Monday, 31 December 2012

One out One in

I felt the need to write something to end my blogging year of 2012. A quick post of reflection and forward thinking.

It's been a hard year in parts, a year of significant changes, a year that's seen so much joy, friendship and laughter alongside supporting those that I love come to terms with all that the year has brought. I have a wonderful photo of my parents sitting in the armchair behind me wearing 3d specs and laughing at midnight last year. Dad won't be with us physically, but I still feel his prescence very strongly amongst us all. Everytime I think of him I see him chuckling away. Tonight we'll be celebrating with my mum and putting this year to rest with the leftover fireworks from Bonfire Night. Big Bang and ta ta to 2012.


Now onto a completely different note because I'm not one for dwelling too long on my inner thoughts in public. Today we've been major slobs. Still not dressed and loving it. Big cooked brunch to stop rumbling tums mid morning and then we all went our own ways for a while. I sorted my threads and fabrics and finally found the zip I'd bought to make a Bits & Bobs pouch for Mr Bun. Patchy squares are all cut and ready for stitching.


After much gorgeous eye pleading I gave in and started making a Seagulls footie scarf for him. My own quick pattern of casting on and then ribbing as I go.


I got out the pile of fabrics that are waiting to become clothes and got excited thinking how lovely they could look if only I could get motivated.


Then I wrote a list of all I want to make over the next however long. Well that's the start of 2013 planned in the making department at least. 

See you on January 2nd when I've planned a 4th birthday post and a celebration of things bloggy. 

Happy New Year to you all x



Sunday, 30 December 2012

Still Feels the Same

Well the day dawned. I hit 44 and surprisingly I don't feel (or look) any different from the day before. I remember when I was much smaller than I am now I thought I would feel my age the next day and then felt quite cheated when eight felt pretty much the same as seven did.

The night before we all got the chance to be as young as we wanted. We discovered a wonderful Edwardian Theatre by the sea and so we went to see the panto. Instead of sitting neatly in rows we all had our own table to sit around with our drinks and nibbles. Highly civilised to my thinking. At the interval icecream, coffee and packets of three bourbon biscuits were the delights on offer. Ever since reading Bill Bryson's Notes from a Small Island we chuckle each time we see a packet of custard creams or a bourbon. He said part of his love of the English stemmed from our ability to be delighted by the smallest of things. A small packet of biscuits really is scraping the barrell of joy isn't it.


Anyways I've digressed. Yesterday I was woken by all my lovelies piling into bed for the present opening ceremony.

They know me so well and had found me all sorts of wonderful things. I was thrilled to have pink dog return again. I always had one nodding on the front dashboard of my car until he got smooshed. Miss Rosey found a new pink dog to grace my car once more.


Mid-morning a dear friend popped over with a parcel of stuff that made my head immediately start planning new year makes.


Later I suggested lunch out and then a treaure trail around the Cathedral. While the Bun's tried to find the beasties and birds on the map we wandered. An elderly guide chatted to us and told us an interesting tale about a statue that Mr Bun adores. I'll save that story for another post.

In the evening we popped out to eat with my mum and then rolled home feeling especially full before having to find a bit more room for birthday cake.


Now completely unrelated to a birthday post, but stuff I wanted to show you. My gorgeous brooch from Hen. A hanky and comb from my man so I'm always ready for a buff and polish.


A perfect pre-christmas find of a wee 1950's anenome tin. If you look carefully you can just make out the faded letters of the word sweets on the tin. I kept the tradition going and have filled this as well as our Santa biscuit tin. We're working out way through the contents as I write this.

 

Cat twins and a birdy hair slide were some more goodies from Mr Bun too. He didn't do much venturing near the real shops, but kept to the out of the way ones I love.

Now talking of buffing and polishing, I must go and do some as we have a friend coming for lunch and here I still am in my jammies

Thursday, 27 December 2012

A Round Robin

After a delightful and relaxing Christmas (Mr Bun cooked, I wafted about) the girls and I are sitting on the sofa doing our own thing before we head off to Nannies for lunch. I thought I'll have a wee moment to catch up on my blog before the next few busy days take hold.

We started the festivities with a trip to visit Santa at the steam museum. We love it there as it's manned by elderly volunteers and is so uncommercial that it feels as if we're stepping back to the 1960's. We rode the trains and the Gallopers before heading to visit Santa in the Dad's Army village. This is the last year that Miss Rosey can visit Santa and we were pleased she wanted to. Little Bun can't understand why you wouldn't want to visit when you're 13.   Picture from the village sweetshop there by the way.


On Christmas Eve we had to call out Will the Swill to empty the septic tank which was creeping towards the house. Real life running alongside all the festive baking I was doing. Once my mum arrived we headed off to the Crib Service for a good old festive sing song. I love when we walk up to the village church with the bells pealing out. In our pews the Bun's chatted excitedly to their mates about how good Mr Stink was, presents they might get and Dr Who the next day. I absolutely love Christmas Eve. It's my most favourite part of the festivities. Coming home we lit both fires and settled down to eat Butternut Squash Soup, cheeses and then Pear and Mincemeat Tart. I've made the soup so many times before and it's delicious. This time Little Bun said it was saltier than the sea. It was foul you know. In my hurry I'd chucked too much bouillon in. Lesson learnt don't rush with soup. Boy was I thirsty that night. Later we snuggled by the fire to watch the Darling Buds of May christmas episode while the Bun's wrote thank you letters to Santa. Then it was off to bed for them with the story we read each christmas eve Willow at Christmas by Camilla Ashforth.


Just before 7am they dragged their stockings onto our bed with Nanny in tow. Five in a bed on Christmas morning. After breakfast we opened our gifts. The Bun's loved the angel bears I'd made for them from Claire Garland's book. I stitched their initials on the hearts so they'd know which was theirs. Little Bun was thrilled with the pink sewing machine we bought for her. She'd been desperate to start learning how to stitch. Lots of wonderful gifts, too many probably, but all adored. Mr Bun bought me some wonderful things. One very appreciated was a new notebook and pens to write down all the stories I have in my head which I've told the Bun's over the years. I've a beautiful brooch bought by me for him to give from Hen to show you another time too.


On Boxing Day we played with our new toys (Ipod Touch for Little Bun and a Kindle Fire for me) alongside old ones (dominoes and cards).


Another gift that you've seen me working on was my mum's quilt. Final stitches went in last Saturday while we watched the Strictly final.


I was taken aback when mum opened her parcel and welled up. I thought she'd be pleased, but didn't realise how touched she would be. It made all those hours of handstitching even more worthwhile.


Even the label on the back took a fair while to do, but I thought it was important to finish it off properly.


Now we've the pantomime to look forward to tommorow, then my birthday on the 29th (when I'll be 44, goodness me time is flying past). Friends over at the weekend and then New year festivities to get through. I'm hoping to fit in a good blast of sea air around all of this too.


Thank you for all your lovely christmas well wishes, for taking the time to read and leave a comment on my blog, it truly is appreciated you know. 

At the beginning of the year my blog also has a birthday. It'll be 4 you know. I feel something should be done in celebration ( a giveaway perhaps) so watch this space. I'm also planning a wee January sale in my etsy shop. I fancy a clean up and fresh start for the new year. More news to follow on those later. 

See you soon.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Hanging the Stocking

At the tail end of Wednesday, just before collecting Little Bun from school I got a very big urge to sew up something that I'd had rattling around in my head. There are quite a few plans in my head, but they all have to wait their turn. With christmas looming it was the turn of a few wee stockings. In my head I could see mini decorated stockings made from 60's and 70's sheeting and I really wanted to see if they looked as good in reality. You know when the itch hits you to see how something will look and you just can't wait another minute.


Years ago I used to make and sell huge felt stockings that I appliqued all sorts of christmassy things on. The Bun's have super large ones I made from old cream blankets with their names sewn on. When I was a child I had a crisp cool white pillowslip which I would drag into my parents bed. I like the look of a stocking, but it's far easier to get an annual into a pillowslip. 

My idea for the wee stockings was that they'd make another jolly decoration and they could hold small afternoon gifts.


I've made one for each of us, but still need to whip one up for my mum. The colours Jane used in the Mollie Makes book inspired my colour choice for the yellow and dark blue spot stocking.


I'll fill them all with tiny treats to open later on christmas day. Some years we've had a lucky dip, others we've played Bingo to win prizes.


Sadly this week the school carol service was cancelled. I felt especially saddened as it's our last primary school one and Little Bun had been chosen to make a reading as a shepherd. It was cancelled as the Head thought it was too rainy for the kids to walk to church - mmm I think the teachers didn't fancy the walk actually. I was really looking forward to a good old sing song as we didn't get to Miss Rosey's either as she refused to go. It would have been great as it was in the Cathedral with a candlelit service, full choir, the works.


Around all of this and the christmas plans I've been gathering a fair bit of fabric for new year projects. After a few sales in my etsy shop I recycled some of my pennies into fabric. I saw Jessie had a 25% sale in her shop which had me pushing the pile it into your pretend basket button in a jiffy. She's not long opened her shop Sew and Quilt so if you've not visited before I reckon you should. She already has a great selection of fabrics from vintage to Liberty and repro feedsack amongst others.


Wrapped in bluebird paper is a small selection of Miss CK's cotton's Despite what I said about the lady previously my hand kept hovering over these on Friday and so I thought to hell with it I like them, it's pay day so I'll have them. 

Now it's the end of term for all of us so we kicked off by having friends over. We ate tons of cheese, drank quite a lot of fizzy stuff and felt rather tiddly pom pom by the end of it all.  My friend came with a box of these boozy wee treats knocked up from a Nigella christmas book. They're like eating mini christmas puds and are delicious. I don't have that book, but if you do I'd recommend making these most definately.


Now I'm not sure if I'll have time to pop by again before the big day so I'll wish you all a very very Merry Christmas now just in case. Sometimes the urge to write a post comes over me and so I have to make time for it late at night.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Countdown

Miss Rosey broke up on Friday so we're both on holidays together this week. Friday evening we all went to see Little Bun in her drama group play. Each group wrote their own panto. Little Bun's group stole the show and was fabulously fun (not just saying because she's mine). Little Bun was Jim the Villain and then Harry Hill overseeing a fight between the Prince and Buttons. Buttons got the Princess in their version. Yay. On Saturday we started the christmas season with a trip to the end of the pier christmas show. The light at the coast was beautiful, great photo taking opportunities abounded. I forgot my camera as usual when we leave the house.
 
Now Little Bun is on her last week of term and Mr is inspiring new students to join us next term. Miss Rosey and I meanwhile have got lots to do and fit in as well as having a spot of fun.


First off we've tidied up the shelves and christmassed them. I thought you might like to see. Basically I love a good old nosy at a well stocked shelf so I'm assuming that I'm in good company here. I moved a few things off the blue shelves that I was getting bored looking at, jiggled it all around and then added sparkly bits.


Then, while I was tidying the pile that had been growing in the corner for a very long time, I found an ancient word game. Double sided tape and a few carefully chosen letters and I was happy with the first dusted and done shelf.


All that was needed in the sitting room were a few candles to add night-time sparkle.


I had a happy fiddle with the china and glass cabinet. We only had one decent wine glass left after I'd managed to break all the others so I treated us to new ones yesterday. Silly things like buying four and knowing we'll only need three for christmas lunch remind me of dad just when I'm doing the simplest of things.


I christmassed up the shelves by adding the wee saucer crackers I've bought for lunch. They've got dares, jokes and charades in them which the Bun's will love. Two of our favourite things are on here. Mr Bun adores the Meakin cactus cup and saucer and I love love love the adorable kids in bunny suits on the Meakin dish.

Once all the shelves were done I got down to baking and Miss Rosey packed up six sweetie bags. We were having a small christmas tea party for Little Bun and some friends. All term she hasn't been able to have any friends over as the only night I pick her up we don't roll into until after 5pm once we've collected her big sister who finishes school at 4pm. I loved having the girls over and they all had a blast. Today they had the school christmas lunch and then an after school disco. Miss Rosey and I took ourselves off to see Great Expectations. She can now come to a 12 with me and I'm trying to get her interested in the classics by hook or by crook. The film was wonderful with Helena Bonham Carter playing Miss Havisham just as I'd imagined her in print. To be honest each actor brought a host of wonderful characters to life and we were caught up from beginning to end unlike the elderly lady who snored throughout behind us.


Around all these plans I've been busy with my hands. I had a couple of requests for kitschy deer bunting which I hope has now arrived all safely. With deers on my mind I couldn't resist starting on the christmas collar in this months Mollie Makes. It's the first copy that's got things in which I've fancied making. I still need to add stitchery to the deers face and line the back before I'll see who suits wearing it the best.


My mum's quilt is coming along a treat. I'm just hand stitching the binding to the back and then I'll be ready to show you properly. I've already ordered some new fabric from my recent sales so I can make a similar one for us as I love the design and general squodgy feel of this quilt.


The other temptation in Mollie Makes were the owl wristwarmers. I bought a couple of balls of Sirdar Click as it was relatively cheap and it has bright spots of colour running throughout. Shame I knit tightly and forgot to go up a needle size as I usually do. They fit ok if I stuff my hand in forcefully. Needless to say I've given up on them for now so there's only one with no owly eyes or a thumb.


Home day of house jobs and stitching tommorow before hearing Little Bun's Wizard of Oz sing song in the playground after school. Thursday morning we'll be there at the assembly to hear her play her violin before heading off to lunch with some other mum's and then the school Carol Concert where she's a shepherd. A floral teacloth and a pink sparkly ribbon from Jane will be fixed firmly on her head. Then off home to arrange Mr Bun's birthday tea party. The man I met when he was a carefree 30 will become 45. How'd he do that then?  With friends over on Friday night and then what will be Miss Rosey's last trip to Santa at the weekend I'm not too sure if being off work is more exhausting than working.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Memories

Last Sunday, when the girls were off doing their own thing, Mr Bun said to me I need to show you the most beautiful shop window ever. We walked a fairly short way, but in the freezing wind it felt like a very long way. I thought ungraciously, 'this better be worth it'.

Then we arrived at Junk & Gems and I knew straight away it was worth it. I should never have doubted or questioned as my man knows a good thing when he sees it.


The shop was closed and would next be open on a Tuesday. I looked at all the beautiful things in that window and thought of how much I would like to hold them. Now as I only teach a half day on a Wednesday I planned over the next couple of days to head over to that part of the city and have a rummage of my very own. Just before 12.30 a couple of friends called to take me to lunch. I kept quiet about my plans, enjoyed their company and then headed off to Junk & Gems.


Christmas treasure from the past is exciting and magical. These are just once a year things that have survived partly because they get packed away carefully at the end of the festivities. 

I took a few rolls of the wrapping paper to add to those already at home. I love this paper not only because of the feel and look of it. The paper is slightly thicker than tissue paper with garish colours and jolly bold designs that make me feel so happy to look at it again and again. I also love it, and this is probably the main reason I wanted it, because it takes me right back to childhood.

Mrs Leeder's sweetshop in the village I grew up in was packed to the gills with comics, jars of sweets, toys and at christmas this beautiful paper which Santa always wrapped my gifts in. I can still remember my dad taking me there late one evening to stop me crying before my mum got home. I chose a thick rubber bouncy ball, sherbet sand and a Twinkle. My tears had been brought on by Lassie finally finding his owner. I guess the relief was really too much for me and I just gulped and sobbed endlessly before my dad decided something drastic needed to be done. As this was the 1970's treats were only on birthdays and christmas, getting something on a normal day was a big deal which is probably why I remember it so clearly.



Buying old stuff isn't just about a love of the thing, it's about all those wonderful memories that are stirred up. Good memories that make me feel sad sometimes and squeeze my eyes tight so I don't well up. 

Now if you're eagle eyed you might have spied the Gumball Advent Santa in the shop window. Now he lives with us. Every now and then we pull the string between his legs to make his arms and legs shoot up and his eyes to flick back and forth. He has all the original gumballs behind all the windows, we'll be leaving them there.


Last night we decorated the tree. Gumball Santa joined all the other christmassy bits I've added here and there. I moved the deer bunting and put up my Kiss Kiss garland in its place. Not that I'm finished yet as there's a host of Santa's waiting to sit on shelves. Sometimes I wonder if I could do a stylish minimal as I do like it when I see it. Somehow in my hands loads of stuff gets added to the mix.


The Bun's made a wonderful job of decorating the tree. While I wound lights they went through the boxes with such delight at all the memories they were uncovering. Small tree crackers made by my Mr's dad when he was small, decorations made by the Bun's and others that we have given them each christmas.


All endless memories evoked by the past and the small rituals we are creating of our own. Simple things that remind me of so many other stories.

Monday, 10 December 2012

The Power of the Rug

This weekend our cottage has been the cosiest and toastiest place ever to be. I only had to do a few simple things and life was just made even better.



I sprinkled a few more fairy lights here and there, I ordered our first ever pile of logs and sorted a chimney sweep so we can have a coal fire in the Jolly room over christmas.

The biggest and bestest thing of all was getting a soft and furry rug for the sitting room.


An idea suggested by my mum to stop all those draughts whizzing through the floorboards and over us. Not a difficult idea to come up with I admit, but we feel as if we've won the lottery from the amount of joy we've all had from just a couple of days with the rug.

The room instantly feels and looks cosier, the floor feels all squishy and squashy underfoot and we have enjoyed being in our home even more than ever.


The Bun's loved finally being able to roll about on a soft floor and not get splinters in them. Alfie thinks it's the best thing ever as he can usually only get a good manic roll and back rub upstairs (carpets up there you see).


On Saturday I barely left the room, which for a fidget like me is unusual. I plonked myself down on the rug with paper, felt and notions, lit the fire and settled down for what I thought would be just a wee spot of stitching. The wood man came and dumped a pile of logs on our drive. I sat and stitched away while Mr Bun lugged barrow after barrow load round to the log store. I only felt briefly naughty keeping my head down remembering the endless bags of logs I usually lug home each week to keep us all toasty.


Stitching inspiration came from a book I bought in the summer. I thought Laura Howard's Super Cute Felt had a great choice of things to make for and with the Bun's. Although I'm not overly keen on Scandi Style christmas decorations I was really taken with the gingerbread garland. So on Saturday I gathered together the bits I'd bought the day before and got cutting and stitching. The Bun's joined me to finish up their felt tree decorations and we spent a peaceful while stitching together.


Somehow, apart from stopping to eat and to feed the animals, I managed to stitch my way through the whole of Saturday. We watched Elf and I stitched sequins on, then the radio came on drinks were poured and my lovelies made paper chains while I still stitched away.  Last stitches were put in while I chatted to Miss Rosey in her bath. By the end of the last dance on Strictly all the biscuits were hung on a ribbon with jingly bells tied either side. I've never stuck my head down to one thing like this before. Usually I flit here and there.


I think the rug made it impossible for any of us to leave the room. Such a simple thing to give us such pure joy and fall in love with home all over again. 

On a previous note. Thanks for your lovely comments about the deer bunting I made this week. I'm thinking of adding some bobble trim and bells as it's looking too restrained for me at the moment. Not sure if it'll work, but I'm going to have a fiddle and see. Interesting to see I'm not as alone in my feelings as regards Ms CK. I wondered if it was going to the equivalent of saying the naughtiest swear word ever on here to say I wasn't as enamoured as I could be. Saying that Little Bun was really excited to be visiting the shop today on her christmas shopping trip with my mum so I haven't brainwashed anyone around here honestly.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Rejigging Ms Kidston

Well what a thing. Mid-week and I have the day off. The waterboard have been digging up the road near Little Bun's school for nearly a year now and today they've turned off the water to the school. That means school closed and lots of frantic planning to try and sort childcare. In the end I opted to take the morning off and let another teacher cover my class (which means I lose a lot of pay today, but don't have to make the hours up later on). 

A stolen day off means a morning of sewing in my book. So I got to with an idea I had on Monday.


Weeks ago I bought a couple of teacloths in CK's shop to use for the fabric, not for the dishes. I love this kitschy fabric and just couldn't resist. To be honest I'm not a great CK fan. I much prefer the real vintage deal for fabric. Years ago before her brand took over the world I liked quite a lot of what she did. Maybe it's just overkill for me, but that's me. 

I had various ideas for my teacloths, but none actually worth me chopping into the fabric for. Then on Monday morning I had the blinking obvious brainwave of making christmassy bunting from them. It's been stored away in my head since then saved for a moment when I'd have the time to chop and stitch.


I plonked a selection of trims and fabrics on the table and set off marking out and chopping triangles from the pile.  Being in a rush as usual (impatience, rather than need to rush) I chopped quite a few deers upside down which looked rubbish, so I had to start again and make sure the print was facing the right way.


I was of a mind to add bobble trim along the top, but settled for ric-rac edges for the deers in the end. It's always a juggle to get the less is more or more is less balance right, don't you think.


I've taken down the floral bunting that usually hangs along the beam and added this years festive string to the lights up there. I guess we're getting decorated slowly but surely around here. Last year I hung the Kiss Kiss garland I made here so I'll have to find a new home for that one now.


Well I'm pleased with this mornings stitching, now I'd better get my act together and set off with Little Bun.  She wants a trip to see all the tacky decorations at her favourite garden shop and have a cake before we collect Miss Rosey from school.


Hope all your christmas plans and makings are going well and you're feeling calm and cheery.