Monday, 30 November 2009

Am i Weird?

I don't like chocolate - is that weird?? I spent Saturday morning running a chocolate stall for Izzy's pre school at the local school Christmas fair so was surrounded by chocolate but it just doesn't do it for me. One chunk is just about all I can manage - its so sickly

The kids however were OBSESSED with it. We had the most popular stall there and took over £150 (if anyone want to know about the game for a fundraiser just email me and i'll send the info). The older children who had money of their own to spend seemed to spend most of it with us. Basically they get to pick 3 balls and win either a small, medium or large bar of choclate with each ball. The odds obviously mean you usually win a small bar but kids were coming back 4 or 5 times to try and win a big bar. I felt slightly bad that a) they were spending £4 trying to win something they could buy for less than a pound and b) that some kids were taking home 12 bars of chocolate but its dog eat dog in the fundraising world!! Hopefully the chocolate will be shared with their mums most of whom also seem addicted to chocolate if their comments were anything to go by. So is there anyone else out there who like me doesn't like chocolate? As you can see my weirdness doesn't apply to any members of my family....this is Sam after sharing Izzys big win on the chocolate stall (not fixed honestly!)

I received this little beauty today for the Folksy Christmas Decoration Swap from Sew You. A really cute little Christmas Pudding for the tree and some little Christmas chocolates (that Izzy has already blagged from me). Its very cute.

Personalised aprons are a bit like buses - you don't see one for ages and then 4 come along at once. Been manically sewing aprons over the week-end for Orla, Maddie, Gwen and Bekah. I hope they like them!

I'm a great believer in fate.  Last night I was reading a really interesting post by TheMadHouse about Homestart volunteers and how much support they had been able to offer her. I thought it sounded interesting as have been thinking about doing some volunteering recently as a way of using my brain again and also getting back into work mode. I went to bed with a copy of my local free paper and flicked through and immediately saw an advert asking for Homestart volunteers in my town to start training in January so I'm going to give them a call and see if I can join. If I hadn't been reading about Homestart on the blog I probably wouldn't have picked up on that advert or given it much thought. Its obviously meant to be!! Wish me luck....

Friday, 27 November 2009

FREE presents and the big 50 (no not me!!!)

Week 11 - 70 Presents Challenge

I have reached 50 presents in my challenge - woo hoo!! I can't believe it. Thanks to everyone who has sent me ideas and suggestions or lovely things for my mum. I really appreciate your help. Just 20 more to find now. I've got a few ideas of things to make (any tutorials/links to patterns for tea cosies/sewing machine covers greatfully received) things to buy and a couple of lovely people have offered to send things so we are well on our way. Its been a great, fun, heart warming experience doing this challenge so far.

Some great suggestions for free...yes FREE presents have come my way recently so I thought I would share some of them with you as they are such great ideas.

Midsummerstitches on a Folksy forum suggested a box of kisses. You get your children to kiss torn up pieces of tissue paper and put them in a nice box with a label saying 'box of kisses'. I am going to do this for my mum from Izzy. This would make me cry if I got it!

Oddsox also passed on this tutorial for making japanese origami lucky wishing stars which are really pretty. The Folding Trees blog is full of tutorials to make really pretty things with paper - gift boxes, tags even a paper ipod docking station. I think I might become addicted to this paper folding thing.

Christals Creations left a message on  my blog telling me about the little bags of love she used to make - little fabric bags filled with cotton wool and tied with a label saying 'bag of love'. You can't open it as the love will get out! So cute and another one I might make.

I think it was Mutterings from the moor who suggested a sunday lunch voucher. Just make a handmade voucher offering to make your loved one a sunday lunch or their favourite meal at a time of their choosing. You can also make babysitting vouchers for friends/family

I love all of these ideas. its true that its the thought that counts and its not always about how much you spend but how much effort you make that makes a present special. Having said that sometimes you see things that you just HAVE to buy as with these gorgeous jam jar covers from The Cotton Porter (who coincidentally suggested getting 70 presents for my mum in the first place!) Its a present for my sister in law and is beautiful.

Made with fabric designed by another folksy seller littlebirdydesigns who designs gorgeous cards and prints. This print is on my Christmas list.

Check out both their folksy shops for great Christmas ideas

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Phew! That was a close one.

I have just narrowly avoided a complete disaster. Note to self - NEVER give a 15 month old the car keys to play with when they are sat in the car seat with the car doors shut as they will press the button on the key and lock themselves in the car. Yes you guessed it this has just happened to me.

I was about to go and collect Izzy from pre-school so put Sam in the car and remembered that I needed to get something out of the garage that I had been storing for someone at pre school. It will only take 2 minutes I thought and Sam is safe in the car in front of me. So I gave him the car keys to play with  and shut the car door as it was raining and one minute later realised that he had locked himself in the car with my house keys so I had no way of getting him out or getting into my locked house to get the spare key. I'll spare you the swearing that I did in my head. What made it worse was that my other half is working in London today and my parents who have a key are on holiday and Izzy had to be collected from pre school in 5 minutes time. I spent a couple of minutes trying to get Sam to press the button again in an encouraging yet slightly hysterical voice while he grinned up at me. Luckily he did eventually press the button and I managed to open the car door and was saved from disaster. What would I have done otherwise though? What would you have done? I need some valium...  

Saturday, 21 November 2009

We all need a hug now and then

I just found another great present for my mum on Folksy. Its a hug....

A handcut piece of walnut that spells the word 'hug' with a little poem to go with it. This is a really sweet little present and was only £1.20 so a complete bargain as well from Valley Woodcrafts. Perfect. Think this can be from Izzy to my mum as present no. 49!

Thanks to TheMadHouse for passing on the Honest Scrap award to me.

I am very honoured. You really should check out her blog because its a great read and full of interesting posts including lots of crafty things to do with children. So I need to tell you 10 things that nobody knows about me....

  1. I used to be really good at horse riding and had a horse until I was 18 and discovered boys and pubs!

  2. I hate driving and probably only ever drive within a 3 mile radius of my house

  3. I have the most dreadful singing voice ever

  4. I called off my wedding 9 years ago when I met my current partner

  5. I worked in Greece for 2 summers when I was younger

  6. I only ever dance when drunk!

  7. I was once in the audience of Question Time with David Dimbleby

  8. I always said I would never have children and now have two!

  9. I used to be a Child Protection Social Worker. Its a horrible job.

  10. I am 40 next year - how did that happen???

I need to have a think about who to pass it on to tho so watch this space...

Friday, 20 November 2009

47 out of 70 - Almost at 50!!

Week 10 - 70 Presents Challenge
  • Number of presents ready to wrap = 47
  • Number of lovely things from fellow bloggers = 2
  • Number of things handmade by me = 0 (but I did get some cool fabric to make a tea cozy)
  • Number of great new present ideas = 1
You will all know that I am slightly in love with Phillip Schofield from past posts.

I often have This Morning on in the background if I am at home (incidentally I love Holly as the new presenter). Yesterday the lovely Phil as well as providing me with a signed photo for present number 14 for my mum also gave me the idea for present number 47. What a guy! 3 young lads were being interviewed as they are trying to make a movie of a little known Jules Verne book called 'Clovis Dardentor'. As young guys with no prior experience they are obviously unable to raise the finance needed to make a proper film so they hit upon the idea of selling the film credits at the end of the film to the public for £1 each to raise the money (check out the website.). It is such a great idea. Celebs like Phillip Schofield and Stephen Fry have now got involved and have helped them out with publicity and by appearing in a short promotional film called 'Jam' designed to show off their film making talents which is available online next week. Check out the trailer....

I love the idea and the spirit of this project. I admire the guys for getting off their backsides and making this happen and the fact that some celebrities have taken the time to help them out to ensure they achieve their dream of making this film. It also makes a great (cheap!) unusual present for my mum. So they just need to raise a million pounds (they are well on the way) and make the film and then my mum can go the cinema, sit back with some popcorn and watch her name come up in the title credits. Fab. Thank you Phil. You rock!!

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Acts of Random Kindness - get the T-Shirt!

I love the idea of Acts of Random Kindness and having experienced many since starting my blog (and hopefully having done a few myself) I was really interested to hear about a new clothing company called Ark (Acts of Random Kindness Limited). Ark° have launched a new ethical clothing range of really cool tshirts which aim to encourage people to perform an Act of Random Kindness every time they wear them and make the world a better place.

This video kind of sums up what the company is about

The company is interesting in that while it's a for profit company, its money doesn't go toward personal gain and the owner has legally committed to never taking a dividend with the money going straight back into the company to spread and inspire their message of 'Arking'. They also encourage groups of people to get together to perform acts of random kindness in their local area. Its a great concept and a really interesting company so check out the website for more info. They also make great Christmas presents!!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Thank god the posties not on strike anymore

Not one but two lovely packages in the post today. Firstly the lovely Bridget at Poppyart sent me two lovely things for my 70 presents challenge. A gorgeous brooch

and some fab lavender angel wings which are made from lovely fabric and smell divine. Izzy has been sniffing them all afternoon.

The wings will be hung on our Christmas tree until the big day and then given to my mum to take home which means we both get to admire them!! The parcel was beautifully wrapped and included a lovely postcard. Thanks so much.

Bridget has a lovely Folksy shop full of nice things. I love these new superhero capes she has listed. Its so hard buying nice handmade things for little boys.

So are you ready for part two of 'fabric porn' as its been hilariously called?!

This time a package from Fabric Inspirations. This arrived in just 2 days and all the fabric was immaculate inside as if it had been freshly pressed. More great service from another UK business. I'm really impressed and would highly recommend.

Are you ready.....

Blokes just don't get the fabric thing do they? My other half just smiled politely when I showed him and said 'thats nice' in a very unenthusiastic way while my friend Debi practically hyperventilated over the cupcake fabric! Thats it now. I've run out of money. Off to make some new things!!

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Check out my stash!

I decided to treat myself to some new fabric yesterday. I've never used Saints and Pinners before although have long admired their fabric collection so thought I would give them a try and I am VERY impressed. I bought some gorgeous fabrics and they arrived the NEXT day despite me only ordering them in the afternoon. They were beautifully wrapped too. I would highly recomend. I only wish I had bought more of everything! Its given me some really great ideas for fabrics to use next year though when I want to start making more clothes for Izzy. Check out their lovely blog too for inspiration. So lovely to receive great service in the UK for a change! Thanks guys.

Thanks for all your comments about my charity shop fabric. Some great suggestions of things to make. I think it would make a great summer dress for Izzy so definately going to try that in the New Year and also some of the other ideas too.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Do I like this fabric?

I was looking in my local charity shop today and spotted this fabric. There is about 2 metres of it and it was only £1.50. I think I like it but I'm not sure. Its looks brand new but has a 'vintage' look to it I think. The colours are really vivid on a thin white cotton background but I just can't make up my mind about it. So what do you think? Is it nice? I won't be offended if its too chintzy and you don't like it. I'm just interested to know! Also what can I make with it? I need some inspiration....

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Blast from the past

Many of you have very kindly helped me out with my 70 presents challenge for my mums 70th birthday on Christmas Day so I thought I would share a few photos I 'borrowed' from my mums house while they are on holiday. They have been stashed in the bottom of a drawer for years so I'm going to do a scrap book of my mums life. They make me feel really sentimental for some reason.

I think my mum must be in her 20's here. I'm trying to find out when this was taken.

This is my mum and dad when they were 'courting' as my mum puts it. No idea who the random lady is on the left. My mum was engaged to someone else when she met my dad but she called it off and 6 weeks after their first date my mum and dad got engaged. They have now been married for 46 years!
(Funnily enough I called off my wedding to someone else a week after meeting Jon but thats a story for another time!!)

In one of their wedding photos you can see her ex fiance in the reflection of the wedding car window watching her get married!

This is my favourite photo as it has all of my grandparents on it and my great grandad. I have this framed in my house.

I think this is my brothers Christening. I love this photo. My mum looks really glamourous and finally..............

Me circa 1984. Was was I thinking?? Whats with the hair? I have pink eyeshadow and electric blue mascara on too. The 1980's were not kind to me. This one should have stayed in the bottom of the drawer!

Saturday, 14 November 2009

44 out of 70 - thank goodness for craft fairs

Week 9 - 70 presents challenge

  • No. of presents ready to wrap  = 44 (4 new handmade things bought from fellow crafters)
  • No. of presents handmade by me = 0 (Another rubbish week)
  • No. of things promised by lovely fellow bloggers = 4 (Including something from California!!!)
  • No. of new ideas for things to make = 2 (Anyone got a sewing machine cover tutorial they want to share??)
My mum and dad are on holiday at the moment so I went to their house yesterday and stole borrowed a load of old pictures of my mum to make a scrapbook of her life. I'll try and scan some in so all you kind people who have helped me out with this challenge can see who you are doing it for! I was thinking about starting to wrap some of the presents. I'm usually a Christmas Eve wrapper but with an additional 70 presents to do I thought I better start early. Jon then pointed out that as my mum has severe arthritis in her hands maybe making her unwrap 70 presents was actually a bit cruel. Ahh hadn't really thought of that. Having said that Izzy and Sam are both now acomplished present unwrappers so I know that they will willingly help. So to wrap or not to wrap - that is the question.....

Friday, 13 November 2009

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Christmas is coming...

Just in case trying to organise 70 presents for my mum and making stuff for craft fairs wasn't enough to do, I thought I would also enter the Folksy 09 Christmas Ornament swap organised by Noodle Bubble. I'm just not happy unless I'm stressing about something or working under pressure! Anyway I was starting to panic so thought I had better get on with it so here is my offering. I will be sending these to Sew You on Folksy and she will hopefully send me something back. We will then put the pictures on Flickr for everyone to see! As she doesn't read my blog I think I am safe posting a picture of what I made for her. I hope she likes them. A little pink Christmas stocking with a cute little bell. The felt is actually quite sparkly although you cant see it on the picture.

and a cardboard hanging box thing (great description I know) that contains some little chocolate Father Christmases (is that how you spell the plural of Christmas?? Probably not)

The hanging box came from this Pattern. You can print it off onto thin card and use it or trace round it as a template if you want to use other patterned card which is what I did. All you do is glue one side and put some ribbon through the holes. 'Simples' as the meercat would say.

I think Izzy and I are going to make some for her pre school teachers. Any excuse to get more chocolate!

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

I have a confession to make

I have a confession to make.....I have been buying Christmas presents and they are...wait for it.....NOT HANDMADE!! In my defence they are books. Books are good. Books teach you stuff and some of the books are about sewing so that makes it ok. Anyway if you haven't already heard of them check out The Book People. They have some great offers on their website. I just bought 10 Charlie and Lola books in a cute Charlie and Lola bag for £10

and they have lots of sets like that for children. Also highly recomend the Hairy McClary books for little ones as they are really fun to read (and short!).

Annoyingly though I just spotted a book I bought off Amazon last week for half the price - doh!)

Thanks to everyone for all your advice re shipping fabric from the USA. I am so torn between that fabulous website and all those gorgeous fabrics and the fact that I know it will end up costing me a fortune in postage and duty. Theres only one thing for it - a trip to the USA and a visit to that fabric shop in person!! Just have to win the Euro Lottery first.....

Monday, 9 November 2009

Need some help please fabric lovers

The money I made at my craft fair is burning a whole in my pocket and I want to buy some fabric before it all gets frittered away on dull stuff like paying bills so I've been checking out some fabric websites. I am now officially in love with this website FABRICWORM in the USA. The fabric is just so gorgeous and SOOOOO cheap compared to here. Now my problem is last time I ordered some fabric from the USA I got stung for import duty which made it as expensive as buying it here. I'm sure I've read somewhere that if you stay under a certain limit you don't have to pay any import duty?? but I can't remember where I read it or whether I just made it up! Can anybody help? I've tried doing searches and looking at the customs website but to be honest I'm losing the will to live reading through pages of boring info none of which seems very relevant to what I want to know.

Forgot to say I was approached at the craft far about possibly being featured in a new sewing magazine called Cloth. Not sure whether it will happen but its a really interesting magazine about fashion and sewing with projects to make, interviews, reviews and stuff to win etc. As a new magazine they seem keen to hear from people with ideas and suggestions for the magazine so maybe some of you talented people might want to get in touch with them? Theres a website too so check it out.....

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Gotta buy me some more fabric!

Had a great day today at the Misi Christmas craft fair. It went really well and I sold loads of things and got lots of really nice comments so I was really really chuffed. Lets just say I made enough for a bit of guilt free fabric shopping so I can finally buy some fabric to try out my new coat pattern from Kitschy Coo. Well done to Emma at Misi for organising the fair. They were queuing out the door at the start and she got lots of people into the really cool venue (its where they film 'Deal or No Deal' with Noel Edmonds!) with some great local publicity. It was lovely to meet some fellow Misi sellers including Jean at Talking Beads who I tested the necklace kit for. My lovely friend Debi came and helped me out too which was lovely as we were both child free so could chat without distractions for a change.

A craft wouldn't be a craft fair without a bit of shopping as well. I was very restrained but bought a couple of things for my mums birthday challenge.

A gorgeous pin cushion in a tea cup from All That Glitters. I love this. My mum loves tea and sewing and it was just too lovely to not buy even though I had made a pin cushion already. (I had to use the photo from All That Glitters shop as my photography skills really didn't do it justice!)

A cute little mirror from Plump Pudding made from recycled fabric

and finally - what do you buy as the 43rd birthday present for someone??

An apron for their washing up liquid of course! OK - I know its a bit random but it really made me smile and the washing up liquid can be present number 44. This is also from Plump Pudding who also sells  the most gorgeous badges and brooches and was very nice.

Jon and I decided that we should take Izzy and Sam to a Firework display in the evening. Shame we didn't read the info properly as instead of starting at 6pm as we thought it actually started at 8pm. The gates just opened at 6pm. So we spent £10 and nearly 2 hours dividing our time between a damp beer tent and the POURING rain waiting for the firework display to start. It was bloody freezing! We finally cracked and came home when a) Sam started turning blue with cold and b) Izzy started shouting 'I want to go home now' at the top of her voice so we missed all the fireworks but I did get to watch X factor so all was not lost.