Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Things are always better in the morning...

How can I be grumpy today when I woke up to two lovely parcels of things for my mum. A lovely envelope full of seeds from Claire (2steps) who sells her lovely handmade jewellery on Misi

and a gorgeous box of clotted cream shortbread all the way from the Isle of Wight from Amberlife. Check out Amberlifes lovely blog particularly 'paying it forward' which is about passing on good turns to other people. Such kind thoughtful deeds from 2 lovely people. The Isle of Wight connection is lovely becasue we used to go there on holiday as children. We were always told we were going abroad as you have to go on a ferry. In fact I thought the Isle of Wight was 'abroad' until I was about 14!

The day continued to get better when I received an email from another blogger telling me to expect another parcel of seeds in the post for my mum. Can't wait to get them and have a look!

Then to top it all off I got an email from Patchwork Butterfly saying I had won her giveaway!! Patchwork Butterfly makes beautiful geisha mono prints that are embellished with stitching, fabric and jewels and they are absolutely beautiful. I had them on my Christmas list so I am thrilled to win one which I have named Isabella after my daughter. It will have pride of place in my sewing room where I hope it will inspire me (god knows I could do with some inspiration at the moment!).

Its funny because when I see gorgeous things that other people have made like the geishas I often have mixed feelings. Most of me (99%) is inspired by seeing something so beautiful but occasionally I feel almost jealous that someone else can be so talented and create something so lovely. It somehow makes me doubt the things that I make as I compare them. Is that weird?? I think I am slightly envious of designers who take the time to try new things, take risks and make stuff that is beautiful rather than functional to sell. Maybe thats what I need to do next year when all the xmas markets are over. Try a new direction, take a risk and see where it takes me!

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

I hate sewing!

Does anyone else have days where nothing you try and make goes right?? I've just had several. I've had a commission for a couple of crayons rolls and I also need to make a bib for my giveaway prize and everything seems to be going wrong. I don't like any of my fabric, can't find matching cotton, my sewing machine tension seems off, my finishing looks really amateur (2 crayons rolls in the bin!) and everything I sew just seems a bit wonky. I've tried doing some bits by hand instead and my thread keeps tangling up and getting knots in it and argggggggggggghhhhhhhhh!! I just want to throw it all across the room.

I think its because I'm rushing. I don't get much time to sew with two young children and I've got Christmas markets coming up and 52 presents left on my challenge and I think my sewing machine (which has always hated me) has picked up on my underlying stress levels and is just not co-operating! I guess I just need to chill out a bit and go back to it later in a better frame of mind so I'm off to eat birthday cake and sulk. Please tell me I'm not the only one this hapens to???

Came across a lovely website the other day called Artful Kids which I thought I would share.
They can basically do cool things with your childs artwork or handprints and can turn them into gorgeous pictures which would make fantastics presents. These are my favourites I think...

Monday, 28 September 2009

And the winner is....

The birthday girl (who practically hyperventilated when she saw Rapunzel Barbie!) picked a name out of a hat (well pink suitcase) for me and the winner of my bib giveaway is..............

Whoatemycrayons. Well done. A bib and some other bits and pieces are on their way to you! Thanks everyone for entering. It was lovely to get so many comments and it was really useful to see which bibs people chose!

Check out my car boot sale 50p bargains from the week-end. The cases I'm going to use at my christmas markets to display my stock.

and I got these 4 vintage childrens books from the 1960's. Its amazing how much stuff I don't know!

Also while I think about it. Can anyone tell me how to follow a wordpress blog? There never seems to be an easy way to do it unlike on blogger where you can just click on the follow button. Am I being really dense?? I do seem to have managed to follow one or two but have no idea how I managed it and there are a few blogs that I would like to follow but can't work out how to.  I should have bought The Living World of Computers for Idiots (in colour!)

Sunday, 27 September 2009

What was I thinking??

Hoola hooping in public!! What was I thinking? So not a good look. It was at Izzy's pyjama gym party on Saturday and I think I went a bit mad as I would never normally do this in public (not sober anyway!). Izzy had a great time at her 4th birthday party and all the kids were completely exhausted by the end of it. (Have some fab photos but a bit unsure about putting photos of other peoples children on my blog without permission). Only problem is that Izzy appears to be under the impression that she will be having another party tomorrow (her actual birthday). Oh dear I didn't have the heart to tell her that was it! Better hope that 'Rapunzel Barbie' makes up for it!!

Friday, 25 September 2009

17 out of 70 - Cooking on gas!

Week 2 - 70 Presents Challenge
  • Number of presents ready to wrap = 17 (Pretty impressive if I do say so myself). 
  • Number of new ideas generated during drunken dinner party with best friend = 25
  • Number of ideas rejected in morning after said dinner party = 15
  • Number of things handmade by me = 1 (could do better!)
  • Number of fantastic things sent to me by lovely fellow bloggers = 6 (thanks so much everyone)
  • Number of new celebrity friends = 1 (I LOVE Phillip Schofield!)
  • Number of panic attacks regarding challenge this week = none (too busy worrying abut Izzy's 4th birthday party and making stuff for my Christmas markets.
This is the needlecase I made last week. I love the blue fabric. It was really cheap but is gorgeous. I made some baby shoes with it with pink gingham lining and they looked really cute. Have to buy some more me thinks.

Don't forget my bib giveaway ends on Monday 28 September (Isabella's 4th birthday). I will get the birthday girl to pick a name out of a hat. Last chance to enter!!

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Swop Shop!

Kate at Emily Pickle had a fantastic idea....did I want to swop one of my crayon rolls for one of her purses for my mum? YES was my immediate answer as I know Kate makes absolutely gorgeous things (my children have several of her t shirts). I think I did pretty well as I got this gorgeous vintage fabric purse for my mum complete with gorgeous spotty lining and sweet little badge AND some cute little hair clips for Izzy as well.

Not only that but Kate included some gorgeous tissue paper and ribbon so I could wrap it up nicely for my mum.

I made this crayon roll in return for Kates daughter. I hope they like it.

Check out Kates folksy shop for some more gorgeous little purses. I speak from experience when I say everything is really well made and completely gorgeous! I have my eye on one of these hello kitty purses!

Also check out Little Cottage Comforts who has taken up a 'Make Do and Mend' challenge and vowed to only buy secondhand or handmade for a year and a day from 1 October 2009. What a brilliant challenge. I can't wait to see how she gets on!

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Random Acts of Kindness - part 3

I have had such a lovely week. Every day something lovely has arrived via the postman instead of the usual round of bills and junk mail. I've had lovely thoughtful packages of nice things for my mum from fellow bloggers. My faith in human nature has been restored! I could smell todays lovely package as it came through the letterbox because it contained the most gorgeous dried lavendar. Pomona at kindly sent me a big bagful so I can make some nice smelly things for my mum.

She also sent me some seeds. Now I expected these to be in an old envelope or something but another lovely surprise was waiting for me as there were 3 lots of cottage garden flower seeds (my mums favourite) in a gorgeous handmade fabric bag, tied with ribbon with a lovely tag.


How thoughtful and lovely is that?? Thank you so much. I've been really inspired this week to try and be more kind and thoughtful myself. Little gestures of kindness can really mean such a lot. Check out Pomonas blog as she has written some lovely posts about acts of kindness.

I am so excited that this mad idea really seems to be coming together now and my mum will be so shocked and surprised when she finds out about it. I very casually invited her over for Christmas Day today (her birthday!). Little does she know that she'll have no time for eating as she'll be too busy unwrapping presents!

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

The Silver Fox!

I knew he wouldn't let me down! I opened the post yesterday morning and look what arrived......................

A signed photo of PHILLIP SCHOFIELD no less!!! I cant remember being more excited (I obviously need to get out more!). 4 days YES 4 days after I emailed him, the lovely Phil as I think I can now call him sent me a photo for my mum. What a lovely man. Thing is now I am completely obsessed with stalking emailing celebs. Today I emailed Bruce Forsyth and the Strictly Come Dancing Team, Ant and Dec and all the Loose Women. I don't even know if my mum likes any of these people? I am just on a mission to get as many signed photos as I can. It will mean that for once I get exciting post through the door instead of bills. Shall we have a sweepstake on who replies the quickest? Who writes the most?? Who else shall I email???? This current obsession is obviously another diversionary tactic to avoid a) making 70 presents b) making things for my christmas markets and c) doing anything constructive with my time....Its so much fun though!

Monday, 21 September 2009

Random Acts of Kindness - Part 2

Another day another kind act! This time it was the lovely Tracy from Mad about bags who not only supplied me with lots of fantastic ideas for my 70 presents challenge but also sent me this fab pattern when I mentioned I wanted to make a wash bag for my mum AND some proper waterproof lining fabric to go inside.

I've never used waterproof fabric before and its fab! It was really easy to sew and makes the wash bag look really professional. So ta da.....this is the finished result. A fully waterproofed lined washbag for my mum to take on holiday! Made by me for my mum from Tracys pattern and fabric.

Plus there is enough lining fabric left over to make Izzy a swim bag. Perfect!

Tracey also makes gorgeous bags and sells them in her Misi shop. I love this gorgeous little mini tote. Really cute vintage looking fabric. Perfect for a little girl. Have a look!

Thanks Tracy! More kind acts to follow...........

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Random Acts of Kindness - Part 1

Its really easy to forget sometimes that there are decent, lovely people in the world. The news is so full of sad and horrible stories that you sometimes wonder where all the good people have gone. I was reminded yesterday when a total stranger suddenly out of the blue did something really kind which made me smile all day. So the first 'random act of kindness' award goes to Abby from Mutterings from the Moor . She read about my 70 presents challenge and several emails and 2 days later I received a lovely parcel containing....

Some lovely homemade Damson Jam for my mums birthday. How kind and thoughtful is that? Its been a struggle not opening it straight away so that we can try it out but I've been strong and put it on the present pile and quickly shut the door!

Not only does Abby have a lovely blog but she also makes the most gorgeous patchwork teddy bears using your own childs clothes. Such a great idea - instead of keeping those special baby clothes you can't bear to throw away in a box gathering dust, you can actually use them and see them everyday in these individually designed one off bears. What a perfect present for a child (or mum!). Check out the website for more info

I love blogging and the random way you can come accross lovely blogs and lovely people and lovely websites. More acts of kindness tomorrow!

Friday, 18 September 2009

7 out of 70 Not a bad start!

Week 1 - 70 Presents Challenge
  • Total present count (ready to wrap) = 7 (6 bought but all under £1 and 1 handmade!)
  • Celebrities stalked for signed photos = 1 (hurry up Phillip Schofield - dont make me ask Eamon Holmes)
  • Fantastic ideas from fellow bloggers = numerous. Thanks so much everyone for all your inspiration. Keep those ideas coming......
  • Promises of donated presents from VERY kind lovely fellow bloggers = 5 (this has really taken me by surprise. There ARE lovely kind people in the world. Thanks guys. Will blog about each one when they arrive. I am SO excited - stop striking post people don't you know I have presents coming!!)
  • Moments of anxiety when realise still have 63 presents to organise/make = to many to mention
There is a running total of presents to source/make and finished presents on the left hand side of my blog if anyone is interested.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

I have no shame....

I have no shame in my quest to organise 70 birthday presents for my mum by Christmas Day. Last night I emailed both This Morning and Phillip Schofields personal website begging asking for a signed photo for my mum. Everyone loves Phillip Schofield (The Silver Fox!!) and he seems nice and he will surely take pity on me and take my total present count to 8........won't he???? Thing is its a bit addictive emailing famous people and now I can't stop. Who can I email next? I need to find out from my mum who she likes on TV at the moment? Not sure how to drop it into the conversation tho 'Hey mum do you have the hots for anyone on TV at the moment so I can stalk them by email for a signed photo?' Just had a brainwave - how about Torvil and Dean? My mum used to love ice dancing and I vividly remember staying up to watch them win the Olympics in 1984. Only thing is I have a bit of a crush on Christopher Dean see this post so I might have to keep it for myself!!

Show me your SEEDS!!

Have been thinking about my 70 presents challenge and realised its actually quite hard to think of 70 things to buy/make one person. I suddenly had a great idea tho. Seeds!! My mum is a very keen gardener and would love getting some seeds to plant next year. So its a bit cheeky I know but I wondered whether any of you green fingered bloggers had any seeds from your gardens that you would like to send me??? I know that I could buy some but this challenge is bloody expensive about being thoughtful rather than just buying stuff. I really like the idea of being able to give them to my mum and tell her that completely random people that she doesn't know had been kind enough to send her seeds from their garden.So any offers??? I can package them up nicely when I get them - they can literally just be in an envelope with the name of the plant and any helpful growing instructions. Show me your seeds fellow bloggers!!

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Welcome home and a sad godbye......

I got a lovely message today thanking me for the union jack flag I made for a little boy whose dad was coming home from Afghanistan. There is a photo of the flag in use on Christals Creations blog (bought a tear to my eye!). I am so pleased that her other half is home safe and sound. My brother was in the army so I know how difficult it is when your loved ones are away but it must be particularly difficult when you have children and they are somewhere so dangerous. I hope you are all enjoying your time together as a family at last!!

I am so sad that Patrick Swayze has died. I've lost count of the number of times I watched Dirty Dancing with my friends when I was younger. Its such a brilliant feel good film. I feel the need to watch it again now pref with lots of girlfriends drinking lots of wine! I bet DVD sales will go through the roof now!!
Big thanks to everybody who has come up with ideas for my 70 presents challenge. You have really helped me out with your fantastic suggestions and ideas. Please keep them coming tho because I still need lots more and I'm starting to panic already! 

Saturday, 12 September 2009

A present for each year!

My lovely mum will be 70 on Christmas Day!! It a bit rubbish having your birthday on Christmas Day. You really miss out on presents so I generally try and do something special like days at a spa or a night in a hotel. This year though I don't want to do something like that - my mums sister is really ill and we just dont really know how things will be at Christmas so The Cotton Porter passed on the brilliant idea of giving 70 presents! A present for each year of her life!! I LOVE it. This idea has really inspired me so I've set myself the '70 PRESENTS CHALLENGE' and I need your help!

I will obviously buy a couple of nice special presents but the rest are going to have to be cheap, more thoughtful presents. Presents that have been made by me or my children or small little fun items. The idea being that I have really thought about what my mum might like and not just thrown money at it (wish I had some!) so what I need from you is..............
a) presents some ideas
b) links to tutorials for gifts I could make
c) encouragement - I'm not a great finisher when it comes to my hairbrained schemes

I'm going to put an updated list of presents on the side of my blog so you can monitor what number I'm up to and I'll post weekly to chat about what I've found or made. Oh yeah my mum is very young at heart and loves sewing, making quilts, patchwork, bowling and going on sunny holidays!


p.s Dont forget about my giveaway!

Monday, 7 September 2009

Its a BIB giveaway!!

To celebrate Sam starting to walk and Isabella's birthday I've decided to have a giveaway! The winner can choose any bib (baby or toddler size) from my Folksy or Misi shop as the prize and I might even throw in a few extras! (If you win and want the bib as a new baby present you can wait until you know the sex of the baby and choose one at a later date.

So all you have to do is follow my blog if you don't already and leave a comment below saying which bib you would choose, the size and who it is for. I'll get Izzy to pick a winner out of a hat on her birthday which is 28 September 2009. If you blog about my giveaway and add a link to my blog I'll put your name in twice!

Good luck.

What an amazing lady.....

My friend Karen and her team of runners completed the Bristol Half Marathon yesterday in memory of her 2 young daughters Holly and Olivia in 2 hours and 34 mins!!! They have now raised £20,400 for Bristol Childrens Hospital and are still collecting money. Its an amazing achievement. A HUGE thank you to everyone who sponsored her and helped her do something positive in memory of her girls. She deserves 'Woman of the Year' award I think!

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Shoes, flags, flowers and a hangover!

We have new shoes to show off. Sam wearing his FIRST EVER pair of shoes because he is SO NEARLY walking now!! Its very exciting.

Then Izzy saw these in a charity shop and practically hyperventilated over them so I had to buy them.

Thing is they are an accident waiting to happen and I'm counting down the hours until the next trip to casualty for a broken ankle. Keep trying to 'lose' them amongst all the toys but she keeps digging them out and parading round in her princess dress. She is obsessed with princesses at the moment. I hate you Walt Disney. I'm obviously really popular tho because Izzy came home after a morning at the park with her dad on Saturday and presented me with these gorgeous flowers. Apparently she 'loves me because I am wonderful and I look like a film star'. She is clearly on drugs - I so don't - but it was nice to hear!

I made my first flag last week! I read a post on folksy about someone wanting a union jack flag for their one year old to wave at his dads homecoming as he has been away in the forces. It really struck me for some reason probably as I have a one year old too and I can't imagine his dad not being around so I had a go. It was nice to do something completely different for a change and I think they like it. Check out their blog.

A bit hungover today as actually had a night out last night without the kids!! Went out for dinner with some friends and drank lots of wine and beer (never a good mix - what was I thinking?!) Didn't get home until 2am and then up at 7am with Sam. My negotiation skills are obviously a bit rubbish as my other half managed to wangle the lie in today! We'd promised Izzy she could go swimming this afternoon (another bad idea) Swimming with a hangover is not much fun. That will teach me!

Watch this space for a giveaway next week!!

Friday, 4 September 2009

Sewing Machine Envy

Me envious of Amanda at Kitschy Coo's fab new sewing machine AND overlocker?? (check them out) NOT ME cos check out my new beauty.....

I bet it was much cheaper too! £2.25 from my local charity shop. Izzy is going to love it. Shes always coming in my sewing room and watching me use my sewing machine (the one that hates me!!). Shes probably a bit young really but I cant wait to make something with her on her very own machine.

I think I'm in denial that I'm 40 next year. I'm addicted to watching Skins on Channel 4. Yes the programme thats aimed at teenagers and is full of teenage angst. Maybe its because this man is in it??

His name is Luke Pasqualino and he plays Freddie. He is soooooooo gorgeous but only 20. Don't you just hate young people!! Paolo Nutini is history. I am officially in love..........

Thursday, 3 September 2009

The romantic fool

Remember that romantic present from my other half?? Yes the PAPER TRIMMER - well i've been experimenting with it and my packaging definately looks better with straighter lines. I sold 3 things this week (2 tooth fairy cushions and a baking bag) so was able to practice. What do you think? Still needs a bit of work but its getting there. Also been playing around with little cards to send/hand out as well. Lets just say its a work in progress! (Please excuse the fuzzy photos - it was late and I was tired!) Got a lovely email from a customer this week too saying how much she loved the buggy blanket she bought for her little boy Eli (isn't that the coolest name ever??). It was so nice of her to email me direct as she had already left feedback for me. It really made my day. Note to self - thats a nice thing to do when I buy something lovely too!

Really need to clean the camera lens too!