Thursday, 27 November 2008

Etsy Christmas!

Christmas stock is in store now! I finally took a few photos and managed to get a bit of quiet to work through the listings!
Don't forget to read the bit about last order dates for Christmas.
These are based upon Royal Mail last posting dates...Do you know Christmas is less than a month away now?
When did that happen?!
I've included three of these stockings I made using a half finished vintage quilt top.And I've added a few ho ho bags for those days when the shopping you have to do is the type you'd really rather not!
I'll be adding a few more bits and bobs early next week but this weekend I'm off to the coast with my mum for a few girly days together!
Happy Christmas Everyone. This blog is now officially a festive place to be; but before I get completely submersed in jolly, merry, tinsel, glitter, ho ho ho's.....


Is it still too early to 'phone North Carolina??

Monday, 24 November 2008

Feeling festive!

Well, if I wasn't feeling festive on Friday - I'm certainly getting in the mood now! Have you heard? We had SNOW! Proper silent white fluffy snow !!
Snowmen have been built..
Neighbours children arrived and the old freezer door sled was put back into service again!
Oh we do love snow on a Sunday!
So good to all be home together to enjoy it. I love this view of the cottage.
The snow covers the brambles and somewhere in this view there's a vegetable patch that needs digging over.... what bliss to be in the garden without having to worry about any chores, just to play and enjoy the moment!
❄ And we did!
Oh I did a bit of work last week too! Here's a glimpse of w.i.p.
Well who says Pink can't be a festive colour?!
Not a hope of any decent photos today though - decidedly wet and grey again! But I don't care anymore. I'm in the mood, Next week it will be December and advent calenders are waiting to be opened!
I'm in the mood for Christmas! t.x

Friday, 21 November 2008

Shopping sorrows!

So, who lives in the South West of England? You lucky lucky things! This weekend has been a long time coming and now its here!!!

The Vintage and Handmade Fair is tomorrow from 10-4 at Rangeworthy Village Hall. For all of you who are able to go, OH you lucky things!
For the rest of us, I have amused and consoled myself by making a shopping bag which reflects how I'm feeling about missing out;
Good luck to everyone who has a stall. I can't wait to read all about it in your blogs and an especially huge good luck to Michelle and Jayne who made it all happen. Go girls! t.x
Thank-you to those who have asked - I will be listing some ho ho bags on my Etsy next week. t.x

Celebrity Rant

I know it's insufferable when parents go on about how perfect their children are and what their amazing little darling did today. I know. Because we all know, for a fact, etched in our hearts, that OUR child is the only amazing little darling on the planet (make that plural as required!) . But we politely nod and coo and agree with other parents about how wonderful their little darling is because, well, we know how they feel! So I make no apologies for glowing quietly here on my blog. Turn away now if you're not in the mood!
During a number of recent conversations with the beautiful boy, other people have asked him what he's going to do when he grows up. Generally he baffles them because he doesn't know the job titles for the things he wants to do and generally these centre around his heroes like Simon King (wildlife film maker), James May (all round mechanical boffin) and Ray Mears (survival expert/ knows how to build a good bonfire).
Betty Crocker Spoon Trebuchet

So, recently in conversation, I asked the question myself;
"I want to be famous" came the reply.
I was mortified.
I was sad
I was very very worried.
As 'older' parents of an 'only child' we probably fit a lot of the stereotypes. Over-protective, unfashionable, highly academic (but only when it comes to his homework), and, of course, highly controlling when it comes to the media's input to our little darling.
Outside of cBeebies (pre-school channel) his TV viewing includes Open University films about engineering, documentaries about the world, history, culture etc., and the many many excellent wildlife series that we all love.
Whilst I'm happy to live and let live, we don't watch 'x-pop star wannabe can't sing' TV and we don't watch soaps, especially weeny-bopper soaps, UGH! I have huge misgivings about what is called the 'cult of celebrity'. I think it's great to look up to fine actors or great comedians. People who have a gift for their craft. My concern is that, generally, there are more practical things which society needs. Who will fix our plumbing when we're 75 if everyone goes to University to study Drama? Who is going to install a washing machine if everyone wants to work in Media. Why don't we have more respect for engineering and craftsmanship as career choices in this country? Why is University seen as being the icing on the cake, as though that somehow makes you better than a person who chooses to train on the job to become a master carpenter? Have you ever seen a man do the mental arithmetic involved in building a roof? Breath-taking!
The mini workshop with unspeakably dangerous things in it.

So... you see I warned you there was a rant in here.... back to the boy. You know that voice you do to cover rising panic? Use it here..
"Lovely darling, and what will you do to be famous?

Are you ready for this? You need to be sitting down..

"I'm going to turn water into petrol"

Well Hurrah to that!
(The eco warriors amongst you will be glad to hear that the conversation continued around the possibilities of inventing a car that runs on water but apparently someone is already famous for having done that....)

That's me, glowing happily.
Clarification - (often needed after a rant) Oh lovelies! I don't mind at all people working in Media - my boy wouldn't have his beloved heroes if they hadn't moved into television and there were not production teams to make it all possible. It's the 'flash in the pan, high exposure, no talent' I dislike and a state educational policy that seems to belittle practical aspirations!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

A mini crisis and a bit of a thrill!

Remember this? Well, I know we're all thinking "Good grief! This chair really hasn't progressed at all and it's been, well, forever!" So I thought I'd show a little before picture before the update (so to speak). Not least because the pictures taken in the workshop are a bit yellow (fluorescent strip lighting!) and the real pink is far prettier!
So, the mini crisis! I made my patchwork seat cover - and I hated it. This was the second attempt and I just hadn't got my mojo on. Somehow it all kept coming out far too blue and, well, regulated. Stripes were not what I wanted! I eventually settled upon this seat and back panel.
But it wasn't working. But I'm hoping to get two very nice cushions out of them!
Meanwhile, and I think this was partly the cause of my troubles, I had discovered the most beautiful length of linen at the bottom of my fabric heaps (Embarrassingly I often discover things when I start to shuffle the heaps around a bit)
I loved the pale pinky roses against the dramatic background. The central panel is a perfect seat for my chair don't you think?
And those pale blue roses go perfectly with a few yards of gimp I also have loitering in the workroom.
Once I had made this discovery I don't think my heart was in the patchwork cover anymore. Maybe that's why I accidentally made a nice cushion cover instead!
So. "Progress?" I hear you ask. Well the seat now looks like this.
I completed the callico layer - this is the last layer of forming the seat shape and the top cover is just a decorative addition. It may not look like a full weeks class, but each of those tacks was removed and re-banged at least 3 or 4 times, some considerably more. I found it nervewracking to finally have to commit to the seat shape and wanted it to be absolutely perfect. So I was the noisiest person in the building for 3 whole hours!
Just the shield back to complete next; tack on a piece of callico, press felt into the dips created by the roll edge I formed by top-stitching;
a nice cosy wad of felt on top of that,
and that was all there was time for!!! If I can avoid removing and replacing tacks for 3 hours next week I might actually be putting on that lovely vintage Sanderson linen. Hurrah!
And now, a really big HURRAH! For all of you my lovely readers! Drum roll.....
Look what happened on my counter yesterday evening! And I was there to see it happen! Ten Thousand, 10,000 unique visitors! Wahey!
Between you all, you've popped in to read my little blog 10,000 times! My page views have topped over 16,000! Thank-you to everyone who keeps coming back. To my lovely Blogger Followers (I know who you are!) and to all my anonymous Google Reader subscribers (you know who you are!) and to everyone else who drops in from wherever. I love that you take the time to visit and thoroughly enjoy reading your comments.
So, down to work, the sun is out, the workroom is cosy and warm and I'm off to do some festive stitching. I only have one uninterrupted day before the weekend so I hope to be back by Monday with details of my Christmas listings on Etsy ! After that, I think it will be high time for some award giving and a little celebratory Christmas giveaway! Yippee! t.xx

Monday, 17 November 2008

A little crazy around here!

I have always loved Crazy Patchwork. All those odd little bits of leftover fabric carefully stitched together, embroidered with beads, flowers and precious messages making a quilt as close as it could be to a shiny box of jewels . The thriftiness of it appeals to the tiny corner of me that wants to make do and mend, waste not want not. (When it's not stiffled by the rest of me saying 'oh but I NEED to have it!'.)
Crazy Love Heart, 2007 ©
So, when the lovely Tanya over at Lily and Agathe asked me to contribute to her blog, I decided (after over 2 months of prevarication - sorry Tanya. x!!!) to do a Crazy Patchwork tutorial. So pop on over and find out how to turn this..
Into this!
Well, that's the idea anyway... feedback on clarity of instructions very welcome! If you end up with a mess on the carpet that's not necessarily a bad thing. It's one of the messiest forms of patchwork I know. Trimmings and threads everywhere! This simple 'stitch and flip' machine version works up really quickly so above all, Have Fun!
Meanwhile, all family birthdays duly respected it's that silly time of year again! In crazy patchwork mood I have been doing a bit more (refreshments kindly provided by hubby),
A quick peek at work in progress!
And I'm trying to decide upon this years stockings. These little bootees were very popular last year but the woolens played havoc with the sewing machine!
A couple of these vintage patchwork large stockings will be going onto my Etsy in the next few days (am I the only one who is such an incompetent photographer that I am completely reliant upon the weather??!) I'll post again before I put up my listings - when I have more pictures!
Oh ho ho! Here we go! Three weeks to the Christmas Fair. Arrggh! More coffee! More chocolate!

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Bunting and Caramel!

The kitschen woke to a festive feeling in the air yesterday - bunting and lanterns everywhere!
There was as much icing on the school shirt as on the cake - oops!
Birthday shortbread was baked - the perfect Autumnal treat,And my man and boy made it home early together after work and school so that they could enjoy their favourite birthday tea! Some Englishmen never seem to grow out of bangers, mash, peas and gravy! School refectory food!
All topped off with a cuddle by the stove before bedtime. Happy birthday Hubby.x
And time for a chair update! I started top-stitching the scrim before half term and the extra week off means there seems to be little progress!
But I must admit I found it very hard going and I am quite proud of the neat roll all the way around the seat and back! The dips were evened out with a type of cotton felt, then another flat layer of felt followed by the callico - I had just started to tack the callico down when another class came to a swift close!
I hope to get the seat and back calico covers finished next week and finally make a start on attaching the top fabric... might I be in danger of finishing before Christmas?!
It's that word again! Well, we have a rule. No Christmas in the house until Hubby's birthday week is over. So, this Sunday the beautiful boy is planning a Christmas cupboard raid... and I really must focus on making festive goodies for a Christmas Fair in just three weeks time! YIKES! I need to eat fruit cake and drink Egg Nog to get in the mood!
Hope you're all enjoying a happy week. t.x


Did you notice? Just for a moment there, we managed to escape. The beautiful boy had a delightful weekend at Hotel Grandma and we went for a walk in the woods. Along the boardwalk,
to the windswept beauty that is Holkham beach.
It was so windy I could hardly hold the camera steady. And cold, it was very, very cold. A strong North Easterly always has an impact on Norfolk's coast.
We have been visiting our favourite bolt holes at the coast for nearly 20 years together now. We don't get there so often as we'd like, and of course usually we visit with the beautiful boy. But once a year we try to find a weekend to get away on our own, walking, bird-watching, reading the Sunday papers, eating superb meals at Byfords, The George or The White Horse. And maybe even drinking a bit more than our hectic schedules usually allow - more brisk walks to recover from that unfamiliar hangover feeling!
The Deerpark was beautiful on this crisp, cold Autumn morning.
Of course there was a bit of shopping. Around all of our favourite Antiques sellers and of course Big Blue Sky - does anyone visit North Norfolk without shopping this amazing store?
Those amazing signs are by Andy Povey - take a look!
And just a little thrifting, but not too much, hubby needed to enjoy the weekend too!
Back into the fray this week and no idea where time is going. More soon. t.x
( P.S. dinner plate: T. G. Green, Fleur - 20p!! Yes, 20p!)