Monday, 29 November 2010

Going Dotty, Snow, Christmas Fairies

On Friday evening came the first snow of the winter; apparently we've not had 'proper' snow like this as early as November for about 17 years. Luckily the roads in our neck of the woods are clear, so no problems getting around. It's so cold that the snow has barely melted since it fell, and the weather forecasters are saying that it's not going to get any warmer for some time yet, and we might get more snow. But nothing like they're getting in Scotland, Wales and the North of England.

I've made two Christmas fairies, using a pattern originally from Homespun magazine, issue 66. If you look carefully you'll see that the first one I made is 'special' - the poor thing has her arms on upside down; I didn't notice until she was finished and I certainly wasn't going to take her apart then.

And finally, a bed runner that I've made for Number Two Son and his partner. He saw a pattern for a quilt in Quiltmania that he really liked, but it was all made with circles, which I just couldn't come to grips with. So I used that inspiration for the dotty fabrics. Then I found a pattern in Liberated Quilting II which was sort of roundish, so that was the pattern I used. Then I changed the shape to make it into a long narrow quilt. I really love the result, and hope he does too - if not I can certainly find a home for it!

I used the same quilting motif in the black squares, and parts of it in the half and quarter squares, only using black thread.

We're going visiting family this coming weekend, so I need to get all the family presents finished and wrapped so that we can take them with us, together with birthday presents for our two sons who both have their birthdays in December. And then I'll have time to play with Christmas decorations.

And I suppose I ought to do some housework!

Friday, 26 November 2010

This is very similar to the first car I remember; my grandfather's black car that was his pride and joy. Whenever we visited them we used it to go to the shops or to the pub for the regular Saturday lunch time visit. I used to love the visit to the pub. It's probably unthinkable these days but my parents and grandparents would go inside and bring me out an orange juice and a packet of crisps (the sort with a little blue waxed paper screw of salt that you had to add yourself and shake up) and I'd have the car to myself. I'd read my book and enjoy the peace and quiet and the smell of the old leather.

I was thinking yesterday about how life has changed since I was a little girl and thought about the advance in technology in cars in particular. We now have a Renault Megane Scenic; it's some years old and a bit battered, but it has so much more than my grandfather's old car.

Some of the changes include electric indicators - the old Ford had flip up indicators that came out of the side of the car; and you had to be prepared to use hand signals in the event that the indicators got stuck.

It never even occurred to us then that one day you might be able to have music in the car, but we went on to have a radio, then a CD player, and now we can play music from iPods through the stereo system. And some cars are now being produced with DAB radios.

My grandfather's car had a starter button, but it was more likely that he'd have to use the starter handle, getting it out from the boot, inserting it into the hold in the front of the engine and cranking away until it started. 

The old black Ford had a top speed of about 50mph, though I don't imagine that my grandfather ever drove it at above 30mph, and of course there were no motorways for him to race along.

And best of all was the clock; it was wind up and my grandfather never set off on a journey without first winding the clock up and checking it against his watch.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010


I've made this robot as a Christmas present for my 6 year old nephew, to sit on a shelf and hold a few bits and pieces. I'll put some pens and pencils in it when I pack it. It only took me a couple of hours to make this morning and was quite fun to do.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Bags and books

I've been beavering away getting birthday and Christmas gifts made up and stored away, so that I can get them all done and then perhaps have time to make a new Christmas quilt for myself.

I made this laptop bag for Number One Son's birthday in December. It's made from heavy weight denim, and has a laptop harness inside as well as three different pockets. Sadly, my Bernina didn't much care for stitching the rather thick straps into place and started making complaining noises. So it's had to go to be mended, so I can only do things that need straight stitching for the time being, as that's about all that my old machine does.

These two bags come from the same pattern and will make super presents I think, if I fill them with toiletries. The large one is for Number One Son's girlfriend, the smaller one is for my hairdresser. I'm going to make a few more for other gifts that I'm going to need. They were easy enough to make once I understood how to insert the zip.

Two Christmassy lavender bag door hangers for friends.

Covered note books for my two brothers-in-law.

For me, it's one of the joys of being retired, being able to make presents for people. I always tried to make as many presents as possible, but it was very difficult when I was teaching full time. 

How are you all doing with your Christmas present lists?

Saturday, 6 November 2010


I've just finished a wall hanging designed by Jennifer Reynolds of Elefantz. It was a five month BOM called Daisy-Do. I used a fat quarter of Kaffe Fassett fabric that I found.

It's a dull and dreary day here, so I had to take the photograph indoors, with the light on and from a bit of an angle, hence the poor and wonky photograph.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Sorry, but Christmas comes early for crafters

Close your eyes now if you can't bear to see Christmas decorations on the 1st November. But if you're a crafter too you'll understand why I have to get going early if I'm going to get everything done in time. For the past three years I've made my two sons Christmas decorations instead of giving them a Christmas card. Now they have their own homes I hope that they'll have fun building up their own collection of decorations which they'll enjoy bringing out each year. This year I've made Christmas bunting, from a pattern by Mandy Shaw at Dandelion Designs. I've kept theirs short-ish by using Noel, as they both live in very small flats; but I think I'll make some for us too and make it longer by having Merry Christmas.

The only difference is the felt ornaments along the top.

If you look closely you will see - as I discovered only once it was too late - that the fabric has lifebelts on it! When I bought it I thought that it was just a green and red pattern, ideal for Christmas. Hey ho!