Time to say goodbye…

My youngest is about to make the move up to secondary school so it’s time to say goodbye to his primary. I pretend I won’t miss it, but I will; I’ll especially miss my daily snippet of adult conversation (I once read a blog post of someone who also works from home and they wrote about coming across as a little crazy when they finally got into the ‘real world’ by over talking and being a bit loony with enthusiasm about being out of the house and around people – I can relate!).DSC_0060We’re ready, though. The enthusiasm has gone now for all the little necessities of primary school; I’ll be happy not to have to magic a costume out of thin air with no notice to be worn for just one day, and I dream of not doing the school run (although with two spectrum children that won’t be possible for a good while yet, in fact, it’ll get worse as I’ll have a double pick-up – they will be in two different schools – with daily motorway drive then a stressful drive directly through town, between the schools).DSC_0009One thing we stopped doing ages ago was making teachers gifts. We started off well but then dropped into the habit of adding money to the class joint pot (actually, we used to do both). Looking through old photos whilst cleaning out my library I’m amazed at how much effort we went to, so here are a few (click on the titles to go to the relevant posts):DSC_0241(when were my kids EVER this cute!!!)

2010: Strawberry Jam and Lavender Birds


2011: Blackcurrant Jam, Little Birds and BagsDSC_0026

(Jam recipe is here)

2012: Apple Lavender BagsDSC_0012I can’t find a post for these but I remember I embroidered messages on the back of them for each teacher.

2013: Flower BroochesDSC_0044DSC_0050

2014: Flower Brooches and Linen MiceDSC_0066

The Christmas ones…

2010: Santas


2013: Chocolates and Little BirdsDSC_0049DSC_0054

There will have been other Christmas gifts but I can’t find them in my photos and I’m getting vertigo from scrolling on the laptop (not kidding, sadly).

As anyone with kids will know, the last few weeks of school are crazy, especially when in year 6 and it is definitely with mixed emotions that we will be saying ‘goodbye’.

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?).


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.


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).

Teachers Gifts 2013…

We’ve just written the cards for this year’s teachers gifts, as next week, school’s out for summer – hurrah!  I have to say, we are ready, I can’t wait for a break from school run and to hang out with the boys for a bit…no doubt, come September I will be eagerly awaiting their return but let’s not think about that now.


So this year it’s flower brooch cards.  I had a few left over from the shop.


When I designed them, I though it was a genius idea to have the brooches mounted into cards, so they could be a kind of two in one thing, a gift and card together (the first being made for my Mum on her birthday back in 2011), but sales show that actually, people prefer to just buy the brooches on their own (which come mounted on a small square of card anyway).  So rather than have them sit in a box I figured they’d make nice gifts….there’s a little less child input than our normal gifts, but the boys enjoyed choosing the colours and writing the cards.

I thought it might be nice to do a round-up of past gifts, partly for myself to be honest, so below are some images and the links to the relevant posts (not sure that links show up well since I migrated to the new blog layout, but I do try to make relevant things clickable).

July 2009, for F’s key-workers at pre-school it was a mixture of chocolates, soap and one of the original lavender birds…wow, I’d forgotten they looked like this, the design has come a long way, I think.

DSC_0239 DSC_0241Next up was July 2010, with a mixture of bought notebooks (from Sarah Waterhouse), lavender birds and homemade jam all packed up with little birds from the shop.

DSC_0235 DSC_0249 DSC_0240 DSC_0230

December 2010, Santas – I hope to make some of these for the shop this year.

DSC_0229 DSC_0235 DSC_0263

July 2011, was a mixture of jam with little birds, again, and linen bags.  We’ve borrowed this idea today, with a jar of home made jam for a training teaching assistant complete with bird.  We also gave the jam at Christmas (for the then, new teachers).

DSC_0026 DSC_0036 DSC_0034 DSC_0032Last year I made the apple lavender bags, and the boys wrote messages on the back that I free machine embroidered on.  We also gave little birds at Christmas, mounted on cards with messages and some pretty foil wrapped chocolates added (I never photographed or blogged these as we were too busy)


I rather enjoyed writing this post, mainly because to find the photos, I looked at the entire media library for this blog and got all nostalgic over the hundreds of images from the past.  It was quite fun, after I waited an age for them to upload.  Sorry if it’s a bit self-indulgent, it’s just nice to look back sometimes.

Must dash as I have Sunday lunch to start cooking 🙂

Oh and thanks for the fabulous response to the apple aprons, I was so pleased they were popular, and just so I’ve mentioned it, the shop will be shutting down for a big chunk of the summer holidays as of next week, we are around on and off but it’s too patchy to keep it open full-time.

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!!

Christmas is coming….arghhhh!

This week has flown by in a blur, both the boys have various parties/concerts/non-uniform events and all on different days in different places so I’ve been mostly out and about.  I still have a few things to sew, items that could be left if I don’t find the time so not too stressful and I have just finished writing the last Christmas card which is one more thing to tick off the list.

This year’s cards have come from The Black Apple

and a new Festive stamp to add to my ever-expanding collection by Noolibird and bought from their shop on NOTH.

I’m also pleased to have ticked teachers gifts off the list earlier this week.  I had many ideas, I usually like to do something with the boys that they can get fully involved with.  F wanted to make soap snow globes again (just looked and not sure I ever blogged the ones we made last year…they were from a great post over at Alpha Mom and were such fun to do) and I’d planned to make jars of Biscotti after reading this great post at hardaker & pope but in the end we ran out of time and instead I took inspiration from the 2 little fellows above.  They are adorable and came from Sarah of Ditsy Bird, she kindly offered to paint the boys names on the back, such a lovely idea.

I was hoping to make my usual felt robins, only slightly larger with the boys messages embroidered along the side, however F insisted on a Father Christmas decoration and who am I to disappoint?

Felix wrote his name on the bottom (obviously, I wrote C’s for him), there wasn’t much room for a longer message and I then machine embroidered over the pencil….should really have used an air eraser pen, ho-hum.

The boys drew cards and helped me to package Santa up with a couple of nice chocolates in each parcel.  I rather like them, they might be added to the shop next year with a bit of modification.

Well, I was planning to write more but since starting this post what was a pretty little bit of snow has turned into a full on heavy fall, we were due to pick F up with Carols in the playground later but I have a feeling we might get a call to collect him early.

The Tweed Bunny Purse giveaway still has a couple of days to run so do please do leave a comment on that post if you’d like to be entered.

Best dash!