Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Sentimental scrapbooks

I have posted before about how I like to keep scrapbooks of Christmas makes and images from the girls but I also like to do them for our holidays.  I'm not sure if it is due to being a teacher for so many years that there is something about the holidays I absolutely relish as an opportunity to cram as much family time as I can.  I posted throughout the summer of our family days out but I still like to collect mementos from our days and stick them down.  When I look on pinterest at the beautiful art that have been created by proper scrapbookers, I know this doesn't qualify in that category, but it really is just about keeping a record of what we have done as a family.  The girls love to look through them and know that their makes were treasured and so, here are some pictures of our recent scrap books.  The White one is from last Easter 2014, the pink is out family holiday earlier this year to Norfolk, and the green is our summer this year 2015.  I prefer the coloured paper as a background and like them to be more than just photos but I won't write any more but let the pictures do the talking.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Advent Calendars

I think the first sewn advent calendar I ever saw was a small sewing shop in Lady Hayes antique centre where there was an assembled demonstration piece on display.  You could buy the kit for £18 but I just wanted it already finished.  The idea stayed with me but on looking for one, they were quite expensive so I never bought one or made one.  I started a few but dimensions were wrong and I gave up part way through.  Then earlier in the year I decided I would make them for my sisters and sister in law.  I have few assembly pieces of the ones I made for my sisters but I spent some time researching on pinterest for ideas around little stockings.  I had a die of a stocking which made cutting out 48 stockings easy.  Sewing them all on however was quite time consuming!

The shape of the stocking was perfect for Candy Cane goodies and so 2 packs later, each stocking contained a treat. 

 For the numbers, I bought little pegs and wrote on those and then clipped them onto the stockings.
At the end of November, we went to my sister in laws just in time to give them out but one sister couldn't make it so hers was posted instead which was why I delayed in writing this post initially.

For my sister in law, I went with a different design which was based around a Father Christmas panel.  Several years ago I had made my niece and nephew Christmas stockings using these panels and so thought it would be nice to co-ordinate the two gifts.  I started by sitting out my squares and adding numbers to them (over several nights).

I then arranged them randomly around the main panel which was backed on a large burgundy napkin. I sewed about the sides and bottom but left the top open so they were mini pockets. The squares were the perfect size for chocolate coins and I finished it all off by framing Santa with some red ric rac

  Shortly after finishing my calendars, my lovely co- blogger Samantha from Betsy Makes also posted about an advent calendar she had made.  I'm so glad I gifted mine before seeing hers as mine pale into insignificance to hers and I may just have hidden them in embarrassment!! I love her use of fabric and the finish is much better but joking aside, I recognise this 'comparison' is all part of the process of trying new things and getting better on each attempt. I am encouraged and inspired by better crafters and hope to continue admiring others work long after my own work is more refined.  I know my family really appreciate the time and thought that has gone into their gifts which I hope will make an appearance each Christmas over the years to come despite wonky cutting and sewing etc.  I hope to make our family one for next year and like the idea of putting a decoration in each that the children can hang on an accompanying tree each day- perhaps made out of felt and I know I will now have the incentive to be more patient and particular so that I can have an end product like Samantha's and be proud to have it on display.  Don't get me wrong, I am pleased with my efforts (and I would still have given them even if I had seen Sam's) but I am also striving to improve :)

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Christmas crafty purchases

 I mentioned in my previous post that I'd bought a felt Angel at the Christmas fayre and thoughtful show you a close up since she was so lovely. I've also included a picture of her back as this is what sold her to my daughter's- they called her the 'rainbow fairy'. You can also appreciate the simple structure that made her so appealing.

I also took the children to the Worcester Vitorian market on Friday after school. We arrived a little after 4 and soon it was dark so the lights shone all the brighter and it became more magical to see the vendors in top hats, waistcoats and tails with ladies decked in floor length gowns, matching shoes, hats and gloves. So dark that my poor phone battery didn't cope too well!

This was the only shot that worked which doesn't't exactly demonstrate the colours of Christmas lights reflecting off the glistening wet streets, but it does show 2 little happy faces!
The smell of the food was enticing and we shared some chips with a festive sausage from the German stall. Theyalsosampled several German gingerbread biscuits but resisted the temptation to by more.food.and focused.on decorations. There was so much on offer and individual crafters and sellers which is a big contrast to the other big city markets where every 5 stalls it's the same things. We bought 5 felt decorations for £10 so not exactly cheap but it's one for each member of the family; I chose the Dala horse, the robin for daddy as he is a birdwatcher, Fionaa liked the Rudolph, Lydia the candy cane and Michael wanted baby Jesus (his was put to a vote actually and it was unanimous!)
This little fellow was being sold in the guild hall which often hosts craft features and I have bought from this lady before as I love the character she knits into these creations. I couldn't resist him and he's a present for my nephew who was 12 weeks prem back in May and is a little miracle who make  me want to lavish him with things in thanks for his little life. I will however show love through a quilt for him which is underway and I hope to share soon.

I have made some Christmas gifts that I'm dying to share but have to wait until one is received before I ruin the surprise with pictures. It should be delivered before the weekend so I will share then and perhaps house festive decorations may also have commenced and be on evidence...

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Dresser and craft fayre

A while ago I posted about decorating my dining room and whilst I had every intention of getting it all done at once, sadly it has been slower progress and in stages.  I wallpapered about 2months ago and began painting my dresser but have only just got round to taking pictures!
It was my first attempt at wallpapering and overall I'm quite pleased.  After painting the dresser in the Annie Sloan chalk paint, I then used the wilko gloss to highlight the edges.  I'll be rearranging the dresser in a few weeks for Christmas but thought I'd show it here now in it's normal state.

On Saturday I was brave/ daft enough to visit the Malvern gift and craft fayre again.  It will be on again in 2 weeks but we are visiting family for an early Christmas gathering and so will miss the parade and turning on of the lights so I thought I'd make the effort.  I bought a few things out of sympathy for the poor stall owners- who am I kidding! I loved so much that I could have bought on every stall.
I bought a felt angel from the middle stall pictured here and I bought my sister a long overdue present from a stall not pictured here.  I did discover though that she is the sister of a friend so it felt good to be supporting her on such a wet day.  I am also hoping to commission miamia Jewels to do a family tree with 2 big birdies and 3 wee ones for my husband for Christmas. 

I haven't got much further on my Christmas present making due to a series of poorly children and now husband but hopefully this weekend I will get one finished and another part way done.  The fayre has made me feel more excited for Christmas but also pressured to get the place tidy before we're overrun with Christmas presents, tinsels and decorations.  It's the first time in 3 years I'm managing Christmas prep along with working a full time job so I may let one or two things slide a little- but it wont be the food!

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Kitch and Kaboodle

During the half term I took the children to our local Country Park which is just beautiful at this time of year.  I had promised to do something else but when we couldn't get transport there, I thought I would take them here as a consolation.  There is often a craft activity in their 'sewing room' which is off the café and on this day Kitch and Kabbodle were there.  I'd not seen them before and looked in to see what the craft was.  I'll be totally honest and say I saw masks and glitter and thought how is that £2.50's worth so got a bit closer and realised that the masks were blank and black to begin with but that patterns could be created from scratching off the matt black paint. 

Lydia went with her own design while Fiona copied the example piece. 
  I was transported back to childhood and realised immediately the potential fun the children would get from it.  The girls chose cats and Michael ran off the play in the wooden play café.  He soon returned and wanted to do a mask of his own which inevitably, I ended up doing! 


That is until he saw glitter and sparkly things to stick on and then I wasn't allowed to touch it again.

Fiona went for the less is more look and used a minimal amount of glitter whereas Lydia decided to be generous with her decoration.

 I love the individuality that these masks allow and that they appeal to all ages (including adults!) and they kept the kids occupied for close to an hour.  I would definitely do them again and totally retract that the price was steep as I actually think it is priced perfectly.  Thankyou Kitch and Kaboodle :D

Wednesday, 4 November 2015


This post is a long time coming.  I started this cushion in August and have alluded to it several times in my posts but it has been a project that I have picked up and spent 3 nights on and then not touched for 3 weeks etc.  I finished it several weeks ago but kept forgetting to take and upload pictures but finally, we're here!
I bought the bird and flower fabric off ebay and knew I wanted to do something for our room but I hadn't decided what to do so one night I took it out along with lots of haberdashery bits and began to have a play around with possible layouts and trims.

I began to form an idea of what I wanted but it took me weeks to decide whether this would be a panel on a quilt or a cushion on it's own.  I spent so much time on the little details that I was unsure I could sustain it for a while quilt so decided on a cushion.
I had the peach crochet/ lace doilies from a carboot where there had been about 7 for £2.  The little mint green ones were bought in a charity shop -4 for £1.  The floral fabric with buttons and coordinating ribbons was £2 from the works and the green buttons were also charity shop finds at 4- 50p!  This really was a bargain cushion (my favourite).  I realised as I was doing this cushion, that this is what I love the most with crafting and would happily make this type of upcycled, vintage, shabby chic but eclectic stuff all the time- especially if it had birdies on.
 I decided to make rosette's from the green doilies, layering them with extra lace trim, crochet flowers (also off ebay) with a button in the centre,  I didn't want too many of the same thing so also made a couple of yoyo's with buttons in the middle with quite a contrasting green to add some depth.  I felt it would benefit from more detail so appliqued a bird and a blue flower again adding the blue to vary the colour pallet.  The white lace around the blue flower has been in my stash since I began collecting ribbons and lace and was £4 for 28meters!  It is nearly all gone but has embellished so many of my pieces over the years.

After I had assembled it and was happy it was detailed enough, I began to quilt it and actually filmed a little of the quilting.

 It was nearly all done but I still needed to make the back up and also stumbled upon this gorgeous lap quilt in one of my favourite local charity shops.  There is a lady who regularly crochet's these lap blankets and baby blankets and I often pay a visit and purchase them when friends have baby showers etc.  When I saw this, I knew it would match the cushion and had to buy it!
And here is the finished product in situ.  I really love it and was surprised when my husband said he hated it!  Pah, what does he know.