Bags, bags, bags…

I’m writing this post knowing that I can’t publish it until after Christmas as the intended recipients might well be reading, but I am really pleased with myself finishing up a few of my present sewing list today so I’m writing whilst I’m all enthusiastic.

It seems the thing for me this year is bags, I can’t get enough of them.

I knew I wanted to make a simple tweed bag that I could decorate with some of my flower brooches for my sister-in-law, it’s basically a larger version of a project I was working on back in late summer and that should have been completed for the shop for listing before Christmas, but due to illness, never was (more on that in another post).  In the end, I remembered there were some bag patterns in Ellen Luckett Baker’s book 1-2-3 Sew and I settled on the Tiered Bag pattern.  I think I’ve said before that I’m not very good at using patterns, I have a tendancey to mess with them and certainly with the making instructions (which I often don’t read, silly really as the writers I’m sure have spent many hours testing them), but this was super easy to make and I whipped it up in no time and I’m so glad I just went with Ellen’s pattern and didn’t spend hours working one out myself.  I did use different linings and interfacing, but that’s simply my personal preference and experience of using the weight of the fabrics I chose.

Because the bag was so quick and easy (this is such a great book, I really do recommend it) it left me plenty of time to play with the decoration, which was really the point.  I stitched up a couple of removable flower brooches in matching golds and creams, in real life the colours are a little more subtle and the tweed is plain-ish herringbone in pale gold so it sits nicely as a backdrop for the flowers.  I’m really pleased with the finished bag, so much so I fancy one for myself!

It has a nice matching lining with a pocket, in Acorn Chain by Joel Dewberry and I figured that one or both of the brooches can be removed and maybe worn on a coat collar etc making this quite versatile and great for a special occasions.

So, as I was on a roll I also made a couple more of the Market Totes that led me to Ellen’s book in the first place.  Those that have been reading may remember that I made some as teachers gifts at the end of last year, the pattern at the time was released as promotion for the book on the blog Chronicle Books and it’s what made me go buy the book.  These are one of my favourite gifts to give and are so quick and easy to make.

Oddly, I used my original pattern which I cut from intuition and some measurements given in the post (my printer doesn’t do enlarging….it probably does but I haven’t the faintest idea how to work it), even though I could have traced the pattern from the book, gosh I’m lazy.  I meant to compare my version to the actual so see how far out I am.

Inside is a little message for Gran and Auntie T 🙂

Hope you had a lovely Christmas, we will no doubt as usual do nothing what so ever for New Year’s Eve, I’m normally in bed quite early to be honest as the kids don’t allow for a lie-in but whatever your plans I hope it’s a good one 🙂

The kindness of bloggers…

We have recently arrived back from the hospital where we collected M who had his collar pin operation yesterday (and is doing very well, although he’s in some pain which is to be expected). It’s all a bit stressful with small kids, their interest lasts about 10 seconds and they are always attempting to touch buttons/pull cables that they shouldn’t so by the time we arrived home I was getting a bit tense and short tempered to be honest.  However, waiting on the doormat was the most lovely surprise package all the way from the lovely Mia in snowy Finland.

I was so excited I actually waited until we’d had lunch before sneaking upstairs to my studio to open it in peace (I am the kind of person who likes to savour opening gifts).   I’ve been reading Mia’s blog for a long time now and she makes the most wonderful things, in fact we are enjoying her snowman coasters at the moment that I bought last year and one of her little birds hold my keys, which she also sent me as a generous gift.

Inside is the most beautiful pouch,

complete with Mia’s always thoughtful matching lining, beautifully made

and containing some wonderful goodies to cheer up my miserable self and family.  I am in fact munching on the chocolate as I type (it’s delicious) and the boys are happily sucking their Moomin lollies, in a moment I shall pop downstairs and put the grey felt heart on our tree.

Thank you dearest Mia for your kind and thoughtful gift, it really has cheered me immensely and reminds me of what a wonderful bunch of people I have been lucky to get to know through ‘blogworld’ and how much I appreciate the community I have found on-line.  I often find it hard to explain blogging and tweeting to people who have no real interest and think it’s all a bit weird, the thing I find the hardest to explain is that the friendships you make are very real and mean an awful lot.  Let’s face it, most of you reading understand this but I just felt it was worth saying.

OK, I’d best get my Nurse Nancy hat on and see how M is doing….maybe a tiny bit more chocolate first 😉

Birthday Gifts…

We went to my Sister’s house over the weekend for her birthday.  We had a lovely time eating, playing outside in the sun, terrorising her cat and dog (the boys that is, not me) and generally enjoying ourselves.

For her gifts I took this wonderful scarf by Donna Wilson.  In all honesty I was buying one for myself when I realised it would also be a perfect gift for her, I do love a bit of Donna Wilson.

I also included some of the most amazing chocolates ever, in the form of a box of Artisan du Chocolat, Couture chocolates.  I used to work near the store in London and it was a treat to buy a box of these for very special occasions, I included a tin of their famous Salted Caramels as well, I have a bit of a thing about chocolate and salt together.

Finally I added a sheep biscuit cutter that I bought ages ago from Hus and Hem, I had tucked this away for Christmas (I like to do that over the year, it keeps the cost more manageable) but I decided to give it now.  For those who don’t know, because I don’t mention it often (ha ha) we are from a Yorkshire sheep farming family so sheep, tweed, and anything similar always go down well with us both.

After all the lovely comments on the recent post including the acorns (thank you for such positive feed back), I made up a set with a plaited hanging thread to attach to the outside of the package, I did consider making the hanging loop in some kind of gold ribbon but it looked wrong, I slightly stitched the hanging thread to the leaves to keep a nice arrangement when it’s hung (on a cupboard or drawer knob maybe?) but the acorns dangle freely, which is quite nice.

Lastly, I’m sorry I am yet again behind in my blog reading and commenting so do please bear with me if you haven’t heard from me for a while, I will get around to catching up with everyone’s news soon as I do so enjoy reading other people’s blogs.  There’s rather a lot of ‘stuff’ going on around here and it’s taking up all my time so I’m struggling a bit but it will all settle soon, I’m sure, these things tend to in the end 🙂

All Smiles…

The holidays are still going well.  I am genuinely surprised how much sewing I’m managing and in such a way that I don’t feel guilty about ‘abandoning’ the boys either. One large factor is that they are playing quite a lot together, this has never really happened before but they appear to have hit an age that works for them both to be interested in the same games and it’s something I am very grateful for.  We are also still enjoying our daily walk which is a huge bonus and bodes well for our up-coming holiday in the Dales, but more on all that another time.

I was absolutely thrilled to get an unexpected package this morning from the lovely and very talented Mia (who makes the most beautiful felted and knitted bags and pouches, so worth checking out).  It’s a ‘thank you’ gift with card, for some recent orders Mia had placed with me (she was one of the people who pre-ordered a Mr Fox and wrote a blushingly nice post about him here).  How great is that?  You find people who like your work enough to buy some (and who return for more, always a good sign) and then they send you a gift as a thanks!! I could get very used to this 😉

Note the tweed, the felted bird, the colours (all so ‘me’) and the perfect touch of handmade notecard.  I was very smiley this morning.  Thank you Mia.

I also packed up an order for a Wool Bunny (in a Betsy Dress) for a friend who I sadly don’t get to see often enough.  I decided to pop an extra cape in with the package as I’ve been making them for the new Foxes, I’m pleased with how well they also fit the Wool Bunnies.

I always find the Bunnies quite difficult to pack; they go in a padded envelope, but really need an bit of extra protection

for the moment I use brown paper for a bit of added support but it’s one of those nagging packaging issues that bothers me.  Once I have planned all my new Winter products I’ll take some time to look at possible new solutions.

Right, I have plenty to do this afternoon, including making new Betsy dresses as I’m down to my last one, quick coffee and play with the boys then back to it!

And yet again, the packaging wins me over…

It’s pretty easy to get my attention, just put something in nice packaging and I’m all over it.  During my Yorkshire weekend, we (my Sister and I) popped into Waitrose for a quick shop and I took it as an opportunity to buy some sweet things for the boys.

I totally fell in love with the boxes of these Artisan Biscuits, the contents were rather nice too, especially the  Lemon Curd flavour and they were shaped beautifully as well (sorry, we ate them before I could get the camera out!).

I couldn’t resist adding a couple of boxes of fruit Yo-Yo’s to the trolly, again with pretty nifty packaging.

I also recently fell in love with these ‘Postcarden‘ which I saw on Mother Baby Earth blog (if you don’t read Kath’s amazing blog you really should, she was once kind enough to feature The Linen Cat and I’ve been following ever since).

I let the boys choose which one they wanted, Felix opted for ‘Conservatory’ and Charlie for ‘Allotment’

once assembled and filled with the provided cress seeds, they were super quick to sprout

unfortunately, Felix wasn’t as impressed with the taste! He was happy to nibble a bit but wouldn’t let me put any in his egg sandwiches.  As the name suggests, the reverse of the box is a postcard so you can mail them off as gifts, needless to say I’ve stocked up on a few for the many parties F gets invited to now he’s at school; honestly, his social life is much better than mine, he seems to be out partying most weekends 🙂

And the winner is….me, apparently!

What a lucky gal I am, the lovely Shelley who won the Linen Mouse giveaway has very kindly sent me some of her fabulous fingerless gloves as a return gift, I am delighted (as you can imagine).

And they come in their own matching bag!!!

They are perfect for me and they match my winter coat, which is red, with the little buttons on the side.

Thanks Shelley, loving your shop, especially the bright colours and I see you have started a blog, which is great because we can all come and stalk you now 🙂

Right, off to prance about the house in my new gloves before going to pick up Mr C from Pre-school, oh yes, he made it in today, my 3rd morning child free! there will be cake baking this afternoon to celebrate.