Saturday, 31 December 2011

The ups and downs of Christmas

Christmas was great but spoiled slightly by the fact that my mum has been in hospital for the last 9 days and only came home today. It was also her birthday on Christmas day so she had a pretty horrible time stuck in hospital. We are hoping to do another Christmas lunch early in the New Year so she can join in!

On a more positive note I received some fabulous things (helped I am sure by the list of sewing related gifts I blogged about just before Christmas!) 

From Izzy and Sam I received this gorgeous cotton reel holder

 Jon bought me the domain name and hosting as well as a build a website package so this is one of my projects for next year!

Possibly my favourite gift ever - a portable bobbin winder. Seriously. You have no idea how much I love this thing.

Some fabulous vintage spools for my ribbons

A lovely book

Gorgeous fabrics from Fabric Rehab

A fab book about selling craft online

A gorgeous ribbon holder

The cutest Cath Kidston 'Owl' pyjamas. For some reason I can't find a decent photo online and mine are in the wash but they are soo cute!

Tickets for The Waterboys! You can read about my love of The Waterboys here

and lots of other bits and pieces. I was a very lucky girl!

Sam loved his 'Grandad' bear made by the very talented Abby of Bubs Bears and now insists on sleeping with him every night.

I tried my hand at freehand machine embroidery and made these aprons as Christmas presents. What do you think? Poppy Treffrey eat your heart out??

OMG I have had a proper look at Pinterest tonight. I am so addicted already. This is going to be dangerous.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Lets hear it for the boys!

Several people following the 'Dress a Girl - UK' appeal on facebook have mentioned that they might like to make something for boys. I checked and you can make shorts for the boys if you like. Jo and Annie recently sent me my first batch of shorts that they made out of old t-shirts using a tutorial on the 'Dress a Girl' website which you can find here. Thanks so much Jo and Annie. You are both amazing and the appeal wouldn't have been half as successful without the hundreds of dresses you have made and donated this year. I really appreciate it!

There is also a lovely tutorial for boys '10 minute trousers' here which I have permission to share from the lovely Solveig who has a gorgeous blog called Randomness by Petchy

I also received a gorgeous box of dresses from the lovely Betty in Italy last week. Betty has also made some warm dresses that were sent direct to the USA for girls living in the South Dakota Indian Reservation so she has been busy. Not only did Betty fill a box with 13 gorgeous dresses but also some other bits and pieces that might come in useful including some long skirts that might be good for teachers. Thanks Betty!

A big thanks also to Alison who blogs as Peggys Pickles. Alison has done an amazing job and with the help of her friends and several sewing parties has made 140 dresses!! Not only that but Alison arranged for 50 dresses to be taken to Ghana with a friend of hers and has just sent off another 70 dresses to an organisation in Kenya which runs an orphanage and school. You can see more on her blog here. Alison hopes to have some photos from Ghana soon which she will share. Fabulous effort. Thanks Alison. Alison also blogs about her adventures in dress making.

The lovely people at St Pauls Church in Northumberland Heath have also held a sewing event and hope to do more in the New Year. They sent me some photos to share. I can't wait to see what they make! Thanks to everyone involved for all your support.

and last but not least the lovely Laura from 'I Love Crafty' VERY kindly designed a blog badge for people to use on their blogs or websites. Laura did this free of charge and in her own time after I very cheekily emailed her (I had long admired the blog badges on her pretty blog!) Please check out her gorgeous website. If you look at the side bar on my blog you can copy the html code which will display the picture below on your blog and also link back to my information page (check me out!!). Please feel free to use it if you would like to. There is a general one and one especially for people who have made dresses.

Thanks again to everyone mentioned in this post. You have all restored my faith in human nature with your kindness which is lovely especially at this time of year!! 

Sunday, 18 December 2011

She works!!

I received a lovely new slide plate for my new/old Singer machine this week. I tried it out today and it fits perfectly. Thanks to for their help.

The best thing about the new slide plate was that I was able to try the machine out properly and she works!! She feels so much more solid than my modern machine. I still need to fiddle around with the tension slightly but apart from that she is as good as new!

Izzy decided she wanted to make some lavender bags for her cousins today so we had a bit of a sewing morning. Out came the pink sewing machine!

and here are the five finished lavender hearts for her grandma and various cousins.

Izzy choose all the fabrics, ribbons and buttons. She sewed the hearts on her sewing machine (with a bit of assistance!) and then helped me stuff them. I finished them off as she got a bit bored half way through and ditched me to go and make bracelets! She lasted a good couple of hours though and we had lots of fun.

I did a bit  more Christmas shopping yesterday. Two of my nieces aged 8 and 11 are just getting into sewing so it was a good excuse to buy them some bits and bobs (quite literally!). I couldn't resist this little sewing box for Daisy aged 8.

Of course I had to fill it with little goodies. I braved Fabricland again! Fabricland still sucks all of the joy out of me. It hasn't got any better.

and for Molly (who you can see here) I bought Cath Kidston's 'Sew' book, the cutest little travel sewing kit in a pretty tin. I also bought them both some fat quarters, some ribbon, ric rac, bias binding and some little 'made by me' labels.

I also bought a couple of metres of extra fabric for Molly. I hope she likes it. I can't wait to see them at Christmas.

I also discovered this gorgeous postcard on Zazzle for only 84p each. They are so cute! A vintage Singer advert called 'The First Lesson'.  See I told you I was addicted!

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Once Upon a Monster!

Today we have been playing 'Sesame Street - Once Upon a Monster' a Kinect game for the Xbox 360. Now when I say 'we' what I actually mean is my other half and the children. Games are really not my thing. I don't even know how to switch the thing on! I knew the children would love to try the game though so I agreed to do a little review. You can see more here..

Izzy who is 6 absolutely loved it! I am constantly amazed at how quickly children pick up games and know how they work. She needed a bit of guidance at the start of each game (clearly not by me!) but very quickly was able to play the game with very little help. Sam was quite happy to sit and watch as was I roaring with laughter as Izzy jumped and danced her way through the game. We did try the 2 player option with both of them playing together but it was too stressful with both of them vying for space in the lounge (this says more about my children than the game!).

Izzy didn't really know the Sesame Street characters before she played the game but seemed to really enjoy them. She gave the game a 10/10 and would have happily played it for hours if allowed. It seemed like a really good entry level game for younger children and I can see Sam having a go really soon. Who knows maybe I might even have a little go over Christmas!!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

I think I have a new addiction (oh dear!)

Those of you who read my last post will know that Jon has inherited a vintage Singer sewing machine from his mum. The lovely Hilary who blogs at Lemon Loves very kindly left me a comment telling me I could date my machine by looking here. This was very exciting but once I started finding things out about my machine, it made me want to know more and now I have to admit that I am slightly obsessed with vintage Singer sewing machines generally!

Our 99k
Once I found out the year it was made, I wanted to know where it was made and what model it was so I emailed Singer in America who responded yesterday telling me that 'Our records show that serial #Y1593897 belongs to Singer Model 99K manufactured on December 13, 1923 in Clydebank, Scotland'. This makes me think that maybe Jon's mum inherited it from her mum (who is still alive at 93) so I need to investigate whether it was bought new. 

Its a hand crank

Still haven't worked out what these do!
The dates were later confirmed by the very kind Judy who runs a vintage Singer Sewing Machine Information website She told me that my  machine was part of a batch of 40,000 with a birth date of 13 December 1923. The next batch of serial numbers issued for 99K’s was on 21 June 1924 so mine would have been made between those dates. The spooky thing is that yesterday was the 13 December so it was actually the birthday of my machine which would have been built exactly 88 years ago (sort of!)

Judy has a lovely website all about Singer machines and other makes of vintage sewing machine which I found really interesting and easy to use. If you have a interest in old Vintage sewing machines then you need to have a look here. She has very kindly allowed me to use a few images from the site to share with you. The machines are just so beautiful and well made.  I am also really pleased that she was able to find me a bobbin slide plate to replace the one missing from my machine. Judy told me that her website gets over 3000 hits per month such is the popularity of these lovely machines worldwide.

I stumbled across a couple of other interesting sites too. You can find out more about the history of the Singer Sewing Machine Company generally here. This website has some lovely photos of vintage machines. I want them all! You can also find general info about Singer machines here or here. I've even managed to find a copy of the original manual for my machine to download for free! Have a look if you like - its here.


I can feel an obsession coming on. I'm already lusting over one of these!!

ebay here I come.....