would always put on something nice) and I’m about to get back to Poirot and a large slab of Christmas cake with a slice of Wensleydale cheese.  I hope you’re all set and if not that it goes smoothly next week.

Merry Christmas and see you in 2015!!

A Bit of This…

This is going to be a quick catch-up post, just in case you think I’ve totally disappeared.

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Big thanks to everyone who entered the birdie give away, the winner was picked randomly but my youngest son, closing his eyes and putting a highlighter pen down on the list I’d written – not very high-tech but it worked – oh, and if you can’t see your name above, I’ve zoomed in for the photo so that’s why, I promise, everyone was on there, I double checked.  So the birds flew off to Caroline Joynson, who writes a lovely blog so please do pop over and visit (http://carolinejoynson.blogspot.co.uk/), which reminds me, I found loads of lovely new blogs to read from the nice comments left, always one of the best things about doing a give away, but I’ve been rubbish at saying ‘hello’ and catching up generally with my blog reading, I blame the kids illness, my vertigo (again!) and a morning at the doctors trying to get the oldest seen for an infection.  Life is rather like that around here at the moment.

On a happier note, I have a few things to share.  DSC_0138

These lovely bibs are made my Jenny of A Crafty Hen, they are super soft and so very well made, I always go to Jenny for baby gifts.

DSC_0139I also wanted to show you this fabulous book containing vintage knitting and crochet patterns by Susan Crawford and Jane Waller, I’ve had it on pre-order forever as there were a few delays with its first run, being self-published, but it was soooo worth it.DSC_0141 It contains 60 original patterns that have been re-written and updated, the photographs and snippets of accompanying history are just lovely.DSC_0143This isn’t a book review, I cannot knit so I don’t know how easy the patterns are to follow, but for eye candy alone it’s a wonderful thing and I am planning to bully some friends into knitting something from it for me (for a fee, of course!).

DSC_0151 I also wanted to do a quick shout out for these cute vintage style cake decorations and frill from Cox and Cox, they really hit the mark for me as we had similar on the cake Mum always iced, they will be coming out every year in this house now.

DSC_0137In terms of Christmas, we are getting there (it must be soon, as it’s started snowing on both my blogs…which rather annoyingly tries to crash my laptop when I’m using Chrome), the kitchen table has turned into a card writing factory for the boys, who insist, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, on sending a card to very child they know.DSC_0148 I have put the tree up, all my gifts are ordered and today I started wrapping.  Luckily I had lots of bits left over from last year, for this, so the fabulous Meri Meri tags are back again.  I’ve taken photos of the nice things I’m giving but as so many family and friends read this blog, I’ll have to wait a few weeks to show you.

You’d think I’d enjoy wrapping gifts, I certainly used to, but with two boys it can rather take the fun out of it, especially as I live away from most of my family so in the past I’ve not only had to wrap all my gifts, but also things that other people have ordered to be delivered directly here.  I have to say, the boys stuff is pretty hastily done, I will just blame Santa 😉crapwrappedI did seriously try to buy some things from Firebox, just so I could get then ‘CrapWrapped’, which is a genius idea, but the bits I wanted were out of stock – boo!  They have some great things, though, if you’re looking for quirky but cool gifts.

Right that’s it, just a quick fly by visit before I dash off on school run 🙂

Christmas Mice…

This is the last of the new festive designs, but it was the first on my list when I decided on the stunning, cunning plan to ‘get-ahead’ and sew only for winter this year.

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As you know, I am a hoarder and I especially struggle to throw things away that have sentimental meaning, I blame both my Gran and Mum for this trait (despite their not being blood related, my Gran having being Mum’s MIL)……yep it’s all their fault!  As part of my collection of ‘things’ I have a little mouse that I made for Gran when I was a kid; after she died it made its way back to me (she’d kept it for years – see, inherited hoarding tendencies ;)).  The pattern, I remember, came from a magazine article that was to sew an entire mouse family living in a fabric log that zipped apart, for years I also kept the pattern but alas, no more, that did actually make it into a bin at some point.

On one of my Etsy trawls, I came across a shop selling old craft book pages and one listing was for the same mouse and log set!  I got all excited and bought the pattern (I assume the magazine article I had originally used was to promote the book), I noticed there were loads of other things in the same shop that I recognised, including many pages from a sewing book that I had once owned and which contained a second mouse I’d often made so that hopped into my basket too.  Etsy is a wonderful thing.

(Part of my writing this post so late is that I was trying to find both the vintage mouse patterns to photograph, but alas I’ve ‘stored’ them away somewhere safely, so safely I don’t know where, exactly).

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I’ve really enjoyed making things with a vintage twist recently, such as the Christmas Fairies and last year’s Winter Deer Aprons (the last of which is listed in the shop).  I think they sit well with my original work and I enjoy the challenge of altering them slightly to make them my own.DSC_0130With this in mind, I immediately saw the vintage mice as a perfect starting point for some little Christmas hanging decorations and being super keen, I got straight down to working out a pattern.  I didn’t alter things too much, although I did completely change the scale and construction method.

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As you can see, I was working on the fabric choice whilst I still had my lovely vintage tree up in the studio……can’t wait to put that up again this year.
DSC_0134This is one of those critters where a production assembly line process really pays off, plus I get a kick out of the neat little piles, just waiting to be stitched up.

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I had lots of fun picking out the fabrics colours and details.
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And by the end of last December they were done!DSC_0148

I say done, but actually they were missing whiskers until quite recently.  
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I spent a long time obsessing about the packaging.  These mice are well over the maximum 2.5cm depth for a ‘large letter’ so they have to be sold in sets of three to warrant the heftier ‘small parcel’ postage price.
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Ideally, I would have liked them to be packed in pretty boxes with clear lids, neatly tied with a  nice festive ribbon, or even entirely clear boxes would have done.  I spent an age trawling for something suitable on the internet, but everything was either the wrong size or insanely expensive, so alas, they will be left separate and simply packaged together for posting out.DSC_0200I’m really pleased with them, they were fun to make, I had plans for further development of the idea but I’ve run out of time this year.  I am less pleased with the photos, it’s so hard to get good images when red is involved, especially in the current light, so I’m reluctantly using the images I have.  That maroon felt used for the boy’s jacket is my very favourite but it’s a total arse to capture!

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Look, they are kissing…do you think they are in love?  Is ‘berry’ girl mouse left out and jealous?!

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The obligatory hand shot, to show the scale.

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They come to life once their whiskers are added.  I did consider further details, like a little top hat for the boy (which is part of the original pattern), but I’ve learnt that sometimes it’s good to just stop,
DSC_0150so they are as they are, finished and ready to go to new homes and hang on trees/cupboard doors/be tied to gifts, whatever you fancy.  You can find them here.

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I’ve kept a set back for our tree as they go really well with the ‘Little Birds’ that I always use.  I imagine that one day, I might have a tree entirely covered in Linen Cat ornaments.

Thanks for all the lovely comments on the last post, especially from anyone who hopped over from the interview at Bugs and Fishes or who is new to the blog, I forgot to mention that I tend not to reply to give away post comments as it messes up the numbers for the good old random number generator, so please don’t think I’m being rude.  There’s still a week to leave a comment if you fancy a couple of birds with wonky tails 🙂

Crochet Birds…

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A long, long time ago, I was asked if I would provide a bird for a charity event (you can see the details here), the size needed was very specific and I didn’t want to send along one of my regular birds so I got creative with some linen and a large crochet snowflake I had hanging around.  I’ve always liked the result and earlier this year decided to attempt to make something similar for the shop.
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Part of the delay was in simply finding some crochet snowflakes that scaled with the price of selling the finished bird (BTW, there is a GREAT Folksy piece here about how your customer sets the price for your work and not a calculation of materials and time, it’s absolutely spot on, although I also think you do need to track your time, but only in terms of if what you are making will ever be profitable to sell, I also hand clapped at the bit that talks about the reality of selling wholesale, well worth a read), I think I thought I would learnt to crochet myself, clearly that is not going to happen, but luckily after the festive season last year, I managed to pick up some lovely bits of crochet on Etsy at very reasonable prices.DSC_0154This photo was taken last February (hence the crappy light, sorry!), I remember loving all the colours on my desk together.  The mug was Mum’s, bought for her by my SIL who kindly let me have it when we cleared through the house (thanks A) I really like using it, in a good way.  The hat is a vintage one that’s covered in pheasant feathers that I was trying to stretch out, something I still haven’t finished doing.DSC_0161I was really keen to get at least a bunch of samples made so I could get good photographs of them over summer (big fail on this, as you’ll see later). DSC_0048Size wise, they are in-between the little birds and the lavender ones, I did consider putting lavender in them but then I’d have so stuff them to order (as I do with anything containing lavender) which is very time consuming plus I consider them more of a decorative thing than a ‘lavender bag’.
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They each have a tag attached with a ribbon, as I think it presents them nicely.DSC_0159And now for why I haven’t listed them sooner, as I’d planned to get them in the shop in early autumn as part of the whole pink phase, it’s simply that I’m not entirely ecstatic with the photo, I somehow forgot to actually get pictures of them over summer and now the days are not getting any lighter so I’m not sure I can do any better until I get a chance to set up all the lights in the studio.  I never like using photos I’m not happy with, but I also don’t want things sitting in a box and missing their ‘slot’ so for now, with not the very best image, here they are 🙂

Tree Fairies…

I packed up the last of the acorn brooches today, thanks to Folksy, for linking through from Facebook, which was rather nice of them.  I was really lucky and got positive comments, because, I tell you, I couldn’t help noticing recently a Folksy featured photo on FB (of a piece of work that I thought was fabulous) got some quite mean and critical comments….why?  What happened to ‘if you can’t say something nice, shut up!’, I just don’t get it, but then I’m totally soft like that and generally hate the idea of hurting anyone’s feelings so I’d just keep my mouth shut if I didn’t like something, I’d certainly not go out of my way to write a negative or snide comment.  People are weird.

2.fairies+miceStill, back to the post.  It’s all very pink around here, as part of my effort to work through all the half-finished boxes, I finally came around to the fairies.  I’ve been avoiding them, they were started so long ago (2009, as you can read here) and part of the problem is I’ve learnt a lot in those intervening years so I would probably make them quite differently now,
DSC_0036but I couldn’t leave the poor bodies, already with faces embroidered on (if they hadn’t been sewn to this stage, I’m pretty sure I’d have binned them as it’s the mainly body making method that I would change) sitting any longer in their box, looking lonely, so I figured I should get them finished.  I had fun (not really) trying to find a ribbon match as the original one I used is no longer made, I tried out quite a few but they just didn’t look right.

DSC_0038Hair was plaited from a huge bag of wool I once bought specifically for this project.DSC_0200They were hanging out on the bed, in my studio, on one of my Gran’s old eiderdowns whilst at the bald, alien looking stage.  I love all the pretty pink colours together. DSC_0192 And finally, after a few days hand sewing, they are done.  Phew, and ‘tick’ to the ever-decreasing list.DSC_0193 So what would I change if I were starting from scratch?  Well mainly how the body is constructed, back then was in the pre big bag making/sewing boom that allows easy buying of pelmet weight interfacings etc, plus there weren’t nearly so many on-line fabric shops back in 2009 and if I remember correctly, these were constructed with multi layers of standard dressmaking interfacing to try and get the bodies as stiff as possible, which wasn’t all that stiff!  Don’t get me wrong, they work (mine is still put on the top of the tree yearly and will be until is disintegrates!) but it bothered me so I cut holes in the body areas of these and shoved wire as far as I could into the legs and arms.  It’s better and definitely makes me happier but I would just approach the construction differently now.DSC_0197 For those who are new to the blog, you can click the link at the start of this post to go back and read how they originally came about, but basically they are a fabric copy of my Gran’s tree fairy, which I grew up with as a child.  My Mum kindly brought it down one Christmas to put on the tree when the boys were born, after which she came to us so often that she told me to just keep her.  The card and paper fairy is quite fragile now and mostly lives in a box, out of direct sunlight to try to keep her in one piece, but re-visiting the sewn version prompted me to get her put into a box frame (which I was always planning to do) so she can be propped in the mantle piece, come December.DSC_0202As with the original batch, they look quite different from each other once they get hair, some are a tad grumpy or cross-eyed looking but I do think it’s part of the charm.

DSC_0186They are listed in the shop and I’m happy to see a nice tidy box, with just my remaining sample left 🙂

Teachers Gifts Winter 2013…

My plan to have a relaxed morning organising the kitchen and baking didn’t really happen.  There is so much for the boys to do this weekend, we have topic homework due on Monday, the usual weekend homework, cards to write for the class kids and then teachers gifts.  Poor F is tired after a sleepless night (nightmares, sadly) and it’s been a bit of a battle to get him to sit down to start his many jobs, even with the bribe of promised Minecraft time afterwards (anyone else’s kids addicted?).

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The thing he did do willingly was quickly write and parcel his teachers gifts.  They are quick and easy this year.  A nice card, some chocolates and one of my little red robins.

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Job done!

(PS, to make up for the very stressful morning, I am now eating my body weight in Bettys Christmas Cake with Port, with some Wensleydale cheese whilst watching Elf, I figured the rest can wait for an hour or so).

Crackers..!

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This year I decided to make my own crackers as I get sick of buying quite expensive ones (to be fair, I often buy them in the sale then stuff them in the ‘Christmas’ box for the next year) that contain tat that no-one really wants, even when I think I’ve chosen really nice crackers with good gifts inside.  It slightly takes the thrill out of hoping to be the one to get the mini screw driver set (always my favourite and the most useful filler) but at least the boys wont be disappointed by getting the lipstick holder, again.

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I went for this ready to fill set, by Meri Meri as I fell in love with the brightly coloured ‘Nutcracker’ theme.  They come with all you need, except gifts, to make up some very festive looking crackers.  There are some things that I wasn’t happy with, but I’ll get to that bit in a mo.

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The boys actually get three crackers each (the box contains ten, so three for each of them and two for me and M, we are on our own, at home, this Christmas and the boys LOVE crackers so they can have one a day to spread them out).  I bought suitable gifts (not all pictured, for the day itself the boys get not-entirely-cheap Hexbugs) – the Batman is a USB memory stick for M.

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For myself, as I was paying for it, I bought a little bronze deer….I was buying it anyway, but decided to pop it in my cracker for fun, the idea was not to open the box when it arrived so at least I’d see it for the first time when the cracker was opened but whoops, I forgot.  At least you get a photo this way.  (The deer is from the UK based Etsy seller Romantic Eccentric, who has the most amazing snow globe necklaces, amongst other things, that I’d love to own).

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They are going to look great on our Christmas table!

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So, those problems I mentioned.  All the contents of the kit are great quality, but this actually makes it quite difficult to get the back of the card to joint together (it’s quite stiff and shiny), there is not nearly enough gold ribbon and the lovely gold glitter stickers that you add to make the buttons, lapels etc do not stay on, so I had to glue them into place in the end.  They do stick initially, but as they are also quite stiff and as the card has a gloss finish, they keep peeling off.  Would I buy this kit again…you know I would, despite the problems, all are easily fixed and the finished crackers really do look very nice.DSC_0027

It was a new introduction, for me, to the brand Meri Meri but I really love their designs and bought this year’s tags from there as well.

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On a separate note, I said I’d show photos of our tree.

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I’m really thrilled with it this year, just buying the few new decorations has made it feel fresh and different, even though all my old favourites are in there as well.  Sadly, I can’t get a decent photo of it, not even when I’m using the tripod, but you get the idea.

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I’m closing up shop soon, so I can concentrate on the family and so I don’t have to stand in line for hours at the post office, which I confess, I hate.  Business this year has been much quieter than usual, but I think this reflects my lack of new designs and general crap-ness at blogging etc.  On the plus side, I have never felt so ready or relaxed about Christmas, which feels great as it’s going to be a tough one this year, without Mum.

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Right, I’m off to make sausage rolls and mince pies for the freezer, after I’ve put our newly decorated kitchen back together…it’s so pretty, and clean, and tidy, I’ve waited YEARS for this and just in time for Christmas 🙂

Vintage Tree…

I really got over-excited this morning, when putting the vintage decorations on the tree on my studio.  I’m not sure why it made me so happy, I know in the scale of ‘life’ putting baubles on a tree really shouldn’t have such an impact but I really did enjoy myself.

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One of the first things I did was quickly photograph the boxes open, so I can put the baubles away ‘in the right place’ when the tree comes down.  I know.  I’m weird like that.  I also found myself leaving everything ‘exactly as it is’ in terms of crappy bits of string etc dangling down, I like the imperfections, it’s what makes these beauties so special.

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One of my favourites to open, was an old plastic Jacob’s crackers box that contained a very eclectic mix of trinkets folded in old bubble wrap.  I remember bidding for this but it arrived after Mum became quite ill and was shoved away untouched,  so opening it today was the first time I’d see the contents.  It was quite a large lot of decorations that went reasonably cheaply (oh my goodness, I’ve noticed the Ebay prices this year are through the roof for these things!!) perhaps because it contained some ‘tat’ and wasn’t as perfectly presented as some items.

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It has to be said, I do like a bit of tat and it’s usually here that the real gems lay.  Take the fairy, she is quite knackered, but was sitting at the very top of the box and I was so pleased to remember I’d managed to get a tree fairy in the mix.  Check out her dodgy eye!

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The same box contained tree more clip on birds (I’d already collected a few) which I really do love as Gran had similar on her tree, when we were kids.DSC_0026
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and bunnies…so cute!

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I remembered that a main attraction of this Ebay lot, apart from the fairy, was that it contained a load of clip-on candles, which really did make me a happy bunny.  Our primary school tree had these and they used to light them on the last day of school and we’d each get a present from underneath.  I’m obviously not planning to light these, that would be a bad idea.DSC_0059I also treated myself to a new set of lights, in the form of these little coloured lanterns.  The cable is a bit clunky but the colours are so nice and I think it really works with the old decorations.  I’d love to have an original set, but would be afraid of burning the house down, plus the idea of a bulb blowing and spending hours trying to work out which one doesn’t really appeal.
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Even the scary clown made it up there.

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I found it really difficult to get decent photos, especially of the whole tree so you get one minus the top.  It’s sitting by my work bench, in the middle of the window area, I’m quite nervous of the boys (or cat) knocking it and the misery of a pile of broken glass, I’m sure there’ll be at least one casualty but that’s life.

DSC_0026As it is, I’m happy to take the risk, on order to have something that makes me smile each time I see it.

Back to work, I have the bathrooms and hallway to clean today.  I’m going to put a festive movie on whilst I work, oh yes folks, I really am getting in the mood!

Christmas is Coming….Oh yes it is!

I had plans for lots more designs for the shop, but reality has struck and the knowledge (from previous years’ experience) that the next two weeks will be a whirl of kids Nativity plays, secret santa gifts to organise and trying to get the boys to sit down and write the many cards they want to send, means I’ve given up.   I decided that getting the house into shape, ordering any remaining gifts (oh yes, I got in there early and spent a couple of days ordering everything from the good old internet – I don’t really do shopping in the traditional sense, I’m afraid, I can’t be doing with the crowds and I ease my conscience with buying lots of handmade gifts from small sellers) and generally feeling Christmassy takes priority.

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I had promised the boys we’d start decorating last weekend, on Sunday.  I was quite pleased with the mantel, usually I have to fight the boys for some sense of design over their enthusiasm.  They normally win.  I was especially pleased with the little dog collar made from one of my Gran’s decorations, found randomly in the bottom of an old suitcase that came from the attic.  M dreams that I’ll drop this dog by accident, he HATES it, but I’m refusing to remove it at the moment.

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Most of our decorations have been collected over the years and are quite traditional.  The cute snowman cards were given by Mum to the boys a couple of years ago, I’m glad I kept them now as there is always pressure to recycle all cards, come the New Year, but these somehow ended up in the Christmas box.  I’m struggling, generally,  to get rid of anything with her writing on now, as happens when you lose a loved one.

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In some places the boys took over, they tend to want to put out every decoration they can find, in this case all the bristle animals in one spot.

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I bought the trees today, one large one for the living room and a smaller one for my studio (to cover with my collection of vintage baubles).  I was going to wait until the weekend, but I know it’ll be crazy busy then and in terms of tree wilt and needle drop, I can’t see a few days will make any difference.  The boys get to be in charge of decorating the tree, they will be very excited to see it tonight, on their return from school (I’ll take photos when it’s done).

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For the first time in ages, I bought a few new baubles, all Gisela Graham ones, bought on-line from Perrywood Garden Center which proved to be lots cheaper than many other on-line sellers.  I especially like the clip-on glass toadstools.

DSC_0027This afternoon I plan to make a start on writing cards, which is partly why I’m blogging, so I could show you these fabulous ones bought from Dee Beale, aren’t they lovely?

I realise for many this post is a little early, but with young boys it’s hard to ask them to wait to get in the Christmas mood and I tend to set the beginning of December as the start date for making merry.  Right, I’m off to bake a batch of mince pies whilst wearing one of the new aprons 🙂

Winter Deer Apron

This all started ages ago, when I was hunting down a vintage apron image I had once seen, which inspired the pockets on my apple aprons.  I had saved the image somewhere on my laptop but couldn’t find it, so I was searching google images when this cute little pattern from 1958 popped up.

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I couldn’t resist it and bought it straight away from an Etsy seller.

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It was clear to me that I was interested in the apron shape, less so in the appliqued images (although I might have changed my mind on this one and plan to make a santa/cowboy version for next year!) and that I really, really wanted a deer on there and two trees.  I’m not sure how I came about that exact plan, but that is often the case, I get a finished image in my head and then become obsessed by trying to re-create it in real life.  I did do some sketches in my notebook (which I have forgotten to photograph, sorry) and hunted down photos of deer as possible inspiration.  I was quite happy with this shape, taken from a decal image found via google.

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I then got a bit obsessive about different ways to do the trees, this was last year and I sketched plenty, only to choose something totally different in the end.  When I was changing my notice board over to ‘winter’ images, this wrap pack (I think designed by Patrick Hruby), bought from Wrap (I see their winter magazine is out, might have to pop that into my basket after writing this post) came out of my box and was pinned onto the board.  The little red tree, on the left, totally inspired the trees on my apron.

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That and the excessive amount of green fabric scraps I own….green is a favourite colour around here!

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The trees were sewn on and my sample apron placed on my tailors dummy, at which stage I re-thought the deer shape.  I had (as per the earlier photo) done a plain fabric mock-up of the finished apron, this was partly to determine the size was correct, but also to play with pattern placement etc, it’s always interesting to me that no matter how much you plan, once you start working in the final fabrics, things quite often change or no longer look right.  I wanted something a bit more kitsch and stylised, so a more ‘Bambi’ looking fawn offered the solution.

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I then stalled for a bit whist I decided to go with the bow, or no bow; at this point I was also a bit disappointed in the clumsiness of the zig-zagged tree outline, compared to the more delicate applique of the fawn.  I’m trying, these days, to live with things that mildly annoy me, as I doubt other people notice.

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I also considered some gold snowflakes on the upper right of the apron, but after trying out various methods (bought gold appliqued snowflakes, printed ones and some samples done in free machine embroidery, in gold thread) I decided it was too fussy and no method looked neat enough, so I left them off.DSC_0036

Finally, the finished apron.  It is true to the original pattern shape, so has slight ‘wings’ on either side when worn, from the curve, this is partly down to the stiffness the pockets and binding add, both of which should soften down with wear and washing.

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I was absolutely sure that I wanted to use the barbers stripe bias binding shown in the original pattern and last year bought some on-line that never turned up 😦  In a way I’m glad, as I think that, too, would have been a bit fussy.  Also, after ordering some mini red gingham that ended up being out of stock, I replaced it with a red and white candy strip for the apron back, which I really, really like.

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I think it’s obvious from all the above that one of the biggest challenges was photographing the apron.  The light at this time of year really isn’t great and red is notoriously hard to capture.  In the end I had to resort to settling for these slightly grainy images and some help from Photoshop.DSC_0039

Because I’m not sure this would have been good enough for a shop listing – ha ha!

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I’m happy.  I wore my own version to start some Christmas cooking earlier this week (bread sauce, stuffing, rum sauce etc for the freezer, it’s just us this year so I don’t want to be cooking all day and all these things freeze well for up to a month or so).  I am totally converted to apron wearing since making the apple ones, they make me feel almost glamorous in the kitchen and it certainly made me smile putting this one on.  On the price front, they are on higher at £33 each.  I need to make a profit and find increasingly that my margins are getting really tiny, these take up a lot of fabric and were time-consuming to sew.  On a completely separate note, I found myself hunting down original Babycham glasses on the internet this morning, it’s all about the deer around here this year!

You can find them here 🙂