Tuesday 30 November 2010

Let It Snow

 Hello! The last day of November is here already - I can hardly believe it. This month has flown by and tomorrow we'll be opening the first door of our advent calendars, nibbling on the chocolates and starting the Christmas countdown!
 This little snowman cushion is from a pattern I made years ago. I designed it originally using rich warm folk art colours in a homespun style, and I made one for each of my two sisters for Christmas that year. This year I decided to make a new one using brighter and lighter fabrics and this is the result - a chilly little snowman for a chilly snowy day. I stitched on the little lace bobble edged trim because it reminded me of tiny snowballs.
We have had snow too! Not a huge amount (yet) but more is on its way. I took a picture of our steps before I swept them clear. I hope the roads are clear too!

I'll be back tomorrow. Thank you all for visiting me and for your all your lovely comments. I hope you have a great day, enjoy the snow and the warm cosy times too. x

Sunday 28 November 2010

Jolly Holiday

 Hello! I'm back from our little holiday in York! It was the perfect place for a festive break with its fascinating medieval architecture, lovely little shops filled with treats, yummy food and such pretty Christmas lights and decorations - it had a really magical atmosphere, especially at night.
 We had booked an apartment near the city centre, which actually turned out to be a tiny sliver of a house, nestled up against the city wall in Goodramgate. The house was very old and had become rather lopsided in places - the floors felt like being in the fun house at a fair, or even on a slightly tilting ship - but it all added to the historic atmosphere!
 The shop windows were stunning and I took lots of pictures. Here are just a couple...this one had lots of sewn and stitched fabric gifts....
 And this is one of my favourites - I love the look of pretty little sugar mice ...
And did it snow?! Yes, it did! Just enough to make the city look even more picture postcard lovely, a light dusting of icy white on every roof, and on the crenellated tops of the city walls. This is the snowy view we saw when we woke on the second day of our trip.
 Luckily for us, the roads were clear, so at the end of the week we had a nice drive to Harrogate, through the beautiful Yorkshire countryside with wide sunlit snowy fields dotted with sheep. The Knitting and Stitching Show was packed and buzzing with customers, and I was soon one of them filling my bag with goodies.
Home in time for Mr P's birthday and a lovely cosy family celebration. Thank you for all your good wishes for our trip and for Mr P's birthday! I have missed reading everyone's blogs and am looking forward to catching up again. I know I missed some giveaways...sigh. And then it's back to crafting - lots to do, deadlines looming...stitch stitch stitch..! I hope you all have a wonderful week and that you keep warm!! xx

Tuesday 23 November 2010

On A Little Trip

 Rather like these little festive folks, we are also looking happy and smiley and going on a little trip. It's Mr P's birthday at the weekend and in recent years we've gone on a short break, usually to a city, around this time. Tomorrow we're off to York for a few days.

I'll also be popping over to Harrogate to the Knitting and Stitching Show (it will be well worth a visit if you are near enough too).

Travel-wise we are rather hoping it doesn't snow although I'm sure it will look magical if it does! I'm packing my warmest clothes, my camera and some stars - or the pieces of fabric and so on to make them with. Yes, I'm still stitching stars and when I've got enough I'll be showing you what they were for...
Here is my Little Snowman, who I think looks a little anxious. I made him last year for a Crafts Beautiful Christmas project and he has been hanging around with the Gingerbread Boys recently.
Before I go off on my little break I must say a big thank you to everyone who has commented, emailed and visited my blog over the last few days. Thank you, thank you lovely readers! Have a wonderful week, keep warm and snug, and I will soon be back with lots of festive treats to share. xx

Sunday 21 November 2010

Beautiful Blogger Award

 I have received an award for my blog!!! It is from Teje (and Nero) at Nero's Post and Patch. It was a wonderful surprise - thank you Teje! I've learnt that when you are the lucky recipient of this blog award you then reveal ten random things about yourself in return. So here are my ten things:

1 When I was younger I had deep auburn hair which gradually faded, from the age of about 29, to blonde.

2 I don't mind doing housework! I like the feeling of restoring order out of chaos, and the satisfaction of seeing things fresh and gleaming.

3 I love interior design and painting furniture white!
 4 I loved fabric and colour even as a small child. I can remember fabrics my mother sewed dresses from for us both when I was four years old.

5 I have twin sisters, a few years younger than me. They are both arty and crafty too.

6 I love to read and read and read...novels, biographies, diaries and letters, old fiction, new fiction and of course crafts books...
 7 My husband was my first boyfriend - and although we parted for a while we eventually got back together and got married. He's my best friend.

8 I don't enjoy sport but I love to take exercise in the fresh air - especially walking or gardening.
 9 I do truly believe you should always try to be positive about life and to think the glass is half full.

10 Sometimes I get so excited about a new creative project that I can't get to sleep at night and wish I could get up and start making it right away!
Thank you again Teje! And thanks to everyone who reads my blog. I hope you all have a wonderful  start to your week - and I shall be back very soon with a crafty post! x

Friday 19 November 2010

Stitching Stars

One night last week we saw the clearest skies and the most stars we've seen for ages - so sharp, bright and twinkling. Soon I'll be putting Christmas lights in all the windows. (I've already got a string of fairy lights in the kitchen to brighten up my cooking.) One of my favourite things is seeing all kinds of little lights in different houses shining through the winter darkness in such a warm, welcoming way.
 This week I've been stitching some little stuffed stars to make a decoration. I haven't decided on the final colour way yet - I might keep it all cool blues and turquoises or add in some pink and red....
 Sometimes one colour works best and looks the most stylish - but I have such a love of colours and their effect on each other I find it hard to resist combining them. I think that's why pretty floral designs work so well for me - the mixture of colours is delicious to my eye!
 It's not just been stitching stars here, but baking them too. These are Vanilla Star Cookies - which are really just the basic cookie recipe with a couple of drops of vanilla essence added. I put some in the freezer to have later in the season. I might make some more as gifts too, as they look pretty in a cellophane bag tied with ribbon or raffia, with a homemade tag.
            We did keep one or two to try - just to make sure they really were good enough to eat!
I'm looking forward to this weekend, with winter walks, sewing, and cosy family time. I hope you all have a  lovely weekend with starry nights and sunny days. x

Tuesday 16 November 2010

Making Gingerbread

 Hello again! Where is the time going this week? It seems to be whisking by! Today I'm introducing the Gingerbread Boys. First I made Mr and Mrs Gingerbread as a project for my book, and then I just had to make these boys as well. they are a lighter mixture and not so well-baked - that's generally how I prefer my real biscuits!
 We had a little photo shoot and once they started it was hard to stop them leaping into different containers and posing and beaming for the camera.
                  I love making toys, it's something I plan to explore a lot more in the coming months.

These are the simplest kind, made from two identical pieces of linen, a back and a front, sewn all the way round and stuffed with polyester filling, then their little smiling faces are embroidered on with black thread, and their cheeks are painted to look pink and chubby. Choosing buttons - I love that bit -  and finally a bow tie - this time I used bright selvedge scraps for a rustic look - it doesn't matter if they fray a bit, it's all part of their style.
I'd like to wish a warm welcome to all the sweet readers who visit my blog, both the brand new and the more regular ones. THanK YoU all so much, I really appreciate your visits and LoVe hearing from you! I hope you all have a wonderful week, full of things you enjoy. x

Friday 12 November 2010

Sew Small

 Here is the little gift I've been making - Snowflake Booties! They were quick to make as I'd already worked out the pattern as a commission for last month's Cross Stitcher (those were in pink, with white ducks), and I thought this folksy red and white set would be a lovely gift for little Daisy Dot.
 I love working with felt, and using waste canvas to stitch a cross stitch motif on it is as easy as pie - just tack on a bit of 14 count waste canvas, follow a cross stitch chart in the usual way, then remove the waste canvas thread by thread - if you dampen it first it doesn't take long to do this.
Small treats for me this week - two, yes two, new books to lose myself in - and some delicious hot chocolate to enjoy at the same time. We've got lots on this weekend, but I'm hoping to  find a little time to indulge in my reading and mugs of hot chocolate and maybe even a few of these too....
The buffeting gales have now died down here at last - after getting up to 75mph last night and blowing a few tiles off our very high roof. I hope you are all safe and unharmed. And I wish you all a warm and sweet weekend. x

Wednesday 10 November 2010

Merry Stitching

 As the shelves fill up with gorgeous Christmas magazines and the evenings draw in, I love to do a bit of festive stitching. Although it can be Christmas in my studio at any time of year, I like to make special small gifts for family and friends now in the evenings, beside the fire, and really enjoy the seasonal atmosphere.

The Red Bells Cushion appears in this month's inspiringly festive Crafts Beautiful magazine. I made it in the summer when the sun was shining and the garden was full of flowers. I also made a little card and matching cross stitch bell shaped tag for this project. I love creating little stitched tags - they're a great way to quickly add a handmade feel to any gift and they can be hung up as a decoration later.
 I received this sweet little book last week - that's my Mr and Mrs Gingerbread project on the cover, but it's not just me in this book,there are contributions by ten designers and a great variety of makes and ideas, beautifully presented. I love browsing through books and magazines during November, planning things to make and bake before the rush of December arrives.
 I bought some bright new crafts materials the other day and I have an idea for a gift to stitch involving some of them. I hope to begin this tonight and I'll show you soon! (It doesn't include all these pins though! I just bought them because I needed some extras, and they reminded me a little of snowflakes!)
              Wishing you all a lovely week, with bright sunny days and happy cosy evenings. x

Monday 8 November 2010

Something To Make

 A little bit of recycling has been going on here, can you tell? Or it could even be considered as a bit of upcycling perhaps (a word I only discovered this year and rather like!)
                                                  As we've been making lots of these...
                                                       We've had lots of these to spare....
 And when washed and gleaming they were too nice to put in the recycling bin - I wanted to use them for something. So I cut up some pretty craft paper and covered the tin using double sided tape. I added a strip of adhesive ribbon round the top, and a pretty little flowery sticker.
 You could cover the tins anyway you liked, and add all kinds of embellishments and then fill them with lots of crafty things - or even lollipops!
Before I go and start stitching on today's project I must just show you these gorgeous corsages made by the very talented Ginny and available from sweetmyrtle now. I love the two I chose and  have been wearing them a lot on my bag or coat. (The package also included these adorable little handmade cards as an extra treat - what a lovely surprise - thank you Ginny!)

I wish you all a wonderful week and lots of crafty happy times. x

Thursday 4 November 2010

Splash of Colour

 The inspiration for today's post was silverpebbles's idea to cheer up the gloomy dark days by sharing colourful pictures. I think it's a lovely idea and I'm sure it will help us get through the dreary days to have our blogs showing this series during the first week of each month for four months (and then it will be spring!) Emma has also set up a flickr site devoted to the splashes of colour pictures.

One of the main things that helps keep me feeling positive and cheerful during the dark winter days is working with colour. It can be paint, threads or fabrics - just the sight of all this colour really lifts my spirits and designing and making things speeds the winter days along. (The little bird applique pincushion above is not quite finshed - I want to add a little more embroidery and maybe some more buttons, but I thought I'd pop it on here anyway.)
These bright storage boxes have been in my studio for a long time and I love the colours. They hide away things like printer cartridges and card blanks so I always know where they are when I need them. The felt is soon to be used for a project, but in the meantime I just like looking at it!
I hope you are having a lovely day and enjoying lots of splashes of colour too. x

Monday 1 November 2010

Strawberry Hearts Quilt

  I've been meaning to show you my Strawberry Hearts Quilt for quite a while.
 I finished it earlier this year, before I began my blog. It did actually make a brief appearance on my Strawberry Season post in June, but here it is now in a bit more of its summery detail. I made this quilt just for me, with some fabrics left over from projects from my last book, Simple Sewn Gifts, and some of my favourite CK florals including the strawberries on blue design that I love. I interspersed the flowery patches with plain crisp white to allow the hearts to stand out and then I quilted round them with red cotton. I also added some little fabric loops to the patches here and there. I used a tape measure print for these, and sewed extra little pieces on here and there to echo the loops. I used Bondaweb for all the applique shapes and embroidered round them with blanket stitch before sewing the squares together. This quilt was fun to make!

I had quite a few squares of flower fabric left over from my quilt so I sewed them all together and made a little cushion. I'm working on another patchwork quilt again this week, this time a magazine commission so it's top secret for now! Hope you all have a lovely week, and wishing you lots of sunny autumn days. x