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September 2009
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November 2009

Time out


Time to take a short break from this little journal.

It's time to step back and hit the focus on my life lens. I have many unfinished projects staring at me, a work deadline looming, visitors arriving from far away and most importantly, two very important little people requiring extra cuddles.

Even Gracie's tiny dolly is crying out for help, she wants her dress finished, some accessories and a roof over her head - at least she's now got hair.

In the interim I'll still be on email and still sending out the embroidery and appliqué patterns.

House-test-1Thank you for all your lovely comments about the new pattern, and old ones too, they really are appreciated.

I hope you're all enjoying Autumn, I look forward to catching up with you friends when I return :)

Patterns on the go

House-test-1 This new Mouse House pattern on the left was created ages ago when I made this appliquéd piece and I've finally got around to making the PDF. It includes separate pieces for appliqué and you can get it on this new page along with previous patterns by leaving a comment. Update: Patterns now provided on a donation basis.

I can see it on cushions, bags, onsies and t-shirts; I'm also thinking it would make a good beginner piece for a new stitcher. I plan to include it in a little starter kit I'm making for one of Gracie's friends.

My sketch books with embroidery designs are overflowing, my time management needs to alter so that I can finish more of these things I start.

As it's now the run up to Christmas there have been a lot of people requesting the Tree Family Christmas pattern from last year, you'll find that on the new page too. And I'm very excited about a new Christmas pattern I've been working on, hopefully it will be done in time for Christmas 2009!

I've tried and tried to find more than 24 hours in a day but with no luck, now if anyone has any tips for time management I'd truly love to hear them. Have a lovely weekend.

A treat in London Town

Ceiling of Alexandra Palace with streamers of spun yarn descending

Friday I had an unexpected and fantastic treat. I received email Thursday afternoon from Selvedge about the Knitting and Stitching show taking place in London at Alexandra Palace the following day and weekend. As Selvedge were involved I thought it might be good, and through serendipitous good fortune my friend Claudia and I were able to go to it last minute.

She from Kent and me from Hampshire hopped on early trains and met in town. We knew nothing about the show, had there been more time I'd have researched, though being clueless added to my excitement.

We emerged from the tube station to find a block-long queue for the shuttle service and we realized it was big. Not the patient sorts we legged it up the hill to Alexandra Palace skipping the shuttle, too eager to get there. The entrance to the show hinted at what lay ahead; a full sized knitted sailboat and mountains of hand-spun yarn, amazing! It was enormous, being newbies we didn't know where to start, we simply wandered around the halls in awe. Products for everything knitting and stitching were everywhere, there were workshops and a gallery too.

Knitted sailboat

The day flew by and I feel we only scratched the surface. We didn't even find out there was a gallery until we stopped for a sandwich and met two veterans who told us about it, it was their seventeenth year to attend. Next time I think we'll start with the gallery and see all the artists work, we only saw a tiny part of it.

Hand dyed cotton and silk embroidery floss

I managed to purchase a few special items like some of this hand-dyed thread, Liberty fabric, pretty beads for Gracie and a couple of books. Everything was less expensive than in the shops, special rates for the show.

Mixed-media shoes by Ingried Swan

Here are a couple of the artists exhibits: these shoes and hat were part of a whole outfit made with formed and stitched pages from an Atlas.

Textile themed porcelain

And this very delicate porcelain which is decorated with fabric designs and notions. It's all been fired, there's no actual fabric on the pieces, they just look like there is. Sorry to have not found the artist's name on this one, it was closing time and we were being whisked out the door.

It was a great show and lovely to see the age range attending, from teenagers and groups of school children to grandmothers. Next year if I have a chance to go to this show again I'll know to bring a lunch (the food wasn't great,) start with the gallery and try and go for two of the days in order to take advantage of the workshops.

Window display, characters from Fantastic Mr Fox

The whole day was brilliant and topped off by tumbling back outside in a downpour of rain followed by a sprint straight onto a bus. Then after a quick trip on the underground we hopped off in Covent Garden for a gorgeous Thai meal. While walking to dinner we saw this sweet window display with characters from Fantastic Mr Fox, a favourite Roald Dahl story and soon to be released movie.

The whole day we felt like two kids skiving off school and I can't wait to do it again. If anyone knows of other creative events happening in Southern England please let us know about them. Although I never need an event to go into London, just a willing husband to collect our children from school and feed them, thanks hubby.

I hope you all had exciting weekends too :)

Making me smile


This tiny little face stitched up as a tester.

I'm making a new pattern and testing it - a birthday gift for Gracie. I love this fabric, it's from a huge piece of unbleached Egyptian cotton I bought a few years ago. It's beautiful for hand stitching but it's slightly course for turning tubes easily. I ordered some tools today that will hopefully help with this task, if not she will be scrapped and I'll try her on another fabric.


Browsing my button stash.

I've been shredding mountains of old papers, very boring work. If I were the organized type there wouldn't be mountains, just piles. The shredder keeps conking out which gives me plenty of time to poke through my buttons. These were the little beauties I brought back from Holland. Normally I know just what I'll use new supplies for, but not these, I'll probably keep them just to look at because they're so cheerful. Hand-carved wooden buttons always make me smile.


My little footballer.

And making me smile the most is my girl. Follow the arrow to see her because I wasn't quick enough with the camera and caught her with her head down. The only girl on either of the teams and it was so much fun to watch her, full of energy and spirit - I can't wait until the next game!

I hope my smiles reach all of you!


Thanks, and a little animal entertainment


My friendly little chestnuts and I would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all the warm and wonderful birthday wishes! These little chestnut friends were part of a big package of Autumn treats that Nanou sent me for my birthday, thanks Nanou, it was a special surprise.

Also thanks to Kath at Whip Up for featuring my cheater's patchwork tutorial and Anne, Craft Gossip for doing the same. Between my birthday and these tutorial links my inbox was overflowing with happiness when I woke up on Tuesday another year older.


The garden has been a great source for amusement this week. Dozens of partridges have been partying up a storm, they're the funniest birds on the planet (some might say stupid.) They sometimes walk up to our glass doors and look at their reflection. Sometimes they peck on the door and try and walk in, fair enough it's glass and looks see through. But they also walk down the middle of the road and when I approach in my car they just turn their head and at me like teenagers with an attitude. They don't even quicken their steps, I get closer and they move slightly faster but not much. More often than not I stop the car and run up to them on foot. This sometimes does the trick, they fly in every direction and not too gracefully either, they make us laugh everyday this time of year.


Another humorous visitor this week was from little Mr Stoat. As I was working on my computer this sweet little face poked through the ivy right outside the window and looked at me. Photographing a stoat isn't easy, they make the Roadrunner look slow. The telephoto lens on this camera is pretty poor, but I managed to get him.

I snapped him just before he popped down a mouse hole and disrupted this little guy and the rest of his family. Teeny-tiny mice went flying hither and thither and this one seemed to be in a state of shock. I then went to collect the children from school and returned an hour later to find him still sitting there. I thought a passing bird would have pounced on him or that the stoat would return to claim him. I showed him to Gracie who then put him in a box where he suddenly sprang to life. She released him a little while later happy in knowing he appeared fit and healthy, I didn't manage a photo of it:(


I also didn't manage any decent pictures of my friends visiting from Kent for my birthday and our very fun afternoon together. I'm hoping their pictures are better than mine. Thank you so much for your visit ladies, you know how much it meant to me!

I hope you're all having a fantastic weekend - we're off to an apple fair today to savor more of Autumn's bounty.

Nature's glory




We've been mesmerized by the amazing colours in the skies this week, Tristan captured these stunning sunset images on Tuesday evening.

I love giving the children the camera. I think the very best thing about digital is that it's easy to let children shoot away and to see the world through their eyes. They like the immediacy, and I love looking at what they've discovered through a lens (and also the fact that it costs nothing to process the images.)

Both our children find real joy in simple pleasures like a sunset, this makes me happy.

Have a glorious weekend.