A new pattern and more on the way


This is one of the many branch, twiggy things that has crossed my desk in the last couple of weeks. A festive little offering – I even have it out before the new year (patting myself on the back here). And now I'm slapping my hand because it's four in the morning as I finish this. It will take me at least a week to recover from getting so carried away into the very wee hours.

Partridge in snow

There's no question what, or who inspired this one. If you visit here often you'll know partridges are one of my favourite birds. They are so humorous, and friendly, sidling up to my window and pecking on it to say hello, but it has to be said they're a little stupid too. If a car drives up behind them they try and outrun it, seemingly forgetting that they have wings and can fly. 

This new pattern is part of a three page tutorial and pattern for large and small ornaments (small 1.75" ornament pictured). It marks the beginning of a new way of offering my embroidery and appliqué patterns. I'm now offering all patterns on a donation Pattern-samplebasis. In order to allow myself the many hours it takes to create each one, I'll ask for a voluntary donation for patterns in the future, but there are still dozens of tutorials here on NM that are free.

If I go way back to the beginning, I've given out hundreds of patterns, which I have loved doing, but accepting donations from now on might enable me time to tackle my giant binder full of sketches waiting to become patterns. At the moment I really do have to justify time spent.

I've had mixed feelings about the whole donation thing, I have never even accepted advertising here on NM so I may move them to a different site in the future. I'll think on it more after some sleep....

This new pattern can be found here along with several others – two more are coming soon.

Small hair pin picAnd to see another new twiggy tutorial go to Whip-Up today where I show how I'm using them to tame unruly hair. It's a real privilege to be guest blogging on one of my all time favourite sites. Thanks Kathreen, you're a star!

I'll get there

Play day
Woodland peg fairy

There were so many things on my to-do list to be finished by the end of this week but as we all know stuff sometimes gets in the way. No need to bore you with a list of stuff.

Sometimes it's best to throw my hands up and sit down to a pile of scraps with daughter and her friend. Making hats with beech tree seed pods, dresses of muslin and painted on faces made us smile. It's been too long since we pulled out our box of peg people parts, we'll have to visit that box more often.

Christmas pattern preview
New pattern sometime soon

One of those to-do list items was this new pattern. Clearly not finished as I thought it might be, but playtime with little G sometimes must shoot to the top of the list, I'm sure you'd all agree :)

Thinking of friends whose families are struggling with illnesses right now, you know who you are and that I send my love.

Also, I forgot to say thanks for sharing your favourite childhood book memories, it was really fun to read them.

Happy weekend,


Give us a hand

Mummy's hand, photo by Gracie

Gracie was working on a drawing and she wanted a hand model. I wasn't good at keeping my hand still enough so she photographed it instead. The clutter in the background is what my desk looks like when more than one project at a time is happening, which admittedly is often. I thought about Photoshopping it all out but I like real life better – though I often wish I could Photoshop it all out in real life and save the time of clearing up all my junk.

Gracie's hand, photo by Mummy

And speaking of projects, Gracie will soon be posting her first tutorial on her blog. The other day she spotted something at a shop that she really, really wanted and I said "No because I can show you how to make your own with supplies we already have and I promise you will like even more than the one in the shop." She wasn't convinced. I can't steal her thunder so I won't give it away but she's extra excited about her results and can't wait to share how to make them (although chances are you may have made them yourself already!) A tiny little thing, but it really ignited her enthusiasm to make instead of buy which of course made me smile really big inside :)

A quick something for me

On Wednesday I spent a fun hour with six girls and their ideas for making things with old clothes; I'd hoped at least one boy would be in our textiles group but maybe some will join in time. One of the items I shared with them was this protective sleeve I whipped up for my phone. I've been wanting to make one for the longest time, I'm not crazy about the cases in the shops. This denim sleeve made from old jeans took me no time to make and even though it's very simple it's just what I wanted. It's been a long while since I made something for me so then I got right into another project just for me that I'll show soon. Two in one week, I'm getting spoiled ;)

Apple thief

One last photo before I say goodnight. Hurricane Katia didn't effect us as much as the north of the country but it sure brought down a lot of apples. Too bad poor Pippi just found out she can't have the plums and apples any more, too hard on her tummy says the vet.

Have a great week,



Autumn and a return to routine

With such a cool August, very early apples and the demise of my geraniums it looks like October around here not September. Along with September come those mixed up feelings of dread and excitement that back to school time brings. There must be a word for it, maybe we could call it xreadment? 

I'm excited for the changes autumn is bringing us, happy to be back in a routine, but also sad to lose our freedom. I'm positive I'm not alone in this and in fact I'm sure I say something similar each year;) I wish I could have all you other mothers (dads too) around for coffee after dropping our children at their first days back to school.

And, if anyone has a trick for getting children out of bed in the morning please share it; if it involves bribing them with hot chocolate, that one no longer works for me. I'd seriously love suggestions.

The hedgerows are exploding with autumn colour already like these huge blue damsons yet there's still colourful purple vetch, honeysuckle and hog weed dotted about.

Hawthorn berries are in abundance.

And so many elderberries I think the birds would spare a few for me to dye with again this year.

I've been working on a couple of new projects yet to be published and otherwise crafting little, except for these extra slow stitches started way back here. I'm hoping to now use our new autumn routine to schedule time for completing new projects and get back to keeping up this space including a new shop soon.

I tried to post this yesterday but our Internet service was out again. T and G have now finished a very happy first day of school and are really positive about the year ahead, phew :) 

If you're back to school this week too, hope it's a smooth one for you. Enjoy the signs of the new season wherever you are.


PS, thank you very much for the sweet birthday messages for Tristan, we both loved reading them.

FInished top and Thursday rainbows

Linen linen top for G
Linen top for Gracie 

I've managed to complete a WIP that has been hanging around for a good while now. This top I was originally making for myself in the loveliest linen but it turned out way too small though I followed the pattern size chart, so I finished it off for Gracie, eventually. She was very happy, in a jumping up and down sort of way, though the photo doesn't look like it. The top is an old Built By Wendy for Simplicity pattern (number 3835 but I can't see it on the Simplicity website). The applique is the Out On a Limb pattern here. If you get this Built by Wendy top pattern be warned, it runs very small. The one I made myself back in February is here.

Chasing the pot of gold
Chasing the pot of gold

Poppytalk Summer Colour week is rainbow today. Which technically isn't a colour it's multiple colours. My contributions you may have seen before. A rainbow from a few weeks ago; two photos I spliced together in Photoshop, not particularly well, but enough to get the full arc in there. If you click on it to enlarge the image you can just see a second full rainbow above the brighter one - this scene was over the field next to us. If I'd had the time and didn't have to get dinner on I think I would have high-tailed it after the pot of gold.

Pans of watercolours

And another reissued image from a painting session in March. Those were the only two rainbows I could manage.

Happy Thursday, hope the sun shines on you.


Tin inspiration


There is so little time to indulge myself in stitching at the moment but this is one of the things I am eager to get back to. This vintage tin came in a big bundle of goodies from clever, kind Kay; it's inspired some freeform, hand stitching and it will be interesting to see where it leads me. It will most likely be a slow project, perhaps something to dip in and out of over the summer holidays.

Hope the sun shines on you today and if it does send a little our way. Our outdoor summer play progress is getting very, very wet - even inside a huge tent!

Bunnies abound

Bunny in a bag and bunnies on a bag

Cashmere Sunny Bunny ended up being a surprise tucked into Gracie's bag for camp. I decided helping G cozy up away from home was a more important job for this Sunny Bunny than going to one of the new babes in the family. Here he's hiding in a new bag whipped up from a vintage, cross stitched tray cloth with the new Bunny's Bow pattern stitched to the front; Mother Bunny wears a Liberty apron.

Bunny's Bow

This pattern was so quick to stitch up and it's available by commenting in this blog birthday post. Also enter the blog birthday giveaway on the same post.

EDIT: This pattern and all other patterns are now available by voluntary donation on the patterns page here. Any amount is accepted and appreciated; donations afford me the time to create more patterns and tutorials, thanks!

Male common European Rabbit

These bunnies are everywhere in our garden throughout the year but they are crazy brave and silly this time of year. The other day we witnessed two males fighting, looking a lot like a boxing match and a lot of fur was flying.

Normal cotton tails
Female common European Rabbit (bad far away shot)

There are baby bunnies everywhere and even a few of the less common black bunnies; this little guy is probably their daddy.

Black beauty
Wild black rabbit

I've only ever seen black bunnies from the car and at a distance, it's fun to have some in the garden.

Black bunnies!
Hello wabbit

So you see, there's a whole lot of bunny inspiration around here. The pattern above, though simple, was meant for an Easter release (Easter 2010) that's how long my quick sketch has been sitting in my very full binder of embroidery drawings. Perhaps ploughing through that binder should be another goal in the coming year.

I'll be back tomorrow with the winners.

Happy Thursday!


Looking back to look forward and a giveaway

Prize necklace1

Birthdays are the only times I look backwards and forwards. Normally I just focus on what's in front of me at the moment and don't contemplate the past or future much, that tends to lead to disorganization, maybe it's worth it for the sake of a little more peace of mind.

Celebrating a fourth birthday here on NM has made me realize how much I depend on this journal to document family life as well as creative endeavours. If I were to plan the next year, amongst the many things I want to do is return to documenting more in print, not just digitally. 

Pattern bundle

This past year I've loved squeezing in crochet time. I tried mixing this new crush on crochet with my old love of found pottery fragments. Inspired by Margie's sea glass and crochet necklaces, I realized I could show off some of my favourite pieces using crochet so I've made a few necklaces for myself and for gifts.

The piece above was found in our garden, it's probably Victorian. I loved finding this little bunch of flowers and knew I wanted to pair it with some vintage blue cotton and antique glass buttons. The necklace will be my first blog birthday prize.

A second winner will receive the Anna Tunic pattern by Amy Butler along with a few pieces of fabric (pattern details here). The fabrics aren't large enough to make the Tunic but they're not small enough to call scraps either. The pattern was a surprise gift when I renewed my Selvedge subscription and though I like the pattern, I know there's a whole lot of other sewing I want to do before I'd ever get around to making it for myself.

To enter this giveaway, leave a comment on this post telling me what you've most enjoyed making over the past year. The contest will end on Friday, June 3rd when I draw the name of two winners. I will post each prize anywhere in the world so it is open to everyone. Please make sure your email is entered when you comment.

Bunny-pattern,-small And not to leave out another of my firm favourites, embroidery, I will offer this free pattern to all who request it. It's inspired by Gracie and the dozens of bunnies enjoying our overgrown garden at the moment, including a baby bunny that's entirely black!

On a side note, in addition to bunnies, I'm loving drawing, stitching and photographing birds right now and caught site of a pair of bullfinches yesterday - fantastic, nearly neon red breasts. Speaking of amazing birds and amazing Margie, look at these. Wish I could see the show she's curating here which features five incredibly talented, bird-loving artists.

Have a happy Monday.




Pretty tangles and groups and things

Reverse of hand and machine stitching

I've had quite a long and unexpected Internet break, apparently down to a bad circuit board at the exchange - whatever that means. It reminds me of the image above, lots of lines going here, there and everywhere behind the scenes that normally get where they need to go without us ever needing to know about it, until they don't work.

Funny group
Funny groupings

So while I've been away I've caught up a little with things I've been happily ignoring, like dusting and stinging nettles, though the latter are getting harder to ignore because they're painful. I've been noticing that when I dust I move things around into new groups, usually without making any conscious decisions about it. Sometimes just odd objects and other times colour groupings, it's fascinating to me that our brains need pattern.

Dyeing with hot drinks
Dyeing with hot drinks

And I also tackled some dyeing that I've been meaning to get to for a long while; this stack of vintage linen soaked in a fine blend of coffee and tea, I like the shade I get by mixing them. Tea tends to give a pinker shade than coffee and I find by combining them I get just what I want, a shade closer to natural linen. I'm planning on new dolls with this batch.

More baby cards
Late baby cards

This style tends to be my stock design for babies. The gifts to go with them might arrive before they each start school ;)

Tissue box cafe

And over our long weekend T & G got out the Brio train set. T received his first wooden track when he was about 18 months old and still enjoys it at nearly 13! And he doesn't even feel too cool to admit he still likes it (now that's cool). They both still like me to play along which I'm happy to do, especially if they serve tea, both of them make a mean cup. To be sure tea would be served I quickly made a café with an empty tissue box. Half a tissue box makes a handy arched doorway don't you think? 

Other things:

I'm loving this site which is probably not new to many of you but as you know, I don't get out much. I found it via very clever Erin.

And also loving the RAC, they never let me down or make me wait too long. When they arrive the drivers are the nicest people you could hope to meet, like the one who changed my tire (tyre) on Easter Sunday and said the tea I brewed him was perfect. Or the nice man who told me to wait in a cafe instead of my car when my battery died the winter before last (it was -3 outside). Of course I have no affiliation with the RAC but I feel a little more secure knowing their card is in my wallet.
BTW, I can change a tire but I can't get the lug nuts off even when I stand on the crow bar.


Lastly, congratulations to my gorgeous niece Lauren (on the far left) who underwent shoulder surgery last year not wanting her softball career to end; her high school team just made the playoffs (again).

And also a big congratulations to smart, hard working and lovely Diane who just took over from the equally smart, hard working and lovely Natalie as Editor-in-Chief at CRAFT. CRAFT couldn't be in more capable hands.

Happy weekend to you!


P.S. Hope to play catch up with all of you soon.

Bunny droppings

Dandelion and Buttercup 

Dandelion and Buttercup here are going to be popped in the post later today to hitch a ride all the way to Japan. They're taking part in Operation Bunny Drop and they are very excited.

Operation Bunny Drop, organized by Liz Minnick is about "...crafting soft and simple bunnies for children in Japan who are recovering from the effects of the recent natural disasters, many displaced and all needing LOVE and HOPE."

To take part, fill out the simple registration form here. Whip up some sweet bunnies and send them off to Japan stuffed with your own love and hope. There is a Facebook page dedicated to the effort where you can find patterns and share images too.

Dandelion showing off her needle-felted wool roving tail

I learned about this project from Pat just after my last post linking to my free Sunny Bunny pattern. I looked through my felted wool stash and a gentle, butter coloured blanket spoke to me. It was just begging to be stitched up into toys for children. Dandelion, the Cuddle Bunny, is from Pat's pattern and is a real joy to hand stitch. Gracie is extremely fond of him and has made me "pinky swear" that I will make her one just like it. Buttercup is a Sunny Bunny.

Well we must go and get ready for the post.

Happy, sunny Tuesday to you.


update: excuse my earlier brain fade when I wrote "Lisa" instead of "Pat" regarding Cuddle Bunny