Sunday 31 December 2017

Seasons Greetings!

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas!
I'd like to share a few of the gifts I sent and received.
For an exchange in a Facebook group I'm a member of I made and sent this bag,

and received these beautiful hearts and Christmas plaque.

It was a completely secret exchange and my partner hasn't come forward so I don't know who to thank, but I love them very much, especially the large one with the cats and blue and white china, which is going to look wonderful in my kitchen.
I also made a bag and matching scarf for my friend in the village

and received these lovely handmade goodies from her - the pincushion is made using an antique bakers mould.

I received some lovely gifts from online friends,

Huge thank yous to (clockwise from top) Barb, Clare, Karan and Julie 

and my daughter wood-burned these fabulous tree decorations for me

I'd like to finish by wishing you all a very happy and healthy new year, and leave you with the cover image from the calendar that the girls got for me.

I can't begin to imagine where they get their sense of humour from...

Saturday 23 December 2017

Birthday Thank You and Christmas Wishes

Firstly I'd like to say a huge thank you everyone for my birthday presents, including, from online friends and fellow bloggers, an ingenious snap closing fabric basket from Julie,

a pretty notepad with sewing motifs from Barb, a lovely set of sweet-smelling soaps from Karan, and a wonderful book of crafty pompom projects from Clare

Also in the picture a necklace with a theobromine  (chocolate) molecule on it from my sister, a beaded necklace and a pierced metal tea light lantern from my friends in the village, and a pretty silver necklace from my husband. 
The girls came home fro Christmas on my birthday too which was perfect. They got me a beautiful winter coat, which was a bit big to fit in the photo above, but I found this picture online

As you can see I was thoroughly spoiled. And now all that remains is for me to wish you all a Very Happy Christmas

Saturday 16 December 2017

The Last Gifted Gorgeousness of 2017

And also the hardest, because it's December, and whilst I've made tons of stuff for gifts I can't show any of it yet!
(If you're not sure what Gifted Gorgeousness is then pop over to visit Serendipitous Stitching - the blog of Jo, who invented the concept  of showing off our gift related crafting every month, and runs the SAL - for an explanation of the rules (though to quote Captain Barbossa they're "more what you'd call guidelines than actual rules")
Returning to my annual December quandary, I think these might be safe to show: three little stitched gift tags for the family's Christmas presents.

Double GG points because the tags themselves were a cover gift with Cross Stitcher magazine. I used an alphabet chart I found on the internet instead of the Christmas motifs that came with the kit, and subbed in some of my own threads to get the colour schemes I wanted.
And then there is this.

These little knitted #christmasangels have been appearing throughout the village this week, and the other day I went outside to find some wonderful person had hung one on my door handle. More information about the project can be found here

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Advent Calendar Blog Hop Day 13

Welcome to Day 13 of the Advent Calendar Blog Hop. To see the other days in the Advent Calendar please visit Jo at Serendipitous Stitching.
Jo asked us to share a picture of something festive that we had made. I haven't actually managed to stitch any new ornaments for this year, so in true Blue Peter fashion, here's one I made earlier:-

I did make this though - a kitschy mid-mod style wreath for the front door:-

Jo also asked us to share how we spend Boxing Day. Apart from eating left-over turkey (and doesn't everyone do that?), we mostly spend Boxing Day playing board games and watching TV, although if the weather is good and the tides are right we sometimes go for a walk on the beach.
David took this picture around Christmastime a couple of years ago. The tide is only this low once or twice a month so you can't always get this far along.

Saturday 2 December 2017

Ornament Exchange and a Spot of Knitting

Yesterday was opening day for the Needlecraft Haven Christmas Ornament Exchange.
By pure coincidence I both sent to and received from Lindsay this year.
Here is the ornament I sent.

The snowman design is by Carol Manning Designs, from this year's JCS Ornament Edition. I changed up the colours a bit to fit with what I had, and added an iridescent sequin to the snowflake at the top before making it up as a flat ornament edged with some vintage lace.
And here is the ornament I received from Lindsay, an absolutely exquisite 3-dimensional beaded star.

Thank you Lindsay, I love it.
I also finished knitting this shawl earlier in the week.

The yarn is Stylecraft's Candy Swirl, one of those big balls of self-striping "cake" yarn.
Eagle eyed readers will spot that the very edge is a slightly darker shade of turquoise. This is because the "one ball to knit a shawl" ran out halfway through the cast-off row, so I had to carefully un-cast off the edge, find some wool in the house that half-way matched and cast off with that as there was no way I was buying a whole other ball of the Candy swirl. I had a few choice words to say on the subject at the time, but actually I think it worked out OK.

Wednesday 15 November 2017

Gifted Gorgeousness - November

Gifted Gorgousness is the monthly blog hop organised by Jo of Serendipitous Stitching, where we show off our gift related crafting and craft related gifts.
First up this month for me is the Needlecraft Haven "Autumn Hug" exchange. The idea behind this one was that we sent our partners a parcel containing a card, an edible treat, a pamper treat, and some threads.
I forgot to get a picture of the gift I sent to Lindsay, but here is the wonderful gift I got from Julie

The edible treat was a bag of Roses, and the pamper treat was a lovely rose scented bath bomb and a pair of the most beautiful hand-knitted socks in a gorgeous teal colour.
Julie also included four skeins of Ozark thread and a sweet note explaining how each of the colours (Driftwood, Teal Kiss, Rose of Sharon and Pine Needles) had been specially selected for me, and if all that wasn't enough the whole thing was wrapped in a fat quarter of beautiful apple patterned fabric and tied up with autumn themed ribbon.
Thank you Julie, I feel really spoiled by my "Hug"
In other gift related news, here are two sequin tops that I made for the girls (the rose gold coloured one shows what the back of each of them is like)

You do not want to know how many sequins there are in my carpet, it looks like a unicorn has thrown up on it.

Tuesday 31 October 2017

Hallowe'en Trick or Treat Blog Hop 2017

Hello and welcome to my blog
This is a post for the 2017 Hallowe'en Trick or Treat Blog Hop 
For more details on the Blog Hop please visit our fearless leader Jo at Serendipitous Stitching

First of all some spooky eye candy for you

A stitched leather brooch I made
Who is your favourite pop-culture vampire?
I rather like this one

Aiden Turner as Mitchell in Being Human

Now for the real reason you're all here. Your letter is:-

Please visit 

for your next letter


Sunday 22 October 2017

Not Very Seasonal

After knitting away half the summer I finally finished off my lightweight cotton jumper just exactly the week the first of the autumn storms arrived.
Typical really.
The pattern is Rocky Pond from Classic Elite yarns which I found here at LoveKnitting, though I knit mine using Paintbox Cotton DK in Washed Teal.

Following on from the upcycled t-shirt skirts I made for the girls, I decided I needed one of my own, and here it is:-

The Deep Purple skirt. 
Because you're never too old to rock.

Sunday 15 October 2017

Gifted Gorgeousness for October

Gifted Gorgeousness day has rolled round again (Gifted Gorgeousness is a monthly blog hop organised by Jo from Serendipitous Stitching, where we show off our gift related crafts and craft related gifts)
Once again this will be a cross stitch free posting, (those of you who come here looking for a cross stitch blog must be getting pretty fed up by now, I promise I'll try harder next time)
This month I have made each of my daughters a skirt from an upcycled t-shirt. This one is Naomi's

And this one is Eloise's (completed on a rather damper day, hence the somewhat less attractive location for the photoshoot)

Also I don't think I've shown you this before, it is a woodburned piece that Naomi made for me in the summer using an offcut of the wood her dad had used to build himself a set of speakers. (I sew things, he builds speakers...)

As you can see she knows how to appeal to my inner geek.

Sunday 8 October 2017

Trying New Things

Because, obviously, I don't have enough hobbies to be getting on with.
Lino Cutting - something I've always liked the finished look of but never tried, so I treated myself to a little starter kit and had a play

And jewellery making. I've done quite a bit of "threading things onto other things" type jewellery making, but last week I went to a fabulous workshop run by Sarah Drew Jewellery where we cut, hammered, stamped and soldered brass and silver to make our own earrings.
I made these three pairs.

So pleased with how they came out. I'm now trying to justify buying all the kit to do it at home...

Friday 29 September 2017

Sew On and Sew Forth

When October's edition of Sew magazine plopped though the letter box I was rather taken with the free pattern - New Look 6471.
I freely admit I may have got a bit carried away

Still I won't need to buy any new tops for a while.
Note: I said I won't need to. Didn't say I wouldn't...

Friday 15 September 2017

Gifted Gorgeousness for September

The day for Gifted Gorgeousness has rolled around again, Gifted Gorgeousness being the blog hop organised by Jo of Serendipitous Stitching where we show our gift related crafting.
Three things to show this month. First is the Holiday Exchange from Needlecraft Haven. This was an exchange in two parts. We selected and kitted up a small free chart to send to our partners earlier in the year, and for this part we reveal what we stitched from the gift we received.
I received a sweet little snowflake design from Dusty, and here is the ornament I stitched it up into.

Thank you Dusty, it was a fun stitch.
Second up is this bag I made for Naomi using a gorgeous remnant of sloth print fabric I got from the sale at Sugar Bowl Crafts

Thirdly a t-shirt upcycle, also for Naomi. I took this t-shirt

and added a faux leather corsetting detail at the neckline.

She made me cut her head off the picture because "I haven't done my eyebrows Mum"
I also made a project bag for Clare for her birthday but I totally forgot to get a picture before I sent it out!

Saturday 26 August 2017

The Village Show

It was the annual village show last weekend, and I thought you might like to see some pictures.
Prize winning vegetables:-

Not that I can claim credit for any of those, other than the very tiny cherry tomatoes in the centre and a bundle of rhubarb
There were some lovely flowers as well (again none of these are mine)

We did rather better in the Art and Handicrafts section though, winning lots of classes between us as well as three Best in Shows

Mr Penguin, who I've shown on here before won Best in Show - Handicraft

and I got a 1st with this floral arrangement in the class called "Beachcombing"

Eloise got a second place with this life drawing:-

Naomi won the class for Celebration Cake

 and got 1st and 2nd with her pastels (you can see her winning one. of ballet this picture)

The large watercolour painting of silver birch trees in mad colours is mine and took Best in Show - Art. I suppose I ought to buy a frame for it...

Monday 21 August 2017

Embarrassingly Late Gifted Gorgeousness for August

What can I say? It's been a busy month. Anyway better late than never here is a Gifted Gorgeousness post for August (Gifted Gorgousness is organised by Jo of Serendipitous Stitching, and encourages us to show our gift related projects)
Two things to show this month.
This scrappy zip pouch; using a mixture of modern and vintage fabrics, including sari scraps, a vintage tray cloth, Liberty prints and a little bit of chicken scratch embroidery; which I made for Julie for her birthday

and the other side

And this towel that folds up into it's own bag, that I made for Eloise

Friday 11 August 2017

The Tenuous Shoehorn 2017

Welcome to the Tenuous Shoehorn Linky Party. This is organised by Jo of Serenditpitous Stitching, and the idea is that you post some stitching that links, however tenuously, to the overall theme. This year the theme is "Loved Ones"
Now an awful lot of my stitching is done for other people, and anyone you would stitch for must be a loved one right?
So not tenuous at all really, which got me thinking not so much about which of my loved ones should feature as which bit of stitching might give the most interesting story.
One of the very first cross stitch pieces I ever stitched, having mostly done traditional embroidery before that, was stitched it as a gift for my Aunt Jenny and Uncle Jock.

Here is the story behind it. Aunt Jenny was my Dad's closest sibling, he was the baby of nine and she was the next oldest and pretty much his partner in crime.
Aunt Jen had no children of her own and always treated my sister and I as the daughters she never had. She was a very stylish and fashion conscious lady, and often took me shopping with her. It's probably where I get it from.
My Dad and Uncle Jock, on the other hand, used to take me to the football...

In this picture are my grandparents (who I never knew). The lady to the back of the group is my Aunt Bet, and the very tall man next to her is her husband (Grandad is holding their son), Aunt Jenny is the young woman at the front, and the handsome young chap on the left is my Dad (best guess he was about 17 or 18 when when this was taken)

Aunt Jenny and Uncle Jock ran a bakery and catering business in our village. I spent a lot of time there when I was growing up.

See I told you I spent a lot of time there.
I'm the very small one. The foreman is to the left and his wife is the one stopping me from wrecking a perfectly good photo opportunity by wandering off across the yard. The lady in the middle is another sibling, Aunt Sal, you can see how much she looked like her mother. You can just about make out the bread racks in the back of the picture.
I remember that their home was always kept really warm; my Uncle had grown so used to the heat from working in the bakehouse with three enormous ovens on the go (still coal-fired when I was very small, and the stokery was a really cosy place to hide out on a cold day), that he felt the cold very easily. They baked the best bread for miles around. I love the smell of yeast and baking bread and I still have a weakness for artisan bakeries (though of course they weren't called that back then).
One of my very early memories is of "helping" in the bakehouse by carefully placing a walnut into the icing on top of each of a long row of walnut cakes. I probably ate more walnuts than I placed, I've loved them ever since and the taste and smell of walnuts always takes me straight back there.
Anyway this is what I stitched for them, a stylised representation of one of their four shops.

As you can see it is stitched on aida, which really dates it, because I switched to linen and evenweave very early on, but this was way back in the eighties, before cross stitch was much of a "thing". If I recall correctly I adapted the design from one in Anna Burda magazine (I'm pretty sure it pre-dates most British Cross Stitch mags).
I featured chocolate eclairs in the design because they were my Dad's favourites (he always had one with his lunch on a Saturday), and a wedding cake, because they were Aunt Jen's province. She used to do the royal icing on the celebration cakes, and she was amazing at it, I could watch her for hours. I remember the cake she did for Sunderland football club when they won the cup, it was iced all in green and marked out as a football pitch (my Dad and Uncle helped her with that bit, she wasn't really a football person), and decorated with a little subbuteo team.
I could go on all day with memories but I'll leave it there. Looking forward to reading about everyone else's loved ones.