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August 2007
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October 2007

Decorating the garden

Applewreath_4 Windfall apples and lengths of ivy all wrapped up into a quick wreath. Took only five minutes to make using garden trimmings headed for the compost heap.

To make: Trim any long trailing plant (ivy, jasmine, Virginia creeper, etc.) and wind it into a circle. Use fine wire or florists wire (even string) to secure the circle and to attach colourful bits. Use anything autumnal from the garden to add colour - apples, crab apples, hydrangeas, rose hips or berries.

It will probably only last a week but for now it nicely smartens up the old garden shed. Maybe I should pin one on myself, I'm a year older today - I could use a simple fix to smarten me up.

Oops, today is now yesterday because I'm up too late and today is now my sister's birthday. Happy birthday Patty - yes I know you're still younger than me, but only a year. And Dad, happy birthday tomorrow : )

Here & there and a couple of WIPs

There are days (and nights), when I find myself spending far longer online than I'd planned. So many people making great stuff. Craftster's "miscellaneous" section is a serious time absorber and home to fantastic, odd items that fit no category. This decked out mobility scooter for instance, more art than craft - amazing.

Birdweb_2I've been doodling some birds and other little applique designs to use for various projects, such as these dresses that I hope to finish before the girls go off to uni.

Also still searching for just the right fabric to line a handbag. The outer fabric will be the blue velvet I used for this and I want the shape to be similar to this Burda pattern but I'll make it into a shoulder bag by adding longer handles and using fabric for them.

Really need that new bag, must get off computer and get cracking.

Happy, little feet

Happyfeet1_3Yesterday, we hardly got through the door after buying Gracie new ballet slippers when she grabbed some markers and started decorating her old pair. After confirming they were the old pair, I gave her some Sharpies to use, made dinner and later returned to find these little gems!

I think this might have to be a new tradition - glam up the old ballet slippers each time she outgrows them. Might even switch her new slippers with these just to see her teacher's face turn several shades of red when she hits the floor with her new, self-styled, happy feet ; )

Apple of my pie


There's very little I like about summer ending (especially when July was a wash-out.) A few things I do like:

1. Hearing Gracie make plans for her birthday and change plans for her birthday. Hearing what her cake will be like - she's making and cutting it herself apparently, good. Fairy party,  Halloween Party,  Karate Party???, Art Party...

2. Picking apples and blackberries for this pie, my favourite pie. I adapted Tessa Kiros' Wholemeal Apricot Pie with the fold over crust from this beautiful book. I used apples and blackberries instead of apples and apricots, spelt flour instead of wholemeal because spelt has a lovely nutty taste and I made the crust a bit bigger to make it easier to get into the pan.

3. Children back in school, the serenity, and drinking a whole cup of tea before it gets cold.

4. Looking forward to the smell of votive candles cooking the lids of jack-o-lanterns. We must carve pumpkins every year so that I can smell that smell - even though in the UK Halloween isn't the colossal holiday it is in America. Lucky us, Gracie's birthday is on Halloween - the best reason to celebrate : )

Tidy little secrets

Patternpeicesmini_2 A bit of tidying was also in order this week. Pattern pieces have been cropping up all over the house and to keep them in my sewing room, possibly even in a drawer, I decided to attach them together with a brad (paper fastener) - so simple, yet so useful. If I found some nice, cheerful brads like the ones they have here, I might knock out more patterns just so I could use them.

I'm also using them to keep applique pieces from the same project together, helps if I ever wanted to make the same thing twice - which I've never done, must keep them cause I might. My drawers are full of ...I mights, are yours?

Little of this, little of that

Not my best week ever. Broke a toe - ouch! Really more like f*%#!!! Then lost everything on my computer - double f*%#!!! Thank you Microsoft!!! I'll return to you Macintosh as soon as possible.

On the bright side, I did back up most of my files two days earlier. Also, a friend's husband survived being hit by a car speeding at 50 - 60mph. There must be a God. I almost never back-up my files and according to doctors, a person hit in the manner our friend was hit should not have lived. He'll thankfully, be OK - after a long, sore recovery.


In between restoring and repairing this week, I started some applique on these little beauties for the gorgeous M & M. Twin old French linen dresses I found - perfect, just need a bit of something to set them apart. I'll let you know how it goes.

Gift to myself, needle case - tutorial too!


I love old cigarette cases and tins. I always see them at boot & antique fairs and I finally realized the perfect use for them, a needle case. I picked this one up the other day and thought I'd give making one a go. It worked out just the way I'd imagined it would and this one even had space for embroidery floss too.

Meant it to be a present but I decided to gift it to myself instead. This tidy little case should help cut down the 4-letter expletives spewing forth when I hunt for misplaced needles. Now I just need something for misplaced scissors, seam rippers, invisible markers, sunglasses, car keys... ;)

Have a case you'd like to repurpose? Whip Up is featuring the tutorial on how I made this one - thanks Whip Up. Email or comment, let me know what you think!

Reusing pesky, plastic packaging - a tutorial

IntrofinishedIf we buy fruit & veg shipped to the UK from nice, warm climates, it usually comes in plastic packaging. I know it’s best to only eat local fruit and veg, but in my family we can’t go through summer without apricots, peaches and nectarines - and they don’t grow here!

So I’ve worked out a few projects for children that uses up the plastic. This one will help bring a bit of colour to the grey winter months ahead. It’s so simple instructions hardly seem necessary, but click here for the supplies run down, a few piccies and a bit of "how to" just in case it looks too mysterious ;)

Final fling, kitsch heaven


The day before we go back to school we usually do something a bit special, the final summer fling. My children chose Hastings this year. Hastings is the ultimate in kitsch, and we love it - it's not for everyone, but we love it.

The old 50's style fun fair on the sea front - is not the rusty, seedy type - just simple, clean, freshly painted and inexpensive. A small train runs alongside it and the beach is just the other side. There's fantastic fish & chips (Maggie's in the fisherman huts is our fave) and two vernicular railways go up the cliffs past smuggler's caves (the caves can be visited too). The old, tall fisherman's huts where the nets were hung to dry cluster together on the stones, and boats still bring in their catch of the day.


Acutely aware that simple pleasures like this will soon be a thing of the past for my children, I enjoyed every second of it. But I love visiting on my own or with friends - there's good food, quirky antique & junk shops and a growing craft community.

Any visit to Hastings must include a stop here. This talented bunch of crafty people have the most beautiful stuff - it's like visiting favourite Etsy sellers in the flesh! And for the best bread in Kent, Judges is the place - get a good sour dough fix there if like me, you pine for SF.

This place is great fun, a bit rough around the edges - but that's the way I like it.

BTW - Love this definition of kitsch: something of tawdry design, appearance, or content created to appeal to popular or undiscriminating taste. Guess that's me :)