Wednesday, 31 December 2008


It is in the early hours of the morning on 31st December and I am writing this post. Why, you might ask, are you not asleep? Well I can not lie down without being in pain because I have hurt my back!!

Whilst putting the washing away, yes Christmas is over, I was bending down to open my knicker drawer and that is when it happened.

The only way I can describe it is it felt like ripping fabric in my lower back and I was stuck!! I ended up with my hands on the side of the bed, in pain, stuck and feeling a right twit. Sophie thought I was mucking around. For the rest of yesterday I could not stand up straight and waddle like a duck with my bum sticking out!
This is painting a lovely picture isn't it? I had things to do to get ready for friends staying today and I am walking like a duck, great. Got through the day and dragged myself to bed. Why I bothered goodness only knows as I could not move and it hurt a lot. Hubby offered to rub in some deep heat which made my back feel like it was on fire. 'Oh good, it is working then' he said with a smirked on his face, you just wait matey. Got some sleep then got woken up by the cat purring very loudly in my ear!

Today it has eased off but now it is playing up again. I have my hubby's 40th/New Years Eve party tonight and I have new shoes which I may not be able to pick up the box to get to said shoes let alone actually walk/waddle in them!
I have not hurt my back in years, even when pregnant I had no back problems( sciatica, well there is a whole tale there in itself)

Typical, manged to not be ill over Christmas ( which I usually am) unlike many of my friends, but get caught out at the last minute. Anyway, not to be beaten we are off to take our friends from Norfolk and Derbyshire for a cream tea at Heligan then to Lanhydrock for the afternoon then quiet time before the party. Fireworks at midnight in the village. Should be good fun.

What do you have planned for New Year?

Whatever it is have fun!
Thanks for reading this tale of woe. I am going to see if I can get some sleep otherwise I shall be fit for nothing tomorrow. My knitted cardigan is growing and I will update later in the week.

Take care

Sunday, 28 December 2008

A Christmas Surprise from Australia..... Many thanks Lise

I first 'met' Lise from The Chocolate Cat when we were swap partners in a Cupcake Swap. I was delighted when she signed up for my Christmas Decoration swap too. Then a couple of weeks ago a parcel arrived in the post for me (I love surprise post) and it was in Christmas wrapping paper. I emailed a thank you and said that I would leave it for Christmas Day. So come the 25th I could not wait to open it..... This is what I found inside! Some lovely napkins which are much more fun than my plain red ones and I am going to use them when our friends come at New Year. Some chocolate and lovely ceramic gingerbread man (Lise also sent me some lovely cupcake ones in the summer too).

A calender of Australia and a local guide to read up on the area which is a great idea and I will remember that one for the future. The calender is going into my sewing room as I often need to know dates etc and have to go downstairs to look at the one in the kitchen. There is also a tour guide for Lise area and if I look at it much more I shall be booking a flight. It looks a gorgeous place to visit and live.

Also some lovely Moda fabric.

I have never actually seen any Moda fabric in my hands before and it really is lovely. This is very generous of Lise to send this and I shall think very carefully about what I shall use it for.

This was totally out of the blue and a really kind thought. Lise said in her card a thank you for organising the swap and she really did not have to do this. I really appreciate Lise thinking of me at this time of year and she has become a blogging friend who has stayed even after the swap had finished. I hope this continues and I wish Lise and her family a Happy New Year and much more visits and links in blogland as we go into 2009.

Best wishes to you all.


Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Happy Birthday to me......Tra la la la.....

23rd December 2008
Today was my birthday and I got woken up by a little girl who was clearly more excited than me. A cup of Christmas tea was dutifully brought to my bedside then I was jumped upon, 'Come on Mummy it is present time'.
    Bleary eyed I sat up, (we had had friends round the night before and got to bed quite late, when did my party animal skills leave me?) and sipped my tea. I have to say that I was very spoiled with my presents and Sophie was very good because when she was two she kept ripping all of the paper off my presents and it was the fastest birthday I had ever experienced then or since!

    Sophie's eye was caught by a rather large box which she wanted me to open and I really had no idea what it was and hubby sat there with a grin on his face as it was from him. I was delighted to find it was a record player that you can plug into you TV, UBS for an MP3 player etc. We are playing some of our records from the 1980's as I type this post. It will get used a lot particularly when Mr Indigo Blue goes radio control car clubbing on Friday's and it will be turned up if Sophie goes with him too.
    This arrived yesterday,

Hubby answered the door and asked him by name, two apple trees so we will have to put the fence up in the garden very quickly now as it will need to grow along the fence rather than upwards as a usual tree. He then rang his parents to thank them because it is his birthday next week and one has a birthday tag and one has a Christmas tag and they said glad they have arrived but they are not for you! So I have two apple trees which will go nicely with my blackberry bush. So plenty of jam next year and other apple goodies.

We decided to go to The Eden Project for a meal but it closes at 6pm today so it was lunch instead.

Got there and half of Cornwall seemed to be there too. So we went and had a look round the Biomes first then had a lovely baked potato with hot salsa bean sauce, Sophie had a pile of cheese but she finished it bless her.

My camera kept steaming up which is why it looks a little foggy.

There was a Christmas mini market and Sophie had a go at candle dipping,

When we got home Sophie asked if we could light it, then she sang Happy Birthday to me out of the blue (very sweet) and then said, 'can we blow it out now)!

There was a large Christmas tree at Eden too,

Guess what it is made out of.......

Plastic carrier bags!

We had hoped to stay until the lights came on but Sophie was getting a bit tired and it was drizzling to we decided to go home.
When we got back we all sat down and watched this...

This was the first proper film that Sophie saw at the cinema and the worst bit was the trailers. Even thought there were lots of young kids watching it they still had trailers for films older then their certificated age. Sophie loved it and because she has heard a lot of ABBA in this house she sang her way through most of the film and really enjoyed watching it again tonight.

We had tea and then had some of these,

Only three candles otherwise the plate would melt!

The day went very quickly as it always does and Sophie was very good t going to bed. She was fascinated by the record player and called the records big CD's.

I have nearly finished my blue knitted bag and it has turned out well. It will form part of my new 2009 section in Etsy.

A Christmas thought for you....

Sophie: "What if Father Christmas runs out of wrapping paper? After all he has a lot of presents to wrap."

Mummy: "Oh, he has a wrapping paper machine that is run by one of Elves, he will have plenty."

Sophie (looking at me with suspicion) "Oh, are you sure?"

Mummy: "Yep"

Take care.xx

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Ballet success.....

How could I have forgotten!? It has been on our minds for weeks, the practising, the lessons (early in the morning!), trying to find the right ballet outfit as it can not be any old outfit oh no. Mummy's sleepless nights wondering how she was going to get her daughters bob hair into a 'ballet dancer's Bun'! The possibility that said daughter would back out at the last minute but no, worries were not justified and Sophie's very first ballet exam went very well on Saturday 13th December.
Sorry no actual pictures as we are not allowed to take any. Sophie really looked the part and so sweet. If there were not other people there I dare say a tear would have appeared, it was one of those 'Slushy Mummy Moments'.

Well done my little dancer, you went in with your little group and dance teacher and came back out 20 minutes later with a smile and a chocolate Father Christmas. They all passed, it was the Pre-primary level.

Could be the first exam of many.

Just wanted to share that as I perhaps do not write a great deal about my life outside of craft.


Friday, 19 December 2008

Christmas Holiday last.

It is Friday and technically the first day of my much needed break. However, as is often the case things have not gone to plan. Hubby and I were woken up at 2.50m with a very upset Sophie who had a tummy ache, she was crying and as white as a sheet, which really worried me and she was cold to the touch. Now, previous experience told us that she was not putting it on and we were concerned. So in the end after asking numerous questions she tucked up with us and I cuddle her for a bit. Eventually she said that she would go back to her own room. 7am arrived and she felt the same and got back into bed, which is unlike her. So I rang the school to say that she would not be coming in on the last day of term. We were all tired due to the disrupted night too. She has only had 2 days off school including today all term which is pretty good going when you consider the hot bed of germs primary schools are at this time of year. So my quiet start to the day was not quiet what I had in mind but Sophie was really good and quiet and we decided to have toast and honey in bed with tea for breakfast. the rest of the day went equally quiet making cards, playing with plasticine and having a go at making a sort of Christmas arrangement together. What do you think?

A couple of years ago I bought this at Creative Stitches. I had seen it on previous visits but then I decided to give it a go....

Basically with this you can not only make decent arrangements in next to no time but with a variety of things, including candles! It looks like this without anything in it and you can fill each bit with water or sand etc depending what you are using. It comes apart so that you can make arrangements of different levels. You can then clean them in the dishwasher.

Anyway, thought that this year I would use those Christmassy stick things that you can get in supermarkets and garden centres. I have several and have never really known what to do with them. So, Sophie and I decided to see what we could do. Hubby came home and said how nice it was, without any prompting (well trained you see) and we had fun choosing everything and cutting bits up etc.

A handy little gadget and I have used it many times. Glad I gave in and bought it.

After lunch Sophie was low again and packed up on the sofa with her quilt that I made in the summer and dozed, so maybe I was right to keep at her home afterall. So I managed to fit in a bit of sewing. Made over the week three bags from my own pattern, two purses and started to put togther some pincushion kits with Cath Kidston and cotton fabric. I want to put some new items in Etsy for 2009. More on that another time.

Off to finish our Christmas shopping tomorrow while Sophie has a play-date with a school friend.

Take care all.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Christmas Swap Delight.. Thankyou Julia

I was lucky enough to swap with Julia at Primrose Corner due to another swapper withdrawing due to family issues, and the lovely parcel arrived at the weekend.
Lots of very interesting packages.
The first one that I opened was this lovely star!!

It is made from sparkly felt with lots of beading, sequins and embroidery stitches. It is a lovely colour. The hanging loop ribbon reminded me of something and then I remembered that is is the same as that which Julia put in the fabric giveaway that I was lucky to win. It is really nice ribbon and goes very well with this decoration.
The next parcel had this hidden inside....

Again with a blue theme this lovely pomander with loads of fabric Yo Yo's and beads must have taken ages to make. The colours are lovely and I am sure that I can detect some scrummy Amy Butler fabric in there. This is an absolutely gorgeous idea. Both of these decorations are in my kitchen diner where I have bluey themed stitched textiles from my City and Guilds Course and look just right with them.. My husband was very impressed and has said everyday since they arrived how nice they are. I was amazed that there was a third decoration, but Julia said that she wanted to send something in my colours as the blue theme had been for the previous swap partner. I would have been very pleased with just the blue ones as blue is one of my favourite colours so it was very generous of Julia to sit and make yet another....

This cute little tree is made out of fabric and has buttons on the back and embroidery and buttons on the front. It is hanging on my tree like I have had it for years, and I will have it for years to come as well.

Thinking how lovely they all were I then discovered a candle in a gold glass too...

Then a lovely fabric cone with chocolate coins in.....

and even Tiger, the cat, was not left out, look at this huge pompom. We have re-wrapped this so that he can have something to open on the 25th!

These items along with Nan's great swap will be treasured and I am astounded at the time and effort that craft bloggers go to for people that they have never meet but have a common interest and love of the same thing ... Crafts and Making. As each day goes by I am more and more thankful that I started a blog. I have 'met some lovely people, learnt new skills and crafts, been inspired with new ideas and improved my use of the Internet and digital camera. Wish I had started one much sooner.

Many many thanks Julia, it was such fun to open and you have put in so much time. I hope you and your family have a great Christmas and a Happy and safe New Year!
Take care all.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Etsy up-date and Un-expected Sales...

I have just send off and Etsy order to a lady in California and we are both hoping that it will reach her before Christmas. Late last week I even had a sale on my web shop with only a couple of hours left before it shut down! Typical. Anyway it did give me a chance to update my Etsy shop and move some of the items from my web shop over to Etsy. Here is a sample. I am having a problem with Picassa that if I want to put multiple pictures on my blog they seem to be the wrong size and will not load.

Cath Kidston fabric pincushion. 1

Cath Kidston Pincushion 2.

(Crikey! SOLD already).

Cath Kidston fabric zippered purse.

I have three silk covered glasses cases left which are lovely and much better than the ones given when you buy your glasses. I have used mine for over a year and I love it.
Many thanks for the lovely comments and emails about my pincushion tutorial. I had over 50 hits on that post alone which is one of the highest I have ever had. I am thinking of making up kits with other fabric that I have for the pincushion, including other Cath Kidston fabric. What do you think?
Anyway, off for some much needed beauty sleep take care everyone and keep popping by.

PS There seems to be a problem with the pictures so I will sort that out whenI get home form work. Or view them in my Etsy store in the mean time. Sorry. Right-to ho, I think I have sorted it out.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Eight- Square Patchwork Pincushion Tutorial.

As promised sometime ago a tutorial of the over-sized pincushions that I made from Cath Kidston fabric.
I have to say that the size of many of my pincushions can depend on the size of the fabric at the time. The floral fabric is Cath Kidston which I bought as part of a bag of patchwork fabric, so it had already been cut into the squares seen. This tutorial will show you how I made the pincushion and not the size as it could be adjusted to suit whatever fabric you have.

Cut a total of 8 squares, 4 for the front and 4 for the back. I have used a bright pink cotton fabric to compliment the Cath Kidston fabric.

Pin a floral and pink square together in pairs and stitch using 1cm seam allowance.

By putting the pins at right angles to the edge of the fabric they will be easier to pull out (I am left handed which is why the pins are facing this way), you will not hit them with the machine needle should you forget to remove them and you are less likely to catch yourself when sewing and get blood on your work!

After each seam you should always iron it flat. Whilst studying for all of my courses (degree mainly) we were always told 'sew then iron, then sew and iron'. Boring to hear at the time but very true. You get a perfectly flat item at the end.

You will then to add the pairs together to make two sets of four squares. The key here is to try and match up the centre which is nit always easy. It looks right when pinned and then once stitched, you open it up and it is off centre again! I tip that I have learnt to gain a matching centre is by ironing the seams in opposite directions. See picture below:

I hope you can see in this picture that the seams are going in opposite directions that way the seams can meet up without any extra bulk of fabric to push it off line. Try it on a sample ,put a pin directly through the seam before sewing. Then re-iron the seams again.

Carefully stitch as before.

Hopefully you will end up with a lovely matching seam centre like this.

Stitch both sets together to end up with the above.

Put right sides together and again try and match up the seams. Decide where the opening will be to put the stuffing in and stitch around the outside.
Again, put the pins in at right angles to the fabric edge.

Once turned round the right way your pincushion should look like this. Push out the corners so that they look as neat as possible.

Stuff the pincushion firmly and tuck in the raw edges.

Line up the edges carefully and pin. Then using matching thread stitch up the gap using small stitches.

Put the end of the decorative braid in the centre of the pincushion and attach it with a few stitches, then wrap it around the cushion to look like a parcel. Again stitch it in place.

The joins of the cord is then hidden by using buttons. here I have layered two flower shaped buttons in colours to compliment the fabric. I took the needle right through the pincushion and put another button on the back. By stitching right through the pincushion through both buttons will make the centre dip down and make it firmer in the centre. To cast off I wrapped the thread around the button and knotted it so that it sat underneath the button. You must make sure that it is knotted off securely.

Once I had finished the pincushion I saw that there was enough Cath Kidston fabric to make a needle case to go with it.

I cut the piece of fabric that I had left into an even rectangle and stitched a matching strip of braid down the centre front of the needle case cover.

Using some left over pink fabric I then lined the needle case to hide the stitching and to give it extra strength.

I then used pink craft felt to make pages for the needles to go into and stitched this through the centre of the case.

Very simple to do and gained a matching needle case too.

There is perhaps nothing really new here but for anyone who has not made something like this before it may be of some help. The set will be put in my Etsy shop in the next few days.

Since creating this tutorial I have created kit versions of this pincushion and they are available in my Etsy shop. They come with full colour picture instructions etc. Or you can place an order and specify a colour scheme.

Take care.

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