21 December 2011

Entertaining who?

It's almost upon us isn't it?  Not long now!  Are you ready?

I must admit to being one of those infuriating people who are 'ready early'.  This year, obscenely early.  But you know, however early am I, however ready I think I am, December always has some surprises in store to keep me on my toes.  December is always so, so busy!

The schools have broken up too now, so along with the fabulous relief of not having to rush to get up in the morning (loving that!), comes the task of Entertaining the Child.  Now that my Little One is a little older (she's 6 now), a rather fabulous amount of things can be done that entertain us both at the same time.

Yesterday we made tissue paper lanterns...

Little One made the square one in front, mine is the taller one at the back.  I haven't made one of these since my own (distant) school days. She loved it of course and I probably enjoyed it far to much for a supposedly grown-up person but really, it was great fun!

Today we both spent many a happy hour on our Decopatch kits.

I don't know if you've ever come across the company, but if not have a look at the link above because I can really recommend it as a craft for all ages.  My 6 year old was very able to cut her papers and merrily stick away with no help at all, and as for me... yep, I loved it too!

I finished my little heart quite quickly and really wished I had some more to do.  It's very addictive!

And here is my poppet's cat.  We gave her little flower eyes and a nose.

I love the patchwork look of Little One's cat, and I do think we'll be doing this again.

Then, on to tomorrow.  We have a witches broom to construct out of old wrapper paper tubes and some Melting Snowman biscuits to make.

Truely Custom Cakery

Don't they look awesome?  That'll be good fun too.

And at some point we'll be making a batch of these darling little Christmas Pudding Sweets from Nigella.

I made these ones last year.  Mr P  loves them and requests them every year.  I'm pretty sure Little One will love to help this time!

Well, with all that and more to keep us busy up until Christmas itself, I dare say I won't have another moment to chatter away to you all again for a while now.

So, with very many thanks to all of your for your wonderful support and love this year, I shall wish you all a very merry and joyous Christmas and look forward to seeing you again in the New Year!

S x

14 December 2011

Super Star!

I have to warn you of two things.  First, this is a very picture heavy post and second, although I really don't want to sound smug, I'm afraid I might do a little. But I'm just so gosh, darn pleased with myself right now!

You see, I've done something I didn't think I would ever be able to do....

Do you remember this?

From my 'Adventures in Quilting' post?  Well, after that post, way back in July  I rested on my laurels for a goodish while, feeling pretty chuffed with my one block.  That was until November when it suddenly dawned on me that leaving this one block sitting around would not magically turn into a whole quilt.  Elves were not suddenly going to leap up and do the work for me.  Especially since I didn't even have enough material yet.  (Elves are picky that way!)

So, I sat, I calculated, I ordered and then I set about The Cutting.  I was a bit afraid of The Cutting, I thought it would drag on and take for-ev-er.  Actually, it wasn't too bad at all and it kind of zips along once you get going.

Now came the fun part, The Piecing.  This bit was great.  Nice small pieces to work with, whizz, whizz, whizz, through the machine they went, then press, press, press on the other side!

It was such a joy to see the blocks coming together.  It's so exciting finding out somethings is actually going to work out the way you hoped it would - shock!

Soon I had a stack of blocks and the serious work of making a quilt top could begin. (Eeeek!)  I was slightly concerned about this.  Worried my blocks wouldn't be the right size and things wouldn't line up and edges wouldn't match.  Such a myriad of problems that could occur but you know, it was ok.  I dare say it's not perfect, I know I lost a few star points, but I'm really not going to beat myself up about that, anyway, I was far too pleased to see it coming together to worry about such trifles!

The next part though?  The next part I really was worried about.  The Basting and The Quilting (Double Eeek!)  I'd read up on it, I got the idea of the thing but doing it for real?  Help!

The general wisdom seemed to be, pin it lots and make sure you have a 'walking foot' for your machine.  Basting was, ok.  Well, I was a few pins short, but I used all that I had.  Then, armed with the new 'foot' on the machine, I heaved a big sigh of trepidation and took the mammoth beast to the machine!

I tried to be systematic.  I started from the middle and worked out.  I un-rolled and re-rolled after every sewn line or two and you know what?  It was ok!  It wasn't easy.  It wasn't that much fun, but I did it and it turned out just fine.

Between you and me, there are a few puckers and tucks in one corner, but that was down to my not-quite-up-to-standard basting and I think if I do ever make a quilt again, I'd be much better able to do a better job now I have some idea what I'm trying to achieve.

Then I had to sew the binding on.  This was one part I was looking forward to because I could sit all cozy and enjoy some Christmas snuggle time with the quilt on my lap, watching a bit of telly and sewing away merrily.  Easy peasy!

For the finishing touch, I cracked open my very seldom used embroidery supplies and made myself a little quilt label, which is apparently 'de-gueur' for handmade quilts and attached that to the back.  So now all will know, down the generations, exactly who it was that botched this thing together!

Then, can you believe it?  I have done it.  I have actually made a quilt!  Oh my word, I could dance a jig and sing a joyful ditty.  I'm afraid I can't stop feeling surprised and pleased with myself.  But you have to understand, I never, ever thought, even a year ago, that I would be able to do this.  I'm amazed and oh, so very happy!!

Come and revel with me, in pictures....

 So, that's my Christmas Star Quilt, finished and ready for Christmas snuggles.

Christmas Star Quilt - The Actual Factuals:

Quilt size: 78 x 65 inches (196 x 163 cm)
Block size: 12 inches (30/31 cm)
Top Fabrics:  Homespun fabric from Little Falls Cabin and Bespoke County
(I ordered 2 yards of the big squares, 1 1/2 yards of the cream and 1 yard of the others)
Backing Fabric:  Plain cotton that I happened to have in stash, but I got it originally from Dunelm Mill
Wadding:  Quilters Dream Green from Cotton Patch (Awesome shop!)

I think that's all the facts for now, but if I missed something, you can ask me!

Just one last thing to share.  Have you seen these?

Christmas yummy or what?  I found them at Sainsbury's and thought how perfect they would be for hot chocolatey goodness over the festive season.

So, on that note, and given that I had a stinky cold today, I'm going to have myself some Quality Christmas Star Quilt Snuggle Time with a suitably themed drink...

...and a suitably themed film.  I think "It's a Wonderful Life" will be just about perfect.

S x

Oh, and a little PS for Paula Louise...

You left a message on my 'More is More' post asking about the angel on the mantle?  I'm afraid you have no email address linked to your profile, so I had no way to respond to you, but I hope you see this...  The pattern link is here!  Enjoy  :)

08 December 2011

Twinkle, Twinkle...

Last time I posted, I rather cruelly taunted you with a tiny glimpse of my latest little project...

Can you just see it sneaking in at the very bottom there?  Well, I’m glad to say this time, I’m here to show you much more.

I can barely claim any creative credit for this one.  The pattern is Grandma Twinkle from the clever Michelle at The Royal Sisters, and not for the first time, I’ve taken a massive dose of inspiration from fabulous Lucy at Attic24.  Look at her darling Advent Stars here and here.  Gorgeous!

I used Rico Creative Cotton leftover from my stripy Colour-Burst Bag to make them.  I love the colours of that yarn so much.  

I didn’t need another advent calendar, (I already have three out this year - and that’s not all of ‘em either!) so I decided on a garland.  I’ve been pondering the idea of this for a little while, a garland with lots of dingly dangly bits hanging on.  The Christmassy stars garland seemed the ideal opportunity.

I’ve added a few pom-poms, using my wonderful new Clover pom-pom makers.  Have you seen these?  They are very cool.  I must admit to being a big fan of the primitive ‘two-bits-of-cardboard’ technique myself, but if you have quite a few to make, these clever gadgets are the only way to travel.

It needed something else, so Attic24 to the rescue again.  This time, I used Lucy’s Tiny Teeny Hearts pattern.  These little hearts are adorable and only take about two seconds to make.  I used them to make my Falling Rain window dressing thingy and thought they’d be great here too.

Ooh, I’m loving the dangly! 

I’m calling this one the ‘Twinkle Twinkle Christmas Star garland’ Let’s have a better look at the whole thing shall we?

As you can see, I’ve left a lot of ends trailing down too on this one.  I quite like the look, I find it kind of fits.  What do you think?

My Little One was most intrigued by these colourful happenings and immediately wanted in on the action.   Of course, I was happy to oblige and with Madam’s hand-picked colour choices, these “Twinkle, Twinkle, Baby Star hangers’ came into being.

I quite like this style too, they look very cute hanging up in her room, I may have to make myself some colourful ones to hang around too.

I’m going to pop off now and have a nice relaxing, warming bath now and will leave you with this final picture of my mantle, all dressed for Christmas, garland, ivy, stockings and all...

S x

06 December 2011

More is More

I adore Christmas time.  I love the build-up, the advent calendars, the music, the films, the fabulous potential of the unopened presents, the anticipation and oh so especially, I love the decorations!  For me, most things about Christmas just have so many happy childhood memories attached to them, I can't help but get a glimmer of the old excitement that my younger self used to feel.  Of course, now I have my own dear Little One, I have all the joy and pleasure of making a whole host of new Christmas memories for her to treasure for years to come and that is so exciting too.

Today though, it's all about the Christmas decorations.  Some people will consider my decoration obsession slightly strange.  Indeed I have only met one other who shares my particular brand of decoration madness.  It will probably be confessing too much when I tell you, that I and this 'one other' equally nutty-about-christmas friend even go on yearly 'sparkly trip', spending a day visiting various wonderful shops just for the sole purpose of drooling and fondling the glittery, sparkly, Christmas flim flamery!  I know, so indulgent, so decadent, but soooo enjoyable!

So, would you like a peep into the world of a self-confessed Christmas Dec-aholic?  You do?  Well, follow me....

First up, is the tree itself.  I have, in the past, had many a different style of tree.  Sometimes simple, sometimes only certain colours, sometimes themed.  All have their merits, but these days my decorating philosophy tends to be 'More is More'!

Want a closer look?  Let's zoom in a bit...

Ummm, vunderbar!

I wanted to share a few of my favourites with you, here goes....

I have a real thing for baubles of all shapes and sizes, and I do love the translucent ones.

That gold one (top left), oh my word, I can't tell you how much I love it!

Then I have some good enough to eat....


These next are very special to me.  These are the very baubles that used to be on the tree when I was a child.  My wonderful Mummy let me have them as she no longer uses them...

I have four or five various colour versions of that stripy one in the middle, I remember staring at them and spinning them around for hours as a child.

Then there are favourites from my 'sparkly trips' across the years...

I always have these ones well positioned for my viewing pleasure from my evening sofa spot!

Then, there are the new additions this year.  Fresh new friends and future happy memories...

Of course, I have some knitted items on my tree.....

I also have a little crocheted Christmas pudding, I forgot to photo him, he must be hiding somewhere!

And no tree would be complete without a edible treat for children of all ages...

There are three of these little angels dotted about the tree, bearing gifts of chocolatey goodness.

So am I alone in my decoration madness?  Maybe one or two of you out there share it too?  And what do you think of my little (well, ok - big!) tree?  It's over the top clutteredness won't be to everyone's taste I know, but my oh my, it sure makes my heart sing!

Almost done, but just a couple of other last things to share....

My crocheted gingerbread house that I made the year before last, from the much coveted Crochet Today Nov/Dec 2009 issue.

And last of all, my mantlepiece...

Partly because I love my crochet angel and my three nutcracker soliders so very much, but also partly because at the bottom of each photo you can just about catch a glimpse of a new 'something' that I've been working on.  A colourful, starry little something that I'm very naughtly not going to tell you about until my next post!

Evil of me I know, but it is getting late and the next post will be soon.  Definitely this week, so you won't have to wait too long I promise!

S x 

PS   I got so carried away with all my Christmassy business that I nearly forgot to say the most important thing.  A huge thank you to all of you who read my last post and to all of you who left such wonderful comments.  I really haven't been sure about the Waterliles blanket, but your absolutely delightful, positive and heart-warming comments have made me feel so much better about it.  So, really, thank you very, very much for spreading the love my way.  This is me, sending some back to you too.  ♥
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