Sunday, 28 December 2008

The generosity of friends

I just thought I'd finish off the year by showing you how generous my bloggy friends are.

At the end of November, a few of us Midlands crafters had a meet up at Ikea in Nottingham. There was me and my DD, Apryl (MeridianAriel), Sam (IncyWincy) plus her DD, Kerry (Pennydog), Amy (LucyKateCrafts), Katy (I'maGingerMonkey) and her DS, and Lyndsey (EthelandEdnasTearoom).
I received a couple of surprise gifts whilst I was there.

Firstly Katy gave me a lovely smelling candle in a tin, a roll of ribbon, and a little handmade stocking filled with chocolates.

Then Lyndsey (who I met for the first time that day) gave me a fab little organza goodie bag. In it was a origami folded paper box, one of her fab embroidered Christmas Tree hanging ornaments, some tiny red pegs, 2 lengths of ribbon, a bobbin of thread, a few chocolates and my name spelt with scrabble tiles.

DD even received a little embroidered denim drawstring bag filled with chocolate coins.



Not long after the meet, Kerry said I should submit my Christmas Ornament Swap Stockings into the Crafter...oo! Christmas Decoration Challenge. Not thinking much of it I added a pic and was shocked to find that I made the final 3!!

The other 2 finalists were Lyndsey's Christmas Tree Decorations and Izabela's (Knit and Crochet) Crocheted Trees.


The next stage of the competition was for the members of the forum to vote for their favourite. And you could have knocked me down with a feather when I WON!!! The prize was a £20 Amazon voucher so I'm going to have great fun choosing some books on quilting.


Thank you everyone who voted - you really boosted my confidence.


The final gift was sent to me by my friend in the west - Megan (MaximumRabbitDesigns). She had entered the Folksy Angels Christmas Decoration Competition - where the brief was to make a decoration from recycled items or items from your craft stash - no buying new supplies!


She did fabulously well with her paper angel and unknown to me sent it with a couple of items I bought from her!! (If you haven't already seen her Button Christmas Tree hop over to her blog - seeing is believing as it's FAB-U-LOUS!!)


The Angel has now settled in well with our Christmas Themed Russian Dolls (another thing that Megan is mad about!!)

I also wanted to thank all the crafters who have have been my swap partners over the year. I finally totted them up and I was involved in 15!! (This didn't include 2 fabric swaps or the mini quilt I still have to make for Lucy (LucyLocketRecycledHerPocket) - I haven't forgotten honest!!)


I received truly great gifts from Australia (twice), Spain, America (twice), Scotland and various locations in England. I hope that you all loved what I sent to you!!


Although I missed my first Bloggiversary, I shall hit 100 posts sometime in the first few months of 2009, and a customary giveaway will be in order. As I don't have a "signature" make - I'd love some feedback on what you think would be a popular prize.


Finally, I hope you've all had a very Merry Christmas and are looking forward to the Hogmaney celebrations and the arrival of 2009.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

My final project of 2008 - A Softie Doll

To finish off the year I decided to make a Rag Doll for my 6 month niece, Alice.

I found a lovely tutorial for one via the Flickr group 60piggies Softie Dolls, on Nicole Owen's blog 60piggies.

Due to Alice's age I decided to make the doll totally from fleece so theoretically she can be washed.

I think she's turned out pretty cute - even though I say so myself!!

I hope she likes it.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Christmas MeMe

This was emailed to me by Apryl.

Welcome to the Christmas edition of getting to know your friends.

Okay, here's what you're supposed to do, and try not to be a SCROOGE!!! Just copy (not forward) this entire email, and paste into a new e-mail that you can send. Change all the answers so that they apply to you. Then send this to a whole bunch of people you know, INCLUDING the person that sent it to you......Tis' the Season to be NICE!

1. Wrapping Paper or gift bags?
Wrapping paper - this year its plain red.

2. Real tree or Artificial tree?
DH insists on a real one but then says he's allergic to it so can't help dress it!! But I think they do look better than artificial ones.

3. When do you put up the tree?
Usually a couple of weeks before the big day. This year we did it today.

4. When do you take the tree down?
12th night of course!!

5. Do you like eggnog?
I've just had to Google it so I can safely say that I've never had it - but whipped raw eggs -yuk!!

6. Favourite gift received as a child?
Probably a bike although I did get a pony but not sure it was for Christmas!!

7. Hardest person to buy for?
Always DH!!

8. Easiest person to buy for?
The in-laws as they always want Warner Hotel Vouchers.

9. Do you have a Nativity Scene?
No - but we have a fabric panel book I made for DD that tells the Xmas story.

10. Post or E-mail Christmas cards?
Post – as most of the people we send to don’t have E-mail!! But we always include a recent picture of the kids and a little letter saying what we’ve been up to over the last 12 months.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
I seem to remember I got a blender off my Ex!!

12. Favourite Christmas Movie?
“Miracle on 34th Street”.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
As late as possible!! I’m still trying to think of what to buy never mind hand over the cash for them!!

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
Probably – but depending upon what it was most likely either swapped it for something I did like or donated it to a good cause

15. Favourite thing to eat at Christmas?
I love those party packs you get with tiny pretzels etc in – oh and Twiglets!!

16. Lights on the tree?
We have a mix of white and coloured – some static, some blinking.

17. Favourite Christmas songs?
Although I’m in no way religious I love Christmas carols. I’m afraid I hate “Christmas” songs – Slade and the like – especially when piped in stores as Musak around September.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
It depends – this year we are going to my brother-in-laws but New Year will be here at home.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer?
Only if I Gooogle them!! But I can remember – Rudolph, Prancer, Dancer, Donna and Blitzen.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star?
We have a gold angel.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?
Morning – although sometimes we open a small one last thing on Xmas Eve. I grew up with my parents working on Xmas Day (they ran a hotel) so we only had our stockings to keep us going until they has cooked other people their Xmas dinners.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year?
I dislike shopping throughout the year and especially at Xmas!!

23. Favourite ornament theme or colour?
We just have a mish-mash of ornaments etc from over the years though my favourite baubles are some clear glass droplet ones.

24. Favourite for Christmas dinner?
This is a hard one as I’m vegetarian so no turkey, chipolatas and angels on horseback for me!! I do love roast potatoes and parsnips and Brussels though, normally accompanied by some sort of goats cheese pastry tart. And it has to be Christmas pud and custard (but with no added brandy) for afters.

25. What do you want for Christmas?
The body I had as an 18 year old, but baring that – the new Dick Francis book, the new Il Divo CD and I’d love a Bernina of my own!!

So now you know a little more about me!!

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

My first real go at Applique

I've been asked to make a couple of items lately that required some applique to personalise them.

The first was requested by Apryl, and it was a gift for her friend's recently born daughter.

The blanket was yellow fleece and I appliqued onto it a little bumble bee. As this was my first attempt at this sort of thing, I was pleased with the results.

Next came a Comfort Blanket

Then a couple of fleece Christmas Stockings.

I'm not sure that I got the shape quite right but I'm sure the recipients won't notice come Christmas morning!!

On to some blankets that are to be Christmas presents for 3 grandchildren who live in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Each of them were double-layed (as it's cold over there!!) and had the child's name sewn on along with a motif/image.

The applique was done in fleece too so that there will be no problems when washed.

I had originally cut each letter from different patterned fleeces but they never seemed to look quite right so in the end I made them all from the same.

If I make similar ones in future I think that having the back of the blanket to match the letters would just tie it all in nicely.

Last, but not least, are a couple of Christmas Present Sacks.

These are HUGE!! (1m high by 75cm wide) so have loads of room for all those gifts from Santa!!

I cut the initial letters from a script that I thought looked like elf shoes - and added a few stars for extra detail.

I did enjoy making all of these and hope their new owners like them too.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

A Whole Heap of Softness

I don't know if it's because Christmas is coming but lately I've been asked to make a few softies.

Firstly I made another of my Robot's for I'maGingerMonkey.

Secondly there was a pair of Razzledazzles from the BBC CBeebies programme of the same name.

And lastly a Red and Green Tombliboo who's a character from "In The Night Garden" (another children's TV programme). This was the second one I made as the head of the first wasn't wide enough!!

And still on the drawing board (or should that be cutting board??) are a pair of RagDolls that I'll be making for my neice and DD's godfather's daughter. I'll be using this tutorial from 60piggies. So that they are washable I'll be making them totally from fleece.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

A Christmas Swap

I took part in a Christmas Ornament Swap organised by Emma (Embelish).

It was a round robin in that who I made for didn't make for me - someone else did - so it gave it an extra dimension and a chance to "meet" 2 new crafters.

Rosemary (who doesn't have a blog) - and lives in the gorgeous city of Barcelona - made for me.

What I received was a fabulous little patchwork basket that will be used to hold little sweet treats to munch over the festive period. This was accompanied with some pretty fabric coasters and for the tree, some chocolate kings.
Thank you Rosemary - they are all lovely - just be careful as you may well catch the swapping bug!!

I was given Ali to make for. She lives in sunny Australia and is married with 4 gorgeous children (2 of each variety). I found out just before I started making that there is to be a new addittion to the family come 2009 who I just had to include.
I decided quite early on that I wanted to make a wall-hanging and have on it Christmas Trees to represent Ali and her family.

I decided to steer away from traditional seasonal colours and went for stripes in co-ordinating hues. Reds & Oranges for Ali, Greens for her hubby, Pinks & Purples for the girls, Blues for the boys and I chose Yellow for "the bump".
I accompanied this with matching stockings - filled with chocolate coins - for the kids. Ali has told me that they were well received!!
To top off this great swap, I was asked to submit my makes to the Christmas Decoration Challenge being held on Crafteroo. I was surprised to be one of the 3 finalists (the others being Ethel and Edna and Knit & Crochet) and even more shocked to find out I had won!!
What a great start to Christmas

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

A Tale of Two Quilts

As mentioned in a previous post, Katy (ImaGingerMonkey) were partnered up in a Lap Quilt Swap.

Katy, as always, was quick off the mark and had my quilt finished and sent in record time. And true to form, mine took a little longer!!

I'm totally in love with mine. Whilst I'm blog-hopping late at night, I pull it off the back of the sofa and wrap it around my legs and feet. Totally snuggly.

The fabrics I chose were Makower Zen 2 in the Slate colourway.

The fabrics Katy chose were all flowery in a blues, reds and pinks. Totally exuberant - just like the lady herself!!

This is the first "proper" quilt I have made, and I must admit to having a crisis of confidence when I'd laid the strips out. I just wasn't sure the combination was right - a theme that runs through all of my sewing.

But the construction was simple. I decided to quilt inside the seams of every "block". After re-reading how to do the binding a good half a dozen times I managed to get it sewn on correctly and then took HOURS to hand sew it on the reverse side. I have a total aversion to hand sewing but it had to be done properly.

As a result I really have caught the quilting bug!!

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Cupcakes Galore!!

You'll remember that I was involved with a Cupcake Swap organised by HmmDesigns. My partner was Beth who lives in Canada.

After weeks of debating whether to make a Cupcake Softie Cushion - and then deciding that was a bit obvious - I settled on using fabric with a Cupcake design.

I used the pattern of Amy Karol's Charming Handbag in her "Bend The Rules Sewing" book.

I split the front panel to have the Cupcake fabric on the bottom with a co-ordinating spotty fabric in pink on the top and back panel.

The inside was again spotty but this time in blue.
To accompany it I made a little needlecase.

Bizarrely the day my parcel got to Beth, hers got to me. I was very spoilt as I actually got 2 parcels both stuffed to the gills with Cupcake goodies!!

First to arrive was a GIANT cupcake pincushion. Beth even included the pattern leaflet so now I can make them too!!

This was accompanied with 3 little cupcake pincushions (I think) that have beaded frosting and 2 little cupcake soaps.

The second parcel contained 2 little cupcake appliqued cushions,

a softie doll made with cupcake fabric,
a cupcake recipe book, and a cupcake related story book for DD!!

WOW WOW WOW - she really spoiled me.

This was an interesting swap to be involved in and I can't wait to see collectively what everyone made.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Update #9

As Maxine has received what I made for the Camper Van Swap, I can now show you a full picture. I made her a cushion/softie. It was made of fleece with button detailing plus and a personalised numberplate!!

In return I received a collage picture that is Maxine's logo, a pencil drawing depicting a close-up of the VW logo badge, 3 magnets, a postcard of a Pink van plus a little embroidered badge. Thank you - they're lovely.

My sister T, requested a cover that she could put on her car seat belt to stop it rubbing against her neck. The only proviso was that it contrasted with the grey interior of her car - so it had to be pink!! It worked out really well and I'm going to make one for myself.

I've sent off my contribution for the Spare Change swap so can't wait to see what I get back.

Today I finished a fabric advent calender. It shows Santa Claus appearing out of the top of a chimney. I backed it with some ready-quilted fabric and outlined the design to give a bit of detailing.

I've made a start on my gift for the Cup Cake Swap, I've then got to complete the BTRS Easy Lap Quilt for Katy, applique a bee on a fleece blanket, make another robot softie, make an ITNG Tombliboo, make 2 fleece buggy liners and a buggy blanket, design and make my gift for the Christmas Decoration swap...

... oh and 3 pairs of curtains and a bedspread for my mum!!

Whew!! Best get on

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Blog-hopping Giveaways/Swaps Found

Just thought I'd let you know of a few giveaways and swaps I've found whilst blog-hopping.

Sherry at My Mothers Daughter is giving away 100 items from her stash to celebrate reaching 100 posts. Deadline is 20th October.

Chick Pea Studios is holding a Spare Change Swap.

Each participant will send the equivalent of 1/2 yard of fabric, or 24 squares. The fabric can be pre-cut in 5"x5" squares, of different prints or be all the same print. It will all be divided amoungst everybody. Deadline is 15th October.

Itching2bstitching is giving away a pink apron to raise awareness of Breast Cancer as October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Deadline is 12th October.

Thousands of women, men and their families are affected every year. If you want to help spread awareness then on October 31st WEAR PINK and support a great cause.

Rachael Rabbit has a great little pumpkin pincushion tutorial over on her blog, plus she's giving away one, so hop over there and leave a comment for a chance to win. Deadline is 23rd October.
If I find any more out there I'll update this entry

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Swaps Swaps Everywhere

I thought it was about time I updated you all on the swaps I've been/am involved in.

Firstly there was the Fairy Tale Swap organised by Meridian Ariel.

My swap partner was Jessica. She was first to post and sent me beautiful collection of items with a "Little Red Riding Hood" theme. There is a journal, a little note book and some notelets with envelopes. There's a huge amount of detail in these, but if you visit her blog you'll see that's normal.

Jessica's favourite fairy tale is "Alice in Wonderland", and as soon as I heard an idea popped into my brain which I then hummed and haaed over for ages as I wasn't sure my sewing skills were up to my vision!! But in the end I took the plunge and made her a Cheshire Cat cushion.

Next up was a Camper Van Swap organised by JellyBelly*JellyBrain.

My swap partner this time is Maxine. I can't give much away as she hasn't received what I've made yet but here's a Sneaky peek. "Can you tell what it is yet??"

Number 3 swap is a Cupcake Swap organised by HmmDesigns.

My partner is Beth who has given my free rein to make what I like in whatever colour I like!! I have been mulling over some ideas and I'm now ready to get making.

And last but not least is swap for a Easy Lap Quilt as per Amy Karol's "Bend the Rules Sewing" Book organised by Adrienne.

Surprise, surprise but who should turn out to be my partner in this but good old GingerMonkey herself!! We are the only 2 in the UK doing the swap so we're special.

Katy sent me an "explosion in a flower shop" to quote the lady herself, whilst my fabric choices were a bit subtler - and I think that sums up our personalities a treat!!

I really can't wait to see how they turn out

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Winter is a-coming!!

Since coming back from holiday I seem to have been sewing nothing but items to keep off the winter wind and rains.

This has included: some fleece hats and matching scarfs.

A faux fur Russian style hat

A fleece buggy liner and stay-put blanket set

And a couple of waterproof buggy stay-put blankets.

I have a few other little items to complete (including 3 pairs ofcurtains for my mum!!), so I'm mainly concentrating on finishing items for the swaps I'm involved in - but more on those in my next post ...

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Birthday Girl

Price of place is the card from DillyDallyDingle

Last Wednesday (17th) was my daughter H's 4th birthday.

She spent the morning at pre-school as normal, but in the afternoon we went with her best friend (and her mum) to see the English National Opera who are touring with "Angelina Ballerina". DD goes to ballet weekly and loved it - though ever since I have been getting asked why the dancers were wearing heads they can take off!!

Granny visited the day before and gave her a present of a Minnie Mouse costume.

On the Saturday, we held a party at a local playcentre - Jungle Madness. There were roughly 18 kids who had a great time burning off some energy before re-stoking the burners with sandwiches and cake!!

Everybody was very generous with their gifts and we now have a mountain of Arts & Crafts activities to keep us busy in the months to come.