Lavender hearts

Lavender hearts

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Pink bunting and presents

Do you ever have a moment, when you just have to make/sew/do something immediately? You cannot possible wait until tomorrow, or the next day but you need to make/do it now? I had a mad moment the day before Xmas eve (bad timing I know) when I wanted to make some Christmas bunting.
I have not made bunting before, but I had a idea whirling around in my head.
I used a cupboard template and cut out several triangular shapes with a pair of pinking shears, so they made a lovely zig-zag edge.

I quickly ironed the flags, tiresome but so essential as they will look lovely and neat.
Using some lovely baby pink satin ribbon, I sewed one neat stitch across the middle of the ribbon, holding the flags into place.

Viola....homemade 30 minute bunting. Mad moment extinguished.

Nm 2 and I have already decided this will be going in her room, when the Christmas decorations come down.

Christmas come and went and we had a lovely family time.
I am most excited about two presents I received at Christmas. This lovely Cath Kidson beautiful aqua blue buttons box, given to me by my secret Santa at work (thank you kind colleague, most stylish taste!)

And this wonderful present from my dear younger sister in New Zealand, I have been a fan of Tea pea since I first started sewing and I love her handmade items she sells on her website. When I found out she now has a online haberdashery, I asked my sister if she could get me some of her pink divine twine.  What excitement I had when a parcel arrived in the post all the way from New Zealand a few days before Xmas......
I love the colour of the twine, and the hand written note is such a lovely touch.

I am looking forward to the New Year, with lots of ideas whirling around in my head for up and coming projects.  I have had a great 2010, with lots of firsts happening - first family holiday in Europe, first day at school for my baby, first attempt at sewing on my own, first blog entry!
 I am looking forward to many more wonderful years ahead!
Happy 2011.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Christmas Wishlist - Poor boy

Sometimes when we are so busy as Mothers, working Mothers,wife's, friends etc it can be quite easy not to be there for our children. Yesterday my eldest was diagnosed with Flu, proper flu not a sniffle or a cough, but a high temperature, headache, vomiting and so tired he cannot move. It does whirl you into a complete stop and you drop everything and realise how precious they are.
I recently came across a great blog post called 'what I want to give: presence' by Ashleyann at Under the Sycamore, our children's wish list is not 'hang on a minute', 'in a sec', 'I'm just doing something', 'won't be long! it would be - our time , to draw with them, play with them, read to them  'Ashleyann describes this so well in her blog post take a look here .
As a busy working Mum myself, I can feel overwhelmed at times with school, work, home,cleaning, been a good friend etc that it can hinder the time we have with our own children.
So my wish list for the next year, is to give my children more of my time. Starting from now.
Merry Christmas!
PS Nm 1 is on the mend.. the miracle of antibiotics and regular pain relief!

Sunday, 19 December 2010


As always at this time of year I am thinking of my own family in New Zealand. It is such an expensive time to travel, so we normally do not fly over in the Christmas period. In over 12 years I have only managed to have 2 Christmases in NZ.

But this does not stop me from reminiscing about New Zealand and my family at Christmas time. The hot weather, barbecues, salads and a big ham on the table, swimming at the beach and the endless presents of surf boards, wet suits and buckets and spades.

The Tui bird native to New Zealand, this holds a special place in my heart as it is the name of my Grandmother.

I have lots of art work and ornaments scattered around the house of New Zealand images, which on a daily basis remind me of where I come from.

                                                            Another native bird - Pukeko.

A carved mere (native weapon)- think of the All Blacks when they do the Haka.
I remember growing up, my Dad always had a mere displayed in our lounge
My son loves this!

Good news! I am now a member of NZ Kiwi mummy blogs, a great site full of Kiwi mums in NZ and abroad blogging about their lives. I am so pleased to be part of this. I have agreed to do a interview for them, so I will keep you posted when that happens after the New Year.


Friday, 17 December 2010

Homemade food gifts

Every year I like to encourage the children to make a Christmas homemade food gift for their teachers and school friends. The tiny mention of baking, biscuits,cakes,chocolate and they normally drop what ever they are doing and happily join in. Sometimes it is good to give money towards gifts for teachers, and yes normally I am the first to do this (been a busy working Mum!), but this one special time of year, when for me food becomes a central part of every day life, I truly love to do this with the children for lots of reasons.
Last year we made Chocolate biscuit tiffin, the year before that we made homemade chocolate fudge, each year we wrap them in cellophane with tie them with red and purple curly ribbon bows.
This year we decided to do Christmas cookies.

My little girl and I made the mixture in our Ken wood mixer, rolled out the dough and cookie cut them out.
                                                      Pumpkins biscuits with pink icing.

All wrapped and ready to go.
Back in late summer of this year, we went foraging you can see it here and harvested some delicious Victoria plums in a field close to where we live. The recipe we followed explained that we had to store the chutney for 3 months in a dark, cool place, so for 3 months we have had 10 jars of plum chutney under the bed!
Last week we pulled them out, cleaned them, labelled them and decorated them with fabric, ribbons and Christmas twine.
Another homemade Christmas food gift made and many well deserved people to give to.

Do you have any festive homemade food gifts that you have made? I would love to know!

Have a great weekend.

Monday, 13 December 2010


I am finally writing a blog on one of my favourite craft items - ribbons. When I first started rediscovering sewing earlier in the year, I brought a book called 'Sewing in no time' shown here in a previous post
Most of the sewing designs required ribbons, so along with buying fabric,thread and buttons, I needed to find some ribbons. Away I went shopping and when for the first time I set my eyes upon the rows and rows of beautiful ribbons in a local craft shop, I felt like a child in a sweet shop. I love the fact that with ribbons, you do not need to be a experienced 'crafty' to make something so pretty. By adding some ribbon to say a coin purse, cushion cover, lavender heart or a wreath, it can add that special
something to a handmade piece.

I have slowly added to my mountain of ribbon and I am now seriously contemplating buying a second hand wooden ladder to store them on. I love sourcing ribbons and have brought them from various places, in store haberdasheries, online specialist ribbon shops, eBay, and Christmas Fayre's.

I do love to co ordinate the ribbons with different sewing projects, and currently due to been so close to Christmas, their is an abundance of red ribbon(present wrapping and wreaths) The gingham ribbons are great for other projects, I am currently using them to put in my little girls hair - she loves them. My next sewing project I am about to start will be for my lovely in laws for Christmas. They have asked for a cover for their new kitchen blender, I have some lovely Amy Butler retro 60's looking fabric, with dark orange, browns and greens, a sewing tutorial from sewmamasew, thread and some time this week to make it.
I will keep you informed in my next post.
Happy sewing. Bxx

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Fabric Christmas trees

Since earlier this year, when I decided to embrace my creative side. I have wanted to make my own Christmas decorations. I looked at the lovely handmade advent calenders and sighed, the little intrinsic embroidered windows and the lovely hand sewn numbers where to be honest, too overwhelming for me (at the present!) But I did not give up and when I spotted these lovely fabric Christmas trees using fabric,ribbon,felt and buttons, I instantly knew I wanted to make them. The pattern come from the lovely lucykatecrafts at they are easy to make and you can use any christmassy fabric from your fabric stash. I used some red patterned fabric I had from a previous fat quarter bundle sale.
I used some pretty red ribbon around the tree and the base of the tree. To keep the tree standing up right, I  used two pebbles from outside and sewed them into the base of the trees. I have adapted the pattern and made my own design, which you could easily do. This is what I love about creating something handmade, your own style and taste can be adapted to any design.
I love the idea about a handmade Christmas decoration swap, where you receive handmade goodies from other crafty liked minded folk and you send some of your handmade items in return. This would be a great way to showcase your work and receive some lovely things in return. In New Zealand they are doing a similar thing and I found some cool felt gingerbread houses from Megan @ Mousehouse check them out  I will definitely be making this next Christmas, with perhaps doing a similar Christmas decoration craft swap here in the lovely UK.

But for now these beauties are sitting on the piano in our dining room- waiting to be shown in all their glory on Christmas day when we are having our Christmas dinner.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Lavender hearts and Christmas presents

The first day of December, and the countdown to Christmas begins. In our household this means the ritual of the Chocolate advent calenders, Christmas plans and the mad rush to the shops to buy white tights for the school nativity.  We also have more snow too, lots and lots of it.
Thank fully in the South West the snow is not as heavy as other places and so far it has not seemed to disrupt our day to day living. (No school snow days!)
This time of year is always busy for me, as I have another Hazel and Blue birthday, as well as the deadline date for New Zealand Christmas presents all in the same week. Every year I vow I will be organised and get all my Christmas and birthday shopping done before this week, but so far I have never managed too.
So yet again a lot of mad dashes to the shops, online shopping frenzy and wrapping present sessions have followed. This year I decided to include some thing handmade in my parcels and decided on Lavender hearts made with some lovely fabric I had brought from fabric rehab.

                     They smell lovely and would make a great item for hamper presents.

I also decided to show case some of the lovely ribbon I have become addicted to and wrap all my Christmas presents with them, using brown paper, red tartan ribbon and a gift tag.

                                                         All wrapped and ready to go.

The children are also very excited now, Mister Blister said tonight 'I just want Christmas to come now.' as he munched through his first Advent calender chocolate.
I have brought some Christmas cookie cutters this year for the children and we plan to make cookies together to give to their teachers and friends. Ohh I love Christmas, love it.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Pink fabric wreath and snow!

We have been excitingly showered with snow in the last 24 hours and it has been magical! Both my two children have been so excited and have loved playing in the snow. There has been conversations of sledges and snowman amongst the Mums and Dads in the neighbourhood today (even a small mention of school closures), but alas for now the snow has stopped.

I have had such lovely comments about the ribbon wreaths I have been making, that I have decided to make some more. This time I have used fabric strips instead if ribbon. I love to co-ordinate all the colours, so there is some sort of colour pattern the eye can follow.
I had kept a parcel bag full of strips,end bits of fabric, discarded from my sewing projects and greedily used these for the fabric wreath. I had lots of pale pinks and pastel light greens left over fabric which I feel compliment and look nice together. I find making wreaths, quite a cathartic process,choosing,cutting and applying the fabric/ribbon strips around the wire base of the frame is very relaxing.
To hang with, I used a beautiful double sided baby pink ribbon.
Lots of gingham, stripes and spots. I think this would like lovely in a girls bedroom.
My next wreath I am working on is a Red Christmas one, using lots of different styles of red ribbons, so far (I am about half way) it looks very festive and what with the snow today, its putting me in the Christmas spirit!
I have been crafty busy the last few days, not only making the above but also lavender hearts, ornament Christmas trees, and a green gingham purse- phew! I really do enjoy making these things and feel so pleased when I see the finished piece. Both Mister Blister and Pumpkin are interested in them too, and frequently ask me how my sewing/craft work is going! I love the fact they are seeing there Mum doing some thing worthwhile, they always seem so pleased when I show them what I have been working on. Maybe its just kids and the unconditional love they have for you!

Anyway, time to sit and relax Hubby has just brought me a cup of tea and a apple and cream turnover! Ah the small things. Bx

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Autumn celebrations

 Autumn is just a beautiful season and brings a lot of happy times in our household. We all seem to have our birthdays within weeks of each other then soon after we celebrate Christmas.

You may not know this but I was born in New Zealand and November is a Spring month, lots of freshly mowed lawns and warm sunny morning. But since living in beautiful England, I have celebrating my birthday in the Autumn season. No more outdoor celebrations, but more cosy, fire lit, warm evening birthdays. I am not complaining as I really have fallen head of heels for the autumn season.
My children adore the leaves falling and are amazed when I tell them they will grow again in the Spring. They enjoy Halloween, Guy Fawkes night, birthdays and the Christmas celebrations.
Last week I celebrated my birthday on a cold cosy November day, I was thoroughly spoilt and felt like a Queen for a day. I had requested a new camera (our original one was brought when my Son was born and could only take 3 photos before it ran out of power). I was so delighted when Hubby presented me with a lovely Violet digital camera, I soon started taken pictures of every thing I could see and putting them into slide shows for my Husband to view all evening.
I not sure if it is a age thing, but I find as I get older, I am more selective about what I would like, so having given my family a small list of little treasures a few weeks earlier, I was thrilled when I opened the presents and found them in front of me.
Paperchase teatowels
I love these Paperchase tea towels, I could look at these owl patterns all day.Oohh love paperchase!
Their is a lot of fabric around at the moment with owl patterns and designs, I think it is so timely with the darker days and autumn nights.

This pretty heart photo/note display
I have wanted something like this pretty heart photo/note display for a long time, so pleased with this.
I hope you all enjoy the Autumn season and the changes it brings with it.


PS My thoughts go out to the NZ miners in Greymouth and their families and friends today.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Ribbon wreath tutorial

Over the last few weeks, I have noticed how you can create and make beautiful things with ribbons. Whilst researching buying ribbons online I have seen the most lovely idea in which to display your ribbons- a ribbon wreath.
Ribbons wreaths are really very easy to make and quite relaxing at the same time.
So on Saturday afternoon (after going to pizza express for lunch, I will tell you about this in my next blog) my children and I excitingly sat down and we made a ribbon wreath.
I have put together a quick tutorial to show you how to make one.
All you need is - some ribbon, a wire wreath frame, a pair of scissors and plenty of helping hands.

You can buy a wire wreath frame from any local florist for a very small amount.

Cut several 6-8inch pieces of different colour ribbon (or in my case 2 little helpers taking turns at cutting)
Tie the ribbon pieces around the edge of the wire and tie into a bow- several times.

And basically that's it, keep putting the ribbon pieces around the wreath until it starts to look like this..

When you are happy with your design and the ribbons look puffed and pretty. Attach a thicker piece of ribbon in the middle of the top of the frame and hang accordingly in your favourite room.

I have hung the ribbon wreath in my living room amongst my other treasured things.When I look at this it makes me feel happy.
Now all I have to do is order some more ribbon as I have ran out of two colours...but I do not mind as I am now a ribbon addict!

Monday, 8 November 2010

Beautiful cushions

If some one had told how easy it was to make cushion covers when I was in my early twenties, I would have stopped buying so many cushion covers over the years. I have a loft full of cushions that I have discarded over the years, once I re-decorated a room, got bored of the colours, did not like the colour etc.
My Father in law (who is a very good sewer!) said I should look into making covers for cushions as they were simple to do, so being a simple sewer -I did. And what a discovery I found. You can sew a cushion cover in 20 minutes! By using the inside cushion as your template you can sew one very quickly. (I can provide a cushion cover tutorial with photos for those who are interested? Let me know.)

There are lots of different designs for cushion covers but the best one for me is a cover with a zip on one side. You could do one with tassels, buttons, tie-knot etc. I like the basic zip design, and I couldn't resist some ribbon detail on the side as well.

Here it is. Notice the beautiful pink spotted ribbon on the side.
I love this material from Fabric rehab. Check out their website it is full of beautiful fabric and lovely fat quarter bundles.
I am afraid these cushion covers are for me, I have selfishly decided to keep them for myself and have them sat beautifully in my sewing room and living room- they are too lovely to give away!


Saturday, 30 October 2010

Peg bag - a birthday present for my Sister

My lovely sister (I have two lovely sisters, this is the elder) has asked for a peg bag for her birthday next week. My sister and her wonderful family live on the other side of the world and we do not see each other very often. So when I told her about my new found love of sewing and all things handmade she requested the above, and I was more than delighted to make one for her.
As previously mentioned in my earlier blog I used my new sewing book 'Sewing in no time' it had a lovely pattern for a peg bag using a child's coat hanger. Here is the book - it really is a good book to start with when learning to sew. The projects have time lengths on them - so you know exactly how long they should take.
Here it is....worth a look.

I started with a template and enlarged it to my own measurements, cutting out the fabric I was going to use.

The pattern suggested adding your own design and as I have a slight infatuation with ribbons as that moment. I added two pieces along the front of the bag.

 I really am sorry about the up side down photo- I am not very computer savvy and I haven't worked out how to turn the photo. (Will put this on my to do list)
Oohhh the lovely ribbons....

All wrapped up and ready to go. I have wrapped it in spotty pink paper and tied some beautiful pink spotty ribbon around it.  I hope she likes it.
Bon Voyage peg bag, enjoy your life in the land of the long white cloud.


Friday, 22 October 2010

Making coin purses - a new obsession

I have a new obsession with making coin purses. It all started with a lovely coin purse my good friend gave me for my birthday nearly two years ago. I love it and still use it to this day.

My lovely coin purse (Very well used!! )

Since I have acquired my new found novice sewing skills I have decided to make one.  So for the last few weeks I have been beavering away. I have been searching online to see the general design of a coin purse and found these beautiful ones.....
These are soo cute! 

There are several online coin purse tutorials you could use. But by far the best one for me was
Although this is for a pouch, I reduced the measurements, which was perfect for a coin purse.
The above tutorial is very simple and showed useful pictures for the novice sewer to follow.
Next the fun bit - buying the kit. If you are a new sewer like me, I had no zips or interfacing lying around the house, so I happily sourced some online and brought some small zips,material, interfacing and ribbon.
Here they are...

I had some ribbon and used them for zip pulls......

So pleased with the gingham lining....Oooh lovely

They will make lovely birthday presents for my Family and friends.
Pumpkin wants one for all her hairbands and clips!

PS If you like these coin purses are having a fantastic giveaway of some beautiful coin purses very similar to these. Go and have a look! (I have just entered myself)

Friday, 15 October 2010

My Goddaughters 8th birthday

My Goddaughter turned 8 last month and I really wanted to make her something from my sewing machine. In the summer holidays I asked her what she would like. I gave her a few options and she choose a Kit bag. I immediately set about deciding what fabrics to use and found a lovely pattern in my Emma Hardy sewing book 'Sewing in no time'. The stipulation was that she does not like pink. I found some beautiful fabric on the Saints and Pinners website which was not pink but greens and oranges with lovely spots, flowers and swirls. They promptly send them to be wrapped in beautiful pink ribbon with a 'thank you note'. I was very impressed and will remember their kind note. Being a beginner sewer - I found the pattern quite easy to follow and enjoyed making it. My 4 year old Pumpkin was very impressed and lovingly asked if I could make one for her - you guessed it in pink!!
Here they are,

I found a lovely lime green button for this flower piece.

Pumpkin uses this for her ballet kit.

My goddaughter was delighted with her bag.

As you might not know I work part time, and this weekend I am off. I am so excited to be spending some time with my family. I have started working on some fabric pictures for my sewing room. I would like to have all my favourite things in my sewing room, highlighting my love of fabrics. I have made two beautiful cushions and a hanging gingham heart. I will show you some photos soon.
Have a lovely weekend.