WIP Wed…

I have been cutting out this morning.

cutting out wip 07.10.15

Cutting out always takes so long and when you are done, it never looks that impressive for the time it takes.  Anyone else ever feel like this?

Well, these are to become pencil rolls, like this one.  This was a gift for Sweetpea’s best friend last year.

Open pencil roll for iris

And when rolled up, they look like this.

pencil roll and colouring book

One is a gift Sweetpea needs for Saturday, so it has a deadline. The second is an order for a customer and the third?  Well, I realised that I have made these for gifts and orders, but never for us.  I always have a pencils (thank goodness it’s not crayons anymore as they make so much mess in the bottom of your bag) rolling around in my handbag and a spare note pad.  They are so useful.  But, have you seen the new colouring in books that you can get now?  We bought one a couple of weeks ago and even Dr S has been tempted to sit and colour.  I like them that the pages are decent paper and are perforated so each page can be removed.  No more battling the book to get it to lie flat and I don’t have to have a book per child.  Result!  So a pencil roll for me is in order and I am not going to complain with a little colouring, just to help of course, I won’t get obsessed about the lines, honest!

Over the weekend, I did get time at my machine and carried on quilting my sampler quilt.  I was on the second panel, did you notice that slip?  I was.  Yes I have done the second panel.

Here is the front and all my hard work is not really obvious.

2nd row sampler quilted

However, when you turn it over and look at the back…

2nd middle quilted back

I have used each block as a guide for the quilting.  I looks lovely, but it does mean lots of stop starts, direction changes and ends to finish.  But…. I love the finish it is giving it.

2nd end middle quilted back

I am now appreciating the fact that they are in panels as manipulating bigger pieces through my machine would have been much harder.  I may have given up and opted for an easier repeat pattern.

2nd middle end quilted back

As much as I love the finish it is getting, if I did another one, I would hand quilt it.  When I hand quilted my cushion cover I loved the flexibility it gave me.  Each project is different.  Which do you prefer?  Hand or machine quilting?

Lunch now.

Take care


This week I have mostly……

..been running around like I don’t know what.  The kids are back at school and I am still not sure what happened to the summer.  I found myself hanging washing in the garden and looking round, felt out of place.  It had been a long time since I had been there.  How could I feel like this?  I’d cut the grass, hung out washing, put stuff in the compost bin and watered plants, but actually spend time there?  No!  I realised that we hadn’t had any days where we just played in the garden.  No dens or tents had been put up, no toys migrated nor had the paddling pool been unpacked.  Was I sleeping? I feel like a piece of time has been stolen from me.

I usually enjoy the summer holidays with the kids, no packed lunches, no timetables, etc.  This year, it all seems to have flown by and no, the weather has not helped.  Here is north oxon, the summer peaked at the beginning of July.  It is most definitely autumn now.

I am trying to be more organised, selfishly, so I can get more sewing done.  I am breaking projects down into smaller parts and just completing sections at a time, rather than trying to squeeze a gallon into a pint pot.

This is how I have been getting on….

At the start of the week, I was working on the edging for my ripple blanket.  I have finally finished, well, made it large enough for my daughters bed, the ripple blanket.  I have enjoyed making it, but did fall out of love for a while.  I think trying to do too much of it in one go, did that.

Edging being done

I finished the edging one evening and it was promptly grabbed by Sweatpea and taken to bed.  She has been sleeping under it for the last couple of nights.  As there was some sun this morning, here are a couple of pictures.


I am really pleased with it and walking past her door this morning, this site made me smile.

bedroom door

Her brothers is in the same place!

Dr S's bed

On taking this photo though, I do think his needs a wash (next week, I have sewing to do).

Between this and sewing, I will get to that, I managed to bake Lemon Drizzle cake.

lemon drizzle cake

We all need a bit of cake.  My kids like having a piece in their lunch boxes, which may or may not be better than a small chocolate bar.  I say its better, but that might just be me justifying me baking something else equally yummy.

The sewing, well a couple of years ago, I went on a sampler quilt course, and yes you guessed it.  It is a WIP.  There blocks are done, they are attached, so what is the problem.  Well I normally make a whole top, baste layers, quilt them, bind them and voila!  This course wanted you to make it in sections, not quite quilt as you go, but sort of in the vein.  Being truthful, I can’t quite get my head round it.  I think I am further along than I feel, because its all in sections, but …..

Last week I quilted one set of three blocks.

1st row sampler quilt

Yesterday, I layered up and pin basted the next set of three, which is what I am planning on quilting later today.

Row 2 sampler quilt

Here are all nine.

sampler quilt 2015

There is to be a pieced border, if I follow the original instructions.  I am going to quilt these, join them and decide.

So these are my makes for the week.  What have you been making?

Fingers crossed the sun stays around a bit longer.

Talk soon


Summer Holidays Week 1…

The kids were exhausted, so low key activities were planned, plus after a busy weekend I was tired.  Even when tired I find my kids need things to do or the bickering starts and that totally does my head in.

They rediscovered games (no electronic gadgets), like dominos, lego, playing café and made up games in the garden.

I have no idea what they are doing here!

garden games

I did manage some sewing and finished off my beach bag.  I can’t wait to take it to the beach!  Now all I need is for the British weather to play ball and its not that brilliant at the moment.  I am keeping my fingers crossed that it improves for when we are away.

Finished beach bag

I do have WIPs (which I got out the cupboard) but I have started some EPP.  I have wanted to do some for ages and as normal I having been mulling what to do and where to start.  Faffing as my OH calls it.

I came across this book at the library and have followed some advise and started on some diamond stars.  No pics yet, will take some later.  I thought that an EPP would be good as a portable project for the summer.

I did get a large WIP out of the cupboard, a sampler quilt I started 2 years ago.  The top is done (will find the pics), but it was a quilt as you go which I had not done before.  I was having to go against my instincts and follow the instructions for each section.  Plus life happened, I think it was chicken pox, and it got tidied away.  Out of sight, so out of mind, well sort of.  I have been reminding myself of where I got to.  So we shall see, not sure I have fallen out of love with it…

It felt like a short week for me as the OH and I went to Stratford to the RSC, and the munchkins stayed at Grandma’s overnight.  It was lovely to have 2 days with the OH and do adult things.  We went to see Othello which was fantastic and I would highly recommend it.  Going to the RSC in Stratford is fantastic in itself.  We have been before and it is a lovely town to visit and wander around.  I did leave my camera at home, so sorry no picture overload.  If you do visit, try and do the tour of the theatre itself, you get to go backstage, hear its secrets and inside stories about previous productions.  Its a great insight to the world of the RSC.

I did do some sewing orientated shopping while in Stratford.  It was here and I was very good and did not buy any fabric.  Well I was with the OH and we don’t want him to fully understand the costs of my sewing hobby.  That may not work in my favour.  Pictures to follow, as one item is a present, so I will reveal after the fact.

And I did buy these during the week, well there was a sale and it seemed rude not to.

beautiful fabric

Sunday was a wind down day for all as the munchkins had been to Crocodile World the day before.  We were all tired so OH felt cake was needed so he made banana bread.

banana bread

Then there was building of Mousetrap and much giggling followed.  And that was before we started the game!  How long does it take you to build mousetrap?  Getting the traps to work was a fiddle, but we got there in the end.  It was a good thing we had cake though!

I thought we had a quiet week, but writing this, I am not so sure.

How is your summer unfolding?

Take care


End of term…

End of term means lots of things for many parents but there is usually the question, what presents to get for the teachers?  On a basic level there is the issue that they, teachers, are doing their jobs, so why give them a present?  I do know some parents who on principle don’t give anything other than making a point of saying thank you.  And depending on your experience of the year, this may be appropriate.  I have however have been fairly lucky with the teachers that my children have had, so feel that I want to show my appreciation for their time and hard work.

Teacher presents 2015

I made a collection of medium sized purses for the teachers and the teaching assistants that taught my children this year.  My children helped choose the fabrics for each teacher, so each purse is unique.

I have managed to squeeze some sewing time in for me.  I re-borrowed this book from the library as I really wanted to make the beach tote from it.

My fabric choices are a blue stripe with red trim on the pockets, the main body of the bag is denim with red lining.  The trim for the bag edging is in the blue stripe.

Top edge binding

I want to add a tab with a lobster clasp for keys, so they don’t disappear into the bag.  Its large so lovely and roomy for everything needed on a trip to the beach.

Bag tabs

I can’t decide whether to use the same cotton strapping as on the body of the bag, or a piece of the red binding as the lining and the pocket trim.  What do you think?  Do I go for the contrast (strapping) or blend (red binding)?

Its almost done, just need to sew the bias edging on and reinforce the straps onto the bag.

beach bag

I am really pleased with my fabric choices.

I think the bag is coming together really well and I am looking forward to finishing it.  Then the best bit – taking it to the beach!

I am trying a new system with projects, keeping them in a project box with all the bits needed to complete them.  Hopefully this will help.  So when I have a few minutes, I can do a bit of sewing and make progress without having to search for everything I need before starting.

project box

I got the idea from this book.  You may have seen it around.  I love all the practical advise given in it and the projects…. OMG….  I can’t wait to try them.  Heidi Staples, the author, has a fantastic website full of inspiration, colour and life.  Go and take a peek, its great!

I am being good about finishing something before starting something new, but my new book has just added a whole new pile of projects onto my ever growing list though.  However it has helped me find my sewing mojo again so I am not panicking, just excited and can’t wait to start!

The summer holidays are in full swing here and we kicked them off with a bang, literally loud ones – very loud bangs, by a visit to RIAT 2015 this weekend.  When I have been through the picks I will post the best and most interesting.

What did you do last weekend?

Take care and talk soon.


Long legs….

This is the last week of school before the long awaited summer holidays.  Almost there.  We are all ready for a break from school, but before we can relax, there is a last weeks worth of activities to get through.

At the weekend there was a karate grading for Dr S.

Karate yellow stripe

He is now a yellow stripe belt, which as new is impossible to tie.  He however is as pleased as punch, and as he should be, he has worked hard.  The fact that he is now a higher grade than his sister is the icing on the cake!

School is full of end of term events as is after school ones.

cubs badge ceremony

Badge ceremony at Cubs saw Dr S earning, among others, his seconder badge which was a surprise to him, so was lovely to see his pleasure for it.  It was great to see him and his friends all chatting about their badges and hearing about the eventful manner in which some were earned!  I love the fact that at Cubs he does things outside of his comfort zone and the badges are a great way to remind them that they can do new and different things.  Just have to sew them all on now.

I have managed some sewing last week.  I made three skirts.  Which brings me to the long legs.

3 new skirts

That is what my daughter has.  Long legs which keep on growing and skirts that don’t.  This became obvious when as we were trying to go out the house, she went upstairs and I was standing at the bottom.  Her skirt was not long enough, her new skirt!  We were too late to change the outfit, so a pair of leggings were added.  Leggings are great, helping shrinking skirts last longer.  But, yes there is a but, they are not great when the weather heats up.  I know the UK is not famed for its searing heat, but it does actually get warm most summers.  More skirts were needed.

Sweatpea asked on exiting the house that maybe I could make her some more like her old pink one.  I had made a simple gathered elastic waist pink skirt a couple of years ago.  So why not.  I hadn’t taken long the time before, so measurements were taken.  The waist measurement and length to the knee measurement are the two needed.  Some simple maths produced the size of rectangle needed.  Yes a simple skirt like this only uses a rectangle of fabric.

So Sweatpea and I went through my fabric box, well I let her go through some of my fabric.  Some is definitely out of bounds!

Anyone else possessive about their fabric?

So one afternoon last week, 3 skirts were made.  I had fun and took my time making 3 simple gathered waist skirts.  I did however use French seams on the side seams so they don’t rub or fray when washed.

french seams

The first two had rolled edge hems using a special foot for my sewing machine.  You can do it manually by carefully folding the hem edge and stitching it slowly and steadily.

The last one, I had some bias binding just the right shade of pink, so that was used instead.

pink binding

Sweatpea loves them all, which is useful, as I hate making things that no-one likes and thus doesn’t wear.

Blue lounging

She wanted to do some proper modelling she said, so this is her lounging in the blue one.


Swinging in the green with pink binding.

sitting pretty

She said that the blue was her favourite, but she stayed in the yellow spot all afternoon.  The modelling lark lost its appeal after a couple of minutes, not active enough for her.

standing on one leg1

 Her brother challenged her to stand on one leg.

yellow spot 1

yellow spot 2

Then we were back to situation normal where she spends most of her time climbing on and over the swing.  She seems to spend most of her time upside down on the frame.  I frequently remind her that its designed as a swing, but this doesn’t appear to be risky enough!  I am not looking forward to when it collapses!

What do your kids do that makes your adrenaline pump?

Looking forward to the summer.

Take care


Time Flies…

Time flies when you are having fun, or my case just trying to fit too many things into to little time.  Something has to give and sorry but posting was what didn’t happen.  If you ask the other half I am sure he could give you a list of a few more things, but I as much as I love my other half, I have noticed that they don’t always notice everything that happens to keep a family home running smoothly!  You know the things, clean clothes appearing in drawers, food in the fridge, cards in the post for their mother’s birthday, new bottles of suncream, etc.  I could go on, but I am sure you get the picture.

Anyway, I have been squeezing some bits and pieces in between life as we know it.  My ‘happy top’ is coming along nicely.  It is still well travelled (two summer holidays in the Isle of Wight) and it will be finished but I am not committing to a date or year in fact, just hopefully before it goes out of fashion!  I found something wrong with the maths for the front and after consultations (several coffee and cake sessions with knitting friends), decided the pattern was wrong and have had to work it out myself.  This meant slow going as maths had to be checked several times as I went.  Now with the cowl neckline, there are a lot of stitches on the cable, so each row takes me over half an hour to knit.  Its begun to feel like a bit of a chore if I am honest and I am fed up with it.  So its gone back in the bag for a while.

So while the ‘happy top’ is on knitting time out, I have been adding rows to my ripple blanket.  I felt that I had made progress, enough to consider the edging, when Sweetpea states that its not big enough still.  I attempted a negotiation… and failed.  So more rows it is.  Another project that is reluctant to go to the finished pile.  I was scowling so changed tack and thought sewing – that will produce quicker results.

I finished something!!!!

My whirly-gig cushion top was hand quilted and finished.

IMG_0157Whirligig cusion front binding in progress

Whirligig cushion binding in progress 2

I am really pleased.

I used left over fabric from a quilt I made a couple of years ago, making me thrifty and slightly smug.  They look great together on a rocking chair that sits in my dining room.

Whirly-gig cushion home

They make me smile each time I walk past.

I have been doing some more sewing but its lunch time here is the UK and my tummy is most definitely rumbling.

What’s making you smile this week?

Take care.


Mid Feb…

This time of year can be very Jekyll and Hyde with the weather, don’t you think?  One minute grey, with fine drizzle, then down pours the next, changing to brilliant blue skies and sunshine!  That’s the weather for you in the UK.  Its true, you can have all four seasons in one day.  It does make planning for half-term activities a challenge.  You constantly have to have a back-up plan.

My kids were supposed to go to a karate course for the week, during the mornings, to use some of their energy doing whatever it is they do in Karate!  This went by the by when it all got cancelled at the last moment.  Not the organisers fault, these things happen, but backup plans had to be evoked.  This also meant kids and normal jobs had to be done together, which any mother will now pull a face and nod her head, do not go together well.  Especially when they had previously told they wouldn’t have to.

The only way to go is – with bribery!

So our week was a mixture of visits to the library (not really a hardship), the toy shop to spend their pocket money, visits with cousins and grandparents and time at home just being.

We did manage a quick visit to a local Eco Park that is opening soon.

Goat at Eco Park Feb 2015

Cockerals at Eco Park Feb 2015

We met these characters.  The goat was VERY food orientated, to the extent of eating the paper bag that a little boy was holding.  The cockerels all stood in a line to give us a chorus.  They were fantastic, but I am glad that they don’t live next door to me!

The site is still being finished off so there was little for my two to do, but for under 5’s, there is a great indoor play area.  The larger, outdoor playground has a lovely looking climbing frame, which my two were very keen to try out.  But as the diggers were still levelling the surrounding ground, I thought it best that we return another day.

It was lovely to have the chance of catching up with family and friends, but there was not so much on the crafting front.  I have though managed to finish my socks!

My first pair of socks!

They are lovely and warm and I am feeling quite smug, sitting here, writing this wearing them.  I finally understand the madness and addiction to knitting socks.  I want another pair.  In another colour, any colour, I don’t care.

Stripes lined up.

I didn’t manage to line up my stripes and make them identical.

I know it can be done by pulling through the yarn and finding the pattern repeat on it, so you can start in the same place.  This does make me think a bit of stuffing cherry tomatoes.  If I was giving a pair as a gift, then I would probably, maybe, make them identical, but as they are inside my boots the rest of the time….  No-one else knows and I can live with that, particularly as my feet are nice and toasty inside said boots.

Despite pondering the next ball of sock wool to buy and put in my stash, I am being good and working on a WIP. My Happy top is short sleeved in a 4 ply for the summer.  I started this on holiday two summers ago and as we booked our summer holiday this week, I realised that this “top” has been to the Isle of Wight twice!  It should really be finished so it can be worn there, instead of hiding in a project bag.  Does everyone have well travelled WIPS?

The other reason there has been a lack of crafting this week, was the discovery that Sweetpea has been tidying her room by scooping everything up and dumping it into her wardrobe!  Breathe holding was done, by me, to prevent rude words being issued at this discovery.  Several deep breathes later, we discussed the situation and found she has too much stuff for the space allocated to storing it, nor is she sure where to put some of it.  So sorting, re-organising and recycling the contents of her room started.  Yes started, I haven’t finished yet!  Now she is back at school, it falls to me to finish up.  Isn’t that the way?  Some things went in the bin and others are going to new homes.  The rest need new storage solutions, so a cup of tea and a legitimate chance to look through pinterest!  This has resulted in a trip to Ikea yesterday.  So now I off to build a Kallax unit.  Wish me luck!

What are you doing this week?

Building or crafting?