Sunday 26 December 2010

How are your holidays going? We are having a grand old time and doing a bit of everything. Seeing family, seeing friends, going out on family outings, just the 5 of us, eating well, drinking well, sleeping late...

...and getting in some crafting.

I made a conscious effort last week of choosing a crafting project to do over the holidays that wouldn't keep me away from my family (I knew there was no point saying I would do NO crafting - I could NEVER have kept to that)

I'd used up what wool I had bought for the grey cushion on Day 1, so I had to think up a new plan.

I've been staring at the canvas I've been wanting to recover for the past however many weeks and have been ignoring it as I've been too busy to do anything with it. I'd had it in my mind that I'd tackle it more fervently over the holidays. The way the original idea was heading wasn't conducive to hanging out with everyone and also, the more I looked at it, the more I didn't like how it was developing.

So a quick U-turn has resulted on it going in a completely different tack...

...Hexies...lots and lots and LOTS of hexies! I still haven't decided quite how many colours are going to be incorporated and whether it will be all hexies or a mixture of some other design.

But in the meantime, I'm getting my crafting time in, I'm doing a specific project that needed addressing and what's more, I'm not missing out on hanging out with everyone.

I hope you are having as much fun this holiday and managing to tick all the boxes.

Friday 24 December 2010

The party season has started at ours...

It was my Mum's 70th birthday yesterday. My Mum is an incredible woman who has a lot on her plate...2 ageing parents herself to care for...full time carer for my Dad who has MS, not to mention all the community work she does, being there for all of us - her 3 children and 7 grand-children... You'd think life would be a bit gentler on you when you reach 70.

She really is amazing. And to top it all she doesn't look anywhere near 70 either. Just as long as I've inherited her genes there...

We had a big party for her yesterday and just so it doesn't pass in a breeze we are all heading out for brunch this morning...all 15 of us.

It really is setting the party season off on a high, but I'm not sure I'll be able to continue through it all at this pace!

Whatever you are doing these holidays and whoever you are spending it with, I hope it brings you joy, happiness and laughter.

Thank you so much for your support in 2010, it really does mean a lot to me that you are all out there sharing my musings, craftings and whatever else is happening to be going on in my life and I look forward to sharing more together in 2011, whatever that may bring...

Tuesday 21 December 2010

The Christmas holidays are officially here. The weather is definitely christmassy, a layering of snow everywhere and minus temperatures, making cosying up not only necessary but very appealing.

I'm finally beginning to relax after the long Silly Season and started to curl up in front of the TV with the kids this afternoon. I love that it's dark so early at this time of year and all that needs to be done is unwinding and taking it easy. Out with the knitting and a bottle of red and life is as perfect as it needs to be.

And this year, Ruby has decided to share with me the ritual of winter knitting (not the bottle of red, I hasten to add). She wanted to learn last year, but gave up almost as soon as I'd cast on for her.

Another year on and I can't believe how she's taken to it. Last year I virtually worked every stitch with her, making it a very frustrating process for me not being able to do any of my own creating. A year later and it's a totally different story. Ruby has been completely committed and has been seen today sidling off quietly, never normally in her vocabulary, by herself, an absolute unheard of, to do just a few more rows.

It's going to be a good Christmas holidays. Lots of cosying up with my little girl and creating with the needles. And all being well by the end of it, Bunny Boo's scarf will be complete...

Friday 17 December 2010

It's not surprising I'm dog tired at the moment. I went out last night with some girlfriends and literally could have fallen asleep at the table. In fact, I wouldn't have been surprised if one of them texted me this morning to say I had nodded off for a bit.

A lot of us are struggling with not enough hours in the day at this time of year, keeping up with and packing orders off for Christmas shoppers.

So why oh why I let myself get distracted by things that can undoubtedly wait until the New Year, I have no idea. I ordered this fabric from Seamstar, along with a couple of other beauties, this week and any sensible person would have put it to one side to enjoy at a quieter time. But then I guess I'm not that sensible.

And not only can I not put a good fabric down, I can not put a good plan down either...

That exciting development that I hinted at yesterday has been at the forefront of my mind and would not be put to one side for a day, let alone a couple of weeks, until after the holidays.

I am embarking on a collaboration with Lu Summers of Summersville fame. Very VERY exciting!
Once I got the pencil pouch just the way I wanted it (right length, right height, right to speak) I knew at once that Lu's fabrics would be perfect for them. If you've ever seen Lu's fabrics you'll know exactly what I mean.

The weight of the fabric is perfect. The designs are so well suited to children's (or adults) pencil cases and the colours are so vivid any child (or adult) will be delighted to have one. We hope...

The pouches will come in 5 different patterns and colours and will be available through the usual channels as well as being available for trade. So if there are any stores out there that would like more info about the pouches and be the first to stock them, just give me a shout.

And here's to me now slowing down just a little...

Thursday 16 December 2010

I know what your thinking..."not more blinkin' zipper pouches."
And I'd like to be able to tell you that these are the last ones.
But I'm afraid i can't.

There are about to be some very exciting developments in the land of zipper pouches and I hope you'll be as excited about them as I am.
But that's all I can say right now...

So all that is left is for me to leave you with pretty pictures of the latest style of zipper pouch - the Mini Pouch - perfect for little hands to keep their pocket money and bits of change in.

And of course they are right here...

Wednesday 15 December 2010

Which room do you prefer?

This one?...

Or this one?...

Exactly! This is the only room in the house that has not been done and still possesses the characteristics of the family we inherited the house from. The stencilling - urghhh, the painted woodwork - puke... Maroon? Aaaghhhh!

One day we'll have saved up enough to make this room worthy of the rest of the house, but in the meantime it relies on the addition of some pretty soft furnishings.

There are a lot of things I love about this room. It's a great size. I love the fireplace, although the surround has to go. And the bay window has such a lovely aspect and cries out for pretty seating.

The pretty seating is a long way off but until then a couple of new brickwork cushions, a la Treefall Design will have to do. I love the design of these cushions. To me they work in a similar way to Log Cabins. They give the possibility of using an array of favourite fabrics in a simplistic design, letting the fabrics speak for themselves.

To be honest, when I look at this room, I struggle to see it's good qualities. All I see is the grotty decor, the dark receding colours, but at least now there is something in here that can make me smile and give me optimism that one day this room will be fit to sit next door to the one at the top.

Monday 13 December 2010

All this talk and teaching of zipper pouches has got me obsessed with making them. They are such a joy to make and produce something so pretty and so useful. What can be better?

This particular flat-bottomed style that Manda and i taught last week is a gem. I love the way the pouch sits so you can open it up and rummage in it nicely.

I also love the way that once you have mastered putting in a zip, you can make the pouch any size you like. Ruby and I made a few diddy ones at the weekend for her hair clips and bobbles...more about those another day.

But I'm particularly keen at the moment on these slightly longer but less deep ones for pencils. They are just big enough for a fair selection of pencils, but not too big that they are all flopping about.

Needless to say they are available in store now, both in Pounds and in Dollars, depending on your penchant ;-)

And tomorrow? Some of those diddy pouches for all those lose, lying about clips and bobbles will be available....

Sunday 12 December 2010

I love mugs. I am however quite particular about the mugs I use. And it also depends on what they are for. Not every mug is suitable for every drink or every occasion.

I have big chunky mugs for mid-morning coffee. I have smaller, handmade mugs for after dinner coffee. And for tea it HAS to be fine bone china. It just HAS to.

And there lies the problem. If like me, you are partial to your brew in fine bone china, you will know how difficult it is to find stylish mugs in fine bone china. Most often they are porcelain and that just won't do.

So when I found these in Habitat I just had to have one. They tick every box...colour, design, Orla-esque crosshatch and oh, fine bone china.

The only mistake I have made was just purchasing 2...I think I'll be going back for more.

So what's your penchant? What do you look for in a mug?

Saturday 11 December 2010

Didn't we have a lovely time at Grey Circles Winter Workshop??

Well, Manda and I certainly did!

We had 3 lovely ladies turn up for our Christmas Stocking and Zipper Pouch Workshop today and we had such a lovely time. Well, as I said, Manda and I certainly did, but you may need to ask Justine, Judi and Crissy if they did too.

Seriously, is there a better way to spend a Saturday than perusing over fabrics, spending the day sewing, coming away with some beautiful things you have made and sitting round a table with new friends eating and laughing?

Oh and did I mention fabulous fabrics to purchase sent up from Saints and Pinners?

Personally I could do this every day of the week...

...and judging by the look on these ladies faces, I think they could quite happily again too.

Watch out for further up-coming Grey Circle Workshops in a kitchen near you (or just a train ride away, hey, judi?)

Thursday 9 December 2010

Today has been a very good and an equally very bad day. We are suffering at home from serious cyber related unwanted interference, causing house phones, mobiles and internet to be inefficient at best and downright defunct at worst. Downright defunct was pretty much the name of today.

To my detriment, I turned in relatively early last night (this side of midnight) and omitted to download the latest orders. So when crisis hit this morning I had no way of getting the orders off the internet and found myself in a pretty darn tricky and annoying situation.

I spent much of the afternoon on the phone to a very nice man from my internet provider. Very nice didn't bloody get it working though. Frustration and anger set in and I was about to admit defeat and camp out at my parents, when miracle of miracle the internet resurfaced...temporarily.

It's being extremely temperamental and causing me no end of angst. Hopefully very nice man no. 2 who is coming round at 9am tomorrow to investigate further, will clear up the trouble and we'l have no further issues.

The very good part of the day is all this gorgeous Liberty fabrics that you may have been casting your eyes over, whilst reading about my ever so traumatic situation. Manda took me to a gem of a fabric shop, Fabworks, that I've been wanting to go to for ages. As you can see from the website pics, this store is piled high, and even higher with all sorts of shirting, woollen fabrics, upholstery fabrics and to my delight, Liberty prints.

We mainly went to choose some fabrics for Saturday's Workshop, but I obviously didn't stop there and came away with al these beautiful Liberty's. They are all just beautiful and are going to be featuring heavily in my forthcoming work. The white flowers on teal is for the back of my grey knitted cushion (which is coming along very well, thank you very much) and the folksy print has already come in very useful for a keyring order I had today. The multitude of patterns on this fabric, is just incredible and goes with absolutely anything.

I adore the pink houses - so pretty without being sickly and I am completely in love with the green flower - so fresh and simply stunning. And I have a new project up my sleeve for Christmas presents that they are all going to be used in one form or another...

So, as I said, very bad, but oh so very good too.

Wednesday 8 December 2010

You may or may not know that my first crafting love was knitting. Taught by a babysitter when I was about 6, I knitted constantly until about 8 years ago...about the time I discovered and fell in love with sewing.

I used to love sitting on the sofa in the evening, watching tv and click, click knitting away. In my baby growing days, I got through an inordinate amount of wool - Rowan wool, always Rowan - making blankets, cardis, jumpers for my forth-coming Bambinos. This continued into their toddlerdom...well, really until they were old enough to argue about the garments they wanted to wear.

And I haven't really knitted much since then. That's partly due to discovering and falling in love with fabric, and partly being surplus to requirements.

I still adore wool and am drawn to it. Then, since buying this cowl last week, I have had an overwhelming urge to make some chunky grey cushions for the sofa.

My trip to Hobbycraft this morning was partly driven by the need for red felt for kit orders, but also the need to get this wool and some extra-chunky needles, so I could get started on this wished for project before this cold snap is over and they are no longer needed.

All that is needed now is a pattern...although I'm thinking I could easily make one up. It's only a square after all. How difficult can it be...?

(Alternatively if you happen to know of a great chunky large cushion pattern, I'd love to know)

Saturday 4 December 2010

Most of you are fully aware of my love for my new Macbook but one thing that I have found to be frustrating and a disappointment is the lack of facility to edit photos. I actually thought that Apple was good for this kind of thing.

I take a lot of photos, both for my blog and also website and I need to regularly adjust size, colours, crop etc etc.

So I was at a big loss in how to do this easily and swiftly. Needless to say, a quick tweet later and lots of suggestions were offered my way, the best of which I found to be Picnik, suggested by Lucie. Picnik does exactly what I was needing and is what I got from my basic package on my PC.

Having mastered the basics super quickly, as Lucie said I would, I've been playing around with it this evening, as you can see.
These are pictures of some Liberty fabrics that I am awaiting delivery of and whilst I am not particularly a fan of a contrived look, both in my work and in my presentation, I am impressed with how easy Picnik is to use and how back in love with my Macbook I am that I can use it so easily to do what I do most.

Thank you, Lucie, thank you Twitter, thank you Twitter friends, thank you Picnik and lastly thank you Macbook for not letting me down.