Friday 31 December 2010

Happy New Year

Hello to everyone who visits me here and Happy New Year to each and every one of you! I hope you have had a wonderful holiday, and are ready to greet the world again after the 'bit inbetween'. For me the New Year always has to have some flowering bulbs - as many as possible, and then I feel like spring is almost here..
Little cross stitch plant pokes designed for my earlier books come in very handy for decorating my pots of flowering do tags produced for magazine commissions (time I got on with some of those now that the holiday is almost over - I had a peek at my commissions board where I list everything  work-wise and realised it was high time I stopped lazing around eating chocolate and got on with some work again!)
I got this mat free with the lovely new making magazine and decided it summed up my attitude to each new year rather well so I decided to include it here. Making things is what makes me happy and keeps me happy come what may! The baboushka tape measure was a stitchy gift and the new fabrics will soon be cut out and sewn up...I can hardly wait!
I send you all the warmest of wishes for a happy, healthy, creative, fulfilling and generally wonderful 2011! Thank you for all your kind wishes and comments - and here's to another lovely year of blogging!! xxx

Tuesday 28 December 2010

Still Making Merry

 Hello! Just popping in with a very quick post - don't want to feel too out of touch during this happy holiday time! I hope you have all had a wonderful Christmas. We have had  such a lovely time with the family. We've been enjoying it all so much, and will still be making merry for a few more days yet. We have lovely friends coming tomorrow and more lovely friends the day after that, so it's still rather celebratory here.
                   New plants and bulbs - some lovely presents bringing the promise of spring to midwinter... 
 All the snow has dripped away here but we still have Snow Bites in the new Pip Studio bowl (next to it is my new pink knitting which has kept me busy when ever there's been a spare moment)....
Soon we'll be eating less of these...
                                                                 And more of these....
   I wish you all a happy time in 'the bit inbetween' Christmas and New Year. Back in a few days. xx

Thursday 23 December 2010

Merry Christmas

 It's so close now you can almost hear the sleigh bells jingling....I've wrapped up nearly all the presents, just a toy hamster with special armour to wear (?) and a very small cycling helmet left to wrap which I'll do tonight. Tomorrow we'll be dropping off a few presents here and there to family and friends so I have to make sure they're all ready and labelled properly....
 I've ironed the snowy white tablecloth today, reflecting the snowy outdoors, a family heirloom from my lovely mother in law. Assembling the things, organising the food, trying to make the long stripy candles stand up properly in the tall glass candle holders....tea lights like the reindeer here are so much easier...
And knowing that tomorrow is Christmas Eve and my younger daughter will be home, we can start the festivites and the goodies in the Christmas corner can be opened and enjoyed (apart from the ones we've already been enjoying this week...)
 Such a magical time of year - I do love the Christmas atmosphere, the special feeling - not just about presents or delicious treats, but a kind of magic in the air, a time of stillness and beauty, of peace and joy - I know other adults who feel it too - the sense of wonder is not just confined to children....
So I wish you all a heartfelt Merry Christmas - thank you for reading my blog this year, for commenting with such sweet, thoughtful, witty and amusing comments and taking the time to do so - I treasure every one of them. I've also loved reading your blogs too, so full of life and fun, ideas, creativity, humour and joy. I hope you and your families have a wonderful Christmas and all your merry wishes come true. xxx

Wednesday 22 December 2010

Merry Wishes

 Snow again! We woke up this morning to find more snow had fallen, but Mr P told me it was quite nice to walk on - crunchy and crisp. Later on the sun came out and the sky was blue. I spent the morning finishing off some work projects....
This meant I could then clear up the dining room which had become the sewing room, put all the fabric and books away, and clean it ready for...well Christmas! It's nearly here and there are still things to do...
I was helped in my work by a little of this - the most delightful white chocolate and cranberry fudge which I made the other day from the recipe on Green Rabbit Designs blog - everyone here loves it! No one knew I could make fudge (neither did I) but this is so easy and so deeeelicious I'll be making it again. Thank you for sharing it Vivienne!
 This afternoon I spent a long time tramping about in the snow with my elder daughter and the children, doing last minute things, all quite slowly because that's how 3 year olds like to do them as I'm now remembering! I also like to see how much sliding goes on by children who think it's great fun and unlike adults don't see it as something to be avoided at all costs!
Now I'm home and warm and cosy, thawed out nicely, and looking forward to lighting the candles and sewing my quilt while watching a movie with Mr P, who is also feeling cheery as he finishes work tomorrow for a nice long break. I hope you are enjoying the cosy wintry evening too. Thank you for visiting me here and for your sweet and lovely comments. I'll be back again before Christmas comes...Sending merry wishes to you all. xx

Monday 20 December 2010

Jingle Bells Bunny

Hello! I thought you might like to see this little festive creature today, and to have a glimpse of her being created. I actually began making this bunny a while ago. The pattern is a scaled down version of the Bunny Cuddles one in my book Simple Sewn Gifts which I showed you in an earlier post.
I wanted to make this one a girl bunny and as it got nearer to Christmas I decided a festive theme would be good....which meant a red dress, for sure...and maybe some jingle bells, and perhaps a little holly too?
               First she had to have pink spotty ear linings....and then she had to have pink starry pantaloons.

               And on her dress a corsage made from a green yo yo with a jingle bell in the centre.
She has bells on her cuffs and bells on her toes (is this reminding you of a nursery rhyme?) and I finally knitted her a little white woolly hat with a red and white spotty felt ball on the top, because it's so cold at the moment. I get very fond of the little toys I make and like to have them around the studio or on the mantlepiece, or on the dresser amongst the dishes. It's surprising how sweet they can look popping up here and there....This bunny may be given away though, to a special little girl when she's a little older and less likely to chew on the jingle bells!

It's really freezing here - not too pleasant temperature-wise. I hope you are keeping warm and cosy, or for those of you who live in warmer climes I hope you are just pleasantly warm! I send you lots of festive cheer, glowing candle light, warmed mince pies, mulled wine, sweets and treats - whatever your festive heart desires in fact! Hope all your lists are being ticked off and you can relax and enjoy the countdown...Back soon. xx

Saturday 18 December 2010

Sweet Things and Snow

 This is the Gingerbread House that Sarah and Charlie built at my house the other day. I bought the kit for them to do, and my job was to make cups of tea, mind Daisy and provide the icing sugar. It was sweet to watch the creation of this little house and the 3 year old's decoration choices, the whoosh of an avalanche of hundreds and thousands, and the obvious fascination of Hansel and Gretel and the Wicked Witch...
 Today all has been quiet at our house and I've been cooking almost the whole time. Tomorrow we have friends coming, so I was cooking for them  and also making freezer meals for over the holiday. And I made these Snowy Rocky Road bars...they look a bit like the world outside here today - dusted and topped with icing sugar......
 These are a treat I bought during a quick shopping spree - they are called Jazzies - who knew, not me, that these had a name and that is what it is - jazzies. I have always loved the look of these - I remember being bought them as a child, they were sold in those days in a white paper bag - and I think I just called them 'white chocolate buttons with hundreds and thousands on top' so I'm glad to finally find out that these have a proper name!
 Here is some of the snow through one of my kitchen windows today, just like icing, I think. The little snow globe idea is from Mia and is just one of her lovely Christmas projects - she has lots more so do go and check out her festive blog if you haven't already - it's full of sweet and crafty things to make.
This is made using one of my favourite glass jars. The little reindeer was a gift from my daughter Rosie a few years ago, and the toadstools were some I couldn't resist buying and here they are coming in handy, just as I knew they would! The 'snow' is made with salt - ordinary table salt topped with rock salt for that extra crunchy sparkly top - like our road is today.
There was a huge snowfall here last night and the garden looks like a real winter wonderland. I'm looking forward to watching a film tonight, maybe stitching a bit of my quilt or doing some knitting too. I hope you are having a lovely weekend filled with lots of sweet things and good times. Stay warm and have fun. xx

Thursday 16 December 2010

Hearts For You

 I've named this post after this little sampler I stitched a few years ago, which is fitting in well with my red and white Christmas house at the moment. The little stripy hearts here are some new ones I've made, but I always have hearts hanging all around the house - it wouldn't feel like home without them!
 I love to have some hyacinths around at Christmas time too (in fact I love them any time!) - the scent is one of my favourites and I love the freshness of the blooms combined with all the Christmassy things. It's nice to add a little sewn heart to a plant for a gift too....or you can just add one to your own plant to look pretty, if you wish...
More tasty treats are being squirrelled away - I don't like to put things in the deep dark cupboards in case I forget they're there and only find them in spring.... So I have a little Christmas corner where yummy things begin to collect about now....

Pretty cards, arriving each day - I still haven't found the perfect way to display them - but the ones I like best are put in prominent positions like on the dresser, the mantlepiece or the kitchen window sill, and others are clipped onto ribbons and hung from the tops of doors..
Is it REALLY going to snow again this weekend?? Everyone keeps saying so, and when I came back tonight it felt sooo icy, as if there really was snow in the air. So the cosy quilts and winter cushions are out on the sofas ready for some serious snuggling. I hope you are having a wonderful week, with all the Christmassy plans going well - and maybe a little time for something crafty too. Keep warm and cosy. xx

Tuesday 14 December 2010

A Little Stitching

 This is the little creature I mentioned I was sewing the other day - Liberty Bear is her name. She is made from soft pink fleece as you can see - I couldn't think where I got the fabric from at first and then I suddenly remembered that it was in a bag of fabric one of my sisters gave me after sorting out her stash. I loved the look of the Liberty fabric heart, and added a little bow too.
 This little bear is part of a gift for a certain baby who I know will love the feel of the fabric and will also enjoy biting it, chewing it and dribbling on it too! It's easy to wash in the machine so that won't matter at all.
 Here is a virtual cookie for you - it's a gingerbread one and it was iced (like the ones in my last post) with the fabulous icing pen (made by Tala, bought from Lakeland, for those who kindly enquired!)...
                                                          And now it's time to relax ....
To do a bit of knitting and cosy up for a peaceful evening. I hope you are warm and cosy too, and all your candles are lit and your fairy lights are twinkling! xxx

Sunday 12 December 2010

Twinkle Twinkle

Winter stars twinkling in the frosty sky - and fabric stars twinkling on a ribbon garland on my dresser. The ribbon here also has some little twists of red and white selvedge scraps added here and there randomly along it. The idea is to create a relaxed look, nothing too perfect - it's just for fun...
It's been rather a starry time here in other ways too. Like going to Charlie's first Nursery Nativity, where we got this song sheet (crumples thanks to little Daisy) where the words had a slight tweak on the version we normally sing. I do love how children's educators are now so creative with nursery rhymes and songs - and have sometimes added lots of new verses to ones the ones we used to sing.
 There has also been some gingerbread baking again - some of the starry kind, and some of the heart, tree, gingerbread men, holly leaf kind....
....but as this post has a starry theme I'll just show you the starry cookies for now. I iced them with my new icing pen - I was so thrilled to discover this - my drawing with it is not quite as good as with my Rotring pen but it's definately a step in the right icing direction, and much less stressful than those squidgey icing bags.
And here is another use for my little fabric sewn stars - on a twinkly lit up star and berry wreath. I love the little Christmas lights sooo much, I look forward to seeing them beaming through the darkness every day.
I hope you are having a wonderful weekend, and enjoying all the good things this season is bringing. Sending you lots of starry moments, cosy warmth and twinkling lights. xx

Thursday 9 December 2010

Sew Merry

 Here are some pictures of  the Christmas tree I put up yesterday in our sitting room. The room is mainly cream and white with touches of red in quilts and cushions, so for the last few years I've decorated the tree in red and white. I hung the merry hearts on, and clipped on the cute new toadstool ornament I got in York.
 And then I had an idea which I just had to make right more merry heart was needed this year...
 ...a red and white toadstool  merry heart was something my tree needed. I got out the felt and threads, and I used bondaweb to fix the toadstool  in place before sewing round it with blanket stitch. I used French knots for the spots, and backstitched some little ferns and stars as I had done on the other merry hearts. And then I sewed it round with red blanket stitch and filled it with polyester toy filling and it was done...
                                                        I hung it on the tree and here it is.
                        And here are some of the presents I wrapped the other day to go under it.
So does this mean I'm all organised? ..Oh noooo - I've still got loads of things I need to do but I keep getting side tracked by craftyness all the time! I hope you are enjoying your week, keeping cosy and having some crafty times too.Thank you for visiting me and for all your lovely comments, I really love reading them. Sending you all heaps of merry wishes. xx