Sunday, 26 October 2008

Giveaway winner

Ably assisted by one of the resident small people, we drew at random a winner from the 16 commenters to the giveaway post below. Number 9 was the winning ticket, so would AnnieB, the ninth commenter, please step forward and claim her prize! I know Annie has some small people of her own who will probably help find a home for the pencil case, purse and tissue holder.

Thanks to everyone who left a comment. It's lovely to hear from you all!

Thursday, 23 October 2008

A quiet house

It's quiet here. Eerily quiet. Especially considering both the children are at home with me. I can't quite believe it - I might have to pinch myself - but BOTH my children are asleep. To be honest, just lately, there's barely been any sleep at night, and daytime naps are unheard of in this house. I was just snatching 5 minutes to check emails and found one was asleep on the sofa and the other in his bed curled up with a Thomas the Tank magazine. So it's a stealthy cup of tea and a slice of bara brith for me and a blissful 5 minutes peace!

Just enough time to share my latest sewing project. I've had a few clasp purse frames in my stash for a while now and hadn't got around to using them yet, so in a fit of purposefulness (on the back of my unusual decisiveness with the scrap challenge quilt), I made good use of those 2 hours while the boy was at playgroup yesterday. If you haven't seen them already, Lisa has two great tutorials on how to make your own patterns for a clasp purse frame which guided me through the process (thank you, Lisa!). I think these may be my new obsession - so quick and easy to make.

I also wanted to share a new fabric shop find. I was looking at Julia's blog at Primrose Corner this week and noticed that she was having an Amy Butler fabric sale in her shop. Amy Butler fabric sale you say? I'm there! So a couple of clicks and a day later, a lovely package of Amy Butler home decor weight fabric arrived on my doorstep. Thanks, Julia!

Thanks for all the comments on the scrap challenge quilt and blog-aversary giveaway post. I'll be drawing a winner for the giveaway on Saturday evening, so still time to put your name in the hat if you haven't already.

Oh well, back to mummy duties for me as it looks like nap time is over. It was good while it lasted!

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Scrap challenge and giveaway

So the car's broken (again), which means another repair to pay for (again). I am wondering whether my children will stop coughing and sneezing this side of Christmas. Also, the boy seems to have a touch of earache this evening, so I'm crossing fingers that Calpol will work its magic as we have a 90th birthday party to go to tomorrow.

But I won't dwell on any of that. Instead, I'll say thank you very much for all your good wishes for my blog birthday and my pattern being accepted for the book. As mentioned in my last post, I'm going to do a small giveaway to celebrate, so if you'd like to receive the 3 items below, please leave a comment on this post and I'll draw a winner in a week's time on 25th October. All are welcome to enter, overseas or UK, regular commenters, lurkers or new visitors.

matryoshka tissue holder, panda coin purse and cherries pencil case

You'll need to check back at the end of the week to see if you've won as unfortunately blogger doesn't provide me with everyone's email addresses to contact you directly.

I spent this morning setting to work on my scrap challenge from JC Handmade. I've thoroughly enjoyed working on this project. It's been so good for me in curbing my natural tendency to overplan a project and thus never actually get started on it! The rules were that we should aim to have a finished item in 1-2 weeks, and with sewing time pretty scarce around here, I jumped at the opportunity to spend a couple of hours on my project this morning.

In the spirit of the 'scrap' challenge, I used only what I had at home to complete the project rather than buying new supplies and used as much of each piece of fabric as possible. The little houses theme suggested itself to me when I first looked at the individual dimensions of the scraps I received. Otherwise I tried to keep things very simple as I didn't want to introduce too many new elements, just the flower buttons and their embroidered green stems.

The quilt has been gifted to my daughter for the new doll she received for her birthday, and also as a little reward for being child of the week at school this week! She's absolutely thrilled with it (though she did momentarily query the lack of windows), and to my delight, she started identifying the types of houses exactly as I had conceived them.

Thus the two small houses with triangular roofs are bungalows, the yellow and blue house are town houses, and the house in the top right corner is 'a house like ours' - i.e. a classic 3 up 2 down semi (though note that the one 'like ours' is the smallest of the lot, and that it's divided between 2 families!).

This is all the more fitting as it's the scrap of fabric that I sent in that forms the roof to the house.

What I enjoyed most about this project was working with fabrics that I probably never would have put together myself, and the fun of seeing how everyone else in my group has dealt with the very same scraps. So thanks, Jennifer, for organising a great challenge!

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

has it really been a year already?

It suddenly dawned on me last week that my blog-aversary must be imminent and I made a mental note to devote some time to thinking about my post. Well, as often happens to me, I forgot all about it until today, so here I am rattling off a quick post just so that I don't miss my 'slot' on my actual blog birthday!

This is probably a good time to share a bit of exciting news. Back in January I was contacted through my etsy shop by someone from Lark books who had seen this moleskine case I had made and invited me to submit a proposal for their forthcoming book, Pretty Little Cozies.

Not being one to count my chickens (this is a very definite personality trait of mine, the non-chicken-counting one!), I didn't want to say anything about it until I was absolutely sure it was happening. So in spite of having had my proposal accepted and even a cheque in the post, I had my eye on the small print that accepted projects still might not make the final cut. So last week, I sent a tentative email to ask whether my moleskine organiser was in, and was told that it will indeed be in the book. Pretty Little Cozies is due to be published in May 2009 and I'm so very excited to see the book in the flesh!

Since then this organiser has been through quite a few different incarnations. This is one of the things that I love about etsy, that I so often get custom orders to tailor-make a design for someone in their own taste of fabrics and colours.

I feel that there should be some kind of giveaway to celebrate both the blogging birthday and the good news, so I'll be back later this week with something to put up for grabs!

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Scrap challenge

It's here - my envelope full of fabric scraps for JC Handmade's Spare a Square Scrap Challenge has arrived! So far all I've done is open the envelope and photograph the fabrics in various different arrangements. I'm thinking that this will be an excellent challenge for me, as my normal tendency is to procrastinate and endlessly defer making actual items as I'm so busy unfolding and refolding my fabric stash. The 1-2 week time limit will force me to be a bit more decisive for once! I notice that there are already photographs of some lovely finished items in the flickr group pool.

the fabric I sent in the piece in the top right corner - a piece of a vintage daisy print fabric

I've got some really pretty scraps to play with, so I'm waiting for inspiration to strike so that I can get sewing!

Monday, 13 October 2008

Blue skies and sunshine

Thanks for all the lovely birthday wishes for my daughter in my last post. Here, have a slice of birthday cake -

Regular readers of this blog may notice a likeness to the last birthday cake and realise that my own cake-decoration skills are almost on a par with those of a two and almost-five year old!

It's been a blissful weekend of sunshine and bright blue skies. The birthday girl had a tea party in the garden with some friends on Sunday - not something we had ever thought would happen with a birthday in October!

On Saturday we had a relaxed day with my mum visiting from Wales. After a leisurely lunch on the patio of a country pub, we headed up to Burnham Beeches, a mere hop skip and a jump from where we live, for a wander in the woods.

There was paddling in streams, picking the last few blackberries of the season, and some tree climbing.

A forest ramble (well, by a 2 year old's standards!) ranks as one of my children's favourite days out. Hopefully the lovely weather will continue so we can fit in some more lovely Autumnal walks very soon.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

5 today

Can someone please explain to me how we got from here

to here

quite so quickly?

Saturday, 4 October 2008

I'm still here, honest

This last week seems to have gone by in the blink of an eye. Work began on the new bathroom this week, and in the absence of a downstairs toilet, this has meant that my boy and I have barely been at home, wandering from place to place by day whilst my girl and my husband are at school. As a result, I haven't been snatching those usual few minutes each day to reply to comments and emails and visit blogs and I'm even more behind than ever. So here are some of the things I never got around to blogging about last week!

The Knitting Marathon organised by Outcast went really well, with 109 hats knitted in all, as we all sat in the sunshine outside Picnic in Reading. There was cake and coffee and lots of chatting as those needles clicked away. I found it very liberating to knit 'freestyle' for a change, albeit on a very small scale, as I'm normally the kind of knitter who likes to follow a pattern! It was so nice to meet lots of new people too, including Lupin of Bugs and Fishes, as well as the other Outcast knitters.

I seem to be absent-mindedly doing a brownie guide salute here

when I used to live in Reading, this was a busy bus lane, but has luckily been pedestrianised now!

look at Knithappens' fantastic bunting!

See the Innocent website for more details of the campaign. I've been checking the hatometer regularly, and it seems that things are on target to raise that £250,000 for Age Concern.

Also this week I have been sewing! Yes, this really is a craft blog! I had a custom order for some clutch bags for a wedding party to work on, which was very enjoyable. It was also an excuse to do some fabric shopping to fit in with the bride's colour scheme - this gorgeous brown herringbone tweed.

I really enjoy making these and have a few more in the works, including a version in the brown and gold jacquard fabric above. Is it only me, who in spite of the best intentions, finds it impossible to come away with only the item intended when shopping for fabric? There always seems to be something else I need!
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