Friday, 30 October 2009

38 out of 40 - ticking along nicely

Week 7 - 70 presents challenge
  • No of presents ready to wrap = 38
  • No of presents likely to offend my mum = 1 (Jon arrived home with a copy of SAGA magazine from his dad. I'm sure my mum will find this funny tho (I hope!)
  • No of lovely presents donated by fellow bloggers = 1 (Did you see the gorgeous sunglass case?)
  • No of things handmade by me = 0 (Christmas markets won out I'm afraid)
  • No of things on their way from very kind fellow bloggers = 3 (can't wait to see them)
Thanks to the lovely Crafty Elsie for a fab idea about giving my mum a blank journal with a jar full of slips of paper with questions about her life that she has to answer in the journal. I'm going to have a go at this as I think its a great idea and it won't cost much. Thnks for the tip and links.

I won another giveaway this week. This time a fabulous halloween bag for Izzy from Tracy at Mad About Bags. We both love it and Izzy can't wait to take it to her Halloween party on Saturday. The fabric is great and its really well made so I really recommend you check out Tracy's Misi shop. 2 giveaways in a week. I even did the lottery on Wednesday I was feeling so lucky but didn't win. Doh!

Night 4 of tough love was fine. Sam slept through to about 5.30am when I did bring him into bed with me but only because he was poorly yesterday and I wanted to check he was ok. He seems much better today luckily. So fingers crossed for tonight.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

I'll need more fabric then

In the post today I received my fab giveaway prize from Amanda at Kitschy Coo. A pattern and tutorial to make one of her gorgeous reversible coats.

I am really keen to give this a go so as soon as my Christmas markets are out of the way I will start making one for Isabella and report back as we go. I have NEVER made a coat before. In fact I have only ever made 2 items of clothing before so it will be a real learning curve for me AND it contains buttons which means BUTTON HOLES! Should be interesting. What a great excuse to go and buy more fabric anyway. If you haven't already then you must check out Amanda's blog. Its hilarious and regularly makes me choke on my cup of tea (with laughter) as well as being very inspirational. I can't believe her work rate and the number of fabulous things she makes. She also posts tutorials on a regular basis and is the photoshop queen!

I also received a 'bonjour' T shirt I had ordered from She Draws on Folksy for my french brother in laws birthday.

I'm really pleased with it. She Draws is very talented and has a great folksy shop full of quirky jewellery and other lovely things so check it out for Christmas presents.

Night 3 of tough love was ok. Half an hour of controlled crying at 12.30am and a one off visit at about 3.30am was not bad. Sam has been sick twice today tho so feeling a bit guilty in case he actually wasn't feeling well last night. I guess that knocks it on the head for the next couple of nights as obviously he needs to be 100% well. Guess we might be in  for a bad night tonight!

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Too good to be true?

Night 2 - Tough Love Regime

Sam slept through from 7.30pm to 6.45am!!!!

I'm so shocked. I had set up a little bed outside his bedroom just in case I had to spend time going in and out but I didn't need it. In fact at one point I crept in to check he was ok. I'm confused. Is this just to lull me into a false sense of security...the calm before the storm?? or has he just given up and accepted that he has to sleep in his cot all night on his own? Mmmm me thinks the first one. We shall see tonight!

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Tough Love (kind of)

Last night was the first night of tough love (aka controlled crying) for Sam. After about a month of sleepless nights (and I mean sleepless) the final straw came when after sitting in his room for hours holding his hand trying to get him back to sleep he stood up and threw his dummy at my head and then my face. I'm a bit of a wuss when it comes to controlled crying generally but there is a limit to how little sleep you can survive on so we decided we had to do somthing. Sam just seems to have lost the ability to settle himself back to sleeep when he wakes up. Jon and I decided that we would not let him cry for more than 5 minutes at a time but we would NOT pick him up or stay in the room if he woke up. We would lay him down, stroke his head and leave quickly and quietly each time he cried.

So night 1 - Sam woke at 4am and started crying. I spent about an hour going in and out lying him down. He would often settle for 10 mins before crying again but eventually managed a longer period where I could hear him chattering away to himself before he eventually fell asleep at about 5am. Not for long. He woke up again at 5.15am and stated screaming. Jon took over and spent the next hour doing the same - going in every 5 mins or so and then leaving. I have to say Sam certainly knows how to crank it up when necessary and I realised that he tries different cries when he doesn't get the attention he wants. Last night Sam's repertoire included

1) The normal 'give me some attention' cry
2) The slightly louder 'where are you guys??' cry
3) The screaming 'get in here right now' cry
4) The 'ok I'm going to scream and cry until I make myself cough' cry
5) The 'I'm coughing so much I'm going to retch and be sick' cry
6) The 'I am so angry and cross because you are ignoring me' RAGE cry
7) The 'lets try a different one cos thats not working sobbing heartbroken cry - this one very nearly broke me. I was desperate to go in and pick him up
8) The whimpering wounded animal cry - also very effective.

I must just say that we did go in every 5 mins and inbetween these cries he would settle and smile at us as he threw his dummy on the floor in a bid to get us to stay so we knew he was ok. He finally fell asleep at 6.15am and slept until 8.30am when he woke up in a really good mood (unlike me!)
Who knows what tonight will bring???

On a brighter note the lovely Sharon from Bliss Knits very kindly sent me a gorgeous crocheted sunglass case for my 70 presents challenge. It is beautifully made in a coral pink colour and lined with soft matching fabric. My mum will love it as they go away on holiday all the time now they are retired as my mum suffers from severe arthritis and the sun really helps. Not only that but Sharon also sent some seeds too for my mums garden. Thanks so much. It really cheered me up. Check out her gorgeous Folksy shop.

I also won 2 giveaways yesterday from Kitschy Coo and Mad about Bags (So going to do the lottery this week). Will blog about them when they arrive but I was really excited about both so thank you both so much.

Finally another giveaway that might interest people?? Japanese fat quarters - need I say more?? Check it out....

Rae Gun Ramblings: GIVEAWAY: Japanese Fat Quarter Fabric Bundle

Monday, 26 October 2009

Sew busy

I have been sewing like a woman possessed over the week-end to try and get some stock together for my Christmas markets. What do you think?

Tooth fairy cushions with a poem and a chocolate coin

Baking Bags (include rolling pin, whisk, wooden spoon, cookie cutters, cupcake cases and 2 recipes)

Boys Activity Bags (These contain little note pads, toy cars, toy soldiers, mini play dough, a dinosaur and mini playing cards.

Bibs (need snaps and an iron!)

Aprons (excuse the terrible photos!)

Crayon rolls

Any feedback welcome - likes/dislikes??? I'm working on some little girls activity bags and lots more crayon rolls plus want to make some little purses and little first sewing kits. Fed up of sewing now though just want to watch TV with a large glass of wine!

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Home Alone

I've been at home ON MY OWN all week-end. Jon has been visiting his dad and sister with both children and very kindly allowed me a week-end off so that I could do loads of sewing for some Christmas markets I have coming up. I have been sewing like a mad woman in my sweat shop all week-end and have only left the house once! Its wierd being on my own. I've swung from feeling quite tearful to feeling completely liberated and then back again. I miss both children so much but at the same time have loved having 2 good nights sleep, reading my book in peace and just generally doing as I please without having to answer a question every 30 seconds. I am missing them though and can't wait for them to get back home tonight. Only thing is its payback time soon which means Jon gets to go off for the week-end. Not looking forward to that quite as much!

A blog I've been following a lot recently is Mutterings from the Moor. You have to check out the story of little Annie the lamb that they have rescued and are nursing back to health. How cute is she??

This blog has been nominated for the Dorset Cereal Little Blog Award so check it out and if you love little Annie make sure you click on the link and vote for them to win!

Friday, 23 October 2009

36 out of 70 - Over Half Way!

Week 6 - 70 Presents Challenge

  • No.of presents ready to wrap = 36 (over half way - woo hoo!)
  • No. of presents handmade by me = 0 (rubbish effort)
  • No. of presents donated by fellow bloggers = 1 (lovely Christmas Tree decoration)
  • No. of items bought from shops = 5
Ok so this week was mainly about buying things from shops. In my defence a couple of the things I bought I just can't make (eg a diary and a book about the small town in which we live). I also bought Gone with the Wind on DVD as it was made in 1939 (the year my mum was born) and is a special 70th birthday edition. I was going to make a CD containing songs from 1939 but found a 1939 birthday card that came with a CD of 1939 music so decided to buy that as my time is really limited and the thought of faffing around downloading songs all night just stressed me out. My best purchase though was a hardback photobook from Photobox containing photos of my mum with her grandchildren. These are usually quite expensive but they had a 'buy 1 get 1 free' offer. Its Jon's birthday on Sunday and I always make him a photobook each year. Its become a bit of a tradition since Izzy was born so I was doing one for him when I spotted the special offer. The great thing is you can do two completely different books so did another for my mum and saved myself £30!! Bargain. Thankfully I was sent a  lovely Christmas Tree decoration for my mum from Hennie so there is at least one lovely handmade thing in this weeks pile.

Survived the first committee meeting. Was actually good fun and managed not to look too stupid in from of everyone I think. Think my role will be mainly fundraising which is fine. I feel a cake sale coming on!

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

I used to have a brain - honestly

Today I cracked. After a year of excuses I agreed to join the committee at Izzy's pre school. The pre-school which is FANTASTIC is unusual in that it is run entirely by a committee made up of parents rather than a school or local authority. The committee is responsible for the hiring and firing of staff and for all the financial decisions. If not enough people volunteer to go on the committee then the pre school basically has to close. Its a bit of a weird way to operate given that children usually only attend pre-school for a year (2 at max) so the committeee constantly changes as children leave to go to school. Izzy being a late September birthday will attend for 2 years. I managed to get away with not being involved last year as I had just had Sam but I no longer have an excuse so am attending my first meeting tomorrow. Thing is I haven't got a brain anymore. I can barely string 2 words together, can 't remember what I did yesterday and have developed a worrying habit of leaving the gas rings on whenever I cook anything. How on earth can I be expected to have an opinion at a meeting?? Luckily the meeting is in a pub which might help! How did this happen to me. I used to have a brain. I've got a degree and a professional qualification. I used to be a child protection social worker and be responsible for vulnerable children and give evidence in court and everthing!! What happened?? I blame my children. Please reassure me that my brain will come back and wish me luck at my first meeting.

Want to say a big big thanks to the lovely Deb (Hennie on MISI) who has very kindly sent me a gorgeous patchwork Christmas tree decoration for my mums birthday.

This will be hung on her tree on Christmas day and kept for every Christmas after too. What a lovely surprise. Deb is also a fantastic knitter and has made the most gorgeous knitted Pudsey Bears for Children in Need which are available from her website now and are only £5.

A big thanks also to Kelly at A place of my own too who not only sent me gorgeous things for my mum but when I said that Izzy loved the snow globe she had sent proceeded to send me another one just for Izzy. So kind and thoughtful of her. Kelly does a brilliant weekly round up of blog posts that she has enjoyed which is such a great idea. I've found some great new blogs this way.

Finally was reading Blonde Design's blog and it had a brilliant link to website called
It is hilarious! Its basically some of the weird and wonderful things people try and sell on etsy with some hilarious comments. Check it out....

Friday, 16 October 2009

30 out of 70 - Grinding to a halt!

Week 5 - 70 presents challenge.
  • No. of presents ready to wrap = 30
  • No. of presents donated by fellow bloggers/friends = 2 (thanks guys!)
  • No. of presents handmade by me = 1
Its been a tough week what with headbutting boy keeping me up all night and other half being away with work so my motivation levels have slipped slightly. Am obviously in complete denial about the present challenge AND my Christmas markets as have spent most of the week buying fabric and reading blogs!

Want to thank my lovely friend Debi (the one with the husband with blistered feet!) for her gorgeous lavendar bag which I love.

Only two people I actually know in real life read my blog and Debi is one of them. We met in Tescos about 3 years ago when we had both just moved to the area. We both had toddlers in supermarket trolleys and Debi asked me about playgroups. After a nervous 'first date' in Gilly's cafe we became great friends and now see each other all the time. Debi actually met my mum and dad at that first meeting in Tescos and now lives across the road from them! My mum will be thrilled with her gorgeous gift from Debi.

Continuing on a lavender theme I actually made something this week too. It was a  Lavendar heat bag from this great tutorial.

Its actually really quick and easy to make. This one is great because it has little pockets inside meaning the rice doesn't all slip to one end like the shop bought one I have. The lavender was sent to me by the very kind Pomona and was collected from her garden. Check out her lovely blog. She is only buying recycled or handmade for a year and a day! oh yeah - can anyone tell me whether its ok to use rice in these heat bags? How come it doesn't cook when you warm it up in the microwave and then go all funny after a while??

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Should have done the lottery

My luck seems to have been in lately (if you don't count the sleepless nights with headbutting boy) as I have won 3 giveaways! My first was the gorgeous Geisha Girl last week and this week I received these beauties in the post...

The gorgeous personalised picture from Helen at Petal Textiles for Isabella.

It is even more gorgeous in real life as the colours are really vibrant. I love it and can't wait to get it framed and on the wall. Check out this gorgeous bag from Helen's Folksy shop. Beautiful.

I also received this fabulous brooch from Emma at Sew Recycled for my mum. Its really lovely and a mix of fabric, crochet and silk flowers topped off with buttons and beads. Really gorgeous thoughtful present which will be one of the 70 presents given to my mum on her birthday on Christmas Day. Thanks so much.

Emma also have a folksy shop Sew Recycled I'm loving her Cake bunting!

I think my bank manager wants to have a word with Kate at Emily Pickle. She put a great fabric link on her blog Fiddlesticks Fabric. It would have been rude not to go and have a look and this is what I ended up with......


They were all very reasonably priced tho and as I have sold a few things recently I thought I would treat myself.

Thanks for the comments about fellow headbutting children - I am not alone!! Sam has slept much better the last couple of nights so fingers crossed now he is feeling better the headbutting will not be so bad. Thanks also for the good advice about my Christmas markets. I'm going to stick to the things that I know sell well rather than trying to make dozens of new things. It feels much more manageable now!

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Not a hope in hell!

Trying to get some new items together for my Christmas markets at the moment. Yesterday after much dithering I finally finished a few new tooth fairy cushions and some hairbands.

Have decided to add a little chocolate coin along with the poem in the pockets seeing as its nearly Christmas and its a good excuse to have loads of chocolate in my sewing room! Got a list as long as my arm of things to I want to make for the markets. Jon is taking Izzy and Sam to his dads for the weekend soon which means that I'll get a whole week-end of making stuff without any interuption which will be great as I am beginning to panic slightly. My list of things to make so far is:
  1. Tooth fairy cushions
  2. Baking bags
  3. Aprons
  4. Activity bags/little tote bags
  5. Crayon rolls
  6. Hair clip tidy thing
  7. Hair clips/bands
  8. Sewing kits
  9. Purses
  10. Bibs
  11. Little hanging hearts
  12. Little Bean bags
  13. Christmas decorations
Haven't got a hope in hell of achieving this list but I can dream! Oh yeah and I've still got 42 presents for my challenge to to make/find or buy!! I need a drink..................

Its always nice when someone gives you lovely feedback on something they have bought so thanks to Cosmic Eden for the lovely mention on her blog today. I was also featured on Cuteable which was also very exciting. A pretty good day all round. Not sure the night will be the same tho as Sam has been waking up at 1am and staying awake til 4am for the last 5 nights. He is ok if you pick him up and cuddle him but if you don't he screams and has started headbutting the cot! Took him to the doctors today as was a bit concerned about this latest development (he is usually such a chilled out little boy!) Apparently headbutting things is quite common in this age group. The doctor thought he might have a virus and he was a bit chesty but her advice was to wait until he is 100% well and then do controlled crying and ignore the headbutting! Hope it doesn't come to that and he sleeps better once he starts feeling well again. Just when you think you've got everything under control it all goes pearshaped!

Monday, 12 October 2009

I LOVE this song!

I heard this old song by the Eels for the first time in ages yesterday and have to post a link to it because I love it so much. It makes me tingle when I listen to it. Love it! Mr E's Beautiful Blues

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Make a child happy this Christmas

A couple of years ago a playgroup I attended did the 'shoebox' appeal. Basically you get  a shoebox and fill it with small toys and its gets sent to a child in the world who would not ordinarily receive anything at Christmas. I loved the idea of this and did one and I've been meaning to do it again ever since but as is usual when you have a busy life its been forgotten about until now. I saw a link to the charity that organises it today on the Folksy forum. Its called OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD so I had a look and theres a collection point at a shop about 10 minutes from where I live. So in the next couple of weeks I am going to do two boxes - one for a boy from Sam and one for a girl from Izzy. People have been so kind to me over the last month donating things for my mums present challenge that it feels right to be giving something back and the things only have to be small - felt tips or crayons, a toy car, hair bands - little things that you find in the supermarket for less than a pound.

I talked to Izzy about it today and once she realised I wasn't going to give HER toys to the other children she agreed that it would be nice to send something to another child who might not get anything. She then asked why Father Christmas didn't just go and deliver them presents. Wasn't really sure what to say to that 'he runs out of time' was my lame response!

Anyway if you have the time - have a look at the link and find out more about it. Watch the video of the reaction of the children receiving their boxes to see why its such a great thing to do and if you can put a link to the charity on your blog that would be great too!

Watch Video

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Lets talk about Isabella

Last night was the first meeting of our reading group (I'm the one with the purple butterfly top!). I can't believe it actually happened. I am usually rubbish at organising things but last night following my drunken idea a couple of months ago, 8 mums met to discuss the book we had all ben reading for the last month 'We need to talk about Kevin' by Lionel Shriver. A nice cheery tale of a teenage boy who kills his father, sister and schoolmates witha crossbow! It was great fun (the meeting not the book). We actually managed to have a really good discussion about the book and our feelings on the mother/son relationship in it and it felt really good to be able to have an opinion on something and to be able to voice it without feeling like an idiot (although the 4 large glasses of wine did help!).

General concensus was a really interesting thought provoking story which really made you think about parent/child relationships but most of us struggled with her style of writing finding it too long winded and wordy. We've decided on our next book which is 'Notes from an exhibition' by Patrick Gale.

I didn't get home til 1am.  Apprently Sam woke up every half hour during the night (we think he's teething again) but I didn't hear a thing! Jon had to deal with it all while I merrily snored away. I had my punishment today though as I felt really hungover all day but had to go present shopping for Jons Birthday.

Thinking the book should have been called 'Lets Talk about Isabella' at the moment as my lovely gorgeous well behaved daughter has turned into a monster since hitting 4. Please tell me this is a phase??? Shes become really aggresive and keeps hitting us whenever she doesn't get her own way. Any ideas anyone? Whatever we do she just says 'I don't care'. Driving us nuts as shes usually so well behaved.

Should have done the lottery this week I think as I have won another giveaway. Can't believe my luck!
This time a gorgeous personalised picture for Isabella's room by Petal Textiles. Its beautiful and I can't wait to see it.