Festive

Meringues
Treats at the fair

The big charity fair was at school yesterday which is super fun but busy. All of the children take part in raising money by doing a variety of things: making up games, playing music, selling baked goods, painting nails, making milk shakes, there's no shortage of ideas. 

Felicity and flowers
Felicity and the flowers

Gracie had a stall with two friends where they played two games and sold sweet treats and Nanou flowers. They earned about £70 for the Make a Wish Foundation. Last year Tristan started a newspaper for the school that he creates with a few other students three times a year – this year they sold out and earned £130 for Parkinsons UK. I'm so proud of both their efforts, helping others is a lovely way to start the festive season.

Repurposed pieces
Repurposed textile stall

Charlie and Catherine take part in my Wednesday textile activity. In their spare time they got to work making little bags, bookmarks, sachets, hair ties and more – they sold well and both worked so hard. 

CelebrationCOVER600px* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Today I'm loving a frothy coffee at home with my new cozy memories coaster and helping G learn some new stitches. I also received a message from Kathreen saying that my readers can received a 10% discount off everything at the whipup.net or action-pack.com store using the code WPContributor.

Also, Pam has a really fantastic list of Christmas kits and project suggestions, I especially love the felt gingerbread house from Little Deer

Coffee for me
This week I'm hoping to start and finish a Christmas gift or two and maybe even get around to cleaning the windows so I can watch the birds at the feeders I've just put out.

I'll be back soon with a sneaky preview of another project I recently contributed to, it involves wooden spools and doilies. 

Hope you have a wonderful week ahead. 

Jx




A quick hello

Sunny web

Thought it was time to dust off the cobwebs here and say hello. This web looked so beautiful when I came upon it on my walk it made me stop short, it looked amazing with the early morning sun hitting it. You know that kind of moment when nature sets everything up in such an extraordinary way that you can't help ooooh and awwwww out loud even if you're all by yourself, this was one of those moments.

We've been riding a tough emotional roller coaster around here for the last couple of weeks so it was super fun to get back online and receive these messages about young crafters enjoying tutorials from Nini Makes. 

DSCN3447Thank you to Marie who shared pictures of four year old Madelynn enjoying her new needle book made from this tutorial. Four years old, wow! Impressive work young Madelynn. I see many stitches in your future.

And if you follow Abby on Twitter you may have come across photos of the Dancing Scarecrows by two of her girls. I love seeing this tutorial resurface year after year.

If you enjoy a NM pattern or tutorial remember there's a group here where you can share your creations.

Hope you have a very happy week!

Jx

PS, I hope to visit soon.

 


Give us a hand

Mummy's-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.

Surprise-tutorial
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 :)

Phone-sleeve
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
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,

Jx

 


The beat goes on

T-guitar solo
Tristan fronting Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit"

Our broadband is working at the moment so I'll take a quick opportunity to share some images of T & G performing at the rock show on Wednesday night. The school put up a big festival tent because rain threatened. 

Grace strums 1
Gracie in the Beatles finale

It was a fantastic family atmosphere and it gave the children's paternal grandparents a chance to attend their first rock concert (bundled in heaps of blankets, with ear plugs in) and they loved it as much as I did.

Tris as drummer
Tristan drumming with another band

Tristan played guitar with a band he put together and also drums for his guitar teacher's band. Gracie joined in "With a little help from my friends" to close the show. This night is a highlight of the year for Tristan - it's so much fun seeing him have fun doing what he loves.

Shutterbug mama
A friend snapped me taking pics - loving my long lens that night!

Gracie left for camp this morning and was "feeling wobbly." She's a trooper though and I'm sure she'll enjoy her week. I was up till the very wee hours making little surprise notes and treats to hide in her bag.

If the Internet gods are with me I shall return soon with a giveaway. 

***********

Upadate: Obviously they aren't with me because I lost connection again right after typing that last sentence so now I'm back a day later.

Back soon I hope. Have a great week!

Jx


Pretty tangles and groups and things

Pretty-tangle
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 ;)

Cafe-tea-break
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.

Slideshow_1002156909_RBZ_STONY_POINT_VS_BOWIE_15_5566290
Winners!

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!

Jx

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


Boards and bunnies and things

Inspiration-board-redo
Filling my new, old board

This week has been about doing a lot of nothing except simple, mindless projects and hanging out with my two favourite little people who are off for Easter break. The last few days have brought sun and warmth helping to inject a bit of much needed energy into my days.

I've been dragging around this old pin board for yonks. It had a small Laura Ashley print on it that I hated so I never bothered to make space for it here where wall space is at a premium. When I moved my glass cupboard one result was a big enough wall for my board, but I still had to do something to cover up the print. I chose one of my coffee bags that I use mostly for school projects, decorating at harvest festivals and things. I decided one could be spared for my board and I'm happy with the result. 

Twine-trim
Gluing a couple rows of jute twine over the stapled edge

Very easy, I just stretched it across, staple-gunned the edges a whole lot then covered up the staples with jute twine. I'll darken the frame with a bit of stain or some shoe polish but I was too impatient for that and desperate to start pinning. Before pinning I sprayed it with water and ironed it, the sack pressed and flattened really well.

Fair-Isle-bunny
Fair Isle Bunny gift

We made a few teacher presents like this quick bunny from a very thick felted fair isle jumper. We stuffed a chocolate egg in him (poor bunny) and secured his, ummm..... bottom with a slide button closure.

Bunny-bottom
Slide button bum ;)

He was made for a special teacher; this post shows how we made him. If you'd like a stuffed bunny softie pattern you can get the one I created last year here. Or check out the bunny pattern we'll be stitching up this year, Pat's super cute little stitched bunnies; available here.

House-camp
Camp heaven

T & G set up camp in the family room at the weekend with a small sun shade tent, not weather-proof for real camping. They've slept there each night, Pippi too. Mostly they're excited to have Pippi with them; I'm a mean mama and won't allow a doggy upstairs in the house so normally she sleeps alone. She's been in hog dog heaven, a very happy little pooch. I'd planned for the tent to come down after a couple of days but after I said goodnight and switched off the light two nights ago I heard T whisper "Night Gracie, love you." And then heard Gracie return the love - sniff. The tent stayed up.

Book-nook
Cozy place to read

Sunday it was turned into Mummy's Palace for Mother's Day. I was allowed to sleep in (not in the tent), had breakfast in bed and went for a wonderful walk to the pub for a pint - a lovely day. Yesterday was spent at the beach basking in the warmth. I filled one of my Forager bags and chased the dog from one picnic to another, greedy little thing.

I'm off to walk the greedy little thing now. Sorry for a lack of visits and emails, extra focus is needed elsewhere right now. Thanks for the sweet comments on my last post.

Happy Friday to you.

Jx


The "sail" goes on

Boat races B 
Boat races

An update on the Crafting For Courage sale - thanks again for the support. The doll, scarf and stack of linens have sold but I may still be adding items to the shop until Monday, depends on time.

Today though it's off to school to make boats with little people while parents help out around the school with things like painting, planting and clearing. Another community event, this time a little closer to home.

There are still items left to buy in the sale and several makers are trying to add more throughout the weekend, so if you can please go and have a look, visit the Etsy shops and browse around. It's a great opportunity to buy beautiful, handmade things and help the children of Japan at the same time.

The image above is from a Green Parent article I wrote last year; it's taken with some of our favourite sailors (hope to see you sailors soon!!!).

Happy weekend,

Jx


Pleasure

Hearty-garland
Fabric, paper and wire 

Happy Valentine's Day
My children couldn't understand why today isn't a school holiday, I said something to the effect of "Really everyday we should pronounce our love for one another, so it's not really worthy of a day off school or work is it?" In place of a day off, now that they've both actually gone back after illness, they'll have special after school treats, because to me Valentine's Day is also a good excuse to indulge a tiny little bit.

Making lots of simple things and using up scraps of vintage pieces brought us pleasure over the weekend. Tristan and his blog, Gracie and her first sachet made completely by hand on her own.

First-sachet
Heart by Gracie

And me sewing gifts with some of my favourite textiles. My favourite part is seeing how satisfied and proud T & G are when they make something; anything - a cake, a collage, a bookmark, a website.

Vintage-stitching
Vintage stitches

Part of the weekend was also spent touring the senior school and meeting teachers where Tristan will move up in a years time. He will have even later days; really mainly being home just to sleep. It was a good reminder to me that these days of relaxing and making together are numbered, so we'll enjoy them while we can.

I hope you find pleasure in the simple things today and also by indulging yourself and the ones you love just a little bit too.

Jx


It's very nice to be 9

A very happy birthday to our fun, sunshiny, creative, monkey-like, Halloween birthday girl.  

Nine is so much bigger than eight and so very close to ten - two digits! From there teenage years are right around the corner, oh my.

Witch-
Witchy
piñata before

Gracie's slumber/birthday party was a huge success, the girls even slept... eventually. This year the piñata was a witch. We painted the face instead of using traditional tissue paper to decorate

The-grab
Witch after the smash and grab
 

Lucky she broke off at the back of her head because then she provided loads of fun as a mask.

Witch-mask
Ooooh she's scary

I'd love to show beautiful images of Gracie making her own party bags, the glowing pumpkins the children carved and more of the general fun and mayhem but I can't. I somehow had my camera on a naff setting and most images didn't come out. Instead, here are a few of my favourite G images of the past few years. I has a hard time editing them down; lucky me, she likes the camera :)

Photo-montage

I never knew how lightning fast time goes, until I had children. I watch the years pass in their little faces in a happy way, but with a dash of bitter-sweetness as well. We can't go back, so make it all count.

I hope you're enjoying a wonderful, family Sunday.

Don't forget, the giveaway is tomorrow, enter now if you haven't already :)

 


Back to school, back to the woods

KA web
Kinetic Autumn Art

Time to get back in the swing of things around here. The latest Green Parent is out and as part of this learning issue my bit was a piece about kinetic art, one of my favourite types of projects to make with children. These autumn inspired mobiles help teach not only simple stitching but also balance. Should be on the newsstands any day now. Busy, busy, busy now with Christmas edition.

Fly-Agaric
Common Fly Agaric

And back to school too. Tristan has moved to an all together more grown up stage of school. Longer hours and more subjects - he came home shattered after his first day yesterday. And Gracie literally bounced out of school, so excited to have moved up to the next school... long may the excitement last.

Back to school also means moving my daily walk back to the woods that border our school. They're a great place for biodiversity. The variety of trees and shrubs means an amazing variety of lichen and fungi too. I must try and remember to throw my camera in my pocket, not just my phone (way down my list of school morning priorities).

Fungi-book
Fungi book

I had a quick whiz around a local boot fair at the weekend and I'm glad I managed to get there. I found the Observer's Book of Common Fungi. I've been looking for this one for years and there it was for just £1.50, yay! I love collecting Observer books because they have lovely old illustrations and they're still so useful - the children use them just as much as I do. They're also handy for propping things up to photograph :) Even if I find duplicates I usually buy them to gift to friends who share the same interests.

If you have children I hope your back to school routine has gone smoothly and your children have emerged smiling. Enjoy your week.