Monday, March 31, 2008

Never mind subtle - IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!!!

I was going to try to be very subtle and coy and quietly mention that IT'S MY BIRTHDAY TODAY!!!!!!! However, I've had such a lovely day that subtlety be blown - I wanna show off :)

First up, did I mention that I was going to see FRENCH AND SAUNDERS very very soon as a birthday pressie from my lovely long-suffering husband?! Oh, I did?

At 6.45 I was descended upon by sleepy small people - my lovely babies chose me a big chunky turquoisy blue necklace, a funny DVD and some lovely new nightclothes :) Minx was almost bursting as she was desperate to tell me what they had bought. She's not a natural keeper of secrets :)

Then, I opened a parcel from my lovely blog friend Gina and couldn't quite believe my eyes - she posted this gorgeous clutch bag on her blog last week and I adored it then - now it's mine....all mine....!!!!! Thank you so much Gina xxxxx

I then opened another part of the fabulous present that Leigh and her (MY) Mum sent to me, all the way from Tennessee!! Some beautiful fat quarters that Minx is trying hard to lay claim to - I've told her to 'gerroff they're mine!!'.
Thank you Leigh and Mum :) xxxxx They're beautiful and every time I look at my beautiful bird house I smile :)

Whilst on the phone to Locket this morning, Mr Postie arrived. Locket was very excited as she knew he had something special in his bag for me.

Poor man. I was even more jumpy up and down on the doorstep than usual.

He failed to notice that most of my mail was 'card-like' or had 'THE BIRTHDAY GIRL' written on it - I was expecting at least a cursory 'Happy Birthday Madam' from him - aaah, customer service ain't what it used to be...

What he did give me was this gorgeous bundle:

This was all unceremoniously torn open whilst squealing ultrasonically on the phone to Locket - the sender of this pile of treasure :)

She knows I'm partial to a bit of turquoise.

Who could this be?
He's been suitably named by Minx et moi.

It's Leif - a bunny chok full of yummy turquoiseness - called Leif 'cos of his leaves - not 'cos I'm a Leif Garrett fan ( although I may have been briefly). His little friend made of knit is called Edgar and he even has a scrumptious turquoise carrot to nibble on :)

He was accompanied by more turquoiseness

and even some beautiful redness! At last, I have a respectable pin cushion to share with the world!!

Thank you soooo much Lucy - love you!!!

I also got some beautiful cards from my lovely bloggy friends - including my Tennessee Mum :)

Something else that meant the world to me today was receiving phone calls from my two lovely Aunties - my Mum's sisters.

Aunty M even sang Happy Birthday to me in the same out of tune manner as Mum used to - we are never going to be the Von Trapp Family singers in my family!! Mum always used to say she was the only person who could sing in tune with Les Dawson's piano playing - and she was right!

They even sent me a beautiful bouquet :)

At midday I went out for a scrummy lunch with my lovely friend Kayla.
We were having such a lovely time that I almost forgot I had to pick the naughty ones up at 2.15 as we all had a dental appointment.....on my birthday!! What can I say, it was the only appointment I could get!

This mini downturn in events carried on a bit.

Leftover bolognese for dinner:

Co-op sponge cakes for my 'birthday cake'! ( two for £1.20 mind you!!).

The situation improved rapidly thanks to this :)

....and some of these ( matter of taste, I know, but I loves 'em so there and it's my birthday so there!!)

Another blogger shares her birthday with me - all the best people do ( ;) ) - so go say Happy Birthday to WMK too - she's got a fab Wikipedia link and the very best birthday song I've even seen!!!
Off now to drink a glass or three :)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Just can't stop pursing!!

Now this may come as a bit of a surprise.......

As a child I could actually be a right stroppy little independent knowall madam little sassy. At times this drove my poor Mum to distraction. She always knew I'd get my comeuppance and I have - I've got a Minx who takes after me!!

Anyway, what I'm tortuously leading up to is the fact that at times of debate with my lovely Mum I would often hear her say '...AND YOU CAN STOP PURSING AT ME TOO, MADAM!!'

I never quite understood what she meant at the time.

Well, today I have been pursing like mad.

But in a good way :)

My lovely friend Mrs Trash emailed me yesterday as she had a desperate urge to make a zippy purse but needed a question answered. As I like a bit of research I went off into the ether to look for tutorials and came across this fantastic one.

Of course, I suddenly needed to make one too!!

Gulp - I even cut into my Chocolate Lollipop gorgeousness!

This makes me smile...... :) :) :)

I got on a bit of a roll and even did a couple of gussety ones. The turquoise one is for my friend Niki's birthday next week. The funky flowery one is for Minx as it's her birthday in two weeks.

After all the pursing I felt like a bit of a basket-case......see:

Shameless plug alert, as this one has gone in my shop :) sold :)

I'm off now as I have an hour and twenty minutes before fetching the beasts from school......time to make a few more purses!!!


Thursday, March 27, 2008

A Hatrick!!! - or... a trio of bewildered postmen :)

....but first some sneaky peaks at some sewing I've been doing for a long overdue PIF that I signed up to.


.....and these will be winging their way to three PIFees very soon :)

Postie numero uno is our regular 'drop it through the letter box' postie and he kindly delivered a small order of white sewing thread to the strange woman who gets overexcited today.

Postie number two rang the bell that doesn't work and handed me a tube shaped parcel, after I'd managed to silence my savage guard Moog.

I knew what was within. A gorgeous print ordered from bees knees studio- more indulgence with my pretend paypal earnings!

Obviously it's a little curly after travelling all the way from the US in a tube but once I get it framed - aaaaaaaah, gorgeous!!

Postie number three got here in the nick of time as I was just leaving to play library at Minx's school.

He looked seriously worried as I was rather high pitched and may have been breathing rapidly!!

My major self-indulgence - a bundle of gorgeous Chocolate Lollipop fabrics from Anna Maria Horner - with a personally signed copy of the order (keeping that as she's famous!!!)

There's no way these babies are going to be cut up for quite some time. I have a whole lot of ooohing, aaaahing and stroking to do first - of the fabric of course!!!!

I've decided these are my pre-birthday treats to me :)

I thought I'd like to go out with more of a bang than a whimper today so I'm posting a couple of things that my friend Helen emailed to me - 'cos I know you'll like them :)

Here's some art with a difference.

Or if something more physical floats your boat how about this:

If you laughed you are a bad person - hang your head in shame!!


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Be afraid postman - be very afraid!!

My postman tends to wear a very wary expression when he has to knock my door.

Could it be that he is not used to very grinny overexcited females bounding to the door to wrench the post from him?

He wore such an expression this morning - and with good reason for he was bringing me a parcel of fabric gorgeousness that I ordered from down shadow lane recently -using pretend money in my paypal account after selling a few things in my etsy shop :)

Init looooooooooooovely?!!

As if that wasn't enough excitement for one day, a big red Parcel Force van pulled up a short time later and another poor man was subjected to my overenthusiastic greeting!

A little while back my very lovely blog friend Leigh and my surrogate Mum (Leigh's Mum) asked me when my birthday was as they wanted to send me something - how lovely are they?!!

Not being a very patient sort of person I opened the (rather huge!) box immediately and became somewhat overwhelmed with the gorgeousness enclosed.


All the way from the USA!!!

I'm sure I admired a bird house like this on Leigh's blog - it is so beautiful!

The parcel also contained some seriously gorgeous stationery and another wrapped parcel that I am going to save for my birthday next week - if I can resist opening it before!!

For now the bird house has found a home among the 'Easter display' but once this comes down it will take pride of place :)

Thank you so very much Leigh and Mum - you have made me so happy and I feel thoroughly spoilt! You are so lovely - but then we know that bloggers are the best don't we?!!

All the excitement made me forget that the children are going to their swimming lesson tonight and it is their swimming instructor's last class, as she's leaving to go to a paid job with less unsociable hours. She has been teaching them patiently for nearly three years and has taught both of my children to swim really well.

I was making something today for a PIF that I have to do but this has now had to be diverted as a 'Sorry You're Leaving but Thank You For Everything' present!!

I have to go now as, for some reason, my children have turned quite vile today and are arguing over nothing - so the big bad referee is required - wish me luck!!!


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Fab Fabric Baskets - tutorial as promised!

Warning!!! Lots and lots of photos and a very lengthy post!
Have tried for the past two hours to make this into some sort of fancy schmancy side bar linky thing - and failed so here it is - in full!!!

If you want to have a go at making some very simple and cute little storage baskets like these then read on......

These baskets can be made in any size - all measurements here make a finished basket that holds a 100g ball of wool very nicely :)

I used cotton canvas for the outer but any medium to heavy weight fabric such as hessian, denim, corduroy would do. It is lined with cotton gingham (Lucy!!!!!)

You will also need heavy weight iron on interfacing and, if doing applique, some Bondaweb or similar.

1. Cut two pieces of main fabric, two pieces of interfacing and two pieces of lining fabric 23cm x 25cm. If making a basket with a handle cut another piece of main fabric 32cm x 11cm (ignore that I have cut two handles in the photo below - I made a mistake ok?!!)

2. Iron interfacing onto reverse of main fabric pieces.
Tip: if you want a firmer basket you can apply two or more layers of interfacing.

3. Apply Bondaweb to applique fabric and trace design onto backing paper.

4. Iron applique pieces onto basket front piece.
Tip: don't stick your applique on too low down on the basket front as you will lose it when you make the gusset!!

5. Machine or handstitch around applique adding any detail as required.

6. Place main fabric pieces right sides together and stitch down both sides and along bottom edge.

7. Repeat step 6 for the lining fabric pieces but leave a gap, of approx 6cm, open in the bottom seam for turning.

8. Now to make the gusset of your basket. Open the basket out either side of the seams and flatten the corners using your fingers to help make sure the bottom and side seams line up.

9. Stitch across each bottom corner - I stitched this seam approx 3cm up from the corner tip - and then trim away excess fabric.

10. Turn the basket through so that right sides are facing outwards. Push firmly into the corners with your fingers to open the gusset out fully.

If you want to add a handle to your basket follow these steps.

11. a)Press one long side of the handle fabric into the centre (approx 2.5cm).

b) now repeat with the other long side - leaving a small gap of approx 3mm down the centre.

c) fold the fabric in half again lengthways and then press well with a hot iron.

d) topstitch down either side of the handle.
TIP: don't stitch it as wonkily as I did!!

e) pin the handle onto the centre of the front of the basket as shown. Take the handle round underneath the basket and up the other side, pinning to the top edge of the reverse side in the same way.
As the handle is quite short you will most likely need to fold the base of the basket so that it fits inside the handle.

12. The next steps are the same for the basket with or without a handle.

You should have the main basket fabric right side outwards now. The lining is still inside out at this stage.

Slide the lining fabric over the main fabric piece so that right sides are together. Line up side seams and pin the lining to the main piece all the way round.

13. You will need your sewing machine 'free arm' (i.e. without the tool box attached) for this bit.

Slide the basket onto the free arm and stitch all the way round the top of the basket.

14. Turn the basket through the hole in the bottom of the lining.

15.It should look like this once it is turned through.

16. Turn the seam allowance in on the opening at the bottom of the lining - finger press the seam.

17. Stitch this seam as close to the edge as possible.

18. Push the lining down into the basket, making sure you push it right into the corners.

19. Press and then topstitch all around the top edge of the basket.

20. If you want a squarer looking basket, iron creases down either edge of the gusset along either side and the bottom.

21. The finished article - phew!!!

Now that you've realised how much fun they are to make you may want to make one or two more.....

(These are going to be filled with treasures in Moogshouse :) )

....or more.....

These ones are going in my shop very soon.

I hope you have made it to the end ok!!

If you have any questions leave me a comment here and I'll try to answer them!

As this is not a 'new' design or idea for making vessels such as baskets or handbags then please feel free to use this tutorial to make as many as you like and even sell them if you want to.

Please do not use my applique designs, without prior consent, for items that you wish to sell.

I may now go and have a rather large glass of something chilled and white!!